Wednesday, September 29, 2004

IMF Policies Spread AIDS, Groups Charge

The austerity policies imposed on developing countries by the International Monetary Fund undermine the global HIV/AIDS fight, says a new report by several prominent public-health and development groups. They charge the IMF conditions on its loans and debt relief makes it much harder for governments to finance the rapidly rising expenses of fighting the epidemic. I thought shared needles, infidelity and multiple sex partners without protection spread AIDS.

Pardon me, for I’m misinformed! This ridiculous report seeks to leech onto AIDS/HIV to promote its real goal: socialism.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Chirac: ‘Time for Global Tax’

French President Jacques Chirac is the latest leader to call for a global tax on arm sales and financial transactions to help fight poverty. Both he and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva hope the proposal will cut global poverty in half by 2015. 110 countries have signed a document urging governments to consider the proposal.

Leave it up to a de facto socialist to back such a proposal. Why should countries pay for the results of other countries’ jacked-up fiscal policies? What’s the incentive for a country to learn from its mistakes and try a different path? And why arm sales? Why not, oh say, wines, cheese, cigarettes, and clothes? Ah, that would affect the French too much.

The way to reduce poverty is how Ireland, Portugal, China, India, Singapore, and other countries have done: reduce trade barriers, reduce regulations that inhibit business creation, reduce corruption, and reduce taxes.

Monday, September 20, 2004

How Regulation Fuels African Poverty

A recent World Bank report, “Doing Business in 2005,” shows that poor countries impose three times the administrative costs and double the red tape as rich countries. The Economist illustrates:

Incorporating a business takes two days in Canada, but 153 in

In Haiti, for example, it takes 203 days to register a company, which
is 201 days longer than in Australia. In Sierra Leone it costs 1,268% of average
income, compared with nothing in Denmark. To register in Ethiopia, a would-be
entrepreneur must deposit the equivalent of 18 years’ average income in a bank
account, which is then frozen. In Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, recording
a property sale involves 21 procedures and takes 274 days. Official fees amount
to 27% of the value of the transaction. In Norway the task takes less than a day
and costs only 2.5% of the price of the property.

Africa accounts for 2/3 of the world’s countries with the most onerous procedures, so no wonder that few companies wish to do business there. Says the Adam Smith Institute blog: “It is difficult to force people to be entrepreneurial, but they can be encouraged to be so if it is both easy and rewarding. The burdens and the fees should be lower, not higher, in the poorer countries because they need the growth more.”

Socialist procedures which undermine African entrepreneurship potential are a key barrier holding back the continent. Instead of the U.N. holding meaningless conferences, how about one focusing on reducing red tape and increasing growth so we can have some “African Lion” or “Caribbean Lion” countries?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Watching the Pigsty

I love this graphic on Citizens Against Government Waste’s site! CAGW uses it for its pork advisory system to alert us about Capitol Hill’s spending atmosphere and pork projects. I guess the advisory is never low because Congress stays out of our wallets? Yeah, in my dreams.

Three years ago, the "religion of peace" delivered this sermon. Let's not forget now or three years from now about the growing global dangers of Muslim jihadism to liberty.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Yeah, Where Is It?

Last week on the “Hannity & Colmes” show, liberal Alan Colmes asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich why there was no commentary at the Republican National Convention about the Contract With America’s 10th anniversary. Especially since Gingrich was the Contract’s visionary? Gotta admit, that was a great question.

Back in 1994 (when I was a leftist), I hated the Contract With America. When I started my new job (at a national not-for-profit) in December, we regularly stated in the office that Newt was the Gingrich Who Stole Christmas. Having moved away from liberalism’s excesses and wondering why President Bush hasn‘t met a spending bill that he doesn't love, I now wish for the Contract's focus on government fiscal responsibility! Some months ago, I even drafted a “Republican Contract With Black America” to promote black economic empowerment

Monday, September 06, 2004

Not Quite

Libertarian Jackass wonders: “Hey, I heard a clip of Bush saying, ‘We will be attacked again,’ in reference to the War on Terror. Once that attack comes, will it be safe to say: ‘The War on Terror has failed’? That'll be the (sad) day.”

So a few failures (even sizeable ones) means we’ve lost? Only perfection equals success? Of course, President Bush could do certain things to help decrease such attacks - racial profiling of Arab and Muslim males, batten down the borders, really jail folks at will, make sure the war is instead fought overseas. But these things are odious to most libertarians (and some are odious even to me). So make a choice - you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

School Vouchers Are Socialism?

Yes, argues Paul Blair. Using national health insurance as a parallel example, he argues that teachers’ unions would dominate private schools under a voucher system. “Education vouchers mean a shift from having most schools operate under socialism, to having all schools do so. This is not progress.” He is also concerned about religious freedom, arguing that people can then spend their money on supporting views they agree with and vouchers amount to state subsidies for religious education.

Ain’t convinced. What Blair fails to mention is that private and parochial schools have the option to take or not take voucher students, and students have the option to attend a public, private, or parochial school. What about the individual right of a parent to send his or her child to a school of his or her (not the government’s) choice?

Also, the First Amendment actually says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." It says nothing about state or local government. The 10th Amendment (federalism clause) says any power not specifically given to the feds flows to the states and to the people. We say: let the market decide. Looking at black support for school prayer (79%), the vast majority of black parents would send their child to parochial schools if given the choice. Not the godless government schools that undermine black culture, that Darrius and Shaniqua are now forced to attend.

If folks of any race don’t want to send their child to a parochial school, they can send them to a public or secular private school. That's what free exercise of religion looks like.