Monday, December 31, 2012

I want Vous..

...to be dependent upon your country.



I like baguettes and France but I don't want America to become France or Europe.  I fear it is.

Things that can't go on forever, won't.

This is going to end badly.

Monday, December 17, 2012

So which party is committed to diversity again?

Nikki Haley, Republican Governor of South Carolina just named Tim Scott to replace Jim Demint in the Senate.  It just so happens that Tim is black.

It's  funny, Republicans are derided as the 'white' party and the party of 'racists' yet with the very notable exception of President Obama people of color are much better represented at the top of the Republican party than the Democrat party.

Let's review the bidding, Republicans have:

The only two asian governors - Bobby Jindal, LA, Nikki Haley, SC
The only two latino governors - Brian Sandoval, NV, Susanna Martinez, NM
Two of the three latino senators - Marco Rubio, FL, Ted Cruz, TX (Robert Menendez of NJ is the other)
The only black Supreme Court justice - Clarence Thomas
And now the only black senator - Tim Scott, SC

Of course almost all black and latino Congressmen are Democrats which provokes a thought:  Minority Democrats almost always have their own Congressional districts and demand that someone of 'their' race hold the seat.  The result is that most minority Democrats end up being relegated to their particular racial ghetto (again, President Obama is the sterling exception).  They don't need 'outsiders' to get elected and they focus on 'their' people's needs.  The result is that they don't build the relationships, coalitions and reputations necessary to succeed in statewide politics where you must reach across racial, cultural and geographic lines. There are exceptions such as Keith Ellison of MN but they are few and far between.

By contrast minorities in the Republican party almost always come up through the mainstream path.  There is no minority ghetto so to succeed, they must build relationships and alliances across all racial and cultural lines.  This is much better preparation for high office than the Democrat's racial ward heeler model.

Incidentally, this is the model that Barack Obama followed - he was State Senator to a mixed race district, was then elected US Senator of all of Illinois.  His one foray into the racial ghetto resulted in him being crushed by Bobby Rush.

 It seems to me that to the extent that minorities assimilate and no longer live in their own neighborhoods they become much less Democrat.  Thus it is in the Democrats' electoral interest to keep minorities isolated and focused on their racial or ethnic 'differences'.  We saw a lot of this sort of rhetoric in the last election - Dems 'waving the bloody shirt' to Latinos, Blacks, Feminists, Gays, etc.  They have to do that because a high level of group solidarity is necessary to get 95% of a racial group's vote - or 75% for that matter.  And nothing builds group solidarity like the fear of the 'other'.

In this case, what's good for the Dems is not good for the country.

1930s Redux?

Outside of the US, the Great Depression ended rather quickly.  In fact, the term 'Great Depression' is a particularly American historical artifact.  The depression was made particularly 'Great' in the US because of the radical and in many ways flawed response that the Fed, FDR and the New Deal Democrats made to what was a garden variety, albeit deep recession.

Now we find out that the rest of the world is recovering from the 'Great' Recession while the US isn't.  For the first time in history, the US has fallen out of the top ten in the Legatum Worldwide Prosperity Index.

Coincidentally, the current White House occupant made historical accounts of FDR's reign of error mandatory reading for his appointees when he started his term.

What did that 'cat say about History repeating itself?  Welcome to Farceworld.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

America's New Ruling Class

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that my greatest concern is the Federalization and corresponding 'felonization' of more and more of American life.  I believe the Federal ability to print money along with the transformation of a minimalist Federal government into a maximalist administrative state have done enormous damage to our Federal Republic and are the key reason why the country is bankrupt and adrift.

But one could argue that the result is democratic - if the people want the Federal government to do all these things then who am I to object?  Of course the people are sovereign only so long as the Constitution functions.  And according to the Founders, the keys to the functioning of the constitution was Federalism, the separation of powers and the tendency of ambition to check ambition.

But Federalism is gone.  One third of the typical state's spending (up to half for some) is now provided by the Feds and over two thirds is governed by them.  Education, healthcare, transportation, and social welfare policies are effectively dictated at the center upon pain of loss of funding.  Federalism for most things other than legalized Marijuana is dead and getting colder by the minute.

What about the separation of powers?  The rise of the administrative state has resulted in a defacto replacement of rule by elected magistrates with rule by unelected bureaucrats.  The Federal structure was designed to be a minimal, slow moving government, to the extent that a prescriptive administrative state could have even been conceived, it was intended to be delivered by the states.  The result of jury rigging the latter to the former has been an incredibly expensive and ineffective kluge where the legislative and executive often gridlock themselves and each other.  This has allowed the bureaucracy to do what it wants subject to the approval of the unelected judiciary making much of the government practically independent from its elected 'masters'.  And rule by bureaucrat has increasingly moved from defacto to dejure.  With the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection and the Independent Payment Advisory Boards (CFPB and IPAB) Democrats have created powerful agencies able to ban any service or company in their ambit.  Under law these agencies are not subject to Congressional oversight, cannot be abolished and get their funding independent of the budget.  So much for separation of powers.

Relying on ambition to check ambition to protect our interests is looking increasingly grim as well.  Look at the summary of who controls the 'commanding heights' of our government below.  I could create a much more detailed list that includes key business leaders and the media but it wouldn't really change the picture much.  After WWII elite colleges, principally the Ivies and a few others like Chicago and Stanford began deliberately skimming the 'richest' intellects in the nation and world.  These intellects came to the institutions, intermarried and are now sending their children to them.

Most nations have ruling classes that are close knit, go to he same educational institutions and intermarry.  The English have Oxbridge, the French have the Haute Ecoles and so on.  The genius of the United States has been that the process of immigration and the fragmentation into 50 sovereign states broke up the ruling classes and let many new people rise to the top.  But through the elimination of Federalism, the expansion and centralization of most state wealth and power into a single unitary state and the focused efforts of rich universities, this democratic process has been reversed.

Because as Murray and Herrnstein in the Bell Curve pointed out, intelligence is partially heritable, the actions of the elite universities serve to concentrate and distill a 'cognitive elite' that is through breeding, socialization and the advantages of immensely expensive tax subsidized educations are increasingly able to seize more and more of the commanding heights of our society.

And increasingly this process is deliberate and hereditary.  A naive elite screening process would result in the most talented regardless of their race or ethnicity being admitted into the 'golden circle'.  However as Ron Unz recently demonstrated in his brilliant The Myth of American Meritocracy, elite universities deliberately penalize talent that is not currently part of the power elite (Asians) and aggressively promote less talented cohorts that are descended from the current power elites (Jews).


