Happy Birthday

Happy First Birthday to my littlest sweetie-pie.
How lucky I am to be your dad!

Calling a Tax a Tax

I think Roberts' decision is well thought out and the right one. He called a tax a tax. Yes, the administration tried very hard to present the "mandate" as anything but a tax, but a tax it is. I don't see this as any new power for the Federal Government either.  If the Feds hike everyone's taxes by $700, then provide a $700 tax credit to those who buy approved health insurance, the effect is exactly the same as putting a $700 tax on not-buying insurance.  Surely the Feds have the constitutional power to do the former.

I have seen a lot of posts on conservative blogs calling the mandate "a huge tax increase on the middle class" and saying how the mandate represents a new and crushing power of the government to run every aspect of our lives.  It's nonsense.

In a characteristically fine essay, Charles Krauthammer states:

I think the “mandate is merely a tax” argument is a dodge, and a flimsy one at that. (The "tax" is obviously punitive, regulatory, and intended to compel.)

I disagree. I find Roberts' analysis convincing. Essentially, since the tax is small in relation to the cost of health insurance, it is not punitive. See here. See also here.

Obamacare Upheld

The supreme court today upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare, under the power of the Federal Government to tax.

I think this is a HUGE win for the president.  Folks over at Althouse's blog though are saying that it is not, that taxes are unpopular and so this will be a political negative for Obama.  Yet very few people will end up being taxed.  If you have health insurance, you won't pay the tax.  If you are one of the 50% of Americans who pay no taxes, or pay negative taxes, I'm sure you won't be paying the tax either.  No politician will go along with a "tax on poverty."  Credits and deductions will be used to negate the penalty.

Insurance rates will skyrocket. People who have no insurance now won't buy it until they get sick. They won't pay the tax either.  The cost will have to be passed on to the people who do buy insurance before they get sick, i.e. essentially the 50% who pay taxes.

A law for everything

Washington Inmates Banned From Making Sexy Outfits for Female Prison Guards

These people are already in jail, under guard, and can't do much of anything until ordered to do so...so why in the heck couldn't this have been dealt with using prison disciplinary procedures? Why raise the issue to the height of a law?

Go Huell!

An article about Obama at Occidental: Self-Made Man

This article does Huell Howser wrong! The critical point to understand about Huell's involvement in the video, is the fact that Huell can spend half an hour being absolutely fascinated and engrossed by anything! Huell is a California institution. He goes around California with a camera man, heads for sites both exciting and mundane, and spends half an hour making you think even the silliest, stupidest, most boring site is simply fascinating.

I've watched him clomp through a forest so that he could stand on the actual border between California and Oregon! Wow! And by the time the half hour is over, he's made you want to go there too.

I've seen him go to a shell factory--a place where a single family harvests shells and cleans them out for sale as decorative items--and make it sound like you'd want to invite the family over for barbecue next weekend.

 Here's the summary from a full hour-long episode of his show. Because it's Huell, he really can make this special:
California's Gold #1 - California Aqueduct Special

In this special one-hour episode of California's Gold, Huell takes a look at the California Aqeuduct. Constructed in the 1930s, the Colorado River Aqueduct is considered one of the greatest engineering projects in the world - bringing water to thirsty Southern Californians across over 200 miles of barren, remote desert. Starting at Lake Havasu, we trace the route the water follows through huge pipes, tunnels, canals and pumping plants. Along the way we meet the men and women who are carrying on the proud MWD tradition of bringing water to Southern California. 
It sounds so thrilling! And yet, if you came across it on the TV and didn't keep flipping, you would actually spend an enjoyable hour--in large part because Huell is just so gosh darn fascinated by everything!

Did I mention he's  not actually from California, and does his shows in a heavy and slow Georgian drawl? I love the guy.

France is clueless!

France is going bankrupt, it's increasingly uncompetitive, the government is too big and spends too much...but they go and do this:

French president cuts retirement age
Workers who entered employment aged 18 will be able to retire at 60 rather than 62, under the decree agreed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.