John Hitchcock wants to keep on truckin’!

Our intrepid over-the-road trucker, John Hitchcock, called me a couple of weeks ago, complaining about just this. From The Wall Street Journal:

Truckers Tire of Government Sleep Rules
By Betsy Morris | Updated Nov. 13, 2013 9:30 p.m. ET

ON 1-10 BETWEEN EL-PASO AND LOS ANGELES— Manuel Hernandez is one of a vanishing breed: a professional long-haul trucker.

He loves backing an 18-wheeler into a tight spot. He has been patiently training new drivers for more than eight years.

Lately, though, Mr. Hernandez’s patience has been worn thin by a confusing tangle of rules, efficiency directives, and electronic devices that cap his speed, log his every move, and practically try to autopilot his truck.

Magnifying the stress are more federal rule changes that took effect in July and are now roiling the industry.

Under the revised rule, the average workweek has been shortened to 70 hours from 82. They must take one 30-minute break during the first eight hours of driving. And the required 34-hour break between workweeks now must extend over two nights, including the hours between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Those changes are proving more disruptive because they are added on to existing requirements that limit drivers to driving 11 hours a day and require them to rest a consecutive 10 hours.

More at the link.

Mr Hitchcock’s complaints were two-fold. First, even though he has a trainee driver with him, the truck has to be stopped for half an hour even while the resting driver is in the sleeper berth due to the rule which states that a thirty-minute break must be taken during the first eight hours of driving. Due to the ten hour rest rule, the driver in the sleeper berth cannot drive the truck at that point.

The second complaint is one with which I am in complete agreement, the requirement that the workweek break must extend over two night shifts, between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM. The rule assumes that long-haul truckers can really only sleep during the night, which is hardly the case, because many prefer to sleep during the day and haul at night, when there is less traffic on the roads. This rule means that more of the driving hours for long-haul truckers must occur during the day, during heavier traffic periods, which increases the probabilities of an accident, and slows down the flow of traffic. It’s just another example of government regulations concerning an industry being made by people who don’t understand the industry.

Mr Hitchcock doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to write anymore, and I’m uncertain how often he is able to check in with either The First Street Journal or his own site, Truth Before Dishonor, which is being (mostly) manned by DNW these days, so I’ll text him and let him know that this article is up.

Economics 101: #Obamacare : making the inexpensive cost more

After seeing the ad to the right on several sites — The Lonely Conservative, Sister Toldjah and The Pirate’s Cove — I started thinking, once again, about the costs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. During the Sandra Fluke kerfuffle, it was noted that a Target just a few miles from Georgetown University, where she went to school, sold generic birth control pills to women without health insurance for a whopping $9.00 a month.

That was a couple of years ago, so I decided to check the Planned Parenthood website for their estimates concerning the costs of oral contraceptives:

How Do I Get Birth Control Pills? How Much Do Birth Control Pills Cost?

First, you’ll need to get a prescription. Visit a Planned Parenthood health center, a clinic, or a private health care provider for a prescription. Your health care provider will discuss your medical history with you, check your blood pressure, and give you any other medical exam that you may need. If you need an exam, it may cost about $35–$250.

Birth control pills may be purchased with a prescription at a drugstore or clinic. They cost about $15–$50 a month.

Planned Parenthood works to make health care accessible and affordable. Some health centers are able to charge according to income. Most accept health insurance. If you qualify, Medicaid or other state programs may lower your health care costs.

Call your local Planned Parenthood health center to get specific information on costs.

Now, for a woman who is paying cash for oral contraceptives, that means writing a check or using a debit card for $15.00 to $50.00, the cost of the prescription. The WalMart or Target or RiteAid pharmacies get their money, right away.

But the Obama Administration wants to change that. The President and his minions want everybody to have health insurance, and they want all health insurance policies to cover contraception, without any patient copayments. If that is the case, no woman will pay cash for her pills; she’ll show her insurance card instead.

And that means that the pharmacy will have to bill the woman’s insurance company. Rather than the quick cost of the cashier accepting the patient’s payment, the cashier will have to enter the insurance information, and someone — probably someone else — will then have to put together a bill to the insurance company.1 The insurance company will then have to process the bill, make certain that the expense is covered, and then make the payment to the pharmacy. All of those extra steps cost money!

Back at the pharmacy, it has to wait for payment. Instead of having the cash on hand, in payment for the medication received at the time it was sold, there will be a period of time — which could be weeks — that the pharmacy will, in effect, have to finance between the sale of the medication and being paid for it.

Well, someone has to pay those costs. The pharmacy will have to add their costs to the price of the medication, thus billing the insurance company for a higher amount. The insurance company, bearing an overhead cost of their own in processing the claims, will have to add that into the premium prices they charge.

The simple economic truth: oral contraceptives will cost more, because the PP&ACA is adding expenses to the purchase.

Of course, there’s still more. Oral contraceptives are fairly inexpensive, and there is some actual competition between brands for sales. When women pay cash for their birth patrol pills,2 there is an incentive for them to buy a less expensive brand if they have the option. But once price is removed as a consideration for the patient, there is no need for the patients to choose lower-priced generics or request their physicians to prescribe a lower cost pill. The PP&ACA requirement that contraceptives be completely covered, with no patient co-pays, removes the incentive for price competition concerning the patient.

Pharmaceutical companies exist for only one purpose: to make money for their shareholders. Without an incentive to reduce prices to gain market share, since patients won’t be price shopping, the pharmaceutical companies will be able to charge higher prices. This factor could be held in check, if PP&ACA regulations required co-payments from patients for prices beyond the generic brands, but the current requirement is for no copayments.

The government could start its own buying program, to buy the medication in bulk, but that would make the government the seller of medication, not the pharmaceutical companies. In theory, the government could get lower prices for the bulk purchases, but, in practice, government procurement of items has never been something which led to lower prices. Even if such a program were put in place, it adds additional overhead costs.

This is not exactly PhD level economics; this is just a simple recitation of the reality of business. Anyone who knows anything about business would have been able to see this . . . which is probably why the government cannot.
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  1. I am assuming a form of electronic billing rather than a printed and mailed bill, which would add even more costs.
  2. Not a typo; Archie Bunker called them that on the old All in the Family television series.

A failure of leadership, a ducking of responsibility, or Don’t #LetToddWork

From The Wall Street Journal:

White House Tech Team Missed Health-Site Alert
Obama ‘SWAT’ Outfit Failed to Act After Federal Exchange Landed on the High-Risk List
By Gautham Nagesh | Updated Nov. 12, 2013 10:20 p.m. ET

Even before he took office in 2009, President Barack Obama knew the government had problems with technology. So he introduced the concept of a White House “SWAT team,” designed to swoop in and rescue big projects before they became disasters.

But neither the SWAT team nor other measures Mr. Obama introduced to overhaul government technology prevented the HealthCare.gov site from becoming a high-profile government technology failure. White House technology executives failed to recognize the severity of the problems and lacked the authority to fix them, say people involved in the process. One particular missed signal: In March, a federal website flagged the project as high-risk, but that didn’t trigger any special intervention.

HealthCare.gov, which serves consumers in 36 states who can’t get coverage through their employer or a government program, has been plagued by problems since it opened Oct. 1. As of last week, fewer than 50,000 people enrolled in private health-insurance programs through the site, people familiar with the data say.

Members of Congress are zeroing in on White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, whose position was created by Mr. Obama. Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the House oversight committee chairman, subpoenaed Mr. Park to testify at a Wednesday hearing, and the White House said late Tuesday that Mr. Park would comply.

More at the link.

Now, according to CBS News, “President Obama wanted to go in himself and fix glitches that have plagued HealthCare.gov since its rollout last month, he told a crowd Friday at the Port of New Orleans, ‘but,’ he added, ‘I don’t write code.’”  Your Editor would add that we shouldn’t expect the President to be able to write code; that’s not his job.  His job is to propose policy to the Congress, and implement that policy once the Congress authorizes it; his job is to get things done by organizing and leading the executive branch.

And that’s where he failed: when it comes to what the President has pushed as his most important goal, he either:

  1. Was informed of the problems early, and took no action to get them solved;
  2. Was not informed of the problems, and failed to ask questions to get information about the status of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rollout; or
  3. Asked about the status of the PP&ACA roll out, and was lied to by his subordinates.

If it was number 3, heads should roll, starting with White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park1 and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; if it was either of the first two, the President is directly to blame. But, in all three cases, the President is responsible.

