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Friday, May 26, 2006

Rush Limbaugh versus Tony Snow

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh interviewed the current White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. Mister Snow is a former pundit for Conservatives and Republicans and now he has temporarily quite the private sector thing to speak for the President. He has, in the distant past, served as a guest host for Rush Limbaugh. The Republican President, and Rush Limbaugh, among Conservatives, have differences of opinion and idea, especially regarding immigration and border policy. Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Snow discuss, no holds barred. They are friends.

The streaming audio is here.

The transcript, however temporarily, is here.

I imagine I will copy and save the Transcript to my hard drive. Perhaps in the future I will reprint the transcript here, depending on how I fear El Rushbo that week.

The Relevent Background Material:
(Chuck Grassley's Top Ten Flaws in the Senate Immigration Bill)
(NY Times: An Amnesty by Any Other Name - Ed Meese)
(Townhall: Bordering on fraud, part III - Thomas Sowell)
(American Thinker: Why Americans Hate This "Immigration" Debate)
(NRO: An amnesty is an amnesty - Rep. J. D. Hayworth)
(RightWingNews: Answering 13 Frequently Asked Questions About Illegal Immigration)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I tire

How far away am I from my dreams?

What do I have to do tomorrow to bring myself closer to achieving them?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Twisted Mego Theatre

I was considering scanning the Twisted Mego Theatre pages from my old ToyFare issues onto my hard drive. It turns out I don't have to.

Unfortunately I don't believe this gentleman has all the Twisted Toyfare Theatre comic pages online on his site. Ah, well.

I'll download them all, eventually!

Monday, May 22, 2006

24 versus Alias

After tonight, one will live and one will be dead.

Fine. I'll spoil it. 24 has a sixth season coming and Kiefer Sutherland has a contract for at least two or three more seasons after the one that is finished tonight.

Alias was cancelled roughly five or six months ago, despite preperations in the fall of 2005 by the writers for sixth season with a second generation cast.

The theoretical reasons are supposedly here. I reserve judgement on that article; I have not finished reading it yet.

ABC Thinks Very Little of Alias Viewers and Fans

The current episode of Alias is the two-hour Series Finale.

What does ABC do with this? When does ABC air this?

"ON A SPECIAL NIGHT AND TIME"

They are airing it on Monday night from 9 PM EDT to 11 PM EDT.

How are the regular viewers supposed to find the show if they don't watch the credits or the advertisements normally? It was never on Monday night before! It's been on Sunday nights, Thursday nights, and finally on Wednesday nights.

How were the regular viewers supposed to find the episode that ties it all up? How? How many were expected to double-check TitanTV, any parts of the internet, their local newspaper, or TV Guide?

What is worse is that if you are a fan of this genre, or just specifically a fan of 24, they (those fine people at ABC) put the first hour of the series finale up against the second/last hour of the season finale of 24!

It was moved at all because "Lost gets first dibs over Alias on the ABC schedule, of course." But why was it moved to Monday night?

ABC has never thought too much of ALIAS. They respected the program and its loyal viewership, and returned to the loyalty of the viewship of a series that was never a big hit, ratings-wise, only by keeping it on. They didn't do much else with loyalty, of course, by introducing multiple, long hiatuses, rendering it a schedule orphan, and just being so inconsistent with the scheduling at all. But because (among other reasons) ABC has had this kind of relationship with the show it has low ratings. So they cancelled it instead of bringing the program back for a sixth season; since they have so little faith in the dead program now or nor do they like the makers enough to give it a possibility of good ratings, they are putting it up against a ratings blockbuster with the fifth season of 24 and the television juggernaut of the season finale of 24!

If you are a fan of both shows (and how hard is it to be a fan of two spy shows with equal vintage with writing of equavalent intensity) then ABC has screwed you to some extent. How do you choose which to watch and wish to record? What if your Monday night is a busy night? What if you are in the habit of recording both shows regardless of what you watch live? Which do you record? Without proper PVR service you are doomed.

ABC doesn't care; it's all the better for 24 in their minds if all the 24 fans that are Alias fans just desert the show of Jack Bauer to see the very last Alias. Or it's just a ploy to sell more DVD season sets.

24 5 AM to 7 AM an Unstoppable Television Juggernaut

The season finale of 24 is being aired tonight on Fox, starting at 8 PM EDT and running until 10 PM EDT.

This does not bode well for fans of the genre in particular if they are fans of Alias in general.

