American Elephants


Progressives Don’t Really Believe Anything They Say! by The Elephant's Child

Surfing the internet, it is clear that the Obama era is a particularly frustrating period for the Right. Simply trying to understand what the Left is going on about is puzzling, and each passing year reveals the difficulty of defeating those who hold no inviolable positions or beliefs. Above all, what they say they believe has no relation to their own lives. All is fluid, depending on who is about to vote, and for what. Jim Geraghty tackles the Progressive Aristocracy which notes:

[P]rogressives wide-ranging willingness to contradict their own professed principles: gun-control proponents who travel with armed bodyguards, voucher opponents who send their kids to private schools, and minimum-wage-hike advocates who pay their staff less than the minimum wage, among others.

So what do progressives really want? If, as I suspect, the currency of progressivism isn’t policies or results, but emotions, what does that approach build? What kind of a country do you get when political leaders are driven by a desire to feel that they are more enlightened, noble, tolerant, wise, sensitive, conscious, and smart than most other people?

The evidence before us suggests progressives’ ideal society would be one where they enjoy great power to regulate the lives of others and impose restrictions and limitations they themselves would never accept in their own lives. Very few people object to an aristocracy with special rights and privileges as long as they’re in it.

President Obama had a staffer sign  him up for ObamaCare at the DC exchange in symbolic unity with ordinary Americans, but the president’s health care will continue to be provided by the military at Walter Reed, by the White House physician, and by the physician who travels with the president’s extensive entourage when he travels.

Remember when Obama envisioned a future in which Americans would sacrifice their comfort to the need for combating climate change: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times …and then just expect that other countries are going to say ‘okay.’” In the White House, Obama cranks up the thermostat. David Axlerod said: “He’s from Hawaii, OK? He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”

“While touting green technology and lobbying the federal government on environmental policy, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt have put 3.4 million miles on their private jets in recent years, polluting the atmosphere with 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide,” the Blaze reported. Geraghty again:

The party that spent the Bush years screaming about the “Imperial Presidency” overwhelmingly decides that the legislative branch is an unnecessary obstacle to setting its preferred environmental policy. We’ve reached the point where vehemently anti-Bush Democrats in Congress now write-up executive orders for President Obama to implement unilaterally.

The legislative branch matters, until it doesn’t. The filibuster matters, until it doesn’t. Yesterday’s positions get dropped if they interfere with today’s needs. The Right is dealing with extremely adaptive foes who, for the most part, have no hesitation about lying to get what they want.

In the Obama-era Left, a promise repeatedly emphasized with passion and vehemence can and will be suddenly dismissed with a shrug. The highest-profile example of this is “If you like your plan,  you can keep it.” Even today, long after the promise has been declared the “Lie of the Year,” the White House website has a page labeled “Reality Check” that proclaims the accuracy of the pledge:



Obama’s Regulations Add $14,768 to Your Family Budget! by The Elephant's Child

For twenty years, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has tracked the growth of new regulations. In the 20th anniversary edition this week, the latest annual Index of Federal Rules shows that — Team Obama is now the red tape record holder. Are you surprised?

The pages in the Code of Federal Regulation hit an all-time high of 174,545 pages in 2012, an increase of more than 21% in the last decade. Mr Crews estimates that in 2012 the cost of  federal rules exceeded $1.8 trillion, roughly equal to the GDP of Canada. This is what American business has to cope with. The costs are embedded in nearly everything Americans buy. Mr. Crews calculates the costs to add up to about $14,768 per household. After housing, red tape costs are the second largest item in the family budget.

It’s not just the cost of the regulatory burden, there are that many regulations that must be obeyed, or the over-regulation will lead to over-criminalization. You won’t know what rule you broke until the swat-team comes to get you.

Every so often some member of Congress will gather up a selection of silly regulations and make speeches, or perhaps even write a bill. But there is no regular avenue for disposing of unnecessary regulation. If you remember, there was a fuss raised a while back, over business’s protests about excessive regulation. President Obama said he’d assign all his cabinet officers to find regulations that they could get rid of to save money. Mr. Obama got considerable mileage out of the farm rule that treated spilled milk as a hazardous oil spill (butterfat, I guess).  Since he used that one example several times, I assume that there really weren’t any others removed from the Federal Register.

Last year, 4,062 regulations were at various stages of implementation in the nation’s capitol. The government completed work on 1,172, an increase of 16% over the previous year, which was a 40% increase in the year before that. President Obama ‘s record 78,961 pages churned out in 2012 mean that he has posted three of the four greatest paperwork years on record.

“Economically significant” rules are those that will cost at least $100 million each. The current administration is in a class by itself. The bureaucracy finished up 57 such rules in 2012 and another 167 are in the pipeline.  They come from ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and the EPA’s effort to use regulation to impose an anti-carbon-fuels agenda that Congress would not pass.

It’s the pure totalitarian impulse, of course. Nothing so frightens the Left as individual freedom. Give the people an inch and there’s no telling what they might do. Control is the goal. How can they enforce equality, social justice and make sure that” everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules,” if they don’t carefully spell out just what the rules are.

What we need is a mechanism to get rid of useless rules, outdated rules, unneeded rules, and intrusive, damaging rules. Much-needed housekeeping. The underlying problem is that Congress likes to dispose of problems with massive bills that include all sorts of unrelated amendments, things that couldn’t have been passed alone, and the old ‘nobody’s read the whole thing’ problem. They say that this agency will and that department shall, but they don’t actually make laws themselves — they distribute it to the bureaucracy who will make the rules that fill up the Federal Register. It’s how we get Big Government and why it keeps getting Bigger.




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