Welfare, Taxes, the Nanny State, and Supply-Side Economics

March 10, 2017

Remember, welfare traps people in poverty. It’s not a hand helping you up: it’s a hand grabbing your ankle and holding you back.

International Liberty

What’s the right way to define good tax policy? There are several possible answers to that question, including the all-important observation that the goal should be to only collect the amount of revenue needed to finance the legitimate functions of government, and not one penny above that amount.

But what if we want a more targeted definition? A simple principle to shape our understanding of tax policy?

I’m partial to what I wrote last year.

the essential insight of supply-side economics…when you tax something, you get less of it.

I’m not claiming this is my idea, by the way. It’s been around for a long time.

Indeed, it’s rumored that Reagan shared a version of this wisdom.

I don’t know if the Gipper actually said those exact words, but his grasp of tax policy was very impressive. And the changes he made led to very good results

View original post 584 more words


Fake news? California did not just legalize child prostitution.

December 30, 2016

Send help.

“Fake news” has been all the rage in recent weeks as Clintonistas and progressives more generally search for any reason why Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump other than she was a horrible candidate.

The charge is, of course, horse manure for any number of reasons, but I’m going to level it here at a mendacious, tendentious article published in The Washington Examiner and written by Travis Allen, a California Republican Assemblyman. To wit:

No, California did not just legalize child prostitution.

If you’re like me and did a “WTF?” head-shake at the very idea that buying sex from a minor is now just groovy here, here’s a graphic of the headline, in case The Examiner changes it:

examiner

And here’s a quote from the article:

Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.

SB 1322 bars law enforcement from arresting sex workers who are under the age of 18 for soliciting or engaging in prostitution, or loitering with the intent to do so. So teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.

This is, to put it kindly (and remembering this is a family show), ninety-five percent wrong and just right enough to mislead a lot of people.

Let’s do some digging, shall we? First, here is an excerpt of a press release (1) from Senator Holly Mitchell (D), the author of the bill:

The Governor has signed into law legislation that deems persons under the age of 18 who might previously have been charged with criminal prostitution as victims of sex trafficking, eligible for treatment rather than prosecution.

The law is supposed to protect vulnerable children from adult abuse, yet we brand kids enmeshed in sex-for-pay with a scarlet ‘P’ and leave them subject to shame and prosecution,” said State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), who introduced SB 1322. “This is our opportunity to do what we say is right in cases of sex trafficking: stop the exploiters and help the exploited.”

When it comes to the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), the victims are criminalized under California law, often sent to juvenile hall and tagged with a rap sheet for prostitution.

So, Mitchell claims the bill treats child prostitutes as victims, rather than criminals. Regardless of Mr. Allen’s claims, this is not the same as legalizing child prostitution.

But a press release can be just as misleading as a news article, so let’s look at the bill’s actual text. Senate Bill 1322 (SB 1322) amends Section 647 of the California Penal Code. The relevant paragraphs are 647 (a) and 647 (b)(1) and (b)(2). I quote them here in full:

SECTION 1. Section 647 of the Penal Code is amended to read:

647. Except as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) and subdivision (l), every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor:

(a) Who solicits anyone to engage in or who engages in lewd or dissolute conduct in any public place or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view.

(b) (1) Who solicits or who agrees to engage in or who engages in any act of prostitution. A person agrees to engage in an act of prostitution when, with specific intent to so engage, he or she manifests an acceptance of an offer or solicitation to so engage, regardless of whether the offer or solicitation was made by a person who also possessed the specific intent to engage in prostitution. No agreement to engage in an act of prostitution shall constitute a violation of this subdivision unless some act, in addition to the agreement, is done within this state in furtherance of the commission of an act of prostitution by the person agreeing to engage in that act. As used in this subdivision, “prostitution” includes any lewd act between persons for money or other consideration.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), this subdivision does not apply to a child under 18 years of age who is alleged to have engaged in conduct to receive money or other consideration that would, if committed by an adult, violate this subdivision. A commercially exploited child under this paragraph may be adjudged a dependent child of the court pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and may be taken into temporary custody pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 305 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, if the conditions allowing temporary custody without warrant are met.

Read it carefully:

  • Paragraph (a) discusses anyone who in a public place tries to get another to have sex, including for pay. In other words, it includes a potential John making an offer.
  • Paragraph (b)(1) criminalizes the person the person who offers sex in return for money – the prostitute.
  • Paragraph (b)(2) removes the criminal penalties for prostitutes under 18, but makes them a dependent of the courts so that they can get help to escape that life, not a juvenile record. They can be taken into custody. They are not let off to do it again, they are not “free to have sex in exchange for money.”

