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

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know

PJ Tatler reports that Attorney General Eric Holder sent Justice Department lawyer Bradley Heard into court to try to stop Kansas from ensuring that only citizens register to vote. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, relying on a United States Supreme Court opinion from last year, asked the federal Election Assistance Commission to permit him to ensure that only citizens were registering to vote. The DOJ opposes that.

Read the whole thing.

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.

BREAKING: Some Maryland Republicans Know Each Other

<sarc>In a stunning exposé by Xenophon, Breitbart Unmasked (No, I won’t link to it) has published the earth-shattering news that certain Maryland Republicans actually know each other and, as hard as this may be to believe, have worked together in recent political campaigns. Some these Republicans are conservative or libertarian bloggers as well.</sarc>

For the record, Jackie Welfonder is a friend, and I look forward to seeing her again at CPAC this year. I voted for Dan Bongino for Senator in 2012, and I’d vote for him for Congress this fall if I hadn’t been gerrymandered out of the 6th Congressional District.

An Exception to the Peter Principle

The Peter Principle states that in a hierarchy, given enough time and enough ranks in the hierarchy, a person rises to his level of incompetence. In other words, in a bureaucracy someone gets promoted until he screws up, and then he’s left there failing at his job.

Every rule has it’s exceptions.

The White House on Friday announced David Simas, a senior adviser to President Obama who managed the healthcare rollout, will head up a new post at the White House: Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.

I’m sure that he will handle that as well as he did the Obamacare rollout.

Elitist Nonsense

Ann Althouse has a post up looking at Chuck Schumer’s comments about the “tea party elites” who have tricked the masses into following them.

The elite that were around — in high places in government and media — were liberal, and they were challenging the tea partiers. Their key challenge was that these people must be fake, must be following some rich Pied Pipers who were tricking them — which is to say, the masses were following the wrong Pied Piper.

Read the whole thing.

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.

Everything You Know is Wrong!

And in the case of climate change, the Warm Mongers at The Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication say that it’s because Americans are too stupid to understand the complexities of the science involved according to a report by the Heartland Institute. (H/T, Stacy McCain).

If the Warm Mongers are right, we might wind up with the world as warm as it was around the year AD 1000 when it was possible to grow wine grape in England and wheat in Greenland. In the tropics during that warm era, the Mayan civilization peaked in America, and Great Zimbabwe was founded in Africa. So, yeah, we need to be running scared from that sort of climate.

Obamacare Website Security NOT

Reuters is reporting that the government has failed to implement critical security fixes on the healthcare dot gov website.

David Kennedy, head of computer security consulting firm TrustedSec LLC, told Reuters that the government has yet to plug more than 20 vulnerabilities that he and other security experts reported to the government shortly after went live on October 1.

Hackers could steal personal information, modify data or attack the personal computers of the website’s users, he said. They could also damage the infrastructure of the site, according to Kennedy, who is scheduled to describe his security concerns in testimony on Thursday before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Read the whole thing, and 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.

Walmart or Obamacare?

The Washington Examiner has a post up comparing the heath plans offered by Walmart to its employees to what’s available under Obamacare. A Walmart employee gets a much better deal.

Both plans require high deductibles, but Walmart’s is less than half Obamacare’s, and the difference between premiums and services offered is staggering. Under the Walmart plan, a family of four pays $160 a month compared to around $1,000 for Obamacare. That cheaper premium buys access to hospitals like the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic that don’t participate in Obamacare. It buys access to specialists who don’t participate in Obamacare. For example, in the Chicago there are 28 hospitals who will take Obamacare patients and 54 who accept the Walmart plan; there are just under 10,000 doctors available under Obamacare and over 24,000 who work with the Walmart plan.

Remember, the promise was better services at lower cost.

Let it burn.

Quote of the Day

A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. Fail to honor people, They fail to honor you. But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, “We did this ourselves.”

—Lao Tzu