Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Cruising the Web

Robert Samuelson explains, once again, why we need to address runaway entitlements. The Democrats are doing a terrible disservice to the country by demagoguing any proposal of reform.
This is an extreme, even fanatical stance. Social Security and Medicare do create a safety net for many millions of poor and near-poor retirees. But for millions of wealthier retirees, they are handouts. Liberals’ unwillingness to admit and act on this distinction has long stifled meaningful budget debate.

And for those of a younger cohort, ponder this fact: A couple retiring in 2010 will have paid in an estimated $116,000 in Medicare taxes while working and will receive and estimated average of $357,000 in benefits. So when you hear about how people should get the money they paid in and they've been promised, remember that they're really just getting money that the younger generation is paying for.

I like this. The statistic that liberals love of how women earn 75% of what men earn is an example of "proofiness."
It’s also an exquisite example of what journalist Charles Seife has dubbed “proofiness.” Proofiness is the use of misleading statistics to confirm what you already believe. Indeed, the 75-cent meme depends on a panoply of apple-to-orange comparisons that support a variety of feminist policy initiatives, from the Paycheck Fairness Act to universal child care, while telling us next to nothing about the well-being of women.
Kay Hymowitz then goes on to explain all the problems with that phony statistic.

John Hawkins has the perfect posterization
of the "tea party downgrade" talking point.

I hope that voters in Wisconsin absorb this fact before they go to vote in the recall elections tomorrow.
Despite early criticism from city officials, new figures show Milwaukee will gain more than it will lose next year from the state's controversial budget and budget-repair legislation.

The city projects it will save at least $25 million a year - and potentially as much as $36 million in 2012 - from health care benefit changes it didn't have to negotiate with unions, as a result of provisions in the 2009-'11 budget-repair measure that ended most collective bargaining for most public employees.

That saving would be partly offset by about $14 million in cuts in state aid to the city in the 2011-'13 state budget, down from earlier estimates of more than $17 million.

As a result, the city would come out with a net gain of at least $11 million for its 2012 budget, slicing into the "structural deficit" created by costs rising faster than revenue, and reducing the spending cuts that Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council must impose.
Of course, that won't change any of the Democratic and teachers' union talking points.

Oh, and by the way, Obama's policies not only haven't kept gas prices down, they've also slowed job growth and added to the deficit.

Stuart Taylor makes a good case as to why the rape charges against DSK should be dropped.

James Taranto is smack on in his critique of the calls for Drew Westen and Joe Klein have made for Obama to get angrier at conservatives.
The Cult of Obama imagined a Good Obama, who was going to inspire hope and transcend America's divisions. Westen and Klein now long for Bad Obama, who would exacerbate those divisions in order to vanquish the "bad guys."

Although Good Obama sounds far more attractive than the actual Obama, the idealized Bad Obama is an incipient fascist. When Klein complains that Obama "has never gone to war on behalf of the American people," he doesn't mean it literally. He uses nationalistic and martial rhetoric to urge a campaign of vilification against putative domestic enemies. Westen regrets that Obama did not resolve to rule in a quasi-authoritarian fashion, making clear to Republicans that "this would not be a power-sharing arrangement."

One is tempted to read into Westen's and Klein's comments a cynical Weisbergian elitism. They seem to be suggesting that the American people are stupid children who would be easily dominated by a father-figure president telling them scary yet ultimately comforting stories about "bad guys" hurting people and "good guys" coming to the rescue....The trouble is that because he is an ineffective leader--inexperienced, inflexible, committed to rotten ideas--his Good side does not inspire confidence and his Bad side does not inspire fear.
Bret Stephens looks to the ancients for assessing Barack Obama.
Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience. Plutarch warned that flattery "makes itself an obstacle and pestilence to great houses and great affairs." Today's White House, more so than any in memory, is stuffed with flatterers.
William McGurn reminds us that elites also swooned over Jimmy Carter.

The wonderful Jim Treacher summed up the Democratic Party position on the S&P downgrade.
Yesterday, the downgrade was fake. Today, the Tea Party caused it. "This isn't happening... and it's all your fault!"
Glenn Reynolds has a great satirical analysis on yesterday's drop on Wall Street.

PRESIDENT DOWNGRADE: Dow Finishes Down 634 Points. Obama’s speech certainly did nothing to slow the drop, though I suppose the White House will argue that it would have been 734 without the speech, meaning that Obama saved or created 100 Dow points . . . .
More info on Obamacare now that they passed it: it seems that spending projects underestimate the costs by about $50 billion a year. It's findings like this that explain why health care entitlements vastly outrun their cost projections.

Tweeters had some fun waiting for Obama to appear for his press appearance yesterday. Here are some more. I like this one:
I’m never 41 minutes late getting to a different part of my house. — @rorycooper
Obama told his donors at a fundraiser last night that it "is not rocket science in terms of how we can create more jobs in this country." So why has he had so much trouble for the last 2 1/2 years?

Steven Horwitz challenges Rachel Maddow to have him on to debate her claims that Herbert Hoover's inaction was the reason why the depression of 1929 became the Great Depression. She's historically ignorant of what Hoover actually did. My AP US History students could also help her out.