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Welcome to New York, Fun Not Allowed

by Mars ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under America, Blogmocracy, Democratic Party, Guest Post, Regulation at December 15th, 2014 - 6:00 pm

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20141205/park-slope/parks-dept-puts-stop-spinning-playground-equipment-after-injuries

Parks Dept. Puts a Stop to Spinning Playground Equipment After Injuries

PARK SLOPE — The city is putting the brakes on spinning playground equipment following reports of injuries, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.

Rotating metal saucers that kids ride at two Park Slope playgrounds were recently welded into place so they can’t move, and the city has made similar modifications or removed a total of seven disks citywide “in the interest of public safety,” the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman declined to discuss how many injuries had been reported or other specifics.

Turning the spinning disks into statues angered Park Slope parents, who said the city was going too far to protect kids.

“I think it sucks,” said dad David Friedlander, whose 2-year-old was disappointed to find the the spinning disk at Vanderbilt Playground in Prospect Park suddenly stuck in place in late November. “I think it’s a sad commentary on how litigious and afraid we’ve become of having our children get a few boo-boos.”

Friedlander said his son had tumbled off the disk — which is about 4 feet wide and stands about 2 feet off the ground — onto the rubberized ground below, but he doesn’t consider the equipment a safety hazard. Friedlander said it should be up to parents to decide if their children can handle playing on the saucer, not the city.

“This makes me completely insane. What’s the point of even going to the playground? Better lock up the swings, too,” wrote one frustrated mom of a 3-year-old on a South Slope email list.

Parents in that neighborhood said they’re bummed a similar rotating saucer at Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street was also recently welded so that it can’t move.

The city removed a swing at Slope Park last year after several kids broke their legs while playing on it, but parents said the spinning metal disk didn’t seem to present nearly the same risk. Parents who visit Slope Park frequently said they’ve never seen kids injured while playing at the saucer.

Though several families filed claims against the city regarding the Slope Park swing, no claims have been filed regarding the spinning disks there, according to the City Comptroller’s Office.

The Parks Department altered the following spinning disks:

► Union Square Park, Manhattan — welded stationary

► McNair Park, Manhattan — welded stationary

► Central Park, Manhattan — removed

► Utopia Park, Queens — removed

► Mullaly Park, The Bronx — removed

► Slope Park, Brooklyn — welded stationary

► Prospect Park, Brooklyn — welded stationary

A spokesman for City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who represents the South Slope, said his office hadn’t received any complaints about the rotating saucer at Slope Park, and a spokesman for City Councilman Brad Lander said no one complained about the metal disk at Vanderbilt Playground until after it was welded into a stationary position.

Mom Rebecca Stein said both her daughters, who are 5 and nearly 2, love to play on the rotating saucers at Vanderbilt Playground and Slope Park. The equipment lets her kids test boundaries and get a feel for how their little bodies balance and move, Stein said.

“They think it’s fantastic,” Stein said. “They love the thrill of balancing and sort of playing risky. It’s being close to danger, but without any real danger.”

Stein said both her children had slipped off the saucers, but the worst that ever befell them was an extreme case of dizziness. She lamented the loss of the disks as part of a larger trend away from letting children play freely.

“Playgrounds are so sanitized now,” Stein said. “There’s no thrill. In the playgrounds of our youth you could climb and feel like you were above things and use more of your imagination. I don’t think that happens anymore.”

To be fair, this time it isn’t the government that’s out of control, this was the determination made by the judge in a law suit. Remember, the libs say we have no need for tort reform.

If anyone has noticed, this isn’t just a New York problem though. All over the country places like malls have either eliminated their playgrounds or made them into new “safe, soft” playplaces that kids just frankly don’t find fun in the least. Play areas that used to be packed by kids are now largely ignored due to the utter lack of enjoyable activities. Fortunately places like McDonalds have managed to find a middle ground with enjoyable “soft” activities that have electronic elements involved giving the kids added enjoyment.

I will, however, miss playgrounds.

How the US government trashed the diesel fuel cost advantage

by 1389AD ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Cars & Trucks, EPA, Food and Drink, Regulation at September 30th, 2014 - 8:00 am
Pain at the pump
Diesel or petrol, pain at the pump

I’m no Jay Leno but I do know a thing or two about motor vehicles, and a thing or three about tyranny, of which I have made a lifelong object of study. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that anything that raises the costs of road transportation also hamstrings the US economy, makes ordinary Americans poorer, strangles our liberty, and helps our enemies who are burdened by no such constraints.

I’ve owned both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Diesel was once the way to go when it came to saving money at the fuel pump. Diesel engines still outlast the gasoline variety and can deliver impressive power, but the US grabbermint deliberately wiped out the diesel fuel dollars-per-mile advantage.

Here’s how they did it:

Eric Peters: The Diesel Dilemma

The last time people began to sweat the cost of gas, they were able to turn to diesels. The cars delivered tremendous mileage (e.g., a VW Rabbit diesel was capable of 50-plus MPG, as good or better than a new Prius hybrid) and – perhaps as important – the fuel itself was cheaper than gasoline.

You may recall.

What happened?

Government.

