Archive for March, 2009

Do my job for me

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I had a few ideas for little posts — this commercial is dumb, the Supreme Court denied cert in that case I blogged about six months ago, this news story is strange — but just haven’t gotten motivated to post them. And if I don’t even find them interesting enough to pass along, I’m pretty sure you won’t care about reading the posts. So I’m scrapping those.

And now the tank is dry. Any ideas? thoughts? suggestions? Anything you’d like me to write about? Interesting trades considered.

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Milbarge named this blog after a turn of phrase which annoyed him. There is a phrase that has always bugged me, but it is popping up more frequently as of late and so my annoyance level has spiraled upwards. Anytime someone talks about the taxpayers being asked to foot the bill for a bailout, my immediate reaction is always “No one is asking.”

Taxpayers are not “asked” for anything. Taxpayers are told where the money the government has collected is going.

No one gets asked what tax rate they would like to pay. They get told each year what the new brackets are.

The IRS doesn’t ask people to pay taxes that are owed. The IRS tells people that owed taxes will be garnished from their wages.

I am not under any delusions that every single spending measure of the federal government should be put to a nationwide vote. But if any commentators or pundits actually believe that the taxpayers are in any way asked, then I feel it is my duty to inform them that that word doesn’t mean what they think it means.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Revealed

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I’ve finally figured out what Obama’s foreign policy strategy is, and it’s brilliant.

Step 1: Open talks with all of the country’s adversaries.

Step 2: Offend them with really insulting, poorly interpreted tacky gestures.

Step 3: ??

Step 4: Profit!

Santelli Lane

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Tea Party protests against (cough) Stimulus bill have been popping up all over the country. As of yet they are not always well organized. I was signed up to received emails on them. I got the notification that there was one in my town 5 minutes before it was scheduled to start. On a workday. But continue to sprout up they have. I’ve read on some blogs that Rick Santelli should not be credited with creating the movement, since there were protests happening before his rant. I don’t argue that, but Santelli did something just as important. He gave it a name.

Names matter. They can unify very un-unified events. They can give something context before even knowing what it is about. They make for an easy catch phase in the modern sound bite world.

What Santelli did was to give a name to a huge amount of anger and disgust in the country about what the government is doing. I know it wasn’t premeditated, but his selection stuck precisely because his anger at the government led him to make a historical analogy that was both well known and (in the minds of many) accurate. In his anger he equated the anger many are feeling toward the government’s actions now with an act of unquestioned patriotism. He equated the taxing of Americans to pay for British debt to the taxing of Americans to pay for domestic business debt. This accomplished two goals at one time. Mainly it creates a context for the protests that the uniformed will automatically, even subconsiously, equate with what they know form school to be a profoundly patriotic act. Given that, it makes it more difficult for the opponents to demonize the protests, by the very fact that they are working uphill against the name before they even get to the rally’s aims.

Names matter. When liberals name a piece of legislation as the Fairness Doctrine, to mobilize public opinion against that you have to spend a lot of time explaining why the Fairness Doctrine isn’t fair. When they name legislation the Employee Free Choice Act, much effort has to be exerted explaining why the intent of that law is the opposite of free choice. Branding matters. There is a reason why companies spend millions on it each year, and why politicians hire high priced consultants to brand images.

Santelli may not have started the movement againt bail outs for failing businesses, but he deserves the credit for branding it and doing so brilliantly.

*Small aside to President Obama and Democrats. Please stop spending my grandchildren’s money.