September 28, 2009

Capitalism Watch - September 28, 2009

I've decided to start a new, happier recurring feature on my blog.  I've got the depressing and often aggravating Dictator Watch. But there's been little good news features until now. Today is the first in a hopefully frequently recurring feature called Capitalism Watch.  I'll be posting snippets of good news items for the advancement of capitalism, with no apologies to Michael Moore, who just doesn't get it.

 It's been a good day for capitalism worldwide, moreso than at home in America.  From Europe there's the following news items.
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’ll press ahead with tax cuts and labor-market deregulation after winning re-election with enough support to govern with the pro-business Free Democrats.

With Germany struggling to recover from the deepest economic slump since World War II, voters spurned plans by Merkel’s Social Democratic challenger to raise taxes on top earners. Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s SPD had its worst postwar result in what he called a “bitter day” after sharing power with Merkel for four years and governing for the previous seven.

“There’s a clear sentiment in favor of economic changes, especially on income taxes,” Tilman Mayer, head of the Bonn- based Institute for Political Science, said in an interview. “Voters have turned their back on grand coalition-style compromise politics.”
Germany apparently is interested in the mantle of the greatest economy on earth, currently attempting to be vacated from the United States by both China and the Democrats in America.

In England, with an election looming next year, Gordon Brown's Labour party trails the conservatives by 17 points.
London - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has won praise and prizes abroad for his handling of the global financial crisis - but at home his popularity is so low that he faces eviction from office next year.

As he picked up the world statesman of the year award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation in New York last week, Brown must have enjoyed the relief of a much-needed respite from his domestic woes.

Presenting the prize from the interfaith organisation which campaigns for human rights and religious freedom, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger hailed Brown's "vision and dedication".

Yet in Britain, with a general election looming by next June, just 28% of voters are satisfied with his personal performance, according to a MORI poll in August.
Equating conservatives with capitalism, is not always an easy leap to make, but the last time the conservatives were in power in Great Britain, while ostensibly lead by John Major, they were still the party of Margaret Thatcher.  You don't get much better bona fides than that. The conservatives are also the party of Daniel Hannan. That's pretty Thatcheresque.

Then there's France, where conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, faltering in the polls, has started the climb back, from a low of 32% last year, up to 43% by this past spring.  This despite the economic crisis and a series of pro-capitalism reforms that in labor-centric France seemed unfathomable a few years ago.  This despite an onslaught of an adversarial press at home and across Europe.

But i't not just Europe that gets it.  Here in North America, conservatism and an appreciation for business and capitalism is growing.  In Canada;
British Columbia is poised to push Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the cusp of a majority in the next federal election, provided that certain 2008 voting patterns continue.

Conservatives won 22 of B.C.'s 36 seats in the House of Commons in October of 2008. That was a gain of five seats over the 2006 election, and helped lift Harper to within 12 seats of a majority.

With Harper running well ahead in national polls and election rumours falling like maple leaves over Ottawa, Conservative political strategists are focusing their sights not on the seats Harper won in 2008, but on the five B.C. ridings in which his team racked up significant second-place finishes.
In Mexico, despite suffering setbacks in the recent setbacks in mid-term elections, conservative President Calderón has set out an ambitious agenda for the remainder of his six year term, bouyed perhaps by the the fact that a recent public opinion poll in mexico gave him an approval rating of 70%. He has even scrapped three government ministries, something seemingly unthinkabke in modern day America.
But his first battle will be over the 2010 budget. Tax revenues have plunged, jeopardising Mexico’s investment-grade credit rating. At the same time, recession has increased the demand for social spending. The draft budget announced this week involves a careful balance. It includes a temporary rise in income tax from 28% to 30% for the highest earners, a new 2% sales tax and a tax on telephones. Public spending will fall by 1.8% of GDP, with three ministries scrapped and other austerity measures.
That's just a few examples.  There have been others recently too.  Perhaps it takes decades for some of the obvious to sink in worldwide, but the effects of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are still rippling throughout the globe.  That's good news for capitalism, and good news for freedom.

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