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Posts Tagged ‘government’
August 22nd, 2011 at 2:30 pm
More Liberal Rationalizations for Doomed Huntsman Campaign

The liberal obituaries for the mostly-dead Huntsman for President campaign get an interesting addition from Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast:

The Huntsman strategy here is obvious: position himself as the moderate and reasonable guy on the off chance Republicans decide to be moderate and reasonable. We must assume he is aware that his odds on this are rather long, so what he’s really hoping for is to be the consensus candidate of 2016. Maybe the party just has to go through this purge, this Reign of Terror; so just let it do that, and once it does and nominates an extremist who can’t beat a weak incumbent during a time of 9 percent unemployment rates, and the heads are piled high enough in the tumbrels and enough people finally have returned to their senses, he will ride the Thermidorian wave to victory after Obama leaves town.

So, the Tea Party in particular and the conservative movement in general is creating a “Reign of Terror” that is depriving liberals of the most progressive member of the GOP presidential pack from facing Obama next year?

There’s a frightful reality fast-approaching, but it isn’t a 2012 match-up seeing who’s less conservative.  It’s the fiscal and cultural time-bomb that is ticking ever closer to exploding if Barack Obama or Jon Huntsman’s views are put into practice.

H/T: Political Wire

August 15th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
Mother Jones Thinks Rick Perry Too Radical for Tea Party

It’s always nice when liberals deign to give advice to conservatives on whom should be admitted to the next Tea Party rally.  Commenting on excerpted parts of Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry’s book Fed Up!, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones thinks Rick Perry is wrong to think that it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to regulate banks, consumer financial choices, the environment, guns, civil rights, a minimum wage, and create programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

At least Drum acknowledges that Perry makes certain exceptions for federal regulations on racial discrimination since that fulfills “the intent behind the passage of the Reconstruction Era amendments.”

What makes liberals like Drum gasp is the fact that Perry thinks that, as James Madison argued in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”

But if a secondary source won’t cut it for Drum, here’s the text of the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

If they cared to, Drum and other liberals would look in vain to find an enumerated grant of power to the federal government to regulate the items on the list above.  That’s why they rely on activist judges to read into the Constitution federal powers that do not exist.

The Tea Party – like Perry, Michele Bachmann, and other constitutional conservatives – know their Constitution and the meaning behind it.  If liberals like Drum are aghast, it’s only because a grassroots movement is forming to challenge nearly 80 years of unconstitutional jurisprudence.

August 4th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
Obama’s July: 608 Regulations, Costing $9.5 Billion

U.S. News & World Report summarizes a great one-page handout from the office of Senator John Barasso (R-WY):

At Tuesday’s GOP Senate caucus lunch, the lawmakers said that they will renew their efforts, supported by business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In a memo Barasso handed out to the lawmakers, he claimed that the administration in July only has put in $9.5 billion in new regulatory costs by proposing 229 new rules and finalizing 379 rules. Among those he cited were EPA, healthcare reform, and financial regulatory reform rules.

If you’re a Tea Party activist, or someone looking for a compact fact sheet describing the growth in government, check out Senator Barasso’s handout. (pdf)

August 4th, 2011 at 12:20 pm
Clinton Advisor Backs Mack Penny Plan

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, writes in TheHill that the “Penny Plan” by Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) is a “simple and creative” way to balance the budget.

…since the “balanced” solution of both increased revenues and spending cuts is supported in virtually every poll by substantial majorities of all voters, including large numbers of Republicans, Democrats need to find a spending cut formula that they can live with. The Mack Penny Plan seems a good place to start — it is simple, it makes common sense, and with some adjustments protecting the poor and the unemployed, it could be seen as fair even to many of the most liberal Democrats.

Ignoring Davis’ call to undermine the elegance of Mack’s Penny Plan by creating vague exceptions for the poor and unemployed – as I wrote recently, the attraction of Mack’s plan is its uniform treatment of all budget items – it’s welcome news that a high-ranking Clintonista can sense good policy when he sees it.

Earlier in his column Davis warned his fellow liberals that it would be “a moral stain on our generation if we leave this red-ink legacy for generations to come to deal with.”

Davis is right.  Let’s hope he urges his fellow Democrats to back Mack’s Penny Plan so we can get on the road to fiscal solvency as soon as possible.

July 20th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Soda Companies Fight Back Against the Regulatory State

What to do when your industry is singled out by government regulators as a threat to public health?  If you’re in the soft drink industry, use the Freedom of Information Act against state and local governments to get documents that show how regulators use taxpayer dollars to attack legal commercial enterprises.

Earlier this month, the American Beverage Association sued New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which has been at the forefront of education efforts in the fight against obesity. The ABA says the city improperly withheld documents it sought through the Freedom of Information Act.

