October 30, 2004

Kerry more likely to reinstate draft

Bruce Chapman on who is more likely to reinstate a draft:

Of all the upside-down, misreported issues of 2004, the phoniest is the Kerry camp's assertion that a re-elected George W. Bush will bring back the draft. The case is much stronger that John Kerry himself would do so.

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The volunteer military was a political victory by libertarian conservatives against social-engineering liberals, and its success, as nearly all military leaders acknowledge, has been a significant factor in improving the quality and motivation of America's armed forces in the years following the draft-driven (and protested) Vietnam War.

But liberals have never given up the idea of national service. Funded by fat grants from major foundations, a long parade of studies and schemes to introduce the idea has marched forth in a seemingly endless column from think tanks and academia. In the face of the military's own desire never again to rely on coerced recruits, such organizations as the Brookings Institution have proposed instead an ever-expanding realm of paid voluntarism in the social service sector.

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If anyone doubts what is going on here, he might simply examine who backs Kerry, and he will find that almost all the longtime advocates of national service (including many who wish to resume a draft) are among them. On the other stand nearly all of us who worked to introduce a volunteer military in the first place and have worked ever since to preserve it.

Polls show that military families will vote for Bush over Kerry by ratios of up to 3 to 1. Among other things, they know who wants a competent professional fighting force and who would allow it to degrade to the point that a draft became necessary.

It is demagogic, therefore, for Kerry to claim that it is Bush who would like to bring back the draft, not him. It is even more reprehensible that Kerry's friends in the media have refused to explain the background on this issue to a generation of voters who are too young not to be gulled by campaign propaganda.

October 28, 2004

Viva Piñera

Carlo Stagnaro on the necessary reform of Social security systems in Europe:

The vision Europe needs is Jose Piñera's. Dr. Piñera was minister in Chile in the early 1980s. At that time, he pursued an innovative pension reform that transformed Chilean workers into "workers-capitalists". This is a metaphor Piñera likes, and for good reasons.

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Chilean-style reform could succeed in privatizing de facto the pensions, while limiting government spending -- something which is very important in a country like Italy, where the risk is to reduce pension debt by increasing public debt, with no sensible change for the average worker and taxpayer. CERM's Fabio Pammolli and Nicola Salerno, in fact, showed how it may be possible to create an incentive towards a private system, while limiting government expenditure. These measures are a way to make the crisis a bit less incumbent; yet, there's no doubt the iceberg is approaching the European Titanic.

October 19, 2004

John Kerry, Dead End

October 17, 2004

Vote: it’s easier than working

Movimentarian.com has created its very own Rock the Vote campaign:

I’d like to remind everyone that if you don’t vote, then you won’t get your chance to force others around. In fact, you’d have no right to complain when people forced you around, because you forfeited your opportunity to defend yourself or force them to do what you want.

In many other countries citizens don’t get the chance to force others around, imagine not having that ability. It is a shame so many eligible voters here do not take an hour out of their day to go and get their beliefs enforced. If more people did that we would surely have a more Utopic society.

Remember, thousands of people have sacrificed their lives so you can have the right to force their children to fight for that right.

October 16, 2004

Media Bend Over Backwards to Help Kerry

Thomas Sowell on media bias

A joke has President Bush and the Pope sailing down the Potomac on the Presidential yacht. The wind blows the Pontiff's cap off and it falls into the water. President Bush orders the yacht stopped, gets off and walks across the water to retrieve the Pope's cap.

The next day's headline in the New York Times reads: BUSH CAN'T SWIM.

It is hard to know whether media bias is getting worse or whether the mainstream media are just getting caught more often because of alternative sources of news like Fox News, talk radio and a growing number of Internet sites. Twenty years ago, CBS News and Dan Rather might have been able to continue to bluff their way out of the forged documents scandal because the other members of the big-three broadcast networks were unlikely to press the issue.

October 14, 2004

Nobel laureate calls for steeper tax cuts in US

Wise words by Edward Prescott:

"What Bush has done has been not very big, it's pretty small," Prescott told CNBC financial news television.

"Tax rates were not cut enough," he said.

Lower tax rates provided an incentive to work, Prescott said.

Prescott and Norwegian Finn Kydland won the 2004 Nobel Economics Prize for research into the forces behind business cycles.

October 12, 2004

October 11, 2004

Kerry's scarlet letter

Robert Novak on the second Bush/Kerry debate:

George W. Bush pulled himself together sufficiently in St. Louis Friday night to avoid losing the presidency to John Kerry on debater's points, and got down to his foremost task. The Republican president concentrated on imprinting the scarlet letter "L" (for liberal) on his Democratic challenger's chest. Whether or not he succeeds may determine who is elected.

It seems like a lifetime since July 1991 when Sen. Kerry declared: "I'm a liberal, and proud of it." Thirteen years later, the L-word is forbidden language for Kerry. He is attempting what only Bill Clinton among recent Democratic candidates has accomplished: covering left-of-center policies with a facade of moderation. Kerry, less skilled than Clinton as a political dancer, is burdened with a 30-year record of nearly unbroken liberal votes.

What bothered Republican leaders nationwide about President Bush's performance in the first debate at Coral Gables, Fla., was not so much his bizarre body language as his failure to press the liberal label on Kerry. Bush was ready in St. Louis, with the line used 60 years ago by heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis about challengers retreating from his lethal fists: "He can run, but he can't hide" -- referring to Kerry's desire to escape his voting record.
Victory for John Howard

From Reuters:

Conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard, handed the most powerful mandate in almost a generation, has got down to work with reform of telecommunications, labour and media laws high on his agenda.

Howard described his Liberal/National coalition's crushing win over centre-left opposition Labour in Saturday's election as remarkable. He now has a strong mandate to push ahead with his conservative platform in his fourth straight term in office.

October 04, 2004

Miami Vices

Julian Sanchez on the presidential debate:

Surely it's important that Kerry is perceived as the winner in a debate on a subject - international relations and the War on Terror - where Bush's perceived advantage is greatest. The group for which the debates had the biggest impact will likely be the sizable swath of voters who've soured somewhat on Bush but found Kerry an uninspiring alternative. Though his central alliance-building theme sounds a bit thin on even minimal reflection - does anyone imagine that Jaques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder will be more willing to commit troops to Iraq now than they were a year ago, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office? - Kerry's choice to answer policy questions with relatively simple declarative sentences, delivered in a self-assured tone, may help him shed the flip-flopper moniker.

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While Thursday's debates proved surprisingly substantive, a bit better than the "joint press conference" many wags had predicted, I doubt that policy details will be the most important thing conveyed in these exchanges. Anyone committed enough to sit through 90 minutes of candidate sparring already has a cornucopia of better venues in which to seek out concrete details on how the candidates would govern, from official and unofficial campaign websites to the political Niagra spewing from the cable news channels. In the last two debates, after all, the most serious blows candidates suffered were self-inflicted - an inopportune glance at a wristwatch, a huffy roll of the eyes. Someone who wants to gauge the impact of the next debate may want to try watching it on mute.