Only thing in running in conflict for the first hour is some pansy emo Opra Winfrey special on ABC focusing on black people, CBS sitcoms, and NBC's game show Deal or No Deal. Otherwise... who would dare?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Can NBA on ABC Stop Kissing Lebron James' Ass?

Seriously....

Game 7 is Now!

Pistons vs Cavaliers at the Palace of Auburn Hills!

Back the number 1 team in the league into a corner on their home court?

The Cavs will go down and ABC won't be able to worship their "King" Lebron anymore.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

contradictory aphorisms on distance within relationships

"Time heals all wounds."

but

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Another Batman Boner Site

I think it's gone too far, myself.

Odd. Redshit.co.uk is usually dedicated to Transformers. Some part of that subsection is good and some enormously unclever and crappy. That all of his Batman material is about boner is... suggesting... something.

How is the name Cthulhu Pronounced?

Find out here. Maybe.

In the past I have pronounced it as "cha-thoo-loo"

For years now.

oops.

a Da Vinci Coda

Within a couple days I'm going to start my series on the Da Vinci Code, and it will basically cross over here and there to my Xanga and to Monitor Duty, as apropriate.

I have been mostly ambivalent towards the book and then the idea of the movie for awhile, since both have become prominent and then popular. Since last Sunday however my attitude took and turn as my knowledge grew. I will explain everything later. It turns out that the book, the movie, the franchise and the saga is a bit more dangerous than I thought, especially as the whole thing is quite subversive, and that is what makes it truly dangerous. A lot of it comes from what atttitude you have as your approach it.

I will also take input from Sarah Beach and Mark Steyn where their attitudes and insights parallel or match mine. There are other writers and philosophers I am sure that agree and I may find them. I wil also reprint a Comapanion Guide, a pamphlet that I recieved last Sunday and whose pages I individually scanned on Thursday and Friday.

I had misconceptions about Dan Brown and the underlying foundations of the book and in part that is where the danger lies, not in the thrust of the plot or the action in the book. The fiction is fiction. It's what we percieve as fact and from where that counts.

I may post the pages on my Xanga or wherever... as soon as I figure out the best place and method to upload them. I wonder why my friends went to see it last night. I have wondered about them and even in some ways how serious they are; I will probably mirror a post here or there if I think it will get their attentions, as apropriate, as always.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

NBA Conference Semifinals Schedule

A schedule of relevent upcoming games in the Tournament. Aside from the chance to see the Los Angeles Clippers square off against the Los Angeles Lakers (a confrontation not unlike a Liverpool-Manchester United soccer game) these are the only ones that truly matter.
  • Friday May 19th 7 PM EDT - Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers, broadcast on ESPN
  • Friday May 19th 9:30 PM EDT - San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks, also on ESPN
or it could be put as
7 p.m. - Pistons at Cavs
9:30 p.m. - Spurs at Mavs

As neccessary we could have Game 7 for each series.
  • Sunday May 21st 3:30 PM - Cleveland Cavaliers @ Detroit Pistons, broadcast on ABC
  • Monday May 22nd - Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs, broadcast on TNT, time to be determined
It is my attitude that there better be a Game 7 for each series. The Friday night games are on a cable station that I cannot get so I cannot watch it. Sunday the Pistons game is available on that standard broadcast network ABC.

I still wonder why all of the tournement is not available on non-pay TV.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I Used To Use Some of His Poser Images of Wallpapers

I thought the site was gone for good.

I wonder if Sturk still has work suitable for such purposes. I know there were images that were too risque and more importantly just images where the anatomy was more correct than the costumes that were supposed to be drawn over the figures; eventually I figured out what he did wrong. His texture mapping was off. That has to be the reason that Iron Man, a character covered in steel armor, has his, ahem, "package" similarly definsed as any character that would not or is not wearing armor.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Gaim and Filezilla

Earlier I mentioned Gaim and Filezilla.

Gaim is the instant messaging program that I use. It is described as "A multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client". It is primarily like AIM and serves much like AIM but with two exceptions. The first is that those AOL Instant Messenger links and tags do not interact with Gaim. The second is that Gaim doesn't have a large amount of spyware tied into it.

AOL Instant Messenger has a ton of spyware as a neccessary base for the program. If something like Ad-Aware or spybot search and destroy finds all the spyware and adware on your computer and destroys it as it should then AIM will cease functioning. Worse if that if AIM remains fully functional it will continually absorb system resources, slow your computer down and share whatever private information that it can get ahold of.

