Recent Posts From Jeremy Kolassa
EDIT: I’m not saying that Ron Paul fans are necessarily anarcho-capitalists. They are two camps that need to be addressed equally, and thus share a post. I apologize if the title seems a bit misleading.
I love you guys. Well and truly.
You are truly the only people who can say, with a straight face, that you want to see absolutely no government in the world, or that parents should be able to sell their children, or that law could be perfectly administered through courts that competed for customers like car dealerships. (“You need a court that respects your right for others to pay for your contraception? Come in and get no money down on a brand new 2012 court case!”)
The unbound and unhampered loyalty you have to a Texas congressman who preaches liberty and peace is just simply adorable. You call his son a sellout for not endorsing his father, start riots at state GOP conventions to grab as many delegates for him as possible, and even started a campaign to sue the Republicans for not allowing delegates bound to other candidates to vote for him. Just adorable. You’re like little puppies, yipping and yapping at anyone who gets too close to your candidate, anyone who might might be some big ugly meanie in disguise. It’s cute.
So that’s why, since I’m so in love with you, that I have to take a moment and tell you to stop hurting yourself.
You’re starting to make yourself look foolish. Childish, even. Your inability to accept that Ron Paul will not win the nomination is a sign of being a poor loser, and nobody likes a poor loser. Your other inability to accept compromise with others—such as you demonization Paul’s son Rand—means you won’t have any friends. And for some of you, your inability to take what you can get, rather than singing Queen’s “I Want It All” at the top of your lungs every day, makes you look utterly crazy.
I’m not going to pretend for a minute that I think that Romney is the best thing to happen to America. He has not committed to seriously cut spending, he’s been pandering to his social conservative base so much we can’t expect improvements on that front, and I don’t expect him to end the wars. But, when I look at the data out there, I think that he will win the election in November. Not handily, not by a landslide, but it will be a win.
My reasoning comes down to three points:
- It’s the Economy, Stupid
- Majority of Americans Opposed to Big Government
- Obama’s Support Fading
It’s the Economy, Stupid: This one is fairly simple. The economy is in tatters. Roughly 13 million Americans are out of work. The unemployment numbers are just horrific for recent college graduates, one of the biggest support groups for Obama ‘08, half of whom can’t find work. Obama’s stimulus programs have been abject failures. But there’s one datapoint in particular that has only started getting attention recently.
That’s the “civilian labor force participation rate.” Essentially, the civilian LFPR is the percentage of Americans who are either working or are unemployed but are looking for work. That means that if you’re not sending out job applications and have given up, well, congratulations—you’re no longer unemployed! (At least in the minds of the analytical mentats of the Bureau for Labor Statistics.)
A new story from Neil Munro at the Daily Caller is making the rounds of the blogosphere. The main focus of the article is that Obama’s new strategy will be to paint Mitt Romney as a radical libertarian, which to actual libertarians is so laughable it’s genuinely sad. But I’m sure my colleagues are going to tackle that main point, and I will certainly get to it in just a bit. But there are some things that immediately jump out at me I feel need to be focused on.
First, there’s this tidbit, which I emphasized in bold:
President Barack Obama is previewing his next strategy in the 2012 campaign — an audacious effort to paint former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the majority GOP as radical libertarians that have abandoned mainstream American politics.
Since 2000, “we [Democrats] haven’t moved that much… What’s changed is the Republican Party,” Obama told a group of wealthy donors gathered Monday night at a New York town-house owned by Marc Lasry. Lasry is a billionaire equity-capitalist who runs a $20 billion fund that buys up the shaky assets of failing companies.
There have been a lot of silly “scandals” during this election season, which is a usual and normal waste byproduct of the American election process, though this year has been notably intense. Unfortunately, between the “scandals” of Obama having eaten dog while a child in Indonesia, criticism over a flubbed line in Poland, guffaws about him using the word “thingamajig” in a speech, and the resurgent “Birther” nonesense, conservatives and libertarians are losing sight of the real problems with the Obama administration. As I see it, there are two that need to be focused on relentlessly:
- The absolutely dismal economic situation, exacerbated by this president’s misguided and foolhardy policies
- The utterly atrocious record on civil liberties that President Obama has engendered, a holdover from the Bush administration (so much for “Change”)
Everything else can pretty much be secondary to this or just treated as nonsense. These are the real core problems with the Obama administration, and they are all that conservatives need to hammer him with. Forget the memes, forget the social conservatism, just focus on two things: jobs and civil liberties (which does, in case you’re wondering, tie into foreign policy. A bit.)
The economic problem is fairly straightforward: this is the worst recession since World War II, bar none. From the Calculated Risk blog, this chart shows you how badly:
In what is surely going to set off another wankfest amongst the libertarian commentariat, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson has become eligible for federal matching funds:
The Federal Election Commission has declared Gary Earl Johnson eligible to receive federal matching funds. Johnson sought and won the Libertarian nomination for president for 2012.
To become eligible for matching funds, candidates must raise a threshold amount of $100,000 by collecting $5,000 in 20 different states in amounts no greater than $250 from any individual. Other requirements to be declared eligible include agreeing to an overall spending limit, abiding by spending limits in each state, using public funds only for legitimate campaign-related expenses, keeping financial records and permitting an extensive campaign audit.
