Offered Without Comment — An American Tune

I’m working steadily on my iPod rebuilding project, moving through the iTunes library from A to Z.  I’m up to P.

I just now listened once again to Paul Simon’s epic, brilliant American Tune — and it spoke to me again, as it always does, even though it was first recorded more than 35 years ago, in a different context, for a different America.

A Costly Solar Flame-Out (V)

The latest development in the infuriating Solyndra saga is that the Labor Department has approved “Trade Adjustment Assistance” for the 1,100 ex-employees of Solyndra.

The TAA program provides aid to workers who supposedly lost their jobs due to the trade practices of foreign countries. The available assistance includes job retraining, job search allowances, health benefits, and up to 130 weeks — that is, more than 2 years — of “income support.”  Under the TAA program, the average recipient gets about $13,000 in assistance.  In short, the Labor Department decision means that taxpayers will potentially foot the bill for about $14.3 million in TAA expenses, in addition to the $535 million in loan guarantees that was lost when Solyndra went bankrupt.

In short, the Labor Department is saying that Solyndra’s failure was due to Chinese trade practices, and not to the fact that Solyndra was poorly managed and couldn’t produce a competitively priced product even with massive federal assistance.  The decision therefore provides some political cover for the disastrously misguided loan guarantees — if Solyndra’s failure is blamed on Chinese trade practices, it makes the Obama Administration’s decision to provide the guarantees in the first place seem more defensible.

Solyndra continues to be the governmental “investment” that keeps on taking.

Giving Thanks For Our Political Leaders

This Thanksgiving week, I’d like to give special thanks for our political leaders.  At this time of national challenge, we are blessed with a political class whose spirit of self-sacrifice, personal courage, and intestinal fortitude compare favorably to those of our Pilgrim Fathers and the Signers of the Declaration of Independence.

I’m thankful for politicians who haven’t let the need to reassure nervous financial markets or the selfish concerns of Americans whose retirement savings accounts will be depleted by wild stock market plunges distract them from their crucial campaigning and fundraising.

I’m thankful for the President and Members of Congress who wisely decided to discard old-fashioned political processes and delegate all deficit reduction efforts to a “supercommittee.”

I’m thankful for the members of the “supercommittee” who rolled up their sleeves and had a few meetings and hearings before calling it quits.

I’m thankful for the far-sighted Democrats and Republicans who had the courage to accept a decrease in our national credit rating in order to stand up to the unreasonable expectations of the ratings agencies.

I’m thankful for the Members of Congress whose intuitive understanding of economics is so great that they have been able to increase their personal fortunes while serving the public good.

I’m thankful for a bold President who recognizes that the most crucial question to be answered when addressing any important issue is how to ensure that others will be held strictly accountable for the ultimate failure.

I’m thankful for those perceptive Democrats and Republicans who have finally come to realize that most Americans want to shrug off the weighty mantle of global leadership and be more like Greece.

Finally, I’m thankful for those enlightened political leaders who recognize that every single federal program, every single federal job, and every single federal tax exemption, deduction, and loophole is absolutely essential to the future of our Republic and cannot possibly be eliminated or changed in any way.

With leaders such as these, is there any doubt that our great nation can squarely meet and overcome whatever challenges might confront us?  The turkey is going to taste especially good this year.