Jeremy Kolassa

Recent Posts From Jeremy Kolassa

US Department of D’oh!

Personally, I wouldn’t trust government officials to lock a barn door (unless the horses already got out, that is.) There’s a good reason for that. From the Washington Times front page:

Federal authorities responsible for granting security clearances to government employees and contractors are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating the investigators.

Government inspectors say they have undertaken a broader campaign in recent years to root out fraud in background checks as more national security clearances are being sought than ever before.

Overall, court records reviewed by The Washington Times show at least 170 confirmed falsifications of interviews or record checks and more than 1,000 others that couldn’t be verified. The background investigators, whose work helps determine who gets top-secret security clearance, were submitting forms saying they conducted interviews or verified official documents when they never did.

“The monetary loss sustained by the government does not, nor cannot, represent the cost associated with potential compromise of our nation’s security and the trust of the American people in its government’s workforce,” Kathy L. Dillaman, associate director in charge of investigations at the Office of Personnel Management, wrote in a victim-impact statement for a recent court case involving a convicted investigator.

Cut Europe

With all this talk of isolationism in the GOP, namely over our “kinetic military action” in Libya and the wearying, ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s an atmosphere that Republicans will be more willing to cut defense spending and reorganize our military to better fit in with the rest of the world. No more Dubya’s and silly foreign expeditions, more or less. But there’s one area that I see missing: Europe. I think it should be front and center.

When we Americans start arguing over welfare spending, it almost inevitably comes to be that those on the “left” say “Well, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars on bombing people in foreign countries, maybe we should cut that first, huh?” Naturally, conservatives balk at cutting military spending (while libertarians agree and then continue arguing to cut welfare anyways), but in terms of Europe, this is an area where they can make a great tactical manuever. I say this because, also almost inevitably, some liberal or progressive will then cite Europe as a great example of their welfare state ideal, saying “See, they can do it! Why can’t we, with the #1 economy in the world, do the same?” This was almost always brought up in the healthcare debate, focusing on the United Kingdom’s NHS, Germany’s social insurance policies, and infant mortality. And what else can conservatives and libertarians say? Europe sucks? Only in some limited aspects, and that’s simply not a respectable argument anyway.

Reforming Minimum Wage: “Training Wheels for Employment”

Now that Weiner is out of the way, let’s get back to a more pressing issue: jobs. It’s something that Obama and the Democrats haven’t been doing well on (though I’m not convinced the Republicans have the silver bullet, either.) The most recent unemployment figure rolled out has it back up at 9.1%. But that’s not really a big problem. The real big problem is here is what unemployment is doing to our youth, those aged 16-19. Looking at Table A-16 and doing a little math to combine enrolled and unenrolled, it’s 24%.

And that’s only today’s problem. Like most things political, it’s an even bigger and more disastrous issue for our country down the road. That’s why just tinkering at the edges isn’t going to help; we need to do drastic things. My solution: totally overhaul how minimum wage works, with an eye towards helping youngsters find employment.

You need a combination of two things to land a job: education and experience. As a teenager, you really don’t have experience, and whatever you’re getting out of school, its not an education. An employer could hire you, at at least $7.25 an hour, but when there are older, more experienced workers jostling for any job in this economy, why? You have no skills, no record, and who knows if you’ll be at work on time. It’s a vicious Catch-22, where you need skills and experience to get a job, and a job to get skills and experience. The only role the minimum wage law plays in this is keeping these kids unemployed and unemployable.

Greetings, Earthlings—I mean, United Libertarians

Hello. My name is Jeremy, and I’m a libertarian.

But let’s not make this sound like a twelve-step group here. That’s for everybody else.

I want to thank editor Jason Pye for bringing me on here with this wonderful group of liberty activists, bloggers, and people who are starting to reclaim the word “pundit.” I hope to live up their standards and yours.

A little about myself. I’m a young writer in the DC metro area, and a former Cato intern. You may have seen me on Twitter (@jdkolassa) or on my new blog, Quantum Matrix Scribe. Some of you may have seen my opinion piece in the Daily Caller on how entitlement programs are going to harm the country’s youth. As a youngin’ myself—I just graduated last year from SUNY Albany, or as I call it, “Scooby-Doo U”—one of my great concerns is that the last half-century of failed public policy is going to doom my generation and those who follow me to a life of poverty, as we try to pay back our outrageous debt yet are hamstrung at every turn.

I’m also a science fiction writer, so you can expect a few pieces on liberty in literature and culture here as well. Pop culture has an amazing influence on our society, and you can readily pick up political philosophies and how they relate to public policy. Very subliminal, quite sublime. (And if you want a taste of my science fiction, here’s a quirky piece I wrote while still in high school.)

Again, thanks to Jason Pye, and of course, you readers, for having me here. Now that the prologue is over, let’s move on to chapter one.

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