Irksome

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

John Stossel: Politicians care about poor people. I know because they always say that. But then why do they make it so hard for the poor to escape poverty?

Outside my office in New York City, I see yellow taxis. It’s intuitive to think that government should license taxis to make sure they’re safe and to limit their number. It’s intuitive to believe that if anyone could just start picking up passengers, we’d have chaos. So to operate a taxi in NYC, you have to buy a license, a “medallion,” from an existing cab company (or at a once-in-a-blue-moon auction). Medallions are so scarce, they now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Licensing prices poor people out of the business.

“Compare New York City, where a license to own and operate a taxi is $603,000, to Washington, D.C.,” George Mason University economist Walter Williams told me. “There are not many black-owned taxis in New York City. But in Washington, most are owned by blacks.” Why? Because in Washington, “it takes $200 to get a license to own and operate one taxi. That makes the difference.”

Regulation hurts the people the politicians claim to help.

People once just went into business. But now, in the name of “consumer protection,” bureaucrats insist on licensing rules. Today, hundreds of occupations require expensive licenses. Tough luck for a poor person getting started.

Ask Jestina Clayton. Ten years ago, she moved from Africa to Utah. She assumed she could support her children with the hair-braiding skills she learned in Sierra Leone. For four years, she braided hair in her home. She made decent money. But then the government shut her down because she doesn’t have an expensive cosmetology license that requires 2,000 hours of classroom time — 50 weeks of useless instruction. The Institute for Justice (IJ), the public-interest law firm that fights such outrages, says “not one of those 2,000 hours teaches African hair-braiding.”

IJ lawyer Paul Avelar explained that “the state passed a really broad law and left it to the cosmetology board to interpret.”

Guess who sits on the cosmetology board. Right: cosmetologists. And they don’t like competition.

One day, Jestina received an email.

“The email threatened to report me to the licensing division if I continued to braid,” she told me.

This came as a shock because she had been told that what she was doing was legal.

“When I called (the commission) in 2005 on two separate occasions, they did tell me that, but then when I called (again) … the cosmetology lady told me that the situation had changed and that I needed to go to school now and get a license.”

No customers complained, but a competitor did.

One cosmetologist claimed that if she didn’t go to school she might make someone bald.

But this is nonsense — hair-braiding is just … braiding. If the braid is too tight, you can undo it.

The cosmetology board told Jestina that if she wanted to braid hair without paying $18,000 to get permission from the board, she should lobby the legislature. Good luck with that. Jestina actually tried, but no luck. How can poor people become entrepreneurs if they must get laws changed first?! Jestina stopped working because she can’t afford the fines.

“The first offense is $1,000,” she said. “The second offense and any subsequent offense is $2,000 each day.”

“It is not unique to Utah,” Avelar added. “There are about 10 states that explicitly require people to go get this expensive, useless license to braid hair.”

Fortunately, IJ’s efforts against such laws have succeeded in seven states. Now it’s in court fighting for Jestina, which, appropriately, means “justice” in her native language.

Once upon a time, one in 20 workers needed government permission to work in their occupation. Today, it’s one in three. We lose some freedom every day.

“Occupational licensing laws fall hardest on minorities, on poor, on elderly workers who want to start a new career or change careers,” Avelar said. “(Licensing laws) just help entrenched businesses keep out competition.”

This is not what America was supposed to be.

There are a lot of things, large and small, that irk me. One of them is our tendency to evaluate a presidential candidate based on his intelligence or academic credentials. When Obama threw his hat in the ring, people thought he was articulate and smart and hailed his intellectual credentials. Just recently, when Newt Gingrich announced his candidacy, people hailed his intellectual credentials and smartness as well.

By contrast, the intellectual elite and mainstream media people see Sarah Palin as stupid, a loose cannon and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal. There was another presidential candidate who was also held to be stupid and not to be trusted with our nuclear arsenal who ultimately became president — Ronald Reagan. I don’t put much stock into whether a political leader is smart or not because, as George Orwell explained, “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

All the evidence that I see is that academics and intellectuals have messed up the world. I challenge anyone to show me a major calamity that was engineered by a stupid, inarticulate person, but those caused by intelligent, articulate persons are too numerous to count, from the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Mao to Woodrow Wilson, FDR and Obama.

