Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
JOEL KOTKIN on why Blue cities are such cesspits of inequality.
There’s little argument that inequality, and the depressed prospects for the middle class, will be a dominant issue in this year’s election, and beyond. Yet the class divide is not monolithic in its nature, causes, or geography. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, some places are more unequal than others.
Housing represents a central, if not dominant, factor in the rise of inequality. Although the cost of food, fuel, electricity, and tax burdens vary, the largest variation tends to be in terms of housing prices. Even adjusted for income, the price differentials for houses in places like the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles are commonly two to three times as much as in most of the country, including the prosperous cities of Texas, the mid-south and the Intermountain West.
These housing differences also apply to rents, which follow the trajectory of home prices. In many markets, particularly along the coast, upwards of 40% of renters and new buyers spend close to half their income on housing. This has a particularly powerful impact on the poor, the working class, younger people, and middle class families, all of whom find their upward trajectory blocked by steadily rising housing costs.
In response to higher prices, many Americans, now including educated Millennials, are heading to parts of the country where housing is more affordable. Jobs too have been moving to such places, particularly in Texas, the southeast and the Intermountain West. As middle income people head for more affordable places, the high-priced coastal areas are becoming ever more sharply bifurcated, between a well-educated, older, and affluent population and a growing rank of people with little chance to ever buy a house or move solidly into the middle class.
Ironically, these divergences are taking place precisely in those places where political rhetoric over inequality is often most heated and strident. Progressive attempts, such as raising minimum wages, attempt to address the problem, but often other policies, notably strict land-use regulation, exacerbate inequality.
The other major divide is not so much between regions but within them. Even in expensive regions, middle class families tend to cluster in suburban and exurban areas, which are once again growing faster than areas closer to the core. Progressive policies in some states, such as Oregon and California, have been calculated to slow suburban growth and force density onto often unwilling communities. By shutting down the production of family-friendly housing, these areas are driving prices up and, to some extent, driving middle and working class people out of whole regions.
They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.
21 by Glenn Reynolds
The Economic Stimulus Perplex: Could Regulation Be the Problem? Progressives and the failure of massive government spending to boost jobs and economic growth.
YA THINK? The Economic Stimulus Perplex: Could Regulation Be the Problem? Progressives and the failure of massive government spending to boost jobs and economic growth.
In his column, Samuelson asks, “What ails the private sector? Can we do anything about it? Those are the crucial questions.”
Perhaps the answer to what ails the private sector is excessive regulation. A recent study by the conservative American Action Forum estimates that the Obama administration is on track to adopt over 600 major regulations (those costing more than $100 million each) by the end of the president’s term. The total cost of complying with all of the new regulations will add up to $813 billion. The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute calculates that extent and cost of Washington’s rules and mandates is $1.8 trillion annually, amounting to about $15,000 per household each year. Even the New York Times on Sunday called President Obama, the regulator-in-chief whose new rules have “imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.”
I have reported earlier analyses that found that regulatory drag has made the U.S. economy $4 trillion smaller than it would otherwise have been. That amounts to a lot of foregone jobs and consumption. I would like to suggest that hugely escalating regulatory costs under the Obama administration have mostly offset whatever the benefits that orthodox Keynesians would expect from economic stimulus. In other words, President Obama has been trying to use Keynesian stimulation to rev the economy while simultaneously jamming down hard on the regulatory brakes.
Well, regulation is an important source of graft.
85 by Glenn Reynolds
THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 8/30/2016
Threats to freedom from the left
To paraphrase Forest Gump, “Freedom is as freedom does.” Consider America’s diminishing freedom—over the last 8 years, America’s freedom ranking dropped from 17th to 20th among 25 countries. You must take into account something that was not part of the surveys: The sense of freedom that individual Americans have, and how that feeling of being free to act upon our convictions as citizens, in our representative self-government, can be crushed.
I listened to an interview on July 5 with Kimberly Strassel, author of “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech.” It occurred to me that, over those same 8 years, the increasing brazenness of leftist attacks on conservative activists has become a scourge on our streets, the Internet, in abusive lawsuits, and targeted judicial/IRS action. People are inspired to act to affect the legislative process, or weigh in in an organized way, with ads, flyers, petitions and contacts with officials. Those are basic freedoms, even responsibilities, of men and women in our America Republic, a representative democracy; progressives threaten it all.
This is not to say that people who are engaged on the other side of an issue, or an opposing campaign or candidate, are out of bounds to actively support, publicly weigh in, write letters to the editor or hold events of their own. People can be as vocal, as organized, and as passionate as they feel is appropriate to their cause. What they can’t do, if they value civil liberty and fair political practices, is engage in underhanded attacks on people, anonymous character assassination, efforts to hurt the families or businesses of opponents, or use legal means (also known as “law-fare”) to silence, restrict or punish their opponents.
Strassel referenced the California initiative, Proposition 8, which sought to define marriage as between one man and one woman. We all remember that people were passionate both for and against it. Now, I will divide readers based on their opinions of, not the issue itself, but whether it was wrong and out-of-bounds for certain things occur. You might want to think long and hard before answering that you approved of the tactics of the anti-Prop 8 crowds.
