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J. Hohn
Central Indiana
Left Brain Commentary for the Politically Right
Interests: Read this blog long enough and you'll have that figured out.
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As in all things, probabilities determine appropriateness. What is the probability of target hardening against 9mm? Against 5.56? What is the probability of needing power past 25 yards? 100 yards? What is the probability of my scenario benefitting from a 10.5' SBR rather than a 18" I agree with Claus that 300BLK has a lot to offer for the shorter range PDW application. One could do worse than a Sig PM400 PSB in 300BLK as a PDW. And since the "brace" is sorta useful to the shoulder, it's a formidable all-around rig. Not sure what might be comparable in the MPX range.
J. Hohn is now following Matthew Shipley
Dec 19, 2013
I don't think I follow Keystone's comment on why finance, natural resources and defence industries should be taxed more. If Canada has a comparative or absolute advantage in natural resources (which I think could be demonstrated with many trading partners), then it seems to me that those industries would be the LAST things you would tax. Taxing them has the effect of reducing that advantage, and likely total output. Consider the two extremes of childhood aptitude. Children who struggle most heavily often get extra resources to help them achieve. But children who are gifted often get-- extra resources to maximize that potential. These reflect philosophies at odds with each other. Why would both the highest and lowest achievers command access to extra resources? Which is the better investment? Should my young daughter struggling to learn the violin get into Julliard because she would benefit greatly from it? Or should the next Itzhak Perlman instead be admitted because of the likelihood of greatness? It seems to me that most pols believe that a nation's strongest businesses should be taxed to subsidize the weaker ones. But I think that it's overall more effective to maximize your strength than to minimize your weakness. Thus, let the strongest areas of your national economy flourish with neither impediment nor subsidy and those weaker industries will be allocated by the market to more efficient producers.
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J. Hohn is now following Gabe Suarez
Feb 15, 2013
Mary called it. The irony here isn't lost on us!
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Glad to hear I'm not the only one whose first reaction was anger. I'm struggling to find words to how that comes first, before fear or hurt or grief. We have have strong, but opposing views about the 2nd Amendment-- I don't feel a need to re-hash all that just yet. But I'm concerned that we so easily give in to the temptation to react emotionally to a "JUST-DO-SOMETHING!" impulse. The reality is that Sandy Hook changes nothing in terms of the relative validity of the arguments on either side, as far as I can tell. All of the back-and-forth now occurring doesn't represent a single *new* argument at all. If that's true, then there's no reason we have to have a mad dash to implement some new policy-- we can take our time to explore the issue more thoroughly. I'm not a hunter. I'm not opposed to hunting, and those I know that do hunt a responsible, well-adjusted people. I don't own any guns (though I'd like to get a pistol for home/personal defense). That said, between military service and other experiences with firearms, I can see how people actually do enjoy certain aspects of them. For one, shooting stuff is super fun. Blowing up watermelons, 2L bottles and stuff is just fun, there's no other way to say it. I tend to favor liberty, even at heightened risk. The more we take away liberty, and responsibility with it, the more we tend to infantilize people. There's already far too much immaturity around as I see so many grown adults that don't act like it. It also makes us less charitable as a society. When we expect others to care for us and provide for us, it's hard to be charitable.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2012 on Thoughts on Sandy Hook at Heartland Musings
I really enjoyed your "Constitutional Taxation' post. Well done.
Perhaps. It falls to us to get the truth out and educate people, because they will not do it themselves and the existing power structure has a vested interest in keeping people ignorant. I'm actually hoping we go over the fiscal cliff. The return to pre-Bush taxation will show the truth. The Bush cuts were incredibly progressive, and letting them expire will get more people with skin in the game by raising taxes on those who contribute little to nothing. There's no natural limit to what we will request in transfers from others to ourselves. The only limit is making "them" into "us" by getting more people on the tax rolls, actually contributing something. when only 40% of people actually pay in more than they get out, you have a big problem.
