Sunday, March 31, 2013

ObamaCare Pink Slips

In March of 2010 I said CEOs should hand out "ObamaCare Pink Slips".  Someone has now cooked one up.  Looks good.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sexually Transmitted Innumeracy

Drudge has the headline - 110 million Americans are infected with a STD.  I'm not sure what their angle is, that we are on the road to perdition - more STDs created than jobs - or that government is hilariously innumerate - 1 in 3 Americans are infected with a sexually transmitted disease.  Really?  One third of the country has a Sexually Transmitted Disease? 

Gee, and here I thought we were a bunch of puritanical ninnies.  That's a whole lotta bangin' goin' on to give the drip, the clam or the goo to 1 in 3.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gay Marriage: It's Not About the Children

A very good catch and legal sleuthing by Althouse, and perhaps, in the fullness of time, very good SCOTUS handicapping.
There are some 40,000 children in California, according to the Red Brief, that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don't you think?
As an adoptee and one with gay friends who parent adopted children, this is a sensitive and compassionate question.  I am of the mind that a child in ANY loving home is better than a child lacking a loving home.  It is APPROPRIATE in society's deliberations of this question as it then translates to legislative remedies, but I am not sure this question is GERMANE.  Just as marriage is fraught whether it be gay or straight, childrearing is fraught whether it be by gay or straight parents.  It doesn't de-legitimate the thousands of years of societal wisdom of traditional marriage to say that some kids are better off with two gay parents rather than one or no straight parents.  It may be a function of our society's compassion and tolerance that we accept this wisdom and allow adoption or placement of at-risk children with gay couples, but it is NOT a wholesale endorsement and acceptance of this social arrangement.  The law, after all, is a reflection of who we are as a society.  We aren't repudiating the wisdom of the ages by making compassionate concessions to kids that need homes.  It is a measure of our advancement as a society that we stand by  a traditional conception of what is ideal as a social unit for the upbringing of the next generation, but that we readily allow for exceptions for children that fall, inevitably due to our human frailties, by the wayside.

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Is Wrong With Russian Banks?

In all the hub-bub over Cyprus, no one has asked the simple question, and written about the invariable answer, "Why do so many Russians have their money in Cypriot banks and not in, ya' know, Russian banks?"

It is rich to see Putin and Medvedev moan about this.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Doctors to Retire Early In Face of ObamaCare

Six in 10 physicians (62 percent) said it is likely many of their colleagues will retire earlier than planned in the next 1 to 3 years, a survey from Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found. That perception is uniform across age, gender, and specialty, it said.
Four in 10 doctors reported their take-home pay decreased from 2011 to 2012, and more than half said the pay cut was 10 percent or less, according to Deloitte. Among physicians reporting a pay cut, four in 10 blame the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and 48 percent of all doctors believed their income would drop again in 2012 as a result of the health reform law.
Hmmm.  Doctors to retire early, huh...?  Exactly as I predicted in one of many thought experiments way back before we had ObamaCare foisted on us.  We didn't think this through, the Obamacrats just pulled years worth of frustrated progressive dreams off the shelf and dusted them off for the brief shining moment of all-out Democrat power.

What a Schmuck

Obama wouldn't speak where "IHS" was visible at Georgetown University (then don't speak at a Catholic college d**khead)...but he'll do this?

Watch Andy Cuomo's Approval Plummet in 3 minutes and 58 seconds

Original link here.

UPDATE:  This is rich.  Andy is now blaming the rather sloppily-written law on the anti-gun lobbyists who wrote it.  Wait...anti-gun lobbyists wrote the law...?  In any other profession, this what is known as fraud or malfeasance.  Also remember, this law was passed in the middle of the night under a "memo of necessity" bypassing the mandatory three day review.  So it was so crucial to pass, but crucial enough for the Governor or any legislator to read?  This is your government ladies and gentleman.  When the whole shooting match comes crashing down, we'll know why, and it'll be our fault for electing and then not monitoring these incompetent dickheads.

