Tuesday, August 31, 2010


"Sebelius: Administration Has a Lot of 'Reeducation' To Do on Obamacare"


Says MKH:
One is left wondering if this will be a standard PSA-style push or something more along the lines of a camp environment.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Just What Could "Tea Party" Possibly Be Code For?

It's so hard to figure out. The undereducated pipsqueak leftist tyrants are so confused.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Old School

Internet ads done 1930's style.

Ambitious But Useless

Quotes from this Frank J. Fleming piece:
Suggestions on How We Should Treat Our Congressmen

We should treat them all just like known mafia members; we don't have the evidence to send them to prison just yet, but we'll keep the FBI constantly on their tail.


But what do ambitious, capable people do in this country? They start their own businesses and lead successful lives comfortably away from the fickleness of the ballot box. So that just leaves the people who are ambitious but useless and just love the thought of being able to meddle in all the useful things everyone else is doing. And then the whole election process, where the politicians constantly lie and change their positions on issues to keep their jobs, tends to weed out the people who aren’t also sociopaths. So the system we have has basically set us up to be governed by ambitious, useless sociopaths who love to meddle in everything actual contributors to society are doing. So lawyers, for the most part.

And when you put these people in charge, of course they’re going to just try to grab more power so they can interfere even more, hence the steady bloating of government we’ve seen throughout American history. So what do we do? Change the system to make sure we get good, qualified people who aren’t arrogant weirdos to be our legislators?


The first thing we need to do, when someone becomes a legislator, is to give him a number, and that’s how we know him. Instead of Representative John Smith, he’s now Representative 24601. And instead of suits, representatives will wear nice assigned jumpsuits; they don’t have to be bright orange, but they should allow us to easily identify these people who plan to spend all our money so we know to be careful around them. And we’ll treat them all just like known mafia members; we don’t have the evidence to send them to prison just yet, but we’ll keep the FBI constantly on their tail and looking because we’re sure they’re up to something.

And to help with that, they’ll all wear ankle bracelets, so we’ll know where they are at all times, and every place they go will be bugged so everyone will know what they’re doing and who they’re talking to and what they’re saying. You want to spend trillions of dollars of other people’s money, the tradeoff is that you lose all rights to privacy … though there will probably have to be some exceptions to that for classified briefings (but is it really wise to be giving these people important classified information?). And if we ever catch a legislator doing anything illegal, he automatically gets double the maximum sentence. They make the laws, so we should hit them even harder if they break them.

It’s pretty simple: We treat all legislators like lying crooks, because they self-identified as such by running for office; normal people don’t desire to spend other people’s money.


This is America: We don’t let tyrants push us around; we push them around. It’s time we remember that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Denninger's Fix For Schools

Good post, includes some financial figures.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Atlas Shrugs

From a letter to Mish:
Hello Mish

You ran a series of articles on small businesses, hiring and expansions. I thought I would add to it.

I run a small firm, with about 45 employees and 40 contractors. We have been growing pretty well, close to 80% topline numbers for the past 3 years. Our average salary is over $100,000. We have some innovative software we sell to the industry. We also offer operational improvement strategies and IT consulting.

We provide great healthcare insurance coverage to our employees. It is necessary in order to attract talent and I am in the talent business. Our healthcare costs went up 90% this year – and that is on a 6-figure number to begin with. We found only one insurer willing to provide us coverage, United Healthcare.

Every other provider pulled out of our segment of the small business market. Cigna, our prior carrier, refused to renew at the last minute on a technicality despite being our carrier for the past 3 years.

Our management team’s focus for two weeks was seriously diverted as we dealt with the consequences of this. Had we lost coverage altogether, we would have been out of business as our employees would go elsewhere.

Our staff is young and healthy, by and large. Average age is early 30s, in the healthcare consulting, software and technology industry. Only in a severely government distorted marketplace can a firm with a young and healthy staff that has had coverage for years face insurers pulling out or demanding a 90% hike.

We had plans to add one person to our R&D staff, a low 6-figure salary. That was shelved because of healthcare costs. Our software development cycle is slowed as a result.

