Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category
I’ve got news for all the people talking about the new pope in glowing terms. The Vatican has lost its way. Badly:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.
The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes official diplomatic recognition. “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
The Israeli foreign ministry said it was “disappointed.” “This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” the ministry said in a text message.
It’s pretty pathetic that the Vatican would recognize the Palestinians without demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. That isn’t the only mistake the Vatican is making:
Pope Francis’ closest adviser castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States Tuesday, blaming capitalism for their views.
Speaking with journalists, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized certain “movements” in the United States that have preemptively come out in opposition to Francis’s planned encyclical on climate change.
“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” Rodríguez said, according to the Boston Globe’s Crux blog.
As an evangelical Christian, I don’t understand what climate change has to do with a person’s religious faith. It doesn’t have anything to do with the 2 greatest doctrines of the church, the Great Commandment or the Great Commission.
As for Cardinal Maradiaga’s vilification of capitalism, that’s warped thinking, too. It’s impossible to think that Cardinal Maradiaga could fashion a persuasive argument that one economic system is less sinful than another.
Though there isn’t tons of material to base opinions of Pope Francis off of, there’s still sufficient material to say that he’s wading into political issues more than all other popes prior to his papacy in my lifetime. There’s little doubt, too, that Francis is the most liberal pope of my lifetime.
I wrote this post in December about a proposed condo development in downtown St. Cloud. At the time, I thought it inconceivable that an entrepreneur would propose such a monstrosity. I was wrong. An entrepreneur has proposed this project. Here’s something that I wrote in response to the first Times Our View editorial:
The Times editorial board isn’t too bright if they think this is worthy of serious consideration. The former Dan Marsh Drugs building is less than 100 yards from 5 major bars (the Red Carpet, the Press Bar & Lounge, DB Searles, The Office and MC’s Dugout). There are other restaurants and delis within a stone’s throw from where Dan Marsh used to sit. All of these businesses are open well past midnight.
Why would anyone aspire to live that close to businesses that will keep them up well past midnight?
This week, the Times Editorial Board wrote this editorial singing the praises of this project:
First, when the condo project is built, the city will begin to receive property tax payments from the owners of the 46 units. The units range in price from $165,000 to $200,000. Even if it takes time to sell those units, the immediate benefits go far beyond just the tax collection.
Market-rate housing downtown will provide the missing piece of a strong, ongoing rebound for downtown.
With the River’s Edge Convention Center expansion has come a boost in downtown bars, restaurants and some retail. On the west end of downtown, the continued success of the Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center has been a strong anchor.
The proximity of downtown offices, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Technical & Community College and St. Cloud Hospital makes the condo project attractive to several demographic groups, including young professionals, retirees and single people.
The downtown bars are still within a stone’s throw of the proposed condo. They’re still noisy well past midnight. Here’s the key phrase:
Even if it takes time to sell those units, the immediate benefits go far beyond just the tax collection.
It’s unlikely that this condo project will take off quickly. There’s a decent chance it won’t take off. That being said, if this company wants to build this white elephant, that’s their right. They should know, however, that they won’t get a bailout from the taxpayers if it fails.
After reading this part of this article, it’s clear that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be the GOP presidential nominee:
He said Mr. Obama and Clinton would have America “walk back from red lines…lead from behind…[carry] a small stick.” He ticked through the world’s hotspots: Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Iran. “Terrorists are not on the run,” he said. In a “post-Obama era,” he argued, the next president will need to use economic and diplomatic strength to shape events around the world and “make the world safer for freedom.”
Mitt’s right that President Obama’s red lines are seen by President Putin as being more of a rose color than red. Mitt’s wrong that diplomacy is what’s needed to shape world events, especially with terrorists and Putin.
