Friday, April 30, 2010

Morici Echoes NBfPB: This Economy Sucks for the Average Joe

Peter Morici calls this economy exactly as I called it, terrible for the working class and not so bad for investors and the highly educated. Sadly, what the working class needs are people with bright ideas and fists full of money. This is the most unfriendly government to that type of marriage - generally referred to as "entrepreneurialism"- that we've seen in decades. You heard it here first folks.

Larry "Tippi" Kudlow

Sir Lawrence is seeing birds everywhere, doves to be specific. Easy money, inflation-indicing doves at the Fed wot with the addition of three new Obama appointees. He points out the singular guiding principle behind these economists' thinking - the Keynesian Phillips Curve tradeoff between employment and inflation. These people believe that employment is held down by a lack of aggregate demand. Nowhere in their worldview is employment tied entrepreneurial risk taking (Keynesian "animal spirits as applied to people with energy, ambition, capital, and creativity), so they can't conceive of a vicious policy assault holding back employment. It is a classic mismatch of remedy to problem bordering on comedy. Monetary authorities will continue to flood the system with liquidity as entrepreneurs rein in risk taking and deleverage to wait for a more benign investment climate. What is the resulting economic environment called? Stagflation.

Why Did GM's Whitacre Bullshit the Public?

General Motors' claim that it has repaid the government in full has gotten alot of scrutiny from the blogoshere (and the WSJ) and has been uniformly exposed as a lie at worst and a gross distortion at best. Looking at the details, it is clear that it took some chutzpah for Whitacre to make the claims that he did. So why did he do it? Two research. GM is always conducting market research both formally (actual studies) and informally (listening to dealers bitch), and I think they are learning from all quarters that most of the car buying public won't buy cars from them because they are owned by the government. Plain and simple, a spontaneous, unorganized, unofficial Hayekian consumer boycott of Government Motors is in full swing and has been for some time. Whitacre knows this in spades. He probably also knows that a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get out of bed and put its pants on. And what does he care, it is a minor infraction justified by the urgency he feels to turn GM around.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Height of Arrogance

Greece: Unions Reject New Austerity Measures
April 29, 2010
Greek union officials said the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund want new severe measures, which include a raise on the value added tax, a three-year public pay freeze and the removal of salary bonuses, to yield more than 20 billion euros over the next two years, DPA reported April 29. Union officials, including those from public sector union ADEDY, called the deal a disaster. The officials also said they would increase resistance to the measures and the government with a port strike planned May 1 and a general strike May 5.

Have you ever seen such cluelessness. These people don't understand, they have driven over the cliff, the crash is inevitable. They are bankrupt, on their knees begging for someone to rescue them from sheer destitution - asking for charity, in effect - and they are still blazing away with arrogance and self-righteous entitlement. They are asking for German charity while spitting in German faces. Astonishing. Now more than ever, let 'em fail, I say.

More Dead Weight Loss in ObamaCare

Did I say that ObamaCare was our modern equivalent of the National Recovery Act that suffocated businesses with federal micro-management in the 1930s? Why yes I did. I'm looking more right everyday.

Remember folks, we had to pass it to find what's in it. That is what our government has devolved into. Only one way to fix it.

No Fooling...Economic Barbarity Is At the Gates

The Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed page today is chock-a-block with analysis of various government revenue grabs, many of which have been addressed before here at NBfPB. First the WSJ talks about the global bank tax money grab, and they rightly point out, as I did recently, that we just might be saved from this disaster by the Canadians, who didn't let their banking system become infected with crappy mortgages, didn't require national finances to bailout the system, and ought not to be punished for it. This is a very big deal, which is why I use the terms "saved" and "disaster". It does not matter by what means you do it or under what pretense you do it, removing capital from the banking system on a large scale results in economic activity grinding to a halt. We did this during the 1930s under multiple guises - the check tax comes to mind - and exacerbated what would become the Great Depression. This is no apocalyptic hooey, we are headed in that direction if we do things that give us the multiplier effect of the fractional reserve banking system in reverse. That is what sucking capital out of the banking system does, it gives us a reverse multiplier effect, for every dollar of capital that disappears, several dollars of loans supporting business activity has to disappear.

The next money grab on the horizon is the tax assault on dividends. This one is doubly dumb because, not only will it hurt the economy, but it won't achieve its revenue goals. Again the WSJ rightly points out that revenues from dividend tax increases almost always fall short of projections. Well short, and here is an example of why. Oh, and let's not forget what Nobelist Robert Mundell said about increased taxes on cap gains and dividends...nosedive city, baby. But you don't have to know your Great Depression economic history to know about the stupidity of this maneuver, we have ample lessons from recent history to guide us - lower divvy taxes and you get a flood, raise them and you get a drought. So in fact, this is a trifecta of stupidity.