How has the healthcare bill helped the economy? In this case, not one bit. And everyone of my employees has been hurt, because we switched mid-year, those who were part way into their deductible have to start all over again. That is a few 1000s for a number of employees. Because of a bill that passed that cost us money, and most of our employees money. No one is happy with this.

I have additional areas I would like to invest in. Areas that involve productivity gains, not just taking share from someone else, and not just for us. Many of the things I would like to do would reduce costs for my customers and build efficiencies in the healthcare industry as well.

One of our software products reduces the cost of clinical trials, and has saved millions of dollars in better planning. Another model we have developed reduces the cost of carrying inventory for bio/agritech firms. I believe it is the best in the world, developed by a Ph.D. out of Carnegie Mellon. It saves millions a year for large companies (Monsanto, Bayer Crop Science, etc. type of companies).

Productivity is the wealth of a nation.

However, thanks to Obama administration policies, we are pissing our edge away on dumb stuff which makes us hesitate to invest more. Thanks a lot, Congress.

The state government, California, (surprise, surprise, surprise) has intimidated our customers. Several large companies are withholding taxes from our payments in case we need to pay sales tax on our services. We don’t. It is our responsibility to pay sales taxes under our contract anyway.

What can I do? Sue my customer?

How in the heck in this environment can a business owner feel good, create jobs, and expand?

It's no wonder small businesses are in a sour mood. I have so many other stories from other small business owners that I know. The theme is the same. We are all up against overseas competition, against taxes, against the government, against societal acrimony.

Many of my business executive associates are looking to cash out if they could find a buyer at a decent price. As my friend, a former mid-size credit union COO and small business owner, says whenever one of the “good guys” – people who understand how to start businesses that are productive - throws in the towel and cashes in … “Another Atlas shrugs.”

The business climate is freaking insane. I don’t blame the insurers too much. It takes a government to make a market this screwed up.

Thanks to you and others, I pay more attention to Washington, D.C. and state legislatures. I also call to protest and give money to fiscal conservative candidates.

Unfortunately this takes time away from my business. But do I have a choice?

Unions get to pay people full-time to lobby on their behalf. Me? I work long weeks. I feel bad for my family if I don’t spend more time with them, but I cheat my son if I don’t fight for a better world for him.

As always, your coverage of all topics, including public sector unions, is wonderful, a great service, and greatly appreciated. You have an impact on us who don’t have time to do this on our own, but care about our society and want to contribute. I have given to so many individual campaigns and efforts around the country this year, more than the rest of my years combined. You are making a difference, thanks.

"Healthcare CEO"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Perhaps Would You Like That With A Fight To Organize?

From English to French to German to French and back to English makes for some fun.

"FM Radios In Every Toaster! FM Radios In Every Laptop! FM Radios EVERYWHERE. And They Always Have To Be ON!"

The National Association of Broadcasters is lobbying Congress to stipulate that FM radio technology be included in future cell phones.

In exchange, the NAB has agreed that member stations would pay about $100 million in so-called performance fees to music labels and artists. Radio stations would be required to pay performance royalties on a tiered schedule with larger commercial stations paying more than smaller and non-profit stations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Muslim? Sure. Why Not?

Good American Thinker piece.

It begins:
Let Me Translate: We Don't Believe Him -- or You.
By C. Edmund Wright

Memo to the ruling class media: We are not ignorant or stupid. We've not forgotten Jeremiah Wright. It's not that we don't "know" what faith Obama subscribes to -- it's more that we don't believe him. Or you. Sorry. Not buying.

Besides, sometimes we just like to tweak you with our poll answers -- and use any poll as an excuse to "vote against Obama" in any way, shape, or form.


Frankly, it has been equal parts comedy and insult to watch the ruling-class media haplessly wrestle with the reality that millions of Americans believe Obama to be a Muslim. They are so clueless.

As if we needed any more proof -- this is simply another positive dose that the ruling-class media and the country are divided by a huge gulf of philosophy, reality, and experiences. And they are just beside themselves that a country that was concerned that Obama's (Christian?) pastor is a crazy nut in the spring and summer of 2008 can totally forget about all that in the summer of 2010 and call Obama a Muslim.