What’s needed with President Putin is a combination of supplying Ukraine with arms to defend themselves against President Putin’s expansionism and the US announcing plans that they’re building a natural gas pipeline to Ukraine. Couple those things with hitting reset on Hillary’s reset button. That isn’t done with a cheesy-looking red button. It’s done by putting US missiles in Poland, Romania and throughout the Baltic States. That doesn’t mean going to war with Russia. It simply means confronting Putin’s expansionist initiatives. Better yet, it means acting proactively to prevent Russia from attempting to expand its influence.
President Putin is acting like a superpower. The West’s mistake is in treating Putin’s Russia like they’re a superpower. They aren’t. They never will be. Their economy can’t produce the wealth they need to compete with an economic and military superpower.
This paragraph highlights what went wrong with Mitt’s 2012 campaign:
On the third principle, he said, “We’re an abundant nation. We have the resources” to lift people out of poverty. He didn’t say precisely how he would accomplish that without increasing the size of the government, but he argued that Mr. Obama’s policies have not worked. “They work for a campaign, but they don’t get the job done,” he said. Only conservative principles like a focus on family formation and education, he added, would “end the scourge of poverty in this great land.”
That’s exceptionally timid. Just blast it out there. Capitalism is the only economic system that lifts families out of grinding poverty. Mitt’s biggest personal weakness is that he’s an apologetic capitalist. What he needs is a lesson like this from Milton Friedman:
Republicans need a candidate who a) isn’t bashful about being a capitalist, b) loves explaining the virtues of capitalism vs. the tyranny of collectivism and c) highlights the times where capitalism has improved people’s lives.
In 2015-16, that means highlighting how Obama’s EPA has hurt the coal, the natural gas and oil industries and how private citizens and local governments have made life significantly better for people. Highlight how North Dakota’s state policies have helped the Bakken lead a fossil fuel comeback that led to cheap gas prices. The GOP presidential nominee needs to remind people of the Democrats that said we “can’t drill our way to cheap gas prices.’
Mitt won’t make that case. That’s why he’s wrong.
Technorati: Mitt Romney, National Security, Terrorists, Vladimir Putin, Reset Button, Russia, Baltic States, Election 2012, The Bakken, Gas Prices, Pipelines, Republicans, RNC Winter Meetings, Election 2016
Ed Morrissey’s post about Hillary’s intellectually dishonest statements about who creates jobs is statistically enlightening. Here’s what I’m talking about:
In June 2007, the Household Survey of the BLS showed that the US economy had 146.063 million jobs in June 2007, just before the increase took place. Last month’s data showed that the US economy had 146.6 million jobs, an increase of less than 500,000 in over 7 years, not “millions of jobs” as Hillary claims here. In fact, the 146.6 million is the highest it’s ever gotten since the passage of that law. In the same period, the civilian workforce participation rate has gone from 66% to 62.7%. On a population basis, there are a lot fewer people working after the last minimum wage hike, not more, and wages are actually down, not up.
Compare this to the “trickle-down” era of the Reagan presidency. When Reagan took office in January 1981, the US economy had 99.995 million jobs and the participation rate was 63.9%. By the end of his presidency in January 1989, the US economy had grown more than 16 million jobs (116.708 million total) and the participation rate had leaped to 66.5%. That covers nearly the same length of time since the last minimum wage hike (96 months vs. 89 months), but both include about five years of technical economic recovery.
At the end of the article, Ed made this statement:
At some point, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their front-runner is not just a lousy campaigner, but perhaps just as incompetent as the President from which they’re all attempting to run away at the moment.
There’s no doubt that Hillary is a terrible campaigner. That’s a subjective opinion, though. The job creation and labor force participation rates earlier are objective, quantifiable statistics.
Another part of that last commentary is that Democrats will “have to come to grips with the fact that” their frontrunner is just “as incompetent as the President” that they’re running away from. I suspect that they already know that. I’m betting that they simply don’t care whether she’s competent or not. I’m betting that their support for her will be based totally on whether she can win in November, 2016. If the answer to that is yes, they’ll support her. If the answer to that question is no, they’ll try finding a better alternative.