I have warned that policy mistakes will send us double dipping. I think we are about an inch away from being there. We have a bottom of the ninth at bat to save us in the form of the November elections, but short of completely hamstringing this administration and this Congressional leadership, much greater economic pain is pretty much baked in the cake.

Truer Words...

Wow, I can't believe I've gone this long and not heard this Voltaire quote: "Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung." So true...John Lennon's "Imagine" comes instantly to mind...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Moment in History Is Past

Who was saying stuff like almost a year ago.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Corporate Response to Obamanomics

Other versions of this headline:

"IBM shrinking its capital base"

"IBM handing cash back rather than investing in growth, workers."

Um, told ya' so.

Ramirez nails it, or I should say, puts what NBfPB has been saying for over a year and a half now into pictures.

The Cost of Obama Just Went Up

Just looking at the flashing red news item on my Bloomberg terminal...Greece's sovereign debt has been cut to junk. Just now I realize what Angie Merkel's game has been. I accused her of caving, but it appears now she has taken the Greeks a few extra rounds, as the boxing expression goes. If a bailout does come, it'll have come with Greece absolutely peering down into the abyss and Greek politicians experiencing a few extra weeks of excruciating political heat and discomfort than if the bailout had come easily in March. And it is still not over, the sweating that the Greeks must endure will go on slightly longer. This may be just as good as letting Greece fail and may in fact be nothing short of brilliant - the Euro gets saved but not before all the bad fiscal actors get the pants scared off them. Are you watching Spain, Portugal, and Italy!?!?

It has been argued that California, and the US federal government, is really no better off than Greece. I doubt that on qualitative grounds, but quantitatively it's not an outlandish charge. So, ironically, the further Greece spirals down the better for us all. The market will relearn what it has forgotten over the decades, that governments default, and not just two-bit punk South American hives of socialism. Putatively normal governments, like Greece, can default. Thus the price of credit is going up for governments worldwide and therefore the price of deficits. The entire worldview of Obama and the Democrats (and the traditionally bozo-infested confines of the mainstream Republican party) exists on deficits. So the price of Obama just went up. Maybe we'll get less of him. Supply and demand baby.

Did Democrats Commit Largest Fraud Ever?

There is a word for this and it is "fraud." And the Fraudster in Chief occupies the Oval Office. If ever there was a case for conscientious objectors to refuse compliance with a law, it is here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

We Live In a Federal Republic...

I'm not the Governor of Arizona, but if I were I would've said this today as I signed the immigration enforcement law: "The President is entitled to his opinion on this legislation, but we live in a federal republic and the people of Arizona, through their elected representatives, have asked for this law and they shall have it as the law of the land in the great state of Arizona."

While I doubt that this new law will unleash a wave of police activity motivated by racial hatred, let's say, for the sake of argument, that it could. Then the "racist" criticism of the law would be valid, and yet this criticism, valid or not, is utterly useless as the majority of Americans have heard it all so many times before, bandied about over every little thing, often quite ludicrously. The race mongers have diluted the charge, they've cried wolf ad infinitum and no one is listening - the racist charge has no meaning, it falls on deaf ears. That is the price the race mongers have to pay. Nobody's fault but their own.

Venezuela Is Starting Not to Function

Venezuela: Automotive Manufacturers To Shut Down In May
April 23, 2010
All seven Venezuelan automotive manufacturing plants will cease production in May due to difficulty in currency allocation, inventory problems and a shortage of raw materials, El Nacional reported April 23. Venezuelan Automotive Chamber head Enrique Gonzalez said production could be disrupted for up to three months and that national automakers owe international suppliers more than $2 billion.

If automakers can't get supplied, it means that industry broadly isn't getting supplied. That is what happens when you stiff your vendors. The whole country is on "ship COD" terms. Chinese loans can keep them afloat, maybe, but things are breaking down fast in the Bolivarian Socialist paradise.

David Stern Is Officially No Longer a Genius

Next time Roger Goodell bumps into David Stern he can gloat "Dude, my draft got better ratings than your playoffs."

Making "Fool Me Once..." Stick

Why should a sucker be returned his money? I say Dear Leader ought to keep the money. Maybe a good Bamboozling is what putative capitalists need to be more wise in the future.

To Hire or Not to Hire?

