Cut the Corporate Income Tax

The ultimate payers of the corporate tax are those individuals who have some stake in the company on which the tax is levied. If you own corporate equities, if you work for a corporation or if you buy goods and services from a corporation, you pay part of the corporate income tax. The corporate tax leads to lower returns on capital, lower wages or higher prices — and, most likely, a combination of all three.

A cut in the corporate tax as Mr. McCain proposes would initially give a boost to after-tax profits and stock prices, but the results would not end there. A stronger stock market would lead to more capital investment. More investment would lead to greater productivity. Greater productivity would lead to higher wages for workers and lower prices for customers.

The full article is available here

The Ethanol Backlash

The state of Texas is now in official opposition to the federal ethanol mandate. Governor Rick Perry has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency for a one-year reprieve, and the reason is simple and increasingly familiar: Washington’s ethanol obsession is hurting the state.

We all know that corn farmers everywhere love ethanol. Don’t tell that to Texas cattle ranchers. Because of the mandate to add this biofuel to gasoline, ranchers are being forced into bidding wars with ethanol plants for the grains they feed their cattle. They don’t appreciate being hammered on price because of a subsidy to corn growers.

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Rising Crime in Europe

There has been a lot of hullabaloo about the fact that over 1% of all American are in prison. What is not mentioned is that tough-on-crime America has falling crime rates, whereas soft-on-crime Europe has rising rates of crime.

In a 2001 study, the British Home Office (the equivalent of the U.S. Department of Justice) found violent and property crime increased in the late 1990s in every wealthy country except the United States. American property crime rates have been lower than those in Britain, Canada, and France since the early 1990s, and violent crime rates throughout the E.U., Australia, and Canada have recently begun to equal and even surpass those in the United States. Even Sweden, once the epitome of cosmopolitan
socialist prosperity, now has a crime victimization rate 20 percent higher than the United States.

Americans, on the other hand, have become much safer. Preliminary 2001 crime statistics from the FBI show America’s tenth consecutive year of declines in crime. While our homicide rate is still substantially higher than most in Europe, it has sunk to levels unseen here since the early 1960s. And overall crime rates in this country are now 40 percent below the all-time highs of the early 1970s. In 1973

Crime Without Punishment

This is just one more data point for more overriding thesis that the Western World is determined to learn the hard way every single lesson that led to the rise of the Western World in the first place.

Black America: Nearer to Overcoming?

Interesting article in The Economist about black poverty and lagging achievement.

[Roland Fryer's] most striking contribution to the debate so far has been to show that black students who study hard are accused of “acting white” and are ostracised by their peers. Teachers have known this for years, at least anecdotally. Mr Fryer found a way to measure it. He looked at a large sample of public-school children who were asked to name their friends. To correct for kids exaggerating their own popularity, he counted a friendship as real only if both parties named each other. He found that for white pupils, the higher their grades, the more popular they were. But blacks with good grades had fewer black friends than their mediocre peers. In other words, studiousness is stigmatised among black schoolchildren. It would be hard to imagine a more crippling cultural norm.

A study by Richard Sander of the University of California, Los Angeles, found that when the bar is lowered for black applicants to law school, they are admitted to institutions where they cannot cope. Many who drop out of top-tier colleges might have thrived at slightly less competitive ones. Mr Sander calculated that the net effect of pro-black preferences was actually to reduce the number of blacks who passed the bar exam. That is, racial preferences for black law students result in fewer black lawyers. John McWhorter, the author of “Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America”, argues that lowering the bar for blacks also reduces their incentive to excel at school. “As long as black students have to do only so well, they will do only so well,” he says.

This does not mean that discrimination does not exist:

That said, blacks certainly face barriers in the job market. Two economists, Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, sent out 5,000 replies to job advertisements in Boston and Chicago. Each fictitious applicant was randomly assigned either a black-sounding name, such as Jamal or Lakisha, or a white one, such as Emily or Greg. For every ten jobs the “whites” applied for, they were offered one interview. The “blacks” had to post 15 letters to elicit the same response. Clearly, some managers are racist. But many are not. And many firms are desperate to hire and promote blacks, if only to avoid lawsuits.

Is the Criminal Justice System Racist?

Here is a great article in City Journal debunking some myths of the criminal justice system.

Myth: Black people are over-represented in prison
Fact: not in relation to the degree that blacks are overrepresented in committing crimes.

The black incarceration rate is overwhelmingly a function of black crime. Insisting otherwise only worsens black alienation and further defers a real solution to the black crime problem.

Racial activists usually remain assiduously silent about that problem. But in 2005, the black homicide rate was over seven times higher than that of whites and Hispanics combined, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. From 1976 to 2005, blacks committed over 52 percent of all murders in America. In 2006, the black arrest rate for most crimes was two to nearly three times blacks’ representation in the population. Blacks constituted 39.3 percent of all violent-crime arrests, including 56.3 percent of all robbery and 34.5 percent of all aggravated-assault arrests, and 29.4 percent of all property-crime arrests.

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The Decline of the English Working Class

White working-class boys have become the new “underclass”, a report by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, warns today.

Boys from low-income white families are bottom of the heap in school performance, trailing behind every other major ethnic group.

A teenage boy on an estate in Glasgow. Duncan Smith says we risk creating a class of unemployable young white males
The report argues that family breakdown, parental breakdown and peer pressure that it is not “cool to study” are the key factors in the collapse in educational achievements. It also cites drug and alcohol abuse by parents.

The bleak findings are spelt out in a study published by the Social Justice Policy Group that Mr Duncan Smith was asked to lead by David Cameron, the Conservative leader. The report stresses that only 17 per cent of white working-class boys managed to gain five or more A to C grades at GCSE.

This contrasts with the 19 per cent recorded by black Caribbean boys from poor backgrounds, who are traditionally seen as the ethnic group with the worst educational achievement.

advertisementOther groups have significantly better results. Around seven out of 10 boys from working-class Chinese families get at least five A to C grades at GCSE, while the figure for Indian boys is around 40 per cent.

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Self-Refuting Skepticism

Skepticism is a hard-headed philosophy. Its hallmarks are intellectual caution, systematic doubt, and rigorous standards for evidence. This makes it easy for the skeptic to claim the intellectual high ground. When the atheist Bertrand Russell was asked what he would say if he were to die and find out that there is a God, his response was, “Not enough evidence God! Not enough evidence!”

Let’s table the issue of evidence for now and directly challenge the skepticism, which suffers from two main problems. The first is that skepticism is self-refuting. The second problem is that skepticism leads to absurd conclusions that no one believes, including the skeptic.
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