Friday, August 05, 2011

Read James Taranto's fisking of Jacob Weisberg, invoking science to support his political beliefs. Economies have been running just fine before governments intervened and decided they had to be centrally managed.
President Obama is trying to push a jobs agenda. But for the federal government to spur growth or create jobs, it has to spend additional money. The antediluvian Republicans who control Congress do not think that demand can be expanded in this way. They believe that the 2009 stimulus bill, which has prevented an even worse economy over the past two years, is actually responsible for the current weakness. . . .

Some of the congressional Republicans who are preventing action to help the economy are simply intellectual primitives who reject modern economics on the same basis that they reject Darwin and climate science. (Italics mine)
Claiming intellectual superiority is a very old sophistry, perhaps the earliest one, but it really wears thin when you think about how the Dems sold the first Stimulus Bill and all its shovel-ready jobs.

The difference between conservatives and progressives is on display.
Want to see a microcosm of everything that’s been wrong with American economic policy over the last couple of years? Watch this exchange between Ezra Klein and Rick Santelli from earlier today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Santelli, whose February 2009 on-air rant over fiscal and economic mismanagement inspired the start of the Tea Party, gets exasperated with Klein after the Washington Post columnist talks about money moving around ‘unfairly.’ . . . We don’t need social engineers tinkering with the economic system to achieve their notion of “fairness” — we need actual economic growth, which the social engineers have proven completely incompetent at delivering.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Short of funds for SETI I've always thought that we haven't made contact because science denies the possibility of ESP and prayer. Not that I think there's any merit to wearing foil headgear, but our brains seem to be equipped with the ability to see things while we're asleep, or during trance states, or in response to drugs. Why do hallucinogens work? There may be a whole different medium for messages that isn't limited by the speed of light.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The author of Hardball moaning like a girl, and calling the Tea Party "thugs" and "muggers." Success has really spoiled Chris Matthews.

It's such a childish metaphor to suggest that trying to limit the government's spending of our money is like beating someone up and stealing his wallet. Of course, that's the story the real mugger who got the worst of the scuffle would give the cops, and it might work, until they examine the wallet and whose name is on the credit card. The truth is that Americans elected a mob of thieves who promised hope and change, but delivered a vision of a dreary future trying to cover the debts they have run up in our name. It's not mugging when you take your credit card back.

The fallout from the debt ceiling deal: Nobody's happy. The GOP stared down the Dems and Obama's liberal base is hopping mad that they didn't get tax increases. The Dems have gotten what they wanted through this game of chicken in the past, but it didn't happen this time, even if the GOP didn't get all it wanted either. But it made a difference in the long game, and a lot of Tea Partiers are furious, which is good for next year, but they should have recognized that last year's victories were only a start and they have to stay engaged and angry to take the Senate and the White House.

The good news is how ineffectual Obama was and has been for the past 6 months. He was practically irrelevant to this negotiation despite his frequent scolding of the parties. He never offered his own proposal, because he knew that being practical and offering concessions would only make his supporters mad, but doing nothing wasn't going to appease them. So he let others work out the partial surrender and then pretended it was a good deal.

Professor John B. Taylor pronounces the deal a good start for the spending hawks. Without being overly sanguine, he demonstrates how it could have been worse had the GOP backed off too soon. Thus the rusty gears of government lurch onward.

Still, they didn't really tackle entitlement reform. Nobody wants to alienate us geezers. I'm not stupid or naive enough to figure that the country owes me a living for the FICA taxes I've paid. But I don't think it's too much to ask for responsible government without rewarding the unproductive.

I believe in helping the poor and helpless, but not making it a legal obligation or making it too easy to help oneself to the earnings of others. That's why the government shouldn't be used to transfer wealth. If Bill Gates and Warren Buffet think their taxes aren't high enough, they have the right to exempt themselves from the tax exemptions, deductions and credits they're entitled to. They also have the right to advocate higher taxes, but frankly, I'd prefer that they kept and invested their own wealth, because the government squanders it and mismanages its revenues shamefully.

If I were a philanthropist, I wouldn't hire the government to help the poor. I consider myself one, because I've never really insisted on the market value of my services and it has cost me a lot of pain. Bill Gates spent $5 billion to improve education and got precious little for it, because it got frittered away on bureaucracy, unions and incompetents.

The pithy Instapundit comment on dealing with Obama Irritation Syndrome:
Just try to remain as graceful and generous as the Democrats did under the last Administration, if you can.

Dow plunges 265 points. It's been doing that a lot lately, but not so much in response to the debt ceiling deal as reacting to high unemployment and a drop in consumer spending. The crisis remains, despite the debt ceiling, and it comes back again in a couple of months. As a lowering of the nation's credit rating looms, people are starting to criticize the rating companies as if that would solve the larger problem. Jules Kroll, Kroll Bond Ratings CEO, is one of the critics (yes, he's a competitor of what he calls the Duopoly, Standard and Poors, and Moody's) whom I heard on TV. As long as there are corporations and governments there will be bonds and investors will look for someone to help them evaluate the risks of investments. The major criticism is not that they're talking about reducing the nation's rating, but their failure to warn customers about the ticking time bomb in the so-called Toxic Assets securities. They should have caught the fact that the housing bubble was a threat and that values of mortgage backed securities would evaporate if the bubble burst.

Monday, August 01, 2011

The Winner