Steven Pinker – Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined — The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature — Videos

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress featuring Steven Pinker

STEVEN PINKER: ENLIGHTENMENT NOW

Stephen Fry & Steven Pinker on the Enlightenment Today

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker | RSA Replay

Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University – Collective Impact

The Personal Philosophy of Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker & Charlie Rose – “The Better Angels of Our Nature”

Prof. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: A History of Violence and Humanity

A History of Violence: Steven Pinker at TEDxNewEngland

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 1/2)

The Great Debate: ORIGINS OF VIOLENCE (OFFICIAL) – (Part 2/2)

Steven Pinker on Human Nature

Understanding Human Nature with Steven Pinker – Conversations with History

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Steven Pinker: Human nature and the blank slate

Steven Pinker – The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews

Steven Pinker — On psychology and human nature

 

Steven Pinker Books

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=steve+pinker+books&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=194752538360&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18360483831547681179&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060114&hvtargid=kwd-313239828936&ref=pd_sl_oakl91e0m_b

 

My new favorite book of all time

For years, I’ve been saying Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best book I’d read in a decade. If I could recommend just one book for anyone to pick up, that was it. Pinker uses meticulous research to argue that we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. I’d never seen such a clear explanation of progress.

I’m going to stop talking up Better Angels so much, because Pinker has managed to top himself. His new book, Enlightenment Now, is even better.

Enlightenment Now takes the approach he uses in Better Angels to track violence throughout history and applies it to 15 different measures of progress (like quality of life, knowledge, and safety). The result is a holistic picture of how and why the world is getting better. It’s like Better Angels on steroids.

Pinker was generous enough to send me an early copy, even though Enlightenment Now won’t be released until the end of February. I read the book slowly since I loved it so much, but I think most people will find it a quick and accessible read. He manages to share a ton of information in a way that’s compelling, memorable, and easy to digest.

It opens with an argument in favor of returning to the ideals of the Enlightenment—an era when reason, science, and humanism were touted as the highest virtues. (Gates Notes Insiders can get a preview of this section of the book.)

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I’m all for more reason, science, and humanism, but what I found most interesting were the 15 chapters exploring each measure of progress. Pinker is at his best when he analyzes historic trends and uses data to put the past into context. I was already familiar with a lot of the information he shares—especially about health and energy—but he understands each subject so deeply that he’s able to articulate his case in a way that feels fresh and new.

I love how he’s willing to dive deep into primary data sources and pull out unexpected signs of progress. I tend to point to things like dramatic reductions in poverty and childhood deaths, because I think they’re such a good measure of how we’re doing as a society. Pinker covers those areas, but he also looks at more obscure topics.

Here are five of my favorite facts from the book that show how the world is improving:

  1. You’re 37 times less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than you were at the turn of the century—and that’s not because there are fewer thunderstorms today. It’s because we have better weather prediction capabilities, improved safety education, and more people living in cities.
  2. Time spent doing laundry fell from 11.5 hours a week in 1920 to an hour and a half in 2014.This might sound trivial in the grand scheme of progress. But the rise of the washing machine has improved quality of life by freeing up time for people—mostly women—to enjoy other pursuits. That time represents nearly half a day every week that could be used for everything from binge-watching Ozark or reading a book to starting a new business.
  3. You’re way less likely to die on the job. Every year, 5,000 people die from occupational accidents in the U.S. But in 1929—when our population was less than two-fifths the size it is today—20,000 people died on the job. People back then viewed deadly workplace accidents as part of the cost of doing business. Today, we know better, and we’ve engineered ways to build things without putting nearly as many lives at risk.
  4. The global average IQ score is rising by about 3 IQ points every decade. Kids’ brains are developing more fully thanks to improved nutrition and a cleaner environment. Pinker also credits more analytical thinking in and out of the classroom. Think about how many symbols you interpret every time you check your phone’s home screen or look at a subway map. Our world today encourages abstract thought from a young age, and it’s making us smarter.
  5. War is illegal. This idea seems obvious. But before the creation of the United Nations in 1945, no institution had the power to stop countries from going to war with each other. Although there have been some exceptions, the threat of international sanctions and intervention has proven to be an effective deterrent to wars between nations.

Pinker also tackles the disconnect between actual progress and the perception of progress—something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. People all over the world are living longer, healthier, and happier lives, so why do so many think things are getting worse? Why do we gloss over positive news stories and fixate on the negative ones? He does a good job explaining why we’re drawn to pessimism and how that instinct influences our approach to the world, although I wish he went more in depth about the psychology (especially since he’s a psychologist by training). The late Hans Rosling explains this more fully in his excellent new book Factfulness, which I plan to review soon.

I agree with Pinker on most areas, but I think he’s a bit too optimistic about artificial intelligence. He’s quick to dismiss the idea of robots overthrowing their human creators. While I don’t think we’re in danger of a Terminator-style scenario, the question underlying that fear—who exactly controls the robots?—is a valid one. We’re not there yet, but at some point, who has AI and who controls it will be an important issue for global institutions to address.

The big questions surrounding automation are proof that progress can be a messy, sticky thing—but that doesn’t mean we’re headed in the wrong direction. At the end of Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that “we will never have a perfect world, and it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing.”

The world is getting better, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m glad we have brilliant thinkers like Steven Pinker to help us see the big picture. Enlightenment Now is not only the best book Pinker’s ever written. It’s my new favorite book of all time.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Books/Enlightenment-Now

5 books I loved in 2018

If you’re like me, you love giving—or getting!—books during the holidays. A great read is the perfect gift: thoughtful and easy to wrap (with no batteries or assembly required). Plus, I think everyone could use a few more books in their lives. I usually don’t consider whether something would make a good present when I’m putting together my end of year book list—but this year’s selections are highly giftable.

My list is pretty eclectic this year. From a how-to guide about meditation to a deep dive on autonomous weapons to a thriller about the fall of a once-promising company, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a fool-proof gift for your friends and family, you can’t go wrong with one of these.

Educated, by Tara Westover. Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.

Army of None, by Paul Scharre. Autonomous weapons aren’t exactly top of mind for most around the holidays, but this thought-provoking look at A.I. in warfare is hard to put down. It’s an immensely complicated topic, but Scharre offers clear explanations and presents both the pros and cons of machine-driven warfare. His fluency with the subject should come as no surprise: he’s a veteran who helped draft the U.S. government’s policy on autonomous weapons.

Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou. A bunch of my friends recommended this one to me. Carreyrou gives you the definitive insider’s look at the rise and fall of Theranos. The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m a big fan of everything Harari has written, and his latest is no exception. While Sapiens and Homo Deus covered the past and future respectively, this one is all about the present. If 2018 has left you overwhelmed by the state of the world, 21 Lessonsoffers a helpful framework for processing the news and thinking about the challenges we face.

The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness, by Andy Puddicombe. I’m sure 25-year-old me would scoff at this one, but Melinda and I have gotten really into meditation lately. The book starts with Puddicombe’s personal journey from a university student to a Buddhist monk and then becomes an entertaining explainer on how to meditate. If you’re thinking about trying mindfulness, this is the perfect introduction.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018

Wrapping up 2018

What I learned at work this year

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my parents would send out a card with an update on what the family was up to. Dad’s law firm is growing, Mom’s volunteer work is going strong, the girls are doing well in school, Bill is a handful.

Some people think it is corny, but I like the tradition. These days, at the end of each year, I still enjoy taking stock of my work and personal life. What was I excited about? What could I have done better?

I thought I would share a few of these thoughts as 2018 concludes.

One thing that occurs to me is that the questions I am asking myself at age 63 are very different from the ones I would have asked when I was in my 20s.

Back then, an end-of-year assessment would amount to just one question: Is Microsoft software making the personal-computing dream come true?

Today of course I still assess the quality of my work. But I also ask myself a whole other set of questions about my life. Did I devote enough time to my family? Did I learn enough new things? Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones? These would have been laughable to me when I was 25, but as I get older, they are much more meaningful.

Melinda has helped broaden my thinking on this point. So has Warren Buffett, who says his measure of success is, “Do the people you care about love you back?” I think that is about as good a metric as you will find.

It may sound grand, but I think the world is slowly going through a similar transition to a broader understanding of well-being. For most of human history, we have been focused on living longer by fighting disease and trying to grow enough food for everyone. As a result, life spans have gone up dramatically. Technology has played a key role in that through vaccines, medicines, and improved sanitation.

We still need a lot of innovation to solve problems like malaria or obesity, but we are also going to be focusing more on improving the quality of life. I think this will be the thrust of many big breakthroughs of the future. For example, software will be able to notice when you’re feeling down, connect you with your friends, give you personalized tips for sleeping and eating better, and help you use your time more efficiently.

There are not the same clear measures of these things as there are for diseases, and there may never be. But there is nascent work in this field and I think it is going to accelerate.

As I look back on the year, I am also thinking about the specific areas I work on. Some of this is done through our foundation but a lot of it (such as my work on energy and Alzheimer’s work) is not. What connects it all is my belief that innovation can save lives and improve everyone’s well-being. A lot of people underestimate just how much innovation will make life better.

Here are a few updates on what’s going well and what isn’t with innovation in some areas where I work.

Alzheimer’s disease

 I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

I saw two positive trends in Alzheimer’s research in 2018.

One is that researchers focused on a new set of ideas about how to stop Alzheimer’s.

The first generation of theories, which dominated the field for years, emphasized two proteins called amyloid and tau. These proteins cause plaques and tangles in the brain, clogging up and killing brain cells. The idea was to stop the plaques and tangles from forming. I hope these approaches pay off, but we have not seen much evidence that they will.

In the past year, researchers have doubled down on a second generation of hypotheses. One theory is that a patient’s brain cells break down because their energy producers (called mitochondria) wear out. Another is that brain cells break down because part of the immune system gets overactivated and attacks them.

This is a great example of how improving our understanding of biology will reduce both medical costs and human suffering.

The other trend this year is that the Alzheimer’s community focused on getting more and better access to data. We’re working with researchers to make it easier for them to share information from their studies broadly so that we can better understand questions like how the disease progresses.

Over the past few years, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up funding for Alzheimer’s research, from $400 million a year to over $2 billion a year. There is also a big push to create better diagnostics.

The only problem where I don’t yet see a clear path forward yet is how to develop more efficient ways to recruit patients for clinical trials. Without a simple and reliable diagnostic for Alzheimer’s, it’s hard to find eligible people early enough in the disease’s progression who can participate in trials. It can take years to enroll enough patients. If we could find a way to pre-screen participants, we could start new trials more quickly.

But there is so much momentum in other areas—scientific tools, better diagnostics, improved access to data—that as long as we can solve the recruitment problem, I am confident that we will make substantial progress in the next decade or two.

Polio

 I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are.

I thought we would be closer to eradicating polio today than we are. Unfortunately, there were more cases in 2018 than in 2017 (29 versus 22).

I underestimated how hard it would be to vaccinate children in places where there’s political violence and war. Families move around to escape fighting, which makes it hard to keep track of children and make sure they get all the doses of the vaccine. Or sewage systems get destroyed, allowing the virus to spread as children come into contact with an infected person’s excrement.

This is a key reason why Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been free of polio—in fact they are the only two countries that have never been free of polio.

I spend a lot of time on polio, part of it talking to the funders to make sure they continue their commitment even though eradication is taking longer than any of us would like. I remind them of the huge benefits of success, and the risk that the disease will return in a big way if we don’t finish the job.

I also remind them what a difference innovation is making. We’re now able to test sewage samples to track the virus and find the source before an outbreak starts. And the global health community is finding creative ways to work in war zones, having stopped outbreaks in Syria and Somalia in recent years.

Finally, I am hopeful about a new oral vaccine being tested in Belgium and Panama. The results should be out in 2019, and if this one proves effective, it would overcome some of the problems with previous oral vaccines when they’re used in places where few children are immunized. The new vaccine could be in use as soon as 2020.

Despite all the challenges, I am still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon.

Energy

Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018. For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent the worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.

Some people think we have all the tools we need, and that driving down the cost of renewables like solar and wind solves the problem. I am glad to see solar and wind getting cheaper and we should be deploying them wherever it makes sense.

But solar and wind are intermittent sources of energy, and we are unlikely to have super-cheap batteries anytime soon that would allow us to store sufficient energy for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Besides, electricity accounts for only 25% of all emissions. We need to solve the other 75% too.

This year Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean-energy investment fund I’m involved with, announced the first companies we’re putting money into. You can see the list at http://www.b-t.energy/ventures/our-investment-portfolio/. We are looking at all the major drivers of climate change. The companies we chose are run by brilliant people and show a lot of promise for taking innovative clean-energy ideas out of the lab and getting them to market.

Next year I will speak out more about how the U.S. needs to regain its leading role in nuclear power research. (This is unrelated to my work with the foundation.)

Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation.

The United States is uniquely suited to create these advances with its world-class scientists, entrepreneurs, and investment capital.

 Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago.

Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.

There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen.

The world needs to be working on lots of solutions to stop climate change. Advanced nuclear is one, and I hope to persuade U.S. leaders to get into the game.

The next epidemic

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed 50 million people worldwide. It still ranks as one of the deadliest natural disasters ever.

I had hoped that hitting the 100th anniversary of this epidemic would spark a lot of discussion about whether we’re ready for the next global epidemic. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and we still are not ready.

People rightly worry about dangers like terrorism and climate change (and, more remotely, an asteroid hitting the Earth). But if anything is going to kill tens of millions of people in a short time, it will probably be a global epidemic. And the disease would most likely be a form of the flu, because the flu virus spreads easily through the air. Today a flu as contagious and lethal as the 1918 one would kill nearly 33 million people in just six months.

I have been studying this for several years. To be prepared, we need a plan for national governments to work together. We need to think through how to handle quarantines, make sure supply chains will reach affected areas, decide how to involve the military, and so on. There was not much progress on these questions in 2018.

 There has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu.

The good news is that there has been progress toward a vaccine that would protect you from every strain of the flu. This year I visited the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Maryland and got an update from some of the people leading this work.

The challenges of making a universal flu vaccine are fascinating. All strains of the virus have certain structures in common. If you’ve never been exposed to the flu, it’s possible to make a vaccine that teaches your immune system to look for those structures and attack them. But once you’ve had the flu, your body obsesses over the strain that got you sick. That makes it really hard to get your immune system to look for the common structures.

So it is clear how we could make a universal vaccine that would protect anyone (such as the very young) who has never been exposed to the flu before. But for anyone who has already had the virus, it is a lot harder. The problem is a long way from being solved, but new research money is coming in and more scientists are working on it.

To make the most of these scientific efforts (some of which our foundation is funding), the world needs to develop a global system for monitoring and responding to epidemics. That is a political matter that requires international cooperation among government leaders. This issue deserves a lot more focus.

Gene editing

Gene editing made the news in November when a Chinese scientist announced that he had altered the genes of two baby girls when they were embryos. What is unprecedented about his work is that he edited their germline cells, meaning the changes will be passed down to their children. (The other, less controversial type of gene editing involves somatic cells, which aren’t inherited by future generations.)

I agree with those who say this scientist went too far. But something good can come from his work if it encourages more people to learn and talk about gene editing. This might be the most important public debate we haven’t been having widely enough.

The ethical questions are enormous. Gene editing is generating a ton of optimism for treating and curing diseases, including some that our foundation works on (though we fund work on altering crops and insects, not humans). But the technology could make inequity worse, especially if it is available only for wealthy people.

I am surprised that these issues haven’t generated more attention from the general public. Today, artificial intelligence is the subject of vigorous debate. Gene editing deserves at least as much of the spotlight as AI.

I encourage you to read up on it whenever you have a chance. Keep an eye out for articles in your news feed. If you are willing to read a whole book, The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is very well done. This story is one to follow, because big breakthroughs—some good, some worrisome—are coming.

Looking ahead

 I am making a resolution for 2019.

Although I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I have always been committed to setting clear goals and making plans to achieve them. As I get older, these two things look more and more like the same exercise. So I am making a resolution for 2019. I am committing to learn and think about two key areas where technology has the potential to make an enormous impact on the quality of our lives, but also raises complex ethical and social considerations.

One is the balance between privacy and innovation. How can we use data to gain insights into education (like which schools do the best job of teaching low-income students) or health (like which doctors provide the best care for a reasonable price) while protecting people’s privacy?

The other is the use of technology in education. How much can software improve students’ learning? For years we have been hearing overheated claims about the huge impact that technology would have on education. People have been right to be skeptical. But I think things are finally coming together in a way that will deliver on the promises.

I will be posting updates on these and other issues on the Gates Notes.

In the meantime, Melinda and I are working on our next Annual Letter. The theme is a surprise, though it is safe to say we’ll be sharing some positive trends that make us optimistic about the future. We’ll send the letter out in February.

I hope you have a happy and healthy start to 2019.

https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Year-in-Review-2018

A Failed Quest for Meaning

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker (Viking, 576 pp., $35)Professor Steven Pinker of Harvard has written a 500-plus-page advertising pamphlet for the Enlightenment. He doesn’t quite make the sale, in spite of his having the good fortune to be pitching the best product . . . ever, really.

Good Steven Pinker argues that the Enlightenment represented an escape from dogma, one in which the emerging combination of the scientific method and political liberalism put every claim and creed to the test of reason. Bad Steven Pinker believes — and believes hard — that the Enlightenment is itself a dogma and a tribe and a scripture. Case in point: Countering the argument that Enlightenment ideals fail because people are not perfectly rational actors, Pinker writes, in emphatic italics: “No Enlightenment thinker ever claimed that humans were consistently rational.” Throughout his new book, Enlightenment Now, he offers that same observation repeatedly, as though it were not only dispositive but self-evidently so. From Spinoza to Laplace to Pinker: There is no escaping apostolic succession, after all.

Professor Pinker, like Saint Paul, has a great talent for making the good news sound positively dreadful — unbearable, even. Which is a shame, because there is so much good news in his book. And charts! Goodness, are there charts, charts and charts and charts charting the rise of human flourishing on every axis from educational attainment in India to female literacy in Pakistan to anti-black hate crimes in the United States. Hooray, and well done, humanity. If those are the charts, then bring on the charts!

But this isn’t a book about charts, really. This is a book about the Meaning of Life.

Professor Pinker begins with an anecdote about a student who, after a lecture, asked him, “Why should I live?” After satisfying himself that this was not a case of suicidal ideation or mere smart-assery, he answers:

As a sentient being, you have the potential to flourish. You can refine your faculty of reason itself by learning and debating. You can seek explanations of the natural world through science, and insight into the human condition through the arts and humanities. You can make the most of your capacity for pleasure and satisfaction, which allowed your ancestors to thrive and thereby allowed you to exist. You can appreciate the beauty and richness of the natural and cultural world. As the heir to billions of years of life perpetuating itself, you can perpetuate life in return.

He goes on in that mode for a while, and even the most casual reader will notice that he offers a great deal of “You can” but no “You should.” Which is to say: He does not answer the question. As it turns out, he answers the question neither in short nor at length. “Explaining the meaning of life is not in the usual job description of a professor of cognitive science,” he writes, “and I would not have had the gall to take up her question if the answer depended on my arcane technical knowledge or my dubious personal wisdom.” No, he appeals to a higher power: “But I knew I was channeling a body of beliefs and values that had taken shape more than two centuries before me and that are now more relevant than ever: the ideals of the Enlightenment.”

It was reason that led most of the Enlightenment thinkers to repudiate a belief in an anthropomorphic God who took an interest in human affairs. The application of reason revealed that reports of miracles were dubious, that the authors of holy books were all too human, that natural events unfolded with no regard to human welfare, and that different cultures believed in mutually incompatible deities, none of them less likely than the others to be products of the imagination.

That is fairly sloppy stuff: There is the fallacious appeal to authority (“most of the Enlightenment thinkers”), the failure to understand the claims of the other side (of course reports of miracles are dubious: miracles are unlikely — that is what makes them miracles), the ad hominem (it would hardly come as a shock to any Christian familiar with the biography of Saint Peter that he was “all too human” — accompanying the Prince of Peace in His last days, Peter got into a knife fight), the juvenile (as a matter of logic, it simply is not the case that if not all religious claims can be true simultaneously, then all of them must be false), etc. None of this stuff is very much germane to Professor Pinker’s argument; he simply cannot help himself. If you doubt that this is base, tribal, googly-eyed, us-vs.-them stuff, consider this bit: “Early governments pacified the people they ruled, reducing internecine violence, but imposed a reign of terror that included slavery, harems, human sacrifice, summary executions, and the torture and mutilation of dissidents and deviants. (The Bible has no shortage of examples.)” This appears a few sentences above mentions of the Chinese civil war and Idi Amin. Of course it is the case that accounts of violent episodes can be found in the Bible, but that is not why the Bible appears in that sentence. It appears as a tribal signifier. Us ain’t Them.

Better that Professor Pinker should have taken the advice of A. J. Ayer and eliminated the metaphysics altogether. It isn’t as though the real-world problems of fanaticism and primitivism would have left his volume too slender: The Islamic State exists, and, if it’s explicit anti-intellectualism you’re looking for, consider the etymology of “Boko Haram” — literally, “Books are forbidden.”

In metaphysics as in politics and poker, it is hard to beat something with nothing, and, as ethics go, “The universe is headed for heat death, eventually” isn’t exactly compelling. Marcus Aurelius advised his reader not to worry too much about life, death, or reputation, because, soon enough, we’ll be dead, everybody who knew us will be dead, everybody who might have remembered us will be dead, etc. “‘This man was the last of his house’ is not uncommon upon a monument,” the emperor-philosopher wrote. “How solicitous were the ancestors of these men about an heir! Yet someone must, of necessity, be the last.” Which is sunshine in a glass compared with maximum entropy.

The problem for Professor Pinker is that there isn’t any really good way to get from just the facts to an ethical creed, from the reason and science of his subtitle to the humanism. He tries to get around this with rarity: Humans and human institutions (along with sentient beings and life in general) are examples of low-entropy situations, which are very rare in the universe. Professor Pinker in fact follows the rhetoric of the creationists and intelligent-design cranks (he must shudder to do so) when he explains the Law of Entropy: “If you walk away from a sandcastle, it won’t be there tomorrow, because as the wind, waves, seagulls, and small children push the grains of sand around, they’re more likely to arrange them into one of the vast number of configurations that don’t look like a castle than into one of the tiny few that do.”

The echo of the Reverend William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker is unmistakable. Professor Pinker uses his story for a different purpose, of course: While those who would seek to discredit evolution argue that the fact of the universe argues for a creator in the same way that the existence of a watch implies the existence of a watchmaker, Professor Pinker argues that the rarity of the orderly bits of the universe makes them special, valuable, interesting. But: To whom? And: Says who? There isn’t anything about the Second Law of Thermodynamics that says, or even implies, that we should prefer thermodynamic disequilibrium over thermodynamic equilibrium. It’s only temporary, anyway. There isn’t any scientific reason to prefer a world with humans in it to one without, or a world with happy humans in it to one with unhappy humans in it. (“And what if God prefers your tears to your studying?” asked Rabbi Mendel, no relation to the Right Reverend Gregor Mendel, who laid the foundations of genetics when he wasn’t running the abbey in Brno.) If you want to get from thermodynamics to politics and ethics, there’s a bit more work involved than Professor Pinker has here done. “We’re the Enlightenment, we’re the good guys, follow us!” won’t do it.

This is unfortunate, because Professor Pinker believes that the ideals of the Enlightenment “are now more relevant than ever”: There are challenges to the Enlightenment, to liberalism, and to material progress. Tribalism is, at the moment, resurgent, no less here in the United States than abroad: President Trump is being joined at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference by Marion Maréchal–Le Pen. The new tribalists of the West are not very much impressed by the low prices at Walmart, the improving quality of life in urban China, or the rising literacy rate among Afghan girls. Neither is Boko Haram. Neither is the Islamic State.

And that is what makes the author’s failure here all the more dismaying. Professor Pinker, and many others like him, understand the Enlightenment as a force of oppositionto the civilization that produced it, the civilization we used to call “Christendom.” Professor Pinker’s account has the new gospel of Enlightenment arising from the muck of Christian civilization, with its witch hunts and inquisitions, protected by a few true believers toward whom we still look today for guidance. But the actual Enlightenment happened in the Christian world. They had gunpowder in ancient China, but the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution happened where they happened, and when they happened, for a reason. To properly defend the Enlightenment and its ideals requires grounding the Enlightenment in the culture that produced it, which offends Professor Pinker’s cosmopolitan instincts, to say nothing of his instinct for sneering at Christianity.

“Cult” is the first syllable in “culture,” and Professor Pinker’s professed humanism is a creed, not a scientific deduction. A creed grounded in what? Being nice? The scientific method? Please. It’s grounded in a tribal identity, a little tribe comprising Professor Pinker, Sam Harris, and the ghost of Christopher Hitchens. That sounds like a fun dinner party, but it’s hardly the basis for a civilization. Pinker is dead-on about much — and much that is important — but he remains limited by what must be described as intellectual pettiness, which isn’t what you want in a book professing to lay out the meaning of life.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/03/19/steven-pinker-enlightenment-now-review-failed-quest-meaning/

Books by Steven Pinker

https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/steven-pinker/202210/?mkwid=s|dc&pcrid=301999411142&pkw=&pmt=b&plc=&pgrid=34947186125&ptaid=dsa-266516562683&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIh_6j9OXS3wIVy7fACh0oCAC1EAMYASAAEgLbO_D_BwE

 

Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker
102111 Pinker 344.jpg
Born
Steven Arthur Pinker

September 18, 1954 (age 64)

MontrealQuebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
American
Notable work
Spouse(s)
  • Nancy Etcoff
    (m. 1980; div. 1992)
  • Ilavenil Subbiah
    (m. 1995; div. 2006)
  • Rebecca Goldstein (m. 2007)
Alma mater
Awards Troland Award (1993, National Academy of Sciences),
Henry Dale Prize (2004, Royal Institution),
Walter P. Kistler Book Award (2005),
Humanist of the Year award (2006, issued by the AHA),
George Miller Prize (2010, Cognitive Neuroscience Society), Richard Dawkins Award (2013)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary psychologyexperimental psychologycognitive sciencepsycholinguisticsvisual cognition
Thesis The Representation of Three-dimensional Space in Mental Images (1979)
Doctoral advisor Stephen Kosslyn
Influences Noam Chomsky[1]
Website www.stevenpinker.com

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologistlinguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of cooperation and communication, including euphemisminnuendo, emotional expression, and common knowledge. He has written two technical books that proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of eight books for a general audience. Five of these, The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007), describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics and cognitive science, and include accounts of his own research. In the sixth book, The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), Pinker makes the case that violence in human societies has, in general, steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline.

His seventh book, The Sense of Style (2014), is intended as a general style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand. His eighth book, Enlightenment Now (2018), continues the optimistic thesis of The Better Angels of Our Nature by using social science data from various sources to argue for a general improvement of the human condition over recent history.

Pinker has been named as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals by various magazines. He has won awards from the American Psychological Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society and the American Humanist Association. He delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He has served on the editorial boards of a variety of journals, and on the advisory boards of several institutions. He has frequently participated in public debates on science and society.

Biography[edit]

Pinker was born in MontrealQuebec, in 1954, to a middle-class Jewish family. His parents were Roslyn (Wiesenfeld) and Harry Pinker.[3][4] His grandparents emigrated to Canada from Poland and Romania in 1926,[5][6] and owned a small necktie factory in Montreal.[7] His father, a lawyer, first worked as a manufacturer’s representative, while his mother was first a home-maker then a guidance counselor and high-school vice-principal. He has two younger siblings. His brother Robert is a policy analyst for the Canadian government, while his sister, Susan Pinker, is a psychologist and writer who authored The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect.[8][9]

Pinker married Nancy Etcoff in 1980 and they divorced in 1992; he married Ilavenil Subbiah in 1995 and they too divorced.[10] His third wife, whom he married in 2007, is the novelist and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein.[11] He has two stepdaughters: the novelist Yael Goldstein Love and the poet Danielle Blau.

Pinker graduated from Dawson College in 1973. He received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in experimental psychology at Harvard University in 1979 under Stephen Kosslyn. He did research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a year, after which he became an assistant professor at Harvard and then Stanford University.

From 1982 until 2003, Pinker taught at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive science (1985–1994), and eventually became the director of the Center for Cognitive neuroscience (1994–1999),[12] taking a one-year sabbatical at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1995–96. As of 2003, he is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard; from 2008 to 2013 he also held the title of Harvard College Professor in recognition of his dedication to teaching.[13] He currently gives lectures as a visiting professor at the New College of the Humanities, a private college in London.[14][15]

About his Jewish background Pinker has said, “I was never religious in the theological sense … I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”[16] As a teenager, he says he considered himself an anarchist until he witnessed civil unrest following a police strike in 1969, when:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike … This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).[17]

Pinker identifies himself as an equity feminist, which he defines as “a moral doctrine about equal treatment that makes no commitments regarding open empirical issues in psychology or biology”.[18] He reported the result of a test of his political orientation that characterized him as “neither leftist nor rightist, more libertarian than authoritarian.”[19] He describes himself as having “experienced a primitive tribal stirring” after his genes were shown to trace back to the Middle East, noting that he “found it just as thrilling to zoom outward in the diagrams of my genetic lineage and see my place in a family tree that embraces all of humanity”.[20]

Pinker also identifies himself as an atheist. In the 2007 interview with the Point of Inquiry podcast, Pinker states that he would “defend atheism as an empirically supported view.” He sees theism and atheism as competing empirical hypotheses, and states that “we’re learning more and more about what makes us tick, including our moral sense, without needing the assumption of a deity or a soul. It’s naturally getting crowded out by the successive naturalistic explanations.”[21]

Research and theory[edit]

Pinker in 2007.

Pinker’s research on visual cognition, begun in collaboration with his thesis adviser, Stephen Kosslyn, showed that mental images represent scenes and objects as they appear from a specific vantage point (rather than capturing their intrinsic three-dimensional structure), and thus correspond to the neuroscientist David Marr‘s theory of a “two-and-a-half-dimensional sketch.”[22] He also showed that this level of representation is used in visual attention, and in object recognition (at least for asymmetrical shapes), contrary to Marr’s theory that recognition uses viewpoint-independent representations.

In psycholinguistics, Pinker became known early in his career for promoting computational learning theory as a way to understand language acquisition in children. He wrote a tutorial review of the field followed by two books that advanced his own theory of language acquisition, and a series of experiments on how children acquire the passive, dative, and locative constructions. These books were Language Learnability and Language Development (1984), in Pinker’s words “outlin[ing] a theory of how children acquire the words and grammatical structures of their mother tongue”,[23] and Learnability and Cognition: The Acquisition of Argument Structure (1989), in Pinker’s words “focus[ing] on one aspect of this process, the ability to use different kinds of verbs in appropriate sentences, such as intransitive verbs, transitive verbs, and verbs taking different combinations of complements and indirect objects”.[23] He then focused on verbs of two kinds that illustrate what he considers to be the processes required for human language: retrieving whole words from memory, like the past form of the irregular verb[24] “bring”, namely “brought”; and using rules to combine (parts of) words, like the past form of the regular verb “walk”, namely “walked”.[23]

In 1988 Pinker and Alan Prince published an influential critique of a connectionist model of the acquisition of the past tense (a textbook problem in language acquisition), followed by a series of studies of how people use and acquire the past tense. This included a monograph on children’s regularization of irregular forms and his popular 1999 book, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language. Pinker argued that language depends on two things, the associative remembering of sounds and their meanings in words, and the use of rules to manipulate symbols for grammar. He presented evidence against connectionism, where a child would have to learn all forms of all words and would simply retrieve each needed form from memory, in favour of the older alternative theory, the use of words and rules combined by generative phonology. He showed that mistakes made by children indicate the use of default rules to add suffixes such as “-ed”: for instance ‘breaked’ and ‘comed’ for ‘broke’ and ‘came’. He argued that this shows that irregular verb-forms in English have to be learnt and retrieved from memory individually, and that the children making these errors were predicting the regular “-ed” ending in an open-ended way by applying a mental rule. This rule for combining verb stems and the usual suffix can be expressed as[25]

Vpast → Vstem + d

where V is a verb and d is the regular ending. Pinker further argued that since the ten most frequently occurring English verbs (be, have, do, say, make … ) are all irregular, while 98.2% of the thousand least common verbs are regular, there is a “massive correlation” of frequency and irregularity. He explains this by arguing that every irregular form, such as ‘took’, ‘came’ and ‘got’, has to be committed to memory by the children in each generation, or else lost, and that the common forms are the most easily memorized. Any irregular verb that falls in popularity past a certain point is lost, and all future generations will treat it as a regular verb instead.[25]

In 1990, Pinker, with Paul Bloom, published the paper “Natural Language and Natural Selection”, arguing that the human language faculty must have evolved through natural selection.[26] The article provided arguments for a continuity based view of language evolution, contrary to then current discontinuity based theories that see language as suddenly appearing with the advent of Homo sapiens as a kind of evolutionary accident. This discontinuity based view was prominently argued by two of the main authorities, linguist Noam Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould.[27] The paper became widely cited and created renewed interest in the evolutionary prehistory of language, and has been credited with shifting the central question of the debate from “did language evolve?” to “how did language evolve”.[27][28] The article also presaged Pinker’s argument in The Language Instinct.

Pinker’s research includes delving into human nature and what science says about it. In his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast in 2007, he provides the following examples of what he considers defensible conclusions of what science says human nature is:

  • The sexes are not statistically identical; “their interests and talents form two overlapping distributions”. Any policy that wants to provide equal outcomes for both men and women will have to discriminate against one or the other.
  • “Individuals differ in personality and intelligence.”
  • “People favor themselves and their families over an abstraction called society.”
  • Humans are “systematically self deceived. Each one of us thinks of ourselves as more competent and benevolent than we are.”
  • “People crave status and power”

He informs the listeners that one can read more about human nature in his book, Blank Slate.

Pinker also speaks about evolutionary psychology in the podcast and believes that this area of science is going to pay off. He cites the fact that there are many areas of study, such as beauty, religion, play, and sexuality, that were not studied 15 years ago. It is thanks to evolutionary psychology that these areas are being studied.[21]

Popularization of science[edit]

Pinker in 2011.

Human cognition and natural language[edit]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider‘s web-weaving or a beaver‘s dam-building.

Pinker states in his introduction that his ideas are “deeply influenced”[29] by Chomsky; he also lists scientists whom Chomsky influenced to “open up whole new areas of language study, from child development and speech perception to neurology and genetics”[29] — Eric LennebergGeorge MillerRoger BrownMorris Halle and Alvin Liberman.[29] Brown mentored Pinker through his thesis; Pinker stated that Brown’s “funny and instructive”[30] book Words and Things (1958) was one of the inspirations for The Language Instinct.[30][31]

The reality of Pinker’s proposed language instinct, and the related claim that grammar is innate and genetically based, has been contested by many linguists. One prominent opponent of Pinker’s view is Geoffrey Sampson whose 1997 book, Educating Eve: The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate has been described as the “definitive response” to Pinker’s book.[32][33] Sampson argues that while it may seem attractive to argue the nature side of the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate, the nurture side may better support the creativity and nobility of the human mind. Sampson denies there is a language instinct, and argues that children can learn language because people can learn anything.[33] Others have sought a middle ground between Pinker’s nativism and Sampson’s culturalism.[34]

The assumptions underlying the nativist view have also been criticised in Jeffrey Elman‘s Rethinking Innateness: A Connectionist Perspective on Development, which defends the connectionist approach that Pinker attacked. In his 1996 book Impossible Minds, the machine intelligence researcher Igor Aleksander calls The Language Instinct excellent, and argues that Pinker presents a relatively soft claim for innatism, accompanied by a strong dislike of the ‘Standard Social Sciences Model’ or SSSM (Pinker’s term), which supposes that development is purely dependent on culture. Further, Aleksander writes that while Pinker criticises some attempts to explain language processing with neural nets, Pinker later makes use of a neural net to create past tense verb forms correctly. Aleksander concludes that while he doesn’t support the SSSM, “a cultural repository of language just seems the easy trick for an efficient evolutionary system armed with an iconic state machine to play.”[35]

Two other books, How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate (2002), broadly surveyed the mind and defended the idea of a complex human nature with many mental faculties that are adaptive (Pinker is an ally of Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins in many disputes surrounding adaptationism). Another major theme in Pinker’s theories is that human cognition works, in part, by combinatorial symbol-manipulation, not just associations among sensory features, as in many connectionist models. On the debate around The Blank Slate, Pinker called Thomas Sowell‘s book A Conflict of Visions “wonderful”,[36] and explained that “The Tragic Vision” and the “Utopian Vision” are the views of human nature behind right- and left-wing ideologies.[36]

In Words and Rules: the Ingredients of Language (1999), Pinker argues from his own research that regular and irregular phenomena are products of computation and memory lookup, respectively, and that language can be understood as an interaction between the two.[37] “Words and Rules” is also the title of an essay by Pinker outlining many of the topics discussed in the book.[25] Critiqueing the book from the perspective of generative linguistics Charles Yang, in the London Review of Books, writes that “this book never runs low on hubris or hyperbole“.[38] The book’s topic, the English past tense, is in Yang’s view unglamorous, and Pinker’s attempts at compromise risk being in no man’s land between rival theories. Giving the example of German, Yang argues that irregular nouns in that language at least all belong to classes, governed by rules, and that things get even worse in languages that attach prefixes and suffixes to make up long ‘words’: they can’t be learnt individually, as there are untold numbers of combinations. “All Pinker (and the connectionists) are doing is turning over the rocks at the base of the intellectual landslide caused by the Chomskian revolution.”[38]

In The Stuff of Thought (2007), Pinker looks at a wide range of issues around the way words related to thoughts on the one hand, and to the world outside ourselves on the other. Given his evolutionary perspective, a central question is how an intelligent mind capable of abstract thought evolved: how a mind adapted to Stone Age life could work in the modern world. Many quirks of language are the result.[39]

Pinker is critical of theories about the evolutionary origins of language that argue that linguistic cognition might have evolved from earlier musical cognition. He sees language as being tied primarily to the capacity for logical reasoning, and speculates that human proclivity for music may be a spandrel — a feature not adaptive in its own right, but that has persisted through other traits that are more broadly practical, and thus selected for. In How the Mind Works, Pinker reiterates Immanuel Kant‘s view that music is not in itself an important cognitive phenomenon, but that it happens to stimulate important auditory and spatio-motor cognitive functions. Pinker compares music to “auditory cheesecake”, stating that “As far as biological cause and effect is concerned, music is useless”. This argument has been rejected by Daniel Levitin and Joseph Carroll, experts in music cognition, who argue that music has had an important role in the evolution of human cognition.[40][41][42][43][44][45] In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, Levitin argues that music could provide adaptive advantage through sexual selectionsocial bonding, and cognitive development; he questions the assumption that music is the antecedent to language, as opposed to its progenitor, noting that many species display music-like habits that could be seen as precursors to human music.[46]

Pinker has also been critical of “whole language” reading instruction techniques, stating in How the Mind Works, “… the dominant technique, called ‘whole language,’ the insight that [spoken] language is a naturally developing human instinct has been garbled into the evolutionarily improbable claim that reading is a naturally developing human instinct.”[47] In the appendix to the 2007 reprinted edition of The Language Instinct, Pinker cited Why Our Children Can’t Read by cognitive psychologist Diane McGuinness as his favorite book on the subject and noted:

One raging public debate involving language went unmentioned in The Language Instinct: the “reading wars,” or dispute over whether children should be explicitly taught to read by decoding the sounds of words from their spelling (loosely known as “phonics“) or whether they can develop it instinctively by being immersed in a text-rich environment (often called “whole language”). I tipped my hand in the paragraph in [the sixth chapter of the book] which said that language is an instinct but reading is not.[48] Like most psycholinguists (but apparently unlike many school boards), I think it’s essential for children to be taught to become aware of speech sounds and how they are coded in strings of letters.[49]

The Better Angels of Our Nature[edit]

Violence in the middle ages: detail from “Mars” in Das Mittelalterliche Hausbuch, c. 1475 – 1480. The image is used by Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, with the comment “as the Housebook illustrations suggest, [the knights] did not restrict their killing to other knights”.[50]

In The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, Pinker argues that violence, including tribal warfare, homicide, cruel punishments, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, lynching, pogroms, and international and civil wars, has decreased over multiple scales of time and magnitude. Pinker considers it unlikely that human nature has changed. In his view, it is more likely that human nature comprises inclinations toward violence and those that counteract them, the “better angels of our nature”. He outlines six ‘major historical declines of violence’ that all have their own socio/cultural/economic causes:[51]

  1. “The Pacification Process” – The rise of organized systems of government has a correlative relationship with the decline in violent deaths. As states expand they prevent tribal feuding, reducing losses.
  2. “The Civilizing Process” – Consolidation of centralized states and kingdoms throughout Europe results in the rise of criminal justice and commercial infrastructure, organizing previously chaotic systems that could lead to raiding and mass violence.
  3. “The Humanitarian Revolution” – The 18th – 20th century abandonment of institutionalized violence by the state (breaking on the wheel, burning at the stake). Suggests this is likely due to the spike in literacy after the invention of the printing press thereby allowing the proletariat to question conventional wisdom.
  4. “The Long Peace” – The powers of 20th Century believed that period of time to be the bloodiest in history. This to a largely peaceful 65-year period post World War I and World War II. Developed countries have stopped warring (against each other and colonially), adopted democracy, and this has led a massive decline (on average) of deaths.
  5. “The New Peace” – The decline in organized conflicts of all kinds since the end of the Cold War.
  6. “The Rights Revolutions” – The reduction of systemic violence at smaller scales against vulnerable populations (racial minorities, women, children, homosexuals, animals).

The book was welcomed by many critics and reviewers, who found its arguments convincing and its synthesis of a large volume of historical evidence compelling.[52][53][54][55][56] It also aroused criticism on a variety of grounds, such as whether deaths per capita was an appropriate metric, Pinker’s atheism, lack of moral leadership, excessive focus on Europe (though the book covers other areas), the interpretation of historical data, and its image of indigenous people.[57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]

English writing style in the 21st century[edit]

In his seventh popular book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (2014), Pinker attempts to provide a writing style guide that is informed by modern science and psychology, offering advice on how to produce more comprehensible and unambiguous writing in nonfiction contexts and explaining why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

In a November 2014 episode of the Point of Inquiry podcast, host Lindsay Beyerstein, asked Pinker how his style guide was different from the many guides that already exist. His answer,

The Thinking Person’s Guide because I don’t issue dictates from on high as most manuals do but explain why the various guidelines will improve writing, what they do for language, what they do for the reader’s experience, in the hope that the users will apply the rules judiciously knowing what they are designed to accomplish, rather than robotically.[68]

He also indicated that the 21st century was applicable because language and usage change over time and it has been a long time since William Strunk wrote Elements of Style.[68]

Public debate[edit]

Pinker is a frequent participant in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. Social commentators such as Ed West, author of The Diversity Illusion, consider Pinker important and daring in his willingness to confront taboos, as in The Blank Slate. This doctrine (the tabula rasa), writes West, remained accepted “as fact, rather than fantasy”[69] a decade after the book’s publication. West describes Pinker as “no polemicist, and he leaves readers to draw their own conclusions”.[69]

In January 2005, Pinker defended Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, whose comments about a gender gap in mathematics and science angered much of the faculty. Pinker noted that Summers’s remarks, properly understood, were hypotheses about overlapping statistical distributions of men’s and women’s talents and tastes, and that in a university such hypotheses ought to be the subject of empirical testing rather than dogma and outrage.[70] Edge.org ran a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on gender and science.[71]

In 2009, Pinker wrote a mixed review of Malcolm Gladwell‘s essays in The New York Times criticizing his analytical methods.[72] Gladwell replied, disputing Pinker’s comments about the importance of IQ on teaching performance and by analogy, the effect, if any, of draft order on quarterback performance in the National Football League.[73] Advanced NFL Stats addressed the issue statistically, siding with Pinker and showing that differences in methodology could explain the two men’s differing opinions.[74]

In 2009, David Shenk criticized Pinker for siding with the “nature” argument and for “never once acknowledg[ing] gene-environment interaction or epigenetics” in an article on nature versus nurture in The New York Times.[75] Pinker responded to a question about epigenetics as a possibility for the decline in violence in a lecture for the BBC World Service. Pinker said it was unlikely since the decline in violence happened too rapidly to be explained by genetic changes.[76] Helga Vierich and Cathryn Townsend wrote a critical review of Pinker’s sweeping “Civilizational” explanations for patterns of human violence and warfare in response to a lecture he gave at Cambridge University in September 2015.[77]

Steven Pinker is also noted for having identified the rename of Phillip Morris to Altria as an “egregious example” of phonesthesia, with the company attempting to “switch its image from bad people who sell addictive carcinogens to a place or state marked by altruism and other lofty values”.[78]

Pinker continued to court controversy through his 2018 book Enlightenment Now, in which he argues that enlightenment rationality has driven tremendous progress and should be defended against attacks from both the left and right. The Guardian criticized the book as a “triumphalist” work that has a “curious relationship to intellectual history” and overestimates the role of campus activists in mainstream discourse.[79] While promoting the book on the NPR show 1A, Pinker caused a minor social media backlash when he said that “I don’t think Malcolm X did the world much good.”[80][81][82]

In a debate with Pinker, post-colonial theorist Homi Bhabha argued that Enlightenment Now sees the perils of the modern age such as slavery, imperialism, world wars, genocide, inequality etc as glitches rather than costs for enlightenment’s gifts. But Pinker responded that the natural state of humanity has been poverty and disease, and knowledge has improved human welfare.[83]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

Pinker in Göttingen, 2010

Pinker was named one of Time‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2004[84] and one of Prospect and Foreign Policy100 top public intellectuals in both years the poll was carried out, 2005[85] and 2008;[86] in 2010 and 2011 he was named by Foreign Policy to its list of top global thinkers.[87][88] In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.[89]

His research in cognitive psychology has won the Early Career Award (1984) and Boyd McCandless Award (1986) from the American Psychological Association, the Troland Research Award (1993) from the National Academy of Sciences, the Henry Dale Prize (2004) from the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the George Miller Prize (2010) from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He has also received honorary doctorates from the universities of NewcastleSurreyTel AvivMcGillSimon Fraser University and the University of Tromsø. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 and in 2003. On May 13, 2006, he received the American Humanist Association‘s Humanist of the Year award for his contributions to public understanding of human evolution.[90]

Pinker has served on the editorial boards of journals such as Cognition, Daedalus, and PLOS One, and on the advisory boards of institutions for scientific research (e.g., the Allen Institute for Brain Science), free speech (e.g., the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), the popularization of science (e.g., the World Science Festival and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry), peace (e.g., the Peace Research Endowment), and secular humanism (e.g., the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Secular Coalition for America).

Since 2008, he has chaired the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and wrote the essay on usage for the fifth edition of the Dictionary, which was published in 2011.

In February 2001 Steven Pinker, “whose hair has long been the object of admiration, and envy, and intense study”,[91] was nominated by acclamation as the first member of the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists (LFHCfS) organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

