Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: April 3, 2012

Economic Statistics for 3 Apr 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Factory orders bounced back from a -1.1% decline in January with a 1.3% increase in February.

ICSC-Goldman Store Sales did well last week, with a 3.8% rise for the week, which is a 4.2% from last year. Redbook also reports a strong 4.6% year-on-year same-store sales increase.

Auto sales are due out, with the figures released throughout the day.

UPDATE: The Big 3 have reported Auto sales so far today. Overall Sales for GM were up 14.2% in march from the same period in 2011. Chrysler reports a 34% increase from last year, for its best monthly sales in 4 years. Ford’s sales gain was a much more modest 5%, but was still the best monthly sales rate since 2007, and suffers from the comparison to Mar, 2011, when Ford led all US auto sales for the first time in 13 years.

Also reporting in are Nissan, reporting their best sales ever, and Toyota, reporting the best sales since March 2008.

Dodge also announced that the reborn Dart will be hitting sales floors this June. I suspect the new Dart, which will take up a spot in the small-car lineup, will be somewhat less performance-based than the 318ci V-8 powered ’71 Dart I had as a High School Senior.

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Dale Franks
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Wonder why health care insurance costs so much?

Well, how about government mandates?

 

 

If government wants to lower the cost of health care, there’s an immediate means of doing so.  Health insurance should be like a Chinese restaurant menu – pick one from column A and two from column B.  But if you don’t want acupuncture coverage or massage therapy or, in fact, have a uterus, why in the world should you forced to buy coverage for all of that?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

The cult of Che and the horror of the “greater good”

Matt Welch at Reason puts me on to an incredible quote that I’ll share in a moment.  First a little back story.  Apparently Argentine Che Guevara has some Irish roots.  So a few not so notable town council members in the Irish town of Galway had decided to honor Che’s roots and, as it turns out, that developed into a plan to erect a memorial to him (the Cuban embassy planned on paying for it). 

That, as you might imagine, sparked outrage from around the world when word finally leaked out.  And so now it appears that the memorial won’t be built.

Che Guevara was a ruthless murderer.  Most sane people, who’ve taken the time to research him, know that.  So why does a communist mass murderer remain so popular? 

Well there’s an element of the left so immersed in advancing what they call the “greater good” that they’re willing to forgive or overlook just about anything in its name.  If you don’t believe me all you need to read is this quote by Darragh McManus in the Independent, talking about the Galway kerfuffle:

Yes, Che was ruthless and fanatical and sometimes murderous. But was he a murderer? No, not in the sense of a serial killer or gangland assassin. He was one of those rare people who are prepared to push past ethical constraints, even their own conscience, and bring about a greater good by doing terrible things.

Whether morally justifiable or not, there is something admirable in that — pure principle in a world of shabby compromise. Maybe this is why Che remains such an icon, both in image and idea.

The idea?   That it is a “good thing” when one “so immersed in advancing the ‘greater good’” is willing to “push past ethical restraints and their own conscience” to advance it.

Of course, I assume you understand that Guevara and apparently McManus’s idea of a “greater good” wouldn’t be something most people wouldn’t agree with.   Certainly looking at the Cuba that Guevara helped create few would consider it to be an example of “greater good”.  While what existed there prior to the communist takeover was not ideal by any stretch, what replaced it, in the name of the “greater good”, has turned out to be even worse.

And yet apologists like McManus try to make “the ends justify the means” into something to be admired if the “greater good” – whoever gets to arbitrarily define that – is served.

Look at that quote.   It is the blueprint for China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba and today’s Venezuela.  Certainly Guevara wasn’t a mass murderer on the level of Mao (65 million) for instance.  But that’s not because he wasn’t willing to be … its more because it wasn’t necessary to advance his version of the “greater good”.

I still don’t get the Che chic.  There’s a video at the Reason site at the above link in which a Cuban exile talks about the irony of entertainment and musical celebrities idolizing Che.  He points out the Che hated the music they play and would have moved to shut them down or worse had they been Cubans.

Take a few moments and watch the video.  It’s enlightening (and provides even more irony than you can imagine).  It truly makes the point that ignorance is bliss.  It also wonders why the mass murderers of communism seem to get a pass.

But if you don’t feel a chill reading McManus’s quote then you have no love for human rights and freedom.  This mindset still exists.  There it is in black and white.  I can’t think of a more dangerous ideology than one that tries to justify anything in the name of the “greater good”.

That’s what you should think of every time you see the visage of Che.

It should remind you that many who claim to believe in the “greater good” really mean the ends justify the means.  That might makes right. That whatever it takes to put them in power is okay.

And the celebration of a mass murderer’s life should tell you all you need to know about them.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Obama’s criticism of SCOTUS hardly “scholarly”

There are times when even I’m a bit surprised at what manages to work its way out of our President’s mouth.  After all, included in what little we do know about the guy is the claim that he was a “Constitutional lawyer”.  He even taught that in Chicago to law students, or so we’re told.

Yet yesterday, in a press conference with the leaders of Mexico and Canada he was asked about the pending Supreme Court decision on ObamaCare and said:

“I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected congress.”

I can’t imagine a more supremely arrogant and yet profoundly ignorant statement than that.  Of course, at least in my day, most school children would have understood the ignorance of that statement.

I’ll illustrate it for you if necessary by adding a bit to his words:

“I am confident the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically-elected congress that allows whites to lynch blacks.”

Obviously he’d be clamoring for the SCOTUS to overturn a law like that.  And he wouldn’t hesitate to condemn the “strong majority of democratically-elected” officials that passed such a law n the first place (and lets pretend this was signed before he assumed office – you know, Bush did it).  Strong majorities (in the case of ObamaCare it was 219 to 212) passing anything are irrelevant if what they pass is in conflict with the Constitution – period.

In the hypothetical most of us would immediately identify the fact that a) murder and lynching are not within the power of any majority to sanctify and certainly not a power granted in the Constitution and b) it is the job of the Supreme Court to strike down laws that are unconstitutional regardless of how strong the majority voting for it.

I can’t imagine a supposed, or at least self-described, Constitutional scholar making such an ignorant statement to begin with … but there it is.  He then followed it up with this:

“I just remind conservative commentators that for years we have heard the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. That an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example and I am pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”

Smartest guy in the room?  I’m sorry, but that just doubles down on ignorance.

As we’ve discussed (most recently on the podcast) it isn’t the job of the Supreme Court to do the job of Congress.   Instead, its job is  to determine whether or not what Congress has done is compliant with the limits the Constitution places on it.  That’s it.  There is nothing which requires the Supreme Court to “fix” laws that Congress has passed.  

Justice Kennedy alluded to this when he said that the removal of the individual mandate would completely change the law in a way that was clearly not what Congress intended.  Thus the “conservative” thing for the court to do would be to strike down the entire law and tell Congress to go back to work.  Of course the Democrats and Obama know that if the entire law is struck down, the likelihood of it being “fixed”, given the Republican House, are remote.  Thus we hear the usual nonsense about “judicial activism” and the other garbage Obama tossed out above making the rounds on the left.

Then there’s the remark about “an unelected group of people”.  My goodness Constitutional scholar, they’re “unelected” and appointed for life for a reason.  And that reason is to remove politics, as much as possible, from their deliberations and allow them to focus entirely on the law and Constitution.  Obviously, it seems, politics haven’t been kept out of the Supreme Court, but for the President to take a juvenile shot like that at the Court while it is in deliberations is fairly outrageous.

Bottom line: If those Obama quotes now illustrate “Constitutional scholarship” in this day and age, this Republic is in very deep trouble.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO