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Archive for January 19th, 2010

German politicians are notoriously bad on European issues, almost always pushing for more centralization, harmonization, and bureaucracy. So it is surprising to see that the German government is rejecting a Luxembourg proposal to give the EU a direct source of tax revenue. This may just be a case of a stopped clock being right twice a day, but it is refreshing to see Germany on the right side for once. The Wall Street Journal reports on the good news:

Germany opposes a proposal to introduce a European Union-wide tax because the bloc already has sufficient funds, the finance ministry said Monday. The comments come ahead of a meeting of euro-zone and EU finance ministers in Brussels later Monday and Tuesday. Ministers are expected to discuss economic policy coordination. Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Luc Frieden has proposed the introduction of a European tax, with proceeds going directly into the EU budget. …The German finance ministry said “such a tax is not necessary because existing funding rules already ensure sufficient own funds for the EU.” The ministry said such a tax would complicate the existing financial funding system of the EU, which is based on revenues from custom duties and the EU’s shares in the member states’ value-added tax and gross national income.

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Regular readers of this blog already know that markets are not always right. Our message is the more limited argument that markets simply do the best job of creating wealth and maximizing liberty (especially compared to government!).

So with this caveat in mind, the market prediction at intrade this morning says that Scott Brown has a 75.0 percent chance of winning today’s Senate race in Massachusetts and Martha Coakley has a 26.5 percent chance (yes, I realize that those numbers add up to more than 100 percent, but these numbers are the result of independent bets on the likelihood of either candidate winning).

A Brown victory does not guarantee that Obama’s government-run healthcare scheme will be defeated. As a matter of fact, it’s likely that something awful will get enacted regardless of what happens in Massachusetts. But the chances of stopping this fiscal and health nightmare will be much greater if Democratic Senators and Representatives become more scared that voters will throw them out in November.

For what it’s worth, I’m predicting Brown, 51-48.

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According to a Washington Post story, Obama wants to be the anti-Reagan, a President who permanently changes the American people’s attitude about big government. Obama’s efforts to make statism popular, however, are not exactly working out as he hoped. According to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, the American people have become much more libertarian when asked if that want a bigger government with more services or a smaller government with fewer services. But this is just part of the story. As David Boaz points out, more accurate polling data, which mentions that bigger government also means higher taxes, reveals that support for small government becomes even more pronounced. Here’s an excerpt from the Post story:

Could he restore confidence in government, even as he was proposing the biggest federal intervention in the domestic economy in a generation? …As Obama marks the first anniversary of his inauguration on Wednesday, that question remains one of the most politically charged of his presidency — and central to the politics of this election year — and will hinge on how Americans judge Obama and his policies. Will the public conclude that his policies worked, however much they may cost and however much they may entail more government intervention in the economy? Or will they regard his agenda as intrusive and ineffective big government? What steps may Obama take to alleviate public discontent over these first-year decisions? …Obama receives mixed reviews for his first-year performance, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. His approval rating stands at 53 percent, with 44 percent disapproving. Among independents, 49 percent approve, the lowest of any of his recent predecessors at this point in their presidencies. …The poll also shows how much ground Obama has lost during his first year of trying to convince the public that more government is the answer to the country’s problems. By 58 percent to 38 percent, Americans said they prefer smaller government and fewer services to larger government with more services. Since he won the Democratic nomination in June 2008, the margin between those favoring smaller over larger government has moved in Post-ABC polls from five points to 20 points.

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