Thursday, March 03, 2005

Passing thoughts

A federal Court of Appeals reversed part of a $521 million verdict against Microsoft. Good! I think the patent claim is akin to putting a patent on the wheel; the "technology" is too simple to and too obvious to qualify as a new invention.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg won't rule out raising taxes. (Scroll down about a page.) Mr. Mayor, how many more people must you push out of the city? When will you learn that when tax revenues fall from a recession, you can't raise taxes to compensate? Businesses were already hurting, and your decision to raise taxes only drove them out of NYC. So tax revenues dipped even more, and you want to raise taxes more? Don't you think NYC has been bleeding enough businesses, jobs and people?

The New York Metro Transit Authority Chairman ought to read Bastiat. New York Gov. Pataki is proposing to spend $2.5 billion less (over five years, that is) than the MTA wants. MTA Chairman Kalikow is hinting that it will cost New York jobs: "we employ thousands of New Yorkers just by buying these cars and subways." Isn't it amazing that Bastiat warned about this in "What Is Seen" all the way back in 1849? Certain French legislators said that 100,000 soldiers were needed not for military reasons, but for the economic reason of providing them work. Bastiat pointed out that there are no jobs "created" there, because the tax money used to employ a soldier necessarily means depriving someone elsewhere of that money: "you will see that this village has lost a laborer and the thousand francs that would remunerate his labor, and the business which, through the spending of these thousand francs, he would spread about him."

Auto industry unions will tow, at the owners' expense, foreign-made cars parked at union halls. Why are lower prices and equal (even higher) quality such a bad thing? They're not, except to workers who can't compete. (Never mind that many "foreign cars" are made right here in the United States by American workers.)

Massive fraud at a Long Island school district. When the state has a near-monopoly on a service, and its bureaucracy hinders public accountability (and accounting), what else do you expect? When New York state spends an average of $12,000 per public school student, are we really getting our money's worth?

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