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AG Nominee Won’t Say Whether Future Presidents Can Decline to Enforce Tax Laws



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Attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch says President Obama’s executive action on immigration is a reasonable use of the president’s executive discretion, but won’t identify the limits of that authority — such as whether a future Republican president could lower taxes by declining to enforce tax laws. 

When Texas senator Ted Cruz asked whether a future president could apply prosecutorial discretion to tax law, Lynch was cagey in response. 

“So you’re unable to give any legal judgment to this committee today on whether a subsequent president could decline to enforce the tax laws as they’re written?” Cruz asked.

“I think with respect to current or subsequent presidential action there would have to be, as in every case, a thorough review of the relevant law, the precedent, congressional precedent, the statutes at issue, in conjunction with whatever action was being proposed to see if there was in fact a legal basis or whether there was not a legal basis for the action being proposed,” Lynch answered.

Cruz followed up to ask whether future presidents could disregard labor and environmental laws via the use of prosecutorial discretion, to which Lynch also didn’t give a direct answer.

Illegal Aliens Have the Right to Work in the U.S.



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. . . so says attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch. From her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today (emphasis added):

Senator Sessions: Who has more right to a job in this country, a lawful immigrant who’s here– a green card holder, or a citizen, or a person who has entered the country unlawfully?

Ms. Lynch: The right and obligation to work is shared by everyone in this country, regardless of how they came here.

So, the person who will be the country’s top law-enforcement official maintains that illegal aliens have the right to work in America. The lawlessness of the last six years will  proceed unabated.

On the other hand, her assertion that everyone in the country has an obligation to work is worth pursuing. Does anyone think she really means it?

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More on the Unemployment-Insurance-Caused-Unemployment Study



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Yesterday, I wrote about a new NBER working paper by a few economists arguing that the stronger unemployment growth in 2014 versus other years of the recovery seems to be almost entirely due to the expiration of extended unemployment insurance at the beginning of the year. That’s a remarkable finding, so it’s attracted some remarks. Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute (a friendly, extremely smart left-liberal writer) has a summary of some of the perceived problems with the study, and John Cochrane of Stanford (an economist, unlike Mike and me) has a broader overview.

I should have noted in my first post that I agree with a lot of the critiques that the size of the jobs gain that the authors (Mitman, Hagedor, and Manovskii) attribute to the expiration of unemployment insurance — 1.8 million jobs — does look implausibly large. It would imply that, without unemployment benefits being truncated, 2014 would have been an atrocious year jobs-wise. But the idea that there’s a large effect, and the need for an answer about what drove 2014’s relatively strong jobs growth, is somewhat persuasive to me. One of the problems with the paper — the potential unreliability of one of their data sources — can be resolved in time, as I understand it (more detailed data will come along).

Web Briefing: January 30, 2015

What Obama Gets Wrong about Trade: It’s Not Just about Exports



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Yesterday, during his visit to India, President Obama delivered a speech that does a very nice job of limning what he gets wrong about trade. The gist of his speech: Our two countries are great trade partners because we get to export to India and India gets to invest in America. In other words, what’s great about trade is that it allows us to export more. 

Here’s an example he gave:

And our growing trade is a win for India, because increased U.S. exports and investment here mean more American-made planes flying passengers on India’s airlines all over the world, more American-made turbines generating the energy India needs to continue with its growth, more American-made machinery upgrading India’s infrastructure. And because we’ve made it easier for foreign companies to sell and invest in America, India’s exports to the United States are also increasing — and that means more jobs and opportunities here in India.  In the end, that’s the purpose of trade and investment — to deliver a better life for our people. And both Indian and American workers are and can benefit even more in the future from close ties between our two countries. 

This is no different than the pitch for a trade that he made during the State of the Union address and his request for authority to negotiate more trade agreements.

Obviously there’s nothing wrong with exports. But exports aren’t the only thing that makes trade awesome, nor do they have most of the powers that politicians attribute to them. Imports are just as important, if not more important, if you care you care about lifting the middle class’s standard of living. I explained this point over at the Daily Beast. A tidbit:

The more imports, the better, as it leads to greater consumer choices and varieties at lower prices.

