Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spending, Japan, and other disasters

Democrats refuse to cut spending

Congressional Democrats and President Obama are blocking every effort by Republicans to cut runaway government spending, leaving Washington at a stalemate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) even failed to pass a token spending cut last week. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) has fought any cut from current spending levels in a Continuing Resolution (CR). And, OBAMA ANNOUNCED FOR THE SECOND TIME THAT HE WILL VETO THE REPUBLICAN SPENDING CUTS, WHILE HE REFUSES EVEN TO NEGOTIATE WITH CONGRESS ON THE BUDGET.

After months of refusing to cut any spending, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) FINALLY CAME OUT WITH A DEMOCRATIC OFFER TO CUT SPENDING FOR THIS CURRENT FISCAL YEAR BY A MERE $4.7 BILLION. The budget deficit for the current fiscal year is projected to be $1.6 trillion. So, the Senate Democrats’ spending cuts would lower the federal deficit by a mere .004%.


If you were going to drive cross country that would be 2500 miles. If we attributed the Democrats cut in spending to this journey you would be able to go 528 feet. The Democrats may not realize what a joke they are becoming. BTW the .004% is of the deficit, not of the total spending.

Japan: the Aftermath

The landscape of parts of Japan looks like the aftermath of World War Two; no industrialised country since then has suffered such a death toll. The one tiny, tiny consolation is the extent to which it shows how humanity can rally round in times of adversity, with heroic British rescue teams joining colleagues from the US and elsewhere to fly out.

AND SOLIDARITY SEEMS ESPECIALLY STRONG IN JAPAN itself. Perhaps even more impressive than Japan’s technological power is ITS SOCIAL STRENGTH, WITH SUPERMARKETS CUTTING PRICES AND VENDING MACHINE OWNERS GIVING OUT FREE DRINKS AS PEOPLE WORK TOGETHER TO SURVIVE. Most noticeably of all, there has been no looting, and I’m not the only one curious about this.


REIN-ing in the Regulatory State

There was an important congressional hearing last week that got overlooked in the crush of headlines from Libya, Japan, and elsewhere. And no wonder: It was a hearing of the less than scintillating House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law.

The hearing concerned the proposed REINS ACT, WHICH IS AN ACRONYM FOR “REGULATIONS FROM THE EXECUTIVE IN NEED OF SCRUTINY ACT,” and it would REQUIRE THAT CONGRESS VOTE ON ANY PROPOSED REGULATION THAT WOULD IMPOSE A COST ON THE ECONOMY OF $100 MILLION OR MORE. Imagine — making Congress take direct responsibility for the regulations it imposes on us through administrative agencies. THE LEFT IS NATURALLY AT DEFCON1 AGAINST THIS. You can watch the hearing here, or download the excellent testimonies of pro-REINS witnesses Eric Claeys of George Mason law school and David Schoenbrod of NYU law school. Keep your eye on this one. The REINS Act would be an important measure to slow up the regulatory state.


In an age where if someone wants to develop any land, a full scale environmental impact statement is required, it would seem that any regulations that cost the economy $100 million or more having congressional approval would be a prudent thing to do.

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