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Willisms

« March 2008 | WILLisms.com | May 2008 »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 488 - Electability.

Small Towns & Suburbs Still The Key-

It's not the greatest time to be a Republican running for office. While the economy is not actually in a recession, most Americans-- and the establishment media-- believe it is. While the situation in Iraq is nothing remotely like Vietnam, many Americans believe it is. Although gas prices have gone up by about a dollar and thirty cents since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, many people seem to be eager to blame Republicans. The same could be said about the unemployment rate, which is up half a percentage point since Democrats took over Congress. While Democrats are the ones killing free trade deals and raising taxes and torpedoing entitlement reform, the public still seems to associate the incumbent party with the Republican Party.

It's not a particularly fruitful time to be a Republican running for office in the United States of America.

And yet.

And yet, Democrats are poised to nominate one of two entirely unelectable candidates in a year when even Dennis Kucinich should have been electable. We know all about Hillary Clinton's problems. She is about as unelectable as they come. She would also harm down-ballot Democrats, the conventional wisdom goes.

But what about Obama? Could it be that Senator Barack Hussein Obama is actually less electable than Hillary Rodham Clinton? And that he might harm down-ballot Democrats even more?

Well, we're all familiar with the 2004 county-by-county map, with the red and blue counties:

2004countymap.gif

Democrats-- the party of Jefferson and Jackson-- simply don't do all that well anymore with "real folks." Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will reverse that tide. Either might do very well in inner-cities and on college campuses, but Obama in particular seems vulnerable with regard to small towns and rural America:

In Missouri, his votes were very well placed, enabling him to win the Democratic primary by a margin of barely 10,000 votes. He won the state's two major cities (St. Louis and KC), populous suburban St. Louis County, two counties in the center of the state that include the state capital of Jefferson City and the large academic community in Columbia (home of the University of Missouri), and one rural county in the northwest corner of the state. That was it. Hillary Clinton swept the rest of Missouri.

In Ohio, Obama's vote was even more contained. He carried only the urban counties that include Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, plus one county on the outskirts of Columbus. Not a single county in the broad swath of rural Ohio went his way, as he lost the primary to Clinton by 10 percentage points.

In Pennsylvania, the Clinton margin was similar and so was the political geography. Obama won big in Philadelphia, with its large African-American population, carried two of its four suburban counties, and took a pair of counties on the outer orbit of greater Philadelphia. The two other counties that he carried were in the center of the state, and each contained a major academic institution. As for the rest of Pennsylvania, it was essentially a vast wasteland for Obama.

Missouri:

missourahobama08.gif

Ohio:

ohiobama08.gif

Pennsylvania:

pennsylobama08.gif


While it's difficult to extrapolate meaningful information about the general election from these results, we can make some assumptions based on history. Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. He's also no Jimmy Carter. He was born in Hawaii, lived in Indonesia for a time as a kid, went to Harvard Law, and organized on behalf of left-wing causes in urban Chicago-- this is not the kind of life narrative that Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter had. Obama's life story, taken together with his arrogant demeanor and his wonky policy prescriptions, all put him far more in line with Dukakis or Mondale or McGovern:

countieswonbydemocrats.gif\

Barack Obama's electoral coalition is not broad-based. It is not particularly inclusive. If he can't win over small-town Democrats, how does he expect to bring small-town independents and Republicans into the fold?

And how does a candidate like Barack Obama at the top of the ticket impact Congressional races down the ballot?

In 2006, Democrats took Congress by storm from two flanks. First, they consolidated liberal districts in the Northeast that Republicans had very little business representing. Second, and more importantly, they aggressively recruited non-threatening down-home candidates in places like Ohio and Indiana. Contextually, in 2006, there was no John Kerry albatross around the necks of Democrats running in relatively conservative districts.

Democrats made a good chunk of their 2006 gains in districts that Bush won easily in 2004. Indeed, just eight Republicans won in districts carried by John Kerry in '04, while 60 Democrats won in districts carried by George W. Bush in '04.