As George Mason University economist Donald Boudreaux points out (PDF), “Prices are held down by more than two percent for every one-percent share in the market by imports from low-income countries like China.” Fearing cheaper imports from China, as the president does, is not a part of any middle class platform grounded in good economics. We should welcome lower prices!

Consumers aren’t the only beneficiaries of expanded trade. U.S. manufactures within our borders benefit from lower input good prices. At least half of U.S. imports are not consumer goods; they are inputs for US-based producers, according to Boudreaux.

Freeing trade reduces imported-input costs, thus reducing businesses’ production costs and promoting employment possibilities and economic growth. We should welcome U.S. business and employment growth!

But there’s more: Opening trade barriers improves efficiency and innovation, drives the kind of competitiveness that fuels long-term growth, and brings us higher quality goods and services at lower prices. 

Keep reading this post . . .

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DEA Wanted to Surveil Cars at Gun Shows



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Why do gun owners mistrust the government? Because it attracts people who have ideas such as this

The Drug Enforcement Administration abandoned an internal proposal to use surveillance cameras for photographing vehicle license plates near gun shows in the United States to investigate gun-trafficking, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.

DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart said in a statement that the proposal memorialized in an employee’s email was only a suggestion, never authorized by her agency and never put into action. The AP also learned that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives did not authorize or approve the license plate surveillance plan.

Automated license plate scanners take pictures of every vehicle that passes their field of view and record the information in a database that can be used to track a vehicle’s movements over time.

This news comes hot on the heels of the revelation that the DEA is spying on cars.

The rest, from CBS.

No, the NFL Does Not Have a ‘Violence Against Women Problem’



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An advertisement scheduled to air during Sunday’s Super Bowl is enjoying some controversy — and this one doesn’t even feature naked beauties flaunting cheeseburgers. Produced by the women’s rights organization UltraViolet, the advertisement is intended to tackle, so to speak, the problem of domestic violence among National Football League players:

The hashtag that concludes the video, #GoodellMustGo, refers to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has endured criticism for his handling of Ray Rice’s domestic abuse case and others.

Yet, provocative though it may be, the advertisement labors under the delusion that the NFL is an egregious source of violence against women. As I observed in an October issue of National Review’s print edition, this is far from so:

The stereotype does not match the facts. Writing at FiveThirtyEight, Benjamin Morris reports that the arrest rate of NFL players is just 13 percent of the national average for men ages 25 to 29 (the average age of players on NFL teams is about 26) — though the percentage varies with the crime. For example, relative to the general population of men in their age group, NFL players commit 5.5 percent as many thefts, but 27.7 percent as many DUIs — the most common offense among them. Still, the highest relative arrest rate, for domestic violence, is only half the national average (55.4 percent), a result that aligns with a 1999 study by criminologist Alfred Blumstein and author Jeff Benedict, which found that the incidence of overall violence among NFL players was half that of the general population. Add these results to the debunked claim that incidents of domestic violence spike on Super Bowl Sunday, and the numbers make clear that, pace the National Organization for Women, the NFL does not have “a violence against women problem.”

Domestic violence is despicable, and groups such as UltraViolet are right to apply themselves to ending it. But the data reveal that NFL players are far less likely than the average late-twenties male to be abusers, and it is shameful for advocacy groups to baselessly suggest otherwise.

Netanyahu’s Visit and the Constitution



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Reihan, you might want to check out Adam White’s defense of the constitutionality of the invitation. I found it persuasive. (Whether it’s wise for leaders in one branch of the government to use foreign leaders as political weapons in battles over policy with the other branches, as both Obama and Boehner have done in recent weeks, is another matter.)

Mike Lee Grills AG Nominee about Prosecutorial Discretion



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Utah senator Mike Lee interrogated attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch about her view of prosecutorial discretion during her Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing today. Lynch has said that she thinks the president’s executive action on immigration is “reasonable,” because the federal government may exercise prosecutorial discretion to set immigration-enforcement officers’ priorities. Lee argues that such discretion should be used only in limited circumstances, and not broadly as the president hopes. He attempted to drive his point home in questioning Lynch, poking holes in her more liberal view.

Specifically, the senator provided an example of how the same widespread discretion, applied elsewhere, could be disastrous. He stipulated that it makes sense for law enforcement officers to use their discretion in prioritizing bank robbers over drivers who exceed the speed limit, before asking rhetorically whether  providing permits to allow drivers to break the speed limit would be an improper use of such prosecutorial discretion. Lynch did not provide a direct yes or no answer, and Lee pressed on.