Higher Ed In America

OK, here is what has become a common story, so common that we fail to no longer see the idiotic cesspool that much of higher education has become.
A Florida Atlantic University student said he was punished after he refused a professor’s directive to stomp on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it. The university, meanwhile, is defending the assignment as a lesson in debate.

“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” student Ryan Rotela told television station WPEC. “I truly see this as I’m being punished.”
Rotela, who is a devout Mormon, said the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class told the students to write the name “Jesus” on a sheet of paper. Then, they were told to put the paper on the floor.
“He had us all stand up and he said ‘Stomp on it,’” Rotela said. “I picked up the paper from the floor and put it right back on the table.
The young college student told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive
“I said to the professor, ‘With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate,’” Rotela said. ‘I believe it was unprofessional and I was deeply offended by what you told me to do.’”
While I have no disagreement with this student's viewpoint and I have utter contempt for this inane professor, this kid made two mistakes:
1) First, he took a course called "Intercultural Communications".  Reading a this title alone in the course catalog should have set off alarm bells that this would be a descent into progressive, post-modern, relativistic, anti-intellectual hell.  What good purpose could taking such drivel possibly serve?

2) Second, the kid was too deferential.  Drop the 'all due respect' act.  Forget about the sacrilege, the very fact that the professor asked you engage in such an infantile, show-n-tell quality exercise in a college course should have tipped you off that this prof was a phony and a hack, not worthy of your respect.

The reason we have these stupid classes and idiotic professors is because students put up with it.  Don't enroll or drop the class the minute it becomes clear what a farce it is.  If enough do, ultimately, these courses these professors will go away.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lightworker Does Not Like Hard Questions

...most interesting, Chuck got the famous middle digit mouth rub at the end...

Orwell Was Just Off a Few Years

First came the snitch line for talking bad about Obamacare, now comes the snitch line to try to get your neighbors' guns taken away...

It's happening. 

Two Good WSJ Editorials Traverse Ground that NBfPB Has Covered

There are two well-written and well-nformed opinion pieces today on the WSJ's Op-Ed page that echo themes I have discussed here on NBfPB.

First is Eliot Cohen who reminds us that history teaches us that when the US doesn't lead the world goes to shit.  Pretty much the same as what I said here.

Second is Michael Solon telling us that we rely too heavily, and dangerously, on the wealthy for tax revenue, which I called our "key man problem."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is Keystone XL Rejection a Giant Example of Crony Capitalism?

This is a little tin foil hatish but the conventional wisdom is that the Lightworker's lefty base is the driving force behind his delay and dissembling over the Keystone XL pipeline.  Numerous commentators have wondered why Obama needed to heed these segment of his base, were they really going to vote for Romney?  Turnout maybe could've been a factor.  Maybe.  But now that he's pocketed the re-election victory, Obama isn't changing his tune about Keystone XL.  If you ask me, it's because he is an anti-hydrocarbon zealot like most on the far left.  But there are some "Hmmmmm"-worthy relationships here.  First, if not by pipeline, how does oil get transported over great distances when there is not a viable water-borne route?  By train, and increasingly so.
While America has gone through an energy transformation, so have railways, thanks to shale production growing faster than available pipeline space. Although rail is typically more costly than pipelines, railcars are able to reach markets that pipelines don't, particularly North Dakota's Bakken formation, yielding higher prices for producers.
This trend is not temporary. Small amounts of crude have long been transported by rail, but since 2009, the increased movements have been significant. U.S. railways have seen a boost in transportation of crude oil and petroleum products in the first half of 2012 by about 38 percent, compared to the same period in 2011, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
In particular, which trains?
Rail crude oil originations have risen for 11 straight quarters through the third quarter of 2012, according to AAR. And much of this crude is being shipped by Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC (BNSF), transporting one-third of Bakken oil production alone with unit trains carrying up to 85,000 barrels of oil. BNSF witnessed a 60-percent increase in car loadings of crude oil and petroleum products during the first six months of 2012.
 Who owns Burlington Northern Santa Fe?  Um, yeah.

