Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best post I've read today

Jeff Perren on the morality of Progressive thought:

Selling your power for a buck (or more power) is immoral, to be sure. Enslaving 95% of the country in perpetuity while pretending it's for the benefit of the other 5% is far worse. But corrupting your soul and demanding that others corrupt theirs - and calling it the height of virtue - is pure evil.

GMAC will get more tax dollars

Congratulations, dear, citizen. Can you hear the toilet flushing? According to the political elites that have decided to "save" society for us, returning GMAC back to profitability using tax funds is the right thing to do to avert disaster. But, isn't the red alert over already? Corporatism remains as strong as ever in Washington.

A 14 Trillion dollar economy

I find that many people really do underestimate how large the U.S. economy is compared to other countries. The chart below, provided by Mark Perry at Carpe Diem, replaces the names of states with the name of a country that has a similiar GDP.

You can look up the data for U.S. states here
and for foriegn countries here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wow! What a surprise!!

A new study found that banks that received bail out funds had strong political ties and great lobbyists. I'm shocked.

"Profits are evil!"

One of the best rants against the anti-profit crowd I have read in a long time. Here's a quote:

Greed is a vice that only affects other people; the beneficiary of a rent-controlled apartment is not being greedy in expecting to pay a below market rent, but merely collecting her due. It’s her landlord who’s avaricious in thinking he might make a market return on his investment.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The perversion of the interstate commerce clause

Interesting video on the interstate commerce clause and the decision by the Supreme Court to weaken it; this affects more than just wine sales to other states, it also negatively impacts the sale of health insurance policies across state borders. Since some states have imposed community rating and community issue mandates on the health insurance sold in their states, this has exacerbated the fiefdom and oligarchy of insurance companies that never have to worry about competition from other companies in other states.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Manufacturing Productivity

This post by Mark Perry is an important one; It needs to be repeated over and over again so that the myth that claims manufacturing in the U.S. has been waning or destroyed completely is finally debunked:

Workers today produce twice as much manufacturing output as their counterparts did in the early 1990s, and three times as much as in the early 1980s, thanks to innovation and advances in technology that have made today’s workers the most productive in history.

And that's American workers. Manufacturing employment is down but manufacturing productivity is at all time highs, folks. Let's keep it real.

More guns, fewer crimes?

Harrison Price on why more guns mean fewer murders and why gun control gives the advantage to criminals:

Gun control doesn’t affect criminals because they are… criminals… it only affect law abiding citizens (because they follow the law).

Criminals are not really afraid of police nor are they afraid of going to jail… what they are afraid of is a law abiding citizen using their firearm to kill them.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, dear friends and readers!

Jack Bauer Interrogates Santa Claus

LOL! A little humor before Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Hockey Stick Master

Here is a great article and profile of Steve McIntyre, the man who single handedly debunked Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick" theory seen in Al Gore's horrible film. An excerpt:

The hockey stick, featured in the 2001 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, had a profound influence on policy worldwide, and played a starring role in presentations like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. The McIntyre-McKitrick critique called attention to uncertainties in its temperature reconstructions dating back before 1600, to certain problems with dendrochronology (the use of tree rings to estimate past temperatures), and to issues with the statistical calculations underlying the hockey stick. Some climatologists insist that the graph tells the same story when you correct for all this, but much of the critique is now accepted, and the hockey stick, whose weaknesses are better understood, has itself become a somewhat inconvenient distraction for climatologists and environmentalists.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Markets in all things: Tattoo your eyeballs!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wanna tattoo your eyeballs? Come on, I know that you want to! It's probably coming to a mall near you.

HT: Carpe Diem

Ready to go POP!

As the Federal Reserve continues to keep interest rates low in an attempt to inflate the economy out of the doldrums, some economists warn that this will lead to another asset price bubble. No surprise there and when it happens it will be ugly. It seems that the people in power can not avoid making the same mistakes over and over again while the average citizen is eventually caught in an economic storm that they did not create.

Greenpeace gets its comeuppance

You know how Greenpeace just loves to hang it’s banners everywhere, even on national monuments, in order to drive home their message. Well, one group gave them a little taste of their own medicine.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot Air From Al Gore

Mr. Scaremonger is at it again. This time he's spewing more of his usual apocalyptic diatribe in Copenhagen. Mr. Gore outrageously claimed that a recent study predicted that the North Pole could be completely free of ice by sometime in the next decade. Unfortunately for Mr. Gore, the author of the study rejected Mr. Gore's wild conclusion.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No Consequences

Since it was our government working through an aggressive "affordable housing" campaign that was mainly responsible for the housing bubble and it’s subsequent collapse, and which then led to the financial storm that followed, why does anyone really believe that any legislation that comes out of Congress will address any "lack" of oversight of the financial sector? This legislation is obviously “red meat” for citizens fed the liberal narrative (Thank you, MSM!) that the entire collapse was due to "greed" and "lack of regulation." Where is the movement to remove Barney Frank and Chris Dodd from their powerful committee posts? Afterall, those two were right in the thicket of this whole national nightmare.

Higher Taxes here we come!

Great segment on The Kudlow Report should prepare us for the coming tax storm; it looms ominously before us. It looks like Democrats will start with the "evil" hedge funds and capital investment firms. With the massive health care bill they will slice and dice the rest of the 95% that Obama said he wasn't going to tax.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Economics of Recycling

I came across this video today by the Mises Institute. It is an excellent presentation of the folly of recycling which has become a powerful and pervasive myth in our "green" mad society.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jon Stewart on ClimateGate

Stewart is usually such a lefty but he hits this issue right on the button on this clip.

