Archive for November 9th, 2009

Future Prospects for Economic Liberty — Walter Williams

Monday, November 9th, 2009

What is the legitimate role of government in a free society? To understand how America’s Founders answered this question, we have only to look at the rule book they gave us-the Constitution. Most of what they understood as legitimate powers of the federal government are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. Congress is authorized there to do 21 things, and as much as three-quarters of what Congress taxes us and spends our money for today is nowhere to be found on that list.

Never a Neutral State: American Race Relations and Government Power — Jason Kuznicki

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Economics tells us that racial discrimination is expensive. Yet social psychology suggests that humans nonetheless tend to mistrust those whom they identify as outsiders. As a result, governments can exacerbate this mistrust and thereby encourage costly discrimination by creating or maintaining official race-based definitions of outgroups and differential outcomes based on race.

Reflections on Communism Twenty Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall — Paul Hollander

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall fell, marking the collapse of Soviet communism. The failure of the communist system was not merely economic and political; it was a moral failure as well. Over time communism created a deep disillusionment and revulsion among those who lived under it. The diminished sense of legitimacy of the ruling elite in the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc countries contributed to the unraveling of those systems as well. At the same time, there is a remarkable lack of moral concern in the West with the atrocities committed under communist systems, including the tens of millions of people who perished as a result of communist policies.

Starve the Beast: A Further Examination — Michael J. New

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Overall, tax reductions might well be good politics or good policy. However, the evidence presented in this study indicates that revenue reductions, by themselves, are not an effective mechanism for limiting expenditure growth. In addition, the evidence suggests that lower levels of federal revenue may actually lead to greater increases in federal spending. These results indicate that empirical evidence does not support the theory of “starve the beast.” As such, individuals seeking to effectively limit the growth of government should give serious consideration to alternative strategies.

Tax-Spend or Fiscal Illusion? — Andrew T. Young

Monday, November 9th, 2009

What is the intertemporal relationship between U.S. federal government expenditures and revenues? Do variations in revenues cause variations in expenditures (tax-spend) or is causation the other way round (spend-tax)? Alternatively, is causation bidirectional or nonexistent? Understanding the “revenue-expenditure nexus” has important implications for the political economy of fiscal policies.

Rethink the Housing Tax Credit: Stimulus Plans Should Think Past the Needs of Special Interest — Ronald D. Utt

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Senator Isakson (R-GA) has proposed that the $8,000 housing tax credit be extended until June 2010 and that eligibility be expanded to include households with incomes of up to $300,000 and those who already own a home. The Joint Tax Committee estimates that this tax credit extension will cost taxpayers almost $17 billion over the next five years. At a time when so many are suffering from an unemployment rate nearing 10 percent, and with the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years projected to total $13 trillion, this new tax credit proposal seems extravagant even by federal standards.

Tax on High-End Health Insurance Policies Takes the Low Road — J.D. Foster, The Heritage Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The Joint Tax Committee (JTC) recently shed important new light on the proposed “Cadillac excise tax” contained in the Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill.[1] The excise tax is a new levy on high-cost health insurance plans designed to discourage consumers from purchasing overly costly health insurance policies.

The Spending, Deficit, and Debt Control Act Would Help Congress Rein in Spending and Deficits — Brian M. Riedl, The Heritage Foundation

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The current budget process was created in 1974 and has been subject to 35 years of abuse and loopholes. It has proven wholly unsuited to help lawmakers address the surging spending and budget deficits that place the entire United States economy at risk. The principles contained in the Spending, Deficit, and Debt Control Act would modernize the federal budget process and help lawmakers make the difficult but necessary choices to reverse the unsustainable budget trends.

The Big-Spending, High-Taxing, Lousy-Services Paradigm — William Voegeli

Monday, November 9th, 2009

For California’s governmental-industrial complex, a new liberal administration and Congress in Washington offer plausible hope for a happy Hollywood ending. Federal aid will replace the dollars that California’s taxpayers, fed up with the state’s lousy benefits and high taxes, refuse to provide. Under the coming bailout, the new 49ers-Americans in the other 49 states, that is-will be extended the privilege of paying California’s taxes. At least they won’t have to put up with its public services.

New Jersey and New York Counties Rank Highest in Property Tax, Louisiana Parishes Lowest — Gerald Prante

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The highest median property taxes on owner-occupied homes are paid in counties in New York and New Jersey while the lowest taxes are found in Louisiana parishes, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This analysis is restricted to counties, tallying all the property tax levied in those counties, including those levied by school districts and any other entity with taxing authority.

Kansas Policy Institute — Districts Have Funds To Meet Projected $100 Million Shortfall

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Kansas school districts will fall about $10 million short of needed funds by the end of the current 2010 fiscal year according to Dale Dennis, Deputy Commissioner of the Kansas Department of Education.

But school districts statewide had $175.7 million in their contingency reserve funds at the beginning of the current fiscal year. Dennis says those taxpayers’ dollars can be used to cover the shortfall, but once districts spend that money it’s gone.

Court orders Beatles songs to be taken off website

Monday, November 9th, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) – London-based record label EMI has won an injunction against music website BlueBeat.com which it said was selling Beatles songs without its permission.

Internet censorship seen liable to WTO challenge

Monday, November 9th, 2009

GENEVA (Reuters) – Censorship of the Internet is open to challenge at the World Trade Organization as it can restrict trade in services delivered online, a forthcoming study says.

Louvre plays home to Apple’s first French store

Monday, November 9th, 2009

PARIS (Reuters) – Computer giant Apple Inc will open its first French store beneath the Louvre museum on Saturday just two weeks after Microsoft opened a theme cafe to promote its Windows 7 software.

Microsoft CEO sees Yahoo partnership outside U.S.

Monday, November 9th, 2009

TOKYO (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Thursday the company’s search engine partnership with Yahoo would not be limited to the U.S. but would be introduced around the world, once it gets regulatory approval.

Beatles remasters heading to USB

Monday, November 9th, 2009

LONDON (Billboard) – The Beatles remasters are coming out on a limited-edition apple-shaped USB drive in time for Christmas, marking the first time the Fab Four’s catalog has officially been sold as digital files separate from the CDs.

Verizon to sell HTC Android phone for $99.99

Monday, November 9th, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Verizon Wireless said on Thursday that it would sell an HTC Corp (2498.TW) phone based on Google Inc’s (GOOG.O) Android system for $99.99, potentially putting pressure on smaller carrier Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N).

Walmart.com offers top 10 pre-order DVD movie titles at $10

Monday, November 9th, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc is offering its top 10 pre-order DVD movie titles at just $10 and free home delivery on its entire assortment of DVD and Blu-ray titles in another move to win holiday sales.

Reason — Texas sociologist Howard Campbell on drug war failures at the Juarez/El Paso border, Brian Doherty

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The Mexican city of Juarez, on the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, has been suffering from wild waves of drug war-related violence in the past few years. Howard Campbell, a professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of Texas at El Paso, just realeased a book, Drug War Zone: Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juarez, shedding light on the background of what he calls the “drug war zone” that binds Juarez and El Paso, Mexico and the United States.

No Thanks, Net Nannies — Peter Suderman

Monday, November 9th, 2009

In the summary of its recent notice of proposed rule-making, the FCC praised the Web’s success as a platform for innovation and expression and declared its intention to “seek the best means of preserving a free and open Internet.” This opening statement of intent was meant to introduce the commission’s proposed new net neutrality rules for Internet service providers. Instead, it serves to undercut them.