So, the Keystone XL pipeline represents something that Obama hates, there is no real political upside to approving it, and approving it would be against the economic interests of his good friend and supporter Warren Buffett....

Think that pipeline is getting built?  Not in the next four years it's not.

Where Is All the Money Coming From?

In my post "A Citizen's Guide to Quiet Rebellion" I said to embrace the grey market economy, for example by paying your plumber in cash among other things.

Looks like it is working, there are signs of an "off-books boom".

Something fishy is going on in consumers’ wallets.
Household spending has held up surprisingly well in recent months, even though new taxes have reduced paychecks and other problems are holding back the economy. Incomes haven’t risen by nearly enough to explain the entire boost in spending. Nor has the use of credit cards.

While ultimately not healthy, this is what needs to happen to reign government in, the physics of money and the laws of economics need to be brought to bear fully on the situation if we are to beat back the forces of statism.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two New Yorks

Below is the updated map that I originally highlighted here.  We are approaching the point where the map will be complete, when no more resolutions will be acted upon, the county legislatures will have spoken or not. Essex, Broome, and Sullivan are sure to go green this week or next, Albany Co. is a toss up.  In the end there will be 52 or 53 of New York state's 62 counties voting their opposition to Cuomo's SAFE Act and 9 or 10 not expressing opposition.

Forget about the gun debate for now, this map is a classic example of the concept of the tyranny of the majority.  On a given issue, any governor of NYS need only - and clearly Cuomo only did - please the roughly 12 million residents of the 8 counties that constitute the state's portion of NYC metro area.  The remaining 8 million in the other 54 counties are effectively a political nullity.  On certain issues, the lines don't cut this way, but on many they do.  Clearly guns are one such issue, but "fracking" is another and education policy is another.  A moderate governing approach that understands the delicate balance may keep this entity we know as New York state viable, but ram-rodding too much progressive, leftist policy preferences onto the rest of the state is not healthy, and at some point dangerous.

UPDATE:  Map has been updated as Essex has gone green.  Broome and Sullivan will be green by Friday and we are largely done, at which point we can conclude that the notion, peddled relentlessly by the MSM, that Cuomo's anti-gun SAFE Act is broadly popular is, in fact, a steaming pile. 

Philly Whites: Sometimes, Maybe, A Little Bit, Kinda...Blacks Are Not Really Super Awesome Neighbors

The (Black) Mayor's Response:  Get me the Human Rights Commission on the horn!

So, Philadelphia Magazine publishes an article that obliquely hints that whites in the CoBL are cowed into silence, or at least forced to walk on eggshells, regarding race and their communities, and what happens?  The black mayor calls for an investigation attempts to cow the magazine into silence...

The article is actually rather tame, it's not like it says anything so incendiary as, um, well, many of our largest cities, being majority black and black run, have been on the decline for decades are shitholes, and in many cases white-led gentrification has been in tension with shitholeification.  Now, THAT would be incendiary.  It's not about race, it's about governance.  Run the city well and you wouldn't see articles like this.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Party of Ideas

Or more accurately, "you pay for our ideas."  The Powerline guys express this powerfully and succinctly:
"It simply demands more money from the taxpayers, and spends all that and more."
The state is insatiable.  Full. Stop.

The recent rhetoric from the likes of Infinite Money Bloomberg and No Debt Problem Obama should only serve to highlight to the bond market that there is not a shred of concern over the creditworthiness of the United States.  I can't think of more irresponsibly brazen examples of taunting the bond market and double dog daring the Bond Market Vigilantes to show up.  No doubt they've been reluctant to come in and "fight the Fed", but you can't look at our nation's budget trajectory and listen to the public statements of our political leaders and conclude anything other than that the US is headed past the point of no return fiscally speaking. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Belly Up: One of World's Largest Solar Panel Maker

This probably as much a cautionary tale about investing in China as it is about investing in uneconomic technologies like solar power. 
One of the world's largest solar panel manufacturers, Suntech Power, has nearly run out of cash and is poised to be taken over partially or entirely by the municipal government's holding company in its hometown of Wuxi, China, solar industry executives and a Wuxi official said on Wednesday. 

