Child abuser placed with young children. Ferals prioritized over decent people again. It's in their training. The middle class are contemptible, they are told. It's "the poor" who must be given every indulgence. And it was that total focus on "the poor" which was at the heart of the events reported below
Three social workers were suspended today after a youth with a history of sexual offences was placed in a home with two young children. The parents were not told of the teenager's troubled history and only discovered that he had been carrying out repeated sexual assaults on their two-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter months later. The 19-year-old was jailed indefinitely earlier this year after admitting raping the boy and sexually assaulting the girl.
Vale of Glamorgan Council in South Wales today apologised “unreservedly” to the family for placing him with them. An investigation overseen by the NSPCC found that social workers had been aware of his history but the information was not passed on when he became an adult. He spent several months living with the family under an adult placement scheme after becoming homeless.
The council’s director of social services, Philip Evans, admitted that a serious mistake had been made. He said: "There are no excuses, this should never have happened. Some of our staff did not meet their individual and collective responsibilities for taking action to protect children. "We deeply regret the serious consequences for two young children and for their parents, people who have opened their home to vulnerable adults. We apologise sincerely and will try to make amends."
Social services failed to pass on information about the boy’s background and the family had no idea of his history until their daughter told them that he had been assaulting her.
The report said that the youth had been regarded by social workers as a “vulnerable” young man who was himself in need of protection. It stated: "When the teenager became a young adult and staff were hoping him to find accommodation, they concentrated on his vulnerability. "Seen for the most part as a victim in many parts of his life, he was considered to be the one in need of protection. "Because of this focus, much of the relevant information was not made available to the parents of the children and to some of the staff making the decisions about accommodation. As a consequence they were denied the opportunity to take appropriate action to safeguard the children living in the home."
Mr Evans, who has refused to resign, said: "People reading this report will be distressed, shocked and angry at the serious mistakes that were made. They will also be concerned that other children are not made to suffer in this way. "This means facing up to the severe but justifiable criticism in the report to restore public trust in social services. Serious mistakes were made and we offer no excuses. "It is especially sad for us to have let down a family who opened their home on behalf of the community."
The report released today made 12 recommendations for improvement and said that disciplinary action had been started. Mr Evans said that he wants to see the action plan through and added: "This is not a time to be walking away from the problem." The three social services staff who have been suspended have not been identified but could lose their jobs after disciplinary hearings.
At his trial Cardiff Crown Court was told that the youth had a history of sexual offences against children. In 2003 he was accused of "sexually inappropriate behaviour" with a young boy. Two years later he admitted exposing himself and touching another young boy sexually while they were both living at a hostel. He was also dismissed from a job in a bowling alley in 2007 after parents discovered that he was trying to get the telephone numbers of young girls. He became homeless last year after he was accused of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl as she slept.
The Cardiff Recorder, Nicholas Cooke, QC, said that it was a matter of "grave concern" how the youth ended up with the family. The teenager was given an indefinite sentence and told that he would be released only when he was considered "no longer a risk". He was ordered to register as a sex offender and banned from working with children for life.
The Recorder said: "In this case a tragedy ensued for a family who only wished to serve the community and who were let down by the system. "They were unable to protect their own children because of a failure to provide them with information."
An NSPCC spokesman said: "We are deeply saddened by this tragic case and the impact on the lives of two young children and their parents. "From the outset the council acknowledged social services had made a serious error of judgement in placing the young man with the family."
Gordon Kemp, Vale of Glamorgan council leader, said that the family had been kept informed of the inquiry and its findings. He praised their "dignity" throughout the ordeal and said that they were "still committed" to the adult placement service. Councillor Kemp said: "It is clear there was a serious error of judgement. We have sought to work with the family to find out what assistance can be given to meet any needs they may have. "It has been an exceptionally difficult time for them. It is especially sad that these tragic events should have befallen a family who provide a service to vulnerable people in need of accommodation."
Pandering by the ADL (One of America's leading Jewish organizations)
By Stephen Steinlight
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is making news again, or, to put it less dramatically, it's garnered a few headlines in Jewish weeklies, some coverage in papers in south Florida, a piece in JTA, angry disbelief on anti-Islamist websites (see, for instance, here and here), and from Jewish bloggers, and an accolade in the on-line publication of the leading Muslim/Islamist organization in the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR is nothing short of flabbergasted if understandably pleased by the ADL's latest loopy escapade. Though Abe Foxman, ADL National Director, would prefer if all the press his organization receives these days focused on his pontifications about the Pontiff, the little news story that doesn't want to go away is decidedly messier, more problematic, and deserves to be widely known because it's a bellwether for Jewish Establishment behavior on a variety of issues, including immigration.
