12 September 2008

Peggy Noonan Slices & Dices

Comes now the discovery that my nephew, who professes himself libertarian, has got problems with Palin. Lyrcism intended. I dinna ken what's driving this, but I suspect it's some of the social conservative stuff Palin asserts. And that leads to an interesting point. Libertarianism -- or classical liberalism, if you'd prefer -- does not demand moral lockstep. You can, if you'd like, assert that same-sex marriage is immoral and still call yourself a Libertarian; what you can't do is invoke coercive power to force that view on others.

The incomparable Noonan documents one of the strangest hissyfits in modern history. Read it all by clicking on the title. Bottom line: fire a broadside when the target's in range.
Then Mrs. Palin, and the catastrophe of the Democratic and
media response to her. Books will be written about this, but because it's so
recent, and so known, we're almost not absorbing how huge it was, and is. Here
was the central liberal mistake: They used the atom bomb just a few days in.
They used it so brutally, and yet so ineptly, in a way so oblivious to the true
contours of the field, that the radiation blew back over their own lines. They
used it without preliminary diplomatic talks, multilateral meetings or Security
Council debate. They just went boom. And it boomeranged.
The atom bomb was
personal and sexual perfidy, backwoods knuckle-draggin' ma and pa saying, Tell
the neighbors the baby's ours. Then the ritual abuse of the 17-year-old girl.
Then the rest of it—bad mother, religious weirdo. (On this latter it must be
noted that Mrs. Palin never told a church that the Iraq war was God's will; she
asked them to pray that it was God's will. It wasn't the sound of Republican
hubris, it was the sound of Christian humility: We can't know the mind of God,
we can only pray we are in accord with it.)
All of this was unacceptable to
normal Americans. They experienced it as the town gossip spreading rumor and
slander before the new neighbor even got to put down her bags. It offended the
American sense of fairness. And—it still lives!—gallantry.
Most crucially,
the snobbery of it, the meanness of it, reminded the entire country, for the
first time in a decade, what it is they don't like about the left. Really,
America had forgotten

Samuelson on Health Care

It is widely assumed that health care, like most aspects of American life, shamefully shortchanges the poor. This is less true than it seems. Glance at the adjacent table (You'll have to link back to the article to see the table-- ed.). It comes from economist Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution (nota: Brookings is generally labeled a [modern] liberal organization) and is based on a government survey of health spending. Burtless was understandably astonished when he assembled these data: they show that, on average, annual health spending per person—from all private and government sources—is equal for the poorest and the richest Americans. In 2003, it was $4,477 for the poorest fifth and $4,451 for the richest.

What's missing is delivery. Getting health care to the poor usually requires them to spend hours waiting. The personal incentive: don't go until you have to.

11 September 2008

If Palin were POTUS

Tigerhawk posts some nominal questions for Palin to answer regarding defense & foreign affairs.
I'm going to finish the whole problem up:
If something horrible were to happen soon after January 2009, I will take advantage of the depth of the Republican Bench. That evening I would make four phone calls -- after telling my Chief of Staff to cause the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor to materialize in front of my desk -- to:
  • Former Secretary, former National Security Advisor, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell
  • Former National Security Advisor and former Secreatary Condoleeza Rice
  • Former Secretary of Defense and former Chief of the CIA Gates
  • Former Secretary of Defense -- in a democratic adminsitration -- and fomer Senator -- William Perry.
"Hey, guys, I need you.
The point is, lack of foreign policy experience isn't an issue as long as she -- Palin -- knows it exists.

The heroes of Flight 93 only reportedly stormed the flight deck

Don't believe me, go talk to the Associated Press. Money shot:
In Pennsylvania, at least 200 people gathered Thursday morning at an observance in a reclaimed minefield in Shanksville where Flight 93 came down after passengers reportedly stormed the cockpit to thwart terrorists' plans to use that plane as a weapon like the others. Bells were to toll and victims' names would be read as part of the service.

09 September 2008

Social sciences core principles

This actually comes from the National Council on Economic Education; however, has -- as we say -- universal applicability:
  • People Choose
  • Choices involve costs. All choices. It may be time, it may be pain, it may be money; doesn't matter: it's a cost.
    • Subset: the opposite of cost is benefit, a/k/a 'negative cost'
  • Incentives matter.
  • Society influences choices and incentives
  • Voluntary trade creates wealth. Wealth does not have to be money.
  • The consequences of choosing are in the future. Would some pow'r ....