My vision of a good presidential candidate is a person with ordinary intelligence but great respect and love for our Constitution. Maybe Palin’s and Reagan’s respect and love for our Constitution qualified them as dumb in the eyes of the mainstream media, intellectuals and academics. (Walter E Williams)

Official motto of the White House economic team: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, fantasize in the classroom, fail in Washington and then return to the Ivy Tower to train the next generation of egghead economic saboteurs. Life is good for left-wing academics. Everyone else pays dearly.

Take Austan Goolsbee, please. President Obama’s “fresh-faced” University of Chicago econ professor arrived in Washington in December 2008 to fill two slots: chief economist/staff director of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and member of the Council of Economic Advisers. In September 2010, he replaced CEA head and fellow academic Christina Romer, who retreated to the University of California at Berkeley last August when unemployment hit 9.5 percent. (She infamously projected that the Obama stimulus would hold the jobless rate below 8 percent.)

Goolsbee’s primary task: translating all of the administration’s big-government theories for us dummies. As Goolsbee put it to his university’s student newspaper: “We’ve certainly seen in previous crises that it’s quite important to explain things to non-experts. The American people can confront any challenge if they’re comfortable with the approach.”

And what exactly was the nature of Goolsbee’s vaunted expertise? Making money as a business rescue-and-recovery expert without ever having had to meet a payroll.

Goolsbee, the 15th wealthiest member of the Obama administration, has raked in assets valued at between $1,146,000 and $2,715,000. He also pulled in a University of Chicago salary of $465,000 and additional wages and honoraria worth $93,000, according to Washingtonian magazine. As I’ve noted before, the government research fellow and Obama campaign adviser was a champion of extending credit to the un-creditworthy. In a 2007 op-ed for The New York Times, he derided those who called subprime mortgages “irresponsible.” He preferred to describe them as “innovations in the mortgage market” to expand the pool of homebuyers.

Goolsbee’s most recent “innovation”: the “White House White Board,” a weekly video lecture teaching everyone else how to hitch what remains of America’s free-market system to the wagon of the state and how much (or rather, how little) we should make doing it. He illustrated his grand interventionist strategy to pick and choose “Startup America” winners by drawing a trough of broken light bulbs (symbolizing entrepreneurial ideas) piling up in a “Valley of Death” because they lacked government support.

A comical choice of imagery given the Democrats’ enviro-nutty ban on incandescent bulbs. But I digress.

When Goolsbee joined Team Obama, the unemployment rate was at around 6 percent. When he announced his resignation on Monday, the jobless rate stood at 9.1 percent. Romer and Jared Bernstein (former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden) had predicted unemployment would drop every single month after August 2009 due to the Obama stimulus. Bernstein bailed on the administration in April 2011 for the sanctuary of a liberal think-tank. He’ll also now ply his failed wares as a financial pundit.

These hapless command-and-control ideologues were preceded by Peter Orszag, who hung his “Mission Accomplished” banner over the White House budget office in June 2010 after fewer than two years on the job, and by former National Economic Council head and hedge fund manager Larry Summers, who was caught sleeping on the job — literally — more than once during his brief tenure. Summers packed his bags in September. He was followed by Princeton economics professor and former top Obama Treasury Department official Alan Krueger in October 2010.

White House aides have lamented that the economic team is “exhausted.” Apparently, Obama is tired of hearing from them, too. The Hill newspaper reports that he has stopped receiving daily economic briefings that were once treated with the same emergency status as national security briefings. So, the central planners continue to be paid to fail — while their boss looks the other way at the destruction, whistling into what he calls America’s temporary “head winds.”

Nice non-work if you can get it. (Michelle Malkin)

So is our Dear Leaders solution to economic headwinds?

Give money we don’t have to people who have even less– Greece! 🙂

‘Nuff Said!

