More Dishonest “Poverty” Research that Doesn’t Measure Poverty

June 25, 2017

Key point: “A country where everyone is impoverished will have zero or close-to-zero poverty because everyone is at the median income. But as I’ve explained before, a very wealthy society can have lots of “poverty” if some people are a lot richer than others.”

International Liberty

I periodically share data showing that living standards are higher in the United States than in Europe.

My goal isn’t to be jingoistic. Instead, I’m warning readers that we won’t be as prosperous if we copy out tax-and-spend friends on the other side of the Atlantic (just like I try to draw certain conclusions when showing how many low-tax jurisdictions have higher levels of economic output than the United States).

I’m sometimes asked, though, how America can be doing better than Europe when we have more poverty.

And when I ask them why they thinks that’s the case, they will point to sources such as this study from the German-based Institute of Labor Economics. Here’s some attention-grabbing data from the report.

The United States has the highest poverty rate both overall and among households with an employed person, but it stands farther away from the other countries on its in-work…

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Study: California once had 150 straight years of stormy, wet, weather

June 21, 2017

They’re right. If this happened now, the Green Cult would blame this on the dread demon Carbon Dioxide.

Watts Up With That?

From Vanderbilt University and the “yes, but if it happened today, it would be blamed on global warming” department.

Wet and stormy weather lashed California coast… 8,200 years ago

First high resolution evidence of California climate response to Holocene 8.2 ka event

The weather report for California 8,200 years ago was exceptionally wet and stormy.

That is the conclusion of a paleoclimate study that analyzed stalagmite records from White Moon Cave in the Santa Cruz Mountains published online Jun. 20 in Scientific Reports.

The Golden State’s 150-year stretch of unusually wet weather appears to have been marked by particularly intense winter storms and coincides with a climate anomaly in Greenland ice cores first detected in 1997. Before this “8.2 ka event” was discovered scientists thought the world’s climate had been unusually stable during the Holocene, the geological epoch that covers the last 11,700 years of Earth’s history.

This image…

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(Video) VDH on why we fought in Vietnam

May 29, 2017

Another video for Memorial Day. In this case, it’s not America’s Forgotten War, but the war America would like to forget: the Vietnam War. Historian Victor Davis Hanson explains why we fought there and how we lost:

Over the past several years, the reading of recent revisionist histories of the war have convinced me that, for all the domestic turmoil we experienced, we threw away a won war in 1974-75 and that, as I’ve long suspected, following a strategy similar to what we pursued in the second part of the Korean War might well have preserved South Vietnam as an independent state. As Dr. Hanson mentions, our failure to do so had terrible repercussions in Vietnam and in Cambodia.

A parallel with Iraq also inevitably comes to mind: as did Nixon in Vietnam, the Obama administration inherited a divisive war, but a war that was being won. All that was needed was to show endurance and political will to secure the peace. And, again -though not for the same reasons- we failed to do either.

Both conflicts show the need for the United States to come up with a coherent political strategy to secure the victory after we’ve won on the battlefield. We’re great at the latter, but, since Korea, we’ve been terrible at the former.

And Memorial Day is a good day to remind ourselves of the need to fix that, so that the sacrifices of the honored dead aren’t wasted.


(Video) Memorial Day and America’s “Forgotten War” in Korea

May 29, 2017

korean war

The Korean War (1950-53) is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” the one that came between our crushing victory in World War II and the turmoil of our defeat in Vietnam.

It’s forgotten in part because its results were, at first glance, inconclusive: the North Korean regime survived, and the war was suspended in a ceasefire. In other words, a “draw.”

I’ve argued before that this is an incorrect way to view the war. True, we failed in our initial objective: to liberate all the Korean peninsula. But our later goal, the survival of the South Korean state, turned into a good few could have anticipated. Since the war, South Korea has become a prosperous democratic nation and a close ally of the United States. So, while we didn’t achieve all our war aims, it’s hard not to call this “victory.”

North Korea, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the phrase “Hell on Earth.”

For Prager University, historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) looks at the Korean War and offers not only the same reasons I adduce to call it a win, but also points out why it was an intensely moral fight on the part of the US and its allies:

The Korean War, and the men who fought it, should never be forgotten.

