A group of migrants was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard on Friday morning, and three died when some of the migrants reportedly jumped overboard in a last-ditch effort to make it to shore.
"I would find myself very difficult to live with because I am totally self-contained and resent having to do things I don't want to do. Now I can choose. When I'm put in a position where I don't want to be there, I make sure everyone else is miserable."
With victory in sight, Barack Obama’s supporters are predicting that he will give us a new New Deal. To see what that might mean, let’s look back on the original New Deal.
The purpose of New Deal legislation was not, as commonly thought, to restore economic growth but rather to freeze the economy in place at a time when it seemed locked in a downward spiral. Its central program, the National Recovery Administration (NRA), created 700 industry councils for firms and unions to set minimum prices and wages. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), the ancestor of our farm bills, limited production to hold up prices. Unionization, encouraged by NRA and the 1935 Wagner Act, was meant to keep workers in jobs that the unemployed would have taken at lower pay.
The Great Depression created a widespread misconception that market economies are inherently unstable and must be managed by the government to avoid large macreconomic fluctuations, that is, business cycles. This view persists to this day despite the more than 40 years since Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz showed convincingly that the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies were largely to blame for the severity of the Great Depression. In 2002 Ben Bernanke (then a Federal Reserve governor, today the chairman of the Board of Governors) made this startling admission in a speech given in honor of Friedman’s 90th birthday: “I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression, you’re right. We did it. We’re very sorry.”
Given that poorer citizens always outnumber the rich, political philosophers have long worried that government based on majority rule could lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. "If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city," warns Aristotle.
The founders of the United States were deep students of politics and history, and they shared Aristotle's worry. Up through their time, history had shown all known democracies to be "incompatible with personal security or the rights of property." James Madison and others therefore made it a "first object of government" to protect personal property from unjust confiscation. Numerous provisions were included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect the property rights of citizens.
Given that one of the causes of the American Revolution was a tax, the founders understood very well that taxation could become a way for one group to prey on another. So while the Constitution empowered the federal government to levy taxes, it limited this power mostly to indirect taxes like tariffs, duties, and excise taxes. For much of American history the federal government subsisted solely on those fees.
The Constitution did grant the federal government the power to levy "direct" taxes on a "per head" basis, but required that all money raised this way must be given to the states according to their population. The aim here was to preserve a decentralized federal system of rule, and to make it "difficult to place a direct tax on capital, the most destructive tax in terms of economic growth and economic initiative," according to Professor Edward Erler.
Until the Civil War, the idea of a tax on individual incomes would have seemed preposterous to most Americans. Only as an emergency wartime measure did Congress adopt an income tax in the 1860s, and the measure was allowed to lapse with little fanfare in 1872. Estimates vary regarding the percentage of citizens affected by the income tax of this era, but none places it at more than 10 percent.
The modern income tax begins with the Progressive era in American politics. In an influential 1889 article entitled "The Owners of the United States," crusading attorney Thomas Shearman argued that the lion's share of the country's wealth was in a limited number of hands. If an income tax was not adopted, he warned, within 30 years "the United States of America will be substantially owned" by 50,000 people.
The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a "warm body" democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction.... [O]nce a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader — the barbarians enter Rome. -- Robert A. Heinlein
"The financial crisis is not the crisis of capitalism. It is the crisis of a system that has distanced itself from the most fundamental values of capitalism, which betrayed the spirit of capitalism." -- Sarkozy
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. -- C.S. Lewis
The court however rejected their argument, saying claims of inhumane treatment were inadmissible as Poland didn't have actual and judicial control of its German territory between January and April 1945, when the expulsions took place.
The court also found the Polish government could not breach the European Convention of Human Rights and its guarantees of property rights as it only ratified the treaty in 1994.
statement on September 30:
"Like a lot of my Democratic colleagues I was too slow to appreciate the recklessness of Fannie and Freddie. I defended their efforts to encourage affordable homeownership when in retrospect I should have heeded the concerns raised by their regulator in 2004. Frankly, I wish my Democratic colleagues would admit when it comes to Fannie and Freddie, we were wrong."
The first honest Democrat in a long while.
For the record, Rep. Davis also said this:
"By the way, I wish my Republican colleagues would admit that they missed the early warning signs, that Wall Street deregulation was overheating the securities market and promoting dangerously lax lending practices. When it comes to the debacle in our capital markets, there is much blame to go around for both sides."
This statement betrays his lack of understanding of free markets. Fannie and Freddie created a new demand that were happy to satisfy. So in fact, free markets worked as designed: somebody wanted something and was willing to pay for it, somebody else supplied it.
Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.
"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."
In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.
"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."
"America needs to realize that not everyone can own a home. The American Dream of home ownership for all is a fraud. Politicians who pimped this dream created an unsustainable mortgage industry whose collapse is only surprising because it didn't happen earlier. America's mortgage industry will not recover, nor deserve to recover, unless it is prepared to challenge this politically unpalatable reality."
Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics — vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.
He said Biden and Pelosi, “while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way.”
The Catholic Church’s Portland archbishop issued an unprecedented public rebuke Tuesday of Gov. Ted Kulongoski for hosting an event for an abortion rights group, calling the Catholic governor’s action embarrassing and scandalous.
Kulongoski, who was raised in a Catholic orphanage in the 1940s and has remained a practicing, lifelong Catholic, also has supported abortion rights throughout a political career that dates to 1974, the year after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right to abortion in its Roe vs. Wade decision.
Although the church adamantly opposes abortion, it has never publicly criticized Kulongoski as it did Tuesday when Portland Archbishop John Vlazny chastised him for hosting an event this Friday for the abortion rights group NARAL Pro Choice. Vlazny called it “a source of embarrassment for our church and a scandal for the Catholic community.”