Articles and essays[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ C-SPAN | BookTV “In Depth with Steven Pinker” November 2nd 2008
  2. ^ “Steven Pinker”Desert Island Discs. 30 June 2013. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  3. ^ Pinker, S. (2009). Language Learnability and Language Development, With New Commentary by the Author. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674042179. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  4. ^ https://mobile.twitter.com/sapinker/status/990944371578109952
  5. ^ Annie Maccoby Berglof «At home: Steven Pinker»
  6. ^ Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist
  7. ^ Pinker, Steven (June 26, 2006). “Groups and Genes”The New Republic. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Shermer, Michael (2001-03-01). The Pinker Instinct. Altadena, CA: Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  9. ^ Steven Pinker: the mind reader The Guardian Accessed 25 November 2006.
  10. ^ Biography for Steven Pinker at imdb. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  11. ^ “How Steven Pinker Works” by Kristin E. Blagg Archived 2014-10-17 at the Wayback MachineThe Harvard Crimson Accessed 3 February 2006.
  12. ^ Curriculum Vitae (PDF)Harvard University, retrieved June 23, 2017
  13. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Official Biography. Harvard University”. Pinker.wjh.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  14. ^ “The professoriate” Archived June 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  15. ^ “Professor Stephen Pinker”, New College of the Humanities. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  16. ^ “Steven Pinker: the mind reader” by Ed Douglas The Guardian Accessed 3 February 2006.
  17. ^ Pinker, Steven (2002), The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human NaturePenguin PutnamISBN 0-670-03151-8.
  18. ^ Pinker, Steven, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature (Viking, 2002), p. 341
  19. ^ “My Genome, My Self” by Steven Pinker The New York Times Sunday MagazineAccessed 10 April 2010.
  20. ^ “DNA and You – Personalized Genomics Goes Jewish”The Forward. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  21. Jump up to:a b Grothe, D.J. (23 February 2007). “Podcast:Steven Pinker – Evolutionary Psychology and Human Nature”. Point of Inquiry with D.J. Grothe. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  22. ^ The nature of the language faculty and its implications for evolution of language
  23. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Steven Pinker: Long Biography”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 29 December 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ Pinker has written a piece on The Irregular Verbs Archived 2014-06-06 at the Wayback Machine., stating that “I like the Irregular verbs of English, all 180 of them, because of what they tell us about the history of the language and the human minds that have perpetuated it.
  25. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven. “Words and rules (essay)” (PDF). Harvard University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  26. ^ Pinker, S. & Bloom, P. (1990). Natural language and natural selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4): 707‐784
  27. Jump up to:a b Christine Kenneally“Language Development:The First Word. The Search for the Origins of Language”. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14.
  28. ^ “The 20th Anniversary of Steven Pinker & Paul Bloom: Natural Language and Natural Selection (1990)”. Replicatedtypo.com.
  29. Jump up to:a b c Pinker, Steven (1994). The Language Instinct. Penguin. pp. 23–24.
  30. Jump up to:a b Pinker, Steven (1998). “Obituary: Roger Brown” (PDF)Cognition66: 199–213 (see page 205). doi:10.1016/s0010-0277(98)00027-4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2015-05-18.
  31. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1999). “Roger William Brown 1925-1997” (PDF)Biographical Memoirs77: 7.
  32. ^ “The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate”. University of Sussex.
  33. Jump up to:a b “Empiricism v. Nativism: Nature or Nurture?”. GRSampson.net. Retrieved 8 June2014.. More at The ‘Language Instinct’ Debate
  34. ^ Cowley, S. J. (2001). The baby, the bathwater and the “language instinct” debate. Language Sciences, 23(1), 69-91.
  35. ^ Aleksander, Igor (1996). Impossible Minds. pp. 228–234. ISBN 1-86094-030-7.
  36. Jump up to:a b Sailer, Steve (30 October 2002). “Q&A: Steven Pinker of ‘Blank Slate. United Press International. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  37. ^ Pinker, Steven. “Words and Rules (book)”. Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  38. Jump up to:a b Yang, Charles (24 August 2000). “Dig-dug, think-thunk (review of Words and Rules by Steven Pinker)”London Review of Books22 (6): 33.
  39. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Stuff of Thought”. Harvard University. Archived from the originalon 9 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  40. ^ Levitin, D. J.; Tirovolas, A. K. (2009). “Current Advances in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences1156: 211–231. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04417.xPMID 19338510.
  41. ^ Perlovsky L. Music. Cognitive Function, Origin, And Evolution Of Musical Emotions. WebmedCentral PSYCHOLOGY 2011;2(2):WMC001494
  42. ^ Abbott, Alison (2002). “Neurobiology: Music, maestro, please!”. Nature416: 12–14. doi:10.1038/416012a.
  43. ^ Cross, I. (1999). Is music the most important thing we ever did? Music, development and evolution. [preprint (html)] [preprint (pdf)] In Suk Won Yi (Ed.), Music, mind and science (pp 10–39), Seoul: Seoul National University Press.
  44. ^ “Interview with Daniel Levitin”. Pbs.org. May 20, 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  45. ^ Carroll, Joseph (1998). “Steven Pinker’s Cheesecake For The Mind”. Cogweb.ucla.edu. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  46. ^ Levitin, Daniel. 2006. This Is Your Brain On Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, New York: Dutton/Penguin.
  47. ^ Pinker, Steven (1997), How the Mind Works, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, p. 342
  48. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, p. 186
  49. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007), The Language Instinct (3rd ed.), New York: Harper Perennial, pp. PS14
  50. ^ Pinker, Steven (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature. Allen Lane. p66
  51. ^ Pinker, Steven. “The Decline of Violence”. IAI. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  52. ^ Horgan, John (October 3, 2011). “Will War Ever End? Steven Pinker’s new book reveals an ever more peaceable species: humankind”Slate.
  53. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  54. ^ Brittan, Samuel (22 October 2011). “The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes by Stephen Pinker”The Spectator.
  55. ^ Coffman, Scott (28 September 2012). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our NatureCourier Journal. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013.
  56. ^ Kohn, Marek (7 October 2011). “Book Review: ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and its Causes’, By Steven Pinker”The Independent. UK.
  57. ^ Epstein, R. (October 2011). “Book Review”Scientific American.
  58. ^ Boyd, Neil (January 4, 2012). “The Empirical Evidence for Declining Violence”HuffPost.
  59. ^ Gray, John (21 September 2011). “Delusions of peace”Prospect Magazine. UK.
  60. ^ “Correspondence”. Claremont Review of Books. 2012-05-02. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  61. ^ Herman, Edward S.; Peterson, David. “Steven Pinker on the alleged decline of violence”International Socialist Review.
  62. ^ Edward S. Herman and David Peterson (2012-09-13). “Reality Denial: Steven Pinker’s Apologetics for Western-Imperial Volence”. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  63. ^ Kolbert, Elizabeth (3 October 2011). “Peace In Our Time: Steven Pinker’s History of Violence in Decline”The New Yorker.
  64. ^ Pinker, Steven (November 2011). “Frequently Asked Questions about The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”.
  65. ^ Laws, Ben (21 March 2012). “Against Pinker’s Violence”Ctheory.
  66. ^ “The Big Kill – By John Arquilla”Foreign Policy. 2012-12-03. Retrieved 22 January2013.
  67. ^ Corry, Stephen. “The case of the ‘Brutal Savage’: Poirot or Clouseau?: Why Steven Pinker, like Jared Diamond, is wrong” (PDF). Survival International. Retrieved 30 May2014. (Summary at The myth of the ‘Brutal Savage’)
  68. Jump up to:a b “Steven Pinker: Using Grammar as a Tool, Not as a Weapon”Point of InquiryCenter for Inquiry. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  69. Jump up to:a b West, Ed (17 August 2012). “A decade after Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, why is human nature still taboo?”The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  70. ^ “PSYCHOANALYSIS Q-and-A: Steven Pinker” The Harvard Crimson Accessed 8 February 2006.
  71. ^ “The Science of Gender and Science: Pinker Vs. Spelke, A Debate”. Edge.org. 16 May 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  72. ^ Pinker, Steven (2009-11-15). “Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Detective”The New York Times.
  73. ^ “Let’s Go to the Tape”The New York Times. 2009-11-29.
  74. ^ Burke, Brian (2010-04-22). “Steven Pinker vs. Malcolm Gladwell and Drafting QBs”. Advanced NFL Stats. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  75. ^ Steven Pinker’s “probabilistic” genes, David Shenk
  76. ^ Exchanges At The Frontier 2011“, BBC.
  77. ^ Human violence and morality http://online.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/doi/pdf/10.3828/hgr.2015.7
  78. ^ Pinker, Steven (2007). The Stuff of Thought. Penguin Books. p. 304.
  79. ^ Davies, William (2018-02-14). “Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker review – life is getting better”The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  80. ^ “Steven Pinker Looks At The Bright Side”1A. Feb 14, 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  81. ^ “Paloma Saenz on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  82. ^ “David on Twitter”Twitter. Retrieved 2018-05-12.[non-primary source needed]
  83. ^ “Does the Enlightenment Need Defending?”IAI TV – Philosophy for our times: cutting edge debates and talks from the world’s leading thinkers. 2018-09-13. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  84. ^ “Steven Pinker: How Our Minds Evolved” by Robert Wright Archived 2005-12-30 at the Wayback MachineTime Accessed 8 February 2006.
  85. ^ “The Prospect/FP Top 100 Public Intellectuals” Archived 2009-12-01 at the Wayback MachineForeign Policy (free registration required) Accessed 2006-082-08
  86. ^ “Intellectuals”Prospect. 2009. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009.
  87. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2010)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-12-03. 69. Steven Pinker
  88. ^ “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers (2011)”Foreign Policy. Foreignpolicy.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. 48. Steven Pinker: For Looking on Bright Side
  89. ^ National Academy of Sciences Members and Foreign Associates Elected, News from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2016, retrieved 2016-05-14.
  90. ^ “Steven Pinker Receives Humanist of the Year Award”American Humanist Association. May 12, 2006. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006.
  91. ^ “The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists”Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2018-01-14.

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]

Filmed talks[edit]

Debates[edit]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Pinker

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Michael D. Tanner — Going For Broke — Leviathan On The Right: How Big Government Conservatism Brought Down The Republican Revolution — Videos

Posted on October 16, 2016. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Books, Non-Fiction | Tags: , , , , , |

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Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis (Michael Tanner)

Michael Tanner – Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt and the Entitlement Crisis

‘We’re Broke’: Cato’s Michael Tanner on the Libertarian State of the Union

Michael D. Tanner

Media Contact:

202-789-5200

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Cato Institute senior fellow, Michael Tanner heads research into a variety of domestic policies with a particular emphasis on poverty and social welfare policy, health care reform, and Social Security.

Tanner is the author of numerous other books on public policy, including Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis,Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution, Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It, The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society, and A New Deal for Social Security.

Under Tanner’s direction, Cato launched the Project on Social Security Choice, which is widely considered the leading impetus for transforming the soon-to-be-bankrupt system into a private savings program. Timemagazine calls Tanner, “one of the architects of the private accounts movement,” and Congressional Quarterly named him one of the nation’s five most influential experts on Social Security. The New York Times refers to him as “a lucid writer and skilled polemicist.”

More recently Tanner has undertaken a major project to develop innovative solutions to poverty and inequality.

Tanner’s writings have appeared in nearly every major American newspaper, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He writes a weekly column for National Review Online, and is a contributing columnist with the New York Post. A prolific writer and frequent guest lecturer, Tanner appears regularly on network and cable news programs.

http://www.cato.org/people/michael-tanner

Cato Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Cato (disambiguation).
Cato Institute
Catologo.PNG
Founder(s) Ed Crane, Charles Koch, Murray Rothbard
Established 1974[1]
Mission To originate, disseminate, and increase understanding of public policies based on the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.[2]
Focus Public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence
President (and CEO) Peter N. Goettler[3]
Chairman Robert A. Levy[3]
Executive Vice-President David Boaz[4]
Faculty 46
Adjunct faculty 70
Staff 100
Budget Revenue: $37.3 million
Expenses: $29.4 million
(FYE March 2015)[5]
Slogan “Individual Liberty, Free Markets, and Peace”
Formerly called Charles Koch Foundation; Cato Foundation
Location 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.Washington, D.C., United States
Coordinates 38°54′12″N 77°01′35″WCoordinates: 38°54′12″N 77°01′35″W
Website www.cato.org

The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch,[6] chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries.[nb 1] In July 1976, the name was changed to the Cato Institute.[6][7] Cato was established to have a focus on public advocacy, media exposure and societal influence.[8] According to the 2014 Global Go To Think TankIndex Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), Cato is number 16 in the “Top Think Tanks Worldwide” and number 8 in the “Top Think Tanks in the United States”.[9] Cato also topped the 2014 list of the budget-adjusted ranking of international development think tanks.[10]

Cato Institute building in Washington, D.C.

History

The institute was founded in December 1974 in Wichita, Kansas as the Charles Koch Foundation and initially funded by Charles Koch.[nb 2][11] The other members of the first board of directors included co-founder Murray Rothbard, libertarian scholar Earl Ravenal, and businessmen Sam H. Husbands Jr. and David H. Padden.[6][12]At the suggestion of Rothbard,[12] the institute changed its name in 1976 to Cato Institute after Cato’s Letters, a series of British essays penned in the early 18th century by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.[13][14]

Cato relocated first to San Francisco, California in 1977, then to Washington, D.C. in 1981, settling initially in a historic house on Capitol Hill.[15](p446) The Institute moved to its current location on Massachusetts Avenue in 1993. Cato Institute was named the fifth-ranked think tank in the world for 2009 in a study of think tanks by James G. McGann, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania, based on a criterion of excellence in “producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research”.[16]

Activities

Various Cato programs were favorably ranked in a survey published by the University of Pennsylvania in 2012.[9]

Publications

The Cato Institute publishes numerous policy studies, briefing papers, periodicals, and books. Peer-reviewed academic journals include the Cato Journal[17][18][19] and Regulation.[20][21][22] Other periodicals includeCato’s Letter,[23] Cato Supreme Court Review,[24] and Cato Policy Report.[25] Cato published Inquiry Magazine from 1977 to 1982 (before transferring it to the Libertarian Review Foundation)[26] and Literature of Liberty from 1978 to 1979 (before transferring it to the Institute for Humane Studies).[27]

Notable books from Cato and Cato scholars include:

Web projects

In addition to maintaining its own website in English and Spanish,[28] Cato maintains websites focused on particular topics:

  • “Downsizing the Federal Government” contains essays on the size of the U.S. Federal Government and recommendations for decreasing various programs.[29]
  • Libertarianism.org is a website focused on the theory and practice of libertarianism.
  • Cato Unbound, a web-only publication that features a monthly open debate between four people. The conversation begins with one lead essay, followed by three response essays by separate people. After that, all four participants can write as many responses and counter-responses as they want for the duration of that month.
  • PoliceMisconduct.net contains reports and stories from Cato’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project and the National Police Misconduct News Feed.[30]
  • Overlawyered is a law blog on the subject of tort reform run by author Walter Olson.
  • HumanProgress.org is an interactive data web project that catalogs increases in prosperity driven by the free market.

Social media sponsored by Cato includes “Daily Podcasts” (through iTunes and RSS feeds), plus pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.[31]

Conferences

Speakers at Cato have included Federal Reserve Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato.[32][33][34] In 2009 Czech Republic PresidentVáclav Klaus spoke at a conference.[35]

Ideological relationships

Libertarianism, classical liberalism, and conservatism

Many Cato scholars advocate support for civil liberties, liberal immigration policies,[36] drug liberalization,[37] and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and laws restricting consensual sexual activity.[38][39] The Cato Institute officially resists being labeled as part of the conservative movement because “‘conservative’ smacks of an unwillingness to change, of a desire to preserve the status quo”.[40]

In 2006, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos proposed the term “Libertarian Democrat” to describe his particular liberal position, suggesting that libertarians should be allies of the Democratic Party. Replying, Cato vice president for research Brink Lindsey agreed that libertarians and liberals should view each other as natural ideological allies,[41] and noted continuing differences between mainstream liberal views on economic policy and Cato’s “Jeffersonian philosophy“. Cato has stated on its “About Cato” page: “The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato’s work has increasingly come to be called ‘libertarianism’ or ‘market liberalism.’ It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.”[42]

Cato scholars Gene Healy and Tim Lynch were critical of the expansion of executive power under President George W. Bush[43] and the Iraq War.[44] In 2006 and 2007, Cato published two books critical of the Republican Party’s perceived abandonment of the limited-government ideals that swept them into power in 1994.[45][46] For their part, only a minority of Republican congressmen supported President George W. Bush’s 2005 proposal to partially privatize Social Security, an idea strongly backed by the Institute. And in the 109th Congress, President Bush’s immigration plan – which was based on a proposal by Cato scholar Dan Griswold[47] – went down to defeat largely due to the eventual opposition of conservative Republican congressmen.[48]

Some Cato scholars disagree with conservatives on drug liberalization,[37] liberal immigration policy,[36] energy policy,[49] and LGBT rights[38] – including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.[39] Former Cato President Ed Crane had a particular dislike for neoconservatism. In a 2003 article with Cato Chairman Emeritus William A. Niskanen, he called neoconservatism a “particular threat to liberty perhaps greater than the ideologically spent ideas of left-liberalism”.[50] In 1995, Crane wrote that neoconservatives “have a fundamentally benign view of the state”, which Crane considers antithetical to libertarian ideals of individual freedom.[51] In 2004, Cato’s foreign policy team criticized neoconservative foreign policy,[52] albeit the opposition to neo-conservative foreign policy has not always been uniform.[53]

Objectivism

John A. Allison IV speaking at the 2014 International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC)

Further information: Objectivism and libertarianism

The relationship between Cato and the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) improved with the nomination of Cato’s new president John A. Allison IV in 2012. He is a former ARI board member and is reported to be an “ardent devotee” of Rand who has promoted reading her books to colleges nationwide.[54] In March 2015 Allison retired and was replaced by Peter Goettler. Allison remains on the Cato Institute’s board[55]

Cato positions on political issues and policies

The Cato Institute advocates policies that advance “individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace“. They are libertarian in their policy positions, typically advocating diminished government intervention in domestic, social, and economic policies and decreased military and political intervention worldwide. Cato was cited by columnist Ezra Klein as nonpartisan, saying that it is “the foremost advocate for small-government principles in American life” and it “advocates those principles when Democrats are in power, and when Republicans are in power”.[56] Eric Lichtblau called Cato “one of the country’s most widely cited research organizations”.[57]

On domestic issues

Cato scholars have consistently called for the privatization of many government services and institutions, including NASA, Social Security, the United States Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration,public transportation systems, and public broadcasting.[58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65] The institute opposes minimum wage laws, saying that they violate the freedom of contract and thus private property rights, and increase unemployment.[66][67] It is opposed to expanding overtime regulations, arguing that it will benefit some employees in the short term, while costing jobs or lowering wages of others, and have no meaningful long-term impact.[68][69] It opposes child labor prohibitions.[70][71][72] It opposes public sector unions and supports right-to-work laws.[73][74] It opposes universal health care, arguing that it is harmful to patients and an intrusion onto individual liberty.[75][76] It is against affirmative action.[77] It has also called for total abolition of the welfare state, and has argued that it should be replaced with reduced business regulations to create more jobs, and argues that private charities are fully capable of replacing it.[78][79] Cato has also opposed antitrust laws.[80][81]

Cato is an opponent of campaign finance reform, arguing that government is the ultimate form of potential corruption and that such laws undermine democracy by undermining competitive elections. Cato also supports the repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act.[82][83]

Cato has published strong criticisms of the 1998 settlement which many U.S. states signed with the tobacco industry.[84] In 2004, Cato scholar Daniel Griswold wrote in support of President George W. Bush’s failed proposal to grant temporary work visas to otherwise undocumented laborers which would have granted limited residency for the purpose of employment in the U.S.[85]

The Cato Institute published a study proposing a Balanced Budget Veto Amendment to the United States Constitution.[86]

In 2003, Cato filed an amicus brief in support of the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the remaining state laws that made private, non-commercial homosexual relations between consenting adults illegal. Cato cited the 14th Amendment, among other things, as the source of their support for the ruling. The amicus brief was cited in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion for the Court.[87]

In 2006, Cato published a Policy Analysis criticising the Federal Marriage Amendment as unnecessary, anti-federalist, and anti-democratic.[88] The amendment would have changed the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage; the amendment failed in both houses of Congress.

Cato scholars have been sharp critics of current U.S. drug policy and the perceived growing militarization of U.S. law enforcement.[89] Additionally, the Cato Institute opposes smoking bans[90] and mandatory use ofsafety belts.[91]

Criticism of corporate welfare

In 2004, the Institute published a paper arguing in favor of “drug re-importation”.[92] Cato has published numerous studies criticizing what it calls “corporate welfare”, the practice of public officials funneling taxpayer money, usually via targeted budgetary spending, to politically connected corporate interests.[93][94][95][96]

Cato president Ed Crane and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope co-wrote a 2002 op-ed piece in the Washington Post calling for the abandonment of the Republican energy bill, arguing that it had become little more than a gravy train for Washington, D.C. lobbyists.[97] Again in 2005, Cato scholar Jerry Taylor teamed up with Daniel Becker of the Sierra Club to attack the Republican Energy Bill as a give-away to corporate interests.[98]

On copyright issues

A 2006 study criticized the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.[99]

On foreign policy

Cato’s non-interventionist foreign policy views, and strong support for civil liberties, have frequently led Cato scholars to criticize those in power, both Republican and Democratic. Cato scholars opposed PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush‘s 1991 Gulf War operations (a position which caused the organization to lose nearly $1 million in funding),[15](p454) President Bill Clinton‘s interventions in Haiti and Kosovo, and President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. As a response to the September 11 attacks, Cato scholars supported the removal of al Qaeda and the Taliban regime from power, but are against an indefinite and open-ended military occupation of Afghanistan.[100]

Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato’s Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, criticized many of the arguments offered to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. One of the war’s earliest critics, Carpenter wrote in January 2002: “Ousting Saddam would make Washington responsible for Iraq’s political future and entangle the United States in an endless nation-building mission beset by intractable problems.”[101] Carpenter also predicted: “Most notably there is the issue posed by two persistent regional secession movements: the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south.”[101] Cato’s Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Christopher Preble, argues in The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free, that America’s position as an unrivaled superpower tempts policymakers to constantly overreach and to redefine ever more broadly the “national interest”.[102]

Christopher Preble has said that the “scare campaign” to protect military spending from cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011 has backfired.[103]

On environmental policy

Cato scholars have written about the issues of the environment, including global warming, environmental regulation, and energy policy.

PolitiFact.com and Scientific American have criticized Cato’s work on global warming.[104][105] A December 2003 Cato panel included Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and John Christy.[citation needed] Michaels, Balling and Christy agreed that global warming is related at least some degree to human activity but that some scientists and the media have overstated the danger.[citation needed] The Cato Institute has also criticized political attempts to stop global warming as expensive and ineffective:

No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame (i.e., 50 years or so), even with full compliance.[106]

Cato scholars have been critical of the Bush administration’s views on energy policy. In 2003, Cato scholars Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren said the Republican Energy Bill was “hundreds of pages of corporate welfare, symbolic gestures, empty promises, and pork-barrel projects”.[107] They also spoke out against the former president’s calls for larger ethanol subsidies.[108]

With regard to the “Takings Clause” of the United States Constitution and environmental protection, libertarians associated with Cato contend that the Constitution is not adequate to guarantee the protection of private property rights.[109]

Other commentaries of presidential administrations

George W. Bush administration

Cato scholars were critical of George W. Bush‘s Republican administration (2001–2009) on several issues, including education,[110] and excessive government spending.[111] On other issues, they supported Bush administration initiatives, most notably health care,[112] Social Security,[113][114] global warming,[106] tax policy,[115] and immigration.[85][116][117][118]

2008 election campaign commentaries

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Cato scholars criticized both major-party candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama.[119][120]

Barack Obama administration

Cato has criticized President Obama’s stances on policy issues such as fiscal stimulus,[121] healthcare reform,[122] foreign policy,[123] and drug-related matters,[37] while supporting his stance on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell[39] and liberal immigration policy.[36]

Funding, tax status, and corporate structure

The Cato Institute is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization under U.S. Internal Revenue Code. For revenue, the Institute is largely dependent on private contributions. The Cato Institute reported fiscal year 2015 revenue of $37.3 million and expenses of $29.4 million.[5] According to the organization’s annual report, $32.1 million came from individual donors, $2.9 million came from foundations, $1.2 million came from program revenue and other income, and $1 million came from corporations.[5]

Sponsors of Cato have included FedEx, Google, CME Group and Whole Foods Market.[124] The Nation reported support for Cato from the tobacco industry in a 2012 story.[125]

Funding details

Funding details as of FYE March 2015:[5]
Circle frame.svg

Operating Revenue as of FYE March 2015: $37,319,000

  Individuals (86.0%)
  Foundations (7.7%)
  Corporations (2.9%)
  Program revenue (2.9%)
  Other income (0.5%)
Circle frame.svg

Operating expenses as of FYE March 2015: $29,352,000

  Program (73.8%)
  Management & General (7.9%)
  Development (18.3%)

Net assets as of FYE March 2015: $70,186,000.

Shareholder dispute

According to an agreement signed in 1977, there were to be four shareholders of the Cato Institute. They were Charles and David Koch, Ed Crane,[126] and William A. Niskanen. Niskanen died in October 2011.[127] In March 2012, a dispute broke out over the ownership of Niskanen’s shares.[126][127] Charles and David Koch filed suit in Kansas, seeking to void his shareholder seat. The Kochs argued that Niskanen’s shares should first be offered to the board of the Institute, and then to the remaining shareholders.[128] Crane contended that Niskanen’s share belonged to his widow, Kathryn Washburn, and that the move by the Kochs was an attempt to turn Cato into “some sort of auxiliary for the G.O.P…. It’s detrimental to Cato, it’s detrimental to Koch Industries, it’s detrimental to the libertarian movement.”[57]

In June 2012, Cato announced an agreement in principle to settle the dispute by changing the institute’s governing structure. Under the agreement, a board replaced the shareholders and Crane, who at the time was also Chief Executive Officer, retired. Former BB&T bank CEO John A. Allison IV replaced him.[129][130] The Koch brothers agreed to drop two lawsuits.[131]

Associates in the news

  • Cato senior fellow Robert A. Levy personally funded the plaintiffs’ successful Supreme Court challenge to the District of Columbia’s gun ban (District of Columbia v. Heller), on the basis of the Second Amendment.[132]
  • In January 2008, Dom Armentano wrote an op-ed piece about UFOs and classified government data in the Vero Beach Press-Journal.[133] Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz wrote that “I won’t deny that this latest op-ed played a role in our decision…” to drop Armentano as a Cato adjunct scholar.[134]

Nobel laureates at Cato

The following Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates have worked with Cato:[135]

Milton Friedman Prize

Since 2002, the Cato Institute has awarded the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty every two years to “an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing human freedom.”[136] The prize comes with a cash award of US$250,000.[137]

Friedman Prize winners
Year Recipient Nationality
2002 Peter Thomas Bauer[138]  British
2004 Hernando de Soto Polar[139]  Peruvian
2006 Mart Laar[140]  Estonian
2008 Yon Goicoechea[141]  Venezuelan
2010 Akbar Ganji[142]  Iranian
2012 Mao Yushi[143]  Chinese
2014 Leszek Balcerowicz[144]  Polish
2016 Flemming Rose[145]  Danish

Board of directors

As of 2016:[3]

Notable Cato experts

Notable scholars associated with Cato include the following:[146]

Policy scholars

Adjunct scholars

Fellows

Affiliations

The Cato Institute is an associate member of the State Policy Network, a U.S. national network of free-market oriented think tanks.[147][148]

See also]

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Koch Industries is the second largest privately held company by revenue in the United States. “Forbes List”. Forbes. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  2. Jump up^ Koch is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries, the second largest privately held company by revenue in the United States. “Forbes List”. Forbes. Retrieved November 13, 2011.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato_Institute

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John Samples — The Struggle To Limit Government — Videos

Posted on September 13, 2015. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Constitution, Documentary, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, history, IRS, Law, liberty, Life, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Non-Fiction, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

the struggle for limited government

Cato Connects: Election 2014 (David Boaz & John Samples)

‘Tea Party’ Political Groups and Government (John Samples)

Advice to Tea Partiers

‘Dark Money’ Groups and Political Speech

Stephen Colbert’s SuperPAC, the FEC and Citizens United (John Samples)

Cato Institute’s John Samples discusses the likely survival of the Citizens United ruling

Cato Institute’s John Samples discusses the future of Citizens United campaign finance rules

Obama’s Unprecedented War Powers Claims

Cato’s John Samples Looks at President Obama’s Justification for War in Libya

Part 1 Mike Pence with John Samples Cato Institute Corporate Personhood

Part 2 Mike Pence with John Samples Cato Institute Corporate Personhood

Part 3 Mike Pence with John Samples Cato Institute Corporate Personhood

Part 4 Mike Pence with John Samples Cato Institute Corporate Personhood

Underwhelming Spending Cuts from Congress and Obama

john samples

Background Articles and Videos

Is Limited Government an Oxymoron? | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

Doug Casey – Decline of Empire Parallels Between the US and Rome [Capitalism & Morality 2014]

Doug Casey: Economy Will Crash, World War III Coming & End Cash

BEST ANARCHISM SPEECH: Doug Casey on the 7 billion Chimpanzees Facing Economic Collapse

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Part 1 of 3: An American Renaissance, The Road To Peace and Prosperity: Faith, Family, Friends, and Freedom ~ First — Videos

Posted on June 10, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Documentary, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, history, IRS, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Raves, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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Story 1, Part 1 of 3: An American Renaissance, The Road To Peace and Prosperity: Faith, Family, Friends, and Freedom ~ First — Videos

fairtax

fair_tax_factst

FairTax: Fire Up Our Economic Engine (Official HD)

The FairTax: It’s Time

Flat Tax vs. National Sales Tax

Dan Mitchell Discussing Federal Tax Burden on CNBC

Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth

Dan Mitchell Explaining How Government Screws Up Everything

What is the FairTax legislation?

Cato Institute Senior Fellow Daniel J. Mitchell

How does the FairTax rate compare to today’s?

What assumptions does the FairTax make about government spending?

How does the FairTax rate compare to today’s?

Is the FairTax truly progressive?

How does the “prebate” work?

Will the prebate create a massive new entitlement system?

Wouldn’t it be more fair to exempt food and medicine from the FairTax?

Is it fair for rich people to get the same prebate as poor people?

If people bring home their whole paychecks how can prices fall?

How does the FairTax impact the middle class?

Why is the FairTax better than a flat income tax?

Is the FairTax rate really 23%?

Is consumption a reliable source of revenue?

How does the FairTax affect compliance costs?

Isn’t it a stretch to say the IRS will go away?

Can I pretend to be a business to avoid the sales tax?

How does the FairTax affect tax preparers and CPAs?

Are any significant economies funded by a sales tax?

How will the FairTax affect state sales tax systems?

Can’t Americans just cross the border to avoid the FairTax

How will Social Security payments be calculated under the FairTax?

Will the FairTax impact tax deferred retirement accounts like 401(k)s?

How will the FairTax® make the tax system fair for everyone?

What’s the difference between the FairTax® and the income tax?

How will the FairTax® help me save money?

Why Should Grandparents support FairTax®?

Congressman Woodall Discusses the FairTax

“The Case for the Fair Tax”

Freedom from the IRS! – FairTax Explained in Detail

John Stossel speaks to the Fair Tax Rally

Sen. Moran Discusses FairTax Legislation on U.S. Senate Floor

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958

Robert Welch Speaks: In One Generation (1974)

comparison

GOP Taxonomy: The Flat Taxers and the Fair Taxers

by Aman Batheja

During his last run for president, Rick Perry often pulled a postcard out of his jacket pocket.

“The best representation of my plan is this postcard, which taxpayers will be able to fill out to file their taxes,” Perry said.

While Perry proposed an optional 20 percent flat tax on all income levels, the other Texan running that cycle, Ron Paul, wanted to get rid of the income tax altogether. The former Surfside congressman sometimes suggested replacing it and other federal taxes with a sales tax, a concept often described as the Fair Tax.

As the 2016 landscape begins taking shape, potential Republican candidates are suggesting an interest in being both flat and fair, embracing some version of Perry’s 2012 proposal as the first step toward reaching Paul’s ideal.

Take U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose talk on taxes has sounded strikingly similar to Perry’s at times.
“We should let taxes become so simple that they could be filled out on a postcard,” Cruz wrote in a column for USA Today in October.

Yet while Cruz has called for converting the country’s progressive income tax system to a flat tax, his office confirmed that the Fair Tax is his long-term goal.

“The senator supports a Fair Tax, ultimately,” spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said. “However, the most immediate, effective way to implement comprehensive tax reform is to pass a simple flat tax — so simple that Americans can file on a postcard. This should be the starting point for reform, and once it’s in place we should pursue a Fair Tax.”

Another presidential contender, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has also voiced support for a flat tax, but still prefers the vision of his libertarian father, Ron Paul.

“I’ve never said I don’t support a sales tax,” Rand Paul told The Texas Tribune recently while in Dallas. He explained that he viewed moving the federal tax system to a flat tax as “an easier concept to get through a legislature because you’re modifying the existing code.”

More broadly, Rand Paul said he was interested in stimulating economic growth by reducing the federal taxes overall.

“We’ve kind of lost that argument in recent years because many Republicans, including many in Washington, now simply argue for revenue neutral tax reform, which stimulates nothing,” Paul said.

For former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, those talking about the flat tax as a bridge to the Fair Tax are missing the point.
“Gov. Huckabee has said many times the Fair Tax is a flat tax, but it’s based on consumption rather than on punishing our productivity,” spokeswoman Alice Stewart said.

Another potential presidential contender, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, delivered a speech on taxes and income inequality this week in Detroit that reportedly included support for simplifying the tax code, but did not include specific policy proposals.

Critics of both flat tax and Fair Tax proposals dismiss them as regressive plans that would amount to tax cuts for higher-income households while increasing the tax burden on middle-class households. But conservatives argue that dramatically simplifying the tax code, or moving to a tax system focused more on consumption than earnings, would be more transparent, simpler and better for the economy in the long run.

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, said discussion of flat taxes and consumption taxes works well politically with Republican voters, but described them as “pie-in-the-sky, no-way-in-hell” proposals that won’t ever muster enough support in Congress.

“When you talk about tax reform in an environment that is politically polarized as ours, it’s hard to see how you get majority support, let alone a bipartisan package that could be taken to the public by both parties,” Jillson said. “It’s a way of saying, ‘I have no sense of doing anything practical.’ ”

While Cruz and Rand Paul have already signaled their positions, Perry, who has been meeting with dozens of policy experts to prepare for a second White House run, may end up tweaking his earlier flat tax plan.

“He supports simplifying the tax code, lowering rates for working families, and closing loopholes,” spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said. “Gov. Perry is continuing to work on policy proposals and will announce specific ideas at the appropriate time.”

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/08/flat-tax-fair-tax/

National Review: The FairTax Makes a Comeback

by: Ryan Lovelace

Republican senator David Perdue of Georgia sounds an awful lot like President Obama when he describes his plan to overhaul the tax code, which would repeal federal taxes and replace them with a consumption tax known as the “FairTax.”

“[The FairTax] really levels the playing field in that regardless of who you are, where you are, you’ll pay your fair share, and it will be the same amount,” Perdue tells NRO. “It will be equitable.”

Perdue couches his description of the FairTax in rhetorical terms — “levels the playing field,” “pay your fair share,” “equitable” — that could’ve come straight out of Obama’s State of the Union address, and that’s no accident. Whatever the political prospects of the proposal — it has failed over and over again when proposed in the past, and it is expected to meet a similar fate this time around — it could allow the GOP to seize the mantle of economic populism from the Democrats, and, in so doing, to “win” tax reform in the eyes of voters. That’s important, because tax-reform legislation is one of the few big, ostensibly bipartisan efforts the new Congress is expected to undertake, and the scramble to take credit for it ahead of the 2016 presidential election will be fierce.
The FairTax legislation put forward in the Senate by Perdue, his fellow Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson, and their colleague Jerry Moran (R., Kan.), was written with 2016 in mind. Perdue says that on Tuesday, before listening to Obama announce his desire to raise taxes once again, he and Isakson discussed the importance of their work in influencing the debate on tax reform. Perdue — the successful manager known for his ability to turn around businesses and revive brands – says he hopes to help move 2016 GOP presidential candidates in the direction of the FairTax.

The proposal itself is relatively simple: It would eliminate all federal income, payroll, gift, and estate taxes, and replace them with a 23 percent national sales tax. In addition to making the U.S. economy more competitive on a global scale and putting people back to work, the plan would strip the IRS of its ability to interfere in the lives of ordinary Americans, according to the conservative freshman from Georgia. Other longtime proponents of the idea agree, and argue that by replacing a system that taxes an individual’s earnings with one that exclusively taxes that same individual’s spending, it would allow each citizen the freedom to determine his own tax burden.

Perdue’s hopes for 2016 notwithstanding, the FairTax has not been a winning issue in past Republican presidential primaries. A number of GOP primary candidates, from Mike Huckabee in 2008 to Herman Cain in 2012, have failed to win the nomination while championing the proposal. And it will still be a loser come 2016, says Ryan Ellis, the tax-policy director at Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. “If this thing [the FairTax] was going to catch on as the next great hot thing, it would have,” Ellis says. “It’s not a practical tax-reform plan for governing, it’s something that people wish, aspirationally, they could put out there.”

The tax-reform proposals with the best chance of succeeding in Congress — and helping Republican candidates win in 2016 — are those that move incrementally toward the FairTax’s goals without overhauling the system in one fell swoop, Ellis says. Such proposals would likely combine some of the FairTax’s reforms — such as repealing the death tax and capital-gains taxes — with measures aimed at broadening the tax base of higher-income individuals. The winning formula to achieve fundamental tax reform, according to Ellis, is a plan that is pro-growth, pro-family, and “paid for by, as much as you can, rich guys.”

But those who warn that the FairTax lacks political viability only give more motivation to Rob Woodall (R., Ga.), the lead sponsor of FairTax legislation in the House of Representatives.

“That’s what I love about this bill: Washington hates this bill,” Woodall says. “There are all sorts of forces in town that discourage this kind of giant reform, but it’s being marketed at a grassroots level.”

Woodall’s Georgia district has a history of electing FairTax proponents to Congress. Woodall’s seat was previously occupied by John Linder, a tireless champion who first introduced the FairTax bill in 1999, and reintroduced it in each new Congress until he retired in 2011. He never succeeded in changing the law, but he did quite a bit to build support in his home state.

As Americans for Fair Taxation president Steve Hayes tells it, Atlanta-based radio talk-show host Neal Boortz is largely responsible for getting the idea off the ground. Boortz wrote The FairTax Book with Linder and trumpeted his support for the reform to a southeastern audience who readily took to the idea. Hayes’s organization works to garner more support for the idea across the United States.

The “power base” of the FairTax proposal has moved out of the Southeast and into the Midwest, Woodall says. Moran’s support as a lead co-sponsor has helped the idea gain traction in Kansas. A top Moran aide who worked on the FairTax bill tells NRO that Moran began laying the groundwork to lead on this issue last year, as former Georgia senator Saxby Chambliss was preparing to retire. Chambliss was a staunch supporter of the FairTax, and the aide says the two offices worked behind the scenes to ensure that the push for tax reform would live on. Woodall thinks the geographical shift in support will help the idea flourish in California and the Northwest. Moreover, he wants to gather supporters in key 2016 Republican-primary states and grow grassroots support in order to influence the GOP’s agenda.

But the effort to sell the FairTax primarily to devoted conservatives has left others in the dark as to its possible benefits. Laurence Kotlikoff, an economics professor at Boston University, has studied the FairTax and thinks it is a more progressive proposal than people realize. Kotlikoff says lawmakers’ lack of experience in public finance has led to a misunderstanding of the FairTax. He adds that he thinks Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi might even come around to the idea, if she realized that it would help some of the people she purports to care about most: workers.

After years toiling under former Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), some conservatives have grown excited by the Senate’s movement on this issue. The Moran staffer thinks a total of 10 or 11 senators may ultimately support the proposal, including new members and others who have changed their minds. The number of original co-sponsors of the FairTax in the House has increased during each of the last three Congresses, peaking this year with 57 total supporters.

Barring an unforeseen shift in Congress’s priorities, though, the FairTax appears doomed to fail yet again. Woodall knows the effort is ill-fated, and says he won’t look someone in the eye and tell them that a GOP-led Congress will put the FairTax on the president’s desk — or that the president would ever sign it. For the time being, his goal is more modest: He hopes to harness the relatively small but growing support for the proposal, and to take its message to voters across the country, showing his fellow Republicans that populist economic policies can win back the White House in 2016.

“This is a mission to change the way people think about the tax code,” he says. “It’s kind of a crazy idea until you look at it and you say, ‘Golly, why haven’t we done that already?’ Because we know that we can’t win Washington until we win the American voter across the country.” –

https://fairtax.org/articles/the-fairtax-makes-a-comeback

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Breaking News: An American With A Mission: 61 Year Young Mailman Lands on West Front of Capitol To Deliver 535 Airmail Letters To Representatives and Senators In Congress Demanding Campaign Finance Reform — Mission Accomplished — Nice Landing — Videos

Posted on April 15, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Documentary, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Photos, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Talk Radio, Transportation, Video, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Story 1: Breaking News: An American With A Mission: 61 Year Young Mailman Lands on West Front of Capitol To Deliver 535 Airmail Letters To Representatives and Senators In Congress Demanding Campaign Finance Reform — Mission Accomplished — Nice Landing — Videos


capitol16n-pilotHughes-and-Gyroflorida-man-arrested-after-landing-a-gyrocopter-on-the-front-lawn-of-the-us-capitolx_tampabaytimes_hughes_150415.blocks_desktop_largemap_washingtonvideo-undefined-279B8A7900000578-104_636x358Capitol-Aircraft-_Horo-1AP-Capitol-Aircraftlanding_on_lawnlongshot_capitolCapitol Aircraftcapitol_dronesafelandingCapitol-Aircraft_Yang-3-676x450bomb_squad041515-national-aircraft-capitol-lawnbomb disposallanding

us postal service

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Witness Captures Capitol Landing !!! RAW VIDEO !!!

VIDEO – 61 Yr Old Man Lands Gyrocopter on Lawn of U.S. Capitol w/ Letters to Congress – Doug Hughes

Man Lands Gyrocopter on US Capitol Grounds

U.S. Capitol Police converged Wednesday on a small manned aircraft that has landed on the west front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Police have taken the pilot into custody.

“The U.S. Capitol Police is investigating a gyro copter with a single occupant that has landed on the grassy area of the West Lawn of t‎he U.S. Capitol. The U.S. Capitol Police continues to investigate with one person detained and temporary street closures in the immediate area,” said Capitol Police Lt. Kimberly Schneider in a statement to CNN.

According to White House spokesman Eric Schultz, the President has been briefed on the situation.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the pilot is a mailman from Florida who planned the flight to protest the Supreme Court decision in Citizens’ United case and the influence of outside money in politics. He told the Times that he wanted to deliver mail to lawmakers outlining his complaints.

The paper is reporting it called Secret Service and Capitol Hill police before he flew. The reporter who spoke before the flight has been tweeting from Washington as the postal worker landed.

The Capitol Police, however, have not disclosed his identity. They did say he is in custody for questioning and they’re seeking to find out whether the landing was due to a mechanical issue or some other issue.

A friend of the pilot who says he’s known the man for years tells CNN that “there’s nothing on the helicopter that is dangerous” and that the this flight was meant to send a message to Congress about campaign finance reform.

“He has no weapons or anything else,” said Michael Shanahan. “I know him personally. He’s like a pitbull when he has an idea. He wants to wake up the country.”

Shanahan said the pilot called him before he took off.

“He’s upset that politicians can be bought and sold at auction, and I agree with him. That’s the point he’s trying [to make]” Shanahan added.

“Happy he made it alive. I want to thank the people who decided not to kill him.”

According to the FAA, this is restricted airspace and the individual did not get special permission to fly in this airspace. And a U.S, Defense official tells CNN NORAD was not involved. FAA would have contacted them for any military assets to be activated in response to this, and that contact was never made.

The building is no longer in lockdown, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms tells CNN that everything is under control.

At the moment of its landing, however, the Capitol was thrown into chaos.

Outside of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room, a half-dozen police were running through the hallways, speaking into their radios about a lockdown. In the room waited Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who had stopped by for a photo op and was posing a challenge for officers discussing safe ways to get the prime minister out of the building if necessary.

Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul was on the first floor of the Capitol with aides when the building was briefly locked down, but he hadn’t heard about the incident until CNN asked him. He decided to go outside and see the aircraft for himself, and Capitol Police let him through, despite the lockdown.

Gyrocopter’s Flight to the US Capitol: How It Unfolded

Helicopter Lands on U.S. Capitol Hill Ground, Pilot Arrested | Gyro Copter Bomb Search

Helicopter Lands on U.S. Capitol Hill Ground, Pilot Arrested | Gyro Copter Bomb Search |VIDEO

Gyrocopter flies into restricted airspace near Capitol

Pilot in Custody After Landing Small Aircraft On Capitol Building Lawn

Ultra light Autogyro / Gyrocopter

A helicopter carries mail to an airport for delivery by air in Washington DC, Uni…HD Stock Footage

Money in Politics: What’s the Problem?

Milton Friedman on Money in Politics

“Tyranny of the Status Quo” – Politicians

The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman

High court rules 5-4 against cap on campaign money

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

3 Reasons Not To Sweat The “Citizens United” SCOTUS Ruling

Debating the high court’s campaign finance decision

Campaign Finance Reform and the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

The Lawyer Who’s Killing Campaign Finance Reform – Legally Speaking

Miller Center – Bradley A. Smith Opening Statement

Campaign Finance — Stossel in the Classroom

Bradley A. Smith on Campaign Finance Reform and Free Speech

Sen. Cruz Q&A with Bradley Smith on Campaign Finance Reform

A Debate On Campaign Finance Disclosure

Former FEC Chairman Brad Smith on Camapaign-Finance Reform–and why John McCain Won’t Shake His Hand.

Gyrocopter Lands on West Front of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested

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Jon Stewart Grills Secretary Kathleen Sebelius On Obamacare and Website — Videos

Posted on October 9, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Glenn Beck: When You Lose Jon Stewart on Obamacare ‘You’re Done’

ObamaCare vs Free Market Approach to Health Care Reform

“What a train wreck”

Jon Stewart grills Kathleen Sebelius on Obamacare

Kathleen Sebelius: Individuals Can Get A One Year Obamacare Delay — By Paying The Penalty

Jon Stewart accuses Kathleen Sebelius of lying

Rush Limbaugh Gives Jon Stewart Props for Tough Kathleen Sebelius Interview – 10/8/13

Jon Stewart Grills Kathleen Sebelius on Obamacare: Incompetence That’s Larger Than What It Should Be

Civil disobedience for doctors? BJ Lawson of Physician Care Direct has a way out of Obamacare

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Brian Doherty — Radicals For Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement — Videos

Posted on June 8, 2013. Filed under: Banking, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, History of Economic Thought, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Required reading for all lovers of liberty and capitalism. Recommend all Americans read this book.

brian_doherty

radicalsforcapitalism

How Brian Doherty Became a Libertarian

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement

Featuring the author, Brian Doherty; with comments by E. J. Dionne Jr., Columnist, Washington Post, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; and moderator David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute, Author, Libertarianism: A Primer.

For the first time, the history of the modern libertarian movement is presented in one comprehensive book. Reason editor Brian Doherty has pored through archives across the country and conducted dozens of interviews. The result is a book that moves smoothly from the ideas of Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, and F. A. Hayek to the growth of libertarian think tanks to the factional feuds within the Libertarian Party. Every reader, no matter how well informed, will learn things from this book. Radicals for Capitalism will take its place alongside other key books about American ideological and political movements. Don’t miss the unveiling of this impressive book.

Conservatism vs Libertarianism – Brian Doherty

Reason Magazine Senior Editor Brian Doherty discusses the differences between libertarianism and traditional conservative ideologies.

—–

Brian Doherty considers “Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.”

This illuminating, lively history of a political movement on the rise – told through the life stories of its standard bearers – casts new light on the intellectual and political history of post-WWII America. Doherty traces the evolution of libertarianism through the unconventional stories of Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Milton Friedman, and their personal battles, character flaws, love affairs, and historical events that altered its course. In so doing, he provides a fascinating new perspective on American history, from the New Deal through the culture wars of the 1060s to today’s divisiveness.

In February, the Wall Street Journal noted, “With ‘Radicals for Capitalism’, Brian Doherty finally gives libertarianism its due…Mr. Doherty has rescued libertarianism from its own obscurity, eloquently capturing the appeal of the ‘pure idea’, its origins in great minds and the feistiness of its many current champions.” – Cody’s Books

Brian Doherty is a senior editor of Reason, the libertarian monthly named one of “The 50 Best Magazines” three out of the past four years by the Chicago Tribune. Established in 1968 and a four-time finalist for National Magazine Awards, Reason has a print circulation of 40,000 and won the 2005 Western Publications Association “MAGGIE” Award for best political magazine.

Brian Doherty on The Forgotten History of the Antiwar Right

What Happened to the Antiwar Movement? 

Gun Rights on Trial: Brian Doherty Reacts to D.C. v. Heller

Gun Rights Under Obama – Brian Doherty

Brian Doherty on Ron Paul’s Revolution

Ron Paul Supporters Seek to Assert Presence at RNC and Influence Long Term Direction of GOP

Brian Doherty Discusses ‘Ron Paul’s Revolution’

Brian Doherty’s Favorite Obscure Libertarian: Thomas Szasz

Background Articles and Videos

Libertarianism From A to Z With Jeffrey Miron

What happened to the “libertarian moment”?

With Ron Paul retiring, who will pick up the mantle of the libertarian movement?

The Libertarian View: Liberty and the Path of History

Exploring Liberty: The History of Liberty, Pt. 1 (Tom G. Palmer)

The Morality of Capitalism | Tom G. Palmer 

Tom G. Palmer gives a speech based on his new book, “The Morality of Capitalism.” Presented at the John Locke Foundation on October 17, 2011.

Thomas Szasz on Socialism in Health Care

The health care debate is fundamentally broken, argues the great psychiatry skeptic Thomas Szasz, because it assumes a flawed premise. Namely, that “diseases require treatment, so the thing to do is to avoid diseases so you don’t need treatment.”

Szasz ties this to the problem of socialism in health care. Because of the way we think about disease, we have a health care system that removes control from individuals and gives it to state-enabled doctors and insurance companies. In psychology, for example, “diseases are no longer defined by pathologists but are defined essentially by a political process.”

This has lead to, among other things, more expensive health care. Szasz offers seven reasons why, many having to do with the way we think about disease, how it should be treated, and the relationship between citizens and medicine.

A Special Tribute to Thomas Szasz

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Republican Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee Budget Balances in Ten Years — It Will Never Happen — End Baseline Budgeting and Balance The Budget In Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 — Videos

Posted on March 12, 2013. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, Education, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, history, Immigration, Inflation, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Tax Policy | Tags: , , , , , |

White-House-rips-Ryan-budget-plan

Rep Ryan: Budget Plan Balances Budget Withing 10 Years

Paul Ryan Announces 2014 Budget Proposal and Calls for No New Taxes

Background Articles and Videos

[EXCLUSIVE] President Obama WON’T Balance Budget ‘Just for the Sake of Balance’

Obama Declares Plan to Cut Deficit in Half

Dan Mitchell Discussing Dishonest Budget Numbers with John Stossel

Dan Mitchell Exposing DC’s Fake Spending-Cut Scam with Judge Napolitano

Dr. Coburn on Charlie Rose on US Debt Crisis, Leadership Deficit in Washington 

Baseline Budgeting

Paul Ryan: The GOP Plan to Balance the Budget by 2023

The goal can be reached, with no new taxes, while increasing spending 3.4% annually instead of the current 5%.

By PAUL RYAN

America’s national debt is over $16 trillion. Yet Washington can’t figure out how to cut $85 billion—or just 2% of the federal budget—without resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. Clearly, the budget process is broken. In four of the past five years, the president has missed his budget deadline. Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in over 1,400 days. By refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation’s debt—or simply to write a budget—Washington lurches from crisis to crisis.

House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we’re introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn’t have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.

So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.

Our opponents will shout austerity, but let’s put this in perspective. On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy.

Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget. It’s why. A budget is a means to an end, and the end isn’t a neat and tidy spreadsheet. It’s the well-being of all Americans. By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.

The truth is, the nation’s debt is a sign of overreach. Government is trying to do too much, and when government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, because it returns government to its proper limits and focus. By curbing government’s overreach, our budget will give families the space they need to thrive.

The other side will warn of a relapse into recession—just as they predicted economic disaster when the budget sequester hit. But a balanced budget will help the economy. Smaller deficits will keep interest rates low, which will help small businesses to expand and hire. It’s no surprise, then, that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office believes that legislation reducing the deficit as much as our budget does would boost gross national product by 1.7% in 2023.

We must take action now. Our budget will expand opportunity in major areas like energy. It will protect and strengthen key priorities like Medicare. It will encourage social mobility by retooling welfare. It will fix the broken tax code to create jobs and increase wages.

First, energy. America has the world’s largest natural-gas, oil and coal reserves—enough natural gas to meet the country’s needs for 90 years. Yet the administration is buying up land to prevent further development. Our budget opens these lands to development, so families will have affordable energy. It approves the Keystone XL pipeline, which will create 20,000 direct jobs—and 118,000 indirect jobs. Our budget puts the country on the path to North American energy independence.

Second, health care. Our budget repeals the president’s health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare. I want Medicare to be there for my kids—just as it’s there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on. Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose—including traditional Medicare—and help them pay the premiums.

The other side will demagogue this issue. But remember: Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program’s demise.

Third, welfare reform. After the welfare reforms of 1996, child poverty fell by double digits. This budget extends those reforms to other federal aid programs. It gives states flexibility so they can tailor programs like Medicaid and food stamps to their people’s needs. It encourages states to get people off the welfare rolls and onto payrolls. We shouldn’t measure success by how much we spend. We should measure it by how many people we help. Those who protect the status quo must answer to the 46 million Americans living in poverty.

Fourth, tax reform. The current tax code is a Rubik’s cube that Americans spend six billion hours—and $160 billion—each year trying to solve. The U.S. corporate tax is the highest in the industrialized world. So our budget paves the way for comprehensive tax reform. It calls for Congress to simplify the code by closing loopholes and consolidating tax rates. Our goal is to have just two brackets: 10% and 25%. House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has committed to pass a specific bill this year.

