Thursday, October 30, 2008

The New Meretz?

1. You have probably heard the new fashionable slogan holding that
Fifty is the new Thirty, The idea is that what with rising life
expectancies and advances in health, 50 is the start of "middle age" like
30 once was.
It occurred to me that the new Israeli version of this statement is "The
Israeli Labor Party is the new Meretz." You see, the Israeli Labor Party
in current polls is showing up with about an 8& support rate among the
Israeli electorate, equal to about 10 seats in the Knesset out of 120.
That is about what Meretz used to poll back when it was at the height of
its popularity.
I guess Meretz is the new Matzpen (tiny Israeli Maoist faction in the

2. The missing rights of rightists:,7340,L-3615040,00.html

3. Settler who said he hopes soldiers get harmed arrested:,7340,L-3615353,00.html The number of
Arab leaders and Jewish leftists who have been arrested for cheering
terrorist atrocities against Jews and suicide bombings remains zero!

4. Prof. Shlomo Sharan invented this but I am shamelessly
plagiarizing it. The new nickname for Tzipi Livni is now Die Weisse
Feigoloch, which in Yiddish means the white bird, the translation of Tzipi
Livni. Pass it on!

5. From the WSJ:

The Europeanization of America
What's ahead if Obama becomes president.
Barack Obama is likely to become the next president of the United States.
Six weeks ago John McCain was leading Mr. Obama. But according to
RealClearPolitics, as of yesterday Mr. Obama led in the national polls by
just under 8% and in the Electoral College by 306 to 157 (a majority is
270). Throughout his campaign Mr. Obama has successfully presented himself
as a careful and sensible person and was recently endorsed by Christopher
Buckley, son of the late William F. Buckley, as having a "first-class
temperament and a first-class intellect."
But Mr. Obama will most likely be our most liberal public policy president
since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Since President Bush is not popular (his
approval rating is at 25%, with 71% disapproving), Mr. McCain has not run
an inspiring campaign, and most people have declining confidence in our
economic and financial system, voters have simply decided it is time for
change. Gallup reports that just 7% of Americans are satisfied with the
way things are going, so voters seem to have concluded that they will take
a chance on Mr. Obama, whatever his policies may be.
The only organization with a worse rating than the Republican president is
the Democratic Congress.14% approval, 75% disapproval. But there, too, the
Democrats will gain strength. They are expected to increase their majority
in the House, and current polling shows that in Senate races Democrats
will increase their members from the current 51 (including two
independents who caucus with the Democrats) to at least 57. They may even
achieve the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
So where is the new Obama administration likely to take us? Seven things
seem certain:
. The U.S. military will withdraw from Iraq quickly and
substantially, regardless of conditions on the ground or the obvious
consequence of emboldening terrorists there and around the globe.
. Protectionism will become our national trade policy; free trade
agreements with other nations will be reduced and limited.
. Income taxes will rise on middle- and upper-income people and
businesses, and individuals will pay much higher Social Security taxes,
all to carry out the new president's goals of "spreading the wealth
. Federal government spending will substantially increase. The new
Obama proposals come to more than $300 billion annually, for education,
health care, energy, environmental and many other programs, in addition to
whatever is needed to meet our economic challenges. Mr. Obama proposes
more than a 10% annual spending growth increase, considerably higher than
under the first President Bush (6.7%), Bill Clinton (3.3%) or George W.
Bush (6.4%).
. Federal regulation of the economy will expand, on everything from
financial management companies to electricity generation and personal
energy use.
. The power of labor unions will substantially increase, beginning
with repeal of secret ballot voting to decide on union representation.
. Free speech will be curtailed through the reimposition of the
Fairness Doctrine to limit the conservative talk radio that so irritates
the liberal establishment.
These policy changes will be the beginning of the Europeanization of
America. There will be many more public policy changes with similar
goals.nationalized health care, Kyoto-like global-warming policies, and
increased education regulation and spending.
Additional tax advantages for lower and middle income people will be
enacted: a 10% mortgage tax credit that would average about $500 per
household per year, a $4,000 tax credit for college tuition, a tax credit
covering half of child-care expenses up to $6,000 per year, and even a
$7,000 credit for purchase of a clean car.
More important, all but the clean car credit would be "refundable,"
meaning people will get a check for them if they owe no taxes, which is
simply a transfer of income from the government to individuals. In reality
this is the beginning of a new series of entitlements for middle-class
families, the longer-term effect of which will be to make those families
more dependant on (and so more supportive of) larger government. The Tax
Policy Center estimates that these refundable tax credits would cost the
government $648 billion over 10 years.
These are Mr. Obama's plans. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats would
increase spending for their own interests and favorite programs. More
important, the Congress will consider itself more important than a
freshman president who has never held an executive position, so they will
do what they want and he will have to go along with most of it.
What can the Republicans in Washington to do to avoid the Europeanization
of America? The obvious answer is to win some elections two years from now
to reduce the congressional power of those who favor it. But in the
meantime they need stronger, better leadership of their minority party.
Then they need to make the case against each of the issues noted above;
why they would be a mistake, what their cost would be to the economy, jobs
and people and their families, and what would be a better approach. They
will not win all the fights, but on protectionism, higher taxes and
broader government regulation they can win the support of a great many
Americans. And that might keep America from becoming Europeanized and our
people from losing their money, their jobs and the market freedom of our

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