Friday, May 4, 2012

Top 10 Reads of the Week - May 4, 2012

How Retirement Benefits May Sink The States - Steven Malanga [Wall Street Journal]
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently offered a stark assessment of the threat to his state's future that is posed by mounting pension and retiree health-care bills for government workers. Unless Illinois enacts reform quickly, he said, the costs of these programs will force taxes so high that, "You won't recruit a business, you won't recruit a family to live here."
We're likely to hear more such worries in coming years. That's because state and local governments across the country have accumulated several trillion dollars in unfunded retirement promises to public-sector workers, the costs of which will increasingly force taxes higher and crowd out other spending. Already businesses and residents are slowly starting to sit up and notice... Read the Rest

The Path to Bin Laden's Death Didn't Start With Obama - Jose Rodriguez, Jr. [Washington Post]
As we mark the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, President Obama deserves credit for making the right choice on taking out Public Enemy No. 1.
But his administration never would have had the opportunity to do the right thing had it not been for some extraordinary work during the George W. Bush administration. Much of that work has been denigrated by Obama as unproductive and contrary to American principles... Read the Rest
Elizabeth Warren Has Lost Her Standing As Chief Female Savior - Margery Egan [Boston Herald]
...I just can’t shake the ridiculous image of you, Liz — a blue-eyed blonde almost as pasty white as me — letting yourself be described as a minority professor, a Native American, for years.
You’ve played the Indian card. You’ve grabbed for minority cred without enduring the minority grief. It’s poached diversity. It’s glommed onto, what, five generations removed, assuming there were some facts way, way back when, as your campaign aides claimed last night... Read the Rest
The Hypothetical President - David Haranyi [Real Clear Politics]
Plenty of Americans believe that the president's rhetoric runs counter to facts, but actually, it's the president's own counterfactual arguments that matter most.
Which is to say, nearly the entire case for President Barack Obama's second term is based on not what has happened but what could, would or might under different circumstances. Things, as you've surely heard from one official after the next, would have been a whole lot worse without the president's guidance... Read the Rest
A Cynical Process - Thomas Sowell [Real Clear Politics]
Labor unions, like the United Nations, are all too often judged by what they are envisioned as being -- not by what they actually are or what they actually do.
Many people, who do not look beyond the vision or the rhetoric to the reality, still think of labor unions as protectors of working people from their employers. And union bosses still employ that kind of rhetoric. However, someone once said, "When I speak I put on a mask, but when I act I must take it off."
That mask has been coming off, more and more, especially during the Obama administration, and what is revealed underneath is very ugly, very cynical and very dangerous... Read the Rest

Let's Just Say It: The Democrats Are The Problem - Jamie Weinstein [The Daily Caller]
In a high-profile essay in the Washington Post, think tank scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein declared that the current morass in Washington can almost entirely be laid at the feet of the GOP.
“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics,” they wrote. “It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
But just take a look at the number one issue facing America domestically: our looming entitlement crisis. If we don’t radically change our entitlement programs and put them on a sustainable course, our country is in deep, catastrophic trouble. We face in the neighborhood of $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities. That’s trillion with a “t.”... Read the Rest

Chen, China, and America
- Editors [The Economist]
AT RARE moments the future of a nation, even one teeming with 1.3 billion souls, can be bound up in the fate of a single person. Just possibly China is living through one of those moments and Chen Guangcheng is that person. A blind activist from Shandong province, Mr Chen emerged from poverty, fought for justice and paid the price with his own liberty. Last month he made a bid for freedom and became ensnared in the impersonal machinery of superpower politics. What now befalls him and his family raises questions about Sino-American relations and the character of Chinese power.
In many ways, Mr Chen is the best of modern China. Blind since childhood, poorly educated until adulthood and then self-taught, he became a lawyer, never a safe career in a country where might is right. As a peasant activist fighting local battles—which makes him a much more potent force in China than politicised members of the urban elite such as the artist Ai Weiwei (see article)—he was praised for years by the local government for advocating the rights of disabled people. Then he crossed the line by taking on the local party over the abortions and sterilisations it enforced as part of China’s strict one-child policy. After four years in jail on spurious charges, Mr Chen was kept prisoner in his own home for 19 months... Read the Rest
Obama's Chicago Politics: Thuggery, Not Civility - Michael Barone [Washington Examiner]
It has been reported that the Obama campaign this year, as in 2008, has disabled or chosen not to use AVS in screening contributions made by credit card.
That doesn't sound very important. But it's evidence of a modus operandi that strikes me as thuggish.
AVS stands for Address Verification System. It's the software that checks whether the name of the cardholder matches his or her address... Read the Rest
Divider in Chief - Charles Krauthammer [Washington Post]
Poor Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.Once again he’s been pilloried for fumbling a historic Supreme Court case. First shredded for his “train wreck” defense of Obamacare’s individual mandate, he is now blamed for the defenestration in oral argument of Obama’s challenge to the Arizona immigration law.
The law allows police to check the immigration status of someone stopped for other reasons. Verrilli claimed that constitutes an intrusion on the federal monopoly on immigration enforcement. He was pummeled. Why shouldn’t a state help the federal government enforce the law? “You can see it’s not selling very well,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor... Read the Rest
Romney's Practical Vision vs. Obama's Left-Wing Extremism - Peter Ferrara [Forbes]
...If you raise taxes on something you get less of it. That’s a fundamental principal of economic logic. That is why when the government wanted to discourage smoking, it sharply raised taxes on cigarettes.
Similarly, when you raise taxes, especially tax rates, on investment income, you will get less capital investment creating the investment income to tax. But capital investment is the lifeblood of capitalism. Capital investment, financing factories, stores, and other businesses, is what creates jobs. Capital investment, financing tools such as computerized steam shovels instead of hand shovels or bare hands for digging, is what makes Americans the most productive, and therefore, the most highly paid, workers enjoying the highest standard of living in the world... Read the Rest
The Funniest Thing I Saw This Week

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