Jobs Alone Aren’t The Answer

English: Calvin Coolidge. 30th President of th...

English: Calvin Coolidge. 30th President of the United States (1923-1929) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is, as always from Amity Shlaes, excellent. It has often seemed to me that our politicians think the electorate is very stupid, not to mention having no memory at all.

While this seems more obvious on Democratic side of the aisle, it’s pretty bipartisan, as watch Congress continually indulge in get-rich quick schemes for Congresscritters and their sycophants, especially in the lobbying industry. Truly I have come to believe we have the best Congress money can buy. Somehow, I don’t think that is quite what Jefferson, Washington, Madison, and the rest had in mind. Who comes to my mind is a chap named Nero, a famous violinist who thought he was more than that.

From Amity

But 18-year-olds are wiser than their elders realize. Jobs alone won’t suffice to keep them. Young people seek something else: prospects. The distinction feels trivial, but there’s a difference between jobs and prospects. That difference is one of time. “Prospects” means long term, and long term is how many youths think.

This became clear in a contest recently conducted by the Vermont-based Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, where I work. The foundation asked high school students to answer a simple question regarding the Green Mountain State: Should I stay, or should I go?

That’s indeed the question we have all faced isn’t it. The perennial American question, ever since the Pilgrims landed. Is the grass greener someplace else, or is this rockpile as good a farm as there is. usually itching feet have prevailed, and we have indeed, “Go west, young man, go west.” and what we have usually found is the chance to build something to be proud of, whether it was a farm, a business, a church, or indeed a nation, which has become second to none.

Still, the kids were just breaking bad news gently. And that bad news was that they were indeed departing. One semifinalist established the imperative of migration: “In times such as these, the world needs people to step up and keep it from collapsing in upon itself. … While I do not think every Vermonter should leave the state, I think those of able mind and body should.”

The winner put her conclusion more bluntly: “I need to get out of Vermont to see different places around the world and to meet different people. I need to experience those things in life that Vermont simply cannot offer.” Another pupil wrote in rap-style slang: “Not necessarily the state for success. … So competition is weak/ People need to travel so they can raise to their own peak/Vermont’s getting older.”

Now mind you, I’m very traditional but you know, if I was growing up in Vermont, and it’s as lovely as everyone says, I’d leave as well. Why? I like to eat, and I believe in earning my own way. The view out the window is important but not as important as that.

The economist Milton Friedman, who once had a house in Vermont, labeled a phenomenon he observed as the “Permanent Income Hypothesis.” People, Friedman posited, were not rabbits. They would spend not according to what cash they had on hand but according to their estimate of what money they’d have in their lifetime. The PIH holds for decisions beyond saving. You choose a home not just because it pleases you this year but because it might prove a good investment over a lifetime.

The essays of the perspicacious Vermont teens suggest that states around the nation may want to alter their pitches. Jobs matter, but less than education. Regulation matters. Tax rates matter, even top rates—again, because of prospects. The ambitious consider what rate they’ll pay tomorrow, not the rate that applies to them as they start out.

Well, of course they do, we all do. And that is why what Washington does increasingly is so pernicious. When you kill people’s dreams, which is what our welfare system has done systematically in our cities for fifty years now, we train whole generations to believe they are worthless, that the best they can hope for is to be paid for existing, so sit down and shut up.

But it’s even more than that, isn’t it. I’m a highly skilled tradesman, living in one of the better states for business, and yet, as I’ve written before, because the state itself has a habit of ignoring its laws, to take care of its guild members, I’m unlikely to work again. When a guy like me becomes convinced that my best chance to retire is to win Powerball, you are doing something wrong.

Jobs Alone Aren’t The Answer – Forbes.

This is more an aside than anything else but, am I the only one who thinks the national Democrats increasingly look old and tired, yesterday’s news. I mean jeez, guys, I’m in my early sixties myself, and when you look old and shopworn to me, what must you look like to the 30 year olds that you built your party on. It’s the people, to an extent, we’ve been talking about the Clinton’s for what seems like forever, is it really only twenty years? Then again, do you have anything else that you bought in 1990?

