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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 12/24/2010

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Get over it. That's essentially what Bill Kristol tells conservatives who are kvetching over the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell": "Our fine servicemen and women won't quit, they won't whine, they won't fret, and they won't cause a scene. Conservatives owe it to them to conduct ourselves with the same composure and dignity."

Get used to the unintended consequences of federal health-care regulation. "Members of the Screen Actors Guild recently read in their health plan's newsletter that, beginning in January, almost 12,000 of its participants will lose access to treatment for mental-health and substance-abuse issues." The guild plan and others are "scrapping such benefits for their enrollees because of a 2008 law that requires that mental-health and substance-abuse benefits, if offered, be as robust as medical or surgical benefits. By dropping such coverage, providers can circumvent the requirements."

Get real about the Russians, say voters. "A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 27% of Likely U.S. Voters trust Russia to honor the nuclear weapons agreement. Half (49%) do not trust the Russians, and another 25% are not sure."

Get the idea that low taxes attract growth? Michael Barone writes, "Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England. Altogether, 35 percent of the nation's total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade."

Get rid of me, and violence will occur! That's what George Mitchell, who in two years accomplished nothing, seems to imply: "U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell said on Thursday in an interview on The Maine Public Broadcasting Network that the United States government would not terminate its involvement in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, as a lack of U.S. involvement in the region could lead to an outbreak of violence."

Get ready for the not not-Bush anti-terror policy. "Language contained in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the House and Senate on Wednesday bars the use of Pentagon funds to transfer any Guantanamo prisoner to the U.S. for any reason, including a trial. Some supporters of plan Obama announced on his first full day in office to close the prison said the passage of the legislation signals near-complete capitulation by the president."

Get what Obama is saying? "One thing I hope people have seen during this lame-duck, I am persistent. If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it." So he's not all that dedicated to immigration reform, opposing the Bush tax cuts, funding ObamaCare, or killing the death tax. The left is celebrating the demise of its own agenda. Whatever.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 24, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Comments

While George Mitchell may think he is essential to the Palestinian Israeli peace process, he has had no success even getting the negotiations restarted.
The real problem now is not that the negotions were actually going anywhere in the first place, they weren't. The problem is now a Palestinian Hamas terror missile will hit a school or hospital causing massive Israeli civilian casualties and that the Israeli military will be forced to invade the Gaza Strip to punish the terrorists and to prevent those Palestinian terrorists from continuing to bombard the Israeli civilian communities. This Israeli reprisal raid could easily escalate into another bloody confrontation with the Lebanese Hizballa terrorist organization, a scenario that no sane person would like to see.
So if Mitchell really wants to do something positive about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, he, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama should at least condemn these unprovoked Palestinian missile attacks on Israelis in the strongest terms possible. The American Middle East peacekeeping team might even demand that Palestinian leaders Abu Abbas, Salam Fayyid, and Saib Erekat do so as well. This would at least show that the Palestinians have some sense of responsibility and are trying to calm the situation rather than their usual globetrotting and showboating about peace while doing absolutely nothing to actually make peace.
And it might keep the region from exploding once again.

Posted by: Beniyyar | December 24, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

You and Michael Barone should learn a little arithmatic. It's easy for the no income tax states to show growth because they are starting so low. If a guys earning $20,000 gets a $5,000 raise, his aslary grew 25% while a guy earning $100,000 would only show growth of of 5%.

How about looking at some larger examples. When Clinton was inaugurated, unemployment was something like 8.6%, not much different than when Obama took office. (I know, the state of the economy was much worse.) Clinton raised taxes and in spite of the Republican takeover in 1994, taxes remained high during his administration. Over 20 million private sector jobs were created. Bush took office with a much better economic situation, cut taxes over $2 TRILLION and practically no private sector jobs were created.

I know it sounds good to say that increasing taxes will lower demand, but suppose the extra revenue were use to repair infrastructure, boost education, etc. Is it clear, as you seem to believe, that we would not be better off? History seems to come down squarely on the side of higher taxes.

In 1946 the debt was 120% of the GDP, It went straight down to about 32% in 1973. During this period 1946 - 1973 taxes were much higher. Marginal rates were at least 70%; they were 93% under Eisenhower. The economy was better than what we now have. For example, median wages went up 3 times as fast as since 1973. CEO's earned 50 times what their workers earned; it is 500 times today. Staring in 1973, the percent of wealth and income taken by the richest 10%, 1%, and 0.1% has gone up at an ever increasing rate.

Since 1900 the two periods with the most economic inequality were the years leading to 1929 and 2008. These happened to coincide with the two periods of lowest taxes on the Rich and the greatest financial speculation. Here's a theory which fits this data.

The Rich hate to pay taxes. You may have heard of the rich guy who will spend $2 to avoid $1 in taxes. So when marginal rates are high, they will leave their money in their companies and use it to pay their workers more, improve their means of production and perhaps hire more. This works out because when there are more workers with more money, there is more demand. When marginal rates are low, the Rich take their profits out of their businesses. Since they can only buy so many houses in Barbados, they use the money to speculate. They buy Argentinean railroad bond (1920's) and CDO's, CDS's and oil futures (2000's). Notice that both these periods of low marginal rates, high inequality and great speculation led to economic disaster.

Posted by: lensch | December 24, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"Our fine servicemen and women won't quit, they won't whine, they won't fret, and they won't cause a scene." But they may get themselves killed or lose limbs according to the top Marine. But hey, so what, says Kristol. Pathetic

Posted by: cajunkate | December 24, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

lensch, if high taxes are the way to go, why is CA, one of the most taxed states in the union, in the worst economic shape?

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | December 24, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Get over it? Get over another radical coup by the radical Left? Bill runs the risk of becoming the Joseph E. Johnston of Conservatives. He needs to find his inner Robert E. Lee.

Posted by: JohnMarshall3 | December 24, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Because conservatives have got them to pass idiotic laws like proposition 13 that have prevented sensible government and have ruined some of their greatest assests like their educations system, elementary, secondary and higher.

BTW CA has the 11th highest tax rate. Alaska is highest though, of course, not all of it is from individuals.

Alos I believe tha SC which has a very low tax rate is in no better shape than CA. They have about the same unemployment rate.

Posted by: lensch | December 24, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I have no love for the health care plan, and would not have supported it, BUT the conservatives idea that it can be starved of funds will result in a surprise in the new Congress. Remember, most of what is coming is already being funded as required on the state level, where the main action takes place. Barring injunctive relief at an Appeals Court level, that isn't going to change

If the President is truly committed to the plan, an unknown at this time, the ONLY thing the GOP led House can do to stop it is shut down the government. This is often lost in the massive amount of dreaming by conservatives.

If it comes to a test of wills between Boehner and Obama it more likely that the GOP gets the blame if the checks stop coming and the government shuts down. Gingrich is all over the news now trying to spin that it wasn't a defeat for him in 1995, when in fact it effectively ended his career as Speaker. Whne you see both he and Ron Paul on the same side of an issue, you should ask yourself "Aren't these two on the fringe of governing for a reason?" before proceeding.

I know I'm not convincing anybody with this post, and who knows, such a thing may never come to pass. I just see a lot of wide-eyed optimism from the right about this Congress that may backfire into recriminations, just like happened on the left with this Congress.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 24, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@lensch

Supply side tax cuts + free market entitlement reform + MUCH MUCH MUCH less regulation + sensible (that is to say very large cuts in the number and remuneration of public service employees at all levels of government + badly needed restraints on trial lawyers + an adequately (much better than now) funded military and a realistic foreign policy conducive to more tranquil stratigic situation === much greater prosperity for a very large majority of Americans.


California + disarmarment plus surrender equals decline and despair for most.

Merry Christmas.

Posted by: cavalier4 | December 24, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

benniyar:

The Gaza Strip has the 6th highest population density in the world. Considering the places in front of it like Hong Kong and Singapore have infinite numbers of high-rises, Gaza really in the world leader in density.

Nothing can stop an explosion under those conditions.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 24, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

No matter how you try to couch your writings...they still come out as anti-Obama..no matter, what, who and how.

We need support for our president who is trying in super, super difficult times.

Not knee-jerk "No, no and no."

Posted by: rosemaryreed4 | December 24, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@:rosemaryreed4 | December 24, 2010 2:30 PM
"We need support for our president who is trying in super, super difficult times."
_______________

This president is trying no matter what the circumstances.

Posted by: HenriLeGrand | December 24, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"We need support for our president who is trying in super, super difficult times."

rosemaryreed4, "Trying" for what? Is it our duty to support our President when he is attempting to heap on our shoulders something that I think is going to ruin this great country of ours forever (Obamacare)? And when I say "ruin," I mean that team very seriously. It's not just some throw away word.

I'm more than happy to support our Prez if he's trying to win a war in Afghanistan. However, I'm going to oppose him vehemently when he tries to impose his leftism on me and the rest of us who most certainly do not want it. My "no, no and no" is most definitely not a knee jerk reaction because Obama is a Democrat or because he's black (the absurd "racist" charge the Left loves to assert). It's a principled opposition to what I think is a terrible damage he intends to do to our country.

Posted by: RitchieEmmons | December 24, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

cavalier4 Been there. Done that. Can't afford to try it again.

Any data to back up your wild claim?

Happy New Year!

Posted by: lensch | December 24, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

People should never forget that real health depends how well you take care of yourself and not what health insurance you carry but I agree health insurance is important for every one. Search "Wise Health Insurance" online for dollar a day insurance plans.

Posted by: martinzclark | December 25, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

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