OMG!! This Economy Has Been Even Worse Than We Thought!

This morning the Wall Street Journal (access requires subscription), in an editorial entitled “The Six-Year Slough“, revealed that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has just released new, revised numbers on U.S. GDP growth from 2010 to 2015. The revisions were produced using new data and new analytical methods. The bad news is that almost every reading of GDP growth from Obama’s first year to the present has been revised downward,   Continue Reading…

The Complexity of Reality

Obamacare Complexity

How arrogant people are who think they understand enough about a nation’s economy that they can control it! This thought came to me while thinking about the implicit assumptions progressives make. Two posts back I listed three implicit assumptions of progressives, seldom expressly stated, but necessary for their hunger for more government control.   Continue Reading…

The Phenomenon of Donald Trump

Donald Trump Photo

Astoundingly, Donald Trump is currently at the head of the Republican pack. He does present some attractive (albeit vague) positions for conservatives, but his past political affiliations and flip-flops in political convictions are less than trust-inspiring. The Donald seems to switch political parties and opinions like other people change their clothes. Continue Reading…

Progressives’ Basic Assumptions

S. Cox Leg Inversion

The lady in the photo above, like most others in the conference I am attending, has a sunny, upbeat personality that takes anything that life offers in stride. The conference is the 2015 Amputee Coalition National Conference in Tucson, Arizona, and I have been quite impressed with the optimistic vigor that most display confronting their problems. While musing over the whimsical humor she manifested, I was struck that what was happening in this conference absolutely disproves two of the basic assumptions made by progressives.   Continue Reading…

Do Progressives Want a Police State?

Many progressives seem to yearn for a police state. Although I can not believe that all progressives desire a fascist state, even a small fraction of authoritarian-leaning Leftists is very, very scary. Certainly, by now it can not be much of a surprise to anyone paying any attention that progressives are intolerant of any opinions, views, world-views, or ideologies that do not agree with their own. Continue Reading…

Lessons of the “Great Recession” Not Learned

The Obama administration believes in its own propaganda. Believe it or not, the U.S. federal government is currently mandating the same kind of bad behavior that caused the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The administration would have you believe that greedy, rapacious bankers and investors were to blame because of the subprime mortgages they originated. Somehow they have conveniently forgotten bankers were pushed by the federal government into doing what the federal government now acknowledges as the cause of the “Great Recession”.   Continue Reading…

Putin’s Russia and the West

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation                                 Image Credit: www.kremlin.ru

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, in a speech to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, declared that the breakup of the USSR was “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century”, or words to that effect. You see, the speech was in Russian, so the quotation depends on the translation. It has also been translated as: “Above all, we should acknowledge that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.” Whether or not the superlative was in the original Russian, it is clear that Putin considered the disintegration of the Soviet Union as an event that was very, very bad for humanity, especially for the Russians.    Continue Reading…

Current Economic Effects of the Federal Reserve

Having given the institutional composition and powers of the Federal Reserve, and having given our opinion on what it should be doing and why, we will now look at what it has been doing since the start of the Alan Greenspan chairmanship. The Greenspan chairmanship stretched from August 11, 1987 to January 31, 2006. Therefore he was the head of the Fed from the start of the housing bubble’s inflation to almost the time it burst in 2007. If you recall from our discussion of Japan’s “Lost Decades”, caused by the bursting of twin stock market and real estate bubbles, whenever bubbles like these cause significant financial crises, the central bank must bear a significant amount of the blame for causing the bubble. If the central bank (in our case the Federal Reserve) did not provide the fuel for the fire that inflates the hot air balloon of the bubble, the bubble could not exist. The fuel the Fed provided was easy money.    Continue Reading…

In Which States Does $100 Buy The Most?

Last week on July 8 The Tax Foundation published a report entitled The Real Value of $100 in Each State. In their study they took data from The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on the price levels of various states.Then BEA computed a price index for a basket of goods for each state and the District of Columbia. [See here for the technicalities of computing a price index. In this case price indices for the same basket of goods were computed for different states rather than for different times.] Continue Reading…

Divided Indeed

What follows is a poem by Mike Martin of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. It gives his impressions from this website.

