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Will Harry Reid hang
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It is looking like it
might slip away.

It's going to be close…
Keep an eye on our
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Can John Boehner keep
his raucous caucus in
the driver's in 2014?
Probably, but only if he
avoids unforced errors
like a bruising brawl on

Keep an eye on our
election coverage. There
will surely be lots of
twists and turns.


2014/09/22 - Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) released a new tax reform proposal today. Generally we are very supportive of the kinds of ideas put forth by the likes of Messrs. Lee and Rubio (with one glaring exception), so we are pleased to see that they have made tax reform a priority for the upcoming 114th Congress. First, however, Americans must act decisively to dislodge Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader and break Washington gridlock and get solid policy initiatives moving forward.

As we review the outline there is one area where we have concerns that the Rubio-Lee plan goes too far, and one area where we are disappointed that it does not go far enough.

First, where it doesn't go far enough: Lee and Rubio propose reducing our highest-in-the-world 35% corporate tax rate, but we ask, why not eliminate corporate taxes altogether?

Businesses create national income, consumer value, and jobs for workers. Corporate resources are a pool of wealth / value / job creation capital; when governments confiscate this capital, they curtail the creation of incomes, jobs, vale and wealth.

All income should be taxed, at the same rate structure regardless of its source or nature (wages, dividends, interest, capital gains), in the hands of individuals as it is removed from these pools of income.

The elimination should be executed over an extended period, perhaps a ten-year phase out reducing the rate by 3.5% per year until the rate is zero, at which point the applicable provisions would sunset. The tax must be phased out over an extended period, otherwise the rapid increase in economic activity, jobs, and income could create some excessive strains on various markets - commodities, housing, etc.

Second, where perhaps it goes too far: the child tax credit. Effectively, paying people to have babies. If you fret about government involvement in people's personal lives, isn't this ground zero?

There are many people who ought not to have children but do, and government assistance in various forms is one of the contributing motivators. It's not the lone factor, it may not even be the pivotal factor, but it's in the mix.

This is one of the saddest paradoxes in our society: how do we help children living in poverty, without motivating impoverished adults to have even more impoverished children.

Liberals will never admit that their policies are the cause of the problem rather than the solution. You can expect vitriol and demagoguery when you oppose these socialists and their disastrous ideas, the problem of a posterity of poverty perpetuated by progressives.

The best way to help people, of both middle and lower incomes, is to provide opportunities. Help them out of poverty rather than help them survive poverty. We need to focus on policies that create opportunities, like eliminating business income tax. And then let people make their own choices without tilting the playing field one way or the other. We need to obey the law of supply and demand.

We applaud the efforts of Lee and Rubio. We will wait and see what their finished product looks like.


2014/09/10 - The attack by Ray Rice was horrific and senseless. The attacks on Ray Rice are also senseless. Horrific, no; but senseless, yes.

For those of you who don’t know, Ray Rice is a professional football player. A good player, in a marquee position, who regularly influences the outcomes of his games. Even casual fans would have heard of him. Then, this spring, Rice slugged his fiancée (now his wife), Janay Palmer, in an elevator, knocked her out, and dragged her limp body into the hall. Recently released video has appalled anyone who has seen it.

Naturally there is a firestorm of controversy. Various parties have vilified Rice for his actions, as well as the National Football League and its commissioner Roger Goodell for slow and soft discipline. Included in this vicious vigilante is National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neil, who said “The NFL has lost its way. It doesn't have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem”.

It may make people like O’Neill feel better to unleash vitriol at various targets but what does that low-grade bloodlust solve? Some call for a lifetime suspension for Rice, but, why? If they take away Mr. Rice’s livelihood, they also take away Mrs. Rice’s means of support. That would – deservedly perhaps – ruin his life, but it would also ruin hers. Mrs. Rice would now be twice the victim. And the Rice family and their posterity would be assigned to poverty in perpetuity. Can’t we do better?

Of course O’Neill is wrong. This is not a Ray Rice problem, nor a Roger Goodell problem, nor an NFL problem. It is a societal problem. O’Neill of all people should understand that, instead of trolling the NFL for some cheap headlines.

