Why California is circling the drain, one in a series

June 21, 2010

Consider this as another example of why California is going down the drain, fast. Staking his claim to supplant Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-Dope) as author of the stupidest idea in state legislative history, Senator Curren Price wants California to spend money to research turning your car’s license plate into little billboards:

Another one for the “you just can’t make this stuff up” files…  Democrat legislator Curran Price has introduced legislation that would explore requiring California automobiles replace their existing unobtrusive license plates with electronic signs — mini billboards.  The state would then sell advertising on them.  In the proposal, the ads would only pop up if the car was stationary at least four seconds.

Are you kidding?

Sadly, he isn’t.

First off, my car is my property. If anyone sells space on it for advertising, I should get the revenue. (Yeah, I know the state issues the plates, but they’re carried on my wheels.) Second, as Fleischman points out at Flash Report, what if I don’t like the product or cause being pimped? I don’t buy clothes carrying designer labels, why should my car be turned into someone else’s commercial? Will business vehicles wind up flashing commercials for their rivals?

Really, with state’s economy a wreck, it’s a crime that we’re wasting Senator Price’s salary and staff money on this nonsense. Hey, it’s great he’s trying to come up with new revenue, but how about something more sensible, like allowing oil drilling off the California coast? Or maybe cutting spending to meet revenue? Or easing up on the regulations that are driving businesses (and the taxes they pay) out of the state? Or… Oh, never mind. I forgot.

He’s a California Democrat.  Doh


Paul Krugman is insane

June 21, 2010

Let’s see. Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2007 and the White House in 2009, our national debt has skyrocketed and our deficit is so large, we may well corner the market in red ink. We’ve been engaged in a bacchanalia of spending that makes the spendthrift Republicans of 2001-2007 look positively Scrooge-ish.  And most of it has occurred after the start of the worst recession since the 1930s, which caused government revenues to crash thus requiring dangerously foolish borrowing from abroad to finance that spending. The situation is so dire and our finances so fragile that, unthinkable as it once was, America’s credit rating is at risk.

So, in the face of all these problems (and topped off with a dollop of high unemployment), what does Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman recommend? Budget cuts? Lower taxes? Restraint in government spending and less interference in the marketplace so that it can do what markets naturally do and heal itself?

Don’t be silly, silly! When you’ve been on a spending bender like the one the Democrats have been on, the only answer is the hair of the dog – spend more!

Spend now, while the economy remains depressed; save later, once it has recovered. How hard is that to understand?

Very hard, if the current state of political debate is any indication. All around the world, politicians seem determined to do the reverse. They’re eager to shortchange the economy when it needs help, even as they balk at dealing with long-run budget problems.

But maybe a clear explanation of the issues can change some minds. So let’s talk about the long and the short of budget deficits. I’ll focus on the U.S. position, but a similar story can be told for other nations.

Funny, but other nations such as the now-infamous Greece, but also including Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, have done just that -run huge deficits supported by borrowing to keep the spending going- and now they’re economic basket-cases; Greece is on the verge of insolvency and is torn by riots.

Krugman’s recommendation is orthodox Keynesianism, which sees spending as the way out of a recession on the assumption that economic growth will inevitably pick up and revenues will again be at a level to match spending. In the 1930s, with high unemployment killing consumer spending and even money itself vanishing from some places, Keynes’ theories seemed a reasonable attempt.

Trouble is, we now know they didn’t work: unemployment in the 1930s never fell under double-digits regardless of how much the government spent. Indeed, the government’s interventions probably lengthened the depression by several years. And we can see in the current recession that the government’s Keynesian policies have done nothing to revive the economy or create jobs – unless you count temporary census jobs.

So, whether one looks at history or current events, it’s clear via empirical evidence that Keynesianism does not work. Yet Paul Krugman wants us to double-down on it, because this time it will work. Somehow. Just trust him.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result each time. If that’s true, Krugman should start measuring the drapes for his rubber room.

Or maybe Paul should just watch this:

RELATED: Roger Kimball accuses Krugman of engaging in wishful thinking.


