Dale F. Ogden's Blog on
|Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price
of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take,
but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! Patrick Henry, 23 March 1775
If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers
Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest the country ever came to breaking even. Will Rogers
6/22/2008: Fake Gems, Genuine Appeal [I always knew that diamonds were a scam]
...even though diamonds are not all that rare, people believe they are, so their price is substantially inflated. Once people realize that manufactured diamonds are indistinguishable from the real thing, he said, that could change...
6/22/2008: You Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way Obama Will Go By Mary Grabar
When I heard that a major part of Barack Obamas resume included a stint as a community organizer, I asked myself what the term meant.
Its sort of like activist.
I had always wondered what the job description for activist was. How do you apply? Where do you apply? It was unlike any of the jobs I had had, whether it was pouring beers, serving fish fries, cleaning toilets, pruning in snow-filled vineyards, or marking grammatical errors on freshman essays. The people I had grown up with worked with blow torches, trowels, and brooms, or stooped over sewing machines all day. If you made it, you were a secretary or supervisor at Kodak. If you were really ambitious you went to the community college or state university and became a nurse or an engineer. You could ask your cousin to put in a good word for you with the supervisor at Kodak or General Motors, but whom would you ask to become an activist or community organizer?
Ghetto-child Barry Obama, facing the slings and arrows of racism that all who have the color of his skin suffer in America rose from the depths of poverty, neglect, and hunger through his brilliance and sheer determination and got a law degree from Harvard.
We all know his story: private schools, a nurturing (white) mother and (white) grandparents, solicitous professors. In addition to the official government affirmative action programs and private school minority scholarships, I can tell you from sixteen years in academia that liberal professors and administrators practically genuflect in front of any articulate black male, even today, more than two decades after Obamas own academic career.
Barry Obama had many such academic mentors and one namely is Bill Ayers, a white guy from a wealthy family who in his leisure time (of which he had much, not having to mow lawns or deliver newspapers) liked to throw bombs in order to bring about social justice as a member of the Weather Underground.
Well, rich kids dont know much about munitions, so occasionally bad choices are made in the design, building, and detonation of bombs, like your girlfriend and buddies getting killed, which happened in Ayerss case.
6/22/2008: I read in the Journal of The American Medical Association that one-third of all drug complications in hospitals are due to errors. I guess the other two thirds were either intentional or recreational.
6/22/2008: Gonads and Gadgets Fred on Everything
I have concluded that both sexes are grave mistakes, and constitute a sort of festering biological schizophrenia (if schizophrenia can fester), but they seem to be errors of different sorts. I wonder whether men and women live in quite the same mental world...
Is the difference cultural, or innate? I dont know, but Ill bet on innate. It should be easy to find out. Many more women than before are going into such fields as medicine and the sciences. Interesting question: Does a female pediatrician know as much about unrelated technologies as does a male pediatrician? Maybe she does: I dont know. She will be able to name the peptide pituitary hormones, but will she understand how a phased-array works or know what parasitic capacitance is? Such knowledge might reasonably be expected of a guy who majored in the sciences. Certainly we talked about them in my dorm...
A frequent observation today is that boys do poorly in school, by which is meant that they do not finish, make low grades, or do not go to college. True enough, though it is recent and, I suspect, a result of feminization of the schools. The disparity is often attributed to dullardry. (If that wasnt a word, it is now. What does Microsoft know?)
But note that boys score better both on tests of aptitude and achievement (National Merit, SATs, GREs). This would seem to suggest a greater interest in substance than in grades. Girls, I think, are the other way around...
6/19/2008: Jay Leno on Hillary's Vacation: Hillary Clinton is taking a month off from her job as senator to rest up from her campaign. How does that work? Youve been neglecting your job trying to get a better job. You dont get that job, so you to take a month off from the job you were trying to get out of and go on vacation. Imagine if you tried that with your boss. Hey boss, listen Ive been looking for another job, and Im exhausted. I want to take a month off. Heres where you can send my checks.
Florida is No. 1 in the nation in vouchers. It's No. 2 in charter school enrollment. It's No. 4 in the percentage of high school students passing college-level exams. Numbers like these have made Florida the nation's most-watched laboratory for education policy.
6/20/2008: What Do The Democrats Take Us For?
Early this year it looked very bleak for the Republicans. Now that the Democrats, like Clyburn, Jefferson and (our new local) Richardson have been found to be two-bit crooks, corruption in Congress is now a GOP issue (not that the R's aren't guilty, too. just that the D's are worse). In 1952 the big issue was "Who lost Korea?" It was the Democrats and the GOP won the white House for the first time in 24 years.
This year the issue will be, "Who caused the Energy Crisis?" and on that issue alone Senator McCain and the GOP will win. The energy crisis has caused high unemployment, redistribution of trillions of dollars to foreign (often hostile) nations. The Democrats, the part of Al Gore, has stopped us from drilling for oil off our coasts coast and in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge; is has stopped the development of oil shale and nuclear power plants. The Democrats have created a food shortage and high food costs (and the ethanol scam is just plain stoopid; no wonder some many people than "brain-dead liberal" is just one word). As we get through the summer and energy costs hit families and businesses hard, it will become apparent that the Party that caused all this is Obama's Party. Remember, in 1996, Bill Clinton vetoed the oil drilling bill; today we are paying the price for his pandering to the far left, a very high one, indeed.
6/18/2008: Airport Tyranny by Walter E. Williams
It's been at least five years since I've flown commercial, and for good reason: I don't wish to be arrested for questioning actions by often arrogant, rude Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers...
Americans have been far too compliant and that has given the TSA carte blanche to treat travelers any way they wish. I'm staying away. TSA has its rules and Williams has his, and one of mine is to avoid tyrants and idiots...
6/18/2008: Legalize All Drugs by John Stossel
The other day, reading the New York Post's popular Page Six gossip page, I was surprised to find a picture of me, followed by the lines: "ABC'S John Stossel wants the government to stop interfering with your right to get high. The crowd went silent at his call to legalize hard drugs"...
Of course medical marijuana should be legal. For adults, everything should be legal. I'm amazed that the health police are so smug in their opposition. After years of reporting on the drug war, I'm convinced that this "war" does more harm than any drug...what most Americans believe is wrong.
Myth No. 1: Heroin and cocaine have a permanent effect.
