Listen to the speeches of political candidates, read practically any newspaper, or watch or listen to any news broadcast and you are likely to hear how government policies should be fashioned to assist small business. A recent round of such media coverage has been focused on the incorrect reporting of purchasing by the federal government, which is required by law to purchase a minimum of 23 percent of the value of all contracts from small business. The Obama administration claims 21.7 percent compliance. But the American Small Business League claims the percentage is far less, since small businesses like GE, AT&T, and Apple got in the front row of the small-business feeding trough.
The question is asked or implied by some media: Is it fraud or is it clerical error? All express outrage that the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Obama administration aren’t complying with the law.
But no media coverage, at least none that this writer has read or heard, is expressing outrage at the corruption of economic freedom by the underlying federal law that mandates financial support of small businesses via contract favoritism. Continue reading
Serious food for thought
The Toronto Globe & Mail cites a report from Environics Analytics finding that the average household net worth in Canada in 2011 was $363,202, while the figure for American households was $319,970. The difference is in real estate holdings, $140,000 in favor of Canadian households. The author of the report cites Canadian fiscal conservatism, avoidance of our subprime disaster, and Canadian rejection of the income tax deductibility of mortgage interest. The Canadian unemployment rate is lower than ours as well.
What havoc has been wrought by Fannie, Freddie, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the whole crew of pandering, vote-buying politicos of all stripes responsible for the recent economic crash and the nosedive in our national net worth.
A federal judge sends the wrong message
Former Democrat Governor Roger Wilson was sentenced to two years probation today. He had pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering on behalf of the Missouri Democrat party. Owing to his political connections Wilson, after leaving the governor’s mansion, became CEO of Missouri Employers Mutual (MEM.) MEM is a very profitable tax-exempt GSE (government-sponsored enterprise, like Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac) set up by the state to provide workman’s compensation insurance. (Smell anything?) Wilson had the company pay phony legal billings to reimburse donations to the Democrat party. The offenses are described as money laundering, but in fact amount to theft, since the company’s shareholders were on the hook for the payments.
We find this sentence predictable and disgusting. Continue reading
The law! It is a thing too serious to entrust to lawyers. (With apologies to Georges Clemenceau speaking of war and generals)
Does Chief Justice Roberts’ flipping on the Obamacare ruling show that there is a very thin line between the constitutional and the unconstitutional? Or does it reveal the myopic bankruptcy of contemporary jurisprudence, so sophisticated and clever that it sees only trees, not the forest.
There is evidence for a convergence of both opinions. We recall Sam Dash of Watergate fame bragging that he could criminalize a ham sandwich, depending on the state of his stomach. Lawyers like John Edwards and Jose Baez could then bamboozle juries confused by legalism. So Justice Roberts could rule on whichever side of the ObamaCare case he wished. That clever attorneys and judges can pick and choose which side of a legal issue to come down on is evidence that the dividing line can be made so thin that decisions that are arbitrary or, worse, designed to transform America, are not only possible, but increasingly inevitable. This is because jurists, having lost the intellectual and moral compass their predecessors possessed, must increasingly rely on inordinate legalism in order to help justify an opinion in which they themselves can have little confidence. Without this compass the simple becomes complex and the complex a transcendental mystery.
We are not attacking the due deference courts should pay to even bad legislative decisions. But we find it astonishing that Justice Roberts was unable to take a forest-wide view of Obamacare and immediately see that it far exceeds the federal government’s limited and enumerated powers. This is not difficult. Legal reasoning should follow this kind of intuition – the very definition of wisdom, – not determine it. If the reports are true that Roberts wilted in the face of gangster, Chicago-style threats from Obama, or that his primary concern was the reputation of the Supreme Court itself, then the vaunted independence and probity of the third branch of government have been badly tarnished.
We are in a period of judicial decadence.