I repeat: There Is **NO** problem too big for the government to make worse.

Government regulations strike again:

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state's oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor's wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore...

Sixteen barges sat stationary today, although they were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP's oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.

"These barges work. You've seen them work. You've seen them suck oil out of the water," said Jindal....

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

If your response to this is to think that everything from your health care to carbon rationing should be handed over to bureaucratic management, you may just be too stupid to live.

Oh, and who's in charge of the Coast Guard? Why, I believe that would be Obama! As I pointed out in the last entry, he was right about his administration being involved since day one. It's just that their involvement has consisted entirely of inhibiting the cleanup through red tape and incompetent regulation. The best thing Obama could do for the Gulf right now is to just get the hell out of the way of the competent people like Jindal and tell his subordinates to do the same.

I like Vox Day's comment on the situation:

Doing nothing is to be vastly preferred to actively working to prevent others from fixing the problem. You have to feel sympathy for those poor state and local officials who have been waiting for two months for the federal agents to ride in and salvage the situation, only to discover that the cavalry is fighting on the side of the Indians.

There's no problem too big for the US Government... to make worse

From the Examiner:

The U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are large arms that are attached to oil tankers that pump oil and water from the surface of the ocean into the tanker. Water pumped into the tanker will settle to the bottom of the tanker and is then pumped back into the ocean to make room for more oil. Each system will collect 5,000 tons of oil each day. . . . The Dutch offered to fly their skimmer arm systems to the Gulf 3 days after the oil spill started. The offer was apparently turned down because EPA regulations do not allow water with oil to be pumped back into the ocean. If all the oily water was retained in the tanker, the capacity of the system would be greatly diminished because most of what is pumped into the tanker is sea water. As of June 8th, BP reported that they have collected 64,650 barrels of oil in the Gulf. That is only a fraction of the amount of oil spilled from the well. That is less than one day's rated capacity of the Dutch oil skimmers.
Well, clearly the solution to cleaning up this oil spill and preventing more in the future is more government regulation </sarcasm>. How any sane person can still want to entrust our government with running anything bigger than a lemonade stand at this point completely eludes me.


It looks like the government has also been actively impeding the use of a supply of boom which is actually higher quality than the (very limited) supplies they have now.

Hey, whaddya know! Obama was telling the truth! His administration really has been involved since day 1 after all!

Catching up on the news

So, I've spent the past two weeks in Japan, and am currently catching up on the news. I just got to the latest on the oil spill, and hoo boy.

I gather that during the past week, Obama finally got the message to stop acting so aloof about the spill, and to start acting more like he gives a damn about actual real-life issues affecting real-life people, rather than just his ideological crusade to turn America into a Soviet utopia.

Except that, where most people meant "act" as in "take action" or "for the love of Pete, man, show some freaking competence", Obama took it to mean the same thing that most leftists do. Ie, play-act, as in theater. Or in other words: "Pretend to be concerned about actual real-life issues affecting real-life people, rather than just my ideological crusade to turn America into a Soviet utopia."

And so the past week apparently contained spectacles of Obama making a total douche of himself, declaring that he was going to figure out “whose ass to kick” and comparing the oil spill to 9-11, followed immediately by a round of golf.

Honestly, I think a dose of Obama's now-infamous cold detachment from actual real world people and issues may be in order for all of us, for the sake of our own mental health. If you can forget for a moment that our home is being destroyed by an incompetent, narcissistic, transnationalist buffoon to whom all real-life concerns are annoying distractions, and just look at the situation in the abstract, as if it were the plot of a movie and not real life, it's actually rather good comedy.

Even Obama is no longer pretending to believe his own lie

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Over and over in the health care debate, President Barack Obama said people who like their current coverage would be able to keep it.

But an early draft of an administration regulation estimates that many employers will be forced to make changes to their health plans under the new law. In just three years, a majority of workers—51 percent—will be in plans subject to new federal requirements, according to the draft.

(no subject)

For those interested, Ilion has written a very nice followup to my entry on the proven failure of government stimulus, further distinguishing between wealth and money.

An especially important point he makes there is about overconsumption - when a society consumes wealth faster than it produces it.

One of the rotten things about the modern economic "wisdom" of the social planners is that in addition to conflating money with actual wealth, it also confuses the spending of money with the production of wealth. You can see this in the way that every time there is an economic downturn in recent years, the government responds by a combination of lowered interest rates and stimulus dollars to "get consumers spending again". Media reports consistently look to retail sales as signs of economic health. According to the Keynesian economics that socialist central planners love, economic downturns are supposedly caused by a "savings glut" - people suddenly saving too much money for no reason instead of spending - and the "cure" is to print lots of government money for "stimulus", thus devaluing their savings through inflation and pressuring them to spend their money before it loses more value.

There's a term for consuming wealth faster than you produce it. It's called "going into debt". When you take out a loan for something, what you are essentially saying is, "I have not yet procured or produced enough wealth to trade for this item that I want. Therefore, I will trade it for a promise to produce or procure more wealth in the future." But as Ilion points out, when the overall society consumes faster than it produces - ie, goes into debt - the end result is poverty - regardless of how much "stimulus" money is printed.

This is what happened with the housing bubble that preceeded the economic collapse. When somebody buys a house for $200,000, and then sells it two years later for $400,000, no net wealth is created. In fact, wealth is *lost*, because the house undergoes wear and tear during those two years. The economic boom of the housing bubble was an illusion. In reality, what was going on during that time was wholesale destruction of wealth. Through government pressure and ridiculously low interest rates, loans were made to people who never should have been given them - people who couldn't produce enough wealth in their entire lifetimes to pay for the houses they were buying - sending them deep into debt. And meanwhile, those who did the responsible thing and saved up money for a house were punished, as the rapidly inflating house prices made their savings more and more paltry by comparison, pressuring them to take out unaffordable loans as well before their savings were devalued even further.

And the end result was poverty. In the end, we couldn't keep consuming more wealth than we produced, with only promises of future wealth in return, indefinitely. We eventually ran out. And yet, even after all that has happened, what is the government doing? Sending itself into further debt in an attempt to "stimulate" the economy. Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are still in businesses for instance, still creating loans that can't be paid back, and they receive monthly bailouts from the government to keep themselves going. The Fed is keeping interest rates at zero, basically paying banks to make loans to send people further into debt. The government continues to try plan after plan, from Cash for Clunkers to the Home Buyer's Tax Credit, to encourage more consumption. And the way it pays for it all? By sending itself into further debt on the back of the taxpayer. In other words, it is consuming even more wealth now in exchange for the promise that the American people will produce enough to pay it back in the future. Most of the population finally stopped consuming more than they could produce once they were tapped out and the economy crashed, but the government is determined to squeeze out every last drop of blood from us.

The problem of overconsumption is important make, because both left-wingers and many right-wingers fall into the trap of mistaking crazed spending with economic well-being and wealth. But in the end, the government cannot create wealth but only destroy it, no matter what the central planners come up with. The various government attempts to "help" with the economic downturn should best be seen as a jackboot to the head of every American citizen, and the mindless consumerism that their plans are designed to promote only empty you financially and spiritually in the end.


So, here's the White House's explanation for the Joe Sestack bribe controversy:

President Obama’s chief of staff used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary to see if Representative Joe Sestak would drop out of a Senate primary if given a prominent, but unpaid, advisory position, people briefed on the matter said Friday.
This wouldn't amount to a bribe, because it would be unpaid you see. I like Doug Powers' sarcastic take on it:

It seems like a believable story — I mean, who wouldn’t be convinced to give up their quest to become a United States Senator in return for a spiffy, uncompensated job title in an administration that may well be swept out of office in just over two years — sooner if nobody buys their explanation for this?
Of course, what the White House's nonsensical "explanation" actually does is to implicitly confirm that the Obama Administration really did offer a bribe. The sheer absurdity of the only innocent explanation they could produce shows that they made it up, which implies that the actual explanation isn't so innocent, and that this load of bull is the best they could come up with.