Blog Archives

Al Gore in Britain

It seems Al Gore has arrived in Britain. Literally, in Biden-speak, and figuratively in reality-speak.

From Christopher Booker at The Telegraph:

As the snow of the coldest March since 1963 continues to fall, we learn that we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm, and that the head of our second-largest electricity company, SSE, has warned that our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time. It seems the perfect storm is upon us.

The grotesque mishandling of Britain’s energy policy by the politicians of all parties, as they chase their childish chimeras of CO2-induced global warming and windmills, has been arguably the greatest act of political irresponsibility in our history.

The source of the madness? The “wisdom” of the “settled science” of manmade global warming. And it means in Britain, you might not be able to afford to warm yourself. (Something about Taxman comes to mind…)

Within seven years this new tax will rise to £30 a ton, and by 2030 to £70 a ton, making it wholly uneconomical to generate any more electricity from the coal and gas-fired power stations that last week were still supplying two thirds of our electricity.

Since the wisdom of the politicians in Britain is insanity, the obvious lesson is you reap what you sow. And as a corollary, voters need to think carefully about why they’re sowing madness.

Banks fail, taxpayers bail (wash, rinse, repeat)

The basic idea behind regulation requires a high amount of transparency of the event(s), insight/understanding of the issue(s) at hand, and the pain of punishment(s) should compliance be ignored. For example, think about how law enforcement is used to regulate speeds on interstate highways.

Now shift your brain to banking. Based on the above hypothesis (and the fact Eric Holder says it’s dangerous to pursue legal action against TBTF banks), it appears Dodd-Frank is wholly inadequate to remedy America’s TBTF banking situation. Or in other words, transparency is absent, regulatory understanding is insufficient, and punishment is avoidable.

The banking regulators – in this [the JPMorgan Chase] case, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – are clearly unable to keep up with this form of “financial innovation” (which is really just clever ways to misreport risk).

Did JPMorgan Chase’s top management do this intentionally? Did they mislead investors, particularly in the fateful conference call on April 13, 2012? This is a fascinating question on which the courts will no doubt rule. (You should also review this report by Josh Rosner of Graham Fisher, with the link kindly provided by Better Markets.)

Jamie Dimon will survive because JPMorgan Chase remains profitable. But it is profitable precisely because it receives implicit subsidies from being too big to fail. JPMorgan Chase disputes the precise scale of these subsidies – as I discussed here last week. Let’s just call them humongous.

(snip)

As Jesse Eisinger sums up the JPMorgan Chase mess with its multibillion-dollar trading loss last year, “Regulators remain their duped and docile selves.” The view that “smart regulation” can rein in excessive risk-taking is completely implausible.

On a variation on the theme, as a mislead investor here in the real world, I’m tempted to go to 100% cash with my equities except for the not completely insane thought that a government intervention/hyperinflation-fail scheme/stock market bailout of some sort will occur and yours truly (among the many other little people who still have to pay taxes) will be left holding the bag.

Meanwhile, crony capitalists/socialized risk & privatized profit types like Warren Buffett and Jon Corzine make out like insider-trading bandits. Does it seem government intervention has skewed things beyond any rationality and the fixes are in?

And if the fixes are in—or will be put in—which position(s) should be taken? It seems that traditional ideas of saving and investing are being replaced by paying off the referees in order to assure financial victory and, as the saying goes, if you ain’t at the table, you’re on the menu.

Apple will revert to the mean

Apple’s had a nice run (until recently). It’s made some people quite wealthy and has crafted legacies, which I fear, are largely inaccurate. These are the sorts of legacies lead to the commissioning of bronze statues for display in public areas and/or terrifying holograms.

But an Apple run can’t last forever. Apple—in its current form—will revert to the mean. It’s as sure a thing as gravity, almost.

The reasons include competition, inertia, organizational atherosclerosis, and costs. Already Apple products massively depend on marketing to differentiate its offerings from, for example, Samsung’s.

There is a third way, of course, which defies the laws of gravity, economics, and reverting to the mean. It’s called crony capitalism and it possesses an evil twin called regulatory capture.

Hey, this third way worked for Warren Buffett…

Michael Bloomberg is a… a what?

Soda-sovereign wannabe Michael Bloomberg, having been literally (Biden-speak) set in the corner to wear the dunce cap of democracy by the judiciary, brings to mind another failed politico with the stench of chronic overreach on his breath, Al Gore, AKA, The Goreafice.

Ergo, the correct answer to the SAT-like analogy question of the day is this: Michael Bloomberg is to small sodas as Al Gore is to manmade global warming.

The overarching philosophy for both men is from the progressive playbook: people are too stupid to make their own decisions and as such, government should make those decisions for them. Exceptions include government condoned abortions and/or homosexuality.

Because the people take offense at having their freedoms overtly restricted, progressives have to take misleading positions, quibble, or lie to get their control agenda to work.

And in other breaking news, the sun will come up in the east tomorrow.

China Pulls a GM

China has pulled a Government General Motors only it’s regarding solar power instead of transportation. From the New York Times:

China’s biggest solar panel makers are suffering losses of up to $1 for every $3 of sales this year, as panel prices have fallen by three-fourths since 2008. Even though the cost of solar power has fallen, it still remains triple the price of coal-generated power in China, requiring substantial subsidies through a tax imposed on industrial users of electricity to cover the higher cost of renewable energy.

This sort of government interference has also taken root in America; consider the Chevy Volt, losing up to $50K (and disputed by GM, and likely, the government) for each vehicle sold.

Per Obamanomics, China has a plan to make everything better: they’ll fix their per unit losses by increasing their sales volume.

Finally, doesn’t the photo make one long for a U.S. manufacturing resurgence?

Government intervention and you

barack newmanGovernment has become a real-world game of reduced choice and freedom for the citizenry and increased power and control for politicos, “elites,” and bureaucrats. And no American president since Richard Nixon is more practiced at taking extra-Constitutional power and control than Barack Obama. Whether it’s an issue of personal choice or national-level economics, the President and his party stand by, ready to help you (assuming you’re on the correct side of the issue), all for your own good.

The President mocks “politicians who want to decide whom you can marry.” So if a man wants to have multiple wives, or vise versa, or a brother and sister beyond the age of consent want to marry one another, that would be OK, right? You say, “That’s against the law.” I say, “So was sodomy.” If two fifteen year-olds have consensual sex with one another, no one goes to jail. But If one of those same fifteen-year olds has consensual sex with a thirty-five year old teacher, it’s rape. If you prefer chicken strips over cheeseburgers, it’s an issue of personal choice but if you prefer homosexual sex over heterosexual sex, it’s your genetic destiny.

And we know the President and his party mock those who disfavor abortion on demand, that is, abortion at any point in a pregnancy and for any reason a woman determines, including changing her mind. Keep your hands off my body and all that. But then why not legalize recreational drugs? They are things—so is tobacco, for that matter—that people put in their bodies. You say, “Drugs are against the law.” I say, “So was alcohol during Prohibition.”

The President favors government “investment” in green energy, publicly funded jobs, and ‘infrastructure’ projects. I ask why not let people keep more of their own money and then they can decide for themselves where it’s “invested” (or for that matter, spent)? The answer, we know, is because the President and his fellow travelers can make better decisions for you than you can yourself. Trust me, I’ve looked at this and it’s for your own good.

The President thinks students shouldn’t pay more for college. As such, he must think the American people will be there to pay the difference should costs increase. Perhaps, Nixon-like, he could instead decree that college costs will go down by reductions in faculty costs, staff sizes, and cuts to the many bells and whistles (climbing walls and fitness centers, intercollegiate sports programs, cable and high-speed internet in dorms, common area cappuccino bars, Taj Mahal-type dormitories, overseas “study” programs, etc.) which have little to nothing to do with educational outcomes?

The President thinks he “saved” General Motors and Chrysler. Is it possible to view this effort as simple government intervention in picking winners and losers, that is, rewarding the automobile unions while destroying investor value and centuries of bankruptcy law? The fact those companies had to be “saved” to begin with, with taxpayer monies, also shows that for one reason or another—think wage, benefit, pension, and product issues—they were unable to compete in the first place.

