If this is a recovery, where are the jobs??


President Obama (and especially his fawning sycophants in the media) likes to compare himself to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who lead the nation during the Great Depression. In this brief video essay from Reason.TV, Ted Balaker looks at the current jobless recovery and see other similarities to FDR that Obama might not enjoy:

Balaker and Professor Ohanian blame the uncertainty caused by the raft of new regulations and laws coming from Washington, as well as uncertainty about the effects the progressives’ spend-and-borrow binge may have. Businesses hate uncertainty, because it leaves them with no way to forecast what conditions will be like, hence making them less willing to risk capital on new employees. It is, in fact, a rational response, something FDR never quite got: he wanted to tax retained earnings, solely to punish businesses that wouldn’t spend. The Obama administration has broached a similar idea.

While I agree about the uncertainty created by government intervention in the market, I’d add another factor: policies that are just plain bad, because they make the economic situation worse. In the video, we see one good example: the CEO of Nationwide Support Services wait anxiously to hear the details of a new FTC regulation; depending on how it goes, she may not be able to hire the new people she’d like to hire – or she may have to go out of business altogether.

Really, is this any way to run an economy?

Of course it isn’t. As is becoming increasingly clear as new research is done into the New Deal, the statist, interventionist policies of the Roosevelt administration (and Hoover’s) did not help. Indeed, they prevented a job-creating recovery.

The best thing the government could do would be to quit intervening in the marketplace and stop trying to engineer it. It’s simply much too complex to be controlled by a relatively small number of policy-makers. With minimal intervention and a lightened burden of spending, taxation, and regulation, the market economy will heal itself and create jobs.

Sadly, that’s a wise course we can’t expect from the current crowd, so this Tuesday we take step one in a two-step process of firing and replacing them with people who get it.

Step two comes in 2012.

PS: Yeah, I’ve been tapping Reason.TV a lot today, but, what can I say? They do good stuff.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Gerrymandering: the legal way to rig an election


Why bother stuffing ballot boxes and getting felons to vote when you can just draw the district boundaries to ensure your guy or gal wins? Via Reason.TV, here’s an interview with Bill Mundell on the dangers of gerrymandering:

It may not be the sexiest political issue of our time, but it is of fundamental importance to the health of our democracy. Allowing legislators to draw their own districts creates a tremendous conflict of interest between creating districts that accurately represent a community of interests and thus fairly represent the people of an area, and the self-serving needs of politicians.

This is a particular problem in California, where “safe seat” (or “incumbency gerrymandering,” as Mundell calls it) boundaries almost guarantee the reelection of a state or federal legislator. The problem is so bad that almost every member of California’s congressional delegation gets reelected in election after election, even though Congress has a miserable approval rating. And the situation with our state legislature isn’t much different.

We took a big step to fix the problem in 2008 by passing Proposition 11, which took the power to draw legislative districts away from the legislators and gave it to a citizen’s commission. This year, we aim to finish the job by passing Proposition 20, which would do the same thing for congressional districts. But, you guessed it, the oligarchy has struck back, getting Proposition 27 on the ballot. If passed, this measure will eliminate the citizen’s commission created by Proposition 11. It is nothing less than a swinish attempt by the legislature and their allies in the House to seize power from the people and preserve their hand-drawn fiefdoms.

And you wonder why I call California’s legislature “arrogant.”

For the sake of genuine representative democracy in California, it is essential that Proposition 20 pass and Proposition 27 fail.

Put an end to gerrymandering. Break the oligarchy.

UPDATE: J.E. Dyer at Hot Air’s Green Room has an excellent post on seven votes that may determine California’s future.

UPDATE 2: Also take a look at an article in the LA Weekly about Props 20 and 27 and why you should give a rip. It includes a map of my entry into the California Hall of Shame for Shameless Gerrymandering, CD 23, which is 200 miles long and, at one point, only 100 yards wide.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

You are a criminal if you deny global warming


Don’t try to weasel out of it. We see you over there, with your doubts and your skepticism, muttering about Medieval Warm Periods and “hiding the decline.” You don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming, do you? You’re a denier, and that makes you a criminal!

And I have that on the authority of two experts in the field: Google CEO Erik “Creepy” Schmidt and director James Cameron:

Here again we see the Green Statists refusing to argue the legitimate doubts about global warming and the serious questions about climate science. Instead, their opponents are likened to Nazi sympathizers, traitors, and defenders of slavery.

And now to doubt is criminal.

So much for intellectual freedom and the spirit of free inquiry.

PS: By the way, James Cameron is a titanic hypocrite.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Founding Fathers and Mudslingers


You think modern American political campaigns are vicious, mudslinging affairs in which no smear is too vile to be hurled? Hah! The modern candidates are nothing –nothing!– compared to the men whose dignified portraits grace our history books. Reason.TV presents just one amusing example:

Remember that the next time you hear someone whine about “tone” and “civility” in our election. And it wasn’t just the Founders who got down and dirty; supporters of Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams knew how to sling a slander or two:

John Adams lived long enough to see his son become president in 1825, but he died before John Quincy Adams lost the presidency to Andrew Jackson in 1828. Fortunately, that meant he didn’t have to witness what many historians consider the nastiest contest in American history.

The slurs flew back and forth, with John Quincy Adams being labeled a pimp, and Andrew Jackson’s wife getting called a slut.

As the election progressed, editorials in the American newspapers read more like bathroom graffiti than political commentary. One paper reported that “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute, brought to this country by the British soldiers! She afterward married a mulatto man, with whom she had several children, of which number General Jackson is one!”

Jackson supporters were riled because Adams won the Presidency in 1824, defeating Jackson by winning in the House of Representatives while losing the popular vote in what has been called “The Corrupt Bargain.” Jackson’s supporters considered the younger Adams to be an illegitimate president and a usurper who stole the office.

Hey, that sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it? Now where have I heard that before?

Face it, folks: civil, dignified elections are are much more the exception than the rule, here. Now, excuse me while I go get some more mud to sling.

RELATED: The 10 dirtiest campaigns in US history.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)