Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Over-Nuanced Morons

"I don't want to diminish the threat of terrorism at all, it is extremely serious, but on a long-term global basis, global warming is the most serious problem we are facing."

Thank God Al Gore wasn’t our president when 9/11 happened we’d be offering Middle Easterners hybrid vehicles instead of democracy.

Chris Matthews is also one of these over-nuanced moral relativists. Ever watch him? He is one paranoid indefatigable LOSER. His nuanced view of terrorists:

"The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective."

Rich Karlgaard is a great writer for Forbes. Check out his blog where you will find fresh ideas and insights not widely promulgated.

He had a great post on “zero-summers” – people that have never considered that our economic pie is a growing one or that innovative capitalism ALWAYS finds a way to more society forward.

Look at this great comment someone made on Rich’s post.

Save fuel now because it will run out in 200 years? Crazy. 200 years ago we were using wood. 200 years from now we will be using helium 3 mined from a gas giant for use in fusion reactors. Conserve oil so we won't run out? That is as crazy as saving whales, in 1850, so we will still have whale oil available in 2050.

I absolutely loved this comment. Too many people run around worrying about stuff like saving energy that history has shown is itself a waste of “energy”. My mother is one of these types who conserves water and runs around turning off lights in empty rooms. Only part of it is cheapness and force of habit, the bulk of it stems from a misbegotten belief in scarcity. (I did a google image search on "save the whales" and got this pubescent gem.)

Of course she has never read anything like that whale oil comment in her New York Times-owned local paper.

Speaking of that Perma-Commi newspaper, the Times said today that:

By most measures, the economy appears to be doing just fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming.

But as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.

“Not quite that simple”??????

Stock market at 4.5 year high, housing market booming, and bond market just off a 46 year high. What else is there?

The Times says it is all a mirage and goes on to explain it to the under-nuanced. Who really wants to read perpetual negative spin on a prosperous economy? Then again nobody buys the Times for its sports section either.

Let me christen another Moron Tactic – the Simple/Complex Spin.

Over-nuanced Morons consistently use this trick whereby they transmute the complicated into the simple and vice versa.

The economy is not really that complicated especially with all three asset classes percolating – don’t get pulled in by this RUSE of “it is not quite that simple.”

Now take something that ACTUALLY is complicated, like the war in Iraq. The sultans of nuance at the Times boil it all down to “Bush Lied. Oil for Halliburton.”

Monday, November 28, 2005

Financial Update

Look at this Moron. Only in New York.....

In that hackneyed Wall Street lingo…..I am currently heavily OVERWEIGHT CASH (90%). In other words, I don’t like stocks or bonds at today’s levels. I recently sold all of my long term equity investments. The stock market is at 4.5 year highs, bonds are just off 46 year highs, and real estate is still very much in nosebleed territory.

And of course I am actually short real estate because I rent.

Let me explain that. For every dollar that my theoretical first home depreciates, that is one less dollar that I will have to shell out to buy it. Renting therefore is financially equivalent to shorting the housing market. The exact same risks apply because if I am wrong and home prices continue to rise, I will have to ante up that much more later on for my first home.

Money market rates are nearing 4% in some select banks and quite frankly I am extremely happy with that yield. I have heard a lot of older people whine about low interest rates the last few years almost as if they are ENTITLED to higher returns. More likely they just weren’t accustomed to ever getting the 1% or so the money market fell to. Also the older folk may have been whining but were generally wise enough to not chase better returns from investments with which they weren't comfortable – that is something I can’t say about some of my younger, condo-flipping buddies.

REMEMBER, 4% is pretty much the annual return one needs to justify borrowing at today’s rates of 6% and buying a home. The up-in-the-air mortgage interest deduction explains that 2% reduction.

So TODAY one can get 4% risk-free in the money market or you can take your money and make a decade or two commitment to a house, neighborhood, and city or town. You'll be fretting leaking roofs, rising property taxes, foundering local government schools, and will probably end up moving and paying an exorbitant real estate fee before too long.

I think cash will be king for a couple of years at least, mostly because nobody has any. “Homeownership” may be touted at 69% - an all time high, but so is home indebtedness. Americans collectively own less than 50% of their home down from a historical average of 75%. To be sure, it is generally wise to borrow when rates are low as they have been, hitting 46 year lows this year, but much of that borrowing has been done with very risky adjustable mortgages. Even worse, adjustable rate usage has risen even at higher home prices.

Back to the financial markets.

Gold rising is bad. In case you've missed it, gold effectively hit $500 an ounce today - a level not seen since 1987. (Click chart to enlarge.)

