Free Markets, Free People
Seems easy enough. That way you can claim to be improving it even while nothing is actually improving in reality:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced last week it would be changing the guidelines with which it calculates Gross Domestic Product, more familiarly known as the GDP, the standard by which the size and growth of the economy is measured.
The change comes after more than five years of economic stagnation that, despite frequent claims of a strengthening recovery, have seen high unemployment and extremely slight growth in the size of the economy.
GDP is calculated by adding up the total amount of private consumption, investment, government spending, and net exports. The new changes, which will include definitional changes to expand what is counted in GDP, are expected to add 3 percent to the GDP report, while not changing the actual output of the economy.
The agency claims the changes in calculation “more accurately portray the evolving U.S. economy and to provide for consistent comparisons with data for the economies of other nations.”
Note the emphasized text. Realize that the addition of 3% to future GDP reports will be made without any explanation that a) there have been changes in the way it was calculate and b) in reality, the actual output of the economy has not changed at all.
But the administration will claim victory and the low information voters will buy it while the “no” information voters (those on the left who refuse to challenge anything put out by this administration) will crow about the “improvements” that the administration has brought to the economy.
Meanwhile the unemployment picture will remain the same (about 7.5%) until they can find a new way to calculate that and take about 3% off . Then we’ll be officially “fixed”.
This should be interesting to watch:
A group of small business owners (and individuals) in six states today are suing the federal government over an IRS regulation imposed under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which will force them to pay exorbitant fines, cut back employees’ hours, or severely burden their businesses. Complaint can be viewed here.
The Affordable Care Act authorizes health insurance subsidies to qualifying individuals in states that created their own healthcare exchanges. Those subsidies trigger the employer mandate (a $2,000/employee penalty) and expose more people to the individual mandate. But last spring, without authorization from Congress, the IRS vastly expanded those subsidies to cover states that refused to set up such exchanges. Under the Act, businesses in these nonparticipating states should be free of the employer mandate, and the scope of the individual mandate should be reduced as well. But because of the IRS rule, both mandates will be greatly enlarged in scope, depriving states of the power to protect their residents.
Michael Carvin, partner at Jones Day, who co-argued the Supreme Court Obamacare cases in March, 2012 and who represents the plaintiffs in this lawsuit, stated: “The IRS rule we are challenging is at war with the Act’s plain language and completely rewrites the deal that Congress made with the states on running these insurance exchanges.”
33 states have refused to set up these exchanges. The IRS, per the complaint, is ignoring that ability given by the states by the law and proceeding as if it didn’t exist. The argument is the IRS is overstepping it’s authority.
“Agencies are bound by the laws enacted by Congress,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). “Obamacare is already an incredibly massive program. For the IRS to expand it even more, without congressional authorization and in a manner aimed at undercutting state choice, is flagrantly illegal.” CEI is coordinating the lawsuit.
We’ll see. Given the way the law is interpreted anymore, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see the IRS upheld (or the suits be dismissed out of hand). Such is the lack of respect and confidence I hold for our “legal system” anymore.
Maureen Dowd must be a little slow on the uptake if she is just figuring this out:
ABC News’s Jonathan Karl asked Obama if he was already out of “juice” to pass his agenda, citing the president’s inability to get a watered-down gun bill passed in the Senate, Congress swatting away Obama on the sequester cuts, and the recent passage of a cybersecurity bill in the House with 92 Democrats on board, despite a veto threat from the White House.
“Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home,” President Obama said with a flash of irritation, before tossing off a Mark Twain line: “Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.”
Then he put on his best professorial mien to give his high-minded philosophy of governance: Reason together and do what’s right.
“But, Jonathan,” he lectured Karl, “you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job. They are elected, members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and for the American people.”
Actually, it is his job to get them to behave. The job of the former community organizer and self-styled uniter is to somehow get this dunderheaded Congress, which is mind-bendingly awful, to do the stuff he wants them to do. It’s called leadership.
He still thinks he’ll do his thing from the balcony and everyone else will follow along below. That’s not how it works.
That may not be how it works, but for 6 long years, that’s how he’s pretended it worked, acted like it worked and claimed it worked. Of course he’s not ever been a leader nor has he ever lead. Even his foreign policy has been a position of non-leadership (euphemistically called “leading from behind”). The great sucking sound you hear in DC these days isn’t just the GOP leadership. It’s the leadership void of this president.
Of course, it is a bit funny that the sycophants of the press are just now getting around to figuring out how ineffective the man is. And while we’ve been pointing out this lack of leadership from day 1 of his presidency, let me note that, in a meta sense, it is probably a good thing he’s such a lousy leader. Lord knows what other abominable laws we’d be stuck with right now if he had even a clue about how to lead.