Truth: There is no evidence of that...
Myth No. 2: If you do crack once, you are hooked.
Truth: Look at the numbers -- 15 percent of young adults have tried crack, but only 2 percent used it in the last month. If crack is so addictive, why do most people who've tried it no longer use it?...
Myth No. 3: Drugs cause crime.
Truth: The drug war causes the crime...
6/15/2008: Jim Webb: Women Can't Fight by James Webb, November 1979 Washingtonian
"Your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolableit is to win wars," Douglas MacArthur told the 1962 West Point class. In this story, a Naval Academy graduate, a combat veteran of Vietnam [and potential Democratic candidate for Vice President], says the country's fighting mission is being corrupted, with grave consequences to the national defense. One of the main problems, he says, is women. [After reading this, I agree]
6/16/2008: The Entitlement Mess By John Stossel
Congress is spending us into a hole. We hear about the cost of earmarks and the Iraq war. But what about "entitlements"? That's the government's ironic term for programs that transfer money from people who earned it to people who didn't. Entitlement? How can you be entitled to someone else's money?
To finance "entitlement" programs, the government threatens force against the taxpayers who provide the money. Why are people who favor compulsion called humanitarians, while those who favor freedom are stigmatized as greedy? Read thge whole article: The Entitlement Mess By John Stossel
6/16/2008: Inflation Creation No Solution By THOMAS G. DONLAN
Never mind the gold standard -- we need monetary authorities committed to maintaining the value of money. Plus: Sen. Obama should reconsider his endorsement of Davis-Bacon, a law created with more sinister motives than helping construction workers.
UH-OH. THE FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN, Ben Bernanke, has discovered signs of inflation in the U.S. economy. If he does as much to fight inflation as he did to fight deflation a few years ago, we're all in very deep trouble. The inflation he detects today is the result of his battle against deflation.
Bernanke told a credulous audience last week that higher oil prices were driving up the risk of inflation. This is exactly backward: Inflation has already happened. Price increases for oil and other goods are occurring now to reconcile the prices of things with the depreciated value of paper money.
The world knows there are a lot more dollars sloshing around these days. Cheap credit, by which the Fed induces banks to create money, did it. The Fed put the price of money at 2% per year and handed out all that anyone needed to fund houses, vacations, boats, stocks, restaurant meals and, above all, goods and services from abroad.
World inflation ebbs and flows with U.S. monetary policy. We emit dollars to pay for the things we import. Foreign producers turn them in to their central banks for local currency. The additional local currency inflates their economies. Note recent reports that official measures of annual price inflation have surged past 8% in both China and India. Vietnam's official price index is up 25% over the past year, and the black-market values the dong 15% lower against the dollar than the official exchange rate.
Meanwhile, foreign central banks buy our U.S. Treasury bonds, which lowers our government's cost of borrowing. That increases available credit in America and reduces our perception of inflation at home.
Summing up: China, Vietnam, India and other countries are letting us buy their stuff on credit. They know that nobody else will buy in the quantities necessary to keep their people employed. The result: They export goods, we export inflation.
The fundamental problem, however, is not paper money. It's not the long absence of a gold standard. Here and everywhere, the inflation problem is an absence of moral commitment to maintaining the value of money. The American dollar or any other currency -- even the malignant Zimbabwean dollar, which is losing half its value every day -- can be as good as gold if the monetary authorities make that choice, or as valueless as waste paper if they decide to steal from the people.
Gold bugs say that only gold is really money -- the true means of exchange and store of value. In reality, it is merely a metallic touchstone for the value of money. Countries on a gold standard still must rely on honest monetary authorities to limit the amount of paper money backed by gold.
Fortunately, we cannot really leave the gold standard. From minute to minute, we know exactly how many dollars, pounds, yen, rubles or dong the most active traders will exchange for an ounce of gold, or for specific quantities of oil, corn, wheat, rice and a couple of dozen other actively traded commodities. Hour by hour we find the value of money by observing changes in its time value expressed in market-driven interest rates. Or day by day we measure the value of money by the groceries and cars it buys.
We do not need a formal gold standard to discover that the monetary authorities have erred on the side of inflation; the markets do that constantly. What we need are monetary authorities and political masters who read the markets and take action to maintain a constant value of money.
A Funny Thing About Freedom
READING THE FINE PRINT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN, we noted that Barack Obama has a joke that appeals to construction workers who are members of unions. He says, "John McCain seems to think that Davis-Bacon is something that comes from a pig farm."
A lot of people, not just McCain, may need this joke explained, because Davis-Bacon is a household name only among the members of building-trades councils. Davis-Bacon is a 1931 federal law, a creation of the desperate Hoover administration, that says federal construction projects must pay local "prevailing wages."
The idea was to keep fly-by-night builders from importing lower-paid workers and winning contracts in high-cost regions like New York at the expense of local builders and workers. But as a result, the federal construction projects intended to stimulate the economy hired fewer workers and cost the taxpayers more money.
Supplemented by later laws and by regulatory legerdemain at the Department of Labor, "prevailing wages" became synonymous with "union wages, and then some."
Even though Obama meant it as a joke, and even though the union leaders laughed, his barbed comment isn't really funny. Davis-Bacon really does come from a pig farm, where organized labor feeds at the trough filled by Congress.
And Congress has more buckets of swill at the ready: The current Democratic majority has been trying to put Davis-Bacon provisions into more and more spending measures. For example, the farm-bill provisions that mandate using corn to make ethanol also mandate Davis-Bacon wages for construction of ethanol plants, as well as for other alternative-energy facilities.
This is contemporary political economics in a nutshell: Take something everybody would like to have, such as wind energy, solar power and gasohol, make it less affordable, then mandate it anyway.
If Obama reads up on labor history, he will also find that Sen. James Davis, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Rep. Robert Bacon, a New York Republican, had something uglier in mind than just creating a living wage for construction workers. They were trying to prevent importation of a particular kind of outside workers -- black workers coming up from the South to work in their states.
Nowadays the law still acts to reduce the hiring of disadvantaged and low-skilled workers. It should be repealed. No joke.
6/14/2008: Neither Borrower Nor Lender Be
The kind of sweetheart mortgage deals that forced Washington fixer Jim Johnson to resign as Barack Obama's vice-presidential vetter are now haunting other leading Washington figures.
