Category Archives: Domestic Policy

Free Community College or Pandering to the Base?

President Obama has recently stated he would like to make community college “free” for those who maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and are making progress towards a degree. Liberals love it because it is providing “free” education and young kids hear free college and think it is great as well.

So, does President Obama really want to make college more affordable, or simply appeal to certain voting groups?

Due to his proposed new tax on 529 college savings plans, I believe he is simply trying to appeal to voting groups. A 529 is a college saving plan usually set up by a parent to help pay for their child’s college tuition. If you have a 529 you can contribute money to the account federal income tax free, the account is allowed to build up federal income tax free, and you can withdraw tax-free. Pretty great deal, right?

Well, President Obama has proposed a new plan that will remove the federal income-tax exemption for the earnings part. According to the investment Company Institute, there are roughly 12 million 529 savings accounts with a about $245 million in assets. This averages to 21,000 per account.

Now ask yourself, whom do these accounts benefit? The richest in America have no use for these types of accounts, but the middle class benefits from them greatly.

Why would someone who is trying to make college more affordable make it harder for middle class Americans to pay for college? The truth is he does not care. He only wants to expand the size of the government, which is what both of these policies will do.

– JW

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Filed under Domestic Policy, Political Economy, Political Philosophy

Raining on the Parade

I hate to be a Debbie downer here, but, lest we forget when the GOP had control of the Congress and the White House under the Bush Administration.

The GOP had control of Congress for 6 years and managed to grow government with their profligate spending at a rate unseen before in American history, only to be barely eclipsed by the administration we have now. Let’s not forget the big government statism of No Child Left Behind, Medicare part D and TARP (Yes, tarp was passed in 2008, but still).

The reason Republicans lost so badly in the 2006 midterms is the very same reason the Democrats lost in this midterm election: the blatant and obvious failure of big government statism.

Let us also not forget the GOP party leadership and their continued rebuke of the Tea Party and their bad-mouthing of libertarians and conservatives. Yes, I’m thrilled the Republicans took back Congress from the Dems, mainly because neither would be able to pass much legislation for the next two years. The problem with this is the President’s penchant to rule by fiat and the GOP’s penchant to cower like toddlers against the usurpations of our lawless President (remember the backlash by the GOP of Ted Cruz’s and Rand Paul’s filibuster?). I have zero faith in Boehner and McConnell, who have proven to be only concerned with their own power–that comes at our expense–rather than reducing it, and giving back to the people.

As conservatives/libertarians we have even more of an obligation now to hold the GOP’s feet to the fire and force them to decrease the size of government, first and foremost the REPEAL of Obamacare. I hear a lot of rhetoric from GOP congressmen-elects of a “bipartisan” approach to healthcare, what I do not hear is a “free market” approach to healthcare. WHY?!

Grow a spine GOP, or we’ll throw you out again.

–A common rebuttal to this would be that many of the elected are “conservatives.” Need I remind you that Kelly Ayotte ran as a conservative. Ron Johnson ran as a conservative and believe it or not, every time he’s ran for office, John McCain runs as a conservative (LOL). Calling yourself something, is vastly different than actually voting like one.

 

– Will Ricciardella

 

 

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Filed under Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Foreign Policy, Political Philosophy

Thomas Sowell on the “Rights Fallacy”

Sowell Constitution QuoteThe “rights” fallacy.

One of the most remarkable–and popular–ways of seeming to argue without actually producing any arguments is to say that some individual or group has a “right” to something that you want to have. Conceivably, such statements might mean any number of things. For example:

1. Some law or government policy has authorized this “right,” which is somehow still being denied, thereby prompting reassertion of it’s existence.

2. Some generally accepted moral principle has as its corollary that some (or all) people are entitled to what the “right” asserts, though presumably the fact that this right needs to be asserted suggests that others have been slow to see the logical connection.

3. The person asserting the particular “right” in question would like to have some (or all) people have what the right would imply, even if no legal, political, or other authorization for that right currently exists and there is no general consensus that it ought to exist.

In the first two cases, where there is some pre-existing basis for the “right” that is claimed, that basis need only be specified and defended. Still, that requires an argument. The third meaning has become the more pervasive meaning, especially among those with the vision of the anointed, and is widely used as a substitute for arguments.


From Thomas Sowell’s “The Vision of the Anointed.”

 

– Will Ricciardella

 

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Filed under Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Political Philosophy

Do Libertarians Understand Our Constitutional Republic?

Justice is BlindSome radical libertarians simply do not understand how our Constitutional Republic works. I see libertarian pages praising the judicial activism in the state courts overturning the will of people as it pertains to marriage policy. The issue of marriage isn’t my concern at this point, judicial tyranny is.

In order to reconcile the Madisonian dilemma, or consensus/dissensus, is how we decide such issues as marriage. Being that the constitution is silent on marriage, and by no means does the 14th amendment apply, nor any other amendment, said decision is left to the states/people (LEGISLATURE). Libertarians, in this case, are applauding an action that runs counter to the will of the people in some of these states, or have jumped the gun before the body politic could catch up, either case is irrespective of the issue. Basically, they are advocating lawless judicial intervention.

How would Montesquieu define this type of tyranny?

“There are two sorts of tyranny: one real, which arises from oppression; the other is seated in opinion, and is sure to be felt whenever those who govern establish things shocking to the existing ideas of a nation.”

