What’s up with California?

Here’s a good article on why California (where I called home for 19 years) is such a basket case:

California Crack-up


Although I am not so sure about there being “hope” for a tax revolt.

Why left-wing politicians cheer on economic disaster

The senator said she didn’t think all responsibility for solving these problems should be vested in the Treasury Department, suggesting that “once we get through this immediate crisis,” the country should look at some Great Depression-era type of governmental entity to deal with it. –Article

Liberal politicians love these problems, because when things get rough, people turn to “security” in the government.  Rather than take the risk that they might have a rough patch, they will listen to the promise of “government entities” set up to protect and provide for them.

It doesn’t matter that the policies of the 90s are directly responsible for financial woes of today (the media will ignore that), and it doesn’t matter that the country still isn’t in a recession (the media will report that people are “worried about possible recession” to give the same emotional effect).  What matters is that people will turn to government and vest even more control over their lives in politicians promising to make things easier.

The Great Depression is the perfect example.  A downturn in the economy was turned into a disastrous depression by FDR’s policies (extending the depression far beyond it’s natural length) and the scope and power of the federal government was expanded into the private sector like never before.

I don’t worry about recession or depression so much as I worry about the loss of liberty and freedom they will bring as people turn more and more of their lives over to the government for safe keeping.

It’s All About Entitlements

Robert Samuelson writes in Newsweek:

“The aging of America is not just a population change or, as a budget problem, an accounting exercise. It involves a profound transformation of the nature of government: commitments to the older population are slowly overwhelming other public goals; the national government is becoming mainly an income-transfer mechanism from younger workers to older retirees.

“Consider the outlook. From 2005 to 2030, the 65-and-over population will nearly double to 71 million; its share of the population will rise to 20 percent from 12 percent. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—programs that serve older people—already exceed 40 percent of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. By 2030, their share could hit 75 percent of the present budget, projects the Congressional Budget Office. The result: a political impasse.”

Samuelson is pointing out a problem that we’ve known about for a long time now. FDR’s creation of the massive Social Security entitlement and ponzi scheme set this in motion and made it inevitable. However, Samuelson’s proposal is, to say the least, overly optimistic:

“As an antidote to this timidity, I propose that some public-spirited sugar daddy (the MacArthur Foundation? Warren Buffett?) sponsor a short book. A possible title: “Facing Up to an Aging America.” Six leading think tanks would be invited to participate: three liberal—the Brookings Institution, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Urban Institute—and three conservative—the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.”

I’ve seen no evidence that good books are capable of getting a significant number of people to face up to reality. The Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation are both good think tanks, but most people just couldn’t be bothered.

The fundamental problem is that solving the looming entitlement crisis is going to require people to take on more personal responsibility. Too many people just aren’t interested in having to worry about their retirement, health care, and other things that are “tough choices.”

John Kerry: Tax the rich; Abortions for poor people!

Tonight’s presidential debate was quite a bit better than I anticipated. Usually, these “town hall debates” do little but showcase the ignorance of the voting populace. But this time, I was pleasantly surprised because most of the questions were actually decent questions. Of course, anybody paying attention to the campaigns already knows the answers to all of the questions asked, but at least the questions weren’t insipid as they tend to be in these settings.

One exchange that really sticks out in my mind is where Kerry basically states his position that poor people don’t have enough abortions.

Asked about federal funding of abortions, Kerry launched into a litany about the right of a woman to kill her unborn child. This showed an immense amount of disrespect to the woman who asked the question, because her question stipulated that abortion is legal in our country, and her question wasn’t about whether or not abortion should be legal. But after a while, Kerry finally got around to addressing her question.

“…and making certain that you don’t deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the constitution affords them if they can’t afford it otherwise.”

Kerry said that if abortion is guaranteed as a right by the US Constitution, then the federal government needs to help people who can’t afford it. Here Kerry made two points:

1. That if something is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, that the federal government is obligated to give it to people who don’t have the means. I wonder, does this extend to gun ownership? Kerry has gone to great lengths to hide his record in the Senate of legislating against the Second Amendment, so far as to brandish a hunting firearm at a rally. So, if someone is too poor to afford that weapon, which the Constitution guarantees him a right to own, is Kerry going to make the government give him one? And if the Constitution guarantees my right to own property, does the government have to give me property I can’t afford?

2. Kerry basically argued that poor people don’t have enough abortions. He went on about family planning (code words for killing unborn children) and said that a poor person shouldn’t be denied the right to an abortion just because they can’t afford the procedure. He is now arguing for MORE POOR PEOPLE TO HAVE ABORTIONS. Since the federal government does not currently pay for poor people to have abortions, he is by logical extension arguing that not enough poor people have abortions (otherwise, why fund them? Obviously Kerry sees some kind of need not being met).

What does Kerry have against poor people? Not everyone can marry wealthy women like he did (there are only so many of them to go around, and he’s married TWO already). Why single them out for more abortions?

Now, some of you probably are thinking that I am taking this way too far — that Kerry doesn’t really believe that we need more abortions. After all, Kerry also said that we need LESS abortions in the US. Well, indeed he did say that. But this is yet another instance where he is trying to have it both ways.

When Kerry argues for more funding for after-school programs, does that mean he thinks more kids need after-school programs? Of course. If someone takes the position that the federal government needs to pay for more police officers, doesn’t that imply that the same person believes that there are not enough police officers? Kerry is saying that the federal government needs to pay for abortions for poor people. This implies two things quite clearly and unmistakably: that Kerry believes that not enough poor people are having abortions, and that the government needs to step in and make sure more poor people have abortions.

Republicans winning with new drug entitlement

It looks like the Republican party is about to win a big political victory by getting a prescription drug “benefit” through. This may be a political victory for the Republicans (because they are denying the Democrats the victory), but this is an economical disaster for the United States. This has got to be the biggest entitlement created since Social Security. A country with a free market system should not be making things like drug insurance new rights. Maybe some day it will be a right to own a car and the government will see to it that we all do. Perhaps a day will come that there are so many entitlements that we will just chuck the whole system and come up with a list of things that are actually the responsibility of the individual. Instead of saying things like education, retirement, and long-term health care are now responsibilities of the government, why don’t we just cut to the chase and make a law saying everything will be taken care of by the State, except a short list. That way Congress can spend more time on vacation with their annual self-passed pay raises rather than dreaming up of new entitlements to buy votes with. Why not? How about a central government building you can go to: “Hey, I need some food.” Okay, that’s not on the list, here you go, free food! “Hey, I am tired of taking care of my kid all day.” Okay, not on the list, here is an address of your local public school, just drop him off there and we’ll raise him for you. “Hey, I’d like to read a Bible.” Oh, sorry, that’s on the list. You’ll have to find some way of getting one of those yourself. Separation of Church and State and all, you understand!