Posts Tagged ‘Economic Sense’

Trying To Make The Barn Door Fly

by J.J. Jackson on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

This is article 302 of 390 in the topic economy

We engineers have a saying: “Given enough thrust, even a barn door can fly.”

Now, one does not have to have a PhD in Aerospace Engineering to understand how non-aerodynamic a barn door is. But the saying is indeed true: if you strap a big enough engine (some call it a rocket) to a barn door, it will indeed fly. And by “fly” I mean careen haphazardly though the air leaving a trail of destruction in its wake as it slams into things at random.

Right now, the U.S. is not very “aerodynamic” in an economic sense. It’s more like a barn door. We spend hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars more than we collect in taxes. We bog down the doers, the job creators, in red tape designed to make them throw up their hands. We punish success while rewarding the lazy and uninspired. We encourage dependency on the government.

Every week people complain that I am being far too pessimistic about America’s economic situation. With debt up to our grandchildren’s eyeballs, I don’t see how any sane person can think we are in good shape. But many write off my warnings about how you simply cannot keep printing money to cover debts. I have talked regularly about glaring examples such as the Weimar Republic, Zimbabwe, and even Greece. But people guffaw at the truth. And then, thoroughly convincing themselves that I know absolutely nothing about anything, they go on thinking that it is ok that America’s debt load is increasing by leaps and bounds. They think that it is ok to just keep heaping more and more limits on the engines of our economy.

It sounds really great, in theory, to say that the Federal Reserve will buy up mortgaged backed securities to stimulate the economy. It sounds superb to believe that the federal government can create hundreds of billions of dollars, which all go into the pockets of their cronies by the way, and jumpstart flagging markets. It sounds even better to say that at some point all this priming of the pump will result in economic activity beyond our wildest dreams and pay back our “investments” ten fold.

But history teaches a different lesson. And, sadly, it teaches the same lesson as the barn door made to “fly”. It teaches that each of these unnatural attempts at forcing an economy to try to soar provide only temporary soaring at best. Then, after a few short months, we crash back to where we were, if we are lucky, or worse, if we are not. Of course, the know-it-alls who believe that money grows on some sort of magical tree behind the Capitol have yet another harebrained scheme in place to make the barn door “fly” again. At the expense of more debt of course.

Eventually however, all the tricks to stave off the inevitable, final, glorious crashing of the barn door that is the U.S. economy stop working. At that time, we are going to have to deal with the destruction that has been wrought. The longer we insist on making the barn door “fly”, the more destruction we are going to leave for our prosperity to clean up. But then again, that seems to be an acceptable form of child abuse to many, many people.

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Obama: Jesus Would Tax the Rich

by Doug Powers on Friday, February 3rd, 2012

This is article 511 of 1001 in the topic Obama

If Jesus had been the way Obama makes him out to be, all of his disciples would have been tax collectors instead of just one.

From the NY Daily News:

President Obama urged religious leaders to back his plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans — by saying that it is what Jesus would do.

Keeping with a presidential tradition, Obama spoke to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington Thursday and passionately connected his policies to his religious faith.

“I actually think that is going to make economic sense,” he said of his call for the wealthy to shoulder a greater tax burden, “but for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’”

Uh huh… and what was Jesus’ view on malfeasance?

My Sunday School lessons are a little rusty, but didn’t Jesus consider publicans who took too much money and abused their power to be sinners in need of repentence? Obviously Obama doesn’t yet consider nearly $16 trillion in debt while demanding people be forced to pony up even more to be a collective abuse of the public trust on the part of the government. I think Jesus would counsel public officials on their tax & spend addiction way before having a chat with the private sector rich.

Roll the shamelessness:

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If Republicans Want to Win, They Must Shed the Communist-inspired Word “Capitalism”

by Selwyn Duke on Friday, January 20th, 2012

This is article 493 of 1300 in the topic 2012 Elections

Communist FlagOne of the simplest rhetorical truths is that the side that defines the vocabulary of a debate wins the debate.  Yet, amazingly, we still see experienced conservative politicians with access to advanced polling operations and an array of advisors use the Lexicon of the Left.  And this election cycle is no exception.

I could almost cringe when I hear – as I did repeatedly during Monday’s South Carolina GOP debate – Republicans talk about “capitalism.”  “I believe in capitalism….”  “Barack Obama doesn’t believe in capitalism…..”  Capitalism this and capitalism that – look at me with my plump wallet, walking stick and tony top hat.  Oh, it’s not that I don’t believe in free enterprise; it’s that we shouldn’t use words that conjure up sentiments akin to the preceding rhyme.

