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The Babe Theory Of Political Movements.
Mar. 21, 2005 11:50 AM

Iran's Sham Election In Houston.
June 20, 2005 5:36 AM

Yes, Kanye, Bush Does Care.
Oct. 31, 2005 12:41 AM

Health Care vs. Wealth Care.
Nov. 23, 2005 3:28 PM

Americans Voting With Their Feet.
Nov. 30, 2005 1:33 PM

Idea Majorities Do Matter.
May 12, 2006 6:15 PM

Twilight Zone Economics.
Oct. 17, 2006 12:30 AM

The "Shrinking" Middle Class.
Dec. 13, 2006 1:01 PM

From Ashes, GOP Opportunities.
Dec. 18, 2006 6:37 PM

Battle Between Entitlements & Pork.
Dec. 21, 2006 12:31 PM

Let Economic Freedom Reign.
Dec. 22, 2006 10:22 PM

Biggest Health Care Moment In Decades.
July 25, 2007 4:32 PM

Unions Antithetical to Liberty.
May 28, 2008 11:12 PM

Right To Work States Rock.
June 9, 2008 12:25 PM



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Social Security Reform Thursday.
January 29, 2008

Caption Contest Archive
Jan. 21, 2009

The Carnival Of Classiness.
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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 600 -- Unions Versus Productivity.

Unions Ruin America-

Productivity goes up as unions wane:

There are many reasons for the surge in productivity since World War II, including a better-educated population, more worker training and soaring investment in new technologies. But one reason often goes unremarked: The long-term decline in union membership — with its productivity-killing rules and above-market wages — which appears strongly linked to the powerful upward surge in worker productivity.

Unions end up hurting companies:

The National Bureau of Economic Research studied unionized public companies between 1961 and 1999, focusing on stock performance 24 months before their union votes to 24 months after.

It found the average loss per company was $40,500 in 1998 dollars for each worker eligible to vote. Equity values fall, the study concludes, for two reasons: (1) "A combination of a transfer to workers," and (2) "lost profit due to inefficiencies caused by the union."

The losses aren't limited to firms with organized workers. Research indicates a doubling of unionization in the U.S. would "lead to a 4.3% decrease in the equity value of all firms at risk of unionization."

Big labor is bad for America.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Global Warming Tax.

Posted by Will Franklin · 29 May 2009 03:44 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 599 -- The Democrats' Global Warming Tax.

Waxman-Markey Is Terrible-

Does the possibility of mitigating climate change by a fraction of a degree over many decades warrant these costs:

The result is government-set caps on energy use that damage the economy and hobble growth--the very growth that supports investment and innovation. Analysis of the economic impact of Waxman-Markey projects that by 2035 the bill will:

* Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $7.4 trillion,
* Destroy 844,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 1,900,000 jobs,
* Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation,
* Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent,
* Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent,
* Raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500, and
* Increase inflation-adjusted federal debt by 29 percent, or $33,400 additional federal debt per person, again after adjusting for inflation.

This would be the biggest tax increase in the history of the world.

The good news is that public support for cap-and-trade and similar climate change measures has collapsed. The bad news is that we have very few gears with which to stop the left-wingers now running the show from doing terrible, lasting damage to America.

Maybe after 2010 we'll have some checks and balances on this radical agenda. Until then, hold on for dear life.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas 5th Freest State In America.

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 May 2009 11:17 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 598 -- Freedom in the 50 States.

More Democratic, Less Freedom-

Small-L libertarians should not be Democrats.

Far too often, I hear from young Americans that they aren't totally thrilled with the Democrats, especially on taxes and spending. They also don't really like some of the hyphenated interest-group politics that dominate the Democratic Party. However, how could they possibly vote for Republicans? That's just crazy, because the Republicans are far too stuck in the 1950s and want to take away basic rights and freedoms to advance their socially conservative agenda.

My response is almost always to ask people what freedoms they lost under President Bush. Only some of the time, the answer is, "the Patriot Act." Notwithstanding that almost every Democrat in Congress voted for the Patriot Act, the few people who name the Patriot Act can't name a single thing that the Patriot Act did to allegedly take away their freedom.

