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

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, June 11, 2010

Liberals & Economic Illiteracy: Now We Have Proof

In a recent Wall Street Journal editorial entitled Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Daniel B. Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, provided evidence that liberals truly are less economically literate.

Rather than try to restate this provocative article, I'll just quote the salient passages,

"Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: "Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.
Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

Therefore, we counted as incorrect responses of "somewhat disagree" and "strongly disagree." This treatment gives leeway for those who think the question is ambiguous or half right and half wrong.

The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).

How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.
Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.

Still, not all of the eight questions are tied directly to left-wing concerns about inequality and redistribution. In particular, the questions about mandatory licensing, the standard of living, the definition of monopoly, and free trade do not specifically challenge leftist sensibilities.

Yet on every question the left did much worse. On the monopoly question, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (31%) was more than twice that of conservatives (13%) and more than four times that of libertarians (7%). On the question about living standards, the portion of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly (61%) was more than four times that of conservatives (13%) and almost three times that of libertarians (21%).

The survey also asked about party affiliation. Those responding Democratic averaged 4.59 incorrect answers. Republicans averaged 1.61 incorrect, and Libertarians 1.26 incorrect.

Governmental power joined with wrongheadedness is something terrible, but all too common. Realizing that many of our leaders and their constituents are economically unenlightened sheds light on the troubles that surround us."

So the conclusion is inescapable. By a wide margin, liberals are simply less informed about economic realities.

This helps explain Wonderboy's and Congress' current mistakes- endless bailouts for favored constituencies, endless borrowing and printing of money to subsidize the unemployed, endless housing subsidies, etc.

A lot of what must occur to fix America's economic ills is to replace the current economic dunderheads with less liberal, more economically literate members of Congress and the next administration.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vermont's Congressman Welch Attacks Free Enterprise

A very liberal Democratic Congressman from Vermont named Welch was all over cable news yesterday insisting that BP, at the federal government's behest, suspend its dividend and public image advertising during the duration of the containment efforts and cleanup of the Gulf Coast oil spew.

As I wrote only yesterday, Wonderboy has also been busy intimidating BP and trying to coerce the company's management to do his bidding out of fear of federal government power.

Let me state this clearly: both Welch and Obama are wrong.

This is the type of government behavior that belongs in a banana republic or some African dictatorship. Not the United States of America.

When one network anchor suggested to Welch that his energy was better spent investigating why government regulators were asleep on the job, the Congressman promptly attempted to blame the Bush administration for the lack of regulatory oversight.

Welch is embarking on a very dangerous and, frankly, completely unconstitutional path. That is, government intervention in private sector activity out of frustration and anger.

Welch blathered about how BP wasn't doing its image any good by paying a dividend or spending money on ads. Just how would Congressman Welch, a member of one of the American institutions with the lowest public approval ratings on record (23%) know anything about how to improve the image of any other entity?

Further, in America, publicly-held companies answer to shareholders, not to government. If BP, by paying a dividend, causes acrimony among customers and, thus, by extension, investors, then its share price will fall. That will be sufficient penalty.

It's totally wrong-headed and politically dangerous for our society to have the president and/or members of Congress demanding that BP change its internal managerial decisions on subjects in which it has not acted illegally.

If it's BP today, which company will be next, and on what totally subjective, arbitrary bases?

Helen Thomas' Anti-Semitism Gets Her Fired

Helen Thomas evidently has disastrous timing. Unlike all of the other people openly voicing anti-Semitic views last week, Thomas' airing of her very candid opinions on Israel and Israelis got her fired from the Hearst organization.

Offered in reply to an almost throwaway question from an interviewer about Israel, Thomas spat back that they should give it back to the Palestinians, get the hell out and go back to Germany and Poland.

Thomas, if you aren't acquainted with her, is a very old newspaperwoman who's beat has been to cover the White House for more years than any other current correspondent.

She was, if memory serves, originally embedded with Washington's troops at Valley Forge, traveled with the Army of the Potomac, and accompanied TR up San Juan Hill.

