Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Weird Stuff

Why is Queen Christina telling Argentines to eat more pork because it is good for their sex lives? Because she cratered the Argentine beef industry, that's why.


"Obama Tells Republicans Voters Weary of Partisanship, Seek Job Security"

Maybe it's just me that is all whacky, but I'm not one bit weary of partisanship and not seeking job security at all. I'm weary of one party rule and decreasing liberty and I'm seeking the chance to make my way unmolested in a free (not "mostly free") economy. Given Obama's record of being "in touch" everyday folks, well, I'm pretty sure it ain't me that's off on this one.

Two Days On, Does Anybody Remember Anything Other Than the SCOTUS Snub??

Megan McArdle figures out what I pointed out awhile ago.

Consensus seems to be emerging that his SCOTUS gambit in the SOTU was 1) factually incorrect, 2) a stupid move, 3) a jerk move. Some of us saw this from day one. For me (just like Scott Ott) it was more scary than anything - bullying the courts is what despots do.

Ruskies Find a Billion Barrels

Chalk up another billion barrels, in yet another one of those "picked over" old-hat oil regions. Nothing to see here, move along, we can't drill our way out of our problems...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Is Venezuela About to Boil Over For Good This Time?

There has been a shortage of news coverage in the US media regarding the goings-on in Venezuela. Things are getting dicey and on the current trajectory Hugo Chavez's days could be numbered. At the least he is going to have to survive another intense period of danger for his regime. Bolivarian Socialism is caput, finito. It's all over but the crying for this doomed experiment, and all that remains is for the final act to be written (does our protagonist join his buddy Manny Zelaya on the beach in the DR or does he get Ceausescu'd?). Oil revenues, the life-blood of the regime, are declining because he destroyed the country's oil infrastructure through neglect and he's driven away all the international oil service companies by stiffing them on their bills and stealing their capital assets. Food shortages are escalating because he's nationalized farmland and food processing businesses. Imports are difficult to get because he got his country put on the maritime insurance industry's black list. Crime has soared. All old news. But now things are coming to a head. There are rolling blackouts because he's neglected the power grid and generation capacity. He's closing the last of the unfriendly media outlets, RCTV. He's devalued the bolivar, robbing citizens of their private savings and driven most of the country's private capital stock overseas. Finally, he is on the verge of calling out his goons to crush a newly-revived opposition movement, but both the police and the army are thought to be less inclined to put down the protests as willingly as they have in the past. Chavez is warning the police of a major restructuring of their ranks and warning citizens not to urge soldiers to join a rebellion. It's snowballing. Stay tuned. Hugo may not see year end.

A key variable will be the behavior of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, given their terrible performance in the Honduras crisis, there is a good chance that Obama will come to Chavez's aid. I pray that I am wrong for if he does, it will be a second mark of indelible shame upon the United States after our abandonment of the courageous Iranian people. I am sad to say that we could wipe out two centuries of leadership in the cause of liberty in just two years time. Two centuries of standing tall, two centuries of being a beacon, two centuries of growing into who we are as a nation...gone in two years, just like that. That'll be change alright...profound, regretable change.

UPDATE: Mary O'Grady weighs in. I think she is saying that a "boil over" is not yet clearly in the cards, but that it's going to get ugly

Solidarity In the Heartland

My apologies but I am overcome with the exuberant giddiness of a teenager, so I will express myself like one... OMG, how COOOOOOOOOOOLLLLL is this!

OK, back to myself now. What a fitting metaphor, the common hero who rose up to lead a movement against an oppressive government is lending his persona and imprimatur to a fledgling movement of common folk wary of a government trending toward oppression. I'm almost teary-eyed just thinking about it.

Told Ya' So

I am happy to say that I was way way way out in front in calling Wall Street's cynical gamble and/or goofy faux liberalism a big mistake. When will these bozos learn, if you make your living off of a robust system of capitalism, don't vote for people who hate capitalism.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Econ Guru: Thumbs Down on Obama

"I don't have a very high opinion of Mr. Obama," Faber told "Squawk Box Europe." "I was negative of Mr. Bush but I think Mr. Obama makes him look like a genius." This quote is from this article.

I don't post this as a gratuitous swipe at President Obama, I post it because ALOT of people listen to Faber and take what he says VERY seriously. So either this helps to explain this 77% number or portends that a portion of the remaining 23% might defect.

KSM's Warm-Up Band

Just like major concert acts have a "warm-up" band, the NYC trial of 9/11 terrorist KSM has an opening act too. The circus isn't coming to town, it's here.

CDS Markets: Governments in Trouble

Politicians have been modestly demonizing credit default swaps for about a year and a half now in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. Expect that demonization to kick into high gear as CDS market are casting quite an unflattering light on government finances. Moves to ban these instruments will now come fast and furious.

Shitload of Oil Found Close to Home

Major major oil find in the Gulf of Mexico. Lots of oil. Very deep. (No figures yet on barrels of oil, but "600 feet of net pay" is huge.) The year of hydrocarbons rolls on into 2010!

Sunny Morning News

Remember I said that about mid-year this year Americans (those who pay attention that is, a number that I think is increasing daily) will be shocked to the their cores about the terrible state of our country's finances? Take a look at this chart. I think it is going to be worse than this, which is going to make the second half 2010 version of this chart truly nightmarish. What brought all this up? This editorial.

UPDATE: One more graph. Look how the light blue line is projected to zoom above the long term average recepits (lower right of graph). This is called "fantasy".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I think I've already staked out where I stand...I'm in the Romney camp for 2012 barring any curve balls between now and then. Having said that, I could get behind this curve ball. I've met him, Pence is the real deal. Frankly I just never considered that a guy could go from the House to the Oval Office, but after what we just did in 2008, well, anything is possible now. Pence would be fantastic. Let's hope.

Let's Make It Official: AGW Is Dead

I have been sketching out the picture intermittantly here at NBfPB but let's step back to take stock of where the Global Warming policy movement stands.

1. Policy action against AGW now barely registers with the American electorate.
2. China doesn't believe the West's science and now openly questions it, to say nothing of the fact that climate change policy is 180 degrees from China's core national interest.
3. Emerging powers like Brazil have staked their futures, almost lock stock and barrel, on robust hydrocarbon demand.

I could go on but these are the three fundamental, insurmountable hurdles standing in the way of "doing something" about global warming. Thus I conclude, and official bury on this day, the Global Warming Movement. Global Warming is dead.

UPDATE: Wow, number 4 here.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Brit Oilies: Shitload of Oil Off Barren Islands That We Own

There could be a double-special shitload of oil (60 billion barrels) beneath the sea in waters off the...Falklands. So with great new ultra-deepwater technology and $80 crude, well, it pays to look a little closer. Oh but, move along, nothing to see here, we can't drill our way out of our problems...

Obama Tosses Some Shekels to the Peons

Unless Bloomberg is doing some awful reporting and leaving out critical elements of Obama's new tax proposals, to call these proposals weak tea would be an insult to faintly tinted brown water. It's a bunch of peripheral tax credits that have no bearing on incentives to work, save or invest. (Actually the tax credits create a disincentive to work - if you trip the $85,000 annual income threshold, the new credits go away, so better work only up to that 85K number.) Student loan aid? Elderly care aid? Fine, but this does nothing, and I mean nothing, to juice the economy. Right now the policy landscape and rhetoric emanating in tidal waves from this President and his Democrat allies in the Congress is engendering absolute paralysis among investors and businesspeople. Nobody wants to take risks, expand and hire given the beating that DC Democrats have been dishing out and would love to keep dishing out to American business. Businesses are, in fact, shrinking by design. With this gambit, Obama is just tossing some meaningless handful of shekels and dressing it up for the MSM. This plan employs too little of the wrong ammo targeting the mere edges of the economy rather than the core. Stupid and disgraceful, but what is new.

Too Smart To Read Joe Klein

Who reads this drivel anymore? Oh that's right, my kids, because it is forced on them at school.

New Intel: Yes, Iran Making a Bomb

Any guesses as to why that National Intelligence Review from 2007 that said that Iran had halted work on a nuclear bomb was just recently revised? Obviously it is no longer necessary to embarrass a President named Bush, but that is more likely a convenient detail. My guess is that it needed to get revised in order to keep our intelligence community from looking really really bad in light of this:

Iran: Tehran Has Advanced Nuclear-Bomb Plans - Intelligence Dossier
Stratfor Today »-->January 25, 2010
There is a secret military branch of Iran’s nuclear research program that answers to the Defense Ministry, Tehran plans to develop a nuclear bomb and those plans are advanced, Spiegel reported Jan. 25, citing an intelligence dossier built from sources in Iran and high-level defectors. The document is reportedly being studied by diplomatic circles in the United States, Israel and Germany. At the heart of Iranian bomb development is a center that is a suborganization of Tehran’s Defense Ministry known as the FEDAT, or Department for Expanded High-Technology Applications, and the country’s nuclear energy agency. The agency supervises uranium enrichment and the FEDAT focuses on the construction of a nuclear warhead that will reportedly be used in Shahab missiles. The Iranian government has reportedly classified the technology as “feasible.”

More here. We still look bad, but more for the dumb political games than for ineptitude, although maybe for that too.

2009: The Year of Hydrocarbons

2009 was a banner year for the discovery of precious oil and gas resources. Here is your handy dandy guide to the year that was in hydrocarbon exploration. For these bounteous glories the world can thank:
1) human ingenuity which developed the remarkable technology that made these finds possible;
2) private enterprise - it is well-known that the big private oil companies are technology leaders, state-owned companies hardly ever innovate and have to pay for the best tech;
3) high oil prices which propel companies to explore for more oil,
4) the fact that a Texas oil man was President of the United States for eight years beginning in 2000, as the die was cast on these discoveries years ago.

One Prediction Already Nailed!

January ain't even done and one of my predictions (ClimateGate II) is already in the win column. It's a squeaker, kinda like New Orleans' win last night, but a W is a W.

...and the makings of another W are starting to come into focus.

