American Elephants


The Hope and The Change — The Official Movie Trailer by The Elephant's Child
September 3, 2012, 6:53 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Politics | Tags: , ,


Who’s Extreme? by The Elephant's Child

(h/t: National Review)



After the Election is Over, You Have to Perform. by The Elephant's Child
February 13, 2010, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Education, Taxes | Tags: , , ,

If you live in a low performance state, you probably know it. Unemployment is high, so the legislature is raising taxes.  Companies are moving out-of-state to locations friendlier to business.  Wealthy households are moving out, and fewer wealthy households are moving in.

In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell won a high-profile gubernatorial race. He has unveiled an ambitious proposal to expand the number of charter schools.  He also wants to create virtual schools in which students can learn outside of traditional classrooms, as well as laboratory schools that would benefit from partnerships with Virginia colleges and universities.  All three proposals must be approved by the General Assembly in a session that ends next month.

He is sticking to his no-tax pledge, and he is pushing ahead with an effort to sell off  state-owned liquor stores.  States which have privatized their liquor sales have gained million of dollars in new tax and license revenues, and cut millions of dollars in government expenditures.  In other words, he’s doing what he said he would.

In New Jersey, newly elected Republican Governor Chris Christie is also doing just what he promised.  He has appointed a school-choice advocate to the howls of the teacher’s union. And he has announced a real spending freeze on $1.6 billion of unspent money.  He was blunt. “Today we come to terms with the fact that we cannot spend money on everything we want.  Today, the days of Alice in Wonderland budgeting in Trenton end.”

A new study by Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy looked at the decade from 1999 to 2008.  It found that in the decade’s first half, New Jersey was booming with a $98 billion net influx of capital due to wealthy households moving into the state.

Then the trend reversed.  From 2004 to 2008 there was “a large decline in the number of wealthy households entering New Jersey” as well as “a moderate increase in the outflow of wealthy households leaving.”  How come?  The study doesn’t say, but the top income tax rate went from 6.37% on incomes over $500,000 to 8.97% — a 40% increase.

Basic economics:  when you tax something you get less of it — in this case wealthy  households that help to create jobs and increase charitable capacity. The out-migration went to New York and Pennsylvania which have lower top tax rates. The third most popular destination was Florida which has no income tax and no estate tax.



Here’s Another Must-Watch Interview With Two of Our Most Interesting Economists. by The Elephant's Child

I am an enormous fan of  the Hoover Institution’s Uncommon Knowledge programs.  This last week, Peter Robinson interviewed Richard A. Epstein and John Taylor.   Peter Robinson’s question:  Are we all Keynesians Now? After introducing the opposing approaches to economics of John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman, economists Richard Epstein and John Taylor discuss U.S. monetary policy from the 1970s onward.

Richard A. Epstein, on the left above,  is a founder of the field of law and economics.  He is director of the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago and a fellow at the Hoover Institution.  John Taylor is a former undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs.  He is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of economics at Stanford University.

The controversy in the world of economics and finance today is between the Keynesian economics that the Obama administration follows and the free market ideas of Milton Friedman that the Republicans believe are proven to be more effective.

This interview is like sitting in on a conversation with three brilliant friends. Each segment in about 6 minutes long, so you can watch at your pleasure.  What’s neat is that you can go back and review any part that you didn’t understand.  Unlike those college seminars, if you didn’t take good notes, all you have to do is play them over again.

The previous interviews are all available at the same link above.  They range from Thomas Sowell, to Dambisa Moyo, Charles Kesler, Antonin Scalia and John Bolton to mention only a few of the many guests.  I recommend them highly.



The Monstrous Mess of ObamaCare. by The Elephant's Child
December 14, 2009, 2:27 am
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, Health Care, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Health-care reform.  Someone on the left actually said that Democrats have to pass something so that Obama has an accomplishment for the State of the Union speech. Is that really what  this is all about?

Voters oppose the bill by 52% to 38%, and President Obama’s handling gets even more of a thumbs down, with 56% disapproving.  By 71% to 21%, voters don’t think universal coverage is worth lower quality of care. 66% believe that free market competition would do a better job of reducing costs.

The bill being debated by the Senate is a monstrous mess. It will raise the cost of medical care for everyone. It will reduce the quality of care. You will lose your private health care coverage.  And it will leave 24 million people still uninsured.

A family earning $54,000 a year, buying a nationwide Blue Cross/ Blue Shield policy through FEHBP (Federal Employees Health Benefit Program) would pay monthly premiums over $825 after a $10,100 government subsidy.

Everything promised:  insure the uninsured, reduce the deficit, improve the quality of care, ” if you like your plan you can keep it”, reduce the amount you pay for your health care, reduce the rapid increase in costs and “you can keep the coverage from your employer”.  All a lie.

They will eliminate the government option, and allow people to “buy into”Medicare early at 55 or 60. [Another way to get you under government control]  An individual, age 55 could buy into Medicare for only $7,600 or $15,200 for a couple.

Robert Tracinski describes the three disastrous provisions in the Reid/Baucus/Obama health-care bill:

Guaranteed Issue — requires insurance companies to offer coverage to people who are already sick, and limits companies’ ability to charge higher rates for customers who pose a higher risk.  This means that everyone’s premiums will rise sharply.   Young healthy people would quickly realize that there was no point in buying insurance and paying high premiums until they got sick.

Individual Mandate — The fix for guaranteed issue is to require everyone to buy insurance or pay a tax set at $750.  This is a tax for existing.  Cheaper to pay the tax, and continue to refuse to buy insurance than to buy it.  So prison is an option.

All New Policies Are Part of a Government Controlled “Exchange” — This is designed to eliminate low-cost plans like owning a catastrophic care policy along with a Health Savings Account.  Under the guise of making insurance more affordable, insurance will be restricted to the most expensive options.

As Tracinski says:

That is the final and perhaps most compelling reason to kill this bill: the sheer arrogance of the whole enterprise. It is the arrogance of stampeding an unwilling public toward a monstrous 2,000-page piece of legislation while admitting that it still has huge problems, but promising that it will all somehow be fixed later on. It’s the arrogance of selling us a bill that expands government spending by hundreds of billions of dollars while telling us that it will reduce the deficit. It is the sheer unmitigated gall of appointing a bureaucrat to run a government-controlled insurance market that takes away all of our health choices-and then calling this bureaucrat the Health Choices Commissioner.

The Democrat leadership is determined to pass something, which they will “fix” later.  They will use every trick in the book to make it happen.

You need to let them hear from you.  The National Center for Policy Analysis and the Salem Radio Network have made an opportunity for you to call your senators and representatives toll-free.

www.actionarmy.org

Please take advantage of it!



Dan Mitchell Explains the Health Care Train Wreck by The Elephant's Child
November 20, 2009, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Law, Socialism | Tags: , , ,

The Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell does an excellent job of explaining the problems and costs of the health care bills before Congress. The Democrats have wanted government-run health care for so long (why I do not understand) that they are willing to resort to all sorts of subterfuges to accomplish it.They are buying votes, reducing the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimates by raising taxes for five years before the costs start to kick-in in 2014.

They are planning to force a vote on Saturday night when the Senate wants to leave for their Thanksgiving break in order to add urgency.  (Don’t you wish we got all the vacations Congress gives themselves?) The bill just appeared yesterday and they will have to once again vote without reading or understanding what is in the bill.

We have the best health care system in the world.  Their big ideas do nothing to improve it, but only start breaking it down. Do take the time to listen to Daniel Mitchell, you will be glad you did.



Unending Analysis of the Amazing Environmental Benefits of “Cash-for-Clunkers.” by The Elephant's Child
November 5, 2009, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Progressivism | Tags: , , ,

Every time I think that there is not another word to be said about  the “Cash for Clunkers” program, another bit of information turns up, demanding to be mentioned:

WASHINGTON — The most common deals under the government’s $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road, replaced old Ford or Chevrolet pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by the Associated Press.

The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F 150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade in their old trucks for new Ford F-150s.  They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F-150 than, say, a Toyota Prius.  The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, and improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.

Well, that worked out well.  You might want to keep this bit of Congressional competence in mind.  It’s not getting better as the bills get bigger.

 




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