Toggle Commented Dec 3, 2012 on Tax Trends at Heartland Musings
On fast food-- I agree that this is distressing. I think the root issue here is the question of whether being free to make bad decisions is a good idea. I would contend that if you are not free to make bad decisions, then you aren't free. Removing the freedom to err also has an infantilizing effect upon the populace. President Obama made a speech in which he lamented the lack of job training for things like showing up on time and getting along with people. These aren't job skills, they are life skills. Someone who cannot show up on time or get along with someone will struggle in life, not just in employment. But what is preventing these skills from being learned? Accountability. Consequences for bad judgement. When we remove bad consequences from bad decisions, there is no feedback loop to prevent getting more of them. Chain smoke all you want-- then let Medicaid pick up your emphysema treatments. Eat the gooey double-heartattack McWhopper daily- the taxpayers will pick up the tab for you. I would submit that almost every argument to control people for their own benefit is paternalistic and makes us less capable people as a whole. This is why I think freedom is a tough sell. Everyone is all "Yay! Freedom!" when it means you can speak your mind and not go to jail. But when it means your neighbor can harbor racist attitudes or drive a gas guzzler, the enthusiasm for freedom fades quickly. When it means you have to work hard to make it-- and that some struggle far more than others, it offends our sense of justice. Is freedom so great when it allows for such inequity? There is also an intersection of freedom and virtue that we aren't often talking about. If freedom works with virtuous people-- does it work ONLY with virtuous people? Is it the case that only those who police themselves can do without external policing? I think we may need to ask ourselves if freedom is an end in itself, as many of my fellow conservatives seem to think it is. The answer involves discussion of who people are in the state of nature and devolves into political philosophy. Are we Hobbes' brutes or Rousseau's angels? And yes-- all that relates to fast food and gardening ;)
You raise several good points. There are a couple points to which I'd like to respond. The idea that the free market is the race to the bottom is something I would also be concerned about if I felt that the free market led to such outcomes. I think that history and reason show that usually the opposite is the result. As Adam Smith pointed out, in a truly free market a transaction will not occur unless both parties to it believe they will be accordingly better off. Will someone knowingly enter into a market transaction that he believes makes him worse off? I get my haircut for $12. The implied truth is that the haircut is worth more than $12 (or else I would keep the $12). But to my barber, the haircut is worth LESS than $12 (or else he would charge more for the haircut). Thus, both my barber and I believe we have moved UP, not down as a result of the transaction. We have traded something of lesser value for something of greater value. The same is true in the labor market in general. People work when the benefits of work (financial and otherwise) exceed the benefits of not working AND the cost of transitioning to work. There is a "race to the bottom" in the sense that a competitive labor market drives down wages. Less competition means higher wages. This is, after all, the essence of a union. This "race to the bottom" drives down the market value of what many people can produce. But it also drives down the market value of what people consume. This lowers prices and allows the reduced wages to go further. If the former is the more powerful force, then we would have people's wages drop and the national income (per capita) would decrease. If the latter is the more powerful force, then people's standard of living would increase and the national income (per capita) would increase. It turns out that GDP per capita in the US for the last century or so has steadily climbed higher and higher: Not only in the US, but per capita world GDP is growing as well, so it's not a zero-sum game. Current data, history, and reason all suggest that free markets are not a race to the bottom, but rather a race upward.
What worker's rights to you presume need protecting? By my reasoning, workers have no "rights" as you intend the meaning. Jobs exist because enterprises need labor of varying skills. To fulfill that need, they engage in mutually beneficial transactions with providers of labor. The laborers do not own the job-- they are awarded the job under an employment contract to which they have successfully bid. There is the accusation that businesses collude with one another to keep wages low-- but what is the evidence for such a claim? It may exist in rare circumstances where the labor or labor market is highly specialized and monopoly or monopsony conditions exist or nearly so. But in the broader market, evidence of collusion is exceedingly rare. I think of something like pro sports, where the owners control the market (and so could depress wages) but the labor is also highly specialized, and so artificially HIGH labor rates could also result. Even if wages in one area are artificially low due to collusion, most often the laborer will know the wage rates of his expected profession. Is he not free to choose another, more ably-compensated profession? Is it not disingenuous to knowingly enter a career that pays $25/k year and then complain about 25k/year being far too little? Even collusion-- which I contend is exceedingly rare-- cannot justify someone's complaining about his compensation or work conditions. We are still mostly independent actors that can change our minds about things. Unless someone argues that the ENTIRE labor market is price-fixed and that NO career offers a living wage, then the collusion argument is rather weak, I think. Free market policies do NOT guarantee the prosperity is evenly distributed- of this you are absolutely correct. But why should it be? There is already an inequitable distribution of height, weight, physical