The rule of law (and not man or woman) is vital to a free society. If might makes right there is little room to do business, to invest, to build wealth, to be secure in one’s person, to be an actualized human being. If contracts can be dismissed and government officials and their cronies (in government and the nominal “private sector”) can do as they please because of their connections, we have a problem. And that is what we have now, and it’s getting worse.
If one is trying to get people employed incentivising unemployment isn’t wise. It is however politically great for those who are for a large government. So long as the main part of a person’s income comes from welfare one can rest reasonably assured that such a person will vote for more government.
Good. Glad to hear it. We are very much for solar energy within the marketplace.
Solar HAS enjoyed crony subsidies for far too long. However, if we can get rid of the solar subsidies now that would be progress. If solar can continue to grow, then great. But don’t ask the taxpayers for anymore sweetheart deals.
These protests are a massive reaction against a deeply crony and socialist government in Brazil. The economy is failing. The “Bolivarian” movement in South America embodied by the now dead Hugo Chavez is imploding. Wherever the statist cancer has spread, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, even Chile it has brought with it economic dysfunction. And that is saying something as this IS South America we are talking about.
But the anger exhibited above and below is not simply some Brazilian or South American phenomenon. The sentiment embodied in the streets of Sao Paulo, Rio, and Brasilia this week runs through the world. And it is increasing as middle class people are becoming more aware of the inner workings of their governments.
As the world economy continues to sputter (sputtering would be good) we will see more of this sort of thing in other parts of the globe. People are much better educated on political matters these days thanks to the Internet. They are sick of being abused. The veil of government has been lifted a bit and people, Brazilian, American, Chinese, European, Indian, do not like what they see.
These protesters don’t want bread (at least not now, and let’s hope that doesn’t ever become a concern) they want respect and transparency. It is their money that their government is giving away to the crony class.
(From The New York Times)
The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.
While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”
Crony capitalism comes in many forms. Bailouts for big banks. Subsidies for sugar, corn, and Hollywood. Overly inflated defense contracts. Bridges to nowhere which benefit certain bidders. There are thousands and thousands of examples. But perhaps one of the most insidious forms is when telecommunication companies help the government to spy on Americans without a specific warrant.
The 4th Amendment means something. It is the law. Just because we have people seeking to do us harm does not mean that the 4th Amendment isn’t the law. We have always had bad guys looking to do us harm. We had 45 years of Cold War without flushing the Constitution down the toilet. Indeed we understood that the Constitution fundamentally was the reason we were fighting the Cold War. We should keep this in mind.
At the same time, the government has been fighting in court to keep the identities of its telecom partners hidden. In a recent case, a group of AT&T customers claimed that the N.S.A.’s tapping of the Internet violated the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. This year, a federal judge dismissed key portions of the lawsuit after the Obama administration argued that public discussion of its telecom surveillance efforts would reveal state secrets, damaging national security.
So the judge said that the lawsuit could not go forward, even though the issue at hand concerns the potential serious violation of the Constitution, because of “national security”?
National security may be an issue, but does it trump the exploration of whether an action is lawful? I suppose that in this case it does. But that should not be.
We must be clear here. We are not saying that spying is unnecessary nor that it shouldn’t be done at all. There are real threats to American security and surveillance within the parameters of the Constitution are reasonable and likely necessary. But extra-constitutional surveillance, even if it makes things easier for the NSA, and/or speeds their efforts is not OK. Such a state of affairs is extremely dangerous for everyday people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong. The government is not God. The everyday American should be able to know that as a citizen they are protected by the rule of law, not subject to the whim of a bureaucrat somewhere.
The scourge of Argentinian Peronism, a type of fascism, goes worldwide.
There is little which is “progressive” about “progressive politics.”
The “progressive” ethos celebrates the nomenklatura, the government bureaucratic class, which is enriched. Interestingly also in this country the tendency is to enrich the big companies (and their managers) with close ties to the government. The rest of society, and particularly the middle class is tossed aside. In the “progressive” world there is little time for such bourgeois values as liberty, property rights, economic freedom, privacy, and self determination.
No, there are the managed and the managers. That’s it. As such “progressive” politics tends to favor those who do not think for themselves and don’t want to, and those for whom power is an end.
Free markets in contrast, with free prices, allow organic economic growth and wealth creation. It is from the wellspring of the free human mind that true PROGRESS comes. Free minds are not a priority however for “progressives.” Compliance and conformity are what are valued. Entrepreneurs are trouble makers. Free thinkers are to be considered with suspicion. Innovation is a headache.
If one is not born into wealth the very best shot one has to die with wealth and perhaps some security for one’s family is in a free society and a free market based economy. If you develop skills, hustle, are smart about the deployment of limited resources one has a chance to do something extraordinary, to actually progress.
In a “progressive” society the only thing which progresses usually is the rate of human decline.
There is simply no reason for this. Not this kind of cost. She is not the President even, she is the First Lady. And this sum is just for the flight?
“Living rich” on the taxpayer’s dime is a common form of crony capitalism. People get into government (or in this case marry into it) and forget that the taxpayers pay for pretty much everything that they do.
I’m not saying that Ms. Obama needs to fly coach on United or anything, but I am willing to bet that the $360K bill for the flight alone could have been pared down a bit.
Air Force One is not the presidential Winnebago.
Mr Reich generally needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He has been, and as far as I know, continues to be fundamentally wrong on the most important economic questions. Saying that, he has flashes of insight on political issues, and here’s one.
Of course we issue the standard disclaimers with this piece that we do with many of the folks we choose to feature here who we feel are too enamored with the state.
That he still can’t grasp (or is frankly willing to admit) that for the most part this country should thank its lucky stars for the TEA Party and the mini-revolt of 2009 is a big flaw in his argument. Another one is that he says that the TEA Party promoted “outright racism.” (I almost didn’t run his piece because of this chunk of baloney. A few memes promoted in the Huffington Post don’t count. I was there. I never saw it. Ever. I’m betting Reich didn’t attend many rallies.)
And yet another myth he promotes is the idea of some kind of post-World War 2 golden age of government. That is just a flat out misunderstanding of the situation.
In 1964, Americans agreed by 64% to 29% that government was run for the benefit of all the people. By 2012, the response had reversed, with voters saying by 79% to 19% that government was “run by a few big interests looking after themselves.”
This may be true but this is because before the information revolution the average person didn’t understand how the game, the government game, was played. It is, and has always been played for powerful interests. It’s just that we know it now. It was because Americans were basically ignorant (through no fault of their own) that 64% of people thought government was run for the benefit of the people.
They may have THOUGHT it was. But it wasn’t.
We woke up. Mr. Reich hasn’t. At least on this very important point.
So why run his piece?
“I used to think there was a big difference.” – Chris Matthews
To be fair Debbie isn’t really running things. She has bosses who determine direction. But even still.
Kudos to Chris Matthews for a good question.
Bernie is pushing the Dems in interesting directions and creating contrasts and shadows where there weren’t ones before.
Trump is doing similar things in the GOP.
Fun to watch.
If you don’t define it you can’t stop money from flowing to it. Which is the point.
And guess what? The likely winner (according to this article) writes a lot of checks to politicians in Washington DC.
The goal here is big data. Managing population health – not your health necessarily. And people are going to make big bucks (taxpayer bucks) in the process.
Seems obvious to many of us but still there are many who don’t understand that liberty leads to greater human actualization. This actualization leads to a more satisfying life generally.