Thursday, February 26, 2009

Give Him a Chance?

Before the President's recent address to Congress and certainly after we've been hearing that we shouldn't be too quick to judge Mr. Obama's ideas, that we should give him a chance to try.

Compromise, these folks point out, is an inevitable part of the politics, and they're right.

But we can't be too quick to compromise for the sake of compromise, nor can we let the Democrats do whatever they want in the name of "giving them a chance." Why not?

When you want to try out a new hairstyle, you can say, "If I don't like it, it'll grow out." (Well, most people can say that.)

But we're not talking about haircuts. If we "let them try" to fix our health insurance system, if we "give them a chance" to create massive new entitlements, we're not talking programs that can be quickly and easily shut down if they don't work out.

These things always have incredible staying power. And generally the political will to even try to shut them down doesn't appear until they can be seen to have done major damage to our country.

Think about welfare reform. Welfare created a permanent underclass, illigetimacy rates went up, and poverty rates were flat. It only took 30 years to finally try some real reforms.

This isn't to say that we shouldn't compromise. We must; we have no choice. The question is where and how to compromise. That's a question we'll be examining over the course of the coming weeks.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Headlines 2/24/09

Ridiculous snow in Oslo, global warming to blame.
You've got a pretty good racket when either warm or cold weather proves you're right.

Consumer Confidence... in Record Slump
Obama's self-fulfilling prophecy?

New Spending bill stuffed with earmarks
...because $500 billion of pork wasn't enough

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Must Have Toy (For Men)

"...Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" if I may borrow the line:

Coolest shotgun ever.

4 Years of Racial Hyper-Sensitivity?

Is this what we're looking at for the next four years?

During the campaign, people were very quick to interpret any attack on Mr. Obama in racial terms. The trend continues today.

People are calling for a boycott of the New York Post over a cartoon comparing the writers of the stimulus bill with the crazed pet chimpanzee killed by police. Obviously, they say, this is calling Pres. Obama a monkey -- and calling for violence against him to boot.

Come on! No one in their right mind thinks Mr. Obama read the stimulus bill, much less wrote it.

At the same time, even
Bill Clinton's asking Mr. Obama to be a little more positive about the economy. His campaigning for the stimulus bill has left many with an end-of-the-world feeling that is sucking consumer and investor confidence down the toilet. Maybe next time they'll shoot whatever turkey's been writing his speeches.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Federal Firearm Licensing Bill

HR 45, the "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009," would require a federal license to "possess a qualifying firearm ... unless that person has been issued a firearm license" (emphasis added) where a "qualifying firearm" is defined as "(i) any handgun or (ii) any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device."

I'm not always sure how to read these things, but that sure looks like "any handgun" is separate from "any semiautomatic" weapon; if so this not just semiautomatic handguns but all handguns.

Most gun owners and most Americans are ok with sensible gun laws -- background checks, reasonable carrying restrictions, and things like that. But getting the federal government's permission to simply own a gun gets a little scary.

It's frequently pointed out that fascist governments always remove the citizenry's ability to protect itself first. This kind of thing always smells like a first step toward that end.

There are always some who say that modern military weapons and armor make possession of conventional weapons for protection from the government pointless, and there is some truth to that, but you've got a better chance with a Glock and a deer rifle than you do with spit wads.

At present this bill only has one sponsor and no co-sponsors (not a sign of the bill's popularity), but it is in committee. It never hurts to let your Congressman know how you feel about it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Obama's Stimulus Offensive

Providing further evidence that "postpartisan," much like "bipartisan," means "agreeing with me," President Obama tried to rally his Democratic allies by deriding their GOP colleagues.

He apparently thinks that any and all spending qualifies as stimulus. Tax cuts, not so much.

Saying, “If you’re headed for a cliff, you’ve got to change direction,” he expressed his belief that the Bush tax cuts are the source of all their budgetary woes as opposed to unbridled spending.

Meanwhile the nonpartisan (as Democrats frequently assert) Congressional Budget Office says, "the Senate legislation would reduce output slightly in the long run, ... as would other similar proposals."

At the same time, this bill is losing the support of the American people. Folks just don't want to spend that kind of money on the stuff they're proposing.

We should tell our Senators that if they'll cut $500 billion of pork out of this bill, they can have it. That would leave them with ~$200 billion of stimulus and ~$200 billion of pork for their friends -- that should be more than enough.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

More Stimulating Conversation

President Obama has said of the Senate stimulus package, "Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the essential."

This is essential?!

$800 million for Amtrack
$100 million to teach children about green construction
$150 million for the Smithsonian
$1 billion for Head Start
$14 million for travel expenses for a goverment board
$75 million for smoking cessation programs

Much of the nearly $1 trillion, of which less than 25% can really be called "stimulus," would not even be spent in the next year.

Some liberal groups have run ads attacking the GOP for not supporting Mr. Obama's stimulus plan; the other side should counter with the same.

They should ask the American tax payers if they want to saddle their children with over $10,000 per family for spending programs like those mentioned above.

Even if these are worthwhile programs, they're not stimulus. They should go through the normal budgeting process. (Of course, the cynics would say this is Congress' normal budgeting process.)

The problem with this whole situation is this notion that government can spend our way back into prosperity. Did this not start with out of control spending?

Where is the government planning to get all of this money? They have only three options:

They can borrow money, further reducing the available credit. Or they can print money. Or they can raise taxes (of course, eventually they'll do that either way).

The first option would only exacerbate the credit problem. The second and third would be death blows to an already sick economy.

The only solution to this mess is to add capital to the economy by real tax cuts -- not just a few hundred dollars for low to middle income families but real cuts for the people (and corporations) who can create real jobs. Only by removing "impediments to work, saving, investment and production" can the government save our economy.
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