Hurricane Katrina has ushered in a flood of Dunce commentary on economics. U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) has called for price controls on gas. I guess she prefers unavailable gas at $2.50 to available gas at $3.25. I’m waiting for her to quote Ralph Nader on the soulful virtues of waiting in lines. Another U.S. Senator, Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from my home state of North Dakota, demands a super tax on oil-company profits. That’s a fine way to stop the search for new wells. I know Sen. Dorgan — nice guy, crackling sense of humor, loyal to his state, but dumb as a brick on economics.
But we’re going to leave Katrina behind and look to the future. In early October, the U.S. Senate will vote on what is the worst bill I’ve seen in my lifetime: The Hawaiian Government Recognition Bill. It was brought to the floor by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and it seeks to create one new Native American tribe made up of U.S. citizens with “one drop” or more of native Hawaiian blood. The tribe would have its own Constitution, and be exempt from state and federal taxes. It would, of course, get gobs of federal money just like other Native American tribes. Tax Californians to pay Hawaiians is the idea. You can read the bill for yourself.
The disaster in New Orleans reminds us that the most blighted economic regions within the U.S. are in welfare colonies: public housing in older cities and Indian reservations. The irony, of course, is that the Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill seeks to take the very worst economic model we have in the U.S. and apply to much of the 50th state.
Unbelievably, Hawaii’s Republican Governor, Linda Lingle, supports Akaka’s bill. So do a least six U.S. Senate Republicans, who are set to vote yes in early October. It is even rumored that President George W. Bush will let this racist act sneak by without a veto, should it pass. If the bill passes, and the president refuses to veto it, you can be sure GWB will be our Dunce of the Week, perhaps even our Dunce of the Year.
Here is a terrific commentary on the insanity of Sen. Akaka’s cockeyed bill.