Interior Department destroys 100-year old small business

November 30, 2012

Drakes Bay Oyster logo

Because, y’know, we must all sacrifice for Gaia (1). Mary Katherine Ham summarizes at Hot Air:

It’s just a 100-year-old company and California’s only surviving cannery, a sustainable, family-owned operation employing 30 people. The Drakes Bay Oyster Company has been in a seven-year fight with the federal government and environmental groups over whether it’s 40-year lease would be renewed this week. The Lunny family, which owns the oyster farm, was among a group of families that sold their ranch lands to the National Parks Service in the 1970s to protect them from developers, with the understanding they would get 40-year-leases renewed in perpetuity. After buying and operating the oyster farm without incident— they were even featured as outstanding environmental stewards by the National Parks Service— the Lunnys learned in 2005 they were accused of bringing environmental damage to an area the NPS and environmentalists were anxious to designate as the nation’s first federally recognized marine wilderness.

And thus Secretary Salazar has decided to shut down a farm that accounts for 40% of the oyster harvest in California, in violation of the original lease agreement and on the basis of  “science” driven by an environmentalist agenda:

The trouble started in 2005, when Kevin Lunny, a local rancher, purchased the oyster farm from Johnson Oyster Co. He was required to get a special-use permit from the California Coastal Commission, which had placed a cease-and-desist order on the property as a result of previous problems.

In the midst of those negotiations and discussions about extending the 2012 lease, the Park Service came out with accusations of environmental damage, setting off a series of dueling scientific reports.

“What has happened is the National Academy of Sciences has shown that all the claims made by the National Park Service are wrong,” Lunny said. “It gives us a clean bill of health.”

Lunny and others claim Jon Jarvis, the Pacific West regional director of the National Park Service, deliberately misrepresented data to bolster his own ideological agenda.

Jarvis apologized Tuesday for mistakes that were made on the initial report but defended the Park Service’s handling of the science.

“They didn’t say our research was wrong. They just said it was incomplete,” Jarvis said. “What there really is here is a disagreement among scientists about the level of impact on the environment. That does not mean that one side is guilty of misconduct.”

The battle intensified in 2007, when the Park Service issued a report claiming, among other things, that oyster farming reduced the number of harbor seals and damaged eelgrass beds.

Lunny, who is trying to persuade the Park Service to renew a 40-year occupancy agreement in 2012, was furious. His case was helped by Corey Goodman, a biological scientist who reviewed Park Service studies on oysters.

They accused Park Service officials of fabricating environmental problems to drive the oyster company off the bay where explorer Sir Francis Drake purportedly landed more than 430 years ago.

Be sure to read the whole article. At best, the Park Service study was incompetent; at worst, it was a hit job meant to serve a Green objective (2), rather than objective science. Whatever the truth, a venerable business has been wrecked, livelihoods ruined, and the economy of California’s rural north, which has already suffered terribly (3) at the hands of environmental extremists, takes another blow.

This is another example of Washington-as-Leviathan, where abstract policy goals (and big donor groups) come before the needs of individual people, and science is a tool to be used to reach that goal, rather than a source of information leading to a wise, just decision.

(And didn’t Obama want to depoliticize science? Never mind…)

Of course, in the midst of this sad story is some irony, too. The Lunny’s farm is near Inverness, in Marin County, which is infamous in its liberalism. While we don’t know how the people of the area voted in the last election, Marin as a whole went 75% for Obama. (For comparison, California overall voted “only” 60% for the President.) Thus I think it’s safe to say a majority of the affected people likely were Obama voters.

How’s that for gratitude, folks?

That bit of snark aside, what’s happening here is unjust and needless, and one hopes that pressure from the public and Senator Feinstein’s office will find a way to undo the harm caused by Secretary Salazar’s arrogance. You can see a short documentary on the Lunny’s battle at Hot Air.

Afterthought: I suppose one can also take grim satisfaction at the thought of rich Bay-Area liberals having to pay more for their precious shellfish, given that Salazar’s decision will massively contract the available supply. Nah. They’ll never make the connection.

Footnotes:
(1) Except for the High Priests of the faith, such as Al Gore, who can jet around the globe as much as they need and just buy themselves absolution via the carbon credits scam.
(2) Of course, that’s S.O.P for Ken Salazar, who was found by a federal judge to have misrepresented the science in a report used to justify a moratorium on drilling permits in the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
(3) Other than marijuana, of course, now that logging, mining, and fishing have been all but killed. If you eliminate legitimate industries, people will turn to what they have to in order to survive.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Random thoughts on SCHIP and adult children

November 29, 2012

SCHIP is, for those who don’t know, is the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Under changes enacted in 2010 by the Unicorn and Skittles Obama Administration, parents can keep their children on their insurance until the “children” are at most 26 years old.

Since we’re now defining childhood to last through age 26, shouldn’t we…

  • Raise the voting age to 27?
  • Require parental consent to marry for anyone 26 and below?
  • Require parental consigning for any contracts the “children” may undertake?
  • Prohibit alcohol purchases to anyone 26 and younger?

I  mean, if we’re going to be giving college-age and in-the-workforce adults the benefits of being children, shouldn’t we treat them as children?


In Obama’s America, you’re better off on welfare

November 29, 2012

Oh, I know. I know. I’m RAAAAACIST!!! for even suggesting that. But numbers, while subject to interpretation, don’t lie. And in this case, they’re pretty hard to read any other way. From Zero Hedge:

Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article “In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year.” In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative – in the form of actual disposable income – to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.

And here’s the chart that illustrates the point:

(Click for a larger view)

Talk about perverse incentives. As structured now, a rational individual would look at this and conclude that he’s better off collecting rents from the rest of us, than working to better himself.

Be sure to read the rest. There’s much more — and it’s scary.

Not that we’ll have to worry for long, though, since the economy will simply shut down in 2027.

via Power Line

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dissolve Detroit?

November 29, 2012

The city that’s been the butt of “urban wasteland” jokes for as long as I can recall may finally be reaching the end, as a state senator proposes disincorporation:

It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered — including dissolving the city.

Thus we see the fruits of 50-60 years of unrestrained liberal governance –Walter Mead’s “Blue Model”– and the failure to adapt to changing economic environments: collapsing essential services and abandonment.

One wonders if, on hearing the news, someone in the Wayne County government asked “What did we ever do to you??”

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


More on California’s epic self-inflicted failure

November 28, 2012

Fairness

It’s okay. It’s all in the name of fairness:

California residents already contend with one of the most progressive tax codes in the country. Not only does California have high marginal rates, those high rates kick in at relatively modest income levels. California’s middle class residents earning $48,000 a year, for example, pay a state tax rate of 9.3%. Millionaires in 47 other states don’t even pay that high of a marginal rate. However, one of the state tax code’s greatest flaws is it’s over-reliance on upper income households and the revenue volatility it creates, and that is a problem that Prop. 30 would further exacerbate.

As of 2010, the state relied upon 144,000 households, 1 percent of taxpayers, for 50 percent of total state income tax… [With Proposition 30's passage,] the top 10 percent of earners would be responsible for over 80% of the projected income generated – a fact that Gov. Brown and other advocates of the bill readily acknowledge.

I think I know how the lookout on the Titanic must have felt.

One of the weirdnesses (among many) I’ve noticed on the Left is the assumption that tax compliance is static, that, no matter how high you set the rates, you’ll draw in the expected revenue. That idea is, of course, a crock.

Tax behavior instead is dynamic: raise the rates too high, and rationally self-interested taxpayers will do whatever is legal to avoid them, including moving out of the jurisdiction.

Businesses are already leaving California at a rapid pace. Once Prop 30 really kicks in –with its backdated taxes– businesses and the so-called rich will truly head for the border.

But that’s okay; the left has already figured out the answer — we’ll just charge them exit taxes!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Yikes! Student loan bubble bursts.

November 28, 2012

“The next subprime crisis.” This is bad.


California: We’re the best worst state! Yay? Updated.

