January 28, 2009
Economic stimulus and other outdated quackery
Posted by Jon Sanders at 5:59 PMMy Townhall.com column today discusses Henry Hazlitt's one lesson (the original "one lesson," not his very compelling refutation of Keynesianism) in the context of Pres. Obama's stimulus plan:
Resorting to overturned Keynesian nostrums in the middle of a recession is as backwards as physicians today treating a deadly infection by bloodletting. Think about it: if more government spending truly stimulated the economy, then why is the economy in such a shambles after eight years of the Bush administration and Congress growing federal spending from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to $2.98 trillion in 2008?
Federal spending adjusted for inflation has increased by 48 percent since 2001 (60 percent in nominal dollars). A panicked rush to "save the economy" with a massive increase in federal spending now would be like trying to cure dysentery with Ex-Lax.
In the analogy, the laxative manufacturer would benefit. But don't tell the patient his physic is good for a pharmaceutical company and leave it at that. That's a load of symptom.
My new theory of global warming
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 5:15 PM
I think it is now clear--the real cause of global warming is global cooling. For example from the 1940s through the 1970s the earth was cooling. This caused people to have to burn lots of carbon fuels to heat their homes which put more CO2 in the atmosphere. This gave us the global warming we had from the 1970s to late 1990s. Now the earth appears to be cooling again which is clearly causing us all to burn more fuel to heat our homes. I know my furnace is cranking. The cycle starts again. If it wasn't for all these periods of global cooling we wouldn't have global warming.
Senate GOP response to opening day
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 4:31 PM
From Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger's office, in a release under the headline: "NOW IS THE TIME FOR BIPARTISANSHIP"
“Now is the time for a bipartisan effort to remake North Carolina’s government from the ground up. Democrat Senator Marc Basnight’s speech, accepting his nomination to an eighth term as President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, shows he is aware of the litany of problems facing North Carolina’s citizens.
“The Democrats did not support any of the Senate Republican’s good government proposals to reform and open the operation of the Senate. Unfortunately, this failure indicates a continuation of past practices in which Democrat leaders dictate the operations of an extremely partisan Senate from behind closed doors. Senate Democrats still refuse to accept the lessons to be learned from the embarrassing tenure of Democrat Speaker of the House Jim Black; thoselessons include a need for open debate and transparency in management of the state’s business.
“Senate Republicans are encouraged by the efforts of Governor Perdue and Lieutenant Governor Dalton to reach across the aisle. Senate Republicans will reach out to Governor Perdue and Lieutenant Governor Dalton to seek new, innovative, and bipartisan solutions to the problems facing our state. It is our hope that the Senate Democrats will heed Barack Obama’s call in his inaugural address to end, ‘…the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.’”
Reactionary Democrats and Republicans want taxes for 19th century trains
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 4:25 PM
The N&O reports today here (second story) that Democratic Rep. Deborah Ross and Republican Senator Richard Stevens will introduce bills that will allow cities to levy sales taxes for transit. This means that other NC cities will follow Charlotte in establishing a taxpayer funded money pit to pay for a 19th century train that will not relieve congestion, will not improve air quality and will not save energy.
See Professor David Hartgen's preliminary report on the Charlotte's 19th century train here. He also notes in another report here that of the ten largest existing transit systems in the state, the Triangle Transit Authority has the largest taxpayer subsidy, $6.30 per trip, costing
taxpayers $12.60 for every workday commute. One wonders why the legislature would give these incompetent bureaucrats more money.
The answer is in this report from the Onion. "Report: 98 Percent of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation for Others"
Rich liberals just want to get all of the riffraff off the roads and onto slow moving 19th century trains so they can have the roads to themselves.
Democrats noncommittal on cuts
Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 3:45 PM
The latest Under the Dome posts are rather revealing. Many of the Republicans have specific budget cuts in mind. Many Democrats are refusing to provide specifics.
Re: Sounds like liberal fascism
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 3:37 PMMitch's post identifies an important point that progressives (aka liberals) like to ignore. In wrapping themselves in the cloak of the term "progressive" they inherit the legacy of the progressive movement of the last 100 years.
As noted in my earlier post this includes an embrace of eugenics, overt supporters of which were founders of organizations, ideas and movements adored by today's progressives—Keynesian economics, Planned Parenthood, the World Wildlife Fund, to name a few.
The progressives were also strong admirers of Mussolini style fascism. All the prominent progressive authors and publications of the 1920s had glowing praise for the Italian dictator. This includes Will Rogers, Ida Tarbell of anti-Standard Oil fame, journalist Lowell Thomas,McCall's and The New Republic.
What the American progressive movement and the international fascist movement had in common, and which led them to view themselves as kindred spirits in a common cause, was a hatred of what was then known as liberalism, i.e. Jeffersonian ideas of individual liberty and free markets. This sprang from a view that the state was to be an instrument of social engineering. This is a consistent theme that is seen throughout the progressive movement's history—from Wilson and FDR to President Obama, Al Gore, and Nancy Pelosi.
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 3:36 PM
Sarah Palin forms a political action committee, http://www.sarahpac.com, to help raise money for conservative candidates at the state and federal level. Given the rhetoric below, I am not sure she has the conservative intellectual horsepower to pull it off.
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Highlights from opening speeches: House
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:27 PM
House Speaker Joe Hackney, D-Orange, opened his post-oath remarks with:
We face great challenges. This is our time to do something worthy to be remembered. Nearly one in every 11 working people in this state is out of work: the highest proportion in more than 25 years. Hard times threaten those who are still working. North Carolinians need effective government more than ever.
