Thursday, March 31, 2011

Comment on "Progressive Nudges for Household Savings"

"If I were a card-carrying progressive" I would start by cutting (preferably eliminating) all corporate welfare, "community development grants" (which go to big construction firms and real estate speculators) and other government programs that primarily benefit the rich. I'd put an income limit on who was allowed to receive agricultural subsidies.

Remember, all income tax *deductions* (as opposed to credits) are perverse because they benefit the rich more than the poor, because a poor man getting a $1000 deduction only gets 15% of it, while a rich guy gets 30% or more. So I'd change all income tax deductions (primarily mortgages and health insurance) to tax credits.

For the record I *am* a card-carrying progressive, or at least a bleeding-heart libertarian. Which means I care more about the poor than Obama, Rahm, and the rest of the "let's bail out the rich and ignore the poor" gang in both parties. And I also know which policies actually work, as opposed to the "let's have rallies and riots" all-mouth no-brain crowd.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Task Set Before Us

First, I believe that the president's power as commander-in-chief of the military is very simple to understand. He has the power to give any (lawful) order to anyone in the military, and it must be obeyed. That includes things like ordering the military to blockade, bomb, or even invade Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran.

However, the definition of a lawful order is limited by both international law -- which means treaties that the U.S. has signed, and more importantly the "law of war" that says things like you're not allowed to harm, and in fact have a duty to protect, civilians, prisoners, and anyone else who doesn't try to harm you or disobey your orders.

Furthermore, lawful orders are restricted by the specific rules that the U.S. military follows, such as the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and that's set by Congress, as specified in the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Paragraphs 10-16 and especially Paragraph 14, "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces."

That means if Congress wants to specify that "No member of the armed forces of the United States shall enter Libya," they can do it. And they can certainly specify the various conditions listed in the War Powers Resolution.

That being said, I am all in favor of intervening in Libya as long as we do it good and hard. In fact, I'm in favor of intervening in Syria even better and harder, since Assad is worse than Qadaffi. And if Iranian Revolutionary Guard units are in Syria, that gives us a really good excuse to attack those units.

On the other hand, I will also repeat what I warned about before we went into Afghanistan and Iraq, which is that we need to have a clear plan, including a clear objective. Glenn Reynolds is right: "Waging war halfheartedly, on the cheap, and by committee is not a formula for success."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Good Question!

BRIAN LEITER ON BUDGET CUTS: “At some point these acts of brazen viciousness are going to lead to a renewed philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified.”

I'll tell you when they're justified: when they're against rich white establishment law professors like that guy. How much do you make a year, Brian Leiter? More than the working stiffs in the unions, I'll bet. A lot more!

Well, it's time for *you* to take a pay cut and distribute to the rest of us whatever you make above the national average. Power to the people.

We know where you live.

Up against the wall, m**********r!

(It's okay for me to attack his ethnic group, since it's my ethnic group as well -- although I'm a graduate student in economics, rather than a law professor. See 0:56 in the court scene in Woody Allen's Bananas.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

On Wisconsin!

As a good progressive, of course I support the State-employee unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere. (See the photo of me helping out at their protest!)

In fact, I urge them all to go out on strike for their rights immediately.

Even if this means shutting down all government schools and most other government agencies, it will be worth it!

Brothers and sisters, venceremos, we will be victorious!