Sir Lawrence justifiably takes a bow for his early and correct bullishness, or mustard seedishness if you will, on the occasion of John Paulson publicizing his bullishness. While I generally agree, Sir Lawrence ends with this: "Rising corporate profits equals rising jobs in the future. If businesses are profitable, they will hire. Bank on it. After all, we witnessed such a steep falloff in employment because businesses were so unprofitable." On this point, I do not agree, and this puts me at odds also with perhaps the most prescient market caller of them all (note the date).

I concede there will be some hiring, there always is, but not enough to move the needle or make this feel like a real recovery to the average worker. Here is my case as to why:
1) Businesses really like their new level of leanness, they are going to enjoy producing more with less for a while, because that means nice profits;
2) Businesses are focused on deleveraging rather than hiring. No business that had a near death experience in 2008/09 is going to put themselves in that position again;
3) Alot of hiring will go overseas. The USA has become much less business friendly and stifling. Other countries want the jobs badly and are doing what it takes to get them. For a US multi-national hiring abroad versus in the US, all else being equal, is a no-brainer - abroad;
4) Business leaders loathe the Obama administration and the Pelosicrats. While ultimately they will do what makes business sense, they are not looking to do anything that will reflect well on the Democrats' management of the economy. Some have told me that hiring plans are on hold until after November;
5) Frankly, businesses are still scared. They have no idea how much more bad stuff is coming down the pike. ObamaCare looked dead and the next thing you know companies are taking hundreds of millions of dollars of write-downs. Obama is sinking in the polls, but potentially disastrous financial reform looks set to pass. The fact is that even though this government is wildly unpopular, all of the prosperity damaging legislation seems to be getting passed anyway. Cap and trade is dead, huh? Businesses ain't banking on that rosy thought right now, the evidence says to remain fearful.

So, yes there will be some hiring, but it'll be a drop in the bucket. We'll barely feel it.

Chris Christie Is Not Alone

Chris Christie has been on a media blitz to showcase his tough apporach to NJ's problems and public sector union intransigience/nuttiness. Well, I have highlighted a guy who I think is a Christie mini-me, who is trying toturn around a county government that is smaller than NJ, but actually quite large in the aggregate. Check out Rob Astorino's message in his "State of the County" address. Sounds alot like Christie. While the media are trying to portray Christie as a lone wolf, a rogue idealogue, the truth is that the voter demand for someone like Christie is intense. Bob McDonnell and Rob Astorino are evidence of this, and there will be more to come. Hopefully, this kind of talk will not seem odd in the years to come, and we'll be looking askance at politicians who don't talk fiscal sanity and prudence.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Seriously. Although, I'm betting Obama will express "serious concern" or claim this raises "troubling issues."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't Believe the GM Hype

Don't be fooled, it's still Government Motors. About 10% of the government aid that General Motors got was debt. So they paid back 10%. Obama still owns this sucker. Keep buying Fords.

And Chris Christie Is Jealous of NY...???

New York State's Comptroller is saying the state will run out of money before July. A few thoughts cross my mind:

1) I told you so,
2) I wonder if I'll get my tax refund
3) I bet we still elect a Democrat as our next Governor

...and here is why Gov. Christie is envious:
"California and New York have attracted headlines for their budget woes. Yet, as Mr. Christie points out, 'Their problems are much smaller than ours as a percentage. [Gov.] David Paterson's talking about an $8.2 billion deficit in New York—I only wish.' "

America Contines to Lag on Trade

While we are standing still, the rest of the world is moving forward on trade. We compete with South Korea in many manufactured goods. We should leading this type of push. Instead we are falling way behind.

South Korea, Turkey: Free Trade Agreement Talks Planned
April 21, 2010
South Korea and Turkey will hold their first round of talks on a free trade agreement April 26, Yonhap reported April 21, citing a statement from the South Korean Foreign Ministry. The five-day talks will take place in Ankara, and will address the scope, structure and timetable for implementing a free trade agreement.

...and in related news, unemployment remains at 10%.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The World's Most Important Oil Pipeline??

Read about it here. I have talked about some of the potential pitfalls that attend the option of stopping Iranian nuclear weapons development militarily. First, there was fear that bombing Iran would stoke nationalism. I think that is now out the window, Iranians hate their regime and I'd say it's a toss up whether Iranians would welcome or recoil if its nuclear installations were bombed. Finally, one of the big risks to a bombing campaign is the potential shenanigans that the Iranian can pull off in the Strait of Hormuz that would disrupt global oil markets. First, it is a hell of a lot better to do have oil at $70 than $140 when the bombs drop - $45 would have been nicer - but that window is clsoed. Well, if the ADCOP is completed in 2011, Iranian shenanigans could have significantly less disruptive impact on global oil markets. Question is, will it be too late? Perhaps not, the Israelis are good at buying time, as their pre-Osirak covert ops proved. Conditions have never been better to hold a military option over the head of the Iranians and do some world-class arm twisting, alas, that doesn't even seem to register in this administration's thinking. Even so, the risks are declining for a military strike against Iranian nuclear development facilities, which means the odds are going up.

