Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam are popular authors working for The Atlantic, the fabled long-lived ma...moreGrand New Party – Ross Douthat & Reihan Salam
Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam are popular authors working for The Atlantic, the fabled long-lived magazine. Their new project is a book that is a call to arms for the GOP. It seems that even though times are as tough for the party as they have ever been, there is still some hope. There exists a subset of Americans that are not truly aligned with either party. Once called the Silent Majority, Reagan Democrats, or the angry white males, they are a collection of non-college educated electorate that is not beholden to any party. They are the working class, but they are quite different from the working classes of previous eras. They are not union workers that walk in lockstep with organized labor therefore the Democrats have not been able to lock them down. They vote for the GOP, but quickly get disillusioned with the way the party governs. This group, the authors refer to them as Sam’s Club voters, are concerned with social issues, to the detriment of the Democrats, but favor progressive economics. They see the social upheaval of destroyed families and a decaying culture as a minus. The Sam’s Club voters are seen as prize that the GOP can catch, if they change a bit. The authors see the GOP as still the home of the wealthy. One can argue that they are dead wrong, as disclosures show that the DNC is now home to the wealthiest folks. Yet, the authors welcome change in the party that would cement a hold on these voters, increased spending on health and schools (disregard that more money might not help…), a change in tax law to benefit lower income and remove pay-roll taxes (the vast majority of workers are already off the income tax roles) and so on… I must say that the writers may be right for the GOP, but by embracing these items the GOP would force out the conservatives who already see the “progressive tax system” as a civic failure and the proscribed increases in spending as a sure sign of loss. The authors are bright and want to be helpful, I just think that they have not fully thought out the entire ramifications of their plan. I also do not see that type of criticism coming from folks that should know better. (less)
The Samaritan’s Dilemma is a problem that people face when trying to help the poor. In many cases, the effort to help the poor can give them incentive...moreThe Samaritan’s Dilemma is a problem that people face when trying to help the poor. In many cases, the effort to help the poor can give them incentives to continue in behavior that keeps them in poverty. Our past welfare that allocated more money for single-family homes ensured that poor children would be denied a live in father so that the mother could gain more benefits. This is not in dispute with anyone serious – except Deborah Stone, author of the new book entitled, The Samaritan’s Dilemma. Stone tries to reshape the argument by simply ignoring the past performance of government welfare programs.
Early in her book, Stone lays the groundwork for her uphill and mendacious battle. She starts by mocking Reagan’s call for an end to confiscatory and inefficient government actions. She mocks and belittles Nobel winning Economists like Milton Friedman who shoe empirically that government should not be the welfare provider for the people. She wants to recall the glory days of the “New Deal” and “The Great Society” without a serious look at the vast harm those programs did to the people that worked to fund them. Nor does she seem to understand that the trillion dollars confiscated from workers to fund poverty programs did little to elevate poverty or the conditions that lead to poverty.
No, in Stone’s world the Government is the solution and we workers are the cogs that keep the government going for the benefit of the poor. In a messed up world the poor are therefore more valued than those that seek to better their lives through education and hard work. Her failure to see any government failure proves that some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals will believe them. Read this nonsense for yourself.(less)
Claire Berlinski has written one of the finest biographies of 2008. There Is No Alternative is a wonderfully written account of Margaret Thatcher and...more Claire Berlinski has written one of the finest biographies of 2008. There Is No Alternative is a wonderfully written account of Margaret Thatcher and her policies. The sub-title – Why Margaret Thatcher Matters, give the clue as to the tone. Ms. Berlinski covers not just the facts of history, but delves into the meaning and political outcomes to those policies.
First off, the book is superbly written. Berlinski manages to liven up economics and labor talk that most authors get lost in the minutiae. She manages to interweave interviews and opinion in a way that keeps you engaged. The interviews are of former cabinet members and opponents that give the hidden from view Thatcher, that many of us were unaware existed, serve to illustrate just how Thatcher governed.
This is not to say that the book is a hagiography, for it is nothing of the kind. Berlinski has written a very fair minded book, showing the good with the bad. For all of her loyalty and strong will, there is also a lot of haughtiness and an isolation that creates the atmosphere for the eventual treachery that befell the good lady. The interviews with Neal Kinnock are especially insightful, as he was one of her main Labor opponents.
Reading this account of Thatcher, one learns that she was every bit the ideologue as Reagan. Their shared values and distrust of Socialist enterprises added to their dynamic. Her complete hatred of communism served her well in fighting that trade unions and defeating Arthur Scargill, a resounding victory on the domestic front that equaled the victory for the Falklands. It was this labor defeat that helped usher in a long-term period of growth.
I have long wondered about the hatred towards Thatcher by her fellow country men. Any fair minded person can see that her policies helped to save the national character and morale of the English people. Before her election, the English were suffering from a worse malaise than even the Americans under the dismal Jimmy Carter. Thatcher’s keen economic sense and steadfastness transformed the country. Yet, the media types still paint her as a failure. Whether it be The Now Show or movies liked Brassed Off, Thatcher and her policies are always seen as anti-poor and destructive. There is little balance in the press and almost no sense of truth in the coverage of her leadership.
One can argue, and I believe Berlinski proves, that it was the economic principles of Milton Friedman as enacted by the Tories that really changed the future for a country that was fast collapsing. At the time, the UK was receiving loans from the IMF, just like some poor banana republic. The Thatcher roll-back of socialism changed the tide. It is disheartening to see that some of the reforms have been scrapped as late as the UK has started Re-Nationalizing so many industries that have been affected by the current financial downturn.
There Is No Alternative should be read by anyone wanting to understand geo-economics and party politics. Claire Berlinski has written a masterpiece.(less)
Is there truly a love of freedom in this country? Do we even know what freedom means anymore? These questions and many others are always the themes fo...moreIs there truly a love of freedom in this country? Do we even know what freedom means anymore? These questions and many others are always the themes found in the essays of Dr. Walter Williams. Williams is a successful opinion writer whose essays are published nationally, he is read by millions understood by hundreds and his ideas are put to work by tens. This is the sad irony, for although Williams is a beacon on sanity and freedom, there is little mood on a people that have grown accustomed to the mostly soft tyranny of an overzealous federal government.
In Liberty versus the Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays, author Walter Williams has collected some of his most recent essays confronting the loss of freedom and choice in our society. Usually done in the name of fairness or justice, the effects are the same. We are all losing the very freedoms envisioned by the founders. Using the police powers of the Constitution, the Federal government is compelling behavior that never would have been thought of by the early leaders of our Republic.
In fact, how many citizens even know that we are a Republic and not a democracy? The foundations of knowledge and civility that our nation stands has been eroded and the essays of Dr. Williams are a needed tonic in the arena of ideas. His clear and understandable positions will win over anyone with an open mind. Working with the Hoover Foundation at Stanford, Dr. Williams is on the front lines of ideological battle for the soul of our nation. Please read these essays and write back about just how they effect your outlook on our government.(less)
Master essayist and thinker, Theodore Dalrymple is back with a new collection of 19 essays that will answer a bevy of questions on societal problems,...more Master essayist and thinker, Theodore Dalrymple is back with a new collection of 19 essays that will answer a bevy of questions on societal problems, or at least clearly explain what those problems are and how they are destroying all in its reach. Focusing mainly on the UK, his country of origin, Dalrymple continues to document the struggle against human nature and the many sorrows that accompany the failure to reign in our inner impulses. As always, his sections dealing with crime and the lack of punishment are eye opening, especially since there is a renewed and growing movement on inmates “rights”.
As with his previous collections, this one is highly diverse. (less)
Have you ever wondered about the history of the fortune cookie? How about General Tzu’s delicious chicken? Whatever happened to chop suey? All of the...more Have you ever wondered about the history of the fortune cookie? How about General Tzu’s delicious chicken? Whatever happened to chop suey? All of these questions are answered in Jennifer Lee’s delightfully witty and fun book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.
Lee, an American born Chinese lady sought out to answer many of the questions she had about Chinese food. Traveling throughout the country, and then to China and Taiwan, Lee was able to find many of the answers that she encountered during a life of loving Chinese food.
For myself, I could not think of a world without the delicious creations of the various Chinese restaurants. This book was a fabulous journey of discovery for me, finally answering just why no two General’s chicken taste a like and the differences between many of the dishes that Americans have come to know and love. It seems that much of the food is as American as a apple pie (or more so if you follow Lee).
This book is witty and breaks much new ground in the understanding of our culinary culture and history. The idea that Chinese food became a staple of our diets based on a fraud (chop suey) is too rich not to take delight in. The chapters dealing with tracking down the history of various dishes are must reads, as are those chapters that deal with the true and sad plight of the Chinese people and their history in this country. This would be a great book club book and I intend to nominate it at my next turn.(less)