Monday, March 09, 2009

Obama has plunged the Dow just as far as Bush

Let me record some numbers here that should enlighten.

At its peak on October 9, 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,164.53.

On Election Day, November 3, 2008, the Dow closed at 9,625.

This equals a 32% drop.

Today, the Dow closed at 6,547.05.

This equals a 32% drop from the day of Obama's election.

There is no question that Bush and the Congresses during his 8 years did not prevent the easily preventable housing and banking crisis. However, the market has shown absolutely no confidence that Obama can or will fix the problem. This was the Bush/Barney Frank/Christopher Dodd recession. It is now Obama's recession/depression.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Proposition 8 was an amendment, not a revision

Today, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case filed by disgruntled busybodies arguing that the people of California's passage of Proposition 8 - an amendment to the California Constitution banning gay marriage - was itself unconstitutional. The legal question, everyone seems to agree, is whether Proposition 8 was an "amendment" or a "revision" to the California Constitution. What's the difference, you ask? Therein lies the debate.

Unfortunately, the California Supreme Court has never addressed the issue. However, most everyone I've read seems to be arguing that the difference is substantive. Some argue that the difference depends on just how much the proposed amendment/revision would change the Constitution (i.e., measuring the quantitative change), while others argue that the distinction is whether the particular change is "fundamental" or some other such important word (i.e., measuring the qualitative change).

All these arguments are wrong. The amendment/revision distinction is not a substantive question, but a procedural question. Here's the relevant text from the California Constitution regarding amendments and revisions:


SEC. 1. The Legislature by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, may propose an amendment or revision of the Constitution and in the same manner may amend or withdraw its proposal. Each amendment shall be so prepared and submitted that it can be voted on separately.

SEC. 2. The Legislature by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, may submit at a general election the question whether to call a convention to revise the Constitution. If the majority vote yes on that question, within 6 months the Legislature shall provide for the convention. Delegates to a constitutional convention shall be voters elected from districts as nearly equal in population as may be practicable.

SEC. 3. The electors may amend the Constitution by initiative.

SEC. 4. A proposed amendment or revision shall be submitted to the electors and if approved by a majority of votes thereon takes effect the day after the election unless the measure provides otherwise. If provisions of 2 or more measures approved at the same election conflict, those of the measure receiving the highest affirmative vote shall prevail.

Now, combine the above sections with Article 2, Section 8(d), of the Constitution, regarding the initiative process, which reads: "An initiative measure embracing more than one subject may not be submitted to the electors or have any effect."

The distinction between an amendment and a revision is clear: An amendment concerns a single subject, a revision concerns more than one subject. While the people, through the initiative process, may change the Constitution, but are limited to one subject at a time, only the Legislature may propose changes to the Constitution, to be voted on by electors in a single vote, that embrace more than one subject.

Proposition 8 was quite obviously limited to a single subject. It was therefore an "amendment" and not a "revision" which is precisely why no one raised this argument before Proposition 8 went on the ballot, when proposed propositions are routinely challenged on the grounds that they concern more than one subject.

That's it. End of analysis. Of course, don't bet on the California Supreme Court following the plain and totally obvious meaning of the above Constitutional text.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I want Obama to fail

I'm weighing in pretty late in the game on the whole "Rush Limbaugh wants Obama to fail" "scandal." I agree wholeheartedly with Rush - I want Obama's socialist agenda to fail because it will be bad for America. In addition to hopefully getting on Obama's enemies list, I write this post to break down exactly what I mean when I say I want Obama to fail, which isn't exactly what Rush explained he means, and is nothing close to what the MSM and Democrat Party want us to think Rush means.

Let me start with what the Democrat Party/MSM (same thing) want you to think Rush means: They assume that you think Obama is trying to bring the USA out of recession, and that the Porkulous bill and all the other socialist plans he has announced are merely the means Obama has chosen. Thus, the Democrats/MSM want you to conclude, Rush wants Obama to fail to achieve his goal of ending the recession. There is a slight allusion there to FDR experimentation – meaning that we cannot be sure these programs will succeed, but we have to take bold action, etc. etc. – although the Democrats/MSM never come out and say there is no guarantee any of this will work. Indeed, Obama – as H.L. Menken long ago described – menaces the people with the imaginary hobgoblin that we will never get out of the recession unless Obama’s Porkulous bill gets passed. The man actually said “never.”

Rush, they project, says he wants Obama’s “experiment” to fail because Rush simply wants bad things to happen to America while Obama is President so Republicans will have a better chance of being elected in the future. What a mean, nasty thing for Rush to say (never mind for one second that this is precisely what most Democrats openly said about nearly everything President Bush did – Iraq war anyone?) Rush counters that he wants Obama's agenda to fail, because Rush believes it won't work and will ultimately be bad for America. As I said above, I completely agree. But what Rush is really saying is that we've done this "experiment" many times before, and it never worked, so why try again?

(I suppose it's not completely impossible that Obama's policies will help end the recession, rather than prolong it, but that is extremely unlikely, as the Dow Jones average has brutally honestly demonstrated. Regardless, if human nature suddenly changed so drastically that socialism suddenly produced greater economic growth than freedom, I'd still rather live in freedom. But as I touch on below, there are many, many other people who would prefer the opposite - to live in socialism even though it produces lesser economic growth than freedom. And there are two kinds of people who prefer socialism - those who want the power, and those who are perfectly happy as sheep.)

Because Obama’s methods have been tried so often before, and because they have failed so miserably every time, it is unlikely that a man as book smart as Obama honestly thinks his policies will cause private sector economic growth. Most likely, he has a different agenda. Obama sometimes says his goal is to end the recession. But many other times, Obama says quite specifically that bringing the USA out of recession is not his goal. This is what I mean when I say I want Obama to fail. I want Obama to fail in his oft stated goal of “spreading the wealth” at the expense of economic prosperity.

Obama let his true intentions show on at least two occasions I know off the top of my head. One was with Joe the Plumber. Obama doesn’t care how well Joe the Plumber’s business does, doesn’t care if Joe the Plumber hires more employees or does anything to actually grow the economy. (For those of you who went to public schools, a recession is when the economy shrinks instead of grows. It is a measurement of how productive millions of individual people were compared with the previous quarter. Productivity is measured by one thing and one thing only - how much someone paid for what you did.) Obama wants to change tax policy, not to help the people who will actually grow the economy, but to “spread the wealth.”

The second occasion was in an interview about the capital gains tax. The interviewer asked Obama why he wanted to raise the capital gains tax. Obama responded with platitudes about “fairness.” Then, the at least minimally intelligent interviewer told Obama that increasing the capital gains tax rate always results in a decrease in capital gains tax revenue. Obama didn’t care, sticking to his guns that it was good and right to raise the capital gains tax rate even if it resulted in less tax revenue because it was “fair.”

I believe Obama does not care one whit whether the USA comes out of this recession, except insofar as it might hurt his chances of re-election and/or the chances of keeping Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. I believe Obama’s first and overriding priority is to bring about a communist/socialist “utopia” in the USA, if possible with him in charge for life á la Ooogo Chavez in Venezuela. He has given me absolutely no indication that he cares one whit about economic freedom and personal responsibility for bad economic choices. He and his Democrat ilk would be much happier once we’ve reached the end of the Road to Serfdom, with poor working stiffs like me carrying them on our backs the rest of the way. If, at the end of the Road, the USA is no more economically productive than Brazil, they won't care at all, as long as they are still the masters. After all, the ruling elite in Brazil still live pretty well.

Sorry, Obama, I want you to fail and fail miserably.