And polls inform that this is precisely what “capitalism” does.  For example, Pew Research Center reports, “Slightly more than half (52%) react positively to the word ‘capitalism,’ compared with 37% who say they have a negative reaction.”  According with this is a 2009 Rasmussen poll showing that, shockingly, “only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.”  And the picture looks even worse with certain demographic groups.  Writes Pew, “Fewer than half of young people, women, people with lower incomes and those with less education react positively to ‘capitalism.’”The shame of this is not just that 37 percent is a large minority to alienate every time you talk economic sense; it’s that it’s not necessary to alienate them at all.  And the reason why is hinted at by another 2009 Rasmussen poll, one finding that “just 35% of American voters believe that a free market economy is the same as a capitalist economy.”  What does this tell us?  It tells us that you could ask if a “free market” were better than socialism and more than 53 percent of Americans would say yes.  It tells us that “capitalism” needs a rebranding.  And the term all of us – especially the candidates – should be using is “economic freedom.”This is such a no-brainer that it’s shocking how it still eludes presidential hopefuls.  It’s especially so when you consider that Frank Luntz, famed pollster and author of the book Words That Work, has recently been echoing the lexical anti-capitalist message.  Capitalism may put people to work, but the word doesn’t work with the people.

Some may now lament how we have allowed the left to demonize our terminology.  But “capitalism” in the modern sense was never ours – and the left didn’t demonize it.

They spawned it.

In point of fact, it was originated by communism’s founding fathers.

The two culprits were French socialists Louis Blanc and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.  True believers both, Blanc claimed that man’s evils were the result of pressures born of competition and gave us the principle “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” (Karl Marx stole it from Blanc), while the equally radical Proudhon believed that “property is theft.”  Of course, Marx the great imitator then popularized “capitalism.”

And, sadly, conservatives now pick up that red ball and run with it (sometimes for president).  The man on the street popularizes “capitalism” every time he utters the word.  Writers popularize it with their pens.  Talk-show hosts with their mouths.  Presidential candidates do so in their debates.  And every time we popularize the word, we depopularize what it represents.

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Dysfunctional Government or Corrupt Media?

by Roger Aronoff on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

This is article 249 of 390 in the topic economy

Did the Republicans suffer a disastrous and humiliating defeat when they “caved in” and agreed on December 22 to accept the two-month extension of the payroll tax holiday that had been passed in the Senate with strong bi-partisan support? The Democrats and their mainstream media allies were high-fiving and gloating about an early Christmas. Chris Matthews called it a “rub it in their face moment.” In this instance, even many in the conservative media were heaping criticism on the way the Republicans, particularly the House GOP, handled this matter.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page came down hard: “The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play…Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he’s spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.”

There is no question about it. In terms of coordination between the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, this was a blunder, which allowed President Obama to seize the stage as if he and the Democrats were the party advocating tax cuts for the middle class, while the Republicans were standing against such cuts, and ergo, against middle class working people.

The columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote, “making economic sense is not the point. The tax-holiday extension—presumably to be negotiated next year into a 12-month extension—is the perfect campaign ploy: an election-year bribe that has the additional virtue of seizing the tax issue for the Democrats.” He added that “The House Republicans’ initial rejection of this two-month extension was therefore correct on principle and on policy. But this was absolutely the wrong place, the wrong time, to plant the flag. Once Senate Republicans overwhelmingly backed the temporary extension, that part of the fight was lost. Opposing it became kamikaze politics.”

That may be true, but in terms of substance, and even long-term perception, was it really such a victory for Obama and the Democrats? Was it really such a defeat for Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and the House Republicans? If the media get their way, then the answer will be yes. But it’s worth taking a look a little deeper to see what happened during the process, and the nature of the Democrats’ victory.

One person who caved, though the media hardly took note, was President Obama, who had insisted on December 7 that “Any effort to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut, I will reject. So everybody can be on notice.” He was referring to a decision on the proposed $7 billion, 2,100 mile Keystone oil pipeline from Canada down to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries that he had attempted to postpone until after the upcoming November election so as not to offend either of two constituencies with a direct interest in his decision—Big Labor and radical environmentalists. He was hoping to avoid angering either group before the November election, but now, according to the agreement, he has to make a decision within two months, well before the election.

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Green Job Productivity

by Thomas E. Brewton on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

This article from the Mises.org website deals with the lack of economic productivity of government jobs in general.

So-called green jobs come under the same analytical rubric.  Nominally in the private sector, they would not exist in the absence of government subsidies and discriminatory regulations.

The overwhelming majority of people, even if they think that wind power, solar power, or an automobile running on electricity are good ideas, would walk away when presented with a full-cost bill for the product.  Which is why corporate, private, and institutional investors, in a free-market economy where invested funds must earn their keep, won’t knowingly put their money into such deals.  They make no economic sense.

From the Keynesian economic perspective of President Obama and his fellow liberal-progressive-socialists, however, an economic project need not be profitable without government intervention.  Indeed, profit is equated with the sin of greed.

