Audio Clips

27 December 2011

Short Film: Seconds

This was a great little film about the choices and intersections on which our lives pivot.

23 December 2011

Walter Williams recently wrote an article on the poverty of persuasive evidence on the part of the overpopulation scare-mongers.  I enjoyed the article and thought you might too.


Population Control Nonsense
by Walter E. Williams • December 2011 • Vol. 61/Issue 10
According to an American Dream article [1], “Al Gore, Agenda 21 and Population Control,” there are too many of us and it has a negative impact on the earth. Here’s what the United Nations Population Fund said in its annual State of the World Population Report for 2009, “Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climate”: “Each birth results not only in the emissions attributable to that person in his or her lifetime, but also the emissions of all his or her descendants. Hence, the emissions savings from intended or planned births multiply with time. . . . No human is genuinely ‘carbon neutral,’ especially when all greenhouse gases are figured into the equation. Therefore, everyone is part of the problem, so everyone must be part of the solution in some way. . . . Strong family planning programmes are in the interests of all countries for greenhouse-gas concerns as well as for broader welfare concerns.”

Thomas Friedman agrees in his New York Times column “The Earth is Full” (June 8, 2008), in which he says, “[P]opulation growth and global warming push up food prices, which leads to political instability, which leads to higher oil prices, which leads to higher food prices, and so on in a vicious circle.”

In his article “What Nobody Wants to Hear, But Everyone Needs to Know [2],” University of Texas at Austin biology professor Eric R. Pianka wrote, “I do not bear any ill will toward people. However, I am convinced that the world, including all humanity, WOULD clearly be much better off without so many of us.”

However, there is absolutely no relationship between high populations, disaster, and poverty. Population-control advocates might consider the Democratic Republic of Congo’s meager 75 people per square mile to be ideal while Hong Kong’s 6,500 people per square mile is problematic. Yet Hong Kong’s citizens enjoy a per capita income of $43,000 while the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s poorest countries, has a per capita income of $300. It’s no anomaly. Some of the world’s poorest countries have the lowest population densities.

Planet earth is loaded with room. We could put the world’s entire population into the United States, yielding a density of 1,713 people per square mile. That’s far lower than what now exists in all major U.S. cities. The entire U.S. population could move to Texas, and each family of four would enjoy more than 2.1 acres of land. Likewise, if the entire world’s population moved to Texas, California, Colorado, and Pennsylvania, each family of four would enjoy a bit over two acres. Nobody’s suggesting that the entire earth’s population be put in the United States or that the entire U.S. population move to Texas. I cite these figures to help put the matter into perspective.

Let’s look at some other population density evidence. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, West Germany had a higher population density than East Germany. The same is true of South Korea versus North Korea; Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore versus China; the United States versus the Soviet Union; and Japan versus India. Despite more crowding, West Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, and Japan experienced far greater economic growth, higher standards of living, and greater access to resources than their counterparts with lower population densities. By the way, Hong Kong has virtually no agriculture sector, but its citizens eat well.

One wonders why anyone listens to doomsayers who have been consistently wrong in their predictions—not a little off, but way off. Professor Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, predicted major food shortages in the United States and that by “the 1970s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” Ehrlich forecasted the starvation of 65 million Americans between 1980 and 1989 and a decline in U.S. population to 22.6 million by 1999. He saw England in more desperate straits: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Expert Poverty

By a considerable measure, poverty in underdeveloped nations is directly attributable to their leaders heeding the advice of western “experts.” Nobel laureate and Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal said (1956), “The special advisors to underdeveloped countries who have taken the time and trouble to acquaint themselves with the problem . . . all recommend central planning as the first condition of progress.” In 1957 Stanford University economist Paul A. Baran advised, “The establishment of a socialist planned economy is an essential, indeed indispensable, condition for the attainment of economic and social progress in underdeveloped countries.”

Topping off this bad advice, underdeveloped countries sent their brightest to the London School of Economics, Berkeley, Harvard, and Yale to be taught socialist nonsense about economic growth. Nobel laureate economist Paul Samuelson taught them that underdeveloped countries “cannot get their heads above water because their production is so low that they can spare nothing for capital formation by which the standard of living could be raised.” Economist Ranger Nurkse describes the “vicious circle of poverty” as the basic cause of the underdevelopment of poor countries. According to him, a country is poor because it is poor. On its face this theory is ludicrous. If it had validity, all mankind would still be cave dwellers because we all were poor at one time and poverty is inescapable.

Population controllers have a Malthusian vision of the world that sees population growth outpacing the means for people to care for themselves. Mankind’s ingenuity has proven the Malthusians dead wrong. As a result we can grow increasingly larger quantities of food on less and less land. The energy used to produce food, per dollar of GDP, has been in steep decline. We’re getting more with less, and that applies to most other inputs we use for goods and services.
Ponder the following question: Why is it that mankind today enjoys cell phones, computers, and airplanes but did not when King Louis XIV was alive? After all, the necessary physical resources to make cell phones, computers, and airplanes have always been around, even when cavemen walked the earth. There is only one reason we enjoy these goodies today but did not in past eras. It’s the growth in human knowledge, ingenuity, and specialization and trade—coupled with personal liberty and private property rights—that led to industrialization and betterment. In other words human beings are immensely valuable resources.

What are called overpopulation problems result from socialistic government practices that reduce the capacity of people to educate, clothe, house, and feed themselves. Underdeveloped nations are rife with farm controls, export and import restrictions, restrictive licensing, price controls, plus gross human rights violations that encourage their most productive people to emigrate and stifle the productivity of those who remain. The true antipoverty lesson for poor nations is that the most promising route out of poverty to greater wealth is personal liberty and its main ingredient, limited government.

Article printed from The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty: http://www.thefreemanonline.org
URL to article: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/pursuit-of-happiness/population-control-nonsense/
URLs in this post:
[1] an American Dream article: http://tinyurl.com/63em794
[2] What Nobody Wants to Hear, But Everyone Needs to Know: http://tinyurl.com/6jlzysu

22 December 2011

Memo to Harry Reid: Government Doesn't Create Jobs

John Stossel recently wrote an article about politicians claiming that their job is to create jobs.  Several CEOs are tired of that lie and have decided that they're going to start speaking out about the fact that government has no money of its own to create jobs with.  They only have what they take from others first.  If politicians would have the humility to recognize that one simple fact we would have a much better society.