Both Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget committee, also got special below-market mortgages from Countrywide Financial, all arranged by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Other recipients of a "Friends of Angelo" program that waived points, lender fees and company borrowing rules were former Bush HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, and former Clinton cabinet officers Donna Shalala and Richard Holbrooke.
Conde Nast Portfolio says Senator Dodd received two loans through the program in 2003, saving him about $70,000 in fees. His wife told Portfolio that two other lenders had also offered comparable interest rates. Senator Conrad borrowed money to refinance his vacation home and saved at least $10,000. He told Portfolio: "I never asked for, expected or was aware of any special treatment."
No one is suggesting the VIP loans led to specific government favors for Countrywide, but there is reason to believe Mr. Mozilo ordered the loans for some reason other than generosity. A perception is being created that a lot of people in Washington looked the other way as Countrywide spurred the nation's mortgage crisis with its over-aggressive lending practices. Mr. Mozilo himself has become a political target after it was revealed he sold $474 million in Countrywide shares between 2004 and 2007 as the housing crisis built. Expect the "Friends of Angelo" to be asked a lot more questions about the special deals they got that other borrowers could only have dreamed of.
6/13/2008: Poetic Justice: A Department of Water representative stopped at a Texas ranch and talked with its owner. He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation."
The old man said, "OK, but don't go in that field over there."
The Water representative said, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me. See this card? The card means I am allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land. No questions asked or answered. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?"
The old rancher nodded politely and went about his chores. Later, he heard loud screams and saw the Water Rep running for the fence; close behind was the rancher's huge-horned prize bull. The bull was gaining with every step. The Rep was clearly terrified, so the old rancher immediately threw down his tools, ran to the fence and shouted out...
"Your card! Your card! Show him your card!"
6/13/2008: Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores
A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test. In a ruling made public on Tuesday, Judge Peter C. Dorsey of the United States District Court in New Haven agreed that the plaintiff, Robert Jordan, was denied an opportunity to interview for a police job because of his high test scores. But he said that that did not mean Mr. Jordan was a victim of discrimination. Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected. Mr. Jordan, 48, who has a bachelor's degree in literature and is an officer with the State Department of Corrections, said he was considering an appeal. "I was eliminated on the basis of my intellectual makeup," he said. "It's the same as discrimination on the basis of gender or religion or race."
6/12/2008: Drill! Drill! Drill! By DANIEL HENNINGER
Charles de Gaulle once wrote off the nation of Brazil in six words: "Brazil is not a serious country." How much time is left before someone says the same of the United States?
One thing Brazil and the U.S. have in common is the price of oil: It is priced in dollars, and everyone in the world now knows what the price is. Another commonality is that each country has vast oil reserves in waters off their coastlines.
Here we may draw a line in the waves between the serious and the unserious.
Brazil discovered only yesterday (November) that billions of barrels of oil sit in difficult water beneath a swath of the Santos Basin, 180 miles offshore from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The U.S. has known for decades that at least 8.5 billion proven barrels of oil sit off its Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, with the Interior Department estimating 86 billion barrels of undiscovered oil resources.
When Brazil made this find last November, did its legislature announce that, for fear of oil spills hitting Rio's beaches or altering the climate, it would forgo exploiting these fields?
Of course it didn't. Guilherme Estrella, director of exploration and production for the Brazilian oil company Petrobras, said, "It's an extraordinary position for Brazil to be in." Indeed it is.
At this point in time, is there another country on the face of the earth that would possess the oil and gas reserves held by the United States and refuse to exploit them? Only technical incompetence, as in Mexico, would hold anyone back.
But not us. We won't drill.
California won't drill for the estimated 1.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil off its coast because of bad memories of the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969.
We won't drill for the estimated 5.6 billion to 16 billion barrels of oil in the moonscape known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) because of the caribou.
In 1990, George H.W. Bush, calling himself "the environmental president," signed an order putting virtually all the U.S. outer continental shelf's oil and gas reserves in the deep freeze. Bill Clinton extended that lockup until 2013. A Clinton veto also threw away the key to ANWR's oil 13 years ago.
Our waters may hold 60 trillion untapped cubic feet of natural gas. As in Brazil, these are surely conservative estimates.
While Brazilians proudly embrace Petrobras, yelling "We're Going to Be No. 1," the U.S.'s Democratic nominee for president, Barack Obama, promises to impose an "excess profits tax" on American oil producers.
We live in a world in which Russia's Vladimir Putin and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez use their vast oil and gas reserves as instruments of state power. Here, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid use their control of Congress to spend a week debating a "climate-change" bill. This they did fresh off their subsidized (and bipartisan) ethanol fiasco.
One may assume that Mr. Putin and the Chinese have noticed the policy obsessions of our political class. While other nations use their oil reserves to attain world status, we give ours up. Why shouldn't they conclude that, long term, these people can be taken? Nikita Khrushchev said, "We will bury you." Forget that. We'll do it ourselves.
Putin intimidates Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states and Poland with oil and gas cutoffs, while Chávez uses petrodollars to bankroll Colombian terrorists. Cuba plans to exploit its Caribbean oil fields within a long tee shot of the Florida Keys with help from India, Spain, Venezuela, Canada, Norway, Malaysia, even Vietnam. But America won't drill. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said just last month he's afraid of an oil spill. Katrina wrecked the oil rigs in the Gulf with no significant damage from leaking oil.
Some portion of the current $4-per-gallon gasoline may be attributable to the Federal Reserve's inflationary monetary policy or even speculators. But we can wave goodbye to the $1.25/gallon gasoline that in 1990 allowed a President Bush to airily lock away the nation's oil and gas jewels. This isn't your father's world of energy. New world powers are coming online fast, and they need energy. We need to get back in the game.
The goal shouldn't be "energy independence," a ridiculous notion in an economically integrated world. It's about admitting the need to strike a balance between the energy and security realities of the here-and-now and the potentialities of the future. Some of our best and brightest want to pursue alternative energy technologies, and they should be encouraged to do so, inside market disciplines. But let's at least stop pretending the rest of the world is going to play along with our environmentalist moralisms.
