Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hope and Change we can actually believe in

I’m trying an added feature starting today. I will be putting the title of any of the must read links in red. I found all the items I’ve put into the blog to be worthy to read, but the red ones are not to be missed.

Is Obama Intentionally Damaging Our Economy?

What I think emerges here is President Obama's ASTONISHING IGNORANCE OF ECONOMICS, which is to say, how the world works. I DON'T THINK HE IS INTENTIONALLY TRYING TO DAMAGE OUR ECONOMY, simply because he knows that he has no chance of being re-elected unless the economy rebounds. At the same time, I think he is so appallingly ignorant of how wealth is created that HE BELIEVES KILLING OFF JOBS, AS HIS ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE ALONG THE GULF COAST, IS NO BIG DEAL. The lost wealth will magically recreate itself, perhaps in the form of unemployment benefits. I think that Obama really does not understand the difference between receiving a paycheck in exchange for creating wealth, and getting a government handout in exchange for nothing. But then, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I agree but would add to it. Obama and the far left democrats are woefully ignorant of economics. The 111th congress in the House passed cap and trade which would have thrown us deeper into a recession. The talk of “green jobs” showed not only no understanding in economics, but showed a terrible lack of understanding in the science behind these technologies. And even a lack of intellectual curiosity to see how other states which had tried it were doing (not so well—In Spain they found every green job cost 2.2 regular jobs).
The enthusiasm for Keynesian economics was also another give away of how ignorant the Obama team was.

Nine incoming House Democrats assume place in pecking order: the end

They call themselves "the Mighty Nine."

Which is half true - there are, in fact, nine of them.

But "mighty" is definitely the wrong word for the nine lonely Democrats who will be sworn in as House members on Wednesday. They defied last fall's Republican landslide - winning mainly in strong Democratic districts - to BECOME THE SMALLEST FRESHMAN CLASS EITHER PARTY HAS PUT FORTH SINCE AT LEAST 1915.

This shows how far the Democrats’ fortunes have fallen. While the Democrat freshmen number just 9 members, the Republicans have 82 freshmen.

Congress Rediscovers the Constitution

If the new Congress to be sworn in on Wednesday is the tea party's cardinal achievement so far, its most symbolic achievement will come on Thursday, when the first order of business in the House will be a reading, aloud, of the Constitution. That event alone will not bring us any closer to limited government. But IT WILL HELP GET A DEBATE GOING THAT FOR TOO LONG HAS BEEN DORMANT.

Already, House Democrats are lining up to ridicule a closely related rule that the Republican majority has said it will adopt, requiring members to cite the specific constitutional authority for any bill they introduce. "IT'S AN AIR KISS THEY'RE BLOWING TO THE TEA PARTY," SAYS BARNEY FRANK, outgoing chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Henry Waxman, outgoing chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, all but dismissed any role for Congress in assessing the constitutionality of its actions: "WHETHER IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL OR NOT IS GOING TO BE WHETHER THE SUPREME COURT SAYS IT IS."

As a legal matter, Mr. Waxman is right; at least since Marbury v. Madison in 1803, the Supreme Court has had the last word on what the Constitution authorizes Congress to do. But well before that, and long after, members of Congress took it upon themselves to have the first word, often citing their oath of office.

In 1794, for example, JAMES MADISON, THE PRINCIPAL AUTHOR OF THE CONSTITUTION, rose on the House floor to object to a bill appropriating $15,000 for the relief of French refugees who had fled to Baltimore and Philadelphia from an insurrection in San Domingo. He could not, HE SAID, "UNDERTAKE TO LAY [HIS] FINGER ON THAT ARTICLE OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION WHICH GRANTED A RIGHT TO CONGRESS OF EXPENDING, ON OBJECTS OF BENEVOLENCE, THE MONEY OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS." The bill failed.

Throughout the 19th century, members of Congress and presidents alike REJECTED LEGISLATION BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED THERE WAS NO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO ENACT IT. The bedrock presumption of our polity, they understood, was individual liberty. The Constitution gave the federal government the authority to pursue certain limited ends, like national security and ensuring free interstate commerce, but otherwise left us free to pursue our ends either through the states or as private individuals. It did not authorize the federal government to provide us with the vast array of goods and services that today reduce so many of us to government dependents.

This could be a very important precedent the new congress will be setting. All of them in their oath of office pledge to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will BEAR TRUE FAITH AND ALLEGIANCE TO THE SAME.” It seems to me bearing true faith and allegiance would include not passing laws that they think are unconstitutional.

