Free Markets, Free People
One of the Kossaks has a post up about the polls showing WI Governor Scott Walker on the wrong end of them as he moves to fix the WI budget and curtail the power of public sector unions.
Poll after poll is telling Scott Walker the same thing: you are on the wrong side of public opinion. While early polling can fool you, we now have substantial data both from the nation and from Wisconsin.
The bottom line is that Gov. Walker has overplayed his hand with the public. Every Republican governor who is trying to curtail collective bargaining is at risk for being seen by the public as taking rights away, not balancing the budget. That can be done with givebacks (and the public is all for that, especially through negotiation.) But trying to curtail collective bargaining is seen by the public as the power grab it really is. The polls leave no doubt.
My reaction is, “so what”?
I mean I seem to recall poll after poll telling Obama and the Democrats that Americans didn’t want the ObamaCare monstrosity. But we were reminded that he’d won and elections have consequences.
Is that no longer true?
Michael Kinsley goes on a bit of a tear about states subsidizing the film industry in an LA Times piece. Kinsley is just flat upset that states are giving way subsidies to “millionaires”. Frankly, I don’t think government should be subsidizing any industry. But back to Kinsley:
Government, in order to work, must be a monopoly. The appeal of the movie industry to beleaguered state treasurers, in addition to its glamour, is its mobility. There are no huge factories. Regardless of where the movie is supposedly set, it can be shot almost anywhere. And it will employ locals and spend money.
But mobility giveth and mobility taketh away. Pit the states against one another and the subsidies will inevitably become more generous and less effective at the same time.
The same logic applies when the competition is foreign. True, we might tire of having to watch film after film often implausibly set in Vancouver. But in any attempt to outbid Canada for the privilege of hosting a movie shoot, even a successful effort will be self-defeating.
"Governors and legislatures should call ‘cut!’ on cynical efforts to kill forward-looking incentive programs for film and TV production, in New Mexico and in all other states," Richardson says.
"Cynical" is an odd word to describe people (and there aren’t many) who want deeply indebted state governments to stop forgoing billions in tax revenue in the futile effort to entice the movie business to make its next western in Erie, Penn., or wherever.
Whatever indeed. I don’t disagree. For once I can give Kinsley kudos.
Well, almost. In the same article he says, talking about Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico (and the “Richardson” quoted above):
Richardson might well be a candidate for one of the "respected elder statesman" seats that come open every generation (sort of an American version of the British House of Lords, only chosen by the media instead of the government), bringing with them memberships of prestigious commissions, offers of ambassadorships, opportunities to express concern on "Charlie Rose" or the PBS "NewsHour" shows (if those institutions manage to survive the current Republican onslaught) and so on.
Yes, you caught it. He’s talking about the subsidy the Federal government gives the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a multi-million dollar corporation that helps fund PBS, another multi-million dollar tax subsidized entity.
Irony – still a mystery to much of the left.
Next Kinsley will be urging us to buy a book on how to save the trees.
First up on the “thee but not me” list of being for “civil discourse” but not practicing it, is our old buddy from a show which should be called “Beanball”, Chris Matthews.
Chris is a great proponent of “civil discourse” unless you try to apply it to him. He is apparently attempting to repeal Goodwin’s law or to so cheapen the term “Nazi” that it no longer carries the horror it should. Mr. Moral Equivalence’s latest? Here’s his intro:
Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight: Glenn Beck shoots off his mouth. Today Jared Loughner pled not guilty. So has the right wing to the charge it promotes trouble with its endless rants about guns and hatred of government. Take Glenn Beck — please. He targets what he calls radicals in Washington who, quote, "believe in communism," and "you’re going to have to shoot them in the head." Gotcha!
We’ve got a Republican member of Congress out there going full bore on this stuff, saying he wants him and his fellow members of Congress to carry guns at the Capitol. Welcome to the State of the Union 2011. The violent rhetoric of the right won’t stop. It’s our top story tonight.