ABA spokesman Chris Gindlesperger said his group made the same request as the New York Times, but that the newspaper received more information than the ABA.

“Public health departments are going out and aggressively misrepresenting our products in advertising and using taxpayer money to do that,” Gindlesperger said.

Big government advocates are complaining that the FOI requests are “an effort to overwhelm or smother government employees, who already have too much to do.”

Then again, maybe those same government employees could lighten their load a bit by stopping the PR campaign against an industry selling a legal product to satisfied consumers.

July 20th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
Higher Education Bubble Next to Burst?

If you or a family member are weighing a decision about whether or how much college loan money to request from the government next fall, consider this nugget from Michael Barone’s column on the coming burst in the higher education bubble:

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is adept at spotting bubbles. He cashed out for $500 million in March 2000, at the peak of the tech bubble, when his partners wanted to hold out for more. He refused to buy a house until the housing bubble burst.

“A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he has said. “Education may still be the only thing people still believe in in the United States.”

Owning a college degree may certify completion of a program, but it does not guarantee that the holder has marketable skills to land a job, as this report on the ongoing talent shortage details.  Higher education – like all levels and kinds of education – is an investment only if the students, faculty and administrators involved focus on learning and teaching things that matter.  And with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, that increasingly means basic comprehension of grammar, logic and rhetoric, with some grounding in finance thrown in for good measure.

So, if you know someone thinking about going back to school for a master’s in Religious or Women’s Studies – for the good of your fellow citizens and taxpayers, urge them to reconsider.  We can’t afford the experience.

July 15th, 2011 at 5:49 pm
California Higher Ed Cuts Researchers, Funds Diversity Czars

Heather MacDonald of City Journal highlights yet another example of California residents migrating to Texas for greener cash pastures.  (In this case, UC San Diego lost three top cancer researchers to Rice University after the latter offered a 40% increase in compensation.)  Facing a $650 million cut in state funding, the University of California system campuses are shedding faculty and programs, but not, unfortunately, the blizzard of “diversity czars” and their sizable staffs.

UC San Diego is adding diversity fat even as it snuffs out substantive academic programs. In March, the Academic Senate decided that the school would no longer offer a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering; it also eliminated a master’s program in comparative literature and courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.” Training computer scientists to compete with the growing technical prowess of China and India, apparently, can wait. More pressing is guaranteeing that students graduate from UCSD having fully explored their “identity.” Why study Cervantes, Voltaire, or Goethe when you can contemplate yourself? “Diversity,” it turns out, is simply a code word for narcissism.

MacDonald also highlights how the multi-million dollar diversity industry has embedded itself into plumb positions at UC Berkeley and UCLA.  If UC students are upset about the coming hike in tuition, they should aim their picket lines at the faculty senates and diversity czars whose very existence makes such increases even higher than need be.

July 14th, 2011 at 2:32 pm
13 California Counties Petition to Secede

It looks like Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) isn’t the only person entertaining thoughts of seceding from a bankrupt government.  But unlike Perry who joked about Texas leaving the federal union to Tea Party activists, California citizens from 13 counties are trying to separate themselves from a state government that is far from golden.

“Onerous regulations on business” that are driving jobs out of the state and the California legislature’s attempts to balance the budget by “stealing” tax revenue from local governments are two reason why Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone said he is pushing for secession.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to hold a meeting in late September of representatives from every city and county in California to decide if their grievances can be solved without secession.

If not, the group will hammer out the details of creating a new state.

“Obviously I touched a nerve that is felt not only among Californians but among people around the country who feel their voices are not being heard,” Stone said. “I’m hoping that the nerve that I touch with a lot of citizens will resonate and we will see dramatic changes in the way we do business in the state and the way we do business in this country.”

Only time will tell if Supervisor Stone’s nerve touching will result in the second coming of the Bear Flag Republic.  If so, one hopes representatives of the newly created state will incorporate at least some of that short-lived government’s founding document.  (A taste: “…believes that a Government to be prosperous and happyfying in its tendency must originate with its people who are friendly to its existence. That its Citizens are its Guardians, its officers are its Servants, and its Glory their reward.”)

July 13th, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Fed Chairman Admits Not Thinking About ‘Cumulative Impact’ of Govt. Regulations

Eric Singer, portfolio manager of Congressional Effect Fund, identifies the single biggest problem with government regulators in his op-ed for Investor’s Business Daily:

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon recently asked Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke if he considered the cumulative impact of each regulation. Bernanke admitted he had not. The ongoing surprisingly bad unemployment numbers confirm that no one in charge is thinking about the cumulative impact of each tiny strangulation of capital and operating capability.

