Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

Politicians: Let’s hold someone accountable

Here’s where I get to laugh at the usual circus.  Politicians deciding they need to hold some other industry “accountable”:

U.S. and state officials are intensifying efforts to hold colleges accountable for what happens after graduation, a sign of frustration with sky-high tuition costs and student-loan debt.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Marco Rubio> (R., Fla.) are expected to reintroduce this week legislation that would require states to make more accessible the average salaries of colleges’ graduates. The figures could help prospective students compare salaries by college and major to assess the best return on their investment.

While I agree that colleges do not offer a good return on investment at the moment, since when is it up to politicians to hold them “accountable”.

And how would the politicians fare if the same standards were applied to them?

~McQ

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Why we’re in the mess we’re in: Because we have idiots in leadership postions and we leave them there

We’re governed by half-wits who’ll say anything to shift the blame or misdirect the public if they think it helps their party and fool us:

Pelosi rebuffed GOP calls for the sequester replacement to focus exclusively on targeting more spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address,” she told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday.

How in the world does this jaybird think we got into the “budget deficit problem?”
Magic?

Back in 1984, a columnist named Charlie Reese wrote a piece which pretty much cuts away the artifice that those we allow to “govern” us have woven:

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

Whatever the problem (and despite Pelosi, it is a spending problem) they are the cause.  “They” being Congress.  It is “they” who have gotten us into this mess, so when one of them say things like this, just consider the source:

Pelosi added that the deficit and debt are at “immoral levels” and “must be reduced.”

Reese gets to the nut of it all (btw, this is an updated version where someone has put events happening now vs. those in 1984 – the irony is, nothing has changed):

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)

[…]

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ..

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees… We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

We should. But we won’t. And … well, we’ll continue to get what we richly deserve for not doing our job.

~McQ

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 10 Feb 13

This week, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss drone strikes and the media.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

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Economic Statistics for 8 Feb 13

The following US economic statistics were announced today:

Wholesale inventories fell -0.1% in December, while wholesale sales were unchanged, keeping the stock-to-sales ratio steady at 1.19.

The US trade gap narrowed in December, falling to -$38.5 billion, largely due to a big drop in iPhone imports, and increased exports. Exports rose 2.1%, while imports dropped -2.7%.

~
Dale Franks
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Another reason we’re in the mess we’re in: The media has failed in its job

Here, we’ve all wondered  – for years – why journalists are so willing to toss their credibility in the waste bin and go “all in” for this guy Obama.  It doesn’t take a particularly bright individual to note how totally nonresponsive they are to stories that, had the perpertrator been on the right or, God forbid, George Bush, how differently they would have responded.  To say they’ve sold their collective “journalistic ethical” souls is, frankly, a huge understatement.  They are, or have become, a propaganda arm of this administration (well, all except the hated FOX, which keeps pointing out the emperor has no clothes).

Nick Gillespie at Reason explores all of this in his recent article.  A snippet:

It’s sad, though never unexpected, when leaders such as Obama flip flop like a fish on the sand once they ascend power. Cromwell did it, the French revolutionaries did it, Castro did it, the Sandanistas did it, and on and on. It’s one of the oldest plots in history and infinitely adaptable to new conditions. How else to explain, as Jacob Sullumn notes, that candidate Obama rejected the Bush adminstration’s position that it could detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without pressing charges while President Obama claims the right to kill U.S. citizens without laying charges? The guy may not be able to pass a budget but christ, give him credit for ingenuity and brass balls.

But Obama is a politician – what do you expect? Politicians are not just the bottom of the barrel – they’re what’s under the bottom of the barrel, right?

So what then explains the contortions that journalists fold themselves into like so many carnival sideshow rubber-men in defending their hero? Mike Riggs points to comments by rising liberal MSNBC pundit Toure that suggest just how far explicitly pro-Obama liberals are willing to go in excusing the president’s declaring himself and his crew judge, jury, and executioner. As Riggs explains, it seems pretty clear that Toure isn’t up to speed on specifics, especially when it comes to the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son:

When his co-hosts continue to press him on the consequences of a small group of individuals determing who deserves to die without a shred of oversight, Touré dismisses them by saying, “Al Qaeda attacked this nation. We are attacking al Qaeda back.” On Twitter Touré simply said, “He’s the Commander in Chief.”

Al Qaeda is the new Communism, dig?

Or something.  Yesterday we had Chris Rock claim that we should all obey Obama because, he’s “our boss”. Un, no Chris, he’s not our boss.

He’s our freakin’ employee.  He works for us.  He was hired by the people (much to my chagrin) and he has to follow the law just like everyone else.  He’s not the “boss” or our “Dad”.

But Rock’s BS points to the difference between the left (and their apparent desire for strong authoritarianism) and the right who still, at least in small pockets, see government as a dangerous but necessary evil to be controlled by the people.  It also shows why to them, politics isn’t just a system, but it is a cult, a religion, their way of transforming a nation and the world in an image they imagine will be better.

Yet history shows us that no matter how wonderful the fantasy that drives groups like this to collectively use force to social engineer a population toward their utopia, it never, ever ends well.