Kulongoski spokesman Rem Nivens said that while the public upbraiding was unprecedented, the governor would continue to embrace both his Catholic faith and his public advocacy for abortion rights.
“He said that the archbishop is the governor’s pastor and he only has respect and admiration for him, but that they respectfully disagree on this issue,” Nivens said.
The Catholic Church increasingly has grown concerned about politicians who, as Catholics, do not uphold the church’s policies. In 2004, a Catholic archbishop forbade Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president, from taking Communion because he supported abortion rights.
Portland Archdiocese spokesman Bud Bunce said Vlazny has never issued a statement publicly criticizing an elected official by name until Tuesday.
The deciding factor in Vlazny’s decision to do so now, Bunce said, was that “this is a governor who is a Catholic, who makes it clear that he is a Catholic, hosting an event for an abortion group.”
In his statement, Vlanzy said, “For a Catholic governor to host an event of this sort seems a deliberate dissent from the teachings of the Church.”
Adding to the archbishop’s displeasure, Bunce said, was that the NARAL Pro Choice event is two days before the Catholic Church’s “Respect Life Sunday” celebration of Mass. Vlazny called on Catholics to “express their displeasure to the governor and to remind him of the demands of personal integrity as a member of our faith community” by calling his office and by attending Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland on the same day that Kulongoski hosts the abortion rights event.
Nivens said that while the governor has not been listed as an official host for past events held by NARAL Pro Choice, he has attended and spoken at them. He is not scheduled to speak at Friday’s event.
“In general, it’s not a new level of engagement by the governor on this,” Nivens said. “He’s always been open about his support for the organization’s work.”
With the economy struggling, at least some people are urging a pro-growth tax cut. Too bad they live in Stockholm. As a recent headline in Agence France-Presse put it: "Sweden Announces Income Tax Cuts to Boost Jobs." The government is planning to cut business taxes and the personal income and payroll tax.
"The corporate tax is one of the taxes which large companies really study when they plan to set up business somewhere," says Jan Björklund, leader of the country's Liberal Party, in promoting the tax cut plan. The corporate tax reduction will bring the Swedish rate down to 26.3% from 28%, continuing its fall from a high of 57% in 1987. This means that Swedes will soon have a corporate tax rate one-third lower than the U.S. average of 39.5% (the 35% federal rate plus the state average).
Sweden remains a high-tax country overall, with individual rates well above 50% plus pension and payroll obligations. Maria Rannka, president of the Swedish think tank Timbro, has reported that entrepreneurship had become such an alien concept that more than half of Sweden's 50 largest companies were founded before World War I and only two after 1970 -- the period when taxes and social welfare programs proliferated.
Now, however, Sweden is discovering that it must cut taxes to compete with Ireland, Eastern Europe and fast-growing Asia. Three years ago Sweden eliminated its inheritance tax. The U.S. death tax rate is still 45%. John McCain cited Ireland's low rate in his Friday debate with Barack Obama, who continues to insist that U.S. business is undertaxed.
If Mr. Obama wins in November, maybe his first foreign trip should be to Stockholm. He could use the tax tutorial.
Leszek Balcerowicz, Poland's former finance minister, recently said his country is enjoying "its best period in 300 years." CNN looks at how the country emerged from communism to become one of eastern Europe's most stable and thriving democracies.
Just thought I’d send some thoughts from small-business America. My husband’s business is a canary in the coalmine. When tax policies are favorable to business, he hires more guys, buys more goods, etc. When he is taxed more heavily, he fires people, doesn’t buy anything new, etc. Well, duh. So, at the mere thought of a President Obama, he has paid off his debt, canceled new spending, and jotted a list of whom to “let go.”
The first of the guys will get the news tomorrow. And these are not minimum-wage earners. These are “rich” guys, making between $200,000 and $250,000 a year.
My husband will make sure that we’re okay, money-wise, but he won’t give himself a paycheck that will just be sent to Washington. He’ll make sure that he’s not in “rich guy” tax territory. So, he will not spend his money, not show a profit, and scale his workforce down to the bare minimum.
Multiply this scenario across the country and you’ll see the Obama effect: unemployment, recession, etc. No business owner will vote for this man, but many a “middle-class worker” will vote himself out of a job. Sad the Republican can’t articulate this.
"Some kind of federal reaction is warranted because the federal government is a major cause of the crisis, and taxpayers are already on the hook for a good chunk of the financial failout. For years, Congress protected and egged on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while refusing even to consider rethinking the mortgage-interest tax deduction that encourages investment in residential housing over other forms of . Federal policymakers compelled to take on additional mortgage risk through regulatory blackmail (thanks, Barney Frank and ACORN!). The moved its eye off the price-stability ball and alternatively loosened and tightened the money supply in whipsaw fashion. Millions of people responded to these perverse federal policies by taking on additional risk and steering more capital from more-productive investments to the housing market. To argue that because Washington has screwed things up in the past, it should stand back now and see what happens may be tempting, but it is based on an old fallacy. A good analogy is an arrow wound. If someone shoots you with a barbed arrow, your life may be threatened. That doesn't mean that the best response is just to yank it out, which will further imperil your life."
"A psychopath is a person without conscience; someone who constantly breaks the moral rules of the community. Saul Alinsky was a "community organizer" who found a career that fit that personality disorder. In the Orwellian upside-down world of the Left, community organizers disorganize communities. That is the meaning of revolution, to overturn whatever exists today in the raw pursuit of one's own power."
SCIENTISTS have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain - with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage.Vegans and vegetarians — such as Heather Mills — are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish.
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