UPDATE: Speed it up boys.

The Hummer Was Stupid, but It Meant You Were Free

Penn Jillette mourns the imminent death of the Hummer. I do too, although it was never my cup of tea. Jillette mourns because the Hummer was a form of stupidity that reaffirmed our freedom because we are never so free than when we are being stupid...or, as I put it here, "Maybe freedom means being able to be a fat, artery-clogged slob who gets winded climbing stairs if one so chooses."
The point should be obvious. There are a million things that, arguably, we ought to be doing as individuals that would make us assuredly better off. But the fact that we don't is a sign of our freedom, but as laws and mandates and other "nudges" tackle more and more if these millions of little behaviors we lose our freedom. When do we go from freedom to something else? I'd argue we're there already, living in a country overcome with petty tyrannies moving toward actual tyrranies, which is why the Tea Party movement has come on like a tiger. The loss of the Hummer won't get people too excited, nor will incandescent light bulbs, but the ObamaCare health insurance mandate sure does as the creeping tyranny no longer appears to be creeping and petty tyrannies aren't looking so petty these days.

Media Fail: Chris Christie As Big Heartless Jersey Meanie

This picture of Chris Christie is classic MSM framing. He looks pretty damn mean, as he no doubt must be to appeal to those awful conservatives and alienate those civic-minded, altruistic unions. If you've actually seen Christie in person, the best that can be said about him is that he is about as mean looking as a frayed and damaged teddy bear. Frankly, I think he is downright goofy with his lisp and ill-fitting suits (no tailor, no matter how skilled, can make a man of Christie's girth look distinguished without resorting to tricks - why do you think that fat mafia dons festoon themselves with large cuff-links, loud dress shirts, pocket squares, etc? Answer: to draw attention away from the fit of the suit.) Anyway, let not the appearance of the messenger take away from the message - it's a powerful one and if it is ever taken up by an attractive personality then watch out progressivism! Oh wait....

(and for the ladies...)

Recipe for Disaster: We're Mixing the Ingredients in a Bowl

I have said that we are making all the same mistakes that Hoover and FDR made in the early 20th century that turned a routine recession into the Great Depression (all the mistakes save one, and we have Ben Bernanke, but not a single soul in elective office, to thank for that). Today, the top bank analyst on the street says that the SEC's bombing of Goldman Sachs could engender another financial crisis. Bove is merely saying what I've been saying, we are making the same mistakes again. Government can crater the system again through its vendetta of regulation. ObamaCare is today's NRA. We have small trade wars smoldering, threatening to burst wide open. Taxes are on their way up to highly distortive levels. And now we are on a campaign to destroy our best capital markets institutions. We are mixing the batter, but we have not yet baked the cake. If we avoid a double dip it'll be by a small miracle, a positive Black Swan, like when my three-year daughter decides to "help" and dumps a load of salt into the cake batter and we are forced to pitch it all and start over.

Gates Wants Out

I think that SecDef Gates wants out of his job. It was both a credit to him and to Dear Leader to keep him on during the transition from one administration to another given the country's involvement in two wars. But I doubt that Gates was much enamored of Obama then and is likely even less so now that his name has become increasingly associated with an administration whose foregin policy is emerging as naive, feckless and at times wholly irrational. Gates probably won't resign unless he is asked to tow a line that crosses a line of conscience, but clearly he is chafing at being an instrument of Obama's weak-minded foreign policy. So what does a cool customer like Gates do? Get fired. Start doing the things that get you run out of Washington - talking sense, telling obvious but embarassing truths, and failing to show unfailing loyalty to administration policy. The Iran thing over the weekend was part of this no doubt, although some could construe this as an urgent action to raise public awareness of a critical policy failing. This, however, cannot be construed that way. Gates appears to racking up transgressions in the hopes of getting asked to leave. I suspect we'll see him gone soon. The only thing that would keep him in place is if Obama thinks he'd be a bigger problem outside of the tent pissing in than the other way around.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Warned You...Now the New York Times Does Too

Hot Air catches the New York Times just now getting around to telling you what a disaster the healthcare insurance market is here in New York, courtesy of some very dumb laws it enacted years ago, laws that bear a striking resemblance to ObamaCare. As usual folks, you heard it here first.

