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Weekend 193.1

To put this in plain terms, Americans and their institutions have tended to choose the self-interest and individualism of the free market over the nationalized model more prevalent in postwar Europe. The faith once put in planning now seems so remote, even obscure, that its historical retrieval faces decades of cavalier indifference or ideological antagonism, a form of silencing fueled by Cold War anxiety, bull market profits, as well as the failures of American attempts at creating a public safety net. — Andrew M. Shanken

(1) If we are to survive the looming catastrophe, we need to face the truth

This was the heaven on earth for which liberal democracy had been striving: a system of wealth redistribution that was merciful but not Marxist, and a guarantee of lifelong economic and social security for everyone that did not involve totalitarian government. This was the ideal the European Union was designed to entrench. It was the dream of Blairism, which adopted it as a replacement for the state socialism of Old Labour. And it is the aspiration of President Obama and his liberal Democrats, who want the United States to become a European-style social democracy.

Weekend 192.1

(1) Trouble on the China Express (WSJ)

In a blistering essay titled “The Derailed Country,” posted online this past week and then quickly removed by censors, Han Han, one of China’s most popular bloggers, mocked the leadership for what he characterized as a heartless approach to development. “They think: ‘We built this. We built that. You don’t need to care what happens along the way, or who gets the benefits, as long as you get to use it,'” Mr. Han wrote. “Why aren’t you grateful? Why all the questions?”

Limestone Commentary (Rails as a Metaphor)
I stopped writing about politics (and have been happier for it) but everything in this article about China’s government could be written (or said) about the U.S. in terms of graft/corruption, abject obtuseness, lack of transparency, doublespeak, and shameless bias of the fourth estate.

‘Do not be desirous to have things done quickly,’ said Confucius, China’s most famous philosopher, some 25 centuries ago. ‘Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly.’ China’s leadership is now suffering the consequences of ignoring this traditional wisdom.

More Limestone Commentary
Not sure expediency is an attribute of good democracy, particularly of late against a rash of manufactured crises.

You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid. — Rahm Emanuel

Weekend 179.0

(1) China’s train wreck

(2) The Disappearing Dollar

(3) Is “Conservative Environmentalist” an Oxymoron?

The Policy of Inflation

Companies Stock Up as Commodities Prices Rise (WSJ)

The present valuation will often depend on what people expect the future quantity of money to be. And, as with commodities on the speculative exchanges, each person’s valuation of money is affected not only by what he thinks its value is but by what he thinks is going to be everybody else’s valuation of money.

– Henry Hazlitt, Economics In One Lesson

Related
Obama to Chamber: Let’s Do Business

But the inflation, though in part often deliberate, is today mainly the consequence of other government economic interventions. It is the consequence of, in brief, of the Redistributive State—of all the policies of expropriating money from Peter in order to lavish it on Paul.

– Henry Hazlitt, Economics In One Lesson

Limestone Commentary: Sigh. Hazlitt wrote that in 1976.

NY Times on Government Perversion

Jury duty. You endure CNN and watch some crappy video about how judges don’t legislate from the bench. I don’t typically use my blog to rant so I’ll spare all three of my reader(s) the histrionics. It was a fairly productive morning (completed a workbook my accountant provides me each year) and the lawyer sitting next to me furnished me with a copy of the NY TIMES after he moved onto his Kindle.

There were three articles in it I wanted to mention/cite since each makes the case against BIG government (and the favored policies of the liberals who read that awful paper). It’s also the NY TIMES so you feculent liberals can trust the source.

(1) Britain’s Economy Stalls, in Setback for Cameron

It is that formula that has stirred allegations from the political left in Britain that Mr. Cameron and Mr. Osborne are embarked on an ideological crusade, using Britain’s indebtedness, the worst in Europe, as an excuse to roll back the power of the state.

Limestone Commentary: Um. Fact. Britain’s indebtedness is the worst in Europe. What’s a logical and plausible counter to that indebtedness? How about expanding the power of the state via more spending? What a brilliant, Obama-like, solution!

(2) Who Invests in Low-Income Housing? Google, for One

Mr. Copeman attributed the differential today in tax credit prices from one region to another to “the unintended, perverse consequences” of the Community Reinvestment Act, despite what he said was a need for five million more units in all 50 states. He said banks generally did not make these investments in places where they had no depositors.