UPDATE: Let me pause from tooting my own horn to tooting that of another...I think this prediction holds up pretty well, although I would add to the mix a hyper self-regarding cypher in the White House.


Why Wal-Mart?

Mark Perry highlights an interesting tidbit about why workers prefer working at Wal-Mart over Target but also over "mom & pop" shops. ("Quixotic" made me chuckle, because I know too many of these types - running a small store does not make you a management guru.) So it turns out that workers like opportunity and predictable working conditions. Who knew?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Is El-Erian Such a Feeble "Inevitablist"

El-Erian: Bank curbs likely to spread to other countries.

Gordon Brown: Um, not to here they won't.

Strassel On the RomneyCare Millstone

Kim Strassel explores Mitt Romney's role in the Scott Brown earthquake. She rightly gives Romney credit for his deft assistance to the upstart Brown, and she doesn't shy away from potential "millstone" around Romney's neck for his presidential ambitions - RomneyCare. As readers may know, I have mapped out a path for Mitt Romney to take on the Dems in 2012. As well, I have addressed the flaw of RomneyCare. Although not as full throated as I would like (or Strassel), I think the repudiation of RomneyCare has been established in the adoption of the Hubbard/Cogan/Kessler plan. Romney can very easily say that RomneyCare was what was thought to be best for Massachusetts at the time, but that for the nation there is a better way in Hubbard/Cogan/Kessler. Is the electorate really that hung up on past policy failures? In America, you can admit to a mistake, adopt a powerful symbol that you've learned from that mistake, and still win elections. Romney should do this and the putative millstone of RomneyCare will hardly hold him back.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


HaHaHaaaa! The guys at Trifecta remind me of one of the silliest pieces left-wing jibberishness that we had to endure during the 2008 it is...swallow that Coke or coffee...

Yeah. Remember that? Can you believe this actually happened? Yes it did. Good God........

El-Erian & Gates Take the Statist Bait

For a guy whose re-election chances hinges on the health of the economy two years out, President Obama is doing a remarkable job of ensuring he is a one term President. Today's proposed bank rules are another awful idea that may seem politically savvy but that ultimately will blow up in his face. Of course, I could be the unsavvy one, maybe he is proposing this counterproductive crap because it plays well to the base but stands no chance of actually passing, so he gets leftist props but does no damage. Fine, but why would he want to be seen as ineffective if his base or the populatin at large really wants this stuff? Odd.

Speaking of bad ideas emanating from the need to bash politically convenient targets, Bill Gates and Mohammed El-Erian (via twitter) fall victim to the type of faux deficit hawkishness that the WSJ warned about a few weeks back. Gates and El-Erian know that the bank tax is a bad idea but they see it as inevitable because the spending is already done and, well golly, now the deficit is a problem. This is exactly what big government liberals had planned - spend like the bejesus, enlarge government beyond the desires of the citizenry and then agree that it has to be paid for and get some deficit hawk dupes to agree to raise taxes even though they know it is a bad idea. That jerk you just felt was Obama "setting the hook" in the likes of Gates and El-Erian. Please someone get the hook out of these guys' mouths before the economy is a filet frying in butter.

The way to measure the size of our government is not via the deficit/surplus but by the amount of spending, and we will never get smaller government if guys like Gates and El-Erian keep falling for this trick. We will have ever-expanding government until somebody says "a bad idea is a bad idea, even if it is politically easy" and forces our politicians to get spending in line with what is coming in, not get what is coming in in line with what they want to spend. Politicians' spending desires are infinite, resources are scarce. The only way to small government is to resist increasing taxes at every turn and force lower spending on the government.

UPDATE: Don't believe me? Check this out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Buffett Chides Obamanomics Again

Warren Buffett is too classy a guy to come out and criticize President Obama (or too embarassed over his naive endorsement of candidate Obama), but he isn't shy about bashing particular policies. Today he criticizes the ill-advised bank tax...

"Buffett told CNBC he opposes President Barack Obama’s proposed levy on financial institutions because firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. already repaid bailout funds. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Buffett, whose Berkshire is an investor in Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs. “What was done in the Fall of 2008 was to save the American economy. It wasn’t to save the banks...“A tax that is enacted with the idea that a certain amount of vengeance will be achieved, I don’t think that will be a good idea,” said Buffett... "
Not the first time Warren has questioned Obama's plans. Buffett is a bad judge of political character, which we've known for a long time, but he has the decency to criticize policy emanating from his side of the aisle and limit his criticizism to the policy and not the politician. To those who pooh-pooh Buffett as "talking up his book", I say "Hell yeah he's talking up his book. It's called the United States of America. America is his book."
UPDATE: The story has been updated here. Buffett actually tees off a tad on Congress too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Peoples' Seat, Indeed

Thank you Massachusetts (sp?)!!

In Vino Celebratas

If Scott Brown wins tonight, I will definitely be imbibing...oh, who's kidding, I'll be imbibing anyway. So what is the appropriate cork to pop? Maybe this, it's easier to find than this (which just may get taken off wine lists in California, like this one was).