The Heat Is On!

Phil Jones, one of the scientists behind ClimateGate, temporarily steps down from his post. The ball is rolling, folks.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Politicians have incentives too

Do you really believe that politicians are being altruistic when legislating for global warming legislation?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Climategate!

Hmmm. It seems that this whole Climategate has indeed gone global:

An agency of the New Zealand government has been cooking the books to create a warming trend where none exists, according to a joint research project by global warming skeptics at the Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. The chief cook? Dr. Jim Salinger, considered one of the country's top scientists, who began the graph in the 1980s when he was at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the UK.

The plot thickens.


The mainstream media is working hard to downplay the Climategate scandal. I have noticed that one of my large local newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle, has ramped up Global Warming articles too.

Patrick J. Michaels of the Cato Institute was a guest on the Laura Ingraham Show and his comments on Climategate are quite revealing. In turns out that he had been physically threatened by one of the scientists involved in the scandal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Obama loves land mines, too!

Bush was excoriated for not signing an international ban on land mines by the Left; But Obama has decided to sign a ban on them too. It seems that reality is truly difficult to rid once your fellow is in the hot seat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jobs "saved or created" map

The Washington Examiner has an updated bogus jobs "created or saved" map. Let's face it, folks. The stimulus has been a big fat failure.

The Global Warming Mafia Strong-arms Against Dissent

What many who are skeptical of Al Gore's "Global Warming" hysteria have been complaining about turns out to have some teeth: The scientific consensus that climate change advocates tout has been achieved unethically by silencing dissent.

How Expensive Will It Be?

The creation of a new entitlement program will create another powerful interest group that will aggressively oppose deficit-reduction measures. Expect our federal deficit to remain high for decades to come.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An Interview with Jerry Taylor

Igor Sadovyi of Stockyard has an excellent interview with one of my favorite Cato scholar's--Jerry Taylor. Taylor is as informative and knowledgeable as ever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I hope this does not come to pass

Twelve depressing reasons the unemployment rate will rise to at least 12% according to economist David Rosenberg.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Chrysler Nixes Electric Car Program

Sooo, after Chrysler lured taxpayer funds from the hands of our elected representatives, they have since decided to axe the "Green" cars that they marketed as payment for government aid. Of course, Barack Obama was quick on the draw to give aid to Chrysler partly based on its newly found "Green" conversion. That didn't last long. Once again, the taxpayer ends up being a sucker.

The Tax Credit Pay Back

According to the L.A. Times:

For more than 15.4 million people, the Making Work Pay tax credit enacted as part of the $787-billion economic stimulus package could turn out to be a Making You Pay Back tax credit.

The problem: In order to maximize the credit's stimulative effect on the economy, withholding changes for taxpayers kicked in within days of Obama signing the legislation and taxpayers started seeing the changes in their paychecks in April. In essence, the credit was "advanced to taxpayers through their wages by a decrease in federal income tax withholding" for the 2009 and 2010 tax years, according to the report by the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The government giveth, the government taketh. There is no such thing as a free lunch, folks.

NPR vs. Cash for Clunkers

I've been listening to NPR's Planet Money podcasts lately in an attempt to seek out different points of view on economics and the economy . While I find that this podcast tends to deliver the usual left of center interpretation of economic news found just about everywhere you look these days. I will say that occasionally the podcast does ask some very good fundamental questions about the economy and economics.

The latest podcast is a good one. It tackles the issue of the viability of the Cash for Clunkers program with Jeremy Anwyl of Anwyl, CEO of, explains his company's recent report stating that the Clunkers program was a big ole failure. This, of course, has rankled the White House to no end. A rather terse interview with White House Keynesian hack, Austan Goolsbee, illustrates concretely how much this administration despises any questioning or criticism regarding their economic programs---even from left leaning journalists from NPR no less. But most importantly, how this administration goes to such great lengths to spin data that doesn't support their view with the usual "glass half full to your glass half empty" argumentation.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Big government cable makes private cable competitive?

Hmmm...sounds like the "public option" to me.

20 Years ago--The Fall of Communism

Blue Staters running to Red States...and fast!

From Forbes:

For the past decade a large coterie of pundits, prognosticators and their media camp followers have insisted that growth in America would be concentrated in places hip and cool, largely the bluish regions of the country...This narrative, which has not changed much over the past decade, is misleading and largely misstated. Net migration, both before and after the Great Recession, according to analysis by the Praxis Strategy Group, has continued to be strongest to the predominately red states of the South and Intermountain West.

This seems true even for those seeking high-end jobs. Between 2006 and 2008, the metropolitan areas that enjoyed the fastest percentage shift toward educated and professional workers and industries included nominally "unhip" places like Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo.

The overall migration numbers are even more revealing. As was the case for much of the past decade, the biggest gainers continue to include cities such as San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Rather than being oases for migrants, some oft-cited magnets such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago have all suffered considerable loss of population to other regions over the past year.

It seems that the "smart and hip" like low taxes, jobs, and livable surroundings just like the hicks that they constantly vilify. One last point from the article:

Virtually all the top 10 economies that have withstood the recession come from outside the "youth-magnet" field: San Antonio; Oklahoma City; Little Rock, Ark.; Dallas, Baton Rouge, La.; Tulsa, Okla., Omaha, Neb.; Houston and El Paso, Texas.

I may be needing a change of scenery if employment doesn't improve around here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Pain Goes On

The national unemployment rate is now at 10.2%--highest since 1983. If the Obama regime believes that it is going to reflate the economy out of this recession without any consequences, they are going to have a rude awakening.

