Monthly Archives: June 2011

Shrink the Executive

The Obama administration continues a trend begun by his predecessor, President Bush, to concentrate power in the Executive Branch.  Recent moves to rule by fiat are especially disturbing – ignoring the War Powers Act, selective enforcement of immigration law, and selective enforcement by the DOJ in general.  Apart from obvious damage to the rule of law, an overweening Executive also contributes to the polarization of American politics.

America needs a multi-party government.  Fiscally responsible Democrats must split from their socialist wing.  Moderate Republicans must divorce the religious right.  For good measure, we could add a Green party.  Congress is designed for power sharing, but the Executive is not.

America’s two-party system, with its nightmare gridlock and polarization, is enforced by competition for the presidency.  If either side produces a strong third-party candidate, this is guaranteed to “split the vote” and hand victory to the other side.

We the people, with Congress and the courts, must take steps to check the growing power of the presidency.  Otherwise, we will have continuing polarization – and a king.


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Filed under Center Field

Tax the Rich! Tax the Rich!

We often hear about raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires.”  Jeremiah doesn’t know any millionaires or billionaires, so this seems like a good idea.  We turned to the IRS statistics department, to learn just how hard we can squeeze the rich.  The figure to beat is $1.5 trillion.  That’s our projected budget deficit for 2011.

Unfortunately, the rich are squeezed pretty hard already.  Taxpayers earning more than $100,000 pay a total of $770 billion, and there are only 20 million of them.

In round figures, the IRS collects $1 trillion in individual income tax, of which 75% is paid by the six-figure households.  Seven-figure filers are rare – only about 300,000 – and they pay 25% of the trillion.  Maybe we could squeeze another $250 billion out of this group before they pack up their businesses and move to Canada.

Corporations are already sequestering capital – and jobs – overseas because of a hostile tax regime.  We have just about the world’s highest corporate tax rate.

It is the billionaires who have the real money.  Warren Buffet has $50 billion.  That’s 3% of the deficit right there.  According to Forbes, one in three billionaires is an American – 300 people with, together, just about $1.5 trillion.

All we have to do is double the income tax paid by the millionaires and billionaires, plus tack on a “wealth tax” to confiscate about 80% of what they have in the bank.  That should just about cover the deficit – for this year.

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Black Kids Need Good Schools

Well, this is just unbelievable.  Charter schools have been a blessing for poor children in New York, who would otherwise be trapped in wretched public schools.  You would expect the teachers’ union to protest, but – the NAACP?

Prominent black leaders have been vocal backers not just of charters but also … vouchers for children to attend private schools.

Nothing could be more manifestly against the Advancement of Colored People than blocking the charter schools.  The NAACP opinion cites some logistical issues and the fantasy notion that New York can “make all our schools great places to learn.”

The NAACP proposes no solutions – unless you count throwing money at the problem.  They have evidently decided that dues-paying teachers in failed schools are more worthy than black children.

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Oath Breakers

President Obama has directed the Justice Department not to enforce the “Defense of Marriage” Act.  Supporters of gay rights must recognize that this is a bad precedent.  Jeremiah hopes that DOMA will indeed be overturned – by the Supreme Court.  The president’s fiat is not legitimate, and not to be celebrated.

… when the personal views of the president override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.

Only Congress has the power to make laws.  If the administration usurps this power, then America will become a dictatorship.  We may elect a new dictator every four years, but our representative democracy will be finished.  Rep. Lamar Smith cites “the politicization of the Justice Department, when the personal views of the president override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”

The trend began when Justice abruptly dropped its case against three Black Panther militants.  Subsequently, having omitted to enforce immigration law, the administration prosecuted Arizona for doing so.

The President has a sworn duty to uphold the Constitution, including its famous separation of powers.  He should direct his cabinet to do their proper duties, no more and no less.

See also:  Arizona Has Rights, Too

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Filed under Justice

Boeing 0, Airbus 1

The Boeing case is a good example of what Jeremiah calls “squabbling over the spoils.”  The National Labor Relations Board has enjoined Boeing from opening a new facility in South Carolina, claiming that the move unjustly punishes unionized workers at another facility in Washington.  Roughly 8,000 jobs hang, unfilled, in the balance.  Washington is a “blue” state, South Carolina a “red” one.

So, is this a victory for union labor?  No.  It is a victory for Airbus, Boeing’s European rival. Instead of going forth to take market share away from Airbus, and maybe create more jobs all around, the mentality of American decline says, “Let’s fight hard over our slice because the pie is only getting smaller.”

In the end, we’ll have an iconic American company laid low by expensive labor, crushed by foreign competition, and in need of a government bailout.  Now, where have we seen that before?

See Also: Boeing Threat to American Enterprise.  Nice to see the union’s perspective stated in terms of American competitiveness, instead of class-war rhetoric.

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Filed under Trade