November 28, 2012

The new flag of California

Now here’s something to be proud of. Thanks to nearly 50 years of  Democratic control of the legislature and the legislators’ kowtowing to public unions in return for donations and  support, the state of California –the Golden State, the land that inspired untold millions of dreams and created unheard of prosperity for its people– is officially the worst-run state in the nation:

50. California

Debt per capita: $4,008 (18th highest)
Budget deficit: 20.7% (17th largest)
Unemployment: 11.7% (2nd highest)
Median household income: $57,287 (10th highest)
Pct. below poverty line: 16.6% (18th highest)

California is 24/7 Wall St.’s “Worst Run State” for the second year in a row. Due to high levels of debt, the state’s S&P credit rating is the worst of all states, while its Moody’s credit rating is the second-worst. Much of California’s fiscal woes involve the economic downturn. Home prices plunged by 33.6% between 2006 and 2011, worse than all states except for three. The state’s foreclosure rate and unemployment rate were the third- and second-highest in the country, respectively. But efforts to get finances on track are moving forward. State voters passed a ballot initiative to raise sales taxes as well as income taxes for people who make at least $250,000 a year. While median income is the 10th-highest in the country, the state also has one of the highest tax burdens on income. According to the Tax Foundation, the state also has the third-worst business tax climate in the country.

The best run state? North Dakota. In fact, the top five are run by fiscally conservative Republican governments, while the three worst of the bottom five are dominated by liberal Democrats.  I detect a pattern here, and it has much more to do with governing philosophy than with the letter after the politician’s name.

The analysis given after the data is horse feathers, though. Yes, California did suffer heavily from the economic crisis that hit in 2008 and the resulting recession. But that does not explain the slowness of our recovery. That, instead, is explained by the poor policies followed by the government in Sacramento, which has done everything right — if the objective was to choke of economic growth and job creation. Borrowing too much money, then spending it on on padded public pensions and useless projects like high-speed rail; raising already-high taxes on the very people who create the jobs we desperately need, thus leaving no money for reinvestment and driving those people out of the state or out of business; and a regulatory environment that can only be described as miserable. Our “leaders” have taken us straight into the pit and they show no sign of changing course.

Well done, California. Well done!

via Legal Insurrection

RELATED: Other measures of our success: California now leads the nation in poverty, or, as my friend Teach puts it, we’re “Brokefornia.”

UPDATE: Walter Russell Mead explains far better than I did why California’s recovery is so weak:

The problem with California has never been that bad policies put the state in a permanent recession. Rather, bad policies have meant that the state and its residents suffer more than average when recessions come, and that they benefit less than they should when the good times return. Some of the world’s most dynamic people and industries are found in California, but poor governance means that the state as a whole keeps losing ground when compared with the country as a whole. That is California’s real problem, and the Times would serve its readers better by analyzing the forces holding California back from achieving its magnificent potential instead of hailing a modest and cyclical economic recovery as some kind of proof that the state’s model ‘works’.

Left unspoken: We keep electing those responsible for the poor governance.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


PA college to cut hours to avoid Obamacare

November 28, 2012

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

Don’t say we didn’t warn you:

Pennsylvania’s Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) is slashing the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.

“It’s kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don’t have the money to pay for it,” said adjunct biology professor Adam Davis.

On Tuesday, CCAC employees were notified that Obamacare defines full-time employees as those working 30 hours or more per week and that on Dec. 31 temporary part-time employees will be cut back to 25 hours. The move will save an estimated $6 million.

I don’t know how Professor Davis voted, but I’m sure some at least of his affected colleagues voted to reelect Obama and a senator who voted for Obamacare.  Maybe they should have thought more (or at all) about the perverse incentives built into the bill.

‘Cause, y’know, elections have consequences.

PS: The article continues with a representative of the Steelworker’s Union saying the answer to these cuts is to… Wait for it… organize!! Economic reality shall bow before the power of the Almighty Strike!

After all, that did the Baker’s Union so much good with Hostess.

PPS: Yes, this is news from before the holiday. I’m catching up on some interesting stuff.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Religion of Misogyny: Saudi Arabia tracks wives’ movements, reports to husbands

November 27, 2012

Equality in slavery

But don’t you dare say Islam doesn’t respect women:

As of last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Saudi women’s rights activist Manal al-Sherif, who last year urged women to defy a driving ban, said a man had contacted her to say he had received a text from the immigration authorities while at the airport with his wife.

