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Archive for May 13th, 2012

My favorite political jokes tend to be parables, such as using beer to explain the tax system, the PC version of the story about the ant and the grasshopper, the joke about using two cows to explain various economic and political systems, and the modern fable about bureaucracy, featuring an ant and a lion.

But I greatly enjoy the one-liners from the late-night comics, particularly since so many Americans get their news from these sources. Here are my favorites from the past couple of weeks.

Jay Leno

  • President Obama has come out in support of gay marriage. He said his position has been evolving for years. Miraculously, he saw the light just in time for tonight’s big Hollywood fundraiser. What are the odds?
  • Today Newt Gingrich didn’t agree or disagree on the gay marriage thing. However, he did say there should be a term limit on all marriages.
  • President Obama officially announced he is in favor of gay marriage. Of course, this is a monumental event. This is the first time Joe Biden said something Obama didn’t have to apologize for.
  • The women know what this means. Now all the good ones will be married AND gay.
  • You know who is really against the president’s position on gay marriage? Gay men afraid of commitment. Now they have no excuse.
  • Vice President Joe Biden has come out in support of same-sex marriage. President Obama never endorsed gay marriage. But now he’s in favor of gay Secret Service agents.
  • New predictions out today claim 42 percent of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. They say the only way to stop that is for the government to step in. Oh yeah, when it comes to trimming the fat and tightening your belt, what better way than the U.S. government?
  • France has a new president. He is Socialist François Hollande. He defeated Conservative French President Sarkozy in a presidential run-off yesterday. Of course, Nicolas Sarkozy handed over power in the traditional French manner. He surrendered.
  • Tomorrow’s Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo, of course, celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over the French. You know, if you have to use defeating the French military as a reason to spend the day drinking, you’re probably an alcoholic already.
  • Mitt Romney is fighting back at charges by President Obama and Vice President Biden that if Romney were president, Osama bin Laden would still be alive. Romney said if he were president, bin Laden would have died a slow and painful death. He wouldn’t have ordered a hit. He would’ve canceled his healthcare.
  • The Secret Service has withdrawn its protection of Newt Gingrich in advance of him formally announcing the suspension of his campaign. His Secret Service protection was costing us $44,000 a day. I guess they figured it wasn’t worth it anymore to protect Newt from all the people trying to ignore him.
  • Have you been watching this John Edwards trial? I don’t know what kind of president John Edwards would have been, but I’m pretty sure he would have gotten along really well with the Secret Service.
  • Romney proves with a little hard work and a little luck, even a multimillionaire white guy from Harvard can succeed in this country.
  • It now appears that as many as a dozen members of the Secret Service were involved in that Colombian prostitution scandal. Now six of the agents have been reassigned. The other six are now party planners for the GSA.
  • President Obama released his tax returns. It turns out he made $900,000 less in 2011 then he did in 2010. You know what that means? Even Obama is doing worse under President Obama.

Conan

  • The White House admitted that Vice President Biden’s endorsement of gay marriage forced him to come out in favor of it. So in a related story millions of Americans are trying to get Biden hooked on pot.
  • Mitt Romney has issued an apology for some of his high school pranks that went a little too far. Probably the meanest prank was the time he bought his high school and fired everyone in it.
  • Apparently Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney last night very late via email. That just makes Santorum one of the 10 million guys ashamed of what he did late last night on his computer.
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Perry said he chose Romney because out of the one candidate left, he’s the best.
  • A college student launched a group called African-Americans for Romney. After a couple of days he was forced to change the name to That Black Guy for Romney.
  • Mitt Romney has launched a new drive to appeal to Hispanic voters. Unfortunately, his new slogan is “Mitt Romney — I probably employ one of your cousins.”
  • Congress is expanding its probe into the Secret Service scandal. Congressmen want to know how this could happen, who was responsible, and do those ladies take Discover cards.

David Letterman

  • President Obama says he supports same-sex marriage. Not only that but he’s going to turn his birth certificate into a musical.
  • A year ago Osama bin Laden was killed. He was executed in Pakistan. They say that Osama bin Laden would be alive today if his bodyguards hadn’t been screwing around with hookers.
  • Bring Your Child to Work Day — that’s how we got George W. Bush.
  • One of the Secret Service agents had this woman, and the deal was $300 and he gave her $30. I’m thinking, now wait a minute. I’ve got no problem with a guy trying to save taxpayer dollars.

Craig Ferguson

  • President Obama’s in town for a fundraiser. Forty grand a plate — because nothing says “man of the people” like demanding 40 grand for some rubbery chicken.
  • Mitt Romney responded today by restating his own views on marriage. He said marriage should only take place between two consenting rich people.
  • Romney said he had no problem with gay people because one of his best friends owns San Francisco.
  • I’m sure both candidates will fall over themselves telling you how much they support public education. Yet neither of them has ever sent any of their kids to a single day of public school. But I’m sure that’s the only area in which they’re a wee bit hypocritical.
  • Yesterday France elected a new president. When the French secret service hires prostitutes, it is not a scandal. It is called test driving mistresses for your boss.