In his executive action on immigration, Obama not only ordered the deferral of deportations for many illegal immigrants, he also allowed those same illegal immigrants to obtain work permits. Lee continued with his hypothetical example, and asked if someone who is not responsible for making the law could provide permits allowing people to break it. 

“Without knowing more about it, I’m not able to respond to the hypothetical,” Lynch said. “It certainly doesn’t sound like something that a law enforcement officer would be engaged in.”    

While a law enforcement officer might not do such a thing, Lee’s question presumes the president already has.    

The Klanning of Social Conservatism Continues



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Another day, another act of liberal intolerance directly aimed at the First Amendment:

When the California Supreme Court voted last week to prohibit state judges from belonging to nonprofit youth organizations that practice discrimination, Julia Kelety was not surprised.

The issue, which had been roiling through the legal community for the last year, had triggered vigorous debate, giving Kelety, a Superior Court judge in San Diego County, time to prepare.

Committee chair for Boy Scout Troop 24, she has already begun to consider a successor before she begins dialing back her commitment to the 30 boys in her troop.

Although the court’s unanimous decision did not explicitly mention the Boy Scouts of America, there was little doubt that it was the intended target. The organization, which lifted its ban on openly gay boys younger than 18, still prohibits gay and lesbian adults from serving as staff or voluntary leaders.

This decision — which reaches straight into the private lives of public officials, including interfering with how they raise their own children — demonstrates an astounding disregard for individual liberty and places the judicial thumb squarely on the cultural scales of further sexual permissiveness. Justified in part by concerns that judges who volunteer with the Boy Scouts can’t be impartial towards LGBT litigants (an insulting notion all by itself), one wonders if the same reasoning applies to judges who — in their own private lives — belong to LGBT organizations. After all, three of the four officers of the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Judges are from California. If private associations are now de facto proof of public bias, can socially conservative litigants have any confidence they’ll be treated fairly by judges who believe they’re virtually the equivalent of racists?

Under that reasoning, would you want to be the Boy Scouts and litigating before a California judge?

In fact, the very presumption that a judge can’t be trusted merely because of his private associations strikes at the heart of judicial impartiality. After all, every single judge in the United States has a world view. It would be hard to find a judge that doesn’t belong to a single private association indicating a level of interest in his community. Are we to believe that all judges’ decisions are pre-ordained by their ideologies and associations?

While there certainly are judges with unacceptable levels of bias, longtime litigators know that it is dangerous and wrong-headed to presume the outcome of a case merely because of a judge’s known ideology. Judges have different faiths and ideologies, yet are required to faithfully interpret the law, regardless of personal preference. So, no, this action wasn’t about judicial impartiality. In fact, the article is notably silent regarding any concrete example of bias related to Boy Scout membership or membership in any other private association. This was instead an act of ideological cleansing, pure and simple — an effort to place the Boy Scouts alongside the Klan as organizations outside the pale of American civilization. And while California judges are still able to belong to religious organizations, that exception only applies because it is not (yet) legally or politically viable to remove. If the far Left could, it would bar judges from teaching Sunday School, serving as elders or deacons, or becoming members of orthodox Christian churches or theologically conservative synagogues. 

The end game is the obliteration of traditional sexual morality and any faith that upholds it. And if persuasion fails, there’s always coercion. Just ask a scoutmaster.

Re: Social Engineering, Etc.



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Kevin: On your definition of “social engineering,” it applies to policies that reduce the amount that the federal government influences behavior. That seems perverse.

The example I used in my previous post wasn’t “single-entry accounting”: I explicitly noted that children would be future beneficiaries as well as contributors. Nor did the example assume that entitlements were in actuarial balance. The point applies even if they are not. (I think this old post by Andrew Biggs, a colleague of mine at AEI who used to be a deputy commissioner for Social Security, underestimates how much a rise in the number of children would improve the finances of that program. But at least he gets the sign right. And he is well aware that the program has a long-term deficit, as he discusses in the post.)

Another House Immigration Bill, More Boob Bait for Bubba



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That recent poll that showed wide opposition to Obama’s lawless amnesty decrees and support for defunding efforts also asked a third question: “Would you support or oppose Congress passing new legislation that strengthen the rules making it illegal for businesses in the U.S. to hire illegal immigrants?” Support for this was overwhelming, 71–21, far greater than the other questions (strongly support/oppose was 45 percent to 9 percent). The crosstabs show that every demographic group, without exception, supported making it harder to hire illegal aliens — liberal and conservative; Republican and Democrat; black, white, and Hispanic; Protestant, Catholic, and Jew; rich and poor; blue-collar and white-collar; urban and rural; old and young — everybody.

So why did the House leadership try to fast-track a border bill (which has been at least temporarily derailed because immigration hawks objected to its phoniness) instead of passing an E-Verify mandate? E-Verify enables employers filing the payroll paperwork for new hires to check online (for free) whether the new hires are lying about who they are. (You can even E-Verify yourself to make sure Social Security has your information right.) It goes a long way toward turning off the jobs magnet for illegals, though some still slip through. It is now voluntary, though widely used; last time I checked, it looked like about one-third of new hires were being E-Verified.

A phased-in mandate for all employers to use E-Verify has been included in a number of proposed bills, either as part of “comprehensive” abominations like the Schumer-Rubio Gang of Eight bill or as standalone measures. In fact, the House Judiciary Committee actually approved a free-standing E-Verify bill in the last Congress.

Such a measure would have much to recommend it, both politically and as a policy matter. It would be popular, as the polling above shows. It would shift some of the focus from individual, often sympathetic, foreigners to employers, while at the same time enabling legitimate employers to comply with the law. It would strike an important blow against identity theft and fraud. And it would provide greater marginal enforcement benefit than more money spent at the border, where so much has already been spent.

So why did Speaker Boehner start the new Congress with McCaul’s border bill rather than an E-Verify measure?

I think for two related reasons: First, border measures are telegenic and are thought to convey toughness. Look! More fences! More drones! Squirrel! (Any politician who talks about drones on the border is full of it; they’re not very useful.) It’s a shiny object to divert attention from the GOP leadership’s eagerness to surrender to Obama on his lawless amnesty decrees — and to distract from that same leadership’s chief goal, which is increasing immigration, especially of indentured guestworkers. The second reason is that the donor class will only accept universal use of E-Verify as a price paid for increased — preferably unlimited — access to cheap labor from abroad. The billionaires’ message: no immigration increases, no E-Verify. (It didn’t pass under Democrats either, because the Hispanic caucus’s message was: No amnesty, no E-Verify.)

Henry Olsen’s piece on Jeb’s prospects in the last issue of NR notes that voters do not want “a business-oriented Republican who seems to value bosses over workers.” They also don’t want a Congress that seems to value bosses over workers, either. One quick, easy, and effective way to send a pro-worker message would be to put the border stuff aside for now, dust off Lamar Smith’s Legal Workforce Act, and pass it.

UPDATE: The House Judiciary Committee announced today that it will be holding hearings on Smith’s Legal Workforce Act (which would mandate E-Verify), among some other bills.

BBC Arabic Head: Charlie Hebdo Attackers Should Not Be Called ‘Terrorists’



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The head of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Arabic news channel said the Islamic terrorists who killed 12 people in an attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo should not be labeled “terrorists,” calling the term too “loaded.” 

Tarik Kalafa is the head of BBC Arabic, a 2008 spin-off of the internationally ubiqiutous British news service that serves nearly 11 million homes across the Middle East. On Sunday, Kalafa spoke with The Independent about his network’s coverage of the Kouachi brothers, two Islamic terrorists who wreaked havoc across Paris before dying in a shootout with police on January 9.

“We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist,” he said. “What we try to do is to say that ‘two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine.’ That’s enough, we know what that means and what it is.”

“Terrorism is such a loaded word,” Kalafa continued. ”The U.N. has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word, and they can’t. It is very difficult to. We know what political violence is, we know what murder, bombings and shootings are and we describe them. That’s much more revealing, we believe, than using a word like terrorist which people will see as value-laden.”

It’s the latest iteration of a media organization struggling to define those behind the worldwide surge in Islamic terrorist activities. On Tuesday, National Review Online obtained an internal email showing the head of output at Al Jazeera English warning journalists against using the terms “terrorists,” “extremists,” “militants” or “jihadists” when describing the actions taken by radical Islamist groups. “Avoid characterizing people,” the Al Jazeera executive admonished.

via The Washington Times

The White House Won’t Call the Taliban ‘a Terrorist Group’



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The White House has caught some flak recently for its hesitancy about identifying the threat of Islamic extremism, but their reticence is even broader than that: They won’t even call the Taliban terrorists. 

Asked why the Obama administration agreed to swap Taliban members for Bowe Bergdahl when the U.S., as a matter of national policy, doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, Schultz stumbled through explaining that the White House does not view the Taliban as “a terrorist group.” Instead, he referred to it as “an armed insurgency.”

“This was the winding down of the war in Afghanistan and that’s why this arrangement was dealt,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

He noted that the Islamic State is ”a terrorist group” but maintained that the Taliban is not.

Social Engineering, Etc.



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Well, Ramesh, if you object to my characterizing the introduction of new distortionary policies to offset the effects of old distortionary policies as “social engineering,” perhaps we could compromise on “offering top recruiters a rebate on the operating costs associated with participating in a pyramid scheme.” In any case, I think that to argue that a tax incentive isn’t a tax incentive because it is not intended to be a strong enough incentive to change child-bearing behaviors is cutting it pretty fine. Presumably, manufacturing tax credits also are not intended to be so strong as to get people who have no interest or expertise related to manufacturing to open factories. The circle of “social engineering” grows ever narrower. 

But in any case, the implicit arithmetic—a growing population of contributor-beneficiaries enabling the easier payment of benefits—only really works with the assumption of infinite population growth. Reconsider your “temporary spike” contributor-beneficiary-ratio scenario:

The ratio of contributors to beneficiaries temporarily rises and then falls, but not to below where it had been originally. Taxpayers with more kids contribute more to the entitlements than taxpayers with fewer kids.

That’s single-entry accounting. In a situation in which per capita benefits exceed per capita contributions — that being our situation — then those taxpayers “contribute” more in the form of providing taxpayers, and take more in the form of providing beneficiaries. The opposite would be the case if per capita contributions exceeded per capita benefits. But Social Security recipients are net tax-takers vis-à-vis that program, not net tax-payers. As long as that is the case, there is no way to arrange things so that additional contributor-beneficiaries are net contributors rather than net beneficiaries.

In that sense, the more straightforward social-engineering argument—that we want to encourage, or at least reward, people for having children—is in fact more persuasive. But I do not think it is persuasive enough to overcome the case for a simpler tax code oriented toward raising revenue rather than a more complex one oriented toward other ends. 

Obamacare at the Supreme Court, Again



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I’ve got a new Bloomberg post noting that conservatives in D.C. seem to be much more confident that the Court will rule the way they think right than they were in 2012, and speculating about why the Court might think about this case differently. (Partly: It raises different issues!)

Twelve Things that Caught My Eye Today (Jan. 28, 2015)



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1. The Challenger explosion was 29 years ago today.

2. Ronald Reagan’s address that night:

3. And his memorial speech:

4. 

5. At a school-choice rally, John Boehner tells school kids:

Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century – and you have the power to make it happen.  Believe it.  I have faith in you, and frankly, I’m counting on all of you.

6. This is National School Choice Week and Catholic Schools Week.

7. Around NRO: Did you see Abby Johnson on Cosmo and Planned Parenthood? Christopher White on surrogacy? George Weigel on Europe?

Keep reading this post . . .

Sloppy Statistics and Careful Ballhandling



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Last week, Jack noted an analysis of how often NFL teams fumble that suggests the Patriots’ fumble rate was insanely, inexplicably low. I’m all for spitballing statistical analysis, but it’s a risky occupation: FiveThirtyEight rounds up a number of posts taking issue with the original analysis. I’m persuaded at least that the Pats’ numbers aren’t so exceptional as to justify an otherwise baseless argument (that they’ve been underinflating footballs for years so that they can hold onto the ball much more easily).

Another Lesson of the 529 Fiasco: Obama Has Trouble Taxing the Kinda Rich



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Ramesh notes below how the Obama administration’s decision to back off on taxing earnings of college-savings plans shows how hard liberals are finding it to raise middle-class taxes, which they need to do to pay for the welfare state they want. (Peter Suderman makes this point too.)

