Archive for the ‘Election 2012’ Category

In the past, I have frequently wrote about the disregard of the Constitution of the United States. While watching a recent discussion between Peter Robinson and Thomas Sowell, I came across this brilliant quotation:

When all is said and done, the Constitution of the United States is a set of words on pieces of paper. The only way the Constitution can protect us is if we protect the Constitution. If we rise up and revolt, if we vote out of office people who violate the Constitution, then of course it will mean something. However, if people can do this – say a few pretty words and we say ‘Oh well’ – then the Constitution will erode over time to the point where it will mean absolutely nothing. There will be nice words on paper but people with power will just do what they like.


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Although this interview took place before the presidential election, with president Obama’s victory it is all the more important. Peter Robinson and Thomas Sowell discuss Obama’s track record, the importance of the election, and what America can expect with the president’s reelection:

It’s like being a mosquito in a nudist colony: you don’t know where to start. We will not be able to be on air long enough to dissect all the faults in those few words. [on Michelle Obama’s speech]

It is painful for me to realize that youngsters growing up in the same places in Harlem where I grew up more than 60 years ago have far less chance of rising, economically, educationally or otherwise.

I want to stop politicians from trying to fix the economy.


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Finally election day has arrived. Good occasion to quote American journalist and satirist Henry Louis Mencken:

Every election is a sort of advance auction of stolen goods.

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With only a couple of days until the United States will face its next presidential election, Daniel J. Mitchell from the Cato Institute summarizes President Obama’s (lack of) success with respect to the labor market:

A Four-Picture Indictment: Final Pre-Election Jobs Report Is Not Good News for Obama

Obama should not be blamed for the depth of a recession that began before he took office. But he should be held at least somewhat accountable for an anemic recovery. Particularly since he promised “hope” and “change” and then continued the big-spending, pro-cronyism policies of the Bush years.

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Although it might be straightforward to any economist, the difference between tax rates and tax revenues frequently gets confused. Much talk from left-wing politicians assumes that any increase in the tax rate (preferable for the rich) will yield more revenue in the future.

As so often happens with economic issues, it takes a deeper knowledge of economics and history to sort things out. The intuitive assumption that higher tax rates automatically increase government revenue fails both in theory and in practice.

For the theory part, economist Arthur Laffer became known for a phenomenon called the Laffer curve. The Heritage Foundation offers a brilliant article on how this curve was developed and what it implies:

At a tax rate of 0 percent, the government would collect no tax revenues, no matter how large the tax base. Likewise, at a tax rate of 100 percent, the government would also collect no tax revenues because no one would willingly work for an after-tax wage of zero (i.e., there would be no tax base). Between these two extremes there are two tax rates that will collect the same amount of revenue: a high tax rate on a small tax base and a low tax rate on a large tax base.

With respect to historical evidence, I have found an easy-to-read article by Kurt Brouwer. By means of several figures, he explains the historical relationship between tax rates and tax revenues. His conclusion should definitely be considered by all people talking about the upcoming presidential election in the United States:

Tax policy is important, but it should not be political or partisan.  I believe we need a steady, consistent tax policy with two goals: generating steady and adequate current tax revenues and maximizing economic growth.

Finally, for the Jewish World Review Thomas Sowell wrote an article to explain that the confusing discussion about tax policy is quite a recent phenomenon:

There was a time when Democrats and Republicans alike could talk sense about tax rates, in terms of what is best for the economy, without demagoguery about “tax cuts for the rich.”


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President Obama’s campaign website has a special section called “African Americans for Obama“. I guess none of you has ever heard of this. But what if Romney had a similar page called “Whites for Mitt Romney”?

Walter E. Williams describes the double standards with respect to racial issues:

There is one standard that we hold whites up to, and another standard that we hold blacks up to.

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When Ronald Reagan ran for re-election in 1984, he asked his famous question “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and he answered it at the same time in a campaign commercial titled “It is Morning Again in America”. Therein, he listed all the ways the country was better off than it had been four years earlier when he defeated Jimmy Carter.

As Thomas Sowell points out, we should not wait for any “Morning in America” ads from Obama. Indeed, “Mourning in America” might be more appropriate.

Since his presidency has no track record that would win any votes, we will see an election campaign focused on distracting innuendoes instead of hard facts. Much like I expected months ago when I wrote that style will be more important than substance.

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We all know about President Obama’s rhetorical skills. Thus it is great to see them exposed to a cold bath of logic by Thomas Sowell:

The road to hell is paved with Ivy League degrees.

Here is a man talking about five different industries, in none of which he has the slightest experience. But because he has these degrees from the places you mentioned and people have told him how clever he is, he now thinks that he can do this.

Obama has an absolute talent for saying things that make no sense but not only sound plausible but inspiring.

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A few days ago Greg Mankiw from Harvard discussed the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office. One of his striking findings is that in 2008 for the first time ever the middle twenty percent of American households received more dollars in transfers than they paid in taxes. In other words, a majority of the American people is now a net recipient of government support. No doubt this will have some impact on the presidential election this year.

Here you find Mankiw’s blog post:

The Progressivity of Taxes and Transfers

The middle class, having long been a net contributor to the funding of government, is now a net recipient of government largess.

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In less than four months the United States might have a new president or confirmed Obama in office. Either way you should not expect to see much of a difference, as Barton Hinkle argues for Reason:

Obama and Romney Are As Different as Two Peas in a Pod

Apparently I’m supposed to be more outraged by what Mitt Romney does with his money than what Barack Obama does with mine.

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