22 December 2010

Ugly on the Inside

Nice little article framing two uncomprehensibly selfish, shameless and disgusting people as a cute little love story.

Merry Christmas.

16 December 2010


Well, Harry Reid has at least seen the constitution. The wonder is if he's ever read it.

11 December 2010

How Did it Come to This

A cursory view of the 20th century shows the evil depredations of communism and socialism drawn down to their essence (e.g. Lenin, Stalin, Mao). The people either don't know what is in their own best interest or it is determined by the wise few that the masses can't provide it for themselves and that the state must provide it for them.

John Maynard Keynes wrote in the introduction to the German version of his General Theory that "[t]he theory of aggregated production, which is the point of the following book, nevertheless can be much easier adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state [eines totalen Staates] than the theory of production and distribution of a given production put forth under conditions of free competition and a large degree of laissez-faire."

Thomas Friedman continues to extol the virtues of the "enlightened" autocrats that rule China, ostensibly wishing that America could follow the same route of totalitarianism.

None, absolutely none of the "right wing," so called, economists that I've studied over the years has embraced policies that have led to mass executions or even mass political detentions. They seem to realize that the state is good, very good, for very few things. The efforts and resources of the state should be directed fully towards those very few good things. And nothing further. Ever. Because when the state goes too far, liberty gets destroyed and there is no guarantee that it will come back.

Life and the market has away of self-correcting far more efficiently and effectively than any government regulation ever could.

Keynes himself wrote to Roosevelt that "[i]t is a mistake to think businessmen are more immoral than politicians."

The key difference is that businessmen can't make you buy, sell or do anything. Politicians can and do all of the time.

Yet it is the libertarian that is accused of not caring about his fellow man.

Funny, that.

08 December 2010

Worst Metaphor Ever

Does this make sense?

More than ever, America today reminds me of a working couple where the husband
has just lost his job, they have two kids in junior high school, a mortgage and
they’re maxed out on their credit cards. On top of it all, they recently agreed
to take in their troubled cousin, Kabul, who just can’t get his act together and
keeps bouncing from relative to relative. Meanwhile, their Indian nanny, who
traded room and board for baby-sitting, just got accepted to M.I.T. on a full
scholarship and will be leaving them in a few months. What to do?

Does it make sense when a robotic voice reads it?

No, of course it doesn't.

And from what fountain of crapulence did this odious (and just terribly constructed) metaphor crawl? Thomas Friedman's, of course. The same guy who gave us:

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a
reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have
great advantages.

I really appreciate Jonah Goldberg's analysis:

Great stuff. But I wonder: What about the maladjusted Saudi exchange student who seems to be stalking your daughter when he’s not hanging out at Hooters reading the Anarchist’s Cookbook? And did you forget the Mexican guy who works twice as hard as the husband for half the pay? And what about the old Japanese lady who rents the garage apartment who hoards her cash? And shouldn’t the wife be worried about the Polish applicant for the nanny job who looks like she could be an underwear model in search of a husband/green card?

What I really like about this, however, is that absolutely ludicrous intro to the paragraph:

More than ever, America today reminds me of a working couple…

Really? More than ever? So America today reminds you of this couple with their Indian nanny and Afghani cousin more than it did in the Spring of ‘06? Good Lord we do have problems!

By the way, you’ve been carrying this metaphor in your head for how long now, exactly? Has it been driving your understanding of geo-politics for years? Decades? Talk more about that.

Anyway, he then goes on to make the usual point: Rah-rah China. Investment, education, whaoo. Politics bad. Problem solving good.

I know there are lots of people who really think Friedman’s a genius. That’s a debate for another day. What I don’t understand, purely as a matter of column-writing, is how he can get away saying the same thing over and over again and over again. Even if you agree with everything he’s got to say, I don’t understand how he doesn’t bore his fans to death. At least his critics can have fun whacking away at him.

04 December 2010

What's Wrong with Our Agriculture Policy

Wrapped up in a neat little six minute interview.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tom Vilsack
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive

"Trying to make sure that folks continue to have affordable food in this country."*

"Americans spend less of their disposable income for groceries than just about anybody else on the face of the earth which means we have more discretionary income to spend on other things like cars, nicer homes, vacations."**

After Colbert asks why we subsidize foods and then tell kids not to eat them (meaning high fructose corn syrup, I guess), Vilsack replies "The reality is we have to have a safety net for our farmers because its a tough business. You have no control over weather, you have no control over markets. You need to know that probably 90% of America's farmers are just barely making it, 10% are doing pretty well, but there are a lot of farmers out there who struggle, so it is important to have a strong safety net. At the same time it is important that we have affordable food for folks in this country and the programs at the USDA are designed to help that."***

*The law of unintended consequences and about 23 seconds of critical thinking shows that any effort the federal government exerts to make sure folks have affordable food does the exact opposite; not to mention the moral repugnance of assuming that people cannot fend for themselves and help their neighbors of their own volition. It is a religious mission to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, not a political one.

**the money that is spent by the government comes through taxes causing dead-weight loss and lost productivity or deficit spending reducing the market for loanable funds and distorting the time preference for money, skewing short- and long-term interest rates. Meaning that, contrary to the best efforts of socialists, we all have less money for cars, nicer homes and vacations.

***Farmers used to be respected because theirs was a difficult lot. Hence the phrase "yeoman's job." Now, apparently, they are to be given money by the government on top of what they manage to produce and sell because it's a tough job. By prohibiting the most efficient allocation of resources (and as far as the government is concerned, this is entirely made up of other people's money) we reward unproductive work, stunt innovation and further the cause of dependence on government. Market uncertainty encourages innovation, thrift and the most efficient allocation of resources which all boost production and productivity. Which helps everyone. These assertions are self-evident and, as Mises would say, "apodictically certain." No econometric models are necessary. No calculus. The only group that would suffer more than the farmers (and some farmers would definitely suffer, but this only means that we have too many farmers) would be the politicians who would lose campaign contributions and lobbying gigs for when they leave office.