Here is the article in full:

Job Creators Fight Back

Tired of being pushed around, a group of CEOs are speaking out.

Some politicians claim that politicians create jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, “My job is to create jobs.”

What hubris! Government has no money of its own. All it does is take from some people and give to others. That may create some jobs, but only by leaving less money in the private sector for job creation.

Actually, it’s worse than that. Since government commandeers scarce resources by force and doesn’t have to peddle its so-called services on the market to consenting buyers, there’s no feedback mechanism to indicate if those services are worth more to people than what they were forced to go without.

The only people who create real, sustainable jobs are in private businesses—if they’re unsubsidized.
Some CEOs are upset that people don’t appreciate what they do. So they formed a group called the Job Creators Alliance.

Brad Anderson, former CEO of Best Buy, joined because he wants to counter the image of businesspeople as evil. When he was young, Anderson himself thought they were evil. But then he “stumbled into a business career” by going to work in a stereo store.

“I watched what happens in building a business. (My store,) The Sound of Music, which became Best Buy, was 11 years (old) before I made a dollar of profit.”

In 36 years, he turned that store into a $50 billion company.

Tom Stemberg, founder of Staples, got involved with the Job Creators Alliance because he’s annoyed that the government makes a tough job much tougher.

He complains that government mostly creates jobs—that kill jobs.

“They’re creating $300 million worth of jobs in the new consumer financial protection bureau,” Stemberg said, “which I don’t think is going to do much for productivity in America. We’re creating all kinds of jobs trying to live up to Dodd-Frank...and those jobs don’t create much productivity.

Now, Stemberg runs a venture capital business. “I helped create over 100,000 jobs myself," he said. "Pinkberry and City Sports and J. McLaughlin are growing and adding employment.”
To do that, he had to overcome hurdles placed in the way by government.

“All that we get is grief and more hoops to jump through and more forms to fill out and more regulations to comply with,” complained Stemberg. “Fastest-growing investment segment in venture capitalism: compliance software.”

Compliance is the big word in business today. Every business has to have a compliance department. But resources are scarce, so these departments suck away creativity. It’s one reason that these successful businesspeople don’t think they could do today what they did in the past.

Mike Whalen, CEO of Heart of America Group, said he got started with loans from banks that took a chance on an unknown: “It is not an underwriting standard that can be dictated by Dodd-Frank with 55 pages. It’s kind of a gut instinct.”

But John Allison, who built BB&T Corp. into the 12th biggest bank in America, says that “gut instinct” is now illegal.

“It would be very difficult to do what we did then today. It was semi-venture capital thing. The government regulations (today) are so tight, including setting credit standards, particularly since the so-called financial crisis and since they ... changed the credit standards in the banking industry, making it very hard for the banks to finance small businesses.”

These successful businessmen realize that in one way, they profit from the regulatory burden. They can absorb the costs. That gives them an advantage over smaller competitors.

“Somebody who wants to compete with us can’t because we can afford to hire the guys that can read this stuff and to keep us in compliance with the law. They can’t,” Anderson said.

Politicians rarely understand this. One who learned it too late was Sen. George McGovern. After he left office, he started a small bed-and-breakfast and hit the regulatory wall he helped create. Later, he wrote, “I wish during the years I was in public office I had this firsthand experience about the difficulties businesspeople face....We are choking off business opportunity.”

Wish they learned that before leaving office.

COPYRIGHT 2011 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

The True Nature of Fortune Cookies

21 December 2011

Superintendent Whines: But Now We Have To Compete!

Katherine Mangu-Ward of Reason points out a recent complaint by the Michigan superintendent, Rob Glass.  Michigan is on track to allow unlimited charter schools by 2015.  He whines:

"We might see a fundamental shift that takes us where we may never see where we are today again," he said at a well-attended school board meeting Thursday night at the Doyle Center. "We have to think about how we're going to compete in this new landscape."

Um, I think that might be the point...

20 December 2011

Term Limits Talk Between Walter Williams and James Buchanan

I have generally been in favor of term limits, but I think Walter Williams makes some good points about the possible ineffectiveness of term limits.

16 December 2011

Armstrong and Getty: Name That Trombone Christmas Song!

For years, Joe Getty has been treating us to his once-a-year trombone playing by doing a Name That Tune with Christmas songs.  It is easily one of my favorite parts of the year and announces the beginning of the Christmas season.  Merry Christmas and to all a New Eardrum!

Armstrong and Getty Band Names for 2011

Armstrong and Getty have a tradition of creating band names from tidbits of conversations.  The names are hilarious and listener Mary in San Jose collected all the names they invented during 2011.  This is a part of that list.

Drug Policy Recommendations

The Cato Institute recently did a conference on the failed US drug policy.  ReasonTV interviewed quite a few of those who participated about their opinions.

15 December 2011

ReasonTV Interviews Susan Herman, President of the ACLU

I don't agree with every position that the ACLU has taken but I found this interview fascinating and I agree with Ms. Herman that people of all political stripes need to be communicating to their elected officials that government has gotten too large and too powerful.

14 December 2011

Help Aggregate Demand This Christmas

If you haven't seen the Keynes v. Hayek videos you need to do that NOW!  (Also, if you're spending your evenings wondering to yourself how you can surprise me this Christmas, this video gives you a couple of ideas.)  ;-)

Lawrence Reed on Humility

The December issue of The Freeman had the following article.  I really enjoy Lawrence Reed's writings because he gives me hope when I get upset with the world.  This article is on the need for humility.


Wanted: A Healthy Dose of Humility
by Lawrence W. Reed • December 2011 • Vol. 61/Issue 10
An awful lot of people in this world are really puffed up about themselves. One of the character traits I wish were much more widely practiced these days is good old-fashioned humility.

T. S. Eliot said, “Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself.”

If you’re not sure what humility is, these lyrics from an old Mac Davis tune will at least remind you of what it’s not:

Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.
I can’t wait to look in the mirror ‘cause I get better looking every day.
I guess you could say I’m a loner, a cowboy outlaw tough and proud.
I could have lots of friends if I want to, but then
I wouldn’t stand out from the crowd.
Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble!

I couldn’t disagree more with those words. It’s not hard to be humble if you stop comparing yourself to others. It’s not hard to be humble if your focus is building your own character. It’s not hard to be humble if you first come to grips with how little you really know. “The wise person possesses humility. He knows that his small island of knowledge is surrounded by a vast sea of the unknown,” noted Harold C. Chase.