This results in elites across the ideological spectrum that have more in common with each other than with their ideological allies out in the provinces.  Look how this works in practice.  Take for example the recent surprise ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts (JD, Harvard) on the Affordable Care Act.  Justice Roberts essentially corrected Congresses' homework and then gave it an 'A' for the corrected version.  He did so according to the pundits because by not ruling on the law (as opposed to his revised version of the law) he was protecting the 'credibility' of the Supreme Court.  One might ask from who?  Certainly not the majority of the population that was opposed to the ACA, nor the majority of states who had sued to stop it.  No, Justice Roberts concern was with his credibility among his peers in Washington.  His peers from Harvard, Yale, Princeton.


So every time a lefty votes for a new Federal program like health care reform than runs roughshod over the states and every time a teabagger votes for more national 'security' like Homeland Security  or intensifies the "Drug War" they hand more levers of power to this small and increasingly concentrated power elite.

And I don't think recreating the inbred, self interested anti-democratic power elites of Georgian England was what the founders had in mind.  Do you?

SURVEY OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROVENANCE OF OUR POWER ELITES - Past and Present


Postwar Presidential elections to Reagan: 
'48 High School beats Columbia
'52 USMA beats Northwestern
'56 USMA beats Northwestern
'60 Harvard beats Duke
'64 Southwest Texas beats High School
'68 Duke beats LSU
'72 Duke beats Dakota Wesleyan
'76 USNA beats Michigan, 
'80 Eureka beats USNA
'84 Eureka beats Minnesota.
Presidential  elections since Reagan: 
'88 Yale beats Harvard
'92 Yale beats Yale
'96 Yale beats Kansas
'00 Yale beats Harvard
'04 Yale beats Harvard
'08 Harvard beats Naval Acadamy
'12 Harvard beats Harvard.
Goldman Sachs
Early Goldman Sachs:  Jewish wise guys without college educations or CCNY.
Goldman Sachs now:  Top Harvard, Yale, Princeton graduates with the modern equivalent of ‘sand’
Fed
Paul Volker Harvard
Alan Greenspan NYU
Ben Bernanke Harvard
Supreme Court 1970
2 Harvard
2 Yale
1 Columbia
1 William Mitchell
1 Alabama
1 Howard
1 Northwestern

Supreme Court 2012
5 Harvard
1 Columbia (but attended Harvard)
3 Yale

Obama seems to be one of those “I can’t be broke, I’ve still got some checks” kind of budgeters . . . .

Indeed.

With legal weed, belief that we live in a computer simulation is exploding

"Oh dude, this is blowing my mind.  You mean we might live inside a simulation that some other dude is running on his laptop?  Dude, how can we test this?"

Well funny you should ask:  check this out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

California in death spiral

This is what happens when you're in a death spiral - you raise taxes and revenues go down.  But just wait, Californication is coming to a Federal Office near you.

Despite Tax Increase, California State Revenues in Freefall
California State Controller John Chiang has announced that total state revenue for the month of November 2012 fell $806.8 million, or 10.8%, below budget. 

The real problem with social democracy

Eventually you run out of other people's babies.  Here.

QE3, QE4, QE5...

....pretty soon we're talking about some serious inflation here.  Keep printin' Bennie, you'll blow the dollar up sooner or later.  Then we can begin to get rid of our Kleptocratic Federal state.

QE4 is here.

Muy Incompetento

Somehow I've started getting Spanish language ads on line.  Dunno how - I'm in St. Louis (or is that San Luis?) and the articles are in English (or is that Ingles).

Attaboy Doubleclick! (Amuchacho Dobleclic?)

And here I thought it was called Obamunism...

Farmers are thieves: Sugar example

They wouldn't be if politicians didn't enable them.  This one is actually (partially) Reagan's fault.  The Gipper gypped us all.  Well except for the Farmer-theives.

So if you see a farmer thank him:  for ripping you off.

I think he means PRINT

When the government buys its own paper it isn't 'spending' it's 'printing'.  And it should be a property crime.  It certainly is much worse than burglary or drug convictions that carry ten  year sentences.  But of course our Federal Government is the biggest property criminal of all time.  And its property crimes will lead to murder and mayhem on a global scale.  So most accurately:  Our Feds are stone cold killers.

Federal Reserve to spend $45B a month to buy US bonds

So if the Left 'won' the electoral war, why are they so busy losing the peace?

Michigan's Right to Work vote is the fourth major defenestration of union power in recent history (Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Oklahoma).  Something that a decade ago 'could not happen' is happening all the time.

The big blue states are bankrupt and their economies stink.  They are increasingly among the poorest states in the nation and the middle class are fleeing them in record numbers.

Government employment is falling and with 'entitlements' scheduled to eat larger and larger proportions of the pie, are likely to plummet even faster and deeper.

The media is undergoing downsizing after downsizing with Newsweek evaporating into the ether and even the NYT facing eventual bankruptcy.

The Academy's unsustainable bubble is popping as we speak with evil portents for academic employment and wages.  Teacher's unions have never been held in such low regard and are on the defensive everywhere.

These sectors are the shock troops for leftist causes and Democrat politics.  They are where the money, the foot soldiers and the propaganda come from.  They are all in full and furious retreat.

So if the Left 'won' the electoral war, why are they so busy losing the peace?

The political future of America is a lot more complicated than the pigmentation, facial structure and genital counters would have us believe.

All in all, the news puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  Faster, please.

Civil war in Detroit? Who could tell?


UPDATE: John Steakley emails: “Civil war? So violence, decay, despair, filth and chaos in the streets while innocent people flee as fast as they can? In other words, Hoffa threatens that Detroit will look like . . . Detroit.”

HT Instapundidt

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The voters choose but it's consumers and businessmen who decide.

And their decision is a contrary one.

Upon Obama's victory consumer confidence collapses:

And Small business confidence collapses:

According to a Gallup poll, American small-business owners became extremely pessimistic about their future prospects following the presidential election. After hitting a nadir in mid-2010, optimism had been growing steadily over the past two years. But in the last month, that positive trend has reversed.

Note at the first link the commentary:  the mainstream press managed to hide the largest consumer confidence miss versus expectations in history in the footnotes.  Can't have any bad news, wouldn't be good for the cause.

In 1937 after FDR won reelection, businessmen, bureaucrats and union thugs all realized that the New Deal regime was here to stay.  The result was a depression within The Depression where all of the gains of the previous three years of ten percent annual growth were given back.  History seems to be repeating itself.

Fortunately there are no gains in the last four years to give back.  But that could just mean that we will sink deeper into the swamp that is Obamunism.

This is what happens in a taker's revolution.  Just ask Argentina.  Or great grand-dad.

Forweird!

Doha: Some Green Activists "close to despair"

Where will their cushy sinecures come from if this gig runs off the rails?  The horror.  Here.

Scratch an Obama Supporter CEO and you find a fascist

Obama Council of Economic Advisors Chairman and GE Jeff Immelt on how china is 'working'.  Boy if we could just have a government as powerful and unconstrained as China's Jeff could make a lot more money.

Union Thugs Assault

Unions:  can't live with them and can't get rid of them.  Vote Right to Work.

Update:  Union thugs used knives.

Update 2:  Union thugs protested police presence before they began their assaults.  Gotta get the cops away just in case they might enforce the law or something.  Not surprising unions and the mafia go together.

U


The video shows numerous union representatives engaging in violent, illegal conduct. Their faces are clearly identifiable. I hope they will be prosecuted, and sued.

And will President Obama condemn this violent behavior?

To ask the question is to know the answer.


Is California a Mad Max Sequel?

With the bankruptcy of the oh so compassionate and controlling state comes a collapse in the rule of law.  But Mad Max was entertaining while California is just pathetic.

Stay tuned for the Californication of America.

Forweird!

Racist Collusion? You Be The Judge

Great cover story from the American Conservative on The Myth of American Meritocracy.  Here's the money chart.  Can you see any pattern of racist collusion among our most 'egalitarian' and 'compassion' filled institutions?  And that is far from the most shocking finding - read the whole thing to find out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Obami seek to reframe thuggish reelection victory

Seldom if ever have incumbent Presidents sunk so low to win reelection.  Now the post - election revisionism is happening.  It was those lovable internet geeks, not corrupt Chicago brass knuckles that did it.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

It won't work.  Obama is a Chicago Alinskyite thug.  Always was, always will be.  And he will be remembered as the most incompetent President since James Buchanan flailed as the Union split.  More here.

Good news! People are losing hope for 'green' energy

We need to stop valuing things for one attribute.  And start evaluating things for their overall contribution to our society.  Rewarding 'green' things with massive subsidies resulted in both economic and environmental degradation.  Stop the corporatism.  More here.

I'm not sure Kafka could keep this one straight

San Francisco's institutional racism has become so convoluted that you need a scorecard to keep track of who is screwing whom.  It is the inevitable outcome of the multi-culti corporatist state.  And it leads to internecine mayhem.  Jimmy Taranto has the story here.

Stop moaning. If you don't like it don't fly. Simple.

The above was a response to my post about TSA abuses.  It's a wonderful non-sequitur.  Let's imagine some other uses of the stop moaning logic.

To the black man in 1950s Missippi:  "Stop moaning, if you don't like it move.  Simple"

To the Jew in Germany:  "Schtopp moanink, iff you don'e like it mooff.  Schimple"

We are a democracy and a nation of laws.  Presumably the People rule the government workers.  When the government rulers abuse their position they must be chastised.

The anonymous commenter above is either a TSA Goon or a "good German".

Pathetic.

Stagnation is the new normal

Louis Woodhill explains why stagnation is the new normal:

On November 6, Obama won a second chance to turn the economy around, by defeating clueless conservative Mitt Romney. So, what is Obama's plan? His plan is more of the same. More of Ben Bernanke's "quantitative easing", more tax increases, and even more regulations. Oh, and don't forget the $50 billion in additional "stimulus" spending Obama wants.
Part of Obama's new normal involves ignoring the staggering difference between the president's promises and the actual results delivered.
Obama's $842 billion in stimulus spending was supposed to get the unemployment rate down to 5.2% by now. The actual unemployment rate in November (calculated at the labor force participation rate assumed for the stimulus plan) was 10.8%. This is not only more than twice as high as the level promised, it is higher than the 10.4% rate (calculated on the same basis) that existed when Obama signed the stimulus bill into law.
So, is there any hope for the working class, and for jobless Americans that want to join the working class? As things stand right now, no, there isn't. Here's why.
Right now, America is about 14.7 million jobs short of full employment. To create one average job, someone has to invest about $200,000 in nonresidential assets. Therefore, to create the additional jobs we need, someone would have to invest an additional $3.0 trillion or so in the U.S. economy.
If an additional $3.0 trillion had been invested by the private sector during Obama's recovery, 3Q2012 GDP would have been $1.5 trillion, or 9.5%, higher than it actually was. Real GDP growth during those 13 calendar quarters would have averaged 5.11%, rather than the 2.21% actually achieved. By way of comparison, real GDP growth averaged 5.67% during the first 13 quarters of the Reagan recovery.
Coming out of a severe recession, a sustained period of fast economic growth has been normal for America,. However, under Obama, slow growth and high joblessness has become the new normal.
OK, so, who happens to have $3.0 trillion lying around, plus the knowledge and skills required to invest it wisely to create sustainable jobs? The poor? The middle class? The government?
No, the investment required to transform America's stagnant jobs picture can only come from the people that actually have the money, as well as the demonstrated ability to manage capital investment. In other words, it would have to come from the hated and reviled "one percent".
Obviously, "the rich" are already investing all that they are willing to invest under the current structure of incentives. Obama's plan is to do everything he can to make investment even less attractive for "the one percent" than it is now. This is why economic stagnation has become the new normal.
A good measure of the driving force for "the rich" to invest in job-creating nonresidential assets is the Real Dow, which is the Dow Jones Industrial Average divided by the price of gold.
A rising Dow reflects a flow of capital into productive assets. A rising gold price indicates that capital is moving into inflation hedges. The Real Dow, which is the ratio of the two, reveals the balance between the competing investment options available to "the rich".
The jobs picture will not improve until and unless the Real Dow begins a sustained rise. Unfortunately, the Real Dow ended November at 7.61. This is down by 16.6% since Obama's so-called "economic recovery" began, lower by 23.6% than when Bush 43 left office, and down by a staggering 80.6% since we last enjoyed full employment (in April 2000, under Bill Clinton).
So, if you are waiting for an improvement in the employment picture, watch the Real Dow, but don't hold your breath.
There will have to be big changes in policy before the jobs situation will improve significantly. Essentially, Obamunism would have to be supplanted by Reaganomics. America would have to move to a strong, stable dollar, lower taxes (especially on savings and investment), and cost-effective regulations.
As things stand, the American people can look forward to more years of economic stagnation, as well more years of pretending that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't worry if your kids graduate from college, only to move back home and play video games in the basement. It's just the new normal.
Obamunism: I like that.

Green Stockmarket Index Falls 98%

Stein's law:  When something can't go on it won't.  And 'green' energy is a joke that has gone stale after being told far, far too many times.
renixx renewable energy index

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The impressive thing about Barack Obama is his ability to move public opinion...

