Oct
08
2010
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#rsrh BLS unemployment survey out soon…

…the last one before the election. Nobody’s expecting anything much in the way of short-term news, but apparently they’re going to have revisions to the non-farm employment numbers from April 2009 to March 2010.  Translation: the current unemployment rate probably won’t go up or down much, but past ones might*.  Remember, might: also remember, we want good news.  People are hurting out there, and somebody needs to care about that, even if the current ruling party apparently doesn’t.

Moe Lane

*As MarketWatch puts it, “Friday’s new numbers could vastly alter perceptions of labor conditions. They may also change perceptions of how well the stimulus legislation worked as a job-creating program.”  It would certainly be nice if the numbers were better than we thought…

Jul
19
2010
4

Stimulus not even filling potholes.

If you’re like me and Ed Driscoll, you’re the sort who would think that if we were going to spend almost a trillion dollars that we don’t actually have on a ‘stimulus program’ then we’d at least spend it on infrastructure.  Well, more accurately, you’re sort who hopes that we’d spend it on infrastructure, because if you’re like me and Ed Driscoll you’d be well aware that once the Beltway Establishment gets a hold of an idea it mutates into a horrific, expensive mess.

The Beltway Establishment got a hold of the idea.

Paved roads, historical emblems of American achievement, are being torn up across rural America and replaced with gravel or other rough surfaces as counties struggle with tight budgets and dwindling state and federal revenue. State money for local roads was cut in many places amid budget shortfalls.

In Michigan, at least 38 of the 83 counties have converted some asphalt roads to gravel in recent years. Last year, South Dakota turned at least 100 miles of asphalt road surfaces to gravel. Counties in Alabama and Pennsylvania have begun downgrading asphalt roads to cheaper chip-and-seal road, also known as “poor man’s pavement.” Some counties in Ohio are simply letting roads erode to gravel.

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Jul
08
2010
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#rsrh Letting Other People Do It: Stimulus edition.

I am so incredibly glad that the CA primary is over: I can link to Mickey Kaus again.  I think that I’ve mentioned it before, but I wasn’t willing to risk losing the pickup in November by making him look like a viable alternative to Barbara Boxer.

Anyway, Mickey’s bringing up this quote from Jon Alter’s book The Promise:

The biggest frustration involved infrastructure. Obama said later that he learned that “one of the biggest lies in government is the idea of ‘shovel-ready’ projects.” It turned out that only about $20 billion to $40 billion in construction contracts were truly ready to go. The rest were tied up in the endless contracting delays and bureaucratic hassles associated with building anything in America. [E.A.]

…and asking:

Did Obama really not know this back in January, 2009? I mean, Alter’s book pretty convincincly demonstrates that the President is a very smart man. But a smart man would have to have had virtually no contact, direct or vicarious, with government not to realize state and federal  construction projects are bound up with time-consuming rules (like the Davis-Bacon Act’s “prevailing wage” requirements) that undermine their Keynesian utility.

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Dec
28
2009
4

Rasmussen: plurality now opposes ‘stimulus.’

This is not the most important passage from the article, though:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38% believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.

This is:

The Political Class has a much different view than the rest of the county. Ninety percent (90%) of the Political Class believes the stimulus plan helped the economy and not a single Political Class respondent says it has hurt. (See more on the Political Class).

If you’re wondering why the Democratic party’s leadership seems so determined to keep marching over the cliff: well, there you go.  On the other hand, Rasmussen’s ‘Political Class’ designation is subject to criticism and controversy.  On the gripping hand, that criticism and controversy is usually from people who either don’t want to be identified as elites, or resent not being identified as populists…

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

Nov
16
2009
4
Aug
26
2009
1

The Washington Post discovers fiscal responsibility.

The Washington Post, alas, gets this editorial wrong in the very first sentence:

NO ONE LIKES to be the bearer of bad news — especially when it could threaten your multibillion-dollar health-care reform bill.

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: considering the amount of time that the Right’s bloggers, pundits, and legislators have spent explaining why the Democrats in Congress needed to institute a Stop spending money we don’t have, you idiots policy, well.  We do live here, too, so our liking is hardly unalloyed – but we did say that this wasn’t going to work*.  Moving on:

And so the Obama administration did not exactly rush to publish yesterday’s required mid-session update to its federal budget estimates of last February. Still, once the numbers finally emerged in the dog days of August, they retained the power to stun: Instead of a cumulative $7.1 trillion deficit over the next decade, the White House now projects a $9 trillion deficit. These figures imply average annual budget deficits greater than 4 percent of gross domestic product through fiscal 2019, a rate of debt accumulation faster than projected GDP growth. This is not a sustainable fiscal path.

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Aug
14
2009
2

Where it went wrong: Obama and Congress.

For the benefit of any hypothetical researcher from, say, the 2050s or so – hey, how are you folks doing, up there?  Have the Cubs won a World Series yet? – let me just note the two major mistakes that the current administration made that seem to have seriously complicated the passage of their health care rationing bill.

  • Choosing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s approach on the ‘stimulus’ over that of Rep Walter Minnick’s;
  • Allowing Speaker Pelosi to replace John Dingell on Energy with Henry Waxman.

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Aug
03
2009
14

Stopping the spin, or being shaken awake from deficit shock.

[UPDATE]: Welcome, Instapundit readers.

At some point this August (or later), you might hear somebody ask you – probably with at least a sniff in their voice; possibly with an outright sneer – why it is that all of a sudden conservatives/Republicans now are worried about deficits. What were we, asleep?

Not particularly, of course – nonetheless, I think that this (alas, anonymous) comment about the Columbus Tea Party (H/T: Instapundit) pretty much covers the specific objection:

They might have been asleep for the last 8 years, but when you triple the national debt in 6 months with political handouts, calling it stimulus, it tends to wake people up.

Use of this Heritage graphic optional, but probably satisfying:

wapoobamabudget1

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

Jul
27
2009
3

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the ‘big mistake’ of the stimulus.

(H/T: Instapundit) He does a discreet amount of I-told-you-so in this bit about just how useless that ‘stimulus’ package was for the economy:

…which is perfectly within his rights to do so, given that he turned out to be correct. But it’s actually not too late to do something about that; as Senator Kyl (R-AZ) notes, we’ve not even spent 10% of the money allocated as of yet. We could stop, reset, and try again with something that’s something more than merely a vast payoff for Democrat-friendly groups and factions.  Something efficient, cheaper, and targeted with specific goals in mind.  Easiest thing in the world to do, really.

All the President has to do is get up there and admit that he was wrong, and that we were right, and he needs our help to fix his mess.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

Jul
22
2009
1

Where are the jobs?

That’s House Minority Leader John Boehner’s response to CoS Rahm Emanuel’s rather… well, sad… statement that the White House has turned the economy around:

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