Concluded: The Stimulus is an Epic Fail

It’s been proven time and again that FDR’s New Deal actually worsened the Great Depression. Keynesian economics just don’t work, not matter what trollish hacks like Paul Krugman preach.

Now a study from Harvard Business School shocks its very authors, who are surprised to find that increased government spending results in increased unemployment.

Recent eesearch at Harvard Business School began with the premise that as a state’s congressional delegation grew in stature and power in Washington, D.C., local businesses would benefit from the increased federal spending sure to come their way.

It turned out quite the opposite. In fact, professors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloy discovered to their surprise that companies experienced lower sales and retrenched by cutting payroll, R&D, and other expenses. Indeed, in the years that followed a congressman’s ascendancy to the chairmanship of a powerful committee, the average firm in his state cut back capital expenditures by roughly 15 percent, according to their working paper, “Do Powerful Politicians Cause Corporate Downsizing?”

“It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman’s state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending,” Coval reports.

So, you wonder why unemployment is so high and this recession has lasted twice as long as normal recessions?

Here’s why.

Did I do that?

Did I do that?

TX Sen. John Cornyn Joins Forces with Chief Senate Scold in Fearmongering

Citing the usual fear-mongering trifecta of terrorists, drug dealers and gang members, Cornyn has joined Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. — a man who can’t name a single aspect of American life that is off-limits to the federal government — in a campaign against pre-paid cell phones.

Despite there being absolutely no constitutional grounds, Cornyn and Schumer would require buyers of prepaid cell phones to present identification and require phone companies to keep that information on file, similar to what they have to do with users of landline phones and subscription-based cell phones.

This, of course, would be the end of that industry. The three selling points of pre-paids: they are cheaper since they don’t have a whole records infrastructure to maintain, they are convenient since they require no contracts and even ID, and they are secure your privacy.

Cornyn and Schumer are partners in selling fear and expanding the reach of government. At least Schumer is honest; Cornyn pretends he’s for limited government.

Both are selling freedom so that you’ll buy fear.

MADD’s Jihad Against All Drinking Continues; CBS 11 Contributes

And CBS 11′s Jay Gormley is right there with them.

Gormley should know better. He should be ashamed of the schmaltzy, one-sided reporting.

MADD has always banked on using emotion and tragedy to trump reason and freedom, and Gormley follows their playbook spending a third of his story on milking grief from the friend of a drunk driving victim. This sets the reader up for a bypass of reason, making the idea of a mandate for all cars to have alcohol sensors seem reasonable.

Look, MADD is not about drunk driving — they’re prohibitionists. They don’t want people drinking at all. They don’t like people knowing that it’s perfectly legal and safe for a full size adult male to have a couple of beers and drive.

And when you use their sob story tactics in your story, you’re being a lazy, sloppy reporter.

Local TV news reporters, by and large, have little imagination and even less education. There’s nary a problem they see that doesn’t demand government intervention, because by reporting problems as such they can pretend to be watchdogs and “on your side.”

This isn’t the worst example; it’s just sadly typical.

Um, No, Not Really, Mr. Mayor

Look, let me say first I love downtown Dallas as much as anyone else. I live in the DFW because I love the DFW*.

And then today I read this little platitude from Mayor Leppert.

You all have understood, that so goes downtown, so goes Dallas, and so goes North Texas.

Um, not really. In fact, hard statistics for the past 30 years show otherwise. Despite decades of valiant efforts, downtown Dallas consistently has the worst rate of occupancy for both commercial and residential real estate.

This has been true consistently despite both booms and busts everywhere else in the DFW area. During several periods of massive population, retail, spending and business growth all over DFW, downtown Dallas has still just plodded along well behind the rest of the pack.

Downtown Dallas may be important to our hearts, but what happens to downtown Dallas has almost zero impact on the rest of the Dallas-Fort Worth economy. Downtown is not the core of Dallas-Fort Worth — it’s just one more submarket in a huge metropolitan area that has no center.

* (offer void in Garland)

In Print This Month: A Look at Bill McNutt

On your news stand or in your mailbox, the June issue of D Magazine with my feature on Bill McNutt, the alumnus arrested and now under the spotlight.

Here’s a teaser. Follow the link for the full story.


The details of Bill McNutt’s February arrest—at least the details that have been made public—don’t add up. The prominent SMU alumnus had been banned from campus since November 2008. A university official would later tell the Dallas Morning News that SMU had “heard reports of alleged questionable behavior that caused concern among some students.” McNutt had dinner parties at his house, and he invited students to them. Alcohol was available. So was a masseuse. Several people told the News that the dinners were “creepy,” and girls felt pressured to undress for a private massage in a mirrored back room.