...in opposition to whatever he's promoting.  Attaboy Barry.  I've got a list of other things I'd like you to start pitching.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

La trahison des clercs est la punition des clercs

According to Joel Kotkin, the Obama fiscal cliff proposal is a boomerang heading straight for his mostest special, bestest friends.

Couldn't happen to a sweller group of.....clercs.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The best (and worst) states to make a living

Moneyrate.com has an annual survey where they calculate the after taxes, cost of living adjusted income for all of the 50 states to figure out which offer the best and worst prospects for making a living.  It produces some striking findings.  Here's the article.

Perusing the list (see below) leads to some rather interesting discoveries:  First, Virginia  leads the nation in real disposable income - no surprise given its proximity to the richest city in America, but Maryland, which is even more of a creature of the Feds is 23rd, some $7000 below.  Perhaps the VA 'burbs are tonier?

And the dichotomy between the two Megastates:  Texas at no. 3 and California at no. 44 is truly shocking.  California is hanging out at the bottom with all of the other cracker states like Mississippi, West Virginia, Vermont? Rhode Island? Hawaii? while the Lone Star state is eating brie and sipping Chardonnay (from California, natch) with the likes of Washington and......Utah?  Well maybe non-alcoholic wine will have to do.

It's also interesting to note that a lot of 'flyover' states inhabited by us yokels like Oklahoma and Tennessee have higher standards of living than the denizens of New York or New Jersey or even Connecticut (I guess Christmas in Connecticut ain't what it used to be).

But probably the biggest shocker is Illinois - bankrupt, horribly governed, it still is one of the best earning states in the nation.  Which goes to show that there's a lot of ruin in a city.  I mean Chicago, because south of the Windy city Illinois is increasingly a smoking, pot holed ruin.

Ignoring Virginia as an outlier or as I would put it: an out-looter, the top ten seem to coalesce into two groups:  Old, stagnant industrial states like MA, IL, MI and booming growth states like WA, TX, CO, UT.  The former are exporting lots of people to the latter.  For example, in 1970, TX and IL both had 11 million people and Illinois was much richer.  Today they are tied in incomes and TX has 27 million to IL's 12 million.  And what's even more shocking is that a huge proportion of TX workers are recent immigrants from less developed countries.  TX and IL are tied, but TX has done a much better job of providing opportunities to many more new and non-white people than much more 'compassionate', 'socially responsible' states have.  Oh, and Texas is also much younger, which if adjusted for, would make its achievement even more striking.

And California, what can we say about poor, celebrity and tech billionaire cursed CA?  Despite having a similar scale and demographics to TX as well as incredible natural advantages, it has done horribly for its people.  This has some rather sobering implications on a national basis because CA is the most representative 'leader' state for the Progressive political persuasion.  Ostensibly from a policy perspective, huge, diverse, immigrant rich California is where the Democrats want to take the nation, their New Jerusalem.  By contrast, equally huge, diverse, immigrant rich TX is the most representative 'leader' state for the Conservative-Libertarian persuasion.  Theoretically, it's where the Republicans want to take us.

The defensive liberal will say:  hey! wait a minute, why can't the progressive future be Washington State?  Sorry, like Utah, Washington state's demographics are utterly unrepresentative of the nation.  The US' future is the CA, TX and FL present.  Therefore to see alternative policy visions of that future, you should look at those states.

So, which bus would you rather get on?  The Houston Rocket?  Or the Tijuana Trolley?

Cost Adjusted Wages by State

1. Virginia $43,677
2. Washington $43,662
3. Texas $42,816
4. Illinois $41,865
5. Colorado $40,490
6. Michigan $40,421
7. Wyoming $39,745
8. Utah $39,250
9. Delaware $38,802
10. Massachusetts $38,793
11. Tennessee $38,700
12. Minnesota $38,571
13. Ohio $38,364
14. Georgia $37,930
15. Pennsylvania $37,858
16. Indiana $37,181
17. Florida $37,145
18. Nevada $37,078
19. Kansas $37,008
20. Missouri $36,919
21. Nebraska $36,882
22. Wisconsin $36,588
23. Maryland $36,416
24. Arizona $36,314
25. Oklahoma $36,251
26. Alabama $36,205
27. New Mexico $35,813
28. Louisiana $35,727
29. North Dakota $35,642
30. Kentucky $35,520
31. Idaho $35,192
32. New Hampshire $35,173
33. North Carolina $35,064
34. Alaska $34,914
35. Iowa $34,845
36. New York $34,074
37. Connecticut $34,017
38. Oregon $33,788
39. Arkansas $33,763
40. New Jersey $33,623
41. South Dakota $33,121
42. South Carolina $32,645
43. West Virginia $32,297
44. California $31,459
45. Rhode Island $31,353
46. Montana $31,256
47. Mississippi $31,178
48. Vermont $30,433
49. Maine $29,703
50. Hawaii $22,394

I think he means 'spin out of control'

The translation from Obamese to regular English is tricky some time:

Clearly they don't listen to Warren Buffet

Don't these well paid captains of industry know anything?  I'm sure 'ol Warren will set 'em straight.  From the WSJ:

Top U.S. Firms Are Cash-Rich Abroad, Cash-Poor at Home



We are so screwed #99

From Bill Gross' latest screed.  Just about says it all, doesn't it?  An no, I don't know why it's the Bible that tells him so...



Millionaires Flee Millionaire's Tax - Clearly they didn't listen to Buffet

How can this be?  Don't they listen to Warren Buffet?  The political types wrote the right runes on the right magic hard drives didn't they?  After that the toffs just lined up for their shearing, right?  I mean 'presto chango' right?  I am so confused.  I thought supply side economics was 'voodoo' - or was that 'doodoo'?

A funny thing often happens on the way to soaking the rich: They don't stick around for the bath. Take Britain, where Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs service reports that the number of taxpayers declaring £1 million a year in income fell by more than 60% in fiscal 2010-2011 from the year before.
That was the year that millionaires became liable for the 50% income-tax rate that Gordon Brown's government introduced in its final days in 2010, up from the previous 40% rate. Lo, the total number of millionaire tax filers plunged to 6,000 in 2010-2011, from 16,000 in 2009-2010.
The new tax was meant to raise about £2.5 billion more revenue. So much for that. In 2009-2010 British millionaires contributed about £13.4 billion to the public coffers, or just under 9% of the total tax liability of all taxpayers that year. At the 50% rate, the shrunken pool yielded £6.5 billion, or about 4.4%....



Obama rejects his own commission's recommendations

BHO really does believe he's invincible, doesn't he?  As a counter offer to the Presidents risible sally the Republicans proposed implementation of the Simpson Bowles plan which if you recall was developed at the direction of....BHO.

Read Rules for Radicals and you'll understand this President's MO.  After all he used to lead training sessions to create shiny new radical agitators.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Now this can't be good

More children grow up without both of their biological parents in the US than in any other developed country.  See here.  Social decline and fragmentation is accelerating - a fact celebrated by the Democrats as 'guaranteeing' them a permanent majority.  It seems the more isolated, frightened and morally depraved someone is, the more likely they are to vote for the partie de l'├ętat.

Well Donks, I give you the joy of our decline.

The final brick in the Social Democratic wall: US Birth Rate Plummets

Social democracy is a system of governance where those with political power systematically loot those without in the name of 'compassion' and 'social solidarity'.  It is characterized by a generation or two of incredible comfort as massive, unsustainable debts are accumulated.  It is also unsurprisingly characterized by a decline in faith in the future which is evidenced by falling investment and innovation and slowing economic growth.  The final brick in the Social Democratic wall is the decline of humanity as people stop reproducing.  Which is happening in the US as we speak.

All in all it is a wonderful approach to life.  It's a pity the US has fully entered into it only in its decadent, collapse phase.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Buffett: Tax Hikes On Rich Would "Raise Morale Of The Middle Class"

Every time I think that I've fully comprehended Warren Buffet's cynicism and PR manipulation he goes and proves me wrong.  Schadenfreude is not an American family value.  We do not feel better because we've succeeded in punishing someone else.  Although maybe that's what happened in Buffet's family.  That would explain his constant cynical manipulation.  You can see the cynical old hoofer in action here.

But I'll take the Sage of Sanctimony's insight into envy as read:  if the middle class would feel better by sticking it by a few points to the people who (temporarily) make more than them, how much more will they enjoy the confiscation of the entire 50+ billion fortune of one Warren Buffet?

And the cool thing is that then Mr. Buffet will be middle class so he can really enjoy watching other people get screwed.

Homespun Humbug indeed.

The poor - not the rich - face the highest marginal tax rates

One reason welfare dependency has doubled.  Welcome to the newest, bestest Social Democracy of them all:  USA!  USA!

Fragility, Antifragility and Us

Nissam Taleb has a new book out. Matt Ridley reviews it here. His thesis is that knowledge grows 'bottoms up' and that theory simply codifies the heuristics or rules of thumb that have been found to work over time - theory does not create reality. This means that complex systems that are designed centrally from the top down and managed by 'experts' (e.g. attempts to impose theoretical order on messy reality) are subject to catastrophic failure - he calls systems with these characteristics 'fragile'. According to Taleb the Fed is a classic fragile system.  It is a complex, tops down institution led by 'experts' who have great confidence that they 'know' how to use the money supply and banking system to 'manage' the economy.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are 'antifragile' systems - systems that actually get better the more failure and flux that they experience - Taleb cites both the restaurant industry and biology as systems that tolerate and indeed rely on many, many small failures to improve. Without the flux they stagnate. A free market economy is an antifragile system.

So what?

We are in the implementation phase of the two most complex and ambitious tops down system reengineering projects in the history of government. Anywhere.  Ever.  They seek in one fell swoop to transform the two largest, most complex sectors in America - Financial Services and Healthcare. Essentially they are attempts to centrally plan these sectors using tens or even hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations administered by thousands of 'experts'.

They are destined to fail, but as they fail I fear they will create enormous collateral damage  in much the same way that the Fannie and Freddie bankruptcies were not just a couple failed specialty lenders but the trigger for a global financial collapse.  Or in the way that Mao Ze Dong's
"Great Leap Forward" didn't just result in a lot of crappy backyard steel but in the starvation of tens of millions.


                               
Of course tops down, expert driven theory is what you expect from our most 'academic' administration ever. The central conceit of the intellectual 'elect' that rule us is that by writing millions of runes on the magic Federal Register hard drive they can choreograph 315 million human beings spread over 3.6 million square miles and seven time zones like a Busby Berkeley dance extravaganza from the 1930s


Paraphrasing Tiny Tim (Geithner): God help us every one.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gondolas, it's all Gondolas these days

Reihan Salam points out a clever new idea:  instead of stupid light rail, why not use overhead Gondolas - vastly cheaper and less disruptive.  Cool.

The idea comes from Texas, in other words: from the future.

Feds stomp Intrade

Intrade is a prediction market that is very useful for understanding consumer and political sentiment.  It's more accurate than consumer surveys because people aren't stating their preference, their betting on being right.  It's not a speculative risk or a source of criminal activity but the Feds are shutting it down for Americans anyway.  So once again the world gets poorer and narrower due to our vile Federal Superstate.


Living the Hunger Games

Glenn Reynolds observes that America is increasingly tracking the script from the Hunger Games - a rich and flourishing capital feeding off the flesh of the 'provinces'.  They're not states anymore, because states had autonomy and via the Senate, constitutional power.  Today, the states are simply satrapies of an all powerful central government who buys their acquiescence with (for a little while longer) an infinite 'magic money machine'.  Federalism is dead.  Long live Panem D.C.!

Observations from the New York Times - even the trendy lefties are noticing:

As anyone who rides Amtrak between New York and Washington knows, the trip can be a dissonant experience. Inside the train, it’s all tidy and digital, everybody absorbed in laptops and iPhones, while outside the windows an entirely
different world glides by. Traveling south is like moving through a curated exhibit of urban and industrial decay. There’s Newark and Trenton and the heroic wreckage in parts of Philadelphia, block after block of hulking edifices covered in graffiti, the boarded-up ghost neighborhoods of Baltimore made familiar by “The Wire” — all on the line that connects America’s financial center and its booming capital city.

Although mostly they avert their gaze until they alight in Washington to worship at the altar of power, money and glory.
The NYT Progs are finally noticing that Wall Street worships at this altar too:.
A few remarkable books by professors at N.Y.U.’s Stern School of Business argue that a primary source of profit for Wall Street over the past 15 to 20 years could be what I call the Acela Strategy: making money by exploiting regulation rather than by creating more effective ways to finance the rest of the economy.
In a world where politics picks winners and losers, those with political power win.  Always.  And the young and the poor?  Well they're just props, you see - we'll bring 'em back out of storage at the next election.

Omaha's Homespun Humbug

Warren Buffet has penned a column in the NYT calling for his (now eponymous) Buffet tax on high earners.  Mr. Buffet has always been a master at PR, but this is clearly his most brilliant work to date.  Mr. Buffet argues that it is silly to believe that people's investment decisions will be changed by a change in the marginal tax rates.  He cites his experience as a fund manager:

Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent — and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.