I also possess a Yahoo account and awhile ago I acquired an MSN/Hotmail account for the sole purpose of using the MSN Messenger. I used both Yahoo and MSN Messenger and occasionally use one or the other when I wish or need to use one of the functions that one app has exclusively from Gaim. Yahoo Messenger has video messenging that Gaim lacks.

That is my point. With Gaim I can use and access all three sorts of accounts, use the three main accounts for my own identity and thus communicate with friends, colleagues, correspondents, and contacts who all use different protocols through one application. This uses up much less in the way of system resources than running all three of the other messenger programs simultaneously. I use less hard drive space since I don't need AIM. I can also do one cool thing with Gaim that I never could with any one of the other singular application/service devices. With Gaim I can open up multiple accounts of/from each service simultaneously. I have multiple AIM accounts and using them I can have multiple identities. I also, unfortunately, (can and do) use them to see which people on one list have blocked me simply for being me. (Apprently saying "hello" or "how are you?" is considered annoying or invasive. Damn me for caring). Another application which carries these strengths and has this much usefulness is Trillian. The reason I chose Gaim over Trillian is that Gaim is more stable, less prone to crashing or dropping connections, and offers more flexibility in its functionality. I can do more things and sometimes it's just easier to use. That and the full version of Gaim is always free. In order to maximize usefulness in Trillian you have to buy Trillian Pro.

Despite that I only use three protocols, AIM, Yahoo!, and MSN, Gaim is also capable of more, including ICQ, Jabber, and others.

Gaim download is here.

I first mentioned Filezilla way back in November, noting different methods of FTP for my purposes. It "is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface." File Transfer Protocols are the only way to send data to my University webspace now that I am no longer connected to the network. I am, essentially, cut off. A good, free, easy-to-use and powerful program will be useful in the long-term as I eventually will be using something other than University AFS space.

Filezilla is most intuitive, uses frames, and the lists and directory notes are easy to read and the file destinations are easy to control. Also easy to activate is the account sign-in.

Filezilla download is here.

Beehive Forum and Forum Download

My loved ones would wonder why I am up so late and what I am doing.

The answer is perhaps that I am slowly draining myself to death. Now that is a bad joke.

Beehive Forum is apparently an OpenSource program/template/application in order to create forums, message boards, interactive online communties and basically stage electronically a public place to make claims. I have defined what an internet message board is. Apparently Beehive is a free mechanism in order to create one on one's own webspace. The main page describes it as "a PHP/MySQL discussion forum, and generally the best thing ever. Apart from real bees." More scientifically and descriptively, "Beehive is an open-source project for creating a high-configurable frame-based discussion forum."

Ultimately this is another product from the SourceForge. They also release/host Gaim and Filezilla, both of which I use, as well as a bunch of other applications that I don't yet care about and presumably have little use for.

A live example of a Beehive Forum is Warren Ellis's The Engine.

Download for Beehive Forum program is here.

I'm Not Sure Who All These People Are...

For future viewing and analysis with/at a faster connection.

Has Kelly Ripa Actually Had Kids?

What follows are images of Kelly Ripa in a bikini. As one knows, a bikini is the most tasteful and least vulgar way of revealing the humam body.



I hopefully drained the topic of any actual energy of whatnot with my bland observation.

However, observing her body as such the woman either does a lot of work or has a remarkable genetic trait as despite the many conceptions, pregnancies, and births that she has experienced, she is incredibly fit, some would say even tight.

Normally I wouldn't post crap like this in a format like this, but it's late and I am bored.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

X-Men 3 Trailers

The Movie Box has a list of trailers for The Last Stand X-Men movie, sourcing them and individualizing them.

This won't help me.

Stephen Fry Regenerates

John Morgan Bat Neal took this black and white image of Stephen Fry and colorized it, converting it into an image of You-Know-Who?

