We need a fat president. Or at least one who rarely thinks and never speaks about how he looks in jeans. And one who doesn’t spend his day testing his wits against a Hollywood stoner or bantering with Ryan Seacrest while a European ally is being pummeled by Russia. And one who would rather spend his time working than working out, even if it means putting on a few pounds.
There are many who have expressed the opinion over the years that the United States should go down some sort of “revolutionary” road. The topic has come up repeatedly in various areas of what was Tickerforum and I have repeatedly slapped it down, noting that only a fool who pays no attention to history pines for such a thing irrespective of how bad you may think the situation is.
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Folks, the simple fact is that odds are 100:1 you’re going to get a bad result when you go down the road of violence. There are far too many people who think that when you take such a path you get a Thomas Jefferson moment.
The fact is that most of the time what you actually get is a Pinochet moment.
There are many means of non-violent action, including but not limited to withdrawing your consent by working less and reducing your footprint — and thus the ability of government to sustain its own size.
That’s lawful, by the way.
What raises my eyebrows are those who argue that this sort of perfectly-lawful choice will never work because the people won’t do it, yet at the same time they want to make noise about committing violence. Well, not only will most people not go along with that, but in addition the odds of a good outcome from getting involved in violence are much smaller than the odds from taking lawful and peaceful action instead!
For most of US history, crony capitalism has been in a struggle with free-market capitalism for the heart and soul of the American economy. For the past half century, crony capitalism has been gaining the upper hand. There are many reasons why, all of which can be traced to the insatiable desire of the state to gain and hold power.
1. It’s not about college, it’s about college-for-all.
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2. How do you calculate a college wage premium?
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3. So, what policies might add marginal students in a productive manner?
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4. By the way, what do basic descriptive data say about college students?
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5. If college is sometimes just “signaling,” what are the policy implications?
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There are reasons to think that some people might benefit from more education than they’re getting now. But at the same time, there remain reasons to be highly skeptical of the push to dramatically expand college attendance.
Ai yi yi. And he wants more subsidies and even less of a free market in education. Higher ed is already mostly “non-profit” and free of burdensome taxes, and funded with government money in the form of grants and student loans.
This same industry, despite its legal status as a public charity, is today driven by motives indistinguishable from the profit-maximizing entities traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
The coming of “academic capitalism” has been anticipated and praised for years; today it is here. Colleges and universities clamor greedily these days for pharmaceutical patents and ownership chunks of high-tech startups; they boast of being “entrepreneurial”; they have rationalized and outsourced countless aspects of their operations in the search for cash; they fight their workers nearly as ferociously as a nineteenth-century railroad baron; and the richest among them have turned their endowments into in-house hedge funds.
Now, consider the seventeen-year-old customer against whom this predatory institution squares off. He comes loping to the bargaining table armed with about the same amount of guile that, a few years earlier, he brought to Santa’s lap in the happy holiday shopping center. You can be sure that he knows all about the imperative of achieving his dreams, and the status that will surely flow from the beloved institution. Either he goes to college like the rest of his friends, or he goes to work.
He knows enough about the world to predict the kind of work he’ll get with only a high school diploma in his pocket, but of the ways of the University he knows precious little. He is the opposite of a savvy consumer. And yet here he comes nevertheless, armed with the ability to pay virtually any price his dream school demands that he pay. All he needs to do is sign a student loan application, binding himself forever and inescapably with a financial instrument that he only dimly understands and that, thanks to the optimism of adolescence, he has not yet learned to fear.
The disaster that the university has proceeded to inflict on the youth of America, I submit, is the direct and inescapable outcome of this grim equation. Yes, in certain reaches of the system the variables are different and the yield isn’t quite as dreadful as in others. But by and large, once all the factors I have described were in place, it was a matter of simple math. Grant to an industry control over access to the good things in life; insist that it transform itself into a throat-cutting, market-minded mercenary; get thought leaders to declare it to be the answer to every problem; mute any reservations the nation might have about it—and, lastly, send it your unsuspecting kids, armed with a blank check drawn on their own futures.
“We do see pressure on small private colleges as a group and that’s primarily because they don’t have a lot of different things they can do, so they are primarily dependent on tuition revenue,” said a Moody’s analyst, Edie Behr.
Moody’s has pointed out the fiscal dangers of colleges relying on a small number of revenue streams.
These columns recently interrupted the coronation for Ron Binz to become one of President Obama’s key energy regulators, and apparently reporting on his record is a violation of Capitol Hill decorum. We’re happy to have the story to ourselves because there is so much more that Senators ought to scrutinize before they vote on his nomination this fall.