The Democrats' climate-change bill collapsed last week under the weight of brutal cost realities. It was a wake-up call. This is the year Americans joined the real world of energy costs. Now someone needs to explain to them why we and we alone are sitting on an ocean of energy but won't drill for it.
You'd think the "national security" nominee, John McCain, would get this. He's clueless a don't-drill zombie. We may mark this down as the year the U.S. tired of being a serious country.
6/12/2008: Ron Paul to End Campaign,
Launches New Effort
Rep. Ron Paul's presidential campaign, a pugnacious, ideological crusade against big government and interventionist leanings in the Republican party, will officially end Thursday at a rally outside the Texas GOP's convention, ABC News has learned.
Paul told supporters back in March, in a video posted on his Web site, that he was "winding down" his campaign and planning a new phase to what he and fans call their "revolution."
The new phase of the revolution officially begins with a speech tonight in Houston and a Web video to be posted on his site, officially ending Paul's presidential campaign and freeing up the more than $4.7 million in campaign cash for investment in a new advocacy group, The Campaign for Liberty. [Read More]
6/13/2008: According to Snopes.com, Princeton was requested to put a 'restriction' on distribution of any copies of the thesis of Michelle Obama (a/k/a/ Michelle laVaughn Robinson) saying it could not be made available until November 5, 2008 but when it was published on a political website they decided they would lift the restriction.
MICHELLE OBAMA'S MILITANT RACISM REVEALED
In her senior thesis at Princeton, Michele Obama, the wife of Barack Obama stated that America was a nation founded on "crime and hatred'. Moreover, she stated that whites in America were 'ineradicably racist'. The 1985 thesis, titled 'Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community' was written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.
Michelle Obama stated in her thesis that to 'Whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, she will always be Black first...' However, it was reported by a fellow black classmate, 'If those 'Whites at Princeton' really saw Michelle as one who always would 'be Black first,' it seems that she gave them that impression'..
Most alarming is Michele Obama's use of the terms 'separationist' and 'integrationist' when describing the views of black people. Mrs. Obama clearly identifies herself with a 'separationist' view of race.
'By actually working with the Black lower class or within their communities as a result of their ideologies, a separationist may better understand the desperation of their situation and feel more hopeless about a resolution as opposed to an integrationist who is ignorant to their plight.'
Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her 'further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant.'
Michele Obama clearly has a chip on her shoulder. Not only does she see separate black and white societies in America , but she elevates black over white in her world..
Here is another passage that is uncomfortable and ominous in meaning: 'There was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the black community, I am obligated to this community and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit the black community first and foremost.'
What is Michelle Obama planning to do with her future resources if she's first lady that will elevate black over white in America?
The following passage appears to be a call to arms for affirmative action policies that could be the hallmark of an Obama administration.
'Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.'
The conclusion of her thesis is alarming.
Michelle Obama's poll of black alumni concludes that other black students at Princeton do not share her obsession with blackness. But rather than celebrate, she is horrified that black alumni identify with our common American culture more than they value the color of their skin.
'I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility.'
Is it no wonder that most black alumni ignored her racist questionnaire? Only 89 students responded out of 400 who were asked for input.
Michelle Obama does not look into a crowd of Obama supporters and see Americans. She sees black people and white people eternally conflicted with one another.
The thesis provides a trove of Mrs. Obama's thoughts and world view seen through a race-based prism.
This is a very divisive view for a potential first lady that would do untold damage to race relations in this country in a Barack Obama administration.
Michelle Obama's intellectually refined racism should give all Americans pause for deep concern.
Now maybe she's changed, but she sure sounds like someone with an axe to grind with America . Will the press let Michelle get a free pass over her obviously racist comment about American whites? I am sure that it will.
6/11/2008: You Can't Negotiate With Evil
In their June 5 commentary "It's Time to Talk to Syria," Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel assert, "Make no mistake: Cooperation with Syria rests not on shared values, but on shared interests." There are two things that are so wrong with this proposition as to make it preposterous. The first is that by constantly negotiating with a truly and openly evil regime like Syria we are showing the world that we care very little about the terrible things they have done. The authors themselves say that "Syria must respect Lebanon's sovereignty and end its deadly meddling." But the "deadly meddling," which involved the murder of women and children by Hezbollah terrorists in the streets of Beirut, should not stop us from recognizing the new Hezbollah-dominated government and dig in for heavy talks with Syria so that we can convince them to stop feeding Hezbollah military equipment. Convince them with talk! How about helping Israel militarily defeat Hezbollah once Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is removed?
The second problem is the idea that we can correctly predict the interests of evil regimes. History provides no better example than the spectacle of Zbigniew Brzezinski advising Jimmy Carter to dump Shah Reza Pahlavi and latch on to the Ayatollah Khomeini on the theory that he would spend Iran's time attacking his "rival" Hafez al-Assad. It is now known that he had already assured Assad that they would become allies in a Jihadist world takeover.
Sorry boys, there is only one way to deal with Syria and that is by selective bombing if it does not stop helping to kill American and coalition soldiers in Iraq.
Dave M. O'Neill
6/11/2008: Change We Can Believe In Is All Around Us By BRIAN WESBURY
Rarely do senators become president, but in less than five months either John McCain or Barack Obama will become the 44th president of the United States. That's change, and that's interesting.
It's also what everyone seems to want change. Sen. Obama promises to provide "Change We Can Believe In." Sen. McCain suggests that "the choice is between the right change and the wrong change." If it's the war that is the focus of all this talk about change, well, that's understandable, and maybe people really do want change. But if it's the economy, it's hard to imagine that change could happen any faster.
In fact, the U.S. economy (really, the global economy) is transforming at an absolutely astounding rate. We're living in Internet Time, where policies and their consequences travel the world at the speed of light. The normal human reaction to such a rapid pace of change is to be overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious and fearful. As a result, it is probably true that when voters listen to talk about change, what they really hear are promises of "no change," which would be a huge difference from the status quo. They just want things "the way they were."
Look at the chart nearby [on the web site]. America's manufacturing output, as measured by the Federal Reserve, is up seven-fold since 1950, but manufacturing jobs as a share of all jobs have fallen to 10% from 30%. Your grandfather and father may have worked for General Motors (and joined the UAW), but it's likely that you don't and won't.
