“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Michael Porter's Socialist Advice From Davos

I caught a CNBC interview with Harvard's Michael Porter last week. Talk about scary!

Porter, whose own fame came from a watered down series of 'strategy' books in the 1980s, nattered on about how the US isn't up to European standards when it comes to planning economies. He chatted excitedly about how so many sclerotic European nations plan for this, that, and the next thing, with goals and such.

Of course, he then presumed that this, alone, was sufficient to make the case for US centralized planning. Forgetting, of course, about that really big centrally planned state, the now-failed USSR.

But that didn't stop Mike. No, he flogged the American political establishment for failing to have a national energy policy, as well as one for electricity. It seems that in Mike's world, there is no room, or need, for private enterprise. No, government can plan all the things you need!

It's sad, really, that Porter- like his institution, Harvard- is so far to the left now that he can't even see how nutty and liberty-stealing his default positions on national issues are.

Perhaps even worse, the CNBC talking head bobbed up and down with him, looking sage and grateful that Mike was warning her audience about the evils of letting markets figure out solutions to such issues. No hard questions about Russia, central planning failures, or the ongoing inability of US government to even get the half-planned programs right, e.g., LBJ's "Great Society."

No, the CNBC crew happily abetted Porter in tut-tutting Americans for being too reliant on freedom and initiative, and not enough like Europe, whose own job- and wealth-creating track records lag the US by a large margin.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Is Right: Obama Should Fail

Rush Limbaugh was right to state that he hopes the newly-elected President fails in his attempt to force the liberal agenda on this country.

For nearly eight years, liberals in Congress and outside of it loudly proclaimed their opposition to President George Bush and his initiatives. Only last session, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate attempted to hobble President Bush's successful prosecution of the war in Iraq.

Now, however, with the election of the New Messiah, dissent is no longer allowed. As I wrote in this post in May of last year,

"Thus, when you hear a Presidential candidate, e.g., Obama, call for "unity" on any issue aside from war, beware. That candidate means to rule without dissent.

"Unity" means, in other words,

'When I become President, I will dictate, and, in the name of 'unity,' you will comply and there will be no dissent. Dissent goes against unity. And unity will be the mantra by which I lead and enforce all my demands of Congress.'

Even Reagan didn't appeal for unity with his economic rescue of the country after Carter nearly ruined it, economically and militarily. He simply appealed to Americans to back his push for more economic freedom, lower taxes, less government spending, and a stronger defense."

This is indeed what Wonderboy is doing. He is demonizing any who would oppose him.

He stumped Congress, which everyone knows he already had in his pocket, thanks to his party's majorities in both Houses. He made a pretense of wanting bipartisanship, but his party's troops in both Houses have stiff-armed Republican ideas, then claimed that the GOP wouldn't compromise.

Limbaugh's article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal made a lot of sense. More than Wonderboy's bloated gigantic spending package.

What's amazing is how stupid the sitting President was to name Limbaugh when trying to shame Republican Congress members into voting for his bill. He elevated Rush to equal status with the President, and gave even more air time and credibility to the popular radio talk show host.

Criticizing Republicans for voting against his bill, and claiming they are simply being partisan, and blindly following Limbaugh, simply exposes Wonderboy for the fraud that he is. He won't brook debate or dissent.

Only last evening, a guest on one of Fox News' programs noted that this spending bill is the single largest appropriation ever voted on in Congress, yet only one hour of debate was allowed.

This is post-partisanship and unity? No, this is dictatorship.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Robert Reich's Own "Leaky Bucket"

On the way to birthing the useless and bloated 'stimulus' package, the Democratic Congress heard testimony from everybody's favorite wacky left-wing economist, former Clintonista Bob Reich.

Unbelievably, for an economist, Reich argued that minimal relief, if any, from the stimulus spending should go to "white male construction workers or skilled workers."

Instead, Reich argued that this is the perfect time to remedy disparities by focusing aid on minorities, the unskilled, uneducated, and women.

Leaving aside whether that would even be legal, or would merely invite a program-stopping barrage of lawsuits that would make the New Deal look legal by comparison, Reich's testimony was simply ridiculous.

As an economist, he should know that one wants the most efficient uses of resources for society's benefit. But not this time. No, Bob wants us to use the least efficient resources, and basically toss massive training of, well, anyone who isn't a white male or skilled, into the uber-package.

Why not have our pets do some work, too? How about the mentally deficient? In effect, anyone but the best-qualified.

That's liberal democratic economics for you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Leaky Federal Spending

Monday's Wall Street Journal published an editorial recalling the economic advice of JFK advisor Arthur Okun. Okun was the architect of the now-famous Kennedy tax cuts. Editorialist George Melloan wrote,

"Okun has been called the first supply-sider- one who worked for Democratic presidents no less. In his day, he would have been called a classical economist."

Melloan attributes to Okun the term "leaky bucket," whereby wealth transfers from high income earners to lower income earners "leaks out and is wasted."

