Alan Reynolds from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 12 May 2021 20:39:57 -0700 Alan Reynolds from Creators Syndicate 6dde7b284db81ad4512868544dff5ace Hagel Proves Obama Won't Stop Iran for 02/22/2013 Fri, 22 Feb 2013 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Does it matter that a nominee for secretary of defense doesn't particularly care for American power? </p> <p>Speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2007, Sen. Chuck Hagel revealed the kind of prejudices regarding American military strength most frequently found in the pages of the Nation magazine or among protesters at Occupy rallies. Distancing himself from Republicans he regarded as too bellicose, Hagel said, &quot;Rather than acting like a nation riddled with the insecurities of a schoolyard bully, we ought to carry ourselves with the confidence that should come from the dignity of our heritage, the experience of our history, and from the strength of our humanity, not from the power of our military.&quot;</p> <p>This is a familiar leftist critique of America, a psuedo-psychological analysis of our foreign policy as a form of pathology. For a certain set of people, the problems in the world are never (fill in the blank): Soviet aggression and expansionism, communist repression and adventurism or Islamic radicalism and terror. No, the problem is always America's neurotic need to throw its weight around, alienating benign foreign powers and creating discord and trouble.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 27, 2015</p> 139023ae9b00ab7f55eb8d450793f46b Winning the Battle of the Fiscal Cliff for 11/19/2012 Mon, 19 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0800 <p>President Obama has succeeded in making the fiscal cliff debate about whether or not the Republicans will agree to higher taxes on the &quot;wealthy.&quot; We need to switch the debate to whether or not the Democrats will accept cuts in spending.</p> <p>To do so, Speaker John Boehner should insist on a ratio of spending cuts to tax increases (or revenue enhancements as he calls them) of at least 3:1. Then, he should tell the president that after the Chief Executive provides a list of spending cuts &mdash; apart from the defense budget &mdash; that he will propose a proportionate range of revenue increases.</p> <p>By insisting on a ratio, and demanding that Obama put up his share before Boehner does his part, the speaker puts the onus where it belongs: on Obama to produce spending cuts. In effect, the speaker can say: &quot;The size of the revenue increase is up to you, Mr. President. For each three dollars you identify in real spending reductions, we'll propose one dollar of tax increases. The more you cut, the larger the increase will be.&quot;<p>Updated: Tue Nov 24, 2015</p> 2407b3a18a5df9de53ee01c32da8153e The Truth Hard to Dig Up Amid All the Attack Ads for 11/05/2012 Mon, 05 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Truth took a holiday this election season as the candidates plumped themselves up and tried to stick a needle in their opponents. Nothing new there, of course. But the hedging, exaggerating, prevaricating and outright lying does seem more pronounced &mdash; perhaps because, courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court, so much more money is available outside the campaigns to put up sleazy advertising.</p> <p>The resulting noise, driven by the political consultants, turns off voters even if they turn off the television &mdash; which they should.</p> <p>Take this ad from Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate. The ad claims:<p>Updated: Tue Nov 24, 2015</p> 445a6d6c0768b035b3dfd73904949d3b Awaiting Answers on Libya for 11/02/2012 Fri, 02 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Americans still don't know exactly what happened during the assault Sept. 11 on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. There are indications that the Obama administration was aware Ambassador Christopher Stevens had requested additional security days before the attack. It now is acknowledged the attackers were not protesting an anti-Islam movie produced in the United States.</p> <p>&quot;The Obama doctrine doesn't match the reality of the jihad threat,&quot; Walid Phares told us; he's a global terrorism expert and adjunct professor at National Defense University, which is funded by the Defense Department. Referring to President Barack Obama's approving the killing of Osama bin Laden, Phares said the president &quot;tried to eliminate [al-Qaida] by one beheading of its ailing leader, while ignoring the body of the organization, its ideology and the madrassas, the real factories producing more Jihadists and terrorists.&quot;</p> <p>Phares contends the Obama administration may have hesitated to link the Benghazi attack to Islamist terror because that would have contradicted the president's statements that al-Qaida had been greatly weakened. &quot;We saw hesitations and using the video as pretext for days,&quot; he explained. &quot;But once we learned about the Ansar al-Sharia statement and footage of the operation was available, the public learned that this was a terrorist operation, not a so-called spontaneous reaction. Hence the administration found itself out of answers.&quot;<p>Updated: Tue Nov 24, 2015</p> 691b6924a4de37c9085add4d275b57ea A Progressive Backlash? for 05/31/2007 Thu, 31 May 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>It suddenly became clear that Hillary Clinton and her advisors intend to run a negative presidential campaign &mdash; not negative about other candidates, but about the U.S. economy.