They so miss the point. We have forgotten none of that. If fact, apparently, now more Americans are deciding to look into all of this and process it in light of Obama's actions.

So allow me to help the media out on this thorny, confusing issue:

We know you claim him to be a Christian. We know Obama has at times claimed to be a Christian. We know Jeremiah Wright's Trinity Church claims to be some kind of Christian denomination. We simply doubt it. And the more we watch all of you, the less we are inclined to believe any of it.

(And by "we," I mean folks who would respond "Muslim" or "not sure" to your poll questions.)

We also know Obama's father was a Muslim. We know his stepfather was a Muslim. We know that under Sharia Law, he is a Muslim, and that much of the Muslim world regards him as a Muslim. We know his mother was an atheist. We know Obama sent a bureaucrat out to claim that NASA's top mission was Muslim outreach. We know he skipped the Boy Scouts' 100th Anniversary bash. We know he's had a couple Freudian slips pertaining to his faith. We know he has called the Islamic call to prayer the most beautiful sound on earth.

We know that in light of all of this, some sycophantic White House spokesperson has the gall to say how "obvious" Obama's Christianity is. Depends on what the meaning of "obvious" is, I guess.

There's more. So much more:

We know Jeremiah Wright rejects America's founding principles -- which are consistent with what we call Christianity -- and many of us believe our founding principles were divinely inspired. Moreover, we know that Obama is on board with Wright on this -- at least to the point of claiming that our Constitution is flawed in how it grants individual rights and liberty. We happen to think that rights Obama wants to curtail come from our Creator.

We know Obama has appointed proud and unabashed Marxists into his government. We happen to know that Marxism is by definition anti-Christian. We know he has confiscated the wealth of others to redistribute to his union thug friends under false pretenses. We know he turned his back on Iranian protesters in favor of an Islamic regime. We know he publicly defers to folks like Chávez and Saudi royalty more than he does Texas and Arkansas governors. On and on we could go here.

So what is so blamed obvious?


The Myth Of Trillions Squandered

Some true figures on the cost of the Iraq War. Short answer: not a whole hell of a lot compared to the rest of the budget (or GDP).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Literally Has No Idea What He Is Talking About

By his own admission.

PZ Myers is ticked off by an e-mailer asking (at least) some legitimate questions:
Greg Abell wrote to me, requesting answers to his questions, which he doesn't ask, and since he caught me in a cranky moment, I felt like answering.

I wanted to ask a professional scientist how something can come from nothing?
No, you didn't. You wrote as an excuse to preach at me, and are not asking any sincere questions. You're a phony.
If there is no God, you have to prove how this is possible.

Matter had to come from somewhere. Space had to have a beginning. Time also has to originate right?
Ask a physicist. I'm a biologist. It says so right over there under my picture to the left, where you got my email address. So why are you pestering me with questions way outside my expertise? I wish these loonies would write to me asking about biological events within the last half-billion years, where I might be able to give a pretty good answer. Big Bang stuff, ask an astronomer/physicist; origin of life stuff, ask a biochemist; rock stuff, ask a geologist.

Why aren't you harrassing Vic Stenger or Neil deGrasse Tyson or Lawrence Krauss or Sean Carroll about these subjects, instead of me? You've already pissed me off with your inappropriate, clueless questions — and I can already tell you're an insincere, pretentious twit who won't pay any attention to any answers I might give, anyway.

You got your assertions wrong. Matter had to come from nowhere: we aren't talking about Private God digging a hole in one place for dirt to fill a hole in another. We are talking about the creation of matter, space, and time out of nothing. Inventing a god who did it doesn't solve the problem: it just postulates that there was no nothing, but instead an anthropomorphic superman with magic powers, which is the kind of hypothesis a five year old might make. And not a smart five year old, either.
So, Myers doesn't know, doesn't claim to know, and seems to think matter came into being from literally nothing, with no cause at all, and that to claim that a cause was needed makes one a five-year-old.

