Imports From Canada

Looks like the abnegation of free speech is coming to the US if 15 House members have their say.  The law as planned isn’t quite like Canada’s “hate speech” laws, but in one way is significantly worse:  we’re talking about it being a felony to call Arlen Specter a political whore who would sell his soul for a chance to live off of the largesse of our country, a man who could not dream of surviving in any other way than as a tick, bloated as a result of sucking blood from American taxpayers.  That’s certainly hostile and considering my opinion on Specter as expressed on this blog, it’s certainly something I’ve repeated a couple of times.  This bill is patently unconstitutional, but it’s been a long time since people in Washington cared about that.  Where’s Robert Taft when you need him (and not his good-for-nothing waste of flesh of a grandson; he’s where he belongs:  far away from anything remotely involving politics or besmirching his family name)?

Holy crap! A penguatroll sighting!

A couple of quick hits then time for bed.

First, I’m pretty happy with the Browns’ draft. Mack was a bit of a reach, but I’ll take an awesome center late in the first round any day. Robiskie was another great pick I squealed with joy for. I’m hoping Robiskie is the billionaire’s version of Kevin Johnson. I don’t know much about Massequoi, but I am happy we’re restocking receiver after losing Jurevicius and Stallworth. Vaikune should be a decent pass rushing, and the fourth round pick is the nephew of the Rock.

Somebody from FO quoted that Al Davis’ goal was to make the ultimate Madden team. The sad part is, as soon as they said it, I started having fantasies about the Raiders scoring 200 pts a game and giving up 150 pts (thank goodness for Nmandi Asomaugha).

Second, I’m in my end of semester crunch, so this may be the last appearance for another two weeks or so. Until then, this is the Penguatroll signing off.

Higgs On The Left On Rail

Following up on McArdle on Streetcars, Robert Higgs has his own question regarding rail:  specifically, why is it that people on the political left are so fascinated with train travel?  Regarding Higgs’ point, it’s good to take a look at Steven Dutch’s work on why people don’t take mass transit (with my summary and addition here).

Also read the comments.  The first three seem to be people who fit into exactly what Higgs is asking about, but there are a couple of elaborations on Higgs’ part that are worth reading.

Demand For Goods Is Not Demand For Labor

Case in point #796:  America is still, despite how it may sometimes appear, the premier manufacturing nation in the world.  What we see is more production of goods but fewer individuals necessary to produce those goods.  That frees up people to perform more valuable services:  rather than being cogs in an assembly line, they create or oversee the automated assembly equipment or provide services in an entirely different industry.

Because this is supposed to be a short blog post, I won’t get into the deeper and legitimate issue of people who have spent their lives in factories and have no other skills or those who aren’t intelligent enough to be “knowledge workers” (or symbol manipulators).  Those deserve a fuller explication than I could give in this particular post.

Nudging The Nudgers

Mario Rizzo has a wonderful bit of polemic judo regarding behavioral economics and “nudging.” I personally like the idea of tying Congressional salaries to forcing the “stimulus” money to be eliminated as soon as this “stimulus” is no longer “necessary” (my, how many scare quotes I use…), but I would go a step further:  tie RNC and DNC donations in as well.  If they don’t end the package, some percentage of political donations also go to free-market and small-government institutions.  Even the salaries themselves aren’t _that_ important to Congressmen—the perks of remaining in Congress are more important, so if you drain the election coffers, that will get their attention even more quickly.

I’ve Got A Fever And The Only Cure Is More Bailouts

The New York Times needs to read what the Cato Institute has said regarding the bailouts before noting that they were quiet on the subject.  David Boaz sets them straight.

Meanwhile, Veronique de Rugy points out that bailout reciept involves rent dissipation, just like everything else that goes through Washington.  This doesn’t reach the full dissipation rate that you would see in certain sectors, but give it time.  As Gordon Tullock might point out, there’s plenty of time for fuller dissipation…