Divided yes indeed I say
It might take me a minute
To build a rhyme that bares my shade
And for all has something in it

supply demand well that’s all fine
barely got past 101
but I fear we might be reeling yet
from good old 911

bin ladin weren’t no fool you know
a genius some might say
he’ll run our lives from where he’s at
forever and a day

and what brought on that spiteful morn
what hatred how and why
what prompted such insanity
and fire in the sky

had you not ate since yesterday
no food fell from the skies
and when a package finally did
you couldn’t believe you eyes

a crumpled up old magazine
was placed there in the fold
to shield from any damage to
this precious gift of gold

upon the pages of that mag
what things did you behold
as you devoured a cake of rice
life started to unfold

my word tell me that’s not a house
is that a meal for one
oh look the doggie has a house
I sure wish I had one

What child is that with gut so fat
The dog drags his around
They chuck their food out in the trash
For fear it might be old

Less poverty and strife you say
Equality for all
My lifestyle haps could stand a tweak
not yours no not at all

do you share your food as you do your flack
are your children all tucked in
a shame we only think to bash
what gets under our skin

the answer’s here nor there my friend
nor blowing in the wind
to know what breeds such fiendish minds
we need only look within

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Why Socialism Does Not Work

Typical grocery store queue in Vilnius, Lithuania, USSR in 1990.

Typical grocery store queue in Vilnius, Lithuania, USSR in 1990. Note the bare shelves.
Photo Credit: Reddit/HistoryPorn

Yesterday I published a post in which I viewed with alarm the rise of Bernie Sanders, a self-confessed “democratic socialist”, and the general movement of the Democratic Party toward socialism. A YouGov opinion poll indicates that an equal percentage of Democrats favors socialism as favor capitalism. This being the case, I thought it would be useful to spell out why socialism will not work.   Continue Reading…

Bernie Sanders and the Road to Serfdom

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)          
Photo Credit:
Wickimedia Commons/Nick Solari

This morning I read a very disturbing article by David Harsanyi on the federalist.com entitled “Bernie Sanders is the Future of the Democratic Party“. Soon after that I read another article, equally disturbing on the same general subject, by John Stossel on reason.com entitled “Lots of Democrats Want Socialism“. The theme of both posts is that the Democratic Party, not just its politicians but also its base electorate, is moving very much to the Left – not just a little, but a lot. Continue Reading…

The Disqus Community

I love the Disqus community! Disqus (it is pronounced “discuss”) is a community of people on the internet (URL: https://disqus.com) who want to comment on everything under the sun. Actually it is a community of communities with disparate interests. Are you interested in art? There is a community called “Art Show” that covers it. Do you like anime? A community called “Anime for the People” is for you. A large number of the communities are devoted to interests that I consider frivolous in nature, but I am sure their subjects are the driving forces of the people who follow them.  Continue Reading…

U.S. Army Downsizes

NEWS FLASH! The Obama administration makes good on their “leading from behind” promise by announcing a Reduction In Force (RIF) of the U.S. Army of 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian employees by the end of the 2017 budget year, i.e. by October 1, 2017. With 17,000 to 21,000 soldiers per division, this RIF means that approximately two full divisions will be taken out of the present force of ten active divisions.That is, the number of divisions will be reduced by about 20%!

All of this is happening in a backdrop of increasing military threats from ISIS and Iran in the Mideast, Russia in the Ukraine and in Eastern Europe, and China in the South China Sea. One could understand why Obama would want to do this because he wants:

  1. To reduce the footprint of the U.S. in world affairs.
  2. To reduce the economic burden of the military to free up economic resources for domestic programs.
  3. To politically satisfy the Left wing of the Democratic party.

Nevertheless, it is putting the United States in a great deal of danger, given the threats against us. ISIS is expanding in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and in Nigeria. At the same time, Putin of Russia is slowly absorbing the Ukraine and perhaps dreaming of putting Western Europe under his suzerainty, and China is pushing to take control of the entire South China Sea area. In addition, we can count Iran as a possible future nuclear antagonist. Never have we been in greater danger since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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