It’s becoming that obvious isn’t it

October 28, 2009

You have to love Thomas Friedman.  Considering his proximity to a
certain Princeton professor and Nobel Laureate, one has significant
hurdles to overcome to display moments (and I do stress moments) of
insight.

“In our subprime era, we thought we could have the American dream – a
house and yard – with nothing down. This version of the American dream
was delivered not by improving education, productivity and savings, but
by Wall Street alchemy and borrowed money from Asia.”

Almost.  The money didn’t come “from Asia” Tom, it was printed by Alan
and Ben.  But at least you’re on to something.  At least however, you
understand the need for savings.  I’ll give that one to you.  And that
means you weren’t swayed by the “paradox of thrift” drivel!!

“Our education failure is the largest contributing factor to the
decline of the American worker’s global competitiveness, particularly at
the middle and bottom ranges,” argued Martin, a former global executive
with PepsiCo and Kraft Europe and now an international investor. “This
 loss of competitiveness has weakened the American worker’s production of
wealth, precisely when technology brought global competition much closer
to home. So over a decade, American workers have maintained their
standard of living by borrowing and overconsuming vis-à-vis their real
income. When the Great Recession wiped out all the credit and asset
bubbles that made that overconsumption possible, it left too many
American workers not only deeper in debt than ever, but out of a job and
lacking the skills to compete globally.”

This problem will be reversed only when the decline in worker
competitiveness reverses – when we create enough new jobs and educated
workers that are worth, say, $40-an-hour compared with the global
alternatives. If we don’t, there’s no telling how “jobless” this
recovery will be.”

Good, now you’re getting it.  We didn’t create any wealth and
productivity, we simple pulled money out of a hat, so to speak, and we
overspent.  Thus, you’ve “discovered” what Austrians have long known,
that you can’t spend your way to prosperity.

Those who are waiting for this recession to end so someone can
again hand them work could have a long wait

That Tom, is how capitalism works.  The free market, it’s an amazing
thing.  But, it requires that those who do produce can realize their
gains, and not have leviathan steal their wealth.  And what has this
administration proposed?  Is it lessening the burdens on creativity and
production, or is it threatening them with confiscation?  Hmmm…

“Those with the imagination to make themselves untouchables – to invent
smarter ways to do old jobs, energy-saving ways to provide new services,
new ways to attract old customers or new ways to combine existing
technologies – will thrive. Therefore, we not only need a higher
percentage of our kids graduating from high school and college – more
education – but we need more of them with the right education.”

Yes of course.  Again, I beleive that was Schumpeter’s “creative
destruction”.

“Bottom line: We’re not going back to the good old days without fixing
our schools as well as our banks. “

Well Tom, I have some news for you.  Schools are public, meaning they 
are run by the government.  Well, they’re run by the unions.  Until that (well, both) situation changes, there’s not 
going to be any changes in education, and the situation will 
unfortunately, only get worse.

The solution is actually very simple.  Free markets and capitalism do
work.  In fact, they’re the only things that actually do, and they work
wonders.  Maybe you’re coming around, I don’t know.

Oh, and the only bank that needs “fixing” is the Fed.

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It’s called rent seeking

October 11, 2009

And it’s a feature, not a bug.

As the health care debate moves to the floor of Congress, most of the serious proposals to fulfill President Barack Obama’s original vow to curb costs have fallen victim to organized interests and parochial politics.

But along the way, the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, which is set to vote on its health care measure, have cut deals for political support with lobbyists that may circumscribe the cost cuts, potentially including the recommendations of the commission. Although the bills contain other measures aimed at medical costs, most of the surviving ones do not antagonize any organized interest. They include voluntary efficiency measures like encouraging the coordination of medical records and disseminating information comparing the effectiveness of treatments.

This is exactly the problem with health care today.  There is not only too much intervention, but intervention, period.  All government intervention into the marketplace distorts prices and costs (yes, they’re entirely different, something this administration and congress are ignorant of) and necessarily picks winners…and losers.

I’ve written about this already, many times.  We do not have a free market in health care, nor anything closely approximating one.  And that is exactly the problem with health care today.

Any health care will be a rent-seekers’ smorgasborg, a buffet of special treatments and market exclusions.  It will only make the situation worse.


Support for a child rapist

October 5, 2009

Look, common sense and basic humanity should make it clear that any adult who drugs and rapes a young teenage girl should be dealt with in the harshest of manners.  In fact, if there is any reason at all for a state, it is precisely this.  For, without a state, such matters if left to the public at large, would be dealt with in ways that might make Atilla look pacific.

On second though, I guess I might prefer that option.