One of the greatest teachers and theologians of our day, Pastor Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, makes this keen observation: “Until the twentieth century most cultures, including ours, held that having too high an opinion of oneself was the root of most of the world’s troubles. Misbehavior from drug addiction to cruelty to wars resulted from hubris or pride—a haughtiness of spirit that needed to be deterred or disciplined. The idea that you were bigger or better, or more self-righteous, or somehow immune from the rules that govern others—the absence of humility, in other words—gave you license to do unto others what you would never allow them to do unto you.”

These days, however, it’s a different story. Being humble rubs against what millions have been taught under the banner of “self-esteem.” Even as our schools fail to teach us elemental facts and skills, they somehow manage to teach us to feel good in our ignorance. We explain away bad behavior as the result of the guilty feeling bad about themselves. We manufacture excuses for them, form support groups for them, and resist making moral judgments lest we hurt their feelings. We don’t demand repentance and self-discipline as much as we pump up their egos.

Don’t get me wrong. Humility doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself. It means thinking of yourself less. It means putting yourself in proper perspective. It means cultivating a healthy sense of your limitations and the vast room you have to grow and improve. It means you don’t presume to know more than you do.
Fifty-three years ago this month (December 1958) Leonard Read’s essay “I, Pencil” [1] made its debut. Let me summarize it for you here: No one person—repeat, no one, no matter how smart or how many degrees follow his name—could create from scratch, entirely by himself, a small, everyday pencil, let alone a car or an airplane.

A mere pencil—a simple thing, yet beyond any one person’s complete comprehension. Think of all that went into it, the countless people and skills assembled miraculously in the marketplace without a single mastermind—indeed, without anyone knowing more than a corner of the whole process. It’s impossible not to think of the huge implications of this lesson for the economy and the role of government.

It is in fact a message that humbles the high and mighty. It pricks the inflated egos of those who think they know how to mind everybody else’s business. It explains in plain language why central planning of society or an economy is an exercise in arrogance and futility. If I can’t make a pencil, holy cow, I’d better be careful about how smart I think I am.

Big Plans, Broken Shells

Maximilian Robespierre blessed the horrific French Revolution with this chilling declaration: “On ne saurait faire une omelette sans casser des oeufs.” Translation: “One can’t expect to make an omelet without breaking eggs.” He worked tirelessly to plan the lives of others and became the architect of the Revolution’s bloodiest phase: the Reign of Terror. Robespierre and his guillotine broke eggs by the thousands in a vain effort to impose a utopian society with government planners at the top and everybody else at the bottom.
That French experience is one example in a disturbingly familiar pattern. Call them what you will—socialist, interventionist, collectivist, statist—history is littered with their presumptuous plans for rearranging society to fit their vision of the common good, plans that always fail as they kill or impoverish people in the process. I’ve said it in this magazine before but I’m happy to say it again: If big government ever earns a final epitaph, it will be, “Here lies a contrivance engineered by know-it-alls who broke eggs with abandon but never, ever created an omelet.”

None of the Robespierres of the world knew how to make a pencil, yet they wanted to remake entire societies. How utterly preposterous and mournfully tragic!

The destructive acts of pride don’t always come from brash and fiery revolutionaries or egotistical tyrants full of pompous and hateful rhetoric. More often they come cloaked in benevolence and disguised as the wisdom of the elders, who have only the best of intentions for the whole community. An outstanding example of this type of hubris is the political philosophy in Plato’s Republic, in which he maintains, with breathtaking vanity, that the world would be a harmonious and prosperous place if only philosophers like himself were given absolute authority to run it as they saw fit!

We would miss a large implication of Leonard Read’s message if we assume it aims only at the tyrants whose names we all know. The lesson of “I, Pencil” is not that error begins when the planners plan big. It begins the moment one tosses humility aside, assumes he knows the unknowable, and employs the force of government to control more and more of other people’s lives. That’s not just a national disease. It can be very local indeed.

In our midst are people who think that if only they had government power on their side, they could pick tomorrow’s winners and losers in the marketplace, set prices or rents where they ought to be, decide which forms of energy should power our homes and cars, and choose which industries should survive and which should die. They make grandiose promises they can’t possibly keep without bankrupting us all. They should stop for a few moments and learn a little humility from a lowly writing implement.

So humility, in my book, is pretty important stuff. It may well be the one virtue of strong character that is a precondition of all the others.

Article printed from The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty: http://www.thefreemanonline.org

10 December 2011

Democracy Requires Boundaries

This is a great 2 1/2 minute explanation on a couple of the dangers of democracy.

09 December 2011

Book to Read: The Rights of the People

I just reviewed a book by Tim Sandefur and today read a review he wrote about another book I'm going to have to read. Sounds like I'll need to take my blood pressure meds before I read it though. Here is an excerpt from Tim's review:

The Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties
By: David K. Shipler
Times Books, $27.95, 400 pages

....
Shipler surveys — with exceptional accuracy for a nonlawyer — the sad state of the law regarding searches and seizures, interrogations, and confessions; he also reports from the scene, riding the rough neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., with police officers who are quite conscious of what pressures they can exert, and what half-truths they can employ, to circumvent the spirit, while staying within the letter, of the law. In fact, by exploiting Fourth Amendment precedents, police officers can now search more or less at will. In Atwater v. City of Lago Vista (532 U.S. 318 (2001)), for example, the Supreme Court held the Constitution was not violated when a police officer handcuffed and arrested a Texas mother who was driving without wearing a seat belt. Because officers can search an arrested suspect and anyone in her immediate vicinity, the Atwater ruling gives police almost unlimited search powers. As then — Justice Janice Rogers Brown observed in People v. McKay (27 Cal. 4th 601, 632633 (2002) (concurring opn.)): "In the pervasively regulatory state, police are authorized to arrest for thousands of petty malum prohibitum 'crimes' — many too trivial even to be honestly labeled infractions.... Since this indiscriminate power to arrest brings with it a virtually limitless power to search, the result is the inevitable recrudescence of the general warrant."

Worse, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that warrants are not required when prosecutors seek to obtain information from third parties to whom a defendant voluntarily yields it. Since many people do not realize what information they are giving away — location information automatically beamed to their cell phone companies, for instance — they are far more vulnerable to snooping than they realize....

