The View From 1776
Monday, May 25, 2015
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The president continues to assert global warming effects that are not factual.
From the Forbes website: Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat
Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.
Junk Science • Thought Police & PC • (3) Comments
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Sunday, May 10, 2015
Our Unconstitutional Administrative State
What used to be called quasi-judicial agencies have become a rogue government unto themselves, outside the original confines of the Constitution. These agencies, today typified by the Environmental Protection Agency, make the law, enforce it, and adjudicate disputes arising under their regulations. This, of course, is in direct conflict with the Constitution’s separation of powers.
The Constitution was crafted with the intent to prevent aggrandizement of political and economic power in one set of hands, relying upon the concept of separation of powers. Every school child is taught about the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. But the most basic of these power separations was between the individual states and the Federal government.
It’s no accident that liberal-progressives, since the beginning of the 20th century, had agitated for diminishing the countervailing powers of the states, a goal greatly furthered by the 17th Amendment that reduced state legislatures’ influence upon members of the Senate. At the same time, activist presidents - Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson - began creating quasi-judicial regulatory agencies to enhance presidential powers at the expense of Congress.
Read Myron Magnet’s overview of the phenomenon on the City Journal website:
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Monday, May 04, 2015
Baltimore And The Great Society
Baltimore’s riots, looting, burning, and attacks on police and innocent civilians are not unprecedented. Nor are liberal-progressive prescriptions for dealing with the phenomenon. It didn’t work then and it won’t work today.
As I wrote in The Liberal Jihad: The Hundred Year War Against the Constitution:
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had expressly disavowed any ideas of preferential treatment for classes of citizens, aiming for a color-blind society with equal opportunity for all. Yet, only a year later, President Johnson declared to students at Howard University’s graduation ceremony that the “next and most profound stage of the battle for civil rights” will be “not just equality as a right and theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”
Delivering literal equality, as an entitlement, regardless of whether individuals in the covered social classes had ever worked or even tried to find jobs, would require the government to contravene the equal-treatment provisions of the just-passed Civil Rights Act as well as the 14th Amendment, which mandates due process of law and equal protection under the laws. The Federal judiciary, by then largely staffed with liberal-progressive-socialists, were prepared to ignore this legal conflict and to sanction President Johnson’s new salient toward egalitarian social justice.
Going on welfare, in effect, became a career choice. Welfare “clients” were entitled to welfare benefits and they owed nothing to society. Since in socialist theory it was society’s fault that they were needy, they had no obligation to seek work or to limit the number of their illegitimate children. Nor was there any reason, moral or legal, that they and their progeny should not collect these benefits forever. Liberal-progressives, harking back to FDR’s “second bill of rights” declaration in 1944, called this a Constitutional right.
However much traditionalists deplore this ethos, their revulsion does not mean that society should ignore the plight of the less fortunate, that social welfare measures are inherently bad. It means simply that it doesn’t work to deal with human misery by telling the unfortunate that they have a Constitutional right to a large part of the fruit of other people’s labor, and that they owe nothing in return to society.
Michael Harrington’s 1968 Toward a Democratic Left: A Radical Program for a New Majority expressed the sense of the Great Society paradigm.
Even in a society based on private economic power, the Government can be an agency of social, rather than corporate, purpose… This does not require a fundamental transformation of the system. It does, however, mean that the society will democratically plan “uneconomic” allocations of significant resources… Under such conditions it would be possible to realize full— and meaningful— employment for all those ready and able to work. Going beyond the quantities of the New Deal, the economy could be stimulated by promoting the affluence of the public sector rather than by tax cuts, and in the process millions of creative jobs can be designed to better the nation’s education, health, leisure, and the like. Within twenty years such a policy of social investments should end all poverty, eradicate the slums and erode the economic basis of racism. And those people who are unable to work could be provided with a guaranteed annual income instead of shoddy, uncoordinated and inadequate welfare payments… The very character of modern technology, [Harvard economist John] Galbraith says, renders the old market mechanisms obsolete. In these circumstances planning is obligatory. The state must manage the economy in order to guarantee sufficient purchasing power to buy the products of the industrial system.
Now, more than forty years later, it is possible to review the actual results of the Great Society and of Mr. Harrington’s prescription. “Promoting the affluence of the public sector” as a means of stimulating the economy meant simply putting more people on the public payrolls. There is no evidence that this produced “millions of creative jobs” or did anything to eradicate poverty (or racism, if one is to believe black spokesmen like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) within the twenty years of Mr. Harrington’s expectations.
Far from eliminating poverty, Mr. Harrington’s prescription, applied in the Great Society entitlements programs, produced the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Bureau of Labor reported unemployment at 5.2% of the labor force in 1965; ten years later in 1975 the unemployment rate was 9.0%, accompanied by the worst inflation in our peacetime history.
That, of course, is much the same prescription followed by the Obama administration, with much the same negative result.