Buy Whoppers to Oppose Whoppers

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has proposed a boycott of Burger King. Try Wendy’s or White Castle instead, he urges.

Why? Are the Burger King burgers moldy now?

No, they’re still delectable. In fact, I’m stepping up my patronage of Burger King thanks to Brown’s attack. All who seek to productively improve their lives should follow suit.

For that’s the actual crime here. Honest self-improvement. Contrary to Brown, though, it deserves no chastisement.

Burger King has been caught pursuing an opportunity to improve its offerings and bottom line. It is buying Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee-and-donut chain. It will also be moving its headquarters to Canada.

Why?

Because our federal government taxes corporate earnings more heavily than many other countries do, the Burger King move north means a smaller tax bite. More money for the shareholders.

And, thus, less money for Uncle Sam.

Fine with me. I don’t begrudge an honestly earned dollar. And our government’s wastrel ways  won’t be cured by ever-higher taxes on us. But if politicians fear the exodus of U.S. firms for tax reasons, why not eliminate that motive by reducing corporate taxes?

Brown gestures in the direction of lower taxes but also demands a “global minimum tax rate” to thwart absconders. Nah. Chuck the stick. Just use the carrot. Slash what U.S.-based firms must pay and American firms will stay.

Slash them enough and maybe successful foreign firms will move HQs here, too.

Entice the economic titans who benefit us so much; don’t chase them away. Instead of badgering with boycotts, inspire with freedom.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Getting to Ballot in Illinois

My business is citizen initiatives. So I notice when courts — at the behest of corrupt politicians like hyper-incumbent Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan — block a popular initiative to limit the power of corrupt politicians.

Politicians like, say, Mike Madigan.

The initiative would have forced state lawmakers to step down after eight years in the legislature. Although the petition to post the question earned way more than enough valid signatures, a judge kicked the question off the ballot. Then an appeals court refused to reverse; and, finally, the state supreme court let a ballot deadline pass without reviewing the case. All this obstructionism was rationalized by a derelict misreading of the state constitution and motivated by a desire to preserve and protect Illinois’s political class, which is as bankrupt morally as the state is fiscally.

Another attempt at ballot-blocking proved less successful. It seems that “private detectives” (or maybe just thugs) hired by somebody in Illinois’s GOP establishment tried to intimidate signatories of petitions to get the Libertarian candidate for governor on the ballot. These visibly-armed creeps pushed signers to disavow their signatures in hopes of keeping the LP candidate off the ballot. So far it hasn’t worked, and the Illinois Libertarian Party has filed criminal complaints in the matter.

From these cases I conclude that things are pretty rotten with respect to the state of representative government in the state of Illinois.

Thankfully, voters there want a change. They just have to keep pushing for it.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Townhall: Looting Is Good?

The professors and intellectuals make the case for crime, in the wake of the Ferguson protests and their sideshows. Your Sunday dose of Common Sense at Townhall.com takes on these “experts.” Some irony may be involved.

Come back here for the evidence.

Video: Balko Talks to Vice

“There are people out there who fear the police more than they fear the criminals.”

Radley Balko interviewed about the militarization of America’s police, community policing, the Ferguson atrocities, and the “criminalization of poverty”:

Term Limits: Let’s Keep ’em

Former Clinton Treasury secretary Larry Summers proposes that we switch from an eight-year, two-term limit for the union’s presidency to a six-year, single-term limit. He contends that by chucking the president’s second term, we can maybe prevent such gridlock and scandal as tends to especially afflict those second terms.

Six years is a long time to be stuck with an abysmal president, though.

And when the policies that a president imposes or encourages in his first term turn out to be an endless horror show — I’ll name no names here except Obama and Obamacare, IRS’s ideological targeting, NSA’s surveillance of us all, millions in tax dollars flung at bankrupt eco-firms like Solyndra, etc. — the more gridlock the better, seems to me. For it nobly reduces the extent to which we can be kicked in the teeth.

And I don’t like being kicked in the teeth.

However, throw in a national recall power so Americans can boot incumbents from office when they’re fed up with them, and I might accept that single six-year term, Professor.

In reply to Summers, some pundits argue that we should just drop presidential term limits altogether. We have heard the suggestion before. But I agree with blogger Matthew Dickinson. He argues in a piece for Christian Science Monitor that whatever the abuses plaguing term two, these must pale in comparison to the problems which flow from enabling presidents-for-life. Their abuses of power, around the world, are legion, and nigh unstoppable.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Learning Lerner’s M.O.

I fib. We’re not really learning anything new about Lois Lerner’s modus operandi. It’s just the same old wiping of evidence — evidence that she and others at IRS knew was relevant to congressional inquiry into IRS misconduct.

Lerner is the former IRS department head in charge of reviewing applications of non-profits for tax-exempt status. Her department targeted right-leaning applicants for special obstruction and delay. The practice began to come to light a couple of years ago.

Congress has asked for a great deal of documentation from the Internal Revenue Service that has yet to be supplied, including all of Lerner’s pertinent email. As I’ve discussed before, the IRS has claimed that her hard drives accidentally crashed in June of 2011 — and not hers alone — so that much of the relevant email is gone.

No backups on any server, either.

It all sounded pretty bogus back when the story was “hot.” And now, according to testimony of an IRS employee just filed in the case of Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service, it transpires that Ms. Lerner had a BlackBerry on which her email traffic was routinely duplicated … and that this device was wiped in June 2012, months after Congress started asking questions about the ideological targeting of applicants for tax-exempt status.

Judicial Watch, my hero, is now urging the court to require the IRS to divulge the relevant dates of the wiped data, then subpoena BlackBerry for the data. Because we all know that it hasn’t really disappeared forever into the black hole at the center of the galaxy.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Justice Delayed in Cambodia

It’s not a satisfying verdict. And no punishment can ever balance the scales for the many lives that the Khmer Rouge destroyed.

This August the two most senior surviving regime leaders, responsible for slaughtering an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979 in the name of restructuring society along collectivist agrarian lines, were sentenced to life imprisonment. They are 88-year-old Nuon Chea and 83-year-old Khieu Samphan.

The pair are the first Khmer Rouge leaders convicted under proceedings sponsored by the Cambodian government and the United Nations. The only previous verdict was handed down in 2010 against a lower-rung if still pretty vicious official, Kaing Guek Eav, then 67, sentenced to 19 years. As a prison commandant, he had overseen the torturing and killing of more than 14,000 people.

“I am not satisfied!” said 79-year-old Chum Mey back then. He had testified about being tortured by the regime. “We are victims two times, once in the Khmer Rouge time and now once again.” Others expressed similar dismay.

As for the notorious Pol Pot, he had died in 1998 after briefly suffering a house arrest as penalty for just one of his many murders.

One hopes that the proceedings, tainted by politics and other vitiating factors, will be improved even at this late date. But as near-futile as the trials must seem to many survivors, I have to believe that even partial justice, however meager and belated, is better than no justice.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.