Of course while Mr. Buffet is talking about capital gains rates he is advocating higher marginal rates on income.  Cleverly the Homespun Humbug claims that investors don't (or shouldn't) care about marginal tax rates on income and argues that they should be raised substantially on high earners because his fund is optimized to avoid taxes on income.  Indeed, with a higher tax rate on income, Berkshire Hathaway will become a more attractive investment alternative for the very rich, making Mr. Buffet and his investors billions which will not be subject to the 'millionaires' tax that Mr. Buffet is proposing.

But lets unpack his 'theory' of the market a little more:  Essentially Mr. Buffet is implying that the after tax yield of an investment does not influence investors - they'll always make the investment.  This is great news because it gives us an easy way to close the deficit - just eliminate the tax exemption on tax free bonds - their value won't change because Mr. Buffet says so - investors don't care!  We could also clean up by eliminating the tax deduction for charitable giving, because if income tax rates don't matter for investing it would be crass to assume they mattered for charitable giving.  And while we're at it, lets deep six the mortgage interest deduction because it clearly will have no impact on housing prices.  Deficit problem solved.  Ka-ching!

By making such a sophomoric and partisan argument, Mr. Buffet does a grave disservice to the debate - openly promoting junk economics in a cynical attempt to advantage his business.  As a great Prog once said:  "There comes a time when you've made enough money".  But in our increasingly elitist, technocratic society the 'expert' who has the 'right' politics can get the most incoherent, self serving dreck published.  Especially in the New York Times.  

Perhaps we should establish a 'billionaires tax' that taxes fortunes of over $250 million (I can deflate as well as the next 'progressive') 1% of their market value each year - essentially a property tax for the very rich.  This would have the advantage of attacking the real 'problem':  disparities in wealth .

Do this and you will see what the ever so progressive Mr. Buffet and the rest of the very rich (who are heavy supporters of the President) really think about 'sharing the burden'.  But you'd better buy earplugs because the screeches will be deafening.

Monday, November 19, 2012

After 450 AD the Goths and the Huns had an electoral lock on the Western Roman Empire too

Ross Douthat points out in the NYT the that the key to Democrat electoral success is social and economic decline.  The more families dissolve, the more isolated minorities become, the more people become dependent on the dole, the more the Dems win.  And IMHO, the more the Dems win, the more families dissolve, the more isolated minorities become and the more people who join the dole.  I wouldn't quite call it a virtuous cycle - but it's certainly become a successful one.

Forward!

Oxford English Dictionary: Omnishambles is newest word

Here.   Which brings to mind another new, word:  Obamashambles: meaning the state of a nation after it has been led by Barack Obama for four or more years.

Forward!

Instead of Secession, why not try Federalism?

After all, it was the original design of our Union before the 'progressives' got a hold of it.  Glen Reynolds makes the case for going back to the future.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Steyn: WH Press Corps "Court Eunichs'

Come to think of it, they do look a little limp.  Here.

The Cruelest Chart

Not only are wages falling, the economy is not creating enough of these (substandard, low wage) jobs to soak up the increase in the labor force.  The result is a massive and growing wast of lives.  Sadly with the arrival of Obamacare, this trend is going to continue.  When you implement a social democracy, you get social democracy rates of growth and employment.  While many in the middle and upper middle class will feel more secure, it will be at the price of tens of millions of stunted lives spent in the economic shadows.

Oh well, BHO has power and that's the important thing.  Isn't it?

Tricky

Take a look at this chart:


Apparently, the high levels of hispanic immigration have driven down hispanic wages relative to the general population.  Hispanics are becoming less economically assimilated over time.  Of course each immigrant came to the US because their situation was improved by moving here so it's clearly not a personal tragedy for them.  If it was, they wouldn't stay.

But it does raise a 'tricky' question.  According to Ruy Texeria et al, the growth in hispanics is generating a permanent Democratic majority.  Indeed the left promotes immigration at least partly for its electoral effects.  Yet the stated reason the left wants to win these elections is to (correct me if I'm wrong) "increase social justice and reduce inequality".  What happens when your tactic for winning power negates your reason for using said power?

Or take the young.  Dems are very focused on (and successful at) recruiting young voters.  Yet the power that they have won via these voters is used to protect and expand entitlement programs that take wealth from the young and give it to 50 and 60 somethings who by and large did not vote for Obama but just happen to have lots of political and economic power.

Again, when one's tactics to win power negate or are negated by one's policies what is left?

Only the power?

Hmmm: tricky.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The FDA: Stone Cold Killers

The indifference of our Federal Overlords to the pain and suffering of us 'little people' is staggering.  Take the case of cheap home HIV tests:  it took 24 years and tens of thousands of preventable deaths to persuade the grandees at the FDA to approve one.

Remember:  the government isn't on your side, they're on their side.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Run Away, Run Away!

Clare 'Bear' McKaskill (D, Mo) is not going to the Democrat convention.  She's in serious trouble in Missouri.  And being seen anywhere near The One will just make it worse.

Missouri used to be a 'swing' state.  BHO has turned it into a Red state.  For which I am truly grateful.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The best argument against Obamanomics

From the Estonian Finance Minister:
"We cannot solve our poverty . . . by borrowing money and buying ourselves expensive things."

One more reason I love Texas


85 Mile Per Hour Speed Limit Seen on State Highway 130

Toll road two thirds completed runs from I-10 east of San Antonio to Georgetown, north of Austin



Read more: http://radio.woai.com/cc-common/mainheadlines3.html?feed=119078&article=10180726#ixzz1x8PHqHR6

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Assassination as a regular element of foreign policy

Feel the change!



THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE’D SEE THINGS LIKE THIS IN THE NATION. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Assassin-in-Chief in the Oval Office. “Assassination as a way of life has been institutionalized in the Oval Office, thoroughly normalized, and is now being offered to the rest of us as a reasonable solution to American global problems and an issue on which to run a presidential campaign.”

The Power of Price

If you want a market to produce better products and falling costs it needs to have real prices.  It is this lack of real prices that cause education, government and healthcare to be so expensive and broken.  The first goal of any policy should be to reintroduce as much real price signalling at the point of consumption.


As resource economist Julian Simon taught us years ago, we never have, and never will, run out of scarce resources like oil because as a resource becomes more scarce, its price will rise, which will set in motion a series of actions that will counteract the scarcity.  For example, higher prices for oil will increase the incentives to: a) find more oil, b) conserve on the use of oil, and c) find more substitutes.  And that's exactly what's happened recently in response to higher oil prices - domestic crude oil production reached a 14-year high in March, and the share of rigs drilling for oil (vs. natural gas) set a new record high of 70% last week.  

And now an LA Times article today highlights how companies are making efforts to find substitutes for high-priced oil, here are some examples from the article:

1. Ford has eliminated 5 million pounds of petroleum annually by using soybean-based cushions in all of its North American vehicles. The company also got rid of an additional 300,000 pounds of oil-based resins a year by making door bolsters out of kenaf, a tropical plant in the cotton family.

2. BioSolar of Santa Clarita, Calif., dealt every day with the fact that solar modules are typically made with a glass front, an aluminum frame and a back sheet made out of a petroleum-based plastic or polymer.

"We saw where the price of petroleum was going," BioSolar CEO David Lee said. "We're not economists, but we knew that the price of oil was going to keep going up. The cost of photovoltaic cell manufacturing was going to skyrocket." BioSolar has changed its process to instead use castor beans.

3. Los Angeles businessman Neal Harris once relied on beads made from a petroleum-based polymer to hold fragrances for his company's products. Harris' company, Scent-Events, sells fragrances as a marketing tool to enhance movie premieres, concerts, parties and products. This year, he'll use ceramic beads 95 percent of the time. "It's saving us money, and we no longer have to keep track of oil prices," Harris said.

4. In March, McDonald's began a trial of double-walled paper hot-drink cups in 2,000 restaurants, in place of polystyrene containers, which start out as petroleum. 

5. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are becoming bioplastics bottlers.

As Daniel Yergin, energy consultant and Pulitzer Prize author of a book on the history of the oil industry, told the LA Times, "Now there are accelerating efforts to squeeze oil out and find ways to substitute for it. That is the power of price."

Related: Duke economist and blogger Mike Munger explains here why "peak oil" is "peak idiocy" and why "Of all the idiotic things that people believe, the whole "peak oil" thing has to be right up there."

So remind me again, why was Scooter Libby imprisoned?

I guess because he worked for Dick Cheney.  In the corporatist/fascist world the laws apply to you based upon what group you belong to.  And Scooter was an enemy.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Obama Leaks Risk National Security For Political Gain.

The pattern of national security leaks under this administration and its political exploitation of what should be secret has even liberal media flagship CNN wondering if “President Barack Obama’s administration can keep a secret — or in some cases even wants to.”

With a collapsing economy, rampant joblessness and mushrooming debt, foreign policy seemingly is the only place Obama can boast of any accomplishments.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Boastful Babbling A Gift To Our Foes.

That's because Bill Clinton doesn't want to see the Democratic Party destroyed

And Chicagoization of the Democrats guarantees it's destruction.  Except in a handful of places like...Chicago.  It sure seems to be happening in Missouri.

HMM: “Bill Clinton Does Not Want Barack Obama to Win.”

"Men can't be alone in the children's section"

The criminalization of men marches onward.  You know that if you drive us out, society collapses, don't  you?

Man ejected from children's section of Barnes and Noble store because men can't be in there alone.

Public employee unions are dying - killed by their own greed

Up to now it has been private sector unions that have collapsed.  But with the multi-year financial crisis and the discovery that public workers are overpaid and protected, the public is now tiring of the public sector unions.  Even teachers.  The times they are a changing:

TEACHERS’ UNIONS HAVE A POPULARITY PROBLEM: Only 22% of Americans think unions have a positive effect on schools.

However Wisconsin’s recall election turns out on Tuesday, teachers unions already appear to be losing a larger political fight—in public opinion. In our latest annual national survey, we found that the share of the public with a positive view of union impact on local schools has dropped by seven percentage points in the past year. Among teachers, the decline was an even more remarkable 16 points. . . .

The survey’s most striking finding comes from its nationally representative sample of teachers. Whereas 58% of teachers took a positive view of unions in 2011, only 43% do in 2012. The number of teachers holding negative views of unions nearly doubled to 32% from 17% last year. Perhaps this helps explain why, according to education journalist and union watchdog Mike Antonucci, top officials of the National Education Association are reporting a decline of 150,000 members over the past two years and project that they will lose 200,000 more members by 2014, as several states have recently passed laws ending the automatic deduction of union dues from teachers’ paychecks.

Well, after the behavior of teachers in Wisconsin, it’s easy to see why.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Commerce considering tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels

Another example of enviro fascism.  We are told that 'global warming' is the most important issue of the generation and that 'energy prices will need to rise'.  Yet when the chips are down, the Obami are supporting the people who are part of their ruling coalition.  Even as it makes it much harder to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As it is with windmills and raptors, environmentalism is only important if it gives the ruling coalition more power.  Which is corporatism - which is just another word for domestic fascism.


  • Commerce Department's consideration of a 31 percent tariff on solar panel imports — to help US manufacturers compete with China — could drive prices up for consumers and ultimately result in job losses.


    They don't believe any of this crap, they just want money and power.

    Despicable.

The capital strike goes on and on and on and on and on....

Unemployment up to 8.2% and growth down to 1.7%.

We hope for a change......

Now the salt hysterics are proved wrong

Fat, booze, global cooling, global warming, malthusian famine and now salt - there's no end to the 'expert' advice that we are fed that turns out to be bogus.  Yet our brilliant statists continue to claim that they have the expertise, and just the doggone innate and superior goodness to save us from ourselves. If only we would give them more coercive power and money.

So:  How do you know what you know?


SOMEBODY TELL MIKE BLOOMBERG: Gary Taubes: Salt, We Misjudged You. “With nearly everyone focused on the supposed benefits of salt restriction, little research was done to look at the potential dangers. But four years ago, Italian researchers began publishing the results from a series of clinical trials, all of which reported that, among patients with heart failure, reducing salt consumption increased the risk of death. Those trials have been followed by a slew of studies suggesting that reducing sodium to anything like what government policy refers to as a ‘safe upper limit’ is likely to do more harm than good. . . . Proponents of the eat-less-salt campaign tend to deal with this contradictory evidence by implying that anyone raising it is a shill for the food industry and doesn’t care about saving lives.” Of course they do.

Friday, June 01, 2012

They technical word is Carterization

Pete Wehner states the obvious:  Obama is overwhelmed by events and has absolutely no idea what to do.  He is a modern Jimmy Carter.

It’s difficult to overstate just how depressing May’s job report is – and how much damage it will inflict on President Obama’s chances for re-election.