What SB 1322 emphatically does not do is decriminalize perverts offering to pay for sex with a minor –paragraph (a)– or the prostitutes’ pimps. It does not decriminalize statutory rape, which is what sex with a minor prostitute would constitute. Those are still crimes in California. To state it plainly:

Child prostitution is still a crime in California.

One can debate whether Mitchell’s approach is the right one and whether the bill is prudent, but to say it legalizes something as horrible as child prostitution is “fake news” that defames Senator Mitchell and Governor Brown, and is insulting to California and its people. The Washington Examiner should at a minimum change the headline or, preferably, retract the article. Assemblyman Allen owes his colleague in the state senate an apology for insulting her and to the people of his district for embarrassing them.

There’s a lot wrong with my home state, but legalizing child sex is not one of them.

PS: To say 2016 has been a weird year is by now a cliche. Whether in politics or pop culture, this year has seen many saddening, maddening, and just plain weird occurrences.

But, here we go again. I’m defending California Democrats, the people running this state into the ground, Governor Jerry Brown, and my state senator, Holly Mitchell, a down-the-line progressive whom I’d never vote for. And I’m criticizing a California Republican.

Like I said, 2016 has been weird, man.

Relevant Link: The Blaze also states the truth.

UPDATE: Linked at Red State.

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, the headline for the press release says there is “no such thing as a child prostitute.” This is as much bunkum as Allen’s article. Selling sex in return for consideration makes one a prostitute, whether willing or not and whether adult or minor. This kind of avoidance of the truth helps no one.


(Video) Who’s more liberal on abortion: America or Europe?

May 23, 2016

The answers may surprise both conservatives and Europhiliac progressives alike:

Weird Related Fact: Here in the state of California, a minor can have an abortion without parental notification and consent. A legal adult, on the other hand, fully able to vote, sign binding contracts, and serve in the military, cannot buy a pack of cigarettes until he or she turns 21. Not sure what that says about us, but it can’t be good.


(Video) Are 1 in 5 women raped in college?

April 11, 2016

The “1 in 5” statistic has been used by the feminist left and pandering politicians to promote the idea that there is a “rape culture” crisis on our college campuses. This, of course, has lead to new laws in some states (1) that set an “affirmative consent” standard — minutely regulating the sexual interactions of college students, a progressive’s dream.

But is this statistic correct?

For Prager University, Caroline Kitchens of the American Enterprise Institute says the answer is “no” and shows what a hollow foundation that “1 in 5” figure rests on:

This false statistic has harmful real-world consequences, as universities assume guilt-upon-accusation and deny males accused of sexual assault even the most basic protections of due process, acting like a Star Chamber. This is the real “crisis” on campuses. Journalist Ashe Schow has written extensively about it and you can learn a lot from her archives.

Footnote:
(1) Such as California. Sigh.

 


(Video) Is America racist?

January 18, 2016

For Prager University, radio talk show host Larry Elder explores a question that’s quite fitting for Martin Luther King Day: Is the United States a racist country? The Democrats, their candidates, and the Left (1) tell us it is over and over (and over and over). If you take what they say at face value, then America is a racist hellhole in which Blacks are regularly oppressed by Whites and in grave danger of being killed by police at any moment. Racism is so ingrained in us as a nation, they say, that even the president says it’s “in our DNA.” And, of course, this idea gets carried across the nation and the world by a largely left-leaning media.

But what’s the truth? Do the facts comport with reality? In this brief video, Elder puts reality up against the Leftist fantasy, and reality wins:

This isn’t of course to say that there aren’t any problems, some of them personal, others structural.

But, I am so sick and tired of the “America is ‘AmeriKKKa'” garbage the Left spews to make its arguments, I just wish that some major figure on their side –even just one– would acknowledge that we’ve made tremendous progress since the days of slavery and Jim Crow. (2)

But they can’t, because they rely on ethnic resentment and the lie of a hateful America to gin up votes and win elections. If it weren’t for their “America is awful” sales pitch, they’d have nothing to offer at all.

Footnotes:
(1) But, of course, I repeat myself.
(2) The former of which Democrats fought a civil war to defend, while their children and grandchildren spent decades building and preserving the latter. Just to be clear.


