Friday, August 12, 2011

Laffer's Advice

Economist Arthur Laffer, an architect of the economic recovery under Ronald Reagan, was consulted last spring by President Obama's economic advisor Austin Goolsbee. Here's what Laffer told him:
"Reaganomics would fix any economy that’s in the doldrums,” Laffer said. “It’s not a magic sauce, it’s common sense.

“You’ve got to get rid of all federal taxes in the extreme and replace them with a low-rate flat tax on business net sales, and on personal unadjusted gross income. That’s number one.

“Number two, you have to have spending restraint. Government spending causes unemployment, it does not cure unemployment.

“Number three, you need sound money. Ben Bernanke is running the least sound monetary policy I’ve ever heard of," Laffer said.

“Number four you need regulations, but you don’t need those regulations to go beyond the purpose at hand and create collateral damage. The regulatory policies are really way off here.

“And lastly you need free trade," Laffer said. "Foreigners produce some things better than we do and we produce some things better than foreigners. It would be foolish in the extreme if we didn’t sell them those things we produce better than they do in exchange for those things they produce better than we do.”
Laffer also said that the S&P downgrade was deserved. We spend and borrow too much and if the other rating agencies don't follow suit they won't be doing their jobs.

People don't work in order to pay taxes, Laffer added, they work for what they get after taxes. When we pay people not to work and tax them when they do work we shouldn't be surprised when we find that a lot of people choose not to work.

Goolsbee is no longer in the administration, but I doubt that this is advice Mr. Obama would heed in any event. He seems determined to take the country toward a socialist economy with less market freedom, more onerous government control, higher taxes, and more entitlements. That path has never been shown to lead to prosperity, Laffer's has.

So, When Do We Start Bombing Sudan?

A third Muslim leader (or is it the tenth?) is perpetrating atrocities against his people. This time, Nina Shea reports in National Review, it's Sudan's president, Gen. Omar al-Bashir, already an indicted war criminal, who is now carrying out attacks against the 1 million Nuba and various other peoples of oil-rich Southern Kordofan.

Shea writes:
Ever since Bashir seized power in a 1989 military coup, with support from the National Islamic Front, he has waged perpetual, total war against his own people — first the Nuba, then South Sudan, then Darfur in the west, then the Beja people in the east, and now again the Nuba.

Since fighting broke out in Southern Kordofan on June 5, Khartoum has made it impossible for foreign aid groups to go there, and the region has never been on foreign journalists’ beaten path. Nevertheless, we have glimpses of the atrocities now taking place thanks to leaked U.N. reports and intermittent accounts by church representatives.

Those atrocities include aerial bombardments resulting in destruction of property, forced displacement, significant loss of civilian lives, including of women, children, and the elderly; abductions; house-to-house searches; arbitrary arrests and detentions; targeted killings; summary executions; . . . mass graves; systematic destruction of dwellings; and attacks on churches.
Col. Qaddafi has to be asking himself, "Why me? Why not al-Bashir, or Bashar Assad (Syria) or Ali Abdullah Saleh (Yemen) or just about any of the multitude of tyrants in the Middle East or North Africa?" Indeed, there's scarcely a Muslim country that doesn't live under a barbarous tyranny, so we might ask along with Qaddafi, why are we killing Libyans to save the Libyan people from their leaders, but essentially doing nothing while other despots in that part of the world exterminate their people?

Perhaps I should make clear that I'm not saying we should bomb Khartoum (although I would not object to a decapitation of their horrid leadership). What I'm trying to get a handle on is why we're bombing Libya. What is the Obama Doctrine on the use of force? Does he have one?

Possible Leukemia Cure

A report at The Blaze gives renewed hope for cancer sufferers. The article tells of a cure for leukemia that seems to work, although it has yet to receive large-scale testing. Even so, if it proves successful it may have applications in fighting other kinds of cancer, including pancreatic, prostate, ovarian and brain cancer. Here's an excerpt:
Scientists are reporting the first clear success with a new approach for treating leukemia – turning the patients’ own blood cells into assassins that hunt and destroy their cancer cells.

They’ve only done it in three patients so far, but the results were striking: Two appear cancer-free up to a year after treatment, and the third patient is improved but still has some cancer. Scientists are already preparing to try the same gene therapy technique for other kinds of cancer.

“It worked great. We were surprised it worked as well as it did,” said Dr. Carl June, a gene therapy expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “We’re just a year out now. We need to find out how long these remissions last.”

For the experiment, blood was taken from each patient and T-cells removed. After they were altered in a lab, millions of the cells were returned to the patient in three infusions.

The researchers described the experience of one 64-year-old patient in detail. There was no change for two weeks, but then he became ill with chills, nausea and fever. He and the other two patients were hit with a condition that occurs when a large number of cancer cells die at the same time – a sign that the gene therapy is working.
For the sake of all those who suffer from these afflictions and who will suffer from them in the future, let's hope and pray that this procedure continues to give successful results in the rigorous testing that lies ahead.