Questions and Observations

Free Markets, Free People

What do you do when your government flat out lies to you?

It’s a rhetorical question for the most part, since it seems to be a daily occurrence anymore.  Obviously it is hard to trust any government that does that on a regular basis and with a straight face.  But that’s what we’re faced with.  The latest example comes from Ken Salazar, head of the Department of the Interior, and as usual, he’s dissembling about oil production.

Kyle Isakower at API’s “Energy Tomorrow” blog, brings us up to date on some of Salazar’s numbers:

Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told Congress that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico "remained at an all-time high, and we expect that it will continue as we bring new production online."  He claimed: "In 2009 there were 116 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, in 2010 in February, 120, in February 2011, 126."

Key points: production “remained at an all-time high” last year.  And that such a state would continue to exist as “we” bring new production online.  Additionally, Salazar claims an increase of 10 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico from 2009 to last month.

Not true says Isakower citing Baker Hughes:

  • Four days before the Deepwater Horizon accident there were 55 rotary rigs actually drilling offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • On May 28, 2010, when the administration announced the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, there were 46 rotary rigs operating in the Gulf. 
  • Last week, 25 rotary rigs were operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

The point of course is oil production comes from working rigs.  While there may be more rigs (by 10) in the Gulf, there are less working rigs (by 30) than in 2009.

As Isakower quips:

Claiming an increase in idle rigs in the Gulf as a success story is like claiming the job market is great because a lot of people are unemployed and available to work.

As for the production figures and the claim by Salazar that production remained at “an all time high” is technically true, the next part of his claim is demonstrably false.  Isakower explains:

The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration reports that production in the Gulf of Mexico is in decline, forecasting a decline of 250,000 barrels a day from Gulf production, due partly to the moratorium and restricted permitting.  While the annual production figure for 2010 was greater than 2009, EIA’s month-by-month production figures show a peak in May of 2010, and a relatively steady decline since. And EIA Petroleum Engineer Gary Long told trade publication E&E News that the rig count in the Gulf was cut in half after the Deepwater Horizon accident and that it wouldn’t rebound to previous levels until the end of 2011 under the assumption that the permitting process is restored to historical rates. Further, since there is a lag time from the time an exploration permit is approved to the time of actual production, and since no only a handful of permits for new wells have been granted since April of 2010, it is likely that Gulf of Mexico production will continue to be hit hard in 2012 and beyond.

If anyone is monitoring the permitting process as it stands today, they know that the assumption about the process that Long uses isn’t valid (1 permit granted this year that I know of and that just before the hearings at which Salazar spoke).  What that then means, as Isakower notes, is production in the Gulf will remain “hard hit” and lower than 2009 until well beyond 2012.

So, here we have a critical need (the production of more oil) that could produce thousands of good paying jobs, would boost a regional economy not to mention provide money for the federal treasury (taxes and royalties) and we have a government official claiming we’re at record levels and will remain there and beyond because “we” have more rigs in the Gulf now than we did 2 years ago.

API is relatively gentle about it saying, [w]e appreciate that when it comes to selling the administration’s energy policy, Secretary Salazar is in a tough position”.

I don’t have to be that diplomatic.  Salazar isn’t “selling” anything, he’s spinning nonsense to Congress.  There is no cogent or responsible energy policy evident from this administration.  Instead, it has declared war on a vital industry that is absolutely critical to our nation’s economy and, using the Deepwater Horizon disaster as an excuse, placed barrier after barrier in front of the industry for almost a year to discourage new drilling operations.

Unfortunately the war has been successful.  Drilling rigs have all but abandoned the Gulf to be deployed elsewhere around the world.  That is a travesty and an inexcusable outcome of a thoughtless policy pressed for political reasons.  Again, the administration spins nonsense to make it sound like they are on board with more oil production while doing everything in their power to block it.

The sad truth is the results of that “policy” will eventually be paid by you, at the pump, as gas prices continue to rise.

Remember that in 2012.  It is another part of the record of the Obama administration.  And in 2012, Obama has to do something he’s never done before in his political life – actually run on his record. 

