May 13, 2010

Thank You, Stephen Harper

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:19 pm

From the Canada Press:

Harper rejects UN chief’s plea to make climate change G20 agenda’s top priority

Canada brushed aside a direct public demand Wednesday by the visiting United Nations chief and reiterated that it will not make climate change a priority agenda item when it hosts the G20 summit next month.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper stuck to his G20 plan to keep the summit’s focus squarely on the global economic recovery after he met UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his Parliament Hill office.

Ban said he wanted climate change front and centre on the agenda when Canada hosts the G20 summit next month in Toronto. Ban also exhorted the Conservatives to live up to the greenhouse-gas reduction targets Canada negotiated under the Kyoto Protocol.

“Canada has a special role and special responsibility to play. That is what I am going to emphasize here,” Ban told about 500 diplomats, civil society leaders and academics in a packed hotel ballroom before meeting Harper.

“I urge Canada to comply fully with the targets set out by the Kyoto Protocol. You can strengthen your mitigation target for the future.”

Harper has rejected the Kyoto Protocol, which was negotiated by the previous Liberal government and calls for a six per cent reduction of greenhouse gases by 2020 based on 1990 levels.

Recall that it was Bonkers Ban Ki Moon who last August predicted the end of the world as we know it if the Copenhagen Summit didn’t result in a climate change treaty raid on the wealth of first-world countries:

As we move toward Copenhagen in December, we must “Seal a Deal” on climate change that secures our common future. I’m glad that the Chairman of the forum and many other speakers have used my campaign slogan “Seal the Deal” in Copenhagen. I won’t charge them loyalty. Please use this “Seal the Deal” as widely as possible, as much as you can. We must seal the deal in Copenhagen for the future of humanity.

We have just four months. Four months to secure the future of our planet.

Well, four months is up. Actually, it’s nine. I guess the window has closed. How ’bout we just sit back and enjoy it?

But actually since then, the ClimateGate scandal has revealed that the entire enterprise known as global warming/climate change “science” is a flat-out fraud. No credible scientific basis remains for warmers’ claims. None. It’s over. But Bonkers Ban Ki and his fellow globalarmists won’t get off the playing field.

Bonkers Ban Ki acts as if nothing’s changed. It’s time for him and others who have seen the foundation of global warming disappear to get through their period of global mourning and get on with doing something useful.

We’re Not Europe, But We’re Getting Closer (and FDR Took Us Here Before)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:16 am

NotEurope0510In a Wall Street Journal column this morning that should be read in full, Daniel Henninger looks over the ocean and describes where we’re heading under the person HillBuzz likes to call “Dr. Utopia”:

One of the constant criticisms of Barack Obama’s first year is that he’s making us “more like Europe.” But that’s hard to define and lacks broad political appeal. Until now.

Any U.S. politician purporting to run the presidency of the United States should be asked why the economic policies he or she is proposing won’t take us where Europe arrived this week.

In an astounding moment, to avoid the failure of little, indulgent, profligate Greece, the European Union this week pledged nearly $1 trillion to inject green blood into Europe’s economic vampires.

For Americans, this has been a two-week cram course in what not to be if you hope to have a vibrant future. What was once an unfocused criticism of Mr. Obama and the Democrats, that they are nudging America toward a European-style social-market economy, came to awful life in the panicked, stricken faces of Europe’s leadership: Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown, Papandreou. They look like that because Europe has just seen the bond-market devil.

… Angus Maddison, the eminent European historian of world economic development who died days before Europe’s debt crisis, wrote in 2001: “The most disturbing aspect of West European performance since 1973 has been the staggering rise in unemployment. In 1994-8 the average level was nearly 11% of the labor force. This is higher than the depressed years of the 1930s.”

Whoa. Stop. Right. There.

Grasp what is in the bolded sentence. ….

Read it again, just to be sure, and never forget it.

What Maddison is telling us by inference is that Europe during the Herbert Hoover/Franklin Delano Roosevelt Depression Era far outperformed the USA in keeping its people at work.

As is somewhat commonly known, US unemployment stayed unacceptably high throughout the 1930s despite (really because) of everything Hoover and then FDR did:

By June 1937, the recovery—during which the unemployment rate had fallen to 12 percent—was over. Two policies, labor cost increases and a contractionary monetary policy, caused the economy to contract further. Although the contraction ended around June 1938, the ensuing recovery was quite slow. The average rate of unemployment for all of 1938 was 19.1 percent, compared with an average unemployment rate for all of 1937 of 14.3 percent. Even in 1940, the unemployment rate still averaged 14.6 percent.

