Wednesday, March 21, 2007

There They Go Again

Here's an interesting question from the pages of Investors Business Daily:
Did anyone believe Democrats would actually cut pork and keep their promise that they wouldn't force an early Iraq pullout? For those who did, we suggest a quick trip through the news.
So, what can be discovered by such a trip?
In the House, lawmakers are considering the Democrats' $124 billion war funding bill that not only includes $21 billion for political pet projects, but also establishes an ill-advised Aug. 31, 2008, deadline for bringing the troops home from Iraq.

The legislation, swollen with $3.7 billion in farm subsidies, is expected to be voted on Thursday. It also includes $500 million for wildfire suppression, $283 million in milk subsidies, $100 million for citrus growers, $75 million for peanut storage, $25 million for spinach growers and $15 million for rice farmers.
Well, well, well. A bill to fund national defense expenditures includes farm subsidies. Imagine that. Why should we not be surprised? Seems we have a little casual empiricism to help us feel good about public choice economics.

Yesterday I linked to commentary in the Wall Street Journal that pointed out that the Speaker of the House had started buying votes, and today the Investor's Business Daily points out how some of those votes are being bought, i.e., farm subsidies.

It seems to me the first 2 or 3 months of the new Congress is not a pretty sight.

Our elected representatives are seen on the floors of Congress debating endlessly resolutions that are not binding and seem to have no meeting except to express a lack of will to help the constitutionally elected government of Iraq provide security that is essential for the new government's success and that is essential to get the country on the path to some future prosperity.

There was passage of legislation that would increase the minimum wage, and thereby also cause some employees to be disemployed.

There was an interesting promise of the first hundred days that seems to have quietly fizzled, unless you want to fuss over things that were fussed over during the first 100 days, such as, to paraphrase a former President, "It depends on what the meaning of days is." Perhaps the House is still in the first 100 days, but no one seems to be talking about the promises made.

Now, in the defense legislation the House will vote on whether or not to send a memo to the enemies of the new government of Iraq with the subject line: "Hey, just hang on a while longer, we are about to leave."

There was the time spent on public hearings about an employee of the CIA and an alleged crime that justified the full time work of a special prosecutor. Yet, I understand that by the time the special prosecutor took up his job, he already knew no violation of a criminal statute had occurred, and he even knew who had committed the revelation that was a non-crime. Still, our Congress chose to waste time on issues that seem only to matter as yet another act in a political play.

And, there is yet another political furor being contrived over a President who fired US attorneys. The best I can figure out is the positions in question are filled by people who serve "at the pleasure of the President." In other words, the very conditions of employment for these positions includes the clear condition that the President can fire you from the position for absolutely any reason. The furor seems a contrivance of congressional Democrats, and perhaps the media, to offer up yet another act in their political play. Just consider that in this act of the play people in Congress want to pretend they are shocked that the President, the person who is elected to head the Executive Branch of government, a political branch of government, may well have fired the US attorneys in question for political reasons. Oh my, what are we to do?

I have, of late, frequently pointed out the public choice insight that people are rationally ignorant, and I have noted how the actions of our public officials seem quite consistent with this insight. I suppose we do need a Congress, but perhaps that is not so clear when the members of Congress spend so much of their time doing things that seem mostly about finding ways to use the rational ignorance of voters to personal advantage.

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