</p> <p>On May 29, Sen. Clinton launched her &quot;Modern Progressive Vision: Shared Prosperity,&quot; which strains to justify &quot;returning high-income tax rates to the 1990s levels.&quot; It was full of gloomy rhetoric blaming &quot;globalization&quot; (bargains at Wal-Mart?) for some bizarre allegations about falling U.S. living standards for all but a lucky few.</p> <p>Clinton said, &quot;Last year, the share of America's national income ... going to the salaries of American workers was the lowest (since 1929).&quot; Huh? The labor share was just 64 percent in 2006, but it was 63.9 percent in 1997. Employee compensation averaged 64.9 percent of national income from 1960 to 2005, 65 percent from 1993 to 2000 and 65.3 percent from 2001 to 2006.<p>Updated: Thu May 31, 2007</p> 785b5b6c95808c0b89f6a1d1a4b20990 Blinder's Blunder for 05/09/2007 Wed, 09 May 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Economist Alan Blinder wrote in The Washington Post that &quot;offshoring of service jobs from rich countries such as the United States to poor countries such as India may pose major problems for tens of millions of American workers over the coming decades. In fact, I think offshoring may be the biggest political issue in economics for a generation.&quot;</p> <p>The telling phrase is &quot;political issue.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;To be marketable in the political arena,&quot; Blinder once explained, &quot;an idea must be short and snappy enough to be emblazoned on a T-shirt. But ... any economic idea expressed that tersely is almost certainly wrong.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed May 09, 2007</p> 877f8395efda54ec44a890080c4e4fc0 What Supply-Side Economics Means for 04/25/2007 Wed, 25 Apr 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>In &quot;The Seven Fat Years,&quot; Robert Bartley, the legendary former editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote: &quot;On March 26, 1976 Herb Stein coined a label, the 'supply-side fiscalists,' telling a conference at the Homestead Resort in Virginia that it consisted of 'maybe two' economists. Alan Reynolds passed this along to Jude (Wanniski), who promptly appropriated the label, though dropping 'fiscalists' as awkward and misleading.&quot; The label was new, but the basic concepts had been explained in Wanniski's Journal article of Dec. 11, 1974, &quot;It's Time to Cut Taxes.&quot;</p> <p>In 1977, Bruce Bartlett went to work for Jack Kemp, the congressional quarterback for what eventually became President Reagan's first round of tax rate reductions.</p> <p>In a recent New York Times article, Bruce wrote: &quot;I think it is long past time that the phrase (supply-side economics) be put to rest. ... It has become a frequently misleading and meaningless buzzword that gets in the way of good economic policy. Today, supply-side economics has become associated with an obsession for cutting taxes under any and all circumstances. No longer do its advocates in Congress and elsewhere confine themselves to cutting marginal tax rates &mdash; the tax on each additional dollar earned &mdash; as the original supply-siders did. Rather, they support even the most gimmicky, economically dubious tax cuts with the same intensity. ... Today, it is common to hear tax cutters claim, implausibly, that all tax cuts raise revenue.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Apr 25, 2007</p> b9c72b87254f0b30ae977c99e10b729e What Is Income? for 04/18/2007 Wed, 18 Apr 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Two French economists, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, can count on a flood of publicity every time they release a new estimate of the share of U.S. income supposedly received by the top 1 percent. Even veteran Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson approached their latest &quot;astonishing&quot; estimates as unquestionable scripture. &quot;The biggest gains occurred among the richest 1 percent,&quot; he exclaimed. &quot;Their share of pretax income has gradually climbed from 8 percent in 1980 to 17 percent in 2005.&quot;</p> <p>Gradually? On the contrary, half of that increase happened in just two years, 1987 and 1988. The top 1 percent's share (of what?) was 13.2 percent in 1988, 14.9 percent in 2003.</p> <p>To calculate the top 1 percent's share of total income, we need a definition of total income. For postwar data, Piketty and Saez use a modified version of adjusted gross income (AGI). Unfortunately, the Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates that AGI is not even a good measure of AGI &mdash; it was missing $1.1 trillion dollars in 2004, called the &quot;AGI Gap.&quot; It is also missing income of non-filers, estimated at $479 billion in 2000.<p>Updated: Wed Apr 18, 2007</p> b63bd2fe92e285e5793ab5ebcb39742f Layoffs in PerspectivePopulism = Fear of Change for 04/04/2007 Wed, 04 Apr 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Updated: Wed Apr 04, 2007</p> 396bb038ac6ff551ed4b7be444669904 David Stockman: Man and Myth for 03/28/2007 Wed, 28 Mar 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>Former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director David Stockman, whom I worked with in the 1981 Reagan administration transition team, has gotten himself involved in a legal tussle with the Justice Department. The charges center on bookkeeping irregularities at a bankrupt producer of auto interior supplies, Collins &amp; Aikman, in which Stockman was heavily invested.