Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff will be a new regular part of this blog. In these posts I will address items that I couldn't get to during the week, or perhaps I don't have the energy or interest to address in great detail. The title is intended to be sarcastic-- our leaders seem to think that principles are small things. I don't.

Say What?
Apparently, President Bush has forgotten what he said just a few weeks ago. According to an article on he recently admonished world leaders:

President George W. Bush today urged leaders of the world's biggest economies not to abandon free-market capitalism as they seek an escape from the financial crisis, calling it the "best system'' for delivering growth.

"History has shown that the greater threat to economic prosperity is not too little government involvement in the market, but too much,'' Bush said. "Our aim should not be more government, it should be smarter government.''

I missed the part where he explained how taking $700 billion from tax payers to bail out Wall Street and impose more restrictions on bankers (already among the most heavily regulated businessmen in the country) is not more government and is smarter.

(HT: The Beatles)
Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggie lives
Clutching forks and knives
To eat our bacon

According to the NY Times, the piggies are lining up to feed at the public trough:

When the government said it would spend $700 billion to rescue the nation’s financial industry, it seemed to be an ocean of money. But after one of the biggest lobbying free-for-alls in memory, it suddenly looks like a dwindling pool.

Many new supplicants are lining up for an infusion of capital as billions of dollars are channeled to other beneficiaries like the American International Group, and possibly soon American Express.

Of the initial $350 billion that Congress freed up, out of the $700 billion in bailout
money contained in the law that passed last month, the Treasury Department has committed all but $60 billion. The shrinking pie — and the growing uncertainty over who qualifies — has thrown Washington’s legal and lobbying establishment into a mad scramble.
Whenever government can take from some and give to others, the piggies will line up and demand a share. Oink, oink.

The auto industry is already squealing for its share, and the airlines are rumored to be close behind. These industries, their lobbyists will argue, are vital to the American economy. If they fail there will be layoffs and the impact will be widespread. I've heard that everyone will be impacted if the automakers fail because: 1. Everyone uses vehicles for transportation; 2. Many jobs depend on the auto industry; 3. Vehicles get our food and other essentials to the stores.

That is such a great argument that I (sarcastically) propose we bail out the paint industry. After all: 1. Paint is on the outside of every vehicle; 2. Paint is on the walls of virtually every home; 3. Paint is on the walls of virtually every store and business. Paint does more than protect surfaces, it enhances our environment, it creates moods, and if the paint industry fails, we could all turn into moping little piggies. Oink, oink.

How About Bad Driving?
The Galveston County community of Santa Fe has banned the use of cell phones in school zones. The idea behind such bans is to reduce driver distractions and save the lives of countless children. I'm not opposed to saving lives, but when it restricts my freedom (or anyone's freedom) I am opposed. How about just banning bad driving? How about holding people responsible for their actions and not penalizing everyone for the actions of a few? I guess that would be discriminatory, and we would not want to discriminate against irresponsible people.

Maybe City Council Can Pass a Law
The Chronicle reports that Barton Smith, director of the University of Houston's Institute for Regional Forecasting, is predicting that Houston's economy will shrink in 2009.

Smith predicts the Houston area will lose jobs in 2009. How many will depend on the intensity of the economic slump.

In his best-case scenario, the area will lose 11,000 jobs, a 0.4 percent drop, he said. But if the global downturn deepens and draws in more countries that, in turn, will use less energy, Smith projects losses of 37,500 jobs, a 1.4 percent drop.

Since City Council has been on a rampage lately destroying businesses (such as taco vendors and those who sell "attention-getting devices"), maybe they can pass a law that mandates the creation of new jobs.

What is interesting is that President Bush exhorts world leaders to refrain from interfering with the free market while he simultaneously nationalizes the banking industry. Houston's leaders cheer our city's robust economy while simultaneously enacting laws that kill jobs, raise the cost of living, and reduce our freedoms. Neither is able to understand that their actions render their words meaningless. Except of course, those to whom they are pandering.

Sell the Freaking Land
Via Market Urbanism, I found this interesting map showing how much land the federal government owns. The Feds own almost all of Nevada, which might explain why prostitution is legal there. At least with a prostitute you might enjoy it when you get screwed.


Mike N said...

Yes. With the government, you get screwed without even a kiss.

Brian Phillips said...

And the government doesn't send flowers or a card either.