Diesel fuel became more expensive than gasoline – because of government edicts that made it more rather than less expensive to refine. Today’s “ultra-low sulfur” diesel runs close to $4 a gallon in my neck of the Woods vs. just over $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

This cost-to-feed disparity takes a lot away from the economic argument in favor of buying a diesel-powered car. Especially given that modern diesel-powered cars – though excellent in many ways – are also a great deal less fuel-efficient than the diesel powered cars of the ’70s and ’80s (the era before government got around to hassling diesels to the extent that it had been hassling gas-powered cars). Engine design had to be altered; exhaust systems changed up. Almost all current-year diesel-powered passenger cars have particulate traps and “regeneration” (diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust to after-burn it for emissions control reasons; of course, fuel used to burn off soot is fuel not used to propel the car – and your mileage goes down).

Most (virtually all) current-year diesel-powered passenger cars also require something called Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to achieve compliance with emissions regs. That is, to placate the government (at your expense). The DEF – basically, urea (that is, piss) – is contained in a separate tank that must be regularly topped off. The DEF works kind of like a gas engine’s catalytic converter, chemically altering the composition of the exhaust stream.

Whether this is good or bad is ultimately neither here nor there as far as the consumer appeal of diesel-powered cars.

Historically, the primary reason for going with a diesel rather than a gas-engined car (all else being equal) was the prospect that the diesel would – hopefully – save you money.

Unfortunately, that’s less likely today than it was yesterday. Because of the higher cost of the fuel – and the lower fuel-efficiency of modern diesels.

Here’s an example:

I recently reviewed the 2014 VW Jetta TDI (see here). For a modern car – relative to other modern cars – it delivers excellent fuel economy: 30 MPG in city driving and 42 MPG on the highway. But back in 1979, a VW Rabbit diesel delivered 45 MPG … in citydriving.

And 57 on the highway.

See here, if you don’t believe me.

Now, granted, the ’79 Rabbit is (was) a smaller car than the ’14 Jetta. But the difference is startling nonetheless – because the Jetta has all the putative advantages of the intervening 40 years (almost) of technological advances.

Shouldn’t it deliver better economy than a Carter-era car?

Well, it could.

If VW were not forced to festoon its brilliant TDI (turbo direct injection) diesel with all the foregoing folderol. If the federal obsession with soot – aka “particulate” emissions – were not so fervid. And here it is important to point out that diesel emissions aredifferent. Particulates may be obnoxious to some, but they are not a factor in the formation of smog – the main justification for swaddling gas engines with a Hannibal Lecter-esque suit of “controls” to tamp them down.

Everything – like it or not – is ultimately a cost-benefit analysis. And frequently there is a conflict between one desired thing and another desired thing. In this case, the desire of the government to effectively curb tailpipe emissions of cars (both diesel and gas) to nil conflicts with the consumer’s desire for a fuel-efficient (to say nothing of affordable) vehicle.

And this is why – for the most part (the Jetta I reviewed being one of literally two exceptions) the diesel-powered cars available today are almost all high-end/expensive cars. The diesel engines available in vehicles like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 3 and 5 are touted as much for their performance as their economy – and of course, the cars they’re installed in are sold on the basis of luxury and status. These are the sweeteners that make so-so-efficient modern diesels more palatable to buyers.

But on the economy end of the scale, it is harder to make a sound case for a modern diesel-powered car. Even the thoroughly excellent Jetta TDI. It costs about $5k more than the base trim gas-engined Jetta. And then there’s the 50-75 cents more per gallon you pay at the pump. Sure, the TDI’s mileage is 10-plus MPG better than the gas-engined models. But $5k buys oceans of gas … and don’t forget the extra $8-10 or so more you’ll be paying at each fill-up, diesel vs. regular unleaded.

To sum up:

The proverbial low-hanging fruit was plucked decades ago. That is, on the order of 90 percent of the harmful (e.g., smog forming, respiratory distress-inducing) byproducts of internal combustion were “controlled” by the first simple – but very effective – emissions technologies, such as catalytic converters (for gas-engined vehicles). Since the ’90s, the government’s increasingly demented crusade has been to “control” the remaining fractional part of a vehicle’s exhaust output that is less-than-pure.

I italicize this for emphasis because it is not a literary or editorial flourish. It is the literal truth.  The government will push for – and impose – a new round of emissions rigmarole in order to “cut” what they will invariably describe as “harmful emissions” by half a percent. But they will tout this as a 50 percent reduction – which it technically is. Because if you reduce 1 percent by half you have reduced it by 50 percent. But “50 percent” sounds a helluva lot better, PR-wise, than “half of one percent.”

So, we end with pretty pricey diesels that are only so-so efficient – relative to what they should and easily could be.

Continue reading…

Mixing alcohol with gasoline

Governmental bodies and various private organizations harp endlessly on the dangers of, and legal penalties against, driving under the influence of ethyl alcohol. At the same time, the US government is doing all it can to force you to feed ethyl alcohol into your gasoline-powered engine! Problem is, ethyl alcohol damages equipment that is not purpose-built to use it as fuel. Gasoline adulterated with alcohol can destroy your car, your motorcycle, your aircraft, your boat, your power tools, your generator…you name it. Seems to me that this is a stealth method to force older vehicles and equipment into the junkyard.

Arguably, “gasohol” harms the environment, in that the energy cost of producing the corn (maize), distilling ethyl alcohol from it, and transporting it to the pump, exceeds its yield as a vehicular energy source.

Corn is food. It is especially suited as fuel for people and animals, not machines. It makes economic sense to use corn as animal feed and to consume corn directly as sweet corn, hominy grits, cornbread, tortillas, popcorn, you name it. Burning corn, or for that matter, any food, as substandard vehicle fuel raises food prices worldwide, making people go hungry who otherwise would not.

If you own an older car or motorcycle, or would like to buy one, you owe it to yourself to read this:

Eric Peters: Making Your Car (and Bike) Ethanol-Safe

The LEGO Movie: Emergent order wins, centralized planning fails

by 1389AD ( 121 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Economy, Fascism, Hipsters, Movies, Regulation, taxation at September 9th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

EconPop – The Economics of The LEGO Movie

Published on Jul 29, 2014 by Econ Stories
All new episode! Click to share: http://ctt.ec/myUJ0

In this episode of EconPop, Andrew discusses the animated hit comedy The LEGO Movie. Subjects include emergent order, creative destruction, and central planning.

EconPop is the YouTube series that sifts through the haystack of popular culture to find the needle of economics within… and then stabs you with it!

Starring comedian Andrew Heaton, EconPop takes a surprisingly deep look at the economic themes running through classic films, new releases, tv shows and more from the best of pop culture and entertainment. Heaton brings a unique mix of dry wit and whimsy to bear on the dismal science of economics and the result is always entertaining, educational and irreverent. It’s Econ 101 meets At The Movies, with a dash of Monty Python.

A Production of http://emergentorder.com

Produced in Association with The Moving Picture Institute. http://thempi.org

Shootout at the Cold Stone Corral: The Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary

by The Osprey ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Business, Corruption, Democratic Party, DOJ, Economy, Election 2014, EPA, Eric Holder, Health Care, immigration, Immigration, IRS, Janet Napolitano, Misery Index, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, The Political Right, unemployment at August 24th, 2014 - 6:02 pm

AZnObamaTruck

Damn. The Arizona Republican Primary is Tuesday, and I have still not been able to make up my mind who I am going to vote for to be our contender for Governor in November. There are 6 – count ‘em – 6 candidates!

Nicknames in quotes are mine :lol:

I break them down like this:

The Corporates – pushing their experience in the private sector:

Doug Ducey. “The Ice Cream Man” : Current AZ Treasurer. Founder of Cold Stone Creamery, the upscale ice cream chain. Has gotten endorsement of Republican heavy hitters from outside the state – Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, radio talker Hugh Hewitt. On the hand, he has been endorsed by John McCain and there have been questions of impropriety raised around some of his dealings with Cold Stone franchisees. UPDATE: It appears that Doug Ducey has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Christine Jones. “Go Daddy’s Girl”: Kind of a dark horse, or should I say, ginger horse. (She’s a red head). Was corporate attorney for Scottsdale based internet hosting company Go Daddy – they of the racy Superbowl ads and Danica Patrick ad campaign. Claims to be for strong border enforcement, but recent revelations of her social media posts from a few years back supporting Obama and other liberal positions, resume embellishments (she claimed to have worked as a prosecuting attorney prior to her Go Daddy days) have made me skeptical of her.

The Politicos – claiming the voice of moderation:

Ken Bennett: “Cool, Calm Ken” Current Arizona Secretary of State. Long term AZ politico seen by many as a balancing force in AZ Republican politics. Presents a “cool calm and collected” image but may be a RINO. Many Arizonans who support Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigation of Obama’s document fraud feel Bennett allowed himself to be bamboozled by Democrat officials in the Hawaii State Dept. of Records, and his lack of experience outside government has caused some criticism as well.

Scott Smith: “Mayor McRINO” Current Mayor of Mesa. Presents himself as a moderate Republican. Has a pretty good record as Mayor, but his support of Brewer’s Obamacare associated Medicare expansion which was passed in the dead of night by RINOS and Democrats and his participation in national Mayors conferences heavily influenced by Democrats has left a sour taste in the mouth of small government and balanced budget advocates in AZ. Endorsed by Jan Brewer.

The Lawmen- For border security and state’s rights :

Frank Riggs: “Marshall Dillon” Frank is a California transplant who moved to AZ in 2001. An army veteran and former police officer, he represented a conservative district in California in the Reagan years. This is his first foray back into politics since moving to Arizona. Has the endorsement for former State Senator Russell Pierce, author of SB 1070. A Border hawk. Those who object to him site a congressional voting record that is not quite as conservative as Riggs claims it to be.

Andrew Thomas: “The Boy Scout” Former Maricopa County Attorney. Defended Sheriff Joe’s immigration law enforcement in court, exposed and lead prosecution of various corrupt State representatives and Maricopa county supervisors. This gained him many enemies in the liberal Democrat run AZ Bar Association, who filed a lawsuit against him that while ultimately defeated, nonetheless lead to him being disbarred. He is very well liked in among AZ conservatives, but even many who like him feel that he is “damaged goods” and vulnerable to a Dem lead smear campaign in the General.

