The Wall Street Journal could not have found a better pair of authors for the Monday 13 September article “The Size of Government and the Choice This Fall” than [Congressman] Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Arthur C. Brooks [president of the American Enterprise Institute.]
They point out that “Americans like generous government programs and don't want to lose them” and “...favor keeping our social insurance programs intact.”
Could the reason for these conundrums be that, according to the 2010 Statistical Abstract, over 60% of all federal income comes from employer bank accounts because of withholding. Since all employers must do this, there is no competitive reason not to pass on this cost to customers in higher prices, silently converting income taxes and Social Security contributions to a silent national sales tax. Eliminate withholding, forcing the intended taxpayers to send in personal checks for 20% of their take home pay every month would have a decided impact on what the public is willing to lose and what federal intervention should be kept intact.
The authors quote Friedrich Hayek “... that the state has legitimate—and critical—functions, from rectifying market failures to securing some minimum standard of living.” Hayak believed that, but sure didn't find it in the United States Constitution. It isn't covered by the general welfare clause, as is gently but firmly explained by James Madison in his Federalist number 41.
If the public really wants to do it the Hayek way, they should do it the right way, getting appropriate Constitutional amendments passed by 2/3 majorities in each house of Congress and approval by ¾ of the state legislatures.
The Chicago Tribune article “Climate change is here” of Wednesday September 15, is well written and appears to present a number of reasons how so-called 'climate change' is affecting the Chicago area.
It states that “Scientists around the world have used CO2 counts to create various models showing how the climate may warm in coming years” and that “they project that if CO2 emissions continue to rise, the Chicago area's summer weather will be comparable to that of southern Illinois by 2029....”
Climate change is a ripe field for the use of mathematical models: things are always changing, and there appears to be considerable data to use as model input.
But the centerpiece of all this modeling is our planet, Earth, which 4.5 billion years old. Now that's a lot of years, but the data we have on it is pitifully small when you consider that man's earliest ancestors did not appear on Earth until 6 million years ago, less than 1% of 4.5 billion years.
Can we learn anything from a model projecting the earth's age onto that of an 80-year-old human being? Such a model shows one Earth year as being 0.562 seconds of that geezer's 80-year life span, which means humans first appearing in our model earth 39 days ago.
Earliest known use of charcoal (carbon) by humans, for the reduction of copper, zinc and tin ores, was 54 minutes ago to our 80-year-old. Discovery of carbon dioxide in 1630, 3 minutes 30 seconds ago to our geezer. Humans had no idea of measuring temperature before Galileo's invention of the thermometer in 1593, 4 minutes ago to our geezer.
People worry that our “spring flowers have been blooming a little earlier than they used to...” and we have no idea what happened in the first 99% of the planet's lifetime?
The article refers to 'scientists' five times. Is the basic 'union card' of a scientist an advanced degree? If so, what advanced degree does the leader of 50,000 climate scientists have, the guy with the Oscar, and the Nobel? Well, he doesn't have one. He has an undergraduate degree from Harvard, that included 2 courses that could be considered scientific, one called 'Man's place in Nature'. He got a 'D'. Hoax, anyone?
Mr. Williamson, Your calm and thotful “Young Guns at NR”...
...NationalReviewOnline CornerPost and its 'More thoughts here' link of Tuesday evening 14 September were refreshingly reassuring after a month of O'Donnell controversy.
But for all of Mssrs Ryan, Cantor, and McCarthy's determination, and your wise statement about “no magic-bullet solutions” there is still a strong, decisive ally yet unused in the budget/deficit battle: the American voter/taxpayer.
The 2010 Statistical Abstract of United States, table #468, page 311 shows in 2008, 62% of the total federal government receipts of $2.745 trillion was withheld from wages. So nearly 2/3 of all the actual dollars that came into the US general fund were from employer bank accounts, not employee's . Because all employers are forced to make these payments, there is no competitive advantage for any employer not to pass all this on to customers in price increases, resulting in the federal government being nearly 2/3 funded by a silent national sales tax. Because of a regularly expanding national economy, it's all but painless to voters.
This could be fixed by changing paragraph 3402 of USC Title 26 — 'Internal Revenue Code' Subtitle C 'Employment taxes' Chapter 24 'Collection Of Income Tax At Source On Wages'... from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...." The employer would still calculate the tax, replacing the reassuring (but thoroly misleading) note "you earned and your employer paid" with "here is how much the feds are expecting you personally to send in within 30 days"
Would this be inefficient? Certainly for an insatiable federal bureaucracy. But after a few months writing checks to the Federal Government for 20% of their take-home pay, American voter/tax payers would take quick care of the Republicans' doing their perennial “dumb thing” of uncontrolled spending, leaving our elected officials to do their number one job of economy-driving by cutting taxes.
Tuesday 14 September 2010 Jim Garaghty National Review
Mr. Geraghty, your 'Morning Jolt' column is the first new web column I've started reading since James Taranto's 'Best of the Web Today' in June 2001. I look forward to the two of you, plus Drudge, being daily reads from here on in.
Your Monday, September 13 “Battle Stations” column suggests some thoughts: You list 8 items of Christine O'Donnell's “questionable behavior”, from suing the ISI to how she paid $11,744.59 in back taxes, as being marks against her “judgment and character.”
Is there anything in that list that would directly indicate she might not have a 100% ACU rating?
You also point out that O'Donnell is “A three-time candidate never elected to any office [with] no record of managing or governing at any level.” As compared to a President, individual senators govern or manage no more than their personal conduct. Their senate vote is all that counts, the closer to the ACU line, the better. And one of those losses was to a 30-year senate incumbent, spending 10x as much as O'Donnell.
Representative Castle on the other hand has a 17 year 52.48 ACU rating , with a 28 in 2008. Given a 2001-like 50-50 split in the Senate with a Republican VP, who do you think would be more likely to pull a Jim Jeffords and switch parties between O'Donnell and Castle?
There's been talk of the so-called William F Buckley rule: “Vote for the Conservative who's most likely to win.” Did anyone get back to Mr. Buckley about that rule after Daniel Patrick Moinahan was elected to the senate?
Whatever, you will need to do lots worse than this to discourage me from reading 'Jolt' every day from now on.
Arnold H Nelson (alleged 50-year subscriber to NR)
I've lived in Detroit, St Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh PA, Marblehead MA. Worked as tech rep in Southern CA, Bay area, NYC, I've been to Europe a dozen times (Ireland, UK, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium.
Favorite restaurants are Gene & Georgetti's in Chicago, Roma Cafe in Detroit, Frankie and Johnie's in NYC, Rigazzi's on the hill in St. Louis (Also Charlie Gitto's, was Angelo's when I went there.)
For about a year I had small offices in Clayton MO, in the Country Club Plaza in KC. I rode a ten-speed bike around Lake Michigan (The bottom half in one week in June 1978, another week for the top half in 1980, used the Badger both times.
Don't get to travel much anymore, but still try to rent a car and go around the Lake in March every year. Sure, there's still snow, and it's not warm, OTOH there are no bugs and no toursts. Greatest little tavern in the world is Sherry's Port Bar in Garden UP MI