The President thinks stealing is wrong. So is it stealing to finance our current government lifestyle with borrowing futures generations will be forced to pay? Or is it stealing to repay this debt with pennies on the borrowed dollar(s)? The President also thinks lying is wrong, but if it’s wrong to lie, then why offer the false promise of the government meeting our every cradle-to-grave need? And while we’re at it, doesn’t a “living” Constitution mean that there are no absolute standards, just shifting policies and priorities grounded in… nothing?

I’m Professor Mockumental and I approved this message.

Obama ‘recovery’ worse than Bush ‘recession’

And now a word on household income from Peter Ferrera, himself quoting the WSJ:

“For household income… the Obama recovery has been worse than the Bush recession.”

But, but, but… that’s impossible! It’s Bush’s fault! Pants on fire! Four Pinocchios!

No, it’s factual. From Ferrera:

Even if you start from when the recession ended in June, 2009, the decline since then has been greater than it was during the recession.  Three years into the Obama recovery, median family income had declined nearly 5% by June, 2012 as compared to June, 2009.  That is nearly twice the decline of 2.6% that occurred during the recession from December, 2007 until June, 2009. 

Accordingly, Barry Oh! and his surrogates need to pull a manmade global warming and hide the decline. But what’s the real damage, Officer Ferrara?

In January, 2009, the month he entered office, median household income was $54,983.  By June, 2012, it had spiraled down to $50,964.  That’s a loss of $4,019 per family, the equivalent of losing a little less than one month’s income a year, every year. 

Well, certainly the President and his Dems have improved the position of the poor?

Now The Huffington Post reports that the poverty rate is on track to rise to the highest level since 1965, before the War on Poverty began… [and] a consensus survey of experts across the political spectrum indicates the poverty rate could soar from the current 15.1% to as high as 15.7%. 

So in summary: debt up massively. Unemployment up massively. Household income down significantly. Poverty up significantly. If only we’d had an empty chair like in the Eastwood skit, things wouldn’t be this bad. Instead we have an empty suit with initiative.

And to borrow an old line made modern by Obamanomics, Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the play?

Obama 2012: fool us twice, shame on us.

The cost of CAFE fuel standards

It isn’t easy being green. But what is easy—to see—is the Obama Administration attempting to build the perfect beast create a more perfect centrally managed economy with the additional benefit of reduced personal freedom.

What’s the issue this time? Cars.

Automakers will be forced to double the fuel efficiency of their vehicles to a fleet average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

But you say, “Hey, that sounds good to me!”

Perhaps not when you consider the non-fuel cost(s).

First, vehicles will be lighter, smaller, and more technologically cosmic. All other things being equal, heaver and bigger vehicles will be safer, so expect other added costs (in the form of new safety equipment), not accounted for in these calculations and expect repairs to become more expensive.

Next, do you know how much gas will cost in 2025? The government is planning on $3.50 a gallon, but your results may vary.

Finally, there’s a coming tsunami of sticker shock:

…a study released by the National Auto Dealers Association back in April claimed car prices will go up by about $5,000, based on today’s prices.

That, according to NADA, would eliminate as many as 7 million Americans — including many lower income consumers and young people — from the auto buyer’s market because they won’t qualify for loans.

So while Barry’s in the basement mixing up the medicine, I’m on the pavement thinking about the government: liberals love “public transportation.” Their problem is that public transportation works poorly for most people; that’s why it isn’t popular.

And beyond that, cars are popular. Cars are a huge part of our culture. Cars provide freedom. But if the government can increase the cost of such freedom, the masses—then forced into public transportation—will sure be a lot easier to manage.

Plus, increasing automotive expenses is just a back-door tax. Don’t have the nerve to call for a carbon tax? Just make the cost of driving so high through regulatory methods that people will be forced into public transportation.

Remember the liberal mantra: it’s for the children; the experts know best; this is for your own good.

Worshipping the wind god

Germany has decided to worship the wind god in an attempt to meet its electrical needs.

The problem: it ain’t working. The bigger problem: it ain’t gonna work.

The Renewable Energy Act (EEG) is the biggest cost factor in Germany’s energy reorientation. The rules for the subsidies are quite simple: Operators of wind farms, solar arrays and biogas plants get a guaranteed, fixed feed-in price for all electricity they generate over a period of many years. Power companies are required to purchase this energy, but at a price much higher than what they get for it on the market. The difference is paid for by consumers through their electricity bill.

The EEG both guarantees big profits to anyone who invests in renewable-energy plants and makes the construction of such plants attractive.

Hmm…government intervention manages to distort everything, leading to inappropriate “investments” (of all sorts)? I’m shocked, shocked!

But wait, there’s more:

…[electrical] costs are rising at a faster-than-expected rate. The average household in Germany currently pays €144 ($181) a year for these subsidies, and that figure looks set to rise to more than €200 in 2013. In all, it has been estimated that the operators of green power plants have been promised more than €200 million.

Such numbers are big enough to exacerbate social inequalities in Germany. Recipients of “Hartz IV” welfare benefits for the long-term unemployed, for example, receive a fixed sum for electricity and can’t afford energy-saving fridges or washing machines. At the other end of the scale, the owners of well-located houses install solar panels on their roofs and are paid for the privilege. Meanwhile, industrial companies that use a lot of electricity are being given more and more tax breaks. Indeed, the Federal Network Agency has calculated that the country’s biggest electricity guzzlers account for 18 percent of overall consumption, but bear only 0.3 percent of the costs associated with the EEG.

So new government intervention creates a hazard for others similarly dependent on existing forms of government intervention? I remain shocked, shocked!

As for the last line in the above block-quote, it all sounds like one-percenter Al Gore’s (or Tom Friedman’s) dream—that is, someone else pays—doesn’t it?

But, unfortunately, it is moving so rapidly that the costs in the coming years will be far higher than originally planned. To make matters worse, the government is losing control of its ability to steer and coordinate projects, causing them to run awry and costs to keep going up.

The government losing control? But, but, but… that’s impossible!

And even if this did all work, how will any of this enhance Germany’s ability to bail out the PIGS nations and save the euro?

The case for a return to the gold standard

While the issue of causation versus correlation can be argued all day, Louis Woodhill at Forbes makes a compelling case for moving the dollar out of the “fiat currency” category and once again pegging it to a known standard. Like gold.

I suppose when the dollar was moved off the gold standard, it was viewed as a radical and wild-eyed idea (or maybe not, since it was politically inspired and handed politicos the keys to the printing presses), just as a return to a standard is now viewed as archaic, an anachronism, and basically, freaky-deeky. The floating dollar was sold as temporary issue (part of the Nixon shock) and—whatyaknow—it became permanent.

But the real issue is one of control. When the dollar is tied to a standard, crony capitalism, rent-seeking, and regulatory capture are more difficult for the government to practice. The best impact of returning the dollar to a standard is that this “malinvestment” (think dot com and housing bubbles and the looming entitlements hard-landing/implosion, AKA inflation) would seem to be less likely to occur, largely because investment risk would decrease.

The loss of flexibility (that is, a diminished ability for our enlightened elites to influence the economy—to pick winners and losers) would be the downside…but only for the aforementioned enlightened elites.

Keep your government hands off my car’s tailpipe!

Two sad and pathetic bits of news as reported by The Truth About Cars.

First, Barry Oh!’s crack bureaucrats have released the finalized CAFE regulations for the year 2025. They clock in at 1994 pages in length.

Yes, that’s right, 1994 pages. Your results will not vary. (Remember: lift with your knees and not your back.)

Second, there’s this:

On July 1, all 37 million car owners in France were required to spend 2 Euros for a disposable breathalyzer to be kept in their vehicles at all times. Failure to do so will result in a fine of 11 Euros. Lest you think this is a weak attempt at a parody of the French and their love of wine, go here.

Cars mean freedom and freedom must be regulated (it’s for your own good—and the children).

And what about the standards for the government approved Chevy Volt, replete with its $7500 per vehicle taxpayer subsidy? It has had a waiver.

Washington DC: the parasite that killed the American host

Take me down to parasite city where the money’s green and staffers committee…

Yes, life is good in and around the District. Pay? Great. Layoffs? Not observed. Home prices? What’s this ‘bubble’ thing people keep talking about?