Putting aside the very weird tidbit that the company may have bought hundred of millions of dollars worth of fake German bonds, the solar panel industry was uneconomic and supported by massive and increasing subsidies from green-devoted Western governments.  To add to this dismal picture, Chinese firms in this space were never about making money, they were about amassing technological know-how by hook or by crook (by hook preferably and if possible, by crook if necessary).  If you bought into either false premise, you paid dearly...
Chart forSuntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Heading to Rock Bottom

See here and here.  These are just little stories, the likes of which you could find hundreds of each week if you were so inclined.  What is the point?  The point is we headed for a crash.  It is a certainty on current trajectory.  Either some charismatic Republican gets himself elected and then promptly dons the green eye-shade hat or we go into "default by another name," the leading example of which goes by the name inflation.

I have long said that our politics likely won't solve this, but bankruptcy will.  We will reform entitlements only when the checks can't be cut.  The check cutting apparatus will soon shut down in places like Detroit and Illinois.  Either we extrapolate from those examples or we go bust.  That's it.  All the high-minded Ivy League economic bullshit can't gloss that unvarnished reality.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Detroit, Was the Writing On the Wall? Hard to Say.

Racketeering?  Wait.  You mean the "Hip-Hop Mayor"?  Say it isn't so.

Answering the Important Economic Questions of Our Day

As a matter of economics and finance, I would not think that Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts are insurable individually, for $2.5 million apiece as this article suggests.  Breasts are illustrative of extreme synergistic effects where the value of a pair is far in excess of the value of two individual parts (or even three).  If JLH were to lose one breast, it is highly unlikely that the remaining breast would retain it's $2.5 million value.  Thus a $5 million  policy would certainly have to be structured as insuring the pair collectively.

Peak Oil Fail

I've been dismissive if the Peak Oil Theory for some time and have blogged about it many times here at NBfPB.  Over at Carpe Diem, Mark Perry gives us some visual evidence of how bad the theory is faring these days.  Distilled to its essence, Peak Oil is just another declinist theory, among many, at whose heart is a lack of faith/hatred of mankind.


Wait, Michael Bloomberg Told Me There Was Infinite Money...

The world's largest sovereign wealth fund is reducing it's holdings of currencies where governments are "addicted to stimulus."

Norway’s $713 billion sovereign wealth fund is turning away from the world’s biggest currencies and their debt-laden governments as policy makers undermine their exchange rates through unprecedented stimulus measures.

 “It’s what we perceive as a risk-reducing investment strategy,” Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of Norges Bank Investment Management, said in a March 8 interview in Oslo. Cutting dollar, yen, euro and pound investments is a “prudent” move, he said. “These four major currencies all have structural issues, with regards to government debt, to private sector debt, to unconventional monetary policy, and to growth and the demographic profile of the countries.”
Michael "Infinite Money"  Bloomberg, call your office.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Still In the "Robert Half Economy"

Hiring in the American economy is slooooooowly picking up, life must go on after all. But the latest data illuminated in this chart, which I've taken from the invaluable Carpe Diem blog, indicates that we are still very much in the Robert Half Economy.

What is the Robert Half Economy and how did we get to it?
Well, we are two years out and we've made, well, er, um, progress if you can call it that. We're not going Galt anymore, we are going Robert Half. Robert Half is, of course, a company that will hook your business up with temporary workers. Judging by this (see #2) it seems that they are busy these days. With Nancy Pelosi defanged, Barack Obama sporting pedestrian approval ratings, and a global economy that decided it couldn't afford to indulge in the progessive rubbish that we Americans foisted on ourselves (here, here, and here), the business climate is looking less awful, so going the full Galt may not be justified. But going the full Milton ain't justified either, after all we are still living with the spectre of the regulatory blobs of ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank, Obama's EPA is in overdrive trying to raise our energy costs, and the rule of law is still being flouted from on high. So how does one make a halting, tentative commitment to the prospect of better times? Hire temps.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Big City Progressives Create Small Army of Illiterates

This is not a shock to me. 

