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September 22, 2014

Thomas E. Hall, call your office

Mr. Hall is the author of Aftermath: The Unintended Consequences of Public Policies. Yesterday's Review Corner left out that little tidbit of the author's name, since corrected. Bad reviewer! No biscuit!

I gave the book props for covering four items in depth as opposed to a laundry list of goobered-up policies. Yet, I wish to throw some laundry in the hamper: cash-for-clunkers and subsidies for 'lectriccars. Someone on Facebook posted a good article on California's zero-emission credits.

Remarkably -- and prepare your shocked face -- the program takes money from the poor to subsidize play-toys for the wealthy (wait, no shocked face yet...) It further seems that the poor live in areas with higher pollution (not yet...) and that there'd be far more benefit were they to replace old rattlers with cleaner new cars -- if only they could have kept the tax money to buy the Google exec's Tesla. (Okay, shocked face now).

First there's 94582: San Ramon, California. Since 2010 the roughly 38,000 citizens and businesses of this prosperous Bay Area suburb, where the median household income is $140,444, have purchased 463 zero-emissions vehicles. Such vehicles receive major state subsidies; nearly $1 million of these subsidies went to vehicle purchasers in San Ramon. But San Ramon doesn’t need the anti-pollution help. Despite being home to a large highway complex and a business park, the city scores in the cleanest 10 percent of California's ZIP codes, according to the California EPA's EnviroScreen index.

The second ZIP code is 93640, the Central Valley town of Mendota, population 11,800, with a median annual household income of $28,660, which is less than the $36,625 sticker price of a Honda Fit EV. Mendota is in the top 10 percent of California ZIP codes for pollution and vulnerabilities such as childhood asthma, according to the CalEnviroScreen. And how many vehicles were purchased there under state subsidies? Exactly one, a lone car whose owner received $2,500.

This being Slate, author Lisa Margonelli calls for replacing the 'lectriccar subsidies for San Ramon with new car subsidies for Mendota. But her stopped 24-hour clock is right once a day -- they plunder of the poor for the rich is bad policy.

Hate the Name. Love the Video

Americans For Shared Prosperity (umm, okay...) releases a funny ad:

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty/

2014 Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | What do you think? [0 comments]

September 21, 2014

Review Corner

In addition, public consumption took place in illegal taverns knows as "speakeasies," and frequenting these places of businesses became a trendy activity during Prohibition , even for women, who formerly were less likely to frequent saloons. In this way, the law had the truly perverse effect of helping cause a rise in alcohol consumption by women, the very group that had been a major driving force in getting the Eighteenth Amendment ratified in the first place.
It will not come as a stunning shock to ThreeSourcers that government programs create unintended consequences. Or, in the vernacular, "I'll wait while you put your shocked face on."

Yet I'll still recommend Aftermath: The Unintended Consequences of Public Policies by Thomas E. Hall. Its factual underpinnings are valuable when one encounters a voter less enlightened than ThreeSourcers and its depth and clarity will entertain those who already accept its premise.

Instead of a laundry list of bad policy, Hall takes four issues in depth: Income tax /16th Amendment, cigarette taxes, alcohol prohibition, and the minimum wage. Each gets a historical legislative perspective -- who was for it, who against, how and by what margins it passed. Beyond the "Baptists and Bootleggers" coalitions, there are frequently unexpected advocates.

The data in Table 4.2 also help explain why increases in the minimum wage were supported by many northern politicians and business organizations, but generally opposed by southerners. Companies operating in high-wage cities compete with firms located in low-wage cities. For example, suppose that in 1955, a company operating in the South paid unskilled workers $ 0.75 per hour, while a company in the North that produced the same product paid its unskilled workers $ 1.00 per hour. The northern company could pay its workers more because they were more productive because of a higher level of mechanization. An increase in the federal minimum wage from $ 0.75 to $ 1.00 would have no impact on the wage paid to unskilled workers employed by the northern company, but it would cause a $ 0.25 increase in the wage paid by the firm operating in the South.
During the 1950s, labor unions became strong advocates of federal price-support programs that maintain farm prices above equilibrium levels. U.S. labor leaders believed that keeping food prices artificially high would provide an incentive for farmers to continue farming instead of moving to cities where they would compete with existing workers and push down wages.

Many of the unintended consequences of course are desirable for government. Hall paints a picture of a government that was truly surprised at how much revenue could be raised from progressive taxation. A gift that never stopped taking.
The personal income tax instituted in 1913 was originally designed to shift the burden from the working class to the upper class by taxing the top U.S. income earners and using those funds to make the federal government less dependent on customs duties and excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco. The income tax accomplished its goal, but it also created the major unintended consequence of allowing the creation of our modern big-government welfare state by generating a flood of revenue for vote-seeking politicians to spend.

I did not know that prohibition featured a medicinal exemption (I know, I should get out more). Just as many states allowed "medicinal marijuana" and Colorado still waives the 20% excise tax to prescription holders, the government kept huge warehouses of top notch spirits throughout prohibition, with a complex schedule of rates for various uses. Some saw an opportunity.
When Prohibition went into effect, Remus was earning his living as a criminal defense lawyer in Chicago, and he soon found himself defending bootleggers being prosecuted for violating the Volstead Act. Remus realized that the profits in the illegal alcohol business were larger than what he was earning as a lawyer, so he began to consider changing to a more lucrative career.
His business employed 3,000 people, operated in eight states, handled about 3 million gallons of booze, and grossed somewhere between $ 60 million and $ 75 million, from which he paid around $ 20 million in bribes to a large number of police and U.S. Treasury agents (Lindsay 1974). These activities earned him the title King of the Bootleggers.

