Wednesday, 20 May 2009

FYI: I Heart Barney Frank

A politician spouting actual information on television? Weird.


Julian said...

Oy. Michelle Bachman is an idiot. She emphasised the amount of money "available to ACORN" as if ACORN is at all likely to receive this amount. That's a bit like taking the total amount available to be made in grants to institutions of higher education and saying that this is the amount available to Hardvard. Also, though I would agree that political parties have a role to play in registering people to vote, I have trouble accepting her view that public money should not be spent on that purpose. In an ideal world, the government would be so effective in registering everyone to vote that political parties wouldn't have to do it. In fact, that's effectively the situation in the UK, where local authorities send annual requests for information on all eligible voters living at every residence.

I find it interesting that Lou Dobbs is now leading the fight against funding non-profit organisations to provide public services. The right is now shifting the debate and opposing contracting government services out to private and non-profit groups. As a liberal, I am glad that the mainstream position on the role of government has apparently just shifted.

Obama London said...

Yes, Bachman is a nightmare but to me the most interesting part of the whole interview was the part you mentioned - where Dodds seems to think its some sort of "gotcha" to ask Barney Frank why any outside groups should be contracted under government money. Frank has to patiently explian that he and most liberals have always preferred NOT to outsource government programs, but that conservatives have been pushing for years to remove these services from direct government control.

Personally, I'd like to see the need for voters to register abolished altogether - show up at the polling booth with a proof of citizenship and cast your ballot. Perhaps I should propose this to Michelle Bachman as a cost cutting measure?

Julian said...

Actually, the argument about outsourcing of government functions reminds me of how Newt Gingrich recently cited the proposed change to the student loan programme as evidence of Democrats' "socialist" agenda. Specifically, he accused the Democrats of wanting to have the government "take over" student loans. What he failed to mention was that the student loans in question were previously being administered by private banks but ultimately funded by the taxpayer, and the banks were less efficient than the government in their administration. Therefore, the Republican orthodoxy is still the same for now: we have the wonders of capitalism when we subsidise the private sector to deliver public services badly, but evil socialism when the government gives us value for money.