Maxine’s Ex-Im Brokerage

“In Maxine Waters’ economy,” wrote Timothy Carney yesterday, “big business rows the boat while government steers.”

The Democratic Congresswoman, known for championing the poor and the less well-off, just loves throwing money around.

Including to the rich.

Carney shows that, for all her anti-big biz talk, she’s playing into the hands of big business.

On Tuesday, Waters held a rally in support of the Export-Import Bank. Among the welfare queens on stage with her was a lobbyist for Boeing.

And not without reason. “More than 80 percent of Ex-Im’s subsidy dollars support big businesses,” Carney explains. “Ex-Im’s biggest subsidy product is long-term loan guarantees, and last year two-thirds of those . . . supported Boeing exports.”

Senator Mike Lee has come out swinging against Ex-Im, taking what he sees as the “moral high ground against political corruption.”

Maxine Waters objects to such upstart Republican interference in what she insists is a “legitimate” function of government. So used to robbing some to lavish on others, she apparently thinks this racket defines the government’s purview.

And Waters enthusiastically serves as a broker in the ongoing exploitation of consumers for the benefit of a few (insider-blessed) businesses.

In the marketplace, businesses get rich serving customers. When seeking taxpayer handouts, on the other hand, they get rich serving politicians.

Maybe that’s why  freedom troubles politician Waters.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


Firefox Fired

Brendan Eich resigned last week as CEO of Mozilla under pressure from gay rights activists upset because six years ago Eich had given a thousand bucks to California’s anti-gay marriage initiative, Prop 8.

On Fox News’s Special Report, George Will dubbed the story “redundant evidence that progressives are for diversity in everything but thought,” as well as an alarming illustration of the intolerance of “sore winners.”

Whatever one thinks of the campaign to drive out Eich (and a number of prominent gay leaders have spoken out against it), those demanding Eich’s ouster were within their legal rights. Still, such a political attack wouldn’t be possible without government assistance in denying donor anonymity. That’s the major lesson Mr. Will drew from the fracas: anonymous contributions are vital:

The people advocating full disclosure of campaign contributions say, “we just want voters to be able to make an informed choice.” That’s not what they’re doing at all. They really want to enable themselves to mount punitive campaigns, to deter people, and to chill political speech.

What’s wrong with today’s vendetta politics (what Pat Buchanan calls “The New Blacklist”) is not that boycotts are immoral, but that, when made personal and coupled with ideological conflict, they lead to never-ending feuds.

Anonymous speech and press and donations remain key to a peaceful society.

Advocates of mandatory campaign finance disclosure should be asked, “do you also, then, oppose the secret ballot?”

The privacy of the voting booth was also instituted to insulate people from the worst aspects of partisan discord . . . and commerce from the legacy of the Hatfields and McCoys.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Marketcare versus Obamacare

Hurray! Waiting for hours! Problems! Snags!

As a sign-up deadline approached, Obamacare administrators heralded the long lines people endured to apply for a permitted insurance policy. The lines supposedly proved Obamacare’s invulnerable popularity.

Had officials not been told about the new penalties for taxpayers who lack insurance? That millions have lost policies thanks to Obamacare and see no alternative but to wait in Obamacare lines? That sometimes people procrastinate . . . especially about doing things they dislike?

Do the persons foisting Obamacare on us not see, at least, that it reduces the alternatives of persons who don’t want it?

There’s a better way, and the evidence is not only historical.

Despite the accelerating decline of medical freedom, private initiatives that sweep aside bureaucratic status quos are still possible. One example is what Carmine Gallo calls “The Hospital Steve Jobs Would Have Built.” This is the Walnut Hill Medical Center’s reimagining of “health care and the patient experience.”

The vision for the Dallas center was inspired by Gallo’s book on how Apple builds customer loyalty — despite lacking power to financially penalize non-buyers of Apple products. Everything from what kind of person Walnut Hill hires and how new hires are trained to floor plans and decor is designed to make patients feel the opposite of being stuck in a veterans hospital or in an Obamacare waiting list.

What achievements and alternatives in medical care will we never see because of the choices and resources being destroyed by Obamacare?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Limiting the Little Guy

Last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission correctly struck down limits on the total amount of money a person can contribute to all federal candidates and to political parties and PACs in a two-year election cycle.

After all, what part of “Congress shall make no law” provides the specific authority for Congress to limit what a person may give to a political party?  Or the number of candidates one may support?