It’s an education bombshell.
Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system.
Ride the New York City subway on a regular basis in the mornings and after 2:30 and you know that NYC schools are churning out large numbers of teenagers ill-equipped for the job market at the very least.  This is a tragedy, but this is what big city liberals have given us - publicly funded, unionized teachers, massive bureaucracy, lowest-common denominator curriculum.  That's the progressive recipe and the result is armies of illiterates.  Good job lefties.

Robber Baron Myth

Now, I fully understand that I wasn't the first to have this insight, but surely I was the first to blog about it, no?  Ok, maybe not, but still, I blogged about it a long time ago.
Perpetuating the "robber baron myth" has always been quite lucrative, but it is indeed that, a myth. The linguistic formulation of "robber baron" is so laughably inaccurate as to be Orwellian. Classic "robber barons" like Carnegie and Rockefeller were, of course, the opposite of barons, they were both born and raised in obvious poverty, and they did not rob anything, but created something from almost nothing. Both Carneige and Rockefeller gained enormous wealth by creating large industries that didn't exist prior.
David Henderson is out with an essay that illuminates just how off-base the myth is. Only those who actually study the particulars of these gilded age titans, as I am wont to do from time to time, understand how badly the myth gets it wrong.
One of the most prevalent myths about economic freedom is that it inevitably leads to monopolies. Ask people why they believe that, and the odds are high that they will point to the "trusts" of the late 19th century that gained large market shares in their particular industries. These trusts are Exhibit A for most people who hold this view. Ask them for specific names of the villains who ran these trusts, and they are likely to point to such people as Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. They even have a label for Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and others: robber barons.
Consider the case of Cornelius ("Commodore") Vanderbilt. Even the excellent recent book Why Nations Fail, by MIT economics professor Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist and economist James A. Robinson, gets the Vanderbilt story wrong. And not just wrong, but spectacularly wrong. They claim that Vanderbilt was "one of the most notorious" robber barons who "aimed at consolidating monopolies and preventing any potential competitor from entering the market or doing business on an equal footing."
In fact, it was Vanderbilt's competitor, Aaron Ogden, who persuaded the New York state legislature to grant Ogden a legally enforced monopoly on ferry travel between New Jersey and New York. And Vanderbilt was one of the main people who challenged that monopoly. At the tender age of 23, Vanderbilt had become the business manager for a ferry entrepreneur named Thomas Gibbons. Gibbons' goal was to compete with Aaron Ogden by charging low fares. In doing so, they were purposely breaking the law—and helping their passengers save money. In the case Gibbons v. Ogden, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, indeed, the New York state government could not legally grant a monopoly on interstate commerce.1 In short, Cornelius Vanderbilt was not a monopoly maker in this case, but a monopoly breaker.
And, of course, Vanderbilt was as poor as dirt as a youth.  He busted his ass hauling people and cargoes around NY harbor years before he bum-rushed the elite and corrupt economic arrangements, where the big money was, of the day.  Personally, I recommend this book.

Who Can Use "Heteroschedasticity" In a Pick-Up Line?

On campuses, at cocktail parties and in American corporations, statisticians are walking a bit taller these days.
The explosive growth in data available to businesses and researchers has brought a surge in demand for people able to interpret and apply the vast new swaths of information, from the analysis of high-resolution medical images to improving the results of Internet search engines.
Schools have rushed to keep pace, offering college-level courses to high-school students, while colleges are teaching intro stats in packed lecture halls and expanding statistics departments when the budget allows.
When asked for his occupation, "even 20 years ago I would try to say something other than statistics," said Richard De Veaux, professor of mathematics and statistics at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. Today, though, "It's just a great time to be a statistician."
Article here.