As Singer correctly concludes, “We need to go back to basics, cut these Lilliputian ropes and unleash the potential giant economy that is still on its back.”

May 5th, 2011 at 11:41 am
Congressman: Predator Drone a “Good” Earmark

At least one congressman is using the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden to draw attention to what may sound like an oxymoron: a “good” earmark.

Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) reminded reporters that it was his decision to dramatically increase funding for predator drones – the unmanned airplanes directed to kill targets halfway around the world.

Previously used only for clandestine or “black ops” missions, the U.S. Air Force was in the process of developing unmanned spy drones for expanded military use in the early 1990s, but Lewis felt the process had been moving too slowly.

From his seat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Lewis, who later rose to the chairmanship of the full committee, attached the funding boost and language requiring the Air Force to speed up development of the drones to a spending bill that ultimately became law.

In the years since, the program has become a staple in the United States’ intelligence-gathering efforts overseas and has been incorporated as a regular component of the Defense Department’s annual budget.

Predator drones weren’t responsible for killing bin Laden, but they are the Obama Administration’s favorite means for hunting terrorists.

Currently, House Republicans have banned the practice of earmarks like Lewis’ $400 million boost to the predator drone program.  When the policy gets revisited after the 2012 elections, it will be interesting to see if Lewis and others will be able to change their colleagues’ – and fiscally conservative voters’ – minds.

H/T: Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise

May 3rd, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Poll: 40% Still Undecided on Ryan Budget Plan

Rasmussen Reports says that 40% of Americans are still undecided on whether to support the “Path to Prosperity” budget plan by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).  CFIF strongly endorses the House Budget Committee Chairman’s attempt to rein in federal spending, while giving Medicare beneficiaries more choices in their health care decisions.

According to the poll, 26% of likely voters support Ryan’s plan, while 34% oppose it.  That leaves 40% who still don’t know enough about Ryan’s proposal to have an opinion.

The liberal media is already waging a misinformation campaign against Ryan and other sensible fiscal conservatives.  For a primer on the “Path to Prosperity” go here.

In order to change the culture in Washington, voters need to change the terms of the debate.  Educating yourself and others on Ryan’s plan gives fiscal conservatives the ammunition they need to win the hearts and minds of the 40% still undecided.

April 16th, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Return of Supply-Side Economics?

The Economist explains how “The Party of No” is most unified around the theme of being anti-Keynesianism.  Keynesianism teaches that government can grow the economy by spending tax dollars to stimulate consumption (i.e. demand).

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other Republicans supporting his “Path to Prosperity” budget argue that cutting taxes gives individuals more money to save and invest in production (i.e. supply), the increase of which creates more jobs.

Not all GOP-ers are sold on Ryan’s revived supply-side theory.  Instead, they prefer to focus on spending cuts as a matter of principle.  Come election season, it isn’t likely that voters will support merely cuts.  They’ll want a vision of what the extra money in their pockets can do.

If recent history is any guide, I suspect Paul Ryan will emerge as the main spokesman for the positive vision of limited government.

July 2nd, 2010 at 8:07 pm
YourFreedom.Gov

While it may mark me a heretic to praise both an Englishman and a Liberal Democrat on the eve of the eve of the Fourth of July, I hope my recent paean to Everyday Americans evens the ledger.

I think it has to be said that Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is the most fascinating politician in the English-speaking world.  Unlike his rival for that title in the United States, Clegg has already made a positive contribution to the politics of his country.

Yesterday, Clegg announced the launch of a government website called “YourFreedom.”  It’s part of Clegg’s commitment to radically reduce the size of government in Britain in a direct reversal of the Labour Party’s thirteen years of increasing control of nearly everything Brits do.

I’d tell you more about it, but Clegg does better than I ever could:

June 21st, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Obama Administration’s Gross Lack of Discretion in Gulf Oil Spill

Typically, discretion isn’t a virtue associated with government; yet under the Obama Administration it’s being treated like a mortal sin.

The latest example comes in the aftermath of the president’s decision to impose a six-month moratorium on all deepwater (i.e. 500 feet or more below sea level) drilling.  The stated reason is to ensure that no other oil rigs accidentally blow up and gush more black crude into American waters.

But mandating stasis will do more than head-off a highly improbable second Gulf Oil Spill, says Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.  In papers supporting a lawsuit against the moratorium, Caldwell is calling for a “balanced approach” response instead of the current policy that is “costing between $165 million and $330 million each month in lost wages for Louisiana jobs tied to the drilling,” according to the effected companies.

Caldwell argued that drilling can be safely resumed within 30 days if federal inspectors are permanently stationed on each rig. The inspectors would re-certify all blowout prevention equipment, enforce compliance with all drilling procedures, and ensure training of all rig personnel to industry standards, including any new safety recommendations made by the presidential commission.

