Category Archives: big government

“I, Pencil”: A Pointed Little Tale of Economic Wisdom

pencil good

Do you know how to make a pencil?

You know: those classic yellow wooden #2 pencils that most of us over 30 grew up with? Surely something which has been around for so long, yet which even today can be purchased with just a few pennies, must also be cheap and simple to make.

But you know better than that, don’t you? Even considering that there are only four basic parts–the wood, the graphite, the metal ferrule and the eraser–there is obviously a tremendous amount of specialization involved in gathering all the ingredients and assembling them into a marketable, affordable product.

No one person could possibly do it.

Yet if the government decided that the pencil industry was grievously mismanaged (pencil factories have wood shavings on the floors!, yellow is a racist color!, those sharpened points are dangerous!!) and announced it was taking charge…many would claim that was a good thing, as has been claimed so many times before.

After all, none of us could do any better. If the government can solve the problem, we should let them.

Right?

thomas_sowellColumnist Thomas Sowell, in his August 7 editorial, “Busybody Politics”, observes that:

“Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today’s problems are a result of yesterday’s solutions.Continue reading

How the Government *protects* our Tax money: “Spend it or Lose it!!!”

From the group Bankrupting America comes one of the better satire videos in recent memory. A tremendous send-up of NBC’s ‘The Office‘, they’ve re-imagined it as a “normal” Federal Government agency: the “Department of Every Bureaucratic Transaction”, or D.E.B.T..

waste your tax moneyAfter you watch the clip below, make sure you stop over at their website. It covers the everyday waste going on in all areas of our government, and how irresponsible behavior is consistently rewarded. It’s chockablock with other videos, graphics and articles, so take your time looking around.

***NOTE: This video currently has about 10,000 views on YouTube right now. From what I’ve seen, your average cat video can get 30,000A subject THIS important needs to generate waaay more than that.

Just sayin’…

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The Problem with the #IRS isn’t HOW it wields its Power. It’s the Power ITSELF

IRS_logo 555In light of the newest round of IRS hearings on Capital HillI asked myself a basic question: “Why are we even having these hearings”? And I answered myself almost immediately: “to look into why the IRS abused its power”.

….and then it hit me that we already know why the IRS abused its power: because it could.

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(The obvious question being: Smarter than WHAT?): “Obama lays out his Vision for #SMARTER Govt”

Be afraid; be VERY afraid.

(via USAToday) – “President Obama has added events to his Monday schedule — a Cabinet meeting and a statement on his “management agenda” for “smarter government.”

obama rric

In a statement, the White House said Obama will discuss progress in three key areas: “Delivering government services better, smarter and faster … finding ways to reduce waste and save taxpayers money; and … opening up huge amounts of government data to give entrepreneurs and businesses the ability to create jobs and solve problems.”

Hmmm, “BETTER…; SMARTER…; FASTER…“.

Haven’t I heard that phrase before?

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The Tyranny of Arbitrary Laws

Is the United States still the “Land Of The Free”? Well, most of us certainly go through our day believing we are.

Part of that belief is an assumption that, as long as we don’t try to do something wrong, illicit, or illegal, we won’t run afoul of the law. We also assume that if someone DOES blatantly break the law, they’ll be punished for it. Quickly and fairly, those people will be carted off to jail.

monopoly117In years past both of those may have been safe assumptions, yet increasingly they’re no longer the case.

We’re seeing reports almost daily: from the incarceration of the 19-year-old young man who cracked a joke (in extremely bad taste, I agree, but still …just a joke) on Facebook, to the arrest of the 8th-grade kid who refused to remove his NRA t-shirt, to the non-arrest of David Gregory when he openly flouted the actual gun laws of Washington DC late last year.

When kids are threatened with jail for merely wearing clothes, and TV personalities are excused for breaking the law because prosecuting them “would not promote public safety…”, we’ve established two sets of laws:

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Thanks to the #NSA, you’re now an “Enemy of the State” (or you soon could be…)

Enemy Of The State (1998) - 1One of my top twenty movies of all time is Enemy of the State, a 1998 film starring Gene Hackman and Will Smith. If you haven’t seen it, Smith plays a normal guy (married, good job, etc.) who unwittingly gets mixed up in an NSA-ordered murder of a politician. The rest is about what happens to Smith’s life when the NSA decides it needs to rip that life to shreds.

This man, almost overnight, loses his job, his wife, access to his bank account, and is hotly pursued by law enforcement. Through satellites, cameras, and tons of cool tech, he’s tracked everywhere: nowhere seems to be safe. The film’s title is accurate: he literally is made into an Enemy of the State. If it weren’t for Gene Hackman’s character, Smith would have been jailed, or dead, or both.

Back in 1998 this was still relatively fantastical, taken seriously only by the professionally paranoid. We couldn’t have that sort of thing happen in the cradle of freedom and liberty.

Welcome to “Enemy of the State”, circa 2013:

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Dem: “If Conservatives stop applying for Tax Exempt status, the #IRS won’t NEED to hassle ’em…”

For the record, if anyone out there thinks this was a clever or winning argument for this guy to make, I’d be curious to hear your explanation.

During today’s IRS hearings, Democrat Jim McDermott scolded representatives of groups who were victims of the IRS targeting scheme in the most condescending way possible, basically telling them: “Hey, if you guys hadn’t applied for tax exemption, the IRS wouldn’t have had to target you“.

McDermott

Representative Jim “Patronizing Creep” McDermott

Which, to be fair, is a bit like telling a rape victim that “…if you’d just stayed home that day, or if you hadn’t insisted on walking through the park, nothing would have happened, now would it??…”

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The Economics of “Confidence”

LombardiVince Lombardi, the iconic coach of the Green Bay Packers, was responsible for a number of now-famous quotes during his career, but maybe none as famous as this one:

“Confidence is contagious.

So is lack of confidence.”

This mantra for mental attitude (which I first heard from an old coach of mine as a teenager) is being proven on a daily basis in our country today, and I maintain that if it’s not reversed quickly, it will have far-ranging effects on our national psyche.

Lombardi’s aphorism applies directly to our economy, as I believe we are suffering from a national Lack of Confidence. We’ve been enduring a moribund economy for so long now, many of us have forgotten what a good one actually looks like. The reasons for our economic doldrums are complex and varied: current tax policy, the Fed’s monetary policy, “Green Energy“, Unemployment, and many more.

But just as much as any of the factors I listed above, the perceived economic climate is as much or more to blame for the continuation of our troubles as any measurable economic data points. What I mean by that is: do the folks who risk money (in order to make more money) believe that the climate exists here for them to maximize their chance for success?

Largely, the answer to that is a resounding “No”.

And in my humble opinion, the cause for that perception stems directly from the current Administration.

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