Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Sorry, I Am Still Against Big Government and for the Tenth Amendment

Though there are a number of things I like about the Trump agenda, I am alarmed by his policies expanding federal power and increasing the national debt. And dismayed by the cheering for this coming from Republicans and those who formerly were conservative.

From President Trump's speech last night:
To launch our national rebuilding, I will be asking Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion dollar investment in the infrastructure of the United States - financed through both public and private capital - creating millions of new jobs.
I am still against federal trillion dollar spending projects other than on national defense or truly federal constitutional duties. (Shoot, I would grumble but could only complain moderately were the trillion to go for post offices and postal roads since that's an enumerated constitutional duty. Article I, section 8, clause 7.

FDR's attempts at creating millions of new jobs didn't create anything long term. All such government attempts have been a disaster because the government, unlike an actual owner, doesn't have its well being tied to whether the venture continues on. What we need is not six month or year jobs, but ongoing jobs funded not by taxpayers but by people who voluntarily buy goods and services provided by businesses. The government isn't smart enough or flexible enough to do that.
Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land.
. . .
Another Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, initiated the last truly great national infrastructure program - the building of the interstate highway system.
I also don't believe the federal government has any business being involved with local and state infrastructure projects. Interstate? Okay. That's what Eisenhower did. On federal property? Okay. But, not hospitals, schools, or state and local bridges, tunnels, airports or other projects. Federal money corrupts those processes and leads to huge boondoggles if not downright foolishness. As for railways, private investment created the great railways. Public investment has created money losers like Amtrak or Portland's own Max light rail which requires payroll taxes and federal, state and local grants to fund the vast majority (69% in 2015) of its budget needs.

We shouldn't be spending money on new federal projects when we are trillions in debt. I say that to the younger ones in the family too. You don't spend what you don't have. Running up the national debt is stealing from our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and who knows how many generations after that. We're already nearly $20 trillion in debt. So, let's add another trillion? How about if we can come up with a trillion let's pay off a trillion of the debt instead. (Here's where I grind my teeth at people like Sarah Palin and the Tea Party who were so opposed to the rising national debt under Obama but are fine with it under Trump. They are either hypocrites or unable to think through the implications of their principles.)
The way to make health insurance available to everyone is to lower the cost of health insurance, and that is what we are going to do.
. . .
Fourth, we should implement legal reforms that protect patients and doctors from unnecessary costs that drive up the price of insurance -- and work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs, and bring them down immediately. 
It's not the federal government's business to raise or lower the cost of anything (unless there is a monopoly involved, and then the job is to break up the monopoly). If they can do it with health insurance, they can do it with everything else in our life. It's called wage and price controls. Never works. Just makes a big mess and creates shortages of goods and services.
My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have Paid Family Leave, to invest in women's health, and to promote clean air and clear water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure.
How about mandating paid family leave? Portland and then Oregon have mandated paid sick leave. Now Republicans want to add a national mandate for family leave. Please remind me of why Republicans were so against taxpayers funding birth control materials to such as Ms. Fluke? (Besides those who oppose birth control for religious reasons.) And like all such mandates on business this is going to result in businesses closing down because they can't afford that perk.
Education is the civil rights issue of our time.
 I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children.
I also reject the notion that education is the new "civil rights" issue. Education is a family or local government responsibility not a federal government responsibility. I don't even think it's well done as a state responsibility except as a local community is devastated through natural disaster and needs temporary help. Where the federal government or state sets standards usually the graduation rate plummets and children come out knowing only what's politically correct rather than anything useful. Education becomes a political act tied to federal funds rather than an educational act purely for the benefit of the child.
I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims.
The office is called VOICE - Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement.
We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.
Why should victims of immigrants (no mention whether legal or illegal) get special treatment over victims of any other kind of violence or economic damage? And how would setting up an office to "serve" them help? This is just adding another layer to government which will be used politically by whatever administration is in power. How about setting up a system for any American to sue federal, state and local governments for damages caused by malfeasance in carrying out their duties?
But to accomplish our goals at home and abroad, we must restart the engine of the American Economy - making it easier for companies to do business in the United States, and much harder for companies to leave.
Except in time of war for the defense of the nation, I don't believe federal or state government has any right to tell businesses how to run their business and where to locate. Or to stop individuals or businesses from leaving the country. An economic Berlin wall is not quite as despicable as the "we'll shoot you down" Berlin wall, but despicable none the less. Threatening to punish someone economically if they leave your country is only a hop and skip away from threatening to make leaving a crime.

This is big government on steroids again. Just has an R after the President's name. Phooey!


OregonGuy said...

Man, I feel your pain.

Over at Rantburg, g(r)omgoru noted:

"Scientific (and technological) advances are not made by smoothly functioning teams of well adjusted people who are superb communicators and all around likable and were straight-A students. It's made by socially inept --- or straight out antisocial --- supremely egocentric loners, who prefer to spend time inside their heads pursuing their idiosyncratic interests and not giving a f*ck about what other people define as important. Nowadays people like this play computer games --- or, at best, write them. "

Central planners gotta plan. It's what they do. And since we've adopted the central planning model--socialism by another name--we're stuck with it until it finally collapses. I think.

T. D. said...

Thanks for the commiseration, OG. I'm not so upset with Trump or even congressional Republicans. You're right, that's what they do. Always have done. Reagan was the only one who really tried to reign in the federal government. But, it's galling to see people who claimed to be conservative and gained money off it now applauding the progressive agenda. Though I try to remind myself that most foul ups, whether practical or regarding principle, are due to stupidity rather than maliciousness.

Not a word about the growth of big government. Everything is about the possible growth of the economy. Sigh.

T. D. said...

about the 2:50 mark Cruz: "It’s why my number one priority in the Senate is and always has been jobs and economic growth."


Nothing about limited constitutional government or the rights guaranteed to the States and the people.

MAX Redline said...

I do like the fact that he plans to cut EPA's budget by 25%, but it wouldn't be enough to pay for the grand plans and expansionist government.

The interstate system was built under the auspices of defense; designed to move troops and equipment quickly during a different era. As clotted up with freight and commuters as they are in every urban area, the defense component is no longer relevant.

When did education become a civil right? Was that when Lincoln was growing up? Or was it in the late 1800s, when people out West paid Scottish schoolteachers to come out here and teach kids in one-room schoolhouses?

Nope - it became a "civil right" after public employee unions were permitted.

T. D. said...

Yes, Max, discouraging, even though there were positive things. Like doing away with two regulations for every new one enacted. I don't believe it will happen, or if it does only the conservative regulations will be eliminated. But, I applaud the general idea.

I didn't know the reason for the interstate system. Thanks for the background. Regulating interstate commerce is a valid constitutional power (Art. I, sec. 8, clause 3). So, that's why I give leeway for interstate projects.

And you're absolutely right about the power of public employee unions in the elevation of education to a top state and federal legislative and spending issue.

MAX Redline said...

I've long believed that for every new law enacted, a minimum of one should be removed. Two or more would be better. Too many politicians believe that their only job involves passing ever more laws.

Regulating interstate commerce is, as you note, a constitutional power, but when Ike was President, he and the Department of Defense pushed for it. The reason was twofold: to move troops and equipment rapidly around the country, and to aid in civilian evacuations in the event of an atomic attack. Thus, it was originally named "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". Today, we just call them interstates, or freeways.

Even FDR recognized the potential for abuse by public employee unions, and opposed allowing them.

MAX Redline said...

By "pushed for it", I refer to interstate highways. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

T. D. said...

Thanks, Max! So Eisenhower really pushed this via the Commander-in-chief angle, and Congress did not pass it under the commerce clause. Very interesting, and undercuts the arguments made now about how the infrastructure plan is copying Ike. Shows how important knowing history is.

MAX Redline said...

They assumed that when not needed for defense or evacuations, the system would aid interstate commerce, TD - but the build-out arose from the former priorities. When I was a kid, there were air-raid sirens mounted on poles all around town, and when they went off for drills, we all had to do the "duck and cover" routine. Not that it would have done any good in the event of an atomic attack, but they had us do it in elementary and junior high schools anyway. Weird times.

T. D. said...

I think I was just a couple of years ahead of this. I remember making bomb shelters was emphasized in later junior high and high school, but don't remember doing duck and cover practices.

A friend of mine who was young during WWII just said the other day that there was a real fear in the nation about losing the war. I remember the real fear about an atomic bomb attack. Those who didn't grow up in the time period have no idea because we know it didn't occur. Just like I was jolted to be reminded that my view of WWII is of winning--not the possibility of losing because I was born after the war was over.