American Elephants

Controlling the American People With a $183 Billion Web of Regulation This Year Alone by The Elephant's Child

A-spiders-web-007Thanksgiving approaches — a major American holiday in which our attention turns to a brief reflection on the Pilgrims, and a major focus on turkey, stuffing and football. Everyone is looking forward to a day off. While we are distracted, the Obama administration released its plans for 2,224 federal rules on Friday. This is a preview of just how many more regulations the president intends to issue before he leaves office.

You probably thought we were already thoroughly over-regulated, which we are. It is a major drag on the economy, not just in make-work and annoyance, but financially. Michael Bastach is on the case at The Daily Caller. The Left has realized that to install socialism, they don’t need to own the means of production, they just need to control it, and this can be accomplished with a web of regulation.

Obama’s Fall 2014 regulatory agenda was released the Friday before Thanksgiving with 3,400 new regulations. Obama’s Spring 2015 agenda detailing the reach of 2,300 new federal rules was released the eve of Memorial Day weekend. You are not supposed to notice. There are new rules for coal mines, and rules banning common pesticides, major energy and environmental requirements, added to more federal control over U.S. waterways, new hydraulic fracturing rules and even stricter smog rules. Notice how many are from the EPA.

The last week’s batch of regulation imposes $1.8 billion in costs, according to the American Action Forum (AAF) which brings the total for 2015 to a startling $183 billion. Half of it comes from final rules and the other from proposed rules. The per capita regulatory burden is $570 for 2015, for every man woman and child. That’s 72,898 pages of regulations. Think of a busy spider spinning webs over  your family. At first you don’t even notice, but by the time you do, you are already wrapped up and stowed away on the web for dinner, later.

There is always some overreach, and organizations and businesses fight back, and some end up in court. The EPA has frequently been smacked down in court, but some of their rules stick. Are they accomplishing anything positive for society? No. We are already over-regulated. It isn’t about  improving anything, it is about control.     

You may have noticed that the progressives are a little weak in the economics department. They get all confused with Keynesian ideas about money multiplying as it circulates through the economy. They don’t get the burden that per capita $570 inflicts on us all, in higher costs for everything we use, the disappearance of small businesses that we patronized, the annoyance of new rules, the shrinking of our lifestyle, more unemployment, more national debt, and a shrinking economy.

The evidence is there, and very clear. Socialism does not work.  It will not be different this time, nor next time. Progressives are not interested in free markets, nor free people, but believe everything will mysteriously be  better when they are firmly in control.

Trust in Government is at an all-time low. Is anyone surprised?

The Silly Season: Campaign Speeches and Promises. by The Elephant's Child

Hillary%20explains_HillaryExlainsDemocrats are a constant puzzlement to me. They march in lockstep, seldom disagree with one another, and operate on the same talking points, which is regularly proved when they all use the same words to describe their position on an issue. Do they fight quietly in the fabled back rooms, never allowing their disagreements to reach public attention? I’m beginning to suspect that their connection to real issues currently before the public — is a little scanty.

Republicans are always all over the map, squabbling about who is conservative and who is not conservative enough, who is a RHINO, and its hard to get agreement on any single issue. That is supposed to be a fault, but it is simply the voice of freedom, and the way things are supposed to be. We are humans with human failings.

Hillary Clinton spoke on Saturday at the “Blue Jamboree” in Charleston S.C.. She said if she is elected president, she can create enough green energy to power every home in America by the end of her second term.

By the end of my first term, we will have installed a half a billion more solar panels, and by the end of my second term, enough clean energy to power every home in America.

She said her plan to subsidize alternative sources of energy would not entail a middle class tax hike. In fact, she would reduce taxes for working class families. She’s going to be fighting for that.

She said her plan to reform health care would bring costs down without raising taxes. And accused Republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act as being driven by “political ideology” rather than a desire to “take care of people.” She would be willing to hold “senior level executives of companies accountable when they make decisions that cause the rest of the economy the troubles that we saw.”

Good Grief! The slightest familiarity with the news of the world would tell her that Spain and Germany started out years ago with just such exaggerated claims, and discovered, over time, that it didn’t work. The largest and most advanced $2.2 billion high-tech solar array in the Mojave Desert, Ivanpah,  is a colossal flop, producing only 40% of the promised electricity.

