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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 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
Social Security Reform Thursday.
January 29, 2008
Caption Contest Archive
Jan. 21, 2009
The Carnival Of Classiness.
Mar. 14, 2006
Quotational Therapy: Obama.
Apr. 4, 2008
Mainstream Melee: Wolfowitz.
May 19, 2007
Pundit Roundtable: Leaks.
July 9, 2006
A WILLisms.com(ic), by Ken McCracken
July 14, 2006
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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 665 -- Freedom Means Prosperity.
United States Should Maximize Economic Freedom-
Some good news out of Germany this week. The center-right coalition won a nice victory, and the left-wing party shrunk considerably. In the UK, Gordon Brown's increasingly left-wing Labour Party came in third in an opinion poll this week. See the WILLisms Twitter feed for links to those stories. Freedom is catching on across the pond.
The United States has slipped to #6 in the Index of Economic Freedom. We've got to aim for the top:
Within the United States, Rhode Island and Michigan might be the down the scale considerably, while states like Texas would be on the upper end of the curve.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Baucus Needs To Lose.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 664 -- Baucus Needs To Go.
Baucus-Care Gone Amok-
Max Baucus really needs to lose his next Senate race. Or just not run. His health care plan is big government mandates and punitive taxes:
The Baucus proposal would impose punitively high, regressive taxes on low-income and moderate-income working families--those with the least ability to pay. It would also subject them to lower incomes, job losses, and reduced job opportunities. While the families with the lowest incomes will be hit hardest, moderate-income families would also suffer from higher taxes and lower incomes. Yet even at this high price, millions of Americans would still be left without health insurance, and the plan's tax penalties would further punish these uninsured for their misfortune.
Why on earth would libertine red state Montana send this guy to the Senate? Snap out of it, Montana.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Federal Debt.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 663 -- Obama's Debt Bubble.
Unsustainable Levels Of Debt-
A little bit of debt is not a terrible thing, and zero debt might actually mean higher taxes and slower economic growth, but projected debt levels are entirely out of whack, historically speaking.
While Texas has the second lowest state debt per capita in the nation, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has voted 10 times in favor of raising the national debt ceiling, which has gone from $4.3 trillion in 1993 to roughly $12 trillion today.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Kay Bailey Hutchison: Obama's Congressional Ally.
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Disclosure: I work for Texas Governor Rick Perry. The ideas and information expressed here at WILLisms.com are my own. See this post for more on that. If you're looking for official comments from the Perry campaign, please see RickPerry.org.
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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 662 -- Obama & His Congressional Enablers.
Bigger, Bigger Spending, Ad Infinitum-
Heritage, as usual, has some great research on Obama's budgets:
Big spending Republicans like Senator Hutchison: not what Republicans need right now to make our comeback.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: 2010 Comeback For GOP Possible.
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Disclosure: I work for Rick Perry, Governor of Texas. Check out this post to read more about that.
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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 661 -- 2010 GOP Comeback?
My "Gut" Odds: 25%-
Republicans need to pick up 41 seats to take back the House of Representatives. There is a great deal of chatter around that possibility.
The somewhat left-leaning (but really great blog, graphically-speaking) FiveThirtyEight says it is a definite possibility:
It's still early--and there's a lot of scatter in those scatterplots--but if the generic polls remain this close, the Republican Party looks to be in good shape in the 2010.
It is way too early to make any prediction, but my gut tells me that Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats in 2010. 40 seats? Probably not, but it is definitely possible. There are, after all, 55 seats that flipped from Democrat to Republican from 2004 to 2008:
Indeed, Larry Sabato believes it is possible for Republicans to retake the House in 2010:
Roughly three-fourths of the districts (42) voted Republican for president in at least one of the last two elections. Twenty-one districts voted for the GOP presidential candidate in both 2004 and 2008.
My guess is that the media will pull a full-court press in favor of the Democrats, similar to what they did in 2006 and 2008. There is also still a lot of left-wing money that will be thrown at 2010, because if Obama loses a lot of seats or even all-out control of Congress, it will essentially mark his "Waterloo," as Jim DeMint would put it.
Chris Stirewalt believes independent voters are the key, and they are already turning on Obama:
For the first few months of the Obama administration, independents, who make up about 43 percent of the electorate, reflected overall public opinion in giving the president consistent approval ratings of about 60 percent. But now, unaffiliated voters are less positive than the overall electorate, which is holding steady at 51 percent job approval for Obama.
Michael Barone is more skeptical:
...the chances of the Republicans recapturing the House have to be rated now at well below 50%. But I think they’re not as negligible as I thought even a few weeks ago.
Newt Gingrich believes three things have created this new conservative opportunity:
1. The economy is so bad that people want straight talk about creating jobs. Since the American people believe, by 59 percent to 21 percent, that business tax cuts will create jobs better than government spending, this concern about jobs is becoming an increasingly anti-left phenomenon (the opposite of what the left expected).
