Archive for the ‘Bailouts’ Category

I’m thinking of making this a recurring feature here on SOL2k10: The Spotlight on Irrelevance. Focusing on Federal, State, and Local government spending programs that have outlived their usefulness (provided they ever had any, to begin with, which is a high bar lawmakers generally avoid living up to when their pet projects are running through the legislative paces).

Today’s culprit: USAID. Early last week, the National Journal (a leftist rag) reported, with typical effervescence, on a new program being funded through USAID. According to the article, Citi will be receiving somewhere in the neighborhood of $23 million from USAID to close the loop on “the last mile.” (Click the link above for what this phrase denotes. It would be priceless, if it weren’t so damned infuriating.)

The obvious question (to anyone not blindly enamored of government programs for their own sake, regardless of results, intended or otherwise) is this: what the hell business does the federal government of the United States of America have in funding infrastructure for banking transactions in “emerging” economies? Can we find this power in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution? Nope. Not there.

But wait! The article doesn’t say a word about Congress authorizing this $23 million expenditure, does it? Hmm. So, perhaps this is merely a bureaucratic function of the federal government, through USAID? After all, the agency was instituted by the (unconstitutional) executive fiat of one John Fitzgerald Kennedy (I know it’s wikipedia, but it’s well-sourced), so perhaps we should be looking for the justification in Article 2? Well, I’ll be damned! It’s not there, either. Curious, that.

Well, let’s explore the stated objectives of USAID. Perhaps we can find some language there that vaguely echoes the US Constitution? Well, holy entangling alliances, Batman! Some familiar stuff there, huh? But not from the Constitution, it would seem.

Can you say “League of Nations”? I knew you could.

Despite the “good intentions” of USAID overall (and the fluffing from the National Journal, regarding this most recent $23 million project), it is simply impossible to find any justification for this organization in our Constitution, nor in the writings or practices of our founders. In fact, one need look no further than George Washington’s farewell address to find a stark rebuttal of a myriad of federal practices which are now viewed as commonplace.

And this latest announcement completely ignores that USAID was used to fund “fledgling political parties” in Egypt, following their “glorious peoples’ revolution” last year. Or that funds have been routinely tapped into for decades to pay for dubiously-beneficial projects throughout “emerging nations” around the globe.

In a nation facing a $16 trillion national debt, and unfunded liabilities topping $110 trillion, perhaps it’s time to realize that all manner of profligate federal spending must be curtailed. In the grand scheme, is it “radical” to suggest that USAID has run its course?

USAID was created by an executive order during the Kennedy administration. It can be abolished with a stroke of the pen, as well.

Romney? Romney? Romney?




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I’m going to rant a bit on the “Occupy” protests. So, brace yourselves! (Or, as our illustrious VP, Low Blow Joe, would say: “Gird your loins!” 😉

This week, rather than ranting about whether or not a major Presidential candidate may have called a woman “Sweetie” 15 years ago, or whether our current President DID call TWO women “Sweetie”, on camera, during his campaign for the job 3 years ago, or whether that same current President knew about a plan to arm dangerous Mexican drug cartels with American weapons; No, rather than turning this into a platform for speculation over minutia, I will instead stick to important issues: Kids misbehaving.

This week’s rant: Dystopian, or Destructive?

By now, most of you have heard that Occupy Oakland is conducting a “general strike” today (Wednesday, November 2nd). Never mind that an actual strike is a work stoppage to make a point about work conditions/wages to one’s employer. And people camping in parks for weeks on end can’t technically be considered “employment” (at least, not until O’s Jobs Bill passes).

Nonetheless, “strike” is their term, so let’s run with it. This is being presented as a courageous move, a show of solidarity. Some occupiers are even couching it in language reminiscent of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” (On DVD next Tuesday, by the way.)

True enough, Rand’s working title for the story was “The Strike,” but she scrapped it due to Teamster (at the time) connotations. The disconnect here is not subtle. Occupy organizers wish to cloak themselves in heroic archetypal imagery (“combatting the evil 1%,” etc.). Yet, through our abysmal indoctrin… er, education system, they have missed the actual, truly heroic aspects of John Galt, and, truth be told, Robin Hood, as well.

Galt was a producer, whose innovations by themselves would benefit all of humanity, without the government taking even a single penny of his wealth. Yet, because government insisted on restricting his efforts via punitive taxes & regulations (Directive 10-289, anyone?), he went on strike. His strike deprived government and society of his talent AND treasure. The country went to hell & they *begged* him to come back & LEAD them. He refused, because they would not agree to his one simple term. (Read the book for more on that.)

Likewise, the story of Robin Hood has been contorted. Occupiers (and, frankly, most others) would probably tell you he “stole from the rich & gave to the poor.” That is patently false. In the legend, acting King John imposed hefty taxes & duties upon all of society, to expand his wealth & fund the crusade his brother was leading. The poor were, of course, hit very hard. When their money ran out, their property & crops were seized. Robin saw people starving, at the hands of their government, and set out to restore their rightful property. Essentially, it’s a moral tale about private property and actual justice, NOT redistribution and “social” justice.

In America today, we are nowhere near the circumstances in which Robin Hood found himself. We are, rather, MUCH closer to the dystopian collectivist landscape Ayn Rand envisioned (and how could she have imagined such a place, having emigrated from the grand Communist Utopia of Russia? *sarcasm*)
No, here in America today, the bottom 47% of wage-earners either pay no taxes, or get refunds above and beyond what they pay in. And that’s not counting social subsidies (i.e.: SNAP, WIC, TANIF, Section 8, Medicaid, minimum wage, etc.).

This being the case, then, it is patently absurd for occupiers to assume the mantle of “heroic warriors for the downtrodden.” If they truly were, they’d be occupying regulatory bureaucracies and calling for “the 99%” (or at least 47%) to put “skin in the game.”

But the current course of the occupy movement (strike aside) suggests much more a desire for destruction than a dystopian “going Galt.” But, with “the 99%” calling for even more regulation and punitive taxation on the producers, they are more likely to end up with an Atlas Shrugged scenario, as those producers, those Galts, reach their last straws, “go Galt,” and leave #ows literally high and dry.

What the occupiers don’t understand, because they don’t follow through to their “demands’ ” logical conclusion, is this: The “top 1%,” (like Galt, Mulligan, Wyatt, Halley, et al) can outrun the collapse of this system, because they don’t *depend* on it. Question is: can YOU? Occupiers?

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