People interested in government transparency might be interested in the following passage from a later portion of Hackney's remarks:
I intend to continue the serial referral of bills to committees to ensure that more of our members have better knowledge about the public policy changes we are considering and so that more of you can contribute your ideas. Every member will have time to review conference reports before being asked to vote on the House floor, and we will continue to work to keep substantive law changes from appearing in our budget bill.
Highlights from opening speeches: Senate
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:20 PM
Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight, D-Dare, got a chuckle after taking the oath of office from Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who has presided over a long-running school-funding lawsuit filed against the state.
"A special thanks to Judge Manning, who is not one of our favorites," Basnight said of Manning, "but he is a personal friend."
On the economy:
The economic conditions do not bring great happiness to us today, but it is the hand that is dealt us. And it is the hand we will play with. There are many challenges besides education: transportation, infrastructure, technology, water, sewer, the state health plan ... probation, energy use, climate change. ... The list will continue. But the focus that will be the greatest ... will be the budget.
This session has to focus on jobs, jobs, and jobs.
Hackney elected to second term as House speaker
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:48 AM
The party-line vote was 68-52.
Two Republican senators vote for Basnight
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:47 AM
The official vote giving Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, another term as president pro tempore of the Senate came by acclimation.
But that vote followed a roll-call vote in which two of the minority-party Republicans broke ranks to support Basnight. They were Sens. Fletcher Hartsell and Richard Stevens.
HT: Becki Gray
Basnight re-elected to ninth term as president pro tem
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:33 AM
He has served as the Senate's top officer since 1993.
N.C. State's Minister of Propaganda
Posted by Jay Schalin at 11:22 AM
Last summer, Mary Easley's salary and job description at N.C. State got a lot of attention. In this week's Clarion Call, I put the focus on her job performance. As the director of The Millennium Seminar series, which brings high-profile speakers to State's campus, she has been inviting quite a few Democratic Party heavy-hitters and only a couple of RINO Republicans (In Name Only).
Many mainstream academics insist there is no ideological imbalance on the American campus. In this article, I add the numbers for them, since 2 + 2 can be so debatable when you're smarter than everybody else.
AFPNC lists legislative agenda
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:27 AM
Dallas Woodhouse at Americans for Prosperity North Carolina sent us this list of his group's 2009 legislative goals:
*Fight all tax increases, including but not limited to sales, income, land transfer, highway use, meals, tobacco and alcohol.
*Increase the number of public charter schools and other school choice options available to parents.
*Promote the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that would limit government spending to the increase in population and inflation.
*Eliminate corporate welfare (incentives) and adjust the corporate rate to 2 to 3%. Down from 6.9 %
*Protect private property:
o Support a constitutional amendment stopping eminent domain abuse.
o Stop forced municipal annexation.
o Stop excessive property tax increases that threaten homes & businesses.
Dedicate all lottery revenue to school construction.
Support free markets by opposing new laws/regulations that restrict businesses such as outlawing smoking in private businesses.
Fight “welfare for politicians” known as taxpayer funded elections.
Protect free and political speech rights.
Keep North Carolina a “Right to Work” state:
o Protect government employees from Unions having access to pay checks.
o Protect taxpayers from public employee strikes and work stoppages.
o Support State Constitutional Amendment to protect workers’ rights to secret ballot elections
John Stossel gives college two thumbs down
Posted by George Leef at 08:32 AM
In his column today, John Stossel takes issue with the prevalent idea that getting a college degree is a good "investment" for nearly everyone. For some young people, it is, but for many others, it's a huge expense for little or no gain.
I'm glad to be able to add Stossel's name to the list of those who understand that higher education has been badly oversold.
Sounds like Liberal Fascism
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:59 AMIf you had a negative reaction to the key arguments in Jonah Goldberg’s book about the close ties between American progressive (il)liberalism and fascism, be sure to skip the opening paragraph of Fareed Zakaria’s latest Newsweek article:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inaugural address is now known for only one sentence: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." But the audience at the time paid little attention to that line and the newspapers buried it in their reports the next day. As Jonathan Alter recounts in his book "The Defining Moment," the words that got the greatest applause were something more specific. "I shall ask Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis," FDR said, "broad Executive power to wage war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe." The next day's headline in The New York Herald Tribune was FOR DICTATORSHIP IF NECESSARY.
Zakaria doesn’t explore this theme further, so you’ll have to read Goldberg's Liberal Fascism to learn how our country’s past forays into the world of big government have mirrored some pretty unsavory European models.
That's what scares us
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:57 AMThe latest Newsweek includes Jeremy McCarter’s effort to heap praise on President Obama’s inaugural speech. Among the ideas that warm McCarter’s heart?
If President Obama gets his way, we'll all be working more — and working harder —for causes greater than ourselves. Has anyone considered how tiring the next four years might be?
Tiring? Maybe. A scary threat to the freedom and liberty that made this country great? Definitely, if our new president “gets his way” in ensuring we all work more and “harder” for causes we do not choose on our own.
Where’s No. 6 when we need him?
Alter gets something else right
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:55 AMThis forum has chronicled Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter’s accurate assessment of the negative influence teachers’ unions have on the quality of public education.
Now Alter makes a good case for more transparency in the federal government:
The Internet offers new ways to use openness as a huge money saver. As a senator, Obama won approval of a "Google for government" bill that requires the posting of a brief description of federal contracts. He should now go further and mandate PDFs of all contracts with the private sector. The yelps of these companies living off the federal teat must be ignored; when competitors see the contracts, they'll race to convince the government they can do the same things cheaper.
Subtract the gratuitous Bush administration bashing, and I suspect Alter’s assessment would draw some praise from Locke Foundation transparency advocates Chad Adams and Joe Coletti.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:53 AM
Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Karen McMahan's report on a controversy surrounding automatic congressional pay raises.
John Hood's Daily Journal offers some suggestions on positive steps the General Assembly could take in the new legislative session that starts today.
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