Thursday, March 19, 2015

Last Call For Paved With Bad Intentions

I wonder what my douchebag of a Congressman, Thomas Massie, is up to.

Wait, die-hard Glibertarian Thomas Massie sponsoring an infrastructure bill?  What's the catch?

Today, Congressman Thomas Massie introduced the DRIVE (Developing Roadway Infrastructure for a Vibrant Economy) Act of 2015 with Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) as original co-sponsors. The DRIVE Act (H.R. 1461) would help keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent and improve our national infrastructure, without raising the gas tax, by refocusing the Highway Trust Fund on its original and proper role of building and maintaining federal highways and bridges

OK.  So again, what's the catch?

“Currently, gas tax revenue is diverted from the federal Highway Trust Fund for bike paths, sidewalks, mass transit, and other local projects," said Congressman Massie. "But due to inflation and fuel efficiency improvements of today's vehicles, there is no longer enough money in the Highway Trust Fund to maintain our nation's critical highways and bridges while also funding local projects that have no federal nexus. By eliminating diversion of gas tax revenues, the DRIVE Act ensures that the Highway Trust Fund can fulfill its namesake duty – to fund highways, without an increase in the gas tax rate.”

Oh I get it.  Let's cut to the end.

Annually, over $9 billion of the Highway Trust Fund goes to the Mass Transit Account, which provides funds for local public transportation projects, including subways, light rail, buses, and streetcars. Additional authorizations exist for sidewalks and bike paths to be funded from the Highway Trust Fund. The DRIVE Act repeals these authorizations and reduces Highway Trust Fund obligations by approximately $10 billion annually.

Ding ding ding!  So we're going to fix the Highway Trust Fund by cutting $10 billion a year from mass transit projects, like, say, Cincinnati's streetcar.

Oh well played, Mr. Massie.  Your bill has no chance in hell, but thanks for the heads up on what the GOP "fix" for the Highway Trust Fund is.

New Black City

I know I give the notion of "black respectability politics" (the theory that African-Americans have largely brought the problems of socioeconomic disaster upon themselves by accepting government programs and not simply choosing to be wealthy, productive members of society by reaching out to white America more often) a wide berth, and battle the nonsense surrounding this from both the left and right.

But Wall Street Journal pundit and author Jason Riley really does need his own category of impressively wrong on this, as he breaks down recent events involving race in Oklahoma and Missouri.

We don’t have to use our imagination because we can look at black history, which shows the rate at which blacks were entering the skilled professions during periods when labor-market discrimination was open, rampant and legal. Between 1940 and 1970, the percentage of black white-collar workers in the U.S. quadrupled. “There was a substantial black middle-class already in existence by the end of the 1960s,” write Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom in their book “America in Black and White.” “In the years since, it has continued to grow, but not at a more rapid pace than in the preceding three decades, despite a common impression to the contrary.”
History shows that faster black progress was occurring at a time when whites were still lynching blacks, not merely singing about it. Liberals want blacks to ignore the lessons of this pre-Civil Rights era, which threaten the current relevance of groups like the NAACP and call into question the Democratic Party’s belief that there is a federal solution to every black problem. 
Moreover, this history reveals that what we see today in black America is not lack of progress due to white racism but retrogression due in large part to post-Civil Rights era social pathology and misguided government interventions. The problem isn’t the attitudes and behaviors of the boys on the bus so much as those of the boys in the ’hood
Black elites are eager to blame bad black outcomes on bigotry and quick to denounce or mock anyone who offers an alternative explanation. But we should be thankful that black leaders of yore didn’t pretend that racism must be vanquished from America before blacks could be held primarily responsible for their socioeconomic circumstances. “We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too,” Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in St. Louis. “We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves.” 
I mentioned that King quote, which comes from a 1961 profile of him in Harper’s Magazine, in a column for this newspaper several years ago. Some readers accused me of fabricating it. In the era of Al Sharpton, apparently it is hard for people to believe that leading civil-rights leaders used to speak so frankly about black self-help and personal responsibility. Which may be all you need to know about the quality of those black leaders today—and the commentators who carry water for them.

Yes, that's his argument: because in the struggles of Jim Crow-era America, black people were more involved in trying to better themselves, we were better off then.  In fact, the Civil Rights era was a huge mistake because it made us soft and reliant on the government.

We were better off fighting for rights than securing legislation to actually have those rights.  That seems odd until you recall that Riley's overarching theme is that any government action to try to resolve racism is always detrimental.

And Riley's argument about the black middle class would have actually meant something if that didn't include a faltering middle class since 1970 for all Americans, not just African-Americans.  Real wages for all workers -- men, women, black, Asian, Latino and everyone else -- have been stagnant in this country since (you guessed it) 1970 or so and for the poorest Americans they have gotten worse.

From WWII to 1972 or so, the time period Riley highlights, black workers were still well behind their white counterparts in wages earned.  When the 70's and 80's came around it was the people on the bottom that got burned, and that happened again in the Great Recession in 2008.

Riley's theory only makes sense if you're somehow blaming the Civil Rights era for the decline of the entire economy for all Americans.

Which he is.  Nice how that works, eh?

Not Fitting The Narrative

Apparently the whole CLINTON E-MAIL SCANDAL isn't something that the "liberal media" has been screaming about enough, because the latest CNN poll finds Hillary Clinton handily beating all GOP challengers by double digits in a 2016 matchup.

Hillary Clinton continues to be a dominant force heading into the 2016 presidential election, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. The former secretary of state maintains a broad lead over the field of potential Democratic challengers she could face in a nomination contest and sizable advantages over the leading contenders from the Republican side in general election match-ups. 
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tops the possible field for the Republican Party's nomination race, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson all in a tight cluster. 
But none of the top candidates in this field gets within 10 points of Hillary Clinton in a series of hypothetical general election matchups
Rand Paul comes closest, with 43% saying they'd be more likely to back him while 54% choose Clinton. 
The two candidates who currently top the GOP field, Bush and Walker, match up equally against Clinton, with each carrying 40% to her 55%. Huckabee gets 41% to Clinton's 55% and Carson has 40% to Clinton's 56%.

Checking out the complete poll info,  Clinton is the only candidate with above 50% favorability rating (53% to 44%) while Jeb Bush is underwater by 16 points (31-47%) and Chris Christie is the least liked candidate in either party at minus 19 (25-44%).

I'm not super thrilled about a Hillary Clinton presidency, but I promise I'd vote for her in a heartbeat against any of these GOP clowns.  Seems many Americans agree with me.


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