Based on documents filed by Gary Johnson 2012, Inc. on April 27, 2012, contributions from the following states were verified for threshold purposes: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. All of the materials included with this submission may be viewed here. Based on Johnson’s initial threshold submission, the Commission requested on May 25 that the United States Treasury make an initial payment of $100,000 to Johnson’s campaign.
Once declared eligible, campaigns may submit additional contributions for matching funds on the first business day of every month. The maximum amount a primary candidate could receive is currently estimated to be about $22.8 million.
Rants are nothing new, and they’re always popular. Who doesn’t love to watch a video of somebody totally losing it? Particularly if the person in question is a legislator.
The last time, it was Anthony Weiner, well before he decided to show his, erm, weiner, on Twitter. That was actually pretty funny, I admit, but I think what Mike Bost, Illinois State Representative, had to say was far, far better:
AKA “The Only Scandal Conservatives Need”
- 69,000 jobs added (That’s far too weak for even a piddling recovery)
- +.1% unemployment, up to 8.2%
- 12.7 million Americans unemployed
- +.2% to civilian labor force participation, up to 63.8
- 8.1 million Americans employed just part-time for economic reasons
- 2.4 million Americans marginally attached to the labor force
- 830,000 discouraged workers
- March and April job increases revised downwards
- Sure path to Obama’s defeat in November
The May jobs report has just been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics…and it’s awful. It’s one of the weakest reports all year, and has shown quite clearly that the “Hope N’ Change” policies of President Obama are not working. According to the BLS press release:
Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.
Household Survey Data
Both the number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2 percent) changed little in May. (See table A-1.)
Nicholas Freiling over at Values & Capitalism—a blog run by the American Enterprise Institute—has a well meaning but utterly misguided—and I would argue, rather silly—post about bankruptcy and student loans. It is inappropriately titled “Student Loan Forgiveness: One Idea That Doesn’t Deserve to Graduate.” He says:
If you are like most college students, you have already accrued a considerable amount of student loan debt. College is expensive, and without student loans many would simply be unable to obtain a college education.
But over the past few months, many have begun to question the efficacy of borrowing so much money—even for a purpose as worthy as education. Recently, the Chicago Tribune reported that student loan debt reached $870 billion—surpassing both car and credit card debt—and is projected to climb rapidly over the next few years.
Thus, it is understandable that The Fairness for Struggling Students Act (FSSA) has become high on the agenda for many government and education officials. The FSSA would allow student loan debt from private lenders to be wiped out in bankruptcy proceedings. Seen as a remedy for a growing economic problem, the Act has found support among many in government and academic circles.
But the reality is: The FSSA is an unjust bill that should warrant no support from respectable students, no matter how indebted they are.
So basically, what FSSA would say is that student loan debt would be treated like…every other single type of debt? So it wouldn’t be, you know, a “special” and “unique” form of debt that people could not erase, but would be treated like debt from any other source, like a mortgage or a car loan or anything like that?
And this is bad thing? Where does he get this idea from?
No, seriously, that is what this man has become. He recently blogged a chart on his blog (inappropriately—or maybe entirely appropriately—named “Conscience of a Liberal,”) showing first quarter growth for five countries:
He then goes, “Wait, what? Japan as star performer? What’s that about? Actually, no mystery.”
Japan’s economy expanded faster than estimated in the first quarter, boosted by reconstruction spending that’s poised to fade just as a worsening in Europe’s crisis threatens to curtail export demand.
So he then argues that the tsunami reconstruction has led to great economic growth, while so-called “austerity” (which isn’t actually austerity at all, if Krugman had bothered to pay attention) has doomed Italy.
It makes perfect sense! Absolutely! Let’s hit Japan with another tsunami that will kill over 15,000 people, injure 27,000 citizens, and make 3,155 go missing! If only the 2011 tsunami had destroyed even more than that paltry 130,000 buildings—if only it had actually caused Fukushima to go critical and explode—it would have created so much potential for rebuilding! It would have shot the Japanese GDP right over the moon!
Every election year, both major parties start up wth “wasted vote” rhetoric to convince those of us who don’t buy into their policies to not vote for a third party. The fear of 2000 still weighs heavily on their minds, it seems. I’ve always contended that, in a democracy, the only wasted vote is the vote you give to someone who you disagree with, since it entirely defeats the very point of, you know, a democracy.
But if we’re going to go down the wasted vote road, for once, let’s do it on the Democrats’ and Republicans’ terms, so they can see the folly of their argument. Mine is thus:
If you live in a non-battleground state, any vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate is wasted.
You heard that right.
This year, according to the AP, the battleground states are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Of course, this list is bound to change within the next six months, and I’ve seen that there may be as many as 12 “swing states” (a near-synonym for “battleground states”). Charlie Cook—one of the best political pundits out there—takes out New Hampshire and North Carolina and swaps in Pennsylvania instead. It doesn’t matter the exact state right now; in the weeks leading up to the election, you will definitely know if your state is a battleground or not based on how many ads you get, and how many visits candidates make.