Another Texas vs. California update! And I don’t even have a line item on how the Houston Rockets picked the Sacramento Kings’ pockets’ in yesterday’s trade.
Archive for the ‘Regulation’ Category
It’s always fun to watch liberals stub their toes against reality. This time around it’s JournoLista Matthew Yglesias who is shocked, shocked to discover that trying to start a small business (in his case renting out a spare house) is wrapped up in bureaucratic red tape. When this was pointed out to him on Twitter, he protested that he had often complained about local government red tape. Fine and dandy, but why is he such an enthusiast for big government at the federal level?
His dichotomy of thought seems to suggest there are several blind-spots in his understanding of economics (a rather significant drawback for a journalist who regularly write about economics). Watching him fail to draw the obvious conclusions on the baleful effect of big government on small business is almost priceless in its cluelessness. Let’s discuss a few of the many, many ideas that never seemed to have occurred to him, shall we?
And yet there’s a certain perverse pleasure in watching Yglesias wrestle with the problems of big government and not draw the obvious conclusion. It’s like watching a man hold the 6th piece of a 6-piece jigsaw puzzle, look back and forth between the piece and hole and declare “I just don’t understand!” It’s like watching a blind man suddenly given sight and see the elephant he had been feeling for the first time in his life, then resolutely put on opaque glasses and mutter “No, that can’t be it.” Or like Butt-Head trying to figure out what happened to his TV:
He can’t figure it out because he won’t let himself figure it out. Too much of his own self-love is tied up in the notion that he’s good because he’s a liberal, and liberals are good because big government is good in and of itself. For every maddening piece of red tape, somewhere out there was a Matthew Yglesias who thought that having government run and regulate something was just a swell idea.
You do it to yourself, you do. And that’s what really hurts…
Well well well, maybe David Cameron has some cobbles after all.
Cameron has generally presided over the “wettest” Tory administration the UK has seen since Neville Chamberlain, but today he delivered a veritable pipe bomb of a speech on the future of the European Union.
First, the problems in the Eurozone are driving fundamental change in Europe. Second, there is a crisis of European competitiveness, as other nations across the world soar ahead. And third, there is a gap between the EU and its citizens which has grown dramatically in recent years. And which represents a lack of democratic accountability and consent that is – yes – felt particularly acutely in Britain.
If Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending, then it’s obvious that it will have to work very hard to maintain its prosperity and way of life.
While Obama is certainly doing his best to make sure America’s portion of that last figure increases (driving down Europe’s share as a side effect), what Cameron is saying here is both obviously true and absolutely unacceptable to the Euroelite: The European cradle-to-grave welfare state is unsustainable.
People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity or their taxes are used to bail out governments on the other side of the continent.
Cameron basically stood up and pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes.
More of the same will not secure a long-term future for the Eurozone. More of the same will not see the European Union keeping pace with the new powerhouse economies. More of the same will not bring the European Union any closer to its citizens. More of the same will just produce more of the same – less competitiveness, less growth, fewer jobs.
“Hey dumbasses: stop digging!!”
And still more:
I want us to be at the forefront of transformative trade deals with the US, Japan and India as part of the drive towards global free trade. And I want us to be pushing to exempt Europe’s smallest entrepreneurial companies from more EU Directives.
These should be the tasks that get European officials up in the morning – and keep them working late into the night. And so we urgently need to address the sclerotic, ineffective decision making that is holding us back.
That means creating a leaner, less bureaucratic Union, relentlessly focused on helping its member countries to compete.
In a global race, can we really justify the huge number of expensive peripheral European institutions?
Can we justify a Commission that gets ever larger?
Can we carry on with an organisation that has a multi-billion pound budget but not enough focus on controlling spending and shutting down programmes that haven’t worked?
And I would ask: when the competitiveness of the Single Market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council but not a single market council?
And here we have a Tory Prime Minister actually sounding like…a Tory! Who would have thunk it?
Thatcher or Reagan he’s not, but this is bold stuff given the Eurocentric tenor of post-Thatcher UK governments.
Oh: He also wants a referendum on EU membership by 2017.
Reactions from the Eurocratic elite has been predictable: How dare Cameron slander our magnificently robed Emperor? And naturally all of them focus on the referendum than his substantive critique of the increasing collectivist, bureaucratic and unsustainable EU.
