First, In Which I Try Not To Break My Arm Patting Myself On The Back
Last time, I argued that Obama's attempt to cut waste in medical spending was counterproductive if his goal is to stimulate the economy with spending. I argued the case for the guy who makes all the red tape, but today on NPR, Uwe Reinhardt, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University also stated that trying to cut wasteful spending at this time would not be a good idea. Listen to the interview here, his take on wasteful spending comes at 2:06. No doubt the professor's analysis was based on years of thoughtful analysis and carefully collected data and not just a smart alec jab at Obama's vision for our healthcare system.
Next, Mr. Keynes, meet Governor Blagojevich
As you all know by now, our Friendly Illinois Brother ("fib" to those of us in WI, yes I know the other version, I am trying to keep this blog rated G) Governor Blagojevich was arrested for trying to sell Mr. Obama's Senate seat. He may not have known the value of a good haircut, a comb, hairspray, or even basic grooming skills, but he knew a Senate seat was worth something.
He also knew that government infrastructure contracts were worth something. According to the Chicago Tribune.com:
Days before Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced a $1.8 billion tollway construction program on Oct. 16, he privately tipped a fundraiser to the plan and said he expected a major highway contractor to raise $500,000 for his campaign fund, according to a FBI recording.
I fear that this is a taste of the future. Massive new spending in infrastructure means massive new opportunities for corruption and waste of our tax dollars. This is why I am not sold on federal government checks as a way out of this mess.
And Finally, Governor Blagojevich, this is William Jennings Bryan
A while back there was an AZ legislator (I can't remember if she was a state or national representative) who argued for a return to US Senators being elected by state legislatures (and being subject to recall by them.) The direct election of Senators was one of the reforms of the Progressive era, and was one of the causes that Bryan was associated with.
When I see one of the 50 statehouses occupied by someone like a Blagojevich, I can't help but wonder if voters have any ability to pick leaders. Maybe it is just too difficult, people are too lazy, information is too scattered and filtered through only a handful of media outlets. I mean, the guy was elected to the state legislature, the US Congress, and as governor....twice! Yet he still couldn't stop from trying to auction off a Senate seat when he knew that he was already under investigation. This is so stupid as to approach the level of criminality and it ought to be added to the current indictment.
Of course, letting state legislators pick Senators is no safeguard against corruption either as many have proven over the years.