Friday, March 17, 2017
Happy St. Patrick's Day
Kimberly Strassel Has a new column for this Friday. As usual, her comments are cogent and apropos. The link to her column is to the upper right. My comments, following, were engendered by reading her column.
We are encountering deeply seated problems in our taking advantage of Republican leadership. A lot of them have to do with expectations, which are leading us to an extremely cynical perspective upon the progress of legislation. This is a problem in our heads, and we just need to get over it.
But there are two other things that the Republican Party can do something about: Lack of practice and Democrat meddling.
During the Obama years, the Republican Party lost its ability to lead. This was because of the constant threat of the race card hanging over their heads. They became so timid that criticism of o was nonexistent. They allowed him to pursue his socialist/environmentalist agenda unopposed, thinking that they would be the victims of an enormous backlash if they uttered a single word in opposition. They were probably right, but they need to get over that.
The Democrat meddling was founded in a kindred fact. With a timid Republican party, the Democrat machine learned to use all of its resources in the light of zero Republican resistance. The MSM and the Democrat party worked hand in glove to purvey whatever message they wanted to relate, no matter how partisan and ridiculous.
Taken together, these are things that only bear on Republican leadership because we let them. Republicans have had two strong leaders in my memory, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump. Both men were beset by a party of their own who didn't know how to govern. The party had to be led, in the case of the Gipper, through all the twists and turns that Democrats could lay in the path.
The path ahead for Trump is similar, but he has a few advantages. He has majorities in both houses, and he has no financial fetters that have to be worked around.
All in all, Trump's position is better than what Ronald Reagan faced. Trump does not have experience in elective office, but the skill set that he needs seems to be second nature.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The Obama EPA was afflicted with the liberal syndrome that if some is good then more is better. Nothing is ever enough.
In their wish list, emission regulation would limit substances emitted into the atmosphere to a level below normally occurring ones and fuel consumption standards would require 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Already, current economy models resemble pregnant roller-skates; what would a vehicle that gets 54.5 mpg look like? Would there be room for passengers? How long would it take to accelerate to highway speed? What would be its highway speed? How about crash safety? Etc., etc.
The obvious intent of absurd CAFÉ standards is to drive petroleum fueled vehicles from the highways. This is a trend that may occur anyway as battery-storage technology matures and goes down in price. This may happen as a natural result of the evolution of electric car technology, but it won't be next week.
[Meanwhile, o rides in a bullet-proof limousine.]
People like o won't wait for a nanosecond. Bureaucratic controls make far more sense to the mind of a Democrat than free market forces. Thus, EPA standards are targets which must be met NOW regardless of the cost or effectiveness of the solution.
My 2013 vehicle is rated at 24 miles per gallon combined economy, but gets about 17 under my gentle ministrations. The actual mileage of a vehicle rated at 54.5 mpg will probably be in the 20s. The regulatory overreach of these things is eminently predictable.
It is fortunate that we are getting out from under this regulatory yoke. The EPA, with its ludicrously strict standards is being relegated to the ash heap of history.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Several things occurred last week that bring the following topic to the fore: education, specifically the US education system.
Our education system is a gargantuan mess. This is evidenced by the fact that in the contentious nomination process for new cabinet members, specifically Secretary of Education, two Republican members of the Senate confirmation committee voted not to affirm the excellent Republican nominee. These two senators saw fit to vote the way they did out of fealty to the teachers union.
These teachers unions are so strong that they demand obeisance from their bought senators. And those Senators who were bought are Republicans as opposed to Democrats who pay their homage to unions with every vote.
Teachers unions are allied with school administrators all across the nation to maintain a status quo that takes care of themselves instead of the students they were hired to serve. Most school administrators are former teachers, and are either current or former union members themselves.
Policies of school systems are designed to spend as much money as possible and maintain failing policies in failing schools. It is a little game they play – see how much money can be spent (and committed) until the superintendent gets the axe.
This is a chart of school spending by state:
This is a chart of school spending by country which adds testing results. The US is among the leaders in spending and among the laggers in result:
That is the school system cycle, and it has been repeated across the country ad nauseam. The US spends top dollar on schools, and gets awful schools out of it.
There is no more critical task within the services offered by our government than the successful dispensing of education to our children. When kids are taught that education can be the learning of social frivolities and faddish nonsense like political correctness, we subvert the process and squander our opportunity to have a high order of educated minds.
This is a place where the powers that be have failed for so long that they have no other way of thought. They expect for ghettos in Detroit, Chicago, and Memphis to produce an uneducated, worthless human being, devoid of pride and accomplishment, so that they can continue to obtain their government largess.
The most notable thing that these schools in these places do is to continue the malfeasance in education that they have gotten by with for decades. This is such a deep, abiding, problem that only the miracle of insightful hard work will bring a cure for it. It is a long-term problem that needs a long-term solution.
In the new Trump administration, Betsy DeVos was nominated and confirmed as Secretary of Education, a post that she is eminently qualified to perform. It was Ms.DeVos who was confirmed over the two Republican senators nay votes, which required a Pence Vice Presidential vote to put it over the top (a first). Ms. DeVos brings a record of independent thought and action with her to her new post. I hope she succeeds.
She is working against enormous odds, though. The establishment of the education system has all of its stakes on another horse, and will fight to see that nothing other than the solutions that have been funded for decades sees a cent.
The real solution for this problem is to devolve the whole concept of education, and make it a state solution. Laws that apply to education in California make little sense for schools in Maine. Education is not a one-size-fits-all process.
There is a ray of hope. Ms. DeVos may work miracles.