Sunday, November 09, 2008

Priorities for the Opposition

As we queue up our Loyal Opposition mode, we need to focus on a few truly horrible Democratic proposals that we need to stop - no questions asked. To this end, I'm borrowing the DHS color coded threat levels.

Red - These proposals are undemocratic and/or unconstitutional. They must be stopped. I'm talking pitchforks and torches here.
  • The so-called Employee Free Choice Act, which strips workers of a secret ballot when voting on whether to unionize, and once a shop is unionized, management is forced to deal with the union and would be prevented from hiring "scab" workers.
  • Implementation of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", which is anything but fair, and is a naked attempt to silence voices on the right.
  • Mandatory "community service" for middle and high school students. In my estimation, a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment against involuntary servitude, and for minor children no less. Some localities already have versions of this, and I think it's a travesty. ("Joe, why are you so keyed up about this?" At best this is a misuse of our educational infrastructure to do a job it wasn't indended to do. At worst, it (a) conditions young people that the government can force you to do things for which you will not be compensated, and (b) turns project approval into a political game where teachers have broad discretion - Johnny's plan to leaflet for "affordable housing" will be approved, but Billy's 2nd amendment awareness website won't, so Billy will be picking up litter on the highway instead.)

Orange - These proposals will do significant and irreversible damage to our freedom and/or economy, but we'll survive as a society if they happen. Your standard street demonstrations and public education will do.
  • The Obama health care plan. It's arguably worse than a pure socialization "single payer" scheme in that it becomes a direct tax on job creation. The Obama health plan will, through its fail-unsafe design, inexorably lead to single payer. But no matter how bad the government health scheme turns out, the empirical evidence seen in other democracies indicates we'll never have the chance to reverse course on this.
  • The negative tax scheme. Half or more of the population is going to be getting a direct cash hand-out. This can never be undone.
  • "Renegotiation" of NAFTA will do serious and permanent damage to our economy, and will make future trade negotiations difficult.
  • The Global Poverty Act puts the US permanently on the hook for an international wefare super-state that will mainly benefit warlords and dictators without solving the underlying problems of global poverty.
  • So-called "windfall" profits taxes will reduce oil production and increase the cost of energy over the long run. Aside from that,they are completely arbitrary in their application and introduce the idea that the government can tell which entities make "too much".
  • Raising the minimum wage and pegging it to inflation creates a destructive pro-cyclical economic feedback that will exacerbate unemployment and inflation in every single recession.

Yellow - These are very stupid proposals, but mostly ones that can be overcome by future Republican administrations if need be.
  • "Community service" as a condition for college aid is a blatant indoctrination scheme, but does not rise to the level of involuntary servitude. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and college students wanting funds are going to have to suck it up and dance for their lunch.
  • Increased taxes on capital gains and dividends will hurt our economy, but they sow the seeds of their own demise.
  • Subsidies for alternative energy implementation before the technology is economical. No economies of scale are going to help corn ethanol. Any spending (and there should indeed be some meaningful spending) should be on research and development to invent new technologies and make existing tech cost effective. Mere government fiat can't make one thing be cheaper than another without doing economic damage, as we've seen with the rise in the cost of food.
  • Efforts to undo globalization through the tax system will fail. Companies with overseas profits will merely spin off their foreign branches and arrange for exclusivity with the mother company. Shareholders will be no worse off since they will hold a stake in both the mother and child companies, but no jobs or profits will be repatriated. (If I can figure that out, rest assured the I-bankers have already.) Tax credits for domestic job creation will probably have some short term positive effect on unemployment, but productivity will suffer in the long run as incentives to automate and streamline are lessened, and the US will be at a disadvantage in the long run.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe - I know that I'm not your target audience, but I would be really interested in getting your talk more on the opposition to a single payer health system vs. government health insurance. Right now hospitals are taking the hit for the uninsured and the whole thing is subsidized by governtment funding and private insurance - would you be interested in exploring/expanding on your opposition to this?
Matt