Boner Batman versus the Joker's Boners

It was a more innocent time, right? Reading all of these from one Batman story just makes me laugh. It's like a Simpsons episode but I'm prtty sure the writers didn't know how these stories would be taken in the future.
Having them mention boner once or twice is mildly funny. But the fact
that they just kept on saying it made me shoot Coca-Cola out my nose.
I wonder which comic these are from.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Great (and Continuing) Economic Debate of the 20th Century

from Imprimis March 2006

Steve Forbes
Editor-in-Chief, Forbes


STEVE FORBES is president and CEO of Forbes, Inc., and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine. In 1985, President Reagan named him chairman of the Board for International Broadcasting, where he oversaw the operation of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. He was reappointed to this post by President George H. W. Bush and served until 1993. Mr. Forbes graduated in 1966 from Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, and received a B.A. in history from Princeton University in 1970. He serves on the boards of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, the Heritage Foundation and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. His most recent book is Flat Tax Revolution: Using a Postcard to Abolish the IRS.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on January 29, 2006, during a five-day seminar co-sponsored by the Center for Constructive Alternatives and the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series on the topic, “Great Economists of the Twentieth Century.”

The great economic debate of the twentieth century was between collectivists and free-marketers. In one sense, the free-marketers won: When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, it was widely acknowledged that Soviet socialism had been a catastrophic, not to say murderous, failure. But in another sense, the debate continues. Democratic capitalism still has not vanquished the idea of collectivism. Far from it.

At the beginning of the last century, free markets seemed to be on the ascendancy everywhere. But two events gave collectivism its lease on life. The first was World War I. In addition to the slaughter—and to breeding the ideologies of communism, state fascism, Nazism, and even the Islamic fascism we are battling today—World War I served as an intoxicating drug to those in the West who believed that a handful of people in government could manage affairs better than the messy way in which free peoples tend to do so. Massive increases in government powers, coupled with massive increases in taxation, gave many the idea that you can achieve massive increases in production by commandeering the financial resources of society.

The second event that served as a boon to collectivism was the Great Depression, which was widely seen as a free-market failure. This view was false. Misguided government policies were at fault—the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, for instance, which dried up the flow of capital in and out of the country. If you track the stock market crash of 1929, it parallels the course of this tariff bill through Congress. When Smoot-Hawley arose in the fall of 1929, the markets fell; when it looked like the tariff bill was sidetracked in late 1929, the markets revived (the Dow Jones went up 50 percent from its lows in November); in the spring of 1930 it was signed into law, and the rest is history. There were other factors at work in the Great Depression, of course, such as President Hoover’s gigantic tax increases of 1931. But despite the fact that these also involved bad policies, the lesson taken away by many was that economies will implode unless the government manages them. John Maynard Keynes, the intellectual guiding light behind New Deal economics, believed that an economy was like a machine: If you put doses of money into it or pull money out at the right times, he thought, you can achieve an equilibrium. This idea that government can drive an economy as if it were an automobile has had baleful consequences.

Other leading economists at the time, such as Joseph Schumpeter, recognized that an economy is an aggregate of disparate activities—thus that the idea of achieving equilibrium, while it makes for a neat theory, is nonsense in the real world. A vibrant economy is full of constant disequilibria: New enterprises rise up, old ones decline, etc. Snapshots of such economies mean very little. In the real world, therefore, free markets operate rationally and efficiently in a way that government regulators simply can’t. Here in America we came to this realization at the end of the 1970s. Following World War II, we largely bought into the idea that government must play an active role to prevent the economy from going off the cliff. But in the late 1970s, the devastation of inflation and high taxes brought about a reassessment. With the election of Ronald Reagan, the U.S. took a step back from Keynesian economics. Since then, as Western Europe has stagnated—creating, for instance, only a fraction of the private sector jobs that the U.S. has created—our country has undergone an economic revival.

Nonetheless, democratic capitalism often still seems on the defensive. Why?

Is Democratic Capitalism Good?

One of the great vulnerabilities of capitalism is the perception that it is somehow less than moral, if not positively amoral. A common view of business was depicted in the movie Wall Street, in which Michael Douglas’s character made famous the phrase, “Greed is good.” Capitalism is widely seen as promoting selfishness. We tolerate it because it gives us jobs and prosperity, but many look on this as a Faustian bargain. Charity and capitalism are seen as polar opposites. Thus there’s a phrase that’s often used today—I myself use it from time to time without thinking—which is “giving back.” If you’ve succeeded in business, it’s counted a good thing if you “give back” to the community. And charity is, of course, a good thing. The problem with this phrase is its implication that by succeeding, we have taken something that wasn’t ours. The same idea is summed up in the cynical saying, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” This way of thinking about democratic capitalism is wrong.

