And Speaking of True Colors, This Time Red…

This is from the weekend Democratic Party/Union/left wing/MoveOn rally on the mall in Washington.

Power to the people, brother.

This is Ri-Goddamn-diculous

Yes, Ayn Rand could have used an editor to cut at least a third of the book, and maybe John Galt is a little too perfect, but don’t ever again say that the antagonists in Atlas Shrugged — the looters, moochers, regulators, and the incompetent economic royalists — aren’t lifelike.

Hell, the bad guys in Atlas Shrugged actually come off better than this lot.

Bend over cause here it comes.

The legislation would redraw how money flows through the U.S. economy, from the way people borrow money to the way banks structure complicated products like derivatives. It could touch every person who has a bank account or uses a credit card.

And then this.

The government would have broad new powers to seize and wind down large, failing financial firms and to oversee the $600 trillion derivatives market. In addition, a council of regulators, headed by the Treasury secretary, would monitor the financial landscape for potential systemic risks.

Incompetence? Oh yes. We have it in spades.

“No one will know until this is actually in place how it works,” (says Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), who as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee led the effort in the Senate.)

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?

The Regulators: Heads They Win, Tails You Lose

First, let’s take a quick read of an excerpt from Matt Welch at CNN.com 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.

The Fix Is In: Toyota To Get Kangaroo Court

So whatever legitimate problems that Toyota models have, they’re about to get the union thug treatment, courtesy the majority owner of General Motors, also known as the Federal Government.

The U.S. House has issued its conclusions in advance of hearings – saying here’s the verdict, now let’s have the trial.

WASHINGTON — Leading Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Monday that Toyota relied on a flawed study in dismissing the notion that computer issues could be at fault for sticking accelerator pedals, and then made misleading statements about the repairs.

The comments, from Henry A. Waxman, chairman of the committee, and Bart Stupak, a subcommittee chairman, were made in an 11-page letter to James E. Lentz III, the president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. The letter was released Monday on the eve of the committee’s hearing on the Toyota recalls, one of three scheduled.

Kowtowing to union lobbyists, their own vested interest in GM outperforming Toyota, and the fact that Toyota has spent only $24.9 million lobbying versus GM’s $50 million over the last five years — it’s not hard to see why key members of the House committee would embark on a smear campaign. And I’m sorry, but that’s the only way to describe what you’re going to get when you issue your conclusions before you have hearings.

Here’s the best part — even if Toyota presents evidence that vindicates itself, and that shows they were targeted for a public tarring despite the fact that other manufacturers have as many as 10 times as many safety complaints — they won’t be able to do jack or squat about it.

The damage to their reputation among buyers will be done.

Why no recourse? Sovereign immunity.

Seriously — I know American history inside and out, and we’re approaching a level of federal corruption and crony capitalism that eclipses anything short of Tammany Hall. No, this is worse. Boss Tweed was a piker compared to this lot.

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. -P.J. O’Rourke

No Means No, Kiddos

So the voters in the banner-wavingest liberal state yesterday elected an unknown to fill the lifelong seat of the godfather of government-run health care.No+means+no+well+maybe+if+i'm+drunk+-+USD18+close+up

And this unknown, by the way, made basically one unifying promise — I will be the vote that kills government-run health care.

And the Democrat heir who lost — lost — had the full support of the President who made government-run health care his signature issue.

Polls shows the vast majority of Americans oppose government-run health care.

And yet the takeaway for Democrats is: “We really have to pass government-run health care now.”

Wow. It’s like peering into the mind of a date rapist.

Dallas Libertarians Are Talking Health Care

It’s new web series of locally made videos, and here’s the first. This is pretty good stuff.

With government takeover of medical care being sold as “reform” by the administration-directed media, nice to hear some alternative voices.

For specifics on market-based alternatives to government-run health care, Whole Foods CEO John McKay’s list of eight ideas remains one of the most succinct and thoughtful.

1. Remove the legal obstacles which slow the creation of high deductible health insurance plans and Health Savings Accounts. The combination of high deductible health insurance and Health Savings Accounts is one solution that could solve many of our health care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high deductible health insurance plan, and provides up to $1,800 per year in additional health care dollars through deposits into their own Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness. Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan’s costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of team member satisfaction.


2. Change the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have exactly the same tax benefits. Right now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible for employers but private health insurance is not. This is unfair.


3. Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that health insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable everywhere.


4. Repeal all government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance many billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual health insurance customer preferences and not through special interest lobbying.


5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors into paying insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are ultimately being passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.


6. Make health care costs transparent so that consumers will understand what health care treatments cost. How many people know what their last doctor’s visit cost? What other goods or services do we as consumers buy without knowing how much they will cost us? We need a system where people can compare and contrast costs and services.


7. Enact Medicare reform: we need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and move towards greater patient empowerment and responsibility.


8. Permit individuals to make voluntary tax deductible donations on their IRS tax forms to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP or any other government program.