Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

on willful blindness

May 8, 2017

The rise in popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders on the left in the United States at the same time Venezuela collapses after the socialist rule of Chavez and Maduro raises the question of why abject failure in one country does not lead to learning in another. The willful blindness of the press in the United States, as helpfully illustrated in this column, goes a long way to explaining it.

on progressive policies

April 20, 2017

“But this study puts the appeal of superficially progressive measures like the minimum wage hike among the wealthy into sharp relief: It will help clear out the restaurant scene of establishments they don’t want to go to while taking jobs away from people they don’t know.”

The notion that there is some sort of moral imperative for increasing the minimum wage, as if it will improve the lot of the less fortunate, continues to fail the test of actual benefit to the people it intends to help. As the effects in San Francisco on the restaurant industry indicate, choices for less wealthy people are reduced, and opportunities for less established workers are more rare, while the wealthy and established remain unaffected.

h/t Instapundit

 

the State against the people

June 25, 2016

It’s hard for me to imagine that the next four years will be on balance better for the public at large, whoever becomes President of the United States. The shift toward government at all levels as the main driver for most aspects of American life, whether education, business, family, spiritual practice, etc., seems to me to lead inevitably toward greater tension between the rulers and the ruled. We’ve entered a phase where “the common good” is defined by the state as what’s best for it rather than as what’s actually best for the citizenry. Examples like Wisconsin’s from a few years ago show that there is still a recognition among many that there are limits to what should be granted to government and its employees, but overall I’m afraid too many people are too willing to turn over power to the centralized government rather than be responsible for their own welfare.

it can’t continue

June 21, 2016

Despite the problem being ignored for the past several years, the looming fiscal crisis in this country is inevitable, and it’s going to lead to a lot of problems because so many will be caught completely off-guard and unprepared to cope.

This is an overview from a few years ago: “A Tsunami Approaches

This is a specific illustration from Illinois: “Illinois on the Fiscal Brink

The public is going to be set in opposition to the government at all levels, and it won’t look good for either side.

the Socialist apocalypse

May 20, 2016

One wonders if American Leftists believe that if they were in charge in Venezuela, Socialism would have worked.

Do we really care about income inequality?

March 17, 2016

One reason I don’t take leftist critiques of economic systems seriously is because they won’t make a peep about the ostentatious consumption of Democrat politicians and their families while they rail against income inequality. There are enormous issues to be addressed about the distribution of wealth through productivity and consumption, but business owners at least are spending money voluntarily exchanged for a product or service provided.

Political wealth is being amassed as a function of involuntary taxation, with a substantial proportion of tax revenues skimmed off for the self-aggrandizement of politicians before the remainder finds its way to actual government service and projects, which is generally sub-par compared to private enterprise. Yet Leftists insist that its in the private sphere that oppression is to be found.

Coming to a country near you

March 14, 2016

Leftists decry the idea of American exceptionalism, except on one point. Leftists believe that Americans are the only people who will be able to implement Socialism as a system without it destroying the economy, as has happened everywhere it’s been tried, Venezuela being the current illustration. But according to the Left, Americans will be the exception.

Unintended consequences – regulation

March 12, 2016

Senator Ben Sasse, the Oracle of Nebraska, has demonstrated a pretty solid grasp of fundamental issues. I hope he can communicate them well to a large audience, who need to learn to focus on actual outcomes rather than stated intentions. Here he shows why vulnerable people are most harmed by the regulatory administrative state that has grown up in this country.

Unintended consequences

March 11, 2016

Socialism claims to be about lifting up the underclass, but in fact it tends to empower the already rich and powerful.

Young “socialists” who don’t really understand economics are going to be very disappointed and disillusioned.

FDR was right

January 13, 2015

Government employees should not be able to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. It has led to the pension crisis in this country that is going to cause enormous amounts of upheaval and civil disruption. Stephen Moore’s account of what’s going on in Scranton, Penn., is one example, though the number of examples from California make the point more vivid.

My current hometown, Omaha, Neb., for all its midwestern sensibility, has allowed its public employee pensions to get out of control, becoming what Warren Buffett described as a “gigantic financial tapeworm” eating up the resources of its host, the city government, funded of course by the taxpaying private citizens. There does seem to be signs of hopeful progress, as at least one of the unions has agreed to a new contract with pension reforms starting in January 2015. But nationwide, it doesn’t seem the problem is generally improving as a function of government reforms; recent stock market returns have helped, but that’s not a very reliable plan.

The question that nags at me as a citizen, of course, is what happens when the next crash comes and cities start failing?