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Government

Calling a Bluff

City Council candidate Mark Fox throws his voice into the lefty echo chamber known as the Minneapolis Issues Forum:

I’ll start where Becker and I agree. There ain’t no free lunch. Lower taxes mean reduced services. There are no solutions, only trade-offs.

But this leaves a more fundamental question unexplored. Which services are essential? What can the public do for itself without the nannying hand of government applying gentle and expensive “corrections”?

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Uncle Sugar Pays Really Well

Government employees are pretty much all lefty, and mostly union. Teachers, AFSCME, SEIU, cops, firefighters, [add to the list APWU] are all organized and active in maximizing their share of everyone else’s income. And they’re darn good at it:

In 2008, the average wage for 1.9 million federal civilian workers was $79,197, which compared to an average $49,935 for the nation’s 108 million private sector workers (measured in full-time equivalents).

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Unsustainable

The Failed Obama Administration™ has raised its own forecast deficit from seven trillion to nine trillion dollars.

Keep in mind, deficit is the annual shortfall. Debt is the total of accumulated deficits. GDP, the total value of everything the US makes in a year, is fourteen trillion. The accumulated total amount owed, as of passage of the spendulous bill, was “only” twelve trillion.

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Great Minds…

Dr. Sanity considers the term “Death Panel”:

In fact, as a physician, I think that the descriptive "Death Panels" terminology effectively summarizes what is an entirely logical progression of Obama's health policies. This progression is derived directly from Obama's own words and those of his health-reform minions/czars.

Read her whole post to see the logical progression laid out.

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What does “Alter or Abolish” mean?

“Death Panel” was rhetorical genius. Theorists and legislators use complex and nuanced language that usually flies over the heads of the public. “No,” they say, “there will not be death panels, just procedural review boards and end-of-life counseling.” In the ivory tower there is a difference. But in practical effect and in common terms, it’s the same thing.

Public opinion is not a courtroom. So we see politicians on all sides debating the translation of nuance into common terms. “You can keep your doctor.” Only if he isn’t driven out of his practice by the nuance and detail of the actual legislation.

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Barry and the Feeding Tube

This picture, via Maggie’s Farm, is trump on the Failed Obama Administration’s™ prevaricating about the government deciding who is fit to live:

Obama pressing the “kill” button on Terry Schiavo

Yes, it is “over the top”. But it makes the point plain, while staying true to the reasoning behind it.

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Tomorrow It’s All Yours

Cost of Government Day (COGD) is the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.

Cost of Government Day for 2009 is August 12. On average, working people must toil 224 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by government. In other words, the cost of government consumes 61.34 percent of national income.

If you had given the government everything you earned from January 1st through today, you could keep every nickel until the end of the year.

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System? We Ain’t Got No System

Although the term is in common use, my experience as a local crime-fighter has taught me there is no such thing as a criminal justice system. The term “system” implies a coherent integration of activities which does not exist. Lawmakers, police, prosecutors, courts, prisons, and probation departments have overlapping interests, but are independent bodies. This is most commonly witnessed as a revolving jailhouse door, where an offender is arrested, charged, released, and then arrested for the same offense, often within days. If this were a system, it would be a failed system.

Frank Stephenson sees a similar problem with health care:

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The Most Common Denominator

Observing Independence Day, Cobb calls out the practitioners of identity politics:

I find it difficult to presume to lead some fraction of the people or to defend some fraction of humanity as a worthy political aim. I am greatly convinced that the human animal does not vary so much that he can be served well by a wide variety of principles. There are a simple few and the paths towards attaining and defending them are few. But having found those paths, we must find our human center of gravity, each individual conforming at their core, and place that center on those paths.

Rules that apply only to some qualified group are counter to our common humanity. There are too many ways to rearrange ourselves into sets of suffering, and this devolves into a struggle to find the most powerful victimhood rather than a persistent effort to do the basic things all humans have moral duty to pursue. Either we embrace that all men are created equal, or we are doomed to live within the limits of tribalism.

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Sovereign and Independent

On this date we honor the declared independence of thirteen States. It also marks a turning point in a failed rebellion. The Confederate States of America was formed with the same political ideals as the United States from which they seceded.