There is a rather amusing story about Mr Park on The Atlantic:

House Subpoenas Todd Park, Marks Him as Next Healthcare.gov Scapegoat
By Arit John | November 11, 2013

“Let Todd Work” Twitter campaign image. This is an image file, and not the link to the Let Todd Work campaign. Click image to enlarge.

Everyone seems to agree that someone should get fired over the Obamacare launch, though no one can confidently say who deserves a pink slip. On Wednesday, the House oversight committee will grill its newest candidate: Todd Park, the White House’s Chief Technology Officer. The oversight committee really, really wants to talk to Park, so much so that, last Friday, they sent him an invite to a hearing this Wednesday with a subpoena attached. Park’s supporters argue that he’s kind of busy right now, what with Healthcare.gov still being a mess.

Democrats on the Oversight committee wrote to Issa on Monday, asking him to withdraw his “unnecessary and misguided” subpoena. Issa might give in to letters that call his actions unnecessary and misguided, but he’s more likely to argue that, if Park has time to chat with the New York Times and USA Today, then why did he ditch the last two hearings?

Maybe because it’s sure to be an extremely unpleasant experience. This subpoena puts him among the ranks of other high-ranking officials involved in the project and blamed for its failed launch. First there was Kathleen Sebelius, who managed to take a disastrous turn on The Daily Show before attending two hearings. Like Park, Sebelius was criticized for dodging the committee. Henry Chao, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Deputy Chief Information Officer, was briefly in the spotlight when contractors blamed him for the delay of the website’s window shopping tool. Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Chief Information Officer Tony Trenckle announced he was stepping down, or “retiring,” making him the first casualty of the website.

Depending on how you look at it then, the “Let Todd Work” campaign is either an effort to keep him working on the website or keep him employed. The campaign was launched by two former White House innovation fellows, Clay Johnson and Adam Becker, and former White House art director Michael Aleo to get Congress to, well, let Park work on the website. “Instead of continuing to fix Healthcare.gov (a mess he did not make), Mr. Park has to spend his hours preparing for his testimony,” the site reads. Johnson echoed that point during an interview with CNN. ”What on Earth did he have to do with it in the first place? He’s trying to fix it, and to my knowledge trying to clean up somebody else’s mess isn’t worthy of a subpoena,” he said.

More at the link. Mr Park might wind up being the scapegoat, but while the Let Todd Work website claims that this is a mess he did not create, it is also one for which he accepted responsibility when he was promoted to his job in the White House, in March of 2012. Someone has to be held responsible, and if — unfortunately — the President won’t resign and can’t be fired for this failure, the consequences have to fall upon his minions. Of course, The First Street Journal has noted previously that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act wasn’t really meant to succeed, but simply to establish the principle that the federal government is the ultimate guarantor of the individual’s health care coverage. We said, half a year ago:

When Senator Barack Hussein Obama (D-IL) was running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, he eschewed the single-payer option,2 as did all of the other major Democratic candidates; only the minor candidates Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OK) and former Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK) based their campaigns on single-payer plans, and they got nowhere during the primaries. Single-payer is way, way, way too much like socialism for most thinking Americans. The Democrats knew that they could not get single-payer passed.

Rather, it was important to get something passed, because they wanted to establish the principle that the federal government was the ultimate guarantor of the individual’s health care coverage. Once that point was established, they believed backtracking from it would not be possible.

And so we wound up with the “we have to pass it so we can find out what’s in it” Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Once it fails, and it will fail — we just don’t know when yet — the Democrats will come back and say, “See, we tried to do it he ‘conservative’ way, using the free market and private insurance industry and existing system, and it just didn’t work; single-payer is the only option we have left.” The option of a return to the pre-Obaminablecare act system, in which the government is not responsible for people’s health care, will not be on the table.

This was their goal all along! The Democrats lied to us, but they are politicians, so that should have been obvious — and, in fact, was obvious — to anyone who thought about it.

The only place we got it wrong was in guessing how long it would take for the PP&ACA to fail; your Editor had thought that it would take a couple of years before it failed completely, but initial signs are that that estimate might have been too generous. That might make Mr Park3 a sacrificial lamb from the start, because there’s really no way he could have succeeded, but I will admit that I had not guessed that the Administration would foul up this badly on just the website portion; I was expecting the system failure to be on the cockamamie economics of the whole plan.
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Related Articles:


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  1. I was amused by Mr Park’s Wikipedia biography, and the almost sycophantic way it was written, until I saw this notice on it: This biographical article is written like a résumé. Please help improve it by revising it to be neutral and encyclopedic. (October 2013)
  2. Mr Obama said that if he was designing the system from scratch, he’d design single-payer.
  3. Mr Park is of Korean descent; ‘twon’t be long before that we see complaints that attempts to hold Mr Park responsible are based on racism.

Steam Engines and History

Nearby where we live is the Borough of New Freedom. Rural Pennsylvania is slowly emerging from the 19th Century in its way of governing. Very few counties have home rule, most of the counties are split into little fiefdoms as a holdover from the Penn Family. York County has around 70+ separately governed local municipalities and school districts and each has taxing authority. Physically the county has a border and Supervisors, then the county is broken into either Cities, Boroughs and Townships. Each type has limits but you pay County taxes, and depending where you live you would apy either a city, Borough or Township taxes, and separately we have school taxes.

But anyway, to not be confused, it helps to live here. But I digressed. York County was a busy railroad corridor from the invention of the railroad until 1972 when Hurricane Agnes took out bridges between York City and Baltimore. Pennsylvania retained its track, Maryland ripped their’s out. But in the 90′s a company started a Dinner train. It went well for a while, mismanaged and closed.

At the beginning of this summer, a new group redid the rails and ties, had a Steam Engine vintage 1860′s built and started excursions. Their main operating points are from New Freedom, Pa to and unincorporated location called Hanover Junction. The junction had one important role in history.

In November 1863, Lincoln switched trains from Washington to Gettysburg to deliver the Gettysburg Address dedicating the National Cemetery there.
1 - Brady

This weekend, Steam Into History, the Steam Engine owner commeorated a stolen train event from Georgia during the Civil War
IMG_9419b2

And a Recreation of the Golden Spike at Promotory Pt, Utah for the transcontinental RR today (Tuesday)

IMG_9482b

And Wednesday there will be recreation of the Brady Photo at Hanover Junction with the steam engine, and the original building still is there.

Brady picture – Library of Congress – the other two are mine. and the color pics are the two steam engines – mine also

IMG_9473b

Scoring Obaminablecare

With all of the stories concerning the failures of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, William Teach notes David Nather’s question, just what it would take for the PP&ACA to be deemed successful, and provides his own answers:

Democrats and Team Obama think that fixing the website will enable the Unicorn Of Awesomeness to run free, and then the “Affordable” Care Act will be a rousing success. Yet, the website, working correctly or not, is simply the portal to people obtaining Government Approved health insurance. In order to be successful, it would

  • make sure that the majority of the 30-45 million Americans without insurance obtained insurance, like was used as a talking point prior to passage
  • Is revenue neutral, as Democrats stated
  • Is providing quality health care
  • Bends the curve down on rising health insurance and care costs
  • Doesn’t get in the way of decisions between you and your doctor (death panels, government mandates)
  • Are those who are sicker making up the vast number of enrollees
  • Lowers premiums up to $2500 for families, as Obama and other Dems repeatedly stated
  • Makes it easy and inexpensive for those with pre-existing conditions to obtain affordable coverage
  • Companies aren’t dumping their health insurance plans
  • Companies aren’t shifting people to part-time work
  • You aren’t losing your doctor
  • You aren’t losing the plan you like

Well, since many of those have already been broken, it’s exactly the success Conservatives said it would be. For Progressives, the #1 measure is “how much power has government taken for themselves when it comes to people’s health decisions?” Also, “how much closer to single payer are we?” Of course, most of these folks didn’t think that the law would effect themselves. Surprise!

More at the link.

Now, I’d say that Mr Teach made an unclear statement: one bullet point was, “Are those who are sicker making up the vast number of enrollees,” and I’m uncertain what he meant by that; the PP&ACA is supposed to get those who went without insurance because they were healthy and didn’t think that they needed it, and thought that going naked was a reasonable risk to run, to buy insurance anyway. Without compelling the young and healthy to buy insurance they believe they don’t need, it becomes actuarially impossible to drop the pre-existing conditions restrictions without having costs skyrocket. I’d amend Mr Teach’s bullet point to read, “Are those who were in generally good health make up the larger number of enrollees?”