The old bat has been a ditsy piece of comic relief at presidential press conferences for the last few decades, as her awareness of the world evidently began to slip.

The real wonder here is why Hearst kept her in the job so long, when their editors must have seen Thomas' judgement and overall grasp of the modern world slipping.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Mediocrity: Lance Re-Nominated

I did my part yesterday to try to throw one the bums out who currently resides in our House of Representatives.

Regrettably, the bum in question, Republican Leonard Lance, fended off three more conservative challengers to run for a second House term.

According to a news article detailing Lance's and Freylinghausen's escape from defeat by Tea Party-related challengers, New Jersey's latent moderate politics was the reason for their reprieve.

Funny, but living in one of the four worst-managed states, in terms of debt and tax levels, that sense of moderation just doesn't ring true.

I am now faced with an unpleasant choice between voting for a Republican idiot, or voting for whichever Democrat faces him, just to toss the incumbent.

Right now, I'm seriously leaning toward the Democrat, which is very hard for me to believe.

But Lance is that distasteful and repugnant that I'm left with no alternative.

Wonderboy Grasps At Straws In The BP Oil Mess

Wonderboy has begun to look more and more like a tyrant concerning the BP Gulf Coast oil rig disaster.

Last week, he crossed the line between government and private industry, demanding that BP cease spending money on public image ads, and fuming over the company's payment of dividends to its shareholders.

Funny, but I thought private sector, publicly-held companies answered to their shareholders, not the federal government. That shareholders retained management to run the company for them, not for the whims of the president of the US.

Later that evening, on Fox News, a guest noted how much the federal government has spent on pamphlets mailed to seniors lying about new medical care coverage and declining costs of said coverage. The cost of that mailing dwarfed BP's image-related ad spending. The guest noted that the money for these pointless mailings was deficit spending, since the government has spent far beyond any incoming revenues this year.

I guess it depends on who is doing the spending whether or not it's deemed wasteful, eh?

Then, yesterday morning, I caught repeated clips of the First Rookie on a network morning program claiming he'd been down to the Gulf, worrying over the rig and its spewing oil, way before any "talking heads were onto it."

Really? I think that's an outright lie. If memory serves, the first governmental employees sent down to the Gulf were lawyers from DOJ. The rig fire and resulting oil fountain were news well before Wonderboy flew down in his natty dress to stand on a beach and whine about the incident.

It's not like nobody else noticed, until he discovered the oil leaking from the sea bottom.

This guy just can't stop himself from crossing boundaries, threatening and intimidating private sector companies, or just plain lying, can he?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Voting Leonard Lance Out

I live in a Congressional district represented by one of those old, wily, milquetoast Republicans named Leonard Lance.

I first, and last, wrote about the twit in this post back in October of last year. His current ads and fliers all portray him as Tea-Party friendly, against big government, etc., etc. The videos show his grinning visage as he takes some walk in the park with a woman I assume to be his wife.

Like the state's senior, nearly-dead Senator, Lautenberg, Lance looks like he already belongs in a pine box. The type of professional politician I have come to hate. Merely for being a professional second-rate pol.

As my prior, linked post noted, it's unlikely Lance even understands the bulk of the bills on which he has voted.

Though I don't consider myself a party member, I am a registered Republican, else I could not vote in primaries.

Thus, for the first time in ages, I had the pleasure of voting for someone besides the incumbent Representative in a GOP primary. And I surely did just that.

Truth to tell, among the three challengers, I only recognized one name. It was a guy who apparently didn't file several years of tax returns. So it fell to a choice between the other two challengers to Lance.

I chose the one who was not what the ballot described as "Mainstream" Republican.

It was quite a pleasure to cast a vote against Lance, and, yet, still for a non-Democrat.

I'm hoping Lance loses today. Can't wait to see the post-poll closing tabulations.

Primary Day & Carly Fiorina

My posts from last December regarding Carly Fiorina, here and here, have been among the most-views posts on this blog for at least the past three months.

