3:01 PM, Dec 10, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Today is a snow day in Washington so even less will get done than on a day when the sun shines. And this year has been particularly unproductive, as Laura Litvan at Bloomberg writes:
… Congress is on pace to have its least productive year ever, with just 56 pieces of legislation signed into law so far. The former record low, reached in 1995, was 88 new laws.
So would life suddenly be more agreeable if Congress suddenly started passing a lot of the laws that are in debate? Or is gridlock a kind of defense mechanism against the next Obamacare? After all, 1995 does not stand out in memory as such a bad year. Not bad enough, anyway, to result in the election of President Dole.
The voices calling for new legislation are not, all of them, disinterested. Some of those quoted by Ms. Litvan could be said to have an agenda and their complaints might constitute special pleading.
“The major issues that we think are necessary to jump-start the American economy continue to languish,” said Bill Miller, top lobbyist for a group that represents chief executives of companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
Have we arrived at a time when what is good for Walmart & Microsoft is good for the country and that they need special treatment? Or, might it be preferable for those companies and others to know that the rules are clear-cut and enforced with reasonable consistency and that Congress cannot be relied upon to carry water for any one industry, company, union, trade group, tribe of lobbyists, etc. etc. That it will not, therefore, be necessary to pay a lot of money to influence legislation or elections?
Could a belief in the ability of Washington to fix things be, perhaps, among the great delusions of our time. Sam Walton and Bill Gates didn’t go to Congress for permission to start their businesses or for special protections for their companies. Which, even as recently as 1995 were doing okay without help from the government.
Let it snow.
10:22 AM, Dec 5, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Pessimists who believe that once a large piece of governmental malpractice is in place, it is there forever and immoveable, should to pay attention to this day and, perhaps, celebrate with a cocktail.
10:52 AM, Dec 3, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
At the end of September, the federal government's fiscal year was drawing to a close, the threat of a shut down was increasing, and the State Department was shopping for art. Four contracts were awarded in the last two weeks of September, including $1,000,000 for a granite sculpture by Irish-born artist Sean Scully to be installed at the new U.S. Embassy in London. Notice of the awards was posted Sunday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
12:12 PM, Nov 11, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The rallying cry among those who still believe in Obamacare, and that it will fundamentally transform health care in America, like to say of the program’s current problems, “It’s just a web site.” Implying that it can, like the transmission on your automobile, be fixed and you can then proceed to your destination.
9:39 AM, Oct 23, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
New research from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee shows that over the last 5 years, the U.S. has spent about $3.7 trillion on welfare. Here's a chart, showing that spending versus transportation, education, and NASA spending:
12:00 AM, Oct 19, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The government re-opened, and there was no default. No surprise. This was the 18th shutdown since 1976, when the current budget procedure was established. The five shutdowns under Jimmy Carter were mostly over major policy issues such as abortion (he was for it) and the construction of a nuclear-fuelled aircraft carrier (he was against it). They averaged 11 days.
Hosted by Michael Graham.12:26 PM, Oct 18, 2013 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with James C. Capretta on fallout from the government shutdown and the failure called Obamacare:
4:44 PM, Oct 17, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The captain of the ms Noordam has announced that due to the choppy seas we won't be able to put in, as planned, at Santorini—but that rather than having another day at sea, we're boldly heading off to dock at Iraklion, Crete.
8:45 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The siege has been lifted. The 16-day ordeal is ended. Life, once again, is good. As Alexander Bolton and Pete Kasperowicz of The Hill report:
7:00 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
At sea aboard the ms Noordam, off the coast of Greece
THE WEEKLY STANDARD cruisers were supposed to go ashore today in Greece. But high seas prevented the cruise ship from docking at Katakolon, so we're unfortunately missing the ruins at Olympia.
6:19 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
A memo from the Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia M. Burwell on re-opening government:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
6:14 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama signed the "deal" to re-open Congress and increase the debt limit, according to the White House. The press secretary sent this out late last night:
8:39 PM, Oct 16, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Even before the House vote on the so-called congressional deal to re-open the federal government and increase the debt limit, President Obama began to pivot to immigration: