Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why isn't this an indictment of failed Democratic leadership?

Say what you want about the GOP, they have always been completely honest that their singular mission has been to destroy the Obama Presidency. Republicans have had no intention of ever working with the POTUS on any matter of public policy and have never shied away from saying so to anyone who asked.

Andrew now reports that Mike Pence has renewed this position by stating unequivocally that the House GOP will refuse to work with Obama on anything. The 'news' in this piece is that official GOP policy on working with the WH will not change after the election.

And despite the fact that Democratic leadership has know where the GOP stands for two years now, they go into the Mid-terms next week with no coherent strategy or response.

The POTUS and DNC should have been beating Republicans over the head with their bad behavior from the start. The public has been angry for 4 years about the hyper-partisan behavior in Congress and this election should have been like shooting fish in a barrel.

If this isn't failed leadership, what is?

It really shouldn't be a mystery to anyone that independent voters are ready to throw Democrats out of office. Voters want leadership. Not impotent handwringing.

At this point, my biggest fear for Tuesday is that the impotent Harry Reid will narrowly win re-election and be unanimously reelected the Democratic leader of the Senate.

America's Meanest Airlines

Yahoo News looked at the Airline Quality Rating (AQR) Report, the American Customer Satisfaction Index and the Air Travel Consumer Reports and compiled a list of America's Meanest Airlines.

Here are the 5 meanest:

5. US Air
4. American Airlines
3. Alaska
2. United
1. Delta

Frankly, I'm surprised AA is only ranked 4th. I was expected a first place finish for them. While they have made improvements in the last couple years, they're pretty damn mean. I stick with them only because I travel out of STL and they are the best option for direct flights on an airline where I can accumulate miles that can be exchanged for International travel. Many of my co-workers are devoted to SWA but I hate that Redneck Rodeo and free tickets to San Antonio or Albuquerque have no value to me.

I'm also surprised United did so poorly because in my very limited experience with them, they were great. Talk to anyone from Alaska and they will tell you how horrible Alaska Air is. Having flown thru Atlanta several times and knowing people who collect Delta miles, I'm not surprised Delta did poorly. Hartsfield is the best designed airport in the US but flying thru Atlanta makes O'Hare seem like a model of air traffic efficiency. Delays at ATL are legendary among business travelers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let’s Index the Gas Tax

Josh Borro at NRO has a great idea to index the Federal gas tax to inflation,
Indexing the federal gasoline tax (which is essentially what this proposal is—indexing the gas tax to the price of gas) is good policy. The gas tax was last raised in 1993, and has fallen by a third in real terms since. Many state gas taxes and other vehicle taxes have also fallen in real terms. But this has not led to lower spending on road construction and maintenance—from 1994 to 2008, while GDP grew 103 percent and road spending grew 102 percent, gas and vehicle tax receipts rose only 70 percent.

Governments have made up the difference by tripling their borrowing to finance roads and tripling the diversion of general revenue to pay for road costs. This is a bad trend, because gas taxes below the cost of roads use cause inefficient overuse of roads, and the higher sales and income taxes used to plug the gas tax gap are a drag on the economy. Real annual reductions in gas tax rates hasn’t starved the beast, but have made the way we pay for our road infrastructure less efficient.
Of course he's correct about the efficiencies of indexing and inefficiencies of not doing so, but shouldn't we also catch up the current gas tax to 2010 dollars? There's nothing efficient about indexing a gas tax to inflation that begins from a 30% plus hole.

And of course there's even less efficiency in trying to catch up the gas tax to actually pay for highway costs but trading $4 Trillion in income taxes to get it, but that's really a post for another day.

(Via from Andrew Sullivan)

The failure of American Democracy

As I've said before, I believe Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish at the Atlantic is a must read on a daily basis. I say this even though Andrew is prone to hyperbole and at times is just over the top. Nobody is perfect.

A common theme at The Dish is the failure of elites in our society to call out the charlatans and expose them as the frauds they are. The fact is that our democracy pays a high price for the failure of elites in journalism to actually vet those who they permit to be opinion leaders and who run for office.

One of Andrew's readers very succinctly spelled out this morning the importance of elections to the continuation of a healthy democracy:
We need to keep some focus on the consequences of elections, not just the horse race. In this increasingly difficult and complex world, we face enormous challenges, and it is imperative that our president be smart, knowledgeable (dare I say well educated), willing to work hard to master the various issues and problems that face us, and flexible in his or her thinking and ideology. Do any of these apply to Palin? No.

The failures of the Bush presidency were, in large part, due to his personal weaknesses - his evident lack of interest in and knowledge of policy issues, his shallowness, and his obvious boredom with the day-to-day responsibilities of governing. Even so, he is head and shoulders above Palin.
What we now commonly call the 'mainstream media' or MSM have completely failed us in their reporting of public issues, policy and election reporting and America suffers because of it.

When Sarah Palin is covered uncritically as a national counter-point to Obama administration policies, our Democracy is in shambles.