TheDC Morning: The fate of supply-side economics rests on Jerry Brown’s shoulders

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Obama writes editorial against regulatory excess, can name only one excessive regulation — Overly schoolmarmish regulations have to go, Pres. Obama writes in an op-ed in the morning’s Wall Street Journal. In it, Obama pays lip service to America’s semi-free market system as the source of “dazzling ideas and path-breaking products” and “the greatest force for prosperity the world has ever known.” The op-ed is a curtain-raiser for this afternoon, when Obama will sign an executive order that “requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth,” as well as “a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive.” But do not get your hopes too high: Apparently, the only regulatory excessiveness that Obama could think of was artificial sweetener: “The FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.” Meanwhile, a spox for Rep. Eric Cantor wishes Obama had released this executive order in 2009, when House Republicans proposed it first.

2.) Poll: Americans do not want more gun control — “Like similar violent events in the past, the Arizona shootings did not generate greater support for tougher gun-control measures in general,” a Washington Post and ABC News poll found. Roughly half the country would still like to take away everyone else’s guns and/or high capacity ammo clips, but that number hasn’t increased in the wake of the Tucson shooting. “Overall, 52 percent favor stricter gun-control laws, a number little changed in recent years and down from where it was after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.” Meanwhile, “About a third – 31 percent – favor a blanket prohibition on the sale of all handguns, except to law enforcement officers, which is comparable to public opinion after the Columbine school shootings in 1999 in Littleton, Colo., and lower than what it was after Virginia Tech.” Once again, the peasants keep their wits, while all about them, the technocrats are losing theirs.

3.) Four-year degree programs are two years too long — “Nearly half of the nation’s undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college,” reports USA Today. The new report, culled from the book, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” found that “after two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.” Also: “Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago, the research shows.” And: “50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages; 32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.” Basically, your kid needs the first two years to get the binge drinking/sexual experimentation out of his/her/its system.

4.) Is the definitive case for tax cuts being administered right now? — “State governments are beginning to choose one of two directions to dig out of deep budget deficits, and the resulting clash of visions between raising taxes or cutting spending has some conservatives salivating at the contrast between liberal and conservative philosophies of how to create economic growth,” writes The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward. But even if there is a clear winner between, say, New Jersey and Illinois, economists are hesitant to say that the same rules apply at the federal level. “It is really important to recognize the fundamental differences–statutory and constitutional requirements to balance the budget, capital budgets, etc. – that make the states very different from the Feds,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin. “Having said that,” quipped the former McCain staffer, “I agree that it will be interesting to see how they manage their finances.” Very!

5.) Small army of investigators fails to dredge up evidence that Loughner was politically motivated — Three Washington Post reporters filing copy from Arizona found that “a team of 250 federal investigators and 130 local detectives trying to understand why Jared Lee Loughner went on his alleged killing spree” have “conducted more than 300 interviews with family, friends and neighbors since the shooting,” but “remain stumped about what ultimately prompted the 22-year-old’s descent into violence.” You’d think that if it were “heated rhetoric” or “aggro campaign maps” or “hate floating in the air like spirit smog” that inspired Loughner, somebody would’ve found something by now, right? Right?

6.) House Republicans begin symbolic repeal of Obamacare today — House Republicans commence their futile-but-supposedly-morale-boosting repeal of Obamacare today. Senate Dominatrix Harry Reid has said he won’t entertain such a vote in the Senate, and Pres. Obama has said he will not sign such a bill. If you’re at all curious as to what actually comes next, The Examiner’s Tim Carney has the lay of the land. “In a June 2010 briefing on K Street, one participant asked [David Bowen, former health staff director of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee] what will happen when Obamacare’s bill comes due. “If the things that are in the bill fail to reduce cost, or they need more oomph,” Bowen said, “then that is the next big phase of health care reform.”