Category Archives: Government Waste

Should Capitalists Be Added to the Endangered Species List?

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”- Ronald Reagan

These days, it seems as though capitalism is under relentless attack. We hear almost daily the demagoguery of such terms as “economic inequality,” “the income gap,” “price gouging,” “obscene profits.” Just yesterday the Senate overwhelmingly passed an increase in “the living wage” for “the working class.” On any given day, politicians use this language to show how much they “care” about us poor working stiffs and lament the rewards for high achievers.

John Edwards likes to give his “Two Americas” speech to illustrate how unfair it is that some Americans, through hard work, investing, perseverance, and making difficult choices, make disproportionately more than those who make poor choices and underachieve. Hillary Clinton wants to take the profits away from “BIG OIL” and “invest” in government programs to find more efficient, cleaner, and less expensive alternative energy sources. Never mind that government has been investing in such programs for decades with very little return.

Capitalism has always had its adversaries but where are its defenders? They are not in the halls of congress and certainly not in the Oval Office. President Bush, ever the “compassionate” conservative chastised business leaders for “overpaying” executives. Meanwhile, only three Republican Senators (no Democrats) voted against raising the minimum wage. With all this angst against profit makers, it’s only a matter of time before these same politicians will want to impose a “maximum wage” with higher “windfall profits” taxes or by some other means.

Where are the Republicans who stand for small government? Where are the disciples of Ronald ReAgan, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand? Is it time to put capitalists on the endangered species list?

Maybe, maybe not.

Wayne Dunn writing for Capitalism Magazine seems to believe that this type of anger towards achievement is as old as time. In Dunn’s article “An Open Letter to Businesspeople” he writes about how its time for the achievers to stop apologizing to the low achievers for being successful.

Throughout history, those of you who actually invent the things the rest of us use, who create the jobs the rest of us need, who produce the goods the rest of us merely purchase, haven’t been awarded even so much as a shred of recognition from traditional moral codes. Instead you are maligned as “materialists,” condemned as “profit-chasers,” reviled as “ruthless,” vilified as “greedy,” disparaged as “worldly.” They who couldn’t create a match stick or run a dog pound sneer at you who create microchips and run factories.

But when the castigators need money, or a labor-saving device, or a bridge built, or a building erected, or a disease cured, to whom do they run? They who renounce “this world” rely on you who do not. They who scorn “mere” human achievement depend on you who achieve. They who repudiate money bank on you who earn it. They who proclaim that the mind is impotent benefit from minds that are not.

It’s high time that we who believe in capitalism stand up and extol its superior values and support those who will do the same if we do not want to see our free market system go the way of the dinosaurs.

The Lessons Of Katrina

As we approach the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it’s well known that vast areas of the Gulf Coast remain much as they were when the waters receded. What isn’t well known is the extent to which private charity and volunteer organizations have stepped in where the government has failed:

PEARLINGTON, Miss. — The two-by-fours inside the walls of George and Margaret Ladner’s new home are inscribed with biblical verses, each written by one of the Alabama schoolchildren who raised money to buy the lumber.

The framing work on the house was done by a Christian from Pennsylvania, the exterior planking was put up by people from Texarkana, Tex., and a group from Destin, Fla., worked on other details.

“This home was built by the hands of God,” Margaret Ladner, 75, said from the couch of her new living room last week.

In this small rural community, as in much of the hurricane-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast, this kind of motley charity effort accounts for the vast bulk of what halting progress has been made in the immense task of rebuilding.

While the national debate over the recovery has focused on the billions expected in federal aid and insurance, those sources have so far provided little for places such as Pearlington, and charity efforts have constituted more than 80 percent of the home rebuilding completed so far, local and charity officials said.

Fewer than one in five families here are back in their homes, but nearly all of them have relied to some extent on charity groups. The waves of volunteers typically come down for a week or two, work during the day and at night sleep on cots and bunks set up in places such as the old school library and huts on the community’s football field.

“Without the volunteers and the donations, we’d still be in the mud,” said Rocky Pullman, a tugboat captain who represents the Pearlington area on the Hancock County Commission.

But what, you might ask about the billions of dollars in aid from Washington that was supposed to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast ? Not surprisingly, it’s tied up in bureaucracy:

The reason for the charity’s dominant role in the rebuilding is that little, if any, of the $3.2 billion in federal aid for Mississippi homeowners has reached anyone here — it is tied up for now at the state level. As for insurance, most residents of this rural community lacked any form of flood policy. People say there just hadn’t been a flood in recent memory, and of those who did have coverage, most had too little.

(…)

The $3.2 billion in federal aid disbursed by the Mississippi program has largely been untouchable by people in Pearlington.

The program’s first phase doles out money to people who were flooded but did not live in the federally designated flood zone.

Most people in Pearlington live in the flood zone and must wait for the second phase to begin. Under its guidelines, families of low and moderate income will be eligible for as much as $100,000, less any insurance and FEMA rebuilding payments they have received.

By the time that happens, though, one wonders if the Federal Government will even be needed in Pearlington.

Taxpayers Pay $ 15,000 For Jell-O

As hard as it might be to believe, taxpayers in Arizona actually saw $ 15,000 of their money used to pay an “artist” to create a Jell-O replicy of the City of Scottsdale:

cottsdale’s latest public art project is a bit shaky but will definitely provide food for thought.

It is a sculpture of parts of downtown Scottsdale created from nearly 40 pounds of gelatin.

cottsdale’s latest public art project is a bit shaky but will definitely provide food for thought. It is a sculpture of parts of downtown Scottsdale created from nearly 40 pounds of gelatin.

Scottsdale in Jell-O will be unveiled to the public at 10 a.m. today in the atrium of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

The sculpture covers two large tables and depicts much of downtown Scottsdale, including the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall and the new Scottsdale Waterfront, a retail-condominium project, along with a backdrop of Camelback Mountain. Everything is to scale.

A free artist reception is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Not surprisingly, Jell-O will be served.

Award-winning San Francisco-based artist Liz Hickok has been working for the past week to create the temporary, $15,000, publicly funded installation, which will run through Monday.

It’s hard to think of a more emphatically stupid waste of taxpayer dollars, no matter how small in the grand scheme of things, than to use them to pay a so-called “artist” to create a city made of gelitan. Then again, it’s hard to think of any good reason for the government to be funding art of any kind to begn with.

H/T:  Club For Growth

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