…with seven energy policies.
They’d have the additional benefit of sparking economic growth.
…with seven energy policies.
They’d have the additional benefit of sparking economic growth.
The biggest implication is that the models are worse than useless as a guide to policy on climate. And places like California are taking a wrecking ball to their economy for nothing.
A live blog of the Senate hearing, with Elon Musk and Michael Gass. ULA is running scared, and Shelby is running interference for them, spouting economic lunacy.
It’s not as crazy as The Economist thinks:
No doubt water, pension liabilities and Democrats (who would let this happen over their dead bodies) pose seemingly insurmountable obstacles to partition. But this is a reform movement we hope gains steam over time. The competing interests and priorities of California’s unmanageable, schismatic population are bad for democracy and bad for Californians.
It’s a mess.
Over an Space News, Donald Robertson has an op-ed that could be a summary of my book, though he doesn’t mention it.
Why we lost it, and why we’re continuing to lose it, despite many trillions of dollars. The only way to win the war on poverty is to end the war on the market and economy.
They had a tough day in court. I wonder if any administration has lost as many court cases as this one?
Why it continues to be unpopular:
“Current and former administration officials . . . have been surprised at how steadfast the opposition has remained,” the Washington Post reported last summer, quoting MIT economist Jonathan Gruber saying, “It used to be you had a fight and it was over, and you moved on.” But few have moved on, for reasons which are not all that hard to tease out: It’s not working out, in fact it’s a disaster; it’s blowing holes in the federal budget; the win-to-lose balance is way out of kilter, as many more people are hurt than helped by it. Obamacare may collapse on its own for practical reasons, but there is a fourth strike against it that adds a dimension of weakness no comparable measure has faced: Much of the country believes it’s a fraud, passed dishonestly, and not deserving of moral authority. In short, they find it nearly illegal, highly immoral, and possibly fattening. And their minds won’t be changed.
Nor should they be. When you cram the biggest crap sandwich in the history of the world down the county’s throat on a lying, corrupt partisan basis, you deserve to lose credibility and power. Read the whole thing, though.
Chavez’s legacy and deadly end game:
As the economy has deteriorated, the government has resorted to dubious stopgaps such as price controls. The price controls have produced more shortages, leading to more stopgaps … and more political repression to control complaints about the shortages and stopgaps. People made much of the fact that Chavez won elections — but less of the fact that he won them in the context of government policies that required television stations to broadcast hours of his speeches every week. And that he silenced stations that opposed him.
This has only continued to get worse under President Nicolas Maduro. Having shrunk the space for legitimate opposition so far, its only outlet seems to be the streets.
They’re streets that the murderous Maduro should be dragged through. But the White House, and much of the media, remains silent.
A report on his disastrous “debate” on Meet The Press.
…is Obama’s Iraq war?
I think it’s going to cost a lot more, in money and lives. I hope, though, that the electoral consequences are even more devastating for the Democrats than they were for Bush and the Republicans. They certainly should be.
Thoughts on the policy stupidity of it. As noted, truckers already have plenty of incentives to get their trucks as fuel-efficient as possible. This also applies to CAFE (which in turn is equally stupid to the new light-bulb rules).
[Update a while later]
The single-entry bookkeeping of the Left. This is particularly the case with carbon mitigation, which the warm mongers always ignore, or fantasize that it will be less than the cost of changes in the climate.
…are on the order of a hundred billion per year, a lot of it from Medicare/Medicaid.
One of the stupider arguments (among many) made by proponents of those programs it that they “have low overhead costs,” relative to private insurers. Well, it’s easy to have low overhead costs if you pay no attention to whether or not a claim is valid. I consider a hundred billion in overpayments in fact a very high overhead cost.
Did it work?
As some wag noted at the time, it was stimulating in the same way a clumsy ugly person doing a pole dance was.
Are we being saved from it by the student loan bubble? What an awful, awful government policy. It’s destroying a generation’s financial prospects.