In other news, the state of California has started, on November 1st, withholding 10% more in taxes from workers to shore up the state's deficit. No debate amongst the public and little news about this in local papers. Another perfect example of how government looks out for itself and how it will always try to expand its power at all costs. So much for representative government.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You can kiss $2.3 Billion bye-bye!

I’m surprised that this didn't get more coverage. Tax dollars just wasted away. Sigh.

Ron Paul on Larry King

I'm back! And my first post is about Ron Paul. I saw him on Larry King commenting on health care, corporatism, and capitalism. He was as sharp as always. Before Dr. Paul came on, King had liberal economist Michael Moore vomit more of his worn out welfare-statist ideas. I guess his movie isn't doing all that well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On Vacation till November 2nd.

I will be on vacation for 2 weeks. So, no posting for me till November 2nd. I will continue to post from time to time on some of my favorite blogs (you know who you are!) until I get back home. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Obama wants to cut a $250 check to seniors

Since the Social Security Administration won't be adjusting it's payout upwards due to negative inflation, President Obama proposes a one-time payment of $250 to senior citizens. First thought, does he really think $250 is enough? I mean, that's less than 5 bucks a week...that's hardly enough for a gallon of milk. Secondly, now that the value of a dollar has started to slide (partly due to our massive deficit spending) and commodities have started to rise in response because of inflation fears, the $250 bucks amount will essentially amount to squat by the time the bill for it gets through Congress. Thirdly, the funds for this "one-time payment" has to come from somewhere: It's going to come from borrowed funds ("The White House put the cost at $13 billion.") that will have to be paid back with interest. This "one-time" payment is going to be royally expensive and not very effective in reducing economic pain for seniors. Of course, the propaganda from Democrats and the White House is going to be in full tilt for this one. There's nothing like feigning compassion for a powerful voting bloc by granting them funds that is taken from some other group. It works like a charm and it's difficult to argue against.

This leads me to believe that this may be a political ploy by Democrats and the WH to try to pin Republicans (who may resist this one-time payment idea) as being cold, angry, and anti-senior citizens. The timing is interesting because of the health care fire that's dominating Washington right now. And afterall, some of the "brown shirted thugs" at the town hall protests were grandma and grandpa, what better way to win some of their support than to grease their palms with "compassion" bucks. Never underestimate the power of an emotional argument.

Oh, they must be kidding!!

The Saudi's say that they may want to be compensated for any drop in their oil revenues due to the U.S. adopting any alternative energy uses to combat "Global Warming." While I think that the whole Cap and Trade scheme is a wealth destroyer, the Saudi's really need to get a grip. Adapt or die, nimrod's!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Tax Hike Everted...For Now

Major American businesses were able to fight back a tax hike that was proposed by Barack Obama. The big question is for how long can they keep the potential job killer at bay. From the article, I get the sense that many business leaders that supported Obama in the Presidential campaign are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Pelosi is open to a Value Added Tax

Don’t you worry dear citizen, there are more taxes on the way! Hang tight because the next 12-14 months are going to be a real rocking good time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Prize for Peace!!

I thought that this was a joke when I saw it this morning. Strangely, it's not. When the Nobel committee gave the award to Al Gore, I commented that the Nobel Prize for Peace had at last become politicized. This latest move seals it.

Here are some worthy people that I think should have received this award and that are certainly far better picks that Barack Obama: Burmese monks whose defiance against, and brutalization at the hands of, the country's military junta captured the attention of the Free World several years ago and continue to bravely resist their government. The prize should have been awarded to Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and in some cases beaten by police back in 2007 while protesting peacefully against dictator Robert Mugabe. The Prize should have gone to Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam arrested in 2007 and sentenced to eight years in prison for helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406. The prize should have gone to Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyyouni, co-founders of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia, who are waging a modest struggle with grand ambitions to secure basic rights for women in that Muslim country. The prize should have gone to the people of Iraq, who bravely work to rebuild and reunite their country amid constant threats to themselves and their families from terrorists who deliberately target civilians. And finally, if the Nobel committee had any real moral rectitude, it could have awarded the prize to the people of Iran who resisted and protested against a corrupt voting process in their country.

It is pathetic that the Nobel committee chose to give the Peace price to someone who has done nothing to deserve it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A 70-80 Percent Tax Increase!!!

Economist Greg Mankiw of Harvard University took a long hard look at Max Baucus' healthcare bill and has concluded that it is a massive tax increase (close to 80%!!) for a very large portion of the American working population. While I am not surprised by Mr. Mankiw's overall assessment, I am very concerned that his analysis will be spun as right wing political noise. You can bet that most in Congress that want "reform" at all costs will not be debating this expensive conclusion.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New car sales crash after "clunkers" program

Wow. What a surprise. And to think that cheerleaders for this massive government transfer were just weeks ago patting themselves on the back. How long before Congress starts making noise to have another "clunker" of a program?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Power of the Poor

From the Freedom To Choose Network we see that a legal system and entrepreneurship emerges from humble origins even when government bureaucracy stifles opportunity and access to rights. Human beings don't need a government to organize, to create values, to act lawfully and to be legitimate productive members of a society.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Your Tax Dollars Are Paying for Finnish Cars!!

Thank you, Al Gore:

WASHINGTON -- A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000.

The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.

The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.

"This is not for average Americans," said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, an anti-tax group in Washington. "This is for people to put something in their driveway that is a conversation piece. It's status symbol thing."

Sweet! Be a Democratic contributor and get to stick your hand in the taxpayer trough! So now my taxes (and yours, dear reader) are going to benefit some Finnish eco-car company because Al Gore has convinced enough lemmings that the global apocalypse is nigh. Arrrggh!

