Month: October 2003

Legendre’s Lesson: Leave us alone!

* Originally published in the Tuscaloosa News on October 19, 2003.In a small victory for capitalism last week, the French government announced plans to reassess the 35-hour workweek’s impact on its shrinking economy, high unemployment rate and growing deficit.The defenders of the petite schedule can blame their own laziness for the political momentum behind those willing to work a bit longer. For whilea the American economy recovers, France is teetering on a 10-percent unemployment rate and has now slipped into a recession. But at least it’s slipping leisurely.A recent survey published in L’Expansion magazine found that 67-percent of French citizens want higher numbers -- both in jobs available and hours worked.Respondents blame the short workweek for their troubles. Still, the Parisian socialists who constitute a third of Parliament, believe improved government controls will strengthen their economy.The World Bank disagrees. The international lending organization released a study last week that calls increased regulation during an economic decline utter stupidité. In what should be common knowledge, “Doing Business in 2004: Understanding Regulation," rambles through 230-pages to articulate the simplest of concepts: the least amount of business regulation fosters the strongest economies.Laissez-faire capitalism -- the doctrine of state noninterference -- pounded the theory of a controlled-economy into the dirt well before we ever heard of the Internet. But if the socioeconomic crime scene that was the Soviet Union is too distant an example, then study the contemporary evidence on the Korean peninsula. The relatively free South Korean economy is building a billion-dollar car…

Memo to Gov. Warner: Sixty-Five Spells Defeat

* Originally published in the American Spectator on October 12, 2004.Virginia Gov. Mark Warner evoked the Deep South last week to rationalize his $1 billion tax increase, saying that if low-taxes were the “criteria for success” then “Alabama and Mississippi would be leading the nation.” I’ll gladly offer the governor some advice.First, he could’ve looked straight across his Northern boundary for a more familiar cause-and-affect example of taxation. If high-taxes alone were the criteria for success, there’d be an exodus of his constituents across the Potomac River into Washington, D.C., where per-pupil spending is the highest in the nation and nearly every tax is higher. So, what’s Washington leading the nation in right now? Terrible schools for starters, but murder and urban blight are always close seconds.However, if Warner would like a relevant example from Alabama, here’s a whopper: we just rejected our own billion-dollar tax increase by a 2-1 margin, and Virginia might concur if a photograph in last week’s Washington Post reveals Warner’s strategy. The picture was of the governor standing beside a poster board upon which he had just written, “65% Pay Less.”“If there’s one thing I want you to remember,” Warner said to a crowd who had gathered to hear his pitch, “it’s that at the end of this plan, 65 percent of Virginians will pay less.”I’ve never seen a number spell a word, but 65 certainly spells “defeat.”Proponents of Alabama’s tax increase also relied heavily on the notion of further shifting the cost of government…