Is the Constitution Senile?

The congressional Republicans' decision to read the Constitution aloud on the floor of Congress has forced some CONSTITUTION-CONTEMPTUOUS LIBERALS FURTHER OUT OF THE CLOSET, which is an instructive development to behold.
Blogger Ezra Klein of The Washington Post told MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell that the constitutional reading is "a gimmick," and "the issue of the Constitution is not that people don't read the text and think they're following; THE ISSUE WITH THE CONSTITUTION IS THAT THE TEXT IS CONFUSING BECAUSE IT WAS WRITTEN MORE THAN 100 YEARS AGO and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done."
Columnist E.J. Dionne, also with The Washington Post, expressed similar irreverence for our founding document. DIONNE LAMENTED THAT THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT HAS TREATED THE CONSTITUTION "AS THE EQUIVALENT OF SACRED SCRIPTURE. Yet as Gordon Wood, the widely admired historian of the Revolutionary era has noted, we 'can recognize the extraordinary character of the Founding Fathers while also knowing that those 18th-century political leaders were not outside history. ... They were as enmeshed in historical circumstances as we are, they had no special divine insight into politics, and their thinking was certainly not free of passion, ignorance, and foolishness.'"
Dionne's (and Wood's) assessment is quite a far cry from that of former British Prime Minister William Gladstone, who observed, "THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION IS, SO FAR AS I CAN SEE, THE MOST WONDERFUL WORK EVER STRUCK OFF AT A GIVEN TIME BY THE BRAIN AND PURPOSE OF MAN."……
The common thread running through all of these examples is THE LIBERALS' END-JUSTIFIES-THE-MEANS MENTALITY, which, as we are witnessing, is A GREEN LIGHT FOR TYRANNY AND A SMOTHERING OF LIBERTY and democratic principles in the name of promoting them.

I am reminded of how Augustus Caesar declared he was restoring the Roman Republic when in reality he was quietly and completely destroying it.

Obamacare Ends Construction of Doctor-Owned Hospitals

"PHYSICIAN HOSPITALS OF AMERICA says that CONSTRUCTION HAD TO STOP AT 45 HOSPITALS NATIONWIDE or they would not be able to bill Medicare for treatments." Stopping construction at doctor-owned hospitals might not seem like the best way to boost the economy or to promote greater access and choice in health care, but that exactly what Obamacare is doing.

Kenneth Artz of the Heartland Institute explains, "Section 6001 of the health care law EFFECTIVELY BANS NEW PHYSICIAN-OWNED HOSPITALS (POHS) FROM STARTING UP, AND IT KEEPS EXISTING ONES FROM EXPANDING." Politico adds, "Friday [New Year's Eve] marked the last day physician-owned hospitals could get Medicare certification covering their new or expanded hospitals, one of the latest provisions of the reform law to go into effect."

Once again the law of unintended consequence bites the party of good intentions. Let’s see, fewer hospitals, loss of work for construction workers, loss of jobs for the people who would have staffed this hospital. THIS IS DIFFERENT THAN SAYING YOU DON’T NEED THE HOSPITALS. This is saying we don’t want this kind of hospital with Obamacare.

Is America on the Decline?

This time it's different. It's certainly true that America has been through cycles of declinism in the past. Campaigning for the presidency in 1960, John F. Kennedy complained, "American strength relative to that of the Soviet Union has been slipping, and communism has been advancing steadily in every area of the world." Ezra Vogel's JAPAN AS NUMBER ONE was published in 1979, heralding a decade of steadily rising paranoia about Japanese manufacturing techniques and trade policies.
In the end, of course, the SOVIET AND JAPANESE THREATS TO AMERICAN SUPREMACY PROVED CHIMERICAL. So Americans can be forgiven if they greet talk of a new challenge from China as just another case of the boy who cried wolf. But a frequently overlooked fact about that fable is that the boy was eventually proved right. THE WOLF DID ARRIVE -- AND CHINA IS THE WOLF.
Here is a very interesting article that you should read.

Stop the Spending

President Obama's first two years in office were for the ages: RARELY HAS SO MUCH BEEN SPENT SO WANTONLY WITH SO LITTLE DISCERNIBLE PUBLIC BENEFIT.

Nondefense discretionary spending accounted for $434 billion of the federal budget in 2008, without widespread deprivation or riots in the streets. This was the year that then-candidate OBAMA PROMISED TO SCOUR THE BUDGET LINE BY LINE FOR WASTE and said in one presidential debate that his program would be a net spending cut….

The first order of business is to take NONDEFENSE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING BACK TO 2008 LEVELS. A two-year rollback doesn't sound overly ambitious, even though IT WOULD REPRESENT MORE THAN A 20 PERCENT CUT IN SPENDING. This would be a spectacular feat, less like turning an ocean liner around than throwing it in reverse and backing it up. Every inertial force in Washington will resist this change.

This is another worthwhile read. The final line of the article is “THE QUESTION IS NO LONGER HOW MUCH MORE, IT'S HOW MUCH LESS. THE BINGE IS OVER.” I do believe the government is about to go through a painful withdrawal.

Surprise: Russian Duma To Codify Missile Defense Language in New START

Many opponents of the New START treaty with Russia argued that a significant disconnect between the two parties over defensive weapons systems should have scotched, or at least delayed, ratification. The Obama administration and Senate Democrats managed to convince 13 Republicans that ANY LANGUAGE IN THE TREATY'S PREAMBLE DISCUSSING MISSILE DEFENSE WAS ANCILLARY AND NOT LEGALLY BINDING, clearing the path for a 71-26 ratification vote on the lame duck Congress' final day in session.
The lower house of the Russian Duma has now taken up New START, and -- surprise! -- THEY'RE INSISTING THAT LIMITS ON US MISSILE DEFENSE CAPABILITIES ARE A CENTRAL ELEMENT TO THE TREATY…..

This development vindicates START critics' concerns about the accord and represents an OUTRIGHT EMBARRASSMENT FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. The Russians are (again) asserting as non-negotiable the precise treaty interpretation that the White House assured wavering Senators they had no reason to fear. This very question was the subject of hours of debate on the Senate floor, when START quarterback SEN. JOHN KERRY REPEATEDLY INTONED THAT THE PREAMBLE'S MISSILE DEFENSE LANGUAGE WAS MEANINGLESS. It's now abundantly clear that the pesky passage was far from the "throwaway" paragraph Kerry vowed it was, and that Moscow won't honor America's toothless opposition to the handful of troublesome sentences.
Was the Obama Administration dishonest or simply incompetent? I’m inclined to go with the latter.

Keep your laws off my body

For the past 30 years, the left has gravitated toward this slogan when it comes to abortion and to a lesser extent euthanasia and recreational drug use. But today it seems the left only wants to exclude these areas from more and more intrusion by their laws.

Flash forward to today and pretty much the entire edifice of liberalism insists that our bodies — WHAT WE PUT INTO THEM, HOW WE MAINTAIN THEM — ARE FAIR GAME NOT JUST FOR CONGRESS BUT FOR BUREAUCRATS. I know there are a lot of arguments I’m skipping over and exceptions one might make to all this. But at the end of the day, I still have a hard time reconciling yesterday’s passion of the “Keep your laws off my body” crowd with today’s PASSION FOR ENMESHING EVERYBODY (OR EVERY BODY) IN A LIFETIME OF LEGAL PAPERWORK AND GOVERNMENT RED TAPE VIA SUCH THINGS AS A HEALTH INSURANCE MANDATE AND END OF LIFE COUNSELING. That is unless, it was all smoke and mirrors designed to make the pro-abortion stance sound more highfalutin.

More Stimulating Than the Stimulus

Except for the ongoing saga of Brett Favre, the recidivist retirer who became the world’s first intergalactic bore, 2010 WAS MORE STIMULATING THAN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S STIMULUS HAS BEEN. Although fueled by a $535 million stimulus loan, and blessed by a presidential visit in May, CALIFORNIA’S SOLYNDRA, INC., WHICH MANUFACTURES SOLAR PANELS, ANNOUNCED IN NOVEMBER THAT IT WAS CLOSING A FACTORY AND LAYING OFF WORKERS. In another harbinger of our “green jobs” future, GE announced that it would shed 200 jobs by closing the last U.S. lightbulb factory: It makes old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, which become illegal in 2014, when Americans will buy the corkscrew fluorescent replacements from abroad. In another adventure in state capitalism, WASHINGTON, ALTHOUGH CHIN-DEEP IN RED INK, HAS $7,500 FOR ANYONE WILLING TO BE BRIBED INTO BUYING A $41,000 CHEVY VOLT. The president branded Republicans “the party of ‘no,’?” for which the party thanked him because voters thanked it for echoing their pithy response to his agenda: “No!” THE ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR THE AMERICAN POSTAL WORKERS UNION WAS DELAYED BECAUSE MANY MEMBERS’ BALLOTS WERE LOST IN THE MAIL.

