Monday, July 20, 2009

TARP Inspector General Reports

This article summarizes the outlays and insurance-like guarantees made by the Federal Government to prop up the economy. The total? $23.7 TRILLION.

TARP has come to include 12 separate programs that include a total of as much as $3 trillion

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office Speaks Out

The Director of the Congressional Budget Office felt it necessary to cut through the lies and misinformation in order to educate us citizens. Here is the post.

He discusses the long-term debt problem (as a percent of GDP) and the deficit problem (AKA excess costs).

People like me who read the Annual Report of the United States have known this for a long time, have written to elected officials for a long time, have supported candidates who have the right ideas for dealing with this problem correctly, and have been disappointed (for a long time) in the inability of the elected leaders to a) understand the problem or b) do something about it.

Just like state and local governments in today's economic crisis, the federal government needs to do some soul-searching on what the Constitution requires it to do and what additional that we can actually afford. It also needs to come to grips with what the Constitution says it should not do, which would unburden the budget a lot in short order. But that's a rant for another day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fixing Health Care

First, wrap your head around actual facts here, here, and here.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) provides a laundry list of ways in which the Federal Government interferes with the market for healthcare and insurance.

Here is an example of how the Commonwealth of Virginia is getting out of the way of small businesses, by reducing health insurance policy requirements so that basic plans can be affordable and at least effective in a catastrophe.

The bottom line is that when we hear that the Federal Government needs to take over health care financing (and who pays calls the shots!) that it is a crock of you-know-what and it stinketh mightily. Fedzilla and state governments need to remove impediments, not insert themselves as a monumentally larger impediment.

And it wouldn't hurt if the Federal Government would take border security and the economic problems of illegal immigration seriously. Please, it's been nearly eight years since 9/11, and we are only now getting this report from the Department of Justice?

It seems that conservatives know these things intuitively. Kathy says we must all be too busy working to make a show of force. She may be right.

The Second Amendment

I find it ridiculous that the Second Amendment is under attack still following the remarkable majority decision (penned by Justice Scalia) in Heller v. D.C. upholding our individual rights to own and use ordinary weapons. (If you have the time and wit to do so, I recommend reading at least the first half of Scalia's opinion. I have not had so much fun reading the gradual but inexorable takedown of stupidity in all my life. It's like watching Julia Sugarbaker take someone down with superior intelligence, but longer and better.)

This article in Reason Magazine is an interview with the attorney who won the Heller v. D.C. case and highlights the ongoing stupdity in D.C. and other jurisdictions. That we have to fight these cases in all their absurdity is a result of poor choices by the electorate and successful power-hungry politicians who install similarly power-hungry judges.

This is the long range effect of elections--the shifting of the judiciary between originalist interpretation and "living document" interpretation of the Constitution. Something we take for granted, like the Bill of Rights, is in jeopardy every time a constitutional case comes before a divided court.

Remember that next time you vote (or think not to).