Archive for July, 2009

Trust in government

July 27, 2009

Greg Mankiw, in noting Paul Krugman’s apparent trust in big government solutions, asks why Krugman would be willing to risk Republican control over health care during the periods when the GOP is ascendent in D.C.

Krugman is probably aware of the dynamic explored by Hans A. von Spakovsky in his PJM posts, that while elected Republicans may occasionally occupy positions of elected power, the government directed health plan will be run by the enduring bureaucratic establishment that certainly trusts big government solutions.

If the health care financing policies of the statists in D.C. are ever enacted, it would take economic problems of catastrophic levels to give a GOP administration the leverage to undo it. I suspect that’s what Krugman understands and why he’s willing to trust the government to run health care, even if it is occasionally run by the GOP.

Congressman admits he’s useless

July 27, 2009

Representative John Conyers (D-MI) suggests it’s pointless for a member of Congress to read the health care bill without lawyers to explain it to him. May I suggest to the Honorable Mister Conyers that the real question then is what’s the point of a Congressman who can’t understand what he’s voting on?

When in Rome . . .

July 10, 2009

This is the requisite comment on the photo of the President apparently admiring the view in Italy. Seeing the video as a whole vastly diminishes the extent to which he looks like a gawker, so it’s much ado about pretty close to nothing. It’s nearly impossible for a normal man not to have his attention drawn by an attractive young woman, so there’s likely a little bit of story to this story, but very little.

But Drudge on the other hand has this marvelous play on themes on his frontpage:



Well played, sir, well played.

Government economy

July 10, 2009

Some of the biggest concerns in Omaha revolve around the fact that the city is facing a large budget deficit that may be worsened by looming shortfalls in pensions. Proposals for closing the gap, not surprisingly, have centered on raising taxes (property and sales) and fees (esp. garbage collection).

At the same time, the new mayor’s staff, such as the secretary and city planner, are enjoying pay raises in the 25-30% range. One of the Mayor’s spokesmen pointed out that the secretary is now the office manager, so the responsibilities are greater. Other than that, the mayor believes the substantial raises are demanded by his commitment to hiring the best people available for the jobs. These people will help the city government be more efficient and thus save the city money in the long run.

So apparently the previous Mayor settled for mediocrity in his administration. Well, that might help explain a few things. Still, it takes the kind of guts only a politician has to argue that more higher paid government employees will save the city money while the private sector is cutting hours or cutting jobs entirely in order to stay afloat during this recession.

UPDATE: In looking at the numbers again, the raises are a bit higher on a percentage basis than I originally wrote, e.g., 144k to ~185k, or 93k to ~125k. The spokesman’s lines are even better, too. He suggested different administrations should be compared like different businesses, so you can’t just compare the same position in two different administrations. And they’re not just hiring bodies, they’re hiring the most qualified people available. So in other words, until now the city administration has been filled by who knows what kind of people, but NOW the best and the brightest are on deck to set Omaha on a new path to economic and political soundness. I’m so relieved.

Expert speculation on a person’s motives

July 10, 2009

Yes, the title of this post is intended to be ironic.

I felt so enlightened this morning after hearing reports from both NBC and FNC about Levi Johnston’s explanation of why Sarah Palin decided to resign as Governor of Alaska. Up until now the extent of coverage and chatter about her motives had clearly been lacking. Now that we have the insight of her erstwhile son-in-law, I’m sure the quest for truly understanding Sarah Palin’s motivation is close at hand.

Are U.S. citizens generous or mean to outsiders?

July 10, 2009

There’s an article in the LA Times on a new effort to cut back state programs available to illegal immigrants and even their U.S. born children. It’s very likely that one prominent reaction to this on the part of some activists will be to point out how in a period of economic trouble U.S. citizens become very hostile to outsiders.

One wonders, however, to what extent, if any, those same activists give credit to U.S. citizens for their amazing generosity to outsiders during periods of economic prosperity.