All righty, then. It's good to see that his atheism stands on very solid ground.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Bear Must Attack

Great Ace of Spades post.

In Rare Form

Mark Shea delivers some no-nonsense correction.

An Absolutely Ass-Kicking Political Ad

We need more of this, as well as the implied cojones outside of campaign season.

Not Mincing Any Words

Seen in the comments to this post:
It you are not for marriage equality — you don’t truly “like” gay people. This is more than a narrative — it is reality. It is that simple in 2010.

People who like others and call themselves “friends” do not dole out scraps at the table and offer inferior relationship status.

Stop denigrating yourself and have some self-respect.
Oy vey. Wayne, it is YOU that needs to develop some self respect. You are pretending you are something you are not. And people who have to lie to themselves about what they are do not do so out of self-respect.

You call it marriage equality, but you are asking for everyone in the world to call your relationship equal to a relationship it is undeniably NOT equal to.

1. Men and women are not interchangeable. If they were, you wouldn’t be gay, you’d be bi. Everyone would be bi. If they were, the people who tell you are gay because you havent met the right woman yet would be right.

2. Every human life on planet Earth comes throughout ALL of history comes from heterosexuality. NONE have ever or will ever come from homosexuality.

Every life in the history of the world is NOT equal to zero lives.

3. EVERY heterosexual relationship contains a man AND a woman, a person from EACH of the sexes, a role model for EACH of the sexes, and NO homosexual relationships do.

These are not meaningless differences, like the amount of melanin in a persons skin, these are enormously consequential differences that mean the difference between life and never having existed to every human being on the planet

And yet YOU feel a need to pretend that your relationship is equal to that????

And you have the gall to tell OTHER people to develop some self respect.

Excuse me, but you’re in blatant psychological denial of BASIC scientific facts, and of who and what you are! You havent even faced up to the incontrovertible fact that you are different. Fundamentally, consequentially different!

Denial and delusion may pass for self-respect in your world, but in reality they remain denial and delusion.

Youre here, youre queer, get used to it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lower Court Rulings Against State Constitutions Are Inherently Null And Void

Courts lower than the Supreme Court having no Constitutional authority to so rule, as explicitly and clearly stated in Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution:
In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction.
More here.

H/T Ilion.

Not Very

90% affirmative action, 10% intellectual horsepower.


Think About It

Those in Hell probably got there because they thought Heaven was beneath them.



Hewitt comments:
Just when you thought the Democrats could not go lower in the public's esteem, the Speaker calls for an investigation of those who oppose the Ground Zero mosque, a portion of our population which runs north of 200 million Americans if polls are to be believed:


The melt-down of the Democrats on the issue generally, and of the left-wing commentariat specifically, is as remarkable as it is disturbing. The rather uncontroversial desire of a large majority of Americans to assure that Ground Zero not be exploited for "messaging" by any group has been seized on by Mayor Bloomberg, the president and now the Speaker as a bat with which to beat that supermajority as bigots and haters. The sheer numbers of the opposition has pushed the speaker into paranoia about the subject.

As I conveyed in my draft "stump speech" yesterday, the November elections will be fought primarily on the mess that the president and his Congressional captains have made of the economy, the disaster that is Obamacare, and the deficit volcano.

But increasing numbers will join in the effort to toss out Democrats from top to bottom because of the three "social issues" of border security, marriage and the mosque, and not just because of the substance of the issues, but because so many among the Democrats have decided to denounce their political opponents on these matters as bigoted haters.

This wild escalation in rhetoric suggests that a kind of panicked political madness has overcome the Democrats as they study the polling numbers. They are anticipating their reaction on November 3 and giving early vent to their fury at the voters for not agreeing to blame Bush some more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If An IDist Had Said This, All Of The Usual Suspects Would Be Shrieking "Creationist!", And "Argument From Incredulity!", and "Courtier's Reply!"

But PZ Myers said it. It's just about the most rational thing I've ever seen written by him. If only he would apply similar logic to his own views.