The point I’m making is that today’s Democratic Party is based almost entirely on fulfilling their ideological checklist, not on doing what’s best for America. It certainly isn’t about creating jobs or making life better for the average American.
Republicans everywhere need to repeatedly remind themselves that Democrats are almost totally about gaining, then maintaining control of the levers of government. Public policy is a distant priority that they generally don’t get to.
Here’s the video of Hillary’s boneheaded statements:
It’s terrifying to say but Hillary and Obama are no Bill Clinton. That’s a frightening thought.
Technorati: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, President Obama, Minimum Wage Increase, Workforce Participation Rate, Democrats, Ronald Reagan, Trickle Down Economics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Capitalism, Conservatism, Election 2016
Watching all the ads being run by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, the Franken campaign, the Nolan campaign and all the anti-business rhetoric coming from the Dayton campaign, DFL chairman Ken Martin and other anti-business parasites, there’s only one conclusion you can draw. The DFL and its candidates hate employers. Joe Soucheray’s column highlights the DFL’s silliness perfectly:
It’s to the point of comedy that the national Democratic Party has raced to Minnesota to help Nolan out with television ads that feature yachts and private airplanes and white sand beaches. I guess the voter is supposed to believe that Mills sits around all day and has grapes fed to him as he pages through the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog pining for a new Maserati Ghibli S Q4.
Whether it’s Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC or Rick Nolan’s campaign, the hard left’s disdain for companies is unmistakable. It’s in each of their ads against Stewart Mills. What’s most appalling is that the DFL’s agenda doesn’t have a thing in it that says they’re pro-capitalism. In fact, when the DFL held their state convention, Iron Range Democrats wanted the state party to ad a simple sentence to their party’s platform. That simple sentence was to say that the DFL supports mining.
After hours of negotiations, aka Metrocrats intimidating the Iron Range delegation, that simple sentence was dropped because Alida Messinger declared that statement was too controversial. Nolan isn’t the only 1970s reject that thinks companies are evil:
The Franken camp says that as an investment banker, McFadden has brokered the sales of companies that have resulted in the loss of jobs. Well, that can be true in some cases. In other cases, there will be a gain of jobs. Besides, once a company is bought or sold, what does McFadden have to do with it? The Franken camp also insists that McFadden has been involved with companies that have committed the mortal sin of tax inversion by moving their headquarters overseas. No. McFadden’s company represented a foreign company being bought, not the U.S. company moving abroad. That’s business, however unfamiliar Franken might be to business.
In Franken’s thinking, the problem isn’t that the tax code is filled with special favors. It’s that small businesses, aka the rich, aren’t paying a high enough tax rate. The thing is that Franken and Nolan haven’t started a business that requires sound judgment. That’s why they don’t know that many of these small businesses owners work 60-75 hours/week to build a business, paying their employees first, then paying their bills before they can start funding their retirement and their kids’ college education.
After sweating through tough times before getting to the point of profitability, then idiots like Dayton, Franken and Nolan accuse them of being greedy and of “not paying their fair share.”
The truth is that Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have done more to improve middle class families’ lives in 5 years than Dayton, Franken and Nolan have done in a lifetime. Long-winded politicians haven’t paid for their employees’ health insurance or contributed to their employees’ retirement accounts or paid them a good wage that put a roof over their employees’ families’ heads. Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have.
When Dayton, Franken and Nolan do that for a generation, then I’ll listen, not a minute before.
Technorati: Nancy Pelosi, House Majority PAC, Rick Nolan, Al Franken, Air America, Mark Dayton, Alida Messinger, Ken Martin, Big Government, DFL, Stewart Mills, Mills Fleet Farm, Mike McFadden, Capitalism, Tax Simplification, Republicans, Election 2014
This article has lots of quotes from DFL Chairman Ken Martin. When Bill Hanna of the Mesabi Daily News asked some straightforward questions of Martin, Martin’s replies were twisted at best. Here’s an example:
But what about Gov. Dayton, who spent millions and millions of his own money to win a U.S. Senate seat? “That’s different. He spent his whole professional life in public service to make the state better. I’m not saying there is a huge difference in their background … just their approach,” Martin said.