All this product was from government warehouse -- not bathtubs or private stills.
One of his better-known transactions (because it resulted in a criminal trial) involved spending $ 125,000 to purchase 891 barrels of whiskey at the Jack Daniel's distillery in Missouri, which works out to about $ 3.30 per gallon. He sold the whiskey for $ 25-$ 30 per gallon (Asbury 1950, 221). Over the course of his criminal career, Remus is estimated to have amassed a personal fortune of $ 20 million.

Prohibition, of course, lives on though alcohol is exempted. The other segments are alive and well in their original form: government that spends $1.17 for each new dollar raised in taxes, huge disparities in cigarette taxes as nannies attempt prohibition through excessive taxation fund smuggling operations (the 9/11 hijackers had fake New York cigarette stamps). And, the minimum wage debate rages on in the 2014 midterms and on my Facebook feed. Many could learn from this book.

Five stars.

September 20, 2014

Pragmatism with a Side of Hash Browns

I attended the Southern Weld County GOP Breakfast today in the shadow of Blog Brother Johngalt's Barony of Ft. Lupton. I have made the crack that this is the opposite wing of the party than our pals at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons. The attendees are rural-to-bucolic, and the meeting starts with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think we're in Boulder County anymore, Toto...

Yet my friends, these people are devoted to limited government. My State House Representative was speaking on water rights and said "as Christians and Republicans, we recognize this regulation as plunder -- as theft." Shades of Bastiat with the assumption that we're all saved. Fusionism at its apogee!

Politics is about winning and building coalitions. I have great respect for both groups, though I lean toward my libertoid buddies. The tent-shrinking effort to chase these people out that I see concerns me. Can't we all get along?

And the food is good. Every third Saturday.

But johngalt thinks:

You have met the best of my salt of the earth neighbors. There are some others, probably less involved, who continue to "cling" tightly and reject anything they haven't been taught on a Sunday morning. But as you can now attest, those are not the norm. I haven't witnessed it but it seems there has been a - pardon the expression - evolution of political thought in the religious wing of the party. I tend to attribute it to electoral defeat, which has sown a healthy libertarian component in the hearts and minds of the righteous.

And yet many in libertarian circles still hold that, as a FB friend wrote, "If you don't believe in complete government management of saving souls, [then, in the eyes of Republicans] your [sic] a satanist and an anarchist!"

An interesting question: Having now visited both gatherings, which do you think more would be more open to visiting the other? Or stated differently, which would have less apprehension?

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2014 11:24 AM
But jk thinks:

I almost said that in my post. It is pure conjecture, but I think the libertarians would be better welcomed by the conservatives. Their apostasies would be met with an eye roll. "Now, now, dear, you really believe that do you..."

The previous speaker at LOTR-F, by contrast, received some rather harsh questioning on some less-libertarian portions of the Ryan roadmap. In one sense the venue is more open to discovery and dissent, but I felt leaving the Weld breakfast that they would be more welcoming.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2014 11:36 AM

September 19, 2014

A whiff of leadership?

While many of you like to explore the bounds of policy (mostly how it binds liberty), I am stuck with a practical mindset and current events.

My complaints towards current GOP leadership as represented in DC have been noted here; my vehemence stems from the lack of direction from the erstwhile leaders McConnell and Boehner. They seem to have adopted one of WFB"S more visceral moments: (citing from memory) "I stand athwart history, shouting STOP!" In today's give-away culture, especially what the 24/7 media has degraded to, it is not enough to sit in a chair – even a speaker's dias – and shout “we're not with him/them!” Direction towards a positive goal is needed.

This may only advance liberty by retarding a massive statist power-grab but I'll take it!

It cites many long-held conservative beliefs, and will need to be forcefully, publicly and vocally defended (which will give the current "leadership" yet another chance to show their lack of HOSS-ness).

House Republican leaders are adopting an agreed-upon conservative approach to fixing the nation’s health-care system, in part to draw an election-year contrast with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The [health care] plan includes an expansion of high-risk insurance pools, promotion of health savings accounts and inducements for small businesses to purchase coverage together.

The tenets of the plan — which could expand to include the ability to buy insurance across state lines, guaranteed renewability of policies and changes to medical-malpractice regulations

I'm sure the denizens here will provide glimpses into the gaps, but I have hope... the first in a long time:

But this is the first time this year that House leaders will put their full force behind a single set of principles from those bills and present it as their vision. This month, House leaders will begin to share a memo with lawmakers outlining the plan, called “A Stronger Health Care System: The GOP Plan for Freedom, Flexibility, & Peace of Mind”
Emphasis mine.

This year? When did they provide leadership last year? All I ever heard was "STOP!" I am glad to see McCarthey name as leading the charge, and I like the title which I bolded; appears to be absent any populist preening, celebrity caucusing, or giveaway inducements.

