Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Big Guy Talks About the Big Things - Chris Christie at AEI

Chris Cnristie gave an hour-long talk at the American Enterprise Institute last week, talking about the Big Things in politics. The full hour-long video of the speech is here but here is a brief excerpt:

Do watch the whole speech, if you have the time.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Roger L. Simon Has Some Thoughts on Liberals as Reactionaries in Wisconsin

Pajamas Media co-founder and CEO Roger L. Simon, a former lefty himself, has some thoughts about what we are seeing playing out in Wisconsin:

"So why has our left become so reactionary, so unwilling or unable to adapt to a changed world that they “act out” with all the juvenility of adolescents deprived of the family car keys? Some say it is because they have replaced religious faith with politics and I, an agnostic, see some truth in that. But there is more. Liberalism has become a mask for greed in our culture — a way of hiding excessive selfishness from others and, importantly, from the self. It’s a deflection, really.

We see this in the billionaire extremes of a George Soros and a John Kerry, but also now in the demonstrators in the streets of Madison. Many are suffering economically in our country. Huge numbers are unemployed. But when asked to pull together for the good of the mean, the liberals, the ones who pay the greatest lip service to equality, say NO.

They hide behind “Union! Union! Union!” and “No pasaran!,” but it’s all a fake. When the chips are down, our modern liberals are overcome by their own sense of entitlement. Christopher Lasch’s Culture of Narcissism has infected them to such a degree reality cannot intrude. I get my pension even if there’s no money, even if you have to pay for it and you’re broke without any pension of your own.

Socialism, my fat fanny! It’s just plain old selfish greed."
Read the whole thing.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Obama's Friends and Enemies - Bill Whittle

In his latest Firewall video, Bill makes the case that "President Obama and his administration's contempt for our traditional allies, coupled with his comfort with our traditional adversaries can no longer be attributed to inexperience, or even incompetence. It must be due to ideology."

Judge for yourself but I agree with Bill.

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Why Public Sector Employee Unions Should Not be Allowed

Unions once had their place in protecting workers but in the modern age workers have access to information in the form of what other employers than their own are paying in wages and benefits and are free to take a better offer. Employers know they have to compete with each other for the best employees. Unions have become largely irrelevant. In the public sector, unions are actually destructive because they can influence elections and support candidates who, though elected to represent the interests of voters, are actually then beholden to the public sector unions and will act to increase government employee wages and benefits to the detriment of the voter/taxpayer. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Public sector employees now make more on average than their private sector counterparts, who must pay taxes to support them and they have the protection of civil service laws to boot. In other words, the employees get to elct their own bosses, who must then keep the employees happy.

Over the last few days, teachers in Wisconsin have been staging a sickout in protest of Governor Scott Walker's plan to rein in the power of the unions by removing their collective bargaining rights with respect to benefits, not wages, just benefits. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Patirck McIlhern sums it all up here but I thought this part of his column on the issue best sums up the difference between private and public sector unions:

"Unions in the private sector are a way of organizing private interests, those of employees, against other private interests, those of a company's owners, for economic gain and for protection against unfairness. In government, workers are already protected against unfairness by civil service laws, and Walker has supported expanding those. Economically, government unions pit a private interest, that of employees, against the public's interest, that of taxpayers and voters."

Read the whole thing.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hayek's Top 10 Do's and Don'ts in a Recession

Over at The Heritage Foundation's Foundry blog, David Azerrad has a list of top 10 do's and don'ts in a recession, as distilled from the works of F.A. Hayek by Bruce Caldwell. You should read the whole thing, of course, but here is the even shorter version.
“We usually don’t have the necessary knowledge to intervene effectively in the economy, and the political process is such that, even if we did, we still likely would get bad policy, coupled with an ever-growing government sector.”
The ever-growing government sector is a bug, not a feature.

(via Instapundit)
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Downsizing the Federal Government - It Can Be Done.