Well, there’s been a significant amount of silence from those who were "there" and a lot of smoke thrown by those who were in charge. You have to wonder if this is about to break big or it will continue to be swept under the rug:
If ever there was an apt description of our general problem in this country, Dr. Milton Wolf nails it in the first paragraph of his discussion of the building disaster we call ObamaCare.
The fatal conceits of Obamacare are the absurd notions that the government can spend your money more wisely than you can and that bureaucrats are more capable than you are to make your own most intimate, personal decisions. The antithesis of government-centered Obamacare is what I simply call “Patientcare.” Patients should be at the center of our health care universe, not President Obama and not the government.
We suffer under a landslide of the same fatal conceit applied to literally hundreds of government programs in this country. These fatal conceits (or flawed premises if you prefer) have cost us literally trillions of dollars and much of our freedom. Government has essentially decided that it’s priorities for your money are more important than your priorities for what you earn. And, it had also decided that in many areas it can make better decisions for you than you can make for yourself.
But, that’s not the problem in full. In full, the problem is exacerbated (and the notion “validated”) by the number of people who, for whatever reason, have bought into the efficacy of these conceits. They believe the flawed premises to be true and willingly cede their money and freedom believing government does indeed spend their money more wisely and is more capable than them of making “good” decisions on their behalf.
The problem, of course, is that as long as those people who willingly enslave themselves to government exist in large enough numbers, they’ll succeed in putting the shackles on the rest of us as well. As long as they look at the federal government as their care giver, they force that on the rest of us as well.
One of the reasons we have the debt and deficit problems we currently suffer is the left has been very successful in selling those flawed premises via emotional appeal to low information (and frankly, ignorant) voters. They’ve avoided rational discussion with “for the children” campaigns. They’ve often claimed “market failure” where government created problems through preverse incentives and market intrusion and then push government as the solution.
Years ago we came from a people that knew that nothing was “free”. They knew that there really wasn’t anything called a “free lunch”, someone had to pay for it. The knew that you were responsible for your own welfare, self-defense and freedom. And interestingly, so did most of the politicians of the time. Oh there were certainly those among them that believed as the left does today, but they were a distinct minority. Their creed was considered extreme and, frankly, un-American.
Now it is they who are “main stream” and those who call for much less government intrusion in our lives who seem to be considered the extremists. Common sense, the ability to see through the blarney and nonsense, seems to have died. In the so-called information age, we seem to have a growth of ignorance. Part of that I lay at the feet of another government program that has been a woeful failure – public schooling. Common sense tells you that such an institution would be unlikely to teach anything negative about government and, in fact, might even become a bit of a propaganda arm for it. That it might involve itself in a bit of indoctrination. That it might fill fairly benign subjects with information preferred by government and spend less time on information that wasn’t in favor at the time or is contrary to the agenda it prefers. But that all assumes an ability to teach the core competencies, something most of our school systems seem unable to do with any great success. So we have the misinformed and the illiterate buying into the government’s flawed premise in droves.
Obviously a great deal of things over the years have led us to this point of dependency on government. And we know how it ends. It is the blue state model and the blue state model is failing all over the country and the world.
Yet was still hear it extolled by its zealots and lapped up by the ignorant who refuse to look beyond the promises. It still amazes me that we’ve managed to get in this mess and can’t seem to find the intestinal fortitude to say “enough” and begin doing the very unpleasant task of reversing it. But that’s the problem, isn’t it? It would be unpleasant. And we don’t like unpleasant. So instead, we continue to believe the fantasy.
The problem, of course, is like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, reality is going to pull back the curtain very soon and expose the fantasy for the fraud it is. And then we’ll look back at “unpleasant” as something we wish we’d done.
By then, it will be way too late.
This week, Michael and Dale discuss Syria and Obamacare.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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It’s just an inconvenient truth that they don’t want anyone to be aware of at the moment – i.e. you are your own best self-defense and you should be equipped to handle that responsibility. This happened last year. Did you hear about it? The MSM is invested on the side which says “guns are bad”:
A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith’s store.
Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith’s employee Dorothy Espinoza says, “He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people.”
Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. “There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms.”
Then, before the suspect could find another victim – a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. “A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith’s grabbed him.”
Whoa, that can’t be right can it? Guns kill people. Guns are dangerous. Guns should be banned. Guns are terrible.
Anyone want to guess what those who were threatened and stabbed in this particular instance might say about the gun wielding man?
Maybe, “thank you?”