{Republicans} prefer to see a shift away from the federal government and to the states, with an emphasis on getting more consumers on private plans

About time, I say!

But jk thinks:

I like that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (HOSS WA) is involved. I sometimes worry that GOP Health plans tend to be tepid, but I agree that presenting a plan is a great move. Kudlow has been yelling at the m for years that "you can't beat something with nothing."

Even though most of us would prefer nothing...

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2014 1:06 PM

Stossel on Immigration

Here's a clip from Stossel's immigration show last night. I mentioned in a coment a better section on Sen. Sessions and Mark Zuckerburg. The show will be replayed on FOX News Sunday at 10 Eastern / 8 Mountain.

Around 4:10 there is a good Hayekian argument about central-planning, government and democracy.

If You Like Your Healthcare Plan...

Not very nice, Minnesota.

PreferredOne was the least expensive insurer in the Minnesota's state-run Obamacare exchange last year. It was also the most successful at signing up customers, capturing 59 percent of the state's market for private plans, according to CBS Minnesota.

And now it's leaving the exchange, and the 30,000 people who had enrolled in its coverage.

Something about "not sustainable." If only there had been some way to look ahead.

September 18, 2014

If You Didn't Love Him Before...

Wow, is everybody following this? I had seen a couple of other posts, but this is a pretty decent place to start.

My infamous, lefty Facebook throng are diverse in color, creed, age, geography, and gender. But one absolute is a fanatical reverence for Pop-TV Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson. You cannot be a lefty without an implicit offer to scratch your own eyeballs out if you ever see him doing anything untoward. Like, say, fabricating quotes.

Now the anecdotes about his embellishments are piling up. And some NdGT apostates had the temerity to update his Gloriousness's Wikipedia page -- thus waking the sects devoted to his defense.

All in all, it was exactly what I expected from a group of hopelessly misguided religious zealots who will not tolerate the slander of their savior. There’s a word for people who fantasize about using sexual violence to force their will upon dissenters, but it's not "scientist."

Glenn Reynolds used the word "blowhard" which is a little kinder than mine (rhymes with brick-lead). Aside from his indefatigable defense of climate science, I thought him harmless.

Yet, knowing his modus operandi of "Claim X said Y and deliver diatribe how I enlightened X" when X never really said Y, watch the embedded video at the link. It is intolerable.

Quote of the Day

Linked with general approbation by my biological brother:

What is upsetting is that while many in the media and many of us are ready to crucify Adrian Peterson for his actions we give others a pass. Adrian Peterson will not ever put a ‘whipping’ on his kid like that again. The millions of Americans that have had no ill-effects from corporal punishment are just fine.

Politicians that vote against Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are child abusers. Politicians that vote against a livable wage, a minimum wage are child abusers. Politicians that vote against healthcare for the caretaker of children are child abusers.

And the people who support, vote for, and blog favorably about those abusers...

But jk thinks:

UPDATE: asked directly about this quote, I was told "You're right, John Kranz, the term "child abusers" is out of line"

Hold those self-disownment papers, Jeeves. I'm going to think about this awhile...

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2014 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Abuse." Not used just for beating and berating anymore!

Let me know when the next edition of the Prog-Democrat dictionary is available on Kindle.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2014 3:54 PM

Telecaster Thursday!

That could be a thing! Telecaster Thursday! (Hat-tip Sugarchuck)

(Only trouble is, Jim Campilongo looks like Sen. Mark Udall. I may watch this again after November.)

Music Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [0 comments]

September 17, 2014

Money Back if Not Completely Satisfied

That's the sort of guarantee we're all accustomed to when doing business with a private concern. Can we ask for, maybe, half our money back from government?


Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.

After all, 80 percent of the almost one triiiiilion dollars spent on Means Tested Welfare Spending each year is wasted.

Taranto Weighs In...

L'Affaire Grimes was too juicy for James to keep out of.


Listening Across the Aisle

I must caution myself against regarding this the key to a prosperous future of joyous non-partisanship, but it does seem to have that potential.

Somehow we seem to have missed this February, 2012 Reason article: Corporatism is Not the Free Market by Sheldon Richman. It's value is not so much embodied in the title subject, although that is necessary background. It's novelty is the way it explains the rise of hyper-partisanship in the 21st century. He quotes heavily from this article by the Libertarian theorist Roderick Long:

Long sees capitalism in its common usage as similar.
By "capitalism" most people mean neither the free market simpliciter nor the prevailing neomercantilist system simpliciter. Rather, what most people mean by "capitalism" is this free-market system that currently prevails in the western world. In short, the term "capitalism" as generally used conceals an assumption that the prevailing system is a free market. And since the prevailing system is in fact one of government favoritism toward business, the ordinary use of the term carries with it the assumption that the free market is government favoritism toward business.

Similarly for socialism, Long writes. He thinks most people mean nothing more specific than "the opposite of capitalism."

Then if "capitalism" is a package-deal term, so is "socialism" -- it conveys opposition to the free market, and opposition to neomercantilism, as though these were one and the same.

And that, I suggest, is the function of these terms: to blur the distinction between the free market and neomercantilism. Such confusion prevails because it works to the advantage of the statist establishment: those who want to defend the free market can more easily be seduced into defending neomercantilism, and those who want to combat neomercantilism can more easily be seduced into combating the free market. Either way, the state remains secure.

Other than to say the present neomercantilist system favors politically connected business, not business as a whole, I will leave further discussion to the comments. And for reference, I will include both a dictionary definition of capitalism and a more precise definition by Rand.

And I will plead guilty to having fallen into the trap of defending neomercantilism, unwittingly. If nothing else, by not explicitly stating up front that this is NOT what I am defending.

My Work Here is not Done

Senator Sessions, we are told in an article linked from these very pages, "began waging his lonely battle on behalf of American workers..." and "Sessions's campaign on behalf of American workers..."

I'm thinking the American Workers are better off with the vibrancy of immigration and the products and economic activity they bring. But don't take my word for it, take John Stossel's

People say that immigrants steal "our" jobs. And yes, they do take some. But they create new jobs, too, lots. When people move to another country and encounter a different culture, they see things in new ways. Some pick the best from each culture and create useful things.

Imagine your life without Google searches, cheap Ikea furniture, YouTube, bicycles, blenders, ATM's. All came from immigrants. New Americans also gave us blow dryers, basketball, football, the first shopping mall, comfortable jeans, even the American hot dog (that came from Germany's frankfurter).

How many jobs did Google "steal?" Librarians?

But johngalt thinks:

I can live without Ikea.

Let's not talk about Google though.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2014 2:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I am strangely immune to IKEA's charms as well, but I like its contributions to jobs and GDP.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2014 2:20 PM

September 16, 2014

Immigration "Reform" defeated by ?

I never heard of Hoss Sessions' effort, campaign or whathaveyou.

I will try to embed the video from this excellent PowerLine article. I didn't realize how far along this effort was, which it must have been for the way Boehner was fighting, and nastily taunting the GOP for blocking last year (as I noted in the comments below). I had thought the umpteen thousand unaccompanied children caused it's deathknell, but article states that Sessions' managed to undermine the effort long ago.

Along the way, a funny thing happened. Sessions’s campaign on behalf of American workers went from quixotic to plausible to victorious. Due largely to his efforts, and those of his growing ranks of allies, there is little chance that Congress will pass an immigration package that sells out American citizens in the near future.
Posted by nanobrewer at 6:27 PM | What do you think? [8 comments]
But jk thinks:

If the ThreeSources Style Guide will forgive me, I'm going to tie the Kentucky Woman thread to this. It is germane and two days closer to the top of the page.

The basic question is pragmatism -- again. And it is a worthy debate. I confess that I can become too engrossed in electoral politics and allow principle to shade too far into the grey. It's a fair cop, guv.

But Brother nb's post brings home what we are up against, viz., the challenges in maintaining coalitions and party leadership. Both nb and I are attractive, intelligent, principled defenders of liberty. But we are 100% on the opposite side of this issue.

My blog brother is not alone in holding opposition to immigration expansion as a sine qua non of principled conservative leadership. Pardon me for putting words in your mouth and feel free to push back but I think that accurately describes a wing of the GOP that includes the PowerLine folks, Michelle Malkin, Instapundit, Hugh Hewitt, and some around here.

I am on the Chamber of Commerce, Larry Kudlow side -- which is also an important wing of the GOP. We've hashed it a thousand times and I would hope those I have not swayed would at least admit I hold a principled position that is consistent with liberty.

But nb holds the lachrymose and unusually-pigmented Speaker untenable for his support of a policy that I advocate 100%.

You need to get to a plurality -- and you cannot even align ThreeSourcers. That is the magnitude of the herding cats problem Speaker B and Leader Mac face. I think both are doin' okay.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2014 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't forget clean and articulate. And yes, I agree that you hold a principled position that is consistent with liberty. But then, I'm one of those you have swayed. Part of the credit though goes to my separation of the package deal. On expanded immigration I'm a "YES" but what else is in Speaker Boehner's "package?" I suspect something that nb can equally rationally debate to a winning position, qua liberty.

This issue is a segue to an even larger issue. One that I plan to reveal in its own post very soon. (Right after this commercial break.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2014 2:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

... I also like the descriptor "chiseled" if anyone's curious. ;-)

@JG notes: On expanded immigration I'm a "YES" but what else is in Speaker Boehner's "package?"

That is the issue. These days, immigration reform means nothing more than glorified amnesty for currently squatting illegals, ridiculously open borders, and not even a nod to things deeply useful, like H1B expansion, for one example.

Secondly, even if Mr. Boehner (sniveling, backstabbing crybaby, OH) could get a "reform" package with even a scintilla of usefulness in it (like more border fence), the chance of the current regime enforcing any part of the USEfullness is ridiculous.

I do not like Sen. Session's populist preening, and am generally in favor of expanding sensible, useful immigration ONCE the border has been secured, not at all the xenophobic position that the media paints the GOP with (which I believe is restricted to the Buchanan wing, with regular caucusing by the survivalists).

Lastly, yes, I am a fan of most of Hugh Hewitt's views, and currently favor his "Measured, Strategic Inactivity" on immigration until the golfing, populist, perfidious, venture-socialist and 100% corrupt set of DC-insiders (most of which are Dem's) has been thoroughly crushed by the 2014 election.

