Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: April 16, 2012


In praise of lazy Harry Reid

Okay, yes, it’s a bit of a sarcastic title, but in a sense I mean it:

For those who need proof that the Senate was a do-nothing chamber in 2011 beyond the constant partisan bickering and failure to pass a federal budget, there is now hard evidence that it was among the laziest in 20 years.

In her latest report, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson revealed a slew of data that put the first session of the 112th Senate at the bottom of Senates since 1992 in legislative productivity, an especially damning finding considering that it wasn’t an election year when congressional action is usually lower.

For example, while the Democratically-controlled Senate was in session for 170 days, it spent an average of just 6.5 hours in session on those days, the second lowest since 1992. Only 2008 logged a lower average of 5.4 hours a day, and that’s when action was put off because several senators were running for president, among them Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain.

On the passage of public laws, arguably its most important job, the Senate notched just 90, the second lowest in 20 years, and it passed a total of 402 measures, also the second lowest. And as the president has been complaining about, the chamber confirmed a 20-year low of 19,815 judicial and other nominations.

Frankly, I think Congress should be a part-time job.  That was the way it was designed at the founding.  Come in, do the work necessary – you know, such as pass a budget? – and then go back to your real job.

So, in reality, I’m not against a Senate that doesn’t do much.  Unfortunately, we have an activist president who is more than happy to use the Senate’s laziness as a pretext for issuing executive orders and accomplishing his agenda via executive agencies with no accountability to the people.

And, it appears, Harry Reid is fine with that – not that anyone should be particularly surprised by that.

It is the only way Reid can apparently assist the President in doing what he wants to do.  You know, provide an excuse.  “We can’t wait on Congress”, something that is only a problem since the GOP took the House one assumes.  Of course somehow even lazy Harry Reid managed to at least rouse himself long enough to pass that abomination we know as ObamaCare. 

Once that was done, he went back into tax-payer subsidized hibernation.

But with Reid, how do you tell?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama: Doubling down on economic ignorance

Ever have one of those days?  My DSL has been down for 2 days, and I’m currently sitting in a public library trying to get some work done and sending out this post. 

And I was actually going to concentrate on work until I saw this article about something Obama said about the Buffett Rule:

President Barack Obama argued Sunday that his calls for wealthier Americans to pay a greater share of taxes aren’t about sharing the wealth, but about getting the American economy on a path for solid growth.

“That is not an argument about redistribution. That is an argument about growth,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question at a news conference in Colombia. “In the history of the United States, we grow best when our growth is broad based.”

Broad based growth is not driven by heavily taxing one income class, Mr. Obama.  Nor is broad based growth driven by government spending (i.e. “redistribution” or “sharing the wealth”).

Broad based growth is driven by private enterprises having confidence in the economy and finding incentives to invest in both business and hiring.ISSdriv_101206.png

The “Buffet Rule” doesn’t do anything to provide those incentives or inspire that confidence.  In fact, it seems to be mostly a tax of desperation.  The numbers just don’t support the supposition that it will drive anything but more government spending, and, frankly, not much of that.

This is class warfare plain and simple.  It is also an attempt to offer up the rich as a panacea to the revenue problem blamed as the reason we’ve seen government borrow multi-trillions of dollars. 

There is no revenue problem.  There is a spending problem.  And taxing billionaires won’t solve that problem.  In fact it will likely exacerbate it. 

More importantly, the words Obama has spoken speak to two things: a) a deep seated ignorance of economics and b) a deep seated belief that government is the answer to all ills.

Both are dangerous and promise even more economic woes in our future. 

We can’t afford that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 16 Apr 12

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

March retail sales were much stronger than expected, being up 0.8% at both the headline and core levels, and up 0.7% ex-gas and autos.

The Empire State Mfg Survey points to slow but steady manufacturing growth in the New York region, with the index at 6.56 in April.

The net inflow of securities to the US slowed sharply in February, to a net $10.1 billion vice a revised $102.4 billion last month.

Inventory accumulation will probably improve this quarter’s GDP, as February inventories increased by 0.6% due to rising demand.

The Housing Market Index fell 3 points to 25, after seven months of gains. All three components declined this month.

~
Dale Franks
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