Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of Obama and Commissions

So I browsed this article this morning, recalling how Obama had ridiculed the concept of establishing commissions to deal with serious problems, and contrasting that campaign stance to his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Now, the amusing part is more that this article came from CBS news, where normally I might least expect anything this on-point from the liberal media; maybe the story was just too obvious to ignore this time.

On the commission conceptually, though, Obama was more/less correct during the campaign: a commission is Washington-speak for "we'll get back to you, we either don't have any idea how to address that, or we're not at all interested in addressing it and we hope this substantial delay and inaction will be enough time for you to forget about it." Commissions also have the bonus of being able to add an additional layer of responsibility and blame, in case the policies are contentious, and you can blame the commission for acting slowly if the problem gets worse in the interim, as it was certain to in this case; after all, it's not like the liberal-socialists show any signs of slowing down the monetary hemorrhaging and socialist expansion of the government between now and December, when the commission is due to report the mind-numbingly obvious suggestion that any first grader could have told our imbecile-in-chief any time during this whole debacle: spend less money, you morons.

I still like the article, though... it's not every day you can ridicule our socialist leader for his transparent attempt to deflect criticism from his idiotic policies with his own words. Let's hope this is the liberal media's reluctant nod to a rising tide of sanity in the voting populace which can no longer be ignored.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Paul Krugman is a Strange Fellow

I have a lot of thoughts about Paul Krugman from time to time. Most of them are negative, as he is a self-promoted liberal with some pretty horrendous ideas for how the government should operate. However, he's also a pretty smart guy, which makes it frustrating that he can fairly accurately assess a situation, then apply his liberal bias to come to a completely wrong-headed conclusion.

Take, as a recent example, this piece about the danger of the world falling into another depression due (primarily) to the lack of jobs. The premise is sound, and entirely agreeable: without jobs, the economy spirals downward, generally making everyone unhappy. If you want to fix the situation and avert a more serious problem, you'd want to do a few things: make sure the climate is good for businesses to operate and employ people, provide a fair and level playing field to encourage people that all they would need to operate a successful business was hard work (as opposed to political friends and handouts), and remove any disincentives which might be keeping people from being willing or able to work (such as long-term welfare programs). As added insurance, you could work to ensure that the country was as viable a place for all types of business as possible, and that as few industries as possible were being exported or overly regulated. Finally, you need to keep government debt under control, so people are not scared about their future prosperity and security, and can just focus on earning an honest living. Sounds simple, right?

Well, first let's compare to the Obamanation, so we can see how good (or bad) of a job they are doing. I should point out this is only with respect to the economy; they may be doing better or worse in other areas, but we're just focused on the economy here. Let's see... Climate good for business: nope, tons of regulations, massive rewriting of industry rules, takeovers, czars running industries; a solid F- on this category for Obama and the missing village idiot liberals in Congress. Fair and level playing field: nope again, trillion dollar pork handout bill, plus Chicago-style extortion and selective arbitrary unconstitutional actions against businesses ensure another solid F here. Remove disincentives to work: not doing this either, but at least we're not raising handouts and welfare [much] [yet], so maybe a D here. What about keeping business here? Gotta be fair and give a C- for this currently, although Cap & Tax would lower it to a solid D or below if/when it passed. That just leaves keeping the debt under control so people aren't worried about the future value of their money: Obama and the tools round out their report card with another F. I guess the bottom line here is if you're concerned about the economy and you voted for Obama, stop voting: you're hurting the country.

But what about the [esteemed] economist Krugman, does he have the right answers? After all, it's not a hard problem: you want jobs and stability, and there's nothing magical about getting from here to there. Unfortunately, Krugman recommends a detour of massive spending to bankrupt the country and collapse the currency; apparently this is a necessary side-trip on the way back to national stability. Huh... for a purportedly smart guy, his plan (like most of his other ideas) seems really stupid. Perhaps he sees how collapsing the US currency Greece-style is the road to economic prosperity, but I doubt it; more likely he's just advocating more of the same idiotic policy decision which got the country into this mess.

Hey, I've got a novel approach for economic stability: how about we cap the amount of drag the government puts on the economy, make sure the drag is spread as evenly, fairly, and impartially as possible, and force the politicians to only spend that much money! That way you have a fair and stable business environment with low drag, a stable currency with which to do business, and a stable country that people can live and work in and not have to worry about future national economic stability. Seems a heck of a lot more straightforward than a magical trip through liberal fantasy land with the vague promise that if we the people just hand over enough money, power, and control to the "enlightened" elite like Paul Krugman, they will somehow bring prosperity to the masses after all the other inevitable damage, grief, and forced transfer of wealth to our would-be liberal masters. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Idiotic Liberal is Dead and Dangerously Wrong

Now I know what you're thinking: any other day, and this wouldn't have even warranted a byline, much less a headline, in any respectable information source. Nothing in the headline is really that unusual, or that surprising. However, when it's couched as sound analysis, and in the context of how to advise the president, it seems kinda like one's duty to point out how monumentally idiotic this particular liberal is, and how people in power can drive nations to financial ruin by listening to bad and dangerous advice.

