Monday, December 19, 2011

Cruising the Web

If you were celebrating the preservation of freedom of choice in your light bulb purchases, don't get too excited. It is only for a year and all it does to deny the Department of Energy the money to enforce the ban for a year. Who knows what will happen next year? And whether any stores that you frequent will actually break the law even though they know that the DOE won't be enforcing it?

If you're having trouble picking a 2012 candidate, try this match game to see which candidate is closest to you in policy proposals. Here's another one.

Newt goes for the standard excuse that politicians usually use when they're accused of something that they can't answer. He says he should have explained himself better about his work for Freddie Mac. And then he gives the silliest defense by saying that most of the money that he earned from Freddie Mac went to overhead. Well, money is fungible and whether the funds from Freddie Mac went to overhead or into his pocket, it's all the same thing when he's running a consulting firm. however, as the WSJ has reported, he was speaking up for both Fannie and Freddie and the whole idea of government-sponsored enterprises in 2007. He was defending the idea of such government agencies help people buy houses. Well, that is what led us into this whole mess in the first place.
The real history lesson here may be what the Freddie episode reveals about Mr. Gingrich's political philosophy. To wit, he has a soft spot for big government when he can use it for his own political ends. He also supported the individual mandate in health care in the 1990s, and we recall when he lobbied us to endorse the prescription drug benefit with only token Medicare reform in 2003.

As late as Thursday night's debate, Mr. Gingrich was still defending his Freddie ties as a way of "helping people buy houses." But that is the same excuse Barney Frank used to block reform, and the political pursuit of making housing affordable is what led Freddie to guarantee loans to so many borrowers who couldn't repay them. Yesterday's SEC lawsuit against former Fannie and Freddie executives for misleading investors about subprime-mortgage risks only reinforces the point.
Romneycare isn't any better as an example of Romney relying on government to fix a problem. So no one should deceive themselves that somehow Gingrich is all that different. And he's still misleading us about his work for Freddie Mac.

Now that Ron Paul is doing better in the polls and may even be set to win Iowa, it's time to revisit the Ron Paul Newsletters that he sent out in the 1990s. These newsletters contained racist statements. We heard all about a rock with a racist name on Rick Perry's family's hunting grounds that may or may not have been painted over when the Perrys purchased the land. How about hearing about statements that were sent out with Ron Paul's name over them? Read this piece from Reason magazine in 2008 to find out more about them.

The WSJ gives credit to Gingrich for raising the danger of an EMP attack.

Did you know this about Romney's time at Bain Capital?
Romney bought and sold or invested in Experian credit reporting agency, Domino’s Pizza, Staples Superstore, AMC Entertainment, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, DoubleClick, Guitar Center, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Sealy, The Sports Authority, Toys R Us, Unisource, Warner Music Group, The Weather Channel and more than more than a hundred others.

He started with $37 million. Romney left Bain in 1998. Today Bain Capital controls $65 billion in assets.

If you had invested $1000 in Bain Capital at the beginning of Romney’s fourteen-year run, that would have been worth more than $39 million by the time he was through.
These are the sorts of details Romney shouldn't be ashamed about plugging when he gets attacked for his work as some sort of Gordon Gekko.

Jeb Bush has an eloquent and well-reasoned plea for getting government out of the way for economic progress.
Have we lost faith in the free-market system of entrepreneurial capitalism? Are we no longer willing to place our trust in the creative chaos unleashed by millions of people pursuing their own best economic interests?

The right to rise does not require a libertarian utopia to exist. Rather, it requires fewer, simpler and more outcome-oriented rules. Rules for which an honest cost-benefit analysis is done before their imposition. Rules that sunset so they can be eliminated or adjusted as conditions change. Rules that have disputes resolved faster and less expensively through arbitration than litigation.

In Washington, D.C., rules are going in the opposite direction. They are exploding in reach and complexity. They are created under a cloud of uncertainty, and years after their passage nobody really knows how they will work.

We either can go down the road we are on, a road where the individual is allowed to succeed only so much before being punished with ruinous taxation, where commerce ignores government action at its own peril, and where the state decides how a massive share of the economy's resources should be spent.

Or we can return to the road we once knew and which has served us well: a road where individuals acting freely and with little restraint are able to pursue fortune and prosperity as they see fit, a road where the government's role is not to shape the marketplace but to help prepare its citizens to prosper from it.

In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.