Update: Wonder of wonders, his next post also employs ID-style reasoning.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Well Said

Gil Dodgen:
This is my mission and message. The Darwinistic chance-and-necessity-creative-engine nonsense as an explanation for all that exists in living systems — that is currently promoted as “irrefutable science with overwhelming evidence” — is completely out of the ballpark of reality, evidence, and reason.

It’s not a close call. It’s a slam dunk that Darwinism cannot account for what we observe in living things. Figuring this out is trivially easy.

Darwinists want us to believe the following: Screw things up. Throw wrenches randomly into complex machinery. Delete, replace, copy, insert, or otherwise randomly abuse existing functional information, and (given enough time) malaria can turn into Mozart.

Please give me a break, and don’t try to convince me that this transparently ludicrous nonsense should be taken seriously.
Commenters add:
I began chapter 9 of my book with a quote from Jay Homnick (who is not a scientist):
It is not enough to say that design is a more likely senario to explain a world full of well-designed things. Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident…you have essentially lost your mind.


I suspect that one of the reasons why so many intelligent people have “lost their minds” is the human tendency to conformistic thinking. The sad reality is that the fact itself that most people believe one thing is often enough to make most people believe it, even in spite of evidence.

I remember that, when I was studying medicine, I really did no understand how the darwinian mechanism could work in reality. But I thought that the fault was in my lack of knowledge of the details, because indeed at that time my knowledge of the theory was very superficial. But still, what I knew did not make much sense.

IOW, while I suspected that something could be wrong in the theory, I sincerely believed that the theory must certainly have stronger justifications than I knew at the time.

Years after, when I started to be interested in the ID debate, and consequently led to deepen my understanding of the different issues involved, I quickly discovered that I had been wrong: the theory had no real justifications at all. It was simply, obviously, hopelessly false.

That was the beginning of my passion for ID: no special religious motives, no agenda, just the sincere indignation of my love for knowledge and truth.

My commitment to the ID cause is not difficult: I am really, deeply sure that the ID theory is correct, at least in the measure that a scientific theory can be considered correct. And I am completely, serenely sure that the darwinian theory is false.

Our darwinists friends will certainly say that your, and my, position is simply an argument from incredulity. We know they are wrong about that, because we know perfectly well how sound and serious and convincing are the positive arguments behind our conviction.

But, for once, I want to take the pleasure of saying it aloud: I am incredulous. I am absolutely, unbelievably incredulous about the darwinian theory, and I am proud, very proud to be. That incredulity is a cognitive duty, the only reasonable attitude for any serious thinker with a serious scientific approach. It’s the incredulity which forces us to reject the unjustified dogmatism, the intellectual compromise, and the cognitive superficiality which are implicit in darwinian thought.

Income Tax Without Income

Jay Tea:
If You Thought "Taxation Without Representation" Was Bad...
...just try "income tax without income."

Just how bad is the California state budget? According to Doug Ross, they're taxing people on income they have yet to receive.

Last year, to balance its books, California paid a bunch of people not in money, but IOUs that the state would make good at some vague, undefined date. (It hasn't arrived yet.) But the state still needs money, so it's demanding that the recipients pay income taxes on the money they're owed -- and, in some cases, fines for not paying it sooner.

Personally, I'd be tempted to make a photocopy of the IOU and send that to the California revenuers, with instructions to tear off and redeem 10% or whatever the effective tax rate would be.

This is so twisted, it can only have been conceived by a lawyer. "Yes, you didn't actually get income, but you were granted something of value. That you can't do anything with it other than wait for the state to make it good is irrelevant; you were given something of value, so you have to pay taxes on it. And no, you can't pay with another IOU, and no, we won't just deduct it from what we owe you -- you have to pay us in real cash."

This is beyond corrupt. This is downright insane. The state is, in essence, telling people that instead of being paid for work done on behalf of the state, they have to pay for the privilege. Simply being told that they are working for free, the state is actually demanding money from them.


Spluttering Vitriol A Sign Of Loserdom

William Kristol on the collapse of the left ("F*ck Tea" is all they have now).

It begins:
The left has collapsed.

Its political support has collapsed. Public opinion polls point to a historic repudiation of the president and the Democratic party this fall—something on the order of a 60-seat Republican gain in the House. The GOP has an outside shot at taking the Senate as well.

