What’s the Big Idea?

The most significant development of 2010 was a life-affirming idea demonstrating the concept of spontaneous order and implying the cardinal virtue of independence of the individual. One frustrated individual, Rick Santelli, ranted on-air at CNBC on February 19, 2009 about certain oppressive interventionist actions of government and called for a new Tea Party. Some credit this rant as the start of the movement. Whether Mr. Santelli was the catalyst or not doesn’t matter. Despite broad media and political efforts to trivialize the phenomenon, Tea Partiers collected support across party lines, social classes and cultural subgroups. The influence of the Tea … Continue reading What’s the Big Idea?

Turbulent Waters Ahead

American voters will soon participate in a drill to rearrange the deck chairs on their titanic ship of State. Election Day is November 2, 2010. Many are caught up in the idea that a new crew with better ideas will help navigate through rough seas. However, few have recognized the looming economic iceberg of unintended consequences, the unavoidable cumulative result of a drift toward greater command and control by both captain and crew—those past and present. Fundamentally nothing changes in the corporatist managed economy of the United States, including the growing scope of government involvement in the daily affairs of … Continue reading Turbulent Waters Ahead

On Location

“Location”, “location” and “location” are said to be the three most important attributes of real estate properties in terms of desirability. The proposal to build Cordoba House, now called the Park 51 Islamic Community Center, within two blocks of the former World Trade Center site affords much opportunity to speculate about the three most important attributes of this particular development; they are not self-evident. There might be more lucrative commercial alternatives to building a mosque and related facilities at 51 Park in New York City. Supposedly, Soho Properties originally planned to develop a condominium project before partnering with Imam Faisal … Continue reading On Location

“No-Fly” Zone

In my retrospective article on the last decade (The “Aught” Knot), I indicated in an aside that the various government security precautions being imposed on all air travellers will not work. I will now try to explain why. Beginning with the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the United States by Islamic-inspired terrorists, there have been three incidents (about which we have been extensively informed) in which the various governments’ costly and expanding security apparatus has failed to screen out a viable threat. The  horror of September 11, 2001, orchestrated by men armed only with simple weapons, was of course the … Continue reading “No-Fly” Zone

Broadcast of the Absurd

Contrary to all reason and common sense, several Presidents of the United States have sought to address schoolchildren at the commencement of the school year. President Obama is today just the latest to have eagerly seized on such an opportunity. The President was overzealous in his initial plans to enlist members of his audience as personal aides in promoting his agenda by inviting students to write about how they might “help the President.” The resulting furor, attributed by the media to his detractors, Republicans, and conservatives, was largely regarded as “no big deal” by Obama supporters, Democrats, liberals, and of … Continue reading Broadcast of the Absurd

Too Many Lawyers, Again

Recently, on Fox Business Channel, hostess Alexis Glick asked an exchange trader for his views of recent actions directed at the US economy by the central government. In response he invoked the old cliche about there being too many lawyers in society. In summary, the disgruntled trader said that too many lawyers, without any training in or knowledge of economics, were making legislation and policy initiatives affecting the economy. He added that as far as he was concerned, this was the greatest problem in America today. I sympathize with this trader and agree with him as far as his statement goes, but the problem to which he only alluded runs … Continue reading Too Many Lawyers, Again

Community Regulator

Former community activist and President of the United States, Barack Obama has released his plan for “re-regulation” of the market place for the financial industry. As usual, accepting no responsibility on behalf of government for the “sub-prime” lending mess that precipitated the latest recession, the President leveled criticism at market participants instead. He referred to “a culture of irresponsibility” and in proposing a new consumer financial protection agency basically endorses the position of community activist groups which malign the sources of mortgage loans as “predatory lenders”. The provisions of the new rules reaffirm the long-standing central government policies of urging … Continue reading Community Regulator

This Time It’s Different

Blithely comes one Barack Obama to Green Bay, Wisconsin to talk about reforming health care in the United States, home to the most advanced system of medical and health care in the world. Those savvy folks in Wisconsin probably have internet access so they could have reviewed the President’s imperatives on his web-site. Of course it does help Obama and the anticipated Democrat dynasty to propose the spreading of “loaves and fishes” while at a “town hall” meeting. The ever eager media frisson which accompanies such events represents lots of additional publicity to promote the fantasy of utopia. What does … Continue reading This Time It’s Different

Size Matters

 “The era of big government is over….” (President Clinton, State of the Union Address, January 23, 1996) “Too Big to Fail” Doctrine (Origins in the “essentiality doctrine,” a 1950 amendment to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act of 1934) “Size Matters” (Origin unknown, but probably rooted in the science of Physics) US President Barack Obama in his inaugural address said, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too large or too small, but whether it works….” Mr. Obama is right in so far as the foregoing statement appears, however it was clear from the rest of his … Continue reading Size Matters

The “Czar Czar”

US President Barack Obama is appointing another “Czar” to serve at his pleasure. This time it is a “Pay Czar,” who will oversee compensation matters relative to the many new government-controlled enterprises and bailed-out firms, which is fast becoming the real “growth industry” in America: i.e. corporatism, industrial policy or economic fascism. The recent count is apparently now up to 18 such non-cabinet posts. The executive practice of appointing aides with cabinet level authority has been utilized by the White House for some time and it fell to considerable criticism when George W. Bush was serving. Most of the justifiable … Continue reading The “Czar Czar”