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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Obama Oblather

I had my guard up as I read this editorial that appeared in the Arizona Star on Sunday.  An editorial written by Barack Obama's teleprompter entitled "We must seek agreement on gun reforms."  I become highly dubious when anyone who has called for a complete ban on the private ownership of handguns and who has voted to ban the sale of almost all rifle ammunition tells me he wants me to "seek agreement" on gun reform with him.  Bill Clinton went that route.  And, when he was done having us "agree" with him, our freedoms had been dramatically - though not permanently - curtailed.

So, what is it that Obama wants us to agree on and should I bend over and drop my shorts?

Well, not today.  The editorial, as it turns out, is a towering pile of steaming ... nothing.

After the obligatory Tucson, Tucson, Tucson ... Columbine, Virginia Tech, "gun violence" ... here is what Obama seeks agreement on, in his exact words:

• First, we should begin by enforcing laws that are already on the books.

Uh. No shit.

• Second, we should in fact reward the states that provide the best data - and therefore do the most to protect our citizens.

Uh, how do you measure that, genius?  And how are those states "rewarded"?  Gold stars?  Count me in.

Third, we should make the system faster and nimbler.

The bureaucracy should become faster and nimbler.  Good luck with that.

Anyway, that's it.

That's it?

That's it.

Obama ends with these empty platitudes:

"Clearly, there's more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people."

"As long as those whose lives are shattered by gun violence don't get to look away and move on, neither can we."

"We owe the victims of the tragedy in Tucson and the countless unheralded tragedies each year nothing less than our best efforts - to seek consensus, to prevent future bloodshed, to forge a nation worthy of our children's futures."

Blah.

Blah.

Blah.

"We owe the victims ..." Me? I think we owe America's trees the right not to be destroyed just to have presidents print worthless collections of clich├ęs and onanisms on paper that is better suited for the bottom of bird cages.

"We must seek agreement on gun reforms." Those? Really?  Done. Now leave us the hell alone.

Good News For The Coalfields

Congress works the will of the people:
Carbon and Democracy
Wall Street Journal

Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee began debating a bill that would prohibit the EPA from abusing the clean air laws of the 1970s to impose the climate regulations that Congress has refused to pass despite President Obama's entreaties. As EPA chief Lisa Jackson put it with her customary reserve at a hearing last week, the measure "would presume to overrule the scientific community on the scientific finding that carbon pollution endangers Americans' health and well-being. Politicians overruling scientists on a scientific question . . ."

We'll spare you the rest, though Ms. Jackson mentioned "science" a few more times in case anyone didn't get the drift. But the real presumption is that an unaccountable bureaucracy should use its self-assigned powers to make inherently political choices that will be a colossal drag on economic growth.

The bill, which the committee will likely approve today and the House will likely pass later this spring, would restore the plain regulatory meaning that "pollutant" held for decades until the EPA decided in 2009 that all of a sudden it also applied to carbon. John Dingell helped write the Clean Air Act and its 1990 revision, and the Michigan Democrat has repeatedly said that neither was ever meant to address climate.

Other critics of the EPA's carbon agenda include Senate Democrats like West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller and Ohio's Sherrod Brown, neither of whom is otherwise known for business sympathies. But they understand that the EPA is about to unleash an economy-wide deluge of new rules and mandates that is already costly and destructive, and it has barely begun.

Whatever Ms. Jackson's appeals to "science," as if democracy doesn't matter, her conception of an autonomous regulatory state should offend any elected politician. The harm the EPA is inflicting is bad enough, but let's start with such basics as the rule of law and representative government. [link]
No. Let's start with the grievous harm that the EPA is inflicting. It's that critical. There'll be time to debate the role of the executive later.

Ban the EPA.  Then we'll talk.

The American Economy Is Doing Well

The American people aren't.

What gives?

The Wall Street Journal in "I Can't Eat An iPad":
[New York Fed President William Dudley] gave a speech explaining the economy's progress and the Fed's successes, but come question time the main thing the crowd wanted to know was why they're paying so much more for food and gas. Keep in mind the Fed doesn't think food and gas prices matter to its policy calculations because they aren't part of "core" inflation.

So Mr. Dudley tried to explain that other prices are falling. "Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful," he said. "You have to look at the prices of all things."

Reuters reports that this "prompted guffaws and widespread murmuring from the audience," with someone quipping, "I can't eat an iPad." Another attendee asked, "When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?"

Mr. Dudley has been one of the leading proponents of negative real interest rates and quantitative easing, so this common-man razzing is a case of rough justice. If Mr. Dudley were wise, he'd take it to heart and understand that Americans aren't buying the Fed's line that rising commodity prices are no big deal. Unlike banks and hedge funds, they can't borrow at near-zero interest rates, and most of them don't have big stock portfolios. Wall Street and Congress may love the Fed's free-money policy, but Mr. Dudley and Chairman Ben Bernanke ought to worry about losing the confidence of the middle class.
The price of housing has plunged in recent years. But nobody's buying. The prices of gas, meat, vegetables, grains, and many fruits have soared in recent years. And ... everybody's ... buying.

A quiz: How does the rise or reduction in the price of a commodity not sold affect the rate of inflation?

Answer: It doesn't.

Experts at the Fed should know that.