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Everything posted by ThrutchBlog

  1. This is an interesting follow-up on the Wisconsin teachers' union rule changes. It should give heart to reformers who will always have to put up with loud protests at the time, yet this example shows how effective reforms can ultimately be. Link to Original
  2. As many may know, Firefly is by far my favorite TV show. In this interview its creator, Joss Whedon, discusses how he manages to be so productive which I found incredibly interesting and motivating. This passage in particular struck me, in that it shows how much he enjoys what he does, such that even relaxing involves productivity. Link to Original
  3. Here are some anecdotal accounts of how Obama sicced his IRS thugs against a broad swath of ideological opponents. Gives me shivers. I was one of those victims of the IRS scandal. As an outspoken critic of President Obama and his socialist anti-business agenda, the IRS targeted me for intimidation and persecution–not once, but twice. The first IRS attack started in January of 2011. After I won a victory in tax court in the summer of 2012, I was audited again 5 days later. FIVE DAYS. Tax experts have never heard of this happening- EVER. [...] How did I know this was a coordinated attack on conservative critics and donors? Because just in my small inner circle of friends, virtually every businessman that I met was getting hit with IRS audit notices only weeks after writing checks to the GOP and Mitt Romney. Strange coincidence, huh? In one case, a friend of mine who is a hedge fund CEO attended the first major Wall Street fundraiser for Mitt Romney. Only a select few Wall Street big shots attended. After they went home, almost every one of them in the room that wrote a check to Romney later reported receiving IRS audit notices. In another case, a friend of mine wrote a big check to Romney. He called me to report his suspicions when only weeks later he received an IRS notice. In another case, my next-door neighbor (who is a big GOP donor) reported being under vicious IRS attack. In another case, my accountant was suddenly audited only months after my first IRS attack. Even my publicist received an IRS audit notice. Link to Original
  4. There are some good points herein, most notably: In fact, there is serious inequality in Sweden, but the divide is not so much between the rich and the poor as between those with jobs and those without. And frequently this is an ethnic divide. As the author Fredrik Segerfeldt points out in a new study, Sweden has the largest employment gap between natives and foreign-born of all the rich countries where data is available. Only 6.4 per cent of native Swedes are unemployed, but almost 16 per cent of the immigrants are. In Stockholm, as in Paris, this problem is concentrated in the suburbs. In Husby, where the riots started, 38 per cent of those under 26 neither study nor work. So what’s to blame? The aspect of the Swedish social model that the government has not dared to touch: strong employment protection. By law, the last person to be hired must be the first person to be sacked. And if you employ someone longer than six months, the contract is automatically made permanent. A system intended to protect the workers has condemned the young to a succession of short-term contracts. Sweden’s high de facto minimum wage — around 70 per cent of the average wage — renders unemployed those whose skills are worth less than that. Sweden has the fewest low-wage, entry-level jobs in Europe. Just 2.5 per cent of Swedish jobs are on this level, compared to a European average of 17 per cent. Those with poor education, experience or language skills have found that Sweden is not such a utopia after all. If you never get your first job, you never get the skills and experiences that would give you the second and third job. All that labour ‘protection’ has created a society of insiders and outsiders. Sweden has generously welcomed immigrants into its borders. But there is another border — around its jobs market — and it is heavily fortified. Link to Original
  5. Milton Wolf has a great column highlighting the tyrannical nature of Obama's federal government. Link to Original
  6. Paul Hsieh has a good column out showing how the implementation of Obamacare requires the sanction and participation of its victims. He then recommends that such victims withdraw their sanction. Link to Original
  7. I'm behind on the news and in keeping up with the lowlights of the day, but fwiw, here's my favorite WSJ columnist on the IRS scandal and Obama's role in it. Link to Original
  8. *** Mod's note: Merged with another topic - sN *** This is a nice promo piece for the Institute for Justice (which has litigated against eminent domain, campaign finance laws and licensing regulations among others). Link to Original
  9. I'm glad that Tom Bowden and ARI have once again taken up the issue of antitrust and the irreparable damage and injustice it does. This IBD editorial is a nice addition to their campaign. Link to Original
  10. I good article by Don Watkins at Forbes. Link to Original
  11. If I had kids, I think I'd send them to Leport Schools. Here's an example of why. Link to Original
  12. I neglected to post an announcement to this panel discussion on Islamists put on by the UC Davis Objectivist club, but it seems to have created quite the stir on campus. I haven't yet seen any followup stories on the event itself however. Link to Original
  13. You've got to love public <strike>indoctrination</strike> education of <b><a href="http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/benjibacker/15-year-old-wisconsin-conservative-meets-bullying?source=FWFBBenjisBlog">our youth</a></b>.<br /><br />And I must say I find it amazing that so many of the same people who are against the <i>voluntary</i> exercise of free speech by corporations &nbsp;simultaneously&nbsp;endorse the coercive funding of education -- a policy which forces taxpayers to materially advance views they find abhorrent and destructive. Link to Original
  14. NPR provides an interesting look at those the government pronounces "disabled". I don't know much about the topic, so I found this quite informative (and not the typical slanted NPR social engineering masquerading as reporting). Here's an excerpt: Link to Original