08 December 2011

Due Process on the Chopping Block

I frequently can't believe the complete disregard for the Constitution that our politicians seem to have, but this just leaves me speechless.  The Senate wants the President to have the power to detain indefinitely American citizens that he declares enemy combatants?  What happened to due process.  Apparently that Bill of Rights thing is just a bunch of *!#(&%$.

07 December 2011

Book: Property Rights in 21st Century America

Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century AmericaCornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America by Timothy Sandefur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a very powerful indictment of the decline of property rights in the US. It starts with a valuable and concise history of the philosophical underpinnings of private property rights and then details some of the worst abuses of government power in taking property rights from Americans. I love Tim Sandefur and have heard him interviewed several time on the Armstrong and Getty Show, but I wish there had been more helpful suggestions on how to reverse this trend. One way to start would be to get everyone to read this book.

View all my reviews

Wall Street and Occupy Sitting In a Tree...

This is a great indictment of both Wall Street crony capitalism and Occupy Wall Street greed.  Share it with your friends!

06 December 2011

Obama the Powerless?

Gene Healy wrote a great op-ed on President Obama that is worth reading.  Here is one of my favorite excerpts:

It isn't just that he's been a terrible president, it's that no earthly figure could deliver the miracles he promised: among other things, "a complete transformation of the economy, "care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless," to "end the age of oil in our time," begin to heal the very planet and, perhaps most unrealistically, "fundamentally change the way Washington works."

Like they say, though, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Since Obama has stoked irrational public expectations for presidential salvation in virtually every public policy area, it's hard to feel sorry for him.

04 December 2011

Trade Is A Win For Both Parties

This video is a good explanation of why trade doesn't involve one party having to lose in order for the other party to get what it wants.

03 December 2011

The Trumping Resource: Innovation

Julian Simon was an economist who boldly defied the Malthusian ethic that resources would eventually dwindle and mankind would suffer the consequences.  His argument was that human ingenuity and innovation combined with free-market principles would come up with more efficient ways to use resources and alternative resources for those in decline.  That's why I have a hard time worrying about "peak oil".  Here is a great video on this topic.

01 December 2011

Chris Matthews on President Obama

This is from a recent Armstrong and Getty show.  It's clips of Chris Matthews talking about problems with President Obama.  It's pretty interesting.

30 November 2011

29 November 2011

Nick Gillespie Interviews Judge Andrew Napolitano

I try to keep the videos I post relatively short but this interview of Judge Andrew Napolitano was really good.  I was really glad to hear a libertarian defense of the pro-life position in the interview also.

27 November 2011

Carlos Gomar Represents the Worst Aspects of Entitlement Culture

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about University of Utah student Carlos Gomar who was at the Occupy protests with a sign that read: "Throw me a bone, pay my tuition".  I won't rehash my comments on how pathetic an activity that is, but I will post a video of Mr. Gomar being interviewed about that sign.  He looks even more stupid in the interview.  When asked why someone should pay his tuition, his response is essentially, "Because I want them to."  Really?!  How about you get a job rather than protest and then maybe you'll be able to pay your own bloody tuition?  What a parasite.  Here is the video:



I wanted to make sure that this was indeed the same guy mentioned in the Business Week article so I did a Google search for "Carlos Gomar Utah" and this story and photo came up with the heading "Utahns Hold Vigil For DREAM Act".  Does the guy in the photo look familiar?  It's the same guy in the video above so I feel pretty confident that it is the same Carlos Gomar mentioned in the Business Week article.  Again, Mr. Gomar, why don't you get a freakin' job like the rest of us did to pay for our college educations?  Ya lazy maggot.



image
(Djamila Grossman | The Salt Lake Tribune) Carlos Gomar leads supporters and community members in a prayer for passage of the DREAM Act, near Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. 
The DREAM Act would create a path to legalization and citizenship for immigrant youth who serve the country through education or the armed forces. 
Utahns hold vigil for DREAM Act 
Supporters of a measure that would provide children of undocumented immigrants a path to legal status gathered Sunday in downtown Salt Lake City to raise awareness of a Senate vote expected this week on the DREAM Act.

The gathering of several dozen people along South Temple near Main Street was among many events held nationwide over the holiday weekend to help push for passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the act this week, with the toughest opposition expected in the Senate.

Forming a circle and weathering snowfall for more than an hour, those in attendance prayed for passage of the act. Alma Castrejon, an organizer of the event in Salt Lake City, also urged the public to call Utah Republican Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch to ask for their support.

Bennett has said he supports the DREAM Act. Hatch, a longtime supporter of the measure, recently expressed reservations about it, saying the nation’s immigration debate may have more pressing issues to address first, such as national security and the border. 

Critics of the measure have argued that it would provide amnesty to hundreds of thousands of people who are in the country illegally.

The act would offer conditional legal residency for those who entered the country illegally before age 16. To qualify for relief under the act, they would have to have lived in the United States for at least five years, earned a high school diploma or GED diploma and completed at least two years of college or military service. The measure is designed for those under 35 who do not have a criminal record.
“There are many people who have been in this country since they were 2 years old,” said Alonso Reyna, of Salt Lake City. “These are people who want to stay here and serve our country.”

Eduardo Reyes-Chavez, of Salt Lake City, said he attended the vigil Sunday to show his support for students in Utah who live in fear of being deported — and because the DREAM Act “is the right thing to do.”

“Education is important to everyone,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you are undocumented or not, you should have the right to an education.”

San Diego: A Model for Pension Reform?

One of the gentleman interviewed in this video is Chris Reed who is one of my favorite writers for the San Diego Union-Tribune.  I hope they are able to pull off this reform next summer.

26 November 2011

The Real Thanksgiving Story

A great explanation of the problem with communal property and the "tragedy of the commons".

20 November 2011

If I Ever Kill You You'll Be Awake, You'll Be Facing Me and You'll Be Armed

As a fan of Firefly, Nathan Fillion, free speech and fascism-fighters, this video made me swoon.

19 November 2011

The Importance of Failure

I recently read an article entitled "The Importance of Failure" by Steven Horwitz and Jack Knych in The Freeman.  It was so well written and important for people to understand that I'm linking to it and posting the whole thing here.  Fear of failure seems to be one of the defining characteristics of statists and Keynesians, and that just shows their ignorance of failure's role in human advancement.

