Random Musings II

“Let me explain.  No.  There is too much.  Let me sum up.”

            —Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

I’m having a hard time picking out a topic and focusing today.  So let me hit a number of things briefly, in no particular order.

1.         Amateur Hour continues

I have harped long and hard on the naïvete and sophomorishness this administration continues to exhibit on foreign policy issues, particularly in the Middle East.  But it’s getting downright embarrassing.

On Tuesday, fanatical rioters stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo and set a consulate in Libya on fire, tearing down American flags and replacing them with banners to Allah.  Apparently someone somewhere made a film that, in their judgment, disrespected Mohammed.

Oh, the horror.

Obama’s reaction?  Does he send in Marines to defend the flag and what is supposed to be sovereign U.S. territory?  Nope.  His State Department issues a statement condemning the film as an inappropriate exercise of the “universal right of free speech.”  Essentially the administration is once again falling all over itself to apologize to these people for something the U.S. as a nation didn’t even do.

Meanwhile, in a related note, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in the U.S. for three days later this month to address the U.N.  Obama is also addressing the U.N., albeit on a different day.  Bibi asked to meet with Obama while he was here, and offered to fly to D.C. to do it.  Obama’s response?

No.  Too busy (which begs the question “doing what?” but I digress).  There’s no word on whether Obama gave him the finger while he was at it.

This comes right on the heels of the DNC “inadvertently omitting” provisions relating to Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel from its party platform, then reinstating them in a fraudulent voice vote met with choruses of boos.  I fail to understand how this administration cannot grasp the magnitude of the danger it is creating through its posture in the Middle East.  On the one hand, they bend over apologizing and negotiating with people who don’t want and won’t accept an apology, and who aren’t interested in negotiating anything other than our destruction.  On the other hand, when the head of state of our only friend and the only stable regime in the region—a regime that has no one but us to turn to when surrounded by enemies bent on erasing it from the map—begs practically with hat in hand and on bended knee to meet to discuss the single most pressing foreign policy issue maybe of our time, Obama tells him talk to the hand.

How this man will get a single Jewish vote in November is beyond me.

2.         The Beast gets bigger

Regular readers of this space know that I frequently discuss the continuing expansion of the federal government.  Usually we talk about it in terms of dollars.  But today I want to show it in a little bit different light.

The Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR,” in lawyer-speak) is where the vast federal bureaucracy stashes the gazillions of rules it promulgates governing this, that, and the other thing.  EPA rules on gasoline formulation, FCC rules on the use of Ham radios, OSHA rules on the rise and run of your staircase, FDA rules on what temperature your meat has to be cooked to—this is where you’ll find them.

As of the end of 2011, the CFR totaled 169,301 pages.  That’s up 11,327 pages since Obama took office.  And not one word of it is subject to Congressional oversight, yet every bit of it is as binding as a statute passed by both Houses and signed by the President.  You want to know what’s choking American business?  Start with the CFR.

3.         Michelle Obama’s school lunch Gestapo

It seems that Michelle Obama is back at it, trumpeting new school lunch changes dictated by the federal government under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.  Recall we previously discussed separate incidents where federal inspectors were interfering with children’s home-made school lunches, replacing what their mothers had packed for them with federally-mandated “healthy” choices like chicken nuggets (undoubtedly supplied primarily by some big Obama donor).  Particularly telling was this comment from Mrs. Obama at the signing of the HHFKA:

When our kids spend so much of their time each day in school, and when many children get up to half their daily calories from school meals, it’s clear that we as a nation have a responsibility to meet as well.

We can’t just leave it up to the parents.

Read that again.  We—translated:  the federal government—have a responsibility with respect to what school children eat that cannot be left to the parents.  In other words, the federal government cannot allow parents to decide what their own children eat.

This is the way the Obamas think: government, not parents, is the answer for our children.  Where, exactly, are the limits to the federal government’s reach?

4.         The great Volt ripoff

You’re being ripped off.

You already suspected that, but let me bring it into focus for you.  You are of course aware that GM took $50 billion of your money in bailout funds, about half of which it has yet to pay back.  And that stock it issued us when the government took it over is worth barely half what it was at the time we issued it.  In short, GM is deep in hock to you.

So what’s it been doing?

Apparently it spent some $1.2 billion in R&D costs on the Volt fiasco, meaning that to date every Chevy Volt costs GM over $45,000 more to produce than it brings in.  So while it still owes you billions, it’s been flushing billions down the toilet on an economically-losing Quixotic Greenie crusade.  And despite all that money in development, GM still can’t quite solve pesky issues like the Volt’s tendency to electrocute emergency personnel, or the fact that it can’t get much past the driveway without running on gasoline.

No wonder sales have been so bad they’ve twice had to shut down production.

To make matters worse, not only does GM owe you a bunch of jack, but you’ve been chipping in on the purchase of what few of these pieces of crap GM has managed to sell.  The federal government gives $7500 more of your money to subsidize each private purchase.  And it’s using  hundreds of thousands more of your dollars to purchase hundreds of Volts outright for the military and other federal agencies.  So if and when GM ever pays you back, it will to no small degree be doing so with money it took from you (via the government) in the first place.

GM, of course, disputes the per-vehicle loss figure, saying it’s unfair to amortize the R&D over just the 21,000 or so units sold to date.  The trouble is, assuming GM nets $4000 per car—a 10% margin—it would take 300,000 units just to recoup the cost of development, even spreading over that entire volume.  At its current sales pace, it will take GM about 22 years before it will break even on the Volt.

That, friends, is what you get when government intervenes in markets.

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