My initial thoughts back in February or March favored either Doug Ducey or Christine Jones. Having someone in the Governor’s office with private sector experience could help Arizona divert a lot of those California companies fleeing that state’s regulatory environment to Texas, into Arizona instead.

However, with the Bundy Ranch vs. Fed Gov showdown in April, the ongoing controversy over Sheriff Joe’s investigation into Obama’s document fraud, the “Camp of the Saints”/”Children’s Crusade” on the border, and the threat of ISIS infiltration via the border, has me leaning now towards one of “The Lawmen”. I don’t think the “Corporates” would have enough spine to stand up to Obama and Holder.

Polls are all over the map, there are some in the media who say the race is Ducey’s to lose, but I think there is a strong undercurrent for Andrew Thomas, as an F-YOU! to the Dems locally and nationally.

Curious to hear what other Blogmocers either in AZ or out of state think. We, along with Texas are on the front lines of the border crisis, Obama and Holder have been meddling in our local politics and the economy here has been struggling since 2008.

UPDATE: It appears that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed Doug Ducey.

Not Afraid Of The Lax Rules Involved With Federal Agencies? Get A Load Of This.

by Flyovercountry ( 116 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Party, DHS, Economy, Progressives, Regulation at June 23rd, 2014 - 7:00 am

I’ve written about this before, the evils perpetrated upon our constitutional republic by establishing federal agencies as a substitute for the framework of governance originally established by our founding national law. Federal agencies have effectively swept away all vestiges of the checks and balances system, and have done more to concentrate power within the federal behemoth than the election of 10 Barack Obamas consecutively could ever achieve.

Our very first federal agency was the Interstate Commerce Commission, established in February of 1887. The act granting authority to establish this agency established something called agency law. The Act itself was worded purposefully vague, and granted the agency authority to write its own rules, manage the enforcement of those rules, and depended upon the Judiciary for what little check on its power the weakest branch of our government would care to muster. The Judiciary of course elected to defer such oversight authority, deferring in almost all instances to the, “wisdom of the experts within the agencies themselves,” for such matters. With that almost exclusively followed path set forth then, continued to this day without interruption, all federal agencies effectively have the power of all three branches of our federal behemoth, concentrated within the hegemony of the current bureaucracy. What’s worse, since it is nearly impossible to fire federal workers, that bureaucracy remains in place and devoted to its own belief system, irrespective of which leadership team to manage the whole mess is actually decided upon by the American People. If for example Conservatives win national elections, the federal agencies will undoubtedly continue to run with a decidedly liberal bent, they’ll just be a little more discreet about it for 4 or 8 years.

it’s taken a while, 127 years to be more specific about it, but this very week, one of those newly formed agencies showed perfectly, why we should all be very terrified.

From the Town Hall article linked to above:

Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, through the power of Dodd-Frank, passed a rule giving the agency unprecedented power to shut down businesses, no matter what the reason, at any time it wishes through a cease-and-desist order. Further, the rule puts businesses at the mercy of the CFPB and they cannot go back into operation until government approval or a court ruling is made over an issue. Subsequently because bureaucratic decisions and court rulings take a substantial amount of time to happen, businesses cannot survive during those waiting periods. Here are the details (emphasis mine):

In a notice published in today’s Federal Register, the CFPB has announced that it has adopted its interim final rule on temporary cease-and-desist orders (C&Ds) without change. The final rule takes effect on July 18, 2014.

The CFPB is authorized to issue temporary C&Ds under Section 1053(c) of Dodd-Frank. That provision authorizes a temporary C&D as an adjunct to a cease-and-desist proceeding brought under Section 1053 against a covered person or service provider. A temporary C&D is effective immediately upon service and remains in effect unless modified or terminated administratively by the CFPB or set aside on judicial review.

Reasons!? Reasons!? They don’t need no stinking reason to shut you down! This latest rule of course is being inflicted now to threaten banks who do business with gun dealers and manufacturers. So, rather than inflict gun control, which is prohibited by our Second Amendment, and further, is opposed by the vast majority of American citizens, they’ll just make certain that gun shops can not participate in the market place of capital commerce. They won’t be able to process credit card payments, deposit checks, or cash, or use checking accounts to pay their bills and such. All of course because the CCFB has granted itself this authority, and it’ll doubtless take the Judiciary a decade or so to sort it out, assuming that our weakest branch of government even cares to do so.

On Father’s day I had a conversation with a liberal. I reminded him that the entire purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect the citizens of the newly formed nation from any future government tyranny, so that the federal government would always be as afraid of its citizens as the citizens were of the government. He immediately quipped, as if I would be silly to consider that necessary today, “do you even think that’s an issue now?” When I answered you bet, he labeled me a fringe radical fanatic. (I love that softball opportunity to slap someone down by the way.) So I of course asked if his definition of a fringe radical was someone who did not wish to live under the societal rules that he agreed with and sought to inflict. That was a conversation ending question, and it felt good. This latest bit, something I wish I had in my arsenal a week ago, is that perfect example of government tyranny run completely amok.