However (and sadly for those in the District), the truth is that what they do there fails to add value to the U.S. economy and Gene Healy’s column observes the same with a number of great lines:

True, if you venture outside the Death Star’s orbit to visit the colonies for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’ll see a lot of boarded-up storefronts. You might even feel a twinge of shame when Matt Drudge feeds you headlines like “D.C. Leads List of Most Shopaholic Cities in America.”

Whatever: Guilt is for losers! The main lesson the rest of the country should take from the capital’s prosperity is, per [New York Times D.C. bureau chief David] Leonhardt, that “education matters.”

D.C.’s “high-skill” economy boasts more college degrees than any other major metropolitan area in America. “If you wanted to imagine what the economy might look like if the country were much better educated,” Leonhardt writes, “you can look at Washington.”

Hey, you people out there in flyover country: We’re eating your lunch because we’re “smarter” than you! Hit the books, rubes: We built this!

Even so, I found it a bit unsettling last fall to read that “Beltway Earnings Make U.S. Capital Richer Than Silicon Valley,” as the Bloomberg News headline put it. After all, Silicon Valley “creates” wealth, while we — smart as we are — mostly shuffle it around.

The We built this! line is fantastically ironic as the real truth is They took this!

We built this! is reminiscent of the high school band that thought the football game was staged in order to allow them to perform at half-time.

I’m sure of one thing: the nation’s capital region is overrepresented in bureaucracy, in law degrees, and even in security clearances. Has it always been this bad or is a Jimmy Carter-like crisis of confidence setting in?

Democracy’s goals have changed. Government is played as a game, not as a fiduciary responsibility to get things done. Running the country is not what political leaders mainly think about.

As Warren Buffett knows, the future—until it all falls down—is not in plastics, but rather, in rent-seeking, crony capitalism, and regulatory capture.

Yes, the parasite’s gonna bring you to your knees

The consequences of government’s need to “do something”

panic and freak outOne of the consequences of the government’s manipulation of interest rates is that these actions reward government borrowing and spending and penalize personal saving and investing. (And to you Barry Obama, “investing” is not the same as the government taking on more and more debt.)

As a result, savers face negative interest rates while the government continues to accumulate debt that can’t be repaid.

So the question of the day is this: where will your finances be standing when the music stops?

As long as governments have their own (that is, non-euro) sovereign currency and organizations like the Fed are allowed to buy up most of the money (and debt) that the government prints (and the associated debt they create), this is unlikely to change, at least until inflation wreaks havoc.

Of course the euro is different as it has many captains attempting to steer the ship. But when the euro fails, that is if/when Germany decides not to finance their own economic demise—and then, if/when the ECB can’t pull a rabbit out of its hat to try and finance the failed European welfare-state—what will the impact be to many American families? Simply this: not good.

Finally, it seems there is some sort of lesson about one world government embedded within all this concern that can be more fully teased out… maybe something like “it takes a village of idiots to destroy an economy,” or “you didn’t wreck that.”

Remember: an idiot with initiative is the most dangerous challenge our nation faces.

Economic reality is a creation of the imagination and is to be ignored

economist failHow would Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, et al (that is, “many economists”) explain Sweden? Likely by denying reality.

While the rest of Europe and the United States have gone on massive spending sprees fueled by government borrowing and tax hikes, Sweden took a different approach. In the Spring 2012 Economic and Budget Policy Guidelines, the Swedish Government and its Finance Minister, Anders Borg, have laid out a plan that is focused on lowering taxes. Their rationale? “When indviduals and families get to keep more their income, their independence and their opportunities to shape their own lives also increase.”

Snip:

So why didn’t Sweden hop on the stimulus bandwagon like the U.S. and much of Europe?

Anders Borg explains, “Look at Spain, Portugal or the UK, whose governments were arguing for large temporary stimulus… Well, we can see that very little of the stimulus went to the economy. But they are stuck with the debt.” We have now seen that attempts at austerity within the Eurozone have met a similar fate: none of it was serious. As spending increases have been squandered, spending cuts have been a charade, failing to target the big government programs at the core of the debt crisis.

Stuck with the debt. Of course stuck with the debt assumes that there won’t be the Krugman favored “debt relief,” AKA default, haircuts, or massive inflation.