But in reality, this is a perfect case for the proper role of government, the protection of property rights.  And the support for a rapist by the Hollywood “elite” should come as no surprise.  They (and this is a generalization for sure, but it’s close) by and large are leftists who support state intervention and massive theft and redistribution.  They have very little if any respect for property rights (save their precious “intellectual property”.  Just try, I dare you, just try and make an “illegal” copy of their movies!!).

There is no more distinct property, and right to full freedoms and protection of such, than one’s physical body.  And those rights don’t instantly appear on one’s 18th birthday, or at any other time.  They exist, fully and completely, at birth.

For a man to destroy the property of another, in actuality to take the property of another, is wholly in line with the general political philosophy of the left.  It’s Utopian communism, be it Platonic, Moore’s Utpoia, Bentham, or Marx.  It’s all the same, what’s yours is mine.  (Not always though what’s mine is yours.  If nothing describes the left, it is blatant hypocrisy.  Note: I don’t use “liberal”, that is reserved for true liberals.  Leftists are nothing even close.)

I completely understand the support for the child rapist recently arrested.  They despise the notion of property rights, so how on earth could he have done anything wrong.  And this alone is the greatest reason why property rights much be foremost among our concerns, for without full and total respect for property, then raping a child becomes permissible.

Think that’s absurd?  Why else would so many sign a list seeking his release?


Guess I can shop at Starbucks

October 1, 2009

So, I get the NEA Today (no link, not gonna hep them) in the mail.  (I know, it’s hypocrisy.  Well, as I’ve discussed in my about page, sometimes lives take courses that lead places and you end up in places where you find imperfections.  Sometimes we must accept the duality of our lives.  ‘Tis better to acknowledge then deny.)  And they have a “union unfriendly” shopping guide.  Well thanks guys, now I know where to shop.

You needn’t ask, as WalMart is prominently castigated.  I shop WM, and do so proudly.  Here’s the opening line, and perhaps the greatest display of economic stupidity ever published (well, until the next article from you know whom!!):

You work hard for your money, so why hand it over to businesses that don’t support public education or basic worker rights like union organization, fair pay, and adequate health care coverage.

You almost have to feel sorry for such people who type that and think they’re being profound.

You don’t “hand over your money” to anyone unless they have a gun pointed at your head.  You exchange money for goods and services.  They already support public education through onerous taxation.  Wouldn’t it be nice it public education supported them.  Public educators (and I ought to know!!) live off the wealth created by the producers in society.  Public education is a luxury good.

I explained this once to a colleague as we discussed child labor in foreign countries.  Aghast that I would actually think it a good thing, he argued that they should be in school.  Sure, because those nations have them right?  He tried to make the case that we are “wealthy because we have public education”.  In fact, it is exactly the opposite.  We have public education precisely because we are wealthy.  The concept didn’t sink in, nor did it sit well. See, we can afford to keep a very large part of the labor pool out of the workforce.  And it is due to the level of technology and productivity of the workforce.  Younger workers are not very productive and thus, not very valuable.  In economicese, the opportunity cost of schooling teenagers is rather low.

Fair pay?  Please.  Higher pay is attributable to greater marginal returns and greater marginal productivity.  Higher nominal wages will only lead to higher nominal prices.  Is it my responsibility as a consumer to support another worker?

Adequate health care?  Egads, people have a right to health care?  And we wonder why the health care system is in such a mess.  The costs of providing health care have to be accounted for somewhere.

Such ideas are marxist through an through.  It is based on the nonsensical labor theory of value (Keynes’ sole factor input by the way) and surplus value.  In other words, all value of a good is determined by its labor input, as if capital is inconsequential.  Perhaps a quick read of Hayek might help.  And of course, the surplus value, i.e. profits, is extracted from workers’ just compensation.

And we wonder why we are in such a horrible situation.  Young kids are being indoctrinated with such awful and dangerous ideas in public schools.

Here’s a scary stat from the article: one out of every 100 Americans is an NEA member.  Can one percent of the population really be that dangerous to the other 99%?  I’ll let you decide!

And that was followed by this deep insight:

If more educators spent like Maney [teacher who shops only union friendly firms], it could have an enormous effect.

Yes, impoverishment for one.  Paying more for less is not a path to prosperity.

Firms mentioned in the article include Starbucks, Dominoes, Overstock.com, and Outback Steakhouse.  So, take your better half out to a nice steak dinner at Outback, have the babysitter order a pepperoni pizza from Dominoes, and after dinner, stop by Starbucks for a couple of mocha-frappa-latte-chino-letto-half caf-soy-with-a-twist-whatevers.

And, to tell her how much she means to you, order her a nice pair of earrings from the overstock.com.


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