Archive for September, 2012

This looks bad for Romney if the polls are on-target:

It means that Romney can only stand to lose New Hampshire on this list of toss-up states:

Colorado (9)
Florida (29)
Iowa (6)
Nevada (6)
New Hampshire (4)
North Carolina (15)
Virginia (13)

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A pro-secession protest in Catalonia on September 11th brought out 8% of the region’s entire population, The Economist reports. Opinion polls have support for independence at about half of the electorate, possibly more. The moderate nationalists in power in Catalonia have even radicalized their platform. In the past, Convergence and Unity was a moderate nationalist, center-right party coalition dedicated to greater autonomy for Catalonia and a recognized right to self-determination. While refusing to rule out independence in the long run, they rejected secession as attainable or desirable in the near term. Now, they explicitly advocate eventual sovereignty (effectively, independence within the European Union).

In addition to Convergence and Unity, there has been, since the mid-1980s, a significant independentist strain within Catalan nationalism. The Catalan Republican Left (ERC) has been the main exponent of this current. In the early 2000’s, ERC actually formed the regional administration along with the regional Socialists. They helped put together Catalonia’s new autonomy statute that, among other things, defines Catalonia as a “nation” rather than a “nationality” for the first time. (Yes, this sort of symbolism seems to matter to nationalist voters.) Over time, ERC support has been growing, and so has broader support for independence. Thus, this most recent outbreak is nothing new, rather the last expression of an upwelling of  “fed-up nationalism” that has been going on for at least a decade.

In one sense, Catalan nationalism is easily explicable as the (more…)

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Rasmussen Reports has this just in on the NH gubernatorial race:

Rasmussen Reports’ first look at New Hampshire’s gubernatorial race since the state’s party primaries finds Republican Ovide Lamontagne slightly ahead of Democrat Maggie Hassan. A new telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Granite State shows Lamontagne earning 48% of the vote, while Hassan picks up 44% support. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided.

This is a critical race since the outgoing Democrat governor was a blocking force against some of the pro-liberty agenda of House Speaker Bill O’Brien.  A Republican governor would make things a lot easier up there – assuming O’Brien and company don’t lose too many seats to Dems and less liberty-friendly Republicans.  Of course, I don’t assume that Lamontagne will go along with everything since he’s more of a social conservative than a lot of Republicans in the House.

Important caveat in this poll: The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

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A nice acknowledgement by Richard Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, of what they at the Fed do not know:

We are blessed at the Fed with sophisticated econometric models and superb analysts. We can easily conjure up plausible theories as to what we will do when it comes to our next tack or eventually reversing course. The truth, however, is that nobody on the committee, nor on our staffs at the Board of Governors and the 12 Banks, really knows what is holding back the economy. Nobody really knows what will work to get the economy back on course. And nobody—in fact, no central bank anywhere on the planet—has the experience of successfully navigating a return home from the place in which we now find ourselves. No central bank—not, at least, the Federal Reserve—has ever been on this cruise before.

Here Fisher is paging Dr. Higgs and the regime uncertainty thesis by quoting a “respected” CEO:

“We are in ‘stall mode,’ stuck like Velcro, until the fog of uncertainty surrounding fiscal policy and the debacle in Europe lifts.”

And finally, challenging the dual mandate of the Fed:

I would point out to those who reacted with some invective to the committee’s decision, especially those from political corners, that it was the Congress that gave the Fed its dual mandate. That very same Congress is doing nothing to motivate business to expand and put people back to work. Our operating charter calls for us to conduct policy aimed at achieving full employment in addition to preserving price stability. A future Congress might restrict us to a single mandate—like other central banks in the world operate under—focused solely on price stability. But unless or until that is done, we have to deliver on what the American people, as conveyed by their elected representatives, expect of us.

The rest here is very much worth a careful read.  I’ve been in favor of using monetary policy (if properly done) in the recent past to help with our economic troubles.  Fisher gives us something to think about in terms of the limits of monetary policy, the problem of the Fed’s dual mandate, and the need to get our fiscal house in order.

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And makes a point too:

HT: One of my FB friends (with apologies to George Will)

And for more on the “creepy” things we’ve seen this fall, see these articles: here and here (and if you look at the first one, you’ll see ScarJo looking as awesome as ever.  Too bad she isn’t the kind of woman who would put “Property Rights” or “No Eminent Domain Abuse” or something similar on her hand instead).

Update: My post above could be misread in a way that would suggest I would advocate such hand signs if only the right words were on the hand.  That is not what I meant, so I immediately wrote this in the comments which I repeat here:  “And btw, I would find anyone putting anything political on their hand and putting it over their heart or saluting as a bit creepy unless they were mocking it like Perry. So, I just wish ScarJo would believe in things like property rights — not that she would do some kind of hand thing with them. And I’d be even more creeped out if Republicans did it and put things like Family or Virtue or Honor or anything else.”

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From Real Clear Politics:

The basic argument for why Romney is being written off far too early is pretty simple. He trails the incumbent president by 48.2 percent to 45.3 percent in the RCP Average seven weeks before the election. There are very few races that have been this close, this far out from Election Day, that would be characterized as anything other than a tossup.

I’m not as sanguine because the Electoral College map looks pretty bad for Romney, but this piece makes a lot of good points.

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On taxes and contributions

The graph below from NPR.org is both insightful and fair (as is the accompanying article.)

But one thing has always struck me funny when discussing Social Security and Medicare with those on the left.  When they are defending the benefits of the programs, they always refer to “contributions” into a social insurance system, and they sometimes argue that we shouldn’t include such contributions when calculating the federal tax burden.

But when these same people are defending the non-payment of income tax by the 47%, they are quick to note that many of that group pay or have paid Social Security and Medicare “taxes,” which, as we know, are heavy federal taxes.

So, my friends, you have to pick one: are they taxes or contributions?

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