Daily Archives: May 28, 2008

Social Security Reform

I have a good idea: why don’t we let the people [individually] decide whether they want to contribute to Social Security for their respective retirements? If so, then the government can invest the money for them. If not, they can invest it themselves and everybody gets private accounts so the balances are kept in order and there is accountability.

Liberals won’t go for that idea because SS is not really about retirement, but a grab bag of money for politicians, a bribe for the constituents and a ponzi scheme of redistribution for the lazy numbskulls.

Conservatives will go for it all the way, of course, because we really don’t need the people’s money. We just want limited government.

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The Stupidest Man Alive: David Paul Kuhn (Brad DeLong)

Digby alerts us to David Paul Kuhn writing for the Stupidest Publication Alive, the Politico:
GOP strategists mull McCain ‘blowout’: [M]any top GOP strategists believe [McCain] can defeat Barack Obama… by a margin exceeding President Bush’s Electoral College victory in 2004…. [T]hose same GOP strategists are reticent to publicly tout the prospect of a sizable McCain victory for fear of looking foolish…. [T]he thinking is that he could win by as many 50 electoral votes. By post-war election standards, that margin is unusually small. Yet it’s considerably larger than either Bush’s 2004 victory or his five-electoral-vote win in 2000…
I think we can stop there: a “margin [that] is unusually small” is not a “blowout.”
Duncan Black asks the natural question: “Is There Any Limit? I mean, is there any dictation that Politico won’t take down from Republicans? Is nothing too absurd for them to pass it on?” The answer is that there is not.

A New Argument About Immigration

May 28, 2008by Phyllis Schlafly
Many arguments, pro and con, about how to deal with illegal aliens have been passionately debated over the past couple of years, but there are still other arguments that need public exposure. Mark Krikorian presents a new argument in his forthcoming book called “The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.”
The pro-more-immigration crowd argues that today’s immigrants are just like immigrants of a century ago: poor people looking for a better life who are expected to advance in our land of opportunity. Krikorian’s new argument is that while today’s immigrants may be like earlier ones, the America they come to is so very different that our previous experience with immigrants is practically irrelevant.
The essential difference between the two waves of immigrants was best summed up by the Nobel Prize-winning advocate of a free market, Milton Friedman. He said, “It’s just obvious that you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state.”
The term “welfare state” does not just mean handouts to the non-working. Our welfare state encompasses dozens of social programs that provide benefits to the “working poor,” i.e., people working for wages low enough that they pay little or no income taxes.
Immigrants of the previous generation were expected to earn their own living, pay taxes like everybody else, learn our language, love America, and assimilate into our culture. Today’s immigrants likewise come here for jobs not welfare.
During those prior major waves of immigration, the United States didn’t have a welfare state. Native-born Americans survived the Great Depression of the 1930s without a welfare state.
The Social Security retirement system was established only in 1935. Most other agencies that redistribute cash and costly benefits from taxpayers to non-taxpayers started with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society in the late 1960s.
Today’s low-wage immigrants and lower-wage illegals can’t earn what it costs to live in modern America, so they supplement with means-tested taxpayer benefits. And many immigrants don’t learn our language or assimilate into American culture because of the multicultural diversity taught in our schools and encouraged in our society.
Today’s immigrants fit the profile of the people who benefit from our welfare state: the working poor with large families. Krikorian sets forth some dismal figures.
About 30 percent of all immigrants in the U.S. workforce in 2005 lacked a high school education, which is four times the rate for native-born Americans. Among the largest group of working-age immigrants, the Mexicans, 62 percent have less than a high-school education, which means they work low-wage jobs.
Nearly half of immigrant households, 45 percent, are in or near poverty compared with 29 percent of native-headed households. Among Mexicans living in the United States, nearly two-thirds live in or near the government’s definition of poverty.
Costly social benefits provided to the working poor include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (now called TANF, formerly AFDC), food stamps, school lunches, Medicaid, WIC (nutrition for Women, Infants and Children), public housing, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the most expensive parts of income redistribution. Twice as many immigrant households (30 percent) qualify for this cash handout as native-headed households (15 percent).
Health care is another huge cost. Nearly half of immigrants are either uninsured or on Medicaid, which is nearly double the rate for native-born families. Federal law requires hospitals to treat all comers to emergency rooms, even if uninsured and unable to pay.
Hospitals try to shift the costs onto their paying patients, and when the hospitals exhaust their ability to do this, they close their doors. In Los Angeles, 60 hospitals have closed their emergency rooms over the past decade, which imposes another kind of cost.
Immigration accounts for nearly all the growth in elementary and secondary school enrollment over the past generation. The children of immigrants now comprise 19 percent of the school-age population and 21 percent of the preschool population.
The Heritage Foundation estimated that in order to reduce government payments to the average low-skill household to a level equal to the taxes it pays, “it would be necessary to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, all means-tested welfare, and to cut expenditures on public education roughly in half.” Obviously, that is not going to happen.
Attempts to limit welfare eligibility for illegal aliens by provisions added to the 1996 welfare reform law, SSI, food stamps, Medicaid and TANF all failed. Krikorian concludes that “Walling immigrants off from government benefits once we’ve let them in is a fantasy.”
As Americans are pinched between falling real estate values and the inflation of necessities such as gasoline, they are entitled to know how their tax dollars are being spent. The big bite that social benefits to immigrants (one-third of whom are illegal) takes out of taxpayers’ paychecks should be factored into any debate about immigration or amnesty policy.

