Wednesday, July 28, 2010

if you choke the golden goose enough, it stops producing eggs -- and you have to get your hands off its neck

Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize in economics and ...Image via Wikipedia

"if you choke the golden goose enough, it stops producing eggs -- and you have to get your hands off its neck. Grass grows up in the smallest cracks."

Exactly what happened in the New Deal years. Nothing. All economic activity ceased, because no one, but no one was crazy enough to invest in a climate of confiscation. Osama is a fascist, as was FDR. No four terms for this radical stooge however. The counter revolution begins in just over three months...T

Grass somehow manages to grow up through small cracks in the sidewalk. Similarly, the American private sector somehow seems to be exerting itself despite the vast expansion of government by the Barack Obama administration and congressional Democrats.

Case in point: the announcement last week by four oil companies -- Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell -- that they are setting up a $1 billion joint venture to design, build and operate a rapid-response system to contain offshore oil spills as deep as and deeper than BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Their goal is a system that can start mobilizing within 24 hours of an oil spill. They hope to have it up and running within 18 months.

I suppose one might ask why oil companies didn't do this before. But it seems a vivid contrast with the apparently hapless performance of the Mineral Management Service, recently renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, which seems to have sat on out-of-date response plans for years and which was not able to call in equipment and personnel to respond to the April 20 BP spill for weeks or months.

Journalists tend to assume that effective regulation of potentially hazardous products can come only from government. But industry-generated organizations can provide it, as well.

Consider Underwriters Laboratories, founded in 1894, whose UL stickers come attached to regulator products. Or the Society of Automotive Engineers, founded in 1905, which sets standards for the automobile and other industries.

Government hasn't had to step in because UL and SAE work well without them. Federal regulators couldn't plug the BP well. The oil companies' joint venture promises to be able to do so.

Another case in point, which is different and more diffuse: the "capital strike" I wrote about two weeks ago. In the wake of the uncertainty raised by the Obama Democrats' huge increase in regulations and pending and current increases in taxes, businesses are sitting on cash and not hiring, banks are buying Treasury bonds and not lending, investors are not investing and consumers aren't buying. The economy languishes.

The response here is coming from congressional Democrats alarmed by the prospect, anticipated with relish for years now by so many of their colleagues, of the rise in taxes on high earners next year as the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts expire.

"Whoa!" is the response from Sens. Kent Conrad, Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson. Maybe we shouldn't raise taxes when the economy is languishing. They now say they won't back such an increase.

In this they are following in the footsteps of John Maynard Keynes, who never would have approved tax increases in a lagging economy. And of White House Council of Economics Advisors Chairman Christina Romer, who -- with her husband David Romer, also a respected academic economist -- surveyed tax changes since World War II and concluded: "Tax increases are highly contractionary. The effects are strongly significant, highly robust and much larger than those using broader measures of tax changes."

Democrats have some cause to complain that George W. Bush and congressional Republicans left them with a hot potato when, by using the reconciliation process to avoid a Senate filibuster, they made their now long-ago tax cuts expire after this year.

The Democratic plan has been to continue the tax cuts on people with incomes under $250,000 and to allow cuts above that benchmark to expire. That way they could depict Republicans as aiders and abettors of the greedy rich.

But the defection of Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and at least two Democratic colleagues raises the possibility that even in a lame duck session after the November election, Senate Democrats won't be able to get 60 votes for their plan.

In that case, they will presumably have to compromise with at least some Republicans to preserve popular Bush tax features like the child care tax credit and the 10 percent low income bracket. Otherwise, taxes will go up on even middle- and low-income people just at a time when Keynesian economists say they shouldn't. This is not a bind the Democrats expected to be in.

Two lessons seem apparent here. One is that private firms can do things government regulators can't do. The other is that if you choke the golden goose enough, it stops producing eggs -- and you have to get your hands off its neck. Grass grows up in the smallest cracks.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

America has moved beyond race, and the president should, too

VDH hits the nail on the head. Barack Osama is a black racist. He is also too kind: Osama is a black, racist, FASCIST boob...T

Weren't we supposed to enter a new age of tolerance with the election of President Barack Obama?

His half-black, half-white ancestry and broad support across racial lines suggested that at last Americans judged each other on the content of our characters — not the color of our skin or our tribal affiliations.

Instead, in just 18 months of the Obama administration, racial discord is growing and relations seem to have been set back a generation.

Black voters are galvanizing behind Obama at a time of rapidly falling support. White independents, in contrast, are leaving Obama in droves.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has claimed that the loosely organized Tea Party includes "racist elements." The National Council of La Raza has ripped the state of Arizona for its new anti-illegal alien legislation. Jesse Jackson characterized aspects of the multimillion-dollar bidding war to acquire basketball superstar LeBron James in terms of masters and slaves. Pundits are arguing whether the fringe racist New Black Panther Party is analogous to the Klan.