But this also highlights some of the folly of having government, through tax payer funds, attempt to pick winners and losers in a market. In this case it's electric cars. Invariably, taxpayer dollars are going to go where taxpayers probably would not have wanted it to end up--in the hands of foreign capitalists trying to make a buck on our dime.

I still can't get over Al Gore, though. That fat cat is sitting pretty. He probably rubs his Nobel every night before he goes to sleep.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Little Citizens

Great post from Hornberger's Blog:

What the Left and the Right fail to recognize, however, is that the fundamental problem of public (i.e., government) schooling is not so much the indoctrination that inevitably takes place during the 18 years that children are attending.

Instead, the problem is the ultimate goal of government schooling — the molding of each child into a “good, little citizen,” one who will faithfully support the state and never challenge it in fundamental ways. That’s the state’s primary purpose of controlling the educational system in every country.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Real Members of Congress: Charlie Rangel

LOL!! Ah, yes! Charlie Rangel is a real piece of work.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Penn Jillette - Taxes

The madness of the progressive tax code is explored--only a bureaucrat out of a Kafka novel would love it. (Warning: Strong language.)

HT: Liberty Pen

Pictures of the day

Amazing pictures of a dust storm in Australia

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If you're poor and get sick...

Where would it be best to get sick if you are poor? Canada? France? Britain? And considering life expectancy, is it really much better in Canada, France, and Britain? Some new research on the subject.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pithy quote of the day

Thomas Sowell on underdogs:

One of the problems with trying to help underdogs, especially with government programs, is that they and everyone else start to think of them as underdogs, focusing on their problems rather than their opportunities. Thinking of themselves as underdogs can also dissipate their energies in resentments of others, rather than spending that energy making the most of their own possibilities.

More Bailouts?!

I couldn't believe this when I read it: Obama open to newspaper bailout bill. I have a headache.


Did you know that the Oktobefest beer festival is on?

Monday, September 21, 2009


Thought of the day: One of the hidden costs of subsidies is monitoring the process. Of course, politicians never bring this dirty little fact to light when they are pushing a program that will "benefit" society. ACORN is just such a program. No one bothered to check on their practices because like many government programs that are essentially political patronage the cost of monitoring is rife with costly political risk. Even if a Republican had, out of the blue, pushed against funding for ACORN--a hydra headed operation with a massive network--without the scandal now brewing, I believe that he would have been rebuffed by his own party. Heck, even Bush funded ACORN without any protest.

This is a lesson. Beware of government funding any program that proposes to fix society's ills. They always have very expensive hidden costs.

Size Does Matter

The Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation's new video presents real-world data and research showing that the burden of government spending is far too high – not only in the United States (where the Bush-Obama policies have increased the federal budget by more than 100 percent), but also in other nations where government budgets sometimes consume more than one-half of an economy's output.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CFL's come with a hefty cost

Harrison Price from Just Politics on the environmental unintended consequences of CFL bulbs.

Now a trade war with China. Great.

This is just what we need during a weak economy, a trade tiff with China.The UAW and the Obama Administration think that they are doing us a favor. Ah, no...they are doing themselves a favor. Yes, union jobs may be saved but others (non-union) like auto retailers will be lost. And since China is now slapping tariffs on chicken parts and auto parts, you can bet that jobs in those industries will be negatively affected. And consumers will have to pay more for goods as this drama escalates while dealing with high unemployment and a weak dollar. This is a train wreck. Larry Kudlow covered this issue nicely on the Kudlow Report. Note that the union lawyer saw no distinction between "protectionism" and being "defensive."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug dies at 95

Mr. Bourlaug did more for humanity than most people know; He pioneered agriculture methods that saved billions of poor people from starvation. I always enjoyed reading Mr. Bourlaug's occasional columns in the Wall Street Journal regarding the environment and food production. Where would the world be without the inventiveness of Mr. Norman Borlaug? We take his accomplishments for granted every day. Some people, of course, dislike Mr. Bourlaug's food science and consider it detrimental to humanity despite that it has fed billions and that there is no evidence whatsoever of it causing any harm. Penn and Teller in the video above provide insight and humor on this issue. (Warning: strong language.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never Forget 9-11

The Bobo Files has a most fitting post on this solemn of days.

Choosing Between Health Care and Alcohol

Mr. President, Using Higher Ed as an example for the Public Option is a Bad Idea!

On Wednesday in his address to Congress, President Obama spoke of how the "public option" could run parallel to private insurance and provide competition in the very same way that public colleges and private colleges operate in the same market. However, as we see in the chart above and the video below from 20/20, the cost of going to college (public or private) is very expensive and still climbing; public-private "competition" hasn't helped to drive costs down in higher education. In fact, the current system has made colleges less competitive and less accessible.

I'll be posting the reasons why higher education costs have been growing by leaps and bounds sometime within the next couple of days. By the way, I was happy to learn that John Stossel is now with Fox news.

The chart above is from Mark J. Perry's Carpe Diem

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More on Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality

I found this just recently and I thought it was worth sharing. It's on Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality statistics that we constantly encounter during the health care debate. Single payer and government option advocates are constantly using these gross statistics to validate their agenda. A closer look at how this statistics are compiled and interpreted is very valuable. It turns out that single payer and government option advocates' claims about Life Expectancy and Infant Mortality are not sound.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cartoons say it all...

Great political cartoons over at Disgruntled Republican.

Markets In All Things

Pears shaped like little baby Buddha's.