Some interesting facts to ponder:

If in 2008 the Republicans only won those districts that performed 58% or more for Bush in 2004, they would pick up 20 seats.

If in 2008, the Republicans only win those districts that performed 55% or more for Bush in 2004, they would pick up 33 seats.

Now, neither of those things is going to happen, but compare those facts to these facts:

If in 2008, the Democrats win all of the districts that performed 58% or better for Kerry in 2004, they would pick up zero seats. They already control those seats.

If in 2008, the Democrats win all of the districts that performed 55% or better for Kerry in 2004, they would pick up zero seats. They already control those seats.

Sure, far more Republicans than Democrats are retiring this year. Sure, people are unhappy about the direction of the country. Ultimately, though, Democrats don't have a whole lot of easy seats to target in the House of Representatives. And if otherwise strong Democrats in small towns and rural America have the albatross that is Barack Obama around their necks, they better be hoping for some serious split-ticket voting.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Greenhouse Gases.

Posted by Will Franklin · 30 April 2008 04:59 PM · Comments (0)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 142.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

chelseainpuertorico.gif

The actual caption:

Chelsea Clinton looks on prior to delivering a speech at the Our Lady of Providence elderly home, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, April 29, 2008. Clinton is spending two days here campaigning for her mother, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., ahead of the June 1 primary. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Yeah, hmm. Not sure that that caption captures what is really happening.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, May 6. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
jimmehcahter.gif

And... The Winners:

1. Spartacus:

Awesome, the time here is the same as back in Plains, Georgia.

2. Maggie Mama:

Carter checks his legacy .. it's about thirty seconds from total oblivion.

3. rodney dill:

"Ten minutes to Wapner... definitely..."

Honorable Mention. JohnW:

"This new Mecca-standard-time watch is terrific."

Captioning: proof that America is still the greatest country on the planet.

Posted by Will Franklin · 30 April 2008 02:33 PM · Comments (21)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 141.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

jimmehcahter.gif

The actual caption:

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter looks at his watch upon his arrival at Queen Alia airport in Amman April 20,2008. REUTERS'Jamal Nasrallah POOL (Reuters)

Yeah, there's more going on here.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, April 29. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
mccainplane.gif

And... The Winners:

[It was particularly difficult to judge this week, with so many great entries.]

1. Bigfoot:

While sailing through the Sea Of Time aboard the yellow submarine, John McCain has a disturbing encounter with his younger self.

2. elliot:

"Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupons?"

3. Maggie Mama:

Fear not, I've checked our flight plan. Even if the plane goes down, I know the location of every Hilton Hotel.

Honorable Mention (for the W.C. Fields reference). Cowboy Blob:

"On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia"

Captioning: unleash the bratty 14-year-old within.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 April 2008 01:16 PM · Comments (26)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 487 - Greenhouse Gases.

America Doing Better Than Kyoto-

From the latest Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, some data about greenhouse gas emissions (.pdf):

greenhousegas1997to2004.gif
...during the last decade the United States has had the best record among industrialized nations in restraining GHG emissions. Between 1997 and 2004, the last year for which comparative data are available: —global GHG emissions increased 18 percent; —emissions from Kyoto Protocol participants increased 21.1 percent; —emissions from non-Kyoto nations increased 10 percent; —emissions from the United States increased 6.6 percent.

Maybe Kyoto is ineffective? Maybe the countries that are pledged to it are not particularly sincere? Maybe the United States deserves a little credit every now and again?


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Obama & Capital Gains Taxes.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 April 2008 09:02 AM · Comments (4)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 486 - Capital Gains Taxes

Obama Pledges To Raise Them-

When it comes to capital gains tax rates in the United States, there are some startlingly clear patterns. Rates go up, collections go down. Rates go down, collections go up. That's good news, really. It means there's never any justification for raising capital gains tax rates, other than a discredited ideology that seemed to symbolically fall to earth sometime around 1989.

capitalgainshistory.gif
...when the tax rate has risen over the past half century, capital gains realizations have fallen and along with them tax revenue. The most recent such episode was in the early 1990s, when Mr. Obama was old enough to be paying attention. That's one reason Jack Kennedy proposed cutting the capital gains rate. And it's one reason Bill Clinton went along with a rate cut to 20% from 28% in 1997.