</p> <p>Some reporters seemed overly eager to assume his guilt, while dredging up ancient myths about how Stockman had blown the whistle on Reaganomics as nothing but a snare and delusion. The Washington Post's Jeff Birnbaum wrote that &quot;Stockman was the face of Reaganomics.&quot; He cited one disgruntled Democrat griping about his &quot;obviously phony economic forecasts&quot; and another (Rep. Barney Frank) claiming Stockman was &quot;intellectually a little dishonest.&quot;</p> <p>In December 1980, while Stockman was in Michigan for the holidays, he came to the First National Bank of Chicago to recruit me. He was accompanied by Washington Post writer William Greider, who a year later would publish an Atlantic Monthly article on &quot;The Education of David Stockman.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Mar 28, 2007</p> 5df7657a7d6b119029e5ad06fe039644 Sen. Schumer's Tax Loopholes for 03/14/2007 Wed, 14 Mar 2007 21:00:00 -0700 <p>New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and a half-dozen freshman legislators, reports the Los Angeles Times, &quot;want to add tax credits and deductions to benefit narrow groups of largely middle-class constituents. Among potential beneficiaries: people with elderly parents in nursing homes, new parents, college students, volunteer firefighters and organ donors. ... Schumer's bill was modeled on proposals by Third Way, a liberal Washington think tank that President Clinton helped found.&quot;</p> <p>In a recent column, &quot;Moralizing and Politics,&quot; I found it admirable that Third Way economists were shunning the party line by adopting an optimistic approach and demonstrating that the &quot;the middle class is shrinking ... because more people are better off.&quot; Unfortunately, sensible statistics do not always produce sensible policies.</p> <p>The source of the Schumer proposals was a Third Way memo last July addressed to &quot;progressive candidates&quot; and written by Anne Kim, a lawyer and former aide to Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. It is all about campaign rhetoric &mdash; &quot;ways to talk about taxes if you believe that some ought to be increased.&quot; Candidates were advised to develop attractive language to support assorted tax breaks to narrow voting blocs, and also advised how to avoid talking about other taxes being raised to make up for the loss.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 14, 2007</p> d5a934d2db319845f83ff215eb10c452 "Backdating" Bunkum for 03/07/2007 Wed, 07 Mar 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>During the euphoric high-tech boom of the 1990s, America Online offered my daughter a thousand stock options to recruit her away from another firm. In 2001, after four years of vesting, that gave her the right to buy those shares at the price on the day the options were granted. But what day should that be?</p> <p>Weeks passed, as usual, between her initial interview and subsequent appointments with various supervisors, the time a formal offer was approved and transformed into a written contract, and the time (after due notice to her current employer) she finally started the new job. Which of those dates would have been the correct one for AOL to use as the grant date for her stock options? Should it be the day she was first interviewed, the day she started work, somewhere in between or perhaps a few weeks later?</p> <p>Be careful how you answer, because some eager reporter is likely to dub any of those choices as &quot;spring loading&quot; or &quot;bullet-dodging&quot; or &quot;backdating.&quot; A prospective employee, on the other hand, might view the wrong choice as unfair, or even as reneging on the original deal.<p>Updated: Wed Mar 07, 2007</p> ccb946faf2ff655ccffee7f306a81888 Stock Shock for 02/28/2007 Wed, 28 Feb 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>Sudden drops in stock prices typically provoke more panic among reporters than among investors. When Dow industrials fell by 22.6 percent on October 19, 1987, the press was quickly filled with alarmed stories about an imminent &quot;hard landing&quot; that soon proved quite foolish. Some of us who did not buy those stories bought stocks and bonds at bargain prices.</p> <p>The market's drop of about 3 percent on Tuesday was comparatively trivial and brief, yet it too provoked some overwrought reactions from the press, and from perpetual bears. In the latter camp, economist Nouriel Roubini said: &quot;Today we had a meltdown in many stock markets. ... What happened today is consistent with my outlook for a U.S. hard landing this year.&quot;</p> <p>But what about what happened on all those other days when stocks were soaring? Last October, Roubini said there was a 70 percent chance of a &quot;severe recession&quot; by now, as noted in my column &quot;Recession Fairy Tales.&quot; Yet he now relies on the stock market's performance on a single day to rationalize a recession forecast that keeps being postponed.<p>Updated: Wed Feb 28, 2007</p> c2e4a009b0acaea484f4384134824c69 Politics and Moralizing for 02/21/2007 Wed, 21 Feb 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen laments the fact that candidates are under heavy pressure to tailor their beliefs (or rhetoric) to &quot;get past ideological bottlenecks&quot; in early primary states: &quot;For Republicans, it's the religious right; for Democrats, it's economic pressure groups such as teachers unions. The rest of us can only stand by, helpless, waiting for extremists to pick a man or woman on the basis of issues that mean less to us.