More on Politics and Prostitution

Another from Chuck Muth:
SELLING A LEMON
USA Today revealed on Friday that President Bush’s Education Department paid black conservative columnist/talk show host Armstrong Williams almost 1/4 million dollars to promote Ted Kennedy’s “No Child Left Behind” law. Tribune Media Services immediately dropped Williams’ column, and Williams responded by admitting “bad judgment” and saying he understands “why some people think it’s unethical.”
Gee, why would anyone think that a conservative media personality taking $241,000 to promote a bigger role for the federal government in education was “unethical”?

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When does politics trump principle?

Today from Chuck Muth:
POLITICS OVER PRINCIPLE
Not long ago, when the House was considering adding the new prescription drug benefit to Medicare – the largest new entitlement since LBJ’s Great Society days – conservatives by and large were in opposition. However, former Speaker Newt Gingrich made a rather compelling case that passing the benefit would result in electoral gains for Republicans at the polls. Gingrich’s political argument ultimately won over the conservative philosophical argument.
Now the issue is Social Security reform. The president, who no longer faces re-election, is pushing for a dramatic overhaul of the nation’s Ponzi-scheme retirement program…but skittish congresscritters facing re-election again in 2006 are going “wobbly” on him. Unfortunately, as Holman Jenkins reported this week in Political Diary, Gingrich and Jack Kemp – Bob Dole’s running mate in 1996 who lost his debate with Al Gore – are siding with the Nervous Nellies, championing a “reform” package which doesn’t really reform the system.
What’s the sense of having a governing majority if you’re scared to death to govern according to the issues you supposedly believe in and got you elected?”

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How about the rest of the property owners?

I wonder if anyone has given any thought to the incentive effects on landlords of this:
“Within 24 hours of the discovery of the lab, Mayor Martin Chavez on Thursday announced three new initiatives against meth labs.
The first is the immediate and strict enforcement of the ordinance that requires property owners to pay for the cleanup of drug labs.
Standing in front of the home at a news conference, Chavez pointed at it and said, ‘This property owner is the first, and he probably won’t be too happy about it.'”
Give it some thought. Specifically, how do you think this action by the mayor will affect the supply of rental housing and its price?

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A Musical Farce

As if writing a coda to a musical farce, Bill Richardson now wants to provide corporate welfare for music. According to the Albuquerque Jounrnal:
“Richardson on Friday described his $100,000 proposal to establish the New Mexico Music Commission as an ‘economic development tool’ that would promote the state’s music and musicians.”
Economic development by means of corporate welfare is like a musical farce. Government does not orchestrate the creation of jobs, but it does dole out favors to interest groups at taxpayer expense. Our economy will continue to fall flat, if we are not sharp enough to take note of this nonsense. The key to prosperity is low tax rates and limited government.

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School Choice in NM — We already have it!

The other day I mentioned that Educate New Mexico is now providing choice to poor parents having children in failing government schools. How can you help? If you are in the 28% federal tax bracket and 6% state tax bracket, a contribution of $1,000 to Educate New Mexico would only cost you $679 net of taxes (assuming, of course, that you are itemizing deductions). But it’s even better! Educate New Mexico receives a one dollar match for every two dollars donated. Using the above example, the donor would be able to get $1,500 into school choice for a cost of only $679 net-of-taxes! It’s worth pointing out that Educate New Mexico has very low overhead, so most of the $1,500 would actually reach the poor family. If you are in a lower or higher tax bracket than the example, your net-of-tax contribution would differ very little.
Another benefit to the taxpayer: not as much of your money will go to our inept government.
I recommend you help us take matters into our own hands when it comes to school choice. Donate to Educate New Mexico. Let’s go around our inept government and make it happen!

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More on Choice

This from Craig Newmark:
A saying almost as good as Newmark’s First Law is Margolis’s Observation: “A Liberal is someone who believes a woman should be able to choose to kill her fetus, but if she carries the fetus to term, should not be able to choose where the child goes to school.”

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Choice in Education

Kudos to Micha and Sarah for their thoughtful and persuasive opinion piece in today’s Albuquerque Journal. An excerpt:
“The public schools enjoy a virtual monopoly on education. So long as there are no real penalties associated with failure, nothing will motivate our schools to improve their performance. In markets for goods and services, the best cure for monopoly is proven to be competition, a powerful force that operates to increase efficiency and improve the quality of products. This principle applies equally to the market for schooling.”
Interestingly, Arnold King also has an interesting post today on the benefits of choice and competition in education. An excerpt:
“In my view, government’s biggest weakness relative to the private sector is its inability to reward success more than failure. The biggest reason that I believe private-sector education would prove superior in the long run is that I think it would tend to weed out failing teachers and failing processes in general.”
Do you know that some help is already available for school choice in New Mexico? Educate New Mexico has some scholarships available for low income families who want their children to escape from failing government schools. Your tax deductible contributions to this self-help program may be made to Educate New Mexico. While our state government sits on its hands proclaiming the charade of “reform,” we can be going around it to promote choice and competition. We can take matters into our own hands.

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Can you blame a politician for being a prostitute?

Michael Munger does not think so:
“For one, the comparison defames prostitutes. Politics is the oldest profession. Second, in prostitution, it is the hooker who gets screwed. In politics, it is the customer.”
That reminds me, have you noticed that Joe Thompson has decided to lobby for UNM? I’ll bet hookers don’t get $20K. (Okay, hookers don’t have to do it for 60 days either.)
Let’s face it, politics often trumps principle.

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Ending Poverty as We Know it in NM

Wow! Free money is rolling in. Some excerpts:
“The windfall has been greatest in the sparsely populated states of Alaska, Wyoming and New Mexico, where revenue from oil and natural gas has yielded large budget surpluses at a time when most states are recovering from deficits. Together, the three states are on track to pull in $4.5 billion from royalties and taxes on energy for fiscal 2004, up $900 million, or nearly 25%, from fiscal 2003 and from a mere $2.9 billion as recently as 2002.”
“A similar scenario is playing out on a much grander scale from Saudi Arabia to Russia to Venezuela, where money is pouring into oil producers’ coffers. The U.S. produces five million barrels of oil a day, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia, and 19.15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. When energy prices rise, as they did to $55 a barrel in October before falling back recently, so do taxes and royalties on oil and gas. Yesterday, oil traded on the Nymex was up $1.79 to $43.91 a barrel, as violence flared in oil-rich Iraq and Saudi Arabia said it is making good on a pledge to cut output.”
What is to stop NM from ending poverty now? We are well on our way to imitating utopian Venezuela.

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Recommendation

If you have not yet checked out the blog at Division of Labour, you should do so immediately. Their posts are quite entertaining as well as informative. And they have just added three sensational bloggers: Larry White, Deirdre McCloskey and Michael Munger. This is a blog worth checking every day.

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