By the time officers arrived the suspect had been subdued by employees and shoppers. Police had high praise for gun carrying man who ended the hysteria. Lt. Brian Purvis said, “This was a volatile situation that could have gotten worse. We can only assume from what we saw it could have gotten worse. He was definitely in the right place at the right time.”
Key phrase: “By the time officers arrived …” It could have ended with “the man had stabbed a dozen people” or “had killed 3″ or, well, any of a number of much worse endings huh?
But, you know, you can’t be trusted with guns.
How convoluted has our world become? How screwed up is this nation? How Orwellian is everything these days?
Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned.
State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits. Russell Tsarnaev’s attorney has claimed Katherine — who had converted to Islam — was working up to 80 hours a week as a home health aide while Tsarnaev stayed at home.
In addition, both of Tsarnaev’s parents received benefits, and accused brother bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were recipients through their parents when they were younger, according to the state.
The news raises questions over whether Tsarnaev financed his radicalization on taxpayer money.
We paid for our own bombing.
Michael Bloomberg on what you’re going to have to put up with because, you know, freedom comes in second to safety:
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
Yeah … no. What you’re seeing there is just a different way of saying what potential tyrants (authoritarians) have said for centuries. A shorter version is what Bloomberg said before seen in the title. That’s what he really means. This? This is just him saying the same thing but trying to dress it up so it sounds semi-acceptable and reasonable. It is neither. What has to change is we need to stand up and say “no” finally.
Because, as you know, the Constitution has remained a consistent obstacle to the authoritarians who would rule over us:
“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.
“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.
Or, welcome to the surveillance state. You may surrender your privacy rights over there.
Face it – the terrorists have won.
PS: Oh, btw, we made The New Yorker yesterday. Ironic, no?
From The Hill, this paragraph concerning the brothers who perpetrated the Boston bombings:
The news that the suspects were not authorized to own firearms will likely add fuel to calls for tougher gun laws – an issue that was put on the back-burner last week after the Senate blocked the central elements of a gun-control package backed by President Obama.
A) I told you so … I said a few days ago that the defeat of the latest gun control legislation was only a set back and hardly the end of the left’s efforts to further restrict the right to own a firearm. B) I also told you I feared the aftermath of the bombings. And here we go. And finally C) WTF?
It is clear that Massachusetts’ very strict gun control laws has no effect here. None. Absolutely zero. How many times and in how many ways must we say that scofflaws don’t obey laws? How often does the “we ought to pass a law” crowd who think legislation and restriction is the answer to everything have to see that their way is a failure before they quit trying to take our freedoms away?
Gun control laws don’t work. If they did, there’d be no criminals running around with “illegal” guns, would there? There’d be no source of those guns if those laws worked. But, in fact, criminals almost exclusively obtain “illegal” guns and/or completely ignore any gun control legislation. Look at Chicago for heaven sake. Some of the most restrictive gun control laws in America and criminals have all but made it a free-fire zone.
When will the left understand that the problem isn’t guns, it’s criminals? How often does it have to be pointed out to them that criminals, by definition, don’t obey laws? How will more legislation suddenly stop (or even deter) two determined people, like the Boston bombers, from illegally obtaining guns? Harsher penalties? Obviously they were willing to take the risk. And that seems to be the case with all the other criminals who use guns in the commission of their crimes.
The only people that will be deterred and restricted by new gun control legislation are the law abiding. And watch out for this – at the end of this road (or slippery slope if you prefer) is the rationalization that the only way to “control gun violence” is to completely outlaw guns. It is the logical end of the left’s push for more and more restrictive gun legislation. And, as they often do, they’re willing to spend the time, exploit and politicize tragedies and achieve incremental success in taking guns away. It’s no different than ObamaCare. That’s not the end of anything. It is the first grab. The end state, if you are a student of the left’s actions at all, is fully government run single-payer health care. ObamaCare is just the beginning. Once it fails, because government has, whether on purpose or inadvertently designed it to fail, government will blame “the market” and claim it is the solution.
It’s an old pattern being repeated, in a slightly different way, in the gun control saga. One only has to harken to the era of prohibition (or not even that far back … how about drug laws?) to know that restrictive legislation doesn’t work, has never worked and will never work.
Violence and criminal behavior are the problems. Passing all the laws in the world won’t change that. As usual, government chooses to treat the symptoms and go after a tool rather than the actual problem.
If and when they finally find a way to ban all guns, run gun manufacturers out of the country and put more untold thousands of citizens in jail, they’ll be shocked, shocked I tell you, when gun violence continues and violence in general rises.
See the UK and Australia for case studies.