Posts tagged ‘Via Cato’

Austerity

Democrats are labeling any plans that would cut or even flatten Federal spending as the "austerity" option.  They use the word austerity to imply an unusual and radical reduction in spending which evokes proposed plans in places like Greece that has all the government workers marching in the street.

But Greece is trying to find a way to move to a fiscal regime they have never even experienced, not in any of our lifetimes and maybe never.  In contrast, the US merely needs to move to a place it was way back in about 2006.  Yes, that's right, "austerity" is returning to the level of government spending we had five years ago.  And we all remember what a blighted time that was, a veritable Mad Max desolation relieved only by Obama arriving like the Postman from the David Brin novel (or the execrable Costner movie, if you prefer).

Via Cato:

What An Astounding Waste

Via Cato:

The private homes that New London, Conn., took away from Suzette Kelo and her neighbors have been torn down. Their former site is a wasteland of fields of weeds, a monument to the power of eminent domain.

But now Pfizer, the drug company whose neighboring research facility had been the original cause of the homes' seizure, has just announced that it is closing up shop in New London.

To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost. Five justices found this redevelopment met the constitutional hurdle of "public use."

More Kelo coverage here.

Simply Outrageous

Via Cato@liberty, comes this really outrageous incident:

The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office was
apologizing Monday after a weekend effort to help a research group led
to complaints about what appeared to be a DUI checkpoint - but wasn't....

Sgt.
Bob Enney said deputies assisted the Pacific Institute for Research and
Evaluation in stopping motorists at five sites along Colorado 119 for
surveys on any drug and alcohol use. Surveyors then asked the motorists
to voluntarily submit to tests of their breath, blood and saliva. At
least 200 drivers were tested, Enney said....

They were greeted by "youthful, college" surveyors dressed in jumpsuits and blue generic caps.

      

"We
had a 10-year-old in the back who's tired, we tell them thanks but no
thanks, we have to get this child back home to bed," Sequeira said.

He said a worker persisted, saying that the researchers would assist in driving the family home if they needed assistance.

      

When the Sequeiras again demurred, a supervisor offered them a $100 money order.

      

"We
say, 'No, thank you, we have to get our child home,"' Sequeira
recalled. "At this point, both clones start chortling at us and
ridiculing us."

The problem in this case is that many people don't take the time to even take a 5-minute survey over the phone, much less to pull over on the roadside and donate bodily fluids.  Every market researcher understands this problem, and tries to deal with it.  But the government has one tool in its bag that ordinary private firms do not have:  The coercive power of the government.  Whether they were tested or not, motorists who were in complete obedience to the law were forced to pull over by government law enforcement officials merely to increase their survey response rate.  This is such a typical government solution that I think most people are desensitized to it.

Let's Make Sure Politicians Have NO Real World Experience

Via Cato and IBD:

Sen. Hillary Clinton says she wants to establish a national academy
that will train public servants. Why do re-education camps come to
mind? "¦ Somehow we doubt there will be many lectures in making
government smaller, deregulating business, cutting taxes or increasing
individual freedom. Is there a chance that this "new generation"
attending the academy will hear a single voice that isn't hailing the
glories of the nanny state? Will students being groomed for public
service ever hear the names Hayek, von Mises or Friedman during their
studies? "¦ Government at all levels is already overflowing with
bureaucrats who suck up taxpayers' money and produce little, if
anything, of economic value. More often, the bureaucracy actually gets
in the way of economic progress.

This way, government employees can know absolutely nothing about the real world or productive enterprise, and never have to be burdened with listening to anyone in school who doesn't think government is the be-all end-all, kind of like, uh, Hillary Clinton.

Pro-Business, Not Pro-Free Market

It is always worth reinforcing this distinction, Via Cato-at-Liberty:

Representatives of the business community frequently are the worst
enemies of freedom. They often seek special subsidies and handouts, and
commonly conspire with politicians to thwart competition (conveniently,
they want competition among their suppliers, just not for their own
products). Fortunately, most business organizations still tend to be -
on balance - supporters of limited government. But as the Wall Street Journal notes, some state and local chambers of commerce have become relentless enemies of good policy