Seriously, People


The Regulators: Heads They Win, Tails You Lose

First, let’s take a quick read of an excerpt from Matt Welch at today on whether economic regulations were cut or strengthened over the past decade:

Expecting regulators to do their job well, let alone magically prevent whatever private-sector outcomes we do not like, is as fantastical as the assertion that George W. Bush was a deregulatory president.

Wait, what? Didn’t we just read in Time magazine that “From the start, Bush embraced a governing philosophy of deregulation”? That’s a comforting narrative for those trying to “restore” regulatory oversight of Wall Street. But it’s false.

According to Mercatus Center economist Veronique de Rugy, federal expenditure on regulatory enforcement in finance and banking, when adjusted for inflation, “rose 29 percent from 2001 to 2009, making it hard to argue that Bush deregulated the financial sector.” This was a sharp break from Bill Clinton, who actually cut financial regulation spending by 3 percent, de Rugy found.

The last major bit of financial market regulatory overhaul, which has already disappeared down the public memory hole, was the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of the Enron debacle and other corporate scandals.

When signing it into law, Bush declared: “No more easy money for corporate criminals, just hard time. …The era of low standards and false profits is over.” I guess someone forgot to tell Bernie Madoff.

But does it matter?

To the mind of the pro-regulation, anti-free market set, all outcomes are evidence of the need for more government regulation of business.

If there’s a breakdown, loophole or Enron-scam, it’s a sign of the need for more regulation.

If things run smoothly, it’s a sign we need more of the regulation that keeps things running smoothly.

We Need to Shop Around More

“Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society,” said Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes.

Civilized, huh?

Election 2012 Poll: Dead Heat Between Obama and…Ron Paul?

Yes sir. Change we can believe in.

And just to clarify, Paul stopped campaigning in mid 2008.

Interim President Obama, meanwhile, has been on the campaign trail non-stop since 2004 through today.

How does it break among independents? That’s the real shocker:

Obama earns 79% support from Democrats, but Paul gets just 66% of GOP votes.

Voters not affiliated with either major party give Paul a 47% to 28% edge over the president.

Let’s Just Drop All This Light Rail, Public Transportation Nonsense

Because it doesn’t make any sense, no one wants it, and it costs too much.

Despite spending hundreds of millions on light rail and commuter rail, rail transit has had virtually no impact on the transportation habits of the region’s residents. In 1990, before any rail was operating, 2.7 percent of the region’s commuters took transit to work. By 2008, when the region had nearly 75 miles of rail transit, just 2.2 percent of commuters took transit to work. Like other regions, Dallas-Ft. Worth has attempted to promote transit-oriented developments along its rail lines. Unlike regions in Oregon, California, and a few other states, Texas municipal governments can wield only carrots, not sticks, in promoting such developments, as Texas law does not allow counties to zone unincorporated areas. As a result, transit planners must rely solely on subsidies rather than urban-growth boundaries and their effects on land prices.

(h/t Rodger Jones)

Reason #312 No One Takes the New York Times Seriously

Just, damn.

In a Q&A with U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul, the New York Times interviewer actually nags Paul.

NYT: But in light of your distrust of the federal government, where are you on an issue like seat belts? Federal legislation requiring people to wear seat belts could obviously save lives.
Paul: I think the federal government shouldn’t be involved. I don’t want to live in a nanny state where people are telling me where I can go and what I can do.

NYT: You shouldn’t trivialize issues of health and safety by calling them nanny issues.
Paul: The question is, do you want to live in a nanny state where the government tells you what you can eat, where you can smoke, where you can live, what you can do, or would you rather have some freedom, and freedom means that things aren’t perfect?

More Guns = Less Crime

21095You know how when people like me advocate that more people carry guns in public, up pop the Chicken Littles who claim the streets will turn into something like out of the Old West?

The truth is, you could only hope that would be the case.

How many murders do you suppose these old western towns saw a year? Let’s say the bloodiest, gun-slingingest of the famous cattle towns with the cowboys doing quick-draws at high noon every other day. A hundred? More?

How about five? That was the most murders any old-west town saw in any one year. Ever. You were way more likely to be murdered in Baltimore in 2008 than you were in Tombstone in 1881, the year of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral (body count: three) and the town’s most violent year ever.

This Seems Familiar

Isn’t this pretty much in line with the current administration’s agenda?

(Parentheticals are my own paraphrasing)


Democracy would be wholly valueless if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures … ensuring the livelihood of the people. The main measures, emerging as the necessary result of existing relations, are the following:

  • Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes.
  • Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and shipowners … through competition by state industry
  • (Civil asset forfeiture)
  • Organization of labor in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state. (National Card Check)
  • Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank
  • Increase in the number of national factories (Nationalization of banks, the auto industry, medicine)
  • Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost.
  • Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation. (Public transportation, high-speed rail, light rail)

It is impossible, of course, to carry out all these measures at once. But one will always bring others in its wake. Once the first radical attack on private property has been launched, the people will find itself forced to go ever further, to concentrate increasingly in the hands of the state all capital, all agriculture, all transport, all trade.

All the foregoing measures are directed to this end; and they will become practicable and feasible, capable of producing their centralizing effects to precisely the degree that the people, through its labor, multiplies the country’s productive forces.