Either the young Illinois Senator is ignorant of this revenue data, or he doesn't really care because he's a true income redistributionist who prefers high tax rates as a matter of ideological dogma regardless of the revenue consequences. Neither one is a recommendation for President.

....

Both candidates would have voters believe that taxes on investment income only affect the rich. But that's not what Internal Revenue Service returns show. The reality is that the Clinton and Obama rate increases would hit millions of Americans who make well under $200,000. In 2005, 47% of all tax returns reporting capital gains were from households with incomes below $50,000, and 79% came from households with incomes below $100,000.

I heard an Obama surrogate on the radio saying that if John McCain wants to talk about capital gains taxes, then bring it on. The arrogance in the Obama camp is staggering. Capital gains taxes matter, just like all of Barack Obama's other tax hike proposals matter. They all add up to your typical unelectable tax-loving liberal candidacy.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Democrats Are Unilateralists.

Posted by Will Franklin · 21 April 2008 12:58 PM · Comments (2)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 140.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

mccainplane.gif

The actual caption:

Republican Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, talks to adviser Steve Schmidt aboard the campaign charter airplane prior to taking off from Pittsburgh, en route to Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

This caption clearly doesn't capture what was actually going on when this shot was snapped.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, April 22. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
hillarywantstofight.gif

And... The Winners:

1. Bigfoot:

Senator Hillary Clinton tries to demonstrate the sound of one hand clapping, but is frustrated by her failed attempts.

2. Cowboy Blob:

You wanna piece o' this, Petreus?

3. Dennis:

I swear...It is this big

Captioning: enabling succinctly-written obscurities since Johannes Gutenberg.

Posted by Will Franklin · 16 April 2008 11:44 AM · Comments (20)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 139.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

hillarywantstofight.gif

The actual caption:

Senator Hillary Clinton holds out her arms before a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington April 8, 2008. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Hmm, yeah, I think they didn't really capture what was happening with that caption.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, April 15. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
dinamcgreevey.gif


And... The Winners:

1. elliot:

Psst..John. Did you ever see my husbands briefs?

2. Jim Rose:

Ixnay on the reesome-teh.

3. Maggie Mama:

You left your socks under the bed.

Captioning: raising awareness since 1873.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 April 2008 02:51 PM · Comments (21)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 485 - Trade Beneficial To Us All.

Freer Economies Perform Better-

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, in bids to win rust belt states like Pennsylvania, have staked out increasingly anti-trade positions, trying to out-protectionist one another. For Pete's sake, the Obama campaign even had Jimmy Hoffa representing Obama on their media conference call yesterday. Jimmy. Hoffa. Seriously.

This bizarre economic isolationism, so out of place in today's global economy, would harm American diplomacy, harm American liberty, and harm the American economy. With so much hay made of President Bush's "unilateralism," it is astonishing that Democrats would so openly advocate alienating current and potential trade partners in exchange for a few labor union endorsements. Talk about a Faustian bargain.

The idea that NAFTA-- to take one free trade agreement-- has helped states like Texas to the detriment of states like Ohio and Michigan, is bunk. Those two states are models of poor governance and bad policy in action.

Contrary to these zero-sum notions, trade benefits everyone:

tradeandgdpup.gif
...trade has been the backbone of the U.S. economy, contributing almost 30 percent of GDP in 2007. The benefits go not only to workers and entrepreneurs in export industries, but also to consumers of imports. Free trade has delivered a greater choice of goods for people in all 50 states--everything from food and furniture to computers and cars--at lower prices.

Free trade is fundamental to the very concept of America. It has been a substantial contributor to the growth of American wealth, power, and prestige over U.S. history.

