Tag Archives: Salon.com

MSNBC’s ‘The Cycle’ Spins Mandatory Voting As Good For America

Krystal Ball of MSNBC's The Cycle

Krystal Ball of MSNBC’s The Cycle

The day before the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare’s individual mandate constitutional — as a tax, not as an exercise of the commerce clause — the mostly-liberal panel at the brand-new 3 p.m. program The Cycle explored the question of what, in the view of the panelists, that government should consider making Americans do against their will.

For her part, panelist Krystal Ball insisted that America should be more like Australia, which forces its citizens to vote in it federal elections or else to pay a fine. Unsurprisingly, Ball’s fellow liberal panelists Toure Neblett, and Steve Kornacki were sympathetic to the proposal, with only conservative panelist S.E. Cupp denouncing it as antithetical to the notion of political liberty.

Ball, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2010 in a safely Republican district,  stated that such a measure would mitigate the influence of money in politics and lead to a more “representative democracy.”  Furthermore, Ball stated that the absence of money in our elections would decrease grassroots operations aimed at suppressing the vote.

Salon.com’s Steve Kornacki agreed stating that it will lessen the nasty side of campaigning which seeks to turn out voters who are favorable to your side while discouraging voters favorable to your opponent. Toure, the inimitable 9/11 truther, also agreed and said that Election Day should be a national holiday and that voter registration should be mandatory as well.

Cupp was the only voice of reason stating that apathy isn’t nor should be a crime. Conservative columnist  Jonah Goldberg agreed. In response to former Obama budget director Peter Orszag, who holds the same position, Goldberg wrote in the National Review on June 27 that:

One of the chief benefits of coerced voting, according to Orszag, is that it increases participation. Well, yes, and kidnapping drunks in pubs increased the ranks of the British navy, but it didn’t turn the conscripted sailors into patriots.

There was also an inane notion that a lottery and cash prize for people to incentivize them to vote was a free market initiative.

Goldberg slams this and the utopian mindset that this mandatory voter participation would create a more “representative democracy.”  In fact, as Goldberg states, “… fining people, say $15, if they don’t vote and using the proceeds to set up a lottery to bribe reluctant voters. If the old line that lotteries are taxes on stupid people is correct, then the upshot of this proposal is that the cure to what ails democracy is an influx of large numbers of stupid voters.”

Sorry Krystal, but incentivizing people to vote with the carrot of a lottery and the stick of a fine doesn’t make it a free-market initiative, because free markets by definition are marked by freely-contracted exchange, not government coercion and subsidy.

 

WashPost Front-Pager on Collapsing Net Worth Missing One Word: ‘Obama’

A new economic report from the Federal Reserve doesn’t offer much hope. On the front page of The Washington Post,  Ylan Q. Mui underlined “the Federal Reserve said the median net worth of families plunged by 39 percent in just three years, from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010. That puts Americans roughly on par with where they were in 1992.”  

Furthermore, “the data represent[s] one of the most detailed looks at how the economic downturn altered the landscape of family finance. Over a span of three years, Americans watched progress that took almost a generation to accumulate evaporate. The promise of retirement built on the inevitable rise of the stock market proved illusory for most. Homeownership, once heralded as a pathway to wealth, became an albatross.”  What’s more interesting is that Mui’s article doesn’t mention Obama once  — in a front page piece during an election year — right after he told reporters the private sector is “doing fine.”

Mui quotes Mark Zandi, economist for Moody’s, saying “It’s hard to overstate how serious the collapse in the economy was…we were in free fall.” However, some have taken this to be another indictment of Bush administration policies.

Steve Kornacki at Salon.com noted that despite this terrible news, Obama may still succeed at blaming Bush.  He cites an Obama 50% approval rating andin  “an upcoming book, political scientists John Sides and Lynn Vavreck used data stretching back 60 years to create a model that predicts presidential approval based on economic conditions. As of the end of 2011, Obama was racking up scores significantly better than the model suggested he should be.”

Furthermore, “Sides and Vavreck suggest that, among other things, Obama may be benefitting from the public’s lingering memory of George W. Bush’s presidency and, more specifically, the imploding economy he passed off to Obama in January 2009. The new Fed figures may support this idea, in that they illustrate how steep, and pervasive and enduring the decline in family income has been since the final year of Bush’s tenure.”

After four years, a failed stimulus, high unemployment, three consecutive trillion dollar deficits, and an unconstitutional trillion dollar new health care entitlement program, it’s still somehow Bush’ s fault.

This default setting liberals have displaying their animosity towards Bush is both amusing and painfully insufferable.  When will they criticize the president for failing to take responsibility on the economy?

Kornacki states that “Obama won’t be able to run a Morning in America campaign, but he’s counting on context winning out, with a crucial chunk of voters remembering what he inherited (and, perhaps, understanding the obstruction he’s faced from Republicans in Congress) and giving him the benefit of the doubt, even if they’re not enthusiastic about it. For now, his poll numbers suggest Obama might actually pull this off. But the election is still five months away, and it’s an open question whether his support can withstand more discouraging unemployment reports and all of the Republican attacks to come.”