Tag: Big Government

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This week, our politicians formed Israel 35th government after 508 days and three rounds of elections. Israelis watched sadly the swearing-in of 34 ministers with fake titles and unknown functions and another 12 deputy ministers scratching for meaningless jobs. This government is nothing short of a gargantuan monster, bathing in a life of affluence, and […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Call It the Great Panic of 2020

 

In the last 100+ years we had The Great War (later “World War I”), the Great Depression, and the Great Recession. I think it’s time to give a name to the first self-inflicted worldwide depression: the Great Panic of 2020. Getting the right name for the current crisis could frame the public debate on the policy solution. Other suggestions for a name are welcome in the comments section.

Financial depressions in the 19th Century were known as “panics.” The Panic of 1837 was one of the worst with bank failures, bankruptcies, and 25% unemployment. Some historians believe it lasted almost seven years.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech

 

Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.

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Recently my readings brought me to 1 Samuel 11, which I thought offered some fascinating reflections on government and political power. Humility in Leadership Preview Open

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Pope Francis marked World Day of the Sick this week by meditating on Matthew 10:8: “Freely you have received, freely give.” Some of his thoughts: Volunteer work passes on values, behaviours and ways of living born of a deep desire to be generous. It is also a means of making health care more humane. A […]

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New Hampshire state employees who don’t wish to join a union will save more than $1 million a year in compulsory union fees following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in Janus vs. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, according to data obtained by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy through a […]

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That is to say, 61% of the public sees the Democrat Party accurately. The Pew survey, conducted this summer among a national sample of 2,504 adults 18 years of age or older, found that 61 percent of Americans see the Democratic Party as too government-centered, believing that the state should be the only recourse for […]

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I was ruminating a post on my thoughts about a show I recently discovered, Yes (Prime) Minister when Bill mentioned it on the recent podcast. Quite simply: this show is amazing. I’m surprised I’m just now discovering it. The parodic portrayal of the ugly side of gov’t bureaucracy is brilliant and hilarious. They were making […]

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Example ACF Program (Administration for Children and Families) These LGBT programs above are offered by some of the 19 specialized division offices with at least 43 program areas provided by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) which is one of eleven operating divisions under U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), a cabinet-level […]

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A while back I saw an article (possibly here on Ricochet :) ) about how two neighboring states would compete for large businesses to move jobs to their own state. In the article, it said that government workers or contractors would offer businesses tax breaks or other subsidies to get them. So my question is […]

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A relative on Facebook posted this, and maybe some readers would find it convincing. It engages several American arguments against systems in countries such as Denmark and Sweden that require high taxes for lavish government benefits to its citizens. The article makes Hillary sound almost conservative. Does the author effectively dismantle the claims that collectivism works […]

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Daylight Savings is the most despicable intrusion in our lives perpetrated by Big Government. The Hand of Gov reaches into our daily routine and diddles with our schedule twice a year in a most disruptive way [okay, I don’t bitch about it in the fall because I get to sleep in]. Sunday’s 9:00 am Mass will […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Laws Are Not Force Fields

 

shutterstock_344065673It would seem a self-evident truth that laws are not force fields. Simply creating a rule does not in and of itself change anyone’s behavior. Unenforced laws are useless. This would seem to be a strong argument in favor of only passing laws whose enforcement can be done in a practical manner, and which do not duplicate existing law.

Not so, says the Democratic Party. Whether it be their desire to emote about how much they care, even when they are powerless to do anything of consequence, or a genuine belief that they can bend human nature to their will with words alone, the result is the same. There are problems in the United States, and regardless of the specifics, the Democrats have a law ready to solve it.

The most obvious examples are gun free school zones. In order for such laws to have value, one would need to station guards at all entrances to schools, and check all who enter for weapons. Some government buildings do this, and such laws can be rational under such circumstances. Yet the notion that schools are safer when only the law abiding citizens have been disarmed is laughable. A man who has already decided to violate the most sacred of all prohibitions against murder, is certainly willing to violate your petty gun carrying laws.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Challenging “Policing for Profit” in Pagedale

 
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Mildred Bryant, 84, is one of the Pagedale, MO, residents facing the threat of tickets, fines, and imprisonment for minor HOA-style violations.