In turn, a number of Americans want to know why some national lobbying organizations still identify themselves by archaic tribal terms such as "colored people" or "La Raza" ("the race") when it would be taboo for other groups to adopt such racial nomenclature.

Indeed, race seems to be the subtext of almost every contemporary issue, from the soaring deficit and government spending to recent presidential appointments and the enforcement of existing immigration law. In times of growing deficits, white people are stereotyped as being angry over supposedly paying higher taxes to subsidize minorities, while minorities are stereotyped as being mostly on the receiving end of entitlements.

Why the escalation of racial tension in the supposed postracial age of Obama?

First, Obama's reputation as a racial healer was largely the creation of the media. In fact, Obama had a number of racially polarizing incidents that probably would have disqualified any other presidential candidate of the past 30 years.

His two-decade apprenticeship at Trinity Church under the racist and anti-Semitic Rev. Jeremiah Wright has never been adequately explained. Obama indulged in racial stereotyping himself when he wrote off the white lower-middle class of Pennsylvania as clueless zealots clinging to their guns, religion and xenophobia.

Obama also characterized his grandmother as a "typical white person" when he implied that her supposed fear of young black males symbolizes the prejudices of the entire white community. Michelle Obama did not help things when, in clumsy fashion, she indicted America as "just downright mean" — a nation she had not been proud of in her adult life until it embraced the hope and change represented by her husband's candidacy.

Recently, Obama appealed to voters along exclusionary race and gender lines — not traditional political allegiances — when he called upon "the young people, African-Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008."

Yet the country passed the old white/black divide years ago. In a world of conservative Cubans and liberal whites, race is no longer necessarily a guide to politics.

The more the president appeals to his base in racial terms, the more his appointees identify themselves as members of a particular tribe, and the more political issues are framed by racial divisions, so all the more such racial obsession creates a backlash among the racially diverse American people.

America has largely moved beyond race. Tragically, our president and a host of his supportive special interests have not.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dems Start to Panic As Midterm Reality Sets In

Stunning. This is from TIME magazine. TIME! The most liberal rag in existence today. They know the regime is collapsing from within, and that the peasants will be at the gates wielding pitchforks, tar & feathers in a little more than three months from now. When the regime is overthrown, so will be the state run media, which has shockingly lost whatever pretense of objectivity it had retained, prior to it's conscious decision to collectively make Pravda and Izvestia look unbiased by comparison.

A political revolution is coming...T

Under pressure, the Democrats are cracking. On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, there is a realization that Nancy Pelosi's hold on the speakership is in true jeopardy; that losing control of the Senate is not out of the question; and that time, once the Democrats' best friend, is now their mortal enemy. Since January, when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, the President's party has tried to downplay in public what its pollsters have been saying in private: that Obama's alienation of independents and white voters, along with the enthusiasm gap between the right and the left, means that Republicans are on a trajectory to pick up massive numbers of House and Senate seats, perhaps even to regain control of Congress.

Evidence of the pervasiveness of this view: Sunday's New York Times op-ed page, which featured a series of short essays from leading Democratic and Republican strategists about how Obama could go about staging a political comeback, focused not on November's midterms but on 2012 — an indication that Washington conventional wisdom has already written off prospects of Democrats sustaining a majority in the legislature.

What has kept the easily panicked denizens of Capitol Hill from open revolt until now was a shared confidence that there was still plenty of time to turn things around, and that the White House had a strategy to do just that.

The two-part scheme was pretty straightforward. First, Democrats planned a number of steps to head off, or at least soften, the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent, anti-Obama sentiment that cost them the Massachusetts seat. Pass health care, and other measures to demonstrate that Democrats could get things done for the middle class; continue to foster those fabled green shoots on the economy, harvesting the positive impact of the massive economic stimulus bill passed early in the Administration; heighten the contrast between the two parties by delivering on Wall Street reform and a campaign-funding law to counteract January's controversial Supreme Court decision. Use all of those elements to contrast the Democrats' policies under Obama with the Republicans' policies under Bush, rather than allow the midterms to be a referendum on the incumbent party.

The second strand of the Democrats' plan was more prosaic and mechanical. Recruit strong candidates for open seats. Leverage the White House and congressional majorities to raise more money than the other side. Make mischief by playing up the divisions between the Tea Party and the more traditional elements of the Republican Party, in part to increase the chances that more extreme, less electable candidates edge out moderates in GOP primary battles. Do extensive opposition research and targeted messaging in the fall to delegitimize Republican candidates in the minds of centrist voters. Coordinate below the radar with labor unions, environmentalists and other allies on get-out-the-vote efforts, focusing on young, nonwhite and first-time voters who came out for Obama in 2008.

