29 December 2010

All I needed to know to fix things was to read Instapunit

It seems I've been reading too much Instapundit these days as the good ideas on how to change the accountability system in DC is coming via his front page.  Now since he gives you what other people are saying, he acts as an aggregator of items... thus the Insty link will be first, his link out second, and any text by his readers or at the linked site will then be brought out. I will add commentary as needed.

Going in reverse chronological order!

Insty - Referencing an earlier post gets an e-mail from TaxProf Paul Caron:

This is the 14th year in a row the GAO has been unable to give a clean auditor’s opinion on the Government’s books!

One wonders why the 112th Congress does not try to extend Sarbanes-Oxley to Congress and treat members as “signing officers” for the U.S. Budget, subjecting them to liability for the GAO’s inability to opine on the Government’s financial statements.

As Insty said: Fat chance. But heh.

Do note that Congress exempts itself from health, safety, workforce rules, and all sorts of other items because... it can!  I didn't know we had an aristocracy in charge of our government.

The GAO hasn't been able to verify the books for 14 years, which means the last time it could do that was 1996.  This is not 'Bush's Fault', but he certainly didn't help, either.  Note that Clinton's vaunted economic mojo didn't prevent this, so I'm not pining away for a renewed Clinton Administration, either. 

And Congress is the 'signatory authority' on spending via the US Constitution.  Every contracts officer in every agency in the federal government is given the OK by Congress to spend.  So, yes, Congress should be considered for liability, too.  Hit them in their own pocketbooks for mismanagement.


Insty - CHANGE: 111th Congress Created More National Debt Than First 100 Combined.

Stop the spending!  You will hear that a lot from me... so simple that even Congress can't figure out how to do it, but a Caveman sure could.


Insty - DAN MITCHELL: Why Can’t We Copy those Radical Free-Market Canadians and Privatize the Air Traffic Control System?

And we could do the Post Office, too!  Although Canada hasn't figured that one out, yet.


Insty - SO IS THIS THE HOPE, OR THE CHANGE? Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Long Term Unemployment” Extended to 5 Years.

Note that this was done for inflation during the Carter years so as to lessen the analysis of what was really going on.  Now we have 'core inflation' which is energy and one or two other items, and the rest of it which is food and daily living expenses.  We used to track all of it, now its all about 'core inflation'.  Remember, when those in power see bad statistics they don't explain them, they change how you measure them.


Insty - UNEXPECTEDLY! Consumer Confidence Shows Surprise Drop In December. “Consumers’ labor market assessment worsened. The ‘jobs hard to get’ index rose to 46.8 percent in December from 46.3 percent last month, while the ‘jobs plentiful’ index dropped to 3.9 percent from 4.3 percent.”

After 'stop the spending' applying to governments there is 'No Shit Sherlock' or NSS applying to the obvious. Insty uses sardonic and sarcastic lead-ins instead, which works just as well.


Insty - MORE ENERGY CORNUCOPIANISM? Drilling for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea.

Yes there is lots more of the old style of energy resources out there than anyone had ever thought.  'Peak Oil' is a static system analysis based on the known... what wasn't discovered must change that analysis as well as how we consume energy playing its role.  But then I'm for solar power satellites and getting off of stored energy reserves and having to go through intermediary sources (like bio-fuels or algae).  We have a lovely fusion reactor that is always on, so why not use it?


Insty - FINANCIAL TIMES: Non-US banks gain from Fed crisis fund: Half of emergency credit facility cash went to foreign institutions. Healthy ones in many cases — because the Fed didn’t want weak ones to be stigmatized.

Yes, we are bailing out Europe.

No, it isn't working.

Yes we are penalizing the taxpayer and screwing up our economy in search of doing these things, instead of letting the rule of law put things through normal foreclosure and bankruptcy proceedings.

Stop the spending and NSS.


Next is a long one as it tripped off this story idea...

Insty -

JERRY POURNELLE: “The most important event of 2010 was the election, when the country, having turned the Republicans out and confirmed that in the election of Obama, turned the Democrats out as well, and sent a number of newcomers to Washington in the hopes that they would not be captured by the system. Washington meanwhile made ready for them, planning to absorb them into the Iron Law mechanisms that have always been so successful. The most important event of 2011 will be the response of the new Congress to the manipulations of the Creeps and the Nuts, who remain with considerable influence, and the argument that ‘this is the way things are done’ in Washington.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Scott emails:

I see that you have a quote from Dr. Pournelle’s CHAOS MANOR website that was posted yesterday. In my opinion you should have quoted this instead:

Whether the Republicans will stand up to this is questionable. They have the power: they only need to insert “No monies appropriated under this Act shall be applied to the enforcement, regulation, application, implementation, or in any other way of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act popularly known as Obamacare”. The Obama Patient Protection etc. act gets its own appropriation, which can be done with considerable care. This will require patience and discipline among Republicans in the face of united scorn from the establishment Country Club Republicans, the mainstream media, and all of the Creeps and the Nuts.

We’ll know soon enough how this will go.

Spread the word on THAT one and see what happens.


Yes!  As a fan of Jerry Pournelle, I do agree with him on much and this is one of those times.  Notice that it doesn't matter how you refer to Congresscritters, Left/Right, Dem/Rep, liberal/conservative, Creeps/Nuts... they all fit.

Definitely a NSS moment.


Insty - FLEECED: The upper 1% earned 19.6% of total income before tax, and paid 41% of the individual federal income tax. “No other major country is so dependent on so few taxpayers.”

We have the most 'progressive' tax code on the planet, to the point where, for the government of all the people less than half the people pay for it.  That is not right and even the poor should pay something to our common government as it protects them as well as the rich.  Otherwise you get a government of, for and by the rich... which is where we are headed.