Friday, April 16, 2010

No Way to Candy Coat It...SEC Charges Come from "Cynical Bastards" at Highest Levels of Government

Well, it is pretty damn big news (only tens of billion of dollars of wealth destroyed) but the charges of fraud leveled against Goldman Sachs today are fishy. Ten day old, stanky kind of fishy. Sure they have some superficially damning emails, much akin to Henry Blodgett's (remember him?) famous emails, but not much else. The heart of the accusation rests on the notion that Goldman gave John Paulson a determinative role in picking the loans contained within a CDO. I'm saying "no farging way" this happened. How do I know? Let me borrow a phrase I heard once in answer to such a question..."I'm forty years old and I'm not a complete blithering idiot, that's how I know." Goldman isn't stupid. This is such a no-no they would have never done this, plus they knew Paulson was short mortgages up to his teeth, they wouldn't have let him pick the loans in a CDO. Now, I am not saying that Goldman are a bunch of angels and everything they did during the mortgage mania and ensuing mess was lillywhite, but as to this specific charge the government's got nothing...bupkus.

Here is the REAL purpose behind the charges. Truly, these are cynical bastards who unleashed this today. But hey, it may already be working, so chalk one up for the cynical bastards.

UPDATE: Dick Durbin thinks the "timing was perfect." Yeah, I'll say. Too perfect.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Israel, Iran and Stocks

Hey, take Drudge for what it is worth, but at this very minute DR's two major headlines amount to the following:
1) Obama has officially abandoned Israel
2) Russia says Iran nukes are a "go"
Hate to say it folks, but 1 + 2 = 100. As in percent. Bank on it...minus the ObamaCare bit
Hedge, hold on...and buy the dip
(My "Not a Tip, So You Can't Sue Me" Tip: War is bad for TBT. War is coming, and it's coming like Christmas. Lap it up at <$40)


Way too early...waaaaaayyyyyyy tooooooooo early, for self back patting, but....

someone, once, somewhere, I think, was kinda, maybe spitballin'....

Take a breather folks...think about it...sleep on's not as nuts as it seems at first glance...nothing suggested here at NBfPB ever is...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Silver Lining on Tax Day

Last month I gave you a sneak peek at how my taxes were shaping up, as a proxy for how many wealthy Americans' tax numbers will generally shake out. My basic contention was this - the financial crisis may have hit in 2008, but the impact for tax purposes falls into 2009, and the revenue shortfall is going to be a whopper. Well, the final tally is in and I am paying about 45% less in taxes than I did last year. How did I achieve this feat? Capital losses mostly, reduced dividends and interest income as well, and, of course, redlining the Obama Era Tax Avoidance Machine's tachometer. Plutocrat that I am, I am tapped into the circles of wealth and power and what I am hearing from my well-healed cohorts is that everybody seems to be writing a smaller check to Uncle Sammy this year. (BTW, I have not yet heard one of my rich liberal friends complain that they are paying less taxes...'nough said.)

So get ready for a deficit blowout when this state of affairs show up in the stats. Frankly, although it is a relatively artificial trough, it couldn't come at a better time. The shocking fiscal hole that will emerge will only serve to fuel the considerably large and growing anger over our government's profligacy just in time for elections.

UPDATE: I was right, it's not just me, although I would have liked this result!

Will Capitalism Be Saved by ... Canada?

That is an overblown title. I don't mean capitalism in toto, I mean a relatively free-market banking system that, of course, is one of the principal engines of capitalism. And I don't mean saved as in saved from destruction. I mean saved from transformation into something much worse, a heavily taxed global corporatist banking system. A giant, global bank tax, ostensibly to protect us from future financial crises, is all the rage among leftist global elites these days. The idea has Dear Leader and the likes of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd (why is he still legislating anyway?) all atwitter. Ahead of a G-20 finance minister confab next week, however, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has thrown some cold water on the idea. Justifiably so. First, because it is a terrible idea. Second, because Canada's banks avoided the whole mess and sailed through the financial crisis with nary a hiccup. So why should Canada sign up for a dose of medicine that it doesn't need and that will surely make it sicker? The question answers itself, they shouldn't. Let's assume that Flaherty means it and he and Harper can stand their ground firmly in the face of pressure to sign on. Logically then, why would other nations impose a disadvantage upon their own banks relative to Canadian banks? They could I guess, but it wouldn't be advisable. In the end then, such a proposal could fail as no nation would want to simply hand Canadian banks a license to make inroads against their banks. One cheer then for Mr. Flaherty, two in reserve pending evidence of a backbone.