Good show, Cameron old boy, good show. (Golf clap)
Lots of news in the world of guns and the Second Amendment today, so here’s a quick lunchtime roundup:
gun laws that in no way would have prevented the crimes they were passed in reaction to. (Hat tip: Say Uncle.)
Today law-abiding gun owners declared total victory over the gun-grabbing plans of the Travis County Commissioner’s Court:
Travis County Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to reverse course on a proposal that would have banned gun shows from county facilities.
Commissioners also agreed to honor an existing contract for nine more gun shows at the Exposition Center.
“I take very seriously the idea of abiding by the law. State law prevents this court from doing much of anything on this issue,” Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt said.
Hopefully the gun-grabbers on the Austin City Council will take the hint.
I enjoyed attending what little I could of the Texas Public Policy Foundation 2013 policy orientation held January 9-11. Here are a few quick and largely random impressions:
Because I just started a new day job, I wasn’t able to attend until Thursday evening, which meant I got to enjoy Austin’s lovely rush-hour traffic on Mopac and only got to hear about half of Ted Cruz’s pre-recorded message. (Cruz was originally scheduled to appear with Sen. John Cornyn, but had to fly off to Afghanistan and Israel on a Senate Foreign Relations trip. Cruz also appeared at lunch that day, a session I was unable to attend.) Then it was time for Texas’ senior U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, to be interviewed.
He defended the Fiscal Cliff deal as necessary to avoid a huge tax increase. He talked about the Senate’s inability to pass a budget. “Shame doesn’t work on Harry Reid.”
On foreign and defense policy, he noted (correctly) that keeping the American people safe is the number one responsibility of government. Cornyn says he’s opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel and dinged Obama over Benghazi. “If the President and his Administration had been honest about Benghazi, they’re wouldn’t have been a scandal.” (Paraphrased.)
Cornyn also displayed a certain tone-deafness in regard to his audience. When asked to mention possible 2016 GOP Presidential candidates, the first name Cornyn mentioned was NJ Governor Chris Christie, which drew audible groans and hisses from the audience, for good reason.
After the Cornyn speech there was a blogger met-and-great at Rivals Steakhouse. I met a bevy of state Reps whose names quickly blurred together, as well as Ashley Sewell, AKA @TXTrendyChick, who I had already been following on Twitter, and a bunch of other bloggers. Most interesting bit of off-the-record gossip: Confirmation of my Rick Perry hopped-up on goofballs theory. “When I saw him running around Iowa in flats I knew he was in a lot of pain. The man practically sleeps in boots.”
On Friday, I took a long lunch to attend the Newt Gingrich luncheon and signing. I sat one seat down from the indefatigable Holly Hansen (who has her own, far more extensive coverage), and @TXTrendyChick promptly plopped down between us. Obviously our table was the place to be.
I get to hang out with all the cool chicks!
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was Gingrich’s warm-up speaker. Dewhurst has improved somewhat since his losing Senate race against Ted Cruz last year, but he’s still not a natural speaker. He tries to cram too many policy points into a speech, and isn’t skilled enough to distinguish between major and minor points. When it comes to conservative policy, he seems to know the words, but doesn’t hear the music.
Dewhurst’s four points as to why Texas is doing better than any other state (1. We keep our spending low, 2. Keep our taxes low, 3. A light regulatory hand, and 4. Keep state government out of the way) were all very solid. He also promised additional budget cutting; let’s hope he follows through.
Most interesting parts of Dewhurst’s speech: A clumsily-phrased plea for welfare reform (“I’m not going to pay people to sit on the couch and do drugs,” a proclamation that will no doubt disappoint many members of Occupy Wall Street), and a proposal to arm teachers in the classroom.
Gingrich came on stage to a standing ovation. He said it was unfair for other states to compete with Texas, since we weren’t raising taxes and spending like California. (This is what people call “sarcasm.”)