The CSA had no unified declaration. They each acted in the spirit of the original, as evidenced by the concise preamble to the Confederate Constitution:

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Mass Misdiagnosis

I’ve followed some discussions which propose that health care in the US is costly because we have the money to pay for it. There are only so many yachts one can water-ski behind, and preferences shift from collecting goodies to prolonging life and the ability to enjoy it. It’s parallel to the idea that people become concerned about the environment only after they have worked themselves away from the edge of starvation.

I like where the thinking leads, as it turns the problem on its head. High costs are not a symptom of dysfunction, but a sign of prosperity. There certainly are inefficiencies to root out, and moral hazards to avoid, but we start not as victims, but beneficiaries.

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The Public Includes Everybody

Minneapolis government is about to vaporize 1.75 million dollars in the name of bicycle transportation:

The Minneapolis Bike Share Program will create the nation’s largest municipal bike-share system right here in Minneapolis. Plans call for a thousand bikes to be available in the areas of Downtown, Uptown, and the University of Minnesota campus.

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Club of Fools Issues Apology

The world’s most exclusive club has tackled one of the pressing issues facing our nation:

At two minutes before noon on Thursday, June 18, 2009, 146 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and 150 days after a black man took the presidential oath of office, the United States Senate, in a unanimous voice vote, apologized to African Americans for slavery and the racial discrimination during the Jim Crow era.

Too bad none of the former slaves are still alive to feel the magnanimous justice. Doesn’t really matter, though. It’s just hollow symbolism:

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Tax Dollars Commemorate Corporate Excess

The decades before and after the dawn of the 20th century were the golden age of US railroading. The biggest of corporate bigshots traveled in luxurious personal railcars, the equivalent of today’s corporate jets.

Now the corporate jet is popularly held as an object of scorn. Yet, the Federal government granted $400,000 toward restoring one example of last century’s wealth at work:

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Hope in a Teapot

I was at last month’s local Tea Party on the Capitol lawn. By now, most have probably settled on believing the media’s truth of the day’s events. What I saw was not that story.

The crowd numbered in the thousands. They weren’t mad about taxes. Or, not just about taxes. Most of the signs seemed to reference big government and big government debt.

And the crowd was civil. Disappointingly so. I wanted pitchforks.

Thanks to technology and the internet, the truth is available, should this day become recognized as the start of anything Important. I don’t have much to add.

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The Cure for Government

Yes. Yes. Oh. My. God. YES!

In The Case for a Federalism Amendment, in today's Wall Street Journal, I suggest that that states petition for a convention to propose an amendment repealing the 16th Amendment authorizing an income tax. Such a repeal would result in the Congress imposing a national uniform "excise" or sales tax as authorized by Article I, Sec. 8.

Alternatively, states could include the repeal of the 16th Amendment in a more comprehensive "Federalism Amendment" such as this:

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Nickels and Dimes

The unfathomable irresposibility of the US Federal budget is echoed in local government all across the land. Diminished economic activity had led to lower revenue for city and State governments. Since politicians are congenitally unable to recognize anything more than token waste in government operations, they can’t cut spending to keep budgets in balance. So they’re turning to myriad “revenue enhancements”:

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Misprized Trust

In a fully capitalist system, there would be no guarantees.

Quoted from: Peter Gordon

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Your Kind Aren’t Welcome Here

The current President and much of the Democrat leadership appear to have an affinity for Europe. For example, they insist European healthcare be a model and justification for their meddling in US medical markets. Generally, President Klink’s rhetoric about “what we owe to each other” is founded on the same principles as Europe’s various versions of social democracy.

Unfortunately, facts tarnish the Democrats’ hopey-changey dreams. Their new New Deal socialism is too progressive by European Union standards. Former Obama cabinet nominee Judd Gregg remarked this week:

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Sworn to Protect Who?

Both Secretary of State Clinton and Attorney General Holder have argued that the US must further restrict guns to help Mexico’s fight against drug cartels. Here’s Holder:

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to re-institute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder said. "I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum."

Holder said reinstating the ban would decrease the flow of guns from the U.S. into Mexico.

And Hillary:

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