Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Postrel on Healthcare

Required reading here. And her follow-up here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Bush Legacy

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has compiled GWB's spending legacy here. The numbers are staggering. Well done, Republicans.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our President, the Liar

More every day...

Mr. Will is Smart.

George Will on Obama's over-extension and other stuff here. Good read.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Deep Thoughts...

Something to ponder via Bryan Caplan:

All ideology aside: If the government had followed a laissez-faire policy for the last six months, and output, employment, housing, and financial markets stood exactly where they stand today, what fraction of people would conclude that "Events decisively prove that laissez-faire is a disaster"? Can you honestly give any answer less than 90%?

Tip to Reason.

Mark Sanford

There seems to be quite a few things for a libertarian to like about the South Carolina governor:

Mark Sanford is easy to overlook. If Republicans need a champion in the Obama era, there are more colorful candidates than the South Carolina governor. He doesn’t play electric bass, or to the Religious Right, like Mike Huckabee. He has made no attempt to rewrite the GOP’s almost forgotten small-government playbook like Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty or Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal. Though he is popular, Sanford seems incapable of playing a red-meat populist like Sarah Palin. He looks plain, his philosophy is old, and he has an elegiac demeanor that seems incompatible with electoral politics.

But unlike many other Republican politicians of his stature, Sanford recognizes that there are limits to ambition, that government treasuries are not bottomless, and that no ideology can captain the globe. If the promise of “hope” in the form of bailouts fails to revive the American economy, Mark Sanford will be the GOP’s most dangerous man in 2012.

As part of the Gingrich Revolution in 1994, Sanford pledged to serve just three terms. His explanation for the self-imposed limit reveals the two sides of his personality, the brainiac and the bumpkin. He says, “The ‘beta’ is the correlation between an individual stock and the market as a whole. Term limits change the beta of a political decision. Some politicians look at a single political decision and say, ‘Man, this could affect my career for the rest of my life.’ But with term limits, if it only affects you for the next two years, it’s not a life-changing event.”

Naturally, Sanford compiled a strikingly different record from many of his fellow revolutionaries. He regularly found himself grouped with Ron Paul and a few other staunch conservatives like Steve Largent and Tom Coburn on the losing end of lopsided votes. “I remember the leadership would come and say, ‘This stuff is okay during the campaign, but we have to govern,’ and I thought it was govern toward a specific end, not just govern to govern,” Sanford recalls.

But the governor edges closer to pure libertarianism at times. He rolls his eyes at the Columbia sheriff’s department’s zeal in investigating Michael Phelps’s recreational pot use. And he criticizes Alan Greenspan’s management of the “opaque” Federal Reserve. “If you take human nature out of a Fed, it might work,” he explains. “But you can’t. You can have these wise men. But who wants to turn off the spigot at a party that’s rolling?“

He also deviates from the Republican line on foreign policy. In Congress, he opposed Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo. And he was one of only two Republicans to vote against the 1998 resolution to make regime change in Iraq the official policy of the United States. He says that it was a “protest vote” in which he tried to reassert the legislature’s war-declaring powers. When asked about the invasion of Iraq, he extends his critique beyond the constitutional niceties. “I don’t believe in preemptive war,” he says flatly. “For us to hold the moral high ground in the world, our default position must be defensive.”

The GOP could do much worse, to be sure. TheBokononist on Sanford here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

State Freedom Ranking

The people at Mercatus have put together a ranking of the American states in terms of the "freedom" existing therein:

We find that the freest states in the country are New Hampshire, Colorado, and South Dakota, which together achieve a virtual tie for first place. All three states feature low taxes and government spending and middling levels of regulation and paternalism. New York is the least free by a considerable margin, followed by New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, and Maryland. On personal freedom alone, Alaska is the clear winner, while Maryland brings up the rear. As for freedom in the different regions of the country, the Mountain and West North Central regions are the freest overall while the Middle Atlantic lags far behind on both economic and personal freedom. Regressionanalysis demonstrates that states enjoying more economic and personal freedom tend to attract substantially higher rates of internal net migration.

And the authors' conclusion:
In our index conservative states have generally done better than liberal states, but moderately conservative states have done best of all. Previous research has shown that, as of 2006, Alabama and Mississippi were the most conservative states in the country, while New York and New Jersey were the most liberal. In our index Alabama and Mississippi fall in the middle, while New York and New Jersey are at the bottom. The problem is that the cultural values of liberal governments seem on balance to require more regulation of individual behavior than do the cultural values of conservative governments. While liberal states are freer than conservative states on marijuana and same-sex partnership policies, when it comes to gun owners, homeschoolers, motorists, or smokers, liberal states are nanny states, while conservative states are more tolerant. We should not attribute this relative freedom in conservative states to any philosophical respect for freedom inherent in contemporary political conservatism, but simply to the fact that the conservative position in the culture wars tends to require lessregulation. However, extremely conservative governments do not appear to afford any more freedom overall than do moderate, centrist governments.

Where is John Galt?

Apparently, people are searching more than ever:

Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

And here is an ABC News story highlighting a "shrugging atlas":
President Barack Obama's tax proposal – which promises to increase taxes for those families with incomes of $250,000 or more -- has some Americans brainstorming ways to decrease their pay, even if it's just by a dollar.
Good plan, eh?

Our President, the Liar

This tally is growing pretty fast:

During the campaign, Obama pushed a plan to withdraw one or two combat brigades per month until they were all out. Only two things have changed in Obama's 16-month departure plan: It will take longer than 16 months, and we won't depart.Instead of May 2010, the target date has been pushed back to August of that year.

Nor will he bring back one or two combat brigades each month. Instead, The New York Times reports, Obama plans to withdraw only two between now and December, or one combat brigade every five months.