Monthly Archive for January, 2005

Quote Of The Day

“The defeatism of Washington think tanks and newspaper editorials misses a simple point: the only displays of political prudence and democratic courage since the Americans rolled into Iraq in 2003 have been by the much despised Iraqis, not their supposedly all-seeing imperial benefactors. Since we lack the grace to admit that Iraqis have often shown more wisdom and courage than we have, we naturally don’t trust that wisdom and courage to save Iraq now”.–Harvard University’s Michael Ignatieff, writing in the New York Times magazine.

Chile And Privatized Social Security

Don Luskin gives the other side.

Picture Of The Day

Pro-Choice

Gone For The Day And Weekend

Will post when I get back…have a great weekend everybody.

Quote Of The Day

“Oh, how the press wants to write a story about Republicans knifing their own president [over Social Security]… My alternative theory gets its first test as congressional Republicans begin their annual bicameral retreat at the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulfur Springs, W.Va. today. And several knowledgeable sources say the White House has an impressive arsenal of speakers and statistics to ease lawmakers’ concerns about the planned level of political support and the flexibility they will provide Congress in shaping a final product. ‘Based on what I’ve heard, the members are going to be very impressed with the White House plan,’ a knowledgeable Republican staffer told me. ‘I think they could come away from the retreat believing the administration really has their ducks in a row on the issue'” — Gary J. Andres, Washington Times columnist

Hispanic CREO

…changing the world one parent at a time.

A great article on the wonderful work CREO is doing:

“If we improve the educational options for Latino children, we improve the whole world,” said Robert Aguirre, chairman of Hispanic CREO, the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options.

Launched in October 2003 at the National Press Club, Hispanic CREO started 2004 with fewer than 500 members, according to Maite Arce, director of membership and chapter development. By August 2004, membership had soared to more than 3,000 and affiliate organizations were increasing at the rate of one per month.

“Parents in this movement usually don’t realize the power of their voice,” said Hispanic CREO President Rebeca Nieves Huffman. She said her organization has seen the awakening of “the sleeping giant” of the school choice movement: parents.

Read the complete article to find out just how amazing this organization is.

I am a proud member of this organization and would encourage anybody who cares about Hispanic/Minority children stuck in poor performing schools to join.

HatTip: Thanks Katie.

Ruben Navarrette Moving To San Diego

Ruben Navarrette writes:

I don’t like comfortable. So now I’m headed home. I’m leaving The Dallas Morning News and the state of Texas, and I’m heading back to California to accept a job as an editorial writer and columnist with The San Diego Union-Tribune. I’ll still write my twice-a-week nationally syndicated column, but I’ll do it from San Diego.

I’ve been in San Diego for six years now, and I love it, I’m sure he will be very happy with his decision. Living so close, maybe he’ll be up for a beer or two, and a quick ‘interview’ for the HispanicPundit viewers….We’ll see in a couple months. 🙂

Privatized Social Security And Minorities

Stefani D. Carter writes in USA Today:

Even worse, the program, as it stands, is an inefficient way to save for retirement: It has a decreasing rate of return. And many workers, like my uncle, don’t get back what they paid in. Minorities get the least because they generally have a lower average life expectancy than whites (age 72 for blacks vs. 78 for whites). They are being cheated out of years of payout.

The poor are hurt disproportionately, too. Lower-income Americans also have a shorter life expectancy than the well-off, meaning a smaller overall payout.

Change on this scale is frightening. What’s more frightening is the thought that we’ll do nothing at all.

Heritage Policy Weblog has more and more.

Update: Heritage Policy responds to Krugman.

Update: Heritage Foundation responds to Krugman.

Update: The Conspiracy To Keep You Poor And Stupid has more.

Update: Cafe Hayek has more.

Update: Marginal Revolution has more.

Update: The Eclectic Econoclast has more.

Update: Heritage Policy has more and more.

Quote Of The Day

“To Iraqis, the elections are no longer theoretical. With voting less than a week away, there is electricity in the air. Pundits and politicians can discuss whether the elections should go forward, but for most Iraqis, such debates are moot. Democracy may be a process, but it is one in which Iraqis are ready to take the first step” — Michael Rubin, editor of the Middle East Quarterly, writing from Baghdad in the Washington Post.

Aztec, Mayan Brutality

It is a fact of history that the Spanish conquerors were the most brutal ‘colonizers’ in history. What they did to the Aztecs and Mayans is utterly unforgivable. Yet, what has always been a contentious part, is whether the Aztec and Mayan practice of human sacrifice was as widespread and horrifying as the Spanish conquerors said.

Well, it looks like it was:

In recent years archaeologists have been uncovering mounting physical evidence that corroborates the Spanish accounts in substance, if not number.

Using high-tech forensic tools, archaeologists are proving that pre-Hispanic sacrifices often involved children and a broad array of intentionally brutal killing methods.

More here.

HatTip: LatinoPundit.

A Primer On Regulations

Michael Munger, Chair of the Political Science department at Duke University, gives an excellent primer on regulations, including their limits and dangers. He writes:

Regulation often makes the problem of market failure worse, because regulated markets always, by design, transmit biased or noisy price signals. Robbed of the organizing principle of accurate prices directing resource allocation, some other kind of judgment (in this case, that of a bureaucrat or regulator) must be substituted for private investment. Regulated markets generally beget more regulation, but perform no better (and often worse) than the “failed” market process that regulation was designed to correct in the first place.

Much more here.

Quote Of The Day

“In 2004, Mr. Bush received 9 percent more of the Hispanic vote than in 2000. In 2005, we will recruit Latino doctors, accountants and teachers who are tired of frivolous lawsuits who will help us push for lawsuit reform and then join the party of Lincoln. In 2004, Mr. Bush received 530,000 more black votes than in 2000. In 2005, we will engage blacks as the nation debates whether faith-based organizations should have a seat at the table and whether public schools need to be more accountable and parents need more choices, and we will broaden the Republican Party with more black support. And we will reach out to Asian American small-business owners and union workers in industrial states who want 21st-century jobs that today are driven offshore by an antiquated 20th-century tax code” — Ken Mehlman, Bush campaign manager and incoming chief of the Republican Party, writing in the Washington Times.

Flat Tax?

I am somewhat torn on the topic of the flat tax. On the one hand, I’m more inclined to support some sort of progressive tax since it is a fact that those who have more benefit more from the services taxes pay for. For example, a person living in Beverly Hills that owns a 2 million dollar home will beneft much more from the same police than a family living in a 100 thousand dollar home in Compton.

On the other hand, there is alot of merit to the arguments against a progressive tax. For example, the practical argument that once the concept behind a progressive tax is accepted, it will be used to justify taxes being used for ‘non essential’ government activities (government waste). Or that when left up to legislators, progressive tax schemes always lead to a confusing and cumbersome tax code.

So essentially it is picking between the least of two evils, and it looks like the flat tax may be the least evil:

Country by country, the Flat Tax is sweeping the world. Romania becomes the tenth country to introduce a Flat Tax on 1 January 2005.

Romania’s bold decision to scrap progressive income taxes and introduce a flat rate of just 16% is a move which will further sharpen tax competition in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe still further. Russia, Estonia and Slovakia number among the Flat-Tax states. Already they have discovered that simpler, lower tax rates generate more revenues because they make avoidance and evasion less worthwhile. And lower rates encourage entrepreneurship, stimulate employment, and spur economic growth.

Romania still has a lot to do in terms of strengthening the rule of law — another key condition for creating a prosperous economy. Regulation and corruption still need to be cut back. But the experience of other Eastern European countries is that a simple Flat Tax system goes a long way in the fight against bureaucracy and corruption.

Update: The Liberal Order has more.

Key To Happiness?

Maybe not the ‘key’, but religious people are happier.

Quote Of The Day

“Some Democrats think that only Dean could slow the party’s probable slide from a Northeastern liberal presidential nominee in 2004 to one in 2008 with even less appeal in red states: Hillary Clinton. Dean may be the only chairman with enough political stature and fermenting personality to prevent Bill Clinton’s restless energies from influencing every party and candidate’s calculation” —George Will

More Money For Education In Britain?

Surprise! Surprise! Economic principles seem to be universal, even Britain experiences the same problems in education.

The Adam Smith Institute writes:

Now the Commons Education and Skills Select Committee has said there is no evidence to support the claim that more money in education equals better results. The Labour-dominated committee says bluntly that the Government is wrong to claim that billions of pounds in extra funding for schools has produced better examination results.

Despite Chancellor Gordon Brown’s claims to the contrary, the committee said that GCSE exam results had improved no more rapidly during Tony Blair’s Government than when the Conservatives were in power, even though public expenditure on secondary schools had risen up to ten times faster.

The Government needs to take great care in making claims about the effectiveness of increased investment in education in increasing levels of achievement which the evidence cannot be proved to support. Links between expenditure and outcome remain difficult to establish.

The select committee’s report on public expenditure in education said that the Treasury had “simply asserted” a direct link between spending and exam performance in the 2004 Budget, with no supporting evidence. These two reports do not, of course, prove any case, but they do suggest that the link between extra money and better results might be more tenuous than the UK government, and especially its Chancellor, has assumed. It could be that the mountain of additional spending might bring forth only a mouse of achievement.