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Archive for May 16th, 2011

It’s 45 minutes long, but this video from the folks at Reason TV is filled with good information on the foolish ideas of central planners who want to control our transportation.

You’ll learn in the first half of the video, for instance, how high-speed rail is like raising baby chicks (you’ll have to watch to understand).

Around the 25-minute mark, you’ll hear about how the Obama Administration wants to divert revenues from the gas tax to all sorts of schemes (such as mass transit) that violate the user-pays principle.

The video doesn’t address the fundamental issue of whether there should be any federal role in transportation, but it’s a great primer about current issues in transportation policy.

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My opinion of politicians is so low that it is always a surprise when one of them does something to cause a radical downward revision, but Newt Gingrich has achieved this dubious distinction. His shallow attempt to score political points led him to attack House GOPers who are trying to reform Medicare to protect America from becoming a bankrupt, Greek-style welfare state.

Ryan’s proposal, which was passed by the GOP-controlled House in April, would have people 54 and younger choose from a list of coverage options and have Medicare make “premium-support payments” to the plan they chose. “I don’t think right-wing social engineering is any more desirable than left-wing social engineering,” Gingrich scoffed in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” House Republicans, including Speaker John A. Boehner, have stood behind Ryan’s plan, which was the subject of fierce debate at town-hall meetings nationwide. Other Republican presidential contenders have praised Ryan’s political courage without going so far as to endorse the budget blueprint.

As I’ve posted before, I don’t think there is such a thing as a perfect (or completely flawed) politician. The real issue is whether a candidate is willing to balance personal ambition with a sufficient level of concern with the future of the nation. Newt Gingrich has failed this simple test.

But I also want to take this opportunity to raise a question about a candidate who seems to be on the right track, but has a very worrisome blemish on his record. I’ve already said nice things about Herman Cain, but someone needs to ask him whether he still thinks TARP was a good idea, as he wrote back in 2008.

Wake up people! Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could make a profit while solving a problem. But the mainstream media and the free market purists want you to believe that this is the end of capitalism as we know it. …These actions by the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank and the actions by the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are all intended to help solve an unprecedented financial crisis.

I’m not implying that this is a kiss-of-death revelation for Cain. Many people thought we had to recapitalize the banking system, but didn’t realize there was an alternative that didn’t involve bailing out well-connected shareholders, bondholders, and managers.

And just as Gov. Pawlenty has recanted on his support for cap-n-trade legislation, the real issue is whether Cain has the maturity to admit a mistake and explain how he made an error on TARP.

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