The Cato Institute has a blog called Downsizing the Federal Government which I just found via John Hood at National Review Online's The Corner blog. It has a department by department guide of federal agencies, what they spend and how they can be cut.

I think a lot of us look at the scale of federal spending and think, how can we ever get this under control? The answer is that you solve it the way you do any other problem. Break the task down into manageable pieces, as Cato has done here. The individual pieces may not look significant when you are comparing them to the overall problem, but they add up.

Also at the site, a comprehensive plan to balance the federal budget by 2020 without raising tax rates by reducing federal spending from its current (abnormally high) level of 25% of GDP to 18.5% of GDP, which is in much closer alignment with the historical average of tax revenues as a percent of GDP, as shown by economist Kurt Hauser.

Go and check the site out. I think you will see the task of getting the deficit under control a lot less daunting if you do.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Four Reasons Why Big Government Is Bad Government

Another Economics 101 video from the Center for Freedom & Prosperity.

I posted another one back in November on Why Keynesian Economics Is Wrong and there are lots more here at the CF&P website.
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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bill Whittle on The Free Frontier

Here is Bill Whittle talking about how the private sector looks to continue our access to space. Amazing. As our government loses interest and bows out, private interests, i.e. profit seekers, fill the void and do it better and more cost-effectively. It's a reverse of the usual crowding out effect where as government gets more involved, the private sector is pushed aside.  Go and watch.

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What Happens When You Taxi Your F-16 Fighter a Titch Too Close Behind a B-1B Bomber

Whoopsie daisy.....

(h/t Vodkapundit)
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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Pima Sheriff and County Prosecutor Trying to Silence the Tucson Tea Party

This is shameful conduct on the part of Pima County Sheriff Dupnick and County Attorney Barbara LaWall and should not be happening in a free and open society.
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The Anchoress on Uncredentialed Wonder

That would be wonder as in that sense of joyful curiosity and delight in learning new things. 

 I've been following the rather worrisome phenomenon known as the "higher education bubble" lately. The cost of a college education keeps going up and up, 440% since I collected my degree almost 30 years ago, yet there seem to be fewer and fewer good job opportunities for college graduates, particularly ones that will pay them enough to retire the massive load of non-dischargeable student debt many will acquire, or even save enough money to retire themselves one day.  (As the joke goes; how do you get a psych major off  your porch? Pay him for the pizza.)

Over at The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia has a wonderful post that explores the question of whether we have come to value a credential more than a true education. She also talks about the many examples of some very successful people who though they may not have possessed even so much as a GED are demonstrably better educated than some highly credentialed ones who are overtly disdainful of some of those successful people for the simple reason that they don't possess the right credentials. From the post:

I wonder if that’s really good for America, though. To become educated is a marvelous thing; to have the opportunity to study is a privilege too many take for granted. But have we become a society that places too much weight on the attainment of a diploma, which sometimes indicates nothing more than an ability to keep to a schedule and follow a syllabus, and underappreciates the ability to wonder, to strike out on an individual path, and to learn on one’s own? When did non-conformists become so unromantic and undervalued?


It is a wonderful thing to sit in a classroom and grow in knowledge, if one is in fact doing that, but often it seems that degrees should be awarded in going through the motions; they come without a genuine expansion of thought, or an enlargement of wonder. And, to paraphrase Gregory of Nyssa, it’s the wondering that begets the knowing.

My sister also makes a great point:

Our Great-grandfather was a self-educated man, the eldest of 14 children, who rose to become the local equivalent of Superintendent of Schools without ever setting foot in a college or university. He used to walk the 5-10 miles to the local library whenever he had the chance.  Point is, credentials are fine, if they are meaningful, but it is intellectually slovenly to assume that there is only one way to acquire wisdom and knowledge. With our over-emphasis on credentials, we cheat ourselves out of the contributions of many bright ( or late-blooming) minds. 

Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

State of the Union- A Conservative Response - Bill Whittle

This is Bill Whittle's response to the State of the Union Address. Do I really need to encourage you to watch?

If you like to read rather than watch, the transcript is here.
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