Sunday, March 23, 2008
Real Debate Questions for GOP Candidates
What Is America's Top Economic Challenge?
Do You Want a Balanced Budget? If Yes, Why?
Have You Taken the No-Tax-Increase Pledge? If No, Why Not? If Yes, How Do You Intend to Fulfill that Pledge?
With PAYGO Budget Rules, How Would You Extend the Bush Tax Cuts?
Name at Least One Program, Agency, or Department You Would Abolish.
Do Americans Have Too Much Health Insurance, or Too Little?
Is It a Good Thing that About 40 Percent of Americans Are Off the Tax Rolls?
More than 20 Nations Have Flat Tax Systems. Should America Join that Club?
More than 30 Nations Have Personal Retirement Accounts. Should America Join that Club?
Is It Time to End the Ethanol Boondoggle?
I am going to have to ask you to read the article yourself to find out the rest.
When I have time, I'll post my own answers to the questions above.
TMZ: Recovering missing soldiers is a "ridiculous waste"
TMZ, the celebrity gossip site, has taken a break from posting about Britney's crotch shots, celebrity sex tapes, fashion scandals, and American Idol to opine about taxes and the military. Here's what they had to say:
Former "Bachelor" bachelor Andy Baldwin just got back from the island of Palau in the South Pacific -- not on vacation, on a mission with the Navy. Now let's talk about why we the taxpayers are footing the bill on such BS.
Baldwin was among 20 military types who were on a search mission in the middle of the ocean. What, you ask, were they looking for? A B-24J bomber that went down during the war. Not Iraq. Not Vietnam. No, not Korea. We're talking WWII, as in more than 60 years ago.
Turns out, the military spends $52 million each year to find the remains of missing soldiers -- it's part of the POW/MIA program. That's all well and good depending on the circumstances. But a crash that is ancient history, at a time when the economy sucks and the Federal government is sucking the life out of everyone with taxes??
Baldwin, a Navy medic and diver, and crew found what could be human remains. We're told it's all being tested in the lab and it could take months, even years, to determine identities. At least he got a really good tan.
A poll accompanied the story asking, "Ridiculous waste?", which 48% of TMZ readers responded, "Yes".
Oh my Lord, some people are disgustingly disturbing. How brain-dead... recovering the remains of missing soldiers is a waste? Recovering the remains of people defending our freedoms and way of life is a "ridiculous waste"?! These men and women give the ultimate sacrifice for us... and they don't want to spend $52 million out of a $3 trillion federal budget to find the remains of these brave individuals? How vile and pathetic. What parasites.
You want to see what real freaking waste is you cursed leeches? Well here is several examples you.... ugh... I hate brain-dead people.
• The federal government made at least $55 billion in overpayments in 2007.
• The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.
• Washington spends $60 billion annually on corporate welfare versus $50 billion on homeland security.
• Suburban families are receiving large farm subsidies for the grass in their backyards—subsidies that many of these families never requested and do not want.
• Over half of all farm subsidies go to corporate farms with average household incomes of $200,000.
• Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them—costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion per year—fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.
• Congress appropriated $20 million for “commemoration of success” celebrations related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Examples of wasteful duplication include: 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 safe water programs.
• Federal auditors estimate that $4 billion in Iraq-related spending is lost to corruption each year.
• Homeland Security employee purchases include 63-inch plasma TVs, iPods, and $230 for a beer brewing kit.
• The CBO published a “Budget Options” book identifying $140 billion in potential spending cuts.
• Two drafting errors in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act will add $2 billion to its total cost.
• The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent labs that it cannot use.
• The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration billed taxpayers for its 30th anniversary celebration in 2000 and then for its 200th anniversary celebration in 2007.
• Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines.
• The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.
• Medicaid fraud and abuse are estimated to cost $15–$25 billion annually.
• Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 on admission to entertainment events, $48,250 on gambling, $69,300 on cruises, and $73,950 on exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.
• Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use.
• Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers—the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans.
• Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and at least one sex change operation.
• Auditors discovered that 900,000 of the 2.5 million recipients of emergency Katrina assistance provided false names, addresses, or Social Security numbers or submitted multiple applications.
• Medicare officials recently mailed $50 million in erroneous refunds to 230,000 Medicare recipients.
• The Commerce Department has lost 1,137 computers since 2001, many containing Americans’ personal data.
• Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse.
• Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia.
• Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737.
• Congressional investigators were able to receive $55,000 in federal student loan funding for a fictional college they created to test the Department of Education.
• The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses; 40 percent of this funding goes to Fortune 500 companies.
• The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually not to farm their land.
Don't EVER say that spending $52 million to recover the remains of the bravest amongst us is a waste of resources!
How do the right and left differ?
The conclusion of today's ec 10 lecture:
In today's lecture, I have discussed a number of reasons that right-leaning and left-leaning economists differ in their policy views, even though they share an intellectual framework for analysis. Here is a summary.
- The right sees large deadweight losses associated with taxation and, therefore, is worried about the growth of government as a share in the economy. The left sees smaller elasticities of supply and demand and, therefore, is less worried about the distortionary effect of taxes.
- The right sees externalities as an occasional market failure that calls for government intervention, but sees this as relatively rare exception to the general rule that markets lead to efficient allocations. The left sees externalities as more pervasive.
- The right sees competition as a pervasive feature of the economy and market power as typically limited both in magnitude and duration. The left sees large corporations with substantial degrees of monopoly power that need to be checked by active antitrust policy.
- The right sees people as largely rational, doing the best the can given the constraints they face. The left sees people making systematic errors and believe that it is the government role’s to protect people from their own mistakes.
- The right sees government as a terribly inefficient mechanism for allocating resources, subject to special-interest politics at best and rampant corruption at worst. The left sees government as the main institution that can counterbalance the effects of the all-too-powerful marketplace.
- There is one last issue that divides the right and the left—perhaps the most important one. That concerns the issue of income distribution. Is the market-based distribution of income fair or unfair, and if unfair, what should the government do about it? That is such a big topic that I will devote the entire next lecture to it.
I'd imagine the last one establishes the viewpoint that an individual will have, continuously shaping the perception they'll have in regards to such matters.
It is very interesting how differently people can view the world. Thank you for showing that so clearly, Mr. Mankiw.
"This may be the most important video in our series since it shines the light of truth on the flawed revenue-estimating model used by the Joint Committee on Taxation," said Andrew Quinlan president of the CF&P Foundation.
Part I was praised by renowned economist Art Laffer, the pioneer of the Laffer Curve when he said, "I hope it is widely viewed so that more people understand the need for pro-growth tax policy."
Part II was called "superb!" by Donald J. Boudreaux, Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University and blogger at the widely read Café Hayek.
"Stop the presses…the new Laffer Curve video is up on YouTube," said Lawrence Kudlow the host of CNBC's Kudlow & Company, nationally syndicated columnist and a former Reagan economic advisor.
The CF&P Foundation's Laffer Curve Part III video is narrated by Cato Institute Senior Fellow Dan Mitchell.
The Laffer Curve, Part I: Understanding the Theory
The Laffer Curve, Part II: Reviewing the Evidence
The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Top 10 Reasons Bloggers Don't Succeed
Last week, the Blogging While Female article that I did touched on, in passing, some recommendations for bloggers who want to become more successful. I heard from a few people that they wanted to hear more on that topic and although I'm no Michelle Malkin or Power Line, I have done well enough to blog for a living, so I must be doing something right. Moreover, I have been writing on the net since 1998 and doing political blogging since 2001, so I have seen a lot -- and I mean a LOT -- of bloggers come and go.
With that in mind, here are, in my humble opinion, the top ten reasons that bloggers don't succeed...
I found it very interesting. I'll be sure to keep this one close for future reference!
Thank you, Mr. Hawkins.