And with the economy now sputtering some after six strong years, Democrats have the audacity to associate John McCain with Herbert Hoover?

It was Hoover who agreed to some of the largest tax increases in American history (income taxes up from 25% to 63%, corporate taxes up by 15%, estate taxes doubled, plus a variety of small taxes on things like bank checks). It was Hoover who did his best to shut down free trade, signing the disastrous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. It was Hoover who, like any good populist would do, railed against Wall Street and the very concept of stock markets. It was Hoover who supported unions and bullied companies-- large and small-- to inflate wages and keep employees on their payrolls at any cost, something that discouraged the creative churn that we see in efficient economies. It was Hoover who enacted a laundry list of public works projects, enacted the first government-run employment insurance plan, vastly expanded farm subsidies, and otherwise laid the groundwork for the New Deal. It was FDR's VP choice John Nance Garner who said on the campaign trail that Hoover was leading America into socialism.

For Democrats today to compare Hoover and John McCain demonstrates a complete lack of critical thinking skills. President Hoover had far more in common with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama than John McCain, trade being one of the more obvious examples.

How anti-trade candidates could even exist in the 21st century is baffling, although bad policy sometimes makes great politics.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Taxes Set To Rise Dramatically.

Posted by Will Franklin · 9 April 2008 10:59 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 485 - Big Tax Increases On The Way.

They're Coming-

If Congress and the next President fail to extend the expiring Bush tax rates, this is what taxes will look like in America:

bigtaxhikes.gif
By historical standards, federal revenues relative to GDP, at 18.8% last year, are high. In the past 25 years, this level was only exceeded during the five years from 1996 to 2000. Still, we stand on the verge of a very large tax increase, one that will occur unless the next Congress and president agree to rescind it. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will drive the personal income tax burden up by 25% – to its highest point relative to GDP in history. [The Coming Tax Bomb]

This would be the largest increase in personal income taxes since World War II. It would be more than twice as large as President Lyndon Johnson's surcharge to finance the war in Vietnam and the war on poverty. It would be more than twice the combined personal income tax increases under Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The increase would push total federal government revenues relative to GDP to 20%.

Why this large tax increase? The tax code changes enacted in 2001 and 2003 are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. If they do, statutory marginal tax rates will rise across the board; ranging from a 13% increase for the highest income households to a 50% increase in tax rates faced by lower-income households. The marriage penalty will be reimposed and the child credit cut by $500 per child. The long-term capital gains tax rate will rise by one-third (to 20% from 15%) and the top tax rate on dividends will nearly triple (to 39.6% from 15%). The estate tax will roar back from extinction at the same time, with a top rate of 55% and an exempt amount of only $600,000. Finally, the Alternative Minimum Tax will reach far deeper into the middle class, ensnaring 25 million tax filers in its web.

Let's be perfectly clear, here. This is not hypothetical, based on proposals and plans and programs announced by Obama or Clinton. No, this is absolutely what will happen without action. This is the auto-pilot scenario. This does not even count any of the additional tax hikes being tossed around right now.

How these enormous tax hikes would help the American economy or maximize liberty is a mystery.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Lazy Or Lucky.

Posted by Will Franklin · 8 April 2008 01:35 PM · Comments (1)

Quotational Therapy: Part 145 -- Obama, McCain & The 100 Years In Iraq Comment.

Obama Needs To Stop Lying-

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both made an issue of John McCain's "100 years" in Iraq comment. Obama-- in stump speeches and interviews and such-- incessantly mocks McCain for this comment. But he does more than mock. He engages in politics that are not refreshing, not new, not above the fray, and not transcendent. When he distorts the words of John McCain so blatantly, he is just like any other dirty, lying politician.

Here's the actual exchange:

Questioner: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years…

McCain: Maybe a hundred. Make it one hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for sixty years. We’ve been in South Korea for fifty years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it’s fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.

It is telling that this is the best thing they could come up with so far against Senator McCain.