That’s rather revealing. Apparently, the DFL thinks that a rich career politician made Minnesota better but a guy whose family owns a profitable business, who worked his way up through the business, who started as a janitor and who’s helped create hundreds of good-paying jobs hasn’t made Minnesota better.
The thought that public service is honorable but creating private sector jobs isn’t honorable is startling and troubling. If anything, I’d argue that the person creating private sector jobs is improving Minnesota and that a career politician is someone totally out of touch with the people.
Career politicians have spent years listening to lobbyists who want their vote on their bill. They’ve spent years listening to their political consultants who stress staying on message rather than listening to the people.
By comparison, successful entrepreneurs spend their time listening to the people they want to sell their product to. If they don’t listen to their customers, they don’t make a profit. Then they go out of business.
Dayton implemented MNsure, which doesn’t work. It cost $160,000,000 to build a website that still isn’t working. Despite its failure, Dayton’s financial health hasn’t suffered one iota. That’s right. There aren’t any consequences for Dayton when his policies fail because it isn’t his money that’s getting spent. Why would he care if his policies fail?
Let’s compare that with Stewart Mills. If Stewart Mills’ business decisions aren’t wise, the company doesn’t make a profit. If that continues long enough, the company files for bankruptcy and real people lose their jobs.
An entrepreneur must listen to the people to make a profit. A politician just needs a political machine to keep making mistake after mistake. That machine isn’t complete without an apologist like DFL Chairman Martin.
And what of Democratic Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who is also now a millionaire with money accumulated as a comedian, actor, author and small businessman, and holds big-buck fundraisers with Hollywood celebrities?
“He understands working class Minnesota. Franken was not born into that money. Mills was born on third base and thought he hit a triple,” Martin said.
Hanging out with Hollywood celebrities isn’t how you “understand working class Minnesota.” Being a disgustingly obnoxious talk radio host in New York City isn’t how you “understand working class Minnesotans.”
Martin then tempered his remarks to say his criticism was not against people achieving wealth.
“If you attack wealth, you’re attacking the American Dream. I don’t want this to come off that I’m attacking that. It’s about what you do with it and want to do with it. I just don’t understand what his (Mills) motivation is to run … how he can relate to working class Minnesotans,” Martin said.
The DFL is a bit schizophrenic when it comes to wealth. If a DFL candidates is wealthy, like Gov. Dayton, he’s characterized as a great philanthropist dedicated to public service. If a Republican like Stewart Mills is wealthy because he’s been part of a successful business that’s created hundreds of jobs, the DFL chairman says Mills is an elitist who “started on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”
Thankfully, Martin isn’t attacking wealth. That’d be un-American.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Al Franken, Ken Martin, Wealth, Career Politicians, Lobbyists, Special Interests, , Air America, Hollywood Elitists, DFL, Stewart Mills, Mills Fleet Farm, Capitalism, GOP, Election 2014
Yestedray, I wrote this post to highlight Gov. Dayton’s juvenile jab at North Dakota. Here’s what he said that caught my attention:
“Every night I dream before I go to sleep of mobilizing the National Guard and annexing North Dakota.” He then quickly followed that statement by saying he’d just been interested in annexing the part of the state will oil, “They can have the rest of it.”
Apparently, North Dakotans don’t care about Gov. Dayton’s juvenile statement. This Gallup poll is telling. This graphic is exceptionally telling:
Gov. Dayton and the DFL should study this graphic before making another childish statement:
North Dakotans are not just satisfied with their economy, however. Across the 50 states, North Dakotans are the most likely to rate their K-12 education as excellent or good, to agree that their schools prepare students to get a good job, and to be satisfied with the education system or schools overall.
I can hear Gov. Dayton, the DFL and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota screaming that this can’t be. In Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s minds, Minnesota is the education state in the Upper Midwest.
What’s most telling, though, is that Dakotans think their air quality is great. The percentage of people that said they were satisfied with their air quality was the highest in the nation. The percentage of people who said that they were satisfied with their water quality was above average nationally.
Gov. Dayton and the metrocentric DFL should take a look at this:
“Oil is a very thick frosting on a very nicely baked cake,” Peterson says. Oil had been found in North Dakota before, but Dalrymple, Peterson, and Al Anderson, North Dakota state commerce commissioner, agree that the volume and velocity of the boom was unexpected. Dalrymple says there were 200,000 barrels a day in 2009, compared with 1 million barrels a day now.
“The rapid evolution of the oil industry was not foreseen,” says Anderson. “We had seen oil booms come and go but now the technology has changed,” Peterson says. “We didn’t realize how much oil was in the ground. We found ways to extract oil that we could never expect.”
In addition to oil, success in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are contributing factors to North Dakota’s having the lowest unemployment in the U.S. for the past four years. The state has added 116,000 jobs since 2000, a job-growth increase of 35.6%. Net migration in the state is up 12.7% since 2000. This onrush of new jobs and workers has strained the housing market. North Dakota residents are fully aware of this, as 61% say they are satisfied with the availability of affordable housing in their state, one of the lowest in the nation.
Gov. Dayton and the DFL insist that North Dakota’s economic boom is tied to the Bakken boom. There’s no denying that it’s a huge factor in North Dakota’s economic success. Still, there’s no denying the fact that manufacturing and agriculture play a big role in North Dakota’s economic boom time.
At a time when Gov. Dayton and the DFL are trying to make Minnesota’s economy more metrocentric, they should be looking at the success our neighbors to the west are experiencing.
When President Potter insisted that students want to live in upscale apartments, he implied that government was the right instrument to ‘fix’ this ‘problem’. That theory isn’t difficult to debunk.
First, let’s question whether students want expensive upscale apartments. It’s plausible that students don’t want to live in dorms built before they were born. That doesn’t mean, however, that they’re interested in paying the high rent that Wedum is charging.
It’s highly possible that President Potter misinterpreted what students wanted. It’s quite possible they just wanted apartments with a) high-speed internet and b) private bathrooms.
Next, let’s question whether government is the right instrument to fix this perceived problem. Government a) isn’t proficient at determining markets, b) doesn’t spend money wisely and c) isn’t responsive to people’s needs. Ask yourself whether those attributes apply to the private sector, where people are motivated by making profits.
Simply put, that isn’t a fair fight. Government is inert. For-profit capitalism is energetic. They’re always looking for their next money-making opportunity. A healthy argument could be made for privatizing on-campus living quarters. The students would benefit because entrepreneurs would have to provide the things students want. Universities would benefit because they could focus on educating students. Additionally, they could establish a scholarship fund when they sold the property where the dormitories currently exist. The cities where universities are located in would benefit because they’d get a big boost in property tax revenues when that public property is turned into private property.
Which brings us back to the Wedum Foundation. They’re a 501(c)3, which means that St. Cloud isn’t collecting a penny in property taxes on a piece of prime real estate. Thanks to that, one of 3 things must happen to make up for that lost property tax revenue. The first possibility is property owners getting hit with high property taxes. Another possibility is that the city puts off some of the things it’s supposed to do, like filling potholes and repairing roads. The other possibility is that the city might raise the local sales tax.
Those options are terrible compared with a flourishing university surrounded by private property with newly constructed apartments and single family dwellings. The ‘Wedum Option’ is a drain on the city. The ‘Private Property Option’ would be a boost to St. Cloud’s coffers. A SCSU would boost St. Cloud’s economy, too.
The only things missing to make this happen are political pressure from would-be entrepreneurs and civic leaders and the leadership from President Potter.
This won’t happen because President Potter a) isn’t a visionary and b) won’t admit that Wedum is a mistake. That’s the biggest reason why SCSU is worse off now than when he started.