The day it died:
Even before President Obama was elected in 2008 I wrote that he was showing Chavez-like tendencies. I have never seen any reason to revise that notion; it has only strengthened. Reading the Globe and Mail article I quoted above, I am struck in particular by this seemingly unimportant quote, “the government releases almost no reliable data.” That’s been especially true of Obamacare and the present administration, as I pointed out last Thursday. Far more than ever before in my memory, domestic statistics released by the government have become almost pure propaganda, and few on right or left trust them.
But bluffing can only get you so far. Sooner or later economic reality comes to call.
As noted, collapses can come suddenly. And of course, the silence of the administration on what’s happening in Chavistaland is deafening.
[Update a few minutes later]
This is an important point:
It is easier to destroy than to build. Much easier. That’s true whether destruction is your goal or not. And if you’re blinded by the need to stick to your ideology and declare it a success no matter what the truth is, you may not even know what’s going on until Humpty Dumpty finally takes that tumble.
That’s what entropy is all about. There are millions of forms of crap, but just a comparative few of worthwhile things. Collectivism is a highly entropic system.
[Update late morning]
Fausta Wertz is live blogging the protests.
Colleges and universities are nonprofits. When extra money comes in — as, until recently, has been the pattern — they can’t pay out excess profits to shareholders. Instead, the money goes to their effective owners, the administrators who hold the reins. As the Goldwater study notes, they get their “dividends” in the form of higher pay and benefits, and “more fellow administrators who can reduce their own workload or expand their empires.”
But with higher education now facing leaner years, and with students and parents unable to keep up with increasing tuition, what should be done? In short, colleges will have to rein in costs.
When asked what single step would do the most good, I’ve often responded semi-jokingly that U.S. News and World Report should adjust its college-ranking formula to reward schools with low costs and lean administrator-to-student ratios. But that’s not really a joke. Given schools’ exquisite sensitivity to the U.S. News rankings, that step would probably have more impact than most imaginable government regulations.
Something’s going to have to give.
It doesn’t come from the welfare state, but from central planning:
Obamacare provides the illustration of this, as I think many people have intuited. The “economic problem,” of course, is inescapable in health care. The supply of health care is scarce (only so many resources can be dedicated to it relative to other ends in society) and the demand is pretty close to unlimited. Somehow or other we have to decide how to allocate these scarce means among all the different ends–preventive medicine, end-of-life care, primary research, specialists v. generalists, etc.
Now one possibility that–thank goodness–we have historically rejected in the United States is the idea that certain people should just feel a moral obligation to die for the good of society. You do hear this sometimes–that some people should voluntarily forgo life-extending treatment for the “good of society”–and it sends chills down my spine. This is essentially the Maoist approach.
The alternative is to come up with some way of allocating scarce resources among competing wants. The myth of Obamacare is the same problem repeated: it rests on the idea that we can simply change the means of health care delivery (central planning of health insurance) but it will not require determining the ends at some point–i.e., in the end who gets treated and what treatments are covered and which are not. So, for example, the core of Obamacare is the system of cross-subsidies for some treatments (maternal care) and the expense of others (unmarried or infertile people). So infertile people have less money for things that they want to do (such as join a health club) because they now have to pay more money for things that the central planners have decided is more important than whatever they would do with their money.
And of course, E. J. Dionne remains clueless, as always.
…yesterday the president issued an executive order (probably preempted by the Fair Labor Standards Act, Service Contract Act, Davis-Bacon Act while violating the Walsh-Healey Act) raising the minimum wage for employees of certain federal contractors to $10.10 an hour. He did so, according to the text of the Order, to increase productivity and improve the economy. If a $10.10 minimum wage for a narrow sliver of the workforce will improve the economy, why not raise it to $20.10? Come on, boost it to $50.10 and really get the economy humming. A Mercedes in every garage.
Then there’s Obamacare. The president’s granted so many waivers and extensions completely contrary to the plain text of the statute it’s hard to keep track. He’s ostensibly done so to, among other things, give individuals and businesses time to comply with the law and avoid some of the immediate costs associated with compliance. Again, why stop with Obamacare? Why not extend this year’s income-tax filing deadline to 2017? Give taxpayers more time to comply and adjust to the costs of compliance. It’s the right thing to do.