The lesson from Keynesianland: always a borrower be. And for the lenders that are required for the borrowers to borrow? There’s a sucker born every minute. And that sucker has a printing press and/or the ability to “buy” government debt.

Snip:

Despite slow projected growth for 2012, Sweden is expecting annual GDP growth of over 3 percent starting next year, projected out through 2016 by which time their unemployment is expected to slide down to just about 5 percent. During this time the Swedish gross debt is expected to drop from 37.7 percent/GDP to 22.5 percent/GDP as a result of government surpluses. For comparison, US gross debt to GDP is well over 100 percent and climbing. All this success must be on the backs of the working class right? Wrong. Wages are slated to rise in Sweden by nearly 4 percent annually through 2016.

The recovery-by-stimulus model has failed across the board, and as Mr. Borg has pointed out, we are still stuck with the damage it has done. With the refusal of the Obama administration, Congress, and their European counterparts to accept serious spending cuts, maybe it’s time to try something that’s actually working.

Something that’s actually working. Imagine the possibilities.

Obama and GM

The idea that Barry Obama rode in on a white horse and saved GM and Chrysler is nothing more than an Administration press release; a way for the government to pick winners and losers. Mainly losers.

Chrysler, less Titanic-like than GM, is experiencing some sales success (but given their earlier circumstance, how could they not?). But GM, no matter what the government says, is failing, at least in relation to their contemporaries.

What to do? How about some deceptive reporting?

And how did this whole market interference/cronyistic auto-drill workout? Poorly. It wasn’t a bailout. It was a handout; throwing good money at bad.

And the bondholders? Their rights were trampled for Obama’s political expediency.

Why we need more government

bailoutThe call for ever-more government is compelling, assuming you’re into crony capitalism, venture communism, and the privatization of profit and the socialization of risk.

And America’s misnamed “elites,” especially the left, seem to be into all these things. Why? In order to transfer money and power to those the government chooses to reward. After all, who could know more than the elites?

But even the paper of record for all things government can’t deny the real truth in a review of Neil Barofsky’s new book Bailout.

Government officials, he [Barofsky] says, eagerly served Wall Street interests at the public’s expense…

Barofsky was the special investigator for TARP, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (or as it’s more commonly described, “the troubled TARP program”).

“The suspicions that the system is rigged in favor of the largest banks and their elites, so they play by their own set of rules to the disfavor of the taxpayers who funded their bailout, are true,” Mr. Barofsky said in an interview last week. “It really happened. These suspicions are valid.”

The solution to the problem, any problem, has become more government intervention. Psychotic college student goes on murderous rampage? Gun control and more homeland security. Healthcare cost too high? Legislate—and simply declare—that it’ll be cheaper. Too many fat people as determined by government bureaucrats? Deem Big Gulps to be illegal. And regarding other legislation?

Mr. Barofsky’s assessment of his former regulatory brethren is crucial for taxpayers to understand, because Congress’s financial reform act — the Dodd-Frank legislation — left so much of the heavy lifting to the weak-kneed.

“So much of what’s wrong with Dodd-Frank is it trusts the regulators to be completely immune to the corrupting influences of the banks,” he said in the interview. “That’s so unrealistic. Congress has to take a meat cleaver to these banks and not trust regulators to do the job with a scalpel.”

Of course, that assessment assumes Congress can be trusted with a meat cleaver; Dodd-Frank was written when Dems controlled everything. While the 2010 elections improved the House, the Senate still can’t be trusted with anything sharper than a marble.

I don’t know when the cumulative detrimental effects caused by our government began, but we’re well into the decline and our suffering is great.

C’mon November!

More government: it’s for the children

Read an anecdote about the corruption associated with Ontario’s automotive emissions testing and then read all the war-stories about others who’ve had similar problems on emissions testing and safety inspections in the comments. While we all want clean and safe vehicles—and we want others to have the same—the issue is really one of 1) whether it’s worth the time and money and 2) can we feel confident about the results?

Liberals often veil their intentions by using a motherhood and apple-pie appeal. It’s for the children. If that fails, it’s for the environment. If that fails, it’s for your own good and regardless, it’s always an issue of “common sense.”