This was definitely Gingrich 2.0 (or maybe 8.6), an idea-a-minute futurist (I’d like to see him and Bruce Sterling bounce off each other for a couple of hours someday). He was saying things about America 2.0, ubiquitous diagnostic cell phones as a health care initiative, having the programmers behind World of Warcraft come up with ways to teach our kids, and puters mkn kdz wrt btr (I iz skptical). It was even more scatter-shot than Dewhurst, but seemed a lot more organic. And he had one truly fascinating factoid: Students taking Stanford’s online classes did better on tests than the ones taking classes in person.
Gingrich seems genuinely optimistic about America’s future, which is a nice contrast with many of us after the 2012 election.
After the speech I managed to get him to sign two books for me, To Renew America, and Jim Wright’s Reflections of a Public Man, which he was quite amused by.
A few more luminaries:
A very dapper Chuck DeVore. He wasn’t born in Texas, but he got here as quickly as he could.
Apologies to anyone I didn’t mention, didn’t run into, or didn’t get a picture of (some just didn’t come out well). It was a busy two days!
And congratulations to TPPF honcho David Guenthner and his many minions, for all the hard work in carrying this off:
In addition to the copy of Texas Got it Right handed out to everyone, David thrust a copy of DeVore’s The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State into my hands. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to say more about both in the not-so-distant future.
Dwight and I were out front on opposing the Travis County/Austin gun show ban, but now the 800 pound gorilla has climbed on the bandwagon, with the NRA-ILA sending out a notice to members to oppose the gun show ban. I think they may have a wee bit more reach than we do…
Dwight has now put up even more extensive contact information for Austin City Council and Travis County bigwigs, complete with linkable, clickable goodness, providing a more efficient way to express your displeasure over the proposed gun show ban.
Also, here’s Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson debating a gun grabber on the subject:
And here’s a KXAN piece on the issue, including the Abbott news I put up yesterday. Notice how the writer ends with “Both Biscoe and Eckhardt are Democrats. Abbott is a Republican.” Funny that no news outlet felt the need to mention the political affiliation of these seeking gun control (including Ed Scruggs, the Travis County resident initially reported as seeking such a ban, who also happens to be the founder of Circle C Democrats) until a Republican got involved in opposing them.
Attorney General Abbott: Austin & Travis County Better Expect “Double-Barreled Lawsuit” Over Gun Show BanTuesday, January 8th, 2013
If Austin or Travis Co. try to ban gun shows they better be ready for a double-barreled lawsuit.
Now, a Twitter post hardly comes to the level of an official press release from the Attorney General’s office, but it does represent a shot across the bow of Austin and Travis County gun grabbers who think they can flout state law without consequences.
Finally, I must admit that I really dig Abbott’s Twitter background:
Back during the Clinton Administration, I joined the National Rifle Association. With the “Assault Weapon Ban” passed and other anti-Second Amendment legislation under consideration, it seemed like a good time to join the one organization capable of slowing the Democratic Party’s gun-grabbing agenda.
When I let my membership lapse, it was obvious new gun control legislation was going nowhere with George W. Bush in the White House and Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. But the main reason I let it lapse was that I was pissed off that the NRA had sent me a video tape (younger readers: ask your parents what a “video tape” was) I hadn’t asked for, and expected me to go out of the way and return it at my expense if I didn’t want to subscribe to whatever video series it was.
Over the years I’ve had differences with the NRA, especially their willingness to compromise on other fundamental freedoms by cutting deals with Nancy Pelosi. But as Sebastain at Shall Not Be Questioned noted:
You still need what NRA can bring to the table, which is specifically a huge network of people who tend to only be peripherally involved in this issue (and this goes beyond their 4 million dues paying members), and access to lawmakers that no other gun rights groups can match, and really no or few other lobbies in DC and the 50 state capitols can match….
NRA is the only organization that has the capability to fight on this ground. So if you have some money to donate to NRA, or can spare the dollars to buy a membership do it!
We’re going to war, and this is the NRA we have, and more importantly, this is the NRA we can win with. But only if we hang together, because our alternative is to surely hang separately.
And that’s why I sent my check in this week to rejoin the NRA. American’s fundamental Second Amendment rights are under siege right now. If you care about maintaining America as a nation whose freedom is guaranteed by its’ citizens inalienable rights, then this is the fight you need to join. It’s a fight we can and should win. The NRA is an integral part of that fight.
If you care about liberty and the Second Amendment, you should seriously consider joining as well.