And now we have journalists engaged in precisely the work that propaganda arms of totalitarian governments have always done.  If once, their job was to question government, keep it accountable and investigate anything that smelled at all fishy, they’ve abdicated that in favor of selective blindness, cheerleading, advocacy and pure unadulterated fantasy.

It is the usual path a nation takes towards it’s demise.

And we’re well down that path, folks.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 7 Feb 13

Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:

Initial jobless claims fell 5,000 to 366,000, while the 4-week average fell 2,250 to 350,500. Continuing claims rose 8,000 to 3.224 million.

Monthly chain store sales are being reported today, with a generally positive trend, and some chains with very strong results. The signs are pointing to a 0.5% overall increase in ex-auto, ex-gas sales for the government’s retails sales report for January.

Non-farm business productivity fell a greater than expected -2.0% in the 4th quarter of 2012, while unit labor costs rose 4.5%. Business output declined to a 0.1% annualized rate from Q3’s 4.7%, while hours worked rose 2.2$. Unit labor costs were boosted by a 2.4% increase in compensation costs. Overall, this is a very disappointing report.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose almost a point to -36.3 in the latest week.

~
Dale Franks
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Speaking of the lies we were fed …

By the likes of Krugman and the Democrats, here’s a little more proof:

The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday quietly raised the 10-year cost of ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies offered via the health law’s exchanges by $233 billion, according to a Congressional Budget Office review of its latest spending forecast.

The CBO’s new baseline estimate shows that ObamaCare subsidies offered through the insurance exchanges — which are supposed to be up and running by next January — will total more than $1 trillion through 2022, up from $814 billion over those same years in its budget forecast made a year ago. That’s an increase of nearly 29%.

29% and they’re not even off the ground yet. Anyone have any doubt whatsoever that this is likely a lowball estimate at this point?  Are we aware of the trend we always see when “costs” are discussed by governments and political parties?

Note too that they play games with the CBO (which is limited to forecasting 10 years out and also hasn’t been very accurate about much of anything – see debt forecasts over the last decade).

The politicians mostly fabricate whatever they think is palatable to the gullible public, sell them with the CBO’s false data and then, when it is found out that it was all bollocks, they say, ‘oh well, too late now, it’s the law”.

Well here’s my feeling about that.  If the “law” doesn’t live up to their hype – if it ends up being massively more than they claimed (you know like 29%) then there’s a fairly simple rule that should be followed.

It – the law – should be automatically repealed.

~McQ

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Krugman: was he lying then or is he lying now?

My bet would be on “then”, because in a moment of exquisite candidness, Paul Krugman – the man who has said “What? Me worry?” about the deficit and the debt, who claimed ObamaCare would do what Obama promised, – has apparently been drugged and finally told the truth:

Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising…there is this question of how we’re going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give…. …. We’re going to need more revenue…Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version…which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.

Gee … everything everyone who has paid attention has been saying all along.  Middle class taxes (you have to shake your head at his “oh well” approach to a middle class tax.  A sales tax.  Perhaps the most regressive tax going).  Death panels. Etc.

But it’s safe now … selling his credibility and being a hack has landed Obama another 4 years.

Apparently he’s on a “resurrect Paul Krugman’s professional reputation” tour.

Not that it’s working.

~McQ

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Another reason we’re in the mess we’re in: the rise of the professional politician

Another reason we’re in the mess we’re in is because of the rise of professional politics and politicians.  According to a recent study 46%  of the present Congress is comprised of lawyers.  That’s 68 times  the density of lawyers throughout the population. But law school for many has been or has become the jumping off point for life as a professional politician.

And so, as with our current president, we get a class of people who have never “done anything or run anything.”  The results predictable, just look around. For the most part, those who are our supposedly “leaders” haven’t a clue on how to proceed or how to “fix” what is wrong with this country.  They have little experience in doing much of anything else but getting elected. Execution, governing, management – all seem foreign to most of our political class.  So they rely on “experts”, mostly in academia or among their political connections, to advise them on how to proceed.

Ed Driscoll provides us with a great example of one politician who, after he left political life, realized how little he knew about extraordinarily important information, and how little experience he actually had where it counted. Former presidential candidate and longtime politician, George McGovern, decided to go into business after leaving politics. It was only then, after his business failed, he realized how little he knew about something as critical as what it takes in the business atmosphere he helped build to run a business.

George McGovern laments that after his experience in the bed-and-breakfast business he realizes that laws and regulations pertaining to small business are actually hurting the lower-wage workers whom he had tried to help during his entire political career. With his Stratford Inn in bankruptcy, McGovern now says:

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business…. I wish that during the years I was in public office I had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better Senator and a more understanding presidential contender… To create job opportunities, we need entrepreneurs who will risk their capital against an expected payoff. Too often, however, public policy does not consider whether we are choking off those opportunities.

He is just one of many of this of this professional political class who have helped put us in this mess.

We should demand, as voters and citizens, that our politicians have real world experience before we allow them the privilege of representing us. We should end this era of politicians whose only real world experience concerning the effects of policy come from dormitory debates and untried academic theories.  And we should reject, out of hand, anyone who has “never done anything or run anything”, unless we find ourselves comfortable with the shape this country is in.

~McQ

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