ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, December 26, 2008

Krugman: Barry Be Good

This column by Paul "Please Give Me A Position" Krugman is just laughable:

December 26, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist

Barack Be Good


Times have changed. In 1996, President Bill Clinton, under siege from the right, declared that “the era of big government is over.” But President-elect Barack Obama, riding a wave of revulsion over what conservatism has wrought, has said that he wants to “make government cool again.”
Clinton was under siege because, well... the GOP took Congress in 1994 and held it in 1996, despite Clinton being re-elected - meaning that he had no coattails.

So, according to Paul, the voice of the people equates to a president being "under seige."

And he forgets to mention that the "era of big government" statement was simply a clintonian lie - unless you were part of the armed forces, since those were the only folks who got pink slips from the Feds.
Before Mr. Obama can make government cool, however, he has to make it good. Indeed, he has to be a goo-goo.

Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner. Mr. Obama needs to do the same thing.
Yes, it really is a shame that the government has gotten so much smaller since FDR.

While Paul would want to give readers the impression that government spending hasn't grown since FDR, the facts paint a different picture. I gathered data from the Office of Management & Budget on the Federal Budget from 1930 to 2003 and put this nifty chart together (click the image to see the full-size version):

As a percentage of GDP, the Federal Government receipts have increased from approximately 5% in the 1930s to an average of 20% today. (The huge red spike in outlays corresponds with World War II.) Also note the meteoric rise in GDP and how the % of GDP that goes to government is relatively flat... that means that the federal budget is growing just as rapidly.

Back to the dork with the Nobel Prize.
Needless to say, the Bush administration offers a spectacular example of non-goo-gooism. But the Bushies didn’t have to worry about governing well and honestly. Even when they failed on the job (as they so often did), they could claim that very failure as vindication of their anti-government ideology, a demonstration that the public sector can’t do anything right.

Bush spent like crazy... he expanded the number of healthcare clinics.. he nearly doubled the federal budget from 1996.

Yeah.. he was a hard-core conservative, cutting government waste wherever he saw it.
The Obama administration, on the other hand, will find itself in a position very much like that facing the New Deal in the 1930s.

Like the New Deal, the incoming administration must greatly expand the role of government to rescue an ailing economy. But also like the New Deal, the Obama team faces political opponents who will seize on any signs of corruption or abuse — or invent them, if necessary — in an attempt to discredit the administration’s program.
Yeah, if there are any signs of corruption or abuse, it's just because the opponents are so nitpicky. It will have nothing to do with the fact that it is actual corruption - the very type of corruption for which Chicago pols are famous.
How did F.D.R. manage to make big government so clean?

A large part of the answer is that oversight was built into New Deal programs from the beginning. The Works Progress Administration, in particular, had a powerful, independent “division of progress investigation” devoted to investigating complaints of fraud. This division was so diligent that in 1940, when a Congressional subcommittee investigated the W.P.A., it couldn’t find a single serious irregularity that the division had missed.

F.D.R. also made sure that Congress didn’t stuff stimulus legislation with pork: there were no earmarks in the legislation that provided funding for the W.P.A. and other emergency measures.

Memo to Dr. Paul Krugman, in bold, large type:
The New Deal was not stuffed with pork because the entire thing was pork!!!

You can't stuff pork with more pork!

However, now that I think of it... a pork tenderloin stuffed with bacon does sound scrum-diddly-icious.

*Homer Simpson voice* mmmmm.... pork & bacon.... aaaarrrrggghhhh

Question: What is the difference between the Robert C. Byrd Lock & Dam and the various projects made by the WPA?

Answer: Nothing - it is all pork.

Perhaps it takes a PhD to lose any common sense.
Last but not least, F.D.R. built an emotional bond with working Americans, which helped carry his administration through the inevitable setbacks and failures that beset its attempts to fix the economy.

An emotional bond... yeah... that's one thing that Obama won't have any problem with, since he's already got an emotional bond with the media which covers him, what with all the tingling, crying, etc that's going on by our objective, professional journalists.

Continue reading Krugman's column... it is truly ridiculous, but entertaining as you watch yet another person with a Nobel prize make a complete ass out of himself.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Most Admired Man in America

From USA Today:

Poll: Obama is man Americans admire most
By Susan Page, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — A month before his inauguration, Americans choose Barack Obama as the man they admire most in the world, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. It's the first time a president-elect has topped the annual survey in more than a half-century.