Generally, like most small-L libertarians, I like the idea of expanded immigration, but that cannot exist with the current direction of the country, which is towards an ever-expanding welfare state. The welfare state must be rolled back, again. You can't have open borders with a large welfare state.

Our immigration system is currently broken, and it's sole usefulness at this point, IMO, is another arrow to be shot at the Obamacare-craving, Sheik-bowing, Koch-bashing election-stealers.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 18, 2014 12:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Chiseled is good...

I guess we are closer than I feared from your post. The railing at Zuckerburg and Microsoft is <understatement mode>off-putting</understatement mode>. Great American companies are asphyxiating for lack of talent and are told they cannot hire the genius college grads that want to stay here.

I don't think the problem has much to do with fence. Let me try out a brand new analogy:

I see it as identical to marijuana legalization in Colorado. The fence is 100 new drug cops, an MRAP for their no-knock raids and expanded legislation to allow search of citizens' cars and data. "We can't legalize until we've eliminated the black market trade" is the rallying cry of one side. It's all about law and order. Once we establish respect for the law, we can experiment with reduced sentences.

The other option is to provide a legal mechanism to allow the contract. There was concern that high taxes would drive a black market trade, but I think it is safe to say that in Colorado people have overwhelmingly chosen the legal methods.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2014 10:34 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

It's all about law and order. [snip] The other option is to provide a legal mechanism to allow the contract.

You lost me a bit here. Which mechanism do you want to ... legalize? Strengthen? What contract?

I might have overspoke about the entire immigration system being broken; what's broken is enforcement. It's a problem on the southern border, and what's broken is bipartisan and widespread. Canada's border is just fine.

The careerist, graftist, "DC-insider" syndrome is at the root of the problem, IMO. A southern fence would take many "rot" problems (e.g., too much/little ICE, $$ to fight crime, too powerful SWAT, etc.) off the table that are offshoots of the root problem.

A fence is really a solid proposition, no pun intended. It's a rallying cry, which the GOP and "small L's" so desperately need, and would solve a ton of "rot" problems with crime & immigration that are all over fly-over country.

A fence is a grass-roots solution, IMO. We need less DC-style "portfolio" solutions, for now.

This lack of leadership/message lends fuel to the anti-Boehner / McConnell chorus (which is aiding the enemy, IMO). So, immigration is one of a long list of problems that has lead to the rise of the tea party. Tea Party "crushing" is again a major problem with McConnell, and the sort of thing that could give us more Alison's.

Back away from my rant back to our topic; would increased H1B's help the Google's of the world? Certainly a fence would not hurt them; they do not want or need wetbacks.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 18, 2014 1:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I think you provide a legal mechanism to allow immigrants to find work and employers to find workers -- then those "jumping the fence" can truly be considered criminals.

For all intents and purposes there is NO LEGAL WAY TO IMMIGRATE AT ALL. There are way too few H1Bs and the legal channels available to an agricultural worker without close family ties, good luck and a good lawyer are non-extant. So they pay coyotes and risk their life in the desert.

All to get over the fence. The one that we don't need in North Dakota because supply and demand are fairly well-matched (though they'd probably like a few burly Saskatchewanian welders). Match supply and demand with Mexico and provide a legal pathway and you won't really need much of a fence.

Google needs Chinese PhDs -- but also lettuce in the cafeteria which requires agricultural workers. Clean, accommodative hotel rooms maintained by low-skilled immigrants facilitate business.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2014 2:18 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

So, increasing the number of H1B visa's would help Zuckerberg et al... got it.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 19, 2014 12:52 AM
But jk thinks:

I'd hoped to convey a bit more but my typing skills leave much to be desired.

Stossel did a whole show on immigration last night and a segment specifically on the Sessions - Zuckerburg contretemps. I might look for an embed but if there's any way you can catch a repeat airing over the weekend. I'd recommend it highly.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2014 9:55 AM


There are two guys who make me really angry. One is my former Congressman, Jared Polis. He voted sigma-5 with Speaker Pelosi and financed much pro-government mischief in the Centennial State. But, because he wrote one clever OpEd and accepts campaign contributions in BitCoin, he is feted as "a Democratic Libertarian."

The other is Elon Musk. He, too, is feted as a "libertarian" and has energized liberty lovers to aid his righteous cause in bypassing state dealer requirements. On this, and on private space travel, he is dead on.

But his business is based on the most base crony corporatism imaginable. You pay people to buy his product, you pay his suppliers to develop parts, and you give the company massive loans. The TED-talk, silicon valley glitterati celebrate that he has paid the loans back -- but they were there in the early days and there is no talk of reimbursing Treasury for all the $7500 giveaways they made to wealthy Tesla customers.

This guy has a business that would not employ more than three were it not for subsidies and mandates, yet I am supposed to celebrate him as some kind if Hank Reardon.

Have I established my basic premise here? Today, the WSJ Ed Page details his sweetheart deal from the Silver State on a new battery factory.

Earlier this month Mr. Musk declared Nevada the winner. "It wasn't all about the incentives," he noted. Nevada is "a get-things-done state." Gov. Sandoval surely appreciated that in-kind contribution to his re-election campaign. Mr. Musk also intimated that Nevada made the most logistical sense. Reno is easily accessible by rail and highway to Fremont, and Nevada hosts the only active lithium mines in the U.S.

