Quick Roundup 14

Monday, January 30, 2006

Harrop: Blame it on Greenspan!

Froma Harrop, although she writes well and occasionally makes very good observations, is, for the most part, content to remain centered in the box of liberal orthodoxy. So why bother reading her at all? For the occasional incisive observation (not my subject today) and because she's a pretty good indicator of how the left might spin a given issue.

With the departure of Alan Greenspan from the Federal Reserve, Harrop reveals how the left hopes to spin the economic chaos it hopes will occur in his wake. It will blame Greenspan!

[Greenspan] will be remembered for encouraging Democrats to dispense the harsh medicine needed to deal with budget deficits, then helping Republicans fill the punch bowl.

In 1993, Greenspan was all for the tax increases in Clinton's deficit-reduction budget proposal. The plan, which passed without one Republican vote, signaled to the financial markets that America was serious about taming deficits. Thanks to a booming economy and new tax revenues, Clinton left the White House with a federal budget surplus of $127 billion -- and projected surpluses of over $5 trillion.

Come 2001, Republican George Bush is in office, and Greenspan is giving the nod to steep tax cuts. The surpluses vanish, and deficits metastasize. The federal budget deficit this year is expected to top $400 billion. (The Bush people, who insisted that the projected Clinton surpluses were never real, nonetheless used them to justify their tax cuts.)

Greenspan started expressing concern over the mounting budget deficits, but never fully disavowed the tax cuts. Last year, he said he'd prefer to leave the tax cuts in place and instead reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Harrop, who advocates socialized medicine (first link above), spends several paragraphs making Greenspan sound like a hypocrite before perfunctorily noting that he actually did say that tax cuts must be accompanied by spending cuts.

But obviously, to a liberal anyway, we can't cut spending, so Greenspan is a quack.

There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy with Greenspan, who once advocated a return to the gold standard, but failing to rein in spending (which he could not do) and supporting tax cuts while a supposedly small-government party controls both houses and the Presidency are not among them.

The Google Archipelago

Diana Hsieh shows us, through the miracle of modern technology, what the difference is between freedom and censorship.

In the meantime, the Gaijin Biker speculates on a new corporate motto for Google in the lead-in to a roundup.

Multiculturalism vs. Hermione Granger

Via Bothenook is a story about how one courageous British school has moved to end the barbaric practice of -- gasp -- permitting kids who know their lessons to raise their hands in class.
Pupils in an East London school have been banned from raising their hands to answer questions in class because their teachers fear it leads to feelings of victimization.

"No hands up" notices have been posted in every room at the Jo Richardson comprehensive school in Dagenham, as a reminder that the teachers will decide who should answer.

The principal, Andrew Buck, said it is always the same children who wave their arms in the air, while the rest of the class sits back. When teachers try to involve less-adventurous pupils by choosing them instead, that leads to feelings of victimization.
Next, the practice of laughing at wrong answers would have to be banned, were it not for the happy coincidence that the concepts of "correct" and "incorrect" were done away with long before.

Hugo Chavez: Philadelphia's Kingmaker?

Eric Scheie elaborates on something I mentioned here before: Hugo Chavez's "foreign aid" to Democrat politicians. He first mentions a public relations photo-op with the following provocative caption:
Celebrating the heating oil shipment in West Oak Lane were (from left) home owner Geraldine Shields, Felix Rodriguez of Citgo, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy 2d, and Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez.
He then notes that Chaka Fattah is positioning himself to run for mayor of Philadelphia. Read the whole thing.

I can't believe that something like this is being permitted to go on.

Why They Fund Their Own Destruction

Via The Dougout, I learned of the following explanation for why there are wealthy people and corporations supporting campaign finance "reform".
Ayn Rand, the novelist-philosopher had a deft explanation for why wealthy people who, presumably, would be against governmental intrusion into the economy and civil society out of self-interest, often were at the forefront of promoting such schemes. They wanted, Rand wrote, " ...an Aristocracy of Pull" where the well-born and the politically connected parvenu alike could make common cause to institutionalize their comparative advantages. The Supreme Court, reflecting the attitudes our elite law schools, has been increasingly friendly to oligarchical policies , as exemplified by the Kelo and McConnell cases, that cement insider positions and hedge against the rest of us. The issue is not Left or Right but In or Out - and most of us by definition are "Out" in terms of power.

And the Beltway political class aims to keep it that way. This trend is being driven by liberal Democrats in Congress and through various foundations and activist groups but they are being helped in no small measure by Republicans like John McCain and wealthy, GOP-supporting, corporations.
Two by Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn writes on the Canadian elections and the final triumph of thug worship in "Palestine".

On the Canadian elections, which he calls an "act of political hygiene", he notes the importance of intellectual argument in the government of a free society.
Canadians have been reluctant in the last four years to accept that we no longer live in an "it's probably nothing" world. Many Continentals feel the same way. Unlike his hollow predecessor, Stephen Harper is a thoughtful man who understands the gulf between self-mythologizing and the harder realities. You can't change a free country unless you persuade free people to change their minds, and he will at least start that tough job. He doesn't have to be George Bush's best friend, and he may even be more effective at opposing him on trade and agriculture disputes. But he could try being Tony Blair's and John Howard's best friend and reconnecting us with other traditional pals from whom Canada's become increasingly estranged. He could honor our small but brave contribution to Afghanistan by flying out and meeting them on the ground.
Incidentally, Amit Ghate points to some Wall Street Journal commentary on these elections by John Fund and makes an interesting point:
[T]here is no a priori reason to dismiss a one party state, much less a "one-and-a-half party state" (whatever that means), if that party respects rights and governs properly. Should we indict George Washington's government simply because it was a "one party" government, or should we look at how the country was governed during his tenure and evaluate it on that basis?
Getting back to Mark Steyn.... On "Palestine", which I shall henceforth call "Hamastan" instead, he narrowly misses making a profound point. (Not to take anything away from his overall point, that Joel Stein and Hamastan were at least being honest about where they stand with respect to American troops and Israel's existence.)
Joel Stein (no relation) of the Los Angeles Times took a lot of heat last week for coming right out with it and saying that he didn't support the troops and that it was a humbug phrase that he and his anti-war comrades shouldn't have to use as cover for their position. Good for him. He's right. It's empty and pusillanimous, the Iraq war's version of "But some of my best friends are Jewish . . ." If you're opposed to the mission, if you don't want to see it through, if you're supporting a position whose success would only demoralize those serving in Iraq and negate their sacrifice, in what sense do you "support the troops"? Stein ought to be congratulated for acknowledging that he doesn't. We armchair warmongers are routinely derided as "chickenhawks," but Stein is a hawkish chicken, disdaining the weasel formulation too many anti-war folks take refuge in.
What I wish Steyn had done was make the explicit connection between those who bandy the term "chickenhawk" around and what they are doing. A "chickenhawk" is being damned for his intellectual and moral support of the war effort. But his accuser necessarily drops context: By pulling the rug out from under America's troops, the one who uses that insult is necessarily doing precisely what he is condemning the chickenhawk for -- but in the aid of the enemy war effort, and covertly at that.

Steyn then relates an incredible fact: That a mother who has convinced half of her children to blow themselves to bits was elected to parliament in Hamastan.
So I'd like to believe this was a vote for getting rid of corruption rather than getting rid of Jews. But that's hard to square with some of the newly elected legislators. For example, Mariam Farahat, a mother of three, was elected in Gaza. She used to be a mother of six but three of her sons self-detonated on suicide missions against Israel. She's a household name to Palestinians, known as Um Nidal -- Mother of the Struggle -- and, at the rate she's getting through her kids, the Struggle's all she'll be Mother of. She's famous for a Hamas recruitment video in which she shows her 17-year-old son how to kill Israelis and then tells him not to come back. It's the Hamas version of 42nd Street: You're going out there a youngster but you've got to
come back in small pieces.
On the subject of Hamastan, Andrew Dalton pretty much is on the same page as I when he says:
Well, now they are Hamastan, and they can't pretend to be anything different. Let Israel wall them off, and the Palestinians will cut each other to pieces. They deserve no better.
If Israel has a lick of sense, that is exactly what these life-haters will get, and the sooner the better. So long as the only lives they ruin are their own.

-- CAV

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