13 February 2009

Steny HOYER?

h/t NRO Corner

Steny Hoyer, a few minutes ago on the House floor:

I would hope that every member on this floor, of whatever party, of whatever ideological persuasion, would pray that this bill works. Not for political purposes, because if this bill works we will create those three and a half million jobs. Am I absolutely sure that it will? I am not. I regret that I am not.

Deficits/Surplus as a share of GDP

Greg Mankiw of Harvard. Please note that the chart borrowed form the WSJ does NOT include the structural deficit from -- ready? -- intergenerational transfers, which add between 50 and 80 Trillion bucks and creates a chart that make sensible people want to gargle with Cognac.

I supppose I should say something about Dr Mankiw's failure to publicly jump ugly with the 43rd president on the subject of spending -- GWB was supposed to be a cheapskate republican, after all -- but I won't.

The one, The only Virginia Postrel

You can't make life safe for people who live, on the great coordinate plane of life, too close to the point where the learning curve crosses the mortality rate. [I should, I guess, point out that I'm paraphrasing from Reason Magazine back in the 80s.]

"They Don't Suck Their Socks"

A priceless Headmistress post on the CPSIA's insanity:

One concern is that the age limits themselves are unreasonable. It is ridiculous and completely unreasonable to treat bikes ridden by 8-12 year olds as though they pose the same risks as teething rings owned by 1 year olds. The CPSC cannot change that, as it would require commonsense changes at the foundational level of the law.

As we see more and more products pushed out of the market by the CPSIA, products which have never caused lead poisoning, it becomes clear that the law itself, which requires that all components of all products intended for the use of children 12 and under have the same lead limits, is unreasonable. 10 year olds do not chew their bike tires, lick their brakes, or suck on their tire valves.

They don't suck their socks.

They do not eat their books, not even books published before 1989. No book has ever been associated with elevated lead levels in the blood, yet as this law is written, those who do not wish to see books banned must first prove a negative- something that can only be fixed by the law.

Banning zippers and snaps is unreasonable, there is no evidence a child has ever been harmed by sucking his zipper pulls and snaps (no evidence that this is even something tiny babies are interested in doing, either), yet, the zipper company must first prove a negative, and this can only be fixed within the law itself, not by the Commission.

Read the whole thing.

If they're really concerned about zipper-licking 10-year-olds, they might consider all those kids (like me) who wore adult sizes when they were 10. Why stop with products "primarily" for kids? Why not test everything a kid might encounter, from sofa cushions to bathroom mirrors?

But maybe I shouldn't say that. Public Citizen might get ideas.

11 February 2009

Too little too late

If history is a guide -- and it mayn't be -- the approaching 'stimulus' will be passed just as the economy emerges from recession by itself.

Here's a link from the NYT

I couldn't have made this up if I'd tried!

POTUS Pile-on

My bruddah-in-law points out that POTUS44 has been aboard for three weeks. It is, therefore, not fair to start on the clearly-he's-not-ready-for-the-deep-end-of-the-pool comments yet. EXCEPT... some of his advisers (specifically the advisers which had me thinking [relatively] good thoughts about a lawyer from the Chicago Machine) are going miles out of their way to hide behind "the President believes..." instead of answering the question: "Is this a good idea".

This -- "the President believes" -- is the kind of statement that's as good a way of stirring up policy geeks as any I can think of, bar waving a red flag (*joke).

And one of the first to be stirred up is the ever-readable Dr David Henderson of, inter alia(har!), the Naval Postgraduate School:

Have you noticed that we haven't heard any strong endorsement of the bill by Summers? The standard way a political appointee deals with the situation when he/she doesn't like what his/her boss is doing is to be quiet or, if asked his/her opinion, to say, "the President believes."

And because Dr Summers is both entertaining and worth reading, the link is here

If this is piling on, Fiat Voluntuas Dei!

"We are ruled by people who have achieved the remarkable distinction of being both dull and frivolous."

As Samizdata notes, the question is: should be ruled at all?

10 February 2009

Deidre McClosky

I cannot say this better, take it away, Dr McClosky:
...when your intellectual range is from M-N you think you are being open minded when you look at M and you look at N, but you certainly don't see A or Z.