Friday, February 27, 2009

The War On Prosperity

Larry Kudlow has a good piece today summarizing Obama's economic policies:

He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

At the end of the article, Kudlow sees some signs of "buyer's remorse" from a few hedge-fund Obama voters, who may be some of the first to wake from the trance. I pray they will not be the last.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Deep Impact

Did anybody else see the mind-bending graphic on Drudge today? That last line is the upcoming budget year. If anybody's a little confused should our country suddenly start tearing apart at the seams in the coming years, this chart will help them figure it out. The WSJ points out that even the total confiscation of earnings from the "richest 2%" of Americans would not be enough to cover the bill, let alone the actual increases proposed by Obama.

The day will come when we can no longer gather enough tax money to support our ever-increasing government. Rich people will take their money somewhere else, poor people will refuse to work and misery will reign supreme. This grim scenario may yet be many years off. But, make no mistake--the day of judgment approaches. Also, have a nice day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

If Only...

Dogbert were actually available to call out our "public servants".

H/T: Right Wing Sparkle

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Great Wave

My father-in-law recently showed me a book he was reading called The Great Wave. It happens to be written by my favorite historian, David Hackett Fischer. I immediately ordered it from the library and read it. What an amazing book!

Fischer astutely observes four great price waves during the last 800 years. Periodically, prices increase for many years and then fall into a pattern of equilibrium. After several more years, and with little or no warning, the next wave hits.

His study begins with the Medieval Price Revolution in the early 1300s. Europe experienced terrible inflation, particularly in the prices of grain and firewood. Prices only fell after more than a decade of crop failures (due to global cooling) and the dreaded Black Death. Population decreased and prices eventually stabilized. This traumatic time was followed by the Renaissance.

This period of relative peace lasted until the mid 1500s, when prices began to rise again. A similar pattern of crop failures and disease followed at the turn of the 17th Century, though less severe than before. This wave was followed by the Enlightenment, characterized by price equilibrium.

Prices rose again at the end of the 1700s. By the end of that century, most of the world had experienced a time of revolution and war. The 1800's gave us the gentle and prosperous Victorian Era. Finally, the last wave began at the start of the 20th Century. This period of inflation has lasted more than a generation and continues to carry us ever closer to the crest.

Fischer urges us to take a wider, more historic, view of our current economic woes. Published in 1996, The Great Wave has only increased in relevance. See this interesting review and commentary from Reuters in January 2009. Fischer claims no predictive powers for his observation, but he does offer the hope that all waves are different, that each successive wave causes less devastation than the one before, and that whatever occurs, we are quickly approaching the next great age of equilibrium and progress.

The Great Wave sheds a bright light on our current situation, as well as offering insights on economic theory in general. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus bill quote

A reader on the WSJ website remarked regarding the stimulus bill:

"Chicago-style politics. This 'stimulus money' will stimulate just as 'protection money' protects."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WSJ: A Short History of the National Debt

An op-ed piece by John Steele Gordon in today's WSJ takes us back to a brief period in our country's history when there was no national debt:

"Before the Great Depression, balancing the budget and paying down the debt were considered second only to the defense of the country as an obligation of the federal government ...

There even was a time when the U.S. made it a deliberate policy to pay off the national debt entirely -- and succeeded in doing so. It remains to this day the only time in history a major country has been debt free. Ironically, the president who achieved this was the founder of the modern Democratic Party, Andrew Jackson ...

When he ran for president the first time, in 1824, Jackson called the debt a "national curse." He vowed to "pay the national debt, to prevent a monied aristocracy from growing up around our administration that must bend to its views, and ultimately destroy the liberty of our country."

"How gratifying," he wrote in 1829 as he began his presidency, "the effect of presenting to the world the sublime spectacle of a Republic of more than 12 million happy people, in the 54th year of her existence . . . free from debt and with all . . . [her] immense resources unfettered!""

Thomas Sowell: The Rush To Wait

Thomas Sowell has another excellent column today. The urgent do-it-now-or-we-all-die stimulus bill does not actually authorize ANY spending until 2010 and the earliest. Good thing we (the Democrats) passed it without so much as reading it and certainly without any public debate or scrutiny. McCain had it right: it's "generational theft."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Something Up With Which I Will Not Put

Obama has returned a bust of Winston Churchill to the Brits. (They loaned it to us after 9/11 as a show of solidarity.)

Only problem? The Brits didn't ask for it back and are rather offended over the whole thing. So much for that whole, "Obama will make the world love us again" story line.

Have I ever mentioned that Winston Churchill is one of my heroes? I say it's just as well his bust isn't sitting somewhere where it has to look at Obama, but that's just me.