“Ron Binz’s Rules for Radicals” (July 30) questioned his fitness to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, whose narrow mandate involves interstate energy transmission and protecting the U.S. electric grid’s reliability and affordability. The White House wants to conscript FERC for the climate wars—and now environmentalists and crony capitalists are teaming up to install their man inside this supposedly independent body.
The New Aristocracy includes our political class and its hangers on, crony capitalists, most bureaucrats, “public servants” like Eliot Spitzer, “celebrities”, most journalists, “the media”, limousine liberals, big banks, Wall Street, most academics, public employee unions, race hustlers, diversity “trainers”, “environmentalists”, and “progressives” of all stripes.
One of the strangest things about the modern progression in liberal thought is its increasing comfort with elitism and high style. Over the last 30 years, the enjoyment of refined tastes, both material and psychological, has become a hallmark of liberalism — hand in glove with the art of professional altruism, so necessary to the guilt-free enjoyment of the good life. Take most any contemporary issue, and the theme of elite progressivism predominates.
If professional sports aren’t euvoluntary enough to survive on their own merits, then maybe more of us should hit the big orgs like FIFA, the NFL, and the NCAA where it hurts: right smack dab in the pocketbook. We may not have favelas in the States, but we do have a large, nearly unanimous literature that clearly states: “independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development.” (Siegfried & Zimbalist, JEP 2000)
Want to make money on the drug war? Start a company that builds military equipment, then sell that gear to local police departments. Thanks to the generation-long trend toward more militarized police forces, there’s now massive and growing market for private companies to outfit your neighborhood cops with gear that’s more appropriate for a battlefield.
Some of this is decades-old news. For over 25 years, the Pentagon has been supplying surplus military equipment to police agencies across the country, largely in the name of fighting the drug war. In fact, in as early as 1968 Congress passed a law authorizing the military to share gear with domestic police agencies. But it was in 1987 that Washington really formalized the practice, with a law instructing the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Attorney General to notify local law enforcement agencies each year about what surplus gear was available. The law established an office in the Pentagon specifically to facilitate such transfers, and Congress even set up an 800 number that sheriffs and police chiefs could call to inquire about the stuff they could get. The bill also instructed the General Services Administration to produce a catalog from which police agencies could make their Christmas lists.
I broke the law yesterday and again today and I will probably break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that I have broken some laws, rules, or regulations recently because its hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Harvey Silverglate argues that a typical American commits three felonies a day. I think that number is too high but it is easy to violate the law without intent or knowledge. Most crimes used to be based on the common law and ancient understandings of wrong (murder, assault, theft and so on) but today there are thousands of federal criminal laws that bear no relation to common law or common understanding.
“Increasingly CEOs are seeing the need to get engaged because the government more often than not is a business partner that can affect their bottom line positively, or negatively,” said Nick Calio, a Washington veteran who now heads the trade group Airlines for America.
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CEOs have also been welcomed with open arms by political leaders looking to take on major issues like immigration reform, tax policy and the deficit and debt [Ed., and campaign contributions, all for the public good of course].
The Obama administration has brought business leaders into the White House repeatedly in his second term on issues like cyber security, immigration and the economy [Ed., and campaign contributions, all for the public good of course].
Earlier this month Obama met privately with energy CEOs in preparation for hurricane season. Attendees included: Tony Alexander of FirstEnergy, Chris Crane of Exelon, Lew Hay of NextEra Energy and Joe Rigby of Pepco.
He also huddled in April with Wall Street execs in an effort to sell them on his fiscal policy plans. That group included Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan’s Dimon, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, John Stumpf of Wells Fargo, among others.
[As the federal government gets bigger and bigger, enabled by Congress] “I think there’s more to lose now than there has been in the past,” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter with the McCormick Group. “So losing a big legislative fight has more of an impact on the bottom line than it did in the past, and therefore there’s a higher cost for failure.”
Goldman Sachs, Facebook, GE, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Exelon, NextEra Energy, Pepco, FirstEnergy, GM, Airlines for America, T. Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet – special interests and crony capitalists all, and all TBTF.
Buck McKeon’s family is getting into the defense lobbying game.
A firm run by the California Republican’s brother and nephews has landed five lobbying clients, according to newly filed disclosure forms. Each one lists “defense” as an issue area.
As chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, McKeon has major influence over the Pentagon’s annual spending plan — not to mention a last name recognizable to almost anyone in the defense industry. So, the congressman says he’s trying to avoid even the perception of any conflict of interest.