Boy Oh Boy, Carly Rae Is a Piker

I am hardly a Europhile, but I must admit while the American pop scene is so degraded that it can only churn out something as banal - catchy but banal - as "Call Me Maybe", two European gals have cooked up a hit with essentially the same thematic plea as Carly Rae, namely 'I like you, I wish you would call me'.  But these two do it with a poetry ("spring is making promises outside") and demureness that is intoxicating.  In the end, you know the guy calls.  He'd be crazy not to.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

How Popular Is Junior Cuomo's Gun Control Law?

To give you an idea of how popular Andy Cuomo's (Fuhrer Cuomo as he is variously referred to locally) new gun control law is in the Empire state, here is a map of counties that have passed or are considering resolutions opposing the new law.  Most of those yellows will turn green in short order and we'll be left with the NYC region, Albany region, and Tompkins County (essentially Ithaca, which is referred to as '8 square miles surrounded by reality') as the only places that didn't stand up and actively tell the Governor to stick his new law.  Also, the "Two New Yorks" movement will get some traction out of this, I think.

UPDATE:  I'm replacing the map as updates come in.  Jefferson County is now a big hunka green up north. Votes coming up in Dutchess and Monroe.

UPPDATE:  Map is gettting greener...Ontario and Dutchess counties added.

UPPPDATE:  Franklin Co. up north goes green.  Dutchess moves back to yellow, the affirmative vote was just in committee, the full county legislature votes next week, but it'll go green. Also up next week, Seneca, Chemung, Columbia and Schuyler.  Broome County votes on 3/21, definitely headed to green.

UPPPPDATE (3/12):  Schuyler, Dutchess, Chemung, Chenango all go green.  Clinton will be green by tomorrow morning. Seneca, Broome, and Essex will be green within 10 days.

UPPPPPDATE:  Seneca goes green.  Looks like Clinton will take another day and Columbia votes tonight, very likely to go green.  Sullivan votes 3/21.

UPPPPPPDATE:  Columbia and Clinton go gree.  Three more to go before we have the entire state minus the 800 pound progressive gorilla in NYC and two small pockets opposing the new law.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Chavez Dead

Chavez dead.  Yeah.  Still I don't think there is much hope for Venezuela...

Watch, our socialist president will praise as well as mourn...

Proud Papa

I am an extraordinarily proud daddy today. 

Yesterday, my eleven year old daughter recounted for me her sixth grade homeroom session, where her teacher was soliciting feedback on her (notoriously nannying and trend-following) school principal's drive to decrease backpack loads by encouraging/mandating the consolidation of multiple binders into one binder. 

When called upon for her opinion, she proclaimed "I don't need the school to solve my problems, if this even is a problem, which I don't think it is." 

You go girl!

Monday, March 04, 2013

What Is the Market Telling Us About Gun Control?

What does Sturm Ruger & Company's stock chart tell you about the legislative momentum of gun control efforts in America post-Newtown?  Probably that they are not going to amount to much.  Of course, the market could be wrong, but the stock has regained it's all-time high and is trading up after hours on the latest data on FBI background checks and potentially disappointing news for gun-controllers coming out of the Congress.

Also, SEC filings show us that certain investors made a mint investing last December and others took it on the chin.  It looks like Gilder Gagnon Howe sold its 744,000 shares post Newtown thereby locking in over $11 million of losses.

Chart forSturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. (RGR)

NYT Notices Bifurcated Economy That NBfPB Has Explained Many Times

I have well-chronicled a phenomenon that you rarely read about - that the Democrats (the Pelosi, Reid and Obama gang) has created an economy that stinks for average people but that is not so bad for owners of things.  Check out my many posts on this here, here, here and here, but here is the nub:
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.
Hey, well now the New York Crimes has taken note.
With the Dow Jones industrial Averageflirting with a record high, the split between American workers and the companies that employ them is widening and could worsen in the next few months as federal budget cuts take hold.
That gulf helps explain why stock markets are thriving even as the economy is barely growing and unemployment remains stubbornly high.
 ''So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,'' said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. ''The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.''
I have laid it all out before, the classic lefty recipe for creating misery among the people they purport to champion and good times among the people they consistently demonize in order to win elections.
First we must start with a misdiagnosis of the financial crisis. Politicians blamed it all on the banks and business, when it was largely the creation of government through highly distorted incentives. They further chose to tackle a financial panic, a monetary event, as a traditional business cycle recession and applied traditional counter-cyclical Keynesian "stimulus". Also, coming out of the financial crisis, the politicians ramped up both anti-business rhetoric and an anti-business policy agenda the likes of which this country hasn't see in seventy years. So as the monetary disruptions healed, the government was sucking the oxygen out of the economy by crowding out private capital to borrow and spend on "stimulus" and sending risk-takers to hide under their desks. So as the world beyond our borders recovered, having indulged in less over the top business bashing, US manufacturers have been able to secure alot of business exporting our great products to the world, but have little incentive to hire (ObamaCare) and expand here at home (card-check, EPA, NLRB, etc). Ergo the profits but not too much hiring. So that's how we got an economy that stinks for "workers" but is OK for "owners".

Great Minds Think Alike: John Cochrane Edition

Last week I highlighted Michael Bloomberg's bewildering fantastical financial perspective.  I talked about how even an infinite amount of money (which doesn't exist) isn't much good at high and rising interest rates and that a "debt death spiral" is a possibility.
What Nannyberg seems to not want to discuss is that the terms upon which people lend us money are renegotiated almost every day. Those terms are going to change in the near future and the terms are going to get increasingly onerous.  At some point, an infinite amount of money (or even just alot) is meaningless, there are terms under which one shouldn't and won't borrow.  The vast sums of nearly cost free money that we now spend with reckless abandon is an historical anomaly and it will shortly disappear.  Lenders will start to demand a rate commensurate with a) our debauched creditworthiness, and/or b) the prospect of ultimately receiving devalued dollars in return as repayment.  When this process gets well under way, the costs of our fiscal incontinence will go way up and the pain will not be from cutting spending, the real pain will be from keeping spending.  You see, the miracle of compound interest works in reverse too.  Debts compound rather quickly at increasing interest rates, and if they rise fast enough, it is nearly impossible to avoid a debt death spiral.
In today's WSJ, U of Chicago economist John Cochrane talks about the same thing, lays some numbers down, and posits a potential "fiscal death spiral" as well. 
But this comforting thought leaves out a vital consideration: Monetary policy depends on fiscal policy in an era of large debts and deficits. Suppose that the Fed raises interest rates to 5% over the next few years. This is a reversion to normal, not a big tightening. Yet with $18 trillion of debt outstanding, the federal government will have to pay $900 billion more in annual interest. ...
This additional expenditure would double the deficit, which tempts a tipping point. Bond markets can accept fairly big temporary deficits without charging higher interest rates—buyers understand that bigger deficits for a few years can be made up by slightly larger tax revenues or spending cuts over decades to follow. But once markets sense that deficits may be unsustainable, and that bond buyers may face default, restructuring or inflation, they will demand still-higher interest rates. Higher rates mean higher deficits—leading to a fiscal death spiral. 
Read the whole thing.

Tax Receipts to Hit All-Time High, Feds Still Hundreds of Billions Short

So, the latest update from the Congressional Budget Office says that, in 2013, the federal government will collect more money - $2.7 trillion - in taxes than it has ever in its history. 

You would think that being on pace to collecting more money than it has ever taken in during a single year, that we'd be able to fund everything that we do.  But you'd be wrong.  By alot.  The CBO still estimates a deficit of $845 billion. 

Again, our federal government is going to pull in more money than it has ever pulled in and yet we are still going to be $845 billion short and we have a President going around saying that everything is going to come to a halt, people will get fired, people will starve, the elderly will suffer.  See how screwy this whole thing is?  The government has taken on more than it can ever do without bankrupting us.  The plane is nosediving. We better pull up soon.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

More Idiocy Out of Harvard

First, I chronicled how Harvard allowed a few anti-capitalist blowhards to drive their endowment manager from the university because they didn't like the fact that he was well-paid.  He was well-paid because he was the best, and having his pay cut, he left.  Now Harvard gets mediocre returns on its endowment's capital.  Dumb.