Destroying the Brand

Add the Pulitzer to the list right behind the Nobel Peace Prize.

John Galt, M.D.

You heard it here first folks...doctors are bowing out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Smart Power

Uh Oh, Count Your Money...

Go check in on your 401K or IRA account and make sure the money is still there...after all Obama is meeting with Argentine Queen, oops President, Cristina Kirchner:

Argentina: President To Meet With U.S.'s Obama
April 13, 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will meet for about 30 minutes at 4 p.m. local time on April 13 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Merco Press reported. This will be Obama’s only bilateral meeting with a Latin American leader during the summit and will be behind closed doors. Also present at the summit are Brazil, Chile and Mexico’s heads of state.

Of course I jest. Your money is still there, but that is not to say that the momentum for an Argentine style grab on your retirement savings is not there or will diminish. At least not as long as Pelosi, Reid and Obama hold office.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Things About The "New Normal"...

1) It is Not Normal
2) It Sucks

I was telling my readers, all 20 of them, that someting akin to this would prevail all of last year.

I was talking to a guy last week who is not a CEO but might as well be, he does the actual running at a company where the CEO is really just a titular head. This guy hires and fires in 100 employee chunks. He said business could justify some hiring - modest but some nonetheless - but he won't do it...yet. He said, paraphrasing, "We've held out this long, might as well hold out a few more months until after the election. No point in handing the current Washington crowd any credit for anything positive. This sentiment is widely held."

Angie Merkel is No Chris Christie

Angie Merkel caves. A little toughness is too much to expect I guess out of a European.

Friday, April 09, 2010


People are talking about $4 gas. Remember who told you about 10% unemployment and $4 gas.

In other news, Hugo Chavez is praying for rain and accussing eight - count 'em, eight - Colombians for sabotaging the entire Venezuelan electrical grid. Chavez is hanging by a thread.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Malpass for Senate

Did I say that average, non-politician citizens are running for office to save us from the Entrenchocrats from Imcumbistan??? Yes, I did and there is no better news than that David Malpass is running for US Senate from the dysfunctional state of New York. Wow, best news I've heard all week (and I've heard some damn good news this week!). Wow, if my liberal loser state can send Mark Rosen and David Malpass to Congress, I'll kiss a baboon. Small price to pay.

Fight the Power...Hit Burger King

David Harsanyi and I are peas in a pod. Child obesity rhetoric spurs him to make a BK run. When I hear Wal-Mart bashing, I hit my friendly neighborhood WallyWorld for some suh-wheeeett bargains, and when someone like Stephen Chu advances some green totalitarian scheme, I pile in my SUV and drive around the block...eating tangerines.

Summers Out? Don't Let the Door Hit You...and Take Romer with You

The buzz is that Larry Summers is leaving the Obama administration. Two points. One, this would score another one for me in my prediction tally, putting me at 3 for 8 not halfway through the year. Two, if Larry leaves it'll be no surprise and I'll not shed a tear - he deserves the boot. There is no possible way that he thought (if he is as bloody smart as Mankiw makes out) the stimulus package, Obama's signature economic policy, would work and he should have counselled against it. Plus there are any number of detrimental economic policies coming out of this administration for which you could say the same thing and he sat and watched these policies roll out. Maybe the politics has run roughshod over economic policy, but if he felt politics was dictating bad policy he should have said so and resigned. He didn't and he therefore owns the policy, and should suffer as the policy fails. Ditto for Romer, who I've said before, has become a joke. The Obama administration has done everything it can to drive businesses to curl up in the fetal position and yet these two still cling to their silly government spending multipler story ignoring the many burdens piling up on businesses that create the jobs. It's embarrassing.

UPDATE: Just a little recent economic statistic: Consumer credit has plunged...apparently unexpectedly...really, unexpectedly???

A Head-Scratcher from a Master

I bow to no one in my admiration of Dan Henninger and my loyalty to the Wonderland column, and yet I am astonished...astonished...that today's column addressing "youth unemployment" has not a single reference to "minimum wage laws". It's still a compelling column, but in over 800 words Henninger does not utter the three most relevant words to the subject at hand..."minimum," "wage," and "law." Now, to be fair, Dan is really talking about "career opportunity" for educated and/or ambitious youth, not summer jobs for teens, but they are part and parcel. Those summer jobs for teens that aren't there contribute every bit to the dismal youth unemployment picture that Dan laments. Minimum wage laws are the gateway drug to the stagnation-inducing policies of "old Europe" and the new United States under Obama.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Woe Are the Dads

So Tiger slept with his neighbor's 21-year old daughter, and now she's mad that she was "just another conquest" because we all know that multi-centimillionaire athletes never seek out soulless sexual conquests. Then I read about the ladies who bared their breasts in protest of something and then got incensed that men were ogling them.