The NFL has hundreds of twenty-somethings dumped on its doorstep every year. Most are fine gentlemen, but, alas, some are troubled souls. Seems obvious now that Ray Rice is one of them. These problem people were not created by the NFL. They were created by breakdowns in our society. That is most certainly not the NFL’s fault.

Focusing energy on trying to get the NFL “to clean up its act” is entirely misguided. Even if it was the NFL’s fault and the NFL did “clean up its act” – a weak premise at best - not only would that not even be a drop in the bucket to eliminate violence against women, it would probably be counter-productive, because it would reduce the crime’s visibility and a make resolution of the broader problem less likely.

Far too much is being made of this lone episode, and far too little of the 6,000 other domestic violence attacks that occur in America each day. O’Neill should be ashamed for focusing on Goodell and demanding his dismissal. Is that the most wise and judicious way to leverage this situation? Similarly, we see no constructive benefit to gratuitously piling on Ray Rice. Yes, what he did was mean, but the cheap shots people are taking at him are a waste. But instead of seeking to influence positive change in the midst of these deplorable circumstances, we can thank NOW for going ugly.

At Chalprem we always prefer to be proactive rather than reactive. We prefer to deal with the disease rather than symptoms. What should be done with Ray Rice? Try this for a template for this and future instances:
• A relatively mild suspension – perhaps five games – while the emotions cool;
• A hefty fine – perhaps half of the annual salary – with proceeds going to a new NFL charity dedicated to eliminating domestic violence. $3.5 million in this case;
• Mandatory counselling – lots of it. For both the villain and the victim, jointly and separately;
• Community service – lots of it, in situations appropriate for the circumstances but oriented towards repairing damage caused by violence against women; and
• Communications – appearing in commercials and media to highlight and defeat this scourge.

Domestic violence is one of the main causes of societal breakdown. The NFL was not looking for this problem, but this problem found the NFL. It is not the NFL’s fault, but it has become the NFL’s problem. So now we ask, will the NFL man up and join the effort to overcome domestic violence?

Random Ramblings

September 25, 2014 - Attorney General Eric Holder has announced his retirement, and America will be better off for his departure.

In June 2012 the House of Representatives voted to hold the AG in contempt of Congress. This spring he asked, "...what attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"

What attorney general indeed. What attorney general has been so partisan? What attorney general has pursued a personal agenda so aggressively? What attorney general has been so dismissive of Congress? What attorney general has been so disdainful off the Constitution?

What attorney general has ever treated his duties so egregiously?

Eric Holder, that's who.

September 23, 2014 - Overnight the US conducted major airstrikes against ISIS and other terrorist elements based in Syria.

F-22 Raptors conducted their first-ever combat engagements. This is a wonderful aircraft, though an expensive one - $340 million each for the ones we have, $140 million for each additional one we should have built but didn't.

The super-sonic stealth fighters were able to penetrate heavily defended Syrian airspace undetected, destroy urban targets without colateral damage, and exit the theatre with a trove of intelligence pertaining to Syria's defences.

Perhaps the military decided to stick it in the eye of Obama by unleashing the Raptor. Back in 2009, while killing the Raptor program, President Obama called it "unnecessary and outdated". Yes, our Commander-in-Chief called the world's most advanced aircraft "outdated"!

The F-22 is so advanced, it is decades ahead of any plane our rivals might hope to have, and part of the reason, curiously, is the cost - even if our rivals could design a plane this good, they can't afford to actually build it. Which makes it worth the price.

Obama of course fails to understand Reagan's success against the Soviet Union: when we up the ante such that our enemies cannot match the cost or capability of our equipment, they capitulate. Cost + Capability = Capitulate.

"Outdated" indeed.

September 19, 2014 - Scotland voted against full Independence yesterday, by a 45-55 vote, to remain part of the United Kingdom.

The charlatan Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, almost brought down the 307-year-old union but it was not to be, at least not yet.

It would have been interesting to see how a more conservative England and more socialist but oil-bolstered Scotland would have evolved separately.

NATO and European security are probably big winners, the United Kingdom as presently constituted has been the driving source for peace and democracy within Europe for the last one hundred years.