President Bush falls to a distant second after seven years as the most-admired man.
Interesting that it took Obama's ascension to most-admired man before the MSM would mention that Bush happened to be the most-admired man for the past seven years.

I don't seem to recall any blaring headlines over the past seven years about Bush being the most admired man.

Here's the headline from 2007:
Hillary Edges Out Oprah as Most Admired Woman in ‘07
They get to the Most Admired Man going to Bush in the 10th paragraph.

Oh, and by the way.... what % do you think Clinton got in the Most Admired man poll in 2000? 6%, tied with Pope John Paul II and 1 point better than the then-Governor of Texas, George W. Bush.

Bush received 5% this year.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Thanks for this great link from Kip at Right Face.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

The Dealership Model, the Big Three, & Supply Chain Efficiency

Excellent analysis by Bob Krumm on another unsustainable factor in the US automobile market - the dealership concept.

A picture of the problem
Byline: bob | Category: Economy, Above the Fold | Posted at: 9:35 am


This picture was above the fold at Drudge earlier today. It accompanied a story about the ever-evolving proposed auto-bailout. The picture, however, illustrates much of the problem, and contra-everything else you’ve read, it’s a problem that has nothing to do with the unions.

I have to say, the Supply Chain currently used by the Big Three - and in use for several decades - has been a traditional Push supply chain strategy: Build it and they will come.

The new mantra is all about transforming your supply chain to be Pull and to combine it with LEAN principles - originally developed by (surprise!) Toyota: Only build what your customer wants, when they want it.

In the go-go 90s, when the internets were just starting to be recognized as the transformational technology that it was, I argued that dealers should be put out of business and replaced with demo rooms with service facilities (owned & operated by the manufacturers). A customer would research their car on the web, select possible models of interest and schedule a test drive with the local demo room. They'd drive the car, kick the tires, etc and then place the order through the web, the Just-In-Time manufacturing process would kick in, and the car would be delivered to the buyer's door within a matter of days.

Benefits to the manufacturer? Control of the customer experience (which has devolved into one of the most painful experiences that people have when shopping) and elimination of an unnecessarily complex distribution system. It would also provide for a more efficient upstream supply chain, as only what is needed to meet actual customer demand is purchased, hired, etc.

Of course, this would hurt the dealers... and the unions, since there would be less labor required for the reduced (in reality, more efficient) demand. And, if one thing is clear from the entire Big Three debacle, it's that the management has a soft spot for the line workers, the dealer networks, and the status quo.

Also, pundits keep saying that there doesn't have to be a Big Three - there could be a Big Two. While their point is that some companies should be allowed to fail and the government shouldn't bail them out (which I agree with), I would counter that instead of a Big Two, there should be a Medium 20.

Innovation is the product of competition - the fiercer the better.

The coopetition that is taking place between the Big Three, Big Labor, and Big Government will doom the entire industry.

Unfortunately, we're going to Labor, Government, and Failed Business Models are all going to get a lot bigger in the near future - at the expense of the individual.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Governator Wants to be President

From his interview on CBS' 60 Minutes yesterday:

Running California means running the eighth largest economy in the world and with two years left as governor, Schwarzenegger will soon have to find an encore. Being born in Austria would seem to disqualify him from the next political step.

"Well, you're a man of no small ambition. If the Constitution was changed, you'd like to be president, wouldn't you?" Pelley asked.

"Yeah, absolutely," Schwarzenegger acknowledged. "I think that I am always a person that looks for the next big goal. And I love challenges. I always set goals that are so high, that are almost impossible to achieve. Because then, you're always hungry for climbing and climbing. Because it's always interesting. The climb is always interesting. When you get there you just have to pick another goal."

Well, at least he has one fan - himself.

Read the entire interview and see if this is a guy who should be talking about running for the presidency or dog catcher.

His understanding of the world is very shallow:
  1. he had a conversation with some guys in Detroit in 2000 about hydrogen cars and they said 5-10 years to get them to market; since they're not on the market, he think they lied to him.
  2. He thinks that solar panels in the Mojave desert is the answer to fossil fuels. While Mojave is a great place, there isn't enough energy given today's technology to make a dent in our base power requirements.
  3. he thinks global warming is to blame for the fires in California, not the spread of development into wildfire zones, the lack of controlled burns in the off-season due to environmental concerns, etc.

Let me ask our resident californian - Would you recommend Schwarzenegger to the presidency?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler