American Elephants

What do you do with a Somali pirate? Hang ’em from the yardarm or consign ’em to Davy Jones locker? by The Elephant's Child

In earlier days, first you did the former, then the latter.  Today the problem is more difficult. There are ships and crews held for ransom for months. The 25-man crew of the Sirius Star had been held for two months.  The U.S. Navy released a film of a canister of cash — supposedly $3 million — being parachuted onto the deck of the oil supertanker.

The pirates originally wanted $16 million, but settled for 3.  Then the story gets a little fuzzy.  One account says they squabbled over the loot, then a wave washed over their getaway boat and drowned five of them.  The picture, however shows a placid sea with no storm on the horizon.

Now it is reported that one pirate washed ashore with $153,000.  Another account says the other three swam to shore.  A third claims that Somalis traveling along the shore have slowly collected dollars floating in on the tide.

The U.S. Navy is in charge of a task-force designed to prevent such piracy.  Some ships have contracted with Blackwater to protect them.  Because there is essentially no government in Somalia, there is no law to deal with them.  Pirate movies are all very well, but this is not a story of adventure or heroics, and possibly not even truth.  But there you are.

Happy Days Are Here Again, or Are They? by The Elephant's Child
January 12, 2009, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, History, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism

Franklin Delano Roosevelt has long been a huge hero to Democrats, not just as a wartime president through the difficult days of World War II, but as the man who saved us from the Great Depression.

He was stalwart through the attack on Pearl Harbor and some very dark days indeed before the War in the Pacific began to turn around after Midway.  There were dark days in Africa as well when Rommel’s Africa Corps seemed invincible.

But from the first days, the American people were behind the President and the war.  They gave up their gasoline, butter, meat and Hershey bars, bought War Bonds, and if they couldn’t go in the military, went to work in defense plants, building ships and planes and tanks, and growing victory gardens.

They were pretty much behind President Roosevelt’s vast experimentation with the economy during the Depression years too.  Nobody seemed to know what the right thing to do was, and at least the Roosevelt administration was doing something.

Since 1933, however, economists and financial writers have explored the experiments of the New Deal government to restore the economy.  A simple perusal of financial statistics makes it clear that unemployment got much worse and many hyped programs didn’t seem to have much effect.  Keynesian economics did not perform as promised, and the Depression went on for seven years longer than was necessary.

Democrats have resisted, with every last breath, any aspersions cast upon their hero.  Many, even now, are recommending the very policies that were such a flop in the thirties.  We need a New, New Deal!  Obama is reading an account of  Roosevelt’s first hundred days.  Nancy Pelosi is demanding that we raise taxes — or at least end the Bush tax-cuts — immediately, and she wants more money too — a trillion is not enough.

Above all, we must inject vast funds into the economy, hiring people to work for the government, and giving the states vast funds to hire people to guarantee 400 million new jobs, (or “save” that many — the claim weakens). This is all an old, old story, and it didn’t work, it made things worse.

Christina Romer, Obama’s nominee as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote the definitive paper on what works to relieve recessions.  It doesn’t include a New, New Deal.

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