The Importance of Failure
by Steven Horwitz and Jack Knych • November 2011 • Vol. 61/Issue 9
In today’s society failure has become something to fear, avoid, and therefore prevent at all costs. Whether it is unemployment compensation, farm subsidies, or bailouts for failing companies, the world seems to view failure as having no redeeming social value. If success is all good and failure is all bad, then it seems as though we should do everything we can to remedy or prevent failure.

But is that so? Without denying the value of perseverance, and recognizing that the slogan “never give up” can be useful in overcoming certain obstacles, we must keep in mind that failure can act as a guide to more worthwhile activities. For example, in 1921 Walt Disney started a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation, which went bankrupt two years later. If a friend of Disney or the government hadn’t let him fail and move on, he might never have become the Walt Disney we know today.

More important than this individual learning process is the irreplaceable role failure plays in the social learning process of the competitive market. When we refuse to allow failure to happen, or we cushion its blow, we ultimately harm not only the person who failed but also all of society by denying ourselves a key way to learn how best to allocate resources. Without failure there’s no economic growth or improved human well-being.

Economists, especially those of the Austrian school, often emphasize how entrepreneurs discover new knowledge and better ways of producing things. But entrepreneurial endeavors frequently fail and the profits thought to be in hand often don’t materialize. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over half of small businesses fail within the first five years. But failed entrepreneurial activity is just as important as successful entrepreneurial activity. Markets are desirable not because they lead smoothly to improved knowledge and better coordination, but because they provide a process for learning from our mistakes and the incentive to correct them. It’s not that entrepreneurs are just good at getting it right; it’s also that they (like all of us) can know when they’ve got it wrong and can obtain the information necessary to get it right next time.

On this view failure drives change. While success is the engine that accelerates us toward our goals, it is failure that steers us toward the most valuable goals possible. Once failure is recognized as being just as important as success in the market process, it should be clear that the goal of a society should be to create an environment that not only allows people to succeed freely but to fail freely as well.

The Knowledge Problem

Understanding this point requires a broader vision of the market process. For Austrian economists the fundamental economic problem is not the efficient allocation of given resources to our most valued ends at a given time, but rather how we overcome the “knowledge problem”—the division of knowledge that characterizes the social world. It is more important to figure this out than to master the problem of resource allocation because new knowledge drives economic growth and creates prosperity. If the main task of the market were merely to allocate known resources to their most efficient uses, economic growth would seem impossible, since we would be stuck in a primitive world. Where is there any room for the innovation or change that drives progress and improves our lives? If a plow is deemed the most efficient use of iron and all iron is constantly allocated to making plows, how could iron ever be allocated for a new invention such as a tractor? The answer is that entrepreneurs change the most efficient use of resources by discovering new uses. By understanding the economic problem posed by limited, unique, and dispersed knowledge, we can better understand the role failure plays in coping with this problem.

Competition figures prominently in this system. Competition promotes entrepreneurial activity and the discovery of knowledge by empowering a variety of decision-makers to try to find new and better ways of using resources as well as new ends to achieve. This decentralization ensures that what F. A. Hayek called the local knowledge of time and place will be best used. Centralized planning, like other forms of government allocation, necessarily relies on the knowledge of fewer people, limiting discovery and restricting knowledge-dissemination to fewer channels. Competition is a better way to overcome the knowledge problem.

Failure and Opportunity

We can understand the role of failure if we recognize, as Ludwig von Mises did, that all human action intends to “remove felt uneasiness.” We are always striving to improve ourselves by achieving our highest valued ends as often as we can. On these terms, failure is all around us because no human ever achieves a complete lack of felt uneasiness. We always have unsatisfied ends. Israel Kirzner uses the term “alertness” to describe how the entrepreneurial element of human action identifies which ends to strive for and which means are available. Kirzner says that for market action to occur, entrepreneurs must first be alert to opportunities for profit. The possibility of profit keeps entrepreneurs alert to the ways people strive for ends or make use of means that fail to remove felt uneasiness. Once they’ve noticed this failure in human knowledge, the same opportunity for profit spurs entrepreneurial activity to find a new way to achieve those ends, or to find better ends themselves. So a failure in human knowledge becomes the catalyst for producing new knowledge via the entrepreneurial process.

When entrepreneurs attempt to correct a particular failure in knowledge, they often fail themselves and incur losses because of competition. Although bankruptcy is painful in the short term, such failure is an integral part of how entrepreneurial activity and the market function. Failure in a competitive society informs market participants about which activities or jobs to strive for and which to avoid, lest they waste time and money. Jobs that add value to society should be pursued, while those that fail to add value should be eliminated. Markets help guide market participants far better than any bureaucracy can because bureaucracies lack the market’s key components of competition, profit, and loss, which reveal failures and allow for their correction.

Because competition is a voyage into the unknown, we can only know after the fact what works and what does not. Thus economic failure is not “waste.” Calling entrepreneurial failure a “waste” implicitly assumes that one knew ahead of time what the best use of resources was. Such knowledge is not available to anyone, which is why failure is necessary to provide the needed signals.
The subsidies, bailouts, stimulus packages, and other interventions that now increasingly characterize the U.S. economy disrupt this process. Farm subsidies (including cheap water out west), for example, prevent entrepreneurs from finding and capitalizing on failures of knowledge in farming. While there may be new and better ways to grow food, it is difficult for entrepreneurs to find this out if farmers are kept afloat by the government. Perhaps decentralized, local farming would be discovered as more profitable if larger monoculture farms that are possibly damaging the environment were allowed to fail. By preventing inefficient methods of production from suffering losses, subsidies reduce the degree of failure in agricultural markets and make it harder to know that misallocation has taken place and to correct it.

Not letting Chrysler and General Motors fail during the Great Recession prevented an entrepreneurial response to this misuse of resources. The bailouts created two types of negative incentives. First, the companies were encouraged to keep making cars when their losses showed the resources and labor could better be used elsewhere. Second, the government deterred any new entrepreneur from entering the industry and doing things better. Many politicians defended the bailout because they did not want the hundreds of thousands of autoworkers to become unemployed. But when hundreds of thousands of workers become unemployed they do not disappear. They find different jobs that would contribute to society in a better way than working for a bankrupt auto company. The physical assets of bankrupt companies also get reallocated to alert entrepreneurs looking for bargains. Failure is necessary for learning and for success.