I tend to remain skeptical about it, but I think one thing is abundantly clear: Democrats will lose dozens of seats in 2010. How many dozens will depend on just how organized the opposition to Obama/Pelosi/Reid really is, and how well our people can articulate positive conservative alternatives to the nation's problems.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: More Proof That Texas Leads: Bankruptcy Statistics.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 660 -- Texas Outperforms On Bankruptcies.
Leave Us Alone-
Texas is outperforming the nation as a whole, economically. This is undeniable, except to those with left-of-center political motives. Texas is also besting every other large state in the country, in just about every common measure. Looking at mortgage foreclosures, a major indicator of the depths of today's economy, Texas has a rate far below the national average. Another relevant category for recessions is bankruptcies. Texas has one of the very lowest bankruptcy rates in the entire country:
Only left-of-center hacks with ulterior motives could say that Texas is not outperforming the nation as a whole, even in this tough recession. That is a relevant point, because Obama is leading us toward more disastrous Michigan-style policy, rather than Texas-style fiscal discipline.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Federal Government Shouldn't Pat Itself On The Back For Stimulus Dollars.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 659 -- Federal Government Takes More Than It Gives Back To Texas.
Leave Us Alone-
Texas is a giving-- or donor-- state, which means the federal government confiscates more in taxes than it sends back in benefits. When people complain about Texas balancing a small portion of its budget with stimulus dollars, they are avoiding the fact that Texas sends more in tax dollars than it gets back in payouts:
Any number below 1 means the feds take more than they give back. Numbers above 1, generally found in small agricultural states (millions in farm subsidies and funds for interstate highways add up quickly when the population is so small), means the state receives more back in federal benefits than it gives up in taxes. The Texas number: .94.
The 2009 federal stimulus dollars in Texas are really just dollars that have been laundered first through the bureaucracy of Washington, D.C.
It should also be noted that the overwhelming bulk of federal stimulus dollars coming to Texas this year are paying for federally-mandated programs like Medicaid, and only a much smaller fraction of the dollars are going toward any state level function.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: America Needs Flatter Taxes.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 658 -- Progressive Taxes; America Has 'Em.
Why Not Try Flatter?-
The United States needs to snap out of it. Our advantages are plenty, but we are heading down a rotten path. A friend described it well the other day, referring to something a Texas barber expressed to him about California's problems: "Too many freebies, but none of them are free."
Not only are we spending too much, we're taxing according to Marx. Heavy, progressive income taxes are not healthy for a vibrant market economy, but the United States has the most progressive tax system in the world:
How could anyone be against a flat tax?
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Un-filibustered Congress Scary Prospect.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 657 -- Unchecked Congressional Power Bad For America.
Leave Us Alone-
Our nation thrives on government staying the heck out of the way, and that goes for both parties, really. When Republicans have had unchecked power in recent years, GOP Senators like Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas porked it up with the worst of them and otherwise spent like Democrats.
Until the Republican Party grabs hold of itself and stops letting RINOs taint the entire brand, the Congressional Wealth Effect will be operative for either party:
The GOP must be a credible "leave us alone" party if we are going to have any ability to take back our political system from the far-left activists who currently preside.
Just leave people alone, government.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Texas Doing Well Comparatively.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 656 -- Strongest Performers In This Recession.
This Recession Not Created Equal-
Ideas matter. Limited government, low taxes, individual liberty: they all matter to economic outcomes. Texas has fared relatively well compared to the rest of the country throughout this recession, because Texas is well-positioned on things like taxes, spending, labor climate, legal climate, regulatory climate, and overall climate of freedom.
It's cliche to say that the Brookings Institute is far from a bastion of conservative thought, but this less-than-conservative outfit really has no reason to fudge the numbers in favor of Texas, but looking at the numbers, Texas again stands out as standing up to the recession better than the rest of the country:
Texas cities comprised 6 of the top 20, including all 3 of the top 3, in terms of overall performance.
Another outfit, IHS Global Insight, says that Texas cities will lead the U.S. out of recession:
Two Texas markets will be the first to recover from the recession, says a nationwide forecast by IHS Global Insight.
Last in, first out. Most shallow dip. Maybe ideas matter. Maybe the nation shouldn't follow the Michigan/California/Rhode Island path we're heading down right now and should instead follow the Texas model of limited government and greater freedom.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Don't Trust The Media.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 655 -- Texas Foreclosure Rate Well Below National Average.
Texas Housing Market Stronger Than Average-
The Texas housing market is outperforming the national averages, as usual:
While foreclosures are up by 3.6% this year in Texas, they're up by 18% nationally. While the Texas proportion of the nation's population is 8%, the Texas proportion of national foreclosures is only 3.1%.
