Shortcuts & Delusions: Forget Ending The Fed; Kill The CBO
This column has 1187 words. I wrote it to elicit 12 chuckles, three guffaws and seven moments of insightful clarity. There are six paragraphs designed to make you, dear readers, question pre-conceived notions, three paragraphs that will confirm your biases, one paragraph of actual clever and biting satire, and four paragraphs containing throwaway lines and hackneyed jokes you will see coming from a mile away.
On Facebook, within a 24 hour period, the column will earn 443 “likes,” 330 “laugh” reacts, 84 “angry” reacts, 49 “love” reacts, five “wow” reacts, and one “sad” react; 104 of you will leave some ignorant comment after only reading the headline and teaser, 14 of you will reply to them, “It’s satire,” 879 of you will read the first couple paragraphs before losing focus and clicking away to some article about Anna Farris’ and Chris Pratt’s divorce, and three of you will actually read the whole column, and for that, let me thank my mom, dad, and my beautiful and supportive wife, Alice.
Want to know why we keep having shitty gigantic pieces of legislation like Obamacare and the GOP tax reform abomination? Because the CBO, by law, has to provide a formal report of the “cost” of any bill passed by a committee from both the House and Senate (I put cost in quotes because government views both spending and tax revenue decreases as expenditures). These CBO reports are what politicians use to garner support for or against bills winding their way through Congress, which means bills are written to achieve particular scores by the CBO, like how teachers “teach to the test.”
For fear their tax reform bill would explode the deficit, and trigger a “baseline projection” that would red flag the bill as unpassable, the Republican sons of bitches who wrote it had to come up with a Rube-Goldberg device so that the CBO would score it as revenue neutral or positive. We libertarians, of course, want the government to have less money, not more. But due to various budget control acts over the past several decades, the CBO’s mandated scoring of any spending/taxation legislation, and the fact that year over year spending never goes down, the only way any Republican or Democrat could vote for it is if tax reform meant more of our dollars in government coffers.
Congress can not pass any laws of unintended consequences, and CBO reports are only guesses at the costs of bills, which are written…to cater to the CBO. Which means that the amount of taxes stolen from our paychecks is determined by jerk accountants whose fingering of abacuses would make Kevin Spacey blush.
Here is a link to the processes the Congressional Budget Office must follow, here’s a link to the history of the agency, and here is a link to a report of a study I asked the CBO for to determine if it was too soon to comment about the terror attack on the al Rawdaw Sufi mosque in Egypt (though these aren’t jokes about the 305 murdered Muslims).
Why aren’t any liberals advocating for gun and bomb control? Surely that would have prevented ISIS from carrying out this attack.
Have conservatives not been offering thoughts and prayers for the dead due to a language barrier and the fact the killed were Muslims and not Jews and Christians?
When will Ron Paul and other prominent libertarians point out that the Sufi mosque attack is blowback due to all the military bases it maintains throughout the Middle East and its support for Zionist Israel?
I part ways with many libertarians when it comes to the insistence that every terror attack is blowback. Islamic terrorists didn’t kill all those observant Muslims due to American foreign policy. Violence carried out in the name of Allah and Muhammad predates the incorporation of the States, let alone any American foreign policy position.
There’s an old saw about the French that I may or may not have just made up: The French are lazy in peacetime and cowardly in wartime. To add insult to injury, this article suggests that French feminists are mentally retarded. In The Atlantic, Annabelle Timsit wrote, “The Push to Make French Gender-Neutral: Can changing the structure of a language improve women’s status in society?” wherein she reports:
…So the uproar was almost instantaneous when, this fall, the first-ever school textbook promoting a gender-neutral version of French was released.
It was a victory for a subset of French feminists who had argued that the gendered nature of the language promotes sexist outcomes, and that shifting to a gender-neutral version would improve women’s status in society. Educating the next generation in a gender-inclusive way, they claimed, would yield concrete positive changes, like professional environments that are more welcoming to women…
Feminists who believe that these features of the French language put women at a disadvantage disagree about how best to remedy them. Most recommend creating feminine versions of all professional nouns and/or using neutral nouns whenever possible…
Many linguists I spoke to stressed that changing a language doesn’t guarantee a change in perception; this leads some of them to say that inclusive writing just isn’t worth the trouble. But at least one major school of linguistic thought concludes that language and perception are intimately related. Proponents of linguistic determinism argue that your language determines and constrains what you’re capable of thinking. Linguistic determinism is the strong flavor of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis—the idea that your language influences how you think. This hypothesis was popular in the 1940s, but it was deemed incorrect by the linguistic community in the 60s and 70s…
In France, this debate traces its roots back to World War I, when men went to war and left women behind to fill traditionally male-dominated positions like chimney sweep or factory worker. The nouns referring to those professions, which previously only had masculine versions, developed feminine ones, to the great horror of French society at the time. But what was tolerable in wartime became unacceptable when men returned from the battlefield, and the question of how to make French gender-neutral was sidelined until the 1970s and ’80s.
I would like to just pause for one second and allow the irony to sink in that a group calling themselves feminists think making job titles gender-neutral would be some sort of triumph. Is this what we should be calling “non-identity politics?”
Feminists who rightly believe that women are legally equal to men and can perform any job a man can do that is not reliant on physical prowess (and in any modern economy, fewer and fewer occupations are) should distance themselves from any “subset” of feminists that seek to remove any distinction between genders, particularly in something as culturally important, not to mention practical, as language. And feminists who think that the existence of a feminine job title would create the opportunity for a woman to have that job is delusional.
Language, like economics, when properly used, is a device useful for describing, not prescribing. Chairs weren’t invented when somebody first came up with the word “chair.”
And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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