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

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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.