Robert Gibbs' now-famous acknowledgement on Meet the Press on July 11 that Republicans were in a position to win back control of the House sparked a notable outbreak of hostility between the White House and congressional Democrats for two reasons. First, it forced Pelosi & Co. to recognize that the first part of their plan is failing. Public and private polling suggests that anxiety over the lack of jobs and anger over the big-spending ways of the Administration will trump the merits of the stimulus spending, health care reform and the financial regulation bill in voters' minds. Neither the economy nor voters' perceptions are likely to be turned around by Election Day. Congressional Democrats were aware of this hard reality before Gibbs opened his mouth, but having him say it out loud was apparently too much for those on the Hill to bear.

Democrats also fear that Gibbs' admission will impact the flow of donations from corporate interests and lobbyists, who tend to want to bet on the party more likely to win the majority. Open musing about a speaker John Boehner, House Democrats believe, will drive mercenary donors to shift their support to the GOP. The huge fundraising hauls by GOP Senate candidates just reported for the second quarter of the year were not, of course, the result of Gibbs' statement, but the momentum suggested by those figures could be hypercharged by White House pessimism.

To be sure, the White House plans to continue to try to impact the national environment by touting its accomplishments, blaming Republicans for stopping other measures, and railing against the Bush legacy. They will also continue to work aggressively on the mechanics of victory, hoping to save their incumbents with their customized, race-by-race tactics. Vice President Joe Biden on ABC News' This Week crowed about Senate majority leader Harry Reid's back-from-the-dead strength in his Nevada race, credited largely to Reid's shaky Republican opponent, who landed her nomination in part because of Democratic shenanigans. Democrats hope to replicate that micro-success to save other seats.

After days of public intraparty acrimony, a cold peace has been restored, with Democrats all around saying they share the same goals and strategy for November. But if the party's poll numbers stay bad and it loses big, expect a fundamental difference between the White House and congressional Democrats to emerge in sharp relief after Nov. 2.

Even if the midterms end the Democrats' one-party rule, the President may well believe that his accomplishments during his first two years in office were worth it. But it's a sure bet that the vanquished House Democrats who lose their jobs and their gavels won't share that assessment.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

23% Say U.S. Government Has the Consent of the Governed - Rasmussen Reports™

Robert R. LivingstonImage via Wikipedia

That is a lower percentage of popular support for a sitting government than existed prior to the American Revolution! Let's see, what did Washington, Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson et al have to say in response? How about a little Tar & Feathers, scarecrow!...T

The notion that governments derive their only just authority from the consent of the governed is a foundational principle of the American experiment.

However, a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 23% of voters nationwide believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-two percent (62%) say it does not, and 15% are not sure.

These figures have barely budged since February.

There is no gender gap on this question. Younger voters are more likely than their elders to believe the government today has the necessary consent. Among voters under 30, 28% say the government has that consent. Just 15% of senior citizens share that view.

From an ideological perspective, most liberal voters (58%) think the federal government has the consent of the governed. Most moderates (57%) and most conservatives (84%) disagree.

Democrats are closely divided on the question. Republicans and unaffiliated voters strongly reject the notion that the government has the consent of the governed.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 12-13, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

In his new book, In Search of Self-Governance, Scott Rasmussen observes that the American people are “united in the belief that our political system is broken, that politicians are corrupt and that neither major political party has the answers.” He adds that “the gap between Americans who want to govern themselves and the politicians who want to rule over them may be as big today as the gap between the colonies and England during the 18th century.”

The book earned positive reviews from Larry Sabato, Pat Caddell, Bill Kristol, Joe Trippi and others. In Search of Self-Governance is available from Rasmussen Reports and at

Data released yesterday finds that 68% of voters believe the Political Class doesn’t care what most Americans think. Earlier polling shows that 59% are embarrassed by the behavior of the Political Class.

Rasmussen Reports has documented the wide gap between perceptions of the Political Class and Mainstream voters. To measure this gap, the firm has created a Political Class Index based upon three polling questions. Mainstream voters tend to trust the wisdom of the crowd more than the wisdom of politicians and are skeptical of the government and its relationship with big business.

Not surprisingly, only four percent (4%) of Mainstream Voters think the Political Class cares.

Over the past couple of years, most Americans have opposed many initiatives of the Political Class including the bailouts of the financial and auto industries. Additionally, most voters still favor repeal of the national health care plan and overwhelmingly disagree with the Justice Department's decision to challenge Arizona's new immigration law in court.

Fifty-five percent (55%) don’t even think most members of Congress pay all the taxes they owe.

Voters are evenly divided over the notion that a group of people randomly selected from the phone book could do a better job than the current Congress.

One reason for skepticism about the Political Class is that 70% believe Big Government and Big Business are on the same team working together against the rest of us.
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