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The Answer to Bad Government

30 May

Mona Charen, in a recent column titled “Why VA Service Won’t Improve”, points out the pitfalls of thinking that firing and hiring at the VA will fix the problems there.  Her last sentence is a classic.

The entire column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/why-va-service-wont-improve.html

 

Excerpts:  [Bolding and caps are added by me]

Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: After the press loses interest in the Veterans Affairs scandal, after the investigations have been completed and one or two officials have resigned, nothing will change.

Is this cynicism? Not really. It comes down to one’s view of how much government can achieve by bureaucratic, top-down management.

The progressive project has limitless faith in the capacity of wise managers to run complex systems for the benefit of all. Untainted by the profit motive, bureaucrats can deliver services equitably and efficiently. Every liberal/progressive program has the effect of taking decision-making away from individuals, communities and local governments, and centralizing it in Washington.

President Barack Obama has doggedly championed this approach.

. . . .

Progressives respond that the IHS is simply underfunded — as they regard every federal program except the military. But even Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana found when he examined problems with the IHS that at least one provider was seeing only one patient per day.

It isn’t management; it’s a matter of incentives. No central authority can make a system like the VA or the IHS or Britain’s National Health Service run efficiently. Competition is the only system that gives the power to consumers to reward good service and punish bad. But progressives cannot shed their faith that MORE government is the answer to BAD government, so this story is sure to be repeated.

[End of excerpts]

I feel that the theory that “MORE government is the answer to BAD government” is responsible for most of the truly serious problems we now face in this country.  Everyone should understand that the government should only provide solutions of last resort.  When faced with a problem, its prime directive should be, “How can this problem be solved in the private sector, with minimal regulation and oversight by the government?”  But I fear that ship has sailed . . . .

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Liberal Sensibilities — a Definition

8 Feb

From Mark Levy, in a recent “Ask Mark” column:

“[L]iberal sensibilities are far different from the sensibilities of mainstream Americans. For instance, we’ve been told by liberals how great Obamacare would be, yet this week the CBO reported that 30 million people will remain uninsured after Obamacare is fully implemented.

“So after all this economic upheaval, we’re left with the same number of uninsured we began with. That is like cutting off the end of a blanket, sewing it onto the other end and claiming that it’s a larger blanket. That, my friend, is an example of sensible as defined by liberals.”

This complete column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/mark-levy/obamacare-job-loss-liberal-sensibilities-and-jay-leno.html

The “Trickle-Down Theory” Exposed

7 Jan

Economist Thomas Sowell has a recent column titled “The Trickle-Down Lie”, in which Dr. Sowell reminds us that the oft-used phrase by the left, the damnable “Trickle-Down Theory”, is not a real theory at all, and “trickle-down” is found in no reputable texts.  He also mentions that high-profile, even far left, Democrats from the past have, in fact, cautioned against over-taxing the economically well-to-do.  The “Lie” being that conservatives have grasped onto this “theory”, to the detriment of all humankind (or so we might believe).

The full column can be found at http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/the-trickle-down-lie.html

. . . but here is an exciting excerpt:  [Emphasis is mine]

New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people “on the far right” who “continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics.” According to Mayor de Blasio, “They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work                         their way down to everyone else.” . . . .

The book  “Winner-Take-All Politics” refers to “the ‘trickle-down’ scenario that advocates of helping the have-it-alls with tax cuts and other goodies constantly trot out.” But no one who actually trotted out any such scenario was cited, much less quoted.

One of the things that provoke the left into bringing out the “trickle-down” bogeyman is any suggestion that there are limits to how high they can push tax rates on people with high incomes, without causing repercussions that hurt the economy as a whole.

But, contrary to Mayor de Blasio, this is not a view confined to people on the “far right.” Such liberal icons as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson likewise argued that tax rates can be so high that they have an adverse effect on the economy.

In his 1919 address to Congress, Woodrow Wilson warned that, at some point, “high rates of income and profits taxes discourage energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures, and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils.”

In a 1962 address to Congress, John F. Kennedy said, “it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now.”

This was not a new idea. John Maynard Keynes said, back in 1933, that “taxation may be so high as to defeat its object,” that in the long run, a reduction of the tax rate “will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the budget.” And Keynes was not on “the far right” either.

[End of excerpt]

Now, it is fair to argue just what level of taxation begins to turn the curve the wrong way, but it is entirely disingenuous to assert that “lowering taxes to increase revenues” is just another dumb idea from the far right.

Stimulus Fail: How The U.S. Spent Its Way Into Disaster

30 Oct

A good, short, and graphic piece on the negative effect of the stimulus and the potentially positive impact of the Tea Party.

Stimulus Fail: How The U.S. Spent Its Way Into Disaster.

Just for Reference — Quote from Mr. Debt Control

29 Oct

I know all of you have read this a dozen times (at least), but I thought I would just post it for my own archives.  This one quote from Obama states what he said he believed about debt, leadership, and responsibility.  Funny that in practice he regularly violates all of these principles.  His practice seems to be playing “duck the buck”, or “dodge the buck”.  These are such odd words, given that by the time Obama leaves office, he will have added more debt to our nation than all of the presidents combined accumulated before him.

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising  America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US  Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing  financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless  fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and  internationally. Leadership means that, ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead,  Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our  children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of  leadership. Americans deserve better.” 

 ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March  2006 

When Does the Process of “Breaking the Bank” Actually Break It?

