URLs du Jour


  • Kip Esquire has a dandy post analyzing the proposal of powerful House Democrats to do away with the tax advantages of 401(k) (and also, I assume, 403(b)) retirement plans. If that weren't outrageous enough, the proposed replacement is extremely similar to Dubya's defunct Social Security "privatization" plan—the one Democrats screamed was risky and demonic.

    Of course, there are some big differences: the Democratic plan is compulsory while Bush's was optional; Bush didn't propose gutting 401(k)/403(b) tax advantages; and the Democratic plan prohibits workers from self-maintaining their investment portfolios, instead forcing them into buying government bonds (which are less risky, but also provide anemic historical returns). In short, we're talking financial nanny-statism here.

    If you're not already doing so, it might be a good time to start reading Don Luskin's blog: The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid.

  • For example, Don does some pretty simple math on President-elect Obama's proposal to "enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate."
    Let's say there are 100 million "families," whatever that word means in this context. $1000 each is $100 billion dollars. Last year the total earnings for the S&P 500 energy sector -- which includes a lot more than "oil companies" -- was about $140 billion. Are Obama and Biden saying that 71% of the energy sector's profits are "excessive"?
    I wouldn't make plans for that $1000 just yet.

  • In the "Now They Tell Us" Department: Obama's vague paeans to "community service" during the campaign have turned concrete and mandatory.

    Ilya Somin wrote a series of posts last year at Volokh about mandatory national service. In addition to the general increase in coercion, there's that pesky Thirteenth Amendment issue to get around.

    It's always encouraging to see a newly-elected president trashing the Constitution before he even assumes office.

    Oh, and for any self-styled libertarian out there who supported Obama: you are a bleepin' idiot.

    [Update: the explicit mandatoriness has been removed from the website. More on that here.]

  • Coming soon to a University near you: Margaret Soltan writes on the UC Irvine professor who is refusing to take mandatory sexual harassment prevention training, possibly costing him his job. Lots of links, not recommended for those prone to hypertension.

  • And this week's Rochester (NH) Police Log has its share of animal and human antics:
    Friday, Oct. 17

    1:27 a.m. — Two teenagers are allegedly having sex in Woodman Park. Police arrive in a commendable eight minutes but encounter nothing.

    7:32 p.m. — A moose wanders along Route 125 in Gonic.

    8:12 p.m. — The moose is now at Gonic Fire Station, but Fish & Game won't come unless something clunks into it.

    Saturday, Oct. 18

    5:42 a.m. — On Cleveland Street, a skunk has its head stuck in a receptacle. Police call the animal control officer but she does not respond. An officer manages to remove the jar, and is recommended by The Rochester Times for a bravery award.

    11:40 a.m. — A state trooper moooves cows from the middle of Route 16.

    1:45 p.m. — A Chestnut Street cat owner seeks advice on how to get his cat out of an empty property. An officer gives him several hints.

    6:44 p.m. — A moose stands at the airport fence and figures how to get through.

    Tuesday, Oct. 21

    8:57 a.m. — A Richardson Street resident has a bone to pick with a chiropractor's patients, regarding their parking habits.

    5:52 p.m. — A piano truck from Londonderry is parked outside the Party Supply store on Wakefield Street for over an hour. The storekeeper asks who they are waiting for and is told it is none of her business and that she should go away, a rude response which strikes the wrong chord with her.

    Wednesday, Oct. 22

    12:03 p.m. — A sign bearing the message, "I am a bitter gun owner and I vote" has appeared on Columbus Avenue to the annoyance of someone, who is told that the sign is protected under free speech rights.

    Thursday, Oct. 23

    3:14 p.m. — At the station, a newcomer to Rochester says he inadvertently drove the wrong way down Pine Street and was confronted by a tall man with one eye (but a sharp one) who thumped his truck with a fist.

    Friday, Oct. 24

    8:39 p.m. — There is a report of a large dead cat on Salmon Falls Road that is causing motorists to swerve. Police recategorize it as a large dead skunk.

    Saturday, Oct 25

    1:25 a.m. — A cow ambles down Old Dover Road.

Last Modified 2008-11-08 2:13 PM EDT