Barack Obama, an unbeliever genuflecting before the altar of frugality, is asking Congress, as presidents do, to give him something like a line-item veto. Coming in today’s context of his unrelenting agenda of expanding government, his proposal constitutes a counterfeit promise to get serious about controlling spending and the deficit. His purpose is to distract the public while Democrats enact something like Stimulus III.
Obama’s Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act confirms the axiom that the titles of bills, like the titles of Marx brothers movies (“Duck Soup,” “Horse Feathers”), are utterly uninformative. The act would aggravate a distortion of the Constitution that has grown for seven decades, enlarging presidential power by allowing presidents to treat spending bills as cafeterias from which they can take what they like and reject the rest. …
Obama probably hopes that his proposal will divert attention from a slew of spending that, taken together, constitutes something that dare not speak its name — Stimulus III — because its predecessors mostly pleased only the political class and its employees. After George Bush’s $168 billion Stimulus I in 2008, the Obama administration predicted that its $787 billion Stimulus II (actual cost: $862 billion) would prevent unemployment from exceeding 8 percent. Unemployment is now 9.9 percent. Hence Stimulus III. Like Stimulus II, its scores of billions of spending will enlarge the deficit in order to disproportionately benefit spendthrift state and local governments and their unionized employees.
Last year, Obama ordered 15 department heads to find economies totaling $100 million, which was then 13 minutes (0.0029 percent) of federal spending. His new rescission proposal also is frugality theater and is similarly frivolous.
In yesterday’s Post, E.J. Dionne complained that we’ve “handed vast responsibilities over to a private sector that will never see protecting the public interest as its primary task.”
But as far as incentives go, the spill is all downside for BP, which is hemorrhaging market value along with oil. In contrast, the federal government and the president may well emerge from the spill with less popularity, but more power. That’s the logical consequence of the public’s boundless conception of presidential responsibility.
Obama has never been overly modest about his own powers. Two years ago next week, he declared that history will mark his ascent to the presidency as the moment when “our planet began to heal” and “the rise of the oceans began to slow.”
Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute, you mustn’t be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides.
Ultimately, what should our response be? Oil companies are now certainly aware of the consequences of such a catastrophe, and with that as motivation for better safety and care, they must keep drilling:
All economic activity entails some risk. For example, 34,000 Americans are killed annually on our nation’s roads. This is a major cause of death, and yet we accept this as the cost of mobility and transportation. Right now, there is a risk of an overreaction to the loss of life and the environmental costs from the Gulf disaster. But that would have unintended consequences that are more costly than the losses incurred by the oil spill, however large.
The state thrives on an economically ignorant public. This is the only way it can get away with blaming inflation or recession on consumers, or claiming that the government’s fiscal problems are due to our paying too little in taxes. It is economic ignorance that permits the regulatory agencies to claim that they are protecting us as versus denying us choice. It is only by keeping us all in the dark that it can continue to start war after war — violating rights abroad and smashing liberties at home — in the name of spreading freedom.
There is only one force that can put an end to the successes of the state, and that is an economically and morally informed public. Otherwise, the state can continue to spread its malicious and destructive policies.
The story was not presented [accurately] as a tale of desperate and courageous parents doing the unthinkable to save their children from tyranny. Instead, the parents of these children were depicted as paranoid and knee-jerk reactionaries who fell victim to CIA lies and deceptions.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer are urging Congress to put up money to help build 2,100 grocery stores in areas around the nation that lack access to fresh food…
Government, as always, must save these communities! It matters not that these communities would have access to fresh produce in a true free market if simply there was demand. If there is no demand, why force it on them? If there is demand and they still lack access, then the question is what are the obstacles that are prohibiting businesses from providing the food these communities demand? If these obstacles are government-created, then simply get out of the way. If there are obstacles that are not government-created but are too cost-prohibitive for businesses to circumvent for the level of demand in the area, then why take and use taxpayer money from other areas so wastefully (I know, I know)? Also, the lack of fresh produce in the area undoubtedly results in lowered property value - the “underserved” people can always move to a more expensive neighborhood that has better access or use their savings to acquire - by travel or mail order - what they demand.
The goal would be to create access to fresh food, while creating an estimated 34,000 new jobs…
Jobs! Yes! The new-again buzz word. But of course, as Bastiat or Hazlitt would tell you: what about the unseen? What about the jobs that the money would have created otherwise. If you take $1 billion from taxpayers and use it inefficiently to create [a likely over-estimated] 34,000 jobs, how many more jobs would that money have otherwise created when used efficiently in a free market? Every government-created “green job,” for example, tends to cost (see: eliminate) about two or more private jobs.