My next response is typically to ask what other freedoms they lost under Bush. Few can ever name anything, and when they do, it's something silly like "stem cell research" (which was never even banned under Bush-- in fact, he was the first President to fund it with federal dollars).

Finally, I generally make the point that economic freedom leads to economic success, which leads to personal freedom, not the other way around. While many Republicans became enamored with earmarks and balked at entitlement reform, the Republican Party is still the best avenue for limited government, free markets, and smaller tax bills. The Republican Party is also the best avenue for the advancement of freedom of speech, respect for the 2nd amendment, respect for religion, respect for parental rights, and protection of private property rights.

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University recently released a study on personal and economic freedom in states confirming all of this; it turns out there is a correlation between less freedom and a higher percentage of Democratic vote (link):


Looking at some of the other graphs in the study, many states with low economic freedom also have low personal freedom. Meanwhile, a lot of states with high economic freedom also have high personal freedom. This could get into a chicken/egg argument, but when you look at the top states for each type of freedom, including personal freedom, most of them are pre-Obama red states, while most of the worst states for freedom are deep blue states.

Texas, for example, ranks #4 in fiscal freedom, #27 in regulatory freedom, #7 in economic freedom, and #5 in personal freedom. Overall, Texas is #5 in freedom (.pdf):


Meanwhile, "progressive" states like Vermont, which people assume is very free due to their pro-2nd amendment laws and gay marriages, score poorly. Vermont is #47 on fiscal matters, #39 on regulatory matters, #45 on economic issues, and #11 on personal freedom. Texans have more personal liberty than residents of Vermont. Think about that. And think about the fact that Vermont is #40 overall. Then look at a big, liberal state like New Jersey (.pdf):

New Jersey is ranked #49 overall. It's near the bottom of each type of freedom. It is instructive that New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and California make up the bottom four states for overall freedom, and those states also just happen to have some of the highest out-migration rates in the nation. People are moving to where they can be free, and it all starts with economic freedom.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Successful San Antonio.

Posted by Will Franklin · 26 May 2009 11:56 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 597 -- San Antonio Success.


The Dallas Fed has some interesting facts about San Antonio:


Not so coincidentally, a major company recently announced it is picking up and moving 1400 jobs and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment to San Antonio. <---- Click the link and see a quick video from a key player at the company, explaining their reasons for picking San Antonio and Texas in particular out of hundreds of cities around the country.

California really ought to be the place where a lot of these companies want to locate. It has lots of well-educated people. Its weather is just really fantastic. It has so much going for it.

Unfortunately, it pursued left-wing policies for far too long and is just really a fiscal nightmare that many companies want no part of. Limited government works. California won't work until the unions disintegrate and the freedom-loving creative class realizes that Democrats are far from the party of liberty maximization.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Corporate Taxes Are Too High.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 May 2009 09:26 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 596 -- American Corporate Taxes Way Too High.

Corporate Taxes Dragging Down American Competitiveness-

The Tax Foundation has the details:

OECD countries such as Ireland, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Switzerland have enjoyed an influx of foreign capital and investment not because they are "tax havens" but because they have dramatically lower corporate tax rates than the United States, France, Germany, Great Britain and Japan. Until these high-tax countries lower their corporate tax rates, they will continue to lose ground—investment and jobs—to lower tax competitors.

Why is this such a hard thing for so many people to grasp?

We are failing to reach our potential as a nation because we are hostile to productive, successful people and enterprises. Our taxes are too high.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Pork Taints GOP Brand.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 May 2009 04:29 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 595 -- Earmarks Undermined Trust, Ruined Republican Brand.

Pork Was The Problem, Politically-

The Republican Party is looking for answers right now. In 2006, Democrats just really stuck it to Republicans in Congressional elections. In 2008, Obama really just walloped us again. These things are cyclical. The President's party usually loses seats in midterm elections, as a rule, so 2006 was nothing too out of the ordinary. In 2008, Obama won places like North Carolina and Indiana. That is just unacceptable.