They Hate Capitalism

Art Carden writes an excellent piece on why capitalism is so unpopular with intellectuals and elites:

According to the do-gooders whom Adam Smith called "men of system," the average person is like a piece on a chessboard, to be arranged at the whim of a supervirtuous planner. The planner, who ignores the fact that each of the pieces has (as Smith put it) its own "principles of motion," does his best to orchestrate a game according to his own rules. Dissenters are not tolerated.

Yet people are not chess pieces, to be moved around at will. They are living, breathing, acting, thinking, rational beings with rights and dignity. Respect for their humanity rules out interventions by do-gooders, no matter what their intentions. The result of denying people their fundamental freedoms can be terrible, as the horrors of humanity's 20th-century experiments with collectivism have shown.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pictures of Normandy. Then and now.

Great pictures of the war ravaged streets of Normandy in 1944 and how they look now. Freedom and peace are beautiful things. We take it for granted every single day.

Politicians Behaving Badly

I used to live in the state of Massachusetts. Due to "blue laws" on Sunday's, if you wanted to get some beers for a BBQ or a cook out, you literally had to travel 45 minutes north to New Hampshire to purchase it; the booze was cheaper and there was no sales tax to boot. Needless to say, liquor stores just over the N.H. state line were packed with cars from Massachusetts. All those times I drove north I thought of how this was a lesson on how government laws and taxes neatly drove incentives right out of the state. Well, recently, the state of Massachusetts decided to raise state sales and alcohol taxes. (Heh, heh...liberals are a glutton for punishment.) Recently, a Massachusetts lawmaker that voted for the hike was caught sneaking up to N.H. to get his booze. The nerve of this guy!

A Westport lawmaker who voted to hike the state sales and alcohol taxes was spotted brazenly piling booze in his car - adorned with his State House license plate - in the parking lot of a tax-free New Hampshire liquor store, the Herald has learned.

Michael J. Rodrigues’ blue Ford Crown Victoria, emblazoned with his “House 29” Massachusetts license plate, was parked outside a Granite State liquor store on Interstate-95 South over the weekend, according to a witness who provided pictures to the Herald.

The witness, who requested anonymity, claimed he approached Rodrigues, noted his State House plate, and asked if he was on personal or official business. Rodrigues, who was loading booze into his car, snapped “mind your own business,” the witness said.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Van Jones Resigns

President Obama's Marxist "green jobs" advisor call it quits. Excellent. This man shouldn't be anywhere near a position of influence or power in D.C. Some of the conservative comments made to this story at the San Francisco Chronicle web site were hilarious and spot on. Here are two of my favorites:

Van The Man said:

Good--and he should have never been appointed to the job in the first place.

Jones is a radical extremist who advocated killing cops, served on boards with members of the Weather Underground--as did Obama--he preached that the U.S. was an "apartheid state", he was and is an unreconstructed racist, and he was nothing more than a black radical showoff.

He has the immaturity of a high school narcissist with a third rate public school education and has an undeveloped intellect that confuses noisy, attention getting accusations with valid claims and supportable truth.

If he wasn't black he never would have been appointed to the post--and he wouldn't have lasted as long as he did. Which was too long as of the first day he was there.

His appointment says much more about Obama than anybody else.

Obama isn't worthy to be President of the United States. And voters will give him an object lesson in the 2010 mid term elections. Obama will be a one-term failed experiment.

nocommiedian said:

Tuesday's To Do List:

1. Reinstate Freedom Fighter Records:
2. Call George Soros for a job
3. Try and get Glenn Beck off the air for exposing me to the public
4. Hire someone to ghost write another Green Collar jobs book
5. Blame Whitey
6. Call Rev. Wright for spiritual guidance

Great stuff! And here is a video regarding some of Obama's radical Czars:

Best post I've read on health care today

Robert Lawson from Division of Labor wrote the following on how he would like health care reformed. I think that is worthy of our attention:

Of course I would love to see no government involvement in health care or insurance at all, but government completely dominates almost everything about health care (as in finance). The system we have is based on the rules and incentives created by government. I honestly don't know what health care would look like without the government being involved. And given this starting place, it is all but impossible to disentangle the government's tentacles from the system.

But as far as logical first steps for policy: (1) end the tax advantage for obtaining health insurance from your employer. We HAVE to decouple health insurance from employment. Either allow individuals to deduct health costs or end the employer tax deduction. (2) End insurance policy mandates (e.g., mental health parity and the like) so people can buy insurance plans to fit their needs (3) Dramatically loosen (I would eliminate) medical licensing rules so that nurses and other health care pros can compete with doctors. (4) Drop prescription requirements for all drugs so we can get drugs without doctor approval.

It would be vastly better to handle most health care expenses out of pocket like we do everything else in life with insurance only used for catastrophic events. Medical savings accounts would help here perhaps. Insurance markets work well for fire, life, serious car accidents, etc. and can work for health care too but we can't insure day to day costs (well we can, but it is dumb to do so).

Alas, I expect we will always have some uninsured and some who have trouble paying for health care no matter what we do. Some people will die and suffer for lack of care or money. I know this bothers you. I don't like this myself but I accept that we live in a world of scarcity and that we will not have everything in life we want no matter how rich "we" become. I see health care as no more of a "right" than I do food or anything else. We can socialize medicine as you wish, but it will not end hardship or injustice. At best, socialized medicine will shift the margins of suffering to other areas (such as reducing medical innovation and economic growth in general).

Also I expect health care will continue to be very very expensive no matter what. If we want to drop a lot of money on wasteful and ineffective end-of-life procedures, which is the big problem, and we're spending our own money, then that's what we're going to do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's not technically "Death Panel's" but still...

From the Telegraph:

Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.

But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn...

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients."