Insty - JACQUES ATTALI: The West And The Tyranny Of Public Debt.

I'm just giving you the link, the text is worth reading.  Our debt is going to destroy the way we live and work, if we let it.

We must Stop the spending and pay off our debts and be responsible fiscally as a Nation as much as we expect ourselves to be.  And we, as a people, understand that we are to blame for our own fiscal insanity, so to we come to see that government is but a dark reflection of us.


Insty - CAN THIS SURVEY BE RIGHT? In The Worst Economy Ever, People Are Quitting Their Jobs With Nothing Else Lined Up. “While the unemployment number is growing, there is also a growing number of people who don’t see their joblessness as a bad thing.” It’s not unemployment, it’s funemployment!

And his reader replies on the topic say that, yes, this is right.  Not just 'Going Galt' but, also, 'Going Looter' as the public dole looks better than having a real job.  This is how you lose your liberty: it takes a government to 'help' people to do it.


Insty - MICKEY KAUS: Obama And Income Inequality: No New Brazils! “The question is then what makes Brazil Brazil. Is it wild riches at the top, or extreme poverty at the bottom? It seems pretty obvious. . . . The solution is tight labor markets. Get employers bidding for scarce workers and you’ll see incomes rise across the board without the need for government aid programs or tax redistribution. A major enemy of tight labor markets at the bottom is also fairly clear: unchecked immigration by undocumented low-skilled workers. It’s hard for a day laborer to command $18 an hour in the market if there are illegals hanging out on the corner willing to work for $7. Even experts who claim illlegal immigration is good for Americans overall admit that it’s not good for Americans at the bottom. In other words, it’s not good for income equality. Odd, then that Obama, in his ‘war on inequality,’ hasn’t made a big effort to prevent illegal immigration–or at least to prevent illegal immigration from returning with renewed force should the economy recover.”

Via the government minimum wage we have made it so that productive jobs cannot be done by Americans at that minimum wage.  Others can and will take those jobs - illegally.  And if you 'legalize' all the 'illegal immigrants' then they will not be able to keep their former low-paying jobs as... they are citizens!

Why doesn't 'comprehensive immigration' ever get traction?  Imagine the unemployment rate skyrocketing the month after it is passed.

You can't get to a place where citizens can't get jobs because it is illegal to do them at a certain wage... only a government can do that for you.


Insty - JOHN TIERNEY: Economic Optimism? Yes, I’ll Take That Bet.

Good, good reading!

The short term is nasty.  The long term is bright so long as we get rid of the over-burden placed upon our goods, services and liberties.

I like that bet.  Surviving to the long-term is the problem, however.  Rome could have been corrected (as Augustus saw in his last days) if it had leadership willing to turn it back into a republic.  The tightly woven trade structure of the late Bronze Age, however, could not be saved by any single thing.  One came to depend on centralized power, the other centralized and supportive trade... which are we closer to, today?  Or is it neither?  Or both? 

Still, the 5 year bet is a good one if you see how the markets work.

Government is screwing up the market mechanisms.

Our choice: Rome, Greece, or trusting in our liberty and holding people and companies accountable without telling them what to do via regulation.  One of these works, and well.  The others, not so much.


Insty - CHANGE: Cash-Strapped Cities Hit Tax-Exempt Nonprofits With Plethora of ‘Fees.’

Note that 'non-profits' that serve as major income points to make a few individuals rich is something that, really, isn't a 'non-profit' just a limited profit arrangement.

And that takes us to 27 DEC 2010!


In two days we have seen the macro-economic scale: Energy and Trade are most likely to recover and expand.  In the long run things are never as bad as they seem.

Government has been lying to you for decades to try and absolve itself of problems and keep an over-regulated system afloat.  This is not working and is a countervailing force to the longer-term good trends.

In the very short term our people are being corrupted by a system that supports non-work, supports diluting the population by forcing citizens not to work, and then encouraging productive citizens not to work.

Some of the simplest solutions have come in a mere two days!

First - Congress is to be held accountable, personally, for the spending they pass.  They are the originator and that is what they wanted... unless they tried to write themselves out of the bill, in which case there is a Constitutional case to be brought.

Second - There must be a standardized way to examine consumer spending and cash flow.  The current system is being gamed and no one trusts it any more.

Third - Obamacare must be attacked via non-funding on all fronts by the House, all the way to provisos in each spending bill for that so that Obamacare becomes its own, separate, entity.  The States are doing the Court route, which is independent of this, but the massive change to healthcare must be ended.  Ditto this on the 'financial' system that the outgoing Congress is trying to set up.

Fourth - Energy is there for the taking and will lead us to more energy sources over time.  Apparently the planet has a lot of goodies stored away for us... if we dare to use them.

Fifth - Government must stop thinking that it can 'do good' by saying how little a man can make, giving freebies to the 'unemployed' and sucking the lifeblood from this Nation to pay to 'support' other Nations that couldn't figure out fiscal rectitude if they tried.  Paying good money after bad is a bad idea, and 'unemployment' must be limited to encourage the search for new jobs and new types of jobs.


Yes, Stop the spending!

The things that 'regulate' the economy and our lives are now acting contrary to all good sense.  These organs of society started with the best of intentions, but fell into Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.  Thus, acting to their own ends for more power, such cancerous organs must go to save the patient which is the Nation.  We will have problems after we get rid of such comfortable cancers, but we will be able to get up and move around and pick up the pieces.  Better that than to succumb to the cancer, now, isn't it?

Regulation only works for regulators.  We now get more authoritarianism, less liberty, less freedom and less personal accountability because government is willing to 'help' us with such lovely, soft chains.  Soon you will live and die at the behest of bureaucrats, there to 'help' you.

But you were born free.

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