There’s your set up – the “violent rhetoric of the right won’t stop”, and it’s his top story. Lead with a discredited Glenn Beck story. Got it.
Commercial break and what do we see and hear? A few vids of Obama, McConnell and Cantor – discussing each side’s take on Obama economic policy.
And Matthews next statement? The next one after seeing the three vids noted?
MATTHEWS: Don’t you just love the new Republican Party? We have the Tea Party people with the placards and the Nazi stuff, and then you have these two Junior Chamber types representing them in Washington.
The irony bug hasn’t yet found Matthews apparently. The guy (and much of the left) are walking, talking hypocrites. Palin is lambasted for putting crosshairs on a campaign map months ago and 3 days ago, what does Matthews and company do? Yeah, put crosshairs on the US Capitol with the title “Fire on the Right”. Uh, the word “on” is significant when used in conjunction with a crosshairs graphic, wouldn’t you say – using the left’s standard for this sort of thing and all. Notice it isn’t “fire from the right” or “fire of the right” or even “fire by the right.”
It is “Fire on the Right” which, one assumes, given their instant pop analysis of the Tucson shooting would mean that if any assassin of a left leaning persuasion should shoot at a politician (or anyone) on the right in the next, oh, 6 months or so, it’s Matthews fault. Because his graphic and its title told them to do so.
Oh, and how did Matthews use the graphic? Hypocritically, of course:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight: Words and actions. Are people affected by what they hear? If not, why do people speak? If the messages people get day after day have no effect on their behavior, why do big corporations spend millions on advertising? Why do politicians? Does the daily climate of attack, the constant torrent of angry attack and questioning of loyalty, of legitimacy, of Americanness, stir people up? Does it trigger the zealots, the unstable, those who are a bit of both?
The politically correct judgment is that we can`t blame anyone for what we`ve seen recently, that words don`t matter in this discussion of people`s violent actions. But do we really believe words don`t matter, that they don`t incite, that they don`t cause trouble? Do we really believe you can say anything you want about someone and not expose them to the actions of a zealot or a nut?
Well we’ll see, won’t we Chris, now that using the left’s standards, you’ve done more than enough to incite “a zealot or a nut”.
Meanwhile down in GA, we have a different and appallingly ignorant revocation of Goodwin’s law and even more moral equivalence:
A Spanish-language newspaper in Georgia has drawn bipartisan criticism for publishing a doctored photograph depicting the state’s new governor as a Nazi.
Some whackado editor of a Spanish-language paper depicts a governor who has been in office all of a week as a Nazi. Why?
But Navarro said the picture represents the fear immigrants in Georgia feel with the arrival of Deal to the state’s top office, because of Deal’s strong anti-immigrant rhetoric during the last campaign.
Well there you go. He disagrees with Deal’s political approach to the issue – which is, btw, not “anti-immigration”, but against “illegal immigration” (I refuse to let the left conflate the two). So what do you do? Depict your political opponent as a Nazi obviously.
And here’s the irony – the boob depicts Deal as a Nazi (and everyone knows how they dealt with opposition press) and then says:
Navarro, who immigrated to the United States from Colombia, said he printed the picture knowing he didn’t have to fear retaliation from the governor because of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
Yeah, that happened all the time in Nazi Germany Mr. Navarro, you ignorant jackwagon.
Yeesh … you just can’t make some of this stuff up.
Irony alert – “Mean-spirited” Chancellor of UC Berkeley uses “hateful rhetoric” to attack political opponents
The LA Times brings us yet another example of the apparent immunity to irony most folks on the liberal side of the house tend to exhibit. This time it is the Chancellor of UC Berkeley – an institution probably considered the cherry on top of the sundae of liberal academia.
Apparently Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau sent out a campus-wide email in which he blamed the shooting of Rep. Giffords in Tucson on Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and the failure to pass the DREAM act. The email was sent out Monday. Giffords was shot the previous Saturday.
In the email, Birgeneau said, "I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons."
Well, as a matter of fact, it is a coincidence that it happened in Arizona regardless of anyone’s views on the immigration enforcement law the state passed. In fact, it appears immigration wasn’t even on Loughner’s rather weirded-out radar screen.
Birgenau also made it clear he believed a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated" was also partly responsible for the shooting. Subsequent revelations seem to pretty much debunk this theory. 0 for 2.
Speaking of demonization and hateful speech, Birgenau went on to say, "this same mean-spirited xenophobia played a major role in the defeat of the DREAM Act by legislators in Washington, leaving many exceptionally talented and deserving young people, including our own undocumented students, painfully in limbo with regard to their futures in this country,"
“Mean-spirited xenophobia”? It couldn’t be that many who opposed the legislation saw it as giving an unfair advantage to those who had chosen to ignore our laws over those who were playing by the rules could it? It couldn’t be that those who oppose the law have absolutely no problem with legal immigration and actually agree our system is broken and needs to be fixed, could it?
Nope, they must be “mean-spirited xenophobes” if they opposed the law. The irony impaired say so.
By the way, this is also a great example of “projection” – another thing the left seems to be unable to spot. Blame the other side for doing what you’re caught doing, i.e. using overgeneralizations, demonization and hateful speech to attack your opponent – while in the middle of decrying it.
It just doesn’t get much better than this.
And why was the Oscar nominated 2007 “documentary” film banned?
Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore’s Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash.
Or said another way, it was propaganda that even those who were made to look good found so dishonest they refused to show it. A communist regime. One steeped in propaganda designed to make them look good.
Yup, Michael Moore’s work in a nutshell.
More irony? This info was contained in a confidential cable released by Wikileaks and Moore just helped bail Wikileaks founder Julian Assange out of jail.
Seriously – that’s essentially the Matt Yglesias take on the recommendations published by the co-chairs of the president’s debt commission:
I’m not surprised that liberals don’t like the Simpson-Bowles proposals and I’m not surprised that people who aren’t liberal disagree with liberals about that. But I am surprised that there are people out there professing to be surprised that liberals are hostile to the proposal. But what are liberals supposed to think? It’s a proposal hashed out between a conservative Republican and a moderate Democrat. So of course liberals don’t like it. Imagine the conservative reaction to a deficit proposal written by Lincoln Chaffee and Russ Feingold.
Or instead of a hypothetical, how does Yglesias think the GOP would feel about a health care law written only by Democrats? To use his words, “if you want Republicans to like a deal, you need to invite Republicans to the table”. The irony, however, seems to have escaped him.
That’s not to say that pursuing a conservative-moderate deal was a bad idea. Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals by a large margin and moderates are a much bigger force in the Democratic coalition than in the Republican one. So if you want a deal, appointing an orthodox conservative Republican and a moderate Democrat from North Carolina makes a lot of sense. But it also makes sense that liberals won’t be happy with the results.
But when the GOP was unhappy with the health care law, it was because they hated poor Americans and were the lackeys of the insurance companies, right?
You remember the organization that became one of the biggest shills for the impending health care legislation now known as "Obamacare"? Reason brings us the story that AARP is now notifying its employees that thanks to their support for this monstrosity they have the privilege of paying 8 to 13% higher health care premiums next year:
In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.
And AARP adds that it’s changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Aerospace giant Boeing also has cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and acts like an escape hatch from the tax.
AARP said that its support of the law was based in the fact that “health care costs are growing too fast for everyone.” Now AARP’s employees will have the opportunity to experience that first hand – after the law the group supported to prevent such cost growth is in effect.
The "Rodney Dangerfield" of movements gets ignored by liberal Bob Herbert. After he says both sides are clueless in DC, and leadership is "AWOL", he says this:
What this election tells me is that real leadership will have to come from elsewhere, from outside of Washington, perhaps from elected officials in statehouses or municipal buildings that are closer to the people, from foundations and grass-roots organizations, from the labor movement and houses of worship and community centers.