Make no mistake about it however, this is something far bigger than the threat to use a back door method to inflict gun control. It is far bigger even than the CCFB. It is the agency system of governance itself that must be dealt with. The only President ever, who attempted to do something to reign in the out of control behemoth that our federal agencies have become, was Richard Nixon. This, as much as anything, was a reason for why he was so hated by the political left. We need the political will and fortitude not seen since Reagan to do that, and I actually have someone in mind. We’ll be discussing that on Monday. I’m going out on a limb and making an endorsement, even before anyone declares for the upcoming 2016 bloodbath.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

More on Cantor’s Loss

by coldwarrior ( 100 Comments › )
Filed under Debt, Economy, Open thread, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, The Political Right at June 18th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

This article sums up the division in the GOP quite nicely.

Sure, I agreed with some of the things he voted for, but in the long run (as we in the dismal science love to say) he failed in the basic task that a conservative has in DC: Limit the size of Fedgov and return power to the States, return power to YOU.

The video at the end is well worth the watch as well.

 

Will Anybody Really Miss Eric Cantor?

His stunning loss was built on a terrible record of big-government conservatism at its worst.

| June 17, 2014

Will anybody really miss Eric Cantor? Probably not. Despite (or maybe because of) his position in the House Republican leadership and the historic nature of his primary loss, there was virtually nothing remarkable about him as a politician or a policymaker. The Republicans have dozens or hundreds or thousands more just like him. He’s like a Dorito corn chip in those old Jay Leno ads: They’ll make more.

Cantor exemplifies what Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) just denounced as a “Chamber of Commerce”-style GOP legislator, “the same-old, same-old,” standard-issue Republican who has brought the party to a historically low level of self-identification among voters.

Cantor was what passes for a small-government conservative. Which is to say that Cantor was in favor of shrinking the size and scope of government…except for the endless list of exceptions that allowed him to help grow federal spending by more than 50 percent in real terms, and regulatory spending by even more, during the Bush years.

You know the drill: As a “conservative,” Cantor wanted the government out of people’s lives because FREEDOM-FOUNDING FATHERS-CONSTITUTION. Yet Cantor was anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion (he even wanted to prohibit adults from transporting minors across state lines if they were getting abortions). Because the federal government really should dictate all that, right? He endorsed a constitutional amendment against flag burning because free expression doesn’t mean you can actually express what you mean. He was pro-gun or, more specifically, pro-National Rifle Association. He was pro-drug war. Nothing unique or interesting there.

He wavered ever-so-slightly on immigration reform, meaning that he believed some children of immigrants shouldn’t be punished for their parents’ transgressions (big of him, really, at least in a GOP context). But he voted to build a militarized fence along our border with Mexico, pulled a 100 percent rating from the xenophobes at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and he wanted English to be the official language of America (what’s Mexican for WTF?). He loved the national security state (including virtually unchecked surveillance of Americans as well as foreigners), defense spending, and wars (especially when a Republican was in the White House). He voted for No Child Left Behind, the single-biggest increase in federal control over education because education is an issue best dealt with at the local level, unless conservative Republicans run the country.

On spending and economic issues, he was atrocious and hypocritical in all the ways that a Republican can be. Of course he voted for the 2003 expansion of Medicare to include prescription drugs, even as he voted against allowing Medicare to negotiate cheaper prices for that unwarranted giveaway to the nation’s seniors. He signed off on the Bush budgets and he championed the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the illegal auto bailouts (at least as long as a Republican was president).

Like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Cantor was a spirited defender of the Export-Import Bank, an FDR-created boondoggle that guarantees loans to foreign businesses who buy American products. As the Mercatus Center’s Veronique de Rugy has shown, the Ex-Im Bank is among the purest excrescences of crony capitalism, with favored U.S. companies such as Boeing getting massive subsidies via the program. Cantor was the leader in the effort to reauthorize it two years ago and was the point man on this year’s reauthorization too. He loved the House Republican budget resolution, the so-called Path to Prosperity, which is full of accounting tricks (such as zeroing out spending on Obamacare while keeping all the program’s revenues) and would increase annual federal spending from $3.7 trillion in 2015 to $5 trillion in 2024.

If Cantor does indeed exemplify the Chamber of Commerce-style Republican that enflames the Tea Party even more than it does liberal and progressive Democrats, does the majority leader’s defeat spell doom for the GOP establishment?

I hope so, but it’s far from clear. Cantor’s district had been redrawn, and while it remained solidly red, he was unfamiliar in much of it. His internal polling was way off, so he didn’t start a counter-campaign until it was too late. For reasons that aren’t clear, he pulled 8,500 fewer total votes in this primary than he did in 2012, a drop The Washington Post notes is wider than his opponent’s 7,200-vote margin of victory.

Primary voters tend to be much more ideological and extreme than general-election voters, so they aren’t representative of larger party dynamics. Economics professor David Brat vanquished Cantor in part by touting a tough line on immigration, but it’s not clear that rank-and-file Republicans are anti-immigrant or even care much about the topic. A recent Politico poll, for instance, finds 64 percent of Republican voters in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, and the topic is way down on lists of voter concerns.

