Random thoughts on some issues that are currently floating about:
*At the outset of the Reagan Revolution, which initiated the longest period of economic growth in U. S. history, Jack Kemp, one of its champions, said it well: “If you subsidize an activity, you get more of it; if you tax it, you get less.” What better advice to remember as we observe the end of the Congressional ban on Internet taxation, which was allowed to expire last week. Now watch as ingenious state bureaucrats and legislatures find inventive ways in which to levy taxation on the primary driver of U. S. productivity and innovation.
*I normally avoid the celebrity trial “du jour”, but the Kobe Bryant case does have some important implications, and Linda Chavez has asked the right questions—“Have laws intended to protect rape victims gone too far, making it possible for women to turn disappointing sexual encounters into rape allegations?; is it necessary for a man to get verbal permission before he makes any physical contact with a woman?; and, to what extent have we criminalized certain behavior that would be better handled by moral opprobrium?”
*Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo calls the U. S. decision to join the European Union’s support of continuing agricultural market protectionism during the recently failed Cancun trade negotiations one of the biggest mysteries in the history of trade diplomacy. I call it a huge mistake, but no mystery. One must only take a look at the Electoral College vote map from the 2000 U. S. Presidential election to figure it out.
*Most of the commentary in opposition to the President’s request for a supplemental $87 billion for the Iraq war and re-development misses the point, particularly on the portion devoted to reconstruction. Unlike most foreign aid and welfare payments, including much of the domestic spending it might displace, this is an investment, a “supply side” investment that will be repaid many times over to the U. S. in expanded trade, contracts, etc., and the resulting jobs for Americans.
*Enough is enough, folks. It is long past time to call the Senate Democrats’ bluff on confirmation of judicial appointments. At least two things should be done—force the Democrats into a true filibuster, meaning campouts on the floor, and recognize this fraudulent demagoguery it for what it really is by making the issue of “the courts and the culture war” a central issue in the Presidential election next year.
*What in the world is President Bush thinking of when he allows Treasury Secretary John Snow to “talk down” the value of the dollar? It can only be to pander to the crowd that is criticizing the export of U. S. manufacturing jobs to places like China, but it is the absolute worst timing for such talk, when the economy is beginning to turn bullish and the threat of a weakening dollar could dampen foreign investor enthusiasm and business capital investment confidence.
*I believe that General Jerry Boykin was over the line in some of his public remarks about the superiority of Christianity over Islam (“my God is bigger than his God”), but, in identifying the enemy, he is closer to the truth than most. For if, in fact, we are not in a religious war, then the burden is on responsible Islamic leaders, not Christians, to differentiate the true Islamist enemy, isolate them, and abandon the nonsense of the moral equivalency of radical Islamism and fundamentalist Christianity.
*From Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s 2003 inaugural address, as reported in Forbes magazine: “There would be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these [government] buildings around us empty of workers; silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.” I wonder if he could convince his brother to use that line in his State of the Union address in January?