American Elephants


How Do You Fix an Economy? Not That Way! by The Elephant's Child

After eight years of a presidency that liberals despised, presided over by a man who smirks, and squints and mispronounces ‘nuclear’, a man you have likened to Hitler and evil incarnate, you finally get a man who, endowed with a halo, seems to represent everything good in liberalism — elected to the White House.

Then after nearly four years, that man has not only failed to fix a failing economy. but made it far, far worse. What to do? Troy Senik at Ricochet points us to a “barking mad” article by Mother Jones’ Clive Thompson. Thompson proposes the idea that the nation should actually be aspiring towards an economy with no growth.

To move away from growth, we’ll all have to work a lot less…Handled correctly, this could bring about an explosion of free time that could utterly transform the way we live, no-growth economists say. It could lead to a renaissance in the arts and sciences, as well as a reconnection with the natural world. Parents with lighter workloads could home-school their children if they liked, or look after sick relatives—dramatically reshaping the landscape of education and elder care.

The vexing reality is that the no-growth thinkers simply don’t know how things would shake out. We don’t have any realistic examples to learn from, after all. In the past, the only no-growth societies were agrarian or consisted of hunter-gatherers.

This is just another emanation of Progressivism, way behind the times, as usual.  The no-growth idea dates back to the Club of Rome’s 1972 book  Limits to Growth,  and Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring — books that created quite a stir at the time — but have been thoroughly debunked in the last 50 years.

I guess that if you cannot figure out how to improve the economy or create jobs, and the Democrats clearly cannot,  then a no-growth economy sounds like a possible answer.

This is so unbelievably obvious. You have an enormous group of people,
businessmen, workers, corporate officers, economists, and Republicans in general waving their hands and shouting  “Hey! Over here” “Cut Taxes, Cut Spending, Cut Regulation” and the Progressives sneer and go on beating their heads against the wall whining that “We need another stimulus!”

I think we have pretty much exhausted the possibilities of pumping money into the economy. We have stimulused and stimulused and our Total Public Debt is now up to $15,729,949, and the Statutory Debt Limit — rapidly approaching — is $16,394,000.

“Maybe each $1 of new federal spending doesn’t produce a multiplier  of 1.5 times that in added output. Maybe the historic burst of regulation of the last three years has harmed business confidence and job creation. And maybe the uncertainty that comes from helter-skelter fiscal and monetary policy has dampened the animal spirits needed for a durable expansion. On Friday, the same architects who designed this economy built to stall were calling for one more rescue by the Fed.”

If you are going to look to history for ideas on how to help the economy to recover, you might want to look at ideas that have actually worked in the past.

 



It’s About The Spending!!! by The Elephant's Child
April 8, 2010, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Taxes | Tags: ,

Just a quick reminder.  The Liberals in Washington are concerned about more taxes,  bringing in more income,  finding new things to tax and new ways to tax. Taxing wheelchairs seems more than a little crass.  Taxing Tanning Salons seems silly, a VAT is terrifying, but anything is better than having to cut spending.

The British Government’s response to the financial crisis is to pay no attention, the Irish Government is taking quick decisive action. Ireland had embraced policies of low taxation, and transformed from one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the richest.  Financial services had become a huge part of Ireland’s economy— leaving the country vulnerable.

The world recession has hit Ireland hard.  Finance Minister Brian Lenihan rejected resorting to a rise in taxes, saying “We will not create jobs by increasing the penalty on work and investment.”

Perhaps we could embroider that line on little samplers and send them off to Congress.

Highly paid public sector workers face 20 percent pay cuts, the Taoiseach is taking a huge cut in salary.  Everyone else gets their salary cut,  in decreasing amounts as salaries get smaller.  Only pensioners do not get a cut.

Meanwhile, back in England — The voters say “Don’t raise taxes, cut spending,” and give Tory leader David Cameron an 11 percent lead.



Changing World Terrorism One Euphemism at a Time. by The Elephant's Child

Wasn’t it Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, who came up with the memorable phrase “Man-Caused Disaster” to cover such events as the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers? Then there was the Fort Hood Massacre, and the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt. A full one-third of radical Islamist attacks on the United States have occurred in 2009, on Obama’s watch.

We’re back to improving our vocabulary. President Obama’s advisers plan to remove such terms as “Islamic radicalism” from national security strategy documents. New euphemisms will emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations “through the lens of terrorism.” Obama apparently believes that the previous administration based that relationship entirely on fighting terrorism.  Goodness, we certainly don’t want to offend.

The previous document that outlined the strategy of the Bush Doctrine states that “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.” This possibly had something to do with radical jihadists who are ideologically motivated to slaughter Americans and shout “Death to America and Death to Israel.”