Why indeed is $10.10 the right number? This complete arbitrariness reminds me of the story of how Roosevelt determined the daily price of gold:
…the exposure to investors that Morgenthau was getting through the gold purchase project of 1933 was already teaching him something. Investors didn’t like the arbitrariness. It took away their confidence. One day Morgenthau asked FDR why the president had chosen to drive up the price of gold by 21 cents. The president cavalierly said he’d done that because 21 was seven times three, and three was a lucky number. “If anyone ever knew how we really set the gold price through a combination of lucky numbers etc., I think they would be frightened,” Morgenthau wrote in his diary. And they were: In the second half of 1933 a powerful stock rally flattened.
There is no more basis for the $10.10 number than there is for Roosevelt’s lucky number. But there are no limiting principles, as far as I can see. This is the totalitarian impulse.
Forty-five reasons that it would probably be a waste of money.
It’s primarily a sop to the teachers’ unions.
Linda Billings hates the thought of it.
“My whim is my command“:
…the sudden demand that businesses stop adjusting for regulatory policy is nearly the height of hypocrisy for this administration, which has repeatedly offered short-term gimmicky tax credits for business decisions that boost its policies, including an ill-considered credit for hiring that ended up costing taxpayers millions for hiring decisions that would have been made anyway. Suddenly, the Obama administration has to take action outside of the law because employers respond to regulatory signals more predictably than one-off credits.
In other words, it’s a demonstration of arbitrary power, of precisely the kind predicted by Hayek. And it’s no longer just opponents of the ACA noticing.
At National Journal, Major Garrett blasted the latest unilateral changes in enforcing statutory law by noting, “The Affordable Care Act means what it says and says what it means. Until it doesn’t. … [T]he arbitrary is the norm.”
The editorial board at The Washington Post blasted Obama for his “increasingly cavalier approach to picking and choosing how to enforce this law. “ Garrett’s colleague Ron Fournier and the Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers both declared their patience at an end to the arbitrary changes and continuing incompetence from the Obama administration – and all of these people support the law in principle.
The attempt to create a command economy in the health-insurance market has failed, in the same manner that Hayek predicted, and resulted in the same arbitrary use of power to attempt to compensate for those failures. The demand for businesses to “self-attest” that they aren’t following standard business principles foreshadows the later stages of unreality that will take from F. A. Hayek to George Orwell on a long enough continuum.
This is what tyranny looks like.
[Update a while later]
“Obama is legislating without the legislative branch. This is corrosive of self-government, counter to our constitutional system and contemptuous of the rule of law.”
Nothing new for him.
…is made in Congress.
The plainness of the usurpation of power on the part of this administration is obvious, and one wonders how many Democrats — some of whom surely have respect for the rule of law — will continue to abide it. Would any Democrat want a Republican president to view the law — or the scope of executive power to “adjust,” “peel back,” or ignore the law — in this way?
The account, however, also highlights problems on the other side of the aisle. It says, “GOP lawmakers, who oppose the law, seized on the delay to argue the administration should relax other key provisions, including the requirement that individuals carry coverage or pay a penalty, which has been in effect since the beginning of this year.” The New York Times provides an almost identical account: “Republicans denounced the unilateral move as a violation of the law and called on the White House to throw out all of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandates.”
This is exactly the wrong response. Republican lawmakers should be insisting that the Obama administration execute the law as written — and should start holding high-profile hearings in the House to have administration officials explain why they don’t think they need to execute the law as written, while having constitutional experts explain why they do. Secondarily, Republicans should insist that the Democratic Senate pass, and Obama sign, actual changes to the law itself — which have already been passed by the House with a fair amount of Democratic support — to delay the individual mandate alongside the employer mandate that the business lobbyists are so “pleasantly astounded” they were able to get delayed in clear violation of the written law itself.