The Keynesian argument for government jobs programs is that any sort of work will restart spending in a recession, even hiring people to dig ditches and fill them up. But do a higher GDP and a job by themselves make society better off? Would it be better to have a 2 percent unemployment rate with 8 percent of the employed population doing jobs that don’t add real value (so around 10 percent of the labor force is not adding real value) or more unemployment with everyone who is working really adding value?

Unemployment

Unemployment is a form of failure, and it involves the same considerations as when businesses fail. If a job no longer contributes value this needs to be made clear so that those workers can find jobs that actually do. Imagine if the disemployment of farmers had been prevented during the transition to an industrial economy. In 1941, 41 percent of the U.S. workforce was in agriculture. In 2011 the portion was 3 percent. Where would industry be today if we had prevented the majority of the 41 percent from losing their jobs and finding new ones? It is right that this sort of “failure” was allowed to occur because the displaced farmers found new jobs in the cities and elsewhere. Those new jobs helped society transition from agriculture to industry to services, creating even newer jobs all along the way. This is strong evidence that learning from failure takes place in labor markets.

Autopoiesis (life’s continuous production of itself) is one of the principal characteristics of life, and constant change is its essence. This applies to the economy as well. For us to maintain or increase a high standard of living we must constantly change how we do things. This change won’t be fueled by lucky guesses or by bureaucratic decrees, but instead often by entrepreneurial activity in the face of failure in the market. Since that activity drives the train of progress, it is in society’s interest that the tracks be cleared of governmental obstacles.

Article printed from The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty: http://www.thefreemanonline.org
URL to article: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-importance-of-failure/

ReasonTV: 3 Reasons Not to Forgive Student Loans

17 November 2011

Simply Astounding Musical Genius

This 60 Minutes piece about a 12 year-old composer at Julliard is simply amazing.

16 November 2011

Bad Lip Reading: Michell Bachmann

You've probably seen some of these Bad Lip Reading videos, but they still crack me up so I thought I would share this one.

"One Jew Person"  "I bring milk, not backyard meth.  It's a prison party."  "The sugar fountain fairy swore so hard"

15 November 2011

Anti-Dumping = Job-Killing

This is a great video on why "anti-dumping" laws actually hurt the Americans they're supposed to protect.  If China wants to sell us their silicon for cheap we should let them.  That means we keep our own supplies for future use if necessary.  Dump away, China!

10 November 2011

Liberty, Security and the TSA

Great video on the "security theater" that is our TSA.

Too Big To Fail? Let's Make You Bigger!

The Washington Post had an interesting article recently about Wall Street's quick recovery compared to the rest of the country.  The thing that struck me though was pretty early on in the article.

The largest banks are larger than they were when Obama took office and are nearing the level of profits they were making before the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, according to government data.

Sooooo, what you're telling me is that we bailed out these banks because if they had failed it would have brought down Western Civilization as we know it and our solution to prevent that from happening again is to make them EVEN BIGGER?!  Sure.  Nothing bad could happen because of that.

09 November 2011

3 Things I Learned As My Plane Crashed

What a powerful talk.  We can take advantage of Ric's experience and apply some great life lessons because of it.

A. Barton Hinkle recently wrote an interesting piece about how government is interfering with our lives medically.  Here is an interesting excerpt.

Merely providing resources is no longer enough. See, for example, health care: To provide the uninsured with medical care, it does not suffice simply to pay taxes that fund social-welfare programs. Under the Romney/Obama individual mandate, everyone must buy health insurance for the sake of the common good. 
The same rationale undergirds much of the campaign against obesity—which, some say, costs society $270 billion a year. Part of that total comes from direct expenses such as medical care for diabetics. An additional $73 billion allegedly comes from lost productivity due to poor health—at least according to a rather inexact study funded (surprise!) by Allergan, the maker of a gastric-band system for obesity surgery.

The social cost of lost productivity is an interesting concept. It implies not only that you have a duty to avoid becoming a burden to others, but also that you have an affirmative duty to produce resources for others. (Because otherwise, society has "lost" something that, in truth, it never had in the first place: your future exertions.)
I find it interesting that the underlying assumption is that I have a duty to provide my productive efforts to the common good.  That whole way of thinking is repugnant to me.  I voluntarily give my efforts to organizations that I believe in, but the assumption that my efforts are "deserved" by society, and particularly government, is ridiculous.

08 November 2011

The Role of Incentives

This is a great explanation on how economists try to evaluate the role of incentives in decision-making.

05 November 2011

Military Reunion 8

Reason: Sexual Abuse Victim Forced To Pay Attacker

Reason Magazine pointed this out the other day.  It's appalling and I can't believe this judge would make a decision like this.  Apparently justice is blind.  And stupid.

Here is an excerpt from Reason:

A San Diego judge ordered Crystal Harris to pay $1,000 a month in spousal support to her ex-husband -- just as soon as he finishes up his six year prison sentence for sexually assaulting her. As 10News reports, "The entire assault was caught on tape and what it captured was enough to convict Shawn Harris of a felony -- forced oral copulation."
So why is a victim being forced to pay her attacker? According to Judge Gregory Pollock, it's because Crystal Harris brought home six figures worth of bacon while Shawn Harris was unemployed.
"I can't look at a 12-year marriage where one side is making $400 a month, the other side is making over $11,000 and say no spousal support," Pollock said in court. "That would be an abuse of discretion."

04 November 2011

Michael Moore Must Just Laugh At How Stupid People Are

Shikha Dalmia wrote a quick piece on how disingenuous Michael Moore is.  It's short so I'm just posting the whole thing here.  He has to just laugh at night about how stupid people are for believing he's "one of them."


More on Michael Moore's Millions

When Michael Moore told Piers Morgan that he was not among the hated 1 percent, he wasn’t lying. That’s because with a net worth upwards of $50 million he’s among the top 0.1 percent.
He made a big deal about paying a third of his first $3 million in taxes to this “great country," as I noted previously. But what has he been doing since then? Collecting subsidies from Michigan taxpayers to make millions more, as it turns out, completely unlike the bailout money that evil Wall Street fat-cats received from federal taxpayers.
Henry Payne, my former colleague at The Detroit News reports that Moore took $1 million in film subsidies to make “Capitalism: A Love Story” from a state that has a mega-billion dollar fiscal hole.
What’s more, he made $222 million at the box office whose DVD distribution was handled by Sony, an evil corporation. What did he do with the money? Give it all away in charity, buying turkeys for Michigan’s poor on Thanksgiving? Errr….Not exactly: He bought a $5 million mansion in tony Torch Lake, Michigan.
But that doesn't mean he can't rally a crowd in front of Oakland City Hall urging it to expand its protests to leafy suburbs like Oakland's middle-class Walnut Creek because that’s, you know, “where the money is,” as he put it.
Actually, as Payne notes, Torch Lake is where the money is. So maybe after he is done with Oakland he can lead an Occupy Torch Lake protest. Yes, Michael?
Full disclosure: I live in Oakland County that, I believe, could really use a protest to liven things up.

01 November 2011

Military Reunion 6

Pelosi: Boeing Plant Should Be Shut Down For Not Unionizing

There are essentially two kinds of people when it comes to government: those that think that government should do little more than protect liberties and enforce contracts and those who think that government should step in wherever it feels like it.  Which kind would you guess Nancy Pelosi is?

31 October 2011

Hunger: Overpopulation is Not the Problem

My brother pointed me to this video which is a quick explanation on why fretting about overpopulation's effect on world hunger is wasted energy.

29 October 2011

Competition vs. Cooperation

This is one of my favorite essays.  David Boaz wrote it about 14 years ago for The Freeman (one of my favorite magazines).  In it he explained that competition and cooperation were two sides of the same coin.  He also demolishes the myth that libertarians are atomistic hermits who want to be left alone.  Great essay!

The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty
http://www.thefreemanonline.org
Competition and Cooperation
by David Boaz • September 1997 • Vol. 47/Issue 9
David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is author of Libertarianism: A Primer and editor of The Libertarian Reader (both published by The Free Press, 1996).

Defenders of the market process often stress the benefits of competition. The competitive process allows for constant testing, experimenting, and adapting in response to changing situations. It keeps businesses constantly on their toes to serve consumers. Both analytically and empirically, we can see that competitive systems produce better results than centralized or monopoly systems. That’s why, in books, newspaper articles, and television appearances, advocates of free markets stress the importance of the competitive marketplace and oppose restrictions on competition.

But too many people listen to the praise for competition and hear words like hostile, cutthroat, or dog-eat-dog. They wonder whether cooperation wouldn’t be better than such an antagonistic posture toward the world. Billionaire investor George Soros, for instance, writes in the Atlantic Monthly, “Too much competition and too little cooperation can cause intolerable inequities and instability.” He goes on to say that his “main point . . . is that cooperation is as much a part of the system as competition, and the slogan ‘survival of the fittest’ distorts this fact.”

Now it should be noted that the phrase “survival of the fittest” is rarely used by advocates of freedom and free markets. It was coined to describe the process of biological evolution and to refer to the survival of the traits that were best suited to the environment; it may well be applicable to the competition of enterprises in the market, but it certainly is never intended to imply the survival of only the fittest individuals in a capitalist system. It is not the friends but the enemies of the market process who use the term “survival of the fittest” to describe economic competition.

What needs to be made clear is that those who say that human beings “are made for cooperation, not competition” fail to recognize that the market is cooperation. Indeed, as discussed below, it is people competing to cooperate.

Individualism and Community

Similarly, opponents of classical liberalism have been quick to accuse liberals of favoring “atomistic” individualism, in which each person is an island unto himself, out only for his own profit with no regard for the needs or wants of others. E. J. Dionne Jr. of the Washington Post has written that modern libertarians believe that “individuals come into the world as fully formed adults who should be held responsible for their actions from the moment of their birth.” Columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in a review of Charles Murray’s What It Means to Be a Libertarian that until Murray came along the libertarian vision was “a race of rugged individualists each living in a mountaintop cabin with a barbed wire fence and a ‘No Trespassing’ sign outside.” How he neglected to include “each armed to the teeth” I can’t imagine.

Of course, nobody actually believes in the sort of “atomistic individualism” that professors and pundits like to deride. We do live together and work in groups. How one could be an atomistic individual in our complex modern society is not clear: would that mean eating only what you grow, wearing what you make, living in a house you build for yourself, restricting yourself to natural medicines you extract from plants? Some critics of capitalism or advocates of “back to nature”—like the Unabomber, or Al Gore if he really meant what he wrote in Earth in the Balance—might endorse such a plan. But few libertarians would want to move to a desert island and renounce the benefits of what Adam Smith called the Great Society, the complex and productive society made possible by social interaction. One would think, therefore, that sensible journalists would stop, look at the words they typed, and think to themselves, “I must have misrepresented this position. I should go back and read the libertarian writers again.”

In our time this canard—about isolation and atomism—has been very damaging to advocates of the market process. We ought to make it clear that we agree with George Soros that “cooperation is as much a part of the system as competition.” In fact, we consider cooperation so essential to human flourishing that we don’t just want to talk about it; we want to create social institutions that make it possible. That is what property rights, limited government, and the rule of law are all about.

In a free society individuals enjoy natural, imprescriptible rights and must live up to their general obligation to respect the rights of other individuals. Our other obligations are those we choose to assume by contract. It is not just coincidental that a society based on the rights of life, liberty, and property also produces social peace and material well-being. As John Locke, David Hume, and other classical-liberal philosophers demonstrate, we need a system of rights to produce social cooperation, without which people can achieve very little. Hume wrote in his Treatise of Human Nature that the circumstances confronting humans are (1) our self-interestedness, (2) our necessarily limited generosity toward others, and (3) the scarcity of resources available to fulfill our needs. Because of those circumstances, it is necessary for us to cooperate with others and to have rules of justice—especially regarding property and exchange—to define how we can do so. Those rules establish who has the right to decide how to use a particular piece of property. In the absence of well-defined property rights, we would face constant conflict over that issue. It is our agreement on property rights that allows us to undertake the complex social tasks of cooperation and coordination by which we achieve our purposes.

It would be nice if love could accomplish that task, without all the emphasis on self-interest and individual rights, and many opponents of liberalism have offered an appealing vision of society based on universal benevolence. But as Adam Smith pointed out, “in civilized society [man] stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes,” yet in his whole life he could never befriend a small fraction of the number of people whose cooperation he needs. If we depended entirely on benevolence to produce cooperation, we simply couldn’t undertake complex tasks. Reliance on other people’s self-interest, in a system of well-defined property rights and free exchange, is the only way to organize a society more complicated than a small village.