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

The Train of The Left

Political Cartoons by Eric Allie

The Liberals are getting desperate: “Never underestimate the will of someone when their back is against the wall,” he said. Democratic Rep. Terese Berceau took the threat a step further, “I think tonight we had a Gabrielle Giffords moment. I don’t know if you heard that outside, but it shook me up.” The Washington Post’s Chuck Lane started the Giffords’ name-dropping trend when he wrote, “If the brave Gabrielle Giffords could speak normally, what would she say about these events? I hope she would agree with me: This is a sad moment for liberalism, for the Democratic Party, and, really, for the whole country.” Keep it classy, folks! (DC)

And that’s your “civil” Liberals. Mind you when the Tea Party protests Liberals they are “violent”. 🙂

But a desperate Liberal will say and do anything to try and control you and win to prove they are the “superior intellect”.

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CONCORD, N.H. — Lawmakers and residents engaged in heated debate Tuesday over a bill that would make random airport security pat-downs and body scans criminal in New Hampshire.The bill (HB628-FN) “makes the touching or viewing with a technological device of a person’s breasts or genitals by a government security agent without probable cause a sexual assault,” according to the introductory text of the bill.”Let’s put their name on the sex offender registry, and maybe that will tell them New Hampshire means business,” said bill co-sponsor Rep. Andrew Manuse, R-Derry.

“We have to understand that if things need to be changed, they have to be done at the federal level, not the state level,” said Rep. Laura Pantelakos, D-Portsmouth. (WMUR-TV)

Gee, that rationale sounds familiar…where have I heard it before from Liberals?

Oh yeah, THE BORDER and ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION!

Fascinating. 🙂

Oh, and the TSA doesn’t leave it there, by the way.

Coming to a Street Corner near you…VIPR

According to a first-hand video account from a train station in Savannah, Georgia the Transportation Security Administration is now performing security pat downs and bag searches AFTER passengers disembark from their trips.

There were about 14 agents pulling people inside the building and corralling everyone in a roped area AFTER you got OFF THE TRAIN! (and the TSA will claim later that you weren’t required to enter their domain– but also the sweep was supposed to be over by this time-Oops!) This made no sense!!! Poor family in front of us! 9 year old getting patted down and wanded. They groped our people too and were very unprofessional. I am all about security, but when have you ever been harassed and felt up getting OFF a plane? Shouldn’t they be doing that getting ON??? And they wonder why so many people are mad at them.

“They sent us all into a roped-off holding area and said ‘Y’all are going to be searched,’” Brian Gamble (who was there) says. “We were getting off the train. This didn’t make sense.”

When the firefighter started to complain he was told by a TSA supervisor, “calm down. This is for your own security“.

Yeah you might want to commit a terrorist act on the train! Wait, you just got OFF the train. I know, you wanted to commit on in the station!! But it was the last train of the night! Ummm…I Know, you wanted to asassinate Paula Deen! Yeah that’s the ticket!!! 🙂

After Gamble’s video clip of the incident went viral on You Tube, the TSA was forced to resort to its usual tactic of wheeling out “Blogger Bob” on the TSA website in an effort to explain away the controversy.

From TSA blog: The screening shown in the video was done in conjunction with a VIPR operation. During VIPR operations, any person entering the impacted area has to be screened. In this case, the Amtrak station was the subject of the VIPR operation so people entering the station were being screened for items on the Amtrak prohibited items list (see below).

It should be noted that disembarking passengers did not need to enter the station to claim luggage or get to their car.
(Was some conceirge going to deliver it to them?? Or were you hoping they’d just say “screw it we don’t need them!” that way TSA agents don’t have to steal them!!)
Signs such as the one shown here are posted at the entrance to the impacted area. 

Gropping Zone Ahead! Prepare to be Assaulted!