  15. A good <b><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/objectivist/2013/03/12/give-back-is-one-of-the-worlds-most-impoverishing-commands/">article</a></b> by Watkins and Brook. Link to Original
  16. The WSJ provides a good <b><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628804578346614033833092.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h">look</a></b> at the details of how central planning / government intervention affects the provision of healthcare under Obamacare. &nbsp;It's a good example to keep in mind when thinking about socialism's workings in general. Link to Original
  17. A good <b><a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-10/fukushima-radiation-proves-less-deadly-than-feared.html">article</a></b> on the Fukushima aftermath. Link to Original
  18. Detroit's <b><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/us/for-detroit-a-financial-crisis-was-long-coming.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=2&amp;">pension debacle</a></b> - a storyline we'll see at every level of government for the next 25 years or more. <br /><br />One point that's rarely made in these pieces is that deferring costs, i.e. levying them on those who aren't even receiving the benefits, leads to migration and thus even fewer people to tax. &nbsp;So for instance the tax revenue that Detroit collected in the 70's, 80's and 90's went to services, schools, roads, etc., while the funding shortfall -- the deficit -- accrued as unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities (which would have to be paid in the future). &nbsp;As time went on and the pensions started becoming due, current citizens not only faced higher tax rates, they also lived with diminished services since now the tax collection wasn't enough to pay for current needs. &nbsp;Since current taxpayers want benefits from their taxes, e.g. safe, well-lit&nbsp;neighbourhoods,&nbsp; they begin to migrate to places where taxes are still used for current expenses. &nbsp;Once this process starts, it's almost impossible to stop, since fewer and fewer people are left have to shoulder the burden accrued by previous generations. &nbsp;I predict that some time in the next decade, people will explicitly be looking at unfunded liabilities of both their own region and prospective regions to which to move. &nbsp;That's when the reality that the only way out of this mess will be massive government bankruptcies and a&nbsp;concomitant&nbsp;repudiation of a lot of the unfunded promises &nbsp;will finally strike home. Link to Original
  19. This is a very worthwhile tribute from Mark Steyn. Among other important observations: I should perhaps mention too, as with most things I post, I don't agree with the opinions carte-blanche. For example I don't think that Europeans cater to Muslims in order to get their vote, the cause is much deeper and worse, it's the lack of self-esteem (or even actual self-loathing) that many Europeans feel which makes them incapable of standing up for any Western principles. Muslims just happen to be the barbarians at the gates, if it's not them it will be a self-grown dictator of Hitler/Stalin stripes who will collect their souls. Link to Original
  20. I often think that living under the rule of law, even when the laws aren't perfect, is vastly under-appreciated. My biggest example is the Roman Empire, where historically 100 million people lived the best lives ever until the 1700's or so. This story of some Mexican towns "going vigilante" reminds me again how difficult it is to secure the rule of law (i.e. of how many ways decent people could go wrong in trying to establish an objective system of law) and thus makes me appreciate it from that perspective too. Link to Original
  21. This WSJ makes a very good point, despite all our current problems life today is pretty darn good. Here are the final two paragraphs, but I think the whole <b><a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323468604578249723138161566.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h">piece</a></b> is worth reading:<br /><br /><blockquote>Even though the inflation-adjusted hourly wage hasn't changed much in 50 years, it is unlikely that an average American would trade his wages and benefits in 2013—along with access to the most affordable food, appliances, clothing and cars in history, plus today's cornucopia of modern electronic goods—for the same real wages but with much lower fringe benefits in the 1950s or 1970s, along with those era's higher prices, more limited selection, and inferior products.</blockquote><blockquote>Despite assertions by progressives who complain about stagnant wages, inequality and the (always) disappearing middle class, middle-class Americans have more buying power than ever before. They live longer lives and have much greater access to the services and consumer products bought by billionaires.</blockquote> Link to Original
  22. Several stories are out recently revealing how many high earners move to avoid onerous state taxes. It makes me happy that in the process they help starve the blood sucking parasites that make up the electorate and governments of our most socialist states (e.g. CA and NY). This story for example, reveals that Tiger Woods saved about $100 million in CA taxes over a 16 year career. While this story highlights a potential developing trend of hedge funds and private equity firms leaving NYC to relocate to Palm Beach, Florida. Another beneficial result is that several states are discussing reducing their income and corporate taxes to become more competitive. Not only will this make the movement of high income earners more pronounced -- it might also eventually allow activists in high tax states to successfully promote freedom over tax, spend and regulate. (I know, the latter is probably wishful thinking, the leaders in these states seem to be willing to completely bankrupt their states rather than even consider changing their ways.) Link to Original
  23. ARI has two valuable commentaries: Dr. Peikoff at the Huffington Post, and the first ARI podcast featuring Onkar and Tom Bowden. Link to Original
  24. For those willing to engage in the next political tragi-comedy, the debt ceiling negotiations, here's a good WSJ piece laying out some valuable talking points / myth-busters. Link to Original
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