The Minimum Wage Economy

Governors Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Dannel Malloy (D-CT) sparred at a press briefing outside the White House follow a National Governors Association meeting with the President. Politico reports that Jindal noted that the President placed great stress on raising the minimum wage during the meeting. “The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that, I think America can do better than that.” He spoke out in favor of action such as reduced regulation or building the XL Pipeline that would benefit Louisiana’s oil and gas industry.

Malloy disagreed noting, “So let me just say that we don’t all agree that moving Canadian oil through the United States is necessarily the best thing for the United States economy.”

Jindal replied, “We think we can grow the economy. We think we can do better than the minimum wage economy.”

Jindal’s remarks do describe what some Americans are now seeing. Unemployment and underemployment are becoming the new normal in many places. We have a measure of prosperity here in the DC area that doesn’t exist in large sections of fly-over country. If Republicans can convince voters that they can do better, this will be a very bad year for Democrats. OTOH, if the voters continue to see Republicans as described by P. J. O’Rouke (“The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.”), …

Sometimes Rules Cut Both Ways

The IRS is proposing to rewrite the rules for 501(c)4 “social welfare” not-for-profit organizations in ways that would drastically reduce their political activities. The general buzz is that this is being done at the behest of Democrats in the Senate who worry about organizations such as Americans for Prosperity. Eliana Johnson has a report over at NRO over the Left’s reaction to the proposed rules.

The proposed regulations have a host of left-leaning groups worried that the 501(c)(4) rules could serve as a template for regulations governing 501(c)(5) nonprofits (unions) and 501(c)(6) groups (trade associations), and they are speaking out.

Also, leftwing 501(c)4 outfits are waking up to the threat to their activities. Being able to help deliver votes engage in voter registration is often a key part of the business model of such organizations.

Income Equality, and How Not to Achieve It

The WSJ has a post up explaining just how much income redistribution the federal government is doing already and what it would take to give every family an “average income.”

Many people believe the “rich” can afford to pay higher taxes since they command a disproportionate share of the nation’s income. However, the current amount of redistribution already takes 21% of the top quintile’s [20%] income. That would have to soar to 74% to make every family in America “average.”

I’m in that top quintile. I’ve gone back to work from retirement, but if the feds were to start taking 74% of my paycheck (on top of what Maryland takes), I’d find a way to be less productive so that I could keep at least half of what I make. Given that many, if not most, other high-income earners would do much the same thing, the amount of money available to be taxed from us would go down, which would drive the tax rate up, which would drive more earners to be less productive, which would result in the need for a further tax increase, which would …

The problem with socialism is that it always runs out of other people’s money.

—Margret Thatcher

The Wealth of Nations & States

There’s an interesting map over at Strange Maps that shows the states renamed for countries with similar GDPs. My native state of Tennessee is labeled “Saudi Arabia,” and my current state of residence Maryland is labeled “Hong Kong.”

I did a bit of math to find the per capita GDPs of the two states. Tennessee’s was around $44k, and Maryland’s was around $32k. Given that several of the richest counties in America are in Maryland (suburbs of DC), I found that result a bit surprising. OTOH, Tennessee has a much better business environment, and that likely has something to do with the 37% boost.

Yep. As I think about it, those counties do well because of direct federal employment or folks like me who do federal contracting work. The rest of the Maryland struggles under blue state government interference and mismanagement.

It’s the Economy, Stupid

The latest polls show that just under half of the public sees the economy as the number one issue in the country. Some leftwing pundits are trying to seize on that as proof that Obamacare will fade as an issue as the election draws near.

Sure. Obamacare has had no effect on anyone’s having hours cut back to less than 30 per week. It’s had no effect on any small business deciding not to hire a 50th employee. And no one has had to replace the healthcare they liked with something more expensive. Or drop coverage because it was no longer affordable. Yep. Those definitely aren’t economic issues.

Let it burn.

On Losing Wars

It’s been almost 70 years since America has won a war. We won WWII because we knew what our goals were and we ruthlessly pursued them. Since then, we’ve halfheartedly pursued ill-defined goals.