Texas never saw a huge bubble, but we also never saw a big burst, either.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Don't Trust The Media.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 654 -- Don't Trust The Media.
Don't trust the media. Nobody else does:
Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. In the initial survey in this series about the news media’s performance in 1985, 55% said news stories were accurate while 34% said they were inaccurate. That percentage had fallen sharply by the late 1990s and has remained low over the last decade.
No wonder they are all going bankrupt and trolling for bailouts.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: American Health Care.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 653 -- American Health Care.
No Such Thing As A Free Lunch-
One oft-overlooked aspect of health care is quality. In America, we drive the innovations. We produce the new drugs. We develop the new gene therapies. We pioneer the new machines and processes. Advances in medicine come overwhelmingly from America.
As such, America has much better survival rates for many common illnesses (.pdf):
Good work by TPPF-- my alma mater, if you will-- on this study. And congrats to them for their announcement on the new digs.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Economic Fredom.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 652 -- Economic Freedom.
Freedom Isn't Free-
The Fraser Institute has the data:
The index is based on 10 components in three categories:
1) Size of Government;
Interesting is how many of the most free states and provinces in the study are performing better economically than the states and provinces in the bottom half of the study.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Obama Lies.
Four Not-So-New Things Joe Wilson's "YOU LIE" Kerfuffle Reveals About America.
This Joe Wilson "YOU LIE" controversy is a pretty fascinating glimpse into four not-so-new aspects of American political culture:
1. POLARIZATION. We're still just as polarized as we were a few years ago. Take a look at this YouTube video from a second-term George W. Bush State of the Union speech to Congress:
I uploaded this YouTube video 40 months ago. It shows Democrats behaving less-than-cordially toward Bush. In fact, in the video, which has received a few new bursts of interest in the past several months and now has more than 20,000 views, Democrats brazenly and arrogantly applaud their own obstructionism on the issue of Social Security reform.
While Joe Wilson was a lone voice calling the President a liar, opposition parties have always grumbled and pushed back and even passively but rudely sat on their hands, when the President has delivered speeches. If anything, Joe Wilson may have been surprised he was the only one shouting back at Obama for lying to the American people. Indeed, the folks he associates with probably unanimously believe as he does, just as the folks Pelosi associates pretty much unanimously believe as she does.
Polarization is nothing new, but it may be on the rise, as media are increasingly segmented and individuals increasingly choose to live in ideologically comfortable places.
After Massachusetts Republican Senator Charles Sumner called out South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks by name in a speech, Brooks was so incensed at the insult, that Brooks physically beat Sumner inside the Senate chamber. Brooks resigned afterward but was immediately rewarded with reelection. The country was polarized. His constituents appreciated that he beat the crap of a trash-talking Yankee.
Joe Wilson's fleeting outburst is extremely mild, in comparison.
The immediate political future of America is very much still up for grabs.
Tugging from the left are demographic changes such as church attendance falling off the face of the earth in many parts of America and Hispanics becoming outright majorities in otherwise conservative states like Colorado, Arizona, and Texas.
Tugging from the right are demographic realities including the fact that conservative women have lower abortion rates, higher birthrates, and conservative families tend to impart their values more readily on younger generations.
Hispanics outside of California and New York are also much more up for grabs for the political parties. In places like Los Angeles County, Hispanics are heavily unionized and therefore strongly Democratic, whereas in Texas and elsewhere, Hispanics are far more independent.
Looking at 2010 Census projections, conservative states are poised to gain quite a few new seats in Congress (as well as quite a few electoral votes) at the expense of liberal states, due to higher birthrates and higher domestic in-migration rates.
Republicans are clearly not conceding 40 years of continuous reign to Democrats, and Joe Wilson's "speaking truth to power" moment encapsulates the zeitgeist of a party that has not thrown in the towel to become mere loyal opposition for a generation. While I think Wilson was somewhat out of line and may cause a bit of a rallying behind Obama among liberals, the Republican Party does need more people to stand and fight, not merely throw in the towel.
The near-term political future belongs to those who can marry their inevitable 15-minutes of political fame with technology to cash in and succeed. Joe Wilson likely did not plan "you lie" as a fundraising ploy, nor did his opponent have any ability to see it coming, but both sides had the infrastructure in place and were ready to raise tens of thousands of small donations over a brief period of a few days. Raising dollars is not the exclusive purview of Howard Dean or MoveOn.org or Barack Obama, but it never really was.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 651 -- Tax Cuts For The Rich?
Obama is blaming deficits on tax cuts that we can't afford, blaming wealthy people for costing the government money.
Everyone saw tax relief, not just wealthy people:
Obama is a typical liberal, not some transformative figure. He always was, though. It's only now that large numbers of people are seeing it.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Stimulus Not Stimulative.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 650 -- Stimulus Not Stimulative.