But the problem can be sliced a little more finely: Liberals probably need to raise taxes on the middle class and the upper middle class, and they have a hard time doing either. The Obama administration’s 529 plan was mostly a tax increase on the upper-middle-class — those earning, say, between $200,000 and $1 million a year. A lot of people of modest incomes have 529s, but they don’t put very much in them and they don’t get very much out of shielding income from taxation. Seventy percent of the tax benefits from 529s goes to Americans earning over $200,000 a year. I don’t begrudge them their savings, but it’s a fairly narrowly construed tax preference for a fairly narrow group. (So narrowly construed, in fact, that ending the tax break raises quite a small amount of revenue.)

A catchier term for the upper middle class, to which Reihan introduced me, is HENRYs — high earners, not rich yet. Members of this class, especially those in costly coastal states and cities, are a crucial part of the Obama/Democratic coalition, so presumably the president isn’t eager to raise taxes on them. But he has tried doing so, a number of times, presumably because he needs the revenue. The fiscal-cliff deal Ramesh mentions raised taxes on a slice of them; most of the 529 revenue would have come from them; and the Obama administration has floated and then abandoned a number of other proposals to raise their taxes, like limiting the value of the mortgage-interest tax deduction.

Since most of those were either watered down (the fiscal-cliff deal) or never happened, this goes to illustrate just how difficult Democrats’ bind is: Of course it’s hard to raise taxes on the middle class, but it’s also pretty hard to raise taxes on the upper middle class. This problem also affects Republicans, who would like to reduce some of these upper-middle-class tax breaks to pay for a simpler and more middle-class-friendly tax code, but not in nearly as meaningful a way.

Re: Social Engineering, Etc.



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Right, Kevin, that is “something close to the definition of social engineering,” and it’s why the child credit doesn’t fit the definition. The goal of the policy isn’t to get people to have kids they don’t want to have absent a credit; the policy is instead designed, as you note in your second paragraph, to offset certain distortionary features of the welfare state.

We’ve done a round on your but-kids-will-get-benefits-too argument before. Since you’re happy to repeat yourself, I’ll do the same. (The argument has also been answered by economist Hans-Werner Sinn.) One way of seeing the problem with your argument is to imagine a society with old-age entitlements much like our own but where the birth rate temporarily spikes and then reverts to its normal level. That spike permanently improves the programs’ finances: The ratio of contributors to beneficiaries temporarily rises and then falls, but not to below where it had been originally. Taxpayers with more kids contribute more to the entitlements than taxpayers with fewer kids.

A second way to see the flaw is to look at the entitlement programs as a way of socializing an age-old generational bargain. It is true that any kids you have will both contribute to your peers’ retirements and one day collect benefits of their own. But that’s not the full picture. You will get those future benefits only if your peers have kids, and your kids will get those benefits only if their peers have kids. Because raising kids is not costless, the bargain is substantially better for those with few or no children.

Third, we can look at the studies. If extra kids had the effect on old-age entitlements that you claim, we would expect them to show that expanding them raises birth rates. They show the reverse. That anti-child effect may not be an intentional program of social engineering by the federal government, but it is a large one–and one that ought to be shrunk or eliminated.

These arguments do not entail reducing parenthood to “a federal cash-flow question”: There’s a strawman if ever there was one. They just entail thinking about the impact of public policies on family structure, which it is folly not to do.

Rogan: Jordan Handing Over a Key al-Qaeda Captive Could Immortalize the Islamic State



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Jordan’s proposal to swap Sajida al-Rishawi, a female Iraqi al-Qaeda militant on death row, for an airman captured by the Islamic State could embolden sympathizers of the militant group, warns National Review Online contributor Tom Rogan. 

Appearing on Fox News, Rogan explained that al-Rishawi, who played a prominent role in al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to what eventually became the Islamic State, will used to further their global expansion.

“If they can bring her back to the Islamic State now, you can expect — in fact, you can guarantee — that she would take on a very, very important role — a central role — in the group’s propaganda,” Rogan said, pointing to recent events in Europe and Libya. Chief among his concerns was that her return to the Islamic State will be seen as a sign by its supporters that it is “an ordained organization” serving out God’s purpose.

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