Monday, December 19, 2011 - Capitalism and the Right to Rise - Opinion: Capitalism and the Right to Rise


We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn't seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing.

Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand "Do something . . . anything."

We either can go down the road we are on, a road where the individual is allowed to succeed only so much before being punished with ruinous taxation, where commerce ignores government action at its own peril, and where the state decides how a massive share of the economy's resources should be spent.

Or we can return to the road we once knew and which has served us well: a road where individuals acting freely an d with little restraint are able to pursue fortune and prosperity as they see fit, a road where the government's role is not to shape the marketplace but to help prepare its citizens to prosper from it.

In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle

Unfortunately, this type of example is all too common with a government that has far exceeded its proper bounds. - Opinion: The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle


Years before the Obama Administration dumped $70 billion into solar and wind energy and battery operated cars, and long before anyone heard of Solyndra, President Bush launched his own version of a green energy revolution. The future he saw was biofuels. In addition to showering billions of dollars on corn ethanol, Mr. Bush assured the nation that by 2012 cars and trucks could be powered by cellulosic fuels from switch grass and other plant life.

Most important, the Nancy Pelosi Congress passed and Mr. Bush signed a law imposing mandates on oil companies to blend cellulosic fuel into conventional gasoline. This guaranteed producers a market. In 2010 the mandate was 100 million barrels, rising to 250 million in 2011 and 500 million in 2012. By the end of this decade the requirements leap to 10.5 billion gallons a year.

Despite the taxpayer enticements, this year cellulosic fuel production won't be 250 million or even 25 million gallons. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency, which has the authority to revise the mandates, quietly reduced the 2011 requirement by 243.4 million gallons to a mere 6.6 million. Some critics suggest that even much of that 6.6 million isn't true cellulosic fuel.

To recap: Congress subsidized a product that didn't exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn't exist, is punishing oil companies for not buying the product that doesn't exist, and is now doubling down on the subsidies in the hope that someday it might exist. We'd call this the march of folly, but that's unfair to fools.




Monday, December 12, 2011 - The Millionaire Subsidy Elimination Act - Opinion: The Millionaire Subsidy Elimination Act


On Tuesday, President Obama once again blamed the lack of progress on the budget deficit on Republicans' refusal to raise taxes on their fat-cat friends and donors—the much-maligned 1%. Yet the top 1% of earners already pay close to 40% of all federal income taxes, a share that is almost double what it was in the 1970s.

Raising tax rates on high incomes, as Mr. Obama proposes, would only cut the deficit by about 6%, even assuming—wrongly—that those higher taxes wouldn't slow the economy.

The much bigger fiscal drain from the wealthy is on the federal expenditure side of the budget ledger: tens of billions each year in grants, loans, subsidies, guarantees and benefits pocketed each year by wealthy Americans as individuals and firms. Any campaign to downsize big government will only succeed if the needed deep cuts in spending are deemed by voters as equitable. In an era of $1 trillion-plus deficits and a $15 trillion national debt, we would like to think that a national consensus could be reached to eliminate handouts to individuals and companies with net incomes above $1 million.

We've long argued that the GOP should lead the charge.

We propose a new law: Let's call it The Millionaire Subsidy Elimination Act. It would prohibit anyone with an annual income over $1 million from receiving any government benefits. There's a big advantage to cutting benefits to millionaires rather than raising their tax rates to 40% or 50%. Slashing expenditures would help grow the economy, while raising tax rates would hurt U.S. competitiveness and job creation.





Friday, December 9, 2011 - Gingrich Is Inspiring-and Disturbing

Once again, Noonan nails it.  I love so much about Newt, and I would love to see him debate Obama for hours on end, but he also makes me nervous for all the reasons listed in this article.  I’ll support him 100% against O’bummer if he gets the nomination, but right now I’d still pull the lever for Romney. - Opinion: Gingrich Is Inspiring—and Disturbing< /b>


That's the problem with Newt Gingrich: It's all true. It's part of the reason so many of those who know him are anxious about the thought of his becoming president. It's also why people are looking at him, thinking about him, considering him as president.

Ethically dubious? True. Intelligent and accomplished? True. Has he known breathtaking success and contributed to real reforms in government? Yes. Presided over disasters? Absolutely. Can he lead? Yes. Is he erratic and unreliable as a leader? Yes. Egomaniac al? True. Original and focused, harebrained and impulsive—all true.

What is striking is the extraordinary divide in opinion between those who know Gingrich and those who don't. Those who do are mostly not for him, and they were burning up the phone lines this week in Washington.

Those who've known and worked with Mitt Romney mostly seem to support him, but when they don't they don't say the reason is that his character and emotional soundness are off. Those who know Ron Paul and oppose him do so on the basis of his stands, they don't say his temperament forecloses the possibility of his presidency. But that's pretty much what a lot of those who've worked with Newt say.

There are many good things to say about Newt Gingrich. He is compelling and unique, and, as Margaret Thatcher once said, he has "tons of guts."

But this is a walk on the wild side.