It was a new dawn, a day of hope and change, the ancien régime and the theocrats and the plutocracy having been supplanted by fresh new faces dedicated to Reason and promising to fundamentally change France. That turned out to be an expensive proposition, and the new government found itself in a bind: It was unwilling to cut spending or to raise taxes. The country, Mr. White writes, “found itself in deep financial embarrassment: There was a heavy debt and a serious deficit. . . . There was a general want of confidence in business circles; capital had shown its proverbial timidity by retiring out of sight as far as possible; throughout the land was stagnation.” A source of particular annoyance to the Jacobins and the rest of the Left was the fact that businesses and investors were sitting on a great deal of cash but refusing to spend or to invest, and many were sheltering their capital abroad.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
The USPS has historically placed the interests of its unions first. That hasn't changed. In March it reached a four-and-a-half-year agreement with the 250,000-member American Postal Workers Union, which represents mail clerks, drivers, mechanics, and custodians. The pact extends the no-layoff provision and provides a 3.5 percent raise for APWU members over the period of the contract, along with seven upcapped cost-of-living increases. The union is happy. "Despite the fact that the postal service is on the edge of insolvency, the union and management have reached an agreement that is a 'win-win' proposition," said APWU President Cliff Guffey on the union's website. A USPS spokeswoman said the agency agreed to the raise because it feared the decision would otherwise be made by an arbitrator who might be even more deferential to the union.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
South Carolina is a right-to-work state, and we're proud that within our borders workers cannot be required to join a labor union as a condition of employment. We don't need unions playing middlemen between our companies and our employees. We don't want them forcefully inserted into our promising business climate. And we will not stand for them intimidating South Carolinians.
That is apparently too much for President Obama and his union-beholden appointees at the National Labor Relations Board, who have asked the courts to intervene and force Boeing to stop production in South Carolina. The NLRB wants Boeing to produce the planes only in Washington state, where its workers must belong to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
“We find strong evidence that members of the House have some type of non-public information which they use for personal gain,” according to four academics who authored the study, “Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.”
To the frustration of open-government advocates, lawmakers and their staff members largely have immunity from laws barring trading on insider knowledge that have sent many a private corporate chieftain to prison.
It appears that back in 1991, Barney went to the mat in obtaining a six-figure hack job for his then-boyfriend, Herbie Moses, at, of all places, Fannie Mae.
You know, that same Fannie Mae that in the summer of 2007 Barney said publicly would be fine “going forward.” This was a couple of months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac almost brought down the entire world economy with the subprime mortgage policies they’d developed under the leadership of another Democrat hack who managed Fritz Mondale’s doomed 1984 campaign.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Pelosi and the Golden Ticket Administrators in Washington deny preferential treatment for waiver beneficiaries. But the stench of waivers-for-favors won’t be dispelled until and unless the Obama administration releases a full list not only of those who won exemptions, but also of those who applied and were denied.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I have said it many times, but I will say it again: While United States should not consider defaulting on its debt, Congress shouldn’t be forced to raise the debt ceiling under false pretenses. And here is the thing: There is absolutely no reason for the U.S. to default on its debt unless it would like to. The U.S. owns roughly $2 trillion in assets that it can use, in addition to $2.2 trillion in tax revenue.
Also, it is really shocking to read Secretary Geithner continue to make threats about not being able to send out Social Security checks, Medicare payments, or military paychecks. This year, this would only be the case if Geithner decided not to pay for these obligations. According to the GAO, the Treasury secretary has the authority to prioritize payments, which means that, considering the country’s assets and revenue, there is enough cash to pay for these priorities and Geithner can make these payments first — that is, if he wants to. (Not to mention that as long as there are assets in the Social Security trust funds, Treasury has to honor them.)
The President’s plan begins with trillions of dollars in higher taxes, and it relies on a plan to control costs in Medicare that would give a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats in Washington the power to deeply ration care. This would disrupt the lives of those currently in retirement and lead to waiting lists for today’s seniors. … The disagreement isn’t really about the problem. It’s about the solution to controlling costs in Medicare.
And if I could sum up that disagreement in a couple of sentences, I would say this: Our plan is to give seniors the power to deny business to inefficient providers. Their plan is to give government the power to deny care to seniors.
… That’s the real class warfare that threatens us — a class of governing elites picking winners and losers, and determining our destinies for us.
for anyone who admires Mamet and his work—and who agrees with most of his newly discovered political views—there’s something thrilling about seeing a man so accomplished in an unforgiving art subject his ideas to pitiless examination and, as he put it, “take it all the way down to the paint.” When Mamet recognized himself as a conservative, Shelby Steele told me, “it made him happy.”
Monday, May 16, 2011
In the real world, debt ceilings are determined by the lenders, not by the borrowers. In March, Pimco (which manages the world’s largest mutual fund) calculated that 70 percent of U.S. Treasury debt is being bought by the Federal Reserve.