How much power does your local government have over you? Can it tell you that your drapes have to match or force you to put screens on your windows? Can it tell you how many people you may have at a barbeque or where on your property your grill can be? Can it make you take down a basketball hoop in your driveway?

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“Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not possible.” John Ellis Bush at the Republican debate, 11/11/2015 Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all agree… Deportation is impossible. It’s just too big a job for Government to handle, and we need to accept… no… […]

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I’ve been reading a little Constitutional law lately. I wrote about Michael Paulsen in “The True Meaning of Marbury v. Madison“ and “Unlearning Constitutional Law.” This little essay completes the (apparently) three-part series which started with those two posts. In this post, for a change, I’m looking into some credible reasons to disagree with Paulsen. Fortunately, they apply to a […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Is Big Government Worth a Dam?

 

246-hoover-dam-bypass-4270In his monumental 1957 book Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power, the historian Karl Wittfogel proposed the theory of hydraulic empire. He surmised that despotic governments and large-scale irrigation works arose in tandem because only a strong, centralizing power could compel the mass labor required to build and maintain these works. The surpluses of food and wealth resulting from successful irrigation projects conferred legitimacy upon absolute rulers; the mobilization of labor could also be directed toward monumental architecture, increasing their prestige.

Political progressives often cite the Hoover Dam as an example of government defined as “the things we do together” — projects so large that the private sector is incapable of undertaking them. The dam is a key icon of the mythology of the New Deal. In Canada, the Canadian-Pacific Railway holds a similar place in our founding myth. I believe both of these projects were public-private partnerships, but like the irrigation works of antiquity, they are now used to increase the legitimacy and prestige of a centralized, activist government — albeit not a very authoritarian one.

But there are two weaknesses inherent to big government’s efforts to gain legitimacy by completing large-scale public works. The first is our greater recognition of the unintended consequences that can accompany projects with a large scope (especially dams). The second is that our governments are becoming less effective at completing these projects.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Woman Arrested for Not Renewing $35 Dog License

 

RerhBeing a busy mom and surgical nurse, Becky Rehr of Kalamazoo County, Mich., kept forgetting to renew the license for her family’s 11-year-old springer/border collie mix. She finally turned in the paperwork on June 18 but a few days later received an arrest warrant from the local government. Not renewing a dog license is a criminal offense in this corner of southwestern Michigan.

While running errands with her 14-year-old daughter, Rehr swung by the sheriff’s office to show Johnny Law her $35 receipt and clear up the trivial matter. She was shocked when they took her mug shot, fingerprints, and tossed her into a holding cell at the county jail.

“They frisked me and put me in this intake cell with all these inmates in orange jumpsuits,” Rehr said. “I was pretty nervous.” It took three hours before CSI: Kalamazoo released her on a $100 bond so she could return to her daughter who had been waiting in the family car.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Vice Spiral

 

shutterstock_139513784The beauty of Ricochet is how one thought spawns another, a true ricochet of thoughts bouncing from one member to the next. David Sussman‘s post on Las Vegas got me thinking about the spiraling effects of lawmakers preying on their constituents’ weaknesses in order to wring every last available dollar out of them for, you know, the children.

Nevada has always been the industry leader. When divorce was a complicated procedure in America, Nevada filled the gap. In 1931, the state simplified its divorce laws and reduced its residency requirement to six weeks. They essentially created divorce tourism. By 1940, almost 5% of the total number of divorces filed in the US were in Nevada.

Divorce resorts cropped up everywhere, but especially in Reno. The town’s name became synonymous with the “quickie divorce.” In The Awful Truth (1937), Cary Grant quips, “The road to Reno is paved with suspicions.”