Was it wrong to disclose donors’ names, and amounts they contributed in favor of Prop 8, when the law said it was confidential? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 50 years ago, in favor of the secrecy of NAACP donors, citing their vulnerability to intimidation and harassment. That meant the Prop 8 disclosures were wrong, even illegal and, given what subsequently happened, abominable as a matter of civic propriety.
Was it wrong for Prop 8 opponents (gay marriage supporters) to then use such information to attack fellow citizens who held an opposing position? Was it wrong to organize boycotts against their employers, their businesses, their spouse’s employers or businesses, their service groups, their theater companies, their vehicles, property, Prop 8 signage, and on and on?
I don’t recall Prop 8 opponents speaking out against gay marriage supporters that were hounding, harassing and physically attacking Mormon churches and church-goers, even little old ladies. Many of us have never forgotten and, never having been asked, we’ve never forgiven.
While at the Republican booth for that year’s fair, among the passers-by was a uniformed Sheriff’s deputy that engaged us in discussing our position supporting Prop 8; the male deputy was opposed. The discussion turned to debate with the deputy loudly saying we were hateful and intolerant—things totally irrelevant to anything we had said. Sounds intimidating, no?
Kimberley Strassel presents an “alarming look at how the Left, once the champion of civil liberties, is today orchestrating a coordinated campaign to bully Americans out of free speech…and how both disclosure and campaign finance laws have been hijacked by the Left as weapons against free speech and free association, becoming the most powerful tools of those intent on silencing their political opposition.”
Among the examples cited—each an outrageous political overreach and scare tactic—that constitute evidence, to this writer, of a “long train of abuses and usurpations”: 1) the left set off a wave of liberal harassment against conservative politicians after the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United (the Court ruled that private citizens, who formed a political corporation to fund and run anti-Hillary Clinton ads, acted legally); 2) the IRS used partisan standards to twist the tax code to target Tea Party groups;
3) Wisconsin prosecutors, state Attorneys General and a Democrat Congress attacked political activists and businesses; 4) the Obama administration politicized a host of government agencies including the FEC, FCC, and the SEC. There are others; I hope to read it this summer.
Here’s what conservative Jonah Goldberg said: Regarding the increasingly repressive climate towards free speech, “no books have connected the dots between the Obama White House, Congressional Democrats, and the spider web of ‘grassroots’ organizations the way Kim Strassel does…It is required reading for those who want to know what’s behind the supposedly spontaneous outrages we see every day.”
Stephen Hayes: “Public shaming encouraged by leading political figures. Pre-dawn police raids. Federal agencies targeting groups and individuals because of their political views. It’s hard to believe these things are happening, and more frequently, in the United States. But they are and in this searing indictment of the systematic attempt of the political left to shut down political debates they cannot win, Kimberley Strassel provides the often-horrifying details. It’s a shocking and assiduously well-reported chronicle of the illiberal tactics of the new progressives.”
When under attack, political freedom, if not vigorously defended, will wither away.
Monday, August 29, 2016
By Post Editorial Board
Step back from the endless news of Clinton Foundation/Clinton State Department sleaze and Clinton email abuse, and shake your head at this: Hillary Clinton still believes she did absolutely nothing wrong.
That jaw-dropper surfaced in Annie Karni’s report for Politico on the campaign’s damage-control efforts on the candidate’s scandals: Hillary’s minions plan to just “ride out” the clock to Election Day — “a strategy born … of a belief held deeply by Clinton herself that the email controversy is a fake scandal.”
A year-and-a-half after news of her use of a home-brewed server — plainly, to shield her work communications from Freedom of Information laws — Clinton still sees the whole thing as “nothing more than a partisan attack,” Karni writes after talking to top campaign aides.
Right, because FBI Director Jim Comey was a Republican tool when he condemned Clinton’s conduct — which exposed thousands of classified emails to hackers — as “extremely careless.”
The Associated Press must be partisan, too: This week it reported that more than half of the people outside government who met with Secretary of State Clinton had donated in some way to the Clinton Foundation.
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who got face time with the secretary had donated to the foundation, according to State Department calendars released so far to the AP. Combined, the contributions total as much as $156 million.
And this on top of multiple email dumps showing Clinton’s top aides at State scrambling to arrange meetings and even jobs to please foundation donors.
Yet the Clintons plainly don’t think they ever did anything wrong. Why else refuse to shut the foundation down? Why now promise you’ll stop taking foreign or corporate donations at only some segments of the foundation, unless you think the giving is clean, because it’s all going to your cause?
Never mind the promises Clinton broke at State — to have the foundation take no foreign cash and insulate State decision-making from foundation influence; to safeguard classified info and ensure State had its own copies of all her work communiques . . .
If she makes it to the White House, be warned: Hillary Clinton will never stop breaking her word and the rules whenever she pleases, because in her mind, whatever she does is ethical.