What Constitutional Limits?

February 27, 2011

Since deciding not to do something is making a choice with economic repercussions, the government has the authority to regulate it.
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The distinction between activity and inactivity is “of little significance,” Judge Kessler writes. “It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not ‘acting’ . . . Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin.”

Whoa. In other words, there is no constitutional principle that limits federal coercion. Any decision that doesn’t conform to what the government thinks you should do is an economic decision and therefore everything is subject to regulation. Though she may not have intended it, Judge Kessler has shown that the real debate is between a government of limited and enumerated powers as understood by the Founders, and a government whose reach includes “mental activity.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703408604576164623704291908.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

 

 

. . .as a potential positive side affect of removing Iran’s nuclear program.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110223-nuclear-war-winter-global-warming-environment-science-climate-change/

Of course, I don’t really buy the Global Warming story to begin with, but it doesn’t hurt to cover one’s bases.

 

“Hard facts utterly contradict Krugman’s claim. First, unions are “Big Money.” Of the top 10 sources of political contributions since 1989, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, five are unions. Of the top 20 sources of 2010 campaign funds, 10 are unions.

And the notion that Big Labor is cancelling out Big Business — well, that’s a Big Lie, too. The 10 industries that contributed the most during the 2010 elections — from Wall Street to government unions — all gave more to Democrats than to Republicans.”

http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/02/democrats-wage-populist-fight-against-their-allies

 

Government Shutdown

February 23, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/50013

Between the Middle East and Middle America I haven’t had much time to contemplate the very real possibility of a government shutdown. After reading the above article, I’m thinking it’s not only a possibility, but a likelihood.

It could all be bluster but each side appears to think they will win if, indeed, they force one to occur. Without some sort of braking force that just might be what happens.

Then’ we’ll see who really does win.

 

Wisconsin

February 23, 2011

This one is just really funny;
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260212/gone-wisconsin-david-kahane?page=2
George Will demonstrates how Republican governors are calling Obama’s bluff and demolishing his attempt to pretend to move to the Center:
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will022111.php
This one I just love: He likens the public sector unions to an organized kickback scheme; Here’s my interpretation; If you can sentence Tom Delay to three years in prison for depositing corporate money into the RNC account and then transfering a like amount of money to the campaign accounts of state legislators then shouldn’t it be just as illegal for a politician to compel taxpayers to pay civil servants’ salaries, then compel a given amount of those salaries to go to a Union, which then deposits a portion of those funds into the campaign funds of those same politicians?
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/proxy_civil_war_woLyWhdfuuJlohBp9zaDUL
I also love it when writers quote FDR directly as to why public sector unions are simply beyond consideration.
I feel like going to Madison myself.
On another note, our Nobel Peace Prize-winning President is having no great luck on the foreign scene. In the State of the Union he praised China, the country imprisoning the most recent Nobel Peace Prize winner. And while he was happy to tell Mubarak to move on, he just can’t seem to get the words about Qaddafi (or however you spell it). Why? I think we need to give D’Souza’s theory regarding Obama’s anti-colonialism another look.
Here’s Obama’s take: Mubarak was an American ally. Hence he must be bad. So, out with him as soon as he looks weak.
Not only does Qaddafi hate America, which immediately gives him street cred, but also Reagan bombed his residence, killing his adopted daughter. So, we’re really to blame for everything that’s wrong with that wretched place.
Yes, I’m kind of exaggerating my impression of Obama’s mind-set, but what’s your explanation of his ushering Mubarak out the door while being tolerant of the leadership of Iran and Libya?

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/02/18/the-first-blow-against-public-employees/a-turning-point-in-labor-history

I find the above take interesting:

“There has never been anything like this in American labor history. In the late 1960s and early 1970s there may have been some qualms about giving public workers the right to unionize, but those qualms have turned into animosity. There seems little difference in the approach toward government workers’ unions taken by Governor Walker and his Wisconsin Legislature than there would have been in most states 100 years ago.

Why is Governor Walker attacking the unions and threatening the rights of union members? It’s simply because he can and he benefits by doing so. It resonates with the voters.”

The writer seems incredulous. My take is “well, yeah.” We pay these guys. We’re management. These guys are playing us for suckers. Of course, we’re not sympathetic.

Governor Walker of Wisconsin is aware of the parallel to Reagan, but II don’t recall the piece I read to come to this conclusion.

So, expect Walker to go the distance with this. What Republican wants to let Ronald Reagan down?

He Says He’s Not Running!

February 16, 2011

You know it’s bad. . .

February 16, 2011

. . . when you know with near 100% confidence that you could do a better job directing national security than the guy who is doing it.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4029879,00.html

 

He’s won it before to not much national impact. National Review asked its readers to vote; Here are the top 5:
Mitch Daniels 24%
Chris Christie 20%
Sarah Palin 11%
Ron Paul 9%
Mitt Romney 8%

Economics is like Egypt

February 12, 2011

That is, it’s hard to know what’s going on. Here’s a view skeptical of the story of 3.2% growth in 4th QTR GDP.

This chart shows the yield on 10 year US government bonds. It takes off right around Jan 28, the release date of the GDP growth rate.

http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=%5ETNX+Interactive#chart1:symbol=tnx;range=3m;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=on;source=undefined

This could be because investors think that good times are here again. So, they’re taking their money out of bonds and putting them into stocks. That’s one view. Another might be that they’re taking them out of bonds because they believe the value of bonds will fall due to rising inflation.

Speaking of inflation, take a more detailed look at the GDP figures:

http://www.briefing.com/Investor/Public/Calendars/EconomicReleases/gdp.htm

The GDP price deflator used in the GDP calculation was 0.3%. Really? Inflation was only 0.3% for the quarter? Let’s take a look at the CPI, which is calculated in a different manner:

Chart 2 in the BLS release below demonstrates that the ‘core’ CPI increased around 0.75%. The overall index, including food and energy, increased around 1.25%

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cpi.pdf

Okay, first the idea of excluding food and energy from the index is that they are volatile and obscure the truth regarding inflation. But if you look at the chart you’ll see they haven’t been all that volatile over the past year. They have simply been higher. Since most of us eat and like to heat our homes. These are the prices we’re experiencing.

So, how do we reconcile a CPI of 1.25% and a GDP deflator of 0.3%? If the CPI is right I think that knocks a full point off of GDP growth. 2.2% doesn’t sound all that robust.

Which might explain why Gallup is reporting a 10.3% unemployment rate v the 9% the Federal government is reporting.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/125639/Gallup-Daily-Workforce.aspx

Perhaps, fears of inflation are overdone or, perhaps, the economy is really growing a lot. You wouldn’t know it from the foreclosures in the United States. What would the CPI be if housing (shelter in the link below) wasn’t growing very slowly? (0.4% over the past year)

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

You may also note the 3.7% increase in the price of used cars. I’ve read speculation the inflation rate for these sorts of vehicles is high because the “cash for clunkers” program removed from service all sorts of perfectly serviceable vehicles. Speaking of Cash for Clunkers, I have an equally good idea to revive the economy. We’ll randomly destroy the houses of 1 out of 20 of the people who voted for Obama. Then we shall all grow rich rebuilding them.

If that doesn’t work, then I have this great idea to pay people to dig holes, and then pay other people to fill them up. Don’t worry about how we’ll pay for it. There are a lot of people who make over $250k a year.

Lots of numbers here. Like Egypt, you can find just about any story in there you want.