Biggest Stimuli, Worst Recovery Rates-
As can be seen the increase in unemployment is much less than the size of the stimulus package would suggest. If our unemployment rate had grown in line with average OECD expectations, the unemployment rate would be 7.9 percent but still less than the budget forecast of 8.5 percent.
Stimulus. Not all that stimulative.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Trial Lawyers On A Rampage.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 649 -- Trial Lawyers On A Rampage.
Let's Do Some Tort Reform-
The Institute for Legal Reform has the details:
Both the spending and frequency of lawyers mass tort solicitation creatives focusing on medical malpractice claims have increased massively since 2004. From 2004-2008 the spot count of these advertisements has increased over 1400% while the spending on these types of ads shot up over 1500% percent.
Pretty wild numbers.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Kay Bailey Hutchison Is For Big Government Health Care.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 648 -- Big Government Health Care.
Socialized Medicine On An Installment Plan-
Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has recently hopped on the anti-Obamacare bandwagon, but her record is pretty consistent-- in favor of expanded government health care. Again and again, she has voted against conservatives in the Senate, including John Cornyn, and she has sided with Democrats to vote in favor of a larger government role in health care in America.
A little info on S-CHIP:
Expanding SCHIP to cover children in higher income families is not an efficient or cost-effective way to reduce the ranks of uninsured children. As the safety net is cast further up the income ladder, it will increasingly substitute government programs and taxpayer dollars for private coverage and funding. In order to avoid significant and increasing crowd out, and to optimize the program’s “bang for the buck,” Congress should abandon its current course before SCHIP expires. Congress should, then, restore SCHIP’s purpose as a targeted safety net for uninsured children in low-income families and work to more efficiently and effectively direct assistance to those most in need.
Governor Perry has taken plenty of heat from Democrats and the establishment media for his opposition to S-CHIP expansion at the state level. Hutchison and Democrats have berated the Governor for "leaving federal money on the table."
Perry could have taken the easy way out to avoid criticism, but he didn't. We should reward Republicans when they stand up against the prevailing mentality that says let's push toward health care socialism one little bit at a time.
Kay Bailey Hutchison, meanwhile, has proven with her big government health care votes over the years that she is all for the federal government's involvement in care-- achieved on an installment plan. S-CHIP fits nicely into Senator Hutchison's career of "enlightened" Republicanism.
Enlightened is really just another way to say RINO: REPUBLICAN IN NAME ONLY.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Prospects Pretty Good For Republicans.
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Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 647 -- Republicans May Pick Up Some Seats In 2010.
Let's Deserve Those Seats This Time-
Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball doesn't always know all, but they have a solid reputation and have been pretty accurate in recent years. They're predicting big gains for Republicans:
Rasmussen also has ample evidence of Democrat tanking and Republican success. Republicans are so far behind right now that we may not be able to take back the House, even with a major GOP surge, but in two or three cycles, it is not unlikely that Republicans will retake Congress, especially if Obama and the Democrats keep pushing their far left agenda. When we do retake Congress, let's deserve it this time.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Congress Destroys Wealth.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 646 -- Congress Destroys Wealth.
Leave us kids alone.
Congress comes back to Washington next week. They need to just leave us alone. Especially the Democrats and RINOs.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Obama Slipping.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 645 -- Obama's Slippage.
Falling Fast, Falling Hard-
Earth to President, we don't want your socialism.
Republicans are now beating Democrats in generic ballots, but it is still too early for Republicans to celebrate:
This summer, support for Republican candidates ranged from 41% to 43%, support for Democrats ranged from 37% to 39%. Looking back one year ago, support was strikingly different for the parties. Throughout the summer of 2008, support for Democratic congressional candidates ranged from 45% to 48%. Republican support ranged from 34% to 37%.
Obama may become an albatross around the necks of Democrats if this all keeps up.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Freedom Found More In GOP States.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 644 -- Texas Freedom.
Liberty & Texas Go Together-
I was recently climbing up a mountain in Slovenia with some Aussies, and we got to chatting about politics and what the parties in America stand for. While there is often a perception of conservatives and Republicans being for restrictions on liberty, the truth is that "red" states are freer than "blue" states for the most part. Freer economically, but freer personally as well.
According to the Mercatus weights of so many items, Texas is the 5th overall freest state in the nation, but they have a cool feature where you can adjust the weight of each item to fit your idea of freedom. I did a little tweaking, putting a few things lower or higher based on how important I find them, and here's what turned out:
Go weight stuff yourself, and you'll see that strongly Republican states remain high on the list of freedom almost no matter what you do to the weighting scheme. Texas is one of the most free states in the country, and that's a good thing. Let's keep it that way.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Big Spender..