When Is Inequality Harmful?
When It's Caused by Cronyism.
American Enterprise Institute
Pres. Obama wants to put inequality at the center of America's political discourse. Fine. Here's the opening question: "Does inequality matter?" The answer: "It depends." It depends on how governments react to inequality, it depends how developed the country is, it depends whether it's wealth inequality or income inequality. It also depends on how the wealthy got wealthy, according to a new study. In short: Inequality doesn't hurt a country, unless it results from government favors. Inequality can be messy to talk about, because it is entangled in many different concepts that need to be considered separately. For starters, poverty is bad. Every American has an obligation to feed the hungry and house the homeless, not just because it's the right thing to do but also because poverty drags down productivity and economic growth.
Hijacked Common Core &
Ties Between Obama & Ayers
In an article that advocates for Common Core standards, the AP presents the typical talking points for supporters when faced with criticism that Common Core is a federal takeover of education. "The standards were created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to improve academic achievement and increase accountability. Pres. Obama and his administration embraced them." Actually, Mr. Obama did not simply "embrace" a concept that others developed; instead, the very roots of their version for Common Core are in the early ideas generated by him and his fellow radical community organizer, Bill Ayers. Just prior to the presidential election of 2008, it was observed that Mr. Obama's "most important executive experience" was heading up the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an education foundation created by Bill Ayers.
Warning: Jobless Rate May Be Rigged
The New York Post
The most curious thing of all about the November jobs report released on Friday was the huge drop in the unemployment rate -- and the fact that the Labor Department chose not to disclose that the data going into that figure are under investigation for falsification. On Nov. 19, I broke the news in my column that the Census Bureau, which collects data that goes into the jobless rate on behalf of Labor, had caught one of its enumerators fabricating interviews in 2010. The culprit said back then (and to me during an interview) that he was told to do so by Census supervisors who were in the position to instruct others to make similar fabrications. In fact, a source who I haven't named but who is familiar with the Census data accumulation process has told me that falsifications have been occurring on a regular basis.
'Knockout Game' on Fear of Jews
The alleged "knockout" attacks on Jewish residents of Crown Heights may stem from ongoing racial tension between the neighborhood's black and Jewish communities, a newly-elected Brooklyn politician said. Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo, who was elected to represent Crown Heights starting in January, released an open letter Tuesday saying that many of her black constituents told her they feel threatened by the growth of the neighborhood's Jewish community -- and she fears the tension could be spiking the recent violence. "Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes," Cumbo wrote in the 1,200-word letter, which was emailed to supporters and posted on her Facebook page.
The Coming Global Wealth Tax
The Wall Street Journal
Between Obamacare, Iran and last quarter's uptick in US economic growth, taxpayers these days may be distracted from several dangers to come. But households from the United States to Europe and Japan may soon face fiscal shocks worse than any market crash. The White House and New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio aren't the only ones calling for higher taxes (especially on the wealthy), as voices from the International Monetary Fund to billionaire investor Bill Gross increasingly make the case too. In his November investment commentary for bond giant Pimco, Mr. Gross asks the "Scrooge McDucks of the world" to accept higher personal income taxes and to stop expecting capital to be taxed at lower rates than labor. As for the IMF, its latest Fiscal Monitor report argues that taxing the wealthy offers "significant revenue potential at relatively low efficiency costs."
Save the Sequester
Don't look now, but we are just 16 days away from the December 13 deadline for House and Senate budget negotiators to reach an agreement on a 2014 budget. Okay, December 13 is less a deadline than a suggestion. The current continuing resolution, the product of October's government shutdown, doesn't actually expire until January 15, giving Congress an additional month to come to an agreement. But the December 13 date is still important, because the House is scheduled to recess from the 13th until January 7. So far, the negotiations appear to be dominated by what won't be considered. House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan had suggested a willingness to trade some loosening of the sequester's short-term spending caps in exchange for long-term entitlement reforms. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected that idea, calling it "a stupid trade."
The Jarrett File
In the fall of 2012, when NTY reporter Jo Becker was working on a profile of longtime Obama confidante and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, the White House press office circulated a list of talking points to ensure that potential sources would be on the same page regarding "The Magic of Valerie." The memo, whose existence was first reported by Mark Leibovich in his bestseller This Town, described Jarrett as "an incredibly kind, caring and thoughtful person...the perfect combination of smart, savvy, and innovative," with "an enormous capacity for both empathy and sympathy." The hyperbole is particularly rich in view of all the words that have been written about Jarrett's role as "the single most influential person in the Obama White House", and is perhaps more aptly captured by another talking point that appears to have slipped through the editing process...
No Choice for You
Education Sec. Arne Duncan isn't the only Obama crony who doesn't trust parents of schoolchildren. The whole Obama administration has a track record of trying to squash programs that have given thousands of children better options to meet their educational needs. Within the last year, school-choice programs in the DC, Wisconsin, and Louisiana have been threatened by the Obama administration. In each case, parents and other advocates of choice are fighting back, and in Louisiana they have just won a major victory by forcing the Dept. of Justice to drop its attempt to halt the state's voucher program. Back in April, in its fiscal year 2014 budget request, the Obama administration once again renewed its annual attempt to zero out funding for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Thankfully, the administration has been unsuccessful each time.
The Philanthropic Spectacle
The City Journal
Bill Gates is putting out a call to inventors," the CNN story began last March, "but he's not looking for software or the latest high-tech gadget. This time he's in search of a better condom." Incongruous as the story seemed, the former Microsoft titan had joined the struggle against sexually transmitted diseases. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was offering a $100,000 start-up grant to anyone who could design a condom that didn't interfere with sexual pleasure. Rachel Zimmerman, host of public radio's CommonHealth, called the Gates Foundation's initiative "truly inspired." But was it? After all, the latex industry has pursued the same goal for decades and devoted many millions of dollars to the effort. What's the point of a philanthropist trying to do what the market is already doing? Call this philanthropy for show, a kind of celebrity giving designed for a mediatized age.
The TEA Party Is Extremist,
But Support For Big Gov't Moderate?
When the TEA Party calls for real cuts in our welfare state, it is denigrated by the left as "extremist." It would be a mistake to regard this response as mere name-calling. It is far more significant--and dangerous. This smear is an instance of a widespread technique regularly employed to undermine capitalism. From the campaign for "stakeholder rights" to the campaign against "insider trading," the same insidious tactic is being used: the tactic of the conceptual "package-deal." Let's say you oppose the idea that a corporation's fundamental objective should be to make money for its stockholders. You could present various collectivist arguments, contending that the means of production should be controlled by "society as a whole," rather than by selfish, profit-seeking individuals. Or you could take the more devious approach of trying to erase the very concept of a stockholder.
Reid, Pelosi...If ACA Is So 'Wonderful'
Why Aren't You Joining?
The New American
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is fuming over Sen. David Vitter's efforts to expose members of the Senate and House who exempt themselves and their staff members from the negative impacts of Obamacare. By Thursday, November 14, Sen. Vitter (R-LA) had Sen. Reid almost ready to blow a gasket. On November 12, Vitter had held up a unanimous consent vote needed to move a pharmaceutical bill forward. On Thursday, Sen. Vitter asked for unanimous consent agreements to have a vote on his legislation called the "Show Your Exemption Act," which would require each congressional office to publically disclose who they are exempting from entering the Obamacare exchange. He offered to have a vote on the legislation as an amendment to the Compounding Pharmacies bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, or as standalone legislation.