Keynesian doctrine preaches that government deficit spending is a form of saving and that any government spending on any project, however ridiculous, will stimulate the entire economy to produce more than the amount of the government expenditure.

Regrettably, as experience since 1933, and in our current Great Recession, proves, the real world doesn’t work that way.

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Obama’s Extremist Ideology and the Dangers of a Second Term

by John C. Drew Ph.D. on Saturday, March 26th, 2011

This is article 352 of 1001 in the topic Obama

I’ve been thinking through my objectives in going public with my take on young Obama’s Marxist socialist perspective. Here they are:1. Debunking in Perspective: It’s not about me. The issue is people like James Kloppenberg and Mark Davis who are doing their best to obscure the real Obama from the public’s consciousness. Accordingly, I see my role as that of simply debunking the myth that Obama was ALWAYS a pragmatist/centerist – as argued by Kloppenberg in Reading Obama. Since I saw Obama’s extremist ideology face-to-face, I think it is important to debunk the scholars like Kloppenberg who just don’t know what they are talking about when they discuss young Obama’s ideology.

2. Significance of this Issue: Given the upcoming 2012 election, a lot of people are interested in determining the extent to which Obama has lied about his Marxist socialist ideology in the past and the extent to which his long-standing ties to extremist ideology will impact us if he has another term as president. I’m particularly concerned about what Obama might do to harm our country in the future in terms of Supreme Court appointments, redistributing the wealth and introducing socialized medicine. Obama’s appointment of Van Jones shows Obama cannot be trusted to keep ideological extremists out of his administration. As a political scientist, I know that Obama’s ideology will be even more dangerous if he is given another four years in office.

3. Frank Marshall Davis’s Marxism Quote: I’ve been saying that Obama was a Marxist as a sophomore at Occidental College since 2008. Virtually all of the subsequent literature – from the left and the right – is consistent with my take on young Obama’s extremist ideology, including Remnick’s The Bridge. The Davis letter is significant because it undercuts his son, Mark, who argues his father was NEVER a sincere Marxist or a sincere Communist in the traditional, economic sense.

4. My Expertise: My status as a former Williams College professor – and as an award-winning political scientist – is relevant to the 2012 campaign because it means that I was in a position to accurately understand and report on the details of Obama’s ideological convictions. Since I taught with Roger Boesche while he was at Williams, I’m also in a position to accurately report on the person widely believed to be young Obama’s most important intellectual mentor.

5. The Big Issue: The really fundamental issue is what does Obama believe? Obama has never explained how, if at all, he got out of his Marxist socialist perspective. I would think that most voters would be in favor of an effort to see more accountability from the president of the United States regarding his own background and intellectual history.

John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist

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Consumer Reports says that the GM Volt is a dud

by John Lott on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Consumer Reports doesn’t always get things right (e.g., on the iPhone), but I think that they are dead on regarding the GM Volt.

Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.’s flagship vehicle makes economic “sense.”The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue — the influential magazine’s annual survey of vehicles — but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.
“When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”
The magazine said in its testing in Connecticut during a harsh winter, its Volt is getting 25 to 27 miles on electric power alone.
GM spokesman Greg Martin noted that it’s been an extremely harsh winter — and as a Volt driver he said he’s getting 29-33 miles on electric range. But he noted that in more moderate recent weather, the range jumped to 40 miles on electric range or higher.
Champion believes a hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, may make more sense for some trips.
“If you drive about 70 miles, a Prius will actually get you more miles per gallon than the Volt does,” Champion said. . . .

I had these discussions earlier here and here.

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Consumer Reports Knocks the Volt

by Doug Powers on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

The New York Times had a turn last summer, calling the Volt “GMs electric lemon,” and now Consumer Reports offers a review:

Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.’s flagship vehicle makes economic “sense.”The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue — the influential magazine’s annual survey of vehicles — but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.

“When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn’t particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it’s not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy,” said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. “This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer.”

Let’s see… taxpayer money is being dumped into a car that the public can’t afford and/or doesn’t want. Demand for the expensive product is to be created by high gas prices combined with goading the public into buying one by scaring them with a mythical crisis pushed by an enviro-hypocrite who goes around in a private jet telling everybody the oceans are going to rise and flood the same coastlines where he recently invested millions in a seaside mansion. In a nutshell, the theme park impresarios who proposed “Six Flags Over Chernobyl” had a more solid business plan.

The Volt is in part the brainchild of politicians who expect everyone to believe that we need to spend money to keep from going bankrupt, so was the “economic sense” of the thing ever really in question?

They say it’s called the “Volt” because “Massively Expensive Union Bailout” wouldn’t fit on the hood. If the batteries continue to perform poorly in cold weather, don’t look for the Volt to be scrapped, but rather for several billion taxpayer dollars to be spent on a “Winning the Future” extension cord program.

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