The Republican brand was tarnished by a lot of things, including Mark Foley's non-sex sex scandal (which dominated media coverage in the final month of the 2006 cycle) and the idea that the GOP was a corrupt party in bed with lobbyists and special interests. I think fatigue over the Iraq war probably played a role, as well, but when I am at events with a lot of Republicans, listening to what they care about, almost uniformly they express that they are angry their Republican Party spent like drunken sailors and let budget deficits get out of control. They hate the spending. They hate the pork barrel projects.

Pork, while only a relatively small piece of an enormous spending problem, is the symbolic embodiment of wasteful spending. When people think of out-of-control deficits, they don't conceptualize that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the big three auto-pilot programs inflating the budget deficit the very most. They think of bridges to nowhere and other pork projects:


Pork is back up under Democrats, and lots of unprincipled RINOs are joining them at the slop trough.

Republicans won't take back Congress until our Party stands for something. We can't be lite-Democrats. That doesn't mean that we can't reach out to moderates, but we can't pander to moderates so much that we dilute what we stand for.



Previous Trivia Tidbit: Kudos To Rick Perry On UI Rejection.

Posted by Will Franklin · 20 May 2009 04:22 PM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 594 -- Texas' Unemployment Insurance Tax Rate.

Texas' Advantage Over Other States-

Earlier this year, Texas' Governor Rick Perry rejected part of the federal stimulus dollars designed to expand the Unemployment Insurance program, which means a rejection of more than 500 million dollars in federal dollars over the next few years but also a rejection of between 75-80 million dollars annually that Texas would be on the hook for forever.

Most, if not all, Democrats criticized Governor Perry for his decision, while some unprincipled big-government Republicans (like Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison) joined the chorus.

While some view it as a Scarlet Letter of shame, Texas has a relatively limited UI program and a lower UI tax rate than the national average:


Meanwhile, Texans who lose their jobs are still covered. They still receive unemployment benefits, just not the expansive benefits many big-government states offer. Meanwhile, Texas has been the nation's engine of job creation in recent years.

Not entirely a coincidence.

Job-seekers are leaving their home states and heading to Texas in droves in search of opportunity, not unemployment benefits.

Art Laffer and Stephen Moore add:

One last point: States aren't simply competing with each other. As Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently told us, "Our state is competing with Germany, France, Japan and China for business. We'd better have a pro-growth tax system or those American jobs will be out-sourced." Gov. Perry and Texas have the jobs and prosperity model exactly right. Texas created more new jobs in 2008 than all other 49 states combined. And Texas is the only state other than Georgia and North Dakota that is cutting taxes this year.

The Texas economic model makes a whole lot more sense than the New Jersey model, and we hope the politicians in California, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota and New York realize this before it's too late.

I was recently conversing with a 30-year-old female Obama supporter, who couldn't quite warm to the fact that Texas is doing the right things. She kept saying that Texas is ranked so low in "education," so low in "health care," so low in x, y, and z. What do those terms even mean? Typically, spending or spending per capita. I think that's what she meant. Spending. Or maybe spending per capita.

When a state prioritizes chasing social services rankings over growth and free enterprise, it paves its way to its own demise. California is a perfect example of what happens when a state prioritizes moving up the rankings on indexes of state spending toward various big government programs above all else. The reckoning always comes. It has come to California.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: The Media Heart Obama.

Read More »

Posted by Will Franklin · 19 May 2009 09:09 AM · Comments (3)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 593 -- Media Are Obama's Best Campaigners.

News Coverage Slanted Strongly For Obama-

Obama had the best media coverage in maybe the history of presidential campaigns. It makes sense, then, that he also has received very positive coverage in the media during the first 100 days of his administration:

Following passage of the stimulus in mid-February, the three evening newscasts ran 19 such one-sided stories touting its benefits — and promoting the liberal presumption that such government spending can promote a healthier U.S. economy. Instead of challenging the premise of Obama’s big government approach, the networks deployed their resources in a campaign to validate it.

