Sunday, October 26, 2008

Roundup 10/27

Items from the weekend that I find to be of quotable worth.

1. The real record of "free market" economic policies:

The main finding is that—after adjusting the Census Bureau data for three key factors—inflation-adjusted median household income for most household types increased by roughly 44 percent to 62 percent from 1976 to 2006.

- Where Has All the Income Gone?, Terry J. Fitzgerald - Senior Economist at the The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (H/T Cafe Hayek)

2. On media bias and the duping of America:

Yes, the media are liberal. Even so, it is obvious that this election is different. The media are open and brazen in their attempts to influence the outcome of this election. I've never seen anything like it. Virtually all evidence of Obama's past influences and radicalism — from Jeremiah Wright to William Ayers — have been raised by non-traditional news sources. The media's role has been to ignore it as long as possible, then mention it if they must, and finally dismiss it and those who raise it in the first place. It's as if the media use the Obama campaign's talking points — its preposterous assertions that Obama didn't hear Wright from the pulpit railing about black liberation, whites, Jews, etc., that Obama had no idea Ayers was a domestic terrorist despite their close political, social, and working relationship, etc. — to protect Obama from legitimate and routine scrutiny.


But beyond the elites and the media, my greatest concern is whether this election will show a majority of the voters susceptible to the appeal of a charismatic demagogue. This may seem a harsh term to some, and no doubt will to Obama supporters, but it is a perfectly appropriate characterization. Obama's entire campaign is built on class warfare and human envy. The "change" he peddles is not new. We've seen it before. It is change that diminishes individual liberty for the soft authoritarianism of socialism. It is a populist appeal that disguises government mandated wealth redistribution as tax cuts for the middle class, falsely blames capitalism for the social policies and government corruption (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that led to the current turmoil in our financial markets, fuels contempt for commerce and trade by stigmatizing those who run successful small and large businesses, and exploits human imperfection as a justification for a massive expansion of centralized government.

- The Obama Temptation, Mark Levin at The Corner

3. A real, number-crunching, look at the candidate's tax plans:

... [thus] one dollar I earn today will yield my kids:


For my illustrative calculations, let me take r to be 10 percent and my remaining life expectancy T to be 35 years.

If there were no taxes, so t1=t2=t3=t4=0, then $1 earned today would yield my kids $28. That is simply the miracle of compounding.

Under the McCain plan, t1=.35, t2=.25, t3=.15, and t4=.15. In this case, a dollar earned today yields my kids $4.81. That is, even under the low-tax McCain plan, my incentive to work is cut by 83 percent compared to the situation without taxes.

Under the Obama plan, t1=.43, t2=.35, t3=.2, and t4=.45. In this case, a dollar earned today yields my kids $1.85. That is, Obama's proposed tax hikes reduce my incentive to work by 62 percent compared to the McCain plan and by 93 percent compared to the no-tax scenario. In a sense, putting the various pieces of the tax system together, I would be facing a marginal tax rate of 93 percent.

- My Personal Work Incentives, Greg Mankiw, Professor of Economics at Harvard University

4. Will Obama govern as a moderate? Unlikely:

So why would any conservative think that Obama—friend of Ayers, Khalidi, Meeks, Pfleger, and Wright, veteran of mysterious campaigns in which rivals in 1996 and 2004 simply dropped out or were forced out, erstwhile advocate of repealing NAFTA, controlling guns, stopping new drilling and nuclear plants, zealot for bringing all troops home by March 2008, advocate of a trillion dollars in new spending, and raising the tax burden on the 5% who now pay 60% of the aggregate income taxes, supporter of more oppression studies and racial reparations—would not likewise try to govern as he has lived the last 20 years?

Why would anyone think that an Obama would not wish to enact the visions of those who first backed him—the crowd, ACORN, The Huffington Post, Sen. Reid, Rep. Pelosi, a Chris Dodd or Barney Frank—rather than the late pilers-on like Colin Powell or Scott McClellan? We should remember that, unlike the cases of Carter and Clinton, Obama would have both houses of Congress, and a (Republican) precedent of the federal government intervening into the free market, in the manner of 1932.

