Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obama's 'secret' plea to Russia
From Investors Business Daily by Andrew Malcolm

Barack Obama has, like most in public life, made his share of gaffes--the president of Canada, 57 states, the Austrian language, E Pluribus Unum, the pronunciation of corpsman, among others. To be sure, they are stunning signs of ignorance of things that are common wisdom for most, even Harvard alums.

Closet [ meaning the mainstream media] Obama supporters will seek to downplay the incident. But his Monday mis-step is huge politically and may well come to haunt and hurt him as Republican Mitt Romney rolls out the attack plan for this fall's campaign and before. Of all the GOP wannabes, Romney has been Obama's most outspoken critic, especially on the Democrat's "failed leadership" in foreign policy.

A main strain of Romney's assaults has been basically, Given the spending, chronic ineptness and apologies for America, can you imagine what Barack Obama would do in a second term unrestrained by any need to face voters ever again?

That's an effective line because it leaves the worst things possible to voters' imagination. And there is no response. What can Obama say, "My secret plans aren't as bad as you think."

What makes Obama's Monday blunder so bad is that it doesn't come from any sort of dismissable ignorance by someone who spent formative childhood years in Indonesia. It was clearly backstage conniving on Obama's part and feeds directly into Romney's 'Can you imagine' line.

Plus, it fits with the suspicions of millions that the community organizer has unspoken plans to take America in a transformative direction involving much more government. How else to explain his baldly touting more domestic energy while reducing federal drilling permits and torpedoing the Keystone pipeline?

The Etch-a-Sketch line by a Romney aide played into the meme that he might remake himself for the general election, something every successful primary candidate does to reach the broader audience necessary to win beyond one party. In 2008, the autumn Obama promising a centrist fiscal policy was a far cry from the spring primary fellow vying with Hillary Clinton for union support.

Now, Obama's gaffe suggests to opponents their suspicions are credible about the Democrat's hidden agenda that he sought secretly to discuss with the Russian.

[Tom McLaughlin: Romney is my last choice as a Republican but he’s a world ahead of ‘the Community Organizer’.]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What Do these Panel Data Reveal?
Posted: 23 Mar 2012 05:46 AM PDT
Here’s a letter sent a few days ago to the New York Times:
You report that “The Commerce Department has decided to impose tariffs on solar panels imported from China after concluding that the Chinese government provided illegal export subsidies to manufacturers there” (“U.S. to Place Tariffs on Solar Panels From China,” March 20).
Let me try to get this straight. If Uncle Sam raises our taxes to subsidize our access to solar energy, that’s noble government intervention that (if it isn’t stopped by Cro-Magnon conservatives) will produce in America radiant benefits – but if Beijing raises the Chinese people’s taxes to subsidize our access to solar energy, that’s noxious government intervention that (if it isn’t stopped by “Progressive” politicians) will produce in America ruinous harm.
Hmmm…. I fear that I’m insufficiently enlightened to grasp this logic.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hard Reading:
… is from page 144 of the first volume (“Rules and Order,” 1973) of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty:
“The idea that the aim of government is the satisfaction of all particular wishes held by a sufficiently large number, without any limitation on the means which the representative body may use for this purpose, must lead to a condition of society in which all the particular actions are commanded in accordance with a detailed plan agreed upon through bargaining within a majority and then imposed on all as the ‘common aim’ to be realized.”

Easier Interpretation by Café Hayek:
This enforced conformity to – this subjection of everyone to act in ways that aim at achieving a set of particular ‘common’ outcomes desired by electoral majorities – along with the inevitable (and inevitably unprincipled) command-and-control means that government must employ if it is to have any hope of bringing about this socially engineered state of affairs – is the serfdom that Hayek warned against.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Government-subsidized green light bulb carries costly price tag.

The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award, dubbed the “L Prize,” for any manufacturer that could create a “green” but affordable light bulb.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would spur industry to offer the costly bulbs, known as LEDs, at prices “affordable for American families.” There was also a “Buy America” component. Portions of the bulb would have to be made in the United States.

Now the winning bulb is on the market.

The price is $50.

Retailers said the bulb, made by Philips, is likely to be too pricey to have broad appeal. Similar LED bulbs are less than half the cost.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

State Power and Social Power

From a book being composed by Brian McLaughlin there is a line that sums up our problem. Regarding the promises, plans and programs of politicians: "They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power."

"State power" is government, politicians and bureaucracy over the person; "Social power" is the person freely interacting with other persons and voluntary groups such as clubs, businesses, churches and recreational groups.

" It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power; there is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power.”