But in his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer argued that, “Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.”

“No matter what five Supreme Court justices say,” announced Public Citizen, “the First Amendment was never intended to provide a giant megaphone for the wealthiest to use to shout down the rest of us.”

I want the public to be heard, not shouted down.

Which is why it is not Breyer, but Justice Clarence Thomas who is right: this ruling didn’t go far enough. While justly removing the limits on the aggregate amount a wealthy person can contribute, the Court upheld the limit of $2,600 on what you or I can give to a single candidate.

The super-wealthy can spend millions in an independent expenditure for their preferred candidate. Fine. It’s their money. Yet, a person of more modest means doesn’t have the dough to launch an effective independent effort.

Instead, if you felt strongly enough, you could dip into savings or work a second job to afford to give, say, $3,000 or $4,000. Except that our campaign finance laws prevent it. This is the limit that affects the most people. Non-rich people.

Stop limiting the little guy.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Townhall: A More Civilizing Education

Public schools are designed, in part, to solve a problem . . . that may not exist.

Click on over to, then come back here for a little more reading. Or a lot. It is up to you. It’s your education.

First, for links to the study, consult Wednesday’s Common Sense for links.

For a gimlet-eyed view of Horace Mann’s philosophy — peering behind the strata of praise heaped upon his reputation — try the work of education historian Joel Spring. In Educating the Worker-Citizen Spring: The Social, Economic and Political Foundations of Education, , Spring writes much of interest:

Mann’s arguments were based on his fears about how individuals would act, given the opportunity to elect their own governors. In calling for the teaching of a republican catechism, Mann was essentially saying that a republican society could function only if people acted the way he thought they should act. Or, stated another way, people could be free as long as they acted in a good manner and endeavored to do right. “Good” and “right” were to be defined by people like Horace Mann. (p. 13)

Much later in the book, Spring contrasts Mann’s idea of compulsory attendance and funding of public schools with the ideas from those on the opposite end of the spectrum, Milton Friedman being his primary example. What, he asks, about another area of possible government support, “free and compulsory eating?”

As [E. G.] West argues, it seems strange that contemporary governments provide free and compulsory education establishments but not free and compulsory eating establishments; there would seem to be more proof of the beneficial effects of diet than of the beneficial effects of schooling. . . . West’s illustration highlights the uniqueness of government-provided schooling in terms of other services provided by government. (p. 165)

E. G. West’s contributions to the economics of schooling and education reform are fascinating and important. You can learn a lot from reading West. But Spring seems more radical. His basic take? See chapter nine of the book I’ve been quoting from: “The major hindrance to the completion of the liberal revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been the rise and expansion of the modern school.”

Video: Why George Will Changed His Mind on Contribution Disclosure

There’s a lot in this discussion, about the Mozilla CEO’s past political contribution and the hysterical and retributive boycott by advocates of gay marriage. But consider, especially, what George Will says:

The Lion of Woodinville

Mike Dunmire passed away last weekend. Mike helped me form the Liberty Initiative Fund, serving as an original board member. But he was best known as a key funder of Tim Eyman’s Washington State ballot initiatives.

Indeed, Eyman’s incredible success at the ballot box — I once called him “America’s Number One Freedom Fighter” — would not have been possible without Dunmire, who was happy to help: “I honestly think he is the only one who gets anything done, and the money could not be better spent.”

Dunmire loved the initiative process. When legislators considered adding a $100 fee for citizens to file a ballot measure, Dunmire eloquently objected:

This hundred dollars may not seem like very much. It will eliminate some people who have fringe ideas. But let me tell you once it was a fringe idea that the world was round. I don’t think we want to suppress these ideas, and I think that all this bill does is buy a tremendous amount of ill will. . . . You maybe will make $10,000 off of this, but you stick a finger in every citizen’s eye. . . .

A native of Woodinville, Washington, he balanced humility with wit, hard work with compassion. He once jokingly introduced himself as “the Woodinville Think Tank President” at a legislative hearing.

“Although starting out with very little, I’ve been fortunate,” Mike once wrote. “I live in the most beautiful state in the union, I have my health, a wife I love, and had a career that brought me financial success. I’ve supported many philanthropic efforts during my life. In recent years, I’ve supplemented my ‘normal’ charitable giving by supporting political efforts to hold government more accountable.”

Mike Dunmire remains alive in the hearts of all those he helped.

This is Common Sense. I’m glad I knew you, Mike.