Solar energy produces a grand 0.3 or three-tenths of one percent of America’s electricity. If the governmental subsidies end, the solar arrays shut down, but Hillary is going to fix that and have everybody running on the vastly more expensive form of electricity from solar panels. Uh huh.  If that doesn’t work just throw America’s CEOs in the pokey.  And Republicans are driven by “political ideology?”

May 29 was the date when the Obama administration had to concede that the U.S. auto fleet cannot practically consume enough ethanol to fulfill Congress’s quotas. So Obama announced a new program so motorists can consume more ethanol. The U.S. must subsidize ethanol because the U.S. already subsidizes ethanol. Ethanol is corrosive and damages the engines and fuels systems of today’s cars and trucks (damages not covered by factory warranties), and damages ordinary pumps, piping and storage tanks.

The Agriculture Dept. will pull dollars from a New Deal outfit, the Commodity Credit Corp. that was created in 1933 to “stabilize, support and protect farm income and prices” for grants for states to build special equipment to service the 6 out of every 100 vehicles that can run, maybe, on the higher ethanol blends. A little government hokey-pokey there, but the point of the subsidy seems to be saving the subsidy — not the taxpayers.

You have probably seen pictures of the thick smog in China, and the Chinese people wearing gas masks. That is not carbon dioxide pollution. CO2 is not a pollutant, but what we exhale. You learned, supposedly, in high school biology about photosynthesis. You exhale CO2, the plants take it in as fertilizer and release the oxygen.  It’s a good thing, and completely unrelated to “global warming.”

Bernie Sanders called, on Saturday, for the Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch Brothers and other wealthy energy magnates. “This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real.” Bernie is quite sure that the rise of ISIS can be attributed to global warming. But then way back in 1941, a scientist was claiming that global warming caused Hitler. Warmer temperatures “may produce a trend toward dictatorial governments.People are more docile and easily led in warm weather.”

So there you go. Nothing new under the sun. Same old, Same old.

Why is College So Expensive? Is It Worth It? by The Elephant's Child

b083ddd2-e58a-4a80-a72a-6af0700c5f16So why is College so expensive anyway? Parents who have a child about to enter the American university system are stunned by how much tuition has gone up — way more than normal inflation would amount to.

There are a number of big items at play here. During World War II, the young men went to war, not to college. That meant that colleges and universities limped along with women and 4F men. Even a lot of younger professors were called up. When the war ended in 1945, the G.I.Bill flooded the university system with returned G.I.s and often their new wives. Colleges had to provide housing for married students, and their new babies — the beginnings of the Baby Boom.

Beginning in 1946, and increasing exponentially through the boom’s high water mark in 1957 was a generation that found everything crowded from maternity wards to law school. From 1958 till 1964, the boom gradually ebbed. When the boomers were ready for college, colleges expanded to be ready for them. New dorms, new classrooms new buildings, expanded campuses, and even new colleges. When the baby boom ended and we got back to “normal” — colleges were facing a dearth of students to fill their expanded campuses. Colleges added amenities to attract students, and more amenities.

The federal government stepped in to guarantee student loans, which got the universities off the hook. There had always been scholarships for outstanding students, but student loans meant that universities could charge more because the government guaranteed the loans. There was no push-back from the government on the cost of college, kids could borrow what the colleges charged. Employers demanded college degrees

During the war years, professors salaries were held down, and many had summer jobs to make ends meet. When the baby boom arrived, professors wanted more pay and more free time for research, writing and counseling students. Large lecture classes were turned over to adjuncts who were paid far, far less. Professors with doctorates pointed out that CEO salaries were skyrocketing and they were better educated and deserved better. Inflation.

Inflation meant that everything cost more, and not just college. Food, houses, all kinds of goods. What it meant was is that in most case, both parents had to go to work, and families were smaller. What it meant for American universities was retrenchment. Employers were demanding college degrees, partly because primary education was poorly training students. That was a big benefit for colleges because more kids headed for college with big student loans. Big student loans meant that colleges could charge more. The federal government was subsidizing increased tuition. The politicians insisted that every child should go to college. Not true, some kids are not suited for college, and there are fine professions that do not require college degrees.

The end of the baby boom, and the smaller generation produced by the baby boomers because of inflation and working mothers wasn’t enough to fill up the university system. Some colleges closed, others went for more amenities. Climbing walls, bigger libraries, bigger swimming pools, tennis courts and student unions. More landscaping, sculpture. Professor salaries topped the $200,000 mark, and football coaches earned more, way more, that university presidents.

But they have reached a point of no return. To please students, classes have become silly. Gender studies in all its variations, ethnic studies, social justice, political correctness, speech codes, and on and on until we have today’s little “snowflakes,” who are so confused that they assume a right to be coddled, to never face disagreement or offense, but only sheltered kindness. Which means they protest against speakers who have different ideas than their own.

But Marco Rubio was right. Welders make a lot more than philosophy majors. There are high-paying jobs that do not require a college degree. Parents are home-schooling their kids, or forming charter schools that are part of the public school system but more effective. Teachers unions are fighting back, determined to remain in charge and applying all the political pressure of all the dues collected from teachers to get their way. Parents hate, with reason, Common Core, and the whole idea of a federally-directed curriculum. Federal bureaucrats do not know what is best. Times are always a-changing. Just what comes next will be a battle.

Here I should recommend a couple of books: Great Expectations by Landon Y. Jones, a popular study of the baby boom generation (1980). Essential reading for boomers, their kids, and the following generation who are stuck with paying for Medicare for the retiring boomers. Great fun. The other is really a trilogy, a marvelously funny academic satire by David Lodge, a former British professor.  The books are Changing Places, Small World, and Nice Work, now conveniently offered in one volume. It may be satire, but you learn a lot about academe.

I wonder how many full professors teach a full 15 hour schedule?

The Million Student March by The Elephant's Child

This is just priceless! Neil Cavuto had as his guest Keely Mullen, the national organizer for the optimistically titled  “Million Student March” — to discuss her movement’s plans for making public colleges tuition free.

MULLEN: The Million Student March is a movement for a more equitable and fair system of education as opposed to the really corporate model that we have right now. So the three core demands of the national day of action are free public college, a cancellation of student debt and a $15 an hour minimum wage for people who work on campus.

CAVUTO: How’s that going to be paid?

MULLEN: Ummm, great question. I’m not sure if you’re talking about on a national level or at particular schools, but I can touch on both —

CAVUTO: Well, you want all that stuff. Someone has to pick up the tab. Who would that be?

MULLEN: Ummm, the one-percent of people in society that are hoarding the wealth and kind of causing the catastrophe students are facing… 


Republican Candidates – 10, CNBC – 0 by The Elephant's Child

A most interesting debate last night. The mainstream partisan media disgraced itself. Feisty Republicans would have none of it, and told them they were a disgrace. ‘Gotcha’ questions are unprofessional but expected. Stupid questions that indicate that the panel of moderators did not understand the real issues are a little more depressing.

Listeners  would have been surprised to learn that the debate was supposed to be about the economy. The economy is a shambles, largely due to Democrat mismanagement, and there are a lot people hurting, The American people want to know who can fix it.

Democrats do not want the Republicans to talk about how they are going to jump-start the economy, because their own candidates are talking about free college tuition and other pie-in-the-sky offers to buy votes, but it is not going to happen. You can’t take enough money away from the rich to make it unnecessary for the vast majority of people to provide for themselves, with their work, their thrift and their savings.

Ted Cruz efficiently scolded the media and racked up the biggest applause ever in any debate. Ted, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie were all winners.

Ben Carson is as always, soft-spoken and brilliant. Mike Huckabee speaks well, had a great analogy comparing the blimp on the loose over Pennsylvania to an escaped gas bag of a Democratic party.

I thought Donald Trump was a big loser, but apparently his inability to come up with any significant policy discussion as opposed to just saying ‘I can do that’ and talking about his great big wall continues to attract supporters. I am unimpressed with his wealth, and as several economic types have mentioned, he would have been far richer if he had just put his father’s $100 million in a mutual fund.

John Kasich seemed angry, apparently at having to share a stage with people who didn’t have his accomplishments on offer.  Rand Paul did not advance his cause, nor hurt it either. Jeb Bush did badly. Whoever advised him to attack Marco Rubio on the basis of Rubio’s missing some votes in Congress made a major mistake. Jeb Bush is a good man, and was a good governor of Florida. He would probably be a good president. But he is a really lousy campaigner.

