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Thursday, 26 May 2011

HST lies

My opposition to the HST in BC is based on two simple reasons.

  1. The BC Liberals flat-out lied about their plans not to introduce it. (see below) When Ontario did it, they did it the right way: the plan was introduced to the public before the election, and people voted with informed opinions.

  2. The BC Liberals have not operated the province with any fiscal restraint. (Seriously, $600 million for a new roof for BC Place, and it can't even close up while it's raining?) Instead, they've had to rely on at least two major one-time sell-the-farm gambits (the BC Rail sale and the HST coming with a crucial $1.6 billion one-time gift from the feds) to make ends meet.

The BC Liberals in 2009, right before the election:

"The harmonized GST would make it harder for future provincial governments to lower or raise sales tax rates, which reduces flexibility. In short, a harmonized GST is not something that is contemplated in the B.C. Liberal platform."

Just to be sure, the restaurant association asked whether it would be consulted if the Liberals changed their minds. "We do commit to engage in consultation with industry prior to any potential future tax changes that affect food," was the reply.

A few months later, when the election was over, they turned around and implemented it so quickly it was clear they'd been planning it before the election. As further documents revealed.

Come to think of it, the lies about the sale of BC Rail - from the state of its finances to whether it even was a sale or "merely" a 990-year lease, remind me a lot about the similarly dishonest post-facto fearmongering about turning over the HST.

Put it this way: I don't care whether the HST is better or worse for the province than the GST/PST. The important things to me are that a democracy cannot be run by lying to the electorate, and that the BC Liberals must stop selling the future to pay for today.

posted at: 17:29 Thu 26/May/2011 | /politics/canada | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

LSE Idiocy

From comments in this Crooked Timber post, a somewhat overlooked part of "evolutionary psychologist" Satoshi Kanazawa's extraordinarily crap article for Psychology Today:

For example, because they have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races.

As comment #30 points out, this is staggeringly stupid:

Does he think that other "races" were created from scratch more recently than Africans with no deleterious mutations? Even using his assumptions they will have inherited harmful mutations from their ancestors in just the same way as Africans have.

And as you say, all this ignores the fact that harmful mutations will be selected against. In reality we expect a balance between natural selection (lowering the frequency of harmful mutations) and new mutations.

Seriously, saying something this dumb ought to be grounds for your alma mater to revoke your PhD.

Considering they've stood by him as he's made numerous other scientific and methodological gaffes, I expect LSE and Psychology Today will probably promote Kanazawa instead.

posted at: 21:04 Wed 25/May/2011 | /politics | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Tuesday, 08 March 2011

Premiums and 'Obamacare'

Reason writes:

As the one year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act nears, The New York Times notices that health insurance premiums still haven't gone down. Just the opposite, in fact:


We know, for example, that benefit mandates drive up the cost of insurance. This ought to be self-evident to anyone who's ever purchased, say, car insurance: A bigger benefit package means more expensive premiums. The same is true in the health insurance market.

(my emphasis)

Now, is there anything in that NYT article that Reason left out?

Well... yes.

Some insurance industry lobbyists say the new federal health care law is driving up premiums. But Vincent Capozzi, senior vice president for sales and customer service at Harvard Pilgrim, said that only one percentage point of the increases here was attributable to the federal law, mainly its requirement for free coverage of preventive services.

Another percentage point results from new state laws requiring coverage of hearing aids and certain treatments for autism, Mr. Capozzi said. Most of the remainder, he said, reflects increases in the use and cost of medical care by small-group customers, with adjustments for demographic characteristics like age.

This in a story that's talking about increases this year of 20-40 percentage points! Perhaps mandates are not, in fact, the main driver of costs, hmm, Reason?

posted at: 04:01 Tue 08/Mar/2011 | /politics | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Monday, 09 August 2010

This Week in Cretins: Dana Rohrabacher

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher tweets:

Jul 31

Just met in Berlin with leaders of the Northern Alliance who defeated the Taliban. #Afghanistan #freedom

And Aug 9th:


.@JC_Christian Osama fought Soviets, funded by Saudis not US. I always opp. support 4 radicals like him unlike Clinton who backed Taliban.

and here

.@JC_Christian @tigrs99 @blogdiva No Taliban til post Bush Sr, Clinton backed Taliban vs Muj mods, Bush Jr only in office few months b4 9/11

Wow, sounds like Republican Dana Rohrabacher decries the Taliban and wants to blame them on Clinton, right?

This would be easier to take if it wasn't coming from a guy who (previously) had "lobbied shamelessly" for the Taliban:

continue reading...

posted at: 21:37 Mon 09/Aug/2010 | /politics | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

Tuesday, 03 August 2010

Arthur Laffer in today's WSJ

In a stunning turn of events, the Reagan-era lead supply-sider Arthur Laffer has penned an editorial for the WSJ coming out in favor of... tax cuts! Shocking.

But wait, it gets better! To shore up support for his claim, he gives a brief description of the Great Depression:

And then there's the Hoover/Roosevelt Great Depression. The Great Depression was precipitated by President Hoover in early 1930, when he signed into law the largest ever U.S. tax increase on traded products--the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. President Hoover then thought it would be clever to try to tax America into prosperity.

... I guess nothing very notable happened in 1929.

posted at: 04:05 Tue 03/Aug/2010 | /politics | permalink | 0 comments | trackback

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