November 25, 2015

Dining with Big Government

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

Government regulation is a hidden tax that now consumes an astonishing $1.9 trillion of the U.S. economy per year. I’m preaching to the choir here, but for those seeking ways to converse with others about how destructive and unnecessary most regulations are, try discussing the voluntary exchanges that occur while dining out at a favorite restaurant. People may go for the food, atmosphere, or for economic reasons, but they do so primarily out of self-interest. And neither local politician nor D.C. bureaucrat is needed to tell them where to go, what to eat, how much to eat, how to eat it or how much money to spend. If the food sucks, the service is terrible, if someone gets food poisoning, no form of regulation is needed to tell even low-info types it’s time to dine elsewhere.

Regulatory aficionados (such as Obama, Bloomberg, and Jonathan Gruber) think otherwise and believe we’re all too stupid to make everyday decisions on our own. And unfortunately, too many Americans appear to feel that much of this regulation is both necessary and innocuous. But people should understand that just as government regulation isn’t needed to “save” them from a terrible dining experience, the same holds true with regard to nearly all the voluntary transactions that occur within the marketplace, e.g., what size soda to buy; the securing of a payday loan; ensuring restaurant employees wash their hands; the amount of salt preferred in food or the minimum wage that is paid to an individual.

Additionally, those in support of being “protected” by the nanny-state should be aware the cost to society is even greater than what is easily seen (to borrow from Bastiat). Sure, it’s easy to envision the added expense of compliance: the permits; the mountains of paperwork; the time-consuming inspections or costly signage that regulations impose upon businesses. But what also needs to be visualized is the enormous, ever-growing army of unelected bureaucrats that politicians put in place to bring about and enforce all of this needless regulation.

So while dining out, it’s as if a large group of regulators are seated with us in the restaurant, unnecessarily making numerous decisions for the patrons, restaurant owners, employees, vendors, and about darn near everything else — bolted down or otherwise. These “public servants” consume resources as if they’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet, continually search for new things to regulate and compliance is never optional. In the end, it is “We the People” who are stuck paying the entire bill, part of which now ends up on the “credit card” for future generations to labor over.

The crux of the problem is that even if these regulators were to do as efficient a job as the free market — they can’t and don’t — they are merely “dining” at the expense of everyone else in the “restaurant.”  It’s impossible for society to truly “progress” when a growing number of unaccountable bureaucrats are gobbling up tax dollars for no reason and driving up product and service prices with an ever-growing number of superfluous dictates. Free markets (combined with equal protection under the law) are already self-regulating because unlike the DMV, Post Office or Amtrak, businesses that fail to modify bad or inefficient ways will eventually go out of business. So why then are we constantly being force-fed more and more of these redundant regulations?

The dirty little secret — the rancid meat statists attempt to heavily season over with the promise of Utopia — is that coupled with an entourage of hungry bureaucrats and cronies, top-down regulatory control enables folks like Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and a host of status quo Republicans and Democrats to gain real power and become fantastically wealthy without ever having to provide anything of real economic value to society. Making a living in this way is a much easier task than having to provide a product or service to citizens (like a restaurant owner or the Koch brothers must do) who are able to freely vote yea or nay with their pocketbooks.

This is in part why the zip codes that surround the D.C. area have become among the wealthiest in the nation. All while the labor participation rate is at a thirty-year low, food stamp usage is near an all-time high, and more American small businesses are dying than being created.

The fact that government regulation isn’t needed to enjoy a night out at a restaurant should be a fairly easy concept to grasp. But we’re not just dining with big-government, we’re being forced to live with it on a nearly 24/7 basis. And as Governor Moonbeam (a connoisseur of all things regulatory) recently said while discussing California’s government-caused water shortages: “that’s the beauty of government, it doesn’t go away.”

Nanny-state regulations and the regulators who impose them won’t “go away” unless more Americans become enlightened and begin to lose their appetite for big-government.


How to Sell a Corporate Tax Cut

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

Finding a way to prevent the next Burger King from fleeing the U.S. (to avoid paying the highest corporate tax rates in the world) appears to rank fairly high on the priority list for both Republicans and Democrats. But the two parties couldn’t be farther apart on the appropriate policy to end these so-called “unpatriotic” tax inversions.

No strangers to coercion, the Obama administration via Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently announced that through the use of executive action, “the agency would change several tax rules to stop companies from buying smaller, foreign firms and then moving out of the U.S.” These types of “solutions” will only serve to further slow down an already stagnant economy.

Alternatively, Republicans support free market solutions (at least some still do) and believe that a lowering of the corporate income tax rate would put an end to these tax inversions and help revive the economy. Better yet, as John C. Goodman asks in a recent Forbes piece: “Why do we have a corporate income tax in the first place? Economists know that corporations don’t pay taxes. People pay taxes.” Good question.

But given the Republican Party’s messaging problem, how could they get a majority of the public to support any kind of meaningful corporate tax reform let alone abolition?  Although Americans would clearly benefit from the resulting combination of higher wages, new business creation, higher dividends, and lower product and service prices, the mainstream media instead focuses on one thing — corporate greed.

Unlike Republicans, if the Democrat Party were to suddenly be in support of eliminating the corporate income tax (I know, stay with me here), they would sell it in a way that would excite the electorate and have the American people marching in the streets demanding it.

Perhaps Republicans could attain that very same outcome by proposing a corporate tax reform plan that includes profit-sharing with employees — one that cuts the corporate tax rate by 50% and effectively abolishes it at the same time?

First, eliminate all loopholes that help enrich politicians, squander company resources on (legal) tax avoidance and give crony corporations an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Then allow businesses to either “patriotically” pay the full 35% rate on profits (we could call this the Buffett option) or instead keep 50% of the taxes due, and then distribute the remaining 50% equally among all employees. This would have the effect of a 50% tax rate cut for corporations, an immediate income increase for workers and — perhaps most importantly — keep the bulk of this supply-side money out of the mismanaging, economy-killing hands of the elites in Washington, D.C.

But what about corporations that employ large numbers of non U.S. workers? Should they be rewarded for shipping jobs overseas? In a piece over at Breitbart, Rick Manning calls for a reduction of the corporate tax based upon the number of U.S. employees the firm employs: “Eliminate all corporate tax breaks, and replace the current code with a tiered tax system based upon how many of your workers are employed in the United States.”

The same concept could be easily applied to a profit-sharing tax plan. Corporations with zero foreign workers could pay zero in taxes while businesses with seventy percent of their workforce in the U.S. would have to pay thirty percent of the taxes due and the remaining seventy percent could be kept with half of it distributed to their American employees.

While some politicians are scheming for ways to bring home the 1.4 trillion or more in corporate profits parked overseas (which would only further line their pockets as well as those of their cronies), this profit-sharing tax plan could provide for a tax holiday under the same terms and help bring back some of this money in a way that would actually stimulate the economy.

Democrats claim that they want the economy to grow; that they want to see more money in the pockets of American workers and that they want to keep American jobs from being shipped overseas. This plan would certainly move us towards accomplishing all three of those goals. 

With the labor participation rate at a record low, isn’t it time for Republicans to start being creative and — at the very least — call their bluff?  





Barry’s Comet

My article as originally published in American Thinker:  

The  so-called “comet of the century,” a sungrazer named ISON, reached perihelion on Thanksgiving Day,  but didn’t live up to its expectations to wow the masses and just  fizzled out. Perhaps ISON’s name should be changed to ‘Barry’s  Comet’ as it appears to be the perfect metaphor for the Obama Administration’s  rise and fall.

While  comets put on a dazzling show with their brilliant comas and alluring tails that  extend for many thousands of miles, solar radiation slowly strips away most of  their mass (largely a loose conglomerate of dust, ice, rocks, and gases), eventually leaving just a dull, tiny, often misshapen  core. While the illusion from a distance can be quite spectacular, when exposed  to sunlight, comets are in reality just objects that are falling apart before  our eyes.

Instead  of maintaining the United States on solid, stable, constitutional ground, President Barack Obama is the latest  “politician of the century” to tempt us with a dazzling “progressive” display —  a loose conglomerate of hope, change, economic egalitarianism and “fairness” for  all, yet hiding a thinly veiled dull, misshapen, statist central planning core.  Despite years of media filtering, the recent exposure of ObamaCare,  NSA, Benghazi, IRS and other Obama scandals to intense ‘sunlight’ are finally  causing his Presidency to fizzle-out as the public can now see a portion of what  lies beneath the unsustainable promises surrounding the core of his  ideology.

Not  only did America fall for Obama’s awe-inspiring tale of “hope and change” and  twice elect him to the office of president, but Obama himself seemed even more  self-assured than the mythical Icarus as he delivered his nomination  victory speech back in 2008:

America,  this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies  of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for  the country we love.

The  journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with  profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with  limitless faith in the capacity of the American people… I am absolutely  certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our  children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and  good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began  to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war  and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on  Earth…

Not  all scientists were fully convinced of ISON’s “comet of the  century” hype:

Some  reporters have started calling ISON the “Comet of the Century,” but Don Yeomans  of NASA Near-Earth Object Program thinks that’s premature.

“I’m  old enough to remember the last ‘Comet of the Century’,” he says. In 1973, a  distant comet named Kohoutek looked like it would put on a great show, much like  ISON. The actual apparition was such a let-down that Johnny Carson made jokes  about it on the Tonight Show. “It fizzled,” says Yeomans. “Comets are  notoriously unpredictable.”

Many were of course skeptical of the promise of Obama  too, especially those old enough to remember another “politician of the century”  from the late 1970’s by the name of Jimmy Carter, and we shouldn’t need to be  reminded of how that dud of an event turned out for America. ‘Barry’s Comet,’ is  merely the same old statist core surrounded by a repackaged conglomerate of  utopian promises that history proves (as do the jokes on late night TV) has zero  chance of delivering on any of the hype.

While  it remains to be seen if President Obama will endure the same fate as Icarus,  just like Comet ISON, his “progressive” world view is predictably unable to  withstand the intense ‘sunlight’ of truth, and is rapidly falling apart. The only remaining question is whether or not the  United States will suffer the same fate.


Just a Few of the Reasons ObamaCare will Fail

Steven Plaut lays it out in Frontpage Mag:

There is a fundamental difference between economists and lawyers (or legal scholars) when it comes to resolving complex social and economic problems.  Economists believe that human behavior and the functioning of institutions are based upon incentives.  Lawyers and legal types believe that one can resolve complex problems by passing laws and imposing regulations.  The latter think one can legislate away the problem.

I like to describe the approach by lawyer-types to such problems as “rain laws.” They are like trying to resolve the problem of flooding from heavy rainfall by means of a law making it illegal for it to rain.

Read the ten reasons at Frontpage Mag    

Nothing ‘New’ About ObamaCare

Dr.  Thomas Sowell once again makes it real easy for us:

Like so many things that seem new, ObamaCare is in many ways old wine in new bottles.

For example, when confronted with the fact that millions of Americans stand to lose their existing medical insurance, as a result of ObamaCare, defenders of ObamaCare say that this is true only when those people have “substandard” insurance.

Who decides what is “substandard”? What is older than the idea that some exalted elite know what is good for us better than we know ourselves? Obama uses the rhetoric of going “forward,” but he is in fact going backward to an age when despots told everybody what they had better do and better not do.

Read the rest at Townhall

ObamaCare’s 93 Million Lies

From Frontpage Mag:


“The Obama administration has known for three years that when the employer mandate is enforced in 2015 up to 93 million Americans will be forced out of their employer-sponsored health insurance plans”


Read the rest at Frontpage Mag


A Few ObamaCare Questions for the President

Obama3My article as originally published in American Thinker:           

Hey  Mr. President — if ObamaCare (ironically named the “Affordable” Care Act) is  such a wonderful thing for the American people, why aren’t they treating it like  the perquisite you claim it to be?

I  ask this because you’ve been out there claiming that Republicans are willing to “harm” the American  people by defunding ObamaCare and are trying to do so only to “stick it” to you.  (Why do you always think everything is about you?) Also, your ally, Debbie  Wasserman Schultz, is saying that once Americans really start experiencing it  (the “Affordable” Care Act), they just won’t want to let it  go.

But  the American people are starting to experience ObamaCare and they surely just  want to regain the freedom to “let it go.” Due to this law’s costly  burdens, thousands are being laid off, having their work weeks  reduced to less than 30 hours or are being thrown out of their current health plans. And for the privilege  of all of this, Americans will be stuck paying much more than before this monstrosity was  enacted.

And  how do the politically-connected Americans you surround yourself with feel about  ObamaCare? Surely if your health care law  is so beneficial, those with the most political capital must be running to the front of the line to cut in front of everyone  else and climb on  board?

To  the contrary, your friends in high places are asking for (more like demanding)  protection from ObamaCare. You’ve exempted Congress and most of its staff from this law. You’ve given  thousands of waivers to a select few. Even some of your biggest  supporters, the labor unions, now realize how harmful this law is to its members  and are demanding special treatment — I’m sure they’ll get it even though they  haven’t as of yet.

So  let me see if I’ve got all this straight: you say that the Republicans in  Congress are trying to “harm” the American people by attempting to legally  exempt everyone from this law that they didn’t want in the first place. So does  this mean that you are intentionally “harming” or attempting to “harm” Congress,  unions and all of your favorite crony donors by illegally giving them exemptions  from ObamaCare? I didn’t think so.

So,  Mr. President, If ObamaCare is the panacea that you and your administration  claim it to be, I have one more question. If you had a son, would his health  plan look like ObamaCare?