Nor does it help that they are still pushing the same programs that have failed everywhere they’ve been tried, usually catastrophically and they haven’t changed a jot or tittle since Wilson was president. I is a further handicap to at least some of us that not a single one of the member of the nomenklatura has ever held a real job even (mostly, anyhow) ever served in the military.

Time to consign them to the dustheap of history and move on.

The First Gasoline Tax: Less Than Romantic (Oregon: 1919) – Master Resource

Did you ever wonder how the gas tax came about? I did occasionally but never enough to study it and find out. Not surprisingly it turn out to be a sordid story of self-interest and government cronyism. From Masterresource.

“I was asked to draw a state highway map that would win the votes of a majority of the members by placing roads [so] they could take them home with them as pork wrested from Portland…. This map ran in front of the farm homes of enough legislators that . . . 37 representatives joined in introduction of the bill…. It took all day . . . to get the map changed so a majority of the Senate would vote for the bill…. My poor map was almost unrecognizable, but it served its purpose.”

– C. C. Chapman, “father of the gasoline tax,” on Oregon’s passage of motor-vehicle fee in 1917, which became a gasoline levy two years later.

Was Oregon’s tax the work of a far-sighted reformer with the special interests keeping a safe distance in the interests of fair and balanced government? Or was it the result of a confluence of private and public interests creating a supply of and a demand for special government favor?

Unlike the textbook view, it was the latter. And “Big Oil” was involved in Oregon’s historic public-finance moment. The major oil companies calculated that the total revenue from gasoline sales would rise more with tax-financed road construction than if gasoline was cheaper by the amount of the tax and fewer (public) roads were constructed.

Nothing very novel or even unusual there, really. that’s how political sausage is made And in some ways, the fact that the government built roads, in a political environment is likely better than if they’d turned the map over to ‘experts’. And even with my libertarian tendencies, it’s hard for me to see how local roads at least would be overly rational as private property. So maybe it’s not the worst thing ever, really. federal highways and Interstates are likely a different sort of animal but that’s another discussion.

Oregon’s beginning led to road taxes in all 48 states within a decade to fund road construction. But, gas-tax revenue started to be diverted to other uses to the chagrin of the oil majors, now organized as the American Petroleum Institute (API). “Phantom roads” became an issue.

Government intervention giveth and taketh away. Expect the same for any ‘starter’ carbon tax.

That does bother me. We approved of the gas tax to build and maintain road, not for any other purpose (seems like the usual suspect these days is so-called: light rail). Which if there was enough demand for it wouldn’t need government subsidies. But it does, and where it has been built, (like the interurbans before it) it has failed.

The First Gasoline Tax: Less Than Romantic (Oregon: 1919) – Master Resource.

There’s quite a lot more at the sourcelink but I see little point in reproducing it. You should rhe link, include some from Heritage. cronyism is always going to exist, the trick is to keep it at a low (and local) level so it doesn’t do too much more damage than the good it can do.

Knock Off The Loser Talk.

Percentage of members of the US 109th Congress...

Percentage of members of the US 109th Congress House of Representatives from each party. Data from 109th United States Congress. Legend as shown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who have been reading here for a time will likely have noted that I’ve cut back on political content.There are a couple reasons for that, a lot of the time it is the same old, same old, there are few people in it (more than there used to be though) that I consider worth emulating. In addition, it’s both addictive and not particularly good for my health.

But I still read some and sometimes pass some on, as I did yesterday. And that article prompted an old and good friend of mine, Ike, to comment.

I am fully aware that I am “from outside” and as such and with my experience as well as observation of history since the start of the Colonial period I have come to believe that Nations should stick with their own domestic affairs. This tongue in cheek observation comes with my love for the America I once knew.

You have always had the best two-party system in the entire world with just the right size floating vote; that’s the way to share periods of governance between both major parties.

However, with modern Liberalism gone awry and right off the track, can America afford any third Party risk of handing government to the Dems again? I know the Reps are not perfect right now but it seems to be the time to ensure a few Rep victories in a row and defeat the Dems to elect “the better of two known evils” rather than the Dems gaining ground and getting stronger.

America is in my humble view at risk, and seriously so, if your elect the Dems again in 1916, not even to mention 1920 and 1924. You have to defeat the Dems and let them self-destruct before they become and African Party.

Would love to hear what you think.


I agree with him. The Republican party has never been a conservative party, it grew out of the statist Whig party, and it’s roots have always shown through. Whether we’re talking Lincoln, Grant or TR, nobody is going to think they are conservative icons. But it is the party of Coolidge and Reagan as well, and they are.

The  thing is, we just don’t have the time to build ourselves a bespoke conservative/libertarian party, the old wobbly-wheeled whiggish Republican party is going to have to serve, once more, as it has quite well the past. Kurt notes in the linked article that America is more conservative than it has been in a hundred years. He’s right, we’re chipping away in the state houses, and the legislature, and increasingly in the Congress well. The only way we’re going to lose–is to quit, and why would we do that just as we’re beginning to win?

Here’s Kurt:

Oh my goodness, the 2014 election victories didn’t end the war! You mean the progressives are still out there dreaming of a future full of hugs and goosestepping? You mean the GOP Establishment hasn’t just given up its power and knelt before us, begging to be forgiven for its craven crony corporatism? You mean the fight’s not over?

No, the fight’s not over. So stop whining that you can’t go back to sitting on your rear end – we have a long campaign ahead. I know you’re tired. I know you’re frustrated. And I don’t care.

Some people want to throw in the towel just as we are approaching the knockout. News flash: Our opponents punch back. Time to take the hit and drive on.

We’re winning, only we haven’t won yet. So pick up your (figurative) weapons and follow me. The fight’s up ahead, and we’re going to keep moving to the sound of the guns.

Writer Brian Cates has the right idea. Jolted into action by Andrew Breitbart, as so many of us were, he watched conservatives win in 2010 and things marginally improve. Then 2012 moved us backwards. Then 2014 moved us forward again as we retook Congress. Then, last week, he watched Team Boehner and McConnell roll over on immigration funding after utterly botching their strategy in a manner that would make the French Army proud.

So, like all of us, he had reached a decision point. His options: Give up or fight on. In a brilliant series of tweets, collected here, he chose to fight on. (Hat Tip: Glenn Reynolds)

Yeah, the GOP stinks. Yeah, there is a contingent within the GOP that prioritizes its own power and position over conservatism. Well, welcome to human nature – a certain percentage of human beings simply suck. You can cry about it like Nancy Pelosi at a Bibi speech or you can man-up and deal.

The only viable strategy is this – complete the seizure of the GOP’s infrastructure, turn it completely conservative, and then go and defeat the liberals. And that’s hard. And that won’t happen overnight. And we’re going to be disappointed – probably a lot. But the alternative is to cede the country to the liberal fascists who want to force us to live in carbon-free huts, steal our sacred Constitutional rights, and peer into our bedrooms lest we commit felony cisnormativism.

I’m not willing to let that happen. What about you?

Keep reading Knock Off The Loser Talk. This Fight Hasn’t Even Begun – Kurt Schlichter – Page 1.

Suck it up and saddle up guys, nobody ever said keeping America free was going to be easy or cheap.Why would something so valuable be, remember what Thomas Paine said about the value Heaven places on its good’s? He’s right.

The other thing guys, is this. look around the world at our friends, Australia has a Conservative PM, and he’s making the place take off, Same in Canada. They’re just waiting for America to become America again. And have you been looking at Britain at all? UKIP looks about ready to storm Westminster, which is even more a law unto itself than Washington is.

