Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: May 8, 2012


Indiana voters spit out a Lugar

I’m sure McQ will have plenty to say tomorrow about Lugar’s 40-60 thrashing in the Indiana senatorial primary. In the meantime, though, a few points of my own:

 

1. The left’s insistence that the Tea Party is just a bunch of fringe extremists with no real influence should have been shown for the wishful thinking it is by the Congressional elections in 2010. Of course, it wasn’t. Lugar’s defeat should demonstrate again that it was silly wishful thinking.

Not that the left will ever get it, because they can’t really face the reality of this situation. A mass movement around limited government is their worst enemy. The left exists as a parasite on the rest of society, with government as the way to extract sustenance from the host. Even the Tea Party, which advocates what I consider a mild form of limited government, could dry up some of the left’s nourishment, and they might well have to go into a Kilkenny cats resolution to that problem. Which, I admit, would be fun to watch.

2. Lugar was 80 years old. He would be 86 at the end of the next term. Like Byrd, he clearly wanted to be taken out of DC in a hearse. I’m sorry, but that’s sick. It’s an addiction to power and self-importance. That alone is a pretty good reason to get rid of him.

3. Lugar prattled that “Over 60% of my life has been serving others.” That kind of sanctimonious drool really gets on my nerves. So you’re serving us, Senator Lugar, but you’re the one being treated like royalty everywhere you go? The one being chauffeured around? The one being schmoozed by every lobbyist on K Street? Wow, what an incredible burden that must have been while you were serving us. Schmuck.

 


A Federal program that provides free cell phones is being abused? Go figure …

I know, I know … it’s just so unusual, right?

What if you could get a free phone with a calling plan whose cost was paid by the federal government? What if you could have eight free cell phones? You can, and people do, Rep. Tim Griffin told The Daily Caller. The annual bill runs over $1 billion, and he’s trying to stop it.

The federal government started the Lifeline program to provide phones to low-income Americans. It originally provided only landlines, but cell phones were added several years ago.

“That’s when the program absolutely exploded and has become a nightmare,” Griffin said in a phone interview with TheDC. Calling it “Uncle Sam’s unlimited plan,” the Arkansas Republican has proposed a bill that would scale back the program to its original form: landlines only.

“People are not only getting [one free cell phone], they’re getting multiples. There are reports of people getting 10, 20, 30 — just routinely getting more than one, selling them, storing them up, whatever,” Griffin said.

The phones come with 100 minutes or more of free air time.  And they’re not just basic models either, they’re smart phones, like that one you paid a couple of hundred dollars for along with the contract you are obligated to pay each month.

Silly you.  Playing by the rules and trying to make it on your own.  Ever wonder what that line on your bill that says “universal service fund” was all about?  Well, this is what its about.  Your government giving away cell phones with no apparent accountability and you paying for them.

And the companies filling the requests for these phones?  Much like what happened in the housing market, they’ve been given incentives by government to fill as many requests as they can.

This is an outgrowth of a program that was initiated to ensure that low-income people had a land line and access to emergency services.  Then came cell phones and somehow the yahoos in DC thought it was only “fair” (one supposes) to give those who qualify as low-income individuals access to them too (why, I’m not sure, if the intent was to have a point of access to emergency services, a land line serves that purpose).

The inevitable result is good old waste, fraud and abuse to the tune of a billion dollars a year – something for which government is justly famous.

Oh, and here’s my favorite part:

The Federal Communications Commission, the government agency that is in charge of Lifeline, has also called for an overhaul of the program to deal with fraud and abuse. The FCC’s proposed changes call for a database to keep track of who already has phones, to prevent any one person from gaming the system. The proposed overhaul would also institute “a one-per-household rule applicable to all providers in the program.”

Seriously?  Now they think they need a “database” of users?  Now?

Have they any idea of who has the phones now? 

And, most importantly, why wasn’t this done in the beginning?  You know, we do live in the computer/information age.  How hard would that have been?

Just another in a long line of well thought out, well run and efficient government programs.

Yeah, let’s campaign for even more, shall we?

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic Statistics for 8 May 12

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

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index jumped two points in April to 94.5, the best reading in a year.

In retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales fell -0.8% last week, and the year on year sales rate fell to 3.3%. Meanwhile, Redbook is also very soft, with the year on year sales rate falling to 2.6%.

~
Dale Franks
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Fiscal austerity? Certainly not in Europe

The narrative the left likes to push is that “austerity” is the wrong thing to do, that increased government spending will see us out of these tough times.  And they like to point to Europe’s continuing downward spiral because of “austerity” as proof.

Meh.  They should consult the numbers first before pumping out yet another false meme:

fiscal-austerity-newnew580_1-1

Hardly a picture of “drastic” spending cuts.  Hardly a picture of “austerity.”

As Joel Pollak at Breitbart points out:

Government spending has continued to rise across much of Europe, and even those countries that have made small cuts have not reduced government spending to pre-recession levels. Some Keynesians might believe that these policies are draconian relative to the massive spending that should have happened during a recession, but that shifting the austerity goalposts.

Veronique de Rugy at National Review Online points to the graph above, and also points out that "whenever cuts took place, they were always overwhelmed by large counterproductive tax increases." Higher taxes on the "rich" have led to uniform misery in Europe–and to political extremism among disenchanted voters.That is the real failure of European policy, and the lesson most relevant to Americans as we head to the polls to choose between an incumbent who wants to raise taxes and one who wants to reform them.

Or to distill this even further, the “blue social/political model” is dying and there isn’t much the left (or anyone) can do to save it.  Reality has again defined “unsustainable” for the left in terms they are finding difficult to deal with.

What’s the first stage of coping with grief?

Oh, yeah … denial.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


“Forward” is fun

We’ve talked before about how it seems that whatever the Obama campaign puts forward, oops, I mean “out there”, it seems to backfire on them in a way they don’t anticipate.  As Dale Franks opines, the left takes their politics too seriously and so really don’t seem to understand that many times, when they start their hashtag slogans on Twitter or come up with campaign slogans that they’re teeing something up that the right will hit with glee and, for the most part, very snarky humor.

Well the new campaign slogan “Forward” is getting the treatment.  ScottonCapeCod starts us with this one:

590x354xFORWARD1-590x354.jpg.pagespeed.ic.YK1rmjsAtN

 

I like this one as well:

Obama train

And a couple by Herder Breeder:

forewarned

 

I especially like this one of circling the drain:

circle the drain

Get them out there.  One effect weapon that can be wielded against the left is mockery.  And after these last 3 plus years, they deserve every bit of it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO