At barely five feet tall and armed only with a Ph.D in economics, Milton Friedman hardly had the look of a hero set out to save a nation. Yet, Professor Friedman predicted with near perfection the disastrous economic situation the United States is enduring today. He did this with a simple idea â€“ the Quantity Theory of Money.
MV = PQ. This is the simple mathematical formula which explains the death of American prosperity. Where M is the supply of money, V is the velocity that it circulates, P is prices, and Q is the quantity of transactions. Simply put, if the government prints more money, prices go up unless the number of transactions also increases. Too many dollars chasing too few goods, as they say, leads to inflation.
Enter Quantitative Easing, where the Federal Reserve buys government bonds with money that it printed specifically for the purpose of buying government bonds. This is the only way our government can run $1.6 trillion deficits â€“ which, according to President Obama we must do for the next ten years. The bond market would never absorb this many bonds at interest rates this low unless the Federal Reserve were rigging the market, and in recent months they have been purchasing roughly 70% of federal bonds being offered. The money raised is immediately spent by the federal government, sharply increasing both the supply and velocity of money. In 2000, there was approximately $4.7 trillion US Dollars in circulation, now there are nearly $10 trillion.
The quantity of transactions is going down. Donâ€™t take my word for it, either. Look around your neighborhood for all of the houses that have been for sale for months, all the vacant office space, and all the closed restaurants. These are all a component of the decline in the quantity of transactions. Fewer houses bought, fewer goods sold, fewer meals consumed.
Which leaves us with one last variable: Prices. With double the dollars in circulation, being spent by the government as quickly as they can print them, and with fewer transactions in the overall economy, prices must simply explode.
Pull out your old check records or bank statements, and see what you used to spend on groceries and gasoline, and compare them to what you are spending now. The increase is not the cause of supply problems, speculators or gouging: It is inflation, pure and simple.
The end result has been an inflationary depression, with increasing prices and high unemployment. What the country desperately needs is a sound dollar, stable prices and, of course, a sound fiscal policy based on a balanced budget. Thus, fiscal and monetary policies are inextricably linked, with our deficits leading to inflation and inflation making the deficits possible.
Left-wing ideologues like to repeat the old trope that in America the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Well, sad to say, it is true. But, it is not capitalism that is doing the pillaging; it is our own government. Rising prices means lowering standards of living. Despite the messianic rhetoric of Mr. Obama, it is his deficits, financed by Mr. Bernankeâ€™s printing press, that are robbing the pensioners and the working class of their standard of living.
The Republican that can best articulate this message, without being pulled into the weeds, will take the Presidencyâ€”or at least get my respect.
Every once in a while, and in the case of several of the Wall Street Journalâ€™s editoral staff, there is clarity.Â Todayâ€™s column by Daniel Henniger provides such clarity.
Hereâ€™s the link:Â http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303745304576359570364488858.html
An update on our friends in the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee. Â You may recall that we had addressed the issueÂ of some members of the committee actively working on campaigns. Â Wednesday evening the Central Committee met and considered the issue (after deferring it due to lack of time at their last regular meeting).
There was an extensive discussion on the topic, initiated by John Ortega, that generally included comments to effect that committee members had heard from numerous constituents in their districts expressing concern about committee member involvement on campaigns. Â Mr. Ortega read a rather severe message that he had received that pressed for removal or at least reprimand against the members who were being paid to work on campaigns.
A motion was made by Jeremiah Johnson and amended by David Chung, which read as follows:
Those State Central Committee members with paid staff or consultant positions on campaigns in contested primaries or caucuses are required to disclose those relationships to the State Central Committee.
The motion was passed 10-4 with one abstention.
Although it does not go as far as I and other would like, it does establish a sense of accountability within the board membership, and clarifies that contested primaries and caucuses are specific areas of concern. Â I think that is an essential message for people to hear even if the overall affect of the measure more or less a non-event.
So, quick breakdown.
One of the “no” votes was cast by a committee member who has been concerned about this issue. Â That member voted against the measure simply because the measure did not go far enough.
The abstention was from Wes Enos. Â Wes mentioned during discussion of the topic that he saw this as a serious concern and that he plans, while serving on Michelle Bachmann’s campaign, to abstain from any votes that impact the Caucus. Â I applaud Wes for taking a strong step in acknowledging the fact of the appearance of a conflict of interest, and acting in a way that helps mitigate the issue. Â That demonstrates responsibility and character.
The other three “no” votes came from the other three committee members who are working on a campaign. Â I find it odd that they would take a combative position on such a non-intrusive measure. Â Voting for the measure would have cost them nothing and would have given them a positive appearance. Â Instead, the message it sends is that they do not see themselves as accountable to the Committee, and the impression it leaves with me is sour… it increases the appearance that their participation on the committee is geared more to their own personal agenda than it is for the sake of the party as a whole. Â If that’s true, it is very disappointing.
It is worth acknowledging that several members of the committee would have probably liked to see something more drastic occur. Â An amendment to the Â motion offered by Bill Schickel, to require that committee members abstain from operation votes, failed. Â All of the members were very considerate of each other, emphasizing the issue as one of appearance and not an actual question of integrity, and in seeking a sensible solution worked to a compromise that probably accomplished as much as could be reasonably done at this juncture.
Specific constraints against the voting rights of the members would have likely been untenable. Â Such a measure, or anything more substantive, would probably need to be considered at the State Convention next year as a bylaw change. Â Based on follow up conversations with committee members, it is very likely that such a measure may be presented to the convention in some manner.
As a life-long Iowan, I can tell you the ridiculous National stereo-type that we are all corn growers or hog farmers is bad enough without adding an even worse oneâ€¦that we are a bunch of babies.
With the political season heating up and the eyes of the Nation beginning to turn toward us, now should be our time to shineâ€”not to whine. Unfortunately, too much whining is what I have heard from some of my fellow Iowa Republicans lately.
Before this week the running gripe was over the likelihood that Mitt Romney and his campaign wouldnâ€™t be â€œall inâ€ with their Iowa effort. News reports and blogs have been filled with comments and insinuations that if he doesnâ€™t fully participate in the State he will be punished for it by voters. This was followed by the reaction to Michelle Bachmannâ€™s unfortunate cancellation as the featured speaker at a Polk County GOP fundraiser last Thursday.
I was in attendance at this event and saw at least 30 people walk-out during her, admittedly technically challenged, appearance via Skype. She chose the video feed as a last second alternative to missing the event all together due to a delayed House vote on The Patriot Act. In addition to the walk-outs, the fallout from this was loud grumblings by event organizers that she â€œdissedâ€ Iowa, and claims from others that her potential campaign for President was over even before it got started.
Though by no means an endorsement of her or how the dinner went, these sentiments were both a hyper-sensitive reaction and grossly unfair. The reality is that scheduling problems, especially for a member of Congress, happen. Though it was not a great night for her, the event, or the Polk GOP, an important vote simply, and unexpectedly, ran long. It should also be noted that she was as contrite about it as her image on the screen was blurryâ€¦and it was very blurry.
In general, the reaction to both the Romney and Bachmann situations have made Iowa Republicans look and sound more like scorned lovers than serious judges of Presidential candidates. While I fully understand the disappointment of the Bachmann cancellation and the desire to have a bona fide contender like Romney spend time here, I shudder at a mind-set that would allow either to be a factor.
Though it certainly applies to a small minority of Iowa voters, anyone who makes their decision on the â€œemotionalâ€ grounds of not getting enough personal attention, in my view, is guilty of a dereliction of duty. After all, how can one argue that it is not what they say, but where they say it that matters?
With our Stateâ€™s great influence in the process comes great responsibility. Considering that an Obama re-election would mean he could possibly appoint two more Supreme Court judges, a full implementation of â€œObama-Careâ€ would be certain, and that there would be four more years of a liberal president politically unconstrained to spend freely, the stakes couldnâ€™t be higher. This makes it even more unsettling that a sect of informed Republicans are concerned about completely irrelevant things such as how much time a candidate personally spends fawning over us.
The last time I checked we are supposed to be selecting our Countryâ€™s next presidentâ€”not dating. Furthermore, if we were dating we likely wouldnâ€™t have much luck acting in this manner anyways. The word on the street would spread through the singles community like wildfireâ”€WARNINGâ€¦HIGH MAINTENANCE!
In running the ironic risk of whining too much about whining, let me quickly close by saying that I hope this attention-craving neediness is not a harbinger of things to come. Not only is it un-Iowan, it is un-American (at least it used to be anyways). The sooner we stop the bed wetting and start the vetting the better. Whether or not we are getting the attention of this or that candidate, we certainly have the Countryâ€™s attention.
Besides the fact that focusing on petty, inconsequential things will likely not lead us to the best nominee, it just plain looks bad.
I tell you this, if I have to be incorrectly typecast by the rest of the Country, Iâ€™d gladly take bib overalls and a tractor over a pacifier.
First of all, a wonderful Memorial Day to you all.Â I pray that your travels, picnics, barbeques and parties would be safe and fun.Â And let’s remember our fallen heroes, who without them and their ultimate sacrifice,Â we wouldn’t have the freedom to enjoy what we do.
The economic calendar of last week revealed what appears to be a slowing economy.Â First, the analysis.
- Durable goods orders, a highly volatile statistic, were down significantly, reflecting slower orders for cars, airplanes, refrigerators and washing machines.
- The second estimate ofÂ Q1 GDP growth was anemic at 1.8%.Â 3% would be healthy and would suggest an economy growing fast enough to grow our employment base.
- Having said that, initial jobless claims rose to 424,000, which again suggest a slowing economy.Â Employment is not likely to grow unless jobless claims fall below 400,000.
- Consumers are more upbeat, for now.
There are two things which conservatives who have any hope of reaching the White House in 2012 must address in order to have a chance–employment, and oil prices.Â The two go hand in hand.Â High commodity prices are a drag on the economy and act like a tax.Â $4.00 gasoline keeps people from spending on other things, like durable goods, which create jobs.Â The current administration has been an abject failure in handling the economy (never mind foreign policy).Â Republicans would do well to address these issues, and not each other.
On a macro level the last few weeks of the Ron Paul Presidential campaign have been a little bumpy. The turbulence was provided by a much publicized exchange with WHO Radioâ€™s Simon Conway and rough national television interviews with MSNBCâ€™s Chris Mathews and Fox Newsâ€™ Chris Wallace. The fact that the Mathewâ€™s interview would be contentious was likely known, but having Chris Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, aggressively infer that the â€œgeneral welfareâ€ clause was valid justification for unlimited Federal government involvement had to come as a shock (I know I was shocked).
If one thought that would dampen his supportersâ€™ enthusiasm, a few minutes spent at the Paul campaign headquarters in Ankeny on Monday would be enough to prove them mistaken. In fact the effort in Iowa seems to be humming along at an impressive pace. In less than two weeks, over a 110 County co-chairs have volunteered, 8 District co-chairs have signed on, and Mr. Paul has picked up his first Iowa legislative endorsement in Glenn Massie (R-Des Moines).
Due to this progress, for the second time in two weeks the candidate himself was on hand to personally thank these volunteers and to take a few questions from the media. During the Q and A session Paul spoke on Israel, reiterating his stance that their dependence on the U.S is effectively making them weaker and not stronger. He also happily acknowledged that more and more Republicans are coming around to his position against our involvements in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. In his view, this shift in thinking is the result of a mixture of disenchantment with realities on the ground and the fact that itâ€™s easier for Republicans to be less supportive now that these conflicts can be seen as â€œObamaâ€™s wars.â€ On the domestic front the only thing worth noting was his comments regarding Mike Huckabeeâ€™s decision not to enter the race. He called this development â€œsignificant,â€ adding that he thinks there is a good chance that he will appeal to Huckabeeâ€™s supporters.
The more time one spends covering the Ron Paul presidential run the more one understands the reasons for his supportersâ€™ legendary levels of enthusiasm. Chief among these is the fact that what they are involved in is far more a movement than a campaign. Unlike what happens around populist candidates, they are not drawn to Paul by his smoothness, style, empathy, or one-liners. They are gravitating toward a philosophyâ€”a philosophy that is not only at odds with nearly every other GOP candidate, but of the Republican Party establishment in general.
Before the event I interviewed Paulâ€™s Iowa Campaign Chairman, longtime Republican leader Drew Ivers, and this topic came up. Referencing this drift away from the Party, Ivers said, â€œI have carried plenty of water for the Republican Party over the years, and I have earned the right to criticize them.â€ When one looks at the legislative performance of the Party as a whole over the last 25 years, itâ€™s hard to argue that this criticism is undeserved. Unless of course we are willing to pretend that the financial collapse of 2008 and the 14.3 trillion dollar debt involved only Democrats.
Aside from making it clear that Ron Paul is pro-marriage and pro-family, the topics which Ivers emphasized revealed another reason why Paulâ€™s staff and supporters have bound together so tightly behind their candidateâ€¦no one else in the race is singing their tune. A perfect example of this is the issue of Federal debt and deficits. Along with all the Republican hopefuls the Paul camp views Federal spending as 2012â€™s central issue, but unlike any of the others they favor a different solution.
Mr. Ivers was speaking for the majority of the eventâ€™s attendees by showing great concern over the Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, and the value of the dollar. For Ivers, and for Paul, the Fed is the way to begin gaining control of run-away spending. Beyond just proposing spending cuts, their solution is to stop the endless spending by stopping the Federal Reserve from endlessly printing money. This type of systemic change is emblematic of many of Paulâ€™s proposals, and is an approach that the Party, likely for political reasons, has never warmed to.
The fact that Mr. Paul is the only established Republican candidate talking about such things as eliminating the Fed, quantitative easing, and immediately ending our foreign deployments has gained him passionate support, but has also left a steep hill to climb.
What Ron Paul and his supporters are seeking is not a mere tinkering with the Republican message. They are calling for a return to a strict Constitutional approach to Federal governance, something that has not been practiced for generations. The political challenge inherent in this is vast, and is certainly one that Drew Ivers is fully aware of. He summarized it quite well by saying that the Country at large has â€œmoved so far to the left that the message seems strange.â€
There are few bonds stronger than that of a shared conviction, and perhaps this more than anything else explains the enthusiasm of Ron Paulâ€™s supporters. For their message to connect they face the Herculean task of convincing a Country to shift its current concept of the role of government, ironically back to its original form.
After spending an afternoon with the staff and volunteers who will be responsible for spreading this message, I can report that in spite of the odds they remain motivated, passionate, and in general completely undaunted by the challenge.
Photo courtesy of TEApublican.
U.S. markets closed off today, while foreign marketsÂ ended generally positive.Â A bright spot in the US economy was the release of new home sales, which were estimated to be up 7.3% in April, to 323,000 new homes sold.Â This represents the fourth month in a row of increasing new home sales, but we’re coming off a dismal low.Â In 2005, 1.4 million new homes were sold.
The housing market reflects a classic supply/demand equation.Â The supply of housing far outstrips demand, and with a glut of foreclosed homes still in the market, the housing market is unlikely to return to 2005 levels for several years.
The markets seemed to be more concerned with the nation of Greece’s ability to service it’s debt.Â Keep in mind that about the only difference between Greece and the United States is 270 million people.Â Investors have yet to figure that out.
Chrysler today repaid $7.6 billion in government loans to the United States and Canada.Â Perhaps this will tide Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for another 20 minutes or so.
Having said that, Secretary Geither hinted today that it would be “irresponsible ” for Congress to allow the nation to default on its debts by not raising the debt ceiling.Â Is he kidding?Â It would seem to me that allowing the nation to run $1.2 trillion deficits, and the general handling of the economy by this Administration would be the very definition of irresponsible.Â Perhaps he should be examining how we got to this point.Â A little circumspection could go a long way and would be a pleasant change of pace.
While living in San Francisco, I was always a little concerned that I may have been in non-compliance with a California State Department of Transportation regulation. It appeared to me that it might have been mandatory to display both a state-issued license plate on the back of my car, along with a â€œCOEXISTâ€ bumper sticker.
The message of COEXIST is, I suppose, interesting in terms of its banal universality. Almost all of us earnestly desire to live peacefully with one another. There is, however, the ever-present and small group of people who would wish the rest of us dead. While I am not at all certain of this, I suppose (at least in theory) the COEXIST bumper stickers could potentially wear on the psyches of this latter group, causing them to re-think their murderous positions. Unfortunately, the message is not directed at the worldâ€™s most deadly extremists. It is directed at the rest of us.
A few weeks ago I encountered a more interesting configuration of messages on the back of a car in front of me. The ubiquitous COEXIST bumper sticker was situated immediately next to a â€œfatâ€ Christian â€œfishâ€ symbol that had been embedded with the word BUDDHA. The irony was absolutely impressive.
If I could have talked with the driver of the car, I would have asked; â€œSo let me get this right. You want all of us to live in peace and harmony, and yet at the same time, you have no qualms about simultaneously insulting the faith systems of those around you? Is that what you intended to communicate?â€ My guess is that the owner of the vehicle had not even begun to ponder the absurd levels of their exhibited hypocrisy.Â Essentially, their message was this: We can all live in a state of political blissâ€¦if everyone simply agrees with them. If everyone else can just learn to be tolerant, then life will be wonderful. At least the logic is simple.
I have just one question. Shouldnâ€™t the rules we personally make up apply to ourselves?
Liberals always fail to recognize the obvious trade-offs that surround both their opinions and their actions. It is only possible to advertise and support complete tolerance if you are willing to act tolerantly yourself. Tolerance comes with a cost. That cost is called restraint. The liberal left, in their arrogance, is unwilling to recognize or pay this cost. They have seemingly come to believe that they can have it both ways.
My view of the notion of tolerance that is attached to the COEXIST bumper stick is of a much more barbarian variety. I am tolerant of things I consider good and right. I am intolerant of things that I view as either evil or corrupt. I am tolerant with people who support the interests and conditions of others. I am intolerant of those who would abuse their fellow-man. I am tolerant of kindness. I am intolerant of meanness; in any of its forms. I am intolerant of tolerance at any cost. And I am intolerant of self-apotheosis.
Since when did the sophomoric notion of tolerance somehow become virtuous in and of itself? Tolerance is not a virtue. Tolerance is a response. It is a response that can be directed at the good, or it can be directed at evil. If tolerance is the personally selected response to evil, then it is itself evil. Â If William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks had been tolerant, the world would be a very different and uglier place. Tolerance is very likely the advised course of action in many (if not most) situations. But the whole concept of tolerance as a â€œphilosophy-of-lifeâ€ is misdirected and dangerous, both morally and politically. It has no foundation on which to operate.
In the worldâ€™s marketplace for ideas, those who propose â€œcoexistenceâ€ and tolerance are clearly entitled to their â€œbooth.â€ They lose the right to be listened to, however, when the very first words out of their mouths are intellectually incoherent, philosophically baseless, and radically self-condemnatory. In a world characterized by terrorism on one hand, and boundless acts of personal sacrifice on the other, blind tolerance is the prescription for those without the moral wherewithal to make any meaningful distinctions between the two.
The perplexing political and social questions of our day are never adequately addressed with simple tolerance. The real questions will remain â€œTolerance of whatâ€¦and for what reason?â€
This article was originally posted at Caffeinated Thoughts.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the educrats at the U.S. Department of Education know that Congress would never vote to codify the changes they seek in the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) so theyâ€™re changing up regulations in order to do so.Â They want to allow private and invasive information to be gathered on students and families in order to supply the workforce.
This has nothing to do with improving the education that children receive.Â The sole purpose for these changes are to data mine and pass that information along to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor who will then provide it to the private sector workforce.
Public comment is open until Monday, May 23rd.Â You can make a public comment here.Â Missouri Education Watchdog provided a helpful information sheet that breaks down further which Iâ€™m including below.
OBJECT TO DOEâ€™S PROPOSED INVASION OF STUDENT PRIVACY
The Department of Education (DOE) has proposed regulatory changes that would gut the primary federal student-privacy statute, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA imposes strict limits on how the government may use so-called Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collected on students by schools or government education agencies. Under the proposed changes to the regulations issued under FERPA, DOE would enable a system of massive data collection on students â€“ potentially including such things as family income range, hair color, blood type, and health-care history â€“ that could then be shared with other government agencies (both federal and in other states) for unspecified purposes. This disclosure of PII could be accomplished without parentsâ€™ consent, and in most cases without even their knowledge. And because the data-collection and sharing would begin when the student is in preschool and follow him even through his entry into the workforce, the possibilities of breach of privacy and unwarranted use of data are almost limitless.
The concept of â€œstate longitudinal data systemsâ€ (SLDS) is the driving force behind the proposed regulatory changes. In its attempt to further federalize education through Race to the Top and other statutes, DOE wants to construct massive and interconnected data systems that will allow various government agencies â€“ and even private entities, perhaps including employers â€” to access studentsâ€™ personal information without the knowledge or consent of the students or their parents. SLDS structures in some states, such as Illinois, already contemplate the sharing of PII for purposes far beyond effective education of children â€“ for example, to create â€œa network of federal, state, and local offices that . . . facilitate the development of the United States workforce.â€Indeed, DOE itself argues that â€œthere is no reason why a State health and human services or labor department, for example, should be precluded from . . . receiving non-consensual disclosures of PII to link education, workforce, health, family services, and other dataâ€ for the purpose of â€œevaluatingâ€ education programs. The proposed changes to the FERPA regulations are a blatant attempt to bypass Congress, and therefore the American people, by weakening the privacy law to facilitate radically increased government control over individualsâ€™ lives.
Listed below are some specific objections that can be made to the proposed changes. Comments can be registered athttp://www.regulations.gov. (See below for more specific information for the comment process.) The deadline for commenting is Monday, May 23, 2011.
Authorized Representative â€“ DOE proposes to define â€œauthorized representativeâ€ (i.e., the individual or entity authorized to receive Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on students) in a way that greatly expands the universe of bureaucrats or even private entities that might be allowed to access PII. Throughout FERPAâ€™s existence, DOE has interpreted the statute to allow nonconsensual disclosure of PII only to officials of state or local educational authorities, or to the agencies headed by certain federal officials (Secretary of Education, Comptroller General, or Attorney General). The proposed change would allow any of these people to designate other bureaucrats in other agencies â€“ such as state employment or public-health agencies â€“ or even private entities as â€œauthorized representativesâ€ for purposes of accessing PII. This is a radical change to the interpretation of FERPA, and a substantial limitation on its privacy protections.
Education Program â€“ DOE proposes to define â€œeducation programâ€ in a way that would further expand the reach of bureaucrats into private student data. The current interpretation of FERPA allows nonconsensual disclosure of PII during audits or evaluations conducted of federally funded â€œeducation programsâ€ that are administered by educational authorities. The proposed changes would broaden this PII access to any program that could even be marginally considered â€œeducational,â€ even if not conducted by an educational authority. The concern is that designating something as an â€œeducation programâ€ to be â€œevaluatedâ€ becomes an excuse for gaining access to data from that program.
Research Studies â€“ DOE proposes to greatly expand access to PII for use in â€œresearch studies.â€ Currently, FERPA allows nonconsensual disclosure of PII by educational agencies and institutions (with strict limitations) to companies that are conducting research on behalf of those agencies or institutions. The proposed changes would allow agencies further up the food chain â€“ those that receive such PII from other agencies or institutions â€” to disclose that data for their own research purposes, and to do so without express legal authority. Thus, for example, a school may turn over PII to DOE as part of regular procedure and not be told that DOE is disclosing that data to a research company. And if the school discovered, and objected to, the redisclosure, DOE would not even have to point to an express legal authority for its action. â€œImplied authorityâ€ would be sufficient.
Authority to Audit or Evaluate â€“ DOE proposes to allow state or local educational authorities, or agencies headed by the Education Secretary, the Comptroller General, or the Attorney General, to conduct audits, evaluations, or compliance activity without establishing that they have legal authority to do so.The longstanding interpretation of FERPA is that any entity seeking to audit or evaluate a program must cite particular federal, state, or local legal authority for this activity, because FERPA itself confers no such authority. DOE proposes to allow such activities â€“ with their consequent access to PII â€“ to be conducted even by entities that can show no legal right to engage in them. Apparently, â€œIâ€™m from the government and Iâ€™m evaluating this programâ€ will be sufficient to access the data.
Enforcement â€“ DOE proposes to extend its FERPA enforcement authority beyond â€œeducational agencies or institutionsâ€ to include any other recipients of federal funds that may misuse PII. Such entities might include, for example, student-loan lenders. While DOEâ€™s vast expansion of access to PII would greatly increase the potential for misuse of that data, and therefore would indicate the need for broader enforcement authority, the fact remains that Congress is the only entity that is entitled to make this change. FERPA spells out DOEâ€™s enforcement authority, and DOE cannot change this statutory law merely by changing the regulations.