beauty, musical aptitude, and any other traits. We consider this inequity to be completely normal. What is the basis for believing that economic outcomes would be different? Economically, we are much more equal than we are in nature. The person who isn't strong enough to be an athlete can start a business that may still generate a large income. I really do not understand the focus on the share of the pie each person gets rather than the amount of pie. For example, if I get a 10% raise at work, I will be elated. But if I find out the next minute that everyone else got 50%, I will be angry. Why? Because we tend to assess our prosperity in relative terms. It's not enough for me to get better in absolute terms-- it's the relative gain people see. It's completely irrational. But who said people are rational? So if the bottom quintile has rising incomes, that's a good thing. But when it rises more slowly than the top quintile, somehow that same increase now seems unjust. Why? Is it not just envy? What is a "living wage"? If you make $34k, you are in the top 1% of the entire world. 50% of the world lives on less than $1300/year. In other words, $1300 a YEAR is a "living wage" for 50% of the world's population. The real question is standard of living-- not just a "living wage." What standard of living is an American entitled to, and at whose expense? THAT is the real question. It seems to me that most Americans would feel they are "entitled" to be in the planet's top 1%-- 34K or more. That doesn't seem tenable to me. Only in America can you have a large TV, air conditioning, be 50+ lbs overweight, have a cell phone and a car and be considered "poor." The typical social security benefit is 10X the level of the global median wage. Poor? The key other key question is "relative to what?" I think you're indulging fallacy to conclude that businesses are getting away with paying a lower wage intentionally because of food stamps and medicaid, etc. The presence of these benefits reduces the marginal benefit of work. After all, if a job is $1k/mo and welfare is $500, then the opportunity benefit of the job is only $500, because the welfare would be forfeited. This perverse incentive not to work actually takes people out of the labor market at the bottom end and RAISES the wage paid to unskilled labor (fewer laborer competing). VERY few people are actually working at the minimum wage, anyway. Even Wal-Mart employees are paid over the minimum wage. As for moral obligations, I think that one great thing about the free market is that we can make our own value judgments. Those of us who believe Wal-Mart underpays people can refuse to shop there. Those who think a business is killing the environment can refuse to work there. Etc. The minute someone wants to inflict their economic value judgements on me, I will have a problem with that, though-- as he should if I attempted to do the same to him.
J. Hohn added a favorite at Heartland Musings
Nov 21, 2012
The short answer is no. The long answer involves my concept of fairness. A labor union in effect is a price-fixing conspiracy. I'm rather certain that a union member would be upset if all the local gas stations colluded to fix the price of gasoline at $6. But they turn around and do the very same thing by conspiring to fix the price of certain kinds of labor in the market. Labor unions have gotten away with perpetuating the myth that it is the company vs the laborers, the holders of capital vs the providers of labor. Bourgeoisie vs proletariat, to Marx. But in actuality, this is not the case. It is labor vs labor. The unions are protecting their membership from the competitive pressure of rival suppliers of labor in the market-- rivals whose competition would drive down the price of labor. It is no different than any rent-seeking big business asking for tariff protection from Congress. Collusion to fix prices is in most cases illegal. But with labor unions, it is sanctioned. That said, I see no reason to ban labor unions in the private sector (the public sector being a *very* different story). If unionization is truly a competitive disadvantage or advantage, the market will sort that out, and unionized business will either thrive or not. Of late, the tendency has been for them to not thrive, place businesses at a competitive disadvantage, then complain about jobs being shipped overseas. We should strive to raise wages, but not through bad ideas like labor price collusion (unions) or minimum wage escalation (which causes unemployment). These are cures worse than the ailment. Wages rise when productivity does. We should strive to create in the US the most fluid and dynamic market for goods and services. Prosperity follows from economic freedom.
How about we tax A-rod at 100% just for being a Yankee?
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2012 on Nostalgia in Krugman-land at Heartland Musings
J. Hohn is now following FTCN Blog
Nov 18, 2012
True statements all around. Of course, it seems inconsistent to make a wage concession first, then say not another when the potential benefit of the second concession is much greater than the first. It's one thing to strike when you see the CEO getting huge pay and all that and the company is booming. It's quite another to strike while your company is actually in bankruptcy and has told the court (and gained approval of such for labor contract changes) that it will be insolvent without lower labor costs. Bravo to the Teamsters Union (which signs my grandfather's retirement checks) for having the sense to at least try to be part of a solution. If the Bakers had agreed to similar concessions, might it have mattered? Maybe not; they've seen this movie before as this is not Hostess' first trip to bankruptcy court. Your point about undercutting other union members seems to force the conclusion that the BCTWGM threw their Hostess folks under the bus for the good of the rest of the union. Oh, well. Live by union, die by union. I'm not opposed to private unions and attempting to bargain collectively. But such bargaining must not be a term of employment. You should never be forced to join a union to work a job. JMO
Wow, shoulda proofed the comment below before posting (typos).