The warning comes just a week after a report by the Patients Association estimated that up to one million patients had received poor or cruel care on the NHS.

Comment: This is what occurs when government is charged with the responsibilty to budget and set guidelines for end of life procedures. No one should be surprised by this.

HT: Carpe Diem

America's Smallest Bank

Ah, free-market capitalism.

Make Your Own Lambo

Some guy hand built a Lamborghini in his basement.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

John Stossel: Medicare is a Giant Ponzi Scheme!

$34 trillion of unfunded liabilities!

Here's a Presidental ticket I would love to see

"It is easy to be conspicuously 'compassionate' if others are being forced to pay the cost." -- Murray Rothbard

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thomas Sowell - The Housing Boom and Bust

Comment: When some conservatives noted that the Community Reinvestment Act had some factor in the housing collapse, liberal commentators responded by saying that the CRA program and those that participated in it had very little default rates. While this is true, the point that is missed by liberal critics is that the CRA created a culture outside of the CRA program where "affordable" housing activists via progressive politicians effectively influenced financial regulators into pressuring banks to make more loans to less-than-creditworthy borrowers than they would normally be willing to risk. The political epitome of this is Mr. Barney Frank. He constantly pushed public policy to address a "housing affordibilty problem." The results of his work is the housing bubble and collapse.

John Stossel: Insurance Makes Healthcare Far More Expensive

If there is one thing that this video highlights, it's that the current state of health care lacks price coordination, transparency, and real competition.

BTW, notice how Stossel puts the health insurance lobbyist on the spot.

"We're from the government, and we are here to help."

I need a good laugh right now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inflation as a corrosive moral agent

Words of great insight and wisdom from Theodore Dalrymple. Inflation will whittle away your savings and soul:

At the time, I gave no thought to the effects of this inflation, which tended to be discussed in purely economic terms—experts would ask, say, whether inflation was compatible with satisfactory economic growth. In a naive way, I assumed that since most people’s income tended to rise with inflation, there was nothing to worry about. I did not suffer personally because of it, nor did most of the people I knew. If a product once cost y and now cost 10y, what did it matter, so long as your income had gone up by ten times, too? Since people seemed better off, at least measured by what they could consume, one could even assume that incomes had risen faster than inflation.

Yet this was a crude way of looking at things, as my father’s fate should have instructed me. He sold his business in the sixties, at the end of the period of price stability that had reigned throughout his life, for what then seemed a large amount of money. He was a man who, for both temperamental and ideological reasons, held a deep contempt for financial speculation and wheeling and dealing, with the result that he did nothing as inflation inexorably eroded his savings. He grew poorer and poorer through the remaining 30 years of his life, and might have sunk into poverty had he not moved into a house that I owned.

Monday, August 31, 2009

This is why California is a mess...

Yes, now you know what my neighbors are like.

Are These People Really Protecting Us?

A sheer nightmare at airport security. This was written back in 2002 and it is still relevant:

At the security checkpoint I was led aside for the "inspection" that’s all the rage at airports these days. My shoes were removed. I was told to take off my sweater, then to fold over the waistband of my pants. My baseball hat, hastily jammed on my head at 5 AM, was removed and assiduously examined ("Anything could be in here, sir," I was told, after I asked what I could hide in a baseball hat. Yeah. Anything.) Soon I was standing on one foot, my arms stretched out, the other leg sticking out in front of me à la a DUI test. I began to get pissed off, as most normal people would. My anger increased when I realized that the newly knighted federal employees weren’t just examining me, but my 7½ months pregnant wife as well...

...I found my wife sitting in a chair, crying. Mary rarely cries, and certainly not in public. When I asked her what was the matter, she tried to quell her tears and sobbed, "I’m’s...they touched my breasts...and..." That’s all I heard. I marched up to the woman who’d been examining her and shouted, "What did you do to her?" Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts – to protect the American citizenry – the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side – no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line. And for you women who’ve been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look. "I felt like a clown," my wife told me later. "

Read the rest of this story here.

Tomato's Galore

These are some great pictures of the Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. Ker-splat!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

White House, Congress projects record deficits

From AP:

The federal government faces exploding deficits and mounting debt over the next decade, White House and congressional budget officials projected Tuesday in competing but similar economic forecasts.

Both the White House Office of Management and Budget and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the budget deficit this year would swell to nearly $1.6 trillion, a record, and far above the then-record 2008 budget deficit of $455 billion.

But while figures released by the White House foresee a cumulative $9 trillion deficit from 2010-2019, $2 trillion more than the administration estimated in May, congressional budget analysts put the 10-year figure at a lower $7.14 trillion...

...Beyond the 10-year forecast, the nation will face further challenges posed by rising health care costs and the aging of the population, the CBO said. "The budget remains on an unsustainable path" over the long-term and will require some combination of lower spending and higher tax revenues, it said.

Both forecasts see unemployment rising to 10 percent before falling and both suggest growth will return to the economy later this year but that recovery will be slow after the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s

Comment: This is no surprise to fiscal conservatives that have been sounding the alarm since Bush was in office. With the threat of government interventionist policies like Cap and Trade and a massive overhaul of the health care system, the private economy will have to carry a burden that may be so large that any real and sustained growth will be difficult. The article didn't mention anything about inflation which would be another thorn to knead its way into our economy.