Every unemployment figure cited is far worse than the “under 11%” of 1930s Europe, which with the exception of Germany was not embracing doctrinaire socialism.

In other words, we’ve been here before. It was awful. Only World War II and FDR’s passing saved us from his central-planning nightmare.

As has been noted at this blog many times, they should have known better, but many if not most of those who supported Barack Obama in 2008 did not believe they were opting to put the worst aspects of FDR on steroids and a not-too-distant circling of the economic drain in their future. But that’s really the deal they made.

Five months of election results and their offshoots — just for starters, see defeated Congressman Allan Mollohan, retiring Congressman David Obey, retiring Congressman Bart Stupak, new Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, elected New Jersey Governor Christie, elected Virginia Governor McDonnell — have made it crystal clear that many of those who opted for the hopey-changey mush they were offered in 2008 have realized that they were baited and switched into 21st century Euro-style socialism.

ObamaCareSubsidiesHeritage032610Actually, it’s even worse than that, as I wrote in March in detailing ObamaCare’s subsidy structure, which includes de facto marginal “tax” rates of over 100% (see the purple boxes in the graphic on the right after clicking to enlarge it). I called it “far more extreme than virtually anything Europe’s most brazen socialists have attempted since World War II” — because it is.

This time, a World War won’t save us. Going back to Henninger:

Stagnation isn’t death. Economies don’t die. Greece proves that. They slow down. Europe’s low growth rates allow its populations to pretend that real, productive work is being done somewhere by someone. But new jobs are created slowly, if at all. Younger workers lose heart.

Economic stagnation is a kind of purgatory. Once there, it’s not clear how you get out. The economist Douglass North, in his 1993 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, said that one of the vexing problems of his discipline is, “Why do economies once on a path of growth or stagnation tend to persist?” Japan also seems unable to free itself from stagnation.

I have an answer to Douglass North’s question that I believe will stand up to scrutiny: The dependents and rent-seekers in a statist/socialist economy won’t let go of their freebies and privileges without a (sometimes violent) fight, and it’s easier for politicians to try to find any way they can to accommodate them. Witness the reaction on the streets of Greece.

We’ve already gone too far down the Greecey 21st century European path. We must stop it before it boxes us into persistent stagnation, demoralizes our young, and condemns future generations to mediocrity and misery.

Positivity: Belgian Town to Honor Local WWII Vet, Others with Memorial

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 8:23 am

From Tucson, Arizona — and Leefdaal, Belgium:

Posted: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 12:00 am

Out of the Blue

After 89 birthdays, Henry “Jim” Latimore figured there wasn’t much left in life to surprise him.

But fate had other plans for the World War II veteran.

While he was quietly retired in Tucson, villagers an ocean away were on a mission to immortalize him, 66 years after he floated into their midst when his warplane crashed near a castle in Belgium.

Latimore is one of nine crew members – three still living – of a downed B-24 Liberator whose names will be inscribed on a new memorial in Leefdaal, population 4,000, about 15 miles east of Brussels.

He and the other survivors will be flying to Belgium for the dedication ceremony later this month.

“It just amazes me that they would do this,” said Latimore, 89, a retired Air Force colonel who lives on the east side with his wife, Patricia. “For me, (the crash) was a memory, but for the people there, I guess it was a really big thing.”

One of Latimore’s fellow crew members died in the incident on Nov. 26, 1944.

The rest parachuted to safety and went on with life, not realizing their brief brush with the denizens of Leefdaal had become a legend retold by generations of Belgian parents.

“As a child, my father often told me about the crash of the American bomber on the house of his aunt,” said Belgian Dirk Vander Hulst, 39, an amateur historian who has researched the crash. He shared his findings with the Patton Drivers-Leuven Centraal, a group of World War II history buffs in Belgium who are behind the tribute.

The Liberator that crashed in Leefdaal was one of 28 attached to America’s 491st Bombardment Group dispatched that day to bomb a German oil refinery near Hanover, Vander Hulst said.

Fifteen of the B-24s were shot down over Germany, where many U.S. crew members were killed. Luckily for Latimore’s crew, the pilot managed to guide the crippled craft into friendly territory that recently had been liberated by British forces.

… Among Leefdaal residents, especially the elderly, “appreciation for the sacrifice made by the Americans and the British is still evident today,” he said. “It is thanks to the sacrifice of Allied soldiers that we are able to live and enjoy a free and luxurious life.”

Go here to read the whole story.