For all those reasons, I think it’s folly to talk about Cantor’s loss as meaning more than the obvious: He perfectly represented the modal Republican in that he talked about limiting government while actively growing its reach in virtually every way. That is a supremely unattractive character to be in contemporary American politics, and it helps explain why Gallup finds just 25 percent of Americans identify as Republicans (the news isn’t rosy for Democrats, either, according to Gallup: Just 31 percent of Americans identify with that centuries-old brand). Last Saturday, Rand Paul told the Texas Republican Liberty Caucus that people everywhere “say it’s time…for this libertarian moment, this liberty moment. It’s no longer something that scares people, it’s what [makes] people say, we can’t run the same-old, same-old, we’re not going to win with the same-old, same-old.” Eric Cantor was definitely the same-old, same-old. The GOP is choking on guys (yes, guys) just like him who talk about limited government and then legislate in a totally different way.

I hope that Paul is right and folks want to embrace a vision of limited government that extends to social issues and spending issues. I don’t think the rejection of Cantor by primary voters tells us much about that. But it does signal that the status quo is up for grabs and that undistinguished pols like Cantor should be shaking in their boots.

 

Nobel Laureate Gary Becker Left An Ignored Legacy Well Worth Attention

by Flyovercountry ( 88 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Regulation at May 19th, 2014 - 2:00 pm

I’ve written many times on my blog that those societies which enact anti discrimination laws accomplish only one thing, and that is to reduce to zero, the costs associated with capricious behavior. It is one of the things which will send the political left into a tizzy, have them screaming racist from what ever roof top they can find, and more specifically, get them to spout off some of the most economically illiterate arguments concerning basic economics that I’ve ever heard. It may or may not interest everyone reading this that I did not just make that thought up from thin air. As it turns out, that very statement, and the research to prove it, won an economist named Gary Becker the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1992. That by the way was still a time when a Nobel Prize meant something more than just the prize for the person who did something noteworthy in the arena of leftist political advancement. Yes, there was more to Becker’s theory than that one statement, but that is the nub of it. He showed conclusively that fairness laws produce only the opposite result upon which they are sold to the public, that the free market price system is the greatest tool available to modern man which actually does end racial or any other type of societal discrimination. Unfortunately, the politicians who often get themselves elected by convincing Americans that they have some basic understanding of economics will more often than not simply pretend that Gary Becker never existed, and that is a real shame.

Gary Becker passed away this week, and one of his former students wrote a nice essay paying homage to his former teacher. It would be nice, if some time during our century old national discussion on race, we would actually allow for substantive debate to trump emotional demagoguery, but that’s just a pipe dream of mine. Becker’s theory you see wouldn’t allow for the professional race huxters, grievance pimps, shakedown artists, or political bosses to keep using America’s most profitable divide to stoke their own self centered agendas.

Here’s Thomas Sowell, who I believe deserves a Nobel Prize for Economics based upon his work with empirical analysis alone. He’s done more to follow up on Becker’s work than any other economist alive. In this video he discusses some of that research with William F. Buckley during an interview in 1983.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Conservative?

by coldwarrior ( 123 Comments › )
Filed under Anarcho-Capitalism, Conservatism, Debt, Economy, government, Immigration, Libertarianism, Open thread, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, Tea Parties, unemployment at May 16th, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Then I guess I ain’t one. No mention of deregulation at the federal level. No mention of any fiscally conservative issues like, oh, I don’t know, getting the budget and spending under control to avoid the obvious wall we are going to hit in a few years. No mention of tax reform. No mention of State’s rights. No mention of personal liberty. No mention of limiting the Federal Government’s role in our lives. These should be the ‘Agenda’ for the GOP. These should be Bedrock Issues.

 

But, predictably, No…It’s Abortion, ‘the family’ (not sure why fedgov needs to be involved in that), and illegal immigration. Now, if its up to me, abortion is up to the states where they could really make some headway like is being made on the second amendment. Mexico would be read the riot act and forced to close their side of the border, we would seal our southern border and the northern border. Hiring managers and HR and CEOs would do hard time for hiring illegals. There would be a path to citizenship, but it would be hard, and there would be work permits but they would only seasonal. Easy fix. took me 5 minutes.

 

Instead the usual crowd met and they talked about family values and abortion and fags. THE ECONOMY IS WRECKED!!!  WE HAVE 25% REAL UNEMPLOYMENT!!! WE ARE GOING TO RUN OUT OF MONEY IN A FEW YEARS!!! REGULATION IS KILLING US!!! FEDGOV VIEWS THE CITIZENS AS CATTLE!!! But no, let’s beat our chests about abortion and fags.

I have begun to ask myself, why does this  GOP ‘conservative wing’ not want to focus on why America is becoming poorer and losing ground by the minute while stacking up debt by the minute that will enslave our kids and grand-kids? Do they not see or not care about the train wreck that is coming for the economy? Why does this group have a willful disregard for economics and liberty? Having Grover Norquist natter on and subscribing to the economically illiterate idea of a balanced budget amendment does not address the serious fiscal issues that we face. Not even close. If these guys were the board and GOP was a corporation, they would be fired by the shareholders for negligence.

Although many Republicans are optimistic about their chances in this year’s elections, some of Washington’s leading conservatives gathered Thursday to privately vent frustrations about what kind of party they will be left with after November.

The group, alarmed by a resurgence of the GOP establishment in recent primaries and what activists view as a softened message, drafted demands to be shared with senior lawmakers calling on the party to “recommit” to bedrock principles.