Obama’s Global Engagement Directorate, a 4– person team, is pursuing a “new beginning” in the relationship that will invest in Muslim businesses, study global warming, combat polio and support scientific research and health care. When officials from NOAA returned from Indonesia , the NSC got a rundown about research opportunities on global warming. Well, they’re a little too late on that one.  I didn’t know we had “Directorates” here.

Most Muslims are not going to strap on bomb belts, nor plant roadside bombs, but the number who approve of such action is larger that those who take action.  The Mullahs in Tehran continue to pursue nuclear weapons, they cheerfully execute their own citizens who dare to dissent, and  they fund terrorists all over the world who will attack the West or America or Israel.

Changing the dialogue from terrorism to cooperation  is a significantly unserious approach to foreign policy.  Renouncing nuclear weapons will please the anti-war left and do nothing to improve American security.  Sounds more like the effluence of a late-night gab session in a college dorm than serious efforts at National Security.

There’s a reason why everyone laughed at “Man-Caused Disaster.” Iran’s nuclear ambitions are unchanged, the world is a dangerous place, and Obama appears tone-deaf.  The Obama Team insists that they do too take terrorism seriously.  It’s just not very apparent.



There is a Splendid Venue for the KSM Trial, on Beautiful Guantanamo Bay. Cheaper Too. by The Elephant's Child

Friday News Dump:  The White House asked Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to find an alternative site to hold the federal trial of  9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC Police Commissioner are opposed to a New York trial.  The estimated cost for providing security alone is $200 million a year, and the trials may last for years.  It would paint a large bullseye on the city, any large noise could terrify citizens, the media circus would be hugely disruptive, as well as revealing matters of national security to the world.

Senators from both parties sent a letter to the president asking him to strongly reconsider the decision to try KSM in a Federal Court.  Yesterday Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence publicly withdrew her support.

The administration has absurdly tried to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war.  Thomas Sowell points out the mindset of the left as exposed in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way — the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation’s adherence to the rule of law.

Terrorists are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, much less the Constitution of the United States.

The Conventions are designed to protect civilians and soldiers who observe the rules. The pious notion that KSM or Abdulmutallab “deserve their day in court” is nonsense as a matter of law or tradition.

A.G. Holder, when asked pointedly by Sen. Lindsey Graham, when in history terrorists had ever been tried in Federal Court or offered the protections of the Constitution, could not answer.  It appears that when he announced New York City as the trial venue,  he didn’t consult with anyone.

The Justice Department has been asked to “find another venue.” The American people were outraged at the inept treatment of Umar Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day panty bomber, who was questioned for only 50 minutes before he got his Miranda rights and an attorney who told him not to talk.  That was too much for Congress as well.  If the administration does not do the right thing, Congress may force their hand by denying funding.

It’s time for the administration to acknowledge the folly of deciding to try KSM in federal court and refer him back to a military commission where he belongs.



Let’s Hear it For Capitalism and Free Markets! by The Elephant's Child
January 3, 2010, 8:11 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Statism | Tags: , ,

From the Wall Street Journal”s “Notable and Quotable” column.

Heather MacDonald writing at secularright.org, Dec. 26:

The anti-business mindset . . . is worthy of a pampered adolescent who is searching for a cause with which to display his unique moral sensibility. It is not worthy of an adult who should be able to use his imagination, if not actual experience, to appreciate the extraordinary human effort that has gone into creating the delightful tools that we daily take for granted. On my desk sit various humble objects—a tiny clock, a stapler, a paper clip box, a Lucite cook book stand for holding up drafts and other papers while I type. Each object represents a fractal geometry of complexity, composed as it is of parts that themselves require enterprise to manufacture, assemble, and deliver, all born along on waves of energy and infrastructure to which yet another set of entrepreneurs contributed. The fact that all of those distributors and manufacturers tried to make a profit does not detract from the fact that they offered goods which enhance our lives. . . .

It is the ingratitude that kills me the most among anti-business types. The materials that furnish a single room in an American home required daring, perseverance, and organizational skill from millions of individuals over generations. I hope they all got filthy rich.



Governor Elliot Spitzer — Poster Child for Democrat “Integrity” by American Elephant

Democrat Governor Elliot Spitzer got a little lost on the way to “Responsibility Road.” Picking up prostitutes on “Trustworthy Turnpike”, laundering money on “Honesty Road”, and evading taxes on “Integrity Lane”…

Yeah, that pretty much sums up Democrat integrity.

Over 300 investigations fishing-expeditions yielding absolutely squat into demonstrably phony charges trumped up against the Bush administration. Yet when the man they hold up as a “rising star”, and man of “law and order” is caught hiring hookers, laundering money and evading taxes, their silence is deafening.

More later.




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