Then there's the environmental coverage:


It is not surprising or anything, but having data is never a bad thing.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Illegitimacy In America.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 May 2009 09:55 AM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 592 -- Illegitimacy Rates.

Diverging Out-Of-Wedlock Birthrates By Class-

More than 40% of all births in America are now out of wedlock, and a much higher proportion than ever before are white women, but there are big differences between and among classes:

It comes down to this: well-educated white women in moderately affluent circumstances almost never had babies without a husband, and women from middle class homes were almost as finicky about requiring a husband. At the same time, white women with no more than a high school education in low-income households were having nearly half of their babies without a husband.

Beaver Cleaver is still in many ways correlated with success, and vice versa, despite the image on TV and in movies of successful white women having children out of wedlock.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Entitlement Bubble.

Posted by Will Franklin · 15 May 2009 12:32 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 591 -- Entitlement Bubble.

And You Thought Bailouts Were Bad-

The various bailouts we've seen in recent months are pretty outrageous and unacceptable. Lots and lots of money, much of which is being flushed right down the drain. Lots of money going into corrupt hands. Lots of money being taken out of the private sector. Lots of money being printed and lots of debt being passed on to future generations.

Well, if you thought bailouts were bad, take a look at some perspective on the entitlement bubble headed our way:


The unfunded liability in Social Security and Medicare are 61 times greater than the TARP bailout. Over the longer term, without a serious and thoughtful fix, Medicare is going to be the disaster that ruins American free enterprise. In the shorter term, though, Social Security is the biggest issue and even more pressing than Medicare. Indeed, Chuck Blahous notes:

In a nutshell, the story is this: Social Security's finances are significantly weaker than foreseen even just a year ago. Last year, the Trustees projected that the program would enter permanent cash deficits in 2017. This year, that date has been moved forward slightly, to 2016. Not since the 1983 reforms has the program been so close to operating deficits. The projected Social Security insolvency date (of legal significance but less meaningful as a measure of the program's economic impact) has advanced by four years, from 2041 to 2037.


Remember all of those advocacy pieces saying that there was no entitlements problem, no Social Security problem, but only a health care problem? Guess what: Social Security costs are rising this year by more ($57 billion) than all of the components of Medicare combined ($43 billion.) Medicare certainly has the greater long-term shortfall, but in the near-term, Social Security's cost growth is just as great an issue as Medicare's.

The total effect of the worsened Social Security outlook is to severely constrain the choices facing policymakers as well as the time during which they need to be made. If we act soon, we can fix program finances, without cutting benefits for those in retirement, without imposing real declines in future benefit levels, and even without raising taxes. But the window for avoiding these tough choices will close in just a few more years.

It's a bubble. And it will burst in the not-so-long term without legitimate and substantial reform in the very-short term.

So many times in recent decades, when a bubble bursts, people say, "nobody saw it coming."

Well, we see this coming. It's pretty clear what's happening. We know how to fix it. It's only dogma and demagoguery, pure and simple, that is keeping us from doing what we need to do to save our fiscal ship from hitting the giant, obvious, slow-moving iceberg we're about to crash into-- and then act dumb and say, "nobody saw it coming."


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Stimulus Not Stimulating As Promised.

Posted by Will Franklin · 14 May 2009 05:34 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 590 -- The Stimulus Package Not Measuring Up To Promises.

Where's The Beef-

Econ International is calling out Obama for "epic fail" of the stimulus package that was allegedly going to create or save however many millions of jobs:


The beef ain't there. But trillions in new debt and higher taxes sure is.

Remember, the above graph is based on what Obama said would happen versus what has actually happened. Where is the beef? And where is the accountability?


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Unprecedented Deficits.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 May 2009 11:03 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 589 -- Budget Deficits In Perspective.

Bush & Obama-

A nice visual of budget deficits:


Bush was not always a fiscal conservative, although he gets a lot of credit for his persistent tax relief and for treading into the Social Security reform discussion. Deficits also aren't always the absolute best way to judge a Presidency. However, Obama's projected deficits are just plain unprecedented in the modern era.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Dependence On Federal Government On The Rise.