So under the 2011 budget, every hour of every day, the United States government spends $188 million it doesn’t have, $130 million of which is “borrowed” from itself. There’s nobody else out there.
In other words, however Congress votes, we’re rubbing up against the real debt ceiling — the willingness of the world to continue bankrolling American debauchery.
If I understand him correctly, his argument is that the salient point about Romneycare and Obamacare is not that they’re both disasters, but that one’s local and the other’s national, and that Obama has a one-disaster-fits-all approach to health care whereas Romney believes in letting a thousand disasters bloom. Celebrate diversity!
As we saw with allegations of Al Gore’s having groped hotel masseuses, there seems to be some sort of synergy with global humanitarian elites toiling on our behalf, fancy hotels, exclusive travel — and sexual aggression against those toiling in the service sector. In some sick way, just as Gore’s mounting hypocrisies came to symbolize the decline in global-warming religious observance, so too Strauss-Kahn’s “indulgences” may be emblematic of the mounting hypocrisies of the IMF.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
And while reports are pouring out from a gloating White House that’s leaking like the Titanic in its final hours, one can only assume our analysts have barely begun to exploit the data. Couldn’t they have at least tried to give the CIA a week, a day, even a few more hours to look at it all before letting Ayman al-Zawahiri and the rest of al-Qaeda know about it? Why give him the slightest head start to go even further underground?
One expert suggested we could have blown up the compound after seizing the material with our official story being that bin Laden was killed in the explosion and no materials were recovered. The story might not hold for too long, but how long would CIA analysts need it to hold?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
To jump so seamlessly from the Magisterium’s insistence on the fundamental and non-negotiable moral obligation to the poor to the specifics of contingent, prudential, and political legislation is wholly unjustified in Catholic social teaching. One suspects that the moral theologians who signed this letter know that. It would be good for them to say so.
Surely they know what the American Bishops stated in their own 1986 Pastoral Letter, “Economic Justice for All” : “There are also many specific points on which men and women of good will may disagree. We look for a fruitful exchange among differing viewpoints.”
Surely they recall the statement of Blessed John XXIII in Mater et Magistra that, “When it comes to reducing these teachings to action, it sometimes happens that even sincere Catholic men have differing views. When this occurs, they should take care to have and to show mutual esteem and regard, and to explore the extent to which they can work in cooperation among themselves.” (no. 238)
And then there is that passage in Pope Benedict’s most recent social encyclical Caritas in Veritate: “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer.” (no. 9)
It appears then that these Catholic academicians who have written to Speaker Boehner do not understand the distinctions the Church herself makes between fundamental, non-negotiable dogmas and doctrines, and the prudential and debatable give and take when it comes to applying the principles of Catholic social teaching. Here Speaker Boehner need only consult the text of the Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching, which the authors of the letter say they have delivered to him, wherein he will read: “The Church’s Magisterium does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate the freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions.” (no. 571)
The specifics of the 2012 Budget proposed by the Speaker and his colleagues are, the letter’s authors contend, the result of either ignorance or “dissent.” I think they are neither; they simply reflect a different, and in many people’s estimation, more accurate and economically-informed way, of proposing how we achieve worthy goals. Indeed, it could be said that what these Catholic academicians are proposing is not a “preferential option for the poor,” but rather a preferential option for the State. They make the unfortunately common error of assuming that concern for the economically weak and marginalized must somehow translate into (yet another) government program.
That assumption is wrong, and flies in the face of another principle of Catholic social teaching — the principle of subsidarity. With good reason, this is something the Catholic Left — or whatever remains of it these days — rarely mentions or grapples with, because they know that it would raise many questions about the prudence of any number of welfare programs they support.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Monday that the SEAL team had orders to take bin Laden alive, "if he didn't present any threat," though he correctly dismissed this possibility as "remote." This is hard to take seriously. No one could have expected bin Laden to surrender without a fight. And capturing him alive would have required the administration to hold and interrogate bin Laden at Guantanamo Bay, something that has given this president allergic reactions bordering on a seizure.
Mr. Obama deserves credit for ordering the mission that killed bin Laden. But he should also recognize that he succeeded despite his urge to disavow Bush administration policies.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
It is not politically possible for either the Federal Reserve or the Obama administration to leave the economy alone and let it recover on its own. Both are under pressure to "do something." If one thing doesn't work, then they have to try something else. And if that doesn't work, they have to come up with yet another gimmick. All this constant experimentation by the government makes it more risky for investors to invest or employers to employ, when neither of them knows when the government's rules of the game are going to change again. Whatever the merits or demerits of particular government policies, the uncertainty that such ever-changing policies generate can paralyze an economy today, just as it did back in the days of FDR.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
[Instapundit] reader Steve Bogdan emails: “For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of President Obama.”