“After confirming the correctness and preparedness of each rig and well design, these deepwater rigs should be permitted to resume work, and the Department of Interior should resume issuing permits,” Caldwell said in yesterday’s brief. Such a “balanced approach” would allow safe resumption of a vital portion of the state’s economy “without the necessity of shutting down an entire industry segment,” he said.

It is tragic that the Louisiana Attorney General has to point out this basic fact in federal court papers.  Like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s recent decision to defy the Coast Guard after repeated attempts to go through the proper channels, we can assume that Caldwell is only doing this because previous informal requests went unanswered.

Only in a managerial labyrinth like the federal government could a common sense plan to address the real problems of deepwater drilling be ignored in favor of an across-the-board job killer like a half-year moratorium.

H/T: Bloomberg News

March 27th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
Government’s Goal Should be Freedom, Not Happiness

Amid the MSM’s mischaracterization of all things Tea Party, this brief meditation on the true end of government is a welcome corrective.  A sampling:

There is a more fundamental reason why government policy ought not to be directed at happiness. There is more to life than that. There are many forms of life — monastic devotion, public service, freedom fighter — in which the pursuit of happiness is a subsidiary value, if it appears at all. The realms of art and literature would be hugely impoverished if nobody were ever miserable. “Happiness,” as Montherlant wrote, “writes white.”

Precisely because human life is prolifically diverse, the history of Utopian politics is littered with offences against freedom by people who thought they knew what the people really wanted. The economics of happiness invariably leads to the politics of paternalism. The happiness gurus would be better off starting with Aristotle’s generous account of flourishing, an idea that implies people choosing their own life course. If politicians need a single objective — and it is not obvious that they do — then setting the people free is a lot better than forcing them to be happy.

Democrats used to understand this.  Progressives don’t.  If the former ever extracts the latter from its ranks, the Tea Party won’t be necessary – and neither will most of the federal apparatus.

February 8th, 2010 at 4:33 pm
Here’s Your Bipartisan: “75% Are Angry at Government’s Current Policies”
Posted by Print

From Rasmussen Reports

Voters are madder than ever at the current policies of the federal government.

“A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 75% of likely voters now say they are at least somewhat angry at the government’s current policies, up four points from late November and up nine points since September.  The overall figures include 45% who are Very Angry, also a nine-point increase since September.”

By party affiliation, angries include 89% of Republicans, 78% of Independents and 61% of Democrats.

It’s worth it to read the rest here.

August 24th, 2009 at 4:03 pm
Michael Moore on Capitalism
Posted by Print

Michael Moore has another movie coming out this year.  After bashing the 2nd Amendment and praising socialized medicine, Moore takes on what else … capitalism.

Judging by his recent trailer and his comments on YouTube, the movie looks like a tired rehash of past arguments for further redistribution of wealth and government intervention.

Moore will argue that the “market” is too powerful but the trailer includes clips from the bailout fiasco last year and other examples of corporate welfare.  Of course, this is not capitalism.  The last eight years have been an exercise in how the government distorts markets and rewards the politically powerful.

For example, corporate power last year allowed some companies, like AIG , to prosper and receive massive bailouts, while others were left to wither.  Capitalism doesn’t endorse multi-billion dollar transfers of capital from taxpayers to corporations, and I’m not sure why Moore thought the bailout was the perfect example of how the market is evil and corrupt.

On the contrary, the last 12 months have provided a brilliant example of how the government is corrupt.  The government distorted credit markets by keeping interest rates below the market rate and then encouraged reckless lending and borrowing.  Furthermore, the government compounded the problem when it rewarded large reckless lenders with bailouts from taxpayers.  Capitalism has suffered this past year, not government.  Government remains bigger and stronger than ever, poised to consume even larger portions of the market and take on new responsibilities.

Finally, in the comments section, Moore states that the rich “feed” off of the rest of us.  For someone who has made his fortune by practicing capitalism, it’s strange that he would describe himself as a vampire.  People, liberal and conservative, pay money to see his films and either agree or disagree with him, but few would deny that Moore has a talent for film-making; that is why he is rich.

I wish him the best of luck as he continues to pursue his profession, just as I wish the billions of other workers on the planet the best of luck pursuing their vocation.  For some reason, Moore thinks that there is some finite supply of money at the end of a rainbow that the rich and powerful have found and only occasionally share  with the rest.  But, Moore himself found no stash of money.  He created money and personal wealth through his own skill, just like any other talented worker.  And, consumers voluntarily saw his films because they saw some merit in his skill.

Let’s hope Mr. Moore includes some of the true virtues of the free market and capitalism when his film is finally released.

Here is the trailer: