Posted on March 30, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Britain's Conservatives push for gay marriageThis change in Conservative direction was foreshadowed in a widely reported speech at the Cato Institute in February 2010 by Nick Herbert, then the Conservatives' shadow environment secretary and now Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice in David Cameron's government. Watch the video of Herbert's speech, with sharp responses from Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher: The Post reports
Americans watching the latest push for social change in Britain might feel as if they had stepped into an alternate political universe: Here, the Conservatives are leading the charge for same-sex marriage. Gay couples in Britain won the right to civil partnerships in 2004, which granted them nearly the same legal status as married heterosexual couples while avoiding the controversial use of the word “marriage.” But Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative-led coalition have launched a historic drive to grant gay men and lesbians the option of also entering into civil marriages, touching off a surprisingly fierce uproar in largely progressive Britain and fueling a rebellion on the right as the party comes under heavy fire from traditional allies in the British clergy. Yet challenging tradition appears to be exactly Cameron’s point. The proposal, put forward this month despite the lack of a strong clamor for marriage within Britain’s gay community, is nevertheless emerging as the cornerstone of a bid by the 45-year-old prime minister and other young leaders on the right here to redefine what it means to be a modern Conservative.Read more...
Posted on March 30, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
- news coverage and analysis of inflation, the energy crisis, economic reform in China, the 1979 Libertarian Party convention and the subsequent Clark for President campaign, the Proposition 13 tax-slashing victory (at right), the rise of the religious right, the emergence of Solidarity, Jerry Brown, Three Mile Island, and the return of draft registration.
- classic essays like Jeff Riggenbach on “The Politics of Aquarius” and “In Praise of Decadence,” Joan Kennedy Taylor on Betty Friedan, Rothbard on “Carter’s Energy Fascism.”
- interviews with F. A. Hayek, Howard Jarvis, Paul Gann, Henry Hazlitt, John Holt, and Robert Nozick.
- and especially Roy Childs: on William Simon’s A Time for Truth, on Irving Kristol, on the rise of Reagan, on drugs and crime, on the hot spots of Iran, Afghanistan, and El Salvador.
Posted on March 29, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
In the book, he recalls a night in 1963 when a stunned Sen. Birch Bayh, an Indiana Democrat in his first year in office, found himself aboard the presidential yacht Sequoia listening to Senate GOP Leader Everett Dirksen talk to him for an hour about how to get re-elected.And my favorite part:
Shapiro tells how in 1979, Eagleton was chairman of the District of Columbia subcommittee and therefore a key player in deciding whether the newly-created Washington-area Metro system would receive the needed federal funds to expand. “His staff advised him that it would be politically disastrous to find the money for the Washington, D.C., Metro at a time when federal funds for bus service in St. Louis and Kansas City were being slashed,” Shapiro writes. “Eagleton was torn, agreeing with their political judgment, but knowing how much the full Metro system would mean to the Washington region.” Eagleton sought a meeting with Maryland Sen. Mac Mathias, a moderate Republican and the ranking member of the D.C. subcommittee with an intense interest in the capital region’s new subway. Both senators had been elected in 1968 and had worked together on D.C. home rule. At the meeting in Eagleton’s office, the Democrat informed his GOP colleague he would oppose the Metro funding. “Then it’s dead,” Mathias replied. “'No Mac,’ Eagleton said hastily, ‘We’ve got a plan.’” As Shapiro recounts, Eagleton said he’d lend his staff director to Mathias and Paul Sarbanes, the other Maryland senator, and enlist Michigan freshman Carl Levin to manage the bill. For public consumption, Eagleton subsequently criticized Metro as a “gold-plated subway system” and even gave his home state Republican Senate colleague John Danforth a heads-up so that their votes were aligned. But with Eagleton’s behind-the-scenes support, the others senators on the committee passed the legislation and found the money for Metro.And the poor dumb schmucks in Missouri were none the wiser.
Posted on March 28, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on March 27, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on March 26, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
- The Federal Reserve is holding an international conference of central bankers to reassure themselves that their "easy-money policies" are working and won't cause too much inflation this time.
- The IRS is ramping up audits of the most successful people in the economy. If you make more than $5 million in a year, you can pretty much expect a time-consuming audit.
- "Federal regulators are preparing a drive to tell workers at nonunionized businesses they have many of the same rights as union members, a move that could prompt more workers to complain to employers about grievances ranging from pay and work hours to job safety and management misconduct."
- "The Department of Energy has placed nearly one-third of its clean-energy loan portfolio on an internal 'watch list' for possible violations of terms or other concerns, according to a copy of the list obtained by The Wall Street Journal, highlighting how such concerns have spread beyond the now-bankrupt Solyndra LLC."
- The European Union is beefing up its permanent bailout fund to keep failed businesses alive.
- States are circling Amazon and other online retailers, about to pounce with new taxes.
- The Labor Department has "stepped up pressure" on PulteGroup, demanding thousands of records on its contracts with employees and subcontractors.
- FedEx scaled back its forecasts for domestic and global growth.
- "New signs of a slowing global economy rattled investors on Thursday and put stocks on pace for their worst week this year."
- Burton Malkiel writes that, while stocks don't look as bad as bonds, "we are likely to be in a low-return environment for some time to come."
Posted on March 23, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Another hand on walletsI figured it would be a story about the Maryland income tax increase, or the proposed Arlington County tax increase, or the coming federal tax tsunami. But then I read the subhead:
If it's Tuesday -- or any day that ends with "Y" -- it must be time for another move on the wallets of federal workers.Ah, yes. In the world as seen by the Washington Post, the "hand in your wallet" is the taxpayers, trying to keep some of their hard-earned money. And then, when you read the story, titled "Another hand in federal workers' pockets," it says, "The latest attempt in a seemingly unending series of proposals to cut their pay or benefits is scheduled for a Senate vote Tuesday." But it's not a cut! It's just a proposal to extend the alleged federal pay freeze. So not a cut in pay, just no increase. And then, as so often happens in Washington, it turns out that even if this did save any money, the money wouldn't go back to the taxpayers anyway:
In an amendment to the highway bill now being considered by the Senate, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) wants money saved by extending the federal pay freeze to fund energy projects, an adoption tax credit, and tax deductions for college expenses and for state and local property taxes.Oh, there go those mean ol' Tea Party, tight-fisted Republicans again, trying to restrain federal workers' already high pay in order to . . . um, fund their own favorite projects. Seems like the taxpayer has no dog in this fight.
Posted on March 14, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Despite his massive library, organ, and so on, I submit that any modern with a laptop and an internet connection has a vastly better book and music collection than he did. For all his riches, he didn't have air conditioning; he had to suffer through the North Carolina summers just like the poorest of us. Vanderbilt did travel the world, but without the airplane, he had to do so at a snail's pace. Perhaps most shockingly, he suffered "sudden death from complications following an appendectomy" at the age of 51. (Here's the original NYT obituary). Whatever your precise story about the cause of rising lifespans, it's safe to say that George's Bane wouldn't be fatal today.And now a story on NPR's Morning Edition reminds me of the same point. Dr. Adam Wolfberg, a maternal-fetal specialist at Tufts Medical Center, discussed his new book, Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU. One of the points he made (first lines only in the audio) reminded us of the tremendous progress in neonatal medicine in just 50 years:
President Kennedy's baby Patrick was born prematurely with a problem breathing that today would be trivial -- would be cared for with the assistance of medicines and equipment that are routine in any hospital in the United States and in most hospitals around the world.The infant son of the president of the United States, a very wealthy man, could not be saved with 1963 medical technology. Yet today saving such a baby is routine. Thanks to the wealth and technology generated by free markets, It's Getting Better All the Time.
Posted on March 8, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty
Posted on March 7, 2012 Posted to Cato@Liberty