This time the news isn't about the ADL's predatory take on the Armenian Genocide. The organization whose putative mission is not only to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people" but also to "secure justice and fair treatment for all" was finally forced to sever its ties to the Armenian Genocide Denial movement because outraged board members threatened to resign and take their contributions with them. However, the recent press it's received for yet another noisome, controversial action suggests it's learned little from that episode. If it continues playing it cards this poorly and does not recant once more, it will likely find itself embroiled in yet another discreditable media spectacle.
Notwithstanding the most incontrovertible survey data – findings so solid, consistent, and devastating not even the most naïve multicultural Pollyanna can be in denial regarding the fanatical anti-Semitism pervasive among the world's 1.3 billion Muslims – the ADL continues incomprehensible efforts to curry favor with Islam. It has done it in the past by falsifying the historical record (see the Armenians), permitting non-experts in its employ to make intellectually vacuous, sophomoric distinctions about Islam and Jihadism, and seeking publicity by attacking one of the few European politicians with the courage to speak out about the impact of mass Muslim immigration to Europe (more of which later) that will in the course of uprooting Western civilization in its heartland, inevitably bring an end to the Western European chapter of Jewish history within a few decades. For Islamic organizations to have the lead "attack dog" in the American-Jewish Establishment go after one of its mortal enemies was an unexpected, unalloyed pleasure.
Whatever expletives others have used to characterize its action, what the ADL has done isn't an aberration. It flows from deeply rooted predilections: unconditional commitment to open-borders immigration and its mission as a professional "tolerance promoter" to promote tolerance even for the least tolerant (with some exceptions, of course). When this American Jew was being defamed by the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) using inaccurate, scurrilous, politically motivated "research" provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) claiming I'm a "white supremacist" seeking to "penetrate" the Jewish community (they smeared me because they disagree with me on immigration policy), I didn't find an ally in the ADL. Rather, having done no research of its own and having made no effort to contact me to ascertain my views, the ADL backed my accusers. Interviewed in the JTA article about HIAS's McCarthyism, Deborah Lauter, ADL's civil rights director, said "the community should be 'wary' of Steinlight." The revealing little drama summarizes the ADL in 2009: be wary of opponents on immigration policy but protective of Islam! Commonsensical American Jews should pay close attention.
Its current gambit is in the service of the only other domestic policy it advocates as passionately as it does illegal and massive immigration: passing "anti-hate crimes" legislation which represents an immediate danger to freedom of expression and a slippery slope that threatens other constitutional liberties. Its fervor to see "hate crimes" legislation enacted is disturbingly reminiscent of and congruent with one of the most extreme demands made by the Muslims nations in Geneva at Durban II – that criticism of Islam be made a crime everywhere in the world. This is identical to UN Resolution 62/154 on "Combating Defamation of Religions" that demands that Islam, through the agency of the UN, be shielded from all hostile criticism. It seems almost beyond belief that the ADL is prepared to carry the water for the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Of course this must appear counterintuitive to observers of an organization whose primary reason for being is supposedly fighting anti-Semitism and which will go to great lengths to keep American Jews traumatized by the fear of it, even if that means occasionally resorting to counting swastikas on the walls of middle-school washrooms when nothing genuinely sinister is happening. Keeping Jewish anxiety high over anti-Semitism requires ingenuity in the U.S., as it is currently constituted, considering the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds only 7% of Americans are anti-Semitic, the lowest percentage in the world, making it a marginal, fringe phenomenon. It's getting tough to stay in business fighting anti-Semitism in a country where Jews are fully at home, perfectly acculturated, successful, and safe. Under these challenging circumstances, counting swastikas in the washroom must cede pride of place to defending Islam or, rather, making sure we all tolerate it. But the line between "fighting hate" and validating the hateful thinking can quickly become invisible. In any event, if the immigration policies the ADL advocates become law, the anti-Semitism fighting industry will make a major comeback.
