Man, I looove me some fireworks. The bright flashes, the intense color, the wave of energy expanding across the room—
Oh, you thought I meant that stuff they light off at the Fourth of July. No, I was referring to the fireworks that occur in a debate. And what a debate we’re going to have!
The sparks started flying when Matt Yglesias, poster boy for the Center for Authoritarian Propaganda American Progress tweeted “David Boaz is dumb.” (Hmm, I wonder what he had to say about naughty rhetoric back in January…) Boaz then retorted that Yglesias had completely missed the point, which I guess is not surprising. Yglesias then decided to tackle Daniel J. Mitchell’s take on Paul Krugman’s…well, I’m not really sure what you could call it. Lunacy? Let’s be nice and just call it “absurdity.” Anyways, Yglesias basically stated that “money doesn’t matter” and that the broken window fallacy itself is broken. A very succint summary of modern progressive thought, I would imagine.
So why do I bring this all up?
Because tomorrow, Cato On Campus is hosting (at the Cato Institute, natch) a debate titled: “US Debt and the Millennials: Is Washington Creating a Lost Generation?” Attending will be Megan McArdle of The Atlantic, Matt Mitchell of Mercatus, and Matt Yglesias of Center for American Progress. Three guesses as to who will be moderating. Yes, Dan Mitchell of Cato.
I moved to Washington, DC two years ago for graduate school — apparently, as a freshly-credentialed MPP entering the job market, my timing was impeccable. But I can’t say I’m really happy about what it means more broadly for the direction in which the country is heading.
Catherine Rampell at the New York Times Economix blog reports (emphasis mine):
In every state, a majority of residents think the economy is getting worse. In the nation’s capital, however, a full 60 percent of people think the economy is getting better.
Reader’s Digest version: the Bush-Obama spending binge has spurred more growth in Washington, DC than anywhere else in the country. That’s because new federal agencies with new missions (or new missions at existing agencies) need new personnel. But beyond a simple expansion of the government itself came an expansion of the special interest class, eager to get its mitts on new waves of federal spending.
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with millions unemployed across the country and new levels of uncertainty abounding, this doesn’t bode well for friends of the free market.
What can we do about it? Get involved.
Leftists Shouldn’t Complain about Corporate Rent-seeking when Leftists Encourage Corporate Rent-seeking
A notice in this morning’s Federal Register gives us insight about how regulatory capture begins.
The Department of Energy is looking to create a a regulatory subcommittee of vetted stakeholders to develop energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers:
SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) is giving notice that it intends to establish a negotiated rulemaking subcommittee under ERAC in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act (NRA) to negotiate proposed Federal standards for the energy efficiency of low- voltage dry-type distribution transformers. The purpose of the subcommittee will be to discuss and, if possible, reach consensus on a proposed rule for the energy efficiency of distribution transformers, as authorized by the Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended. The subcommittee will consist of representatives of parties having a defined stake in the outcome of the proposed standards, and will consult as appropriate with a range of experts on technical issues. DATES: Written comments and requests to be appointed as members of the subcommittee are welcome and should be submitted by August 29, 2011.
So the government is looking for parties with “a defined stake” — meaning entities operating in distribution transformer space, from electricity companies and device manufacturers to green groups and (probably) well-heeled and connected Democratic donors — to appoint (not elect) to a committee responsible for promulgating efficiency criteria that will eventually have the force of law.
As the debt debate continues with no end in sight (not even Aug. 2nd) some people are getting understandably upset. They want to know who to blame, and if anything that’s come up so far will actually fix the problem. Well, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that the Cato Institute has come out with another outstanding video on the situation. The bad news is that you have to blame everybody, and no, there isn’t really a good solution coming out yet:
Again, there will be no dismantling of unconstitutional (or just flat out bad) programs and departments, just “trimming” around the edges, which won’t be good for the long term as they’ll a piece of cake to overcome. The “Cut Cap Balance” idea is a good start, but the Democrats will never go for it, and it’s only that—a start.
I have to disagree with Dave Weigel here. He wrote on Friday in Slate that the stimulus bill really didn’t fail, although everyone is saying it is:
Veterans of the stimulus wars talk about it that way—as a war. They lost. The implication of the loss is that Keynesian economics are, arguably, as discredited with voters as neoconservative theories were discredited when the invasion of Iraq failed to turn its neighbors into vibrant democracies, highways clogged with female drivers.
This week, we got a concrete example of what it meant to lose. The Weekly Standard published a back-of-the-cocktail-napkin analysis of the seventh quarterly report on the stimulus, stipulating that every job created by its spending has cost $278,000. Republicans, who’d previously said the stimulus created no jobs, immediately started repeating the $278,000 figure. They kept doing it even after the magazine followed up, suggesting that the cost-per-job could have been as low as $185,000. $278,000, $185,000. $0.00? It didn’t really matter, because the White House and liberal response was perfunctory. As the stimulus winds down, with most of the money spent, everyone knows that it failed.
Capitalism gets a bad rap these days, as evidenced by Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story. Like so many people though, Moore – and most of Hollywood – get it wrong. What they decry, greedy individuals exploiting others and using government regulations and rules as a shield isn’t capitalism in the least. That’s called corporatism, as evidenced in the video that Jason posted recently from Reason.tv.
Corporatism is defined as:
Today, corporatism or neo-corporatism is used in reference to tendencies in politics for legislators and administrations to be influenced or dominated by the interests of business enterprises (limited liability corporations).
Basically, corporatism is a system where corporations make the calls on laws. Some would argue that for capitalists, this is a good thing. Unfortunately for those folks, they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.
We currently see in our government’s actions through things like bailouts for banks and the auto industry (though in all fairness, the auto bailout probably had more to do with politicians being beholden to the United Auto Workers than to GM and Chrysler). That wasn’t capitalism, contrary to what some people argue. Capitalism would have let the banking industry eat their own. Let AIG break up and be bought up by others who are more solvent. Let General Motors break up and be purchased by whoever wanted to own a car company. If no one did, then it’s time for the company to die. It sucks, but it’s the nature of the beast.
Yesterday, Ron Paul purist and anti-war Republican Adam Kokesh lost 29% to 71% to an “establishment” Republican despite outspending his opponent at least 2 to 1.
There is a big lesson here for all Tea Party and “Ron Paul” Republicans: No Republican campaign can win by trying to woo Democrats!
Banking on Democrats voting for you is suicide.
White writing, I’ve received an email from Adams campaign:
The relative numbers do not fully reflect the energy and commitment of those who cast a vote for us. We were an unconventional campaign running against a conventional candidate. The automatic reaction of old-fashioned party-line voters was to vote for our opponent. Every single vote for us was an informed decision and an act of courage by the voter.
I’d like to congratulate the Kokesh campaign on getting out the courageous and well-informed. (He’s to be respected and commended for donating a year of his life to further his ideas - this is something not many people have the gumption for. )
Quite simply, you can’t win by trying to educate voters, you have to find common ground and connect with a base.
Years of tradition and repetition will not be undone by your crusade or principle. In a PRIMARY, working Democrats will have no effect on your campaign (duh?). Voters simply will not cross party lines to vote for your message; the best you can hope to do is drive down voter turnout by appealing to Democrats on issues.
If you are running for the Republican nomination, do not run from Republicans - embrace them, embrace the party, and find common ground. This may not be a popular sentiment on UnitedLiberty.org, but it is the truth - and it is effective.
Chris Dodd, everybody’s favorite hairdo, has introduced a “tough” financial “reform” bill that he claims will “limit the risk [financial institutions] can assume.” Of course, most people with a pulse realize that a 1565 page bill introduced by one of the top recipients of financial industry lobbyist money in Congress probably will do little to ‘reform’ the financial industry in the best interests of the American people. That, however, doesn’t fully capture the perniciousness of this bill.
When we look at it closely, we can see it is one of the most dangerous bills introduced in Congress in years.
President Obama announced in his weekly radio address (Saturday, March 14) the formation of a new advisory group to coordinate food safety laws and recommend changes to these laws (see the following article). The President makes the typical claims of the food safety system being “too spread out”, with resulting difficulty in sharing information and solving problems. He goes on to say that there are not nearly enough FDA workers or enough money for the FDA “to conduct inspections at more than a fraction of the 150,000 food processing plants and warehouses in the country.” The President stated, ”That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg,” his nominee for FDA commissioner.
As various tax-related mail begins to appear in the mailboxes of hardworking Americans across the country, it’s instructive for all of us to reflect on why we carry the burden of our government every April.
Take this morning, for instance. We can credit the “ingenuity of the markets”, and specifically the ingenuity of John Thain, for moving annual executive bonus payments by Merrill Lynch up by a month last November, thus disbursing $15 billion in executive bonuses just before closing Merrill’s acquisition by Bank of America. Fast forward a few months, and the United States taxpayer just gave Bank of America another $20 billion in newly-borrowed funds to put a band-aid on mortar wounds in Merrill Lynch’s balance sheet.