Video: Carly Fiorina links Iran and Planned Parenthood

September 17, 2015

From last night’s debate. I didn’t watch, but it sounds like it was a good night for her and Senator Rubio, and not so good a night for Donald Trump. Back to Fiorina, this was impressive. She’s clearly earned her place in prime-time debates.

Leadership. I’d almost forgotten what it sounded like.

 


Is it possible to die from an overdose of White House chutzpah?

September 4, 2015
No way!!

He said what?!?!

Because, man, Press Secretary Mouth of Sauron Josh Earnest is putting me at risk.

A little background: in the wake of the Obergefell ruling by the Supreme Court that forces the entire nation to permit same-sex marriages, there’s been some push-back by state governments and local officials who claim with some justification that this violates the religious liberty of local officials who view same-sex marriage as sinful. And, as a nation that often has granted exemptions for strongly held beliefs (conscientious objectors and military service, for example), a debate has grown about whether and how to accommodate these people. A county clerk in Kentucky brought the matter to a head recently:

A Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage was jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Ky., was ordered detained for contempt of court and later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to process same-sex marriage licenses that could have prompted her release.

Instead, on a day when one of Ms. Davis’s lawyers said she would not retreat from or modify her stand despite a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Judge David L. Bunning of United States District Court secured commitments from five of Ms. Davis’s deputies to begin providing the licenses. At least two couples planned to seek marriage licenses Friday.

(Good on the NYT for mentioning later in the article that Davis is a Democrat, though they did bury that fact a bit.)

To be brief (and I’m sure you want me to get to the point), I think Ms. Davis is in the wrong here, even though I sympathize with her concerns about her religion. (1) I think the judge, who himself disagrees with Obergefell, was left with no choice but to jail her for her obduracy. It may be a small case, but the rule of law was at issue here. Granting her an exemption while letting her deputies issue licenses to gay couples would not have been sufficient; she is, after all, en elected official sworn to uphold the law and, like it or not, Obergefell is the law. That is her obligation as a public servant. The correct action would have been for her to resign in protest and in her resignation letter make her objections clear.

So, naturally, this became a national brouhaha –that NYT article was front page, for Pete’s sake– and, where there is national attention to be had, the White House has to weigh in. And they did so with this jaw-dropper:

The White House said today that the Kentucky county clerk taken into custody over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses should obey the law just as President Obama does.

Press secretary Josh Earnest, asked at today’s briefing about the jailing of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for contempt, said “ultimately I think that this is something that the courts will weigh in on.”

But, he said, “the question of the rule of law” is at stake.

“And every public official in our democracy is subject to the rule of law. No one is above the law. That applies to the president of the United States and that applies to the County Clerk and Rowan County, Kentucky, as well,” Earnest said. “And that’s a fundamental principal of our democracy. In terms of how that applies to this particular case? That’s obviously something that a judge will have to decide. And I would not second guess it from here.”

I’m amazed that he didn’t choke to death from trying to keep from laughing here. I actually agree with Josh Earnest that the rule of law is at issue here. It’s a shame his boss doesn’t know the meaning of the words. Let’s consider just a few examples:

  • Obamacare waivers
  • Multiple far-reaching regulations (EPA, NLRB, FCC) issued with no statutory authority
  • Racially biased enforcement of our civil rights laws on voting
  • The Libya war, in violation of the War Powers Act
  • Operation Fast & Furious
  • Failure to produce budgets by the statutory deadline — or at all
  • Non-enforcement of our immigration laws
  • Ignoring the treaty clause of the Constitution
  • Ignoring congressional demands for information in violation of Congress’ oversight powers

All of this just screams “respect for the rule of law,” and I’m sure you can come up with others.

How Earnest avoided a lightning bolt from above for this one, I don’t know. I guess even God was gobsmacked.

via PJMedia

Footnote:
(1) For the record, I both support allowing same-sex marriage and I think Obergefell was a terrible decision.


I’m sure Wesleyan University has offended someone by leaving a letter or two out

August 30, 2015
x

“Wait? Which letter am I?”

There have been plenty of silly moments in academia’s race to be offensive to none, inclusive of all, and apologizing to everyone for anything, but this really crosses into the realm of self-parody. Via Kat Timpf at National Review:

Weslyan University in Connecticut is now offering “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” housing, because apparently “LGBT” — or even “LGBTTQQ” — wouldn’t have been inclusive enough. For the culturally ignorant among us, “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, flexual, asexual, genderf**k, polyamorous, bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism.”

