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The Medicis of the Ozarks

From Jonah Goldberg at National Review, House Clinton and the Wages of Corruption

The money isn’t the primary issue with the Clintons and it never was. Sure, sure, they like being rich. They like flying around in private planes. They like having lots of houses. But the Clinton Foundation was never about getting rich, it was about keeping the Imperial Court in Exile well-tended to for their return to power. Huma’s amazingly corrupt moonlighting wasn’t about money grubbing per se, it was about keeping Hillary’s Richelieu on the payroll.

The Clintons are a tribe, a House like House Lanister or House Harkonen. They trade power, fame, influence and, sure, on occasion, money to advance the interests of their House.

 

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Hillary’s Trickle Down

 

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from the editors of The National Review, Hilary’s Disastrous Economic Plan

It is economically illiterate, but Mrs. Clinton sincerely believes it, arguing that, in the same vein, raising the federal minimum wage would actually help U.S. employers by giving consumers more money to spend at their businesses. That money of course must come from somewhere, and where it comes from is businesses (who, of course, pass on some of those costs in a variety of ways). Some consumers would have more to spend, and businesses would have less to spend. Mrs. Clinton, who does not know very much about any business other than charging $10,000 a minute for speeches (which is, to be sure, an excellent business model) perhaps has never been informed that the biggest customer of the typical small American business is — pay attention here — another business, small and family-owned firms making the majority of their sales to commercial operations rather than to individual consumers.

What it in fact resembles rather closely is the “trickle down” theory of economics that exists almost exclusively in the minds and rhetoric of opponents of the Reagan-era policies defamed under that label: Let the money slosh around through the right sluices, and it will somehow magically multiply itself. Mrs. Clinton proposes making large gifts to wealthy people and politically connected businesses in the hopes that doing so will make prosperity trickle down to ordinary workers and families in the form of jobs and higher wages.

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Neutralizing Political Institutions

From The Atlantic, How American Politics Went Insane by Jonathan Rauch

Moreover, recent research by the political scientists Jamie L. Carson and Jason M. Roberts finds that party leaders of yore did a better job of encouraging qualified mainstream candidates to challenge incumbents. “In congressional districts across the country, party leaders were able to carefully select candidates who would contribute to the collective good of the ticket,” Carson and Roberts write in their 2013 book, Ambition, Competition, and Electoral Reform: The Politics of Congressional Elections Across Time. “This led to a plentiful supply of quality candidates willing to enter races, since the potential costs of running and losing were largely underwritten by the party organization.” The switch to direct primaries, in which contenders generally self-recruit and succeed or fail on their own account, has produced more oddball and extreme challengers and thereby made general elections less competitive. “A series of reforms that were intended to create more open and less ‘insider’ dominated elections actually produced more entrenched politicians,” Carson and Roberts write. The paradoxical result is that members of Congress today are simultaneously less responsive to mainstream interests and harder to dislodge.

Was the switch to direct public nomination a net benefit or drawback? The answer to that question is subjective. But one effect is not in doubt: Institutionalists have less power than ever before to protect loyalists who play well with other politicians, or who take a tough congressional vote for the team, or who dare to cross single-issue voters and interests; and they have little capacity to fend off insurgents who owe nothing to anybody. Walled safely inside their gerrymandered districts, incumbents are insulated from general-election challenges that might pull them toward the political center, but they are perpetually vulnerable to primary challenges from extremists who pull them toward the fringes. Everyone worries about being the next Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader who, in a shocking upset, lost to an unknown Tea Partier in his 2014 primary. Legislators are scared of voting for anything that might increase the odds of a primary challenge, which is one reason it is so hard to raise the debt limit or pass a budget.

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Fix the Structure of Government

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from The Clinton Plan’s Growth Deficit by John Cochrane in The Wall Street Journal

Her speech Thursday at least identifies the problem: “Powerful special interests and the tendency to put ideology ahead of political progress have led to gridlock in Congress.” To counter this, she offers “hard but respectful bargaining,” and “leadership that rises above personal attacks.”

For a candidate with such vaunted political experience, that plan seems surprisingly naive. It invites obvious jokes: Yes, you and your party also know something about “special interests,” “ideology,” “gridlock” and “personal attacks,” don’t you—as in the rest of this speech. Why should voters expect that to change?

If Mrs. Clinton is elected president, this plan will lead to a chaotic first year. Her administration will unleash a flurry of proposals. Congress will block most. Executive orders and administrative rules will follow, many of which will end up in court. Economic growth will continue to sputter.

Mrs. Clinton: Please don’t do it. Find a few simple governing principles. Listen to your opponents. Fix the structure of government. Ask why things are broken, despite good people’s best efforts. Spend a little time cleaning up old programs too.

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Campaign Promises and Reality

From Reason Jesse Walker wrote in 2008 The New Franklin Roosevelts -Don’t count on a candidate’s campaign stances to tell you how he’ll behave in office

It might sound odd coming from a libertarian, but I wish the Pelosi-Reid Democrats had more in common with Franklin Roosevelt. Not the Franklin Roosevelt who occupied the White House from 1933 to 1945, but the Franklin Roosevelt who aspired to the White House in the election of 1932. The Democratic platform of that year is a remarkable document, considering the way the party’s candidate went on to govern. It isn’t a libertarian manifesto—it endorses several subsidies and regulations—but it hardly embraces the enormous expansion in federal power that FDR would achieve. The very first plank calls for “an immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance to accomplish a saving of not less than twenty-five per cent in the cost of the Federal Government.” (It also asks “the states to make a zealous effort to achieve a proportionate result.”) Subsequent planks demand a balanced budget, a low tariff, the repeal of Prohibition, “a sound currency to be preserved at all hazards,” “no interference in the internal affairs of other nations,” and “the removal of government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and natural resources in the common interest.” The document concludes with a quote from Andrew Jackson: “equal rights to all; special privilege to none.” It sounds more like Ron Paul than Pelosi.

FDR’s campaign reflected that platform. He accused Herbert Hoover of “reckless and extravagant spending,” and he further denounced the Republican incumbent for believing “we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible.” Even when he called for interventions in the economy, he generally couched his words in the old liberals’ language of equal treatment rather than the new liberals’ vision of enlightened central planning. In his famous Forgotten Man speech of April 1932—itself a sustained allusion to an essay by the pro-market sociologist William Graham Sumner—the Democratic candidate pointed to the wave of foreclosures sweeping the nation. Noting that Hoover had created a “two billion dollar fund…put at the disposal of the big banks, the railroads and the corporations of the Nation,” FDR averred that the government should “provide at least as much assistance to the little fellow as it is now giving to the large banks and corporations.”