Herbert Hoover was born 138 years ago in West Branch, Iowa. They haven’t elected another Iowan as President since for some reason. Arnold Kling ponders the Hoover presidency:
Price V. Fishback and John Joseph Wallis write,
Federal budget outlays in real dollars rose 88 percent under Hoover between 1929 and 1932, faster than the growth in the first three years under Roosevelt (although starting from a lower base). Budget deficits under Hoover look more Keynesian than Roosevelt’s deficits, although likely not by Hoover’s design.
The conventional wisdom is that Herbert Hoover sat back and did nothing, and then Roosevelt cured the Depression with the New Deal. In fact, I think that economic historians tend to see both Presidents making similar mistakes. The most common view among economists today is that going off the gold standard was President Roosevelt’s best policy move, while many of the other New Deal policies, most especially the National Recovery Administration, were a hindrance.
President Hoover will always be linked to the depression. That’s fair, though the story is much more interesting than the comic-book version of popular history.
State rejects Windsor Heights’ bid for revenue cameras (Des Moines Register):
The portion of I-235 that goes through Windsor Heights has the highest crash rate in the county, according to the city’s proposal.
(Windsor Heights Police Chief) McDaniel said that while the cameras will likely pay for themselves, the city wasn’t thinking about additional revenue when they proposed the project. Any potential revenue would go toward equipment purchases for public safety entities, he said.
Windsor Heights has long been notorious as an incorporated speed trap. Why would anyone think that the cameras would be there just for revenue? They are also there to award special favors to other government agencies!
Yes, that stretch has a lot of accidents — because of the design of the road, where having one too few lanes to accommodate three exits in a short stretch causes daily traffic backups. Why are there too few lanes? If my memory serves, it’s because Windsor Heights objected to an extra lane through their fair city.
Yes, government programs require government regulation. The Quad City Times concludes an editorial on the film program this way:
Iowa, like many states, wheels and deals with tens of millions of dollars in tax credits every year to encourage senior housing, economic development, energy efficient homes and businesses and countless other initiatives. Witter’s jury acquitted a professional, degreed and licensed accountant of any criminal culpability for submitting expenses the state auditor later documented as unfounded.
So without extensive government regulation, Iowa’s tax credit programs seem ripe for the picking.
So what government is supposed to regulate a state government program?
It came out in the most recent film credit trial that the man who brokered 2/3 of the $36 million of tax credits issued — 80% of them improperly — received over $400,000 in commissions for his efforts. So while the programs are advertised as benefiting “senior housing, economic development, energy efficient homes and businesses and countless other initiatives,” remember that the real beneficiaries are well-connected fixers and middlemen.
Josh Barro asks, “Is Iowa Necessary?”
What’s so great about the wind credit? Well, according to Branstad, it has encouraged the construction of wind turbines all over Iowa, which means jobs for Iowans and rental income for Iowa farmers. If that sounds to you a lot like the arguments for subsidizing solar power — and the arguments for every industrial subsidy ever — you’re not alone.
Of course, the really important difference between wind subsidies and solar subsidies is that Iowa is windy and not especially sunny. If the purpose of the federal government is to do nice things for Iowa, then obviously it should prioritize wind over solar.
His solution for the problem of Iowa extortion:
We could reduce Iowan tyranny by taking away its status as the first state to hold presidential caucuses. But Iowa would remain a swing state with outsized influence in the general election. The only way to really be safe is to revoke Iowa’s statehood, returning it to a territory whose representatives in Washington, D.C., would play a purely advisory role — and whose residents would have no part in choosing the president.
OK, we have our faults here, but put California and Illinois in receivership first, then we can talk about Iowa. Update: Josh Barro Declares War on Iowa (Reihan Salam)
Kay Bell: IRS ignored fake tax ID numbers, potentially costing Treasury billions. Good thing we have open-book competency exams for tax preparers. More from Peter Pappas. Meanwhile, Jason Dinesen has a new installment of the saga of how IRS negligence on the refund fraud front led to a nightmare for a widowed client. A Ways and Means Republican has called for the resignation of IRS Commissioner Shulman to resign in the wake of the new revelations of IRS malfeasance. It’s long overdue.
Russ Fox, What a Drag:
Write a business plan, have a separate bank account, and keep good records! Trust me, you’ll be happy you did
If you want to deduct your expenses, that is.
Howard Gleckman, The Bowles-Simpson and Romney Tax Plans Have Almost Nothing in Common (TaxVox)
Jim Maule, You Get What You Vote For. The good professor just can’t imagine why voters would distrust the government to spend more money wisely.
But you still have to pay the rent somehow. It Is Never Unreasonable to Quit a “Good Job” If You Hate Your Life (Going Concern)
News you can use: Strippers of America, Get Your W-4s Ready. You’re Employees Now. (Anthony Nitti)