It’s not simply that the unemployment rate rose from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent, or that it’s remained above 8 percent for 40 consecutive months, or that in May we gained less than 70,000 new jobs. Nor is it simply the fact that in May the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) increased from 5.1 million to 5.4 million. Or that the average work week fell to 34.4 hours. Or that, as John points out, March and April’s jobs reports were revised downward. Or that in May, stocks suffered through their worst month in two years.

All of this matters quite a lot, of course. But what’s particularly injurious to the president’s re-election prospects is that May was the worst economic month in what is turning out to be a very bad economic year. The trajectory of events is down, not up. The economy is slowing down. Consumer confidence is dropping. Virtually every economic indicator is getting worse, not better.

This would be very troubling news for any incumbent president – but for one who has virtually no achievements he can point to with pride, it is triply damaging. Whatever fault one wants to ascribe to Obama’s predecessor, and whatever excuses the president can dream up, what is now beyond any reasonable dispute is that Obama has no clue how to fix things. That is not a political judgment; it’s an empirical one.

Barack Obama may be well-intentioned. He may be a fine father. He may have an excellent jump shot. And he may be a first-rate community organizer. But as president, he is simply — and by now almost undeniably — overmatched by events. By Obama’s own standards – by what he said and by what he promised — he is a failure.
For Obama, that is a politically lethal conclusion for a majority of the American people to come to. They were well on their way to arriving at this conclusion before today. They’re now further along than they were. And soon, very soon, there will be no way to undo it.

Reification and Reactionaries

Now that left institutions are ascendant, they are the reactionaries.  Mickey Kaus explains reification and the intellectual incoherence of the imitable E.J. Dionne.  It's the Brezhnev doctrine in birkenstocks.

MICKEY KAUS: Shorter E.J. Dionne: The Wagner Act exists. Therefore it must always exist. “Marxists would call this ‘reification’-–the attribution of a false permanency to what are in fact only transient, man-made institutions (like the organizations created by the Wagner Act). Back in the ’60s, when Dionne went to college, leftish types fought reification. The point was to change the system, after all, not to play games within it–-by The Man’s rules! But reification has now become the routine basis for Democratic arguments against Republican reform. . . . Dionne says Walker insidiously used ‘incumbency’ to produce these changes. ‘Incumbency’ in this case means a law was passed by a democratically elected legislature (incumbents all) and signed by a democratically elected incumbent governor.”

Obama to do six fundraisers in one day

Well at least there's one thing he's good at....and while he's fundraising he can't do any other damage.  Can he?  HT Instapundit

Related: Incredible: In Wake of Jobs Disaster, Obama Departs for Six Fundraisers.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Obama flies barber in from Chicago Every two weeks

Which is his right.  After all, it's his money.  But please, no more lectures about the 1%.  This is incredibly indulgent.  And frankly, anyone could cut his hair.  It's not like he has a John Edwards Pompadour.

Politically it's also remarkably stupid.

Real Cherokees to Warren: 'We don't claim you'

As the descendant of a real Cherokee (my grandmother was a card carrying member) I've been irritated by MA Senate Dem Candidate Elizabeth Warren's career enhancing misappropriation of the Cherokee identity.  Ms. Warren (aka Lieawatha) who despite having no evidence continues to insist that she is a Cherokee.

Well now some real Cherokees are calling Fauxahontas' bluff.

The result will be another Republican victory in the Ur Blue State.  Ted Kennedy's old seat, no less.  What delicious irony.


Public union membership falls by half once you give union members choice

It turns out that a lot of public union members in Wisconsin don't believe in the union.  The moment Scott Walker's reforms freed them from compulsory union membership almost half dropped out.  Imagine that:  a whole lot of people were being coerced into giving large sums of money to a private institution that they did not support as a condition of their employment.  It's a pity we can't do this everywhere - then the unionistas would have far less of other people's money to waste on entrenching their power.

The times they are a changing...in the WSJ.




NYC plans a ban on 'large sugared drinks'

New York City:  beyond parody.  It's funny, the new Puritans are obsessed by fat the way that the old ones were obsessed by sex.  How about leaving people alone?

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

Lies, damned lies and Federal Government 'Studies'



Were the DOE's assumptions on wind power all wrong?  That’s the allegation in the new book, Green Illusions, by Berkeley visiting scholar Ozzie Zehner:
BERKELEY, Calif., May 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Presidents Bush and Obama both supported wind power development by publicly referencing a Department of Energy (DOE) study that contains serious flaws, according to a new environmental book by UC Berkeley visiting scholar Ozzie Zehner. GREEN ILLUSIONS (University of Nebraska Press, June 2012) draws upon previously unpublished interviews with the DOE. According to Green Illusions, the DOE report renders a picture of wind energy that is up to six times more impressive than the department’s own field experience would indicate.
Fifty environmental groups and research organizations formally backed the report, including the Sierra Club and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. However, during his investigation, Zehner found that an appendix in the DOE report contains projections that are incongruent with DOE field data. The report therefore greatly underestimates wind turbine costs and overestimates wind power yields. 
The DOE report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030, concludes that the U.S. could fill 20 percent of its electrical grid with wind power at “modest” cost. However, Zehner contends that, “the federal report extrapolates a select few years of data into the future without acknowledging the industry’s maturation. It’s as problematic as extrapolating the growth of high school students to show that by college they will stand taller than giraffes.” 
The DOE commissioned Black and Veatch to create the wind energy datasets. The consultancy assumed that experience from installing wind turbines would improve yields and decrease costs well into the future. “While it is well accepted that this occurred through the 1980s and 1990s, the learning curve has since flattened,” explains Zehner, “as the DOE itself documented in other reports.”
Zehner does not stand against wind energy, but insists there are better options to reduce fossil fuel use. “Hype surrounding wind energy might even shield the fossil-fuel establishment — if clean and abundant energy is just over the horizon, then there is less motivation to clean up existing energy production or use energy more wisely,” says Zehner.
So now we have tens of thousands of twenty story bird Cuisinarts and the most astonishing visual pollution smeared across the fruited plain. In a truly Federal nation many states would have checked the math and adopted a 'wait and see' attitude towards what we now know is an almost useless and environmentally destructive technology. But in the bizarre Bluto Blutarsky world of the Feds ("wanna beer, don't cost nuthin'") every state had the incentive to shut up and help its rent seekers take the cash. "After all, if we don't take our share it'll just go to Iowa"....The rest here.

There are no effective checks on the Federal superstate.  None.  And once a blunder is made and special interests get fully funded, it is well nigh impossible to reverse course (just ask the sugar or ethanol lobbies).  This is the consequence of tops down Federal manipulation.  Markets and individual states make mistakes but competition forces them to correct them.  If only because they don't have a printing press.

Break it up, break it all up.