Category 4. Government

By Any Means Necessary?

A man I have known for a long time and both like and respect recently posted the following comment on LinkedIn:

“The President’s move on Dreamers is wrong. Very wrong.”

I am not in the habit of publicly dissenting from LinkedIn comments, but I couldn’t restrain myself from leaving the following response:

“Disagree. A President doesn’t get to unilaterally change laws as President Obama did in this instance, which is why DACA is an unconstitutional infringement on legislative powers; Congress must act to grant relief from current law if relief is to be granted. Process matters.” 

His comment got a lot more ‘likes’ than mine did.

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Fewer and fewer people – even highly accomplished ones like the man whose comment I was responding to above – have much reverence, or even respec...

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Feedback

I have had several conversations with a person who manages an enormous amount of money for one of the country’s wealthiest families. Along with his money management role he is involved with the family’s philanthropic efforts.

He would like to know if I would be interested in a management role in an effort that they are putting together through the family’s charitable foundation to address one of our nation’s biggest and most complex social/economic/structural problems. Or perhaps I should have written ‘sets of problems’ since, in fact, the problem they intend to address is a spaghetti of differing issues and interests, winding through many industry segments and demographics.

I like the people behind the effort, respect the resources that they intend to put into it and have genu...

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Abortion and The Role of Government

I really don’t think you care what I think about abortion and, for the most part, I’m ok with that. Most likely, either you think it is a morally neutral medical procedure and every woman’s natural right, or you think it’s murder, straight up. It is, ah, unlikely that a blog post is going to convince you to change positions.

Even so, I might be able to convince you to rethink the role of government as regards abortion and other matters of widespread and profound disagreement.

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I recently had a conversation with someone who is terribly afraid that the new Administration will defund Planned Parenthood. I told her that I think that the government should defund Planned Parenthood – for the exact same reason, ironically, that I wouldn’t support an outright abortion ban; I also told...

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Rich State, Poor State

Many people consider Connecticut to be one of the richest American states; if you google “wealthiest states by income” it comes up in the top three. Lots of wealthy – or, to be more precise about what’s being measured – high-income people live in Connecticut. Well, fewer every day, but I’ll get back to that.

The state itself, as distinguished from the people who live there, is broke. Really broke. It ranks last among the states in fiscal solvency (http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings); its debts – on and off balance sheet – dwarf reasonable estimates of its ability to pay them.

Ah, you might think (especially if you are a Democrat or a member of a public employee union) – the state will just have to squeeze more taxes out of its wealthy residents to meet its future needs...

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It’s Never Enough

A lot of ideas for new taxes are being bandied about. The President wants to more heavily tax investments, inherited property and even college savings plans. Mayor de Blasio wants to tax commuters and wealthy out-of-town apartment owners. And many on the left are arguing that since oil prices have fallen, we should dramatically increase taxes on petroleum products – the idea being that consumers won’t notice the new levies, while higher gas prices will both bring forth a gusher of tax revenues and discourage driving – a twofer, from their perspective.

These various ideas got me to wondering: can we even imagine a scenario in which those on the left would say: “That’s it. We have enough in tax revenue; now it’s time for the government to live within its means. “

No, we cannot.

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