But if those were the attractions, then why should Nevada have to pay such a steep subsidy price? Tesla will be exempt from property taxes for 10 years and sales taxes for 20 years at a cost of $1.1 billion to taxpayers. Tesla will also get $195 million in transferable tax credits that it can sell to other businesses. Since Nevada has no personal or corporate income tax, Tesla will effectively operate tax-free in the state.

Tesla will also receive a 10% to 30% electricity discount over eight years. The NV Energy public utility will pay for this discount by charging other customers $1.84 more on average per year. Mr. Musk claims the factory will generate all the renewable energy it needs, but the utility discount will pay for back-up power from the grid because renewables provide intermittent energy.

By being connected to the grid, Tesla will also be able to exploit Nevada's "net-metering" regulations to sell its excess renewable power back to the utility at the retail price, which can be up to 50% higher than wholesale. So Tesla can buy electricity at a discount, and then sell it for a premium.

They are different from GE, how?

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ironic: the maker of electric cars needs a 30% discount on electricity?

All that being said, I do hope Jeff Keith and Dave Rude's new automobile company gets around to that flying car I keep hearing about...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 2:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Amen, JK. Tesla is GM with a fancy logo, nothing more. I expect their taxpayer-funded phaeton will be as much a flop as the Volt.

Not, for the very-connected Mr. Musk, of course, which again is a root problem. I wish McConnell would keep pounding away at the Venture Socialist crowd.

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 18, 2014 1:57 PM

It only knock's once!

But johngalt thinks:

LOL. What are they over there in England now, 'mericans?

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2014 11:53 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Worse - Californians. Californians who text.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nah, KA. That would have been "educayshunal oppertunatees."

Her Majesty's realm has slipped, but not THAT much!

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2014 3:11 PM

September 15, 2014

Kentucky Woman

"She gets to know you."

And when Kentucky voters get to know her, they may make Kentucky Republicans wish they had nominated "TEA Party favorite" Matt Bevin instead of... ol' Mitch.

Doggone, I really hope the GOP swings enough seats to control the senate without McConnell because, like this CNN commentator says, I'm one of those who sees him as part of the problem.

I'm watching this race real closely because to me it could be the biggest indictment of politics as usual. If Republicans win the senate because Barack Obama hasn't led, but McConnell doesn't return to the senate to lead it because he's part of, a big part of the dysfunction in Washington, this could be a race that really shows how the public is just tired of the way both parties are running this place.

"She goin' to own you."

But johngalt thinks:

Can I at least get some props for the Neil Diamond reference? ;)

Quoting the Hotair paraphrase instead of McConnell's more clinical phraseology was intentionally misleading on my part, with purpose to inflame passions. It seems that was not necessary though as my two brothers felt strongly enough already to elicit their comments. I was "picking a fight" as it were.

Bearing in mind that I am a member in good standing of my county's GOP Executive Committee and I defend the Republican brand in all circles, I'm still committed to my principles above all. I hear my brothers' arguments in defense of party establishment leaders, and their tactics, and I am not persuaded to sit on my hands and nod. Sometimes the line is blurry and sometimes not, but if there is no difference in the policies enacted by our guys or theirs, I prefer to let their guys take the credit for what follows. Let the Democrats win. Let them govern unopposed. Let voters learn the consequences. But continuing to prop up cronies, who publish platforms supporting liberty but then govern as cronies, only adds fuel to the charges that "there's no difference between the majority parties."

The Buckley rule applies as much or more in primaries than in general elections. If Kentucky voters had followed it we would have an excellent candidate in Matt Bevin. One who would offer true contrast to the Democrat's principles. Important things, not how they hold a rifle or whether they recognize the uniforms of local collegiate basketball teams. Do we "have to have some establishment guys in leadership?" I see no reason at all. Before we can take back our government from the cronies in the other party we must, I am convinced, take back our party from the cronies in our party.

BR, do you really believe that it's a good thing when our party has LESS to compromise over with the Progressive Left Democrat party? Have you forgotten your football field analogy? Between the two of you I read a willingness to keep the aging defensive team on the field instead of drafting a new crop of promising young offensive talent. And why, so that the ball can "keep moving" even if it's in the wrong direction?

I'm tired of the "party over principle" strategy.
I'm sick of having ANY evils in my party, even ostensibly useful ones.
And more than having philosophically pure candidates and office holders, we need a consistently pro-freedom philosophy in the party at large. "Crushing" the new blood because they threaten entrenched interests is exactly the opposite of what we should defend.

By the way, all of the flawed "TEA Party Candidates" are household names, but how many more failed establishment candidates have there been, who we never hear about nationally, because it's not in someone's self-dealing interest to trumpet their failures loudly?

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2014 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Mister Diamond may have been what produced the negative reaction. He had the only song that sucked in the Last Waltz movie, and I learned later that he was inserted by Scorsese and Robbie Robertson over the rest of the band's (capitalize at will) strenuous objection.

I will return to and ask that you spend a few minutes on alisons-priorities. Her sound byte spot for the low information voter notwithstanding, she is not all about guns and coal. Her nine priorities would work for any Democratic member or candidate for either house in any state.

So I reject your Pat Buchanan/Chris Matthews assertion that there is no difference. Allison's priorities are not Mitch's.