The name of this super-inclusive, social-justice-hero of a dorm is “Open House,” and it is meant to be a “safe space” for self-identified LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM students, according to the university’s official website.

In case your particular self-identification isn’t covered in that alphabet soup, Wesleyan assures you that your “sexually or gender dissident” lifestyle will still be welcome.

And probably have its own diversity counselor, pronouns, and safe rooms.

I wonder if a straight male student at Wesleyan could apply, claiming to be “sexually and gender-dissident” against the dominant LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM culture?

Nah. Too radical.


Planned Parenthood: the baby was still alive when they took its brain

August 19, 2015
Republican insiders "help" Paul Ryan

Medieval Planned Parenthood staff in action

Utter ghoulishness:

The organization that has released six videos exposing the scandal of Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies and their body parts has released a new undercover video today with another shocking discovery. This latest video catches the nation’s biggest abortion business harvesting the brain of an aborted baby who was still alive.

The video features Holly O’Donnell, a licensed phlebotomist who unsuspectingly took a job as a “procurement technician” at the fetal tissue company and biotech start-up StemExpress in late 2012. That’s the company that acts as a middleman and purchases the body parts of aborted babies from Planned Parenthood to sell to research universities and other places. StemExpress was partnered with Planned Parenthood up until last week, when it quietly announced it ended its relationship with the abortion corporation.

The new video includes O’Donnell’s eyewitness narrative of the daily practice of fetal body parts harvesting in Planned Parenthood abortion clinics. She tells the harrowing story of harvesting an intact brain from a late-term male unborn baby whose heart was still beating after the abortion.

O’Donnell describes the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term baby aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, California.

“‘I want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”

I can’t wait for the tortured explanations from Planned Parenthood’s apologists, which inevitably include some variation on the “War on Women” distraction. And, don’t worry, California’s Attorney General (and likely next federal senator) Kamala Harris (D) has sworn to investigate this atrocity. What, you think she means to investigate Planned Parenthood and its possibly illegal traffic in baby organs? Perish the thought! No, she going to go after the real criminals — the people who exposed this traffic in death.

Go read the whole thing; there’s also a video you can watch, if you have the stomach for it. Like I said earlier today on Twitter:

I’m not sure that Planned Parenthood has violated any laws, but I suspect strongly they’re broken several, including those related to organ harvesting, their transportation, their sale, partial-birth abortion (during the harvesting), and the treatment of infants that have survived abortion — i.e., born alive. And if this news is any indication, we may be looking at murder, too. I’ll leave that up to investigators, who I hope are finally getting off their rears to launch criminal inquiries.

Let me leave you with one last quote from the first article:

O’Donnell also tells how her StemExpress supervisor instructed her to cut through the face of the fetus in order to get the brain.

“I can’t even describe what that feels like,” she says.

Somewhere in Hell, Dr. Mengele smiles.

PS: I’m not an anti-abortion absolutist. The health of the mother, for one thing, may require an abortion. But I should like to think even the most ardent defender of the pro-abortion position can agree that something abominable is happening at Planned Parenthood. Something that needs to be stopped.


Could Planned Parenthood be any more ghoulish? @ppact

July 14, 2015

They’re killing unborn infants by the carload and getting taxpayer money to do it. It’s for women’s health, you know, and therefore our progressive betters have told us it’s a-okay. Don’t fret. No worries.

I mean, what’s a little organ trading among friends?

In shocking video obtained by the Center for Medical Progress and first reported by Live Action News, a top Planned Parenthood executive is seen attempting to sell body parts from aborted babies.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services, is caught on video bragging about how she aborts babies in such a way that their body parts and organs can later be sold for profit.

“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part,” Nucatola tells actors posing as organ traffickers. “I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” Nucatola continued. “And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”

Somewhere in Hell, Dr. Mengele laughs and smiles in approval.

Remember ACORN? They lost their government funding and went out of business when they were caught engaging voter fraud. (1)

But this? This is something I’d expect under a totalitarian regime, such as China; not here.

This is just evil.

ACORN lost its funding for mere voter fraud. It seems like it should be a no-brainer to cut off Planned Parenthood for harvesting organs from aborted babies. Beyond that, there should be one or more criminal investigations. At the very least, beyond the laws cited in the video, the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act (PDF) forbids the sale of human organs. Hello, FBI? That’s your cue.