(Reposted in honor of Memorial Day)

Footnote:
(1) One of my intellectual heroes.

 


242 years later, the shot heard round the world still echoes

April 19, 2017

(This is a re-posting of something I wrote in 2009, in honor of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. If, however, you want to read an account of the bloodiest battle of that day and its all too human cost, read about the fight at Metonomy.)

I’m a bit red-faced Blushing that it took a British blog to remind me that today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, generally regarded as the opening skirmish of the American Revolution. Tory Historian points out that both sides claimed victory, but perhaps I can be forgiven a bit of national pride for arguing that we won on points: the advance column withdrew under fire and was considering surrender when it was rescued by Percy’s brigade. General Gage then found himself besieged in Boston. Flag

Regardless of any “Monday-morning generalship,” it is fitting that the anniversary comes just a few days after the Tax Day Tea Parties, a genuine grassroots movement that organized itself to protest Washington’s mad plans to borrow and spend like drunken sailors on pay day — and, inevitably, to make us pay for it all with ruinous taxation.

In 2009, just as in 1775, popular sentiment erupted to send distant masters a message. Thankfully, this time, shots weren’t needed, but the point was made just the same: Don’t tread on me.

treadflag

To update it for the current day, “President Trump” is what you get when the ruling caste spends years not really listening to people: they were trod upon, and the people bit back.

 


No money for Jerry Brown’s high-speed choo-choo?

March 19, 2017

Via Legal Insurrection:

A few, short weeks ago, I reported that President Trump’s Secretary of Transportation halted the transfer of millions of dollars in funding for the California bullet train, our governor’s legacy project.

However, those monies were not the sole source of funding. The main source of ongoing support for the train is the income from the cap-and-trade auctions that California sponsors.

It appears as if the all the air (carbon dioxide included) has gone out of the cap-and-trade market.

Let’s pause for a moment to contemplate that last sentence. What meaning can we draw from it? 

A boondoggle was being funded by a fraud.

I’ll let you read the rest of Leslie Eastman’s post if you wish, but here’s the summary: the governor and our leftist legislature tried to find alternate sources of funding for the high-speed rail project by granting it a share of revenues expected from our cap-and-trade auctions, established under Governor Schwarzenegger in a stupid quest to fight a problem that does not exist, catastrophic man-caused global warming.

But I digress.

The original funding has been tied up in lawsuits, and the Trump administration has already made it clear it’s not going to waste public money on this project. Thus the measure to divert cap-and-trade revenues. Only, for various reasons, no one is interested in buying the modern equivalent of Confederate war bonds. The auctions raise almost no revenue, threatening the viability of the high-speed railroad.

I call this a good thing.

I’ve inveighed against this stupid project before, so I’ll spare you another rant. California has many, many needs: our finances are a mess, our roads and highways are lousy, our schools are mediocre, and our dams are crumbling.

But Jerry Brown wants his legacy: a high-speed choo-choo that won’t meet the projected speeds and ridership, and is running way past projected costs.

As Victor Davis Hanson wrote:

Governors who cannot build a reservoir have little business fantasizing about 200-mph super trains.

Let’s hope the failure of the cap-and-trade auctions is the pinprick that finally bursts the Governor’s fantasy bubble.

h/t SteveinTN

PS: Speaking of aging infrastructure, we have another crumbling reservoir.


Putin, Trump, and False Moral Equivalence

February 6, 2017

Regardless of what the President says, there is no moral equivalence between the US and Putin’s Russia.

International Liberty

Back in the 1980s, I would get very agitated when folks made excuses for brutal communist regimes by asserting that the United States also did bad things. This “moral equivalence” argument is now being recycled by Donald Trump, who basically excuses Putin’s brutality because America supposedly isn’t in any position to throw stones.

Here’s the interview, set to start at the point where Trump discusses Putin.

This is wrong. Absurdly wrong.

Though let’s start by acknowledging that the United States is far from perfect. Our history includes black eyes such as slavery, mistreatment of native populations, incomplete legal rights for women, internment of Japanese-Americans, Jim Crow laws, persecution of gays, and other sins.

Even today, we have plenty of bad policies that restrict human liberty, often exacerbated by examples of thuggish actions by government.

But, at the risk of sounding jingoistic and patriotic, the United States began with a…

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