The Economy Outside the Beltway


The President claimed in his State of the Union speech that the national economy is doing well. That may seem true inside the Beltway, but out here in the Real World, it doesn’t look so good.

Salena Zito writes that economic discontent is widespread.

The economy is dismal not just in the old Rust Belt but nationwide. On Tuesday, the National Association of Counties released its gold-standard study that shows, six years after the economic expansion began, 93 percent of U.S. counties have failed to fully recover from the devastating contraction they suffered during the recession.

Only 7 percent, or 214 out of 3,069 counties nationwide, recovered by 2015 to their pre-2008 numbers on total employment, economic expansion, home values and unemployment.

Read the whole thing. She suggests that the economic malaise of the Obama economy is one of the key drivers of the populist unrest pushing both the Trump and the Sanders presidential campaigns.

John Hinderacker chimes in, noting that the economic recovery over the last 7 years has been the worst in the past 70, in large part because of government disincentives.

In other words, government welfare programs are crushing America’s economic growth.

He’s posted a staggering chart of federal welfare programs that spend over a terabuck (a trillion dollars) each year. It’ll still be too hard to read after you click to enlarge it.

Meanwhile, back inside the beltway, DC city officials are bent out off shape because their minimum wage hike has caused Walmart to have second thoughts about building more stores in the city.

Hmmmm.

A Dumb Idea About “Smart” Guns


The President has ordered the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to study smart gun technology.

Here’s the TL;DR on the subject.

1. As an electrical engineer, I know how reliable electronic components are. I wouldn’t trust a gun that would be bricked by a capacitor or semiconductor failing. Or a dead battery.

2. If something uses software, it can be hacked. I wouldn’t trust a gun that someone could disable—or fire—remotely.

UPDATE—M1911_C_A_D.001

Clausewitz and ISIS


Carl von Clausewitz’s book On Warfare is required reading at almost every military academy. It has its imperfections, but it offers some useful ideas on how war can be used to implement policy. James Holmes, a professor of strategy at the Naval War College has written an interesting essay on how Clausewitz might have viewed President Obama’s ISIS strategy.

Such is the topsy-turvy challenge before Washington. Administration leaders must put policy and strategy, not artificial limits on military means, in charge of the counter-ISIL campaign. If U.S. policy is to destroy ISIL, let us figure out what that entails in terms of ground, air, and sea forces and set those forces in motion. If it is to contain ISIL through airpower, let us say that and resign ourselves to an open-ended effort promising few satisfactions.

The United States can wage unlimited war against the Islamic State, or it can wage war by contingent. Trying to do both opens up a world of strategic problems.

Read the whole thing.

Common Nonsense Gun Control Measures


Barack Obama is in the process of rolling out a series of executive orders to implement several common nonsense gun control measures. (By common nonsense I mean the usual proposals that seem to make progressives feel good, but have no real world effect on crime other than turning otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.) This will apparently include measures designed to plug the non-existent gun show loophole.

Most of the usual suspects on the left have made appreciative noises, but a few are expressing disappointment that the President isn’t moving more aggressively to suppress Second Amendment rights.

μολὼν λαβέ.

Unmanaging the Unmanageable


Jennifer Rubin has a piece over at WaPo about the commander-in-chief’s meltdown in the polls. It begins:

President Obama’s petulant news conference in Turkey insisting there is no need to shift our strategy for fighting the Islamic State might have been the low point in his presidency. But that does not mean he’s hit rock bottom.

Yeah, well, until he hits bottom, he’s not going to realize that he’s powerless over the world situation and that our lives have become unmanageable.

Read the whole thing.