Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good Reads for a Saturday

I'm working overtime when I should be up in the mountains skiing or out on the plains hunting. Can't complain, beats the heck out of being unemployed...

Here are some good reads for a Saturday:

Victor Davis Hanson really slams sheriff Dupnik, asking why he blames everyone but himself, since evidence now shows his office had various run-ins with the killer but apparently had a standing catch and release policy.
More disturbing still, if Dupnik were right that a pre-existing conservative climate of hate-engendered politics was not only pervasive in Tucson, but also might prompt an unstable person to kill, why had he not dispatched at least one of his 500 officers to patrol the open-air public event sponsored by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords?
Hard to argue with that logic. Here’s more…
Dupnik is a good example of an increasingly common bad habit of local politicians to resort to cosmic sermonizing when more mundane challenges go unaddressed.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a past master of lecturing about the cosmic while sometimes ignoring the more concrete. Governing the boroughs of an often-chaotic New York City is nearly impossible. Pontificating on the evils of smoking, fatty foods and supposed anti-Muslim bigotry was not only far easier but had established the mayor as a national figure of sensitivity and caring, praised for his progressive declarations by supporters of everything from global warming to abortion.
But Bloomberg's carefully constructed philosopher's image was finally shattered by the December 2010 blizzard and his own asleep-at-the-wheel reaction. An incompetent municipal response to record snowfalls barricaded millions in their borough houses and apartments, amid lurid rumors of deliberate union-sponsored slowdowns by Bloomberg's city crews. (VDH - Global Sermonizing)
Hanson moves on to California in much the same vein. Elected officials should stop “cosmic sermonizing,” shut up and do what the taxpayers are paying them to do.

John Hood has written piece in National Affairs entitled, The States in Crisis, in which he presents the cold hard facts, complete with charts. It is the best presentation I’ve seen so far that explains what’s going on with state budgets.

He starts off with the scary tidbit that state government employed various budget tricks back in the good times, and the recession has now hastened the calamitous reckoning that inevitably follows such chicanery.

Could bankruptcy be in some states' futures?  Sounds scary, but not nearly as scary as them picking our pockets and carrying on as if nothing needs to change. 


Always On Watch said...

Declaring bankruptcy is going to be one avenue that states and local governments will have to pursue as the present financial pyramid is toppling.

Will said...

What I like about you Doug, is that you can cross boundaries effortlessly. From Victor Davis Hanson, to Lew Rockwell, to the Cato Institute, you keep an open mind. I do the same! ;)

Jersey McJones said...

New York is still better run than any rightwing hellhole in the nation.

And yes, there should have been protection for Ms. Giffords. Arizona is one of those rightwing hellholes.

Different states have different problems, though. NJ, for example, has a problem with property taxes and Home Rule. Texas, on the other hand, has a too narrow a revenue stream. California, on the other other hand, has caps on property taxes and massive state commitments. Just the same, these are all donor states, Texas being rare exception to the rule that most donor states are Blue, while most recipient states Red. If the Blue states received back a greater share of their taxes, they'd be in much better shape. While the Red states, if they had to fend more for themselves, would be in serious red.


Silverfiddle said...

Jersey. Please elaborate on the donor states comment, citing facts and studies. Tread carefully, I've investigated this.

Jersey McJones said...

Let's clarify, okay?

PER CAPITA (the only thing that matters): Most donor state money comes from Blue States and most Recipient State money goes to red states.

For example, that's why red states are so attached to military spending, always coming up with the latest ridiculous fear - they have the bases and contractors and those revenues are huge for them.

A military base in California or Texas or New York is only a small part of the state's economy. In Alaska or North Dakota, it's far more significant.

Remember too, there's only one really big Red State - and that's Texas. A state with only slightly fewer problems than heads of steer.

Look at any map, and you can plainly see that without special interests in small states, the GOP would be a distant third party today, and the whole political landscape would be completely different.

But it's not going to be libertarianism that fills that void. Not until today's libertarians can dislodge themselves from their knotted, contradictory, strange attachment to a mythical version of classicial liberalism, can they become a real political force in America.

It's a shame, too, because if they could, I might vote for that sort of libertarian.


Silverfiddle said...

I love how libs like Jersey, unable to defend the liberal sinkholes, instead conjure up fantasies about conservative states like Texas being in trouble.

And the whole "donor state-recipient state" trope is actually an excellent argument against big federal government.

Time to stop spreadin' it around, keep the money in the states and see who rises and falls. Liberal states are bleeding our taxpayers and jobs, while the conservative, free-market south welcomes them in. No way to spin that.

Finntann said...

Hey Jersey, can I get a list of those right-wing hellholes? I might be moving in the future and want to explore all my options.

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