It would seem libertarians advocate the latter… only when it’s a law they agree with. I know few libertarians who would be willing to praise John Roberts for rewriting Obamacare from the bench and then declaring it “constitutional.” What then, is the purpose of the legislature? With the high and mighty, infallible and lawless judiciary, who needs the people anyway. This is the mentality libertarians are implicitly endorsing by praising this kind of judicial activism. I find it distressing that libertarians advocate the same tactic the left has for imposing their vision of society onto the people. The next time we get an activist, lawless opinion from the courts, I don’t want to hear the same libertarian pages complain about “big government.” The courts uphold contracts on behalf of the people, not a state Supreme Court Justice. They’ve already obliterated the commerce clause that has led to the dirigiste economy we have today, next they’ll seek to change the takings clause. No big deal, someone is sure to agree with it somewhere.

 

– Will Ricciardella

 

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Filed under Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Jurisprudence, Political Philosophy

William F. Buckley on the Drug War

I’ve been back and forth on the drug war issue for years, but I tend to agree with Buckley here. Most conservatives I know are for decriminalization at the very least.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re are valid arguments against it. But the cost-benefit scenario works out in legalization’s favor.

I know most of our followers are libertarian, how did you folks form your conclusion on drug use, through ideology, market mechanisms or because that’s what you’ve heard? Maybe in the same way I have? I’m curious to know. 


“First of all, please don’t mistake my position for that of people who are indifferent to drugs. I’m not indifferent to drugs. I think I’ve been quoted as saying if I could turn a single latch which would make all the drugs disappear from the face of the earth, with the exception of here and there, a vineyard in Bordeaux, I would turn that latch. Now, you say is it inconsistent for a conservative to take my position? I don’t think it is, because a conservative seeks to be grounded in reality. That which works is quantifiable; that which simply does not work, isn’t. If you were to pass a law requiring people to go to church on Sunday, it wouldn’t work. Under the circumstances, you would eventually simply withdraw such a law. My position on drugs is that they are, the drug laws aren’t working, and that more damage net is being done by their continuation on the books than would be done by withdrawing them from the books. This, as I say, should not be confused as a sanction for drugs. Drugs are a form of escapism, and the damage in taking them is not by any means self-limited. It damages other people also. For that reason, the question is: How do you diminish the net harm done by drugs?”

-William F. Buckley

 

– Will Ricciardella

 

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Random Thoughts About Progressive Liberalism

It’s amazing to me that liberals/socialists can get away with blaming wealth creators for poverty or penury throughout the world without ascribing a bit of blame to the actual and perpetual perpetrator – big government.

The market doesn’t force kids to go to substandard schools without any choice whatsoever. The market doesn’t force these same kids into schools that teach them minimal-to no-skills. The market doesn’t make it illegal to hire someone at their actual level of production that is most times (due to poor public education and lack of choice) below an arbitrary level of production the government deems moral (so much for not legislating morality, huh libs?).

A liberal will tell you how the debate for climate change/ global warming is over. It’s science. In fact, it’s far from over. Economic matters, for example, are more clear.

No matter how many times you show them the data and empirical observations of the economic sciences, they’ll deny them till they’re blue in the face, lament your racist leanings, misogynistic tendencies and your irrational hatred for poor people. The fact that minimum wage helps no one, but hurts those most vulnerable is no match for mantras, repetition, and sloganeering.

In fact, the reason these observations and empirical analysis exist is to ensure that those most vulnerable are the least impacted by economic policies, and allow them a fair shake at acquiring human capital, and adding to aggregate production improving the standard of living for all (liberals, like Karl Marx, cannot comprehend that wages are relative to prices, but that doesn’t surprise me). Liberals don’t care about truth, they care about ideology. The myth that somehow they are driven by “compassion,” when it is in fact a high degree of envy that undergirds liberal rhetoric and policy making that directly correlates to the apathy of the people, who would rather feel than think. How do I know? Because they deny science, reason and logic, no matter how many of those people they claim to want to help, are affected negatively by their maladroit policies.

It is very frustrating.

 

– Will Ricciardella

 

 

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Filed under Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Political Economy, Political Philosophy

Do Sports Stadiums Boost the Economy?

Basic EconomicsHave you ever heard that building a new sports stadium will bring tax revenue to your city/state and increase economic activity?

To me, this seems to be one of the biggest misconceptions among the general populous. The argument is that building a new stadium will employ construction workers and people at the stadium, increase economic activity around the stadium, and increase tourism etc. However, as a paper by John Siegfried and Andrew Zimbalist points out:

“Few fields of empirical economic research offer virtual unanimity of findings. Yet, independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development (Baade and Dye, 1990; Baim, 1992; Rosentraub, 1994; Baade, 1996; Noll and Zimbalist, 1997; Waldon, 1997; Coates and Humphreys, 1999).”

A study conducted by Baade found no significant difference in personal income growth from 1958 to 1987 between 36 metropolitan areas that hosted a team in one of the four premier professional sports leagues (MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA) and 12 otherwise comparable areas that did not.

Similarly, Waldon found that having a major sports team actually decreased economic activity in the 46 cities he examined from 1990-1994. In fact, he found that increased high school graduation rates and more spending on police increased economic growth. Both Waldon and Baade controlled their study for other economic factors.

Moreover, time series studies confirm the results of cross-sectional studies. Baade and Sanderson found that there is no increase in economic activity in 10 cities that acquired new sports teams between 1958 and 1993.

Just one more example of empirical data proving government spending is useless.

 

– JW

 

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Filed under Chicago School of Economics, Domestic Policy, Economic Methodology, Political Economy, Political Philosophy