If we take these steps, the United States will once again become a haven of opportunity. The economy will grow, and the country will regain its strength. All we need is leadership. Washington owes the American people a balanced budget. It isn’t fair to take more from families so government can spend more.

A balanced budget isn’t unprecedented. President Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to get it done. House Republicans’ last two budgets balanced, too—albeit at a later date. But a balanced budget is still a noteworthy achievement, considering the competition.

The recent debt-ceiling agreement forced Senate Democrats to write a budget this year, and we expect to see it this week. I hate to break the suspense, but their budget won’t balance—ever. Instead, it will raise taxes to pay for more spending. The president, meanwhile, is standing on the sidelines. He is expected to submit his budget in April—two months past his deadline.

We House Republicans have done our part. We’re offering a credible plan for all the country to see. We’re outlining how to solve the greatest problems facing America today. Now we invite the president and Senate Democrats to join in the effort.

— Mr. Ryan, a Republican, represents Wisconsin’s first congressional district and is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323826704578353902612840488.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

Morning Bell: First Look at the 2014 Ryan Budget

Alison Acosta Fraser

At first look, the budget unveiled today by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) advances much-needed reforms and importantly accomplishes the crucial goal of balancing the budget within the decade, though this is partially on the coattails of Obama’s tax increases. Not a silver bullet, it is more of a stasis budget, rather than a bolder plan that builds on the reforms of previous years.

There are six things that each budget from the House, Senate, and President should accomplish. These are laid out in the Heritage plan, Saving the American Dream, which:

  • Balances the budget in less than 10 years, without raising taxes, and keeps the budget in balance thereafter;
  • Swiftly overhauls entitlement programs, including Social Security, to guarantee economic security to seniors while making the programs affordable;
  • Repeals Obamacare in its entirety;
  • Fully funds defense;
  • Rolls back discretionary spending; and
  • Rolls back recent tax increases with a sweeping, growth-oriented tax reform plan and caps taxes at the historical average of 18.5 percent.

Here’s how, at first blush, the Ryan plan measures up:

Gets to Balance. The Ryan budget achieves an important improvement over last year by balancing the budget within 10 years. The President’s budgets have never even attempted this, and given the Senate’s rusty skills in budget writing, it’s unlikely they would choose this course, either. The Ryan budget slows the growth of spending to about 3.4 percent per year, compared to roughly 5 percent today, with about $5 trillion less spending.

But, regrettably, Ryan’s budget also relies on Obama’s $618 billion fiscal cliff tax increase and Obamacare’s $1 trillion in tax hikes (more on this next) to get to balance. This means that tax levels rise almost immediately to 19.1 percent of GDP, well over the 18.5 percent benchmark. Balance is important, but so is the size of government. Without the tax increase, this budget would have had to have been more assertive in attacking spending and reforming entitlements to achieve and sustain balance.

And while the intent, we are told, is to stay in balance in the coming years and decades, regrettably, as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not updated its long-term model yet, there is no CBO scoring to say how or whether this happens.

Repeals Obamacare Spending, But Keeps the Taxes. The vital organs of Obamacare—the insurance exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansions—are scheduled to start next year. Ryan’s budget takes the correct and necessary step of repealing them. But, as noted above, perhaps the biggest shortcoming of this budget is that it keeps the tax increases associated with Obamacare. These tax hikes are the oxygen that fuels the fire of ever bigger spending. But the entire fire needs to be put out—all of Obamacare should be repealed, including its tax hikes.

Defense Funding Levels Mixed. Like last year, the Ryan budget protects defense from the eviscerating sequestration cuts. This is sound. As North Korea’s posturing shows, the world is not a safer place today. But the national defense budget has been squeezed by Obama’s reductions just when U.S. forces need replenishment and modernization. Ryan’s budget essentially adopts the defense spending caps in the Budget Control Act without sequestration. This is better than the President’s plainly inadequate funding for current and future needs, and certainly better than the sequester, but still less than what is required.

Entitlement Reforms; More Needed. Ryan continues to be a strong leader here, tackling Medicare’s abject failures head on. His signature solution of a premium support model for Medicare is the hallmark of his budget. Moving to a patient-centered model would free retirees from relying on the unstable and unsustainable government-run Medicare program and restrain costs through the competition rather than price-fixing. The sooner this transition is made, the better.

But the transition is too slow, as it once again exempts those over 55 from these changes to Medicare. Our spending problem is so severe that all Americans should be part of the solution. While this “grandfather” clause is understandable, most Americans this age will have more than a decade remaining in their working lives. We cannot continue to keep leaving one more year of the baby boomer generation out of the solution because Washington fails to act.

Though the budget takes the first step on by turning Medicaid into a block grant, more important is to move the mainstream Medicaid population into private insurance.

And discouragingly, like last year, there is no Social Security reform at all. This is especially disappointing, given the current discussions of commonsense, simple reforms like increasing the retirement age or moving to a more accurate measure of inflation like chained CPI.

Reduces Non-Defense Discretionary Spending. By extending the Budget Control Act spending caps for two years and keeping sequestration levels, the Ryan budget makes strong reductions to this spending. It also assumes some worthy and long overdue reforms, such as consolidating the federal government’s 49 job training programs, many of which are ineffective, and first steps at reining in farm subsidies.

Growth-Oriented Tax Reform. The Ryan budget lays out important principles for tax reform and rightly rejects closing tax preferences (“loopholes”) just to raise revenue. True tax reform is revenue neutral: Any revenue raised by eliminating tax preferences should be offset by lowering tax rates. The budget sets the same, pro-growth goals for fewer, lower rates and territoriality as last year.

Bottom Line: The Ryan budget delivers on its new promise this year—to balance the budget within the decade. Unfortunately, it does use higher taxes to help achieve this. It maintains Ryan’s signature reform to Medicare, which will go far toward reining in unaffordable entitlement spending.

Though more could be done along the lines of Saving the American Dream to advance bolder entitlement reforms and to throw off the yoke of Obama’s tax hikes, this budget takes first steps toward reining in spending and reforming entitlements. And if preliminary news reports are to believed, this plan is sure to be far superior to the Senate’s version now awaiting its finishing touches replete with still more tax increases, spending and looming deficits.

http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/12/first-look-at-ryan-budget-2014/

Saving the American Dream:  The Fiscal Cliff and Beyond

By Alison Acosta Fraser, William W. Beach and Stuart  M. Butler, Ph.D. December 11, 2012

Abstract: Unless Congress and the President act promptly and wisely, sequestration under the Budget Control Act (BCA) will undermine military readiness, and the nearly $500 billion tax increase starting on January 1, 2013, will greatly harm an already weak economy. However, this fiscal cliff can be avoided. The key to avoiding this and future fiscal calamities is reform of the mandatory spending programs, from welfare to Social Security, that currently drive federal deficits. The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan would rein in spending immediately, restructure the major entitlement programs to bring entitlement spending under control over the long term, and strengthen the core foundations of these programs.

Since the Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan[1] was first published in April 2011, there has been almost no substantive progress on spending control. The only plausible exception was the flawed Budget Control Act (BCA), a product of a contentious debt limit debate. The complete failure of the resultant bipartisan “supercommittee” to reach agreement was a sad reflection on a Congress that is divided and unwilling to pass the legislation necessary to rein in spending.

As a result, the nation is facing the looming sequester, which will further undermine the defense budget, jeopardizing one of the federal government’s core constitutional responsibilities. Yet it would leave entitlement programs virtually untouched, even though they are the largest driver of spending today and in the future. Meanwhile, the prospect of a huge tax increase in January has had a deleterious effect on the economy for many months, although the effect is only a small portion of the harm the economy will incur if the tax increase ultimately takes effect. America seriously needs a true way forward.

chart1

The Heritage plan reflects the need to rein in spending immediately and to rethink major programs. Spending on the open-ended Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid entitlements must be brought under control, and the core foundations of these programs should be strengthened.

The following principles guide the policy solutions in Saving the American Dream:

  • Total spending must be brought under control to balance the budget without raising taxes, ultimately holding revenues at their historical share of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Entitlement programs should, unlike today, actually guarantee seniors economic security in retirement and be recast as real and sustainable insurance programs focused on those who truly need them.
  • Other spending must be curbed, and the federal government must be restricted to its proper functions.
  • Defense, as a core constitutional function of the federal government, should be fully funded and efficiently delivered.
  • The tax system should be structurally reformed to foster growth by eliminating tax distortions of private economic decisions, especially decisions on savings and investment, and to make the system simpler and more transparent.

Priorities for Congress and the President

Fiscal year (FY) 2012 closed on September 30 with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimating spending of $3.5 trillion and a deficit of $1.1 trillion.[2] Debt held by the public was $11.3 trillion (73 percent of GDP). According to the CBO, debt will explode to 199 percent of GDP by 2037, driven by growth in spending that will reach 36 percent of GDP.[3]

The main drivers of spending and debt increases are incontrovertibly the major entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. However, the slow economy with its high unemployment rate, which remains stuck at around 8 percent, also adds to deficits and debt through two channels: mandatory spending for those workers who are most affected by the slow economy (e.g., unemployment compensation) and below-average tax revenues.

It is clear that the top priorities for Congress and the President should be controlling spending, especially entitlement reform, and setting an economic growth agenda through tax reform. After averting the fiscal cliff, Congress and the President should immediately turn their attention to these pressing issues.

chart2_600

As noted, entitlements are the fastest-growing programs. Even if all other spending was eliminated, these programs would still cause large and unsustainable deficits in the future. Their growth is automatic, with autopilot spending increases built in and no serious budgetary constraints. The top priority must be to restructure entitlements and put a brake on their spending levels while strengthening and preserving them for future generations.

A number of robust proposals for health care reforms already exist, both in Congress and in the policy community.[4] Congress and the President should take advantage of this policy momentum and focus on reforming Medicaid and especially Medicare. However, changes in Social Security should follow quickly, and the rules that govern these programs in general should be more consistent. For example, increases in the normal eligibility age should proceed simultaneously for both Social Security and Medicare.

Specific steps for Congress and the President include the following:

  • The President should submit a budget by the 2013 tax deadline deadline that outlines strong, sweeping changes in entitlement programs that will reduce spending over the 10-year budget window and significantly improve the long-term trajectory of these programs.
  • The President’s budget should lay out specific goals for a pro-growth, revenue-neutral tax reform plan.
  • Congress and the President should include reforms in entitlement programs and further reductions in other spending areas, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), in exchange for any increases in the debt limit. These should reflect lessons learned from the 2011 Budget Control Act, such as avoiding high-stakes mechanisms like sequestration that are designed to fail.
  • Congress should pass a joint budget resolution by the April 15, 2013, deadline that includes reconciliation instructions for entitlement and tax reform.
  • The budget resolution should also require reforms of other spending programs to bring spending below the BCA levels for 2014 and beyond.

chart3

Health Care

If only one issue is thoroughly addressed in 2013, it should be the federal role in health care, the biggest driver of spending. The flawed Obamacare law only adds to the problem. Instead of expanding the government’s role, health care should follow a true patient-centered, market-based model, including reforms in Medicare, Medicaid, and the tax treatment of health insurance.

Medicare. Medicare’s finances must be brought under control. As a first step, the age of eligibility should be raised gradually from 65 to 68 and then indexed to life expectancy. Premiums for Parts B and D should also gradually increase, thus expanding the current policy for Medicare of adjusting the level of taxpayer subsidies to income, with the most affluent seniors receiving much smaller (or in some cases no) taxpayer subsidies for their health coverage. These steps, among others,[5] should occur immediately because they are easily achieved and less controversial and should be part of new debt-limit legislation.

Within five years of these initial changes, patients should also be transitioned to a defined-contribution or premium-support model that would be adjusted for income. Expanding competition in Medicare would restrain federal spending, slow health care costs, and promote greater innovation in the delivery of care.[6]

Medicaid. Federal spending on Medicaid should be put on a budget subject to regular congressional review to bring greater fiscal certainty and stability to the process. Federal Medicaid spending would follow antipoverty spending caps by reverting to the 2007 spending levels when the economy approaches full employment (e.g., the unemployment rate dips below 6 percent) and be adjusted for medical inflation thereafter.

In lieu of traditional Medicaid, able-bodied individuals and families should receive direct federal assistance in the form of tax credits or direct assistance to enable them to buy private insurance coverage of their choice. For the disabled and frail elderly, Medicaid would remain a joint federal–state safety net program, but states would have additional flexibility to adopt more patient-centered models.

Reform of the Tax Treatment of Health Insurance. As a part of tax reform (see below), the employee tax break for employer-sponsored coverage would be converted to a non-refundable tax credit that individuals and families could use to purchase the health plan of their choice.

These larger reforms are best achieved through normal legislative order. This could include the legitimate use of reconciliation as part of a comprehensive budget plan. In any case, Congress should pass a concurrent budget resolution for FY 2014.

Social Security

Social Security needs to be reformed. It is running permanent cash-flow deficits and has severe programmatic flaws.[7]

First, Social Security’s eligibility age should gradually be increased in tandem with Medicare’s eligibility age. For both, this change is straightforward and could be included in an initial, small reform package. Next, Social Security should return to its original purpose of guaranteeing that all Americans are protected from poverty in retirement. As part of this insurance protection, benefits would evolve to an understandable, predictable flat benefit that is well above the poverty level. With Social Security functioning as an insurance program, moderate-income retirees would receive a smaller check, while affluent seniors would receive no check unless their financial circumstances change.

To encourage people to stay in the workforce longer, those who work beyond full retirement age would receive a higher level of after-tax income until they do retire.

chart4

Tax reform would support Social Security reforms by significantly increasing personal savings that seniors can take into retirement, and there would be no limit on the amount of these tax-deferred savings. Thus, more retirement income would be possible than under the current system. Social Security would become a safety valve against economic reversals and a floor for income after the statutory retirement age.

chart5_600

Other Spending

Defense cuts are already reducing military readiness, thus endangering the security of the United States. The defense portion of the BCA cuts is dangerously flawed and must be reversed. In Saving the American Dream, the sequester for defense spending (including the 2013 cuts) is eliminated, and the higher spending is more than offset with reforms in other spending and entitlements. Defense spending is brought slowly up to and held at 4 percent of GDP. Non-defense discretionary spending is set for 2013 at the BCA sequester level and then reduced to 2 percent of GDP, after which it is indexed to inflation.

Spending in 2014 and beyond should include reforms in long-standing but growing and expensive programs such as farm subsidies and transportation. A program of privatization, including federal asset sales, could begin as early as 2015. Anti-poverty spending should be rolled back and capped when the economy approaches full employment and then consolidated into fewer programs that reflect strong incentives for work and marriage.

chart6_600

Revenue

Tax Reform. The economy remains plagued by the uncertainty of expiring tax policy and an unwieldy and inefficient tax code. Beyond preventing Taxmageddon by extending all current tax policy and delaying the Obamacare tax increases before January 1, 2013, Congress should pass broad substantive tax reform consistent with the New Flat Tax in Saving the American Dream. Tax reform should focus on promoting economic growth by reducing both tax rates and tax distortions while maintaining revenue and distributional neutrality. It should also simplify the tax system and improve its transparency so that taxpayers can better understand the influence of tax policy as well as the true cost of government.[8]

The broad direction for tax reform already in play, especially the bipartisan push for lower corporate income tax rates, is fully consistent with the New Flat Tax. Congress will likely find the goal of lower corporate tax rates quickly running up against the consequent need to lower tax rates for non-corporate businesses. This occurs naturally under the New Flat Tax, which taxes all businesses at a single rate on their domestic net cash flow at the entity level. Likewise, the growing support for a territorial tax system—under which U.S. businesses are taxed solely on their domestic income—is also fully consistent with the New Flat Tax, which levies tax solely on domestic income.

Under the New Flat Tax, the individual income tax and the payroll tax are rolled into one system with the same tax rate that is imposed on business income. Nearly all other federal levies are repealed, leaving a simple system for both individuals and businesses. Under the New Flat Tax as it applies to individuals, only income used for consumption is taxed, thus eliminating the existing tax bias against saving. In addition, all distorting credits, exemptions, and deductions are eliminated, leaving only two credits and three deductions.

The first credit is the above-mentioned tax credit for health insurance. This tax credit is less distortive of economic decisions than current law is, but it remains a clear subsidy for the purchase of health insurance. It is necessary because the current-law tax bias favoring health insurance is so powerful and so entrenched that simply eliminating the tax advantage is impracticable.

The second credit carried over from current law is the earned income credit (EIC). The EIC needs reform in its own right, but it is also the largest income-support component of the overall federal anti-poverty program and one of its most effective elements. Changes in the EIC should then be considered part of the proposed budget for anti-poverty programs.

The three deductions are as follows:

  • The deduction for charitable expense, which is retained because this tax system taxes the individual on what he or she spends. Charitable contributions benefit the receiving organization and thus should be deductible for the recipient.
  • A deduction for higher education, which recognizes that education expenses are a form of saving and investing simultaneously, which in every other instance is excluded from tax under the New Flat Tax.
  • An optional home mortgage deduction with the proviso that if the homeowner chooses a mortgage with deductible interest, then the lender must, as under current law, continue to pay tax on interest income earned. Alternatively, the home owner may choose to forgo the deduction, in which case the lender earns tax-free interest income and can thus charge a lower mortgage interest rate.

The New Flat Tax, the tax reform plan, is implemented effective January 1, 2014.

table1

Addressing the Fiscal Cliff

Table 1 addresses each element of the fiscal cliff and the proposed steps that Congress should take on each of them.

Alison Acosta Fraser is Director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, William W. Beach is Director of the Center for Data Analysis and Lazof Family Fellow in Economics, and Stuart M. Butler, PhD, is Director of the Center for Policy Innovation at The Heritage Foundation.

The editors are grateful to the team leaders who worked with policy experts throughout The Heritage Foundation to develop this report: J. D. Foster, Ph.D., Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy; Rea S. Hederman, Jr., Assistant Director and Research Fellow in the Center for Data Analysis; David C. John, Senior Research Fellow in Retirement Security and Financial Institutions; Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Senior Fellow in the Center for Policy Innovation; Nina Owcharenko, Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies; and Drew Gonshorowski, Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis.

This plan was developed as part of the Solutions Initiative and funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The Peterson Foundation convened organizations with a variety of perspectives to develop plans addressing our nation’s fiscal challenges. The American Action Forum, Bipartisan Policy Center, Center for American Progress, Economic Policy Institute, and The Heritage Foundation, each received grants. All organizations had discretion and independence to develop their own goals and propose comprehensive solutions. The Peterson Foundation’s involvement with this project does not represent endorsement of any plan.

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The Cost of Public Education and The Results–Videos

Posted on May 31, 2012. Filed under: American History, Books, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, High School, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Raves, Regulations, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Current per-pupil expenditures for public elementary and secondary education in the United States: 2008–09

Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools

The True Cost of Public Education

Education Spending in the US – Dissecting the Data

Linda Darling-Hammond on Becoming Internationally Competitive

Andreas Schleicher in conversation with Thoughts on Public Education, part 1

Andreas Schleicher in conversation with Thoughts on Public Education, part 2

EWA Interview: Andreas Schleicher on America’s Standing Among World Education Systems

Andreas Schleicher talks with EWA’s Dale Mezzacappa about how American education policy differs from other countries (0:01); strategies for recruiting highly-qualified teachers to low-performing schools (1:30); and how countries can change their approaches to bring about school improvement (5:30).

Dr. Schleicher is special adviser on education policy to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s secretary-general. As head of OECD’s programs on indicators and analysis in the Directorate for Education, he is also responsible for the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems and on the impact of knowledge and skills on economic and social outcomes.

This interview was recorded at EWA’s 64th National Seminar in April 2011 and was made possible in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Eminent Voices: Andreas Schleicher

Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division, OECD Directorate for Education, addresses participants at the Alliance for Excellent Education’s “Losing Our Edge: Are American Students Unprepared for the Global Economy?” event held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, on December 3, 2007.

Andreas Schleicher’s entire video and slide presentation is available at http://wm.nmmstream.net/aee/events/041207/schleicher/schleicher.asx. Mr. Schleicher’s video/slide presentation cannot be posted on YouTube as it is an interactive media experience.

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 1

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 2

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 3

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 4

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 5

Andreas Schleicher: Losing Our Edge – Part 6

PISA – Measuring student success around the world

American Dream-US Students Lagging in Global Test Scores-01-17-2011-(Part1)

American Dream-US Students Lagging in Global Test Scores-01-17-2011-(Part2)

American Dream-US Students Lagging in Global Test Scores-01-17-2011-(Part3)

Finland’s education success

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Charles and David Koch and Murray N. Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises–Videos

Posted on May 1, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Resources, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unions, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Lew Rockwell and Tom Woods discuss Rothbard and the Koch Brothers

People & Power – The Koch Brothers

I am a classical liberal or libertarian.

I greatly admire the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, The Von Mises Institute, Cato Institute, Reason and the Koch brothers.

Competition is what it is all about. This is a mistake the Kock borthers made in not encouraging instead of discouraging the formation of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and trying to marginalize Murray Rothbard. What is needed is many Cato Institutes and Ludwig von Mises Institutes spreading the word on the benefits of free market capitalism and limited government.

The Republican Party establishment, sad to say, is controlled by progressive neoconservatives, which is why many classical liberals or libertarians have left the Republican Party and are now independents.

Nixon, Ford, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney are all big government progressive Republicans. They may talk conservative, but walk as big government spenders. Limited government and fiscal responsibility are the last thing these big government progressive neoconservatives want. The Republican Party has became the party of war and the Democratic Party has become the party of welfare. The result is the warfare and welfare economy and state.

It is only a matter of time before a new political party will emerge that will reflect the views of libertarian conservatives, traditional conservatives, social/religious conservatives and national defense conservatives.

Both the Democratic and Republican party leaderships are so permeated with progressives or liberals that they are both lost causes.

Background Articles and Videos

Koch Family

“…The Koch family (play /ˈkoʊk/ KOHK) of industrialists and businessmen is most notable for their control of Koch Industries, the second largest privately owned company in the United States.[1] The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy oil into gasoline.[2][3] Fred’s four sons became involved in litigation against each other in the 1980s and 1990s.[4] According to the Koch Family Foundations and Philanthropy website, “the foundations and the individual giving of Koch family members” have financially supported organizations “fostering entrepreneurship, education, human services, at-risk youth, arts and culture, and medical research.” [5]

David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch—the two brothers still with Koch Industries—are affiliated with the Koch family foundations. Annual revenues for Koch Industries have been “estimated to be a hundred billion dollars.” [6]

Political activities

Main article: Political activities of the Koch family

David and Charles have funded conservative and libertarian policy and advocacy groups in the United States.[7] Since the 1980s the Koch foundations have given more than $100 million to such organizations, among these think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, as well as more recently Americans for Prosperity.[8] Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks are Koch-linked organizations that have been linked to the Tea Party movement.[9][10]

Family members

  • Fred C. Koch (1900–1967), American chemical engineer and entrepreneur who founded the oil refinery firm that later became Koch Industries
  • Mary Robinson Koch (October 17, 1907 – December 21, 1990),[11] wife of Fred C. and namesake of the company tanker vessel Mary R. Koch
  • Four sons of Fred C. and Mary Robinson Koch:[11]
    • Frederick R. Koch (born 1933), collector and philanthropist
    • Charles G. Koch (born 1935), Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries
    • David H. Koch (born 1940), Executive Vice President of Koch Industries
    • William Koch (born 1940), businessman, sailor, and collector

See also

  • David Koch Theatre
  • Charles Koch Arena
  • David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
  • The Science of Success, a book by Charles Koch in which he attributes the success of the family business to Market-Based Management
  • Koch Industries

References

  1. ^ “Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies”. Forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/21/private-companies-11_land.html. Retrieved 10/4/11.
  2. ^ Koch, Charles C. (2007). The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-470-13988-2.
  3. ^ “Koch Industries, Inc.”. Company Profile Report. Hoover’s, Inc.. 2010. http://www.hoovers.com/company/Koch_Industries_Inc/cftjki-1.html. Retrieved 10 May 2010. “[W]hen he tried to market his invention, the major oil companies sued him for patent infringement. Koch eventually won the lawsuits (after 15 years in court), but the controversy made it tough to attract many US customers.”
  4. ^ “Epic struggle among Koch brothers ends”. Houston Chronicle: p. 2. 26 May 2001.
  5. ^ http://kochfamilyfoundations.org/Foundations.asp
  6. ^ Mayer, Jane(August 10, 2010) http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama The New Yorker
  7. ^ Zernike, Kate (October 19, 2010). “Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead”. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/us/politics/20koch.htm.
  8. ^ Charles Koch, in interview with Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal. 6 May 2006. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114687252956545543.html
  9. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P. (August 9, 2010), “Tea party’s growing money problem”, Politico, http://dyn.politico.com/members/forums/thread.cfm?catid=1&subcatid=70&threadid=4355176, retrieved 2011-06-14
  10. ^ Fenn, Peter (February 2, 2011), “Tea Party Funding Koch Brothers Emerge From Anonymity”, U.S. News & World Report, http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/Peter-Fenn/2011/02/02/tea-party-funding-koch-brothers-emerge-from-anonymity, retrieved 2011-06-13
  11. ^ a b Fred and Mary Koch Foundation …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_family

Koch Industries

“…Koch Industries, Inc. (/ˈkoʊk/), is an American multinational conglomerate corporation based in Wichita, Kansas, United States, with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading and investments. Koch also owns Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Minerals and Matador Cattle Company. Koch companies are involved in core industries such as the manufacturing, refining and distribution[1] of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching,[3] finance, commodities trading, as well as other ventures and investments. The firm employs 50,000 people in the United States and another 20,000 in 59 other countries.[4]

In 2011, Forbes called it the second largest privately held company in the United States (after Cargill) with an annual revenue of about $98 billion,[5][6][7] down from the largest in 2006. If Koch Industries were a public company in 2007, it would rank about 16 in the Fortune 500.[8]

Fred C. Koch, for whom Koch Industries, Inc. is named, co-founded the company in 1940 and developed an innovative crude oil refining process.[9] His sons, Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, and David H. Koch, executive vice president, are principal owners of the company after they bought out their brothers, Frederick and William, for $1.1 billion in 1983.[10] Charles and David H. Koch each own 42% of Koch Industries, and Charles has stated that the company will publicly offer shares “literally over my dead body”.[5]

History

 Predecessor companies

In 1925, Fred C. Koch joined MIT classmate Lewis E. Winkler at an engineering firm in Wichita, Kansas, which was renamed the Winkler-Koch Engineering Company. In 1927 they developed a more efficient thermal cracking process for turning crude oil into gasoline. This process threatened the competitive advantage of established oil companies, which sued for patent infringement. Temporarily forced out of business in the United States, they turned to other markets, including the Soviet Union, where Winkler-Koch built 15 cracking units between 1929 and 1932. During this time, Koch came to despise communism and Joseph Stalin’s regime.[11][12] In his 1960 book, A Business Man Looks at Communism, Koch wrote that he found the USSR to be “a land of hunger, misery, and terror.”[13] According to Charles G. Koch, “Virtually every engineer he worked with [there] was purged.”[12]

In 1940, Koch joined new partners to create a new firm, the Wood River Oil and Refining Company, which is today known as Koch Industries. In 1946 the firm acquired the Rock Island refinery and crude oil gathering system near Duncan, Oklahoma. Wood River was later renamed the Rock Island Oil & Refining Company.[14] Charles G. Koch joined Rock Island in 1961, having started his career at the management consulting firm Arthur D. Little. He became president in 1966 and chairman at age 32, upon his father’s death the following year.[9][15]

Koch Industries

The company was renamed Koch Industries in honor of Fred Koch, the year after his death. At that time, it was primarily an engineering firm with part interest in a Minnesota refinery, a crude oil-gathering system in Oklahoma,[12] and some cattle ranches.[16] In 1968, Charles approached Union Oil of California about buying their interest in Great Northern Oil Company and its Pine Bend Refinery but the discussions quickly stalled after Union asked for a large premium.[11] In 1969, Union Oil began trying to market their interest in Great Northern by telling potential buyers that Koch’s controlling interest could be thwarted by currying favor with another owner, J. Howard Marshall II. When Marshall discovered this he threw his lot in with Koch, they together acquired a majority interest in the company and ultimately bought Union’s interest.[14] Ownership of Pine Bend refinery led to several new businesses and capabilities, including chemicals, fibers, polymers, asphalt and other commodities such as petroleum coke and sulfur. These were followed by global commodity trading, gas liquids processing, real estate, pulp and paper, risk management and finance.[11]

In 1970, Charles was joined at the family firm by his brother David H. Koch. Having started as a technical services manager, David became president of Koch Engineering in 1979.