No Degree, No Problem

Looking for a job or a career change? Here are some occupations that don't require years of college and thousands of dollars in tuition. While I enjoyed going to University, sometimes I wonder if it was worth the time and expense. Especially since some of the most talented individuals that I have met in my field (Finance--Treasury) have been people that started their careers with little formal training; they learned everything they needed to succeed on the job by finding a mentor that was an expert in the field. I can't tell you how many times I have come across managers with MBA's that were not nearly as talented or effective as some without MBA's and that rose to their position from the bottom up.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oregon Health Plan Denies Chemo Medicine

Happy Monday! This is a sad and sorry video; coming to an America of the future if we get ObamaCare.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't Call Me Fumbles--Robot Chicken

Robot Chicken is very funny. I try not to stay up so late to watch it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Profiting From The Sick

From The Mises Institute:

An old-time socialist cliche in favor of socialized medicine is that private companies profit from people's sickness, which is supposed to be unconscionable. Actually the best way to meet people's needs is through a system that permits profitability as a sign of success and efficiency, just as it makes sense that farmers should profit from people's hunger or builders should profit from people's need for shelter etc.

Progressives tend to frame capitalism as a system of profit only. But they ignore the threat of losses that are the results of inefficiency. More importantly, I don't buy the argument that if people are motivated by profits, it means that they will automatically be greedy and immoral.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Question About Private Health Insurance

Cafe Hayek has a wonderful post on private health insurance. A reader named Tom commented thusly:

Imagine we had entirely private health insurance market – no Medicare or Medicaid. If I live to be sixty-five, I will probably have a personal and/or family history that indicates a strong probability of developing an expensive chronic condition. I would wager that is true of almost all sixty-five year olds.
So here is my question: which insurer in their right mind would take on my risk?
I suspect none. Once philanthropy and savings were exhausted, I would surely risk a painful life and preventable death.
Do I want this? Does anyone? Isn’t “socialized” medicine for older people an unpleasant moral necessity for our wealthy society? Please note I am deeply suspicious of most arguments cast in moral terms in discussions of politics and economics. I ask these questions guardedly.

Russell Roberts encouraged some of his regular commenters to respond to Tom's concern with excellent results. Here is one of my favorites by a commenter named aleksanderhansen:


I will give one (out of many) potential solution. Will insurers simply stop offering coverage to these individuals less they pay very high premiums?

One solution to your problem would be to enter into an insurance contract today which guarantees you continued coverage when you reach that age. On one hand, such an insurance policy might have premiums that are, ceteris paribus, higher than other insurance contracts to compensate the insurer over time for the (increasing) probability of you developing a condition in the later stages of your life. On the other hand, the fact that you are committing to a very long-term contract benefits the insurance company - they will have a secure income stream for a long time. This would exert downward pressure on the premiums.

Along similar lines one might also imagine a futures market for insurance, i.e., you buy a contract today which guarantees you coverage when you reach a certain age, at an agreed upon price.

Some of the other comments which address free market solutions to health care are excellent so go check out this post.

Don't Forget The Liberal Goose Step!

John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods writes an op-ed in the WSJ on how to fix health care via free-market solutions and the Left are now organizing to boycott his business. Mackey didn't goose-step in time for Liberals, he voiced his opinion, and now they are ready for blood. So much for tolerance, understanding, and constructive debate.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lot's Of Conservatives Out There...

From The Bobo Files:

The Gallup Poll linked above indicates that this is the highest number of individuals who have ever self-identified as Conservative versus Liberals. Now is the time for Conservatives to take back our country from those left-leaning liberal socialists who are bent on destroying the morals and very fiber of America through their immoral policies and agendas. Get out and vote in 2010 and let those arrogant bastards in D.C. know that we aren’t going to take it any longer.

The Gallup Poll

Comment: Democrats in the 2010 elections may find out the hard way that the U.S. is more of a center right nation than they think.

Rose Friedman, Economist Partner of Husband Milton, Dies at 97

Rose Friedman, champion of liberty and free market economics has passed away. Godspeed, Rose, godspeed.

Rare Star Wars Photos

Nerd alert! I love Star Wars and these pictures are great!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth

If The Government Controls Health Care...

Jonah Goldberg writes the following on health care:

Now, I don’t think Soylent Green-style solutions are coming down the pike. (Government cheese is people!) But every nationalized health-care system to one degree or another rations care based on the quality of life and number of “life years” a procedure will yield. That’s perfectly reasonable. If you put me in charge of everyone’s health care, I would do that, too. That’s a really good argument for not giving me — or anyone else — that power.

When it comes to civil liberties, liberals are often distrustful of government power. But, for reasons that baffle me, they are quite comfortable with Uncle Sam getting into the business of deciding, or providing “guidance” on, which lives are more valuable than others. A government charged with extending life expectancy must meddle not just with our health care, but with what we eat, how we drive, how we live. A government determined to cut costs must meddle not just with how we live, but how we die.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Obama tries to compare healthcare to the USPS--Stupid Move

Larry Kudlow nails this issue perfectly:

It's hard to know why President Obama said what he said at Tuesday's health-care town hall in New Hampshire. He actually stated: "If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems."

Oops. Freudian slip? Subliminally speaking, was the president inferring that private health insurers are doing just fine?

Government insurance is what's in trouble today. Medicare is in the hole by about $40 trillion on a discounted present-value basis over the next 40 or 50 years. And if we're going to equate government care to government mail, according to Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard, the U.S. Postal Service is going bankrupt with a $7 billion net loss this year. With 633,000 career employees, the Post Office won't be able to make $5.4 billion in retiree health-benefit payments. How many of these federal employees will populate the new government-backed insurance plan if it passes?

...Obama's health-care gaffes are mounting. At a press conference a few weeks back, the president let fly with an attack on doctors who remove tonsils instead of handing out allergy pills. Since doctors are very popular in America, and with many Obamacare protesters opposed to putting government central planners between doctors and patients, this was a big mistake.