And here's what CJR says about Obama:

Obama is seriously misleading voters—if not outright lying to them—about exactly what McCain said. And some in the press are failing to call him on it.

....

This matters. Obama has given every indication that his general election strategy on Iraq and foreign policy will be to portray McCain as dangerously bellicose. If he’s going to do so by distorting McCain’s words, the press should forcefully call him out on it each time.

When the typically left-leaning Columbia Journalism Review pillories a Democrat that way, it must be bad.

misleader.gif

Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Obama, The Collectivist.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy on most Mondays and Fridays.

Posted by Will Franklin · 4 April 2008 03:42 PM · Comments (2)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 484 - Luck Versus Hard Work.

Social Welfare State-

Some interesting numbers:

luckyorlazy.gif
If you ask Americans whether the poor are lazy, 60 percent say yes. If you ask Europeans, only 26 percent say yes.

Consider now a striking pattern that is visible in the chart. The authors found that large welfare states emerge in countries where citizens generally believe that luck determines income. If bad behavior (or laziness) is viewed as a source of poverty, then the welfare state is small. America has avoided the fate of Europe because its citizens disproportionately believe that luck is not that important a determinant of one's circumstances, but hard work is.

American exceptionalism. It's why we're so misunderstood by European diplomats and why we're the greatest nation on earth.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Tax Freedom Day.

Posted by Will Franklin · 3 April 2008 10:13 AM · Comments (2)

Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 138.

This week's WILLisms.com Caption Contest photograph:

dinamcgreevey.gif

The actual caption:

Dina Matos McGreevey, wife of former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey watches John Post, left, one of her attorneys, during a hearing in her divorce case from McGreevey in court in Elizabeth, N.J., Thursday, March 20, 2008. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)

Okay, seriously, there is way more to this picture than that.

Entries will remain open until 11:59 PM, Central Standard Time, Tuesday, April 8. Submit your captions in the comments section, or email via WILLisms@gmail.com.

Last Week's Photo:
bushnewvp.gif

And... The Winners:

1. Ikkonoishi:

Do you see them down there Mr. President? They look like ants down there.

They are ants Mr. Fluffy. They are ants.

2. Godfrey Miller:

Well, thank you Harvey! I prefer you too.

3. rodney dill:

George: "I knew I should've taken that D*mn blue pill."

Captioning: it's like recycling, only better for the environment.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 April 2008 01:42 PM · Comments (11)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 483 - Tax Freedom Day

Americans Work Until Close To May Just To Pay Their Taxes-

It's getting to be that time of year, when Americans push up to the deadline to file their taxes. Many Americans, of course, have had their taxes withheld throughout the year and will receive a refund, plus their part of this year's stimulus package. Tax time is almost like free money, to a lot of people. They don't feel the impact of taxes the same way they feel the impact of filling up at the pump or buying milk.

That's why Tax Freedom Day is so important. It puts taxes into perspective.

Ironically, tax time coincides with "Tax Freedom Day," the day on which Americans stop working for the government and begin working for themselves. This year, it's April 23 nationally, but it varies slightly from state to state:

taxfreedomday.gif

It is a troubling figure. We won't change this substantially until we can do something about spending. Pork barrel spending is obviously a target-rich environment, as is the military (according to Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, we should have used the money spent in Iraq on health care and bridges and so forth back here), but Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are the biggest culprits. That being said, incremental spending on this, that, and the other does add up. After all, a million dollars here, there, and everywhere starts to seem like real money.

The era of small government, sadly, seems to have left the national zeitgeist before it ever fully arrived. From a rhetorical standpoint, small government had a great quarter century. In reality, shrinking the size and scope of government was far more difficult. I think I am beginning to understand why.

In a recent GOP precinct meeting on election day last month here in Texas, a woman brought a resolution urging our elected officials to stop doling out public funds (right now, 336 million dollars per year) to Planned Parenthood. Astonishingly, the precinct meeting attendees voted against this measure by a narrow margin. I can understand being socially moderate, but I was amazed that whatever fiscally conservative instincts the group members had didn't kick in and guide their decisions. I didn't even think to speak in favor of it, just assuming it would pass easily.

