Duh Der Doy Duh

The Washington Post today editorializes about Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s seeming inelegance on budget issues early in his term. One note in particular caught my eye:

We’d ask the same question about his much-vaunted transportation plan. The governor said he would raise hundreds of millions of dollars to build roads by selling off state-run liquor stores. But at his urging, a bill in the legislature to do just that was killed last week. The probable reason? Profits from such liquor stores go directly into the state’s coffers, to the tune of about $100 million a year. Mr. McDonnell, having promised to tackle Virginia’s transportation funding crisis in his first year in office, still has time. What Virginians have yet to see are viable ideas that will yield cash for a transportation budget whose construction funds are just about gone.

I had previously seen estimates of $180 million a year, actually. It appears we’re not the only ones here at the imaginary think-tank of Crack Whores for Good Government who noticed that Virginia had heard a man offer to gut a golden goose and decided it sounded like a pretty cool idea to them and made that guy the Governor.

As The Washington Post basically said today, how are you going to fix transportation in Virginia now, Bobby?

Old McDonnell is a Privatizing Maniac…E-I-E-I-O

Papa Bonk has a theory that the polls here in sunny Virginia aren’t as accurate as they could be. Back in the day, PB predicted the stunning victory here of one Lawrence Douglas Wilder. He thinks Mr. Deeds’ efforts might be better rewarded here than common wisdom foresees, for the same reason he picked Wilder back then: Women.

PB’s theory, if I am paraphrasing correctly, is that McDonnell’s thesis from year ago is nothing to sneeze at, that it may indeed cost McDonnell votes and/or drive votes to Deeds, in the form of female voters coming out in droves. One can hope. But I for one am not as concerned about McDonnell’s obsession with women’s health as I am with McDonnell’s obsession with privatizing government.

Quoted in The Washington Post today, on a story lamenting the candidates’ failure as the campaign wraps up to explain how they intend to get Virginia out of its economic slump:

It takes leadership to get it done. I think we need to have government run a little more like business, with private-sector initiatives, more innovation, more consolidation.

These Untied States of America have just lived through eight years of an executive who believed fervently in outsourcing government. One of the biggest failures this country has witnessed in the past decade, the incursion into the formerly sovreign nation of Iraq, was largely a failure because of the ‘roid-raging injection into that nation of super-duper private enterprise. This country’s economy has just barely survived one of the worst economic crises since the times of my grandparents, largely due to the greedy lack of foresight by people in the private sector. We are neck-deep right now in a debate over health care, a debate that pretty much starts at ground zero with the assertion that private enterprise is failing us miserably in our efforts to care for our sick people.

And this butthole thinks the answer is to run government “a little more like business?”

I hope you’re right, PB. The last thing Virginia needs is a dog-eared-Fountainhead-carrying-Robbie-Gould asshat to be its governor.

Chicago and the Privatization Scam

Anyone who still thinks Bob McDonnell has a good idea to solve Virginia’s transportation woes by selling off the liquor stores for $500 million—a price that seems pathetically low, considering that the stores generate $180 million annually to the general fund—should peek at what happened to Chicago and its parking meters.

Chicago parking meters went private in February. Chicago Parking Meters LLC, majority-owned by Morgan Stanley infrastructure investment funds, paid $1.15 billion for a 75-year lease to run the 36,000 parking meters.

It’s not much of a surprise what happened next.

Parking rates jacked way up. Broken meters. Ticketing cars parked at broken meters. Then, of course, accountability for problems shuffled off onto unelected people.

As documented by the Chicago Reader, this was a dirty shit deal from the start. But here’s the real kicker: A report by the city’s inspector general says the city would have raised $974 million more if it had kept the parking meters and raised prices.

So, let’s see. It works less effectively. It costs more. It invites unscrupulous actors. It gouges the people.

Yes, privitazation always solves everything!

Atlas Farted

Among the many entries in my gratitude journal, were I to actually keep one, the following is up near the top: I am thankful that Ayn Rand’s vile influence did not ruin me.

I read the Atlas Shrugged when I was like 12 or something. What can I say. Dagny Taggart was hot. I think this is the way it happens for a lot of these Robbie Goulds walking around out there. I think they read the Atlas Shrugged, I think they pop a boner over Dagny Taggart, and, in that highly suggestible state, I think they take in all of Ayn Rand’s bullshit as truth.

A caller on the Ed Schultz Show this afternoon reminded me of this. He was whimpering on the phone about how “government-run” health care paid for by others was “immoral.” Rand’s “philosophy” permeates throughout, hiding its acidic, destructive nature.

Understand this: When you put your trust in the ideas of Ayn Rand, you are trusting the ideas of a person who thought that if a woman were President of the United States, holding the position would wreck her psychologically. I am not making this up. Rand argues that “the essence of femininity is hero worship,” or the “desire to look up to a man.” Because the Executive is the highest office in the land, she argues, a “rational” woman would find the position of President to be “unbearable.”

(Of course, your average Robbie Gould probably is going “Yeah? So? What’s wrong with that?”)

Rand spent her formative years in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was 12 when the Romanavs’ heads rolled. The commies took her daddy’s pharmacy. So yes, of course she was destined to create a “philosophy” that essentially says that it’s okay to be an asshole.

It is ironic, though, that Rand spent an entire career railing against yet another thinker who had big ideas that looked really good on paper but never actually work in practice.

In the meantime, it is we, the liberals, who are in actuality the pragmatic thinkers; we, who have actually in reality created programs that have actually worked. You’ve seen it just recently: “Cash for Clunkers.”

‘Clunkers’ program gives biggest boost to foreign carmakers

Clunker deals also boosted Ford and GM

Wait. I guess it wasn’t a boon to all of the car companys: Chrysler To Report 15% Drop In August Sales Due To Low Inventory

Sorry Chrysler. You snooze, you lose.

Or, more generally, from the stimulus:

U.S. Economy Gets Lift From Stimulus

Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Rose in July

It is time for the rabid free-market goons to go away. They are ruining it for the rest of us. I have said it before, and I need precious little excuse to say it again: Ayn Rand’s books should be wrapped in brown paper and kept behind the counter, not to be sold to any person younger than 35.