There are three key points to be made regarding these proposed changes: 1) DOE is weakening longstanding student privacy protections by greatly expanding the universe of individuals and entities who have access to PII, by broadening the definition of programs that might generate data subject to this access, and by eliminating the requirement of express legal authority for certain governmental activities; 2) DOEâ€™s proposed interconnected data systems could be accessed by other departments, such as Labor and Health and Human Services, to facilitate social engineering such as development of the type of â€œworkforceâ€ deemed necessary by the government; and 3) DOE is attempting to evade Congress by pushing through these radical policy changes by regulation rather than legislation.
The document details and the specific language of the FERPA revisions the Department of Education is requesting may be found here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=ED-2011-OM-0002-0001
Click on the “comment due” wording and it will take you to the comment form OR
The comment form may be found here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=ED-2011-OM-0002-0001
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How is it possible to resist the charms of any elected official offering the dual benefits of fairness and protection? After all, is not being treated equitably, while simultaneously being spared the pain of those who would seek to harm us, not of ultimate worth? Fairness must certainly be the quintessential American value, right? And our entire system of justice; is it not specifically designed to bring both fairness and protection?
Over the next year and a half we will hear the word fairness as if the word encapsulates the complete and final animation of the American ideal. We will also be offered a basket overflowing with governmental â€œprotectionsâ€ from rapacious bogeymen, both known and unknown. This little â€œbenefits packageâ€ will come neatly wrapped in the form of a vague threat that would have us believe any alternative to this package would immediately result in enslavement. It is only demons that would offer us, the American people, anything less.
The real wonder in all of this is how Thomas Jefferson seemed to have completely missed the significance of the beatific vision of the liberal left. To have settled for such suboptimal and simple notions as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must clearly validate the marked progression in our political thinking. Alas, we are talking about a couple of centuries of human achievement. If we can build an iPad, we must certainly be able to build a perfectly integrated, transparent, and high-functioning system of governance. We call this â€œpolitical science,â€ as if it was somehow scientific.
Hope and change was the first chapter. Fairness and protection are now emerging as the second chapter. The only remaining question we now have is in determining which of these sets of notions is the most utterly naÃ¯ve. There is, however, no remaining question as to which is more dangerous. Chapter Two is an unmitigated societal, moral and economic horror show.
Like hope and change, fairness and protection are proffered without definition or object. One manâ€™s version of fairness is another manâ€™s version of purgatory. To suggest that protections are being afforded is to beg the obvious question, â€œProtection from what or from whom?â€ The suggestion, of course, is that the government will become both the ultimate dispenser of fairness, and the protector from anything that is â€œnot-government.â€ This is a binary universe in which the government is the center of virtue, and everything and everyone else is either mundane or oppressive.
In a hypothetical world where half the citizenry are drunken bums and the other half are productive and hard-working citizens, what represents a fair tax rate? Apparently, there is a fair answer to this question, albeit that the obvious answer seems to elude most of us common people. Not to fear, in the liberal mind, they have the answer. And if regulation doubles the price of that which we seek to consume, we must presume that the level of â€œprotectionâ€ is worth paying for.Â Just ask them. They not only have all the answers, they are willing to impose them on everyone else.
They spin a web of myths. It is only unfortunate that these myths are so seemingly beguiling.
When Mr. Jefferson offered his modest notions of a sustainable basis for societal success, he understood that the government can only create a set of conditions where people can optimize their unique futures. He had seen the fairness and protection â€œthemesâ€ played out in history and seen the implications of the associated governmental arrogance. Mr. Jefferson was willing to look at humanity in a more positive light than many of his contemporaries. Even he could not begin to fathom the negative implications of what is now being offered as the standard offering of the Liberal Left.
When the markets create a willing buyer, and a willing seller, at a given price, most of us would agree that the â€œtradeâ€ was fair. On the other side of the equation, when the government intervenes in anything, it is not fairness and protection that we receive. It is rather just someoneâ€™s version of coercion. The liberal definition of fairness is just another form of arbitrary and completely baseless enslavement. It cannot be heard in any other way.
Fairness is only found in established conditions. It is never found in a quest for derived outcomes. When liberals transmute the definition of fairness into an effect, as opposed to its native state as a cause, they turn the world inside out. Viewing fairness as an effect is, by definition, fundamentally unfair. And the result is always predictable, and never pretty.