Civil Society

We want to associate with others to achieve instrumental ends—producing more food, exchanging goods, developing new technology—but also because we feel a deep human need for connectedness, for love and friendship and community. The associations we form with others make up what we call civil society. Those associations can take an amazing variety of forms—families, churches, schools, clubs, fraternal societies, condominium associations, neighborhood groups, and the myriad forms of commercial society, such as partnerships, corporations, labor unions, and trade associations. All of these associations serve human needs in different ways. Civil society may be broadly defined as all the natural and voluntary associations in society.

Some analysts distinguish between commercial and nonprofit organizations, arguing that businesses are part of the market, not of civil society; but I follow the tradition that the real distinction is between associations that are coercive—the state—and those that are natural or voluntary—everything else. Whether a particular association is established to make a profit or to achieve some other purpose, the key characteristic is that our participation in it is voluntarily chosen.

With all the contemporary confusion about civil society and “national purpose,” we should remember F. A. Hayek’s point that the associations within civil society are created to achieve a particular purpose, but civil society as a whole has no single purpose; it is the undesigned, spontaneously emerging result of all those purposive associations.

The Market as Cooperation

The market is an essential element of civil society. The market arises from two facts: that human beings can accomplish more in cooperation with others than individually and that we can recognize this. If we were a species for whom cooperation was not more productive than isolated work, or if we were unable to discern the benefits of cooperation, then we would remain isolated and atomistic. But worse than that, as Ludwig von Mises explained, “Each man would have been forced to view all other men as his enemies; his craving for the satisfaction of his own appetites would have brought him into an implacable conflict with all his neighbors.” Without the possibility of mutual benefit from cooperation and the division of labor, neither feelings of sympathy and friendship nor the market order itself could arise.

Throughout the market system individuals and firms compete to cooperate better. General Motors and Toyota compete to cooperate with me in achieving my goal of transportation. AT&T and MCI compete to cooperate with me in achieving my goal of communication with others. Indeed, they compete so aggressively for my business that I have cooperated with yet another communications firm that provides me with peace of mind via an answering machine.

Critics of markets often complain that capitalism encourages and rewards self-interest. In fact, people are self-interested under any political system. Markets channel their self-interest in socially beneficent directions. In a free market, people achieve their own purposes by finding out what others want and trying to offer it. That may mean several people working together to build a fishing net or a road. In a more complex economy, it means seeking one’s own profit by offering goods or services that satisfy the needs or desires of others. Workers and entrepreneurs who best satisfy those needs will be rewarded; those who don’t will soon find out and be encouraged to copy their more successful competitors or try a new approach.

All the different economic organizations we see in a market are experiments to find better ways of cooperating to achieve mutual purposes. A system of property rights, the rule of law, and minimal government allow maximum scope for people to experiment with new forms of cooperation. The development of the corporation allowed larger economic tasks to be undertaken than individuals or partnerships could achieve. Organizations such as condominium associations, mutual funds, insurance companies, banks, worker-owned cooperatives, and more are attempts to solve particular economic problems by new forms of association. Some of these forms are discovered to be inefficient; many of the corporate conglomerates in the 1960s, for instance, proved to be unmanageable, and shareholders lost money. The rapid feedback of the market process provides incentives for successful forms of organization to be copied and unsuccessful forms to be discouraged.

Cooperation is as much a part of capitalism as competition. Both are essential elements of the simple system of natural liberty, and most of us spend far more of our time cooperating with partners, coworkers, suppliers, and customers than we do competing.

Life would indeed be nasty, brutish, and short if it were solitary. Fortunately for all of us, in capitalist society it isn’t.

28 October 2011

Military Reunion 4

A Giant Walked Among Us

Our kids have been watching the first episodes of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and it brought back a lot of memories of watching that dear man share his love for hundreds of thousands of kids.  We found his acceptance speech for his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 Emmys.  What a gentle giant.

27 October 2011

This Cop Needs to Be Fired and Charged

Listen, I can't figure out any kind of coherent goal from the Occupy people and I'm not sure if I would agree with their goals, but I DEFINITELY don't agree the actions of this cop.  He should be brought up on charges.



25 October 2011

Knowledge Is Power, France Is Bacon

My wife and I were laughing out loud when we read this.


A Guatemalan on the War on Drugs

The multi-decade old War on Drugs is not accomplishing anything except giving power and money to the drug lords and their cartels.  It's about time we start trying something new.

Scrap the Electoral College? Only If You Like Tyranny

When I read that 62% of Americans would be willing to amend the Constitution and get rid of the electoral college I get worried.  The point of much of the Constitution was to protect minorities and smaller states.  If we give up the electoral college then we might as well hand the country over to the metropolitan areas of the country.  If you think that New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles will give us better government then by all means vote to eliminate the electoral college.  If you live in smaller-town America then you better pray that these 62% never get the chance to amend the Constitution.  For further enlightenment on the issue read the article Math Against Tyranny.

23 October 2011

Martin Feldstein Wrong About Housing

Harvard Economics Professor Martin Feldstein recently wrote an op-ed in the NY Times in which he asserts that the 15 million households whose mortgages are underwater are single-handedly keeping the economy from recovering.  Those 15 million (out of 112 million) certainly hold a lot of power if that's the case and would explain why Mr. Feldstein is arguing that we kowtow to this minority of people. 

Like most statists, Mr. Feldstein insists that the government should step in and absorb a big chunk of the loss that these households have suffered.  Now, I feel for anyone who, fooled into buying a house because the government made the lending rules far too easy, is now underwater in their house.  However, that doesn't give them the right to force me to fix their problem.  I have problems of my own.  I'm a renter who is trying to save up to buy a house.  Why should I have to bail these people out?

Of course Mr. Feldstein doesn't frankly care about renters because they aren't the preferred class of people in his mind.  Homeowners are.  So we need to do whatever we can to take care of homeowners.  Maybe we should pass a law that requires renters to massage the feet of those 15 million households too.

22 October 2011

Military Reunion 1

I am going to post a series of our military men and women surprising their families upon their return from deployment.  They are touching moments and a reminder of the hardship and sacrifice we ask of our military personnel.  It should also inspire us to use caution about sending our men and women into harm's way and make sure that there is a purpose behind it.