The problem, if it really is one, is not foreign competition or evil financiers. It is technology and productivity. In the 10 years ending in 2007, durable goods manufacturing productivity averaged an annual growth rate of 4.8%. In other words, if real growth is less than 4.8%, the sector needs fewer workers year after year.
For the economy as a whole, overall U.S. business productivity rose 2.7% at an average annual rate during the decade ending in 2007, 1.7% in the decade ending in 1997 and 1.4% in the 10 years through 1987. Change is everywhere, and it's accelerating.
This has happened before in the Industrial Revolution where the political environment bred America's first real populists, people like William Jennings Bryan and Theodore Roosevelt. Bryan was perhaps the best orator of American political history, and like Mr. Obama, he could affect people emotionally. Roosevelt, like Mr. McCain today, was a true American hero and one tough guy. History may not be exactly repetitive, but it sure seems to move to similar rhythms.
Unfortunately for the American economy, the populist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to a rapid growth in government intrusion into business activity. The populists didn't like the gold standard and demanded more government regulation.
In 1913, the Federal Reserve System was created and the income tax was introduced to pay for a growing government. And then, during the Great Depression which was caused by the new Fed, trade protectionism and tax rate increases a massive expansion in government took place. Forty years later, in the malaise of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the U.S. finally figured out what it was doing wrong. By returning to hard money under Paul Volcker, and lower taxes and less regulation under Ronald Reagan, the high-tech leg of the Industrial Revolution began.
The fruits of this are plain to see. Rather than watching the sun set on the U.S., as many believed would happen in the early 1980s, the U.S. has experienced one of the greatest booms in wealth creation in world history. And the impact of our technological innovation has helped lift untold numbers out of poverty.
This technology has created massive amounts of change. Like the Industrial Revolution before it, the current transformation is anything but pain-free. It's what Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction. Google, Craigslist and Microsoft have been prospering. General Motors, United Airlines and the New York Times have not. In the midst of layoffs in the newsroom, it's hard to see anything good happening in the rest of the economy.
Yes, there are serious problems in the housing market, and yes, oil prices are at all-time highs, even after adjusting for inflation. As a result, it feels like things are getting worse rapidly. But the subprime mess will end up costing much less in real terms than the savings-and-loan crisis. Americans are spending about 7% of their total budget on energy, roughly the same as in 1970 and well below the peak of 9% in 1981. Once the Fed starts to lift rates again, oil prices should drop.
Americans have had it so good, for so long, that they seem to have forgotten what government's heavy hand does to living standards and economic growth. But the same technological innovation that is causing all this dislocation and anxiety has also created an information network that is as near to real-time as the world has ever experienced.
For example, President Bush put steel tariffs in place in March 2002. Less than two years later, in December 2003, he rescinded them. This is something most politicians don't do. But because the tariffs caused such a sharp rise in the price of steel, small and mid-size businesses complained loudly. The unintended consequences became visible to most Americans very quickly.
Decades ago the feedback mechanism was slow. The unintended consequences of the New Deal took too long to show up in the economy. As a result, by the time the pain was publicized, the connection to misguided government policy could not be made. Today, in the midst of Internet Time, this is no longer a problem. So, despite protestations from staff at the White House, most people understand that food riots in foreign lands and higher prices at U.S. grocery stores are linked to ethanol subsidies in the U.S., which have sent shock waves through the global system.
This is the good news. Policy mistakes will be ferreted out very quickly. As a result, any politician who attempts to change things will be blamed for the unintended consequences right away.
Both Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama view the world from a legislative perspective. Like the populists before them, they seem to believe that government can fix problems in the economy. They seem to believe that what the world needs is a change in the way government attacks problems and fixes the anxiety of voters. This command-and-control approach, however, forces a misallocation of resources. And in Internet Time this will become visible in almost real-time, creating real political pain for the new president.
In contrast to what some people seem to believe, having the government take over the health-care system is not change. It's just a culmination of previous moves by government. And the areas with the worst problems today are areas that have the most government interference education, health care and energy.
The best course of action is to allow a free-market economy to reallocate resources to the place of highest returns. In the midst of all the natural change, the last thing the U.S. economy needs is more government involvement, whether it's called change or not.
Mr. Wesbury is chief economist for First Trust Portfolios, L.P.
6/11/2008: The Mole
We've got a mole in the U.S. Congress.
Not a foreign agent trying to undermine the American way of life. Weve got plenty of homegrown politicians doing that already.
No, its a congressman who actually opposes porkbarrel spending. Now, a few others there also combat the regime of pay-for-play earmarks, of course too few. But this guy sounds like hes reading a script I dictated myself. It aint so. But gosh, I couldnt agree more with the sentiments.
Its Congressman John Shadegg of Arizona. His comments were picked up by C-Span and transcribed at their web site. Shadegg points out how darn corrupting the process has become.
The degree of tawdry mutual back-scratching can vary. But what is happening more and more is that congressmen are creating their own corporations. Staffing these corporations with relatives and pals. And then using the secretive earmark process to send funds to this entity. Everybody wins. The congressman and the cronies do, anyway.
Taxpayers lose in at least two ways. Theyre losing money. And their purported representative is violating their trust. The Constitution of course is going out the window. Theres nothing in there about how congressmen may randomly lather their associates with taxpayer dough.
All done without any open debate, any clear public disclosure before the money is appropriated. Shadegg thinks its contemptible.
Mr. Congressman, when youre right, youre right.
This is Common Sense. Im Paul Jacob.
"A quarter of a century after the outbreak of Aids, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has accepted that the threat of a global heterosexual pandemic has disappeared," reports the Independent, a leftist London daily:
Oh, well, never mind! Anyone old enough to remember the 1980s will recall that America was subjected to a heterosexual AIDS scare. As Time magazine reported in 1985:
By early this year, most Americans had become aware of AIDS, conscious of a trickle of news about a disease that was threatening homosexuals and drug addicts. AIDS, the experts said, was spreading rapidly. The number of cases was increasing geometrically, doubling every ten months, and the threat to heterosexuals appeared to be growing. But it was the shocking news two weeks ago of Actor Rock Hudson's illness that finally catapulted AIDS out of the closet, transforming it overnight from someone else's problem, a "gay plague," to a cause of international alarm. AIDS was suddenly a front-page disease, the lead item on the evening news and a frequent topic on TV talk shows.
Two years later, "How Heterosexuals Are Coping With AIDS" was the topic of a Time cover story:
At first AIDS seemed an affliction of drug addicts and especially of homosexuals, a "gay disease." No longer. The numbers as yet are small, but AIDS is a growing threat to the heterosexual population. Straight men and women in some cases do not believe it, in some cases do not want to believe it. But barring the development of a vaccine, swingers of all persuasions may sooner or later be faced with the reality of a new era of sexual caution and restraint.
Now perhaps it is true that the AIDS scare bred "sexual caution and restraint." It did strike us on reading this passage that the word swingers sounds awfully quaint.
In 1991, basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced that he was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The following year, a Time cover declared: "Losing the Battle: Mysterious Non-HIV Cases Emerge. The Search for a Cure Stalls. Infection Among Women Grows."
And then . . . the AIDS scare fizzled out. Treatments improved; Magic Johnson reportedly has not contracted full-blown AIDS, nearly 17 years after his HIV diagnosis. The disease did not spread to the general population in America--or, as WHO now acknowledges, in most of the rest of the world.
A search of Time covers turns up only three dealing with AIDS since 1992: one in 1996 on Johnson's brief return to the NBA; another that same year on AIDS researcher David Ho, Time's Man of the Year; and one in 2001, on AIDS in Africa. (We don't mean to single out Time, which happens to be one of the few news sources with comprehensive archives available on the Web.)
None of this is to gainsay concern over AIDS in Africa, which is a genuine catastrophe. But the dire warnings of the 1980s that everyone was at risk from AIDS turned out to be false. Those warnings made for more gripping journalism, of course, and they also served certain ideological interests. Social conservatives, who believed sex outside marriage was wrong, were able to argue that it was dangerous as well. (To be fair, it is, but not nearly as much so as the late-'80s AIDS reportage would have had us believe.)
Gay-rights advocates, meanwhile, overcame a huge threat to their cause. Without the heterosexual AIDS scare, it is unlikely that homosexuality would have achieved the degree of public acceptance it has since the 1980s. Indeed, gays might have found themselves abandoned by liberals, who today tend to value hygiene over individual freedom (and if you don't believe us, try walking into a gay bar in New York City and lighting a cigarette).
The AIDS epidemic that wasn't is one reason we are skeptical of global warmism, another purported cataclysm that is supposedly just around the corner, that is purportedly based on science but about which one may not ask questions, and that dovetails conveniently with pre-existing ideological agendas.
Ten or 20 years hence, will we be reading articles about the U.N. admitting that global warming wasn't all it was cracked up to be? Let's hope so.
6/06/2008: The Fates of Three Class of '08 Students in Durham, N.C.: Two men did not graduate from Duke University in May because they were two of the three lacrosse players accused of rape in March 2006 and who were forced to suspend their academic pursuits in order to defend themselves against the charges that were later dismissed. Another '08 student did graduate in May in Durham, from North Carolina Central University: Crystal Mangum, the drug-abusing, part-time stripper who had relentlessly accused the three of raping her but whose story was later found to be completely unsupported. Mangum's degree is in Police Psychology. [WRAL-TV (Raleigh), 5-19-08]
6/06/2008: Stupidity and the State By ERNEST S. CHRISTIAN and GARY A. ROBBINS
Last August, the government lost track of six nuclear warheads that ended up in cruise missiles affixed to the wings of B-52 bombers flying over American cities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently spent $2.7 billion to purchase 145,000 formaldehyde-soaked house trailers. They were for use by people who'd lost their homes when levees designed by the Army Corps of Engineers broke and flooded New Orleans. The FBI is currently forcing its most skilled and experienced antiterrorism field supervisors to accept "promotions" to paper-shuffling jobs in Washington.
But the millions of inanities that occur daily throughout the government's world-wide empire are mere trifles compared to its big-ticket failures.
What kind of government forces people to make gasoline out of food, artificially boosts the price of corn to $6 a bushel, guarantees that inflated price as the "base" for higher federal subsidies to corn farmers in the future, and then tries to hide its own depredations by excluding high food prices from its measure of "core" inflation?
Washington never learns from its mistakes. In "The Worst Hard Time," Timothy Egan notes how federal price supports encouraged farmers in World War I to plow up millions of acres of dry grasslands and plant wheat. When the price of wheat crashed after the war, the denuded land lay fallow; then it blew away during the droughts of the 1930s, turning a big chunk of America into a Dust Bowl.
On top of everything else, Washington tries to cover up the cost of its failures and incompetence by officially misstating the government's financial results. For instance, the government says that the tax burden will be $2.6 trillion in 2008. But counting the "deadweight" loss from damage done by taxes to the private economy, the real tax burden is twice that roughly $5.2 trillion, according to various estimates, including ones published by the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Congressional Budget Office. On the spending side, a study by the Office of Management and Budget showed that government programs on average fall 39% short of meeting their goals. Thus, in 2008, government will spend $2.7 trillion to provide $1.65 trillion of benefit.
A real tax burden of $5.2 trillion to pay for a $1.65 trillion benefit seems a bit excessive, even by Washington standards. Perhaps one of the presidential candidates should do the voters the courtesy of at least telling them the truth, and asking them if they really want quite so much government at such a high price. Then again, maybe the voters already sense the truth, and perhaps that is why they are so furious.
Mr. Christian, an attorney, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Ford administration. Mr. Robbins, an economist, served at the Treasury Department in the Reagan administration. They are writing a book about the abuse of federal power.
But our lawmakers have a proud tradition of
legislating for the last crisis and, in the process, invariably increasing both the span
and severity of whatever woe they're seeking to remedy. We have no reason to believe the
Congress that emerges from this year's balloting will be any different.
6/06/2008: What Is a Conservative?
About four years ago, the late, great Reagan adviser Lyn Nofziger emailed me [Chuck Muth] what he thought it meant to be a conservative. I lost it and then Lyn passed away. Been looking for it ever since, but couldnt find it until, by accident, I stumbled upon it in an old file this morning.
If you can find a better definition for what it means to be a conservative, Id love to see it. Not a bad definition of a libertarian, either. Chuck Muth
I disagree; a libertarian does not "...turn for help to government only when all other means have been exhausted." A libertarian never turns to government for social assistance. Forced "charity" is not charity; it is theft. Once government becomes the last resource, it eventually becomes the first resource. Every government social program starts as a way to help only a small group, the "children" or those who can't help themselves, and then grows to monster proportions, covering more and more people until, today, many see no problem with (in fact, many demand) universal health care. Medicare started as a small program, but as it caused (and continues to cause) more and more distortions in the financing of health care, driving prices for private purchasers higher and higher through price controls, mandates, etc., the government "solution" is more and more control, eventually resulting in the mess we have today...and it will only get worse.
Likewise, the Fed's "solution" to its having created or allowing the creation of too much credit is to create even more credit. Long-term, the problem caused by government control of the money supply will be made worse by even more government intervention; true inflation, the growth in the money supply, the inflation that affects the prices paid for everyday items by every citizen, is already is far greater than is reported by the government and will likely get worse. The Federal Reserve was created 95 years ago with the goal of protecting the value of money. The dollar has lost 98-99% of its value since 1913 (most of it since 1971 when the Gold Standard was eliminated); what does it take before the people and politicians realize that the Federal Reserve is a utter failure. Note that very few Republicans, especially elected ones (and certainly not John McCain), qualify as conservatives.
6/06/2008: IS THIS ANY WAY TO FIGHT A WAR?
Doug Bandow, Vice President of Policy for Citizen Outreach, notes this incident as reported by the Daily Telegraph in England.
So Christians aren't even allowed to hand out religious pamphlets without risking not only being charged with a "hate crime," but being physically assaulted to boot. Meanwhile, the President of the United States and a major general recently APOLOGIZED, all but on bended knee, for a U.S. military sniper using a Koran for target practice in Iraq.
I am amazed. [Chuck Muth's News & Views]
6/06/2008: BUBBA COMES UNGLUED
"Bill Clinton finished the grueling 50-state Democratic primary campaign with a series of outbursts yesterday that make him appear more like the paranoid Captain Queeg of 'The Caine Mutiny' than a former president.
"Huffington Post writer Mayhill Fowler reports that she asked Mr. Clinton in South Dakota for his reaction to a highly unflattering article in Vanity Fair magazine about his post-presidential life, entitled 'The Comeback Id.' Writer Todd Purdum, a former New York Times reporter who is married to former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, concludes the piece by asking: 'What's the matter with him?' Mr. Clinton's response was to call Mr. Purdum 'sleazy' and a 'scumbag.'
"'He's a really dishonest reporter,' he told Ms. Fowler during a two-minute tirade that she captured on tape. 'There's just five or six blatant lies in there. But he's a real slimy guy.' Then the paranoia showed itself: 'It's all politics. It's all about the bias of the media for Obama. Don't think anything about it. But I'm telling ya, all it's doing is driving her supporters further and further away -- because they know exactly what it is -- this has been the most rigged coverage in modern history. And the guy ought to be ashamed of himself.'
"But Mr. Clinton wasn't done: 'Let me tell ya -- he's one of the guys -- he's one of the guys that propagated all those lies about Whitewater to Kenneth Starr. He's just a dishonest guy -- can't help it.' Apparently, a vast left-wing media conspiracy has undermined both Hillary Clinton's candidacy and is spreading lies about Mr. Clinton."
- John Fund, Political Diary, 6/3/08
6/06/2008: Recoil Election by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal
...But this I believe is the truth: America dodged a bullet. That was the other meaning of the culminating events of this week.
Mrs. Clinton would have been a disaster as president. Mr. Obama may prove a disaster, and John McCain may, but she would be. Mr. Obama may lie, and Mr. McCain may lie, but she would lie. And she would have brought the whole rattling caravan of Clintonism with herthe scandal-making that is compulsive, the drama that is unending, the sheer, daily madness that is her, and him.
We have been spared this. Those who did it deserve to be thanked. May I rise in a toast to the Democratic Party.
...Mrs. Clinton didn't lose because she had no money or organization, she didn't lose because she had no fame or name, she didn't lose because her policies were unusual or dramatically unpopular within her party. She lost because enough Democrats looked at her and thought: I don't like that, I don't like the way she does it, I'm not going there. Most candidates lose over things, not over their essential nature. But that is what happened here. For all her accomplishments and success, it was her sketchy character that in the end did her in.
...Choosing Mrs. Clinton [for Vice President] would make Mr. Obama look weak. No one would believe he picked her because he respected or liked her. They'd think he was appeasing her. This is not something he can afford! And in any case some people cannot be appeased. Voters would assume she and her people did their voodooI have 18 million voters!and he fell for it. She doesn't have 18 million voters, she got 18 million votes. It is telling the way she thinks of them, as if they are working-class automatons awaiting her command.
As for reports of their rage, there are always dead-enders, and frantic lovers of this candidate or that. This goes under the larger heading "lonely people." But there's reason to think, and some Democratic insiders do think it, that a lot of the supposed pro-Clinton furor is ginned up on Web sites by the Clinton campaign, and even manufactured by the Clinton campaign, to prove Clinton loyalists are real and their demands must be met. In any case, you can see how Mrs. Clinton views her supposed working-class heroes by what she is doing with them now: using them as a bargaining chip to get whatever she wants.
6/03/2008: Irrelevant Apologies By Thomas Sowell
It is amazing how seriously the media are taking Senator Barack Obama's latest statement about the latest racist rant from the pulpit of the church he has attended for 20 years. But neither that statement nor the apology for his rant by Father Michael Pfleger really matters, one way or the other. Nor does Senator Obama's belated resignation from that church.
For any politician, what matters is not his election year rhetoric, or an election year resignation from a church, but the track record of that politician in the years before the election.
Yet so many people are so fascinated by Barack Obama's rhetorical skills that they don't care about his voting record in the U.S. Senate, in the Illinois state senate, the causes that he has chosen to promote over the years, or the candidate's personal character and values, as revealed by his actions and associations.
Despite clever spin from Obama's supporters about avoiding "guilt by association," much more is involved than casual association with people like Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger.
In addition to giving $20,000 of his own money to Jeremiah Wright, as a state senator Obama directed $225,000 of the Illinois taxpayers' money for programs run by Father Pfleger. In the U.S. Senate, Obama earmarked $100,000 in federal tax money for Father Pfleger's work. Giving someone more than 300 grand is not just some tenuous, coincidental association.
