The Garbanzo Annex

“I’d like to thank the Academy, my fellow actors/directors/producers, my family, and mostly the taxpayers who helped finance the film for making this all possible” – No Academy Award winner ever
***

There are two things that many in Hollywood often preach against: 1) “Greedy” Wall Streeters who don’t “share the wealth” during the good times and then leave taxpayers holding the bag when things go bad; And 2) Tax breaks for the rich.

File this under “method acting”:

Although Oscar nominations were announced yesterday, one winner has already been determined: the Oscar for Best Tax Break (not a real Academy Award). Among the nine films nominated for Best Picture, The Wolf of Wall Street received the largest state tax incentive, a 30 percent tax credit from New York State. In effect, New York State taxpayers paid for a third of its $100 million in production costs.

According to Forbes, Hollywood’s moguls are receiving around $1.5 billion a year in film tax credits. Rich Tinseltown libs then use some of the money they saved to maintain the soap box from which they complain that the rich need to be made to “pay their fair share.”

(h/t Instapundit)

**Written by Doug Powers

Yaalon’s “new strategy” seems to have been composed in complete ignorance of the Peel Commission Report of 1937. This Report indicated that thanks to Israel’s economic assistance, Arab income in the “West Bank” multiplied four-fold. Moreover, the Report noted that Israel’s Government established new hospitals, health centers, primary and secondary schools and universities. Nevertheless, the Israeli-built schools and universities became hotbeds of Arab insurrection.

In fact, the Peel Commission Report of 1937 concluded that the Jewish contribution to Arab prosperity in Palestine only increased Arab hatred!  

The same phenomenon occurred after the Six Day war of 1967 when Israel regained control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.  Once again both Israeli and American officials and decision makers failed to understand that there are motives and even cultural affinities which are stronger than economics.

Ignorant of history, they were (and continue to be) oblivious of the fact that France and Germany were the greatest trading partners before the Franco-Prussian War—and these countries, unlike Muslims and Jews, shared the same European heritage.

Now ponder this: after 1967 Six Day War, as many as 100,000 Arabs from Gaza had jobs in Israel and thus worked alongside Jews. In fact, even though an increasing majority of Israel’s own Arab citizens, who enjoy a relatively high standard of living and possess educational and professional opportunities unequalled in the Islamic world, they nonetheless identify with Israel’s enemies and are therefore committed to Israel’s demise—contrary to their own economic interests.

ronbarak:

 
 

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia

Nicholas Kristof addresses reader feedback and posts short takes from his travels.

Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires.

The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn. Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children.

“I’d love to get a job in a factory,” said Pim Srey Rath, a 19-year-old woman scavenging for plastic. “At least that work is in the shade. Here is where it’s hot.”

Another woman, Vath Sam Oeun, hopes her 10-year-old boy, scavenging beside her, grows up to get a factory job, partly because she has seen other children run over by garbage trucks. Her boy has never been to a doctor or a dentist, and last bathed when he was 2, so a sweatshop job by comparison would be far more pleasant and less dangerous.

I’m glad that many Americans are repulsed by the idea of importing products made by barely paid, barely legal workers in dangerous factories. Yet sweatshops are only a symptom of poverty, not a cause, and banning them closes off one route out of poverty. At a time of tremendous economic distress and protectionist pressures, there’s a special danger that tighter labor standards will be used as an excuse to curb trade.

When I defend sweatshops, people always ask me: But would you want to work in a sweatshop? No, of course not. But I would want even less to pull a rickshaw. In the hierarchy of jobs in poor countries, sweltering at a sewing machine isn’t the bottom.

My views on sweatshops are shaped by years living in East Asia, watching as living standards soared — including those in my wife’s ancestral village in southern China — because of sweatshop jobs.

Manufacturing is one sector that can provide millions of jobs. Yet sweatshops usually go not to the poorest nations but to better-off countries with more reliable electricity and ports.

I often hear the argument: Labor standards can improve wages and working conditions, without greatly affecting the eventual retail cost of goods. That’s true. But labor standards and “living wages” have a larger impact on production costs that companies are always trying to pare. The result is to push companies to operate more capital-intensive factories in better-off nations like Malaysia, rather than labor-intensive factories in poorer countries like Ghana or Cambodia.

