Smart Links 25 January 2012

Commentary on the new level of viciousness in US politics, the importance of international public goods, Obama's chance at re-election, and the call for Canadian energy independence.

Watching Gingrich and Romney tear each other apart makes me recall the saying that Republicans love American but hate Americans. Wait until we hear what they say about Democrats. Thanks to Ken of Tokyo/Hong Kong.

The Coming Tsunami of Slime
How Super-PACs, vulnerable candidates, and armies of mercenaries will converge to create the ugliest campaign ever.

Related. The National Citizens Coalition on free speech …

Globe and Mail -- Gag third-party ads, gag free speech
When in doubt, limit free speech.

Martin Wolf on the international role of the state.

Financial Times -- The world’s hunger for public goods
Public goods are the building blocks of civilisation. Economic stability is itself a public good. So are security, science, a clean environment, trust, honest administration and free speech.

Is the sun finally shining on the Obama Presidency?

Telegraph -- Barack Obama has reasons to smile again
The conventional wisdom in Washington decrees that Barack Obama should not have a prayer of re-election this year.

Maybe that pipeline should go east alongside an already established route.

Winnipeg Free Press -- Canada exports jobs along with its oil
Canada is an emerging energy superpower that's the most attractive investment opportunity in the world, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a London business audience in July 2006.

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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.