27 Oct

Notes from a recent John Stossel column about reckless and dangerous government spending [“Broke U.S. Resumes Spending”].  It speaks for itself.

Begin Excerpt:  [Bolding and italics are mine]

.  .  .  .  [W]hen Congress and President Obama agreed on a deal last week to raise the debt ceiling and resume government spending, people reacted as if a disaster was averted — instead of reacting as if a disaster had resumed. It has.  .  .  .   

For most of the history of America, federal spending never took up more than 5 percent of the economy. . . .

Then came Presidents Johnson and Nixon and the “great society.” . . . Now, if you include local government, government spending makes up more than 40 percent of the economy.  .  .  .

[W]hen Obama campaigned for the presidency, he was very upset about his predecessor’s deficits.

Sen. Obama complained, “The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the bank of China. … We now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. … That is irresponsible.”

I agree! $9 trillion in debt is totally irresponsible. That makes it all the more remarkable that just a few years later, under President Obama, debt increased to $17 trillion. But now, suddenly, this vast debt is no longer irresponsible. Today the president says what is irresponsible is for Congress not to constantly raise the debt ceiling .

.  .  .  .  I showed people on the street a chart that documented America’s unsustainable spending. People were horrified and said government “should make cuts.” But when I asked, “What programs would you cut?” most could not name a single significant program.

So let me make some suggestions: Eliminate NPR and PBS funding. Cut foreign aid. End the war on drugs. Kill Fannie and Freddie, which .  .  .  helped cause the financial crisis. Eliminate cabinet departments like Commerce, Energy, Agriculture and Education .  .  .  . (Education is a local function, and the department spending $100 billion a year hasn’t raised test scores one bit.)

Shrink the military by reducing our overseas commitments. Reform Social Security by raising the retirement age. And instead of increasing government involvement in health care, turn Medicare into a self-sustaining insurance program.

But to save America from bankruptcy, we don’t even need to make all those cuts. We could grow our way out of debt if Congress simply froze spending. They won’t do that either, but if they limited spending growth to 2 percent per year, we could balance the budget in just three years.

Limiting government growth is politically difficult, but if we don’t do it, America is doomed.

[End Excerpt]

Can It Get Any Worse in Washington?

18 Oct

I’m not sure that I could be any more disgusted with, and embarrassed by, our boys and girls in Washington.  But, you know, just when I think that, I remember the virtually unlimited ability these guys have to exceed our expectations regarding “dumbicity”.  And bad enough that they cause REAL loss of income across the country with their failure to negotiate, that they LOOK for ways to inflict inconvenience and disappointment upon the American people with how they executed the 16% shutdown, but then they then make sure that their own are protected by voting full back pay to furloughed (spelled v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n-e-d) federal employees.

This is sickening – and scary.

But I have to admit that through all this, I have developed an increasing respect for the wiliness of Democrats and their ability to control the message to the public.  The biggest weapon Democrats wield in their battle to denigrate conservatives and Republicans all over the country is the mainstream media (MSM).  Our journalists, who we once counted on to police our politicians, are overwhelmingly in the Democrats’ camp now.  Even the MSM national news broadcasters blatantly announce as fact that the Republicans carry full responsibility for the “government shutdown”.  [The claim that a 16% shutdown constitutes a government shutdown is itself so farcical as to be worthy of ridicule, were it not such an effective weapon in distributing misleading information to the public – but even Fox News persisted in using the term “government shutdown”, rather than ridiculing the notion.]

And when I think about blame for the 16% shutdown, I am amazed at how the Democrats escape unscathed.  Both the Democrats and Republicans flatly refused to compromise/negotiate in an area that has always been a battle ground for negotiation (contrary to the lies that came forth from Obama, asserting that the American people were being held hostage by a new and terrifying prospect for “shutdown”,  a practice that actually has at least a decades-long history in American politics).

But in spite of neither side wanting to negotiate, in spite of Reid and Boehner BOTH boldly blocking votes in their respective houses of Congress (which Reid did respecting at least thirty economic- and job-related bills during Obama’s first term), in spite of clear lies and vitriol coming out of the Administration – the Republicans alone catch the blame.

Even with allowing for the dominance of a liberal media, the supposed watchdog over improper governing, I am still amazed at the result.

I still think that the only answer to this lack of effectiveness in government is for the American people to “t’row da bums out”.  And to assume that they are ALL bums.

Unfortunately, I think this is about as likely as the total defunding of Obamacare.

Problem is, these elected officials are really all smart people, as individuals.  When they are alone, they talk a good story – they seem dedicated to the principles that made this country great.  And they make their constituents believe that were it not for their wisdom in electing him/her to government office, things would be much more of a mess than they are now.

Then, when these elected/re-elected officials get into a group, the IQ of the collective sinks to below-idiot status.

The American people need to just not listen to any incumbent in the next couple of elections.  The American people need to send a much stronger message to Washington than they did in 2010 – they need to replace ALL incumbents up for re-election in the House and the Senate.  There needs to be a concerted effort to ensure that all incumbents are challenged and beaten in their state primaries.

But this will never happen.

And on we roll toward growing debt, further dumbed down education standards, more government intrusion and control, greatly expanding welfare rolls, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid systems tumbling toward bankruptcy, a grossly expensive new government program called Obamacare, etc., etc. — and a dysfunctional Congress  It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that this can’t go on indefinitely.

I literally FEAR for our future and the future of our children.