Before setting aside ADL's debacle over the Armenian Genocide – it's directly related to what makes ADL's actions newsworthy once more and provides a segue – it's worth pointing out exactly what was achieved by trivializing the enormity inflicted on the Armenian people by the Ottomans and their Kurdish henchmen. Apart from the irreparable damage ADL did to its own reputation – it lost an enormous share of its moral capital – it's worth pointing out just how much it accomplished by way of improving Turkish-Israeli or Turkish-Jewish relations. That a Jewish organization was prepared to equivocate about another people's genocide in exchange for what it perceived as immediate Jewish self-interest – to toss the murder of over a million Armenians under the bus was so monstrous and revolting – if there is a cardinal sin a Jewish organization can commit this is it – the fact that its intentions have backfired appears Providential (though there is of course no causal connection).
Israeli-Turkish relations have seriously deteriorated. The "moderate" Islamist Turkish Prime Minister, Recip Tyyip Erdogan, stormed out of the World Economic Forum in Davos after having lost his self-control in the midst of the staid assemblage and "went native," scathingly attacking Shimon Peres for Israel's military operation in Gaza against Hamas. Erdogan's reward for this tantrum was a hero's welcome back home. In addition, the Turkish and Syrian armies have been conducting joint military exercises lately. To top it off, the same Pew Global Attitudes Project survey finds positive feelings among Turks towards Jews in the single digits, just as in other Muslim societies it studied (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey). The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a best-seller in Turkey and the most popular and expensive Turkish TV series of all time, "The Valley of the Wolves," was a recent multi-part dramatization worthy of Julius Streicher which is employs the notorious blood libel and myths of Jewish world conspiracy and combines anti-Semitic with anti-American themes. Anti-Semitism exists within Turkey, long characterized as the most Western nation in the Muslim world, and supposedly deserving EU membership for that very reason, at levels that prevailed in Nazi Germany.
If I sold t-shirts for a living, my fantasy would be to create one for Abe Foxman, ADL's longtime leader, with a logo of the Star of David, an X superimposed on it, with the words "I denied the Armenian genocide and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!" If Foxman had a shred of decency, he would have resigned long ago for heaping such shame on all Americans who are Jews, let alone his own organization. The ADL has done good work in the past, and so occasionally has Foxman; there have been times when his tough-guy persona permitted him to be the one American-Jewish leader who, to use the cliche, "spoke truth to power." But genocide denial is unforgivable: one cannot come back after that. It is still not too late for his board to demand his resignation, though I'm under no illusions about how much backbone it possesses. The truth is without Foxman there is no ADL; at this stage, however, whether that would represent a loss is an open question.
The ADL's recent, newsworthy gambit was to play the role of "convenient idiot" in the human relations world for the growing alliance in Europe and the U.S. between the (intolerant) left and (intolerant) Muslims. Its contribution to the cause was joining a chorus of other politically correct sorts in branding Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian who's been risking his life trying to awaken a dormant, supine Europe to the future that awaits it as a product of its low fertility and mass Muslim immigration, as an agent of "Islamophobia" – the clever epithet de jour for individuals who recognize the danger Islam represents to West values. As Christopher Hitchens points out, what this usage has slyly accomplished is conflating "racism" – the ultimate contemporary taboo – with one's attitude toward a particular religion, and the combination has made it a powerful tool of intellectual blackmail. That this conflation is ridiculous -- one of Islam's largest boasts is that it is a universal faith with no racial base -- doesn't matter.
The Florida area director of the ADL, one Andrew Rosenkranz, attacked Wilders who has been speaking at synagogues across Florida. Rosenkranz condemned Wilders' alleged "message of hate" which refuses to distinguish between the religion of Islam and Jihadism. A great many scholars of Islam would not affirm Mr. Rosenkranz's simplistic bifurcation (however civic-minded). Making that distinction is, in fact, a far more difficult intellectual and theological undertaking than he recognizes. While in a narrow sense Islamism with a capital "I" is a recent historical development – we associate the derivation of the term with the birth of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928 under the leadership of Hasan al-Banna – Islamism/Jihadism has been a foundation stone of Islam from its inception, and any close reading of the Qur'an, the Hadith, or familiarity with the Sunnah or the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence makes the point incontestable.
Rather than sanctimoniously condemn Wilders' view of the Qur'an and Islam as a religion with insufficient knowledge and understanding, perhaps Mr. Rosenkranz should actually read it (making a special point to peruse those sections dealing with Mohammed's wars of extermination against the Jewish tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and the multiple of profoundly ugly and violent commentaries on Jews). He can also save himself the trouble by reading or even just dipping into Dr. Andrew Bostom's two thick tomes The Legacy of Jihad and The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism, which offer a compilation of chapter and verse (mountains of chapter and verse) from the Qur'an and other primary Muslim sources that reveal the huge quotient of theological anti-Semitism in Islam's holy books as well as the Machiavellian statecraft fundamental to what is not only a religion – perhaps not even primarily one as we understand it in the Judeo-Christian world – but a minutely detailed system of governance, with an overlay of religion, that seeks world domination. That it has been an imperial project from its birth no historian would deny.