Subsidiaries

Among Koch Industries’ subsidiaries across various industries[17] are:

Georgia-Pacific

Georgia-Pacific is a paper and pulp company that produces “Brawny” paper towels, “Angel Soft” toilet paper, “Mardi Gras” napkins and towels, “Quilted Northern” toilet paper and paper towels, “Dixie” paper plates, bowls, napkins and cups, “Sparkle” paper towels, and “Vanity Fair” paper napkins, bowls, plates and tablecloths. The Atlanta-based company has operations in 27 states.[18]

INVISTA

INVISTA is a polymer and fibers company that makes “Stainmaster” carpet, and “Lycra” fiber, among other products.

Koch Pipeline Company LP

Koch Pipeline Company LP, which owns and operates 4,000 miles (6,400 km) of pipeline used to transport oil, natural gas liquids and chemicals. Its pipelines are located across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alberta, Canada. The firm operates offices in Wichita, Kansas, St. Paul, Minnesota and Corpus Christi, Texas.

In 1946 Wood River Oil Co. (a precursor company to Koch Industries) purchased Rock Island Oil and Refining Co. As a part of the transaction, it acquired a crude-oil pipeline in Oklahoma. As a result of construction and investments, Wood River acquired other pipelines in the U.S. and Canada. “In the ensuing years,” according to Koch Pipeline’s website, “the company bought, sold and built pipeline systems transporting crude oil and refined products, as well as natural gas, natural gas liquids and anhydrous ammonia (for fertilizer).”[19] Koch Pipeline and its affiliates currently maintain a 4,000-mile network of pipelines.

In January 2000, Koch Pipeline agreed to a $35 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department and the State of Texas. This settlement, including a $30 million civil fine, represented compensation for three hundred oil spills in Texas and five other states dating back to 1990.[20][21][22]

Pipeline accident

Koch’s Sterling butane pipeline had a leak in Lively, Texas, on August 24, 1996. Two teenagers were killed when the gas exploded and burned. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that severe external pipeline corrosion was the cause of the failure, and recommended to Koch to improve corrosion evaluation procedures.[23] Although Koch distributed pamphlets about safety around the pipelines, they failed to maintain an up-to-date mailing list. Only 5 out of 45 residences in the area of the accident had received pamphlets. The families of the dead had not.[24]

In 1999, a Texas jury found that negligence had led to the rupture of the Koch pipeline and awarded the victims’ families $296 million — “the largest compensatory damages judgment in a wrongful death case against a corporation in U.S. history”.[25]

In a statement released in 2010, Koch Industries offered this comment:

The August, 1996 pipeline accident in Texas was a tragedy. Koch accepted responsibility immediately for the incident, which is the only event of its kind in the company’s history. The thorough review conducted of this pipeline the year before the accident did not uncover any issues that posed a foreseeable threat to public safety. The bacteria-induced corrosion that caused the accident acted more quickly to damage this pipeline than had ever been documented by any industry expert. Koch’s cooperative efforts to identify the source and cause of this problem so that this knowledge could be shared throughout industry were praised by the National Transportation Safety Board, which did a two-year investigation into this incident.[26]

Flint Hill Resources LP

Flint Hill Resources LP, originally called Koch Petroleum Group, is a major refining and chemicals company based in Wichita, Kansas. It sells products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, ethanol, polymers, intermediate chemicals, base oils and asphalt. It operates oil refineries in six states. Flint Hill has chemical plants in Illinois, Texas and Michigan. The firm is also a major manufacturer of asphalt used for paving and roofing applications. It operates 13 asphalt terminals located in six states including Alaska (2 terminals), Wisconsin (2), Iowa (3), Minnesota (4), Nebraska (1), and North Dakota(1).[27] The firm manages the purchasing of domestic crude oil from Texas and Colorado offices, has four ethanol plants across Iowa, operates three refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and has a refinery terminal in Alaska. The Minnesota refinery can process 320,000 barrels (51,000 m3) of crude a day, most of which comes from from Alberta, Canada, and handles one quarter of all Canadian oil sands crude entering the U.S.[28] It also operates fuel terminals in Wisconsin (4 locations), Texas (6), and one each in Iowa and Minnesota.[29]

In March 1999, Koch Petroleum Group acknowledged that it had negligently dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of aviation fuel into wetlands from its refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, and that it had illegally dumped a million gallons of high-ammonia wastewater onto the ground and into the Mississippi River. Koch Petroleum paid a $6 million fine and $2 million in remediation costs, and was ordered to serve three years of probation.[30]

In April 2001, the company reached a $20 million settlement in exchange for admitting to covering up environmental violations at its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.[31][32]

In June 2003, the US Commerce Department fined Flint Hill Resources a $200,000 civil penalty. The fine settled charges that the company exported crude petroleum from the US to Canada without proper US government authorization. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said from July 1997 to March 1999, Koch Petroleum (later called Flint Hill Resources) committed 40 violations of Export Administration Regulations.[33]

In 2005, Koch’s Flint Hills Resources refinery was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Awards program for reducing air emissions by 50 percent while expanding operations.[34] The EPA has worked with Flint Hills Resources to develop “strategies for curtailing so-called ‘upset’ emissions, in what agency and company sources say could lead to guidance to minimize such emissions from petroleum refineries and other industrial facilities.”[35] The EPA described the process as a “model for other companies.”[36]

In 2006, Flint Hill Resources was fined nearly $16,000 by the EPA for 10 separate violations of the Clean Air Act at its Alaska oil refinery facilities, and required to spend another $60,000 on safety equipment needed to help prevent future violations.[37]

Koch Fertilizer, LLC

Koch Fertilizer, LLC, which is one of the world’s largest makers of nitrogen fertilizers.[38] Koch Fertilizer owns or has interests in fertilizer plants the United States, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Italy, among others.[39][40] Koch Fertilizer was formed in 1988 when the Koch companies purchased the Gulf Central Pipeline and ammonia terminals connected to the pipeline. The next year, the Koch Nitrogen Company was formed in order to market ammonia. The next few years saw purchases of various ammonia facilities in Louisiana, Canada, and elsewhere, and ammonia sales agreements with firms in Australia, the U.K., and other countries. The year 2010 saw the founding of Koch Methanol, LLC, and Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. In October 2010, a plant in Venezuela was nationalized by the government.[41] In 2011, the firm acquired the British fertilizer firm J&H Bunn Limited.

 Koch Agricultural Company

Koch Agricultural Company’s Matador Cattle Company division operates three ranches totaling 425,000 acres (1,720 km2) located in Beaverhead, Montana, Matador, Texas and the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. There are more than 15,000 head of cattle raised on the ranches.[42]

The Matador Land and Cattle Company was founded in 1882 by Scottish investors, whose acquisition included 2.5 million acres in four Texas counties. In 1951, the company was sold to Lazard Freres and Company, which in turn sold some of the Texas land to Fred C. Koch. In 1952 Koch formed Matador Cattle Company, and later one of his companies purchased part of Matador Ranch, which was brought together with other Koch ranches in Montana and Kansas. Today, according to the ranch’s website, it “is owned and operated by Matador Cattle Company, a division of Koch Agriculture Company, which is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries.”[43]

Koch’s Matador Ranch in Texas earned the Lone Star Land Steward award for outstanding natural resource management in 2010.[44] The Montana ranch has earned several environmental stewardship awards, including the EPA Regional Administrator’s award.[45]

Environmental and safety record

From 1999 to 2003, Koch Industries was assessed “more than $400 million in fines, penalties and judgments.”[25] Another source points out that Koch has had only “eight instances of alleged misconduct … over the span of 63 years” despite being a giant multinational, and that this compares favorably to the fines, penalties and judgments accrued by the similarly large General Electric corporation.[46]

Pollution and resource fines

In May 2001, Koch Industries paid $25 million to the federal government to settle a federal lawsuit that found the company had improperly taken more oil than it had paid for from federal and Indian land.[47]

In 2007, Koch Nitrogen’s plant in Enid, Oklahoma, was listed as the third highest company releasing toxic chemicals in Oklahoma, according to the EPA, ranking behind Perma-Fix Environmental Services in Tulsa and Weyerhaeuser Co. in Valliant.[48] The facility produces about 10% of the US national production of anhydrous ammonia, as well as urea and UAN.[49]

In 2010, Koch Industries was ranked 10th on the list of top US corporate air polluters, the “Toxic 100 Air Polluters”, by the Political Economic Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[50]

 Awards and certifications

Question book-new.svg
This section relies on references to primary sources or sources affiliated with the subject, rather than references from independent authors and third-party publications. Please add citations from reliable sources. (May 2011)

According to its website, Koch Industries and its subsidiaries received 289 stewardship awards over the two years ending January 2011.[51]

Koch Industries’ headquarters in Wichita has been certified for meeting the Energy Star standards for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. As of 2010[update] it is the only Wichita office building to be so recognized.[52][53] A Tulsa, Oklahoma site of the Koch-owned John Zink Company site was part of the EPA’s National Environmental Performance Track program from 2003 until 2009 when the program was suspended.[54][55]

In 2011, the Midway-Kansas Chapter of the American Red Cross awarded Koch Industries with a Corporate Excellence Award for its long-standing commitment to the humanitarian mission of Red Cross.[56]

Legal activity

In 2008, Koch Industries discovered that the French affiliate Koch-Glitsch had violated bribery laws allegedly securing contracts in Algeria, Egypt, India, Morocco, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia after an investigation by Ethics Compliance officer, Egorova-Farines.[25] After Koch Industries’ investigative team looked into her findings, the four employees involved were terminated. A Bloomberg article states that Egorova-Farines’ reported her findings immediately, and even after Koch’s investigators substantiated the findings, her “superiors removed her from the inquiry in August 2008 and fired her in June 2009, calling her incompetent.”[25] Koch Industries’ general counsel, Mark Holden, gave a different account of the events to Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post.[57] Holden stated that Egorova-Farines failed to promptly share the findings, choosing instead to give the information to a manager at Koch-Glitsch who was later fired for bribery. Rubin writes that, according to Holden, “Egorova-Farines was not fired but instead ran into performance problems, left the company to go on leave and never returned.” Egorova-Farines sued Koch-Glitsch for wrongful termination in France. Rubin writes that she lost and “was ordered to pay costs for bringing a frivolous case.”[57]

In May 2011, a Utah judge dismissed a Koch Industries lawsuit alleging that Youth For Climate Truth, in releasing a fake Koch Industries press release, had infringed on Koch Industries’ trademark.[58]

Political activity

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The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please see the discussion on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (March 2011)
This section may stray from the topic of the article into the topic of another article, Political activities of the Koch family. Please help improve this section or discuss this issue on the talk page. (November 2011)
See also: Political activities of the Koch family

Koch Industries has spent more than $50 million to lobby in Washington since 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.[25]

The company has opposed the regulation of financial derivatives and limits on greenhouse gases.[25] It sponsors free market foundations and causes.[59] [60] According to the Center for Responsive Politics, many of Koch Industries’ contributions have gone toward achieving legislation on energy issues, defense appropriations and financial regulatory reform.[61] According to Greenpeace, the company has “had a quiet but dominant role in a high-profile national policy debate on global warming,” and has out-spent ExxonMobil (another corporation active in fighting climate change science and legislation) in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change. “From 2005 to 2008, ExxonMobil spent $8.9 million while the Koch Industries-controlled foundations contributed $24.9 million in funding.”[62][63] Another Greenpeace study states that between 1997 and 2008 Koch Industries donated nearly $48 million to groups which doubt or oppose the theory of anthropogenic global warming.[64][65] Koch Industries replied saying the Greenpeace report “distorts the environmental record of our companies.”[63][context?]

One policy proposal to control global warming that Koch Industries has come out against is Low Carbon Fuel Standards, such as were passed in 2007 in California.[28] According to Koch Industries, “LCFS would cripple refiners that rely on heavy crude feedstocks to provide the transportation fuels that keep America moving.”[66]

According to a critic of the Mercatus Center and the Kochs, the political activity by some of the Koch-supported foundations — such as Mercatus Center[67] — helps the company financially.[relevant to this paragraph? – discuss] According to Thomas McGarity, a law professor at the University of Texas who specializes in environmental issues, “Koch has been constantly in trouble with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Mercatus has constantly hammered” on the EPA.[63][relevant to this paragraph? – discuss] The founder of the Mercatus Center, Richard H. Fink, also heads Koch Industries’ lobbying operation in Washington DC.[63] According to a study by the progressive media watchdog Media Matters for America, Koch Industries (and other Koch brothers-owned companies) “have benefited from nearly a $100 million in government contracts since 2000.”[63][68]

Koch Industries have also been active in supporting and opposing politicians, including presidents. According to Jane Mayer, During the US 2000 election campaign, Koch Industries spent some $900,000 to support the candidacies of George W. Bush and other Republicans.[neutrality is disputed][63] It has funded opposition campaigns against programs of the Obama administration — “from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus”[63]. The Koch Industries website includes an opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal by Charles Koch, one of the company’s owners, “Why Koch Industries is Speaking Out”[69] The article states:

Because of our activism, we’ve been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we’re determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges [deficit spending by governments] seriously.

 See also

Portal icon Companies  portal
  • Koch family
  • Koch Family Foundations

References

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  3. ^ “Koch Industries, Inc – Industry Areas”. Kochind.com. http://www.kochind.com/IndustryAreas/default.asp. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  4. ^ Continetti, Matthew (April 4, 2011). “The Paranoid Style in Liberal Politics”. The Weekly Standard. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/paranoid-style-liberal-politics_555525.html?nopager=1.
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  6. ^ “America’s Largest Private Companies”. Forbes. 8 November 2007. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2007/21/biz_privates07_Americas-Largest-Private-Companies_Rank.html?boxes=custom. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
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  10. ^ The Top 10 Forbes Asia October 19, 2009
  11. ^ a b c Koch, Charles C. (2007). The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World’s Largest Private Company. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-470-13988-2.
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  13. ^ Koch, Fred C. (1960). A Business Man Looks at Communism. Wichita, Kansas.
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  17. ^ Koch Industries website, Industry Areas, accessed Aug 25 2010,
  18. ^ Georgia Pacific website, accessed March 11, 2011, Georgia-Pacific Company Overview
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  20. ^ “Koch Pipeline Company L.P. – Newsroom”. Kochpipeline.com. 2000-01-13. http://www.kochpipeline.com/news/printable.asp?id=270. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  21. ^ By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz and Jeff Nesmith (2001-07-23). “Austin news, sports, weather, Longhorns, business”. Statesman.com. http://www.statesman.com/specialreports/content/specialreports/pipelines/23pipegathering.html. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  22. ^ “Koch Agrees to $35 Million Settlement in Two Environmental Cases”. Safety Online. 17 January 2000. http://www.safetyonline.com/article.mvc/Koch-Agrees-to-35-million-Settlement-in-Two-E-0001?VNETCOOKIE=NO.
  23. ^ Pipeline Rupture, Liquid Butane Release, and Fire, Lively, Texas, August 24, 1996
  24. ^ “Austin news, sports, weather, Longhorns, business”. Statesman.com. http://www.statesman.com/specialreports/content/specialreports/pipelines/23pipelively3.html. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  25. ^ a b c d e f Loder, Asjylyn; David Evans (3 October 2011). “Koch Brothers Flout Law With Secret Iran Sales”. Bloomberg Markets Magazine. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-02/koch-brothers-flout-law-getting-richer-with-secret-iran-sales.html. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  26. ^ “Koch Industries Responds to New Yorker Claims”. Newsmax Media. http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/koch-industries-new-yorker/2010/08/26/id/368519. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  27. ^ Flint Hill Resources website, accessed March 11, 2011, FHR Asphalt
  28. ^ a b Dembicki, Geoff (March 22, 2011). “The Kochs: Oil Sands Billionaires Bankrolling US Right”. The Tyee (Vancouver, B.C.). http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/03/22/KochBrothers/index.html. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
  29. ^ Koch Industries website, accessed March 11, 2011, http://www.fhr.com/newsroom/contact.aspx?ID=9
  30. ^ “Koch Petroleum Group Sentenced for Minnesota Pollution” (Press release). Environmental Protection Agency. 9 March 2000. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/eae2020401d0bf098525689d00713ea5!OpenDocument. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  31. ^ “Koch Pleads Guilty to Covering up Environmental Violations at Texas Oil Refinery”. justice.gov. U.S. Department of Justice. 9 April 2001. http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2001/April/153enrd.htm. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  32. ^ Don Richards (22 January 2001). “DOJ Reduces Indictments Against Koch Industries”. ICIS. http://www.icis.com/Articles/2001/01/22/130888/doj-reduces-indictments-against-koch-industries.html.
  33. ^ US Dept of Commerce, Commerce Dept Fines Kansas Firm, June 3, 2003 press release, http://www.bis.doc.gov/news/2003/kansasfirmfined.htm
  34. ^ Jessica Harper (18 November 2009). “Flint Hills is coming out of murky waters”. Dakota County Tribune. http://www.thisweeklive.com/2009/11/18/flint-hills-is-coming-out-of-murky-waters/.
  35. ^ “Inside EPA’s Clean Air Report”. InsideEPA. http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:7eiXKq7LLHkJ:www.flinthillsresources.info/upload/InsideEPA9-09Pactwithoil.pdf+Flint+Hills+Resources+epa&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjlfx6q_Ri64N7NdqA3rho-Amf6W1nzG7_PkmPqn7Z9eJiGxEsQN9ph1qqI7EjuAUdIwNaS1l1voou3gXceHm_zhgBmQidSNdEp44PfgvYdxXP_u1PTXKeTbv4SM4bGwfZZ_7S2&sig=AHIEtbQgO5KZzY5H1tGz7XGieXnNJakdqQ. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  36. ^ “Flint Hills Resources, LP Agrees to Transition Its Texas Flexible Permits to Federally Approved Clean Air Act Permits – Transition affects facilities in Corpus Christi, Port Arthur and Longview”. EPA. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/6F25BD791C4B21CB852577C400552339. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  37. ^ EPA Press Release, EPA Fines Flint Hill Resources Alaska, Dec 13 2006, accessed Aug 25 2010, http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/b0789fb70f8ff03285257029006e3880/6b191200b3ce87e2852572430062f987!OpenDocument
  38. ^ Koch Fertilizer website, accessed March 11, 2011, http://www.kochfertilizer.com/
  39. ^ Yasha Levine (1 September 2010). “7 Ways the Koch Bros. Benefit from Corporate Welfare”. The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/2010/daily-transom/how-libertarian-koch-bros-benefit-corporate-welfare.
  40. ^ “Fertilizers”. http://www.kochind.com/IndustryAreas/fertilizers.aspx.
  41. ^ “Koch Industries says no word on Venezuela takeover”. Reuters. 11 October 2010. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1112262420101011.
  42. ^ Koch Industries website, accessed March 11, 2011, Ranching
  43. ^ “The History of Matador Ranch”. Matador Ranch. http://www.matadorranch.com/matadorranchhistory.php. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  44. ^ “Lone Star Land Steward Awards Winners Announced” (Press release). Texas Parks & Wildlife. 6 May 2010. http://archive.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/text.phtml?req=20100506. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  45. ^ “EPA Honors Koch Ranch for Environmental Excellence; Award is Ranch’s Fourth Major Environmental Honor in 1999” (Press release). Koch Industries. 7 June 1999. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_1999_June_7/ai_54811290/. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  46. ^ Bloomberg’s Exposé on Koch Industries Reveals … What Exactly? Daniel Indiviglio| 4 October 2011
  47. ^ Russell Ray (20 June 2001). “Tribe Likely to Get Piece of Settlement in Osage County, Okla., Oil Squabble”. Tulsa World.
  48. ^ “EPA Reports Toxic Releases to Air, Water and Land in Oklahoma in 2007”. Environmental Protection Agency. 2009-03-19. http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/6427a6b7538955c585257359003f0230/0c43e41531a2f7848525757e00664797!OpenDocument.
  49. ^ Voorhis, Dan (2010-12-16). “Fertilizer Helps Koch Grow”. Wichita Eagle. http://www.kansas.com/2010/12/16/1635564/fertilizer-helps-koch-grow.html.
  50. ^ “Toxic 100 Air Polluters” (Press release). March 31, 2010. http://www.peri.umass.edu/toxic_press/.
  51. ^ “Koch Companies Recognized with 289 Stewardship Awards since 2009” press release, January 24, 2011.
  52. ^ “Koch Industries Inc., Earns Prestigious Energy Star for Efficiencies at Wichita Complex” (Press release). Koch Industries. 17 June 2008. http://www.kochind.com/newsroom/news_releases_details.aspx?id=994. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  53. ^ “ENERGY STAR Labeled Offices in Kansas”. energystar.gov. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=labeled_buildings.showMap&SEARCH_OWNER_ID=&S_CODE=KS&PROFILES=&YEAR=&BUILDING_TYPE_ID=700&SEARCH_SPP_ID=&CITY=&ZIP=&SEARCH_PROP_MANAGER_ID=&FILTER_B_ID=#. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  54. ^ “Process and Pollution Control”. kochenergy.com. Koch Industries. http://kochenergy.com/EHS/processandpollutioncontrol.aspx. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  55. ^ “Performance Track Final Progress Report”. epa.gov. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. May 2009. http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack/downloads/PT_ProgRprt_2009_web.pdf. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  56. ^ Heck, Josh (18 May 2011). “Red Cross Recognizes three fundraisers”. Wichita Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/news/2011/05/18/red-cross-recognizes-three-fundraisers.html. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  57. ^ a b Rubin, Jennifer. “Koch responds to Bloomberg”. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/koch-responds-to-bloomberg/2011/03/29/gIQA3KzNIL_blog.html. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
  58. ^ “SUMMARY JUDGMENTS: Our daily legal-news aggregator for May 11, 2011” Thompson Reuters News and Insight
  59. ^ Secretive Republican Donors Are Planning Ahead by Kate Zernike published October 19, 2010, New York Times
  60. ^ Pulling the Wraps Off Koch Industries By LESLIE WAYNE; Published: November 20, 1994; New York Times; ” Their donations reflect their belief in libertarian and free market philosophies or their personal interests.”
  61. ^ OpenSecrets, Summary of Koch Industries
  62. ^ Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine . greenpeace.org . 30 March 2010]
  63. ^ a b c d e f g Covert Operations The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama. by Jane Mayer . newyorker.com . August 30, 2010
  64. ^ Vidal, John (30 March 2010). “US oil company donated millions to climate skeptic groups, says Greenpeace”. The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/30/us-oil-donated-millions-climate-sceptics.
  65. ^ “Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine”. Global Warming. Washington: Greenpeace. 2010-03-29. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  66. ^ http://www.kochind.com/ViewPoint/lowCarbon.aspx Low Carbon Fuel Standards
  67. ^ “Mercatus, the staunchly anti-regulatory center funded largely by Koch Industries Inc.” I Am OMB and I Write the Rules By Al Kamen washingtonpost.com, July 12, 2006]
  68. ^ Koch Companies Have Received Almost $100 Million In Government Contracts August 20, 2010 — Media Matters Action Network
  69. ^ Why Koch Industries is Speaking Out, Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2011

External links

The Billionaires’ Tea Party HD

Koch Brothers: The Original Oil Speculators

    Koch Bros: Evil or Easy Targets?

Koch brothers – Jane Mayer (Fresh Air) 1/3

Koch brothers – Jane Mayer (Fresh Air) 2/3

Koch brothers – Jane Mayer (Fresh Air) 3/3

Billionaire Brothers Waging War – Charles Lewis on DemocracyNOW! 

Romney Koch Brothers Connections

Robert Greenwald on KPFK’s “The Uprising”: Koch Brothers Exposed

“Koch Brothers Exposed” Trailer Screening and Panel Discussion @ FSU 

Oilmen Fund Anti-Global Warming Groups 

Alex Jones: ‘The Koch Brothers’ and the False Left Right Paradigm

Rush Limbaugh vs Ron Paul – Has Limbaugh Been Bought by the Koch Brothers or GOP?

How the Koch Brothers (proponents of Free Markets) control American Politics

Related Posts On Pronk Palisades

Mr. Conservative In Heaven–William F. Buckley Jr. RIP

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Eat The Rich–Obama’s Big Distraction And Big Lie: The Buffett Rule Tax and The Rich Do Not Pay Their Fair Share–Class Warfare Progressive Propaganda–Videos

Posted on April 16, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Business, Communications, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Tax Policy, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Buffett Rule Rebuffed

EAT THE RICH!

Weekly Address: Passing the Buffett Rule So That Everyone Pays Their Fair Share

Priebus: Buffett Tax A Shiny Object That Would Raise Just 11 Hours Of Revenue

Steve Hayes – Buffet Tax meaningless

Gene Sperling on the Buffett Rule

Interview – The Buffett Tax: Anything But “Fair”

Real News: Buffett Rule Tax Reform

GBR: Lies from Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet On Why U.S. Taxes Are Too Low For The Wealthy

Mark Levin – The Warren Buffett-Bill Gates “Tax Us More!”

The Buffett Rule is BS pt1

The Buffett Rule is BS pt2

Debunking Warren Buffett and other tax myths

Who Pays Income Taxes and How Much?

http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html

Tax Year 2009

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

$343,927

36.73

Top 5%

$154,643

58.66

Top 10%

$112,124

70.47

Top 25%

$66,193

87.30

Top 50%

$32,396

97.75

Bottom 50%

<$32,396

2.25

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

Table 6
Total Income Tax Shares, 1980-2009 (Percent of federal income tax paid by each group)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

100%

19.05%

36.84%

12.44%

49.28%

23.74%

73.02%

19.93%

92.95%

7.05%

1981

100%

17.58%

35.06%

12.90%

47.96%

24.33%

72.29%

20.26%

92.55%

7.45%

1982

100%

19.03%

36.13%

12.45%

48.59%

23.91%

72.50%

20.15%

92.65%

7.35%

1983

100%

20.32%

37.26%

12.44%

49.71%

23.39%

73.10%

19.73%

92.83%

7.17%

1984

100%

21.12%

37.98%

12.58%

50.56%

22.92%

73.49%

19.16%

92.65%

7.35%

1985

100%

21.81%

38.78%

12.67%

51.46%

22.60%

74.06%

18.77%

92.83%

7.17%

1986

100%

25.75%

42.57%

12.12%

54.69%

21.33%

76.02%

17.52%

93.54%

6.46%

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

100%

24.81%

43.26%

12.35%

55.61%

21.31%

76.92%

17.02%

93.93%

6.07%

1988

100%

27.58%

45.62%

11.66%

57.28%

20.57%

77.84%

16.44%

94.28%

5.72%

1989

100%

25.24%

43.94%

11.85%

55.78%

21.44%

77.22%

16.94%

94.17%

5.83%

1990

100%

25.13%

43.64%

11.73%

55.36%

21.66%

77.02%

17.16%

94.19%

5.81%

1991

100%

24.82%

43.38%

12.45%

55.82%

21.46%

77.29%

17.23%

94.52%

5.48%

1992

100%

27.54%

45.88%

12.12%

58.01%

20.47%

78.48%

16.46%

94.94%

5.06%

1993

100%

29.01%

47.36%

11.88%

59.24%

20.03%

79.27%

15.92%

95.19%

4.81%

1994

100%

28.86%

47.52%

11.93%

59.45%

20.10%

79.55%

15.68%

95.23%

4.77%

1995

100%

30.26%

48.91%

11.84%

60.75%

19.62%

80.36%

15.03%

95.39%

4.61%

1996

100%

32.31%

50.97%

11.54%

62.51%

18.80%

81.32%

14.36%

95.68%

4.32%

1997

100%

33.17%

51.87%

11.33%

63.20%

18.47%

81.67%

14.05%

95.72%

4.28%

1998

100%

34.75%

53.84%

11.20%

65.04%

17.65%

82.69%

13.10%

95.79%

4.21%

1999

100%

36.18%

55.45%

11.00%

66.45%

17.09%

83.54%

12.46%

96.00%

4.00%

2000

100%

37.42%

56.47%

10.86%

67.33%

16.68%

84.01%

12.08%

96.09%

3.91%

2001

100%

16.06%

33.89%

53.25%

11.64%

64.89%

18.01%

82.90%

13.13%

96.03%

3.97%

2002

100%

15.43%

33.71%

53.80%

11.94%

65.73%

18.16%

83.90%

12.60%

96.50%

3.50%

2003

100%

15.68%

34.27%

54.36%

11.48%

65.84%

18.04%

83.88%

12.65%

96.54%

3.46%

2004

100%

17.44%

36.89%

57.13%

11.07%

68.19%

16.67%

84.86%

11.85%

96.70%

3.30%

2005

100%

19.26%

39.38%

59.67%

10.63%

70.30%

15.69%

85.99%

10.94%

96.93%

3.07%

2006

100%

19.56%

39.89%

60.14%

10.65%

70.79%

15.47%

86.27%

10.75%

97.01%

2.99%

2007

100%

20.19%

40.41%

60.61%

10.59%

71.20%

15.37%

86.57%

10.54%

97.11%

2.89%

2008

100%

18.47%

38.02%

58.72%

11.22%

69.94%

16.40%

86.34%

10.96%

97.30%

2.70%

2009

100%

17.11%

36.73%

58.66%

11.81%

70.47%

16.83%

87.30%

10.45%

97.75%

2.25%

  Source: Internal Revenue Service

http://taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html#table1

Table 8
Average Tax Rate, 1980-2009 (Percent of AGI paid in income taxes)

Year

Total

Top 0.1%

Top 1%

Top 5%

Between 5% & 10%

Top 10%

Between 10% & 25%

Top 25%

Between 25% & 50%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

1980

15.31%

34.47%

26.85%

17.13%

23.49%

14.80%

19.72%

11.91%

17.29%

6.10%

1981

15.76%

33.37%

26.59%

18.16%

23.64%

15.53%

20.11%

12.48%

17.73%

6.62%

1982

14.72%

31.43%

25.05%

16.61%

22.17%

14.35%

18.79%

11.63%

16.57%

6.10%

1983

13.79%

30.18%

23.64%

15.54%

20.91%

13.20%

17.62%

10.76%

15.52%

5.66%

1984

13.68%

29.92%

23.42%

15.57%

20.81%

12.90%

17.47%

10.48%

15.35%

5.77%

1985

13.73%

29.86%

23.50%

15.69%

20.93%

12.83%

17.55%

10.41%

15.41%

5.70%

1986

14.54%

33.13%

25.68%

15.99%

22.64%

12.97%

18.72%

10.48%

16.32%

5.63%

Tax Reform Act of 1986 changed the definition of AGI, so data above and below this line not strictly comparable

1987

13.12%

26.41%

22.10%

14.43%

19.77%

11.71%

16.61%

9.45%

14.60%

5.09%

1988

13.21%

24.04%

21.14%

14.07%

19.18%

11.82%

16.47%

9.60%

14.64%

5.06%

1989

13.12%

23.34%

20.71%

13.93%

18.77%

12.08%

16.27%

9.77%

14.53%

5.11%

1990

12.95%

23.25%

20.46%

13.63%

18.50%

12.01%

16.06%

9.73%

14.36%

5.01%

1991

12.75%

24.37%

20.62%

13.96%

18.63%

11.57%

15.93%

9.55%

14.20%

4.62%

1992

12.94%

25.05%

21.19%

13.99%

19.13%

11.39%

16.25%

9.42%

14.44%

4.39%

1993

13.32%

28.01%

22.71%

14.01%

20.20%

11.40%

16.90%

9.37%

14.90%

4.29%

1994

13.50%

28.23%

23.04%

14.20%

20.48%

11.57%

17.15%

9.42%

15.11%

4.32%

1995

13.86%

28.73%

23.53%

14.46%

20.97%

11.71%

17.58%

9.43%

15.47%

4.39%

1996

14.34%

28.87%

24.07%

14.74%

21.55%

11.86%

18.12%

9.53%

15.96%

4.40%

1997

14.48%

27.64%

23.62%

14.87%

21.36%

12.04%

18.18%

9.63%

16.09%

4.48%

1998

14.42%

27.12%

23.63%

14.79%

21.42%

11.63%

18.16%

9.12%

16.00%

4.44%

1999

14.85%

27.53%

24.18%

15.06%

21.98%

11.76%

18.66%

9.12%

16.43%

4.48%

2000

15.26%

27.45%

24.42%

15.48%

22.34%

12.04%

19.09%

9.28%

16.86%

4.60%

2001

14.23%

28.20%

27.50%

23.68%

14.89%

21.41%

11.58%

18.08%

8.91%

15.85%

4.09%

2002

13.03%

28.49%

27.25%

22.95%

13.87%

20.51%

10.47%

16.99%

7.67%

14.66%

3.21%

2003

11.90%

24.64%

24.31%

20.74%

12.22%

18.49%

9.54%

15.38%

7.12%

13.35%

2.95%

2004

12.10%

23.09%

23.49%

20.67%

12.28%

18.60%

9.26%

15.53%

7.01%

13.51%

2.97%

2005

12.45%

22.52%

23.13%

20.78%

12.37%

18.84%

9.27%

15.86%

6.93%

13.84%

2.98%

2006

12.60%

21.98%

22.79%

20.68%

12.60%

18.86%

9.36%

15.95%

7.01%

13.98%

3.01%

2007

12.68%

21.46%

22.45%

20.53%

12.66%

18.79%

9.43%

15.98%

7.01%

14.03%

2.99%

2008

12.24%

22.70%

23.27%

20.70%

12.44%

18.71%

9.29%

15.68%

6.75%

13.65%

2.59%

2009

11.06%

24.28%

24.01%

20.46%

11.36%

18.05%

8.25%

14.68%

5.56%

12.50%

1.85%

Source: Internal Revenue Service

http://taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html#table1

Obama Pushes ‘Buffett Rule’ in Florida

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RED ALERT: Buffett Rule Is Criminal Scam!

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Buffett Rule Fails in Senate, 51-45

By Josh Barro,

“…the so-called Buffett Rule (imposing a minimum 30 percent federal income tax rate on those making at least $2 million per year) came up for a vote in the Senate and was defeated. There were 51 votes in favor and 45 opposed, but 60 votes were required for cloture and so the proposal could not proceed.

The vote was nearly along party lines, with Susan Collins (Maine) the only Republican to vote yes and Mark Pryor (Arkansas) the only Democrat to vote no. Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also broke with his party and opposed the proposal, though he wasn’t in Washington D.C. today and so didn’t actually cast a vote. Lieberman said “I am opposed to the Buffett Rule because it would double to 30 percent the capital gains tax on one group of investors”—a statement that reflects the fact that the Buffett Rule debate is fundamentally a debate about whether we should have a preferential tax rate for capital gains. …”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2012/04/16/buffett-rule-fails-in-senate-51-45/

Dems Lay Trap for GOP with Buffett Rule

By KIM DIXON and PATRICK TEMPLE-WEST, Reuters

“….President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are laying a political trap for Republicans to be sprung on Monday when the U.S. Senate is slated to vote on the proposed “Buffett Rule,” which would slap a minimum tax on the highest-income Americans. With polls showing strong public support for the rule, Democrats plan to bring it up for a procedural vote in the Senate. Republicans are solidly against it and the proposal is not expected to garner enough votes to move forward.

Even if it does advance in the Senate, it is not expected to be taken up in the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans. Democrats control the Senate, but just barely. Despite the proposal’s poor outlook, Democrats hope that the Senate vote and the debate around it will help them politically ahead of the November 6 elections by casting the Republicans and their presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney, himself a multi-millionaire, as the party of the wealthy.

Republicans have attacked the Buffett Rule as a diversion from the weak economy. They also argue that raising taxes on the rich would hit small businesses and discourage their growth. Here is a Q+A on the legislation and the issues behind it.

What Is the Buffett Rule?
Named after billionaire Warren Buffett, who backs it, the rule would require individuals with adjusted gross income of more than $1 million, or $500,000 for married individuals filing separately, to pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Democrats have been careful to stress that the tax would not apply to people with $1 million or more in assets, who comprise a much larger slice of the U.S. population than those with annual incomes of $1 million or more. About 433,000 U.S. households earn more than $1 million a year. That is only about 0.3 percent of all taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center, a research group. The bill being voted on in the Senate, sponsored by Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, would impose the 30-percent tax on adjusted gross income after a modified deduction for charitable giving and certain other tax credits. …”

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/04/16/Dems-Lay-Trap-for-GOP-with-Buffett-Rule.aspx#page1

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Big Government Neoconservative and Progressive Republicans Attack Ron Paul–Paul Responds–Videos

Posted on January 3, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Economics, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, People, Politics, Raves, Talk Radio, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Vote Ron Paul in 2012!! It’s that Simple. 

Ron Paul says Rick Santorum is “Very Liberal”

Ron Paul – State of the Union with Candy Crowley

Ron Paul- Newt Gingrich would not go to Vietnam War in 1960’s, he is a hypocrite

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New Ron Paul Ad – Plan 

Big Government Conservatism

Controlling Leviathan: The Battle for Limited Government 

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Armed Chinese Troops in Texas! 

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Background Articles and Videos

SA@TAC – Who’s a Republican? 

SA@TAC – The Great Neo-Con: Libertarianism Isn’t ‘Conservative’ 

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Ron Paul’s Address At 29th Cato Institute’s Monetary Conference And Remarks At Thanksgiving Family Forum–The Reason Ron Paul Will Be Elected President–Video

Posted on November 29, 2011. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Economics, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ron Paul- full speech at the CATO Institute

Congressman Ron Paul delivered a speech for the National Association of Home Builders at the 29th Annual Cato Monetary Conference yesterday. The key topics were the US monetary policy and the Federal Reserve.

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First note that unlike President Barack Obama, Congressman Ron Paul is not reading from a telepromter.

Only a individual who truly understands what he is talking about can deliver such a address.

Second, Paul focuses on the key issue, the American people must decide what the functions of federal government should be.

Listen to the speech and learn.

Then support and vote for Ron Paul.

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Ron Paul  – “The one who can beat Obama” 

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American People Want Free Market Capitalism–Videos

Posted on February 8, 2011. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Climate, Communications, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, government, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Taxes, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , |

“Yaron Brook explains why the free market has taken the blame for a crisis caused by government intervention, and why self-interest and the profit motive make capitalism the only moral social-economic system. This talk provides some hints of why only Ayn Rand’s provocative philosophy can make sense of today’s events.”

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 1 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 2 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 3 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 4 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 5 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 6 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 7 of 8)

 

Capitalism: Who Needs It (part 8 of 8)

Background Articles and Videos

Yaron Brook: You Are Not Your Neighbor’s Health Care Provider [Pt. 1 of 2]

Yaron Brook: You Are Not Your Neighbor’s Health Care Provider [Pt. 2 of 2]

 

 

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Dan Mitchell–Videos

Posted on July 23, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, Communications, Demographics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Homes, Immigration, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Taxes, Technology, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

The Bush/Obama Years (Dan Mitchell)

Dan Mitchell on the Deficit

There Are too Many Bureaucrats and They Are Paid too Much

 

Deficits are Bad, but the Real Problem is Spending

 

It’s Simple to Balance The Budget Without Higher Taxes 

 

Free Markets and Small Government Produce Prosperity

The Empirical Evidence Against Big Government

Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth

Want Less Corruption? Shrink the Size of Government

Dan Mitchell discusses Wall Street Campaign Funding

 

Obama’s So-Called Stimulus: Good For Government, Bad For the Economy

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Stimulus II: A Sequel America Can’t Afford

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The Failure of Anti-Money Laundering Laws

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Six Reasons Why the Capital Gains Tax Should Be Abolished

President Obama’s Deferral Proposal: Hamstringing American Companies, Reducing American Jobs

Dan Mitchell on Taxing the Middle Class

Daniel J. Mitchell discusses Taxes on MSNBC News Live

The Laffer Curve, Part I: Understanding the Theory

The Laffer Curve, Part II: Understanding the Theory

 

 

Dan Mitchell on our tax system

 

Dan Mitchell explains the fair tax

Flat Tax vs. National Sales Tax

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The Global Flat Tax Revolution

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Dan Mitchell Slams Obama Budget Plan

Keynesian Economics Is Wrong: Bigger Gov’t Is Not Stimulus

Question and Answer Session: The Fight Against Big Government

President Obama’s Dishonest Demagoguery on So-Called Tax Havens

Dan Mitchell’s Tax Haven Speech on Capitol Hill — Part 1

Dan Mitchell’s Tax Haven Speech on Capitol Hill — Part 2

Tax Havens: Myths and Facts

The Economic Case for Tax Havens

The Moral Case for Tax Havens

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

The FairTax: It’s Time

 

Neal Boortz Explain the FAIRTAX

Tom Wright On The FairTax–Videos

 

FairTax facts from CNN’s Your Money

Daniel J. Mitchell

“..Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy. Mitchell is a strong advocate of a flat tax and international tax competition. Prior to joining Cato, Mitchell was a senior fellow with The Heritage Foundation, and an economist for Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee. He also served on the 1988 Bush/Quayle transition team and was Director of Tax and Budget Policy for Citizens for a Sound Economy. His articles can be found in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and Washington Times. He is a frequent guest on radio and television and a popular speaker on the lecture circuit. Mitchell holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. …”

http://www.cato.org/people/daniel-mitchell

 

Dan Mitchell

“…Dan Mitchell is a libertarian economist, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He is one of the nation’s experts on the flat tax[citation needed] and has been the leading international voice in the fight to preserve tax competition, financial privacy, and fiscal sovereignty[citation needed].

Personal life

Dan Mitchell was born on June 28, 1958 in Mt Kisco, New York and grew up in Portchester, NY and Wilton, Connecticut. He graduated from Wilton High School in 1976, and went on to attend the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. After graduating from UGA in 1981 with a Bachelors in Economics, Mitchell went on to earn a Masters in Economics from UGA in 1985. Mitchell moved to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in 1985 to pursue a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University.[citation needed]

Professional life

Mitchell’s career as an economist began in the United States Senate, working for Oregon Senator Bob Packwood. Mitchell left that position in 1990 and began a long career at the Heritage Foundation. At Heritage, Mitchell worked on tax policy issues and began advocating for income tax reform. In 2007, Mitchell left the Heritage Foundation, and joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow. Mitchell continues to work in tax policy, and deals with issues such as the flat tax and international tax competition. In addition to his Cato Institute responsibilities, Mitchell co-founded the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an organization formed to protect international tax competition.

Publications

Mitchell’s work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Times, Washington Post, National Review, Villanova Law Review, Public Choice, Journal of Regulation and Social Cost, Emory Law Journal, Forbes, USA Today, Offshore Investment, Playboy, Investor’s Business Daily, and Worldwide Reinsurance Review. He is the author of The Flat Tax: Freedom, Fairness, Jobs, and Growth (1996), and co-author of Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It (2008).

Television appearances

Mitchell is a frequent commentator on television and has appeared on all the major networks, including CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, FOX, CNN, CNBC, and C-SPAN. He currently makes a weekly appearances on Street Signs (CNBC) on Mondays at 2:00pm ET.[citation needed] …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_J._Mitchell

Should Tax Havens be Banned? part 1/4

Should Tax Havens be Banned? part 2/4

Should Tax Havens be Banned? part 3/4

Should Tax Havens be Banned? part 4/4

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George Soros: Government Interventionist and Global Socialist–Obama’s Puppeter Master–Videos

George Soros: Barack Obama’s Money Man and Agenda Puppeter

The Cloward-Piven Strategy Of The Progressive Radical Socialists: Wrecking The U.S. Economy By Massive Government Dependence, Spending, Deficits, Debts, Taxes And Regulations!

President Barack Obama’s Role Model–President Franklin D. Roosevelt–The Worse President For The U.S. and World Economies and The American People–With The Same Results–High Unemployment Rates–Over 25 Million American Citizens Seeking Full Time Jobs Today–Worse Than The Over 13 Million Seeking Jobs During The Worse of The Great Depression!

Progressives

Progressive Radical Socialist Health Care Plan Written In Prison By Convicted Felon Richard Creamer!

Obamanomics–New Deal Progressive Radical Socialist Interventionism

Eugenics, Planned Parenthood, Population Control, and Designer Babies–Videos

The Great Depression and the Current Recession–Robert Higgs–Videos

The Obama Depression: Lessons Learned–Deja Vu!

Lord Christopher Monckton–Climate Change–Treaty–Videos

Progressive Radical Socialist Canned Criticism of American People: Danger, Profits, and Wrong Thinking

The Battle For The World Economy–Videos

Broom Budget Busting Bums: Replace The Entire Congress–Tea Party Express and Patriots–United We Stand!

Obama’s Civilian National Security Force–Youth Corp Wave–Friendly Fascism Faces–Cons–Crooks–Communists–Communities–Corps!

Obama’s Hidden Agenda and Covert Cadre of Marxists, Communists, Progressives, Radicals, Socialists–Far Left Democrats Destroying Capitalism and The American Republic

Yuri Bezmenov On KGB Soviet Propaganda and Subversion–Videos

The Bloody History of Communism–Videos

Obama Youth–Civilian National Security Force–National Socialism–Hitler Youth–Brownshirts– Redux?–Collectivism!

American Progressive Liberal Fascism–The Wave of The Future Or Back To Past Mistakes?

Today’s Progressives–Obama’s Radical Socialist Democratic Party

President Obama–Killer of The American Dream and Market Capitalism–Stop The Radical Socialists Before They Kill You!

The Progressive Radical Socialist Family Tree–ACORN & AmeriCorps–Time To Chop It Down

It Is Official–America On The Obama Road To Fascism–Thomas Sowell!

President Obama and His Keynesian Spending Cult of The Fascist Democrat Radicals–FDRs

Economists

The Battle For The World Economy–Videos

Frederic Bastiat–The Law–Videos

Walter Block–Videos

Walter Block–Introduction To Libertarianism–Videos

Hunter Lewis–Where Keynes Went Wrong–Videos

Thomas DiLorenzo–The Economic Model of the Fascist State–Videos

Richard Ebeling–America’s New Road to Serfdom and the Continuing Relevance of Austrian Economics –Videos

Paul Edward Gottfried–Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Welfare State–Videos

David Gordon–Five Best Books on the Current Crisis–Video

David Gordon–The Confused Literature of Globalization–Videos

Friedrich Hayek–Videos

Henry Hazlitt–Economics In One Lesson–Videos

Robert Higgs–The Complex Path of Ideological Change–Videos

Robert Higgs–The Great Depression and the Current Recession–Videos

Robert Higgs–Why Are Politicians Always Trying to Scare Us?–Videos

Jörg Guido Hülsmann–The Ethics of Money Production–Videos

Jörg Guido Hülsmann–The Life and Work of Ludwig von Mises–Videos

Milton Friedman–Videos

Milton Friedman on Education–Videos

Milton Friedman–Debate In Iceland–Videos

Milton Friedman–Free To Choose–On Donahue –Videos

Israel Kirzner–On Entrepreneurship–Vidoes

Paul Krugman–Videos 

Hunter Lewis–Where Keynes Went Wrong–Videos 

Liberal Fascism–Jonah Goldberg–Videos

Ludwig von Mises–Videos

Robert P. Murphy–Videos

Robert P. Murphy–Government Stimulus: Repeating the mistakes of the Great Depression–Videos

Gary North–Keynes and His Influence–Take The North Challenge–Videos

The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and The Ideas of Ayn Rand

George Gerald Reisman–Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian–Videos

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr–How Empires Bamboozle the Bourgeoisie–Videos

Murray Rothbard–Videos

Murray N. Rothbard–Introduction to Economics: A Private Seminar–Videos

Murray Rothbard–Libertarianism–Video

Rothbard On Keynes–Videos

Murray Rothbard– What Has Government Done to Our Money?–Videos

Peter Schiff–Videos

Schiff, Forbers and Bloomberg Nail The Financial Crisis and Recession–Mistakes Were Made–Greed, Arrogance, Stupidity–Three Chinese Curses!

