Saturday, October 30, 2010

Global Review Endorsements: NY Statewide and Congressional

Global Review has never published official endorsements before, but in this mid-term election, it is worthwhile to do so. A great deal will be determined by whom we choose. This first post is Global Review's selections for the high-profile races relevant to Rochester, NY.
  • NY Attorney General: A close, and contentious race between Eric Schneiderman (D/W/I) and Dan Donovan (R/C). Schneiderman has spent his career in Albany, and has voted to reduce sentences for drug offenses and against reinstating capital punishment. Donovan is the District Attorney of Suffolk County, giving him relevant job experience. In a job which has few political implicatons, Donovan's experience is certainly more relevant to the position.
  • NY Comptroller: A comptroller is an external auditor. New York would benefit most from an independent, non-partisan, and unelected comptroller. Maybe one appointed by another state? In any case, we do have to vote, and the best alternative to a true independent is someone from the party not in power. Global Review endorses Harry Wilson (R,C,I), a Harvard MBA with big-business experience, who garnered the left-of-center Independence Party's nomination.
  • NY Goober. It's the 'goober' race because most of the candidates are goobers. Jimmy McMillan has the best hair; Carl Paladino is the most angry; and Andrew "Mario W." Cuomo has the best-developed sense of entitlement.
    Global Review is a right-of-center blog, but we cannot endorse the foolishness that is Carl Paladino. He has correctly diagnosed the malaise in Albany, but the messenger is louder than the message, and his personal failings and oversize ego make it unlikely that he could improve anything in Albany. More likely, Governor Paladino would drag New Yorkers through another round of scandal and add another ring to the circus.
    Nor can Global Review endorse Andrew Cuomo, who has never found a policy so far to the left that cannot support it. He is from the leftist branch of the Democratic Party and will consistently move New York in the direction of centralized government control.
    The only palatable candidate is Warren Redlich. He highlights eminent domain as a key issue, and fought a Kelo-style abuse of town power in his capacity as Guilderland Town Council Member.
  • Senate Races: Global Review is no fan of Chuck Schumer (D), nor, by extension, of his handpicked colleague Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who is defending her seat for the first time. Each of them cast the deciding vote in the mad rush to pass a healthcare law that was called "reform" but in fact failed to address the foundational flaws of our healthcare system and further entrenched the moneyed interest. Their opponents, Republican/Conservative/Taxpayers-nominated Joe DioGuardi and R/C Jay Townsend are reasonable and seasonable alternatives. Vote for them.
  • Congressional Races: Greater Rochester is gerrymandered (by the state GOP) among 4 districts - 25, 26, 28, and 29. In district 25, incumbant Dan Maffei (D) faces a challenge from Anne Buerkle, who is nominated by the Independence Party as well as the R/C/T, and endorsed by Rudy Giuliani.
    In district 26, Chris Lee's opponent, Phil Fedele (D) doesn't even have a website. Vote against the incumbant here as a matter of principle - it won't matter, and it's better if representatives can't take their seats for granted.
    District 28 is home to Louise Slaughter (D), one of Pelosi's key lieutenants. She has the Independence nomination, and is the Chair of the Rules Committee, as well as co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus and a lavish expropriator, currently trumpeting a cyclotron for the University at Buffalo. How many 28th-District residents will benefit from the cyclotron? All of us will pay for it with higher taxes and lower government benefits in the future. Slaughter's opponent this year is Jill Rowland, a Buffalo dentist who is one of the few candidates to pass Project Vote Smart's Courage Test. This is the time to send Slaughter a message that her district is not benefitting from the hard-left policies she is pushing in Congress.
    District 29 chose Eric Massa (D) two years ago as a centrist reformer. He went to Washington and told fellow Democrats he would do what was best for his district even if the district opposed it - i.e. "I know better than you!" Then he had one too many tickle fights with his staffers in their frat house, and resigned in disgrace. Vying to replace him are Corning Mayor Tom Reed (R,C,I) and CIA officer Matt Zeller (D,W). Reed has been endorsed by the Democrat & Chronicle and has executive experience in business and local government. Zeller is hard to learn about - his website proclaims that he's "not a politician" instead of posting positions on important issues. His endorsements come from labor and veterans groups. If he disagreed with any key portion of Pelosi's leftist agenda, it would likely show up on his site.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Zithers

There once was a boy with a zither
Habituated rather to dither
His mother, less pensive
Said: "That was expensive
From hither, don't dither, play zither!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Real Health Care Reform?