It is critical to bear in mind that Muslims cannot view the Qur'an as Westerners do their Holy Scripture as a smorgasbord from which to pick and choose in the interest of the most humane exegesis. In Islam, one cannot retain the nice bits and leave out the nasty ones. That's because there's no parallel between the status of the Qur'an in Islam and that of the Hebrew Bible in Judaism or the New Testament in Christianity. The great majority of Jews and Christians (excluding the relative handful of true literalists in both faiths) understand scripture as the divinely inspired words of human beings who were children of their time, whose values were historically conditioned. If an ancient text has become an ethical anachronism (such as passages in Leviticus recommending stoning homosexuals or adulterers) we no longer consider them binding. But Muslim believers see the Qur'an in very different terms. It is the literal word of God transmitted whole and perfect – perfect for all time – to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel. It is thus an extension of God himself; the analogy would not be the Hebrew Bible or New Testament but rather to the Christian Eucharist. No human being can change what is written or reinterpret it in light of contemporary understanding. It is neither historically nor socially conditioned. What was true when the revelation was allegedly made to Mohammed in the seventh century is equally true now. Passages that strike a modern Western ear as utterly barbarous and malevolent – because they are – retain all their sanctity for an authority over believers.
It's doubtful many Americans have yet arrived at the point of embracing the immigration-related policy recommendation to which Wilders' refusal to accept Islam as a religion is meant to lead: banning Muslim immigration on the grounds that Islam is a totalitarian ideology rather than primarily a religion. During the Cold War, America employed ideological exclusion to ban communists – the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 is the prime example – though the Act was also used to bar others deemed undesirable. Though Congress eventually repealed it, ideological exclusion persists today in the Patriot Act, which bars from the U.S. any one involved in "a position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity." (See discussions of exclusion in the Patriot Act in Vernon M. Briggs' Mass Immigration and the National Interest and Amitai Etzioni's How Patriotic Is the Patriot Act?: Freedom Versus Security in an Age of Terrorism.)
My own indecision on this question has more to do with current facts on the ground – the comparatively low level of Muslim immigration to America, the far greater historical ability the United States has demonstrated to integrate immigrants than European societies, and the perhaps futile hope that Islam will undergo a Reformation of sorts under American pluralistic influences – than with any fundamental disagreement with Wilders' view of Islam and his concerns about its malign influence. Should the number of Muslim immigrants grow precipitously, acculturation be demonstrably unsuccessful, Islam remain unchanged despite its encounter with American values, or should more than minimal numbers of American-born Muslims identity with or become involved with global Jihadism, my attitude would quickly change. If I were a European lawmaker with Wilders' understanding of the demographic trends showing Europe will be 20% Muslim by 2050 and almost certainly majority Muslim by the end of the century, I would become an ally overnight.
Finally, Rosenkranz's uninformed defense of the indefensible and embarrassingly sophomoric interjection of a Jewish organization that exists to fight anti-Semitism into this battle on Islam's side recalls Robert Frost's definition of a liberal as someone who cannot take his own side in an argument. That Muslims hate Jews is no mystery; it is thoroughly, exhaustively documented. That Islamic anti-Semitism is theologically as well as politically based is news to no one familiar with Islamic history and scripture. That Muslim Jew-hatred preceded the advent of Zionism by a thousand years is simple fact. That the handful of Jews left in Muslim societies exist, as did Jews for hundreds of years before them, under a regime of dhimmitude as barely tolerated third-class human beings who live a life of constant humiliation, expropriation, and ceaseless threat is also acknowledged by every expert and impartial journalist who has spent time across the Muslim patrimony. Yet the ADL is dedicated to "tolerance" even for the intolerant. That Panglossian faith trumps every other reality, including the most worrying developments on the horizon, and every other allegiance.
When it comes to immigration policy, the ADL is dedicated to open-borders even if the price is the guaranteed importation of several million more Muslims with astronomical levels of anti-Semitism to America – who will in only a few decades exceed the number of American Jews – as well as tens of millions of foreign-born Hispanics with the second highest level of anti-Semitism in the world. But the ADL is in the tolerance business – rather like the capitalist in the rope business in Lenin's famous parable that sells the rope with which he will be hanged. It also pushes "hate speech" legislation that will fulfill the dreams of the Muslim states that gathered in Geneva at Durban II: it will make criticism of anti-Semitic, anti-Western Islam against the law.
