Sunday, July 27, 2008

"As You Like It " on the Boston Common

A little bard on the Common, a worthy production of As You Like It.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many, parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the shining school-boy, with his stachel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel...
One of Shakespeare's greatest passages. Delightful.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

City payroll costs grow 25 percent, report says - The Boston Globe

There's never enough money for city government, which needs to go on a diet.

The city of Boston has hired more than a thousand new employees in the last four years, driving up personnel costs by 25 percent and drawing criticism from a fiscal watchdog group that warns that the city needs to keep a lid on hiring.

A report released yesterday by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a business-funded, nonprofit organization, says that the School Department has added 658 positions since 2004, the Police Department hired 266 employees, and the Fire Department hired 78. The total city workforce is now 17,075.

The additional employees, combined with increases in the cost of health insurance, pensions, raises, and other benefits, meant that the city's personnel spending grew to $1.6 billion, an increase of $312.5 million. Personnel costs now represent 69 percent of the city's total budget.

Boston officials defended the growing payroll as necessary to respond to vital city needs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jeff Jacoby hits his stride

One of Jeff Jacoby's best columns.
Column after column could be filled with the ways the Massachusetts political class and its hangers-on play taxpayers for suckers - the gold-plated tax breaks for moviemakers, the insanely lucrative sick-time buybacks, the indefensible police details, the public-sector-only paid holidays, the "temporary" tax hikes that last forever, the state budgets that keep growing even as family budgets shrink.

It will never end - not until the suckers get riled up enough to fight back. Not until they start throwing incumbents out of office, instead of blindly reelecting them. Not until they stop letting themselves be treated as ATMs for politicians and doormats for public-employee unions. Not until they force their public "servants" to defer to them, instead of the other way around.
Are you angry yet?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's always difficult to get statists to face the facts of government failure.

Why is government almost always at the bottom of a problem and a long way from the solution?
The current world food crisis is not the long predicted signal of Malthusian overpopulation. Instead, it is the result of political Malthusianism, that is, a series of government policy failures that are preventing farmers from growing the food demanded by the world's hungry billions.
Get that? It's about government failure, not "market failure."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008

On the limits of libertarianism

Dr. Wheelan strikes a libertarian balance.
I've discovered just one problem with my elegant libertarian philosophy after spending two decades in public policy: It's terribly impractical for actually governing society. My whole quibble with libertarians can be boiled down to one banal question: What's the libertarian point of view on stoplights?

I like stoplights. More to the point, they're a simple and tangible example of how government can make us better off: They enable complete strangers to interact more safely and efficiently. Given a choice between the freedom to speed through an intersection at any time and the coercive red light, I'll tolerate the red light.

That's kind of silly, so consider a more significant example, like counterterrorism. In a world of libertarians, who finds Osama bin Laden?
Read the whole thing.