“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said Saudi author and journalist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the kingdom.

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” she added.

Under laws influenced by the strict Wahabi interpretation of Islam, women are not allowed to leave Saudi Arabia without permission from their male guardian (a husband, father or brother), who must give consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

The article mentions the mockery this new rule has received from women and some men, but it’s supported by the Wahabi religious establishment, which is a lynchpin of the monarchy, so that makes it the law.

What’s next? A fatwa mandating electric shock collars for disobedient wives?

RELATED: More on the wonderful state of women under Sharia.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nearly one-third of House Democrats are from California and New York. Hmmm…

November 27, 2012

I stumbled across an interesting factoid this morning that might explain, in part, the statist drift of the Democratic Party from liberal to, essentially, social democratic (and beyond?) over the last 40-50 years: an increasing percentage of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives comes from just California and New York — nearly 30%.

But a University of Minnesota study found that when the 113th Congress convenes, a whopping 29.4% (59 of 201) of Democrats in the House will hail from California (38 members) and New  York (21 members).

The study analyzed 83 general election cycles dating back to 1850 and discovered the “Democratic Party now comprises a larger percentage of Californians and New Yorkers in the U.S. House than at any point since California joined the Union.”

According to the study, “even though California and New York are two of three most populous states in the country,” the number of representatives from both states has “remained flat over the last 50 years.”

However, during this 50-year period, the percentage of Democrats elected to the House from California and New York “has increased by more than two-thirds: from 17.4 percent in 1962 to 29.4 percent in January 2013.”

In fact, “California and New York hold 29.4 percent of seats in the Democratic caucus but just 18.4 percent of U.S. House seats overall.” This is an incredible +11.0-point differential.

The thrust of Tony Lee’s article is that it’s the Democrats who are becoming a regional party, and I think he’s right, at least in the near term. For example, if the number of representatives from both states has stayed stable for roughly 50 years, but their percentage as a part of the Democratic caucus has grown, that would indicate a decline in the number of Democrats from other states and regions, certainly since the Republicans took control of the House in 1994 and culminating in the Blue Bloodbath of 2010. And, while conservatives were tremendously disappointed by the presidential and senate elections this year, the fact is we did pretty darned good at the state level, retaining most of the 2010 gains. It seems reasonable to assume that, outside of the New England/Mid-Atlantic and Pacific regions (and Chicago), the nation prefers a Center-Right approach. (1) That’s something to bear in mind as we work toward the 2014 and 2016 elections and Obamacare becomes a pain in everyone’s tuchus.

But, getting back to the Democratic politics, this increasing leftward bent is explained in part by a process of distillation and concentration: just as salted liquid becomes saltier due to evaporation, the Democratic party concentrated toward the left as more centrist members in other states lost elections, leaving the members from deep Blue districts who then gained power within the caucus through seniority. I can’t speak for New York politics (though I suspect a similar pattern there), but California’s congressional Democratic caucus contains many strong leftists. For just some examples, there’s Nancy Pelosi, whose self-described hero was a member of the CPUSA central committee; Barbara Lee, an ardent defender of Castro’s Cuba; Maxine Waters, who wants to socialize the oil industry; Xavier Becerra, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America; and Henry Waxman, co-author of the statist monstrosity Waxman-Markey bill.

Like a mild wine that’s distilled to a powerful brandy, electoral politics in the United States has refined the Democrats to their leftist, statist core, a core dominated by just two populous, powerful, and very left-leaning states.

And we shouldn’t expect that to change any time soon.

Footnote:
(1) “Then how do you explain the senate and presidential elections,” you may ask. Ya got me, bub. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Food-Stamp Nation: another proud moment for Barack Obama

November 26, 2012

Currency of the Obama economy

Here’s something that jumped out at me over the holiday weekend — there are more people on food stamps than the  total population of 24 states combined:

In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that a record 47,102,780 individuals receive food stamps.