Maybe Song Sung Blue or Sherry Baby...

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Difference between parties, not two particular candidates. Forest > Trees. And principles of leadership, not foot soldier priorities.

Instead of adding more I implore readers to re-read my prior comment for full effect.

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2014 4:10 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll applaud the Diamond reference, and add to it some Skynard: I hope Alison will remember, a Southern man don't need her around... anyhow...

Stick around for the Tammy Wynette to follow shortly.

I was going to stay out of this one; the Kentucky race brewing up to be a "lesser of two evils" situation, between McConnell and Grimes. As I've been quoted saying before, why pick the lesser of two evils? Cthulhu/SMOD 2016!

But, I've been asked to weigh in on this issue, and -- though this requires explanation -- I'm weighing in on JG's side. McConnell needs to go. Were I a Kentuckian, I'd be seriously debating whether to vote third party or leave this race blank.

First: where JK's right. I've checked Grimes out enough to be satisfied she can't have my vote. Besides the visceral issues (the Hillary-like emphasis on the first name only, the absence of the admission of "Democrat" just about anywhere in her website or campaign media, and despite her pretense of being anti-Obama, she relies on the same gawdawful two-tone blue motif that Obama has made me sick of), her record and her priorities prove her to be a lefty. She's a stealth Democrat. She's distancing herself from Obama, running to her right, and that will last until she's sworn in. Thousands of independents who will have been stupid enough to have voted for her will cry out with one voice "how did she deceive us?"

But McConnell has pissed on the conservative and freedom wings of his party far too often to have my support. He's a big-government, go-along-to-get-along elite who is open in his loathing of the peasants, and he defines peasants as TEA Party voters and Constitutionalists. In his mind, he believes he can afford to alienate that wing specifically because that wing is a reliable vote for the GOP.

We have a low opinion of Janay Rice because, like so many other abused wives who keep coming back to their man, she takes it. At least we could excuse Janay because Rice brought home the bacon and the bling. GOP voters who stick by McConnell aren't all that different; in fact, the case could be made that Janay got more from Rice than we get from McConnell. Why would you keep voting and keep voting for a man who makes no attempt to hide his disgust toward you?

Ideally, the GOP will win the Senate while being able to sacrifice McConnell and still take the majority. If the constitutionalist win does not at some point withhold their sanction and support for the statist RINOs and instead keeps on enabling them, it will only reinforce that they can safely continue their betrayals. The GOP elite are confident that they can continue this game, and they will do so until they are proven wrong. Do I want to keep the Senate majority in Democrat hands? Of course not. But at some point, one has to be willing to risk losing in order to serve notice that the constitutionalists may refuse to give their sanction. If not now, when? Will it ever be safe? Do you think governance from DC in the future will be better, or worse?

I for one am done with the whole "stand by your man" routine while he shamelessly betrays us and slaps us around.

And if McConnell does win and the GOP takes the Senate, McConnell CANNOT be the majority leader. That's non-negotiable. There's not much point in throwing out the Democrats if all you're going to replace them with is Democrats-lite.

Of course there's risk involved. De l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 4:17 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

McConnel has been generally unphelpful and most un-leaderlike, IIRC. Boehner doubles down by repeatedly going out of his way to be nasty, and do things (specifically, to try to force an Immigration Reform bill) that really hurt conservatism and the Party. Hurting the GOP may not terribly important 'round here perhaps, but think about the title he ran for just 3 years ago.

He's given the media way too many weapons with which to continue the rhetorical beating (as if they need the help!) of GOP and the Tea Party. This to me says he's more than just a politician, but a rank and low-down DC Insider. Of the 2-3 times I'm aware of these low-down maneuvers, the only explanation I can see -- and I follow the inside-baseball aspect of politics to a certain degree -- is to ingratiate himself to media and the liberal cognoscente.

With friends like this.... McConnel I can stomach, Boehner needs to be crushed. IMHO

Here's what Morning Joe had to say:

Boehner and the leadership don’t talk to their members. A lot of times, I’ll call my buddies and I’ll say hey, what’s going on? What are guys doing? And they go, ‘we wish we knew.’ I say well, when’s the last time Boehner told you what the strategy was, because Newt sometimes talked, as you know, too much. They say well, Boehner doesn’t talk to us. Well, what do you mean he doesn’t talk to you? They say he never tells us what’s coming next. We’re guessing half the time.

Sounds like Obama's style of "leadership", if y'ask me....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 16, 2014 4:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wow - strong letter to follow, eh? Leave the conversation for an hour and look what happens.

I'm surprised at the visceral reaction to Boehner/McConnell. These guys must continually thread the needle and have done as good a job as anyone could, IMHO. No really egregious legislation has passed since Boehner became speaker. When we only control one half of Congress, the best we can hope for is to block the bad stuff. Asking them to get anything worthwhile past Reid or Obama is unrealistic.

Look - someone is going to hold the Senate seat from Kentucky. Can you name one Kentucky Democrat that you'd prefer over McConnell?