Robert Reich, aka public enemy #1 for the day, lays out the current situation basically correctly, before moving out to lay out two different government approaches. In the first, he explains the typical Keysian/liberal economic approach: borrow/print more money, bail out the irresponsible states with new federal borrowing, make taxation more unfair, and waste another $300 Billion or so on corruption and insider payouts, all while doing nothing to address the long-term problems. The second is more pragmatic, and much less active: cut spending a little bit, emphasize the debt commission, and tell the American people we need to spend less to restore our national solvency. He then goes on to assert that if you shouldn't be advising the president unless you'd pick the first option.

... it's almost too stupid to even comment on, but I'll go a step further, and suggest that there should be a third option for consideration. In this option, you would advise the president that the only way to salvage what's left of his reputation for integrity and "cleaning up" Washington would be to man up and admit what most people have already figured out: we can't just keep printing money and bailing out everyone and stay fiscally solvent as a nation. Tell him he needs to refuse another corrupt handout program labeled as a "stimulus" or "jobs bill", and pressure Congress to instead fix the real long-term issue, which is how to create and preserve private sector jobs. While he's at it, some acknowledgment of the growing disparity in total compensation between the public and private sector (public is now roughly double private for comparable jobs, including benefits) would be nice, in addition to a pledge and some tangible actions to cap public compensation at equal or less than private compensation. Tell him it's time to pick between continuing to pursue the ruinous liberal agenda (ie: Cap and Tax, public health care expansion, amnesty for illegal aliens, etc.), or fulfilling his seemingly empty and disingenuous promises of steering the country in the right direction; that his legacy should be more about having the courage to address the real issues, rather than acting as the figurehead for the liberal-socialist agenda. And while you're at it, remind him that public interference in private markets is generally bad, no matter how good intentions may (or may not) be, and he's do well to apply that thinking to various industries which have been grievously damaged on his watch, if not by his own hand (eg: housing, auto, medical, energy, insurance, financial, etc.).

Not that I think any amount of good advice would actually help: I think Obama charts his own course, and is doing what he wants to do for his own reasons, regardless of how reasonable or mind-bogglingly malignant the advice he's receiving may be. However, it's an insult to every thinking American to state or imply that the only advice the president should be receiving is to lead the country headlong into financial ruin, full speed ahead, with eyes wide open, and damn the consequences. It's despicable and contemptible.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some Analyst Stupidity

I had a couple of topics I wanted to blog about recently, but haven't had much time; however, this caught my attention, and I wanted to take a bit to write about how dumb analysts are. When I say dumb, I don't mean the people are necessarily not bright or informed, but their analysis is often so off-base that you have to suspect they are either willfully ignorant or just lying for undisclosed reasons.

The article in summary discusses analysis of recent gold and commodities prices; gold is going up, and commodities are going down. One person had this to say:
“Bernanke is dispelling the argument that people are out there buying gold because of the threat of inflation,” said Matt Zeman, a metals trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago. “Deflation is now more of a threat.”

Well, that's all fine and good, but it's totally wrong. Commodities are a hedge against short-term inflation, and gold is a hedge against long-term inflation. Short-term inflation might be caused by a large uptick in borrowing and lending, such as when there are ample business opportunities, people are confident about their job prospects, and/or positive about the direction of the country and its economy. Long-term inflation might be caused by a large uptick in government debt, offloading private debts onto the public by bailing out failing industries, and/or having large looming unfunded long-term public liabilities.

Wait, there's more...
“There is a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety in the financial markets right now,” Bernanke said. “Some people believe that holding gold will be a hedge against the fact that they view many other investments being risky and hard to predict at this point.”

Hm... somewhat accurate, but also misleading. When people are uncertain about investments, they buy government bonds; ever wonder why the interest rate for Treasury bills is near zero? People are very anxious about the economy and the prospects for business (you would be too if you run a business, just ask BP about life under the Sword of Damocles of nationalization, or rising health care costs and requirements, or rising taxes, or any of the other impediments Democrats love to impart on the private sector). Gold is what you buy when you think the monetary system is going to fail, not what you park short-term cash in, though. Bernanke knows this, of course, but since stability of the monetary system is his main job, it might be politically difficult to speak the whole truth here.

Anyway, thought I'd note this, as a warning to always consider the source when relying on someone's explanation of why something happened economically.