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.