Its claim to intellectual integrity has collapsed. Paul Krugman—Ivy League professor, New York Times columnist, and Nobel laureate (the holy trinity of the liberal establishment)—has humiliated himself with a startlingly dishonest attack on Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Krugman, called out by Ryan, rebuked by honest analysts, and unwilling to concede his errors, has retreated into uncharacteristic abashed silence.

Its Leninist discipline has collapsed. Last week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs complained about the craziness of the “professional left” in the punditocracy. “Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs explained. “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality. .  .  . They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” Members of the professional left hit back at Gibbs, dubbing the Obama White House the “amateur left.”

Its democratic credibility has collapsed. In recent weeks, the left has the arbitrary rulings and sophistic arguments of federal judges who have overturned an immigration statute that mirrors federal law passed by the state legislature in Arizona, and a constitutional amendment, defining marriage as it has been defined for all of American history, enacted by the citizens of California. The left has also heaped praise on New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he, having bought his way to a narrow reelection, showered disdain and contempt on the majority of his fellow New Yorkers who object to a mosque next to Ground Zero.

And its good humor (such as it was) has collapsed. As Politico’s Ben Smith reported last week,
the Agenda Project, a new, progressive group with roots in New York’s fundraising scene and a goal of strengthening the progressive movement, has launched the “F*ck Tea” project, which is aimed, the group’s founder Erica Payne wrote in an e-mail this morning, “to dismiss the Tea Party and promote the progressive cause.”

“We will be launching new products in the next several months to help people all over the country F*ck Tea,” Payne told Politico.
Is Erica Payne a loony nobody? No, she’s a lefty somebody—a former Democratic National Committee official, a veteran of many progressive groups, and one of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, the group of big donors who have spent over $100 million to fund “progressive” organizations like the Center for American Progress.

Payne says she launched her effort to push back against “the rhetoric over results paradigm that is holding our country hostage.” She wasn’t being ironic. As the estimable Allahpundit commented, “Because, you see, if there’s any movement that’s about results over rhetoric, it’s clearly the f*ck tea movement.”

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Obvious Point Gently Made, And Instantly Illustrated By The First Two Commenters

A Christian wonders whether discrimination against Christians in academia is something that should be measured, and his first couple of commenters helpfully provide some new data points.

Militant atheists, it seems, have zero sense of irony.

Contra Dawkins In The NYT

Good piece arguing the (what should be) obvious point that Dawkins has not really even entered the arena in terms of arguing for the non-existence of God.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

If I Can't Trust The Fool On Something Entirely Simple Like Basic Politics, Why In The World Would I Trust Him On Esoteric Science?

P.Z. Myers is such a tool:
It's the patriotic thing to do

2 September will be Burn the Confederate Flag Day.
Burn the Confederate Flag Day is a protest against the right's exploitation of racial prejudice for political gain. We urge you to burn the Confederate flag, a long-time symbol of racial hatred, on Sept 12, the date when the racially-divisive Tea Party holds its annual hate fest.
Now I just have to figure out where to get a cheap traitor's flag in Minnesota. Hmm…it sounds like the kind of thing a truck stop might sell.
If you are thick enough to believe that the Tea Pary is a racist movement, you're thick enough to believe anything. Like Darwinism, I suppose.

What this piece is doing on a Science! blog is anyone's guess.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pension Tsunami

Great Mish post containing excerpts from the mail he has received from readers concerning the public pension fiasco.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Lengthy Ace of Spades post examines MFM neutrality.

The 18th Century English Aristocracy Would Be So Proud

So stupid, they don't see a problem with trashing a founding symbol of the nation, assuming they know what that is at all. What can you expect from royalists?


Race Card Is Maxed Out

The Daily Show skewers the tired tactic. Quite amusing.


Barack Obama and Congress simply do not get it. They think they, along with The Fed, can "prime the pump" with "stimulus", just as the meth-head thinks he can "stimulate" recovery with "just one more hit."

He's wrong, as is Congress, Barack and The Fed.