In fact, philanthropy and capitalism are two sides of the same coin. To succeed in business in a free-market economy, one must meet the needs and wants of others. Even someone who makes babies cry is not going to succeed unless he or she provides a product or a service that people want. This system weaves intricate webs of cooperation that we don’t even think about. Take a restaurant: Someone who opens a restaurant assumes that farmers will provide the food and that someone else will process and package it and that someone else will deliver it, having been supplied the fuel to do so by yet someone else, etc. These marvelous webs of cooperation happen every day throughout a free economy. No one is commanding it. It occurs spontaneously in a way that economists like Schumpeter understood.

Free markets also force people to look to the future and take risks. Misers do not found companies like Microsoft. Nor should we look on it as immoral for people to work for the betterment of themselves and their families. We are all born with God-given talents, and it is right to develop them to the fullest. The great virtue of democratic capitalism is that it guarantees that as we develop our talents, we’re contributing to the public good. Statistics show that the U.S. is both the most commercial nation and the most philanthropic nation in human history. And this is no paradox. The two go hand-in-hand.

Another vulnerability of democratic capitalism is that although it leads to progress and to an increase in our societal standard of living, progress is usually disruptive. This allows collectivists to play on people’s natural fear of change. We saw this with the rise of industrialism in the 19th century. We had paintings and writings depicting a pastoral agricultural past. Then railroads came along to disrupt the canals, and cars came along to disrupt the railroads. Buggy-whip makers and blacksmiths were done for. One can imagine what 60 Minutes would have been investigating 100 years ago: the poor blacksmiths being put out of work by Henry Ford. Likewise, when TV came along in the late 1940s and early 1950s, most movie theaters in the country went broke. Now the Internet is disrupting newspapers and Craig’s List is disrupting classified advertising. Disruptions are inevitable in a free-market system. The political challenge is to allow these disruptions to take place—they are ultimately constructive, after all—rather than reacting in a way that stymies progress.

In recent decades, collectivists have also hijacked the cause of environmentalism to promote their agenda. I’m not talking about the desire to have clean water; we’re all in favor of that. Or clean air; one of the great things we’ve done in the last century is getting lead out of the air. Saving tigers and elephants is also a good thing. I’m talking about those who use the mantra of environmentalism to try to control the economy the way the old-time socialists wanted to, breathing hellfire and damnation on those who don’t subscribe to their new, post-Christian religion. The fact is, if our goal is to improve the environment, increasing government regulation and destroying manufacturing is counterproductive. Affluence is the friend, not the enemy, of the environment. As people become better off, they want a higher quality of life, including environmental improvements. And new technology drives such improvements. Consider the east coast of the U.S. Even though its population has more than doubled—in some areas, it’s tripled—and even though there are more developments, malls, and urban sprawl, there are more trees today than there were 80 years ago. Why? Because of technology that allows us to grow more food on less land. Technology is a friend of the environment.

Additional Collectivist Myths

Let me mention three additional myths that are used to promote collectivism. One is the idea that demand is the key to economic growth. Collectivist economists often talk about means to increase “aggregate demand,” as if that would ensure that the economy will grow. Following Keynes, they assume that the economy is like a machine. But again, the economy is an aggregate of tens of millions of people, millions of businesses, millions of technologies. We don’t know how it interacts on a day-to-day basis. We don’t know what’s going to work or not work. Who could have conceived of eBay ten to twelve years ago? But today, 400,000 people make their livings on eBay. When Google was launched, there were ten other search engines. Who would have thought another one was needed? Isn’t that how you get so-called “bubbles”? But Google found a way to do it better and ended up on top. Innovation is the key. Whether it’s railroads, cars, computers, the Internet, or iPods, risk-taking is messy. It is often irrational, and seemingly wasteful. But it’s the only way to determine what works best and what doesn’t.

Another collectivist myth concerns trade. If I were dictator of the world—even though I believe in the First Amendment—I would ban trade numbers, especially merchandise trade numbers. They just lead to mischief. We are given the impression that a trade surplus is like a profit and a trade deficit is like a loss. But trade is not a transaction between countries. It takes place between parties. For example, Forbes magazine buys paper. For all of the 88 years that we’ve been in existence, we’ve run a trade deficit with our paper suppliers. If you look just at that trade deficit, you might think we are doing poorly. But if you look at the two parties involved, that turns out to be an illusion. The paper supplier thinks he’s going to make money selling his paper. We think we’re going to make money by taking the paper and putting print on it, with value added. So it’s a mutually profitable transaction, even if it looks like a trade deficit. Or consider a book printed in Taiwan. Looking at the trade number alone, it appears there is a two dollar trade deficit with Taiwan. Yet the book comes back here and retails for $24.95. The value added is in the U.S. The author gets a cut, the publisher gets a cut, booksellers get a cut, distributors get a cut, and remainder stores get a cut. Something similar happened with iPods: A lot of its parts are made overseas, but where is most of the value added? Here in the United States. North America has had a merchandise trade deficit for 350 out of the last 400 years, and we have done very well, thank you.