But it didn't pass. In a room full of Republicans.

It's hard to be optimistic about paring down government spending with these sorts of anecdotes, one after another, piling onto the multi-trillion dollar public expenditure heap. Even fiscal conservatives have their pet projects that they feel deserve funding. Sometimes socially moderate or liberal impulses may trump fiscally conservative ones: see all the so-called libertarians who support large infusions of tax dollars into embryonic stem cell research and other trendy government projects.

Meanwhile, entitlements quietly grow on auto-pilot, with occasional politically-driven funding injections, outpacing all other government spending combined.

In the past, we've been able to-- sort of-- grow our way out of our government spending messes. Eventually, though, government spending undermines the very economic growth it depends on, and because it is so difficult to trim government, government tends to trim more from its citizens' paychecks instead.

Elections have consequences, and the harmful trends headed our way are not inevitable. I hope people think about the tax burden-- present and future-- in this country when they vote this November.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Regulation.

Posted by Will Franklin · 2 April 2008 08:48 AM · Comments (0)

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 482 - The Perils Of Regulation.

The Misplaced Urge To "Do Something" About the Mortgage Situation-

In the wake of Enron and Worldcom several years ago, there was a rush to "do something" about corporate accounting practices. In came Sarbanes-Oxley (SARBOX or SOX, to many), which overreached and harmed the American economy.

Well, today, in the wake of this subprime mortgage crisis/meltdown/correction/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, the impulse is to regulate, regulate, and regulate some more, regardless of the actual scope of this issue:

Political pressures are mounting for measures to ease the plight of homeowners who are having difficulty paying off their mortgages. There are fewer of these folks than the press leads you to believe. Ninety-two percent of homeowners are paying their mortgages on time; only 2 percent of mortgages are in foreclosure. Subprime borrowers facing higher, re-set interest rates account for only 6 percent of all mortgages, but 40 percent of foreclosures. So much for economic facts.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seek major bailout plans of tens of billions of dollars, plus mountains of 1930s-era regulation, which is probably why they both reacted so knee-jerkedly and negatively to John McCain's comment that "it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers."

What is unfortunate is that there is a misguided guiding notion in this debate that there is little or no regulation in this industry, or that the Bush administration has been zealously peeling away important protections in some deregulatory right-wing jihad.

The truth is that President Bush has pushed to limit new regulations and even deregulate in many areas, but ultimately under his administration, we've seen a substantial net addition of regulation:

newregulations.gif
...appropriations for federal regulatory agencies have increased during the Bush years from $27 billion in FY 2001 to $44.9 billion in FY 2007—a 44 percent increase in inflation-adjusted dollars. The total staffing of regulatory agencies went up nearly as much, from 172,000 employees to over 244,000— a 41 percent increase.

....

Based on regu­latory impact analyses prepared by agencies, over $28 billion in new regulatory costs has been imposed on Americans since the beginning of the Bush Administration.

The impetus to "do something" in this election year will be overwhelming. Likely, we'll see another overreaction that further harms the economy in the long run, although if there is political gridlock now (which is entirely possible), it could fall into the lap of the next president.

It's hard to imagine Republicans taking back Congress this year; the Senate may only move one way or the other (likely the other) by 2-3 seats, and it's likely that all of the Republican retirements in bluish-purple districts will cancel out any Republican gains in conservative districts now represented by vulnerable Democrats who won by narrow margins in 2006. Far-left Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton, for that matter) in the White House, matched with Nancy Pelosi's House of Representatives and a near-supermajority for Harry Reid in the Senate would certainly break the potential gridlock on this issue. The results could be staggeringly harmful to America.

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Energy Intensity.

Posted by Will Franklin · 1 April 2008 11:58 AM · Comments (0)