Some Clown

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

Some  clown heads an administration plagued by numerous scandals including: IRSgate, Benghazigate, Fast and  Furiousgate, Pressgate and Pigfordgate to name just a few.

Some  clown claims the above mentioned are nothing but “phony  scandals.”

Some  clown fails to comprehend that raising the minimum wage would be a disaster.

Some clown claims the United States needs to be “fundamentally  transformed.”

Some  clown continues to do an end run around the Constitution in order to protect a chosen few from the  harmful effects of ObamaCare.

Some  clown’s economic policy is (predictably) failing.

Some  clown has overseen the lowest labor participation rate since  1979.

Some  clown has been charge while food stamp usage has reached an all time high, all  while the USDA attempts to recruit even more users into the system.

Some  clown continues to get a free pass from the mainstream media.

I  could go on and on because this clown’s resume contains even more  highlights.
Unfortunately, this happens to be this particular clown’s  first non-theoretical rodeo.

So does anyone  really give a rat’s behind what the skin color of the above mentioned clown is?

Meanwhile,  a rodeo clown has been banned for life for carrying on the comedic tradition of having a little bit of fun (even if in bad taste)  at the expense of a certain president.


Republicans Should ‘Raise’ Tax Rates Now

2+2=5My article as originally published in American Thinker:         

It turns out that the Obama Administration is deliberately making these sequestration “cuts” as painful as possible for the American people. And no matter what Bob Woodward says, Obama and the rest of the MSM will continue to blame the sequestration and any subsequent unrelated negative economic news on Republicans. So perhaps Republicans should just throw in the towel and hold a press conference to announce that they are now all in favor of Obama’s “balanced” approach which includes more tax revenue. Please hear me out before throwing the nearest heavy object at your computer screen.

Those who get their “news” from NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR and the rest of the administration’s propaganda wing may think (“feel” would be a better word) that sequestration has brought about actual cuts in government spending. But these so-called “cuts” are nothing more than reductions in the rate of spending growth. If some department was going to receive a 10% increase in spending but will now only get a 3% increase, this is called a 7% “cut” (by axe no less) in Washington-speak. In other words, all this “misery” is being manufactured over the government spending more money than was spent in the previous year but just not quite as much more as was originally anticipated.

By that same token, Republicans should first propose a plan amongst themselves for an across-the-board tax rate cut of 30% but then ultimately settle for just a 15% rate cut. This is where Republicans would need to grow a pair and use the Left’s own tactics against them. Using the very same logic as the Democrats, this plan would then be presented to the American people as a 15% tax rate increase and not a cut at all. If Republicans announced that they would be proposing a tax rate “increase,” with details to follow, they would surely have the full attention of an elated news media.

So how could anyone possibly present this kind of plan with a straight face as it would clearly constitute an actual tax rate cut? The truth is, thanks to the Democrat/media spin machine, much of America already believes the exact equivalent when it comes to these so-called budget “cuts,” so we already know it can be done. The very same people who believe what the Democrats and MSM are telling them about budget “cuts” would also believe the exact same thing about so-called tax “increases” if the Democrat Party and MSM were to suddenly change its tune on taxes. Of course I don’t really expect the Democrats or the MSM to do this.

The whole point of this exercise would be to place fictional budget “cuts” side by side with fictional tax rate “increases” in order to bring attention to the Left’s own demagoguery. If Republicans were really feeling brave they could even point out the enormous spending increases under Obama and the fact that 2013 is projected to yield a record bumper crop of tax revenue for the Treasury, proving that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem.

And if the Republicans were really, really feeling brave, while they have the media’s attention, they could attempt to articulate the historical fact that real tax rate cuts coupled with real spending restraint (cuts) would create real prosperity for the American people. After all, Democrats do claim that they want more revenue.

Obama’s Pirate Politics

Continuing the plunder: 

Everything in this column will be established by logical proof, as in geometry. There will be no name calling, or mere assertion.

You probably heard again last night that President Obama still thinks “the rich,” a crass term implying low class social envy, do not pay their “fair share.” He has been barnstorming America saying precisely that for his more than four years in office now. But the indisputable facts from official government sources say otherwise.


President Obama’s belief that “the rich” still do not pay their fair share can only be explained on the basis of Marxist principles. To a Marxist, the top 1% earning anything more than the middle class is not fair, no matter how they earned it, fairly or not. So “the rich” are not paying their fair share as long as they are left with more than they “need,” as in a true communist system. This is the only logical explanation of Obama’s rhetoric, and it is fully consistent with Obama’s entire background, and his own published writings.

Notice that Obama kept saying that “the rich” don’t need the Bush tax cuts. That rhetoric follows the most basic Marxist principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Read the rest at The American Spectator:         

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