Larry Sechrest–The Anticapitalists: Barbarians at the Gate–Videos

L. William Seidman on The Economic Crisis: Causes and Cures–Videos

Amity Shlaes–Videos

Julian Simon–Videos

Julian Simon–The Ultimate Resource II: People, Materials, and Environment–Videos

Thomas Sowell and Conflict of Visions–Videos

Thomas Sowell On The Housing Boom and Bust–Videos

Econ Talk With Thomas Sowell–Videos

Peter Thiel–Videos

Thomas E. Woods, Jr.–Videos

Thomas E. Woods–The Economic Crisis and The Federal Reserve–Videos

Tom Woods–Lectures On Liberty–Videos

Thomas E. Woods–The Market Economy–Videos

Tom Woods On Personal Rights and Property Ownership

Tom Woods–Smashing Myths and Restoring Sound Money–Videos

Tom Woods–Who Killed The Constitution

Tom Wright On The FairTax–Videos

Banking Cartel’s Public Relations Campaign Continues:Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke On The Record

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Soros Funded and Obama’s Manufactured Hate Generator–The Southern Poverty Law Center–Disinformation Propaganda Campaign

Posted on August 14, 2009. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Crime, Economics, Education, Employment, government spending, Health Care, Immigration, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Medicine, People, Politics, Psychology, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Religion, Talk Radio, Technology, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATED AND REVISED May 4, 2015

The Southern Poverty Law Center Going After Dr. Ben Carson

Southern Poverty Law Center is a Sham!

Dr Carol Swain criticizes SPLC for their hate of pro American organizations

LTG Jerry Boykin Briefs America – Corkins Terrorism Case, SPLC, State of our Union 4/20/2013

John Birch Society Exposes the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

SPLC Racist History Exposed

SPLC Race Baiting Operations Exposed

Exposing the Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center: The Real Hate Group/No Credibility

A Look into the Southern Poverty Law Center

Jim Fitzgerald goes deep into the Southern Poverty Law Center and their hidden agendas in this brief introduction to our Support Your Local Police campaign.

Mark Potok admits his SPLC “Hate Map” is inaccurate

Report: Anti-Gov’t Militias groups in U.S. on the rise

Glenn Beck » FRC Shooting – SPLC – Obama – Progressive Insurance

MARK POTOK THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER THE U.S MALITIA ARE RACIST

Beck…Dr. Keith Ablow “Smearing People” so they don’t speakout

Rush Limbaugh Aug 14 2009 Morning Update

Rush Limbaugh: New York Times praises 1933 Nazi stimulus plan as model for Obama

Michael Savage on Mark Potok claiming right wing extremism, SPLC, tea parties, and CNN with racism

SPLC Web Site

http://www.splcenter.org/blog/

SPLCenter org Homeland Security Economic, Political Climate Fueling Extremism

Tyrannical Obama Admin. Attacks Americans

Lou Dobbs Tonight – 05.07.07 – 60 Minutes Interview

Lou Dobbs Tonight – 03.28.07 – Lou Takes on Leftist SPLC

CNN’s Lou Dobbs – “Hate Crimes Going Down, Not Up”

Lou Dobbs Tonight – 03.28.07 – Lou Takes on Leftist SPLC

Wayne Lutton discusses SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center)

SPLC Race Pimp Stirring Up Hatred in America

Bill O’Reilly Backs Lou Dobbs, Slams Birthers

Blinded by LIESpt1

Blinded by LIESpt2

Blinded by LIESpt3

Blinded by LIESpt4

Blinded by LIESpt5

Mark Potock : Hollywood’s racist past , HATE LIST from Southern Poverty Law Center or SPLC

Looks like the progressive radical socialists networks including the Southern Poverty Law Center and state media  are busy again in fund raising and distracting Americans from President Obama’s failing bailouts, stimulus package, cap and trade energy tax and the health care bills with the public option–the pathway to a single payer government health care monopoly–socialized medicine now and next year a pathway to citizenship–amnesty for illegal aliens .

Blame it all on former President George W. Bush, the anti-government militias and the American people clinging to their guns and religion at townhall meetings.

Give me a break.

Do you really think any one is believing this nonsense.

In September 2009 the unemployment rate will be over 10% with between 15,000,000 to 25,000,000 Americans unemployed.

Where are the jobs Mr. President?

Time to stop and reverse the invasion of the United States  by 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 criminal aliens.

Bring the troops home to stop the invasion of our country.

Who needs the militias when you have the Army and Marines!

Unemployment could be cut in half by requiring the use of E-Verify to determine the legal status of all employees to work in the United States.

Lou Dobbs – 2-2-9 – Obama Admin wants to kill E-Verify

Send the criminal aliens home now.

Stop the distractions of looking for anti-government militias.

The American people do not want comprehensive immigration reform, they want comprehensive immigration law enforcement.

The American people do not want a hidden cap and trade energy tax, they want the FairTax.

The American people do not want government compulsory health insurance leading to a single payer socialized medicine government monopoly, they want affordable and portable private individual health insurance plans.

save_health-care

What Is the Free-Market Approach to Health Care Reform?

http://healthcare.cato.org/free-market-approach-health-care-reform

 Background Articles and Videos

Southern Poverty Law Center’s Lucrative ‘Hate Group’ Label

Last week’s shooting at the headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) has placed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) back into the news.  The SPLC recently had placed the FRC on its list of hate groups because the SPLC claims that in its opposition to gay marriage, the FRC defames gays and lesbians. It should be noted that the not-for-profit SPLC ostensibly began its mission to help those who had been victimized by civil rights violations by filing suits on their behalf.  In recent years, the SPLC greatly expanded its definition of civil rights and hate groups to the point where any organization that opposes the left’s favored causes risks being labeled a hate group by the SPLC.  It has also moved away from suing on behalf of the aggrieved to raising awareness of the presence of “hate groups.”  Most of all, for the last 35 years, it has become a real fundraising dynamo.

The labeling of opposing political views as hate by the SPLC has become so egregious that at the end of a report on a solidarity march in the Swedish city of Malmö by people protesting attacks on Jews by Islamists, William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection wonders:

Bonus question: Will pointing out the truth about Malmö land me on SPLC’s “hate map” along with Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs?Update:  I just noticed that Danel Greenfields’ Sultan Knish also is on SPLC’s NY hate map.

A growing consensus on the political right is to consider being labeled a hate group by the SPLC a badge of honor.  I agree that it is, but I take issue with others about what is to be done.  When I look at the entire history of the SPLC, I don’t think the recent trend of inflate the hate is as much about political correctness run completely amok in the age of Obama as it is about the greed and self-aggrandizement of the founder of the SPLC and the gullibility of the donor base.

Yes, mock those who increasingly conflate disapproval of policy ideas with hate.  It is a silly idea.  But mock even more those who continue to donate to SPLC as dupes of pious-sounding con men.  Make them doubt their self-image as serious-thinking people by showing that they are being manipulated by a shameless huckster whose principal agenda has always been to become very wealthy.  For if you understand that motivation, it is easy to see why the definition of hate had to be expanded to include groups that were considered very mainstream just a short time ago.

SPLC founder Morris Dees is a lawyer, but he began his career as a direct marketer, hawking everything from cookbooks to tractor seat cushions.  Indeed, the SPLC was a latecomer to the civil rights movement, as many of the biggest legal and legislative battles had been won before the organization was formed in 1971.

Dees’ first law partner, Millard Fuller, had this to say of him and their legal and direct marketing business ventures in the 1960s:

Morris and I, from the first days of our partnership, shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money. … We were not particular about how we did  it. We just wanted to be independently rich.  During the eight years we worked together we never wavered in that resolve.

By the mid-60s, Morris was rich.  He also became deeply interested in the money side of leftist politics.  The initial donor list of the SPLC consisted of those who had contributed to McGovern’s political campaign, because Dees ran that campaign’s direct mail operation and had requested the mailing list as his fee.  The Southern-born Dees knew that many of the northern liberals on McGovern’s donor list would get a vicarious thrill from sending a check to the Alabama-based SPLC to fight the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.

If appealing to some of these rather naive donors meant tarring other Southerners as racist, bigoted hicks, so be it.  Dees also raised money for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and wanted to be attorney general, but he and Carter’s people had a falling out.  After Carter left office, spokesman Jody Powell made no bones about his disgust with Dees and the use of appeals in SPLC mailings that were intentionally designed to play up to the stereotypes “ignorant Yankee contributors” had about Southerners.

It should also be noted that Millard Fuller took a different course from his erstwhile partner’s.  After he sold out to Dees, Fuller donated the money to charity and went on to found Habitat for Humanity.  As contributions to the SPLC kept increasing, so did Dees’ salary.  Within two decades, he was among the most highly compensated of the heads of advocacy groups, earning much more than the heads of more widely known organizations such as the ACLU, the Children’s Defense Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  That something was seriously rotten at SPLC was noted along with the increases in Dees’ salary.  While the SPLC promoted its pursuit of lawsuits related to civil rights, especially those challenging the imposition of the death penalty on black offenders, fundraising was pursued even more fervently.  By 1989, an ecumenical guide to charitable giving described the mission of the SPLC as “the aggressive distribution of junk mail, soliciting funds for more junk mail.”

A decade later in Harper’s magazine, a feature titled “The Church of Morris Dees” noted:

Today, the SPLC spends most of its time–and money–on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. “He’s the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,” renowned anti- death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, “though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.”

The results of one of the SPLC’s most famous cases as detailed in that article certainly might lead even the most credulous donor to think the aim of the SPLC may have shifted a bit from helping victims of hate to greed and self-aggrandizement.

In 1987, Dees won a $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of Beulah Mae Donald, whose son was lynched by two Klansmen. The UKA’s total assets amounted to a warehouse whose sale netted Mrs. Donald $51,875. According to a groundbreaking series of newspaper stories in the Montgomery Advertiser, the SPLC, meanwhile, made $9 million from fund-raising solicitations featuring the case, including one containing a photo of Michael Donald’s corpse.

In what Dees must have seen as icing on the cake, his battles against the fast fading and largely judgment-proof Klan even became the subject of a 1991 made-for-TV movie that depicted him as a huge hero in the civil rights movement.  Again, the movie was used to feed the all-important fundraising beast.

The year 1998 saw Dees being inducted into the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame, a move that also should have alerted the SPLC donor base that just maybe the SPLC was not quite as cash-strapped as it always represented itself in its frequent solicitations.

Dees’ reputation has long been beyond tarnished inside much of the civil rights bar.  In 2007, Atlanta civil rights lawyer Stephen Bright was invited by the University of Alabama Law School to present its Morris Dees Justice Award.  Here is what Bright wrote Dean Kenneth C. Randall:

I also received the law school’s invitation to the presentation of the “Morris Dees Justice Award,” which you also mentioned in your letter as one of the “great things” happening at the law school. I decline that invitation for another reason. Morris Dees is a con man and fraud, as I and others, such as U.S. Circuit Judge Cecil Poole, have observed and as has been documented by John Egerton, Harper’s, the Montgomery Advertiser in its “Charity of Riches” series, and others.

The positive contributions Dees has made to justice — most undertaken based upon calculations as to their publicity and fund raising potential — are far overshadowed by what Harper’s described as his “flagrantly misleading” solicitations for money. He has raised millions upon millions of dollars with various schemes, never mentioning that he does not need the money because he has $175 million and two “poverty palace” buildings in Montgomery. He has taken advantage of naive, well-meaning people — some of moderate or low incomes — who believe his pitches and give to his $175-million operation. He has spent most of what they have sent him to raise still more millions, pay high salaries, and promote himself. Because he spends so much on fund raising, his operation spends $30 million a year to accomplish less than what many other organizations accomplish on shoestring budgets.

The award does not recognize the work of others by associating them with Dees; it promotes Dees by associating him with the honorees. Both the law school and Skadden are diminished by being a part of another Dees scam.

None of this has ever seemed to dent the SPLC’s ability to raise money by inflating the influence of what it calls hate groups.  But by the late 1980s, a different problem was starting to develop: the Klan was all but dead, and few of the organizations labeled as white supremacists had more than a handful of members.

But this didn’t stop SPLC from using such groups for their direct mailing haul of shame.  Still, the original donor base was aging.  So during the Clinton administration, the SPLC found Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh a handy substitute for the Klan in its fundraising, despite failures to link his actions to any of the small militia groups the SPLC had earlier identified as hate groups.  Eventually that appeal also ran its course, so the SPLC needed to “inflate the hate” by identifying another group as the boogieman for a new generation of naive souls eager to depart with their money for a righteous-sounding cause.

In 2010, Ken Silverstein, the author of the 2000 Harper’s article, noted that the SPLC had found a large new target: those immigration reform groups that supported almost anything more restrictive than amnesty and de facto open borders.

For the record, I am totally opposed to CIS’s stance on immigration, as I stated at the press conference. I accepted the invitation to speak on the panel because it came from my friend Jerry Kammer, of whom I am a big admirer.

I also agreed to the invitation because, much like CIS, I feel that the Law Center is essentially a fraud and that it has a habit of casually labeling organizations as “hate groups.” (Which doesn’t mean that some of the groups it criticizes aren’t reprehensible.) In doing so, the SPLC shuts down debate, stifles free speech, and most of all, raises a pile of money, very little of which is used on behalf of poor people.

Silverstein’s good friend Kammer had this to say about Dees’ manipulative methods as he demolished the SPLC in “Immigration and the SPLC: How the Southern Poverty Law Center Invented a Smear, Served La Raza, Manipulated the Press, and Duped Its Donors.”

While Dees was raised a Southern Baptist, he suggested to some donors that he had a more diverse background. For example, in a 1985 fundraising pitch for funds to protect SPLC staff from threats of Klan violence, Dees made conspicuous use of his middle name – Seligman, which he received in honor of a family friend. A former SPLC attorney told The Progressive magazine that Dees signed letters with his middle name in mailings to zip codes that had many Jewish residents. The article was titled “How Morris Dees Got Rich Fighting the Klan.” A former SPLC employee told the Montgomery Advertiser that the donor base was “anchored by wealthy Jewish contributors on the East and West coasts.”

Attorney Tom Turnipseed, a former Dees associate, told Cox News Service, “Morris loves to raise money. Some of his gimmicks are just so transparent, but they’re good.”

Turnipseed described a fundraising letter whose return envelope carried “about six different stamps.” The purpose of the ruse was to present the appearance of an organization struggling to keep going. As Turnipseed noted: “It was like they had to cobble them all together to come up with 35 cents.”

After decades of claiming in his mailings that the SPLC was itself on the verge of poverty, Dees raised a few eyebrows in 2010 when a sixty-photo spread of his objets d’art-filled home, complete with guest house, pool, and grounds, ran in his hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser.  As blogger Steve Sailer noted:

This shiny thing-a-mabob with the #20 on it is described as “A poolside rickshaw at the home of Morris Dees and Susan Starr in Montgomery, Ala,” because nothing screams Equality! like a fancy rickshaw.

A look at the recent numbers reported by SPLC is highly informative.  With net assets of $238 million as of the close of its last fiscal year, the SPLC is among the wealthiest of civil rights and advocacy organizations.  Despite this endowment, the SPLC often implies that it is on the verge of cutting back operations vital to the quest for equality and civil rights due to lack of funds.  Yet it spends almost 19% of its annual budget on fundraising each year despite the fact its net assets are already an extremely healthy seven times annual expenses.  Note that this 19% figure is under cost allocation rules that allow some solicitations to pass as program expenses because educational material is included with the solicitation.

Last year, the SPLC generated a surplus of $4.1 million on revenues of $38.7 million.  CEO J. Richard Cohen makes $299K/year, and editor in chief of the SPLC Intelligence Report and Hatewatch blog Mark Potok makes $150K/year.  Chief Trial Counsel Morris Dees, age 74, makes $305K/year.  I wonder how many hours Dees spent on trial preparation compared to fundraising.  The title Dees carries is Chief Trial Counsel, yet his chief bailiwick has always been direct mail marketing.

As the SPLC publicizes the names of ever more hate groups to “raise awareness” of intolerance and to tap into ever new sources of funds, its donors should keep in mind a genuine larger truth.  Heightened awareness has never by itself helped the actual victims of anything, anywhere, at any time.  At best, it is entirely self-referential.  At its worst, it serves as a useful ploy to make a donor who hasn’t done much in the way of due diligence about an organization’s finances feel good about sending money to what appears to be a righteous cause.

The SPLC has more than mastered the exercise of raising awareness.  In his 2000 article, Silverstein noted that during its then-29 years of existence, the SPLC had carefully adjusted its operations to fit the needs and self-image of its largely urban, white, and often Jewish donor base.  Causes that garnered favorable early media attention but which also risked upsetting some donors, such as filing suits protesting the death penalty, were dropped, even if that meant the mass resignation of staff attorneys.  Images of angry blacks and other minorities never appear in solicitations.  Nor do concrete issues related to race and poverty get much attention in these appeals.  Donors aren’t called on to actually fight to improve housing, improve inner-city schools, or end violence at the borders.  Everything is geared to the equal-opportunity and secular sin of being intolerant of those who are different.  According to Silverstein, the payoff is also always the same — the SPLC is all about making guilty white donors feel good about themselves for being understanding by writing a check to the wealthy and largely white SPLC.  Actual attempts to help the oppressed and downtrodden aren’t just optional. They are almost superfluous.

This is done with a tried-and-true formula Dees learned listening to evangelical preachers as well as TV hucksters.  Silverstein writes:

No faith healing or infomercial would be complete without a moving testimonial. The student from whose tears this white schoolteacher learned her lesson is identified only as a child of color. “Which race,” we are assured, “does not matter.” Nor apparently does the specific nature of “the racist acts directed at him,” nor the race of his schoolyard tormentors. All that matters, in fact, is the race of the teacher and those expiating tears. “I wept with him, feeling for once, the depth of his hurt,” she confides. “His tears washed away the film that had distorted my white perspective of the world.” Scales fallen from her eyes, what action does this schoolteacher propose? What Gandhi-like disobedience will she undertake in order to “reach real peace in the world”? She doesn’t say but instead speaks vaguely of acting out against “the pain.” In the age of Oprah and Clinton, empathy — or the confession thereof — is an end in itself.

What matters is that the targets feel they will become part of the solution by writing a check to SPLC.  The comparison to Jim and Tammy Faye is really quite apt.  The Bakkers always featured the power of the personal testimonial as panacea.  The SPLC wants the potential donor to identify with the guilty white teacher.  The idea behind Jim Bakker’s testimonials was to get potential donors to identify with the one giving the testimony and not dwell on what actual changes must be made in one’s life to truly get closer to God.  Solutions were left intentionally quite vague.  And, of course, both the SPLC and the PTL Club offer absolution for sins secular and sacred in nature by means of sinners’ dropping a nice fat check in the mail.

While the formula is timeless, the pitch itself was badly in need of upgrading in the case of the SPLC.  It’s been two generations since the civil rights battles of the 1950s and ’60s.  America elected a black man president, and while few of the truly intractable social problems relating to race have been solved, those problems are for serious people willing to do real work — not film flam artists writing empty prose for the crowd that prides itself on self-described awareness.

For some time now, the media culture has been suggesting that the battle for gay marriage has its parallels with the civil rights battles.  Promoting gay marriage has certainly become a huge cause among the largely secular, affluent coastal elites who make up much of the donor base of the SPLC.  It seems the perfect newly fashionable cause to adopt to attract a new generation of marks.  Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has followed the history of the SPLC that groups which promote traditional values suddenly find themselves on the SPLC hate map.  I guess it is also not surprising that after so many warnings about its money-grubbing ways, the SPLC still has an audience for its exaggerations, misrepresentations, and outright distortions.  As the man said, there is a sucker born every minute.

Perhaps if you personally know people who swear by the validity of the new SPLC hate map you may want to nicely inform them they are now charter members of the new secular version of the PTL Club and watch the reaction.  If they get angry, remind them that this is not the assessment of the political right.  The most damning quotes about Dees and the SPLC all come from former associates on the political left.

Last week’s shooting at the headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) has placed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) back into the news.  The SPLC recently had placed the FRC on its list of hate groups because the SPLC claims that in its opposition to gay marriage, the FRC defames gays and lesbians.

It should be noted that the not-for-profit SPLC ostensibly began its mission to help those who had been victimized by civil rights violations by filing suits on their behalf.  In recent years, the SPLC greatly expanded its definition of civil rights and hate groups to the point where any organization that opposes the left’s favored causes risks being labeled a hate group by the SPLC.  It has also moved away from suing on behalf of the aggrieved to raising awareness of the presence of “hate groups.”  Most of all, for the last 35 years, it has become a real fundraising dynamo.

The labeling of opposing political views as hate by the SPLC has become so egregious that at the end of a report on a solidarity march in the Swedish city of Malmö by people protesting attacks on Jews by Islamists, William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection wonders:

Bonus question: Will pointing out the truth about Malmö land me on SPLC’s “hate map” along with Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs?

Update:  I just noticed that Danel Greenfields’ Sultan Knish also is on SPLC’s NY hate map.

A growing consensus on the political right is to consider being labeled a hate group by the SPLC a badge of honor.  I agree that it is, but I take issue with others about what is to be done.  When I look at the entire history of the SPLC, I don’t think the recent trend of inflate the hate is as much about political correctness run completely amok in the age of Obama as it is about the greed and self-aggrandizement of the founder of the SPLC and the gullibility of the donor base.

Yes, mock those who increasingly conflate disapproval of policy ideas with hate.  It is a silly idea.  But mock even more those who continue to donate to SPLC as dupes of pious-sounding con men.  Make them doubt their self-image as serious-thinking people by showing that they are being manipulated by a shameless huckster whose principal agenda has always been to become very wealthy.  For if you understand that motivation, it is easy to see why the definition of hate had to be expanded to include groups that were considered very mainstream just a short time ago.

SPLC founder Morris Dees is a lawyer, but he began his career as a direct marketer, hawking everything from cookbooks to tractor seat cushions.  Indeed, the SPLC was a latecomer to the civil rights movement, as many of the biggest legal and legislative battles had been won before the organization was formed in 1971.

Dees’ first law partner, Millard Fuller, had this to say of him and their legal and direct marketing business ventures in the 1960s:

Morris and I, from the first days of our partnership, shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money. … We were not particular about how we did  it. We just wanted to be independently rich.  During the eight years we worked together we never wavered in that resolve.

By the mid-60s, Morris was rich.  He also became deeply interested in the money side of leftist politics.  The initial donor list of the SPLC consisted of those who had contributed to McGovern’s political campaign, because Dees ran that campaign’s direct mail operation and had requested the mailing list as his fee.  The Southern-born Dees knew that many of the northern liberals on McGovern’s donor list would get a vicarious thrill from sending a check to the Alabama-based SPLC to fight the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists.

If appealing to some of these rather naive donors meant tarring other Southerners as racist, bigoted hicks, so be it.  Dees also raised money for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and wanted to be attorney general, but he and Carter’s people had a falling out.  After Carter left office, spokesman Jody Powell made no bones about his disgust with Dees and the use of appeals in SPLC mailings that were intentionally designed to play up to the stereotypes “ignorant Yankee contributors” had about Southerners.

It should also be noted that Millard Fuller took a different course from his erstwhile partner’s.  After he sold out to Dees, Fuller donated the money to charity and went on to found Habitat for Humanity.  As contributions to the SPLC kept increasing, so did Dees’ salary.  Within two decades, he was among the most highly compensated of the heads of advocacy groups, earning much more than the heads of more widely known organizations such as the ACLU, the Children’s Defense Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  That something was seriously rotten at SPLC was noted along with the increases in Dees’ salary.  While the SPLC promoted its pursuit of lawsuits related to civil rights, especially those challenging the imposition of the death penalty on black offenders, fundraising was pursued even more fervently.  By 1989, an ecumenical guide to charitable giving described the mission of the SPLC as “the aggressive distribution of junk mail, soliciting funds for more junk mail.”

A decade later in Harper’s magazine, a feature titled “The Church of Morris Dees” noted:

Today, the SPLC spends most of its time–and money–on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. “He’s the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,” renowned anti- death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, “though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.”

The results of one of the SPLC’s most famous cases as detailed in that article certainly might lead even the most credulous donor to think the aim of the SPLC may have shifted a bit from helping victims of hate to greed and self-aggrandizement.

In 1987, Dees won a $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of Beulah Mae Donald, whose son was lynched by two Klansmen. The UKA’s total assets amounted to a warehouse whose sale netted Mrs. Donald $51,875. According to a groundbreaking series of newspaper stories in the Montgomery Advertiser, the SPLC, meanwhile, made $9 million from fund-raising solicitations featuring the case, including one containing a photo of Michael Donald’s corpse.

In what Dees must have seen as icing on the cake, his battles against the fast fading and largely judgment-proof Klan even became the subject of a 1991 made-for-TV movie that depicted him as a huge hero in the civil rights movement.  Again, the movie was used to feed the all-important fundraising beast.

The year 1998 saw Dees being inducted into the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame, a move that also should have alerted the SPLC donor base that just maybe the SPLC was not quite as cash-strapped as it always represented itself in its frequent solicitations.

Dees’ reputation has long been beyond tarnished inside much of the civil rights bar.  In 2007, Atlanta civil rights lawyer Stephen Bright was invited by the University of Alabama Law School to present its Morris Dees Justice Award.  Here is what Bright wrote Dean Kenneth C. Randall:

I also received the law school’s invitation to the presentation of the “Morris Dees Justice Award,” which you also mentioned in your letter as one of the “great things” happening at the law school. I decline that invitation for another reason. Morris Dees is a con man and fraud, as I and others, such as U.S. Circuit Judge Cecil Poole, have observed and as has been documented by John Egerton, Harper’s, the Montgomery Advertiser in its “Charity of Riches” series, and others.

The positive contributions Dees has made to justice — most undertaken based upon calcul