Tag: Barack Obama

Monday Links

A Weak Defense of Disclosure

In an earlier post, I wrote about the problems with the Obama administration’s executive order to force government contractors to reveal their political activity.

The administration defends the mandate by arguing “taxpayers deserve to know how contractors are spending money they’ve earned from the government.”

For the first (and perhaps last) time, I rise to the defense of government contractors. The President apparently believes that anyone who sells a good or service to the government must account for the uses of the money received in the transaction in perpetuity? Obama’s press secretary said the President’s “goal is transparency and accountability. That’s the responsible thing to do when you’re handling taxpayer dollars.”

I do not understand this. The government extracts taxes and spends the money. Indeed, government officials should be accountable for that spending. But once the exchange is made, the money belongs to a private firm. It is no longer the property of the taxpayers.  Perhaps the use of a firm’s money should be disclosed, but you need a different argument to justify that mandate. The President seems to be proposing that anyone who does business with the government may have to account for the money they earn in those transactions. That assertion strikes me as a real expansion of government power.

The most troubling part of all this remains the President’s view that he can enact this mandate through an executive order. Americans should be wondering why a rule rejected by Congress can simply be enacted by fiat by the President. The President does not enjoy the power of a king, does he?

The President’s gambit may be in trouble. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, is questioning the content of the decree. I am glad she is concerned about the First Amendment. I would be happier if she questioned the Obama-Bush conception of executive power that informs this effort.

Socially Liberal but Economically Conservative: Now That’s Funny

In a feature story about left-wing stand-up comics (news flash!), the Washington Post finds one who isn’t:

One of the few right-leaning comics is Nick Di Paolo, who has written for “Saturday Night Live.” Di Paolo, who is socially liberal but economically conservative, has a one-hour special, “Nick Di Paolo Raw Nerve,” airing Saturday on Showtime, in which he takes swipes at favorite targets, such as President Obama and labor unions.

If that sounds like fun, then your Saturday night is planned. And if you’re more interested in fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters, check here or here or indeed this lament.

He Should Have Stuck with the Birth Certificate

I couldn’t help but notice that in his remarks to the press about releasing his birth ceritifcate, President Obama reiterated his conviction that Washington needs to ”invest in education.”

He should have stuck with the birth certificate issue. Unlike his belief in the power of dumping dollars on “education,” he actually has some decent evidence of his natural born U.S. citizenship.

You Look Mahvelous

“Bijan Pakzad, an extravagant fashion designer and boutique owner who happily and unabashedly made wealthy men look rich, feel rich and smell rich,” has died, reports the Washington Post. Mr. Pakzad explained that he catered to customers who “normally aren’t concerned about inflation.”

His slogan — “the costliest men’s wear in the world” — helped his opulent clothing store become known as the West Coast’s one-stop Savile Row.

While drinking champagne presented by white-gloved butlers, customers could shop for $2,500 silk pajamas, $1,500 cologne, a $24,000 mink-lined topcoat, a $19,000 ostrich vest, $55,000 crocodile luggage or even a $120,000 Mongolian chinchilla bedspread lined with silk.

Who could afford such clothes? Warren Buffett and Bill Gates? Yes, but they don’t look like they spend so much money on clothes. The Post names a few customers:

From the moment in 1976 when Mr. Pakzad first opened Bijan, his Rodeo Drive emporium, three words bedecked the entrance: “By appointment only.”

The locked-door policy made clear that Mr. Pakzad exclusively catered to men who had money, power or fame — and usually all three. His clients included President Obama, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Stevie Wonder, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jordan.

Wait, President Obama? That’s not the same Barack Obama who told college graduates not to “take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy,” is it?

Thursday Links