All of this disturbs me. I have a young son, you see, and some day he is going to come to me asking me to explain women to him. When I take a pass pleading justifiable ignorance, he is going to think I am just like all the other disengaged dads, uninterested or unwilling to take the time to impart the wisdom of the world to him; and, he's going to come to see me just like I viewed my dear old dad when it came to women, a clueless dolt who couldn't be bothered, and who must've gotten married by pure accident. And it won't be another 25 years before maybe, just maybe, he realizes that perhaps I was smarter than I appeared...yikes. Depressing.

Ah, Just for the Record...

This is pretty cool, but for the record, it's not Whitney Houston's's Dolly Parton's.

Berry Eenturesting

Russia: LUKoil To Halt Gasoline Sales To Iran
April 7, 2010
Russian oil company LUKoil will stop selling gasoline to Iran, Reuters reported April 7. LUKoil provides Iran with between 250,000 barrels and 500,000 barrels of gasoline every other month, and joins Shell, Glencore, and Vitol as companies that have halted gasoline sales to Iran.

Soul and Sense

I have mentioned it here a few times, but it is essentially accepted belief among knowing circles that the Tea Party movement represents the soul that the Republican party has lost and needs transplanted back into it. But the Tea Party movement is not monolithic, it can also be viewed, in a small way, as the sense that the Democratic party has lost. "The Democrats have lost sense?" you may ask, after all, they are in undisputed power all over the country. Yes, they are in power but their creations - their ideas made real - are crumbling all around them. The largest liberal states (California, New York, Illinois) are crumbling under the weight of the cost of the Leviathan state apparatus, while others have hit such rock bottom that they have actually turned themselves over to Republicans (New Jersey). Public employee pension systems are so underfunded as to be unsalvagable. Liberal utopias are literally running out of cash (City of Los Angeles). The public education apparatus, aside from failing to deliver much in the way of decent education, is so bankrupt that they are resorting to shutting down 20% of the time. After destroying the American steel industry, textile industry and making air travel an unbearable experience, labor unionism has gone on to destroy, with the exception of Ford, the home-grown auto industry. The head-long, messianic pursuit of "affordable housing" engineered through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac nearly blew up the financial system and threw us into a nasty recession. Galloping minimum wage requirements have left one quarter of our young people unemployed. In healthcare, distortions caused by a nonsensical tax code and metastisizing entitlements have broken the system to such a point that the government is attempting to unbreak it by illegally forcing citizens to purchase a product which they may not desire and will very likely be unsuited to their specific needs. Liberalism's institutions are all around us, built up tall, and they are promising to come crashing down on our heads. Yet mostly the response by those in power is to build them taller. Thus my assessment that those responsible for their construction have lost all sense. That is why, as fascinating as the internal struggle on the right side of the political spectrum is, an internal struggle that appears ever so faintly to be bubbling up on the left side of the spectrum is really going to be worth watching. Granted it is faint, but it is percolating and the signature race in which to watch this struggle is in the California primary for US Senate. Mickey Kaus has a strong message that Democrats ought to shed slavery to public sector unions and is taking that message straight into the hide of state-of-the-art Democrat Babs Boxer. Naturally, I am rooting for Kaus. We need more of these common sense Democrats and less of these barely veiled socialists like Boxer. A long time ago in a land far, far away not only did I vote for a Democrat, but was proud to vote for one...New Yorkers had the opportunity and the good sense to send a smart, yet eminently sensible guy named Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the US Senate and I was happy to be among them. Today DPM would be a pariah in his own party, and that in itself is the perfect summation and indictment of the modern Democrats. Could this be about to change? Stay tuned.