And, of course, the Democrats didn’t really promise that companies wouldn’t dump their existing health insurance plans or shift more people to part-time work, did they? I’d guess that the bill would never have passed if the last few necessary Democrats in the Senate had realized that that would happen, but it was easily foreseeable.

But, let’s be honest: for a lot of our friends on the left, the PP&ACA was never meant to be successful; it was only meant to pass, and establish the principle that the government is going to be the ultimate guarantor of the individual’s health care coverage. If it failed, then single-payer would be all that was left. That, for our friends on the left, would be how they’d score success.

Veterans’ Day

From The Victory Girls:

The Legacy of Trenton – Veterans Day 2013
by Kit Lange on November 11, 2013

It was Christmas, 1776.  The Continental Army, made up of unpaid volunteers with poor equipment and not enough winter clothing, was cold, hungry, and despairing.  Some of the troops did not even have shoes.  The ideas of self-government and liberty seemed worlds away, lost in a wintry conflict that the ragtag soldiers were certain to lose against the well-equipped and well-funded British.  There was a lack of morale, a lack of hope.  Many Continental soldiers were leaving as soon as their enlistments were up.  Some were even going over to the British side, sure that joining the enemy would at least keep them alive.

General George Washington had just crossed the icy Delaware River with 2,400 soaked, freezing volunteer soldiers.  A few days previously, he had ordered the newly-published words of Thomas Paine to be read to them.

“These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

The words were not food; they could not be fired from a musket.  But they bolstered the morale of exhausted fighting men and helped them remember why they were putting their lives on the line.  Washington needed them to fight; the general was about to bet it all.

The rest at the link.

The hypocrisy is unbelievable

From the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

A hard look at the future of Chinatowns

Ellen Somekawa is director of Asian Americans United, an agency that has fought to prevent Chinatown from being turned into a Disneyfied “Chinatown-land.” She stands on 10th Street looking south toward the Friendship gate, which Somekawa says is a tourist’s idea of Chinatown. (MICHAEL BRYANT/Staff Photographer)

By Jeff Gammage, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer | Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013, 2:01 AM

People who stroll through Chinatown on Saturday nights bathe in the lights of intriguing new restaurants, hip tea shops, and stylish lounges.

But moving beneath that shiny exterior, as strong and powerful as an underground river, is a torrent of forces that threaten the neighborhood’s very existence.

An influx of luxury housing, rising rents and land values, a soaring white population, and slipping Asian population could mean the end of Chinatown’s 140-year role as a gateway for immigrants and a regional hub for culture and family.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by a civil rights and education group that examined two decades of property and demographic records in the three big eastern Chinatowns – New York’s, Boston’s, and Philadelphia’s.

More at the link. It’s a decent, well-researched story, noting that gentrification is changing the old Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia, and that, in New York, Chinatown is filled with hotels, and Boston’s Chinatown has seen the Asian population drop to a minority. The story is factual, with a slightly wistful and sympathetic tone.

But the first question that came to my mind, after reading the story, was: would the Philadelphia Inquirer have ever printed a story written like that concerning a nearly all-white area which was becoming racially integrated? Of course not; racial integration is seen as always being a good thing, right?

Except, apparently, when it comes to Chinatown. There wasn’t a single word in either the print or web editions of the story which noted that this was progress as far as racial integration is concerned, and, unless I missed it completely, in two readings, the word “integration” wasn’t used at all.

“At what point does Chinatown cease to be Chinatown?” the report cited by the Inquirer asked? The question I would ask is, “Why do we care?” If it was a good thing that all-white neighborhoods have been integrated, why would it not be a good thing is an (almost) all-Asian neighborhood was?

The hypocrisy behind this story is so blatantly evident, it’s difficult to see how the good, liberal editors of The Philadelphia Inquirer missed it.

Only In Maryland

When I read the Title of this article, I said to myself, this happened in the Anti-Gun, Anti-Self Defese State. You fire a gun in self defense, you’re GUILTY no matter the circumstances. It’s why I’m in PA. It was MD, but it’s near the end of the article. But intuition won.

