For far too long conservatives have given the military the equivalent of a blank check. Through the Cold War and in the years since the budget has ballooned. It takes a huge piece of the federal pie and it is filled with waste and flat out fraud. The Pentagon wastes BILLIONS in taxpayer dollars.
Some of the “fraud” is entirely legal. Overpayments for this, a sweetheart contract for that. Perhaps a deal for a weapons system which makes no sense but is a government works program for some congressperson’s (often a Republican) district.
The military, though expressly enumerated in the Constitution for the defense of the US, is in many respects big government too. It is also rife with crony capitalism. Conservatives need to come to terms with this.
I hate the whole “blue state”/”red state” nonsense. Cuba and North Korea are “red states” not Texas. And the color blue is traditionally a conservative color not one associated with the “Left.” For some reason the colors the networks designated as indicating whether a state voted for one party or the other flipped in 1992 with the election of Bill Clinton.
That aside, let’s move on.
One of the most shared posts we’ve had during the last couple of weeks was on the widespread closing of Seattle eateries due to an increase in the minimum wage in the city.
It’s an important story. Raise the minimum wage too much, (try to) negate the price mechanism for wages and watch margins erode or disappear, along with businesses and jobs. The cost of food at the remaining restaurants goes up and becomes a luxury item. Meanwhile low skill workers must now move out of the city to make ends meet. It’s a disaster with far reaching ripple effects.
I quite like Daniel Hannan. He has long been a champion of free thinking and free markets. His speech a couple of years ago at CPAC was excellent.
This op-ed is pretty good too.
Oh James Carville, it’s been too long since you were last on the scene. Good to see that you are jumping right in to the coming election campaign and joining the George Soros funded propaganda outfit Media Matters. That seems about right.
The attached article from Politico I think sets the tone for what is to come.
These are by no means the only companies and interests.
The prison industry is a great (terrible) example of what happens when a highly regulated but nominally private (as is the case in many places) industry is fertilized with laws and allowed to grow and grow.
The argument is that if taxpayers don’t subsidize purchases of Boeing’s jets by overseas airlines those airlines will buy European Airbus jets instead which are subsidized in all sorts of ways. Boeing argues that the elimination of Ex-Im puts the company at a competitive disadvantage. It is arguing essentially that Boeing is very nearly an official “US company” which deserves special treatment. Of course the profits continue to go to private shareholders. (Not the taxpayers, not that they should.)
One of the main reasons we are against crony capitalism is because crony capitalism limits opportunity. All the red tape, all the regulations which we are told are for our good but are manipulated by powerful vested interests, all the occupational licensing, all the easy money flowing to favored banks, all the contracts which go to people who have friends in Washington, and all the other special deals and favors given to the powers that be outside of the legitimate market, restrict opportunity for everyone else.
The free market operating with free prices is the best chance the average person has to get ahead. In a highly regulated, highly crony economy, the talented, hard working, smart folks who don’t happen to be in the club are cut off at the knees.
This is a big deal and reflects the profound lack of confidence the world has with the current global banking regime. That Britain would do this, in spite of our general objection, is very significant.
As we have said in the past, an important thing to watch for is the moment the dollar is no longer the “world reserve currency.” When that happens the game fundamentally changes. We can’t print forever any longer and the reality of the market hits. We are still far from that point, but Britain joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank certainly is a solid move toward a post-dollar reserve currency world.
Isn’t it nice when giant corporations (such as Boeing) and government agencies (such as the Import-Export Bank of the United States) come together to figure out how best to jack the American taxpayer? It just makes one feel all warm and fuzzy inside. At least SOMETHING is working in Washington DC. Thank goodness.
Kill the Ex-Im Bank. We’re supposed to have free markets in this country. We definitely shouldn’t have government executives and corporate executives cuddling up with one another. We’re not France.
Licensing is often just a scam. It’s a way to shut out competitors.
If one wants to handle plutonium or do brain surgery I’m OK with a license. If one is braiding hair or doing almost anything else licenses pretty much are nothing more than crony tools for vested interests.
When the Clinton email story broke I have to admit that this was one of the first things I thought.
It is widely believed that the Clintons and the Obamas do not like each other. Additionally the Obama political people think Hillary Clinton isn’t liberal enough. (Think about that folks.) And there is plenty of bad blood from 2008.
It’s the same old Obama chip on the shoulder thing, only this time his ire (reportedly) is directed at the likely Democratic nominee for president.
Ed Klein reports below that Bill Clinton thinks Mrs. Clinton’s current troubles stem directly from the White House. Remember, this story really took off after The New York Times and MSNBC, 2 stalwart allies of this White House (well one is an ally, the other is basically a mouthpiece) covered it. It didn’t come from Fox or Breitbart.
“And who could forget Eurocorps here in Strasbourg last year, virtually goosestepping that ghastly flag around the courtyard outside.”
Farage believes that the current rising tensions with Russia are being used by some in Europe as an excuse to expand EU military powers. Powers some in the EU have long coveted.
But an armed European Union with all of the Continent under 1 flag is a worrying development as far as Mr. Farage is concerned. And one he feels should be of concern to his countrymen and to the broader world.
The “goosestepping” jibe while the EU Parliament was meeting in Germany was calculated.
There is no doubt that this is a soft spot for the Russian leader. Putin is a crony of the highest order and he is surrounded by a constellation of lesser cronies. Russia is pretty much a cronocracy and has been for a long time.
It should be noted that no one is clean here. It’s not like Britain isn’t full of all sorts of financial nastiness. One need only look at the LIBOR scandal to see this. But the Russian oligarchs are a particularly brazen breed. For a Russian public which is now suffering through yet another currency crisis the oligarchs’s ostentatious style may be off putting and could provide a propaganda win for the West. On the other hand many Russians blame the West for their economic woes, not Putin.
A few weeks ago we wrote about the “mandarin class” which populates official and think tank Washington DC. We argued that many of the people making important policy decisions are dangerously out of touch with the real “blood” of America, the grit, the nuts and bolts. Many of this group of folks come from the same northeastern schools and have similar political dispositions (which is to say establishment liberal). This wonky concentration has only increased over the years.
In our prior post the emphasis was on domestic policy technocrats. But many of the same things can be said for some at Defense as well. “War mandarins” move up through the ranks of academia to find perches within official “Defense.” It is there that their theories can be executed on the world stage. Where they can play Risk with real armies and with real lives. Often with disastrous results.
Well thanks Netflix. We’re stuck with this new regulatory regime thanks in large part to you. It sure would have been helpful if you had made your real feelings known (or had thought things through sufficiently) before the bureaucrats descended on our beloved Net. Sure would have been nice if you, the creators of House of Cards with its loyal, politically engaged fan base said something before the virtual land grab. Would have been nice. But it’s too late now.
Guess we have to hope for the best in the courts.