Monday, July 08, 2002

Vital signs



Pulse: normal

Blood pressure: probably a little high, but mostly normal

Mood: slightly bored, mostly content

Current song stuck in head: I'm Just a Singer in a Rock'n'Roll Band by The Moody Blues

I've been giving a lot of political commentary on my small soapbox lately. You can say I'm slightly more interested in politics than the average person, but nowhere near the pundit. The pundits waste too much time yapping about nothing. I'm just blowing off some steam and hoping that somehow, somewhere, someone will come across this post and think a little bit harder about the world they live in.

Enough of that. Someone ought to lecture to George W. about breaking promises. Apparently Barbara couldn't get through to him. My heart started to beat a little faster with excitement when, about two years ago, he said, "Limited government does work." He was referring to the fact that the Texas state legislature meets once every two years. The U.S. Congress out to check that out. So should the N.C. legislature. That'll give 'em less time to screw up the state budget.

Anyway, it has been downhill since then. Even though there has been no evidence that the boondoggle called the U.S. Dept. of Education has helped anybody learn, Bush led the charge to triple its budget. Bush affirmed his commitment to free trade, and then imposed duties and tariffs of up to 30% on steel to protect union jobs. (When did one man ever have so much power?) He praises faith-based charities and then tries to convert them into government programs. He backpedals on the International Criminal Court.

Now, he wants to get on his bully pulpit and lecture Wall Street about corporate responsibility. First of all, people on Wall Street (most of them, at least), are all for corporate responsibility. Corporate responsibility lends itself toward consistent corporate growth, which means reliable return on investment. (Yes, this is an idealistic statement, but it is also the way things work in general. People get away with fraud all the time, but does this mean that you should invest in people who commit fraud? Get real. Enron, Global Crossing, and WorldCom will make investors think twice.)

Now, the Democrats are going to try to dig something up to make Bush look like a hypocrite. (Not that they have to try too hard.) They are going to come up with something shady, blow it out of proportion, and try to use it as a campaign issue. The Republicans (now the party without a platform, except maybe the Pledge of Allegiance) will have something biting to say back, and we're back to fake campaigns where two candidates try unsuccessfully to distinguish themselves. Well, second of all, Bush is a hypocrite. He's been involved in shady deals, even as president, in corporate America and all over the globe politically. But with the favors the Democrats have been handing out, there's not much room for finger-pointing.

Bush's speech will assuredly mean more laws and regulations that hurt the common small business owner and line the pockets of the politically connected. Taxes will probably get raised, or at least the price increases induced by the friction of regulation. The average American will have less money as a result. That stupid cycle will start again.

Quite frankly, I don't care about Bush's involvement in any shady business deals. He will deal with the consequences of doing business with dishonest people. He should not have the power to impose regulations at all. The federal government's only economic powers are to prevent trade wars between states, to prevent trade wars with foreign nations, and to impose small duties and tariffs as necessary to fund essential government functions. The federal government needs to give up the other economic powers it has usurped (perhaps even minting coin and printing bills). (Heck, maybe even patenting can be considered an "economic power.") One result of this is the lobbiers will be out of business and corporations can focus on running their business rather than scoring a lawmaker. Another result is that frauds like Bush can't impose regulations that make his friends rich and you poor, all the while doing it in the name of protecting you from evil executives. And my favorite, we can concentrate less on what our fat-off-pork Congress is doing and concentrate on some real solutions to our problems.