American Elephants

Fiscal Disclipine by The Elephant's Child

Barney Frank (D-MA) Solves the Next Financial Crisis! by The Elephant's Child

The “educated class” and those who aspire to being thought of as “educated” have gathered in Davos, Switzerland for an opportunity to see and be seen the World Economic Forum to, in one panel, debate where the next global crisis will come from.

Unsurprisingly, they were all over the map, but in general they think that long-term government debt is a problem.   A few hours after this meeting, in his State of the Union speech, President Obama would call for a three-year government spending freeze, applying to a teeny-weeny sector of government spending approximately 16% of the federal budget.  Nine percent of the public thought that would be effective.

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), who attended the Davos session as one of the selected “challengers” for the three presenters, called for large cuts in defense spending as well as tax increases — particularly on wealthy Davos types. Frank vowed:

I think almost every American here pays much less in taxes than you ought to.  I’m going to go back and try to raise the taxes of most of the people who attended here.

That’s just what we need, Barney.  Raise everybody’s taxes.  The real problem is s-p-e-n-d-i-n-g!  You are not just spending too much, but most of what you are spending is pure waste.  Rebuilding bridges that nobody uses, money for airports that have no flights, money for imaginary (and temporary) “green” jobs, guaranteeing loans for “clean energy” that will never be cost-effective.  Creating new bureaus, new administrations, new offices, and funding those who supported your campaigns.

Just stop! Please, please, just stop!

Volunteerism is no longer free. It just got very, very expensive. by The Elephant's Child

About a month ago, I wrote a post   called “Obama’s Civilian Mandatory “Volunteer” Brownshirt Corps. ” The title probably indicated pretty clearly that I didn’t think much of the idea.  Since Americans lead the world in their altruism, their unpaid volunteer giving of time and money, I thought it was probably not a good idea to try to turn it into another government funded bureaucracy.  I was right.

“The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act”, was signed into law on Tuesday by President Obama.  I assume that this is the same bill, since it has the same sponsor, and I can find no trace of the original GIVE Act at Thomas, the Library of Congress site.  It will triple the number of AmeriCorps members from 75,000 to 250,000.  Officially it:

reauthorizes and expands national service programs administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency created in 1993.  The Corporation engages four million Americans in result-driven service each year, including 75,000 AmeriCorps members, 492,000 Senior Corps volunteers, 1.1 million Learn and Serve America students, and 2.2 million additional community volunteers mobilized and managed through the agency’s programs.

Nick Gillespie of Reason Magazine says: “The law shovels out $5.7 billion of taxpayer dollars over the next five years to “boost volunteerism at AmeriCorps and elsewhere.  In an era of  trillions of dollars in wasteful spending, that’s a real bargain.”  He also notes that they already got an extra $200 million from the stimulus bill.

At the time, with a little cursory research into AmeriCorps, I found it lived up to my skepticism.  But now, I have found more — much more — from Nick Gillespie and from James Bovard who is not only a splendid researcher, but has 8 fine books to his credit. They don’t like AmeriCorps either, and pull no punches in explaining why. Jim Bovard’s piece can be found here.  Here are the dirty little secrets that the liberals don’t want you to know.

As far as I am able to tell, no program or policy ever introduced by Democrats is a failure.  Programs that take welfare recipients off the streets and send them into classrooms as reading tutors have “taught millions of children to read.”  Never mind that many of the tutors have only an eighth-grade education.  These programs are all a success, and with a little reorganization and a lot more money, will be an even greater success. That’s why it doesn’t matter what the results are.

Democrats appreciate the goals or intent of legislation. They mean well, and  they are quite unconcerned about the consequences. It is enough if the law promises the requisite amount of hope and change.  Doesn’t matter if the promises are empty. The intent is all.

UPDATE: We had a bad link here.  It’s fixed now.  Sorry.

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