Barney Frank Suits Up for Calvinball Olympics

Barney Frank wants to play some more Calvinball. Seems that they invented the game up there in Mass. Why can't these dickheads understand the will of the people? Don't they understand that if the unambiguous will of the people is arrogantly dismissed and countervened through enactment of unpopular legislation, much worse is in the offing for civil society than the lack of healthcare insurance? Of course they do, but they don't care. Would-be tyrants never do.

What Happened to the "Poe Toaster"

A mystery worthy of Poe himself? Maybe the mystery person is from Massachusettes and wanted to stick around and vote for Scott Brown...?

Horrible Economic Policy: By Mistake or By Design?

Kevin Hassett ladles on the "Manchurian" label given a careful examination of Obama's economic policies (not unjustifiably IMHO), but then he hedges with this: "President Obama clearly is not a Manchurian Candidate. Unlike the fictional brainwashed president in the movie, Obama and his team want the best for our country."

Do they? I'm not so sure, but it all comes down to what one thinks is "best." Let Bill Whittle explain some things about that view of "best".

Stock Market & Scott Brown

Jim Cramer, although not my cup of tea, links the potential election of Scott Brown to a market rally. I think he's on to something, but I also think he's a little late.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bloomie: Obama to NYC: Drop Dead

Mike Bloomberg: "The Bank Tax will kill New York City".

He's right. It'll be devastating our economy and without a thriving financial sector, how will the city possibly have the resources it needs to regulate its residents' trans-fat and salt intake?

Made in the Shade: Unionized Amish in Nebraska

To Do List in the event of ObamaCare:
1) Join Union
2) Become Amish
3) Move to Nebraska

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Kudlow Demolishes Bank Tax

The first 5:43 of this rant by Sir Lawrence is a must see. He tears the Bank Tax apart. Devastating.

UPDATE: And in his next segment here, I like this "Obama is killing small business like Stalin killed the kulaks." Ouch.

The Job Market Vigilantes Are Real People

Everything I predicted about unemployment is becoming mainstream thinking. I said the stimulus will fail to ignite employment, unemployment will easily hit 10%, and that companies just will not hire, they will sit on their hands either from the mere uncertainty of what pending liberal Democrat policy will do to them or outright frontal policy attacks on their business. I have said it a hundred times on this blog - Obama and the Pelosi Democrats have their boot on the throats of American businesses big and small. There will be very little hiring under those circumstances. Now, Nobel-winning economists are saying this, the Chamber of Commerce is saying this. Soon everyone will be saying this.

The Good Professor highlights a reader's comment:
"Glenn, in the unlikely event you publish this email, I’d ask you not use my name. As a partner in a midsize firm (annual gross about $50,000,000) I can give you our perspective on hiring: we’re not doing it. And we’ve always been in hiring mode in the past. We’re not struggling, but we simply are not willing to take on the risk of hiring people in this environment. Just look around: small businesses are still closing. How many “For Lease” signs do you see right now in front of empty commercial properties that used to house small and mid-size businesses? With taxes and interest rates expected to rise later this year or next, thus sucking even more cash out of the economy, and consumers still cutting personal spending, most businesses would be idiotic to go on the type of hiring sprees that would be necessary in order to create robust job growth. Instead, many businesses are still looking everywhere they can to slash expenses. Unfortunately, that includes payrolls.
I doubt anybody in the Obama Administration gets this. They’d have to take a break from their obsession with health care reform, and you know, actually talk to people who run businesses to understand what’s going on. But except for hobnobbing at fund raisers with the occasional fund manager or Fortune 500 CEO who’s so rich he can afford to be a liberal Democrat regardless of what happens, they don’t do that."

Sounds like this guy is one of the "Job Market Vigilantes" just like Big Time CEOs.

Sorry folks, the hangover lasts four years. Fluids won't help. Ditto a nice greasy breakfast. Four years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Management. Management. Management.

I called it way back. Corporate Rock Star.

Uncommon Wisdom Indeed

I have come to my views on the world of political economy through intense study, experience, and constant reflection. While I now inhabit the philosophical ground staked out by the masters - Smith, Ricardo, Hayek, Bastiat, von Mises, Burke, Friedman, Simon, Schumpeter (and a few others like DeSoto and Buchanan) - nobody, but nobody, has influenced me more on my philosophical journey to what is now dubbed, arguably inaccurately, "conservatism" as Thomas Sowell. Spend some time here with this modern master.

Obama Wants to Break Into Your Piggy Bank

I warned readers to be on the lookout for the government's attempt to steal your HSA or FSA healthcare funds. I never thought that they'd go straight for your retirement piggy bank. That's for basketcase countries like Argentina, not the land of the free. Oops. Who would have thought that the people who said that Obama, Pelosi & Reid want to turn us into France...were being optimsitic! They want to turn us into Argentina, so France is looking good right about now!

If it comes to this - which it won't if we send the socialists and their spending and taxing minions packing - there will have to be some major civil disobedience to keep your money from getting stolen.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

O Captain My Captain...You Stink

Barron's gets it dead to rights with the cover cartoon of their latest issue. Investors, large and small, have abandoned this President. Companies are taking their dollars abroad where they want and need economic growth and have the policies to achieve it. Mom & Pop investors are heading for mutual funds that will put their money to work abroad. The rest are just hiding under their desks. Mark Perry has two consecutive posts up today that are beautifully interrelated, the first shows that Asia is kicking our ass in signing free trade agreements, the second is that the Emerging Market stock indices are way up. Investors want to put their money where they can gain from the openness to trade, because the gains are well known. Meanwhile, here in the US we are stooping to protectionist, squashing business confidence, centrally planning major chunks of the economy, raising taxes on capital, and racking up massive debts to support government worker pensions. Who wants to have capital tied up in that kind of disaster? Abondon ship, indeed.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Peak Oil Officially Out of Vogue

Mark Perry notes the passing of the fad. Any time we can throw one more silly notion on the ash pile, it's a good thing.

UPDATE: And today comes a textbook story on why the Peak Oil skeptics have been right and the Peak Oilers have been wrong - a new technology will allow a 70-year old well that's pumped 800 million barrels to keep pumping another 40 million barrels for another 25 years. Lesson: let a million technologies bloom.

Obama: "I Haven't Crapped On the Economy Enough"

Genius! Why browbeat banks to lend when I can just take the money?

UPDATE: Sir Lawrence agrees. This will have to go to the courts. If I am Jamie Dimon or John Stumpf, I sue and say "We didn't need the money, we didn't want the money, we gave it back the minute that we were allowed to, and it cost us hundreds of million of dollars, all because the government didn't want to taint the actually crappy banks."

UPPDATE: Obama is going to announce his intention to impose this giant fee on the banking system. More shocking than the stupidity of the policy is the stupidity of a statement like the one from Doug Elliott of the Brookings Institution in this Bloomberg article: “The politics on this is really quite easy,” said Doug Elliott, a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a former managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “The public would be supportive of anything up to shooting and burning the bankers.” Well, Mr. Elliott, our leaders are not supposed to just follow the easy political stratagem, they are actually supposed to advance policies that are in our interests, and a healthy economy is most certainly in our interest. Leadership is not characterized by submitting to the mob's amorphous emotional desire to seek retribution, but to make sound economic decisions for the good of the country despite the prevalence that desire. That is basic leadership, and it was in fact the type of leadership that we were fraudulently sold in the person of presidential candidate Barack Obama. This administration has its boot on throat of those who take risk, drive the economy an employ Americans at productive work. Taxing the banks in the manner that Obama proposes is to press that boot down more firmly on the neck of our entire economic system. That is the truth and if you don't like it, then you don't like our world-beating standards of living - you don't like all the comforts we have, the relative safety we live in, the unprecedented health we experience and all the other things about how we live today that were unimaginable to those that came before us. Average Americans should accept that bankers, while unsympathetic perhaps, are critical to our economic system and that the system works well over time to deliver a way of life that is, in total, a great thing, and suppress their putative rage. Our leaders, however, must be above average; anyone in leadership should have deduced and internalized this from the start. That Obama hasn't leads to one of only two conclusions, he is profoundly ignorant of the way our economy works or he is purposefully trying to destroy it.

Happy Birthday Alexander Hamilton !

My favorite founding father. Some Hamiltonian wisdom here and here and here.

A 1/2 Term President? Watch Gas Prices.

Gas prices are heading up. Just like 10% unemployment, this was easily seen and foretold here at NBfPB. Unless there is an heroic turnabout in these two things, Obama is toast - he will be a one term President, he may even be a 1/2 term President.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In Good Company

"Well, you should have thought about that before you made a community organizer president of the world's superpower. The election of Barack Obama was a fundamentally unserious act by the U.S. electorate,"

Wow, I am in good company, having said the same thing.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Say It With Me Larry Kudlow..."Manchurian Candidate"

Larry Kudlow is en fuego. Very nice rant Sir Lawrence but you're sounding a helluva lot like me! He's stolen my layout and now he's got my schtick! Just kidding, to be fair, Sir Lawrence has been as much of a champ on this all year as someone working within the MSM can be. Poor Larry laments the stupidity of all, as we all do, or did I should say. Frankly I have moved McCain's view. This isn't stupidity at all. It's planned. It's exactly what they want - the complete economic demoralization of America and an irreparable enfeeblement of American, free market, entrepreneurial capitalism. There is no other explanation. Nobody who gets this much power is this stupid. No way, no how.

GruberGate ??

Greg Mankiw is an unflinchingly collegial guy and, as such, he presents all manner of viewpoints on his blog. However on 12/28/09 he gave Jonathan Gruber and his favorable analysis of healthcare reform legislation exposure on his blog. Might Prof. Mankiw want to at least flag that post as perhaps ethically tainted? This hardly compares, but one wouldn't want to see the economics profession endure a similar setback to its public standing as the discipline of climate science. You've got to police the small stuff or sooner or later you've got larger problems as the folks at East Anglia can attest to..

The Roadmap Back for 2012

OK folks, I'm going to leave you something to chew on over the weekend. At first blush you're going to scoff and say "Holy bloody conventional wisdom DB, get real!" but you must walk through this with me carefully, the nuance and the power of this prescription is there.

I am going to proceed on the assumption that the unravelling that I mapped out continues exactly as I laid it out. In addition, I am going to gloss over 2010. Don't get me wrong, these mid-term elections are critically important if we are to take back our country from the liberal fascists, but in the best case, all we can do is neuter the Obama presidency (again, don't get me wrong, we need to do just that - "may his days be few, and another take his place"). We must, however, look to 2012 to fully reclaim the ability to preserve our liberties and our free market system, which together are the treasure of world history.

So, I'll cut right to the chase. Here is the Republican ticket for 2012: Romney/Palin.

Now here is where you have to stick with me. I know this looks dreadfully like the typical paradigm of smashing together two front-running names into an inartfully designed ticket. I think this, however, is an incredibly artfully designed ticket if it is done right. In this case the "how" and the "why" are as important as the "who." First, the why of the who. In my opinion the fundamental need that the nation is going address in 2012, the distilled essence of the presidential contest will be this: "we need someone who knows what the f**k they are doing" (indulge me the cheeky phraseology, but I think it is appropriate to drive home the point). This is especially true as it pertains to the economy. The nation will need a leader with the deepest possible understanding of how the economy works and the ability animate our business leaders, optimize our institutions, and liberate our entrepreneurs to drive our economy into robust growth. Romney has these credentials in spades, from his business success to his contribution to the SLC Olympics, no one comes close in meeting the nation's need for compentent economic leadership. However, Romney's biggest defect as a candidate is that he is not the force that will make the electorate go from disliking today's Democrats to liking today's Republicans. Mitt Romney will not be the one to implant the soul that is lacking into the Republican Party. Sarah Palin is the exact mirror image of Romney. She possesses the raw power of connection with the American people, she is seen as a rare politician driven by principal first and foremost. The Tea Party movement stands out there, outside the wire so to speak of our modern politics, as a ready-made soul - a movement ready throw its potentially decisive weight behind a serious effort to return our government to principled, responsible, and above all else, modest stewardship. I know of no other politician better positioned to command the trust of the Tea Party movement and harness its power. Clearly, however, Palin does not satisfy the overarching need to have as our executive leader someone who knows "what the f**k they are doing." Mitt Romney must provide the preparedness to lead, and Sarah Palin must provide the soul, the trust that principle is the guiding light of policy. But they must unite early, and tell America, "This is the team". The typical paradigm of US presidential campaigns - a candidate announces and the gravitational pull of possible success draws partners, endorsers, and supporters into the campaign over time - needs to be abandoned. Despite falling to Earth, no one is going to beat Obama on gravitational pull. Even if Obama is incredibly weak, the individual centric model should not be repeated as it is a reminder of Obama's victory in 2008. The Republicans need to break from the paradigm and adopt the team approach. Romney and Palin need to get together early, before everything, and unite as a pre-packaged ticket.

Next, Romney and Palin need to craft a pre-packaged cabinet. No more of this "elect me and I'll appoint some folks" paradigm. Assemble an unassailable cabinet of distinguished and committed team members before the election. Say exactly who will be the Treasury Secretary, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense (hint: David Petreaus) etc. right from the start. Avoid the unknown, we ventured into the unknown in 2008 and the Romney/Palin ticket should stand 180 degrees apart from that. Give the American people the vision that the cavalry is indeed riding over the hill. It'll be a welcome notion to a weary nation.

So there is my roadmap back for 2012, from this early stage and all else being equal. I know alot can change and I know the players seem like conventional choices, but those choices are in the arena for a reason and they each have their appeal and drawbacks. Conservatives and libertarians seem to be constantly asking and searching in vain for "the next Reagan." Why does the next Reagan, if even that is what is desired (I'd say something close ought to be desired but why limit the future by the past), have to be just one person? Let's break out of our tired old paradigms, stop looking for the next Reagan, and instead, raise the banners of individualism, free markets, and limited government and ride 'em over the hill with one hell of a big bad-ass cavalry led by a Romney/Palin ticket.

UPDATE: I'm already picking up from comments elsewhere that those who like the overall logic here still don't like Romney as the head of the ticket, especially because of his healthcare baggage. I addressed that baggage here, here and here during the 2008 campaign (full disclosure, I was a Rudy guy back then).

To Frac Or Not to Frac

I've discussed the move to nip the development of our vast natural gas reserves before (I encourage you to click through, if I must say, it is one of my better posts). Today, Mark Perry elucidates the issue quite nicely here.

This is the kind of policy that will severely damage our standard of living in the long term and it has me worried. Alternatively I speak with top-class natural gas investors and operators who brush it off. Their attitude can be paraphrased, "Unless we want to live like we did in the early part of last century, we're gonna have to 'frac', so it's gonna happen." This is a toss up for me. We killed off MTBE. There are so many places we can't drill. Our capacity to pursue stupid energy policy should not be underestimated. If you have an informed opinion, I'd love to know what you think...

H/T: Perry's blog, Carpe Diem

Palace Coup?

All I said was that TurboTax Timmy was in trouble. Bat One, of the SayAnything team, thinks there is a coup of sorts going on. He pairs this with the rumors that the knives are out for Larry Summers too and draws some conclusions. This morning we are treated to the news that Democrat Sausage Factory Poobah and Obama BFF Elijah Cummings wants TTT to testify before Congress. Methinks Bat One is on to something; a certain adorable little boy who works in the Treasury Dept. may be getting thrown under the HopenchangeLiner. Also, consider that odd incident that I covered with Mr. Fiscal Prudence himself, Paul Volcker.

Let's point out that this is just theorizing right now, but if there is indeed a move to supplant putative economic moderates like Geithner and Summers with more radical, big spenders then God help us. The spending profligacy that we already know about is stunning. What is baked in the cake that will soon be revealed will shock us to the core in my view. But we are gonna bring in even more radical deficit spenders to man the helm of the economic ship? John McCain may be right, Obama is purposefully intent on bankrupting this country. Ordinarily I would consider that a throwaway line of red meat, but McCain is no bombthrower and considering all these dots that may well be connected, it is something to keep close attention to. Stay tuned and, more importantly, hold on.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

One of the Best Calls Ever

I've only been in the financial industry for eight years, so I'm not as grizzled a veteran as others, but I am an avid student of financial history, so I can say with confidence that this was one of the best calls in history. Those who agreed and heeded the advice probably got very rich. So, what does the future hold? Well, after call like that, you might give the guy an ear as to what comes next.

Welcome to MSM Jurassic Park: View the Albert Huntasaurus

Crackerjack veteran newsman Al Hunt is just now getting around to telling his readers that Obama's economic team is dysfunctional. I flagged this in February of last year (see point 4). Good thing the readers of Bloomberg News don't rely on timely news and analysis for anything important! Still, Al feels the need to coat this story to keep it just on the right side of the MSM's lese majeste standards by touting the splendiferousness of...brace yourself...Obama's foreign policy team (the "Smart Power Crew" as I like to refer to them, but you may prefer calling them the "The Fabulous Fist Unclenchers" ).

It would be too charitable to call Big Al a day late and a dollar short with this effort, but this day-lateness and dollar-shortness is a beautifully compressed analog of the sclerosis that is the cause of the slow, painful liberal MSM die-off.

Only Pinch Can Satisfy This Man's Obvious Krugman Envy

It's time to give Joe Stiglitz his very own regular New York Times column so his journey from respected Nobel Prize-winning economist to hackish lefty political talkinghead can be deemed complete.

Getting Uglier

This is bad for TurboTax Timmy. Very bad. Put TT Tim under the same cloud now as Janet Napolitano.

While we are on the subject of cratering credibility...we're going to get one hour of actual open debate on the ObamaCare debacle? One hour? Plus, it was another Bertha Lewis, and another Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Malik Shabazz?? Do they think we are stupid? That answers itself.

I suspect "bunker stupidity" is starting to set in. When a group is constantly besieged with problems, criticism and exploding mini-crises that call into question its credibility, it is very hard to stay calm and work through the thicket rationally as the pressure mounts to work quickly and "do something". This leads to doing stupid things. This happened to the Bush administration and I think this is what is happening now within the Obama administration. They didn't bring much game to begin with, but now they are knocked off even that. It's getting ugly.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Pay Czar's Regret: Limits to My Power

Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg revealed today in an interview with Bloomberg that his only regret was that he couldn't dictate the pay at more companies.

“The biggest disappointment, I think, is that under the statute my jurisdiction is so narrow, and so circumscribed, that I have no real direct mandatory power over other Wall Street or other national companies”

Direct. Mandatory. Power. Over. Companies.

That is socialism folks - the economic system that gives lucky citizens electricity shortages and famines - distilled into five words. Kudos to Feinberg for not hiding his true views, unlike most liberals who whine and scream bloody murder when you call them socialists, which, based on the five words above, Feinberg is.

Big Oops

Just from today, we have this and this... Like I said on election eve 2008...pig in a poke.

I'm sure the guy over at 4-block world has done something along these lines before, but here is my take as far as executive leadership goes...

You want to be in quadrant II if you can, but you can get by in quadrants I & III for a time. However, at all costs you must avoid quadrant IV. Oops.

Dorgan and Dodd

So Dorgan and Dodd are going to call it quits. Good riddance (much more in the case of Dodd than Dorgan), but this should not hearten libertarians, conservatives and average freedom-loving Americans. These two will vote for ObamaCare. They will still be complicit in the travesty of stomping on the rules and traditions of deliberative democracy and they will hand us this destructive, tyrannical, unpopular piece of crap and walk off into the sunset avoiding the verdict of voters. In other words, they are saying "F**k you, and you can't touch me." Voting for ObamaCare and retiring is worse than voting for it and facing the voters forthrightly. These retirements should not give us relief. This adds to the magnitude of the royal screwing that we the people are receiving.

And just to pee in your cornflakes that much more...the guy who could replace Dodd is perhaps an even bigger jerk and could be an even more destructive force for our economy and our liberties than Dodd.

