American Elephants

The Socialist Dream, in which Reality Always Intrudes by The Elephant's Child

“How is it possible for any sentient human being to have lived through the 20th century without coming to understand that property rights are the basis of any rights that human beings have ever been able to secure, and that far from conflicting with human needs, profits are the only practical engine ever devised that even half succeeded inn fulfilling them.
Such willful ignorance does not stem from lack of intelligence, but has a deeper source in human desires that can only be satisfied by  religious faith. The socialist dream of achieving a kingdom of heaven on earth is as old as Eden.  It is the idea of putting a human design on the impersonal structures of the social order beginning with the economic market and extending to the constitutional order. In wishing this, socialists fail to understand that a market that human beings cannot control and a political process they are bound to respect are the very disciplines that human beings require in order to be human.”
…………………………………………………David Horowitz:  Jewish World Review 1/3/2000

“Ever since Karl Marx sat in the Reading Room of the British Library writing Das Kapital, great Western thinkers have been obsessed with discovering the flaw in capitalism, a kind of negative Holy Grail for the knights of progressivism. For Marx, capitalism functioned only by exploiting the proletariat. But the proletariat got richer and bought homes in the suburbs. So the next generation of Marxists turned their attention to “colonialism:” capitalism functioned by looting the West’s imperial possessions. But the West decolonized in the Fifties and Sixties, and they didn’t get any poorer,
only the colonies did. So the Marxists invented “neo-colonialism:”capitalism functioned by informally exploiting the nominally independent developing world. But the dramatically differing rates at which developing economies developed in Asia, Africa and Latin America seemed to have little to do with external forces and a lot to do with obvious local factors.
By the time the UN met at Durban, the grievance-mongers were down to slavery. Europe and America had built their wealth on the slave trade. By this theory, the United Kingdom, which was the first to abolish slavery – in the British Isles in 1772, and throughout the Empire in 1833 – ought to be an economic basket case, while the Sudan, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, to name just a few of the countries in which slavery is currently practiced ought to be rolling in dough. Instead, of course, large parts of the post-colonial world are more impoverished than they have ever been.”
…………………………………………………………Mark Steyn: The New Criterion, 2/2002

“From around 1970, supposed environmental degradation has played a useful role for the Left as proof of the many wrongs of capitalism. Marx’s theory of exploitation of the workers has long been disproved by increasing affluence among the working class. Lenin tried to substitute imperialism as an explanation, but as most colonies gained independence and many showed robust growth, this didn’t do the trick. In the 1970s hope rose that environmental disaster eventually would led to the destruction of capitalism. Hope dies hard, which explains the persistent refusal to accept that most environmental indicators are improving.
…A triumph for the European right will probably not stop the drift towards ever more draconian environmental regulations founded on weak science. Only a shift in public perceptions and priorities can reverse this trend. Given balanced information and realizing they have to bear the burden of environmental policies themselves, the public are probably more likely to be leading such a reversal than tottering politicians, left or right.”
…………………………….Jan Arild Snoen, Oslo. Tech Central Station – Europe 6/10/02

A Sad Tale of Ignorance, Bumbling, and Incompetence. by The Elephant's Child

The Department of Energy received $35.2 billion from President Obama’s stimulus program.  The Inspector General of the Energy department, Gregory Friedman, has been investigating just where the money has gone.  Mr. Friedman concluded that spending $8 billion more than DOE’s annual budget was challenging.  The celebrated shovel-ready projects were admittedly not shovel-ready. Few actual shovel-ready projects existed. Even President Obama admitted it.

We have written on the problems of excessive government regulation, business has complained of excessive regulation, now taxpayers are paying interest on $15 billion in funds borrowed — that haven’t even been spent two years later. Human Events reported:

Besides having insufficiently large armies of bureaucrats ready to spend the money, state governments also ran afoul of federal regulations that clogged their stimulus plumbing.  “One state had only spent 30 percent of its State Energy Program funds two years after they had become available,” explains the Inspector General.  “We found that this was due to the time needed to comply with regulatory requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act – issues that affected other jurisdictions as well.”

The Davis-Bacon Act forces the government to pay union-scale wages to contractors, even if they don’t employ unionized workforces.  It’s supposed to prevent non-union shops from stealing all those tasty government construction jobs from union shops that can’t compete with them on labor costs.

When work did get done, the results were not impressive.  The Weatherization Program enjoyed a one thousand percent increase in funding, but Friedman reports that “weatherization work was often of poor quality,” and “9 of the 17 weatherized homes we visited failed inspections because of substandard workmanship.”

More than 100 criminal investigations have been initiated into the DOE handling of 4% of the Stimulus program. There have been five  criminal prosecutions and over $2.3 million in stolen stimulus loot has been retrieved. Recipients complained about “the overly complex and burdensome reporting requirements.”

So there you go — your government at work — altering and illuminating the tasks of bureaucracy for you and your descendents. It just makes you proud, doesn’t it?

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