Do Something—But Not That!

John Hinderaker notes that Americans are “ready to take on the deficit.” The numbers are extremely high, but the problem is in the details.  In other polls, respondents have been against cutting pretty much anything except foreign aid (which makes up a laughably small percentage of the deficit).  To get anywhere near fiscal solvency would require cuts on the order of 15-20% for pretty much all programs and the elimination of a number of others.  Once you start talking about what it would take to get the public fisc in order, approval ratings drop considerably.

On the other hand, given the inability of the Left to stick Republicans as being monsters for wanting to engage in a limited form of fiscal sanity, maybe things are changing just a little bit.

Boeing Is Learning The Downsides Of Corporatism

Everything’s peachy-keen for Boeing when they’re on the winning side of government handouts, but now that the NLRB has decided where Boeing may set up shop, the company is not too happy.  Par for the corporatist course.

This is a pretty crappy situation brought upon us by our “betters.”  This administration wouldn’t be called Gangster Government if it weren’t for corporatism (well, that and punishing its “enemies” and avoiding taxes, just like Scarface).  And we could easily extract ourselves from messes like this by getting rid of the corporatist philosophy of stealing from taxpayers to give to corporations and then lording over those corporations with ridiculous policies.

Jimmy The Greek’s Not Featuring This One

Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics’s Horse Race Blog argues in two parts that President Obama is not a shoo-in for victory in 2012.

His predecessor at the Horse Race Blog, Jay Cost, adds some perspective on the success that President Obama has had in the political world.  Cost argues that the Obama team did a remarkable job of putting together an effective bandwagon campaign in 2008, and they want to repeat it in 2012, even though the circumstances have changed.

Gimme Some Cash And I’ll Stay Away

Mickey Kaus has a wonderful scheme for President Obama to raise some more money:  promise not to visit places.  It beats the recommended alternative:  telling the denizens of LA simply to stay home.  Unlike President Obama, people don’t get 180 vacation days a year and they can’t stay home and go golfing or hob-knobbing whenever they feel like it; some of us actually need to work for a living.*

But then again, given the results when President Obama does show up to work, this puts me back in the “Yeah, go play some more golf” camp.  Maybe he should just stick to the links, where the Presidential motorcade won’t bother as many people.  Most golfers are Republicans anyhow, so their inconvenience won’t cost him many votes…

* – Others of us gripe for a living.

More Silver Bullets Than The Lone Ranger

President Obama says there is “no silver bullet” which can bring down gasoline prices “right away.”

He is very, very wrong on this.  Let me count the ways, noting any points regarding myths about gas prices:

  1. Reduce federal taxes on gasoline.  They currently make up 18.4 cents per gallon.
  2. Reduce state taxes on gasoline.  In Ohio, these make up 26 cents per gallon.
  3. Remove regulations preventing drilling in the US.
  4. Either go all in or leave Libya; in either event, wrap it up quickly.  Rapier argues that this is not a major mover in prices, and I am willing to concede that, but it does have some effect.  Oil is a fungible commodity, so even though Libya does not sell much oil to the US, US prices are still tied in with global prices.
  5. Remove regulations preventing refinery expansion in the US.
  6. Remove governmental requirements on using Ethanol and required gasoline blends.

You might argue that some of these would not “immediately” reduce prices, but keep in mind that the actors in markets, acting as a whole, are extremely quick and efficient at reacting to information.  Prices change not when an event occurs, but rather when people estimate that an event will occur.  This is why the FOMC and other agencies tend to be mum until they make their decisions, for example.  So a commitment to perform the above actions would cause prices to move even if it takes a bit longer for the event actually to occur.

These wouldn’t cause prices to drop to $1 a gallon, but I was working under the “right away” constraint.  Most of these, if governmental officials credibly committed to following through, would have the effect of lowering gasoline prices immediately.  This doesn’t include long-term changes which would affect long-run supply or demand, but it’s not like there’s absolutely nothing that these politicians could do to reduce the cost of gasoline; they could simply reverse some of their regulations and that would go a pretty fair way.