• Green Scarf Dispatch Company

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

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

‘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.

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.

Horse Tranquilizer…Aisle 3

The Pelosi-Reid Economy (Forbes)

Stimulus. TARP. ObamaCare. These three words are being written into the political obituaries of politicians who voted for the programs–for good reason. These three bills, made law by the Pelosi-Reid Congress in only three years, will take decades’ worth of work by regular folks, who dutifully clock in and out of their jobs 40 hours a week or more, to pay off.

The high unemployment and debt rates prove Democrats haven’t stimulated the economy. They’ve tranquilized it.

The Pelosi-Reid economy

Red Ink

A Weakened U.S. Goes to the G-20

The American leaders are under the illusion that their Keynesian spending and easy money policies actually have worked, 10% unemployment notwithstanding.

It surely must have occurred to some Europeans that lectures on fiscal rectitude from the Americans display a modicum of hypocrisy. The German Bundestag is hearing the same sorts of voter complaints about bailouts that the American Congress is hearing. The concept of a huge debtor nation, the U.S., offering to help a bunch of smaller debtor nations solve their sovereign-debt problems seems a bit incongruous. But it doesn’t seem to trouble the Obama administration or the Democratic majority in Congress.

Related
Paul Ryan’s Budget Blues
The Keynesian Dead End

“By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.”

– Ivan Seidenberg, CEO Verizon Communications, Inc.

Socialism: Lather, rinse, repeat

Death of the Postmodernist Dream by Victor Davis Hanson

“The Greek meltdown — with Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain on the brink — has shown that European socialism does not work. Bankruptcy, not politics, is the final arbiter: Individuals, firms, and nations either buy particular bonds or they don’t. And a nation like Greece, in turn, either pays what it has borrowed or it doesn’t. All the op-eds in the New York Times cannot change that fact.

Socialist Intervention in the Private Sector is Not True Health Care Reform by The American TFP

“Socialism is a utopian ideology that seeks to eliminate human selfishness by destroying individual freedom, private property and free enterprise. Socialists believe they can eliminate injustice by transferring responsibilities from individuals and families to the State. However, their efforts are tantamount to killing the patient to cure his illness.”

Related
Not So Liberating: The Twilight of Liberation Theology
How Hugo Chávez broke my heart

Socialism: Perception versus Reality

Perception

Gordon Brown, said on leaving, “I tried to make the country fairer.”
Source

Reality

At over 50% of national income, the public sector in the U.K. is now as big as in Scandinavia, higher than in Germany, and up from the roughly 40% it accounted for when Margaret Thatcher left power to the early years of Tony Blair’s Labour government.

The scale of Britain’s spending crisis is vast on either side of the ledger: Public spending has risen above 50% of gross domestic product in the last two years, while revenues have fallen below 40%, to their lowest level since the 1960s.
Source

Obama’s Faustian Deal

The We’re-Not-Europe Party (WSJ)

“For Americans, this has been a two-week cram course in what not to be if you hope to have a vibrant future. What was once an unfocused criticism of Mr. Obama and the Democrats, that they are nudging America toward a European-style social-market economy, came to awful life in the panicked, stricken faces of Europe’s leadership: Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown, Papandreou. They look like that because Europe has just seen the bond-market devil.”

Related: The Welfare State’s Death Spiral
Elena Kagan’s College Thesis (on Socialism)

Limestone Commentary
This proverb is apropos: Paradise and hell can be had in this world.

%d bloggers like this: