Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I suspect the discount for stolen goods must give a smaller margin to the fence, now that goods can flow easily to buyers who are used to buying from individuals on eBay. Who needs a fence when you can sell the goods yourself just by getting an email account? Still, high end goods would require someone with talent to move them, as few would buy incredibly expensive items over the Internet.
On the subject of fences, isn't it interesting that free nations construct them to keep undesirables out and authoritarian nations build them to keep their brightest from leaving? If socialism makes such good policies, why do socialist nations fall all over themselves to prevent their citizens from fleeing? If capitalist inequality is so unjust, why are people scrambling to enter with just the shirts on their backs?
Free trade is the cornerstone of a successful economy. Glance at any nation that cuts off trade or increases tariffs and it's obvious the damage that occurs instantly and deeply. There is a reason we isolate the economies of our enemies and embargoes work so successfully.
Why would we voluntarily embargo ourselves? The answer is simple and absolutely corrupt. The purpose of eliminating NAFTA would be to protect those jobs that cannot compete in the global marketplace at the cost of the US consumer. It prevents the consumer from buying the best goods in order to benefit those that cannot compete and protecting those jobs that should no longer exist. It is nothing more than a handout to those businesses that would close their doors without it. We've been down this path before. Remember the lesson of the Smoot-Hawley tariff. Want to guarantee a depression, raise tariffs... it works every time.
Sometimes you see a musician fall and wonder how badly their lives can get screwed up. I have to admit though, taking one look at Amy Winehouse or Britney Spears makes you realize how much farther they can drop. It's like it's a contest to hit bottom, but my money is on Winehouse to hit bottom first. Sure, you can get locked up in a psychiatric ward or date your paparazzi or molest some kids and have your face fall off (yes, I know he was never convicted, but that doesn't mean he wasn't guilty)... but unless you're smoking crack too, you're barely in the running these days. Michael Jackson's so normal now, he doesn't even make headlines.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I'm sorry to report that Mr. Buckley is no longer with us. His mind, wit, and life made him a role model for many and he was a modern-day Renaissance Man. Taken straight from the news story I read on Brietbart, in his own words:
"I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition," he wrote in The New York Times Book Review in 1986. "I asked myself the other day, `Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?' I couldn't think of anyone."
I couldn't agree more.
I have to wonder:
Why have we decided to single out the middle class as deserving special treatment to benefit them, to the detriment of the economy? They've almost become as sacred as children when the phrase comes out of a politician's mouth. And when was the last time the government did anything other than deregulation or tax cuts that assisted the economy or averted recession?
I was waiting for the phrase "Buyer Beware" or for someone to mention that the markets are really quite good at taking care of themselves. Not one person stood in favor of free markets, not one, though it appeared Ron Paul was going to, but couldn't stop droning on about our currency ponzi scheme. Fortunately, nobody was listening, so the pyramid still holds and our paper currency, which is based on the value of nothing whatsoever, still has value.
Since these are the people in charge of regulating our economy, it stands to reason that a flood of regulations and dabbling in the markets will be forthcoming.
Also, I saw "No Country for Old Men" and wow, really amazing! I hope they make a bunch more like that one. It was a lot more exciting than the Fed meeting.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thanks to http://www.wwtdd.com/ for bringing it to my attention on a slow news day.
I'm certain they'll be caught, sounds like an inside job and there are 7 guys involved, but I'm impressed. Usually I think I can do a better job than the burglars, but this time, hat's off. If they don't get caught, it'll be a major embarrassment for the Italian police.
Unlike every other good, whether it is TVs, food, cars, or light bulbs, we've decided we want houses to be expensive, and that higher prices would be good for us. We're like oil producing nations hoping for a bump in the demand for gas. And yet, lower prices mean that in the future, if we buy a home, we can spend more on everything else in our lives and pay less for our mortgage. How can that be a bad thing? To me, that sounds like a boon for future generations.
Personally, though, I want my apartment to double in value, for me to sell it, then buy it back on the bottom of the market. A few times. Future generations be damned. And I want my internet stocks to go up to pre-bubble values, too.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Print all the money you like, and put in price controls so gas costs 23p/liter and a car may be had for 30 pounds. Enforce the price controls with guns and courts. What could go wrong? In the face of obviously unwarranted criticism from fools, Mr. Mugabe has effectively disarmed his opponents by stating their claims were based on "bookish economics." Genius!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Here's a quote from the UN report.
"The U.N. nuclear monitor released a report last week saying that suspicions about most past Iranian nuclear activities had eased or been laid to rest." Sweet!
Here's UN Director General Mohamed ElBaradei talking about the one issue not yet laid to rest
"...with the exception of one issue, and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past."
I think we may owe them an apology. Of course, we might have to retract that apology if Iran then takes it upon themselves to follow through with their predictions about our ally Israel.
After all, it has been almost a year since Iranian president Ahmadinejad said "Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm." He must mean a single storm of happiness and freedom. I'm sure "one storm" couldn't possibly refer to anything else. Ahmadinejad has such a poetic way with words. With the UN on his case, I'm sure we can trust this man to keep his nuclear ambitions entirely with the realm of a civilian nuclear program and we will owe his nation an apology. If we're wrong, it's not like he's implied he'd wipe one of our allies off the face of the map.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
"O frabjous day!"
It sure beats the alternative of shooting and missing. I didn't even know we had that capability, but now the whole world knows. Perhaps that will add a few years to the Pax Americana, with enemy nations always aware that we can violently confirm the adage "What goes up, must come down," regardless of who put it up.