"Better to let Democrats take the blame..." - really? We've been trying that strategy since 2008 and now we have Obamacare, $17 trillion in debt, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq/Afghanistan, lost all credibility as a world leader, our enemies are stronger and our allies weaker, Sotamayor/Kagen are in SCOTUS and the DC Circuit has been packed with libs (total of 53 Circuit Court appointments overall) and it may take a generation to rebuild our military - not to mention the abuses of imPOTUS power and scandals. Yet, I see no sign of the presumed popular uprising of which y'all speak. Newsflash - the general electorate ain't all that engaged or astute. If the Republican's win the Senate, (and that's a big "if"), it will be a squeaker not a landslide. If we lose Kentucky, we basically have no shot at a majority. Then, Obama will be free to pick whichever Supreme Court nominees he likes in the final two years, as some may retire, because Senate Majority Leader Reid will extend the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominees.

If y'all aren't ready to pull on every oar (and lever) to take back the Senate, then why expect the average citizen to care? And God help our Republic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2014 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BR: And now we have Obamacare (McConnell voted for funding Obamacare), $17 trillion in debt (McConnell voted for the debt hike)... Continually thread the needle?

Here are some of the most egregious McConnell votes: http://bit.ly/1t9h59N

The lack of new bad laws owes more to the House than to McConnell, I think. McConnell's voting history sort of demonstrates he's rowing those oars against us as often as not. This isn't a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good; this is a case of a man who disdains people like us and is bold about proving it, with his votes and his mouth, because he believes that no matter how much he betrays us, we'll keep sending him back to Washington to screw us some more.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I think a couple of my blog brothers might be confusing the constant blogger/Tea Party opposition to GOP leadership as actual misfeasance on McConnel's part.

There were a couple disappointments in your evil ten list, but if you are in the US Senate any amount of time, you will have some bad votes for things you have traded, or taken procedural votes, or made a mistake.

Part D and TARP I were Republican initiatives. Like 'em or not, they were President Bush's deals and he was at best taking one for the team.

Debt limit, funding &c. Yup, he did not do a government shutdown which could have hurt the party. I know there is not 100% agreement, but to present that as proof of prodigality is unfair.

I've come to accept that the "wave" is not on the menu this year, and it is become sadly clear that Colorado will not help with the +6: the Scion will keep his seat with #waronwomen ads.

I'm foursquare with The Refugee -- you guys are willing to give up a GOP seat, enjoy two more years of "Majority Leader Reid."

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 6:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother jg inks to CNN (egads!) and "but McConnell doesn't return to the senate to lead it because he's part of, a big part of the dysfunction in Washington..."

I love that part of dysfunction in Washington! I'm ready to give him a medal for that dysfunction in Washington -- he is stopping a lot of Democrat nonsense.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 6:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But not the important nonsense, as that might be bad for the party.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2014 12:20 AM

Quote of the Day

All Hail.

He's a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, a better political director than his political director, and to hear President Obama tell it--or, to be precise, to hear the New York Times retell others' retelling of Obama's telling it--he's a better terrorist than the terrorists: -- James Taranto

But johngalt thinks:

He's always the smartest man in the room. Don't believe me? Just ask him.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2014 3:48 PM


Some Deepak Lal Libertarianism, with a good pedigree -- and associated with Senator Rand Paul (HOSS KY);

Senator Paul has been a longtime proponent of the "Weinberger Doctrine," articulated by Reagan-era defense secretary Caspar Weinberger. It has six main elements:

1. No overseas commitment of U.S. forces to combat should be made unless a vital interest of the United States or a U.S. ally is threatened.

2. If U.S. forces are committed, there should be total support -- that is, sufficient resources and manpower to complete the mission.

3. If committed, U.S. forces must be given clearly defined political and military objectives. The forces must be large enough to be able to achieve these objectives.

4. There must be a continual assessment between the commitment and capability of U.S. forces and the objectives. These must be adjusted if necessary.

5. Before U.S. forces are committed, there must be reasonable assurances that the American people and their elected representatives support such a commitment.

6. Commitment of U.S. forces to combat must be the last resort.

Count me in

But johngalt thinks:


I vaguely remember when this obvious policy was reinstated. I assumed it was never changed. Clearly it is not in place now.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2014 3:46 PM

Self-driving Cars: Bringing Liberty!

We've some skeptics (I like to call them "deniers") around here to the proposition that self-driving cars will add liberty to our lives. I imagine my ThreeSources siblings probably fought the washing machine, ATM, and all medicine that did not involve leeches...

But let's not rehash that argument. I saw an interesting and pro-liberty application: expanding educational choice.

With commutes shorter and more productive, the distance that parents will consider logistically feasible will significantly increase. That could exponentially expand the number of educational options that parents consider within driving distance. Using Private School Review's search feature, I found 12 private schools within three miles of my Arizona home, 34 schools within five miles, 69 schools within ten miles, 234 schools within 25 miles, and 304 schools within 50 miles. Now that's choice!

But dagny thinks:

Please do not tell my nine-year-old that the automatic car is going to take her to school without Mom or Dad. Guaranteed she will find a way to re-program it (Captain Kirk style) to take her to the mall.

Posted by: dagny at September 15, 2014 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

That hacking skill will serve her better than anything she'll miss at school. <wink />

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2014 1:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

LOL! That would indeed be an innovation.

I know you jest but to clarify: I'm for self-driving cars, just not the Google variety, which conspicuously lack manual override controls. I want the people version, not the sheeple model.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2014 3:44 PM

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