"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Quick Hits on Banana Republic America

The Regular Guy is in lovely (and warm) Phoenix while it snows back home, so today's blog will just be some quick hits from some of my favorite writers on the web. 

First, there's Walter Russell Mead writing about unemployable college graduates:
Employers are increasingly disappointed by the graduates available for hire, according to a survey conducted by The Chronicle and American Public Media’s Marketplace...
This is especially troubling considering both the soaring cost of bachelor’s degrees and the fact that they are a prerequisite for a large and still growing number of jobs. Employers prefer college graduates because, if it does nothing else, it serves as a signal of determination and staying power. But at $200,000 for four years at some schools, that is one incredibly expensive signal, especially if it isn’t also giving students other essential marketable skills....
More and more at Via Meadia, we’re coming to believe that separating young people from the world of work into their twenties is a terrible, crippling idea. Work is a natural aspect of a rich and satisfying life; the artificial environment in which so many young people live stunts their growth, limits the development of important character traits and skills, and artificially extends a kind of feckless adolescence that is neither ultimately satisfying or helpful.

 Exactly so.   College is increasingly not just a bad deal, but a species of consumer fraud.


Second, here's the great Thomas Sowell on President Obama's cynicism with regard to the sequester:
The Department of Homeland Security... released thousands of illegal aliens from prisons to save money — and create alarm.
The Federal Aviation Administration says it is planning to cut back on the number of air-traffic controllers, which would, at a minimum, create delays for airline passengers, in addition to fears about safety that can create more public alarm.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have offered to pass legislation giving President Obama the authority to pick and choose what gets cut — anywhere in the trillions of dollars of federal spending — rather than being hemmed in by the arbitrary provisions of the sequester.
This would minimize the damage done by budget cuts concentrated in limited areas, such as the Defense Department. But it serves Obama’s interest to maximize the damage and the public alarm because he can direct that alarm against Republicans.
President Obama has said that he would veto legislation to let him choose what to cut. That should tell us everything we need to know about the utter cynicism of this glib man.

Finally, there's the inimitable Victor Davis Hanson on American journalism ca. 2013:

Today's Washington journalists are like J. R. R. Tolkien’s ring wraiths, petty lords who wanted a few shiny golden Obama rings — only to end up as shrunken slaves to the One.
The Bob Woodward/Ron Fournier/Lanny Davis psychodrama is another small reminder that the Obama administration continues to assume that the press should be little more than a veritable Ministry of Truth. Its proper duty is to serve the White House and promote the progressive agenda of Barack Obama. Any were considered suspect who questioned whether those exalted ends should really be achieved by any means necessary — but they were so few and far between that it mattered little.
Woodward, Fournier, and Davis, in their surprise at the general paranoia of the Obama administration, must think that freelancing White House zealots are tarnishing the reputation of their president, who, given his own predilections, would otherwise not countenance such clumsy intimidation of journalists.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons to assume that Barack Obama has established the tenor and methodology of press relations from the very outset of his administration, characterized by expectations of unfailing support, coupled with a general vindictiveness toward his few critics among the press corps.


Hmmmm....an ignorant citizenry, a kleptocratic government addicted to borrowing from the future, a docile, state-run media.   Check, check, check.  

Yep, we're fast becoming a banana republic.  

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