The Mexican president is a rank hypocrite

June 21, 2010

On his recent visit to the US, Mexican President Felipe Calderón took several occasions to sanctimoniously lecture Americans about the “evils” of Arizona’s SB 1070, a law the directed state law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law. He even did so in an address to a joint session of Congress:

The contentious issue of Arizona’s immigration law has been a key issue for Calderon during his U.S. visit. The measure, which will allow law enforcement officers to ask for proof of legal residency of anyone who is being investigated for a crime or a possible legal infraction, has drawn widespread criticism in Mexico.

“I strongly disagree” with the measure, Calderon told members of the House and Senate. “It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree,” but also introduces the “terrible idea” that racial profiling is acceptable.

Calderon also had a message for undocumented Mexican migrants currently in the United States: “I want to say to the migrants — all those who are working really hard for this great country — that we admire them, we miss them, [and] we are working hard for their rights … [and] for their families,” he said.

And their remittances, which are Mexico’s second-biggest source of revenue. Funny he didn’t mention that…

Anyway, what makes our distinguished visitor such a stinking hypocrite is Mexico’s treatment of its own illegal immigrants across its southern border. William Booth of the Washington Post has the story:

As the Mexican government condemns a new immigration law in Arizona as cruel and xenophobic, illegal migrants passing through Mexico are routinely robbed, raped and kidnapped by criminal gangs that often work alongside corrupt police, according to human rights advocates.

Immigration experts and Catholic priests who shelter the travelers say that Mexico’s strict laws to protect the rights of illegal migrants are often ignored and that undocumented migrants from Central America face a brutal passage through the country. They are stoned by angry villagers, who fear that the Central Americans will bring crime or disease, and are fleeced by hustlers. Mexican police and authorities often demand bribes.

Mexico detained and deported more than 64,000 illegal migrants last year, according to the National Migration Institute. A few years ago, Mexico detained 200,000 undocumented migrants. The lower numbers are the result of tougher enforcement on the U.S. border, the global economic slowdown and, say some experts, the robbery and assaults migrants face in Mexico.

The National Commission on Human Rights, a government agency, estimates that 20,000 migrants are kidnapped each year in Mexico.

While held for ransom, increasingly at the hands of Mexico’s powerful drug cartels, many migrants are tortured — threatened with execution, beaten with bats and submerged in buckets of water or excrement.

“They put a plastic bag over your head and you can’t breathe. They tell you if you don’t give them the phone numbers” of family members the kidnappers can call to demand payment for a migrant’s release, “they say the next time we’ll just let you die,” said Jose Alirio Luna Moreno, a broad-shouldered young man from El Salvador, interviewed at a shelter in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Luna said he was held for three days this month in Veracruz by the Zeta drug trafficking organization, which demanded $1,000 to set him free. He said he was abducted by men in police uniforms and taken to a safe house with 26 others.

Read the whole thing and keep it in mind for the next time some unctuous Mexican official tries to lecture us about our treatment of illegals. Hell, illegals who make it to the US should be given a prize for surviving Mexico.

(via Fausta)

RELATED: How Mexican law discriminates against even legal immigrants.


Obama: an impotent thug

June 21, 2010

Michael Barone coined the terms “thugocracy” and “gangster government” for the Obama style of governance. He should know, being from the Chicago area, himself. He returns to that theme in an article in today’s Washington Examiner, observing that, for a thug president steeped in the Chicago Way, Obama is pretty darned ineffective:

Thuggery is unattractive. Ineffective thuggery even more so. Which may be one reason so many Americans have been reacting negatively to the response of Barack Obama and his administration to BP’s Gulf oil spill.

Take Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s remark that he would keep his “boot on the neck” of BP, which brings to mind George Orwell’s definition of totalitarianism as “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Except that Salazar’s boot hasn’t gotten much in the way of results yet.

Barone then goes through several examples related to the Gulf oil spill to show that Obama’s strong-arm tactics haven’t done a thing to clean up the Gulf, though they have damaged the rule of law and shown that the “professor of constitutional law” is more comfortable with “Boss” politics than, well, acting within the constitutional limits of his office.

Be sure to read the whole article; Barone concludes with a hit that’s sure to leave a mark on our thin-skinned president’s hide.

RELATED: I’ve written before about the thuggish nature of Obama’s politics, notably with regard to free speech.