Some of those principles laid out in the new document — strict opposition to illegal immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion — represent the hot-button positions that many Republican congressional candidates are trying to avoid as the party attempts to broaden its appeal.

Several attendees said they fear that elected Republicans, even if they succeed in retaining control of the House and winning the Senate majority, would cast aside the core conservative base.

“Conservatives ought not to delude themselves that if Republicans win the Senate majority, it will somehow be a conservative majority,” said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, which monitors perceived media bias. “We should have no expectation whatsoever that they will listen. That’s why we’re fighting.”

Others worry that a toned-down campaign message by the party would dim GOP turnout and undercut Republicans in competitive races.

“I’m terrified that Republicans will blow this election if they are not going to stand for something,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a conservative group.

Stand for something!?! How about standing for State’s rights, personal liberty and less regulation/federal control as ‘Bedrock Issues’? Why not restrain Fedzilla and get them off of our backs as a Bedrock Issue? They can start with USDA agents with machine guns and bullet proof vests then move to the BLM and ATF and EPA. How about standing for not selling our kids and grand-kids into debt slavery as a Bedrock Issue?

Debt is slavery and regulation is the whip.

Liberty is a gift. Liberty is a real and universal family value.

Debt and Liberty weren’t on the agenda.

 

*SO, this is what drives me mad about these people who call themselves conservative* Where is the liberty? Where is the reduction of enslaving debt?   Makes me crazy…so don’t get all out of whack over this post. It is for illustration purposes only.

 

Oh well…have a great friday and weekend yinz!

29 of 30 Dow Jones companies support Clinton initiatives

by Rodan ( 67 Comments › )
Filed under Bailouts, Business, Democratic Party, Economy, Elections 2016, Fascism, Hillary Clinton, Progressives, Regulation, Tranzis at May 7th, 2014 - 8:12 am

For all the talk of Republicans being the party of big businesses facts point in the other direction. A new report out shows that 29 out of 30 Dow Jones have donated to support the Clinton Foundation.

The blue-chip political investment for big business is Clinton Inc.

Twenty-nine of the 30 Dow Jones (INDU) Industrial Average index companies have given money or in-kind support to projects branded by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, according to a review of Clinton Foundation and U.S. State Department reports.

The main gates to Clintonworld are the Clinton Foundation, an umbrella group overseeing the former president’s causes such as raising money to help earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and its spinoff Clinton Global Initiative, which recruits corporate sponsors for international charitable projects. Major corporations also responded to a call for cash from the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure.

[....]

“It is always going to raise suspicions,” said David Almasi, the executive director for the Republican-leaning National Center for Public Policy Research who also owns shares of Boeing Co., a Dow member that has donated to the Clinton Foundation and has business interests across the globe. “It’s the appearance of impropriety that is the problem. If they are going to play like this, they are going to have to accept that we are going to be skeptical.”

Wall Street will clearly be in the Hillary camp for the 2016 elections. For the Republicans to have any shot of defeating Hillary they must attack this Corporate Socialist – Democrat Party Axis of Evil. Turning class warfare on its head, the GOP should attack this concentration of economic and political power from the Right. It is not healthy for Capitalism to have Government and Big Businesses tied at the hip. It creates an unfair advantage for well connected people at the expense of market innovation and economic freedom.

Corporate Socialism is a threat to medium and family own businesses who are not politically connected. This will lead to depressed wages and lack of job growth which leads to government dependency. Going after this anti-Capitalist cabal will pay dividends for Republicans if they choose to go that route. Such a stance is not anti-business, on the contrary it is very pro-free market.

The Administrative Assault On The Constitution: Why Electing Third Party Candidates Won’t Matter Either

by Flyovercountry ( 163 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, EPA, government, Progressives, Regulation at May 6th, 2014 - 3:09 pm

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

On February 4, 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed into law, the very first piece of legislation that created a regulatory agency. On that date in our nation’s history, the Interstate Commerce Commission was created. This event represents in many ways, the birth of the progressive assault on the U.S. Constitution. The ICC for those of you who aren’t familiar with its impact upon the daily lives of every person living within our borders, was granted the power and authority of all three branches of our federal government. Its creation represents perhaps the single most important step in destroying the checks and balances system so thoughtfully put into place by our nation’s founders. The theory was that our nation had become to large and complex to govern in the manner proscribed by the constitutional form of governance created close to 100 years prior to that date. A new system was needed where independent regulatory agencies would be able to take a more proactive role in the specific areas of their purview. These independent agencies would provide, where necessary, a more efficient address of problems needing solution than the designed gridlock built into our constitutional architecture. This belief was born out of the gridlock of the 1860′s, 70′s, and 80′s, in which the railroads were the target of a concerted effort to gin up complaint in regards to the prices charged customers who might seek passage on the short hauls. During the entire decade, endless debate was held in Congress, and shockingly, a solution could not be agreed upon. (It is worthy of note that Milton Friedman highlighted this very debate and ensuing solution as a part of his, “Free to Choose,” series, specifically, episode seven. His argument, and one that I happen to agree with, was that a solution was not necessary, since the problem was overblown, not real, and would have been better addressed by simply allowing the market place to sort itself out, as it always had previously. It should also be noted that rail travel in the United States at that time, even on the short hauls, was far cheaper than in the European nations, where government intervention was far more prevalent.)

As a direct result of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, the disparity of the long haul versus short haul rates was solved by raising the former to reflect the latter, rather than the other way around. It took about a decade for the consumer advocates of the day to move on to their next crusade, and left the control of the ICC completely up to the industry experts of the time, who were of course the very owners of the railroads that the Commission in question was supposed to be regulating in the first place. The ICC was used as a regulatory bludgeon to keep smaller companies from entering into the already very competitive railroad market, and when Trucks became a viable economic alternative, and quickly grew into a superior economic alternative, the trucking industry got itself added to the purview of the ICC. Today of course, as a result of this, there are trucking companies in America which make large profits without owning or operating a single truck. They simply buy and lease ICC licenses, adding a layer of cost to every item purchased by any citizen anywhere in America at any time.

Worse than that however is the fact that as is almost always the case, the specific problems sought to be solved by this particular agency were only made worse. By the time the 10th birthday candle was placed on the top of the ICC cake, the original intention was ignored and or forgotten completely, and a whole new scope of regulatory authority and control was fabricated, by the agency itself. This by the way is a real danger to anyone wishing to live free from the yoke of government tyranny. The ICC had failed completely in its original mission, as almost every agency does. That failure however was never accounted for, nor was any accounting sought. Instead, the agency simply wrote itself a new mission, which was of course completely opposite of the intended purpose. The progressive model so expertly thrust upon us, to the point where we’ve missed its implementation entirely, is that the Legislators draft a law with extremely vague language. A broad vision is laid out in terms of the area of our society that they wish to see placed under the control of said agency. The details of the new law are proscribed to be filled in later by the newly created government agency. An example of this in action is the Dodd/Frank Law that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Congress passed a law which said, we want to regulate how our credit markets will operate, so that the credit consumer would be protected against greedy money lenders looking to do harm to the little guy. It was pretty much that vague, except that a new government agency, The CPFB, would write the rules necessary to place the entire financial services sector of our economy under complete control of the newly formed regulatory authority. Here we are some 5 years later, and Richard Cordray, the former Ohio Attorney General that Ohioans got tired of after only 4 short years, has carte blanche to rewrite how an entire sector of our economy will function. Never mind fellow little people, that he has not one second’s experience in the function of our capital market place, nor will he have any bothersome oversight to interfere with him as he writes those rules, nor even what those rules will ultimately be. If you wish to purchase a house, ever, it’s up to Richard Cordray now, how or if that will happen.

The agency you see, not only comes with the power to write its own rules, but also with the power of the Executive Branch, since this is where all agencies reside, to manage how those rules are enforced. Beyond that however, in all but the most severe cases, the courts have by and large simply abdicated their own place in this process by allowing these entities to adjudicate their own disputes. For the most part, the answer of the Judicial Branch has been to allow the agencies wide leeway in terms of settling any differences that private citizens may have with the management of agency business. So much for separation of power, one of the principle tenets of our constitutional republic.

Every four years in this nation we hold national beauty pageants designed to choose the leaders of our Executive Branch. Invariably those leaders come from one of two major political parties, and any belief that this will change any time soon is simply the worst form of naive wishful idiocy. Sorry Gods of the Third Party, but that is fact, and no amount of whining combined with coercive bullying will change that. The system is rigged in favor of the two major political parties, and that state of being rigged has been codified into our national election law. If you expect the apparatchiks of the two major political parties to ever work together in order to relinquish their grip on power, I happen to own a bridge that spans from Brooklyn to Manhattan in the State of New York that I’d be willing to sell to you. Short of an Article V convention, this state of Democrats and Republican owning a choke hold on our national political scene will not go away. (Here by the way is an excellent addition to the Article V list, for those interested.)

Even if however, a Libertarian Candidate for President let’s pretend, actually manages to win an election, that President would still be stuck with managing Federal Agencies who have been previously granted the authority to act on their own behalf and govern their individual fiefdoms as they see fit. George W. Bush did succeed in some small measure to curb the activities of the federal behemoth, but mostly, all of the independent regulatory agencies operate in mostly the same fashion whether there’s an R or a D following the Chief Executive’s name. So, while I singled out George W. Bush, simply because he was the last one with an R, the same could be said for every Republican President from 1887 onward. They simply do not have the means available to get a hold of the monster created, as the laws as written have created these individual heads of the Hydra to operate outside of any possible constraint. (I am seeing yet another good argument for an Article V Convention here. I would also like to point out that one President did actually try to place legal limits upon agency authority and scope in our country, and that man was Richard Nixon. He failed spectacularly, and found himself chased from town.) The point is, that no matter what promise may or may not be made, getting hold of the monster and curbing its scope is impossible without repealing the existing law that created it, and it will take much more than electing one single Libertarian with the right rhetoric in order to see this accomplished.

We on the political right won’t get our way until we get our collective crap together and begin winning a lot of elections. Until that day, be prepared to live life in the Worker’s Paradise my friends. I’ll see you in the reeducation camps.

The previously mentioned episode of, “Free to Choose.”

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.