The final myth I’ll mention concerns budget deficits. Milton Friedman said several years ago that if he had a choice between a federal budget of $1 trillion that was in the red and a federal budget of $2 trillion that was balanced, he would take the former. Deficits, in and of themselves, are not evil. Deficits must be put in context, because Washington’s inability to curb spending is often used as an excuse to raise taxes.

Principles of Prosperity

Now let me turn to five basic principles of economic growth. First and foremost is the rule of law: Without individual equality before the law, entrepreneurs cannot challenge already existing businesses. Alliances between the latter and government regulators who place barriers before entrepreneurs must be guarded against.

The second essential principle is property rights. We take it for granted in this country that if you buy a piece of property, everyone acknowledges that you own it. Most countries don’t have that kind of uniform property system. A few years ago, Hernando DeSoto, a great economist from Peru, saw that in countries like his, although there is entrepreneurial activity, there isn’t the corresponding prosperity found in the U.S. And he wondered why. In his recent book—The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else—one of the key factors he cites is the absence in so many other countries of a legal foundation for property rights. In Brazil’s shanty towns, an individual may know that he owns the house in which he lives, and his neighbors may know it, but the fact is not recognized elsewhere.

Mr. DeSoto was asked by the Egyptian government a few years ago to determine who owns the businesses and residences in Egypt. His finding was that 88 percent of the businesses in Egypt are illegal. Why is that? Here in the U.S., it is possible to set up a business legally in a matter of days. In Egypt, it takes a couple of years. It requires going through numerous bureaucracies, doling out numerous bribes, etc. So it makes sense to proceed “informally.” On the other hand, running a business outside the law limits its growth. Most “informal” enterprises never grow beyond the level of family enterprises, because if they get too big, they might attract the attention of the tax collector. DeSoto’s group also reported that 92 percent of Egyptian housing is illegal. People living in residences may have deeds; but only a few miles away, those deeds are not recognized. In Egypt, as in so many other places, there is no uniform system of establishing and protecting property rights. As a result, four billion people around the world own $9 trillion of assets that amount to dead capital.

What do I mean by “dead capital”? Remember that here in the U.S., the most important source of capital for new ventures is not Wall Street, the local banker or the venture capitalist. It is the mortgage market. People either increase their mortgage or take out a second mortgage in order to start businesses. This is not possible in countries like Egypt. Understanding this was the key to Japan’s post-World War II economic boom. General MacArthur reformed a feudalistic property system, in which the peasants had only an informal system of property exchange, into a system with formalized property rights. Immediately, the Japanese economy took off. The importance of property rights is not sufficiently recognized by those of us who take them for granted.

The third principle of economic prosperity is low taxes. Taxes are not just a means of raising revenue for the government. They are also a price. Income taxes are a price paid for working; taxes on profits are the price paid for being successful in business; taxes on capital gains are the price paid for taking risks. In light of this, the importance of low taxes is easy to see: When you lower the price of good things—things like work, success and risk-taking—you tend to get more of them. Raise the price of these good things and you get less. In 2003, we lowered tax rates in the U.S. and the economy started to grow again. As we’ve seen time and again, tax cuts do not mean a loss of tax revenue. By increasing incentives, the government comes out ahead. Washington’s revenues in the last fiscal year were up 15 percent—$100 billion above expectations. Washington’s problem is not revenue, but spending.

The fourth principle I would mention is making it simpler to launch legal businesses. Getting bureaucracy out of the way will inject a new vibrancy into the economy. The fifth and final principle is free trade. Expanding markets and creating greater opportunity for trade benefits us all.

In closing, I will remind you of a point I made earlier: The reason that the great economic debate continues into the 21st century, despite the proven superiority of free markets in terms of delivering prosperity, is because of the misperceptions that keep democratic capitalism from capturing the moral high ground. Dispelling these misperceptions should be our priority as we carry on that debate in the years ahead.

Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College, www.hillsdale.edu.