The excess capacity in the economy cannot be sustained. It simply doesn't matter whether policymakers like this or not. An economy that can only run at its former rate when mainlining speedballs cannot continue to operate in this fashion without killing the host. Detoxification and a slowing of the economic metabolism to sustainable levels is the only way you survive.

Along the path to perdition we allowed a tapeworm to take up residence in the bowels of our economy: "financial innovation". It was not that long ago - indeed, within my lifetime and experience - during which bankers earned $50,000 a year and bank stocks returned 7% dividends - and no capital appreciation at all. Banks made loans and held them to maturity, consuming the ~2% spread they needed to survive and paying out the entirety of the rest of it to shareholders in the form of dividends. They were stodgy, old-school businesses that performed a vital intermediation function - and consumed ~5% of the economy in doing so.

Now financial innovation has gone from 5% of the economy to 20%. But as the tapeworm grows larger, it consumes more and more of the fuel that the body takes in. Soon the tapeworm not only consumes enough of the fuel to cause you to starve even though you're eating like a horse, it in addition gets so large that it blocks the intestines - and can produce life-threatening stoppages and infections.

There is no way to reason with such a tapeworm. It, like all organisms, will seek to survive, grow and reproduce - and it doesn't care if you like it or not. Your only choices are to kill it - or, if you don't - die.

We as a nation must eradicate the tapeworm. We must relegate the financial system to its former status as an intermediator - the old stodgy bank - and dismantle the complex and intertwined institutions that are sucking the economy dry. We have refused for two decades to do this, believing in the Alan Greedscam and Turbo Tax Timmy mantra that a strong and diverse financial system is inherently necessary to a strong economy.

These statements are lies. That they're lies is trivially proved: financial innovation in all of its forms is inherently parasitic - that is, it produces nothing in the economy. In it's role of distributing risk it inherently must siphon off some portion of actual production to itself.

That means that the productive portions of the economy must produce more to feed the beast within. But the beast inexorably grows - it reached 25% of the "earnings" in the S&P during the bubble years.

But that 25% wasn't the bank's earning power - it belonged to other actors in the economy and was stolen from them as a form of "tax", just as the tapeworm steals your nutrition.

This in turn goaded CEOs to take on more and more leverage so they could "make their numbers" with that inherent 25% siphoned off. And that, in turn, resulted in the market and economy as a whole levering to unsustainable levels.

Our error in 2007 and 2008, as I have repeatedly said, is that we refused to force these firms to face the music for their actions. Actions that, in many cases, were outright fraudulent - and where they weren't, they were unsound and unsustainable.

New York City has grown addicted to the tax and business revenue from these firms, but that doesn't mean the rest of the nation can sustain New York City, any more than the rest of the nation can sustain California's insistence on giving sanctuary to the 4% of our population that are illegal immigrants - who give birth to 8% of our babies, and who pay 0% of their hospital bills.

This is the result:


We've blown 14% of GDP in new debt to maintain the tapeworm, attempting to mainline speedballs into the arm of the economy. It's not working. The reason is that the tapeworm is consuming nutrition faster than the economy can take it in, and as a consequence we are now in economic death spiral, exactly as I noted in 2007.

One way or another that parasite will be removed. We either do it ourselves and suffer the pain required to heal or the market will do it for us with horrific and destructive results.

Those are the only two options folks.

The Fed cannot fix this. Nor can Congress so long as the debate is focused on taxes. We are running structural deficits of fourteen percent of GDP - nearly half of the federal budget is being borrowed. This is akin to someone who is bringing home $2,500 a week but spending $3,800 - there is no reasonable way to increase one's earnings by that amount - they must instead stop spending or they will go bankrupt.

I know that the government at all levels has made promises to people. We don't have the money. It doesn't matter if we want to keep the promises or not when we are physically unable to do so, and the tapeworm is continuing to eat more and more of the nutrition that flows past it.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Begging For Mercy From His Own Bill

First-class schmuck.


Highlights a comment to a WaPo piece:
And then this, today, in response to the craven Matt Yglesias’ evil and overwhelmingly dense "Welcome to the summer of fear" [article available without registration here].