Yes. The Republicans need to continue to insist that the administration follow the law, not just on principle, but to force the Democrats to lie in the bed they unilaterally made. If the Dems want to fix the law, they need to change the law, with both houses of Congress, not “adjust” it.
[Update a few minutes later]
…it is hard to figure out just where the Obama administration is going with all of this.
For employers with more than 50 workers this is a delay not a fix. Employers will only now up the pressure to change the law completely, knowing they have the administration on the political run over these issues. And, small employers will still have to comply with the very costly minimum benefit mandates––really the biggest complaint they have had. Just exactly what is the Obama administration accomplishing with a delay?
What will the administration back off on next? Given the very small exchange enrollment so far coming from the ranks of the uninsured, will they next postpone or eliminate the individual mandate?
No one has been more critical of the various requirements in Obamacare that I have.
But to make an insurance system work you have to have a set of consistent and consistently applied rules. You can’t have some people choosing to be out today and in tomorrow. You can’t have a system where insurers price products based upon one set of conditions and then you keep backing off on the conditions consumers and employers have to follow.
The administration really has three options:
- Full speed ahead––enforce all of the original rules. Just take the political heat believing you have crafted a system that will work. This is what they have been telling us for almost four years now!
- Do a comprehensive and rational fix that provides for a modified system for everyone learning from the mistakes that were made.
- Let it unravel one step at a time caving in to every constituency that threatens a vulnerable Democratic Senator and end up with a worse mess.
Looks to me like they are on track for number three. Ironically, I don’t think these delays will do the Democrats one bit of good for their vulnerable Senators. These aren’t permanent fixes and these concessions will just reinvigorate the people complaining that their cause is justified.
Yes. They’re panicking. And because they’re incompetent, they’re just flailing and playing it by ear at this point, even though they’re completely tone deaf.
[Update a few minutes later]
The officers’ responsibility is to the owners of the company, the shareholders. The business exists to create value, not to provide employment – employing workers is a function of the value added to the enterprise, not the need to create a more favorable election environment for the statist political party. Corporate officers who overlooked material tax consequences would be unfit to be corporate officers.
What is illegal and irrational is not a company’s commonsense deliberation over its costs, it is Obama’s edict. And look what attends this one: criminal prosecution if Obama’s Justice Department decides the business has falsely certified that its staffing decision was not motivated by Obamacare.
Think about that for a second. The waiver is illegal. It flouts the language of the Obamacare statute, under which the employer mandate is required already to have been implemented by now. There is nothing in the law that empowers Obama to waive the mandate, much less to attach lawless conditions to such a lawless waiver. A business that seeks the waiver and fails to pay the mandated tax (in lieu of providing the required coverage) is in violation of federal statutory law, regardless of its compliance with Obama’s outlaw edict. The payments required by the statute, after all, are owed to the public, not to Obama – he’s got no authority to deprive the government of these funds just because it would harm Democrats to collect them.
Yet, Obama proclaims his illegal waiver with impunity – Congress apparently unwilling to stop him. You, on the other hand, will be prosecuted for breaking the “law” if you do not comply to Obama’s satisfaction with the illegal and irrational condition he has unilaterally placed on his illegal waiver.
This is tyranny, plain and simple.
Kevin Williamson takes on an idiot academic:
Labor is a resource, and American labor a particularly valuable one. Sensible people want Americans to work for the same reason that we want to make use of our natural gas and to irrigate California farmland: We want the country to be richer rather than poorer.
This sort of thing is utterly lost on Professor Hunnicutt, who produces from his pocket a particularly stale chestnut regarding Henry Ford, that he believed that paying higher wages was essential to “assuring adequate consumer demand.” I have often heard it said that Henry Ford was a genius for “paying his workers enough to afford his cars.” I very much doubt that Henry Ford believed any such thing, but perhaps he did; he believed a lot of crazy things. The actual history of Ford very strongly suggests that the firm paid market wages, higher than those paid by some similar firms largely because the company had difficulty keeping employees, who were quickly burnt out on its assembly lines. (Ford would sometimes see personnel turnover equivalent to the company’s entire work force in the course of a few months.) “Paid them enough to buy his cars” is a timeless, deathless myth, but it is economically illiterate on its face: Why doesn’t Ferrari pay its workers enough to buy Ferraris? Rolls-Royce? The belief that one can create a functioning consumer market for one’s own goods by overpaying for labor or any other input is magical thinking. But our academics have a weakness for magical thinking.