However, after looking into it further, we learned that this particular VIPR operation should have ended by the time these folks were coming through the station since no more trains were leaving the station. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers.
We’re sorry we groped you. 😦
Gee, don’t you feel so much better now!
A VIPR team is a bunch of goons who swarm an area looking for “terrorists”. Mind you, this the TSA were talking about….
In case you were wondering what those prohibited items are:

The following kinds of items are prohibited as both checked and carry-on baggage:

  • Any type of gun, firearm, ammunition, explosives, or weapon.
  • Incendiaries, including flammable gases, liquids and fuels.
  • Large, sharp objects such as axes, ice picks and swords.
  • Corrosive or dangerous chemicals or materials, such as liquid bleach, tear gas, mace, radioactive and harmful bacteriological materials.
  • Batteries with acid that can spill or leak (except those batteries used in motorized wheelchairs or similar devices for mobility-impaired passengers).
  • Club-like items, such as billy clubs and nightsticks.
  • Fragile and/or valuable items (including but not limited to electronic equipment).
  • Animals (except service animals).
  • Oversized and/or overweight items.
Anyone see the inherit flaws in this list? 🙂
And so that leads to the Left’s favourite control freak issue, ObamaCare:
The first step in allowing the state to pass judgment over thoughts (as opposed to actions) was arguably hate-crime laws, which more harshly penalize criminals who “hate” their victims’ skin color, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. The next step was laid out this week by U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, who, in upholding Obamacare’s abuse of the Commerce Clause, argued that “making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.” Writes the WSJ’s John Fund: “This sort of strained legal reasoning by activist judges has led to all manner of state intrusions on economic and personal activities. It’s no wonder so many members of Congress thought that passing ObamaCare was a routine act. Here’s hoping that the Supreme Court provides some adult supervision.” Indeed! (DC)

So whether you make a choice or make a choice not to make a choice you’ve made a choice and the Government will be right their to crush you for it.

Much like that bag from the Train …

Your Papers Please!

P.s. “George Soros is launching a new investment fund that plans to profit off of the ‘green energy’ boom, which is entirely dependent on government subsidies supported by the groups Soros funds,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney. And not only is Soros starting a business to profit off policies lobbied for and written by the Center for American Progress–which Soros himself bankrolls!–but he’s also hired Cathy Zoi, Barack Obama’s “Acting Under Secretary for Energy and Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,” to run it.

But there’s no corruption in Obama’s “green” Ideology… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Recession 2 “Summer of Recovery” 0

“We are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty, that the Ku Klux — I meant to say the Tea Party,” The Rev. Walter Fauntroy told a news conference today at the National Press Club. “You all forgive me, but I — you have to use them interchangeably.”

But don’t worry, if you disagree with a Liberal you’re the hyperbolic racist! 🙂

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Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

The government is about to confirm what many people have felt for some time: The economy barely has a pulse.

The Commerce Department on Friday will revise its estimate for economic growth in the April-to-June period and Wall Street economists forecast it will be cut almost in half, to a 1.4 percent annual rate from 2.4 percent.

That’s a sharp slowdown from the first quarter, when the economy grew at a 3.7 percent annual rate, and economists say it’s a taste of the weakness to come. The current quarter isn’t expected to be much better, with many economists forecasting growth of only 1.7 percent.

Such slow growth won’t feel much like an economic recovery and won’t lead to much hiring. The unemployment rate, now at 9.5 percent, could even rise by the end of the year.

“The economy is going to limp along for the next few months,” said Gus Faucher, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. There’s even a one in three chance it could slip back into recession, he said.

The report confirms the economy has lost significant momentum in recent months. Most analysts expect the nation’s GDP will continue to grow at a similarly weak pace in the current July-to-September quarter and for the rest of this year.

The economy has grown for four straight quarters, but that growth has averaged only 2.9 percent, a weak pace after such a steep recession. The economy needs to expand at about 3 percent just to keep the unemployment rate, currently 9.5 percent, from rising.

According to data released earlier this week, home prices fell as much as five percent across the country in the month of July, and existing home sales fell 27%.

The worst in 15 years.

But if you listen to the liberals and their pundits, it slow but it’s all good. You just to have more hope. Give it more time. Don’t be so impatient.

So what if GDP growth has gone for 5% in the last quarter of 2009 to 1.6% now it’s still improving! 🙂

And you wouldn’t to hand the keys back over to Bush now would you!

