I vintras inledde Timbro en serie med vinterpratare, tillgängliga som podcasts på deras hemsida. Konceptet var ungefär samma som Sveriges Radios Sommar, men med annorlunda och klart intressanta vinterpratare. Nu är det dags för en sommaromgång. Via hemsidan kan du lyssna till, bland andra, Anders Johnson, Erik Zsiga och Boris Benulic.


Dags att göra upp med våldet

Europa har ett våldsproblem och tar det inte på tillräckligt allvar. Fotbollsvärldens motåtgärder hämmas av supporterromantik. Fredliga vänsteraktivister låter sig tjusas av våldsverkarnas ”glöd” och ”engagemang”. Straffen för att sprida skräck och förödelse i det offentliga rummet är hopplöst låga. Hög tid att ändra på allt det här.

Så skriver PJ Anders Linder på sin blogg, och jag tror att han har rätt. Medan Europa ständigt drabbas av den ena huliganen efter den andra minns jag den storslagna bilden över jättederbyt i Amerikansk collegefotboll mellan University of Oklahoma och University of Texas. 90 000 helfanatiska supportrar, hälften i texasorange och hälften i Oklahomas vinröda färg. Gränsen kunde tydligt ses mitt på långsidorna där den ena färgen övergick i den andra. Och trots det, och trots alla känslor och all rivalitet mellan skolorna, så var allt som skilde fansen åt en trappa. Ingen som försökte puckla på någon annan. Inga upplopp, inget slödder, ingenting. Det är helt otänkbart i ett europeiskt fotbollsderby, och efter att ha upplevt det hela kan jag inte tycka att det går att förklara med att amerikanerna är mindre entusiastiska.

Vi måste komma tillrätta med det här, och med det politiska våld slöddervänstern står för varje gång det är politiskt toppmöte. Som alltid tror jag att det viktigaste första steget är individuellt ansvar. Vi måste gripa de som kastar sten och slåss, och de bör individuellt dömas till kännbara straff som de brottslingar de är. Börjar vi inte där kommer vi inte att komma någonstans.


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Immigration bill might fail

The proposed US immigration reform bill, supported by President Bush, has run into opposition in the Senate and looks like it may be stopped. That would be most welcome. The 400 page bill has a lot of problems, rewarding illegal immigrants while punishing those who have followed the rules, and providing de facto amnesty without including any measures that makes it believable that it would be the last one.

With a situation where between 12 and 20 million illegal immigrants are believed to be in the country reform is clearly needed, but things need to be dealt with in the proper order. First law enforcement, and border control. Then perhaps a better path to legality. Not the other way around.

Immigration is a difficult issue. It is important that the US can enforce its laws, and it is important that it remains a place where people can seek to live a good life. Reform needs to be respectful of the human beings it deals with, but it also needs to create the right incentives so that people opt to abide by the law. How such a bill should look, I am not sure.


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Thompson wants more federalism

Soon-to-be presidential candidate, Fred Thompson, writes an interesting article in which he argues that the United States need to get back to the federalism the constitution describes. It is an interesting and important topic, and I agree fully with what he writes.

Federalism also allows for the diversity that exists among the country’s people. Citizens of our various states have different views as to how traditional state responsibilities should be handled. This way, states compete with each other to attract people and businesses — and that is a good thing.

It is a good and important principle that political decisions should be made at the lowest level possible. If a town decides to increase nanny-state type laws, I can move to the next town. If a state decides to go big government it is worse, but it is still not outrageously difficult to escape it by moving to another state. If an entire country does it I get trapped to a much larger extent. Also, given that bureaucracy seems to grow exponentially with the size of the programmes it oversees it is better to keep these things smaller.

It will be interesting to see Fred Thompson further scrutinised as an open candidate. He is certainly promising.


Heads up: Greg Mankiw
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Sign it, or else…

Mr Barroso, president of the European Commission, is now warning Poland and the UK that they better sign the new constitutional treaty (that nobody has seen, nor will see before it’s time to vote on it) or else suffer unnamed consequences. With regards to Poland the main reason they should sign, according to Mr Barroso, is not that the content of the treaty is good, but rather to show solidarity with the EU. Whenever someone appeals to your sense of solidarity rather than to your common sense it’s time to get suspicious. When they follow it up with some barely hidden threats you know something is rotten.

If the EU is worried about the democratic deficit, as it often claims to be, refusing to make a constitutional treaty public, so that it can’t be debated before it is actually voted on, is not the best way to proceed. These behind-closed-doors negotiations needs to be brought to an end. Instead different proposals should be created, and be offered for the citizens to vote on after having been scrutinised in debate for a good period of time. The most popular one wins, with one option being that we stick to the old ways. At least that way the run towards more and more political power moving to Brussels, and fewer and fewer decisions being made by the people they concern could perhaps — at best — be slowed down to a walk.

The current way of doing business is a joke, and currently we have no practical means of doing anything about it. I hope Poland and the United Kingdom stick to their positions and refuse to be persuaded by calls for “solidarity” and threats by the president of the Commission. It’s shameful that the rest of our leaders are happy to keep things moving.


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Tax Freedom Day

Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day, in the United Kingdom. That means that up until then the British workers have worked for the government, and from now until the end of the year they will work for themselves. That is how high that taxes are in the U.K. And yet the people in most of Western Europe will have to wait even longer for their Tax Freedom Day, not to mention us poor souls up in the cold north.

The idea of the Tax Freedom Day is a good pedagogical tool, to show how high the tax burden has become. Given that politicians aren’t the most popular or trusted people in the world, and rightfully so, it should provide some food for thought that they get to spend all the money you earn well into the summer.

When Tax Freedom Day occurs when the snow melts I’ll be a lot happier.

Heads up: SvD:s ledarblogg
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