Jimmy Kimmel

  • President Obama came out with approval of same-sex marriage. He said that over the years, he has been going through an evolution on the issue. That makes opponents on the far right doubly angry. They don’t believe in gay marriage OR evolution.
  • After just one term in office, French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost his re-election bid because he was unable to fix his nation’s economy. Or as Obama put it, “Uh-oh.”
  • According to a new ABC poll, both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are more popular than their husbands. At this point, so is asbestos.

Jimmy Fallon

  • Yesterday New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he’s not sure if he’s going to run for re-election next year. He’s said, “I’ll collapse that bridge when I get to it.”
  • In the last year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval rating has gone up 12 points. That’s impressive. Usually, the only time he picks up a dozen is when he goes to Krispy Kreme.
  • Senator Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg played a round of golf together last week. Biden shot an 89 while Bloomberg shot the person who arranged a round of golf with Joe Biden.
  • Today Mitt Romney visited a firehouse here in New York City. Of course, he was disappointed when he learned that the firehouse is not where you get to fire people.
  • Last night Newark Mayor Cory Booker rescued a woman trapped inside a burning house. Not to be outdone, Governor Chris Christie rescued a Tostito that fell in his artichoke dip.

If you like these one-liners, you can read more by clicking here, herehere, here, here, here, hereherehereherehereherehere, and here.

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One of my first blog posts, back in 2009, featured Veronique de Rugy in a video, warning that America should not adopt the statist policies that caused so much damage in her home country of France.

Sadly (but predictably), the politicians in Washington ignored Veronique’s sage advice. The burden of government has expanded since that video was released, including the adoption of costly Obamacare legislation.

But if there was a contest among nations for the worst public policy, France would still have a comfortable lead over the United States. For every bone-headed step in Washington to increase taxes, spending, and regulation, it seems there are two similar steps in Paris.

Obama wants to increase the top tax rate in America to 39.6 percent, for instance, but Hollande wants a top tax rate of 75 percent, making Obama look like a libertarian by comparison.

France also has a much more interventionist approach to labor markets. Here are some depressing features of French employment law, as reported by Business Week.

The country has 2.4 times as many companies with 49 employees as with 50. What difference does one employee make? Plenty, according to the French labor code. Once a company has at least 50 employees inside France, management must create three worker councils, introduce profit sharing, and submit restructuring plans to the councils if the company decides to fire workers for economic reasons. French businesspeople often skirt these restraints by creating new companies rather than expanding existing ones. “I can’t tell you how many times when I was Minister I’d meet an entrepreneur who would tell me about his companies,” Thierry Breton, chief executive officer of consulting firm Atos and Minister of Finance from 2005 to 2007, said at a Paris conference on April 4. “I’d ask, ‘Why companies?’ He’d say, ‘Oh, I have several so that I can keep [the workforce] under 50.’

Not surprisingly, French workers are the main victims of this policy. At the risk of stating the obvious, if you make it more expensive to hire workers, there will be fewer jobs. The Business Week article adds more discouraging details.

Companies say the biggest obstacle to hiring is the 102-year-old Code du Travail, a 3,200-page rule book that dictates everything from job classifications to the ability to fire workers. Many of these rules kick in after a company’s French payroll creeps beyond 49. …Pierrick Haan, CEO of Dupont Medical (not to be confused with chemical company DuPont (DD)), decided last year to return production of some wheelchairs and medical equipment to France. The 150-year-old company, based in Frouard in eastern France, created 20 jobs making custom devices at a French plant—and will stop there. …“The cost of labor isn’t the main problem, it’s the rigidities,” Haan says. “If you make a mistake in your hiring plans, you can’t correct it.” …The code sets hurdles for any company that seeks to shed jobs when it’s turning a profit. It also grants judges the authority to reverse staff cuts years after they’re initiated if companies don’t follow the rules. The courts even deem some violations of the code a criminal offense that could send executives to jail.

Keep in mind, by the way, that this describes current French law. Hollande will probably choose to adopt additional policies that discourage job creation. All for the alleged purpose of protecting the rights of labor, of course.

No wonder so many investors and entrepreneurs are looking to move to places where hard work and success are rewarded rather than penalized.

The one thing that puzzles me is why the French people don’t rise up against the corrupt political elite. A poll from 2010 showed that French voters favored spending cuts. And another poll showed that more than one-half of French people would consider moving to America if they had the opportunity. So there’s definitely discontent.

But I suppose I shouldn’t be puzzled. American voters generally reject statism in polls but routinely are forced to choose from the lesser of two evils (or should that be the evil of two lessers?) during elections, so perhaps the lesson to be learned is that politics brings out the inner Julia in all peoples.

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