Second, I chronicled how Harvard students complained that the economics curriculum actually contained some of the foundational ideas and thinkers in the field of economics, much to their chagrin because apparently some of these ideas are, gasp, conservative.

Now, we have the Harvard Crimson telling potentially ambitious young people not to come to Harvard if they are going to bad-mouth it for being "liberal" later on in life.  This completes the trifecta of dumb.  Let's make the entirely realistic assumption that success is normally distributed across society.  Thus, there are going to be a given number of successful people who will develop conservative (or maybe just  'not liberal') views as they mature into adulthood, and they may look back on their years at Harvard, reflect, and perhaps note that they learned alot of liberal nonsense stuff of marginal or dubious utility.  Still, those people have become successful and they are potential financial supporters, advisory resources or they simply add to the long line of distinguished alumni of the university, burnishing Harvard's reputation.  Why would Harvard pass up on these people?  Why would it actively forgo future resources and turn potential human capital away at the door?  If this were policy, the official line would effectively limit Harvard's progress and capabilities to only what a subset of available future alumni enable it to achieve.  It's a self-limiting policy to say nothing of the fact that it might be illegally discriminatory.  In fewer words, it's shockingly dumb; and, in the ultimate irony, illiberal.

But it is, more or less, what we've come to expect from the geniuses in Cambridge.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Meet the Newest Person That The Media Will Seek to Destroy

"...guns give people a fighting chance in a world where evil is no respecter of man."

"Here's what I believe, you take away guns from American history, and there is no America.  There is no platform to allow Bob Costas to share his opinion on national television."

What fat, old, white, hillbilly, red-neck, hayseed, neanderthal, gun-totin' "psychotard" said these things to land himself a nice gig as the new voice of the NRA?  Nugent?  No, but close. 

Does this guy know what a pariah and outcast he is making himself?  The media will drag his name through the mud, elite opinionators will endeavor to destroy him and he'll be called all manner of disgusting things.  Does he realize what he's signed up for?  National poster child for Uncle Tomism and betrayer of an entire race because we can't have a walking, breathing threat to the narrative...? 

Does he realize?  Yes. Yes, I believe he does.

Mike Bloomberg Is Woefully Mistaken

“We are spending money we don’t have,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “It’s not like your household. In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’ That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money. When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money. … Our debt is so big and so many people own it that it’s preposterous to think that they would stop selling us more. It’s the old story: If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem. If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem. And that’s a problem for the lenders. They can’t stop lending us more money.”
Nanny Bloomberg is correct in many respects, but ultimately woefully mistaken.  People will not lend us an infinite amount of money.  They may lend us alot of money, but it is, undeniably, finite.  In fact the Chinese have mostly stopped lending us money.  The people who mostly lending us money are...ourselves.

What Nannyberg seems to not want to discuss is that the terms upon which people lend us money are renegotiated almost every day. Those terms are going to change in the near future and the terms are going to get increasingly onerous.  At some point, an infinite amount of money (or even just alot) is meaningless, there are terms under which one shouldn't and won't borrow.  The vast sums of nearly cost free money that we now spend with reckless abandon is an historical anomaly and it will shortly disappear.  Lenders will start to demand a rate commensurate with a) our debauched creditworthiness, and/or b) the prospect of ultimately receiving devalued dollars in return as repayment.  When this process gets well under way, the costs of our fiscal incontinence will go way up and the pain will not be from cutting spending, the real pain will be from keeping spending.  You see, the miracle of compound interest works in reverse too.  Debts compound rather quickly at increasing interest rates, and if they rise fast enough, it is nearly impossible to avoid a debt death spiral.

Finally, it is precisely this type of statement by a prominent politician that gets lenders gittery about whether we have any fiscal sense.  The world is wondering if we'll ever get our house in order and a guy who many talk about as a presidential contender states that he think we have an infinite source of funding...?  Yeesh.