Bernie Sanders has made socialism cool again. 56% of Democrats now have a positive impression of socialism. Among Hillary Clinton supporters, 52% do. [Read more...]
In a discussion of Playboy Magazine’s new policy of not publishing nude pictures, Mollie Hemingway and colleague Rich Cromwell talk about the magazine’s political liberalism. She refers to a book that argues that the seemingly opposite ideologies have libertarianism and socialism have come together in a trade-off of sexual freedom in exchange for state control of everything else. [Read more...]
Fareed Zakaria gives an overview of how the recently-deceased Margaret Thatcher changed the world’s economies:
Consider the world in 1979, when Thatcher came to power. The average Briton’s life was a series of interactions with government: Telephone, gas, electricity and water service, ports, trains and airlines were all owned and run by the state, as were steel companies and even Jaguar and Rolls-Royce. In almost all cases, this led to inefficiency and sclerosis. It took months to get a home telephone line installed. Marginal tax rates were ferociously high, reaching up to 83 percent. [Read more...]
Our little experiment in industrial socialism didn’t work quite as well as the Democrats are saying. General Motors did not pay back the bailout, and the American auto industry is not exactly “roaring back,” as the President said. The government still owns over a quarter of all GM stock. The company wants the government to sell out, but if it does, such is the low stock price, taxpayers would lose billions. From Market Watch:
The Treasury Department is resisting General Motors’ push for the government to sell off its stake in the auto maker, The Wall Street Journal reports. Following a $50 billion bailout in 2009, the U.S. taxpayers now own almost 27% of the company. But the newspaper said GM executives are now chafing at that, saying it hurts the company’s reputation and its ability to attract top talent due to pay restrictions. Earlier this year, GM GM -1.41% presented a plan to repurchase 200 million of the 500 million shares the U.S. holds with the balance being sold via a public offering. But officials at the Treasury Department were not interested as selling now would lead to a multibillion dollar loss for the government, the newspaper noted.
Charles Krauthammer points out yet another problem with President Obama’s contraceptive mandate compromise:
The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.
On what authority? Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries? . . . .
To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge. And yet, this breathtaking arrogation of power is simply the logical extension of Washington’s takeover of the private system of medical care — a system Obama farcically pretends to be maintaining.
Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim. . . .
This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.