H/T: Red State

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Read the Stimulus

Just a quick link for you: Read the Stimulus lets you read and search through the GIGANTIC bills. Still no sight of the bill lawmakers will be asked to vote on tomorrow. . . So much for that 48 hours promise by Pelosi. What's one more broken promise at this point?

UPDATE (2-13): It sure is easy to be a Democrat--you don't even have to read the bill before rubber-stamping it! (One Republican Congressman did manage to find a few interesting portions since late last night--VIDEO) The only upshot I see is that NO Republican in the House voted for it (I predict a similar result in the Senate, with 2-3 Rino exceptions). Democrats own this bill and the terrible consequences that will surely result from it.

The Big Sort

I just finished reading an excellent book by Bill Bishop called The Big Sort. Fair warning: the author is a Democrat, though perhaps not so strident as most. For the most part he presents information in an even-handed way.

The Big Sort is all about how Americans have been quietly sorting themselves into homogeneous counties, cities, neighborhoods and even churches since the mid-1970s. Bishop melds together demography, sociology and psychology together in surprising ways and applies them mainly to questions of politics and religion.

I was particularly struck by the accuracy with which Bishop explains such nuanced topics as the Modernist/Fundamentalist divide and the rise of Evangelicalism in post-WWII America. He also explores the age of the Mega Church and even delves briefly into the Emergent Church.

Bishop concludes that because Americans have such wide latitude in deciding where to live (a consequence of our unparalleled prosperity), we have taken the opportunity to live apart from people who might confront us with opposing points of view. This explains the recent electoral phenomena of Blue urban areas voting for Democrats and Red rural areas voting for Republicans. An additional result of the Big Sort is that our isolated communities (both liberal and conservative) are becoming more and more extreme.

Bishop certainly presents some very interesting and entertaining (even thought-provoking) evidence to support his thesis. However, I'm not quite ready to sign up for his negative outlook towards the future. He offers very little in the way of a solution, if indeed a solution is warranted. Nevertheless, something strange is going on across our nation, and I believe this book comes very close to explaining it. Read it for yourself and see what you think!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Broken Promises

The Promise: "As president, Barack Obama will restore the American people's trust in their government by making government more open and transparent. Obama will work to reform congressional rules to require all legislative sessions, including committee mark-ups and conference committees, to be conducted in public. By making these practices public, the American people will be able to hold their leaders accountable for wasteful spending and lawmakers won't be able to slip favors for lobbyists into bills at the last minute." [source]

The Reality: Democrats from Senate and House are finalizing the non-stimulus bill behind closed doors, without pesky interference from Republicans (or the American people). Par for the course . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Do You Feel Safer?

Thrift stores are now throwing out all books dated pre-1985, in order to comply with the CPSIA.

Homeschoolers searching for those much desired old books? Give up now.

Everything I read about this stupid law makes me sadder and angrier.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Truth is Out There, Somewhere Else

Apparently the world press may not be as starry-eyed as our own home grown variety, concerning our new president. Who knew?

Barack Obama is a novice and it shows.

I must say I'm glad someone is willing to state the obvious.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Universal Health Care Preview

Japan (via Junkfood Science) provides a sad preview of what's to come if we allow universal health care to destroy our health care system.

Excellent Krauthammer Piece

The Fierce Urgency of Pork: concerning the "non-stimulus" stimulus bill how Obama's promises have melted away before the inaugural snow has.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baby Born At Abortion Center Then Killed

The most shocking part of this story is that the officials quoted seem to think something immoral happened. Hmmm . . . At some point you are no longer able to hide/lie about/disguise the fact that abortion centers kill babies for money. Sometimes they do it one way, sometimes another. But that's what they do. Until our society cares enough to open its eyes and shut them down, we will continue receive these unpleasant little "shocks" every so often.

Glenn Beck's Communist Update

Very funny stuff.

Actually, Glenn has a really good point about the salary caps. For those companies that accept bailout funds, we should cap their salaries at something like the average US salary ($40-50K). We should make them accept the new union rules, including no more secret ballots. They should be required to provide comprehensive health care to all their workers and all those other socialist dream policies. But only for those companies who take government money. Then we'll see how many would really take it. I'm guessing nobody with half a brain would. That would also work as a nice little free market referendum on socialism. Let everyone make his choice: ALL government "assistance" or NONE at all. Which would you pick?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Al Gore: 12-Year-Olds Know More Than Parents

What an irresponsible guy. Or maybe just a scary government-controls-everything guy. Glenn Beck had a nice riff on this. With the audio.

Pelosi: Smartest Woman Ever

Pelosi claimed that 500 million Americans lose their jobs every month. There are only 300 million Americans. I just can't wait until these people are in charge of my health care and bank.