As the terminator might say: “Your guns. Give them to me. It’s for the children and it’s common sense.”

The reality is it’s really all about the power, a position driven by a worldview and embraced by our President which offers this: people are too lazy/stupid/ignorant/otherwise flawed to make choices for themselves.

It’s thus ironic that the liberal solution always calls for layering on more government (comprised of human beings) or legislation (written by human beings and calling for more government) to check, approve, control, and/or restrict. The conservative solution is to allow the market to fulfill people’s needs—within the framework of the founding documents—and  allow them to choose themselves.

And the supreme irony—and sadness—of the liberal worldview? The children themselves will be the bill-payers for the liberals’ initiatives. Why? I think it’s because they don’t vote.

Economic Anti-Darwinism

Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, writing at Forbes, address the epic failure known as the welfare state.

Their basic hypothesis is that the freedom provided by true capitalism is win-win. That is, capitalism allows all—buyers/sellers; employers/employees; the black/the white/the red and brown, the purple and yellow—to participate (or not participate) in economic transactions as they see fit. Conversely, the un-freedom of the mandates of the welfare state require the productive to support the unproductive.

From Brook and Watkins:

…if the false charge against capitalism is that it allows “the strong” to exploit “the weak,” then the true nature of the welfare state is that it allows “the weak”—i.e., the unproductive—to exploit “the strong”—i.e., the productive.

Although our elites tend to use differing forms of Darwinism as an explanation for almost all things, the modern welfare state is a sort of reverse economic Darwinism; an anti-Darwinism.

I’m ready for the social evolution theorist to provide a proper explanation of how we mutated (and to what societal benefit) to the welfare state. Something about unintended consequences, I suppose.

What explains the Roberts Obamacare decision?

Yes, just what does explain the Roberts Obamacare decision?

While the effect of his epilepsy meds have been hypothesized, a far simpler explanation would be that Roberts was worried about his legacy and caved to the pressure.

“I think he [Roberts] was determined to try to uphold some key parts of the law, if he could find a way, partly because…he has grown concerned about the public perception that his Court is a partisan-driven Court.”

He has grown concerned about the public perception is disconcerting. After all is the law king or is public perception king? Still, without public support, regardless of our founding documents—think prohibition—can any law possibly fulfill its intended purpose?

Some think the Court’s decision bodes well for conservative causes (and actually, Obamacare will not survive, regardless; based on higher costs and worsening healthcare outcomes, socialized medicine Obamacare is certain to be an epic, if slow-motion, fail).

Conservatives understand the patience requisite for the politics of democracy — the politics of persuasion. Elections matter most; only they can end Obamacare. But in Roberts’s decision, conservatives can see that the court has been persuaded to think more as they do about the constitutional language that has most enabled the promiscuous expansion of government.

For today, finding a conservative “silver-lining” in the Court’s rulings seems a bit like digging through the manure pile with the knowledge a pony has to be in there somewhere.

The mandate revised?

(A silver lining? Or is it a lead-based paint lining?)

If the mandate is really just a tax, is this true?

Lurking in the background is a way to decide the case on tax law grounds. No one can be prosecuted, punished or fined for violating the mandate. In fact, the word “mandate” does not appear in the law. In “practical operation,” the administration argued, it’s just a tax law.

If the mandate is really just a tax, that would be supported by the Constitution, which says Congress “shall have the power to lay and collect taxes … to provide for the common defense and general welfare.”

So, in the end, the justices could agree the law’s required tax payments are constitutional, while also making clear the government does not have broad power to mandate purchases.

If true, this would all make Obamacare turn on what in practical operation means.

Could such a tax be overturned—or reduced to the point of insignificance—by a simple Congressional majority?

And generally, don’t you have to have a transaction to have a tax (taxes on held property perhaps being the exception)? How can the government tax income, death, sales, capital gains, or dividends if there are none?

Or does Obamacare now allow the government to squeeze blood from a turnip?

Finally, in plain the language of the Beltway, is this a simple case of if it ain’t funded, it ain’t? (Sorry for all the questions.)

In practice I doubt the above arguments/questions will carry the anti-Obamacare mandate tax day. Unless intervened on by reality, the government only ratchets in one direction: more.