If lobbyists and regulators existed at the turn of the Twentieth Century, it’s fairly likely we’d still ride in horse-drawn carriages. The Horse & Buggy Union likely would’ve lobbied state governments to prevent cars from being driven on state highways and city streets. They might’ve lobbied to prevent them from being manufactured.
Glenn Reynolds’ article illustrates how the regulatory system operates and who is hurt by overregulation:
The regulatory knives are out for Uber and Lyft, two ride-sharing services that make life easier for consumers and provide employment opportunities in a stagnant economy. Why are regulators unhappy? Basically, because these new services offer insufficient opportunity for graft.
Here’s a more detailed explanation for Reynolds’ accusations:
In most cities, traditional taxi services are regulated by some sort of taxi commission. Similarly, limo services, the ones that provide the black Town Cars favored by big shots (and used by many Uber drivers), are regulated by some sort of livery office. The rules strictly forbid the two sectors of the market from competing with one another. And, generally, entry is limited so that neither faces too much competition in general. In holding down competition, these regulators act on behalf of the entities they supposedly regulate for the benefit of consumers.
The goal of these regulators is to stifle competition to the greatest extent possible. This sentence is the most revealing:
In holding down competition, these regulators act on behalf of the entities they supposedly regulate for the benefit of consumers.
This regulatory system operates in much the same way that campaign finance ‘reforms’ operate. Campaign finance laws are written by incumbents with the intent of protecting incumbents. When McCain-Feingold was signed into law, some pundits rightly called it the Incumbents Protection Act because it stifled political speech right before primaries and general elections.
Thankfully, the Supreme Court gutted McCain-Feingold.
Hopefully, Reynolds highlighting the regulators’ chicanery will put an end to the regulators’ attempt to stifle competition. Society needs more, not less, competition. That means society needs a less burdensome regulatory regime. When competition is strong, capitalist economies flourish. When competition is limited, the economy stagnates.
It’s that simple.
The RealClearPolitics average of polls appears to indicate that Gov. John Kasich is well-positioned for re-election:
Kasich 45%, Fitzgerald 38%
Kasich 46%, Fitzgerald 36%
Kasich 47%, Fitzgerald 41%
Each of these polls are large samples of likely voters, which means they’re highly predictive. While it’d be foolish for Gov. Kasich to assume he’ll win re-election with this polling, it isn’t foolish to think he’s well-positioned for re-election.
That isn’t good news for Democrats in 2016.
If Gov. Kasich wins re-election, he’ll immediately become a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. Here’s the bio Gov. Kasich could tout in a White House bid: popular governor in an important swing state, strong job creation record as governor, reformer, former chairman of the House Budget Committee.
That last title is especially important because then-Chairman Kasich authored the budget blueprint that caused 5 straight federal budget surpluses while creating 22,000,000 jobs in 8 years.
Another thing Gov. Kasich has going for him is his blue collar background. He loves telling the story about how his father was a postal carrier in the quintessential blue collar city of Youngstown, OH. FYI- Gov. Kasich was born in McKees Rocks, PA.
One thing that Gov. Kasich will undoubtedly highlight is his Office of Workforce Transformation, which “identifies businesses’ most urgent job needs,” then “aligns the skill needs of employers with the training offerings of the education system.”
In other words, Gov. Kasich has taken a proactive approach to prevent longterm unemployment by helping people acquire the skills they need to transition into a new career. That isn’t just smart resource management. It’s the right policy from a moral standpoint.
This is smart resource management, too:
Ohio’s workforce development efforts are spread out across 91 programs in 13 agencies. We are committed to moving reforms to create more efficient, responsive and effective services for employers and workers. With better alignment, we will reduce redundancy, fragmentation and lack of coordination to improve the state and local programs that fuel our workforce system.
Too often, bureaucracies specialize in fragmentation and poor coordination in their attempt to help people. Apparently, that isn’t a problem with the Kasich administration.
We’re still 5+ months from election day, which is dozens of political lifetimes away. Still, there’s no question that Gov. Kasich is well-positioned for re-election.