Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday trackings

5 are killed today due to terrorist bombs in Afghanistan.
One senses that the Islamofascist terrorists in the Middle East are ramping things up.
There's been a lot of activity lately in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Obama administration is going to have to stand firm. Let's hope it does.

Why? National Review's editors explain today:
"Mechanics tasked with destroying the so-called clunkers have been posting the videos on YouTube, often muttering in anger as they fill the engines of perfectly good Corvettes and Cadillacs with sodium silicate and then run them until they self-destruct. The goal of the Cash for Clunkers policy is, literally, the destruction of wealth. To get a sense of how much value the program has destroyed in its short lifespan, keep an eye on used-car prices, which are expected to skyrocket as dealers see their inventory sacrificed to Washington’s green gods. Look also at the 12 percent decline in used cars donated to charity. This is to say nothing of the extra use their owners could have gotten out of them if the government hadn’t subsidized their destruction. In addition to flushing tangible assets, the program has destroyed wealth in other ways. First, it has added $3 billion to the deficit, which will have to be taxed out of the productive economy at some point. That’s money that won’t be saved, invested, or spent on other goods and services. Second, the $3,500–$4,500 vouchers for new vehicles only covered part of their cost. Buyers covered the rest by borrowing or spending their own money. Some of these buyers would have purchased a new car anyway, but other car owners spent money on new cars they didn’t need because of this policy. These consumers had less money to spend on other consumer goods last month, as reflected by worse-than-expected non-vehicle retail sales. Cash for Clunkers robbed from the taxpayers and the rest of the economy to pay Detroit and a few hundred thousand new-car buyers."
This is all very important. This program has been hailed in the media as a great success. It isn't. And it shows again that government intervention into the free market almost always creates far more problems than it solves.

One of the president's fairly reliable progressive media allies, Richard Cohen, has become disenchanted; he says the president cannot "teach":
"So Obama did not teach about the Gates incident and he is not teaching about health insurance. Some of his trouble is procedural -- turning over health care reform to Congress, a parliamentary Okefenokee Swamp in which reform bogs down, finally rots and emits noxious gases. Some of this has to do with the unavoidable complexity of any legislation. But some of it has to do with the inability of the president to simply say what he wants and why that's good for us. The failure here is twofold: the message and the messenger."
He's too cool, he's too above the fray, and as Cohen says, Obama was lucky to run against the hapless John McCain in 2008. He wasn't really tested. And many Americans, I suspect, ignored Obama's liberalism in their desire to embrace change. But now, they're being reminded of it. And they don't like it.

If Rudy Giuliani runs to be governor of New York next year, guess what--he's got a great chance to win, as he leads all of his likely opponents by over 10 points.

BASEBALL DIARY: hey, the Tigers scored some runs last night, in beating the Angels on the road, 10-7. Big win--it, plus the White Sox loss, again puts Detroit up by 3 and 1/2 games in the AL Central. I was disappointed to see Justin Verlander let down and let in a bunch of runs with a 10-0 lead. Maybe part of it was due to he and Gerald Laird not being on the same page, as the linked article suggests. But how often this season has Verlander pitched masterfully, only to lose or get a no-decision as the Tiger bats remained silent? He's allowed one of these. A win is a win.