~McQ

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My book, Slackernomics, should be available for Kindle tomorrow

I’m happy to announce that sometime tomorrow my book, Slackernomics, will be available on Kindle at the Amazon store for the low, low price of $3. For those who don’t know, Slackernomics is a book on basic economics for people who think economics is boring. Instead of a bunch of charts and math, I present economics in a more enjoyable way.  For instance, here is a portion of my discussion on the role of prices:

Another feature of the price system is that it forces producers to put resources to their most valued uses. This is important because, quite often, consumers demand different goods that use many of the same components.

Let’s take petroleum, for example. People don’t just need gasoline; they need plastics to make computer keyboards and ugly furniture for college students. Businesses need chemicals for industrial production and dyes. Textile companies need artificial fabrics that don’t fade or discolor. Perverts need Vaseline.

So, in bidding for each of those items, their producers are also bidding for the petroleum required to make them. When more people buy Vaseline, Johnson & Johnson has to bid away some of that petroleum from refineries or textile mills. In turn, this increased demand in petroleum causes the price of oil to rise for everyone who uses it.

In order to keep buying oil, everyone now has to pay the price that Johnson & Johnson is willing to pay. As this raises consumer prices for these items, consumers are likely to buy less of them. For example, a consumer, noticing the increase in the cost of Vaseline, decides to spend Saturday night alone.

So, the price that Johnson & Johnson is willing to pay for oil becomes an added cost for all of the other businesses that use oil. If they want to bid away some of that oil, they have to be willing to pay the higher price. But since higher prices tend to mean lower sales, other producers will only bid away as much oil as they think they can use, now that sales are dropping.

The end result is that Johnson & Johnson ends up with a relatively larger portion of oil. In other words, the resource of oil has flowed to the highest valued product, an important…uh…medical lubricant.

Eventually, because there is an increasing supply of Vaseline, demand is affected. At some point, consumers are unwilling to buy it, because there’s enough of it on the shelves. And, of course, with all this petroleum bidding going on, the price has been increasing. So, some consumers may notice that the price of Vaseline has now increased relative to, say KY Jelly, and they may decide to purchase that instead.

Of course, either way, Johnson & Johnson wins.

So, if you’d like to get a better understanding of how economics work, and maybe get a few good laughs on the way, you can get it tomorrow for about 1/6 the price of the physical book.

I’ll provide the direct link to Amazon to purchase it when it becomes available tomorrow.

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Pondering the “new civility”

As everyone knows, the “new civility” has been getting quite a workout since the Wisconsin thing has blown up.  Anyone who has kept up with it and read blogs covering it (like Althouse), know this hasn’t been an episode of peace, love and decorum.  It has been one of threats, violence and attempts at intimidation – not to mention a fairly unseemly tantrum. 

So, I have to wonder what happened to all the civility talk after the Giffords shooting?  Especially on the left.  It’s been rather quiet over there since Wisconsin has erupted.  And make no mistake about it, the threats, violence and attempts at intimidation, not to mention the frequent invocations of Goodwin’s law, aren’t figments of the imagination – they’re documented fairly thoroughly for anyone who wants to find them (unlike the MSM).

As the sort of cherry on top of the “new civility” sundae, here’s this email that was sent to every GOP senator (save the one who voted against the bill) by someone who is, and I dare you to tell me otherwise when you read it, deranged and apparently plans to visit violence on each and every one of them:

From: XXXX
Sent: Wed 3/9/2011 9:18 PM
To: Sen.Kapanke; Sen.Darling; Sen.Cowles; Sen.Ellis; Sen.Fitzgerald; Sen.Galloway; Sen.Grothman; Sen.Harsdorf; Sen.Hopper; Sen.Kedzie; Sen.Lasee; Sen.Lazich; Sen.Leibham; Sen.Moulton; Sen.Olsen

Subject: Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.
WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn’t leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so "high" on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won’t
tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will "get rid of" (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it’s worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!

I can only guess, by the sentence structure, single dense paragraph and spelling, that the person is product of public schooling, which explains why they’re so upset about those 300,000 people.  Some of those are Mr. or Ms. X’s teachers.

Apparently the person also signed the email indicating they may have had the opportunity to have each of those teachers for more than one year.

Regardless, this is not something I remember showing up at offices of politicians when the Tea Party was supposedly so “violent” and “uncivil”.  Maybe I missed it and someone will enlighten me.

And, of course, the new way of venting (“civilly” of course) and shouting out threats, Twitter, hasn’t been silent either.

I’m also wondering if the SPLC will designate the government unions of Wisconsin official leftist “hate groups”?  My guess is the SPLC will somehow find a way to claim they’re part of a militia movement or something.  Everyone knows militias are the ultimate evil – and right-wing fascists.  More likely, the SPLC will ignore it.

There is one consolation though – we won’t have to listen to any condescending, patronizing and smarmy lectures about “civility” anymore from the left. 

Will we?

~McQ

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The wind energy scam

Why call it a scam?  Because, as you’ll see, it isn’t creating jobs, it isn’t contributing the amount of energy it was claimed it would, and, essentially it can’t survive without massive subsidies.

 

 

If you’re looking for innovation, what is most likely to produce it – a big payday if you come up with a solution, or government subsidy which encourages the status quo?

~McQ

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The situation in Wisconsin

I’ve been busily reading everything I can about the Wisconsin situation as it stands right now.  It has been an interesting exercise.  Of course, one look at Memeorandum and you can instantly tell which ideological side a particular blog falls on.  Also interesting are the titles of some of the stories/posts.  Talk about sensationalist. 

Of course, that’s not to say that we’re not hearing the same thing from some of the participants on the protests and demonstrations.  Things like this:

“In 30 minutes, 18 state senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.”

And where were the Democrats?  In Illinois.  BTW, it was actually a few weeks and 30 minutes as the Democrats were invited, nearly daily, to come back from their self-imposed exile and participate.  A fact that James Joyner notes in his reply to the above quote:

Oh, nonsense. They were overwhelmingly elected in November and prevented from acting only by bad faith on the part of the Democratic minority. And the Democrats have the ability to either try to force Republicans out via the recall process or rally back to a majority in 2012 and undo this legislation.

That’s the process, isn’t it?  Just as it appears that the majority of the country thought that the passage of the health care bill in Congress was a travesty and made the point on November 2nd of last year, now Wisconsin voters – who put the GOP into the majority – have a process they can use to reverse what has happened.  But pretending that it was “disrespectful” to do what they did or a conspiracy to “take government away from the people” is, as Joyner notes, “nonsense”.

Apparently the move by the Republicans in the Senate was precipitated by two things as Christian Schneider at “The Corner” points out:

A letter Democrat Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller sent the governor today, indicating Miller’s unwillingness to further negotiate any details of the bill, was what prompted the GOP’s decision to take the bill to the floor.

“It was like, ‘I’m in the minority, and I’m going to dictate to you what your options are,’” said one GOP source about Miller’s letter. It was just three days ago that Miller had sent Fitzgerald a letter urging more negotiations, despite the fact that Governor Walker had been negotiating with at least two Democrat senators for nearly a week. “With his recent letter, it became clear that all he wanted to do was stall,” said the GOP source.

Another action that provoked the GOP senators to act was Democrat Senator Lena Taylor’s very public decision to have a spring election absentee ballot sent to her in Illinois. The spring election is scheduled for April 5th, which indicated Taylor’s desire to stay out of the state for another month. “That sure didn’t help,” said one GOP source.

Gov. Scott Walker has an Op/Ed in the WSJ that’s an interesting read.  One of the points he raises is about what unions are claiming and how unions are actually acting:

The unions say they are ready to accept concessions, yet their actions speak louder than words. Over the past three weeks, local unions across the state have pursued contracts without new pension or health-insurance contributions. Their rhetoric does not match their record on this issue.

Of course it could be said that they are simply establishing their negotiating position.  But my guess, given the outcry these past weeks, is that they feel they have the backing not to have to negotiate the cuts they previously said they were willing to make. 

Since the bill has been passed the uproar will most likely continue for a couple of days or so, peak and subside.  Outside forces have been attempting to finance and enable recall drives.  Under WI law, a politician has to have been in office for a year before he or she can be recalled.  Interestingly that applies to only 16 Senators, 8 GOP and 8 Democrats.  Even more interesting is every one of them has a recall petition being initiated against them.

As I understand it, Walker won’t be eligible for recall until next year.  Will the public still be motivated at that time to sign on or will it go the way of Indiana?

When Gov. Mitch Daniels repealed collective bargaining in Indiana six years ago, it helped government become more efficient and responsive. The average pay for Indiana state employees has actually increased, and high-performing employees are rewarded with pay increases or bonuses when they do something exceptional.

In fact, an oft neglected part of the story, which John Fund revealed recently, is why Walker and the GOP are taking the action they’re taking:

The governor’s move is in reaction to a 2009 law implemented by the then-Democratic legislature that expanded public unions’ collective-bargaining rights and lifted existing limits on teacher raises.

A state already headed for the financial shoals saw a Democratic legislature expand the “rights” of the unions that had help put them in office and lift the limits on pay for other government union members.  I have it on good authority that the GOP Senators, when faced with this legislation, didn’t flee to Illinois.

Recalls aren’t easy things to do, and, we’ll see how they work out in Wisconsin.  My guess is, after everyone has a chance to cool down a bit, the recall drives – for both sides – will meet with less and less success. 

And, of course, depending on which side is most successful is making the case for their side, voters will either return Democrats to the majority in 2012 and see the bill repealed or the voters will decide what was done wasn’t such a bad thing (we’ll see how the budget deficit looks next year) and leave well enough alone.

We’ll monitor and report.

~McQ

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Rhetoric vs. Reality: trying out the Obama record

It is something – the difference between rhetoric and reality -  I don’t think Obama, for all the claims of his intelligence, understands.  Just because you claim something is true doesn’t make it so (I know, something most of us learned around age 6).

In a speech in Boston – at a fund raiser:

Obama says that America should not be about the “haves and the have-nots.”

Didn’t know that it is, but this is a comfortable and popular theme among the limo liberal crowd, so it isn’t surprising the old horse was trotted out one more time.  But let me set the scene for you:

President Obama addressed a group of 152 Democratic donors at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The walls were lined with enormous original oil portraits from the 16th century and guests are seated around about 24 round tables.

Lots of “have nots” in that room weren’t there? 

But that isn’t the major point here – just wanted you to understand the context of the next part.  To add to the surreal atmosphere he said this:

In welcoming Nancy Pelosi, Obama called her “someone who’s going to go down as one of the greatest Speakers in our history: Nancy Pelosi.”

“When the rubble had cleared, when the dust had settled. This country was going through as touch a time economically, as tough a time financially, as any period since the 1930s,” Obama said..

His administration “had to make a series of quick decisions, and often times unpopular decisions,” Obama said.

In those times, Obama said, there would have been a temptation to “resort to the expedient.”

“That’s why when I say, Nancy is going to go down as one of our finest speakers… I mean what I say,” Obama continued.

“Not only were we able to yank this economy out of the recession,” Obama said.

“Not only were we able to get this economy going again, that in the last 15 months we’ve seen the economy add jobs…but under Nancy’s leadership we were able to achieve historic health care legislation that over the last 15, 20 years will end up benefiting millions of families across the country… we were able to get “don’t ask, don’t’ tell” repealed,” he continued, adding that Congress expand our investments in clean energy, made the largest investments in infrastructure and the largest investments in education in years.

“We didn’t just rescue the economy we put it on the strongest footing for the future,” Obama said.

“And along the way we saved the auto industry and a few other things,” he quipped, to some laughter from the crowd.

Obama went over a kept promise to end combat in Iraq, and reduce the country’s military commitment in Afghanistan.

Where to start?!

Suffice it to say, anyone who could tout Nancy Pelosi as the “greatest Speakers in our history” either has the ideological blinders on so tight they’re cutting off blood flow to the brain or has a rather tenuous grasp on reality.  Nancy Pelosi, if anything positive could be said about her, was a compliant means to an end.  Someone from the short bus should have been able to push through just about anything they wanted in Nancy Pelosi’s House, given the huge majority Democrats had. 

And she was complicit in the biggest expansion of government, not to mention the largest expansion of the public debt, of any Speaker I know.

Great?  For America, she was a disaster.  And so is the person fawningly praising her.

As for his other claims, well that’s just what they are … claims.  He’d like you to believe them because doing so helps his case, but what you see here is a sort of test run of how he plans on spinning his record – something he’s never had to run on before.

Each and every point is either highly debatable or can be refuted outright.   I got a kick out of one of the commenters under this story addressing his Iraq claim about ending combat:

If you think Obama stopped combat here, you are stunningly gullible.

Our guys are out on patrol every day and night amid the IEDs and VBIEDs. Our specops forces are operating outside the wire every day and night. The mortars and rockets are hitting our FOBs on a very regular basis. Purple Hearts are still being issued, including two on my FOB in January when a 107mm rocket landed across the street in one of my buddy’s men’s huts.

You live in Fantasyland, but thanks for the laugh.

The last line pretty much sums up the 152 Democrats in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts last night and much of the left right now – sitting there listening to a litany of “accomplishments” that are straight out of Fantasyland. 

Doubling the debt, multi-year trillion dollar deficits, expanded government, expanded spending, 9% unemployment and a jobs record that won’t even maintain the status quo.  Clueless about foreign policy, no energy policy, Gitmo still open, still in Iraq and little to show but another huge entitlement we can’t afford.

That’s the record he’s compiled.  And Nancy helped.

That is the record you need to remember.

~McQ

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Federal government employee compensation v. comparable private sector compensation

Are federal employees compensated better than comparable private sector employees?

Andrew Biggs an economist with the American Enterprise Institute, and Jason Richwine, an economist with the Heritage Foundation, have conducted a study which finds that yes, indeed they are. And, in fact, by quite a bit. In a conference call they outlined their methodology (you can find it in detail here in the study).

You may find their conclusions a bit startling but probably unsurprising.  Biggs and Richwine compared three areas between federal government employees and comparable private sector employees: Salaries, benefits and job security.

Salaries:

Biggs and Richwine found that on average (using the Human Capital Model which is a widely accepted model for such studies) federal government employees enjoyed a 14% salary premium over private employees at the same level.  The primary reason they found is federal employees are, on average, promoted more quickly in their jobs meaning at a comparable level with private sector employees they are usually less skilled and less experienced. 

Benefits:

In terms of benefits, they found that private sector benefits in large private corporations (500+) averaged about 50% of salary.  Federal workers enjoyed a significant advantage here, with an average of 66% of salary added in benefits.  For instance, federal employees enjoyed significantly more paid time off than do private sector types (25%).  Additionally, employee contributions to retirement are 3 times that of private sector employees.  Bottom line: federal employees enjoy a 33% premium over private employees.

Job Security:

This measures the probability of becoming unemployed.  Federal employees are much less likely to be laid off than are private sector employees.  The study calculated an 11% premium here.  Said another way, if a private sector employee was asked if he would take a 10% pay cut to be guaranteed employment no matter what, almost all would take it.

Adding all of that up (14% salary premium, 33% benefits premium and 11% job security premium) and weighting them properly, the total pay package including those three elements provides federal employees with a 39% premium over private sector employees in comparable positions.

The important question?  How much is that difference worth in tax payer dollars?  The market value of the difference is $60 billion dollars – a year.

Obviously what isn’t going to happen (reality in politics alert) is a $60 billion dollar reduction in pay and benefits.  Or layoffs to balance it out. 

But what can be planned is bringing federal compensation in line with private compensation on an apples to apples basis and eliminating that gap.

We all know how popular that will be right? Especially with the government unions (who’ve once again negotiated sweetheart deals with compliant politicians).  But this is a nice chunk that can at least be eliminated at a future date through wage and benefit parity.  Of course that means really freezing wages, rolling back benefit contributions and other unpopular fixes.

Biggs and Richwine will be testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing on federal employee pay.  Any bets on whether or not the final verdict of the committee isn’t to kick the can down the road again and leave the problem for others?

~McQ

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The NPR kerfuffle and subsidies

Call it the obligatory NPR story, but I found the video of the NPR exec talking to a couple of fake Muslim Brotherhood types to be pretty revealing about the attitude of that particular organization.

And, like you, I’m sure, wondered “why, again are we subsidizing this particular entity?” 

Of course I’d like to see government get out of the subsidy business altogether and yes that includes corporate welfare as well.

But this thing with NPR hit a particular nerve that goes beyond that.  It clearly exposes a bias that certainly didn’t require much prodding from the fake Muslims to expose.

Ron Schiller, the NPR executive, is a real “treasure”.  He tells the “Muslims” that NPR fired Juan Williams because it provides "non-racist, non-bigoted, straightforward telling of the news"  and apparently William’s association with Fox News ran counter to that.  At the same time he goes on a racist, bigoted and frankly uninformed rant about the Tea-Party, was open (or at least didn’t condemn) to slamming Jews and chuckled at the suggestion that radical Muslims called NPR “National Palestine Radio”.