American Jews who believe they know what the ADL is all about or who have supported it in the past because they thought it was a good insurance policy against the revival of anti-Semitism should open their eyes. They need to reconsider exactly what they're supporting. In an America in which anti-Semitism barely exists the ADL is an anachronism. But much worse than being superfluous, it is actively supporting policies that will generate the rebirth of anti-Semitism. If you buy their ticket, be prepared to take this ride. Is there a better way to defend a pluralistic America dedicated to individual liberty in which Jewish life can flourish? Reject the Jewish Establishment's suicidal advocacy of open-borders immigration and oppose the ADL in its effort to legitimate Islamism and to tamper with one of our most fundamental rights: freedom of expression.
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Obama's fine words but discordant deeds
President Obama delivered his much-anticipated Notre Dame commencement address yesterday, an event that had occasioned much controversy in Roman Catholic circles because of the university's decision to honor the president with an honorary degree despite his pro-abortion views. Obama discussed abortion during the speech, and as one who is decidedly in the middle on this subject (see this 1999 article for a fuller exposition of our views), we were impressed as we listened.
Yet later, thinking about the substance of what he said, we began to wonder if we'd been had. Consider this anecdote
"As I considered the controversy surrounding my visit here, I was reminded of an encounter I had during my Senate campaign, one that I describe in a book I wrote called "The Audacity of Hope." A few days after I won the Democratic nomination, I received an e-mail from a doctor who told me that while he voted for me in the Illinois primary, he had a serious concern that might prevent him from voting for me in the general election. He described himself as a Christian who was strongly pro-life--but that was not what was preventing him potentially from voting for me.What does this amount to, really? After winning the Democratic primary, Obama toned down his campaign's truculent rhetoric. That is, his primary campaign appealed to hard-core ideologues, while his general-election campaign made a softer pitch, aimed at attracting moderate and nonideological voters. Obama's rhetorical skill is such that he makes this like an act of depth and thoughtfulness. In fact, it is the most pedestrian of campaign tactics.
What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my Web site--an entry that said I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor said he had assumed I was a reasonable person, he supported my policy initiatives to help the poor and to lift up our educational system, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, "I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words." Fair-minded words.
After I read the doctor's letter, I wrote back to him and I thanked him. And I didn't change my underlying position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my Web site.
The president continued:
"And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that--when we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe--that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.There is a tension between Obama's acknowledgment "that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory" and his statement that "the views of the two camps are irreconcilable." To be sure, he qualifies the latter with weasel words: "at some level." And it true but trivial that it makes no logical sense to assert (to take one formulation of the extreme views) that abortion is both tantamount to murder and of no more moral significance than excising a cyst.
That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions."
So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let's reduce unintended pregnancies. Let's make adoption more available. Let's provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women." Those are things we can do.
Now, understand--understand, Class of 2009, I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it--indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory--the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.
But most people's moral intuitions lead them away from these extremes, and along the spectrum between them there are many ways of reconciling the competing moral claims of both sides. One may take the view that abortion is a gray area, neither murder nor mere "medical procedure." One may see it as a necessary evil, or as a morally ambiguous action that should be avoided, or legally restricted, in case the antiabortion side is right.
Political compromise is the way in which democratic governance produces policies to approximate such wide-ranging views. But the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions, has severely restricted the space available for political compromise. Obama's position--that Roe should remain the law of the land--is one of irreconciliation.
Many surveys suggest that a majority of Americans, while eschewing both extremes, favor greater restrictions on abortion than Roe now permits. Obama may "respect" those who hold such views, but he thinks that their views should continue to be excluded from the political process. His rhetoric of respect and reconciliation is welcome and reassuring. If only it were true.
Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich
Americans know how to use the moving van to escape high State taxes
With states facing nearly $100 billion in combined budget deficits this year, we're seeing more governors than ever proposing the Barack Obama solution to balancing the budget: Soak the rich. Lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon want to raise income tax rates on the top 1% or 2% or 5% of their citizens. New Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn wants a 50% increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy because this is the "fair" way to close his state's gaping deficit.
Mr. Quinn and other tax-raising governors have been emboldened by recent studies by left-wing groups like the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities that suggest that "tax increases, particularly tax increases on higher-income families, may be the best available option." A recent letter to New York Gov. David Paterson signed by 100 economists advises the Empire State to "raise tax rates for high income families right away."