The Obama Disaster Is a Three Legged Stool

Obama's economic ignorance is sapping our prosperity. His radical paternalism is stealing our liberty. Less known is that his feckless and naive internationalism combined with his hectoring nannyism is endangering our security. The WSJ takes him to woodshed on foreign policy today in the lead editorial. Tunku Varadarajan tallies the score of just how badly things are going all around the world for the US: "So one wonders—as Putin embraces Chavez and Karzai plays host to Ahmadinejad; as Russia asserts the right to repudiate any nuclear-arms reduction treaty and China gives us the bird on the yuan; as the alliance with India languishes and the one with Britain experiences unprecedented atrophy; as Israel expresses acrid disagreement with us and Japan seeks to rip pages out of its postwar rulebook—what all the pragmatism has really, truly accomplished…" (Yes, yes...Instapundit highlighted the same bloody quote, so sue me, and it is not like he and I are in a too-close-to-call cage death match for traffic bragging rights.) And all of this comes on top of his three large foreign policy blunders right out of the gates: Honduras, Iran, and missile defense in Poland/Czech Republic.

Again, none of this should be surprising. When you elect an obvious neophyte with not even a passing attempt at vetting, this is what you get. As Mark Steyn put it, the election of Obama was a fundamentally unserious act by the American public.

Kyrgyzstan Is Burning

Not that anyone cares, or that the US media is reporting it, or that 9.5 out of 10 of us couldn't locate it on a map, but Kyrgyzstan is in flames.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

HarperCare: Affordable...and It's Constitutional!!!

The Loonie has just hit parity with the Greenback, aka the US Peso, meaning that on top of the steady flow of Canadians headed here for high-qaulity, readily available healthcare that they can't get back home, their healthcare loonies go that much further. Stephen Harper has done what no living politician has managed yet to do, bring healthcare costs down for his countrymen - you just gotta go south of border to get it!

Courts Crush Net Neutrality!

I gave you the goods on "Net Neutrality" way back, as is my habit here at NBfPB. Well, the courts weighed in today and, as the expert in that original post dubbed it, to paraphrase they said "You have no power here Gandalf the Grey!"

Monday, April 05, 2010

Awaken and Stay Awake!

Bill Whittle girds you for the fight against apathy, despair and resignation, also known as the fight against statism and the fight for the American experiment. Remarkably the fight doesn't require heroics, just a good old fashioned sustained effort.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Great Disturbance in the Force

OBI-WAN: "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
LUKE: What's going on?

HAN: Our position is correct,, Poor and Stupid!

LUKE: "What do you mean? Where is it? "

HAN: "Thats what I'm trying to tell you, kid. It ain't there."

I Want to Jump Out the Window

These are the type of people that brought us ObamaCare and are currently setting the rules for our economy...

As Predicted, American Corporate Capital Going Abroad

Keeping in mind that financial reform is the next big thing on the Obama agenda (and is being spearheaded by the Senate's #1 enabler of Fannie Mae), take a look at this bit of news about JP Morgan's expansion plans. Notice where the new jobs are and where they ain't? Yup, abroad, not here. BofA MerrillLynch is also focusing, beyond our shores. Peabody Energy, the US's biggest coal company, is looking to buy an Australian coal company. Then, of course, are the examples I've pointed out before.

My prediction from way back is dead on the money, US companies are investing abroad because of the severe chill that has blown across the business landscape since we became blessed with one-party socialist (er, sorry, progressive) rule here in America. Henry Waxman's star chamber tantrum over the large writedowns, such as AT&T's $1 billion, coming in the wake of ObamaCare is a fitting example. Businesses are so demonized, harassed and bloodied via regulation and taxation by our Lilliputian Entrenchocrats, why would anyone expect them to spend their money here on US workers and US-based projects?

The US economy grew over 5% in the fourth quarter and is likely growing at a similar pace now but the jobs picture is feeble and anemic. We should be adding jobs big time, but we aren't because the jobs are going overseas or into machines. While the MSM spins the apparent bottoming in the jobs picture as a good thing, it is decidedly bad news. When 5% growth doesn't give you job growth, your doing something wrong. Everyday that unemployment hovers near 10% is a testament to the anti-business climate that the socialist (damn, I did it again, sorry, progressive) set has brought down upon the nation.

Ironically, this is good for stocks, because companies are still getting growth and generating profits. The US unemployment picture is not a weight on stock market returns at all, but I don't think that your average US worker is too pleased with that situation. I bet the average unemployed or underemployed worker here isn't too thrilled that the policies coming out of Washington has left him/her behind while companies and the stock market are getting back on track in fine fashion.

UPDATE: The Waxman thing is appalling, but this is a pure example of where the disastrous Dems' worldview comes crashing down on people and the economy. My advice to Davanni's...close to two stores (note the mandate is for chains of 20 stores or more, Davanni's has 21) and hand out ObamaCare pink slips. Hate to be redundant here, but a dose of wisdom from C.S. Lewis is more than called for here...