Pure and utter drivel, Sir.

Let me see if I get this straight: If I disagree IN ANY WAY with the Obama administration, I am either a racist (courtesy of the black caucus), a xenaphobe. (According to Mayor Bloomberg and the other reptilious NY politicians), simply too stupid to understand the complexity of the issue (repeat that again, Reid or Joe Biden?).

This is absolutely hilarious and speaks of a "high schooly" clique of "group think."

Let us come up with a new word that will be in much use come Novemember 2, 2010: OBLITERATION,

We will look back at that once vaunted political party inappropriately named "Democrat" and tsk-tsk while shaking our heads in wonder at the sheer buffoonery of a man with the spine of a ham sandwich for a president; a senate majority leader who single handedly bankrupted his own state of jobs, evicted a huge swath of his constituents with his rubberstamping of an agenda of failed fiscal policies and socialist ideals the country rejected; a speaker of the house so universally loathed that her approval ratings seldom make it out of the teens, a woman who spends taxpayer money like water on libations, flights, bon bons and God knows what else for her friends and family; a congress that acts like pompous sniveling pantywaists worthy of the court at Versailles. Add to them a media with yearlings such as Klein who can't be more than a score and 5 years old; Krugman who is so rabid that only the most lack-wit lemmings put any credence into his overly inflated tripe, and the estimable Dionne, who can be depended on to toss out the race card on, at the very least, a weekly basis.

We will point out a wax doll in a museum of the species titled "Democrat", chuckle to our children, and say, "Child, THIS is what happens to those who underestimate the American people. Should you grow up and try such folly, you too, will one day be an oddity, to be pointed at, mocked, and thoroughly despised as well."

DEAREST Matt, I recall your name on the JOURNOLIST. Please do get back to your partners in crime at the new, but not improved CABALIST, and relay our fondest wishes and the unfortunate news that the gig is up. One has that most fabulous invention called the Internet, where we can do the most amazing trick. We can go from blog to blog, or to this site called Real Clear politics, where we can read 20 articles from different papers AND see the JOURNOLIST talking points in each one, and who the constant repeat offenders are.

Tick tock, simpleton -- only three short ,short months to go.

Monday, August 09, 2010

"Include The G*ddamned Number"

Good quick Reason magazine post highlighting a perennial form of journalistic maplpractice/laziness/ignorance (take your pick).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Place The Blame On Whom It Belongs

I've never understood why private sector unions consider themselves to be allies with public sector unions, given that public sector unions are doing all in their power to destroy the private sector.

But there's also reason to wonder why public sector union workers have any respect for public sector union bosses:
  • Unfunded pension liabilities are approximately $2.5 trillion, compared to the reported amount of $493 billion. 
  • Unfunded liabilities for health and other benefits are $558 billion, compared to the reported $537 billion. 
  • Thus, total unfunded liabilities for all benefit plans are an estimated $3.1 trillion — nearly three times higher than the plans report.

If you need this translated, it's very simple:

You're not going to get the money you think you were promised.

If you're a government employee and are counting on some sort of pension plan, get over it.

The money does not exist.

It cannot be acquired.

If you scream about "But the state constitution says we're protected!" I will simply remind you that it is easier to change a State Constitution than it is make money that doesn't exist magically appear.

To put this into context, the shortfall is double the annual Federal Budget deficit - at today's bloated amounts. It is five times the average federal budget deficit during Bush's administration.

Again: You're not going to get the money, and most of it isn't, as is commonly believed, in the form of medical benefits - it's in direct cash pension compensation.

You were lied to by the plan administrators.

They (intentionally) used ridiculously-rosy projections of "gains" in their portfolios.

Their "projections" are outrageously unsound, as is their accounting.

Your public-sector unions lied to you too. They led you to believe that you could have the equivalent of a free lunch and that these plans could be funded and would pay. You can't and they can't.

Now you can get angry at "the people" all you want. The fact of the matter is that the people who BS'd you aren't the public - they're your so-called "union representatives" and the so-called "pension managers", all of whom you hired and who report to you, not to the taxpayer.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010