- Questions Still Not Answered, Victor Davis Hanson at Pajamas Media

5. Topics the mainstream media refuse to touch:

The MSM has decided that nothing and no one is going to stop Barack Obama from being elected. Not even a great story sure to sell a lot of papers. In fact, there are numerous stories about Barack Obama the MSM is ignoring right now: Obama and Vera Baker ... Obama and Ayers ... Obama and Rashid Khalidi ... Obama and Odingo ... Donor Fraud ... Obama’s Destitute Brother George

- Spiked! (Stories the press is sitting on until after the election), John @ Verum Serum

6. Total loss of discourse is becoming much too common of an occurrence on the left:

I can remember when Sullivan was a respected journalist, not a gutter smear merchant and borderline pornographer. His descent exemplifies the Left's decline in recent years to a baboon-like level of discourse. The vileness of much of what passes for political "argument" on the Left has to be seen to be believed. The worst impulses of human nature have been not just unleashed, but rewarded. If you haven't looked at web sites like Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, the Huffington Post and Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, you have no idea what the phrase "gutter politics" really means.

Nowhere has the vileness of the Left been more sickening than in its treatment of Governor Palin. It is interesting to contemplate what a semi-pornographic video about Barack Obama, playing on the same sort of prejudices and stereotypes that are so disgustingly on display in Sullivan's video, would look like. Frankly, I can't imagine such a video being made, let alone featured on the web site of the once-proud Atlantic magazine. But on the Left, anything goes--the more slimy and disgusting, the better.

Barbarians at the Gates--of the White House - John Hinderaker @ Powerline

7. Even more on media bias and the legitimate implications of Obama's many radical political relationships:

The larger point is that the very existence of so many of these radical political partnerships (and that is what they are, significant political partnerships, not mere "marginal relationships," as Smith would have it) reveals a systematic pattern–a pattern that shows Obama to be a man of the left–so far left that he long had one foot out of (but also one foot in) the conventional Democratic mainstream. It’s true that the McCain campaign has not effectively made this point. Yet my Corner colleague Andy McCarthy has eloquently complained about that. The most important point is what Obama’s many radical political partnerships reveal about his overall perspective, and how his radicalism ties in to, and helps explain, even his more conventional-seeming Democratic liberalism. I have written extensively about all of this.

Racial or liberal? It’s not an either/or. What’s certain is that Obama is not the post-ideological, post-partisan pragmatist he presents himself as. The press has shamefully colluded in that false presentation.

- Bias Unmasked, Stanley Kurtz @ National Review Online

8. Now even liberal journalists are recognizing how far in the tank their colleagues are. I give you A:

If you were going to events during the primaries, what you saw was that the executive editors and the top people at the networks were all rushing to Obama events, bringing their children, celebrating it, saying they were, there's this part of history. I think they plugged into the Obama narrative in a way that they said, “you know what, out with the past.” And they've been very critical of President Bush and Senator McCain, as an extension of Bush, playing into the Obama campaign theme. I don't think there's any question about this. The American people are smart, they can see this. That's why Obama's on every magazine cover -- I've spend too much time in airports, you walk through there, it's like you're walking through an Obama campaign event. So, there's no question in my mind the media has been more supportive of Senator Obama.

- (Liberal NPR journalist) Juan Williams, H/T NewsBusters)

9. And B:

If there's any doubt there was a double standard [in the media's coverage] in this race, it is completely laid to rest by this because there is no way that this can be ignored.

- (Liberal columnist) Kirsten Powers, H/T NewsBusters

10. Obama's hardball tactics against those that dare to challenge him continue unabated:

This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely at best, for the duration of the remaining days until the election.

- The Obama Campaign, in retaliation to perhaps the only media interview they've had that asked real questions of Joe Biden (to which, Biden lied himself out of answering). H/T Monica Crowley

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