Obama’s Assassination Plan — Tyranny?

Obama is arguing the executive has the power to execute American citizens without a trial, without even so much as an airing of the charges against them, and that it can do so in complete secrecy, with no oversight from any court, and that the families of the executed have no legal recourse.

via Tyranny | The Agitator.

The Problem Is *Spending*, Not Taxes

What’s the difference between a tax-cut stimulus and a spending stimulus? Some efficiency, sure, less rent-seeking and pork-barreling, no doubt. But if we cut taxes without cutting spending, we are not cutting taxes. We are deferring taxes. Taxes are not the problem; spending is the problem. Taxes are a symptom.

via Bobs-for-Jobs Schilling: Another Republican for Keynesian Stimulus – By Kevin D. Williamson – Exchequer – National Review Online.

Government and journalists cower at threats to cartoonist

Last week, the Seattle Weekly announced that Molly Norris, its editorial cartoonist, had "gone ghost." Put another way, she went into hiding. The FBI told her she had to because otherwise it couldn’t protect her against death threats from Muslims she’d angered. Earlier this year, Norris started "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" to protest radical Muslims’ violently stifling freedom of speech and conscience. Incredibly, her plight has drawn precious little media attention, even though it is infinitely more newsworthy than, say, a fundamentalist preacher in Florida threatening to burn Qurans.

via Examiner Editorial: Government and journalists cower at threats to cartoonist | Washington Examiner.

Finding What You’re Looking For

One of the things I find most wearying about writing about economics is the extent to which people attempt to hijack economics to "scientifically prove" that their value judgements about things like the proper size and role of government are 100% factually correct–as if there were some way to empirically validate the correct marginal tax rate for people making over $100,000 a year.

But even when you’re careful, it’s distressingly easy to find what you expect. The result is a history of science developing models that used "scientific evidence" to bolster the social hierarchy of the day. We think that phrenology and 19th century racialism are obviously preposterous–but they clearly weren’t, because some very smart people believed them, and were not conscious that they were simply confirming their own prejudices.

via Finding What You’re Looking For – Megan McArdle – Technology – The Atlantic.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward ‘killed 45 million in four years’

The only people I hate worse than Nazis are the God-damned Communists.

during the time that Mao was enforcing the Great Leap Forward in 1958, in an effort to catch up with the economy of the Western world, he was responsible for overseeing "one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known".

Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.

via Mao’s Great Leap Forward ‘killed 45 million in four years’ – News, Books – The Independent.

The voice of reason vs. the voice of insanity

Geithner wants to re-create the system that collapsed but with “tighter regulations.” He wants to re-create the system that the CBO expects to cost taxpayers $390 billion. He wants to re-create the system that helped destroy the housing market and the financial sector.

Oh, and he wants high fees on banks and borrowers to protect the taxpayer. So he ants a government guarantee to keep rates low at the same time there’d be a fee to make sure the system isn’t too fiscally irresponsible. Madness.

via The voice of reason vs. the voice of insanity.

The romance of government vs. the reality

Make government smaller and we get more of what we really can do together. And it’s not just more stuff, more gadgets, more material well-being. We do get more stuff and that’s pleasant, but that isn’t what gives life deep meaning. Deep meaning and true satisfaction comes from working with others on something bigger than ourselves. That comes from building our family. That comes from striving to reach something that exceeds our grasp. That’s what we get more of when government gets smaller.

via The romance of government vs. the reality.

Austerity for Liberty

Instead of pushing for "constructive" free market reforms, libertarians should doggedly focus on austerity: opposing spending increases, and pushing spending cuts. Instead of trying to "privatize" Social Security, for example, libertarians should push for lower benefits, a higher retirement age, and means testing. Instead of pushing for school choice, libertarians should try to restrain/shrink education budgets and push user fees. If libertarians have any political success, this will automatically expand the role of the market. After all, the less government does for people, the more they will do for themselves. Dissatisfied with government provision, people will save more for their own retirement and spend more on private education. In the limit, once the flow of government money ceases, voluntary exchange is all that’s left.

via Austerity for Liberty, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

Bribing the public with the public’s money

A new report by the Federal Reserve points to "widespread signs of deceleration" in the U.S. economy. No kidding! These signs follow what the Fed calls a "burst" of growth in the last quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010 triggered by President Obama’s $862 billion stimulus package. Unfortunately, the burst failed to help anybody except special interests like unions and public employees. Note the Fed’s evasive word choice: Another word for "decelerating" would be "contracting."

via Examiner Editorial: Bribing the public with the public’s money | Washington Examiner.

Reporting from Greece: Tax Compliance, and the IRS

Everyone also acknowledges that tax compliance continues to be a major problem here. Indeed, a retired businessman says if Greeks had actually paid all the taxes owed over the past decade or so, they wouldn’t be in nearly such bad shape. Of course, we noted that tax compliance has been very good in the U.S., especially when compared to the rest of the world. This means we don’t have a large source of potential revenue available simply from doing a better job enforcing existing tax laws.

On this score, we can understand why the Obama administration is ramping up the size of the IRS, and stepping up tax enforcement. They plan massive tax increases for Americans, including a myriad of fees and mandates embodied in health care and other complex and detailed legislation. They know that a result of this will be that tax compliance in the United States will be "Europeanized" — along with everything else.

via Power Line – Ray Hartwell reports from Greece.