Penny and Horner (really, it's the Muppets)
by Steve Timmer
Sep 7, 2013, 9:00 PM

Old candidates never die

They just lose their marbles

Reviewing their notes from their monumentally unsuccessful bids for governor, Tom Horner and Tim Penny pen yet another installment in their serial crackpottery in the Strib. Really, kids, they are all the same, but for reasons clear not even to me, I decided to fish this one out for a little comment. Mostly, I suppose, I wanted to use the graphic.

I have tried for some time to figure out the central organizing principle for the thinking and writing of these two. I don’t think there is one, unless it’s: You whippersnappers don’t know shit from shinola. Listen to us; we can fix everything!

The Boyz in the Balcony might say they are non-ideological. I’d say they are merely nonsensical.

And pearls like these drop from the balcony for all of us to find:

The same holds true when short-term jobs are subsidized as “economic stimulus.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, every job created by the recession-recovery stimulus program cost American taxpayers between $500,000 and $4 million.

Thoughtful policy would have government saying “no” to most businesses seeking public handouts. Instead, redirect the money to rebuilding the country’s roads, ports and other infrastructure. Those investments create good construction jobs today and build the foundation for future economic expansion.

Apparently, neither of these guys owns a car and has driven around much lately. But construction jobs are “short term,” guys; they end when the project is finished. The fact that each job is “expensive,” just means that each construction worker along with his or her employer, creates a lot of value; the worker is productive, in other words.

We could, guys, return to the coolie system (I know some people think that’s pejorative; don’t bother to write in), I suppose, with thousands of workers with buckets of rocks, but somehow, I just don’t see it.

And speaking of thousands of Asian workers with buckets of rocks, listen to the Boyz in the Balcony on immigration:

Immigration reform shouldn’t just be about border security and undocumented aliens. Even though only a third as many visas are issued today as before 9/11, fully 68 percent of our nation’s doctoral graduates are born elsewhere. Instead of staying here and creating businesses as they once did, most now return home after their studies. Immigration reform should make it easier for bright and ambitious foreigners to build this country’s economy.

I guess that Tim and Tom have not been on the business end of a tongue depressor at Urgent Care for some time. Anyway, as the OECD has observed, and I linked to some time ago (just do a search for OECD either here or on the Stool), there are much better places for upward mobility than the US these days.

Examining this tripe any further is pointless. But just for fun, kids, you should read the commentary and count the “shoulds” or “shoundn’ts.”

And here’s the sad conclusion reached by Tim and Tom:

The bottom line, though, is that policymakers have misdiagnosed the current economic downturn, seeking short-term answers when long-term, fundamental reform is needed. At this crucial time, facing a reset second only to that experienced in the 1930s, we need better leadership than we are getting.

The Boyz in the Balcony are standing by.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.