Government Shutdown Illustrates Over-Entanglement With Our Lives

Far from not impacting our lives, the federal government shutdown illustrates how much it has invaded our day-to-day lives. Airport delays, delayed Initial Public Offerings of stock of new firms, craft beer makers, and small businesses are just some of the examples.

Another group of people who are adversely impacted are American Indians.

“The shutdown has hit Native American tribes especially hard because so many of their basic services depend on federal funding,” notes the Washington Post. Education, health care, road maintenance, and other services on reservations are often run by the federal government or run by tribal employees paid by the federal government.

That dependency has long resulted in mismanaged and low-quality services for the million people who live on reservations. In the New York Times, one tribal leader spoke of federal support, “The federal government owes us this: We prepaid with millions of acres of land,” while another said the shutdown “adversely affects a population that is already adversely affected by the United States government.”

 

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the people who are downplaying the shutdown’s impact on our lives are defending the growth of government.

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Regulate Big Tech?

Ah, no. Can we trust elected officials and regulators to even know how to regulate or restrict the activities of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Apple, Twitter?

F.H. Buckley: 

Let’s start with the left’s version of this argument. Critics like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich point out that Big Tech is too big, that Silicon Valley’s vast wealth gives it too much political clout. It’s a complaint that recalls the trust-busters of a hundred years ago.

Yet the threat of government intervention is going to give us more, not less, money in politics. Microsoft went into lobbying overdrive following a 1999 breakup order, and it’s vigilance against government intervention that impels Google to spend $17 million a year on lobbying.

. . .

Now let’s turn to the right’s Big Tech anxieties. What really bothers conservatives is the liberal bias of the social-media giants. Mainstream conservatives have been banned on YouTube and “shadow-banned” on Twitter. Terrible, yes, but the proposed cure would be worse than the disease.

When politicians have taken it upon themselves to promote “balanced” speech, it’s been a disaster for conservatives. Until 1987, the Federal Communication Commission’s fairness doctrine required broadcasters to provide honest and balanced viewpoints, and that’s what kept the Rush Limbaughs off the air. But that’s just what conservatives are now asking for when it comes to Big Tech.

They’re asking the swamp to regulate Big Tech, and not just the swamp but the deepest of swamp-dwellers: Democratic pol­iticians who themselves have tried to silence opponents — as they did when they asked Lois Lerner’s IRS to slow-walk approving tax-exempt status for Tea Party groups. Why would conservatives trust the same crowd to promote free speech online?

 

Finally, a Congressional Challenge to Presidential War Authority

Jason Ditz:

45 years after War Powers Act, a first successful challenge.

In a vote on Thursday, the Senate passed S.J. Resolution 54, in a vote of 56-41. The resolution is a War Powers Act challenge to the unauthorized US involvement in the War in Yemen, and would require the US to cease its involvement, if a complementary bill passes in the House. 45 years to the day after the War Powers Act was passed, this is the first successful challenge.

Support for the War Powers Act has been bipartisan but this challenge is also bipartisan.

Farm Bill Socialism in Senate

 

Republicans have criticized the socialism of Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but they should reflect on their own party’s socialist vote in the Senate yesterday. The upper chamber voted 87-13 for the bloated monstrosity known as the farm bill, which funds farm subsidies and food stamps. Republicans in the Senate voted in favor 38-13.

I’m less worried about the food stamp wealth distribution. After all, it is part of a safety net in a market economy. Its the corporate and industry control that is more worrisome: ” 807 pages of legalese laying out excruciating details on crop prices, acres, yields”. It also pays wealthy landowners who live in a city but qualify for subsidies because they finagle the rules that say they are farmers.

Some Republican hypocrites listed. But it is a bipartisan freak show.

 

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Chart to accompany Moore article of Dec. 3, 2018.

These examples are from a column by Stephen Moore. He writes from a partisan perspective to get Republicans on the right side of the public’s trust. But this is your government at work and it has been for longer than Donald Trump has been president. This is how your government works no matter who is president or in the majority. Its a bi-partisan effort.

Explore the source of the data: openthebooks.com. For example, click on a state and find the salaries of government employees at the state and federal level in that state. Find the spending in that state by the state and localities and the federal government. Find the contributors of campaign money. Find reports on local governments.

 

Amazon’s HQ2, Democrats, and Taxes

Veronique de Rugy: 

Handouts like this to Amazon and other prominent companies are appalling in their cronyism, pure and simple. I agree that she doesn’t understand economics and that her socialist ideal is a recipe for fiscal and economic disaster. But her conservative critics reveal their own economic misunderstanding when they support targeted tax breaks as a means of creating jobs.

Agree with Veronique about all that. But, special tax breaks is how Democrats and other lefties like tax policy: they like high taxes then use special breaks to woo corporations, universities, etc to their political jurisdiction. Of course, Republicans and conservatives are not immune to this temptation but as a rule, they prefer low and simple taxes.

 

 

Draining the Swamp – Update

Forbes:

And so here we are, the first president to come solely from the private sector, representing the party that for more than a century championed laissez-faire capitalism and free trade, proposing that government punish and reward companies based on where they choose to locate factories and offices. Is the president comfortable with that idea?

“Very comfortable,” he replies. “What I want to do is reciprocal. See, I think the concept of reciprocal is a very nice concept. If somebody is charging us 50%, we should charge them 50%. Right now they charge us 50%, and we charge them nothing. That doesn’t work with me.”

This is filling the swamp because lobbyists will swarm all over Washington, DC to get their clients excluded and/or their enemies included, however it plays best for their clients. Many politicians will welcome this intervention. They can buy and sell votes up the wazoo. This is a deal-maker’s paradise, which Donald Trump excels at.

Firms buy sales and profits in Washington, DC instead of the marketplace.

Let’s not fool ourselves. This happens all the time, but this is taking it to a higher level. It doesn’t matter if a nationalist or socialist likes it. Its wrong no matter which party does it.

Here.