Minority and female owned businesses would be given priority in funding.
But of course. What’s a progressive policy without a little inherent bigotry (imagine if it said “white males”).
“Obesity and diabetes rates are reaching crisis proportions in our country and it is time to take aggressive action,” said Gillibrand.
Nothing eliminates obesity and diabetes more than politicians taking an ass-load of taxpayer money and giving it to favored private businesses (see campaign donors and lobbyists) to “provide for the community” (see votes). Of course, if government ended corn industry subsidies, for example, we’d both pay less in taxes and dramatically improve access to healthier foods (since there wouldn’t be extra incentives for farmers to plant corn over other crops, and things like potentially-unhealthy high-fructose corn syrup would no longer necessarily be the go-to cheap sweetener). This would also have the added benefit of increasing individual liberty (through less coerced taxes as well as added power as a consumer over the manipulations of the state) and decreasing corruption (by keeping said stolen private funds out the hands of pols).
But the bleeding hearts would still say: what about the children (or some such plea)! The more government gets out of the way and allows the economy to use money efficiently, everyone is better off. Those who still need assistance can then rely on private charity, which will boom since there is typically an inverse relationship between how much assistance the government provides with taxpayer funds and support for private charities.
So the supposedly huge [education] cuts we’re facing are actually pretty small, and we’ve been pouring money and people into schools for decades without producing any improvements. Those are reasons enough to say “no way” to any federal bailout.
…[Additionally,] the “stimulus” already included about $100 billion for education, most of which was intended solely to keep educators employed.
So there is indeed a looming education catastrophe — but it’s not funding or job cuts. It is the bailout now moving through Congress that ignores the reality of inefficient public schooling, and adds to the already crushing burden of our federal debt.
In order to push financial reform through the finish line, the president wants you to give him $5+ to counter special interest money that he pocketed to pass health care reform. Luckily for him, there’s one born every minute.
[B]laming investors sounds lame and uninteresting. So the word “speculators” is trotted out in an effort to fool voters into thinking that a special species of financial ghouls suddenly materialized to wreak unjustified financial havoc.
Such accusations, though, are always and everywhere excuses for politicians’ harmful intrusions into the economy.
In sum, a powerful state agency secretly colluded with a powerful private university in order to trample constitutional rights, violate the letter and spirit of the law, and force law-abiding tenants out of their homes and businesses in order to manufacture self-serving blight conditions that disfigured an otherwise livable and commercially viable neighborhood. If there was ever a case where New York’s highest court should intervene against eminent domain abuse, this is it
If you were a convention delegate in 1778, would you have voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States?
If the answer is yes—and you don’t hate America, do you?!—it’s only fair we conclude that you support restricting voting rights to male landowners exclusively. Surely, from your position, we can also deduce that you support slavery.
Now, if the answer is nay on ratification, we will take this to mean that you oppose a document that provided the infrastructure for more long-term liberty and prosperity—for all races—than any other in history.
If we own ourselves, it follows that no one else can own us—the most obvious way in which slavery violates human rights. It also follows that we own our labor, which means we decide who benefits from it and under what terms, and the fruits of our labor, which means we control access to our property. All these rights were flagrantly violated not only by slavery but by the racist Jim Crow regime that succeeded it, which forced businesses to discriminate against blacks as customers and employees. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 aimed to eliminate state-imposed segregation and all other forms of official discrimination against blacks. While wholeheartedly supporting that goal, which belatedly implemented the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal treatment under the law, Paul expressed qualms about the provisions banning private discrimination, which impinged on the same liberties—freedom of contract, freedom of association, and property rights—that were routinely disregarded under Jim Crow.
Can I suggest this sort of dumb statement - Marxism has “moral” ethics yet drives down everyone’s standard of living; capitalism has no ethics, yet makes everyone life better? - is yet one more sign that the Dalai Lama is not a serious thinker or observer of life?
The federal aid system is crazy. Even if federal aid is a good idea in theory–and it isn’t–the central planners haven’t been able to make it work as they envisioned in more than four decades. The federal aid system has simply been a giant make-work project for the millions of well-paid federal/state/local administrators who handle all the paperwork and regulations.
Even if federal aid was constitutional or it made any economic sense, it will never work efficiently. Aid will always be a more wasteful way of funding local activities than if local governments funded activities by themselves. Aid will always be politically misallocated by Congress. Aid will always involve top-down regulations from Washington that reduce local flexibility and innnovation. And aid will always undermine federalism and the American system of limited government.