The civil rights pioneers did not wait for presidential or Congressional leadership, nor did the leaders of the women’s movement. They plunged ahead with their crucial work against the longest odds and in the face of seemingly implacable hostility.
Sounds like a perfect description of the Tea Parties and what they’ve faced from the left – to include Bob Herbert.
Irony – something about which the left remains clueless.
I discussed this earlier with a post about Paul Krugman and Gary Becker, explaining why the German approach – essentially getting government out of the way while providing incentives to businesses for expansion and hiring – was superior to the tried and consistently failed tactic of huge amounts of government deficit spending as a "stimulus". Krugman and others waved away the German recovery as simply an upsurge in exports, nothing more.
E21 has an excellent article out today in which it takes exception to the Krugman claims (note too that E21 refuses to call Krugman and economist but instead refers to him as a “commentator”):
U.S. commentators, like Jonathan Chait and Paul Krugman, have taken issue with holding out Germany’s economic recovery as a success story – one that contains lessons for U.S. policymakers. Contrary to their claims, Germany’s recovery does not appear to just be about trade flows and global demand for their manufactured goods. 50% of their second quarter GDP came from private sector consumption and investment growth.
Private sector growth – what a concept, no?
Here is an extended excerpt which is probably one of the best explanations I’ve seen. The last line is so irony laden that it almost makes you wince. Also, as you read this carefully you will again note the obvious – “this ain’t rocket science”:
The contractionary effects of deficit-financed stimulus were highlighted by European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet at the Jackson Hole conclave. While many commentators in the U.S. still depict the debate over stimulus as pitting sagacious “pure” economists that favor more deficit spending against the politically astute economic illiterates, Mr. Trichet explains that the Franco-German technocrats in Frankfurt view the economic literature as counseling steep budget cuts in the current environment. Many U.S. economists speak of the need to increase deficit-financed public expenditure to avoid a Japanese-style “lost decade”, yet it is precisely the exploding public debt ratios that Mr. Trichet identifies as the real cause of Japan’s malaise and the greatest risk to Western economies today. To those who believe sharp reductions in public expenditure are too risky, given overall economic weakness, Mr. Trichet responds that deficit-financed stimulus is unlikely to provide any measureable boost to demand in the current environment because the government purchases are offset by reduced private expenditure. And on this point, Mr. Trichet even goes even further:
“There is the additional argument positing that credible fiscal deficit reductions through expenditure cuts lead the private sector to expect a lower future tax burden, especially when the nature of the cuts make future tax reductions more likely. This can generate higher consumption expenditures and more investment.”
Lest anyone believe Mr. Trichet was talking about modest cuts to public expenditure to assuage irrational markets, he went on to suggest that cuts to government spending should be sufficient to reduce debt-to-GDP ratios by 30 percentage points over the medium term. Mr. Trichet cites numerous examples where cuts of this magnitude have resulted in improved short-run economic performance. That it takes a French lifetime bureaucrat to travel to the American West for these words to be spoken at a U.S. policy symposium says something fairly profound about the current state of policymaking in the U.S.
Again, as I mentioned in the first post I’ve cited, the proof is in the pudding. Germany is back to pre-recession unemployment rates and excellent GDP growth. And where, again, is the US during “recovery summer”?
Perhaps now you can understand the reason Mort Zuckerman has referred to the economic policies of this administration as our “economic Katrina”. At this point we’d better hope the worst we suffer is a lost decade like Japan’s.
A blurb from the Washington Post that I find somewhat ironic:
Obama’s return to Washington from 10 days in Martha’s Vineyard and a quick stop in New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina will begin with an address to the nation marking the end of combat operations in Iraq. Days later, he will preside over the start of a new round of Middle East peace talks in Washington.