Beyond that, think about Dr. Nucatola calmly discussing dismembering humans and selling their remains over wine and lunch.

And then get sick.


Say it after me: “Guns save lives”

June 11, 2015

Gun Control Stupid

Via Hot Air, this woman is certainly lucky to be alive, but that’s largely because she was also wise enough to have a firearm handy to even the odds:

A Detroit woman was able to fight off five home invaders in a shootout early Tuesday morning. The woman, who has a concealed carry permit, took the robbers by surprise after they burst in her bedroom window, WDIV reports.

“I was able to get to my gun. They didn’t know I had it. By that time, it was just gunfire,” Ms. Dee said.

Free Beacon has video, and Allahpundit can give you the lowdown on how crime has declined in Detroit since the police chief there began encouraging private gun ownership. (I can imagine Mike Bloomberg clutching his pearls even now.)

The gun control crowd keeps claiming that allowing widespread ownership of firearms will lead to a bloodbath, but the opposite seems empirically true: in jurisdictions where the 2nd Amendment is respected, violent crime rates have gone down. (Let’s face it, someone is less likely to rob or assault someone if he can’t be sure his target isn’t packing.)

But, in “progressive” jurisdictions with strict gun regulations, the violent crime rates are much, much higherHello, Chicago! — probably because the potential targets can’t defend themselves, so the criminals feel they’re in their own “safe zone.”

Someday it’s going to get through to the “Moms Demand” crowd that denying a person’s natural right to self-defense is not the way to prevent gun violence. Until then, we can be grateful for those jurisdictions that do, so the “Ms. Dees” of the world can legally protect themselves.

PS: I’m not saying that correlation is causation, of course, but the correlation is strong.


Meet Senator DeLeon, California’s would-be sex czar

June 3, 2015
"You are allowed on position, two on Sundays."

“You are allowed one position, two on Sundays.”

This must be the kind of thing a once-prosperous, forward-looking state does when it slips into terminal senility. In a state where once everyone could “do their own thing,” the president of our state senate wants to regulate how we have sex:

[California’s new] “yes means yes” law effectively defines every sexual encounter as rape unless you follow the law’s specific requirements — or unless neither party turns the other in to police.

Now [State Senator Kevin] de Leon is moving on to round two: Teaching high school students the “correct” way to have sex. Human nature is no longer the correct way. De Leon knows the correct way — and it involves a lot of questions.

The California state senate just passed S.B. 695, which adds affirmative consent instruction to high school health courses. The bill passed by a vote of 39-0 and had bipartisan support.

“As it stands, we are not doing nearly enough. We can and must educate the youth of our state, especially our young men, about affirmative consent and healthy relationships,” de Leon said in a press release about the new bill. “This bill represents the next step in the fight to change behavior toward young women.”

And, if a young man doesn’t follow the precisely prescribed procedure, he can face charges of rape. Can’t wait for the goat rodeo of cases that will arise from this one.

This is precisely why limited-government conservatives believe what they do: because too many people, such as Senator de Leon, believe the government can and should manage everything.

Even the most basic human functions.

PS: I would love an explanation from the Republican caucus of why they supported this nonsense.


(Video) In which Ted Cruz owns a “reporter” on Gay rights

May 23, 2015

Senator Cruz isn’t my first choice for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, though I’ll happily vote for him if he is. However, he gets an unqualified high-five from me for putting this shill for Democratic National Committee talking points in his place:

Pardon me a moment… smiley dance smiley cheering smiley thumbs up

Few things tick me off more than the progressive Left’s hypocrisy on women and Gay rights: silently ignoring the hideous abuse both suffer under Islam while creating fake controversies here at home.

Go, Ted!


Danish jihadis collecting unemployment while on jihad in Syria

May 19, 2015

“But first subsidize us, please.”

One of those “insult on injury” moments: these Muslims (1) despise Western liberal society and wish to overthrow it and replace it with one based on their totalitarian sharia law, but they’re quite willing to take our welfare money while they fight to destroy the hand that gives it to them.

We have met the useful idiot, and he is us:

A total of 32 ‘Danish’ terrorists have continued to claim state unemployment benefits amounting to kr.400,000 (£38,500) while fully employing themselves in the act of Jihad in Syria.

Documents acquired by a Danish Radio24syv show the security service and labour ministry had undertaken private discussions about the mispayments, presumably terminating them as they were discovered, but not before a significant amount of taxpayer money had been funnelled to enemies of the state.

Remarkably, out of the 32 fighters claiming Denmark’s generous £75 a day only one had been recognised as fraudulent and stopped by his benefits office. Somehow the remainder had managed to keep claiming, despite not even being in the country.

(…)

Claiming unemployment benefit while conspiring against the host country appears to have become a key part of terrorist life in many Western nations. ‘British’ hate preacher Anjem Choudary was recorded in 2013 making mockery of Westerners who worked regular jobs and paid taxes, and called on Muslims to claim “Jihad Seekers Allowance” instead of working.

Lenin once said “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” Well, the modern welfare state will do you one better Vlad.

We’ll also give them the money to buy that rope.

That’ll show’em. smiley headbang wall

Footnote:
(1) Not all Muslims, of course. But far too many at least support imposing sharia and recreating the caliphate, even if they’re ambivalent about waging violent jihad to do it.


Thanks to progressivism, we’ve lost the “War on Poverty”

August 1, 2014
"Defeat"

“Defeat”

The War on Poverty was launched in 1964 under Lyndon Johnson with the best of intentions: through massive spending and extensive welfare programs, the government would eradicate poverty in America and make people self-sufficient. Like I said, a worthy goal.

It has also been an utter failure. In 1964 we declared war on poverty, and poverty won.

As the chart above shows, poverty was in deep, rapid decline in America after World War II without any government help, just the natural processes of a growing, prosperous economy. It looked well on its way to elimination, perhaps. Then, in the mid to late-60s, it leveled off and, save for an occasional bump up, has stayed right around fifteen percent.What happened?

In 1964, with the start of the War on Poverty, progressives and other economically illiterate do-gooders wound up trapping people in poverty, rather than helping them out of it. As Robert Rector at The Signal writes:

Johnson did not intend to put more Americans on the dole (1). Instead, he explicitly sought to reduce the future need for welfare by making lower-income Americans productive and self-sufficient.

By this standard, the War on Poverty has been a catastrophic failure. After spending more than $20 trillion on Johnson’s war, many Americans are less capable of self-support than when the war began. This lack of progress is, in a major part, due to the welfare system itself. Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing inter-generational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future. Reforms should focus on these programs’ incentive structure to point the way toward self-sufficiency. One step is communicating that the poverty rate is better understood as self-sufficiency rate—that is, we should measure how many Americans can take care of themselves and their families.

Emphasis added.

What was it Ronald Reagan said?

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”

One would think that, faced with all the mounds of evidence that government programs don’t lift people out of poverty, Progressives, who claim to be devoted to “progress,” would see the war on poverty has been a failure and that the programs should be reformed or discontinued and something else tried, something like less government intervention.

But, no. Few ever will be that honest, because to say government failed to reorder society as desired would be to admit that the central tenet of progressivism, a faith in the power of technocrats to manage a vastly complex society, was wrong.

Meanwhile, that core 15% remains trapped in poverty, addicted to government “crack” and walking a road paved with good intentions.

PS: Note the sharp climb back up to 15% at the end of that chart. It starts soon after the Democrats take over Congress in 2006 and undo the 1990s Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform, then accelerates under Obama. Coincidence? I think not.

RELATED: Cato economist Dan Mitchell has often written on the same topic. Here’s a post he wrote on the failures of the War on Poverty and another on the “redistribution trap.” That latter is must-reading.

Footnote:
(1) Many criticize that assertion, with some justification. See for example Kevin Williamson’s “The Dependency Agenda.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare success! New Medicaid enrollee turned down by 96 doctors

April 9, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

One of the oft-stated goals of the Affordable Care Act was insuring the uninsured. For those who couldn’t afford insurance even with the new subsidies, states could expand their Medicaid offerings with (temporary) help from the federal government (i.e., taxation and borrowing). Great, right? Even if you don’t make enough to afford private insurance, you still get medical care, right?

Not if the doctor refuses to take Medicare:

“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.”

As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients.

My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.

That insurance or Medicaid card does one a whole lot of good when no one will accept it, doesn’t it?

This is one aspect of a broader access problem that’s going to get more and more attention as we get deeper into the Obamacare morass. In addition to a growing doctor shortage (something that Obamacare may make worse), and shrinking provider networks, the limited number of doctors who accept Medicaid will only get smaller, because the system underpays for their services, and yet under Obamacare is greatly increasing the number of patients. Noble sentiments aside, a medical practice is a business, and a physician or hospital can only afford to see so many money-losing patients before it’s no longer worth staying in business.

Call it another of Obamacare’s broken promises: the government promises you medical care, but what if the care-provider refuses to play?

Of course, one would-be Democratic lawmaker in Virginia has a solution for that: serfdom.

Via Jim Geraghty, who notes it’s even harder to find specialists who take Obamacare.

RELATED: Bobby Jindal has a better idea.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Jonah Goldberg on the real meaning of “social justice”

March 25, 2014
Justice is individual, not social

Justice is individual, not social

“Social justice” is one of those phrases the left loves: stripped of all precision, it means whatever progressives want it to mean — raising the minimum wage, economic redistribution, “rights” for this or that group, etc. It forms a hot mess of unrelated issues, until you see he common thread behind it: “social justice” means doing whatever progressives think is good, and this good is accomplished through the State, with progressives in charge. And, if you disagree, you must be a racist, fascist, misogynistic, reactionary, greedy capitalistic homophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

Anyway, the invaluable Prager University has published a new video that features Jonah Goldberg explaining the real meaning of “social justice:”

Try some of these arguments on liberals you know. Then have fun watching their heads explode.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Aborted babies incinerated to heat British hospitals

March 24, 2014
"The new god of medicine?"

“The new god of medicine?”

Just horrifying:

The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

It didn’t happen in every UK hospital –one was appalled to learn another had been shipping its fetal remains to the first hospital to be burned– but that something like this could happen at all is nauseating. And not just for the callous treatment of human remains, like a fiery version of Soylent Green, but the miserable treatment of the parents, too. Remember, an abortion may be performed for medical necessity, not just to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Shouldn’t the parents in at least these cases be treated with more respect and empathy?

There have been a number of horror stories coming out of the UK National Health Service involving poor care or downright abusive treatment of patients and their families, almost all of them traceable in their origin to the dynamics of a government-run healthcare system. Oxford bioethicists have even argued in favor of post-natal abortion (1), on the grounds that a newborn isn’t capable yet of attributing value to its own existence, and thus can’t feel the loss of it.

And now this, the new fires of Moloch.

Footnote:
(1) What most of us in the real world would call “infanticide” and “murder.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Taxpayer-funded Planned Parenthood marketing BDSM to teens?

February 27, 2014
Teach the children

Teach the children

I’m pretty open-minded, but this is a bit much, even for me:

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)–which received more than $2.75 million in government funding in 2012–has produced and posted online a video specifically aimed at teenagers that promotes bondage and sadomasochism (BDSM) and proposes “rules” to follow when engaging in these activities.

“People sometimes think that those who practice BDSM are emotionally scarred or were once abused—not true, it’s a total myth,” the host of the video, Laci Green, informs its intended audience of teens.

“BDSM relies upon and creates trust,” she says.

Lifestyle choices are, of course, within broad boundaries an adult’s private affair. But through the age of 18, teens are the legal responsibility of their parents; I have to wonder how many would be happy to discover Planned Parenthood encouraging their teens to explore “alternative lifestyles” under the guise of “sexual health.” And why is my (hypothetical) child’s sex life, which I should hope he or she didn’t yet have, the business of an abortion mill, anyway?

The other question I have, one that’s not hypothetical at all, is why my tax money is going to support this?

Video at the first link.

RELATED: This isn’t the first time the Left has been caught showing teens how to have safe, alternative sex. Warning, it’s pretty graphic.

via Doug Powers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Instead of a Government-Guaranteed Income, How About a Practical Plan to End the Washington Welfare State?

December 20, 2013

Hmmm… Block-granting the entire welfare state to the states to allocate as they need, then gradually eliminating it — a federalist approach. I like it.

International Liberty

The welfare state is a nightmare.

Programs such as Medicaid are fiscal catastrophes. The food stamp program is riddled with waste. The EITC is easily defrauded, even sending checks to prisoners. And housing subsidies are a recipe for the worst forms of social engineering.

The entire system should be tossed in the trash.

But what’s the alternative? Some libertarians argue that we should eliminate the dozens of Washington programs and replace them with a government-guaranteed minimum income. I address this issue in an essay for Libertarianism.org.

Some libertarians argue that the state should provide a minimum basic income, mainly because this approach would be preferable to the costly and bureaucratic amalgamation of redistribution programs that currently exist. It’s hard to disagree with the notion that the current system is a failure. The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner has produced a searing indictment of the modern welfare…

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