I rarely make predictions, and I could be wrong but, I think if we keep our course, in a few years we’ll see a boom that make the roaring twenties seem boring. But we must stay the course, we are America, we lead, and we win.

CPAC 2015

Gladstone quoteI haven’t been doing much politics lately. That doesn’t mean that I no longer care, I do as much as ever. It means that for the present all we can really do is hold, and frankly I’m very disillusioned with the Republicans, who have turned into democrat (not so) lite.

Still CPAC is different. Even though they let some of the ones we derisively call RINOs talk, it’s about conservatism, and doing things that work. So, here’s a selection from last weekends CPAC 2015.

My overall thrust remains what it always has been. It is summarized quite well in the lead quote in the sidebar.

This you really want to listen to, it is that important!

And we’ll finish off with a man who knows all to well what Brent Bozell was talking about. If what you know about UKIP comes from the British press, you’ve simply been lied to. Unless I had a very good reason for voting for somebody else, and some do, I’d vote UKIP in a heartbeat.


Red Cross Demands Corrections to ‘Misleading’ Coverage

Flag of the Red Cross Suomi: Punaisen Ristin l...

Flag of the Red Cross Suomi: Punaisen Ristin lippu Français : Drapeau de la Croix-Rouge Italiano: Bandiera della Croce Rossa Македонски: Знаме на Црвениот Крст Rumantsch: Bandiera de la Crusch cotschna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So it seems that Propublica struck a nerve with the Red Cross, especially with its response to Sandy and Isaac , and with misleading fundraising as well.

I’m not overly surprised, in recent times it seems to have become more of a fund-raising organization for the enhancement of the lifestyle of its executives than anything else. That’s sad but hardly unprecedented. I have heard stories going back to Vietnam regarding the uncooperativeness of the red Cross regarding provide authorization of emergency leave for soldiers. Personally I have for many years refused to donate to the Red Cross, preferring such organizations as the Salvation Army.

In any case, here’s the main heads of the controversy.

1. Emergency response vehicles diverted for PR purposes

Red Cross complaint (pg. 1):

The charity takes issue with our reporting that executives diverted vehicles for public relations purposes. In particular, the Red Cross asserts that NPR’s version of the story erroneously refers to multiple “incidents” where 40 percent of available emergency response vehicles were used for press conferences. The Red Cross also says our reporting relied on a “lone source.” It both denies that any emergency vehicles were diverted away from providing relief and says that the 40 percent figure is wrong.

Our response:

The Red Cross’ claim that we referred to multiple “incidents” where 40 percent of vehicles were diverted is based on its use of a misleading, truncated quotation.

NPR’s transcript makes clear the word “incidents” refers to a variety of episodes, not just the diversion of trucks:

Our reporting found incidents where the charity sent as many as 40 percent of its emergency vehicles to press conferences instead of into the field, where it failed to show up as promised to open shelters, allowed sex offenders to hang out in a shelter’s play area. […]

2. Hurricane Isaac volunteers sent where they weren’t needed

Red Cross complaint (pg. 3):

The charity disputes our reporting that the vast majority of Red Cross responders deployed in advance of Hurricane Isaac in 2012 were stationed in Tampa, Florida – site of the Republican National Convention — even after it became clear the storm would not hit there.

“Again, this is the opinion of one Red Cross worker, unsubstantiated by the facts,” the Red Cross writes.

Our response:

While the Red Cross insists Tampa was under threat, the National Hurricane Center disagrees. As of Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, which was five days before landfall, Tampa was not under a hurricane threat or warning.

Five days out “it was clear the center of the storm would pass well to the west of Tampa,” Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center told us.

During the period that the Red Cross was stationing around 500 people in Tampa, a hurricane watch was under way for Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. Multiple people, including Red Cross volunteers and staffers, told ProPublica and NPR that the organization had difficulty moving people out of Tampa. […]

3. Failures in Bergen County, New Jersey

Red Cross complaint (pg. 4):

The charity takes issue with our reporting that the Red Cross’ response to Sandy was particularly inadequate in Bergen County, New Jersey. The Red Cross says we ignored “positive comments about the Red Cross while pretending only negative comments exist.”