Air Force Sgt. Matt Pinkerton Fires 2 Fatal Shots at Home Intruder – Now Faces 2nd Degree Murder Charge

In the wee hours of the morning on September 13th, Air Force Sgt. Matt Pinkerton and his wife were entertaining guests at their home when an acquaintance of Mrs. Pinkerton’s came knocking.

It was 2 AM. After being told to leave by Matt Pinkerton, who closed the door, Kendall Green decided that he’d kick it in and force his way into the home.

Matt Pinkerton, having armed himself with his Glock17 9mm prior to approaching the door, then proceeded to discharge two rounds into Green.

Read more: http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/11/air-force-sgt-matt-pinkerton-fires-2-fatal-shots-home-intruder-now-faces-2nd-degree-murder-charge/#ixzz2kLeLafAj
Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/11/air-force-sgt-matt-pinkerton-fires-2-fatal-shots-home-intruder-now-faces-2nd-degree-murder-charge/#6KJ9heKtCjU1Z442.99

Economics 101: Another Illinois business looks at relocating to a lower tax state

From The Wall Street Journal:

Office Depot Weighs Illinois Tax in Headquarters Decision
Political Stalemate Could Cost State 2,000 Jobs if Newly Merged Company Opts for Florida
By Drew Fitzgerald | Nov. 10, 2013 6:49 p.m. ET

A political stalemate could persuade Office Depot Inc. to move more than 2,000 jobs out of Illinois as lawmakers grouse about the growing number of companies seeking special tax treatment.

The company wants to decide soon where to base its headquarters, after closing its $1.2 billion acquisition of OfficeMax Inc. last week. The choices: Naperville, Ill., where more than 2,000 people work for what was OfficeMax, or Office Depot’s home of Boca Raton, Fla., which houses more than 1,700 employees.

To stay in Illinois, the new company is seeking relief from the state’s taxes, which are among the highest in the country. But a bill offering the office-supply chain $53 million in tax credits over 15 years failed to make it to a full Senate vote during a session that ended last week, and lawmakers aren’t likely to reconvene until next month at the earliest.

Nationwide, states are battling to lure employers, factories and stores in an effort to overcome stubbornly high unemployment and sluggish job growth. Washington is pushing through $8.7 billion of tax and policy incentives so Boeing Co. will build its planned 777X jetliner in the state. Earlier this year, several states vied to win a new General Electric Co. plant that ultimately went to North Carolina.

And why would Office Depot consider that move?

Illinois lawmakers face a delicate situation. Three years ago, they raised the corporate tax rate to among the highest in the nation. But the state also is battling the country’s second-highest unemployment rate, after Nevada’s. The temporary tax increase to 7% was part of an effort to avert a fiscal crisis in 2011.

One wonders: could the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate have something to do with Illinois having raised its corporate tax rates so high? Yorkshire noted State Farm’s possible relocation from high-tax business unfriendly Illinois, while we have already noted the business exodus from the Pyrite State.  Would it be uncivil of us to point out that we told you so?

It took no special prescience on our part to know that Illinois’ tax increases would not help their unemployment problem; simple business sense tells anyone with any sense at all that businesses try to reduce the costs of doing business, and taxes are as much a cost of doing business as labor or electricity or printer ink. Some businesses are too location-dependent to just pull up and move, and some are so established that moving is very difficult; such requires the relocation of plants and personnel, and the corporate leadership will be just as reluctant to leave friends and family as anyone else.

But businesses which would be considering expanding, or entrepreneurs who might be considering start-ups, have to look at the entire business climate, and what they calculate their bottom lines might be, before they take the risk of expanding or starting up new businesses. And if your product is not location-dependent, and you can anticipate selling your product at roughly the same price whether you produce it in Springfield or San Antonio, the lower costs of doing business in Texas — lower wages in general, less power for labor unions, and lower tax rates — as well as the business-friendliness of the government of the Lone Star State is going to give places like Texas and Florida real, substantial advantages over states like Illinois.

If liberals actually understood economics and business, they’d know this, but, then again, if liberals actually understood economics and business, they wouldn’t be liberals in the first place.

When François Hollande is doing more to protect the world than John François Kerry, something is very, very wrong Updated!

From Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion:

Breaking: France refuses to allow Obama to sell out to Iran on nuke talks
Posted by     Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 8:33pm

For now.

With a fevered and frantic breathless pace, Obama via John Kerry has been pushing to sign a sell-out deal with Iran that would ease sanctions without shutting down Iran’s nuke program.

Benjamin Netanyahu was furious when he found out that Kerry had misrepresented what the proposed agreement would be, not to mention Kerry running at the mouth to bash Israel on the talks with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu was not alone.  France was uncomfortable with the deal Kerry wanted to sign, even as Kerry huddled with the Iranians trying to get ‘er done.

Thank you France for at least buying us some time to prevent the historic sell out of Israel that was in the offing as recently as early today.

Via NY Times, Talks with Iran Fail to Produce a Nuclear Pact:

In the end, though, it was not only divisions between Iran and the major powers that prevented a deal, but fissures within the negotiating group. Earlier in the day, France objected strenuously that a proposed deal would do too little to curb Iran’s uranium enrichment or to stop the development of a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium.

“The Geneva meeting allowed us to advance, but we were not able to conclude because there are still some questions to be addressed,” the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told reporters.

More on Professor Jacobson’s original.

What are the differences between the United States and France?

(France’s foreign minister Laurent) Fabius wants tougher conditions on the two main issues discussed at the meeting: Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor and its production of highly enriched uranium, according to a Western diplomat. Iran denies nuclear weapon production, but runs more than 10,000 centrifuges that produce enriched uranium, which could be used for nuclear warheads.

Why, it’s almost as though the French are demanding some sort of accountability, some sort of verifiability, rather than simply accepting Iran’s word that it has not taken the steps required to build an atomic bomb.

In the title, I put the onus on Secretary of State Kerry, due to the “François” link,1 but setting our foreign policy is President Obama’s responsibility, not Mr Kerry’s; the Secretary of State does the President’s bidding, and simply executes the President’s policies.

When the defense of the West is more strongly supported by France than by the United States, something is very wrong.
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Update: It looks like Robert Stacey Stacy McCain agrees with me:

Iran: No Deal Is a Good Deal
Posted on | November 10, 2013 | 2 Comments

Our anti-American president and our abominable Secretary of State were willing to bargain with Iran’s totalitarian death cult. Strange as it may seem, however, the French showed a bit of backbone:

Talks on curbing Iran’s nuclear program ended with no deal early Sunday after France objected that proposed measures didn’t go far enough. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “significant progress” had been made on the remaining differences.
Six world powers and Iran agreed to resume talks Nov. 20.

Both sides badly wanted agreement. The U.S. and its five partners were looking for initial caps on Iran’s ability to make an atomic bomb, while Tehran sought some easing of sanctions stifling its economy.

But France would not soften its concerns over Iran’s plutonium project and the level of its uranium enrichment program.

This is like Munich and Chamberlain all over again, isn’t it? Even to think of negotiating with the Tehran regime is a disgrace.

Karen approached this from the other side, but she, too, has no support for our President’s position.

Jonathan Tobin wrote on Commentary: Thank Heaven for the French? Now, that’s a title you won’t see too often!

 

And Jeff Goldstein has noticed just what our entire foreign policy establishment is like:

“America’s top UN diplomat has high praise for ‘Hanoi Jane’”

Of course she does.  I mean, Pol Pot?  There’s a man who could “get things done”!  And Samantha Power values a powerful, imperial Executive — and is unafraid to express her appreciation for those who fought for such a thing.  Dissent being the highest form of patriotism, unless you happen to be one of those fucking teabaggers.

It isn’t even hidden any longer:  these people openly pine for Chinese-style authoritarian government, hang posters of cowardly child killer Che Guevara in their government offices, carry around copies of Mao’s little red book, and are far more familiar with the writings of Marx or Foucault or some Gramscian clone writing about critical race theory and the economic injustice of a free market capitalist system, then they are with our own country’s history, free from the filter of Howard Zinn.

A bit more at the link.

And in view of France’s more responsible view and return to the international stage to fight Islamism:


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  1. Yes, I know that Mr Kerry’s middle name is really Forbes, not François, but that has been hung on him, comparing him with the brie-eating surrender monkeys, since his 2004 Presidential campaign, and I like to use it.