“I still can’t believe they took our yogurt,” said a staffer at Rawesome Foods in Venice, Calif., when crime-busting L.A. COUNTY OFFICERS WITH DRAWN GUNS DESCENDED ON THE HEALTH-FOOD STORE IN SEARCH OF … UNPASTEURIZED DAIRY PRODUCTS. Elsewhere, TSA airport personnel exemplified government’s hands-on concern for our safety. In Quincy, Ill., POLICE TWICE ARRESTED A MAN WHO, BY OFFERING FREE RIDES TO INTOXICATED PERSONS, committed the crime of operating a taxi service without the government’s permission.

LIBERALS WHO CALL CONSERVATIVES NEANDERTHALS HAVE A POINT, as do conservatives who respond that it takes one to know one: Scientists said that up to 4 percent of the human genome of modern non-Africans comes from that extinct species, with whom early humans, the rascals, mat

This is a fun read. Try it, you’ll like it.

Unemployment Goes Up and Crime Goes Down

Around this time last year, the estimable Heather Mac Donald took to the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to analyze a curious development: The recession-induced surge in unemployment had been paralleled by a significant drop in violent crime. “As the economy started shedding jobs in 2008,” Mac Donald wrote, “criminologists and pundits predicted that crime would shoot up, since poverty, as the ‘root causes’ theory holds, begets criminals. Instead, the opposite happened. Over seven million lost jobs later, crime has plummeted to its lowest level since the early 1960s.”

Preliminary evidence suggests that this trend is continuing. During the first six months of 2010, “the nation saw a 6.2 percent decrease in the number of reported violent crimes and a 2.8 percent decrease in the number of reported property crimes compared to data for the same time frame during 2009,” according to the FBI. Murders were down by 7.1 percent, robberies by 10.7 percent, and motor-vehicle thefts by 9.7 percent.

To be sure, the gains were unevenly distributed. The Northeast actually experienced an uptick in homicides (5.7 percent), burglaries (3.9 percent), aggravated assaults (2.4 percent), and forcible rapes (1.1 percent). Total violent crime in the region fell, but only by 0.2 percent. The corresponding declines in the Midwest (7.2 percent), the South (7.8 percent), and the West (7.2 percent) were much larger. Each region witnessed a reduction in property crime, as well, though the reduction was far steeper in the Midwest (2.5 percent), the South (3.6 percent), and the West (3.1 percent) than it was in the Northeast (0.2 percent). “Population-wise,” the Bureau observes, “cities with 500,000 to 999,999 residents saw the greatest decline in reported violent crimes (8.3 percent) and in property crimes (4.8 percent).”

Makes you wonder about the phenomenon of the self fulfilling prophecy. Since the Northeast is a bastion of liberal thought and it is also a liberal tenant that poverty is the cause of crime, is it really surprising that violent crime declined the least there?

When States Default: 2011, Meet 1841

Land values soared. States splurged on new programs. Then it all went bust, bringing down banks and state governments with them. This wasn't America in 2011, IT WAS AMERICA IN 1841, when a now-forgotten depression pushed eight states and a desolate territory called Florida into the unthinkable: THEY DEFAULTED ON DEBTS.

This was an incredible step, even then. Fledgling U.S. states like Indiana and Illinois were still building credibility on global debt markets. They rightly feared "a prejudice so deep and wide" that they could never sell bonds in Europe again, said one banker.

Their paranoia would be familiar to the shell-shocked California and Illinois of 2011. Each is beset by budget problems so great that SOME HAVE BEGUN DEBATING DEFAULT OR BANKRUPTCY. These worriers may draw comfort from the state crises that raged and retreated long ago. Most of the states eventually paid off their debts, and changed their laws to safeguard their finances, helping make U.S. states some of the world's best credits.

Congress, meanwhile, helped set a precedent that still holds: IN 1843, IT REJECTED AN ELABORATE PLAN FOR A BAILOUT, WITH ONE CRITIC LATER OBSERVING IT WOULD "CAUSE RECKLESSNESS AND EXTRAVAGANCE" AMONG THE STATES. Surely, someone will dust off those ideas in 2011…..

I’m seeing more and more about this. Look for California and Illinois to fall over that cliff first. Governments at all levels need to look at their pension plans and make them reasonable (reasonable benefits at a reasonable cost).

No comments:

Post a Comment