Surge To Victory

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4:20 PM PT

War On Terror: They said the surge would fail. They claimed we had no allies. They called Iraq a quagmire. They sought to cut and run. Now, our victories over terror are accelerating across the world.


Read More: Global War On Terror | Iraq


 

Take a look at what happened in the global war on terror just over the Memorial Day weekend:

• Iraqi forces ran al-Qaida terrorists out of Mosul, the terror organization’s final urban stronghold. That victory reduces the killers to fringe areas with little public support, and a truncated capacity to recruit and strike terror in Iraq’s cities. Al-Qaida has “never been closer to defeat than they are now,” said Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

Iraqi troops also cleaned out Basra and Sadr City, reducing any prospect for domestic insurgents to take power by force. Along with al-Qaida, these terrorists may try to continue, but the will is fading as the pressure is ratcheted up.

• In Colombia, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos announced that Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda, founder of the FARC Marxist terror group, died a hunted man in the jungle on March 26 as bombs rained down on him. Better still, the government knew this because it penetrated FARC. Marulanda died knowing his chosen successor, Raul Reyes, had been blown away, too. Indeed, three of FARC’s seven top leaders have been killed since March, and the rest are headed “for the grave,” Santos said.

Hundreds of FARC foot soldiers are now furtively phoning the government to beg for a deal. Along with fears of their own men turning them in for cash, FARC leaders now work in a poisoned atmosphere, knowing spies are in their midst. They won’t win.

• British forces for the first time drove the Taliban from a southern stronghold in a 96-hour battle this month. It was their first combat operation since new troops arrived in March. The New York Times reported a “palpable” sense of relief among villagers, with the district chief and exiles returning to rebuild. “There has been huge optimism from the people,” an officer was quoted as saying.

• In the south Philippines, Marxist and Muslim terrorists are desperate. A big arsenal belonging to al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf was unearthed in Sulu Saturday, taking 283 sacks of bomb components out of circulation. Meanwhile, Nur Misuari, the top terrorist of the Moro National Liberation Front, on parole in Davao, pleaded with other terrorists to drop arms and sue for peace at a rally Saturday.

• In Egypt’s al-Qaida inner circle, a leading jihad ideologue, using the nom de guerre Dr. Fadl, has now openly questioned terrorism as a tactic, given al-Qaida’s mounting losses. He threatened to renounce violence — a new blow to the jihadists.

Has there ever been such an epidemic of terrorist surrender? And the trend is growing. For the first time, the possibility of a world without major terror organizations is real. The world has shrunk for them, while the nations that fight back are getting stronger.

Significantly, those doing much of the winning are U.S. allies — the ones we supposedly don’t have.

The British have sprung to life after years of ineffectiveness. They now show their old mettle as they break the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi, Colombian and Philippine militaries have become effective anti-terrorist fighters after U.S. training. Those countries’ forces were directly responsible for victory in Mosul, and big reversals in the jungles of Colombia and Philippines.

U.S.-trained anti-terror forces now form a united, global front of sorts. It’s a bad time to be a terrorist.

So where are the naysayers now with their conventional wisdom that the war can’t be won? The tables are turning on terrorists all over the world. As victories crescendo, it should be trumpeted loudly: The surge is working.

Policy on Criticism

I won’t accept criticism from those who are too sensitive to be criticized.