Posted by Will Franklin · 12 May 2009 11:48 PM · Comments (0)

WILLisms.com Archives = Treasure Trove Of Classiness.

I'll be leaving from Thursday to Monday for a quick family trip on the West Coast. Internet access is highly doubtful, and even if I did have internet access, the point is to relax and spend time with family. For those of you who yearn deeply for charts and graphs, please check the WILLisms.com archives on the left sidebar. There are lots of good posts dating back more than four years. On Tuesday, WILLisms.com will be back on its regular daily weekday schedule.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 May 2009 01:51 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 588 -- Federal Government Ending Federalism.

State Dependency-

USA Today reported this week that the federal government is now the #1 source of revenue for state and local governments for the first time ever.

Heritage has great treatment of this issue:

The current trend is troubling. Federal aid to states erodes legislators' accountability to voters, increases the public's and the states' dependence on the federal government, weakens incentives to restrain government spending, and even encour­ages state lawmakers to design and expand their spending to maximize federal aid to their states.

Federalism. Out the door.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Better Teachers For Better Schools.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 May 2009 10:54 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 587 -- Eliminating Bad Teachers.

It Is Almost Impossible To Fire Bad Unionized Teachers-

The plague of strong unions, rearing its ugly head in our educational system:

It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court challenges and re-hearings.

Not only is the process arduous, but some districts are particularly unsuccessful in navigating its complexities. The Los Angeles Unified School District sees the majority of its appealed dismissals overturned, and its administrators are far less likely even to try firing a tenured teacher than those in other districts.

Parents who support educational reform-- real school reform-- should stop voting pro-union Democrats from left field into office. Competition could make our schools inordinately better, and fast.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Cap & Trade Job Loss Costs.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 May 2009 02:12 PM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 586 -- Cap & Trade Bad For America.

Waxman-Markey Worse Than Lieberman-Warner-

Cap and trade is dead!
Love live cap and trade!

The Lieberman-Warner cap and trade effort may have been stopped, but a far more damaging Waxman-Markey is working its way through a potentially filibuster-proof Democrat-dominated Congress.

Cap and trade may make a lot of people a lot of "shenanigans money," but it will cost our economy dearly:

According to The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, job losses resulting from the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade would have surpassed 900,000 in some years. Keep in mind; this is net of any “green jobs” created. Also keep in mind; the Waxman-Markey bill is has stricter emission cut targets.

Among Democrats, "climate change" is even more hip than Barack Obama himself. The odds of avoiding very, very damaging legislation would shrink considerably if Al Franken is seated as Minnesota's new Senator.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Markets Like Checks On Congressional Power.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 May 2009 09:06 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 585 -- Filibuster-Proof Government Bad For America

Markets Prefer Checks & Balances-

Eric T. Singer's Congressional Wealth Destruction Monitor that the market performs a lot better in periods where there is a chance of a Senate filibuster than in periods with a filibuster-proof majority:

On Monday, Senator Specter switched parties and joined the Democrats, which may result in the Democrats having a unified, filibuster proof government within months. If this does happen, history suggests it will not be good news for investors. There have been three times since the Great Depression when the President had a completely filibuster proof one party majority to work with in Congress:

* 1935 through 1942
* 1963 through 1966
* 1977 through 1978

In gross price returns, excluding dividends, the stock market compounded at an average rate of 1.3% during the 14 unfilibustered years, as compared to an overall average of 6.2% since 1933.

Without a filibuster threat, Congress is more likely to get drunk on power, and redistribute the hangover to us. Buyers beware.

Those were all just golden eras in American politics, weren't they? When we think about when some of the greatest long-term damage has been done to the underpinnings of liberty (philosophically-speaking) and to the fiscal balance sheet of this country (talking in more pragmatic terms), it was during the 1930s and 1960s. Let's hope this current period is more like the late 1970s. We all know who was elected right after the late 1970s.

Let's work to get there. A lot of wealth generation or destruction depends on it.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Adapting Incorrectly To Our Changing World.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 May 2009 07:24 AM · Comments (0)