I didn't intend to assert that the Left is indistinguishable from the Democratic party in all manners. For one, the would involve identifying clearly lines of demarcation on what is essentially a continuous spectrum. Hard to do- and impossible to conclusively argue. But I think it's safe to say that the parties have both moved Leftward in recent decades. There were once Republicans that opposed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and many other "entitlements." Those voices are now considered far Right, not part of the main of Republicans. After all, no major Republican candidate for national office has talked of ending these programs, or argued that they are inappropriate. Instead, they stipulate the legitimacy of them. Likewise for Romneycare/HeritageFundCare if you want to call Obamacare/ACA that. The argument in Republican circles used to complete deregulation or partial deregulation. Now it's nibbling around the edges and "reforming" some regulations. Modern Republicans stupulate the legitimacy of a welfare state. They content with Democrats not about legitimacy, but about how much welfare state we will have. I conclude for these and other reasons that Republicans have shifted leftward. Democrats have shifted leftward was well. Examples include the dearth of pro-life Democrats (there used to be many), and the dramatic growth of government in Democrat-controlled states (and the attendant sea of red ink in states like CA, NJ, NY, IL, MI, etc). Are there modern Democrats that support traditional marriage definitions? More importantly, are members of this small subgroup given any role in crafting the platform? For a group that espouses diversity so much, I finder remarkably little diversity within the modern Democrat party. They have essentially purged the pro-life, non-Union, traditionalists from their ranks. Either that or the those moderate Democrats have self-selected. Show me the modern equivalent of Sam Nunn, the Democrat most identified with a big strong military (and big budgets for it); I don't think such a modern Democrat exists. Anyway, I'm sympathetic to the civil liberty concerns you mention that several of those on the Left have. I share them. As that Gotye parody says, "I'm not sure a Nobel Peace Prize winner should have a kill list." I also think it's time to abandon the phony "war on drugs." All it's doing is sending more Mexicans our way as people flee the warzone that is modern Mexico. Legalize them and the price drops, meaning so do petty crime (used to fund drugs), prostitution (used to fund drugs), STDs will go down as well (addicts can afford cleaner needles and such, and fewer addicts are hooking). Prohibition (a very PROGRESSIVE idea, for the record) was a huge failure. Why would we expect Prohibition 2.0 to work? Once in this country pure opium was widely available and legal. We seem to have survived that. I'm becoming more Libertarian as I see the Republicans seem to prefer to argue not that the problem with government is that it controls too much of our lives. No, they seem to argue that the problem with government is that they don't control it. JH
Is Obama a Leftist? It's tough to prove one way or the other. You are correct that much of his behavior in office has been consistent with what any garden-variety Democrat would have done. The obvious question begged, is whether those two positions are mutually exclusive. Is it a given that being far left and being 'garden variety Democrat" are different things? I would submit that in several ways, the Democrats have subsumed what was previously considered a far left position. Still, there are ways in which Obama stands out. For one, he was ranked as the *most* Liberal of all Senators. Within the American L/R spectrum, that's pretty far Left, even if the American spectrum is decidedly narrower than the global L/R political specturm. Obama opposed protection for infants that survived botched abortions. He voted to have them denied all medical care. Not to open the abortion can of worms, but the point here is that this is outside the Democrat mainstream. Abortion in the 3rd trimester is far less popularly supported than 1st and 2nd trimester abortion; partial-birth abortion even less popularly supported. Denying any medical care to a child already born in the course of a botched abortion is beyond the Democrat mainstream and into Peter Singer territory. That's not 'garden variety' Democrat as far as I can tell. I believe Obama is also one of the more ardent gun control advocates within his party. There are many Democrats that hail from more rural areas that do not follow this line. Since there are Democrats on both sides of that issue, Obama's positions place him firmly on the Left within his own party. With these notable exceptions, I would agree that generally Obama is within the typical Democrat range. But this can just as much mean that Democrats are far Left. The problem is that these are all terms of art, and staking out a marker defining them is inherently difficult. The meanings are evergreen. You hint on a really solid point about Obama being bad at redistributing wealth. One thing about Obama that stands out to me is that he's not very effective at achieving even the things he wishes for. ACA only happened because Sen Reid and Speaker Pelosi did all the hard work. The Obama admin appeared to sit back and waited for them to deliver ACA. He could have achieved a LOT of his wish list if he had been more effective in 2008-2009. ACA was all he got (that, and I suppose the end of DADT was also an accomplishment of his). Cap and Trade died. I believe Obama is an ideologue, just an inept and weak one. He talks big, but won't act big. Remember how he first told the Latinos that he didn't have the authority to implement his amnesty-by-exectutive order, only the do the very thing a year later? He was hedging, hesistant. An ideologue with a strong command of the bully pulpit wouldn't ask for permission the first time. Instead, he would do something like try FDR's court-packing scheme. He would act and make someone tell him no. By my lights, the criticism Obama gets from his Left flank is not because he doesn't hold the beliefs of the Left, it's because he's been a pretty weak leader in delivering for them.
I'll admit that it seems both sides are being a little funny on the math. There are not enough rich people available to sustain the kind of welfare state the more liberal folks want to see-- something along the model of a European-style social democracy. Where the Right seems to miss the boat is this idea that tax cuts are some kind of panacea of magical economic goodness. This is why they seem to think you can cut taxes AND crank up spending, because we all know that you just do what Norquist wants and the economy heals itself, right? The evidence suggest that sometimes tax cuts can grow revenue, but not often is it true. It's one thing to cut the top tax bracket from 90% of the Eisenhower years to something like 70% or 50%. But once the rate is already down to 35% or so, it seems HIGHLY specious to assert that the rich are going to magically spend a bunch more if we further cut their taxes. The Laffer curve is probably real. It makes sense: at 0% the gov't collects no revenue, and at 100% the gov't collects no revenue because people won't produce. Thus, there is some theoretical tax rate between 0% and 100% that maximizes gov't revenue. If you are above that ideal and cut taxes, you should get more revenue. If you are below that idea, you'd get less revenue. This is a big area where my fellow Republicans miss the boat on tax policy. I'd prefer the focus be shifted to tax simplification rather fine-tuning. The average American spends about $1.30 to send $1 to the IRS. It seems we might be able to bring in more revenue to the gov't at the same burden to the taxpayer if we just simplified it. I really like the FairTax proposal. It's the best all-around proposal I've come across, and it's based heavily on Milton Friedman's "negative income tax" idea. On the race angle, I'm thankful that you think only SOME of us are racists;) No doubt there are still racists on both sides; I would argue that someone who voted FOR Obama *only* because of his race is a racist. A racist is someone who can see only race-- it matters not whether they judge that race superior or inferior. For example, the racism of the Nazis was not just judging Jews inferior, but of judging so-called Aryans superior. The Republicans are in a sticky spot vis-a-vis Latinos. That's a longer topic than I can broach here, but you are correct in your assessment that what the Republicans are doing now isn't working to endear them to Latinos. I also think you are right about there not being a huge difference overall between Obama and Romney going forward. Romney wouldn't have singlehandedly fixed things and Obama will not singlehandedly ruin them. The Democrats who are talking today about a permanent majority remind me of the arrogance of republicans ca 2004 after Bush was narrowly re-elected. They took that election as some kind of mandate to continue spending like drunken sailors and invading whichever country drew the short straw. Then we got the 2nd Bush term, which was a disaster for America, for Bush, and for Republicans. 2004 re-election was a mandate to overhaul social security? Ummm, not so much. I like the idea of a SS reform/overhaul-- but that doesn't mean I would take a re-election as mandate to do so. Just like people didn't initial elect Obama to do ACA, but seem to not care so much anymore. I'm predicting that at some point Obama will misread his mandate and go too far and catalyze the swinging of the pendulum back the other way yet again as the electorate gets tired of that particular flavor of poor governance and wants the other flavor back. He strikes me as the kind of idealogue that, in his reach to re-make America, ends up with a tarnished legacy of failure. I'm glad we had our first Black President. I just wish that the honor would have gone to someone who deserved it-- someone with bona fides beyond mere political appeal and shrewdness.