Cambodia has, in fact, pursued an interesting experiment by working with factories to establish decent labor standards and wages. It’s a worthwhile idea, but one result of paying above-market wages is that those in charge of hiring often demand bribes — sometimes a month’s salary — in exchange for a job. In addition, these standards add to production costs, so some factories have closed because of the global economic crisis and the difficulty of competing internationally.

The best way to help people in the poorest countries isn’t to campaign against sweatshops but to promote manufacturing there. One of the best things America could do for Africa would be to strengthen our program to encourage African imports, called AGOA, and nudge Europe to match it.

Among people who work in development, many strongly believe (but few dare say very loudly) that one of the best hopes for the poorest countries would be to build their manufacturing industries. But global campaigns against sweatshops make that less likely.

Look, I know that Americans have a hard time accepting that sweatshops can help people. But take it from 13-year-old Neuo Chanthou, who earns a bit less than $1 a day scavenging in the dump. She’s wearing a “Playboy” shirt and hat that she found amid the filth, and she worries about her sister, who lost part of her hand when a garbage truck ran over her.

“It’s dirty, hot and smelly here,” she said wistfully. “A factory is better.”

F A Hayek - Social Justice

therealashleydionne:

Because having to pay someone 22 bucks an hour for jobs that require minimum skills and education wouldn’t cause businesses to hire fewer people or cut hours at all.Oh, wait…It would actually be devastating.Start measuring things by outcomes, not intentions, people.

therealashleydionne:

Because having to pay someone 22 bucks an hour for jobs that require minimum skills and education wouldn’t cause businesses to hire fewer people or cut hours at all.

Oh, wait…

It would actually be devastating.

Start measuring things by outcomes, not intentions, people.

eretzyisrael:

Info-graphic: How the United States benefits from its alliance with Israel.
The U.S.-Israel relationship has traditionally been defined in terms of a moral obligation, shared cultural and political values, and common strategic interests.
Since the end of the Cold War, however, the two governments have preferred not to publicly discuss the details of their security relationship, while other types of crucial cooperation have gone unrecognized by the media and other observers, making it easier for critics to portray Israel as a liability rather than an asset.
In this report, Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock highlight the numerous, often-ignored benefits of the special bilateral relationship.

In the hard security realm, Israel remains an important partner in dealing with evolving terrorist and military threats as well as preserving the competitiveness of the U.S. defense-industrial base through joint development efforts and cutting-edge technology.
 Just as important, Israel has facilitated U.S. efforts to deal with emerging soft security challenges related to economic competitiveness, the information technology revolution, resource sustainability, and public health.

Download the full report here

eretzyisrael:

Info-graphic: How the United States benefits from its alliance with Israel.

The U.S.-Israel relationship has traditionally been defined in terms of a moral obligation, shared cultural and political values, and common strategic interests.

Since the end of the Cold War, however, the two governments have preferred not to publicly discuss the details of their security relationship, while other types of crucial cooperation have gone unrecognized by the media and other observers, making it easier for critics to portray Israel as a liability rather than an asset.

In this report, Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock highlight the numerous, often-ignored benefits of the special bilateral relationship.

In the hard security realm, Israel remains an important partner in dealing with evolving terrorist and military threats as well as preserving the competitiveness of the U.S. defense-industrial base through joint development efforts and cutting-edge technology.

Just as important, Israel has facilitated U.S. efforts to deal with emerging soft security challenges related to economic competitiveness, the information technology revolution, resource sustainability, and public health.

Download the full report here

What many Americans seem to mean by “weary” is “frustrated.” They’re frustrated and disillusioned that so much fighting over so many years has not brought the clear-cut psychological and strategic benefits of “victory.” For others, the lesson is more stark: These foreign military forays were a waste and, in many respects, have done more harm than good. One way or another, there’s a widespread impatience with our engagements when patience is often required for success.

If it is to be useful, the debate over Syria must broach larger issues. The United States cannot be the world’s policeman. It cannot rectify every wrong or redress every atrocity. It cannot impose the “American way of life” and values on diverse peoples who have their own ways of life and values. But the United States isn’t Monaco. Since World War II, we have assumed a sizable responsibility for the international order. We have done this not so much out of idealism as out of self-interest. The large lesson of that war was that American abstinence from the global stage ultimately contributed to a global tragedy from which we could not remain aloof.