California leads the nation on economic and fiscal dysfunction and its problems are self-inflicted and avoidable, writes Matthew Kaminski in today’s Wall Street Journal. He goes on to say that the Golden State “is in a French-like bind: unable to afford a welfare-type state, and unable to overhaul it.” Here are some of his California versus France parallels:
In the last three decades, California expanded the public sector and regulation to Europe-like dimensions. Schools, state employees, health care, even dog kennels, benefited from largesse in flush times. Government workers got 16 official holidays, everyone else six. The state dabbled with universal health care and adopted strict environmental standards. In short, California went where our new president and Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco want America to go.
The French have long experienced the unintended consequences of a large public sector. Ask them about it. As the number of people who get money from government grows, so does the power of constituencies dedicated to keep this honey dripping. Even when voters recognize the model carries drawbacks, such as subpar growth, high taxes, an uncompetitive business climate and above-average unemployment, their elected leaders find it near impossible to tweak the system.
This, according to Kaminski, has been the story of France for years; and now it’s true for California. Read the entire article here.
France and California are among my favorite places. I’m cheering California on — hopefully our government leaders can turn it around.
President Barack Obama signed his $787 billion economic stimulus package into law today in Denver. He touted the bill’s investments in health care, infrastructure, energy, education and job creation.
Here’s a sortable chart to help you understand what’s in the Stimulus Bill. You can also read the full transcript of Obama’s remarks at the signing ceremony or watch CNBC’s TV coverage.
Sources: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC
Marvel Comics celebrates the Presidents’ Day holiday by offering a free superheroes digicomic. Gettysburg Distress features Captain American and Spider-Man as they travel back in time to watch Lincoln’s historic Gettysburg Address. This tribute to the Bicentennial of the 16th President’s birth is written by Matt Fraction with art by Andy MacDonald.
The digicomic follows the popular debut of Amazing Spiderman No. 583, where Spidey meets President Obama. The Obamarama continues…
Is there really a separation of Church and State in the US? Does not look that way.
Earlier today, Obama signed an executive order creating a new White House office for faith-based programs and neighborhood partnerships. Says Obama:
No matter how much money we invest or how sensibly we design our policies, the change that Americans are looking for will not come from government alone…There is a force for good greater than government.
The Caucus, The Politics and Government Blog of the New York Times reports on the news in more detail here.
Barack Obama has flip-flopped on yet another campaign promise, according to Politico. The President-Elect campaigned against the Bush executive order barring federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells and said he would reverse it once elected. Now he has backed away from that pledge and is pulling a CYA — shifting the burden to Congress to change the policy.
In August 2001,George Bush stopped the NIH from funding embryonic stem cell research but allowed research to continue on several dozen cell lines already in existence .
Politico quotes a recent CNN interview where Obama said the following:
Well, if we can do something legislative then I usually prefer a legislative process because those are the people’s representatives. And I think that on embryonic stem cell research, the fact that you have a bipartisan support around that issue, the fact that you have Republicans like Orrin Hatch who are fierce opponents of abortion and yet recognize that there is a moral and ethical mechanism to ensure that people with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s can actually find potentially some hope out there, you know, I think that sends a powerful message…So we’re still examining what things we’ll do through executive order…But I like the idea of the American people’s representatives expressing their views on an issue like this.
I’m very disappointed but not surprised by Obama’s latest remarks. The pace of discovery of future cures for the most devastating diseases relies on policy change and investment in research. Hopefully Obama will reconsider and restore the faith in all of us.
Sources: AP (photo), Politico, CNN, HotAir
President-elect Obama recently announced his top scientific advisors which include Harold Varmus and Eric Lander. "It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and work to restore America's place as the world leader in science and technology," he said on his weekly radio address.
Looks like Obama is signaling potential changes in policies governing everything from war tech to stem cell research. The following is my favorite quote from the radio address:
“Whether it’s the science to slow global warming; the technology to protect our troops and confront bioterror and weapons of mass destruction; the research to find life-saving cures; or the innovations to remake our industries and create 21st century jobs — today more than ever, science holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation.”
Let's see what happens — we need a science advocate in the White House now more than ever.