American Elephants


A Dozen States Start Off The New Year With Lowered Taxes; More to Come! by The Elephant's Child

urlA dozen States are delivering a gift for their taxpayers. Residents of Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Wisconsin will get lower tax bills in 2015. A welcome message indeed.

Missouri and Oklahoma have trimmed taxes for 2016 and 2017. The American Legislative Exchange Council calculates that no state has made more significant tax cuts than Wisconsin, where an average family will pay about $680 less than last year. Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, has presided over tax cuts totaling $800 million, including the largest  property tax cut in Wisconsin history and a cut in the state’s income tax.

Nebraska has cut income, property and state sales taxes by more than $410 million in 2014 over the next five years. Indiana has lowered the business property tax and corporate business taxes which will help to boost employment. Michigan has reduced its business property tax and Rhode Island cut its corporate income tax rate from 9% to 7%. Florida, already one of the lowest tax states has reduced driver’s license renewal fees by $25. New York, Minnesota and Maryland 3rd, 5th, and 7th highest taxes in the country have cut their state tax rates.

States are noticing that the federal government is doing nothing to increase employment or reduce taxes. Democrats are usually sure that if the government has more money to spend on jobs programs, then employment will grow, and the money the newly hired earn will spread through the economy in splendid Keynesian fashion. Unfortunately it doesn’t work, but they  never learn.

Republicans intend to reduce the corporate tax rate as a sure boost to the economy and increased employment. The Keystone XL pipeline is high on their list with its guaranteed 20,000 new jobs. The president vows to veto, but he’s having an ever-harder time explaining his position.



Thomas Sowell PhD, on Uncommon Knowledge: Common Sense and Clarity. by The Elephant's Child

Tom Sowell has a marvelous skill in bringing economics down to the personal human world, or what you might call the common sense end of things. Peter Robinson is a marvelous host and asks great questions. This is one of the best of the Uncommon Knowledge interviews ever. Make time for it when you can.



“Can’t Stop the Cavalry” by The Elephant's Child

I’m a sucker for tuba music. This song comes in many versions, this one was made seven years ago for the troops.



Merry Christmas from the United States Air Force by The Elephant's Child

Last December, the United States Air Force Band did a surprise performance at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I loved this one. Enlarge to full screen, you’ll enjoy it. I’ve never been flash-mobbed, but the people who are there clearly love it.



The Christmas Truce, One Hundred Years Ago, Remembered. by The Elephant's Child

Here is Sainsbury’s official Christmas 2014 advertisement, made in cooperation with the Royal British Legion. It was inspired by very real events one hundred years ago. The chocolate bar featured in the video is being sold by Sainsburys, a British supermarket chain, all profits go to the Royal British Legion and benefit British armed forces and their families.

The Wall Street Journal published an article on the Christmas Truce in 1914. A British soldier named Frank Richards wrote about the event:

On Christmas morning we stuck up a board with ‘A Merry Christmas’ on it. The enemy had stuck up a similar one…. Two of our men then threw their equipment off and jumped on the parapet with their hands above their heads. Two of the Germans done the same and commenced to walk up the river bank, our two men going to meet them. They met and shook hands and then we all got out of the trench…

Up and down the four hundred-odd miles of trenches on the Western Front, men risked their lives with similar acts, meeting opposing soldiers in “no man’s land.” Wary and unarmed, they made their way out of their trenches, taking steps that, a day earlier, would have guaranteed their death at the hands of sharpshooters and machine gunners a hundred yards away.

The relaxation of hostilities spread, and what has come to be called the “Christmas truce” took hold. Soon, soldiers were holding joint burial services for the dead. They began trading goods. British soldiers had been given holiday tins of plum pudding from the king; German soldiers had received pipes with a picture of the crown prince on them; and before long the men were bartering these holiday gee-gaws that celebrated the enemy’s royals. Eventually, soldiers prayed and caroled together, shared dinner, exchanged gifts. Most famously, there were soccer matches at various locations, played with improvised balls.

The truce mostly held through Christmas and, in some cases, even to the New Year. It took senior officers’ threats for fighting to resume, and such comprehensive battlefront peacemaking never happened again during the Great War. Courts-martial were brought against those involved later in even brief Christmas truces to retrieve the dead.

ADDENDUM: Here’s a photograph of a real football game played on the battlefield in 1914 during the Christmas truce, from Twitter.

ChristmasTruce



A Little More Gloating — Indulge Me. by The Elephant's Child

B1qUKR0CQAEJJhP.jpg largeHere’s Utah’s Mia Love, getting a huge hug from her father on her victory. She will be a great asset to the House of Representatives.  A black, Mormon American of Haitian descent and a Republican. It is the latter description that is so troubling to Democrats. Apparently one cannot be black and Republican. Blacks who leave the Democrat plantation are to be subject to vile slander and hate. Free speech and free thought are not allowed if you do not conform. I like Mia Love a lot, I wish I could have voted for her.

An outstanding newly-elected Senator is Tom Cotton, of Arkansas. A Harvard graduate, military veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, law degree. Here’s his victory speech, a little out of the ordinary, and very special.



“The Ultimate Global Antipoverty Program” by The Elephant's Child

It’s the greatest achievement
in human history,
and one you probably
never heard about.”

Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990.  The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.

The World Bank reported on Oct. 9 that the share of the world population living in extreme poverty had fallen to 15% in 2011 from 36% in 1990. Earlier this year, the International Labor Office reported that the number of workers in the world earning less than $1.25 a day has fallen to 375 million 2013 from 811 million in 1991. …

The reduction in world poverty has attracted little attention because it runs against the narrative pushed by those hostile to capitalism. The Michael Moores of the world portray capitalism as a degrading system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Yet thanks to growth in the developing world, world-wide income inequality—measured across countries and individual people—is falling, not rising, as Branco Milanovic of City University of New York and other researchers have shown.

So what accounts for that? “It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.”

worldpoverty-600x387




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