Are Barack Obama's views shown by what he says during an election year or by what he has been doing for decades before?
The complete contrast between Obama's election year image as a healer of divisions and his whole career of promoting far-left grievance politics, in association with America-haters like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, are brushed aside by his supporters who talk about getting back to "the real issues."
There is nothing more real than a man's character and values. The track record of what he has actually done is far more real than anything he says, however elegantly he says it.
There is no office where the character and values of the person in that office matter more than the office of President of the United States. He holds the destiny of 300 million Americans in his hands and the fate of generations yet unborn.
That was never more true than today, with Iran moving ever closer to a nuclear bomb, while the United Nations wrings its hands and Congress fritters away its time on everything from steroids in sports to earmarks for pet projects back home.
Does anyone seriously consider what it would mean for Iran to have nuclear weapons? They are already supplying terrorists with the means of killing people in other countries, including killing American troops in Iraq.
Senator Obama has been downplaying the Iran threat, saying that they are just "a small country," not like the Soviet Union. The people who flew planes into the World Trade Center were an even smaller group than the Iranian government.
Half a dozen terrorists like that with nuclear weapons would be a bigger danger than the Soviet Union ever was, because the Soviet leaders were not suicide bombers. They could be deterred by the threat of what we would do to Moscow if they attacked New York.
You cannot deter suicidal fanatics. They are not going to stop unless they get stopped. Rhetoric is not going to do it.
Not only Senator Obama, but too many other Americans, seem to have no concept of the seething hatred that can lead people to destroy their own lives in order to lash out at others.
But terrorists have been doing this repeatedly, not only in Iraq and in Israel, but in other countries around the world-- including the United States on 9/11.
Have we already forgotten how the Palestinians were cheering in the streets over the news of the attack on the World Trade Center? How videotapes of sadistic beheadings of innocent people by terrorists have found an eager audience in the Middle East?
Are we going to leave our children hostages to hate-filled sadists with nuclear weapons? Are we to rely on Barack Obama's rhetoric to protect them?
Senator Obama's foreign policy seems to be somewhere between Rodney King's "Can't we just get along?" and Alfred E. Neuman's "What, me worry?"
6/02/2008: A Secret Tax on Teenagers
You get your rebate check today. Your kid pays the tax bill later. By Tim Harford
...Since neither the U.K. nor U.S. government intends to alter its spending plans, these tax holidays [or rebates] will be funded by government borrowing, borrowing that must eventually be repaid. That will require taxes to go up in the future or not to fall when they otherwise might.
...Who will be the fall guy? We don't know for sure because we can't say whom a future government will tax. But an obvious candidate would be today's teenagers, very few of whom pay income tax today but most of whom will pay income tax in the next few years. Their best hope is that their grandparents add the tax windfall to their bequests rather than blowing the money on a weekend in the sun.
The idea that a debt-funded tax cut makes little difference to anybody is called "Ricardian equivalance" after David Ricardo, one of the founders of modern economics. The equivalence is between government taxes and government borrowing. However government spending is funded, it generates a bill that will come due sooner or later. Far-sighted taxpayers will immediately take note.
...That suggests that as consumers and taxpayers, we aren't fooled by these games of three-card Monte. Are we fooled as voters? Alistair Darling obviously hopes so.
6/02/2008: The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. Samuel Adams
6/02/2008: If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.Thomas Jefferson
6/02/2008: From the Daily Reckoning [free subscription]: This week marks the euros 10th anniversary.We remember when it came out. The Esperanto Money, we called it, referring to the ersatz language that never quite caught on.
The dollar is bad enough; at least it is supported by the full faith and credit of the United States of America, for whatever that is worth. Whose full faith and credit stood behind the euro? What nation would be willing to stick with the new money when the going really got tough?
The euro opened at $1.12 to the greenback. Then, it sank below 90 cents. It looked doomed; the American paper was stronger, surer, more lasting.
But then our initial skepticism towards Europes new money quickly turned to admiration. The euros weaknesses were actually its great strength. Since no nation stood behind it, none would knock it down to get where it wanted to go. Just as the Europeans could never agree on sausages or military campaigns, they would never agree on the destruction of their money. If French wanted a weak euro to help enliven their economy, the Germans and the English would tell them to stop whining and show some backbone. If it were the English whose economy went soft and who wanted an easier money policy, likewise, the French would like nothing better than to deny it to them.
That is the charm of the Europeans; they detest each other mutually. The French would rather endure a depression themselves than spare the English one. And as for the Italians, the Irish, the Austrians...and all the other peoples at the periphery well, they can just look out for themselves!
But rather than leave the European Central Bank weak and subservient, it actually makes it stronger and more independent. Its officials may have no more integrity than officials of the Federal Reserve. Their economic theories may be no better. But at least they are unresponsive. In central banking, the consequence of inertia and inactivity is almost always salutary.
While the Fed has cut rates...raised them...and then cut them again, the ECB has done nothing. And the euro has almost doubled from its low and now trades for $1.55.
6/02/2008: EDITORIAL COMMENTARY Avoiding the Road to Disaster By THOMAS G. DONLAN
If you doubt that a recession is approaching, you must not be able to hear the bell that's been ringing for months. It's the signal for massive government investment in infrastructure. It rings in every economic slowdown, as contractors and construction unions make common cause to sustain themselves with public funds.
Whenever the economy looks shaky, highways,
sewers, waterways, dams, parks, schools, power plants and power lines, schools, airports
and the air-traffic-control system, even broadband communications networks are described
as crumbling, overburdened and in great need of new investment. Every time, the
infrastructure funding movement declares that the national economy depends on public
investment in concrete projects. And every time, delayed appropriations of billions for
public works hit the market just in time to set off a new round of cost-push inflation.
We should take infrastructure
out of their [government'a] hands. Private operators who earn profits on what the traffic
will bear can do a better job of serving the public interest.
Read Past Blogs
Other Information about Dale F. Ogden
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Actuaries & Management Consultants
Dale F. Ogden,
California Insurance Commissioner, 2006
Dale F. Ogden,
California State Senate, 2004
Dale F. Ogden,
California Insurance Commissioner, 2002
Ogden, Libertarian, for
California State Assembly, 2000
Dale F. Ogden,
California Insurance Commissioner, 1998