Whoops! Obama admitted that private companies do a better job delivering items than a government run entity. This is no surprise to me or anyone else that is an advocate for the free-market. If he wants his ObamaCare to survive he best stick to the script of vilifing private enterprise.

For those that want to argue that the United States Postal Service is semi-private or privatized, read the following: The USPS is exempt from paying federal, state, or local taxes on its income, sales, purchases, or property. Unlike private companies, it is immune from most forms of regulation, such as antitrust, motor vehicle registration, parking tickets, zoning, and land use restrictions. It is also able to borrow money at the lowest possible rate through the U.S. Treasury. And with all these advantages, the USPS still can not balance its books. As Kudlow points out, "the U.S. Postal Service is going bankrupt with a $7 billion net loss this year." Incredible. Where will health care end up if the government takes it over?

So, how is the USPS "semi-privatized?" Well, private firms who submit the lowest bids are allowed to do all of the long -haul trucking for the USPS. Air transportation firms are also allowed to bid for jobs as are sorting facilities for express mail. That's pretty much it. The USPS has fought proposals for full privitization for a long time with horrendous results. So when Obama gaffes by trying to compare the health care industry to UPS, FedEx, and the USPS, a closer examination is very revealing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Town Hall Meeting

This is a great post on a first person account of a town hall meeting.

HT: The Bobo Files

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Obamanomics Explained - Spreading the Wealth

Hilarious and so true!!

HT: Liberty Pen

The Hypocrisy Of The Left

The Left has been responding to the ruckus at town hall meetings by claiming that the Right's protests are completely different from the Left's protests. You see their protests (The Left) seem to have more legitimacy because they never tried to shut down debate at town hall-like meetings. Whoops! Except these protests at town hall meetings in 2005.

HT: Newmark's Door

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Poll: Only 32% Favor Government-Run Health Care

Rasmussen Reports has a new poll: "Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% are opposed to a single-payer plan."

I know what Obamacare supporters will say, "Rasmussen is biased and Republican." My answer to that is--prove that Rasmussen's polling methods are unsound. Additionally, when Rasmussen polls showed that Obama was clearly ahead of McCain last year, I didn't hear much complaining about bias from the Left.

Read the Rasmussen Report here

On Life Expectancy

Another Democratic talking point challenged; this time its the low U.S. life expectancy myth that supporters of ObamaCare continuously parrot. From Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho:

Life expectancy in the United States fares poorly in international comparisons, primarily because of high mortality rates above age 50. Its low ranking is often blamed on a poor performance by the health care system rather than on behavioral or social factors. This paper presents evidence on the relative performance of the US health care system using death avoidance as the sole criterion. We find that, by standards of OECD countries, the US does well in terms of screening for cancer, survival rates from cancer, survival rates after heart attacks and strokes, and medication of individuals with high levels of blood pressure or cholesterol. We consider in greater depth mortality from prostate cancer and breast cancer, diseases for which effective methods of identification and treatment have been developed and where behavioral factors do not play a dominant role. We show that the US has had significantly faster declines in mortality from these two diseases than comparison countries. We conclude that the low longevity ranking of the United States is not likely to be a result of a poorly functioning health care system.

Read the entire paper here.

HT: Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution

Monday, August 10, 2009

ObamaCare = Longer Wait Times; Exhibit A: MASS

The Massachusetts experiment with public health care has not been working as well as it was advertised in 2006. The commonwealth's 2006 program closely resembles what Democrats are trying to push on the American public. Well, here are some inconvenient facts about the program:

From the 2009 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times (see p. 14):

As these numbers (in the chart above) indicate, Boston experiences by far the longest average wait times of any of the 15 metropolitan markets. In addition, wait times in Boston increased in 2009 over 2004 in three of the four specialties where comparisons are possible: dermatology, ob/gyn and orthopedic surgery. In general, wait times decreased in 2009 relative to 2004 in most metropolitan markets surveyed, with several exceptions.

Long wait times in Boston may be driven in part by the healthcare reform initiative that was put in place in Massachusetts in 2006. The initiative succeeded in covering many of the state’s uninsured patients. However, it has been reported that many patients in Massachusetts are encountering difficulty in accessing physicians. Survey results support these reports. Long appointment wait times in Boston also may signal what could happen nationally in the event that access to healthcare is expanded through healthcare reform. Increased demand resulting from improved access to care for approximately 47 million uninsured people can be expected to extend doctor appointment wait times in many markets.

HT: SBVOR and Carpe Diem

Dissent Is Patriotic

Debra J. Saunders has written a succinct and poignant piece on the town hall protests:

Now I don't think Obamaland was working on an "enemies list" - as some conservatives have charged. But I do want to note how deftly the left has abandoned its old rallying cry, "Dissent is patriotic."

Democratic leaders have taken to dissing health care dissenters who show up at town-hall meetings conducted by members of Congress visiting their districts - and not just for the boorish behavior of the loudmouths.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, dismissed protesters as "AstroTurf" - artificial grassroots support. On MSNBC's "Hardball," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., exhorted the media to investigate town-hall protesters, as "This is just all organized."

And: "You in the media have to take a look at what's going on here. This is all planned. It's to hurt our president and it's to change the Congress."

When Boxer grilled Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about what personal price the childless Rice paid for the Iraq war, Boxer later boasted that she was "speaking truth to power." But when angry voters try to do the same with elected officials, whether they're heckling them or just showing up, Boxer wants the media to investigate.

It's laughable: Democrats discrediting protests because - ooooooh - they're organized. Last year, weren't these same folks guffawing about Jesus being a community organizer?