Our response:

The Red Cross is not disputing the fact at the center of our reference to Bergen County: That the charity did not show up at the county’s Emergency Operations Center. “They were the only major player not there,” police lieutenant and Bergen County Emergency Management Coordinator Matthew Tiedemann told us. […]

4. Questioning the standing of a key source

Red Cross complaint (pg. 5):

The charity says “much of the criticism” in our stories came from one source, whose role we inflated.

Our response:

Again, the central conclusions of our coverage were drawn from the American Red Cross’ own internal high-level assessments, including minutes of a meeting with Red Cross executives in Washington. […]

5. The Red Cross wasted large amounts of food

Red Cross complaint (pg. 6):

The charity says our reference to the Red Cross wasting food was based on a single Red Cross responder, specifically Richard Rieckenberg.

Our response:

Our story noted that Rieckenberg estimated that the Red Cross wasted 30 percent of its food in the early days after Sandy — and we also noted the Red Cross disputed the figure. [..]

Red Cross complaint (pg. 6):

The charity disputes our reporting that the Red Cross sent around empty trucks after Hurricane Isaac just to be seen. In particular, the Red Cross writes, “There is no evidence to support this other than the recollection, again, of Rick Rieckenberg.”

Our response:

The Red Cross is wrong. […]

8. Refusing to work with Occupy Sandy

Red Cross complaint (pg. 8):

The charity denies our reporting that after Sandy Red Cross executives told staffers not to work with the well-regarded group Occupy Sandy out of concern over the connections to the Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

Our response:

Our story about the Red Cross and Occupy Sandy is clear: In the early period after the storm multiple Red Cross workers were told by superiors not to work with Occupy Sandy. […]

9. Senator probes Red Cross finances

Red Cross complaint (pg. 9):

The charity objects to various characterizations of Sen. Charles Grassley’s inquiries into its finances. They call our headline “hyper-extended.”

Our response:

The Red Cross is not alleging a factual error. Following our story on CEO Gail McGovern misstating how donor dollars are spent on services and overhead, Grassley announced: “The public’s expectation for an important, well-known organization like the Red Cross is complete, accurate fundraising and spending information  […]

10. Difficulty of finding sources who praised the Red Cross

Red Cross complaint (pg. 10):

The charity disputes a comment by one of us on a Reddit chat that it was difficult to find sources who had positive things to say about the Red Cross’ response to Isaac and Sandy. The charity also complains that we did not include a survey it provided of those who received Red Cross help after Sandy.

Our response:

Our answer on our Reddit chat was: We “interviewed dozens of people, including many Red Cross officials and volunteers, storm victims, and government officials. It was very difficult to find sources with positive things to say about the Red Cross’ responses to Sandy and Isaac. More importantly, multiple sources confirmed and fleshed out the Red Cross’ own conclusions from its internal assessments.”[…]

There is quite a lot more detail at the sourcelink, here: Red Cross Demands Corrections to Our ‘Misleading’ Coverage. Here’s Our Response – ProPublica.

I’ll simply note that I have always found Pro Publica to be a reliable investigatory organization.

The Telegraph and Peter Oborne

OK, I heard that, “What’s this still another British story? I thought this was a Nebraska blog.”

Well, yeah it is but, this has meaning for us too. In his statement here from Guido Fawkes, Peter Oborne tells us why he quit The Telegraph

Five years ago I was invited to become the chief political commentator of the Telegraph. It was a job I was very proud to accept. The Telegraph has long been the most important conservative-leaning newspaper in Britain, admired as much for its integrity as for its superb news coverage. When I joined the Telegraph had just broken the MPs’ expenses scandal, the most important political scoop of the 21st century.