&quot;</p> <p>To appeal to affluent trial lawyers, movie producers and union bosses, Democrats are expected to preach and moralize about &quot;the inequality crisis.&quot; This involves chanting about things that are flatly untrue, such as wage stagnation and the shrinking middle class, and speaking ominously of some undefined &quot;economic anxiety.&quot; New York Times columnist David Brooks noted that &quot;the Democratic view of the global economy has grown unremittingly grim. When John Edwards talks about the economy, you think he's running for the Democratic nomination in 1932.&quot;</p> <p>A contest for the soul of the Democratic Party seems to be developing between super-grim &quot;neo-populists&quot; at the Economic Policy Institute, semi-grim &quot;mainstreamers&quot; at the Brookings Institution and the relatively upbeat &quot;progressive realists&quot; at Third Way. A new Third Way report, &quot;The New Rules Economy,&quot; notes that median household income is misleading because &quot;one-third of American households are headed by someone who is either very young and earning an entry-level paycheck or by someone who is of retirement age and likely to be earning no paycheck.&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Feb 21, 2007</p> 8e7e22dad3557b815916a9cb97707f07 Politics and Religion for 02/14/2007 Wed, 14 Feb 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>When Jack Kennedy ran for president, there was a great deal of fussing and fuming about his being Catholic. In a June 1960 Roper poll, 35 percent objected to a Catholic president. Why? Did anyone really think he'd try to ban birth control, require eating fish on Fridays or consult with the pope on foreign policy?</p> <p>Today, nobody would dare suggest that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is not admirably qualified to be president simply because he is a Catholic. It would have been equally repulsive if, in 2000, the pollsters and press had tried to make a pseudo-issue out of vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman's religious orthodoxy. Few people today would dare tell a pollster they wouldn't vote for a Jewish or Catholic candidate, because that would make them look like fans of the Ku Klux Klan. The same goes for polls about voting for women and blacks. People may or may not do the right thing in the privacy of the voting booth, but it is easy to say the right thing.</p> <p>There appears to be a different standard of civil decency, however, when it comes to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Why? Is anyone really worried that Gov. Mitt Romney wants to bring back Prohibition? Does anyone think he might propose a 10 percent tithe (a members-only flat tax) to replace the welfare state as well as Mormons do?<p>Updated: Wed Feb 14, 2007</p> fba2373edb0695aa6e4d1962101d336d Inequality of What ... and When? for 02/07/2007 Wed, 07 Feb 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>President Bush recently announced that inequality has &quot;been rising for more than 25 years.&quot; But what did the president mean by inequality? And when, during that 25- year period, was inequality rising?</p> <p>Edward Lazear is chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, so he seems a likely source for the president's impulse to be mistaken for a Democrat. In a speech last May, Lazear said, &quot;There is little doubt that there has been a 25-year trend of a growing gap, sometimes called income inequality, between the wages of the skilled and the unskilled.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;College graduates,&quot; he explained, &quot;earn about two-and-a-half times as much as high school drop-outs.&quot; If that weren't the case, why stay in school?<p>Updated: Wed Feb 07, 2007</p> 8423dd87983400be28badfcfaed92b99 Looking High and Low for Taxes for 01/17/2007 Wed, 17 Jan 2007 21:00:00 -0800 <p>A year-end AP-AOL News Poll found 89 percent of Americans optimistic about their own family's living standards, but less so about the fate of strangers. That is perfectly understandable. It is hard to read a newspaper without being told that only the top 1 percent are doing well, while the rest of us have either seen our jobs exported to China or have suffered years of unexplained &quot;wage stagnation.&quot; Putting together all the downbeat news with the upbeat poll, what it shows is that 89 percent of Americans must think they're in the top 1 percent.</p> <p>The purpose of the media's obsession with high incomes is to soften us up for a rerun of the &quot;millionaire's surtax&quot; of 1992, which soon proved to be rhetorical camouflage for tax hikes on pensioners, drivers and two-earner suburban families. Yet the top tax rate is already too high, and believe it or not, the lowest tax rate is also too low.</p> <p>A couple of weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal's Hot Topic was &quot;Can Bush's Tax Cuts Survive?&quot; The article noted that &quot;Democrats have said they would keep ... increased child credits ($204 billion over 10 years), some marriage penalty relief ($62 billion) and the new 10 percent income-tax bracket ($433 billion).&quot;<p>Updated: Wed Jan 17, 2007</p>