The Korean War is technically still ongoing. 1953 brought an armistice not a victory. We didn’t win in Viet Nam. Grenada and Panama weren’t real wars. Desert Storm freed Kuwait, but we had to come back and clean up the mess we made. If anyone thinks we won the cleanup match, I suggest they visit Fallujah. Bombing Serbia? Afghanistan?

But the two worst defeats were not overseas. We’ve also lost the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty.

Today is the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty. 50 years and 20 trillion dollars later, the percentage of American’s living in poverty is still around 15 percent. Back in the ’60s, most of the poor were working poor. They had jobs but couldn’t make ends meet. Now, we have created a new class of idle poor who make ends meet because of support from over 80 means-tested federal programs. 50 years ago, the poor were often hungry. These days, the poor are often overweight and suffering from diabetes.

LBJ’s stated goal for the War on Poverty was “to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities.”

We have failed.

Elections Have Consequences

Emily Miller reports in the Washington Times that

Beretta has eliminated Virginia from its short list of states to move its company because anti-gun Democrat Terry McAuliffe was elected governor.

The firearms manufacturer made the decision to scratch Virginia off the list after the McAuliffe campaign fixated on restricting gun owners’ rights after receiving over $1 million in campaign donations from billionaire New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Beretta is leaving Maryland because of the state government’s anti-gun policies.

Homeopathic Economics

WSJ has a post up about Senator Fauxcahontas’s proposal to raise Social Security benefits. You see, since seniors are having a rough time these days, we should raise the FICA tax to pay for increased benefit—in spite of the depressive effect that the tax increase would on the economy which would make times even tougher for everyone.

(H/T, Instapundit, who asks “What could go wrong?” Perhaps a better question, given the government’s recent meddling in the economy, would be “What could go right?”)

Ya’ Think?

Commenters on the Left are now beginning to worry that the rollout of Obamacare has been and will continue to be so inept that too many of the suckers public will become convinced it is was a scam all along or that the wonks are technical dilettantes rather than competent innovators or something else “bad.” This, they say, will allow the Right to run successfully against Progressivism as personified in Obama for a generation.

They may have a point. When I was a kid back in the ’50s, I remember Democrats who were still going on about Hoover.

Obamacare is going to be an expensive educational experience.

Let it burn.

Campaign Promises

… I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick … (X)ObamacareScreenHartWeb

… and good jobs to the jobless; (X)labor-force-participation

… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; ( )global-temperature-vs-co2

… this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation … (X)100918-A-0846W-219

… and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. (X)G20 Leaders Meet In St. Petersburg For The Summit


So far, we’ve manage one goal in spite of him.

Perception and Reality

Peggy Noonan has a piece over at WSJ that describes how disastrous a victory Obamacare is for the President. Not only are many Americans finding that they can’t keep their old heath plans that they liked, the new plans are often unaffordable. And many are discovering that the politically well-connected are being given special exemptions.

It’s as if it’s 1937 and they launched Social Security, only rich coupon-clippers on Park Avenue immediately started getting small monthly checks, and 67-year-old dust bowlers in tarpaper shacks started getting monthly bills.

Read the whole thing.

How Much Government Can We Afford?

The Treasury reports that for the Fiscal Year that ended on 30 September the U. S. Government had revenues of 2.77 trillion dollars. The deficit for the same period was around 680 billion bucks.

How much government could we have bought with that money without going into the red?

According to figures posted at the Tax Policy Center website, 2.77 trillion dollars would have covered all federal spending in FY 2007 (corrected for inflation) with a surplus of around 40 billion dollars.

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I had more government than I really needed in 2007.

The Nation and Postage Due

The Nation is asking it’s subscribers to “donate” $120,272 to cover increased postage costs. The magazine is blaming the rate increase on “Tea Party Republicans.”

The postage rate increase was driven by the need to put the funding of the retirement benefits of postal workers on a more fiscally sound basis. It’s interesting that a leftwing publication is complaining that the Tea Party wants the bosses to give the workers their due.