Archive for September, 2009

Panhandlers provide a community “service”

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s official (at least, in one American city, anyway): Panhandling is recognized as a legitimate income-earning job, regulated by the state. I’ve always said (I’m sure I’m not the first) to those who refuse to give to panhandlers on the grounds that doing so discourages them from seeking gainful employment that they’re dead-wrong: panhandlers are gainfully employed. They facilitate a beautiful, unadulterated market transaction: The giver “purchases” the self-satisfaction that comes from a sense that he’s done some good in a small corner of the world; the receiver “sells” that sense at whatever price the purchaser is willing to buy it.

Capitalism is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? You can’t make $20/hour panhandling in communist Cuba, can you? What.

All irreverent joking aside, what the statists in this North Carolina city fail to grasp is that their regulation of panhandling activity is a de facto, if not de jure, endorsement of the activity that will only encourage more of it. Mark my words: panhandling will rise in Raleigh, as a result, and before you know it, these beggars will be unionizing and calling for dental benefits and paid vacation.

Categories: Society

Because the last housing bubble wasn’t enough fun …

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

… the Obama administration is setting us up for another one. You wouldn’t expect a political party that thinks the New Deal worked to learn from history, of course, but this isn’t history; the last housing bubble is still a current event. Considering Democrats have tripped over themselves to hang the last bubble’s responsibility around Republicans’ necks, you’d think they’d slow down on extending credit to people for homes they can’t afford. But alas, another election is nigh, and Democrats have to be able to say they gave a lot of people free stuff.

Baucus plan doesn’t pay for itself, but it sort of does if you’re the Senate Majority Leader

September 25, 2009 Leave a comment

By now, most know it’s impossible for the Democrats to produce a health-care bill that “pays for itself.” First of all, it’s a silly rhetorical concept that really only exists in the fantasy world of late-night infomercials and the heads of politicians, but even if it were a real-world economic possibility, no one believes Washington can absorb 47 million people into a system that, by the plan’s defenders’ own account, is already unsustainably, outrageously expensive — all without adding costs.

So, if Washington allegedly won’t have to pay a dime for this “budget-neutral” plan, who or what will? A-ha … trick question, glasshoppa, because we’ve already established that Washington (i.e., federal taxpayers) will, in fact, be on the hook. But Democrats are blowing smoke and holding up a lot of mirrors — about 50, to be exact — to maintain their zero-cost story. The 50 mirrors? The states (i.e. state taxpayers, whom typically are federal taxpayers, too, so we can loosely call this a double tax for the new health-care plan: see preceding sentence). Yes, it’s the states that will be on the hook for a staggering expansion of state-funded Medicaid to cover many of the 47 million who lack coverage today.

But wait — I don’t want to exaggerate: it looks like only 49 of the 50 will bear the brunt of the Baucus plan’s full cost. From a senior GOP Senate aid:

[There’s a] special Nevada provision that Baucus slipped into his managers amendment (page 10, 3rd item on page, modifying page 44 of the bill).  This will substantially increase federal Medicaid payments into Nevada to offset the changes in the bill.

Why would Nevada need increased payments from the federal government to help pay for this allegedly budget-neutral plan? (Keep up, will ya? We’ve already discussed this: because it’s — bzzzzt! — not budget-neutral.) And why Nevada? Let’s just say the politically vulnerable U.S. Senate Majority Leader can only run for re-election in one state at a time.

Categories: Health Care, Politics