I was very conscious that I was joining a formidable tradition of political commentary. I spent my summer holiday before taking up my duties as columnist reading the essays of the great Peter Utley, edited by Charles Moore and Simon Heffer, two other masters of the art.

No one has ever expressed quite as well as Utley the quiet decency and pragmatism of British conservatism. The Mail is raucous and populist, while the Times is proud to swing with the wind as the voice of the official class. The Telegraph stood in a different tradition. It is read by the nation as a whole, not just by the City and Westminster. It is confident of its own values. It has long been famous for the accuracy of its news reporting. I imagine its readers to be country solicitors, struggling small businessmen, harassed second secretaries in foreign embassies, schoolteachers, military folk, farmers—decent people with a stake in the country.

My grandfather, Lt Col Tom Oborne DSO, had been a Telegraph reader. He was also a churchwarden and played a role in the Petersfield Conservative Association. He had a special rack on the breakfast table and would read the paper carefully over his bacon and eggs, devoting special attention to the leaders. I often thought about my grandfather when I wrote my Telegraph columns.

That is, I think, pretty close to ground truth. I also have found as I suspect many of you have that the Telegraph has (or maybe had) the best and most objective coverage available of US politics. I started reading it online when it became obvious that the US media had become the propaganda wing of the Obama campaign back in 2007. It was a good, decent, reasonably objective newspaper, although a bit too left-wing by American standards. I suspect it’s something I share with most of my British friends. I too have noticed that it has been changing.

For the last 12 months matters have got much, much worse. The foreign desk—magnificent under the leadership of David Munk and David Wastell—has been decimated. As all reporters are aware, no newspaper can operate without skilled sub-editors. Half of these have been sacked, and the chief sub, Richard Oliver, has left.

Solecisms, unthinkable until very recently, are now commonplace. Recently readers were introduced to someone called the Duke of Wessex. Prince Edward is the Earl of Wessex. There was a front page story about deer-hunting. It was actually about deer-stalking, a completely different activity. Obviously the management don’t care about nice distinctions like this. But the readers do, and the Telegraph took great care to get these things right until very recently.

The arrival of Mr Seiken coincided with the arrival of the click culture. Stories seemed no longer judged by their importance, accuracy or appeal to those who actually bought the paper. The more important measure appeared to be the number of online visits. On 22 September Telegraph online ran a story about a woman with three breasts. One despairing executive told me that it was known this was false even before the story was published. I have no doubt it was published in order to generate online traffic, at which it may have succeeded. I am not saying that online traffic is unimportant, but over the long term, however, such episodes inflict incalculable damage on the reputation of the paper.

And that is important, it is quite easy to lose the trust of people like me, and I suspect like the normal British Telegraph reader as well, because we are in essence, the same clientele. Conservative, yes, but owing a lot to our Whig ancestry. And almost all of us believe that” “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’ It’s going to be difficult to regain our trust, I suspect.

A lot of electrons have been disturbed in relation to the HSBC mess in the UK, and Mr. Oborne speaks of it at some length, you’ll have to figure it out for yourself, I haven’t been paying much attention to it. But I will say this, the combination of international banking and government (either UK or US) is about as close as you can come to a legal (not moral) criminal conspiracy. if we don’t get some serious curbs put on these guys, and I’m not talking about regulations written with the ‘help’ of the banksters, I’m talking about serious criminal indictments, we may come to think of the 1930s as the good old days.


She has a point, although there are some mostly conservative libertarians, and acolytes of the Austrian school of economics. More, many more are needed.

This turned up in my twitter feed on Wednesday afternoon, while I have no corroboration, I have few doubts either.

Now do understand I have no more information than anyone else, it could be just a squabble between a columnist and his employer. But I don’t think so, and if I did I still would be very cautious about what I believe.

In a related matter, also having to do with press honesty, have you seen Sharyl Attkisson’s TEDx talk? Do watch, you need to know this stuff.


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