Both events offer Obama some political opportunities to help end a frustrating summer on a more positive note. But each is fraught with expectations that could prove difficult to meet in the long run, especially as the White House begins planning a reelection campaign next year.
And a week-long focus on foreign policy — timing driven largely by events outside of the president’s control — could seem oddly out of step during an election season that has been dominated by concerns over the national economy.
I guess “political opportunities” is in the eye of the beholder. The Post goes on to say that the timing of the foreign policy events is mostly “outside of the president’s control” meaning, obviously with the elections in November rapidly approaching, one would normally not look to foreign policy as a place he would gather “political momentum” as the Post’s title says.
There are a couple of reasons for that in Obama’s case. First he’s probably the least qualified president we’ve ever had in the foreign policy arena. Certainly the most inexperienced. And to this point, it’s rather difficult to point to any achievements in that area. So it seems to me to be a good deal of wishing and hoping by the Post’s Michael Shear if he thinks this is the arena in which lay Obama’s best chance for gathering “political momentum” again.
Secondly, Iraq can hardly be considered an accomplishment of his administration. The drawdown has been accomplished there in accordance with a timeline negotiated and agreed to (the SOFA agreement) by the Bush administration, before Obama ever took office. Ironically, we never hear Obama saying he inherited that.
As for the peace talks in the Middle East, it will most likely be the usual political theater with little accomplished. Turkey’s entrance into the ME debate on the side of the Arabs has had, I would think, a very profound effect on the possibility of such negotiations succeeding. I don’t think that impact is yet fully understood, but I suspect we’ll get an inkling of that when these talks begin.
If foreign policy is Obama’s best hope for regaining political momentum, then he’s in real political trouble.
Speaking of irony, this also caught my eye:
Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters now regard President Obama’s political views as extreme. Forty-two percent (42%) place his views in the mainstream, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
By comparison, 51% see the views of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as mainstream. Thirty-five percent (35%) think Clinton’s views are extreme. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
Incredible to think that the person who first tried to nationalize health care is seen as less extreme than the guy who did. The poll speaks to a possibility though. If Obama’s job approval numbers continue to decline (now at 43%) and if the numbers that consider him extreme continue to climb, I can see a possible challenge from the left in 2012 from Hillary Clinton.
And, btw, if there are any “successes” in foreign policy, you can bet that Ms. Clinton will be sure that she gets her share of the credit.
But you have to chuckle a bit about the noted poll numbers – Hillary Clinton, who was certainly regarded by at least a plurality and possibly a majority of being an extreme leftist is now considered by the majority as being “mainstream”? I guess that’s relatively true in the context of Mr. Obama, but I doubt that it is true in reality. She’s hidden herself well – ideologically speaking – these last few years, you have to give her that.
Oh, and speaking of extremist views, the Rasmussen poll didn’t just concentrate on Democrats:
Among five top contenders for the White House in 2012, only former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is viewed as more extreme than the president. Just 38% say Palin’s views are mainstream, while 55% regard them as extreme.
Mitt Romney, the ex-Massachusetts governor who unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, is considered mainstream by 45% and extreme by 33%. Twenty-two percent (22%), however, are not sure about his views.
Forty-four percent (44%) say the views of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, another unsuccessful 2008 GOP hopeful, are in the mainstream. Thirty-eight percent (38%) think Huckabee is extreme, and another 18% are not sure.
It’s important to note that the questions did not define “mainstream” or “extreme.”
Love the last line – yup, I guess “extreme” is something only an individual can define based on his personal ideology (and we all have them). It is like pornography – you know extreme when you see extreme.
Anyway, back to Obama and foreign policy. If I were him, I certainly wouldn’t bank on foreign policy being the area that pulls his political fortunes out of the ditch. He’s certainly, to this point, shown us nothing that would indicate he has a grasp on the situations around the globe and much to demonstrate he hasn’t. I can’t imagine how his political momentum is going to be restarted in an area in which he spends so little time and effort.