500th Blog Post!

October 7, 2010

This is my 500th post to this blog. To celebrate, below are links to the 10 most viewed posts from those 500. Note that, although they are part of the 500, I excluded the polls that I’ve posted from this top 10 list:

  1. Lies, Name-Calling and Distortions
  2. Your ‘Recovery’ Dollars at Work
  3. Census Fine
  4. French Equality Veils Liberty
  5. The Individual Mandate and the Constitution
  6. Another TARP Spending Idea and Keynesian Economics
  7. Nation’s Top Accountant: We suffer from a fiscal cancer!
  8. Virginia Nullifies Individual Mandate
  9. Cost Projections and Rail
  10. More From the Judge on the Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate

Thanks to those who have actually taken the time to read any of my posts and/or comment on them!

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Words for the Weekend – 6-25-10

June 25, 2010

Ayn Rand

“Every coercive monopoly was created by government intervention into the economy: by special privileges, such as franchises or subsidies, which closed the entry of competitors into a given field, by legislative action.”

                                    – Ayn Rand


Paying the Price for Bailouts

March 25, 2010

Bailed out financial institutions are quickly learning what the states learned a long time ago about receiving money from the federal government: There are pesky strings attached. The prime example is a recent Wall Street Journal story noting the details of the decisions made by the government’s “pay czar” (Could anyone have imagined such a title two years ago?).

Kenneth Feinberg has been busy artificially capping the pay of executives in the bailed out firms he has been dubiously given authority over. The WSJ report repeatedly says “Mr. Feinberg” did this, “Mr. Feinberg” did that. His oversight power essentially changes the decision-making process for executive compensation to where it is now beholden to only one, unaffected man instead of several men and women on the company boards who have a vital stake in how their company compensates employees.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=kenneth+feinberg&iid=8095002″ src=”b/b/e/d/TARP_Administrator_Kenneth_80ac.jpg?adImageId=11655666&imageId=8095002″ width=”234″ height=”174″ /]And, in reality, that is too simple of an explanation. In a relatively free market system, employee compensation is typically beholden to leaders in individual firms who are swayed by the prices for labor that the market sets. If there was any doubt that such a free market exists in this country, it only gained credibility with the appointment of Feinberg last year. Instead of relying on the voluntary action of individuals in the marketplace to determine the price of labor, politicians thought it wiser to appoint one man to make that decision for individuals — backed by the authority of the federal government and its “power of the purse.”

Read the rest of this entry »


One Year of Blogging

March 3, 2010

Today marks one year since my first (very simple) post on this blog. I’ve hopefully gotten a lot better at this since then. This makes my 331st post.

To note this one-year mark, here’s a list of this blog’s top posts (the most viewed) since then:

  1. Lies, Name-Calling and Distortions (9/10/09)
  2. Your Recovery Dollars at Work (10/20/09)
  3. Nation’s Top Accountant: We suffer from a fiscal cancer (3/24/09)
  4. Cost Projections and Rail (12/4/09)
  5. Sinkholes and Optimism (1/16/10)
  6. Made-up Recovery (11/16/09)
  7. Abortion Amendments Voted Down (9/30/09)
  8. Paying for Spending Now Insignificant? (2/28/10)
  9. A Warning from the CBO Director (11/19/09)
  10. A Year of Bailouts (10/3/09)

Thanks to those who have taken the time to read and leave comments on this blog over the last year.


Top Posts of 2009

January 1, 2010

Here are the five most viewed posts from this blog for 2009:

  1. Lies, Name-calling and Distortions
  2. Your ‘Recovery’ Dollars at Work
  3. Nation’s Top Accountant: We suffer from a fiscal cancer!
  4. Made-up Recovery
  5. Cost Projections and Rail

Better Late Than Never?

November 15, 2009

Former President George W. Bush made headlines this past week by announcing the start of the George W. Bush Institute. Among the key points in his speech was that he believes he went against his basic free-market beliefs in setting up the TARP program toward the end of his presidency.

He said the following:

I believe in the power of free enterprise, which made the decision I faced last fall one of the most difficult of my presidency. I went against my free market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets to that we could avoid a major global depression.

He then argued that steps taken by the federal government since then have gone too far:

As the world recovers, we’re going to face the temptation to replace the risk and reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement but too much.

Here is a clip of that part of the speech:

His speech implies that, except for the $700 billion bailout program, his presidency stayed true to his free-market, anti-government beliefs. The real history is not so kind. Besides TARP, just some of the other deviations from those principles included the Medicare prescription-drug bill and “No Child Left Behind.” Both measures increased the federal government’s role in two important aspects of people’s lives: health care and education. Overall spending, a large part due to the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, went up during the eight Bush years.

Perhaps it was practical necessity that drove his administration to pursue such policies that went against what Bush claims are his instincts. Or maybe it was political maneuvering. Regardless of why he chose to deviate, the fact is that he did deviate well beyond just the TARP program.

If this is a true change of heart, great; better late than never. Too bad he didn’t make the change before he left office. Implementing these pro-government-intervention policies, particularly the Medicare expansion and TARP, only gave the Obama administration more cover in expanding the bailouts and wanting to expand the government’s role in health care.


Fighting Fat

July 28, 2009

The obesity police are on the march, and they are using health-care costs as their ammunition. This story details how our government is pondering coercing us to eat healthy and lose weight.

The article notes how the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “believes that taxing sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks will help cut down on consumption and raise revenues that can be used to fight the obesity epidemic.”

The argument appears to be that such action on the part of the government will drive down overall health-care costs – thereby linking it to the current health-care reform push. That’s nice, who wouldn’t want to lower health-care costs. But, as is customary with government, the means of doing so is to levy taxes and coerce people into making what they (the government) believe to be right and healthy choices.

Paternalism on the part of government comes in many forms. But no matter what the form it takes, it still represents government demeaning its citizens by treating them like children in need of correction.