N.B. I use "retiring" charitably. These two will surely get plum jobs within the Obama administration, continuing to do damage to our economy and liberties from safely within the executive branch.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

David Brooks Can't Read the Tea Leaves

Dear David Brooks:
I was born, raised and currently reside within 15 miles of midtown Manhattan. I went to a prestigious preparatory high school, attended a top tier college, and got my graduate degree from an Ivy League university. I make...well, let's just say I make more than you. And never have I found myself scratching my head at one of the many pedantic references to some scholar, great idea or philosophical movement in your columns. You could say I consider myself part of the "educated class" (just not the "intellectual class", because I am not prone to believe in something so profoundly flimsy as AGW, or dangerous as gun control, or as predictably disastrous as Fannie Mae or as absurd as the UN, etc.). And I'm not angry (I'm quite chipper in fact). In other words, I am precisely not the type of person that you, David Brooks, thinks would be drawn to the Tea Party movement, but guess what? I am. I love those Tea Partiers. Know what else? I know many many more folks just like me (right here in the northeast! and educated too!) who are drawn to the Tea Party movement. We keep it quiet though. Why? Because your typical NYC liberal is so ragingly intolerant that you never know when an ever so slightly sympathetic word about Tea Partiers might end a long standing friendship, scuttle a promising romance, lose you a client, get you voted down from membership in that club, or otherwise result in your ostracism from 85% of society in these here parts. So, as important as you think the Tea Party movement will be, double it, because, like anything other than textbook snotty, atheistic, northeast liberalism, it's in the closet, hush-hush, on the QT among us NYC Tea Party Sympathizers.
Regards (and "Don't Tread On Me"!!!!!),
Donny Baseball

UPDATE: My sense is that most of the MSM dipshits that heap scorn on the Tea Party movement have no clue what it is about. When Chris Matthews says the Tea Party movement is 100% white, what he is really saying is "Shut Up".

Tea Party Joyride: Ford Eats GM and Chrysler's Lunch

Expressing their disdain at expanding, intrusive, and coercive government, Americans continue to vote with their dollars by buying cars made by non-government owned automakers (breaking news, GM's sales down 13% for December). I'd be scared if I was in office, people voting so clearly with their dollars is a good indicator that they'll also vote with their, er, votes.

I was right on Ford's sales momentum, will I be right on them dumping the UAW...?

Tax Trolls Will Bar the Exits

The folks at the Volokh Conspiracy understand where the public pension crisis is leading...don't think that in the future you can sell your house in NY or NJ and move to Texas or some other tax-sensible place. The trolls will charge you an exit fee or will follow you. You will owe that municipal public safety bureaucrat her fat pension no matter where you live and they're gonna get it from you via a transaction tax on home sales or some other crafty artifice. Get ready, it's coming.

Youth Reaping the Wages of Obamanomics

I tried to educate our youth but they didn't listen, and now look what they have to deal with.

Hey kids, here's an economics lesson in terms you can understand...

UPDATE: Actually, on second thought, please stay misguided and uninformed. After all, us geezers need your money to pay our medical bills, and we are about to get it. Awww yeaaahhhh!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Smart Power Was a Hoax, We Need to Go Back to Deep Conviction

This is right and it's chilling, but it's not the result of bad luck, it was our choice. That is not to say that the free world wasn't complicit in their own abandonment. The good news is that we can win the free world back. The first step is believing in "freedom" again.

It's 2010...

and Bill Whittle (and Joshua L. Chamberlain) Wants You!!

BofA CEO to DC (Obliquely): Pound Sand

Previously I noted politicians' desire for banks to lend in order to kick start the economy (as if that was the magic bullet for economic's not, but let's leave that aside) represented by the public comments of noted bank expert Chuck Schumer. Well, our political class has received an answer to their pleadings...and the answer is "pound sand." Newly promoted CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan (who owes his new job to the government's vendetta against Ken Lewis) got on the stump and let it be known that politicians can't have it both ways: “As an industry, we over-lent and customers over-borrowed, and that led to a fairly significant bubble,” and “[w]e have to help lead the economic recovery...At the same time, we have to be responsible lenders.” The political class can't heap the blame on the banking industry (and thus the punishment) and expect bankers to do its bidding by repeating mistakes just because DC has changed its talking points. Washington DC is out of bullets as they say...if they can't mau-mau the banks anymore, where are they going to find growth? Same place they always found the spirit of Americans who want to achieve for themselves. Unleashing the great American entrepreneurial spirit by getting out of the way is the last remaining policy available. Question is, when will we get it? Not with the current gang of pygmies. Only when we choose it.

More "I Told Ya' So"

Hey, remember when I told you that doctors would react to ObamaCare by not accepting Medicare and the government-mandated reimbursement rates? Well, the Mayo Clinic just proved my point. What this all boils down to is a question of property and liberty and the trashing of these concepts in the name of the stupidest platitude in America today.

Why Obama Owns 10% Unemployment, Part...I Lost Count

First it was big-time CEOs saying what I've been saying all year now. Now it is Nobel Prize-winning economists.