Come Saturday morning…

| March 21, 2009
...Im going away with my friend...

...I'm going away with my friend...

MORNING LINKS

ITEM: Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse — The Drudge Report has the following as a developing story:

Obama will call for increased oversight of ‘executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies’ as part of sweeping plan to ‘overhaul financial regulation’, NY TIMES reporting Sunday, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE… Developing…

So now we’ll have the US Federal Government setting executive pay?

ITEM: NIMBYism at its finest: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) says that putting solar panels and wind power systems in the Mojave Desert would “would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public.” Well, Ahnuld pretty much sums up my reaction:

“If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave desert, I don’t know where the hell we can put it,” Schwarzenegger said at Yale University.

OVERNIGHT LINKS — did you catch the BSG finale last night?

ITEM: According to the Congressional Budget Office — an organization that frankly tends to favor Democrats — the Obama budget will result in yearly deficits of just under one trillion dollars. The mind staggers:

Although Obama would come close to meeting his goal of cutting in half the deficit he inherited by the end of his first term, the CBO predicts that deficits under his policies would exceed 4 percent of the overall economy over the next 10 years, a level White House budget director Peter R. Orszag yesterday acknowledged would “not be sustainable.”

The result, according to the CBO, would be an ever-expanding national debt that would exceed 82 percent of the overall economy by 2019 — double last year’s level — and threaten the nation’s financial stability.

And yet President Obama has no plans to cut back on his highly ambitious and highly expensive programs:

But Obama insisted on Friday that his agenda is still on track.

“What we will not cut are investments that will lead to real growth and prosperity over the long term,” Obama said. “That’s why our budget makes a historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform. That’s why it enhances America’s competitiveness by reducing our dependence on foreign oil and building a clean energy economy.”

“It doesn’t change what the president’s focus is, in terms of his objectives in making critical investments, and doesn’t change his ability to halve the deficit in four years,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

ITEM: And Speaker Pelosi is urging Democrats in the House to “sell, sell, sell” Obama’s agenda when they go back to their districts for spring break. I seriously hope they try, because I have a suspicion what kind of reaction they’ll get.

ITEM: So, not only are the Republicans beating the Democrats in the generic Congressional ballot for the first time in years, they’re also beating them at fundraising:

The Democratic National Committee raised only $3.26 million in February, the first month under its new chairman, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, according to the February campaign finance reports. Two years ago, under Chairman Howard Dean, the committee raised $5.5 million in February.

The Republican National Committee, on the other hand, pulled in $5.1 million last month, giving a boost to new Chairman Michael Steele after a rocky first few weeks of his tenure.

The DNC reported $8.6 million on hand and $7 million in debt, while the RNC reported $24 million in the bank and no debt.

ITEM: Obama is losing . . . Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Neverland)? And he just barely hit the two-month mark of his four-year term.

ITEM: Obama is also losing . . . oops, wait . . . he never really had the New York Post.

ITEM: On the other hand, here’s Paul Krugman’s assessment of the AIG imbroglio: “This was bad analysis, bad policy, and terrible politics.” Ouch. And this from someone who titles his column, “The Conscience of a Liberal.”

ITEM: As I said yesterday, I’m no fan of AIG, but the near-fascist rabble-rousing by Congress and other so-called “leaders” needs to stop before someone gets physically assaulted.

ITEM: At least some common sense is present in the Senate, though so far it all seems to be on the Republican side (Grassley excepted):

“I don’t believe that Congress should rush to pass yet another piece of hastily crafted legislation in this very toxic atmosphere, at least without understanding the facts and the potential unintended consequences,” Kyl said on the Senate floor. “Frankly, I think that’s how we got into the current mess.”

ITEM: And speaking of those “unintended consequences” of the “bonus tax bill”:

Bankers on Wall Street and in Europe have struck back against moves by US lawmakers to slap punitive taxes on bonuses paid to high earners at bailed-out institutions.

Senior executives on both sides of the Atlantic on Friday warned of an exodus of talent from some of the biggest names in US finance, saying the “anti-American” measures smacked of “a McCarthy witch-hunt” that would send the country “back to the stone age”. . . .

“Finance is one of America’s great industries, and they’re destroying it,” said one banker at a firm that has accepted public money. “This happened out of haste and anger over AIG, but we’re not like AIG.”

The banker added: “It’s like a McCarthy witch-hunt…This is the most profoundly anti- American thing I’ve ever seen.”

ITEM:Yesterday, with regards to the House Bonus Tax Bill, I quoted Noam Scheiber (at The New Republic) as saying, ““There are third-world juntas that would think twice before doing this.” Over at Powerline, John asks “Are We a Banana Republic?” And some people who actually come from third-world juntas are drawing comparisons between them and the Obama Administration:

“But you don’t understand,” the Colombian said. “We’ve seen this before.”

“He’s right, my good friend,” the Cuban said. “We Latin Americans know the pattern. Believe me we do.” . . .

“It starts with a cult of personality,” the Cuban explained. “One man declares himself the jefe, the caudillo, the big leader.” . . .

“After the cult of personality,” the Colombian explained, “what comes next is nationalization.” Fidel had nationalized the Cuban sugar mills, Chavez the Banco de Venezuela, Morales the Bolivian oil and gas industries. . . .

“The last step?” asked the Cuban. “Censorship. It won’t be obvious at first–they’re always too smart for that. But it will come.”

“Never,” replied the American. “We have the First Amendment.”

“And soon enough,” the Cuban said, smiling sadly, “you will also have the Fairness Doctrine.”

ITEM: On the other hand, Mark Steyn says Obama is directly aiming at the European model and asks the very pertinent question: Why, for heaven’s sake? (hat tip to Jerry Pournelle):

There are two basic objections to the wholesale Europeanization of America. The easy one is the economic argument. The short version of late-20th-century history is that Continental Europe entirely missed out on the Eighties boom and its Nineties echo. A couple of weeks back, the evening news shows breathlessly announced that U.S. unemployment had risen to 7 percent, the highest in a decade and a half. Yet the worst American unemployment rate is still better than the best French unemployment rate for that same period. Indeed, for much of the 1990s the EU as a whole averaged an unemployment rate twice that of the U.S. and got used to double-digit unemployment as a routine and semi-permanent feature of life.

Germany, the economic powerhouse of Europe in the Sixties and Seventies, is now a country whose annual growth rate has averaged 1.1 percent since the mid-Nineties; where every indicator — homeownership, new car registrations — is heading down; and in which government agencies have to budget for such novel expenditures as narrowing the sewer lines in economically moribund, fast-depopulating municipalities because the existing pipes are too wide to, ah, expedite the reduced flow. Even flushing yourself down the toilet of history is trickier than it looks.

ITEM: Maybe this is behind Obama’s dropping poll numbers: “Overexposure of a President, especially in trivial settings, breeds familiarity. And that kind of familiarity, especially in a time of crisis, can breed contempt.” And though people keep saying what a great communicator he is, he hasn’t shown much talent when he’s away from his teleprompter.

ITEM: Yesterday, I asked “When will Barack Obama stop campaigning and actually govern the United States?” Patterico asks the same question, in much greater detail, as does D. L. Hammack over at American Thinker.

Hope this all doesn’t ruin your weekend. ..bruce w..

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Category: 2010 Election, Business, Creeping socialism, Environment, Links roundup, Main, Media, Obama Administration, Stimulus, The Constitution, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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