One of the largest sources of leaks comes from the simple fact that government 'stimulus' spending replaces that of private capital, and, thus, substitutes political calculations for profit motives, the latter tending to assure that investments of capital actually pay off for society.

Melloan writes,

"The central defect of government bailouts and stimulus packages is that the money is allocated through a political process. It goes to recipients who have the most political influence. Private entrepeneurs and even big business, by contrast, employ investment to earn a profit. The record shows that the latter yields greater economic efficiency, and hence creates real jobs."

With up to $1.5T of new Federal stimulus spending, between Wonderboy's new program, and the second half of the TARP, imagine how much taxpayer money is about to be sloshed around on pet political projects, rather than truly economically vital needs?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frisco Nan On Population Control

Did you hear Frisco Nan's defense of the inclusion of abortion funding in the New Messiah's no-pork stimulus package?

Nan claimed that restricting US population growth is a good thing, because children are expensive. Specifically, she stated on an ABC interview program that "family planning services reduce costs," adding, "part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help states meet their financial needs. One of those- one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception- will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

So, there you have the seamy underbelly of liberal statism. When the state funds health care, children's medical care, etc., it will eventually exercise its judgment regarding who should live, how many children should be presented to the endlessly-funding state, and how they should be cared for.

Frisco Nan, your new state parent. And to Nan, your children are just costs to be borne by the states and Federal government.

How's that for compassion?

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Clearer Perspective on "The Stimulus Package"

Last Wednesday's editorial by Holman Jenkins in the Wall Street Journal posed the question, "Can Obama Make Government Solvent?"

For some perspective, remember that, as of two years ago, when Frisco Nan's Democrats seized control of the House, they blathered on and on about 'paygo,' and how no tax cuts could be allowed without corresponding spending cuts, in order to preserve fiscal restraint.

Now, of course, the Democrats see no reason to even debate the 'need' to spend one trillion taxpayer dollars.

In the intervening two years, a global process of deleveraging private capital has occurred. As such, between actual losses on exotic structured finance securities, and the failure of investors to refinance increasingly longer-term liabilities, there has been a net loss of substantial capital on account books the world over.

As a society, we have thus deleveraged our private capital, which is distinct from the recession also underway, as I observed in this recent post on my companion business blog.

Into this situation, as Jenkins observes, goes forth the New Messiah, likening himself, evidently, to FDR. Yet the editorialist notes that in FDR's day, we had too little existing government to begin to cope with a much greater economic disaster.

Now, he further observes, we have too much of it. Programs litter the Federal budget from FDR to LBJ and after. So much spending has become disintermediated through Washington that much economic behavior is now hopelessly warped. Jenkins provides the example of health care, in which, because of WWII mistakes to control wages, we now have third-party payers and a perverse tax preference for corporations that notionally choose and fund health care providers, rather than the actual employees/patients.

Though he never quite states it like this, Jenkins essentially expresses the view that, as always, Washington is and will be good at spending taxpayer's money, in the sense that they can find ways to spread any sum around their constituents.

But from an external perspective, one wonders how a trillion dollars, borrowed from foreigners, or printed in US mints, thus devaluing existing dollar claims on our Treasury, will be repaid? If the spending just goes to those whom politicians feel are 'deserving,' how will the money ever bring positive investment returns that will fund the repayment of the trillion dollars, plus interest?

Congress was last seen pumping money, both GSE's and privately-owned banks, into mortgages for the poor, who, in fact, could not afford them. That capital is more or less permanently lost.

So much for our government's judgment on where to deploy capital for maximum economic return.

Instead of using the money to genuinely create positive net economic returns, the New Messiah is simply pumping it out to citizens as a sort of monetary 'feel good' drug. Whether the after effects can be endured will be one important test of the new President's programs.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Will The New Messiah Endorse "War Crimes" Show Trials?

Friday's Wall Street Journal contained an editorial by Kim Strassel discussing House Democrat John Conyers' hopes of dragging Bush administration members before House show trials on trumped up charges.

Strassel notes that this will be an acid test for the First Rookie. Campaigning on a theme of hope and change, not to mention post-partisanship, it will not go down well if he backs this House Democrat witch hunt.

Given how sceptical people are already becoming about the New Messiah's spending plans and how he's already reneged on his promises and hired a lobbyist for his cabinet, he doesn't need any new mistakes right out of the gate.

Plus, if Mr. Post-partisan in any way countenances, allows or abets this Congressional witch hunt, you can bet that as soon as the GOP reclaims one of the Houses of congress in 2010, they're going to return the favor.

And don't forget the looming conflict between Frisco Nan's liberal extremists and Wonderboy. This might well be the ground on which it begins, which is bad for both of them. To waste time and effort, publicly, arguing with fellow Democrats about convicting out-of-office Republicans won't reflect well on either Congress or Wonderboy.

I think Strassel is entirely correct when she finishes her column with,

"The president's best bet is shut this down soon, and quietly- before he no longer can."