Limestone Commentary: Perverse! Fact: When the government tries to legislate equality something perverse always happens. Need a modern day example (the CRA is from 1989)? The Obama administration is passing out health care waivers because what was signed into law is a disaster. And what basis are the waivers being awarded? The government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers -unless- that was the entire point.

(3) A Growth Agenda for World Economic Forum

Finally, there is liberalization. It has become fashionable to blame the global financial crisis on free markets. But the problem rather was that markets were distorted by bailouts and skewed incentives.

Freeing markets, whether by liberalizing rules on hiring and firing or sweeping away restricted practices in professions, still has the capacity to deliver a big long-term boost to productivity in much of the world. The Davos delegates should grasp this agenda.

Limestone Commentary: Two words- perverse and distorted. Two more…tea and party.

UPDATE
The Wall Street Journal adds context via Virginia Postrel’s Small Crafts vs. Big Government.

Weekend 156.0

(1) 12 Awesome Airplane Paint Jobs

(2) How to Turn a Recession into a Depression

(2a) “As hostility to businessmen grows, politicians tax them more heavily, while debasing and inflating the currency to maintain an illusion of prosperity. Then, when these policies cause rising price levels, a deluded populace demands price controls, which ambitious politicians are all too ready to impose.

Every nation has developed and flowered – with art, music, and the other ornaments and means of civilization – only on the basis of flourishing business trade, commerce. This was true of the Phoenicians, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt, the Chinese civilization, the Byzantine Empire, Venice, Florence, Spain, England, France, Germany and the United States. Go through the history of each and you’ll find in its origins that period in which commerce and finance were highly regarded and relatively free in a developing civilization.” – V. Orval Watts

(3) Honda Icon Museum

(4) 23 years in the making for just one hour off the travel time: Drilling on world’s longest tunnel stretching 35.4 miles under the Alps is completed

(4a) Boondoggle in the Motor City – Detroit’s Train to Nowhere

(4b) Flashy Projects Have Not Helped Detroit

(4c) Where Infrastructure Estimates Come Up Short

(5) Yale Center for British Art

Mystery Solved: Why Obama crated Sir Winston

How Obama Thinks

While the senior Obama called for Africa to free itself from the neocolonial influence of Europe and specifically Britain, he knew when he came to America in 1959 that the global balance of power was shifting. Even then, he recognized what has become a new tenet of anticolonialist ideology: Today’s neocolonial leader is not Europe but America. As the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said–who was one of Obama’s teachers at Columbia University–wrote in Culture and Imperialism, “The United States has replaced the earlier great empires and is the dominant outside force.”

Update
White House rips Forbes over Obama cover story

‘Unexpected’ Priorities: Mosque versus U.S. Unemployment/Double Dip Recession

(1) Poll shows more Americans think Obama is a Muslim (The Washington Post)

(2) Obama’s Point of No Return
“With Obama, suspicions have involved his status as an American. The foreign parentage, the registration in an Indonesian school noting him as a Muslim, the uproar over the birth certificate aroused misgivings that, despite media scorn heaped upon those noting them, he has never quite been able to put to rest. As of last weekend, his opportunities to do so are ended. Impressions trump arguments, and for most of the country, Obama will, from here on in, be a strange and untrustworthy figure — a man who does not understand what Ground Zero means to America, who utilizes American law and custom to support foreign interests, who speaks to strangers more clearly than to his own.”

Limestone Commentary
I need one of those one word sub-headings like they use at Hot Air (something like priorities). While the entire nation struggles with rising unemployment (double dip recession) Obama is fighting for a mosque at Ground Zero.

Obama believes in Private Property?

Don’t get too excited. The Distributor-in-Chief only believes in this tenet of Private Enterprise if it supports the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero. A majority of American(s) believe Obama is a socialist but he’s breaking from his Marxist dogma/ideology and using “private property” as a pretense for supporting this display of aberrant grotesquery.

…that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.
– Barack Hussein Obama

Economic strategy of public debt…$862B

The Obsolescence of Barack Obama (WSJ)

The vaunted Obama economic stimulus, at $862 billion, has failed. The “progressives” want to double down, and were they to have their way, would have pushed for a bigger stimulus still. But the American people are in open rebellion against an economic strategy of public debt, higher taxes and unending deficits. We’re not all Keynesians, it turns out. The panic that propelled Mr. Obama to the presidency has waned. There is deep concern, to be sure. But the Obama strategy has lost the consent of the governed.

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