After all, Bush was Republican and all Republicans are Bush. (a gold star to anyone who can spot the logical fallacy in that statement 🙂 ) But isn’t that what the Democrats ARE saying…

Cue Sisyphus! 🙂

Will the economy actually enter a double dip, with G.D.P. shrinking? Who cares? If unemployment rises for the rest of this year, which seems likely, it won’t matter whether the G.D.P. numbers are slightly positive or slightly negative.

All of this is obvious. Yet policy makers are in denial. Why are people who know better sugar-coating economic reality? The answer, I’m sorry to say, is that it’s all about evading responsibility.(Paul Krugman)

After all, it’s Bush’s Fault! and you wouldn’t want <cue evil organ music> Republicans! they’ll just wreck the car again like they did before! 🙂

After all, Bush was Republican and all Republicans are Bush.

And as Mr Krugman also says, showing his liberal roots,”The administration has less freedom of action, since it can’t get legislation past the Republican blockade.”

The Democrats currently have an overwhelming majority in the House and 59/100 seats in the Senate and The Presidency.

Yet, it’s a “republican blockade”.

The problem is that the Democrats can’t get all the Democrats to vote for all of this crap so they have to blame the minority party for it!

It sure as hell can’t possibly be their fault! 🙂

So, if November happens as predicted and the Democrats are the minority, it will be the tyranny of the majority then right? 🙂 They will be the victims yet again, as they are now in the majority. 🙂

Perpetual Victimization!

But the Democrats will focus again on the 1 tree in the forest that isn’t on fire and say that’s you’re hope and change, just be patient, socialism wasn’t built in a day! 🙂

On Thursday, Standard & Poor’s said action is needed soon if the U.S. is to keep the much-coveted AAA bond rating that lets the government borrow in global markets at the lowest rates possible.

S&P’s warning came just days after Morgan Stanley asserted that the U.S., along with a number of other developed nations, is likely to default on some debt. Such defaults are “inevitable,” it said, given the growing number of retirees in developed nations who will have to be taken care of by a shrinking pool of workers.

The sovereign debt crisis “is not over,” said the investment bank’s Arnaud Mares, and that includes in the U.S.

What worries Wall Street is a public debt-to-GDP ratio of around 53%. That’s high enough as it is, but it’s about to go a lot higher. By 2020, recent data suggest, the ratio will top 100% — a red line that virtually all economists agree is dangerous.

In raw numbers, we owed roughly $7.5 trillion at the start of this year. By 2020 that explodes to $23.5 trillion, according to an analysis of Congressional Budget Office data by economist Brian Riedl.

What do these numbers mean? To begin with, we spend $187 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, to pay our debts now. Just 10 years from now, that will surge to $1.1 trillion, or 4.8% of estimated GDP. Fiscally speaking, we’ll be gasping for air.

Debt can be a good thing, but in big doses it’s poison. If, as some fear, the U.S. should simply say it can’t pay its debts and default — or do a de facto default by printing money to retire our debt — the consequences would be dire.

No nation would want our bonds in their portfolios. To entice them to buy, we’d have to offer a much higher risk premium — that is, higher interest rates.

That means our debt service could go even higher, squeezing out even more of our economy’s spending.

The dollar would implode, and prices for foreign goods — which now make up 15% of our economy — would soar. Private investment would shrink and, along with it, private-sector GDP

Americans’ standard of living, once the envy of the world, would recede into the pack of mediocre, government-run nations.

It doesn’t have to be this way. All this is due to unrestrained spending. The federal government now spends about $29,000 per household. That will rise to $38,000 by 2020. If you think “the rich” will, or can, pay for it all, think again.

Unless we begin to control spending, we can kiss our American lifestyles goodbye. It’s that simple.

Sadly, the White House is unwilling to see reality. Which may explain why, as our debts mount to ruinous heights, Vice President Joe Biden — President Obama’s point man on the recovery — can burble, “This is a chance to do something big, man!”

Yeah, man, something big — like wreck a country.

Warnings about America’s impending financial car wreck are being sounded, loud and clear. The only question is whether those driving the car will slam on the brakes before it’s too late.(IBD)

Got the car out of the ditch and drove it straight off a cliff and into a bottomless pit!

Way to go Barack & Co!

Yours is the Superior Intellect! 🙂