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July 5, 2010

Conservatives are more than twice as likely as liberals to express very strong patriotism, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll in which 48 percent of conservatives said they were “extremely patriotic,” but only 19 percent of liberals made that claim.

It’s hard to be patriotic when you believe that the country you are a citizen of is profoundly wrong on every issue.




John Meecham gets it completely wrong on economics populism

For decades, whether the issue has been the tax code or financial regulation or, in the case of the Gulf of Mexico, the oversight of dangerous industrial practices, the initial American instinct has been to ask how little government can do, not what government should do. An economic populism for the second decade of the 21st century ought to create a sense of commonality in which all means, public and private, should be viable options.

(No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No)^3. Government regulation should always be guided by how little the government can do. In some rare cases such as bank regulation or oil rig safety, the market is not an efficient regulatory mechanism, because of a breakdown in transparency mainly, in both current examples due to criminal or near criminal behavior on that part of companies in my opinion, but the idea of government set regulation for a sense of public good and commonality of purpose is precisely what Hayek warned against in “A Road to Serfdom”. Once you started down that road more and more power must be ceded to the government in order to meet your goals until eventually all power is ceded to the government.

Amazingly here is one that Newsweek gets right

Almost as soon as President Obama announced that U.S. forces would start leaving Afghanistan in July 2011, a text message began zipping between Afghan insurgents’ mobile phones. “Mubarak,” it said—Arabic for congratulations. “If you are a believer, you will be a victor,” the message continued, quoting the Quran. Then the kicker: “The enemy president is announcing a withdrawal of troops who will leave our country with their heads bowed.” Jubilant fighters and commanders quickly forwarded it to everyone in their phones’ address books. “In the long history of Afghan fighting, we know that when the enemy puts out a timetable, it means complete failure for them,” says a former Taliban cabinet minister, asking not to be named for security reasons.

That was scarcely the signal Washington meant to send. On the contrary, the idea was merely to head off a revolt by antiwar Democrats in America and maybe to scare Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his friends into cleaning up their act.

How could the administration possibly think that this would not be the message that would be sent? Everyone with any sense was warning them that a timeline just gave the Taliban a target date, and now they act surprised? Amateurs!

“We opened the window behind me and threw eight hundred billion dollars out of it.”
– I don’t agree with Westneat’s conclusion that we need another CCC, but there is a little room for thought in what he writes.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. xbradtc permalink
    July 5, 2010 4:50 pm

    So, we’ve seen enormous disasters in two of the most highly regulated sectors of the economy, finance and drilling, and the only possible answer from Mr. Meecham is more government regulation?

    After a certain point, the regulatory environment becomes so dense that companies under that regulation will either attempt to work outside the regulations, or attempt to work under the regulations and fail.

  2. jenn1964 permalink*
    July 5, 2010 5:10 pm

    In both of those areas the argument can be made that the regulatory system broke down due to malfeasance, both on the part of the regulators and on the part of the banks / oil company. All the other major oil companies have testified that BP was far outside industry practice, so it wasn’t a case of too much regulation in that case, and the collapse of the derivatives market as predicted by the commodities trading regulators does point to the fact that some regulation could be used there. As I said the touch should be as light as possible but there are areas where regulation is required.

    • xbradtc permalink
      July 6, 2010 2:09 pm

      I’m not disagreeing with you on the need for some regulation. But here’s an interesting take on strategy that coincidentally addresses the downside of overly complex environments:

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