Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cruising the Web

John Fund examines how cries of racism are now the left's equivalent of a black list for suspected communists. The goal is to totally delegitimize someone so that nothing they do or say should ever again be given credence.

And if there is no connection at all for throwing out a charge of racism against conservatives, how about digging into their bag of slurs and tagging conservatives with anti-Semitism?

Senator Tom Coburn has a depressing look at the year in politics depicting "The Year Washington Fled Reality." That's about it.

Bret Stephens reaches for wisdom from Alexis de Tocqueville to explain how President Obama has a problem with envy rather than the United States having a problem with inequality.
As it is, to whom except the envious should it matter that the boss now makes a lot more, provided you, too, also make more? Class-consciousness has always been a fact of American life, but rarely is it about how the poor, or even the middle class, feel toward the very rich. It has been about how the professional class—lawyers, journalists, administrators, academics—feel toward the financial class. It's what Volvo America thinks about S-class America.

That idiot you knew freshman year, always fondling a lacrosse stick, before he became the head of his fraternity—his bonus last year was how much?

The moral greatness of capitalism rests in the fact that it is the only economic system where one person's gain can be another's also—where Steve Jobs's billions are his shareholders' thousands. Capitalism cultivates a sense of admiration where envy would otherwise rule in a zero-sum economic system. It's what, for the past 60 years, has blunted the democratic tendency toward envy in the U.S. and distinguished its free-market democracy from the social democracies of Europe. It's what draws people to this country.

Somewhere in the rubble of Mr. Obama's musings on inequality there was a better speech on economic mobility. Then again, under Mr. Obama the median income of the poorest Americans has declined in absolute terms, to $11,490 in 2012 from $11,552 in 2009, at the height of the recession. Chalk it up as another instance of Mr. Obama being the cause of the very problems he aspires to address.
Lisa Myers at NBC reports on some workers at an auto dealership realizing how Obamacare is affecting them.
He said the biggest surprise to him in how the law impacts small business clients is “how many people are losers versus winners. … There are some people who do come out ahead, but I would say the overwhelming majority, they’re paying much higher rates and they have lower benefits.”
Lloyd Grove marvels at how fast the media has turned on Chris Christie as soon as he emerged as a leading 2016 candidate. Ironically, that might even help him in the GOP nomination fight.

Avik Roy explains why PolitiFact's attempts to hide its own twisting analysis to rate President Obama's promise that everyone who liked their health care plan could keep it as true up until the time they termed it as their Lie of the Year reveals how deceptive the whole fact-checking journalism really is.

Timothy Carney reminds us of three most logic-free arguments in 2013 politics.

Jonah Goldberg looks at the myths that both liberals and conservatives tell themselves.
One of the most impressive achievements of liberalism is the perpetuation of the myth of liberal rebelliousness. One of my favorite things to do when speaking on college campuses is to point out to students how conformist they are. (College students are a lot like that mob in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" who chant in unison, "We're all individuals!") I point out to the students that their professors are liberal. Their school administrators are liberal. Hollywood, the music and publishing industries are all overwhelmingly liberal. The mainstream media are liberal. "But," I ask them, "you think you're sticking it to the man by agreeing with them?"
Meanwhile, lots of my friends on the right often seem to take it for granted that there's a vast silent majority of Americans pitted against a small cabal of elitist pinheads and would-be social engineers. As a conservative, I believe there are a lot of pinhead social engineers (see, Bloomberg, Michael). But I also understand that there are millions of Americans who see these people as leaders who speak for them and address their needs.
Ironically, both the conservative false confidence in consensus and the liberal false confidence in uniqueness have a similar downside: smugness. Evidence for this is about as hard to find as straw in a haystack. Liberals often talk as if only the backward masses disagree with them and conservatives often assume that only overeducated weirdos and radicals could object to their agenda. Hence Barack Obama's infamous explanation for why rural Pennsylvanians didn't support him: They were too busy "clinging" to their God and guns. Tellingly, conservatives took that line as a badge of honor.

Michael Barone reports on some good news from Mexico.

Moderation and compromise aren't the same thing. Peter Wehner has a useful reminder.

Richard Cohen ponders how 2013 was a very bad year for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is the quintessential Washington insider, a former secretary of state whose portfolio is devoid of a soaring triumph and whose name is attached not to some diplomatic doctrine but to a failed health-insurance plan. She might make a wonderful president, but she’s following a man who, by virtue of his failures, has made that harder. As in 2008, Barack Obama could wind up defeating her.
Meanwhile, the National Journal argues that John Boehner had the "best year in Washington."

Obamacare, in its usual mode of damaging everything that it comes in contact with, includes a new tax on small businesses that is set to go into effect on January 1. And, of course, it will damage everyone.
The White House tells business that the tab will be picked up by deep-pocketed insurers, which is good for a laugh. The Congressional Budget Office reports the tax will be "largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums" and "would ultimately raise insurance premiums by a corresponding amount." The Joint Tax Committee and private economists, such as former CBO director Doug Holtz-Eakin, say the tax will boost insurance costs about 2% to 2.5%. The consultant Oliver Wyman estimates the take will rise to as much as $500 per covered worker by decade's end.

Wasn't the Affordable Care Act supposed to be about expanding coverage in part by lowering premiums, not slapping on more overhead? By this liberal logic taxing cigarettes should create more smokers.

Apparently, Michael Bloomberg paid out $650 million of his own money to cover his perks and maintain himself on the job while he was mayor.

The Hill lists five stories to look for in 2014 as Obamacare becomes further entrenched into our lives.