As far as an arms race with China goes, whatever gave you the idea they were not running as fast as they could? Why, just a year ago they used a military missile to shoot down a satellite in high orbit! Let there be no mistake, the arms race is a race that all nations take part in and have taken part in for all time history. There's no winning, but never doubt the importance of the good guys remaining in the lead.
According to Jamie Johnson, a member of the wealthy Johnson & Johnson family, the super-rich are thrilled with the economic slowdown and drop in stock market value because it "has resulted in a thinning of the aristocratic ranks." Apparently this means the rich are getting richer and income inequality is on the rise. The wealthy will be taking baths in their own money as orphans are thrown out into the snow. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
The complaint of the wealthy in the 7 year bull market mentioned by Johnson is that the ranks of the wealthy are getting too crowded. Did the Bush years cause the worlds richest people to feel their elite position has been threatened by so many newcomers? Did the tax cuts shake the faith of the wealthy in their positions of power? Did inequality decrease under Bush according to the anecdotal opinions of the super-rich?
Let's not forget, even though the wealthy wear monocles and are all old fat white men with moustaches and big cigars (kinda like the Monopoly guy), they're just as concerned as the rest of us when their neighbors compete with their success. Apparently wealth alone doesn't except one from keeping up with the Joneses.
Johnson goes on to mention that as soon as the recession hits, his rich friend who hates the competition for the benefits of wealth will be the first to buy. Let's hope the rich buy a lot in the possible coming downturn... sounds like exactly what was hoped for by the recently passed stimulus package that intentionally excluded the wealthy. Who knows, if the super-rich are successful enough in "trying to fatten their own wallets and further insulate their lifestyles" by buying real estate, high end goods and expensive services most can't possibly afford, they may just prevent the economic downturn the rest of us all fear. I propose a toast to the wealthy going on giant spending sprees! Maybe if they buy enough in the downturn, companies won't even have to cut jobs for us poor peasants who "need" our incomes.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Everyone who paid taxes received a tax break under the Bush tax cuts... is it a surprise that the wealthy, who pay by far the most taxes as a percentage of income, in total dollars, and even when they die, received billions when they received back a portion of what they earned?
As far as those who don't need them or don't ask for them, ask the next wealthy person if they'd rather work until the middle of July or the end of July for the government before they earn their first day's labor for themselves and see what they say. The idea that the wealthy don't desire tax cuts is patently absurd, but I'll chalk that up to rhetoric because it sure sounds like a good excuse to take from someone what they don't want or need and give it to those that need it. Show me a wealthy person who doesn't want or need their money and I'll show you someone who's ready for a great Vegas weekend and won't be wealthy for long. A fool and their money...
In a nation where few can agree on politics, there is no doubt everyone would prefer that their personal taxes be lowered.
Anecdotally, I don't know a single wealthy person, other than Warren Buffet, who wouldn't enjoy receiving more of their own income, and if Mr. Buffet doesn't want to keep his money, he is (and has always been) free to donate his own money to the government as he likes, though as an intelligent and successful businessman it seems unlikely he would choose to give to such a wasteful organization freely.
It is unfortunate that the wealthy in our society are singled out for punishment for their success, or the success of their families, by being enslaved to work for the government for more time out of every year than any other member of our society. People earn what others are willing to pay them for their work and time. Has Mr. Obama decided the government is better to decide who should be paid and how much based on their "need?" Would he prefer the government distribute the fruits of the labor of the wealthy to those whose work in our society has been deemed less valuable? Unfortunately, though this is no surprise for a Democratic senator, this appears to be the case. If he becomes president, sincerely I hope he chooses my contributions as worthy of receiving extra income above and beyond their market value.
Who will speak up for the wealthy? Who will say, "This is unjust, they have as much right to the fruits of their labor as anyone else?" Sounds selfish, doesn't it? Unpalatable? Without the wealthy enjoying the fruits of their labor, they will just go away, and take with them all the businesses, jobs, capital, and tremendous quality of life they bring to our nation from the lowest to the highest, but especially to themselves. Envy is not a decent quality, and even if it is held by the majority against the minority, it does not gain any moral weight, not one ounce. At the core of capitalism is an understanding that equality is not justice. It is the freedom to produce that is important, the keeping of one's own property, not the equal distribution of what is produced through the taking of property from others.
One need look no further than that almost perfect experiment in capitalism versus socialism that ended just a few short years ago in Germany. West Germany, under imperfect capitalism, was filled with wealth and inequality. East Germany, under socialism, was filled with universal poverty and equality. Only one side of the Berlin wall was designed to keep people in. The same people, the same history, different political systems. In East Berlin, the was a totalitarian state with an iron grip on its people, a place where the Trabant was made for decades, where progress halted in its tracks and people risked their lives just to escape. Shame on those who would turn our nation into an equivalent East Berlin with their socialist policies. We should never forget where those policies of socialism, based purely on equality, will lead.
It's time someone stood up and said, "This is not what government should do! This program, that regulation, and the other tax are all sending ripples through our lives and damage everything they touch!"
Let's no longer pretend socialism is an acceptable course. It is no more and no less than the taking from those who produce at the barrel of a gun. Every economic law and regulation that is passed should consider that fact seriously. May we never forget that the only reason the government passes and enforces laws is because it has the guns. We must be ever vigilant that those guns are used with the utmost care and only in the most extreme cases, or, as we have seen in our time, East Berlin awaits!