From May, 2013

Scandal Watch (The Saga that Won’t End)

The latest: The IRS targeting of conservative groups is only a “so-called scandal” in the eyes of some, who coincidentally, probably don’t like conservatives all that much. Equally coincidental, I am sure, those calling the IRS scandal a “so-called scandal” are members of the media, which we are repeatedly assured is never ideologically biased and treats both sides of the partisan divide fairly and honorably. Rich Lowry points out that the IRS scandal–which really is much more than a “so-called scandal”–“is a scandal of administrators and bureaucrats, of otherwise faceless people endowed with immense power over their fellow citizens and running free…

Scandal Watch (A Continuing Series)

So, let’s review the latest: Concerning the IRS scandal, we learn that Lois Lerner was “directly involved” in the targeting of conservative groups. This included signing letters that contained “a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate.” Organizing for Action is a 501(c)(4), which means that it is supposed to act in a non-partisan capacity when engaging in advocacy. So naturally, the president of the United States–who is anything but non-partisan–has signed a fundraising letter on behalf of Organizing for Action, which includes a request to register at this site, which as you…

A Good Pope

This is the kind of leader the Vatican so desperately needs and needed in order to win back hearts and minds and in order to overcome the scandals that have plagued the Catholic Church over the past few years: Pope Francis has revealed for the first time the reasons for his decision to shun the official papal apartments and instead live in a much more modest Vatican ‘hotel’.He has told a friend that he likes being in daily contact with ordinary people, does not want to be isolated and enjoys sitting down to meals with visiting clergy.The Pope, 76, who…

Quote of the Day

. . . The President’s view is not necessarily statist in the sense that everything must come from government. He holds the fairly standard view that markets should be robust, but that market failures and other societal needs require government action. His views about the size of government are of course more expansive than that of most readers of this blog, but they are not out of the mainstream: they summarize the standard progressive position. Yet it is not this antinomy between large versus small government that I want to discuss here. It is, rather, the President’s concept of legitimacy of…

Is Our Deficits Shrinking?

President Obama claims that they are. Keith Hennessey has a better grasp on the facts: CBO projects that under current law we would have a deficit of 4% of GDP for 2013, meaning that our debt/GDP will continue to rise. CBO further projects that under the President’s budget we would have a deficit of 4.2% of GDP for 2013, slightly higher than their projected deficit under current law.President Obama’s words:  Our deficits are shrinking at the fastest rate in decades.Translation 1:  The rate at which we’re rolling backwards is slowing dramatically.or Translation 2:  Our debt problem is getting worse much more slowly than in recent years.That is…

Is Obamacare Affordable?

There has been some celebrating on the port side ever since stories like this one came out, indicating that premium costs associated with the Affordable Care Act–Obamacare–are, well, affordable. We are to believe that  [b]ased on the premiums that insurers have submitted for final regulatory approval, the majority of Californians buying coverage on the state’s new insurance exchange will be paying less—in many cases, far less—than they would pay for equivalent coverage today. And while a minority will still end up writing bigger premium checks than they do now, even they won’t be paying outrageous amounts. Meanwhile, all of these consumers will…

People Who Are Against Genetically Modified Foods Are Ill-Informed, and Willing to Let Millions Starve to Death

Read all about it. And remember the port side’s insane, completely unjustified opposition to genetically modified foods the next time that someone tells you that the American left and center-left has some kind of monopoly on respect for science and the scientific method. Oh, and be sure to watch the video: Anyone really surprised to find out that members of the anti-GMO crowd are unbelievably uneducated, completely weird, and boast at least one individual who refuses to vaccinate her kids because of the entirely invalid fear that vaccines promote autism? By the way, I am sure that these folks are…

I for One Welcome Our New Robot Therapists

Soon, we will have virtual therapists. I presume that there will be options to install Jungian or Freudian programs in specific therapist models. Query: Will the virtual therapists smoke virtual pipes during sessions? Will top models come equipped with Austrian accents?

THIS Is “Austerity”?

Paul Roderick Gregory begs to differ with the notion that Europe is in the grips of austerity: The Keynesian stimulus crowd blames austerity for the world’s economic woes without bothering to examine facts. I advise them first to consult my colleague at the German Institute for Economic Research (Georg Erber, I See Austerity Everywhere But in the Statistics), who, unlike them,  has actually taken the time to examine the European Union’s statistics as compiled by its statistical agency, Eurostat.The official Keynesian story is that the PIIGS of Europe (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have been devastated by cutbacks in public spending.…

Nice Work If You Can Get It

$156,000 a year for eating my fill and napping for two hours in the office before I go home? A $1,400/month food allowance? Where do I sign up? Some labor supporters think that the decline of the labor movement is due to evil conservatives and their evil ways. But perhaps they should contemplate the possibility that labor’s decline is due to the fact that the talent pool in the labor movement is not what it used to be.