David, I agree with many of your points. Don't tell anyone. I don't necessarily see the election as a referendum on entitlements per se. What I see is that there is little to no will to constrain spending, and entitlements are the bulk of spending. It matters not whether that entitlement is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or even a "tax expenditure" like tax loopholes for oil companies and green energy. ALL of them represent a net loss of tax dollars. NONE of them seem to be on the chopping block with the current divided gov't. I dare say a Romney presidency would be not much differnent in that regard. If there's any bipartisanship in Washington, it's that they both LOVE TO SPEND! So it's a referendum on entitlements only in the sense that no one is going to step up and say "cut MY program first!" It's NIMBY on steroids. How is it that this vast government cannot survive with even a 5% across the board cut? Even 2%? I'm not saying that most people voted for Obama because he's going to play Robin Hood for them. Clearly, the number of wealthy supporters he has were not deterred by the prospect of higher taxation, so I don't necessarily ascribe narrow self-interest to each Obama supporter. What I do ascribe to vast swaths of Obama supporters is economic innumeracy. Anyway, I'm not sure welfare was being used to intentionally stoke racial division, but doubtless each person had their own paradigm of what a "welfare" person is, and it varies by locale. With SO MANY people now getting some kind of benefit, there's no stigma anymore. I'm getting GI Bill benefits to assist with grad school expenses, yet I'm a vocal opponent of 'being on the dole." Hypocrisy? I think not, because I'd be OK with those benefits being taken away from me. But it could be considered hypocrisy. I suppose one could try the 'gov't promised me' argument, but any promise from Congress is only a claim. Congress can rewrite the terms unilaterally at any moment-- there is no contract. Once every single one of us is dependent upon a grant, a tax credit, a pension, gov't "insurance", something like that then we find ourselves where we are: priving Bastiat right. "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
I admit that some of my fears have been made more acute by the recent electoral results, but they are not new. I haven't only recently feared for the future of our Republic. I see several things that I just can't explain rationally. Signs at Tea Party rallies that say things like "Keep the government out of my Medicare!" Come again? So many folks who vote republican and complain about all 'those lazy welfare types' are, in fact, "those lazy welfare types" in many cases. The problem is that Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, etc are not considered on the dole! Because no one seems to equate gov't benefit with welfare, we have a rather odd situation where people are against "welfare" but keep voting for more and more of it because it is not recognized as such. Unemployment is 'insurance.' Medicare/Medicaid is 'insurance.' Social Security is a 'pension.'Food Stamps aren't even 'welfare' anymore-- it's just "EBT"-- swipe the card and off you go with your taxpayer-funded beer, cigs, etc. What do we do when 51% of the people realize they can use their votes to steal from the 49%? I'm not saying we shouldn't have public goods and that the presence of a couple free riders defeats the justification for public goods and services, but it's now going beyond that. It's getting to where people are voting themselves direct wealth transfers. Once you stipulate that you have a right to your neighbor's property, there's no principled basis on which to limit that right-- it's all arbitrary. If you have the right to $200 of his wealth, why not $300? If you have the right to food, is it 1000 calories/day or 3000? Beans and Rice or filet mignon? If there is a right to food, then someone has to provide that-- there MUST be an attendant right to take from someone else. The gov't cannot give what does not first take. That's where I'm at on this. Maybe I need to blog out the welfare thing and see if I can process it more coherently.
Others have mentioned it, but the problem with Noonan's criticism is that very few of the 47% actually believe they are in the 47%. Many of those who criticize dependency are themselves dependent. It's still a huge Romney gaffe in terms of what it reveals about his thought processes (or that of his aides), but I bet it's unlikely to have any meaningful impact to support levels.
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J. Hohn is now following Stephen Gordon
Aug 22, 2012
I wish it was. We have a real problem here, and the root of it is really simple: the Federal Government is abdicating the rule of law-- the same rule of law that is THE core foundational element of Western democracies and distinguished our society more than anything else from tin-pot dictatorships the world over. The Obama administration is electing NOT to enforce the law. This is a direct violation of the President's oath of office, in which he SWORE that he would "Take care that the laws be faithfully executed." This puts Arizona in a tight spot that would be obviated if the Federal Government obeyed the law. What relief have they? The problem is that there is tension between preserving the Federalism that defines the roles of state vs federal governments on the one hand and the state's responsibility to its people. All of which would be moot if we didn't have a lawless President. Tin pot dictatorship is here in principle, hopefully we can change course before it arrives in reality.