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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cruising the Web

Gosh, those GOP delegate allocation rules are so complicated. Even though supposedly only state contests after March are supposed to have winner-take-all awarding of delegates, some states have enacted rules whereby a candidate who wins over 50% of the vote would get all or almost all the delegates. As more candidates will drop out after losses in the early states, it will be easier for a candidate to score over 50%.

The Obama administration has been ignoring due diligence in how it has enacted new regulations. Despite Obama's pretense, they're not studying the costs and benefits of new regulations.

David Brooks outlines the reasons why the progressive era is not the model for today's economy. A lot as changed in the past century.

Jeff Jacoby reminds us of a theme I've long advocated - our Founding Fathers intended us to have gridlock in the federal government.
The Framers of the Constitution never expected Congress to clear the decks for sweeping presidential action. They weren’t troubled by fears that America would be rendered “ungovernable’’ by the ease with which new laws or major policy changes could be delayed or derailed. What the smart set bewails today as “gridlock’’ or “brinksmanship’’ or an “agenda of pure nihilism,’’ the architects of the American system regarded as indispensable checks and balances. They knew how flawed human beings can be, and how ardently propelled by their passions and ideals.
Justice Scalia was singing this tune earlier this year when he told the Senate Judiciary Committee that we should learn to love the gridlock.

Mark Titus inaugurates a great sportswriting gimmick: give three possible scenarios and have people guess which one was the actual Dick Vitale digression to jump from an Indiana Hoosiers game to talking about Andrew Luck. He calls it "Dick's Degrees of Separation" as he challenges readers to distinguish fake Dickie V tangential digressions from the real one. I can't do it.

Another strike against Ron Paul: a commenter led me to this post at Red State reminding us that, after losing the nomination fight in 2008, Ron Paul endorsed the eternally noxious Cynthia McKinney. And he also endorsed Ralph Nader. Yeah, as if they're such big libertarians. How does that fit in with his claim to be so consistent?

David Allott finds eerie similarities
between Newt Gingrich and Alan Keyes.

What a shame: New York Times employees are angry at management. One complaint is that outgoing executives are getting extremely generous severance packages while other employees have experienced pay cuts and layoffs. Oh, the irony.


tfhr said...

I'm not a fan of Brooks but he is exactly right with these remarks:

One hundred years ago, we had libertarian economics but conservative values. Today we have oligarchic economics and libertarian moral values — a bad combination.

In sum, in the progressive era, the country was young and vibrant. The job was to impose economic order. Today, the country is middle-aged but self-indulgent. Bad habits have accumulated. Interest groups have emerged to protect the status quo. The job is to restore old disciplines, strip away decaying structures and reform the welfare state. The country needs a productive midlife crisis.

The progressive era is not a model; it is a foil. It provides a contrast and shows us what we really need to do.

And I say more government isn't going to get us there.

tfhr said...

Scalia's comments, to no surprise, were on target.

I noticed some of the reader remarks in opposition that followed the Hot Air article hinted that there was a flaw in the case made for gridlock. To those individuals I would point out, in the same way that Scalia made his reference about Hamilton and the volume of legislation of the founders' era, that today's government is so pervasive in our everyday lives through intrusive regulations as well as excessive legislation, that we've allowed government to take far too great a role in our lives so that "gridlock" impacts us in ways that didn't exist in the days before FDR's and Lyndon Johnson's welfare state.

equitus said...

Good posts, tfhr. Thanks.

As for "stripping away decaying structures," there doesn't seem to be any means to do this. Laws accumulate inexorably, with complexity and contradiction. Gridlock will also impede reform.

Seems like it would help to require all laws to be renewed at some interval, so that bad ones can simply go away.

tfhr said...


No problem. Betsy lined up some good ones and I enjoyed reading them.

A sunset provision, as you suggest, would answer the mail for many of these specific laws and regulations that out-lived any usefulness they may have ever had. The only problem with sun setting is that it can also throw a wrench into the long term planning that is so important for business. I don’t trust our Congress to find the right balance of time when their special interests are potentially at risk.

I think TERM LIMITS - a means to put an end to the root of the problem, a protected political class, are the best means to achieve reform across the political spectrum. When Congressmen have to actually LIVE WITH THEIR LEGISLATION, they will be more concerned with the impact they have on the rest of us as they can be expected to return to the ranks.

The idea that "serving" in Congress is a public service is a sick joke these days. Two terms and out. If you want to run for a seat in the other house or pursue a "career", you should have to do it where incumbency and it's army of accumulated special interests cannot prevail to preserve the status quo but rather where your ideas are more important than your connections. I'd also slash Congressional staffs by at least 60% and reduce their travel and administrative budgets by the same amount.

Gridlock offers only so much protection and to the degree that our "representatives" have insinuated themselves into our everyday lives, I don't think it is possible to right this ship until we've thrown enough of them off and reduced the weight and drag of those that will remain.