CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- THE Spectator, a weekly British magazine, reviewed 2012 and found it the best year. It turns out the world has less hunger, less disease and more prosperity than ever before.
Not only has the spread of communicable diseases been placed in check but "the death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low," the magazine reported.
The world may be in a golden age.
"Take global poverty," the magazine opined. "In 1990, the UN announced Millennium Development Goals, the first of which was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015.
"It emerged this year that the target was met in 2008. Yet the achievement did not merit an official announcement, presumably because it was not achieved by any government scheme but by the pace of global capitalism.
"Buying cheap plastic toys made in China really is helping to make poverty history. And global inequality? This, too, is lower now than any point in modern times.
"Globalization means the world's not just getting richer, but fairer too."
We live in great times - but not necessarily because of governments.
RAISING taxes is no way to balance a budget. Higher taxes simply mean the government will spend more and that those taxes will drive people and businesses away.
David Trabert and Todd Davidson of the Kansas Policy Institute in Wichita reviewed spending and population trends in the 41 states that have an income tax and the nine that do not.
"States with an income tax spent 42 percent more per resident in 2011 than the nine states without an income tax," they wrote in a column in the Wall Street Journal.
This extra spending did not improve the gross domestic product of the states.
"States without an income tax have significantly better growth in private sector GDP (59 percent versus 42 percent) over the last 10 years," the pair wrote. "They increased the number of jobs by 4.9 percent while jobs in the rest of the states declined by 2.6 percent."