It appears that the Obama Justice Department is on a mission to reform health care and lower costs by increasing competition. In a Michigan lawsuit, Justice is alleging that Blue Cross Blue Shield's signed agreements with most of the state's hospitals to set minimum prices that they can charge to BCBS competitors, in exchange raising the BCBS reimbursement rate a bit, are anticompetitive. This looks like basic monopolistic behavior, and it's disturbing to see it coming from a non-profit organization.

The fundamental inefficiencies in the U.S. healthcare system arise from perverse incentives inherent in the overgrown health insurance industry. Global Review is cheered to see the Obama Administration taking on the powerful insurance companies instead of entrenching them, as it did in the partisan health care reform bill earlier this year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Home Cooking

Most who know me at home know I find it enjoyable to cook, and especially enjoyable to eat. So riddle me this: what comestible did I make recently with just four ingredients.
  1. A common household cleaner.
  2. Something containing trace amounts of cyanide.
  3. Something that kills your cells on contact in high enough concentrations.
  4. A substitute for gasoline.
I'll give you just one more hint: it's delicious!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mankiw On Tax Rates

Greg Mankiw, author of the most common introductory texts in economics, lays it on the line with a clever little treatment of tax incentives in the NYTimes.
If there were no taxes of any kind, $1,000 of income would translate into $1,000 in extra saving. If I invested it in the stock of a company that earned, say, 8 percent a year on its capital, then 30 years from now, when I pass on, my children would inherit about $10,000.

Now let’s put taxes into the calculus... 39.6 percent in federal income taxes on that extra income... 1.2 percentage points... Medicare tax, which the recent health care bill is raising to 3.8 percent... 5.3 percent in state income taxes... that $1,000 of pretax income becomes only $523 of saving, and no longer earns 8 percent... 35 percent corporate tax on its earnings... the $523 in saving grows to $1,700 after 30 years... estate tax...

My kids will get, at most, $1,000 of it.
I wonder how many Econ professors will assign this article along with Mankiws textbook this semester? Hat tip to AidWatch.

Capitalism and Underground Survival

WSJ has a paean to the innovators whose products saved the lives of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped a full half-mile below the earth's surface.
If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men? Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.
It's a valid point: while mining accidents have occurred for hundreds of years, high-stakes mine rescues are relatively new. Twenty-five years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, these guys would have died. Instead, high-tech companies offered some really tremendous industrial products.
Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees... Seeing the disaster, Center Rock's president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive...

The high-strength cable winding around the big wheel atop that simple rig is from Germany. Japan supplied the super-flexible, fiber-optic communications cable that linked the miners to the world above...Samsung of South Korea supplied a cellphone that has its own projector. Jeffrey Gabbay, the founder of Cupron Inc. in Richmond, Va., supplied socks made with copper fiber that consumed foot bacteria, and minimized odor and infection.
Whether the companies above donated their items or sold them to the Chilean government is not mentioned in the article: and it's beside the point. The main point is that the companies created something almost ex nihilo. They created markets for their products by meeting human needs or desires, they charged prices that would give salaries to their workers and profits to their investors, and they improved - and in this case saved - human lives.

The author points out that government response in disasters is vital, and can be brilliant (as Chile's in both the mine and 8.8 earthquake) or awful (the U.S. in Hurricane Katrina and the BP spill; China frequently). But the government's less dramatic policies - free trade agreements, taxes on capital - will determine whether technology advances rapidly or slowly, and thus whether the frontier of human ability is advanced ahead of future disasters.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taxing the Poor

A new study reports that the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts will hurt the poor most. The tax increase scheduled for January 1 would eat up 6.7% of the income of a family of 4 earning $40,000. That's enormous! But Pelosi and company decided to adjourn Congress early rather than deal with the most pressing economic issue facing Americans.

Hat tip to BOTWT.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day and Hypocrites

Lots of people will say politically correct things about how wrong and evil Christopher Columbus was in discovering the western Hemisphere and initiating the subjugation of its inhabitants. My only question: when are you selling your house and moving back to Europe?

Friday, October 8, 2010


This comedically dumb corruption in New Jersey - Democrats planted a Tea Party candidate to split the conservative vote - shows why there isn't more corruption in American politics. It's just too easy to get caught.