So what do I want in a president? Someone who can communicate well with the American people. The president works for us. I expect a good understanding of world affairs — not a knowledge of every president of every nation — but sufficient knowledge to understand the major threats, and to know who would be the strongest advisers to help devise good policy. Obama has made some really dreadful appointments.

I want someone who respects Congress and wants to work with them to get the economy growing once again. And I want someone who is an avid learner. It’s a big office, and none of the aspirants know anywhere near as much as you need to face the problems we face in reality. You need some excellent choices of advisors and cabinet members. And I really don’t want anyone who believes that the Constitutions is an old tired document that needs updating and revising. Nor anyone who believes that the clear history of the absolute failure of socialism everywhere it has been tried is because the right people haven’t done it yet, or that this time it will be different. Other than that, I haven’t made my mind up yet.

ADDENDUM: Smarting from criticism,CNBC put out a statement defending the moderators performance: “People who want to be president of the United States should be able to answer tough questions.”

That was the problem. They didn’t ask “tough questions” they asked dumb questions. The troublesome thing is that they don’t seem to know the difference. That’s what happens when you live in a world of approved talking points and approved sound bites — you don’t even recognize reality when you encounter it.

The Grand Old Party and the Very Big Tent by The Elephant's Child

big-top2You have probably noticed that we are Republicans here. If you have ever clicked on the “about” button in the sidebar, you will see our big tent declaration. I don’t have a big “see how I discovered conservatism” story, I have always been a Republican. My great great grandfather wrote in the very first days of the Republican Party  “I am a quiet but interested member of the Republican Party.”Not exactly a rousing declaration, but there you are.

I’m a conservative, but most Republicans are, they just define “conservative” a little differently. On some subjects I agree with the libertarians, others with  the “establishment.” That’s what “a big tent” means. You agree on some things, not on others, and you fight about it. And at some point you finally discover that you can’t have your own way and you have to compromise. I get really annoyed by the constant battle by conservatives over who is conservative enough and who is not, and just how pure true conservatism must be.

That said, I believe that most Republicans are dismayed or horrified by the extent to which Barack Obama has attempted to radically transform the United States of America, and once his party was soundly defeated to give control of Congress to the Republicans, by executive order, executive note, refusing to enforce the law, and even going to the United Nations to get his own way. This is something new in American politics.

They are angry about the attempt to change the demographics of the country before the next election. They are frightened by the “Iran Deal” which the president mistakenly believes is a good thing. And that hardly even scratches the surface of a very long list. Republicans are united in their dismay, but all over the place about how to deal with it, about what is most urgent, and especially the correct strategy and tactics.

The fight is on and the Democrats are delighted. They call it “Chaos” and are sure that it is a signal of the coming, much desired demise of the Republican Party. They do want to shut us up, but they would prefer that we just go away — permanently. Here are four great pieces that hint that there’s still some life in the Grand Old Party:

—Kevin Williamson, writing at National Review: “OK. Let’s Fight

—Andrew Malcolm, writing at Investors: “Gee, that felt good to dump Boehner, McCarthy as Speaker, but now …

—David Harsanyi, writing at The Federalist: Relax. This Is Exactly How Congress Should Work, when it comes to the House, ‘chaos’ can be preferable to lockstepping.

—Noah Rothman, writing at Commentary: The Noble Goal of the Freedom Caucus

September Was A Lousy Month for Jobs! by The Elephant's Child

Another dismal jobs report: only 142,000 new jobs were added last month.  Sixty thousand below the lowest estimate. And 236,000 jobs were lost in September. President Obama will add the 142,000 jobs to the total he has created, ignore the jobs lost and decide he just needs to spend a bit more to get more money circulating in the economy or something like that.

The August total was revised much lower from 173,000 to 136,000. Job growth in 2015 has averaged 198,000 per month, compared to an average monthly gain of 260,000 in 2014.

You might notice that people are leaving Democrat run states in droves for states with lower taxes and less regulation. There are things that can be done to help out an ailing economy, but they are not in the Democrat playbook. Their answer is always to add another regulation, control a little more  — that’s how you get to that bright Utopian future.


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