One of them- the first, I believe- actually made it onto the Huffington Post as a link.

Perhaps, after today, the viewing of these posts will ebb. Then, again, if Fiorina beats her opponents, and faces Boxer in the November general election, the views will rise even more.

Either way, I'm going to be watching those California results.

Senate Races & Wonderboy's Corrupt Administration

First Joe Sestak accused Wonderboy's crew of trying to buy him out of running against Arlen Specter with a job offer.

Now Andrew Romanoff, a Democratic primary challenger to Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, has joined in with allegations that Rahm Emanuel's aide, Jim Messina, offered several jobs to Romanoff, none of for which he was remotely qualified.

The usual Democratic pundits, who would have suggested crucifying George W. Bush for this sort of behavior, are justifying Wonderboy's illegal jobs bribes as just 'business as usual.'

Funny, but wasn't the First Rookie supposed to be running the most transparent, a- and post-partisan administration in history?

Ah, well. On to reality.

The details of the Sestak case have finally come out, despite the Congressional Democrats' refusal to convene any sort of inquiry. On an evening during Memorial Day weekend, the administration released an explanation that involved no less than Bubba Clinton. They didn't deny the job offers, but they claimed using the pump-headed ex-president as a cutout, as if that makes them innocent of trying to bribe Sestak.

From what I've read, sadly, it would be difficult to imprison Emanuel or Wonderboy, because there isn't enough solid evidence that there were quid quo pros.

However, in Romanoff's case, there may be a case. It seems that, thanks to existing legislation, it's illegal for a government employee to use paid time and/or resources to engage in political activity. And nobody has tried to deny that these bribes of jobs to primary candidates were political, because many, including various Democratic pundits, have defended Wonderboy's actions as befitting the head of his party.

On a related note, there's now more belief that Emanuel, who will be appearing on the stand in disgraced former Illinois governor Blagojevich' trial for attempting to sell Wonderboy's Senate seat, was the go-between in that situation.

Wouldn't it be rich if both Emanuel and his deputy, Messina, both do jail time for carrying illegal water for their boss, the world's most ethical politician?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Democrats Brush Off Constitutional Challenges To Obamacare

Thursday's Wall Street Journal carried and editorial noting that Florida district court judge Roger Vinson denied the Justice Department's request for an extension to reply to the multi-state suit over Obamacare.

Never mind that a judge thinks it important to consider the constitutional question. The editorial quotes Frisco Nan as declaring the suit by 20 state AGs "frivolous."

Cabinet secretary Sebelius characterized it as "more to do with politics than with policy."

Never the less, Wonderboy's Justice gang is trying to slow-roll and delay the suit, hoping, no doubt, to drag it out so that it will fade from the public's memory.

Fortunately, judge Vinson observed that Justice possesses the not inconsiderable resources of the federal government.

So their homework is due, as planned. Should be interesting to read what they cook up, now that they are evidently under such time pressure and scarce resources.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Turkish Flotilla & Israeli Response

Last week's showdown between the Islamist radical flotilla assembled by Turkey, and the Israelis who enforced the blockade against them, has seemed to throw the world back to the 1930s.

Several conservative pundits whom I've read have, of course, backed Israel's actions. But one in particular, whose name escapes me, wrote chillingly that the reactions of Europe, Turkey, the UN and assorted other countries signals a full-scale return to anti-Semitism.

Yes, it seems it is once again open season on Jews.

Gone are the memories of last century's German attempt to exterminate the race and religion.

Further, as a Wall Street Journal editor wrote, the incident marks the decline of the Turks. I was shocked to read of the one-sided, deliberately biased and simply wrong information their media feeds the Turkish people.

I could go on about the incident, but the more troubling point is how the world seems to have taken giant strides backward to the 1930s, when persecution of the Jews was accepted by all the major powers.

What has our own foreign policy come to? Our own administration won't criticize the Turks and defend the Israelis for protecting their own borders.

Wait....border protection. That must be it.

Wonderboy doesn't bother protecting our own borders, either.