September 11, 2014 - President Checkthebox checked another box last night, delivering us a speech on what he's going to do about ISIS.

We all know he doesn't even want to have a strategy about ISIS, but after the beheading of two Americans, public opinion is so far ahead of him he had no choice but to face the issue. So we get a speech. Check one box.

Mostly it was an exercise in finger-wagging, stern warnings - red lines, serious consequences, make no mistake, etc. But no worries, terrorists - no American boots on the ground, and we will take 30 years to do it, so most terrorists will die later of old age rather than sooner from a Hellfire where the sun doesn't shine.

And the four point plan was check-the-box boilerplate that an 8-year old could have come up with: First, airstrikes. Lots of them. Check. Second, support local forces. Check. Third, spy on them. Check. Fourth, humanitarian assistance. Check.

Yup, that's it. That's our strategy for managing ISIS.

What are our enemies to make of this guy? What are our allies to make of him? Everyone can see his heart isn't in it. FORE!!!!!

September 09, 2014 - Oooooops! Wrong number....

The good, the bad and the ugly. Well, two out of three...? The "good": didn't happen.

The "bad": DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon attempted to call Democrat Elijah Cummings to coordinate and manipulate media coverage of the IRS targeting scandal.

The "ugly": Instead he called Republican Darrell Issa, then, upon realizing his foolishness, became "audibly shaken", melted down, contradicted himself, and hung up.

September 03, 2014 - Today finds Obama visiting Estonian President Taavi Roivas in Tallinn.

Roivas spoke about the serious threats facing his country as well as others in the region; Obama spoke of smartphones and Bruce Springsteen.

Obama understands benevolent superpowers, which means he understands approximately on third of one country on earth. He does not understand the fears of small countries living in the shadow and under threat from a neighboring malevolent superpower. Or he doesn't care.

We strongly support Obama's visit to the Baltic states. We fear that, as is his MO, it is merely a "check-the-box" measure with no substance or staying power. Here today, gone tomorrow.

September 02, 2014 - How bad a President is Obama? Quite bad, as this sequence demonstrates:
• August 20, 2012: In remarks at the White House President Obama declares that Syria's use of chemical weapons would " a red line for us..." which of course Syria subsequently crossed, with no consequences.
• January 27 2014: In a New Yorker interview Obama mocks the ISIS Mideast terror threat as "jayvee".
• August 10: Hilary Clinton slams Obama foreign policy with the line "'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle".
• August 21: In a speech about ISIS and the beheading of James Foley Obama insists "...we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism". So have they have graduated from "jayvee"? No, apparently not, after the speech Obama rushed off to play golf. JV. NBD.
• August 22: Americans are confounded that the President could be as callous as to rush off to play golf after a speech about a beheading.
• August 23: Even liberals pile on, like Maureen Dowd with her op-ed "So help me Golf" - "FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago..."
• August 25: White House, and surrogates like Bill Burton, push back, insisting that Obama can golf a lot and still execute every Presidential duty flawlessly.
• August 26: West Point Counterterrorism Journal releases a study showing that the ISIS threat has been four years in the making, and was growing into a serious threat even as Obama mocked it as "jayvee".
• August 27:
Chalprem recommends that Obama's time would be more appropriately invested strategizing a response to ISIS, rather than wasted clowning around on a golf course.
• August 28: Obama, sans le teleprompter, answering a question about the Syria situation, says "We don't have a strategy yet." After two years.
• August 29: Americans are again confounded by the unseriousness of this President, which of course is unfair, he's been very serious about golfing and fundraising the last two years.
OK, other than golf and fund raising, what has this President been doing for the last two years? Still no strategy on Syria? Fore!!!

  • Megan McArdle has maintained an excellent commentary on Obamacare. It's especially surprising to find it on the website of Bloomberg (which has the substance of NPR but spares you the emotional roller-coaster NPR is noted for): £ ¥ Great Article

  • Are Corporate Income Taxes really such a great idea? An investment guru challenges the conventional wisdom: £ ¥ Great Article

  • Schindler Parts 1 & 2: ¥ Life Imitates Movies


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