Sundry Political Notes

“But I also know,” he wrote, “that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.” I don’t know—I think it’s about time for some “chaotic and unforgiving”* capitalism; we haven’t had that in a while and it seemed to work well last time we tried…

– Can we stop North Korea?  Yes We Can!  Oh, wait, no we can’t…

– It’s good to know that regulators are all about protecting the trade secrets of Freddie Mac.  I believe the proper term here is “regulatory capture.”

– After Obama decided that the CEO of one of America’s largest firms isn’t cut out for the job (and not cut out for a cabinet post—he’s been paying taxes), Mark Steyn had a pair of inspired posts lambasting the administration.  Once you start sucking at the teat of government, politicians get to control everything.  This explains why banks are giving back TARP funds and why government-friendly folks are so sad.  They prefer the old-fashioned relationship:  Chris Dodd & co taking their money and getting political favors in return.  The only cure for big business and big government being in the same bed is to get rid of big government.  At least with big businesses, smaller, more agile ones end up destroying the behemoths, whereas we don’t have that dynamic within government.

Obama is also standing behind GM warrantees.  That must be somewhere in Article II, describing the President’s authority to maintain drive-trains.  At least they’ll have an awesome acronym and they can piggyback off of one of our favorite bureaucracies.  Noted hard truth guy Mr. Tough Money Love is in favor—shouldn’t you be?  In seriousness, though, James C. Capretta notes the Hayekian knowledge problem that Obama stumbled into.  He thinks that he knows better than the people who run the individual firms how to run a profitable enterprise.  In reality, government will do a significantly worse job because they lack the knowledge and the incentives to do it right.  And they’re all hamstringing themselves.  GM was already trailing behind other auto companies with regard to CAFE standards, so strengthening them will only hurt GM’s ability to compete.

– Whatever happened to that transparency thing?  Obama probably put Tim Geithner in charge of it.

– John Murtha, in a Kinsley Gaffe, says “If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.” Murtha’s absolutely right:  no politician should have the capacity to do these types of things, as it is only rational for politicians to do so.  Murtha doles out pork to favored constitutents in exchange for money and support.  Sure, we would be better off without any politician doing so, but we end up in a prisoner’s dilemma here:  it is an equilibrium result for politicians to search for more pork to hand out, thereby expanding the government and increasing corruption in the process.  The only answer is to remove from government oversight and regulation the capacity to do such things.

Doug Heye uses Richard Burr as an example of how Republicans can expand numbers of minorities who vote for them.  I can see the point here—increasing the black vote from 5% to 30% will obviously make Republicans more competitive—but there are institutional biases to deal with.  You can say to do some legwork and all of these other cliches, but you would think that if this were a low-hanging fruit, some Republicans would have figured out how to do it by now.  Even in Burr’s case, I doubt he got more than 20% of the black vote.

Kathleen Sebelius is just the latest Obama appointee to owe back taxes.  For her, it’s $7000.  I believe the perfect anarchist tax system would be to tax left-wingers a ridiculous rate and non-left-wingers nothing.  It’s not like left-wingers actually pay taxes, after all.

– Finally, some good news, as I’ve been quite dour lately.  First, at least we aren’t England.  That story is a horrible tragedy and, I hope, a breaking point for a once-free people.  When government is your mommy and daddy, people die because of government bureaucracy.  Once the English finally re-learn this lesson, they will be a freer, more prosperous, and safer people.  Second, there hasn’t been statistically significant global warming since 1995.

* – Scare quotes intended; normal disclaimer about necessary institutions applies.


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