The newly organized anti-work faction for the most part is little more than the flashing of partisan gang signs: Obamacare apologists are abject, and there simply is no failing in the program that they will not attempt to defend. That is to be expected.
The real problem is that there are people who apparently actually believe this stuff. They have made an elementary conceptual error: National economies are not household economies. There are times in individuals’ lives when leisure becomes more valuable than the return from an additional hour’s work. We take vacations and retire for a reason. But you cannot put a national economy on vacation, much less retire it. To argue that Americans as a whole should work less is to argue that Americans should be poorer.
Yup. But it’s not like these people have even the most basic understanding of economics. They are stuck in the childishness of Marxism in their attitudes, even if they’ve never read a word of his works.
The Democrats and the media bash him for it:
Schumer’s colleague, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, described the Romney administration’s behavior as “the nuclear option.” “This abuse of executive discretion is beyond the pale,” Reid fumed. “I’m a lawyer, I know.” (For more information on the American system of government please take a look at Ezra Klein’s comprehensive explanatory primer, “Our Constitution in Exile: Why Everything President Romney Does Is Illegal,” over at VoxProg. Alternatively, consult Greg Sargent’s excellent Washington Post column, “Article I: A Love Story,” published January 20th, 2013.)
Others went further. “It’s. The. Law,” animated Democratic spokesman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz told reporters at a hastily assembled press conference in Miami, barking out each monosyllable and pounding her fist on her desk. “The terrorist, anarchist, hostage-taking neo-confederates in the Republican Party tried for years to delay this in the legislature and now, simply because they have a Senate they dislike, they are trying to do so with the executive branch. It’s a disgrace to the memory of our Founding Persons and it will not stand.”
Wasserman-Shultz’s claim of impropriety is a strong one, and it echoes Democratic complaints from last June, when President Romney delayed the income tax by two years to allow compliance deadlines to be met and to make sure that he was standing up for the middle class. George Washington University law professor and frequent critic of executive power, Jonathan Turley, broke through tears to tell National Review Online that the development was “merely the latest in an endless series of corruptions, and another devastating step on the road to monarchy.” “D’you know what?” Turley added, his voice cracking. “I’m thinking of moving to Cyprus.”
Despite the criticism, Republican strategists remained sanguine. “What you’re seeing here is the Democratic Party reaping the whirlwind,” a GOP operative explained on condition of anonymity. “This is the train that the last guy set in motion — and he was cheered on by politicians and journalists alike. Can they really complain now our guy has the reins? I think not.”
Those damned Republicans, who don’t give a damn about the law or the Constitution.
Francisco D’Anconia’s speech on a single page.
@Jeff_Foust has a roundup of the current discussion, including last week’s panel at the conference.
Another ObamaCare disaster:
The calorie label clause, buried deep within the ACA’s 10,000 pages, seems harmless enough at first glance. Each restaurant chain with over 20 locations is required to display the calorie content of each food and drink item it serves on signs and printed menus–with vending machine distributors subjected to the same rules. But the regulation also covers “similar retail food establishments,” a clause vague enough to give FDA regulators sweeping power to determine who does and doesn’t have to comply.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg admitted that she “actually thought [calorie labeling] would be one of the more straightforward tasks…but little did I know how complicated it would be.” Hamburg’s concerns are hardly unfounded, but it’s small business owners and franchisees—not FDA bureaucrats—that will feel the most pain under the new law.
What’s particularly stupid is that even if they could make it work without impacting businesses so much, it won’t even do any good, because calories are not what make people obese. All part of the Democrats’ war on science.