According to US. Census Bureau data, that figure exceeds the combined populations of: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Since January 2009, the number of individuals on food stamps has skyrocketed from 31.9 million to the current record high 47.1 million. By comparison, in 1969 just 2.8 million Americans received food stamps.

Wynton Hall’s article also points out the hundreds of millions in revenue (tax dollars or borrowed money) being made by companies such as J.P. Morgan that handle the processing of EBT cards, the meteoric rise in the program’s cost (more than double from 2008), and the inevitable corruption.

Meanwhile, it was noted earlier this month by the Republican minority (1) on the Senate Budget Committee that, since 2009, the number of people on food stamps has grown at a rate 75 times that of  job growth.

But then, what do we expect from a president and a party (that would be the Democrats, for those of you without a program) who are obsessed with reform and redistribution, rather than on creating the conditions for economic recovery and growth, which would in turn create productive jobs and help people get off food stamps and other forms of welfare?

Ah, the light goes on!

The whole point of getting as many people on food stamps as possible is to create dependency on wealth redistributed by the government, that dependency then making the “beneficiaries” more likely to vote for the candidates and party that promises to keep the crack money coming. Clients and dependents, in other words, as opposed to free citizens. It’s a time-honored Democratic strategy, as LBJ made clear when he mentioned one of the benefits of the Great Society. For the more radically-inclined among the Democratic leadership and its allies on the Left, this vast expansion of the food stamp program could also be seen as an implementation of the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Whichever is true (and both can be at the same time), this nauseating milestone really is a gold-star achievement for the Obama Administration. Well done.

Footnote:
(1) In the “to be fair about it” department, the libertarian Cato Institute points out the Republican role in expanding the food stamp program in the 2002 pork fiesta farm bill. In short, the “Party of Stupid” sold the Left the rope they’re using to hang us all. There’s also an interesting chart there illustrating the growth in food stamp use.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Day: “the English always say it better” edition

November 24, 2012

On the windfarm debacle in the UK and resulting job losses (and soon to be coming to the US!):

Seriously, honestly, I don’t know how these people can actually say such things without cracks in the earth opening, clawed hands appearing, and their being dragged down to the hottest corner of hell, there to have their entrails spooled on a winding wheel while crows peck out their eyes.

James Delingpole, of course. Be sure to read the rest.

PS: Yes, the blog holiday is over. You lucky people.


November 23, 2012

Phineas Fahrquar:

It’s observational, empirically-based science like this that ruins perfectly good fantasies such as Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Global Cooling – Climate and Weather Forecasting.

Guest post by Dr. Norman Page

Introduction.

Over the last 10 years or so as new data have accumulated the general trend and likely future course of  climate change has become reasonably clear. The earth is entering a cooling phase which is likely to last about 30 years and possibly longer. The major natural factors  controlling climate change have also become obvious.Unfortunately the general public has been bombarded by the scientific and media and political establishments with anthropogenic global  warming  – anti CO2 propaganda based on the misuse and misrepresentation of already shoddy IPCC “science”   for political ,commercial and personal ends.
The IPCC climate science community  largely abandoned empirical Baconian inductive scientific principles  and  built  worthless climate models based on  unfounded assumptions designed to show that anthropogenic CO2 was the driving force behind changing climate. Most of the IPCC output is useless as a tool for predicting…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2012

No blogging today, folks. Enjoy the holiday. Happy


November 21, 2012

Phineas Fahrquar:

Must be heresy. Obviously the man-evoked demon CO2 must be the source of the shrinking ice cap, and not something as straightforward and logical as a natural process.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

UPDATE: Perhaps in response to criticism here, MIT has changed the press release wording. See below.

From MIT, now if they could work the wind patterns in, as NASA suggests, we might have a clearer picture of why the Arctic summer sea ice extent has changed.

Ocean currents play a role in predicting extent of Arctic sea ice

Discovery of feedback between sea ice and ocean improves Arctic ice extent forecast.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Each winter, wide swaths of the Arctic Ocean freeze to form sheets of sea ice that spread over millions of square miles. This ice acts as a massive sun visor for the Earth, reflecting solar radiation and shielding the planet from excessive warming.

The Arctic ice cover reaches its peak each year in mid-March, before shrinking with warmer spring temperatures. But over the…

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Secession? No, try federalism

November 20, 2012

In the wake of the presidential election earlier this month, a lot of people expressed their disappointment with the results by submitting petitions for secession at the White House web site. Petitions were received from all 50 states, and there were several counter-petitions from progressives urging the government to let them go.

To be honest, and even though I signed South Carolina’s to support my friend Gay Patriot, I looked at these as just blowing off steam after a disappointing election loss, just as liberals fantasized about secession in 2004. I didn’t and don’t take them seriously.

My mistake, in at least one respect. As Prof. Glenn Reynolds points out in an op-ed in USA Today, petitions such as these and more serious secession movements in Scotland, Catalonia, and elsewhere arise from anger at a central government from which they feel alienated for various reasons. While the petitions themselves may not be serious, the resentment and irritation caused by being forced to obey one-size-fits-all laws you hate is very real. And, if left to fester, it can lead to more serious problems.

What’s the answer, if secession isn’t it? Reynolds looks back to the handiwork of a very smart group of men who came up with a solution suited to a large, diverse republic, and suggests we give federalism a try:

So what’s a solution? Let the central government do the things that only central governments can do — national defense, regulation of trade to keep the provinces from engaging in economic warfare with one another, protection of basic civil rights — and then let the provinces go their own way in most other issues. Don’t like the way things are run where you are? Move to a province that’s more to your taste. Meanwhile, approaches that work in individual provinces can, after some experimentation, be adopted by the central government, thus lowering the risk of adopting untested policies at the national level. You get the benefits of secession without seceding.

Sound good? It should. It’s called federalism (1), and it’s the approach chosen by the United States when it adopted the Constitution in 1789. As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

Surely Reynolds wrote this with a wink and a smile, for federalism is the way were are supposed to operate, and our problems have grown as the federal government has usurped more and more of the states’ proper role, turning gradually from a government of limited powers to Leviathan. Consider it another way: the more the federal government tries to do everything, the less it can do anything well.  The national economy and health care systems are too large and too diverse, and there’s too much information coming in, for them to be directed top-down by a few hundred (or even a few thousand) pols and bureaucrats in D.C. The needs of people differ in various parts of the country, and the resources needed to even try to manage everything nationally wind up being diverted from those things only the federal government can do well, such as national security.

The solution, as Reynolds writes, is to recognize those spheres of competence and respect them, something that’s happened less and less since the progressive era. This isn’t to say that the enumerated powers of Article 1, Section 8 are the end all and be all; the Founders themselves recognized that the Constitution would sometimes need amending (2) –including granting the federal government more power– and put in place procedures for doing just that. It’s through ignoring those limits and procedures that we’ve reached a point whereat so many think, with some justification, that the United States Government is becoming a threat to their liberty and prosperity.

Change won’t be easy, and the genie of the progressive administrative state probably can’t ever be wholly put back in the bottle. But for the health of our body politic we have to keep trying.

Footnotes:
(1) Also “states’ rights,” but that term was forever tainted thanks to defenders of slavery and Jim Crow hiding behind it, back in the day.
(2) And I do think several are needed to deal with the progressive-statist tendency to grab more and more power. Professor Randy Barnett’s Bill of Federalism is a great starting point for discussion. Oddly enough, in the wake of their defeat in 2004, progressives themselves were arguing for federalism. Bipartisanship!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


November 19, 2012

Phineas Fahrquar:

But don’t you dare call it a “biased media.”

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I agree that Obama inherited a crappy economy, and I think it is silly to assert that he bears any responsibility for the severity of the 2007-2009 recession.

But it is very fair to hold him responsible for what’s happened since the recession ended. I’ve cited data from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve on both employment and gross domestic product to show that Obama has presided over the weakest recovery in the post-World War II period.

And I think it is fair to blame Obama for the economy’s anemic performance during that time, largely because his agenda of faux stimulus and Obamacare exacerbated the statist policies of Bush. In other words, he promised “hope” and “change,” but delivered more of the same.

Well, now that the election is over, even the Washington Post is willing to admit that Obama’s economic performance is dismal. Here’s a remarkable chart showing that…

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Forget Denmark, something’s rotten in St. Lucie county, Florida

November 19, 2012

Gee! I get to vote twice? Cool!

I mean, with such a well-managed election operation as this, I can’t see why anyone thinks there’s a problem:

Then there is Gertrude Walker, the 32-year-veteran election supervisor of St. Lucie County, who has spent much of the last two weeks explaining why her office completely botched the count. She admitted that her office had acted in “haste” in issuing election results, and that “mistakes were made.” Among her mistakes was failing to count 40 of the 94 precincts under her jurisdiction on Election Night — and then counting the other 54 twice. Indeed. On Friday, her office announced it had “discovered” 304 additional early votes left in a box. None had been counted

But Walker wasn’t available for comment. She has been hospitalized for unknown reasons.

The news was one reason that Florida’s secretary of state has dispatched a team of experts to audit St. Lucie’s procedures. The St. Lucie Election Canvassing Board voted to approve a complete recount of all the early ballots. It began the recount on Saturday but stopped it at 8 p.m. because the county building’s security system was set to be switched on later that night. Some people complained that the alarms have been switched off in the past to allow county business to continue after hours, but their complaints were ignored. The recount resumed on Sunday morning, but it missed the noon deadline to submit the county’s final returns to Florida’s secretary of state.

So, on Sunday, the previous results—the ones showing Democrat Murphy ahead—were sent to Florida’s secretary of state for certification.

How convenient that this “glitch” means St. Lucie’s returns also cost Rep. Allen West his seat.

Read the rest of John Fund’s article for more on Ms. Walker’s troubling history. Florida has a serious problem with its elections, and owes it to the voters to clean this up.

Addendum: Disappointing news from Legal Insurrection. Thanks to the slow-walking of the recount by Walker’s office, Congressman West may have few legal avenues left and may be preparing to concede defeat. Democrats should remember the warning words of Obi Wan Kenobi.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Pension crisis hits Oregon, collapse of progressive model continues

November 18, 2012

From the sound of this post by Walter Russell Mead, it looks like whoever manages Oregon’s state pension fund made the same mistakes we made here in California: expecting the extraordinary returns on investments enjoyed during the boom years to continue forever and then making big commitments based on those faulty expectations.

And now, as with their neighbors to the south, Oregon finds itself choosing between pensions or schools:

Oregon’s pension fund for public employees is now in a $16 billion hole caused by the failure of its investments to come anywhere close to the 8 percent rate of return the state was predicting. Now lawmakers are forced to choose between contributing billions of taxpayer dollars to close the pension gap or fully funding the state’s school system.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the details on exactly how the state got itself into this mess. The main culprit, as usual, is a set of overly generous benefits that actually allowed some state employees to earn more in retirement than they did during their working days…

Details may vary from state to state, but the pattern is the same: public employee unions treating the taxpayers as a never-ending golden goose, and politicians (Democrats and Republicans who act like them) handing out ever more golden eggs of benefits and salaries in return for campaign contributions and election help from those same unions.

In short, it’s a mutual kickback game played with our money, and the losers are We, The People.

But, it’s not just California and Oregon. Wherever you see states and cities that have had long-term liberal dominance in government, you find the same problems with obligations that can no longer be met. New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Detroit, Los Angeles… And all of them being lead by Illinois.

The progressives may have won the presidential race and kept the Senate, but it’s a hollow victory. As Oregon is the latest to show, their model is, in the lingo of the Greens, no longer “sustainable.”

UPDATE: Linked by Instapundit. Welcome, visitors!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Your “something’s fishy” moment of the day

November 18, 2012

From Florida, where Rep. Allen West is waging a battle to get a recount in St. Lucie county:

Just as background, one precinct has 7 voters registered and yet recorded about 900 votes. That’s a 13,000 percent turnout.

Call me crazy, but I think Congressman West has reason to be suspicious.

Information on how to help Congressman West here.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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