Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Saturday, December 09, 2006DO THIS NOW It's free. You have no excuse. Just do this now.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:06 PM | link
BAD POLITICS, FUNNY PROMO How come the Left is so much more adept at packaging its messages in engaging ways? Here's one about so-called "net neutrality."
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:34 PM | link
Friday, December 08, 2006AND YOU THOUGHT THERE WASN'T A GOOD CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE FOR 2008! Buy the campaign gear here.
Thanks to reader David Duval.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:02 AM | link
I'M SURE THE FEELING IS MUTUAL Reuters eagerly covers the story:
European Socialists eager to work with U.S. DemocratsThanks to reader Tim Daniel.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:58 AM | link
Wednesday, December 06, 2006OUTSTANDING NEWS FOR SPENDING RESTRAINT Club for Growth-sponsored Jeb Hensarling has been elected the new head of the House's Republican Study Group. Outgoing Group champion Mike Pence had this to say:
"Jeb Hensarling is a friend of freedom like no other. Over the past two years, Jeb has been at the center of every battle where House conservatives made a difference for fiscal discipline and reform. Jeb Hensarling is the right man to lead House conservatives in the 110th Congress.In other news, on the Senate side, Jim DeMint has been named the new chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, a caucus of conservative senators that includes the majority of the Republican Conference.
If the GOP keeps making smart picks like this, then 2008 is just looking brighter and brighter.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:21 PM | link
TALKING SOME SOCIAL SECURITY SENSE My friends at National Review have stepped in to settle the debate about whether conservatives ought to negoatiate Social Security reform with Democrats with "everything on the table." I find their view sensible and constructive -- because it agrees so much with mine, and stands against the narcissistic dogmatism of Peter Ferrara and Tom Giovanetti.
Two years ago, Bush was so eager to enact personal accounts that he signaled his openness to tax increases to get them. If personal accounts are off the table, the tax increases should be, too. That leaves three possible areas for cooperation.Meanwile, here are some fragments of an excellent document from an anonymous source passed on to me by a White House friend, making some of the same points and adding a few notes of urgency:
Some conservative commentators suggest that the current composition of Congress makes any attempt to reach a deal on Social Security impractical, even foolhardy. If Democrats are unwilling to embrace personal accounts financed from payroll taxes, these pundits reason, then it would be best to wait and address the issue when reform-oriented conservatives possess the requisite political control. Although this reasoning is superficially compelling...[t]he same arithmetic that makes current promises unaffordable will soon make amending those promises politically unfeasible.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:55 PM | link
Monday, December 04, 2006YES, IT'S ANOTHER OF THOSE LIST ISSUES Always fun. This time it's The Atlantic, with its list of the 100 Most Influential Americans. Okay, I agree with the top three -- Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But they are in exactly the wrong order. Didn't Jefferson have to invent America before Washington could deliver it or Lincoln could save it? And how about number 4 -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Please! How could FDR trample the Constitution until James Madison wrote it -- yet Madison only makes number 13?
Ayn Rand didn't make the list -- though it's hard to think of too many more influential twentieth century intellectuals. But in a sidebar list of "Influential Architects," Rand's greatest character, Howard Roark, is honored -- the only fictional person to make any list.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:02 PM | link
Sunday, December 03, 2006THE CAPGAINS TRIUMPH The evidence for the supply-side success of the 2003 tax cuts on dividends and capital gains continues to pour in. Dan Clifton of the American Shareholders Association reports:
...our model suggests CBO's most recent, revised estimate is still too low by $28 billion for fiscal years 2004-2006, or roughly by 12 percent. In fact, capital gains tax revenue has nearly doubled since fiscal year 2003, growing from $50 billion in fiscal year 2003 to $98 billion in fiscal year 2006.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:07 PM | link
ON THE TABLE In a new blog posting, Tom Giovanetti has cooled his jets a bit since his unsubstantiated counterattack to my critique of Peter Ferrara's recent unconstructive approach to reform. After defending himself for deceptively misquoting me on the grounds that he provided a link to what I actually said, he gets into some ideological substance: is there any circumstance under which a principled pro-growth advocate ought to permit a hike in payroll taxes to be "on the table" in congressional negotiations about Social Security reform? If one were to be truly principled, one wouldn't permit any congressional debate about Social Security reform other than abolition. All of us have already compromised on that -- indeed Ferrara's bloated plan could be seen as an heroic attempt to prop up a corrupt institution of government coercion and economic interference by dressing it up with the lipstick of private accounts.
To Ferrara, that compromise -- his compromise -- makes sense. So why be so dogmatic about other compromises? All else equal, I'm just as opposed to raising the payroll tax as anyone. But can Giovanetti and Ferrara say with confidence that, in a negotiation, all else would be equal? Would they not trade a hike in the payroll tax for something? Anything? How about a 5% increase in the payroll tax maximum-wage cap in exchange for a 5% decrease in the top personal income tax rate? For the abolition of capital gains taxes? I trust you see my point. And so does the White House. Why not listen to any and all ideas? You can always say "no" later. And why not even compromise with bad ideas, if they can be offset with brilliant ideas? Isn't it the net result that counts?
I appreciate that Ferrara is trying to create an atmosphere of watchfulness among conservatives in which the White House won't be able to get away with a really stupid mistake. But Ferrara's approach is unconstructive -- it is preventing the necessary engagement with the enemies of reform. Conservatives don't have the votes to go it alone. And even if they did, it is unlikely they would embrace Ferrara's plan -- every particular of which Ferrara wrongly insists upon as the one and only true faith of Social Security reform.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:40 AM | link