After waking up this morning, I saw on Twitter that Occupy DC was commemorating its one year anniversary by marching down K Street and protesting big banks, such as Bank of America and others. After knocking out some work, I decided to head over to Freedom Plaza, just a couple of blocks over from the White House, to see what was going on.
After observing for a few minutes, seeing next to nothing. A group of maybe 15 activists were discussing techniques to throw off police during a group protest. It was mildly entertaining, but also pointless.
As I was about to leave, a small group of activists sat down to discuss the finer points of anarchist activism, such as “collective housing” and dumpster diving. The sound isn’t that great in the video, but you can hear some of the points being made by protesters, such as their aversion to private property. This woman leading the talk explains, “Collective housing is a very important environment to survive, organize, and support each other. This is why we’re not pro-private property, because we think we need to share. If we don’t share, it means nothing”:
Rick Perry, looking to get back on top of the GOP primary, has unveiled a new reform plan that will “uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions,” as he puts it:
Blasting the congressional “creatures of Washington” for being overpaid and detached from the struggles of the people outside the Beltway, Texas Gov. and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry vowed Tuesday to eliminate federal agencies, set term limits for federal judges and push for a part-time Congress where both members’ pay and office budgets are sliced in half.
The three-term governor, speaking on a campaign swing in Bettendorf, Iowa, said he would lead by example by cutting his salary as president until the federal budget is balanced, and said that lawmakers who use information to profit from stock trades should go to jail — in what appeared to be a clear reference to recent news reports alleging insider trading involving House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul,” Mr. Perry said, according to prepared remarks. “We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C. and our federal institutions.”
I’m reading his actual plan right here, and I have to say, there are some good ideas here, and one very bad one.
Investors Business Daily reports:
Under President Obama, while the economy is struggling to grow and create jobs, the federal regulatory business is booming.
Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16% since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual “Regulator’s Budget,” compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.
That’s at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5%.
Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13% since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6%.
If you missed my piece the other day on recession-proof DC, check it out.
Also, pick up a copy of Iain Murray’s Stealing You Blind. In addition to being a scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Murray is an Englishman whose legal immigration to the U.S. took four years, no thanks to our bloated, inefficient bureaucracy.
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.
Sunday, NRA chief Wayne LaPierre went on NBC’s Meet The Press to talk about gun control with David Gregory, which is a pretty hostile environment for that sort of interview. As Kevin Boyd noted, LaPierre is essentially acting like he’s drunk, following an abysmal NRA press conference last Friday that left everything to be desired. But it may be that David Gregory will be paying the price, as the Washington Post reports:
NBC News asked D.C. police for permission to use a high-capacity ammunition clip as a prop on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” show, a request District authorities said Wednesday they denied.
But host David Gregory appears to have used one anyway — and then displayed it on national television. Now D.C. police say they’re investigating whether the District’s gun laws were violated in the incident.
Well, DC, you did the impossible. You got dumber. From Fox News:
Lawmakers in the nation’s capital have floated a plan to require high school students to apply to college or trade school — even if the students have no interest in attending.
The proposal is a bid to ensure students in the troubled Washington, D.C., school system at least have the know-how to navigate the admissions process.
D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, who introduced the bill, said the proposal would establish a “mandatory workshop” to teach teenagers how to apply for aid and admission. It would then require everybody to apply to at least one post-secondary school before graduation.
“I believe that every child should have the opportunity, even if they don’t go, to at least apply to a college,” he said as he introduced the bill Wednesday.
Okay, maybe I shouldn’t take it out on all of DC. But Mr. Brown, you sir, are a moron.
In a time where the value of college is plummeting while the cost of said college education and the unemployment rate among recent college graduates is increasing, such a suggestion is mind boggingly boneheaded. Apparently, Brown forgot that most colleges charge around $50-$75 for an application, in effect making this dumb idea a tax on poor students and their families, and a gimme to already well off educational institutions—who are then going to just throw the applications in the trash anyways. (If you haven’t heard, DC public schools are horrendous.) Oh, no wait, he didn’t forget, as the article adds “Brown said he would work with the school system to make sure students have the ‘resources’ to apply,” or in other words, make this dumb idea a tax on poor students and their families in DC.