He also said "it is clear that we would be better off in the long run without federal funding."

That’s been clear to me for decades.   But for some reason, or perhaps multiple reasons, each time ending the subsidy to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the organization that passes those funds on to NPR) is brought up, we’re told that NPR can’t survive without it.

Uh, fine, so let it “wither on the vine”.  NPR will either do that or find a way to survive and, per Schilling, it really would be better off without it.

I say grant his wish. 

As David Harsanyi asks:

The function and purpose of government has been rather expansive over the past few decades. Do we really believe that providing tax subsidies for entertainment and journalism is one of the charges of government?

No.  Neither is it a charge of government to provide corporations with subsidies, or ethanol producers, mohair producers, “green energy” companies, farmers, or any of a almost endless list of those given subsidy via government.

NPR’s particular case will probably see it’s subsidy ended – not because it is the right thing to do and as a precedent for ending subsidies everywhere, but because Ron Shilling made it indefensible by the left.

Looking at the list of subsidies this government pays out gives one the understanding as to how deep government’s tendrils are and how many there are.  If subsidies were a cancer, I’m sure the doctor would pronounce the disease to be in stage 4.

It is a habit – an addiction – we have to break if we’re ever to see “smaller, less intrusive and less expensive government.”  Let’s start with NPR, but for the right reasons.

~McQ

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Is the military leadership “to white and to male?” Diversity gone wild …

Welcome to the new military – an affirmative action organization, that is if a certain panel gets its way:

The U.S. military is too white and too male at the top and needs to change recruiting and promotion policies and lift its ban on women in combat, an independent report for Congress said Monday.

Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.

So?

Is it working?

I think an unqualified “yes” is the answer. 

We sort of have to stop and talk about some basic things when we see a report like this.  And the first is “what is the purpose of the military – diversity or victory”?  Playing this sort of numbers game is stupid in an all volunteer force which has the job of defending the country.  We’re not talking the university campus or some corporate board.

What you want is the best leaders to rise to the top.  That isn’t to say that always happens, but to pretend that there’s an “acceptable” mix of ethnicity, race and gender that will optimize that leadership and improve the military is simply silly.

I object to this report not because it says we should allow women to serve in combat units – that’s an entirely different argument.  I object to it because of the stupidity of the premise that diversity is more important than effectiveness, especially in military matters.

The report ordered by Congress in 2009 calls for greater diversity in the military’s leadership so it will better reflect the racial, ethnic and gender mix in the armed forces and in American society.

It isn’t the job of a military to “reflect [the] racial, ethnic and gender mix” of the nation in its leadership. Its job is to field the best military and military leadership it can, close with and destroy enemies of the US and protect and defend its citizens and way of life.   So it must reflect the best leadership available for the job REGARDLESS of race, ethnicity or gender.  On its face the report’s premise is just silly.  Women make up how much of the society in general?  50+%?

So in the name of diversity, given the panel’s statements,  50+% of the leadership in the Armed Forces should be women, regardless of their abilities or capacity to lead in combat?

That’s simply nonsense on a stick.  The military is and must remain a meritocracy.  And while I know that the very best don’t always rise to the top, a good enough portion of them do. And, shock of shocks, it all somehow works.  That’s what we want to encourage and continue REGARDLESS of race, ethnicity or gender.

Playing diversity games just to have pleasing numbers in “leadership” is nonsense, especially if there is no real need for it. 

Having military brass that better mirrors the nation can inspire future recruits and help create trust among the general population, the commission said.

Even more nonsense.  Having a military that they can depend on to kick an enemy’s rear effectively, quickly and efficiently is what will and does create “trust among the general population”.  And by the way, even with 10 years of war the military isn’t having any problem attracting or inspiring recruits with the leadership is has today.

Here’s a little thought provoker for you.  You own an NBA team.  Some independent panel asks:  “Is the NBA to black and to male”? 

You bet it is. 

So, what is the purpose of an NBA team?  To win basketball games and thereby put fans in the stands and make money. 

But in the the name of diversity, you require your team to reflect the race, ethnicity and gender numbers in the nation (other owners -liken them to other countries, like our enemies – refuse to go along with that nonsense).  Someone tell me how many games that team (remember it can only be 14% black and has to be 50% female) is going to win the next season, even though it will reflect America?

Any questions?

~McQ

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