August 25, 2016

Public roads to nowhere [Contributor]

Democrats love talking about roads when they are actually talking about something else. Listen to Massachusetts senate candidate (and progressive heart-throb) Elizabeth Warren: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there—good for you! But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.” Hear this echo from President Obama: “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.… Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” [cont…]

The Obamacare saga encourages political dishonesty [Contributor]

Political dissemblance over the nature of taxes and regulatory architecture looms as an inevitably dark truth of post-Obamacare government. Through the tortuous legislative course of Obamacare’s genesis, Democrats continually denied that the individual mandate was a tax, the heaviest word in America’s political lexicon. Instead, the mandate was a “penalty,” or a “shared responsibility payment.” (A chillingly Orwellian turn-of-phrase). The Democrats knew that truth in taxation would slay Obamacare and scuttle their century-long obsession with state-directed flu shots and hip replacements. So they prevaricated. What do congressmen call a law that amends the Internal Revenue Code, is enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, and forces families to pay up to 2.5% of their incomes into the federal treasury? Anything but a tax.

Unless you’re in court—there, any word will do. [cont…]

Manufacturing Bad Ideas

Presidential elections invariably turn out half-thought economic proposals. One current hot policy ticket is lavish tax advantages for manufacturers, presumably in hope of priming employment growth (and votes). President Obama, for example, proposes to reward manufacturing companies with a mix of tax credits and subsidized loans (i.e., politically directed credit). On the other side, Rick Santorum would absolve manufacturers from federal income tax altogether (i.e., politically directed credit, but through the US Treasury’s back door). Mitt Romney vows that “getting tough” on China will bring more work back to the shop floor (i.e., diplomatic bluster punctuated by a few WTO arbitrations). Slick stuff. But none of the contenders bother to articulate why singling out manufacturing for special treatment makes economic sense, especially for the rest of us. [cont…]

Corporations are people, too

[This guest post is by Benjamin Lusty, an attorney and an occasional contributor to Publius Online. The opinions are his own.] ______________________________________________________________ Among the flotsam and jetsam of misguided political ideas and non sequiturs that washed ashore on the nation’s consciousness after the wreck of Occupy Wall Street is the previously obscure movement to end corporate […]

The Conservatives’ Challenge on Economic Inequality

[This is the first in a set of pieces by Benjamin Lusty, lawyer and an occasional contributor to Publius Online, on the topic of economic inequality] ______________________________________________________________ Americans tend not to wage class war.  The rugged individual within us celebrates economic success.  True, we loathe profit by malfeasance, but we do not begrudge those who prosper […]

Has the social media replaced the jury?

Has the jury system become a relic of pre-modern courts? Or has social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) replaced the jury system as a community of informed individuals weighing the scales of social justice and rendering important (though non-binding) “verdicts”? In many regards, the modern “social media jury” is a lot more like the jury of […]