But even if true, none of that was illegal. So why would the university ban a donor and the founding president of the Young Alumni Association from campus? And why, if he was banned, did McNutt continue to receive personal invitations to on-campus functions from members of the administration? The administration was saying one thing; SMU Police Chief Rick Shafer was saying another. He warned McNutt that he was “not welcome on the SMU campus for any reason whatsoever.”

Rand Paul is Right About What’s Wrong With Civil Rights Law

As Matt Welch noted earlier, Republican senatorial hopeful Rand Paul is taking heat for criticizing those sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibit discrimination by private businesses. As Paul’s interview last night with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow indicates, many on the left see Paul’s libertarian position on this issue as a tacit endorsement of racism (or worse). As Maddow put it, “unless it’s illegal, there’s nothing to stop that—there’s nothing under your world view to stop the country from re-segregating like we were before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

Of course, Paul was pretty clear that he supports the federal desegregation of public schools and the federal enforcement of voting rights, as well as most of the other provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, so it’s unlikely we’ll see any wholesale re-segregating if his “world view” ever reaches the commanding heights. Maddow can rest easy.

But this controversy does raise the very important topic of the government’s central role in American racism. First and foremost, Jim Crow was a legal regime, one that relied on state and local laws to restrict the political, social, and economic liberty of African Americans. Those laws interfered with the right to vote, to acquire property, to contract, to travel, to associate, to marry, and to keep and bear arms. Under the 14th Amendment, state and local governments are forbidden from violating such rights. Yet as we all know, the courts only selectively enforced the 14th Amendment during the Jim Crow era. Indeed, the Supreme Court has yet to enforce the 14th Amendment when it comes to gun rights. But none of that changes the fact that we’re talking primarily about state action, not about some failure of the free market.

It’s also important to acknowledge that economic rights are not in some inherent conflict with civil rights. In fact, we have significant historical evidence showing that legally enforced property rights (and other forms of economic liberty) actually undermined the Jim Crow regime. Most famously, the NAACP won its first Supreme Court victory in 1917 by arguing that a residential segregation law was a racist interference with property rights under the 14th Amendment.

Finally, keep in mind that Plessy v. Ferguson, the notorious 1896 Supreme Court decision that enshrined “separate but equal” into law and become a symbol of the Jim Crow era, dealt with a Louisiana law that forbid railroad companies from selling first-class tickets to blacks. That’s not a market failure, it’s a racist government assault on economic liberty.


Compelling Profile of Rand Paul in…Salon?

Yep. Surprising, isn’t it? Rand is the physician son of Ron Paul — the old Texas OB libertarian/Republican with some great ideas, uncompromising principles, and two failed presidential runs under his belt. Ron, sadly, is neither the kind who can carry national elections nor is free from the baggage of his past.

Rand, however, is on the rise and he has none of the ancient history problems his father did, but all of his father’s commitment to principle, and a uniting personality to boot.

How Rand Paul became the Tea Party’s Obama

His father’s libertarian army and Rush Limbaugh’s “Dittoheads” aren’t natural allies. But Rand Paul has united them

Rand Paul’s success can be understood in the genealogy of the Tea Party movement. Its viral and decentralized traits, the intellectual foundations of its libertarianism, and its fundraising tactics all come from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.

The first Tea Party event of the Obama era was arguably a Ron Paul “money bomb” fundraiser; and the story of that event is the primal example of how the medium of the Internet and the power of American mythology have combined to unify a movement of militant individualists.md_horiz


The political genius of Paul is his ability to cultivate a narrative that speaks to all strains of the Tea Party movement at once. After all, the libertarian purists who loved Ron Paul’s dissident truth-telling are not natural allies of the Limbaugh Dittoheads who dismissed him as an eccentric. He sings his libertarianism in the key of Glenn Beck – and he is writing a Republican playbook for the tea party era, turning grassroots energy into electoral power. Now, less than a week before the primary, polls show Paul’s lead over Grayson approaching 20 points. He also leads both of his potential Democratic challengers in the general election polling.

Read it all here.

More on Rand here.

h/t Hit n Run

Brilliant Defense of Southern Heritage from a Liberal, Muslim Doctor


I am tired of apologising. I apologised for being Muslim, post-9/11 and more recently for my Pakistani origins. Now, I apologise for being a southerner too. When an environmental catastrophe erupted in my backyard, I looked to the media to scvlogo2tell our stories and instead, found quotes from experts ruminating on energy policy. Where are the restaurant owners in the French Quarter who still haven’t caught their breath after Katrina swallowed their lives? What about the fishermen? While recently rubbing elbows with fellow liberals from the east and west coasts, I felt that their disdain for the lives of the south was palpable. This led to my quest: to understand why mouths drip with condescension for the south, and particularly its people.

Read the full column here.

(Naturally she had to seek publication in a British newspaper.)


hat tip: Vines & Cattle

This Isn’t Double-Plus Ungood Disturbing