Here's the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.
And the evidence that we discovered in our new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, "Rich States, Poor States," published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.
Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.
Did the greater prosperity in low-tax states happen by chance? Is it coincidence that the two highest tax-rate states in the nation, California and New York, have the biggest fiscal holes to repair? No. Dozens of academic studies -- old and new -- have found clear and irrefutable statistical evidence that high state and local taxes repel jobs and businesses.
Martin Feldstein, Harvard economist and former president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, co-authored a famous study in 1998 called "Can State Taxes Redistribute Income?" This should be required reading for today's state legislators. It concludes: "Since individuals can avoid unfavorable taxes by migrating to jurisdictions that offer more favorable tax conditions, a relatively unfavorable tax will cause gross wages to adjust. . . . A more progressive tax thus induces firms to hire fewer high skilled employees and to hire more low skilled employees."
More recently, Barry W. Poulson of the University of Colorado last year examined many factors that explain why some states grew richer than others from 1964 to 2004 and found "a significant negative impact of higher marginal tax rates on state economic growth." In other words, soaking the rich doesn't work. To the contrary, middle-class workers end up taking the hit.
Finally, there is the issue of whether high-income people move away from states that have high income-tax rates. Examining IRS tax return data by state, E.J. McMahon, a fiscal expert at the Manhattan Institute, measured the impact of large income-tax rate increases on the rich ($200,000 income or more) in Connecticut, which raised its tax rate in 2003 to 5% from 4.5%; in New Jersey, which raised its rate in 2004 to 8.97% from 6.35%; and in New York, which raised its tax rate in 2003 to 7.7% from 6.85%. Over the period 2002-2005, in each of these states the "soak the rich" tax hike was followed by a significant reduction in the number of rich people paying taxes in these states relative to the national average. Amazingly, these three states ranked 46th, 49th and 50th among all states in the percentage increase in wealthy tax filers in the years after they tried to soak the rich.
This result was all the more remarkable given that these were years when the stock market boomed and Wall Street gains were in the trillions of dollars. Examining data from a 2008 Princeton study on the New Jersey tax hike on the wealthy, we found that there were 4,000 missing half-millionaires in New Jersey after that tax took effect. New Jersey now has one of the largest budget deficits in the nation.
We believe there are three unintended consequences from states raising tax rates on the rich. First, some rich residents sell their homes and leave the state; second, those who stay in the state report less taxable income on their tax returns; and third, some rich people choose not to locate in a high-tax state. Since many rich people also tend to be successful business owners, jobs leave with them or they never arrive in the first place. This is why high income-tax states have such a tough time creating net new jobs for low-income residents and college graduates.
Those who disapprove of tax competition complain that lower state taxes only create a zero-sum competition where states "race to the bottom" and cut services to the poor as taxes fall to zero. They say that tax cutting inevitably means lower quality schools and police protection as lower tax rates mean starvation of public services.
They're wrong, and New Hampshire is our favorite illustration. The Live Free or Die State has no income or sales tax, yet it has high-quality schools and excellent public services. Students in New Hampshire public schools achieve the fourth-highest test scores in the nation -- even though the state spends about $1,000 a year less per resident on state and local government than the average state and, incredibly, $5,000 less per person than New York. And on the other side of the ledger, California in 2007 had the highest-paid classroom teachers in the nation, and yet the Golden State had the second-lowest test scores.
Or consider the fiasco of New Jersey. In the early 1960s, the state had no state income tax and no state sales tax. It was a rapidly growing state attracting people from everywhere and running budget surpluses. Today its income and sales taxes are among the highest in the nation yet it suffers from perpetual deficits and its schools rank among the worst in the nation -- much worse than those in New Hampshire. Most of the massive infusion of tax dollars over the past 40 years has simply enriched the public-employee unions in the Garden State. People are fleeing the state in droves.
One last point: States aren't simply competing with each other. As Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently told us, "Our state is competing with Germany, France, Japan and China for business. We'd better have a pro-growth tax system or those American jobs will be out-sourced." Gov. Perry and Texas have the jobs and prosperity model exactly right. Texas created more new jobs in 2008 than all other 49 states combined. And Texas is the only state other than Georgia and North Dakota that is cutting taxes this year.
The Texas economic model makes a whole lot more sense than the New Jersey model, and we hope the politicians in California, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota and New York realize this before it's too late.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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