Bubblehead macroeconomists insist that rising gold is forecasting inflation. This recent gold move has been befuddling these dopes because the dollar has been rising with gold this year.

Normally gold benefits from a weaker dollar because most global commodities, oil, grains, metals, etc. are priced in dollars. So a weaker dollar means that it will buy a smaller basket of commodities than before.....ergo we have inflation.

So what is exactly going on here with gold seemingly moving the wrong way?

The answer is that nobody knows. But I will throw out my worst-case scenario explanation. I believe that the global financial markets are worried about the long term prospects of the US economy and are therefore diversifying accordingly.

What is there to worry about?

ENTITLEMENT CRISES. That is about it. Medicare and Social Security spending are a bigger and more certain threat to out prosperity than just about anything else short of a nuke in Manhattan.

American capitalism has been the world's most indefatigible benevolent force and will surely be tested by this impending clash of actuarial realities and political impotence.

Also fueling the stock market's recent percolation is a widespread belief that the Fed will stop tightening short term rates in January. This may be an accuate forecast BUT, despite Big Media and econo-illiterates' obsession with Alan Greenspan, SHORT-TERM RATES SIMPLY DO NOT MATTER. Japan had 1% short term rates for years and it did nothing to re-stimulate its economy. The rates that matter are LONG TERM RATES.

Also, lowered short rates couldn't stimulate our economy in the early 1990s either. Banks were ravaged by real estate lending and whatnot in prior years, decided to shore up their balance sheets, and therefore simply did not pass on the lower rates to borrowers.

Today's bulls tout falling energy prices as a very positive catalyst BUT they need to be reminded that the market did not sell off one lick on Hurricane Katrina and $3 gasoline. The market correctly shrugged off that media created frenzy while it was going on.

Today's bears can point to a flat yield curve.

One thing worth noting is the so-called January Effect that seems to come earlier every year. Last year the market spiked in December and sold off hard in January. I get the feeling that this November rally may be this year's early January Effect. Basically everyone used to expect the market to rally in January, and it did for many years, so they started buying in December. Now everyone expects a December rally and have bought in this month. Anyway this is just my unscientific take - we'll see what happens.

I am not short the market, but have been playing the short side intraday a lot recently. (One stock I am short is Apple - not because I think it is going to zero, but just as a trade.)

Anyway, how does that Google look now at $429 per share?

It was $228 when I first blogged about it in May. Remember I got in at $177.

I am still comfortable with my $3,000 price target for August of 2010, but will watch it closely. Recently they announced a $900 million set-aside for socially responsible investments in things such as “alternative energy”. My regular blog readers know how much I hate crap like this.

Everyone knows that Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, but I just learned about Cyber Monday. Apparently it is the next Monday when everyone spends their workday Christmas shopping online.

Cramer was touting the stock of Websense yesterday as somewhat of a play on this “cyberslacking” phenomena. Websense is a software company that helps businesses monitor, i.e. limit, delinquent websurfing from their employees. They have a great corporate-speak name for what they do - something like “technology resources optimization”.

I occasionally watch Mad Money because it is entertaining and informative – not to mention his stock picks tend to be quite the movers as soon as the words leave his lips. Watch the after-hours ticker at the bottom of the CNBC screen.

There is even a story going around about some Mad Money caller who was on hold and overheard Cramer touting some stock, bought it before everyone else (the show is slightly pre-recorded), and made a bundle.

Anyway, Cramer is a pretty bright guy and has made some great picks this year. He has mostly been bullish on Google, Apple, and oil companies to name a few. To be sure he has some bombs as well that others are probably better at naming. Just google “cramer sucks” or something.

Cramer’s fortunes will ebb and flow with this mild bull market. He is not recommending any shorts (at least that I know of) and will be pilloried should the market enter a prolonged bear period. One has to remember that he is a SALESMAN, pure and simple. Guys like him are a dime a dozen on Wall Street. They can give you a compelling bull case for whatever stock they feel like. Some of these guys, like Cramer, are so persuasive that you feel like running out instantly and buying whatever they tell you. A great stock recommendation can sound almost like an earth-shattering discovery – to which only you are privy. So you run out and buy it and as you are holding it you start doing some more research. Most times you will find out that that bull argument has been around for years. The stock could languish in the dumps and you may have to wait for another set of docile buyers to push the stock in order for you to get your money back.

Like any dissembling salesman, Cramer often talks out of both sides of his mouth. Sure he has been bullish on Google mostly, but also said to lighten up at $250. And I also remember a show where he said to lighten up on the oil stocks as well.

Cramer has a, let's just say a "mixed" reputation. When he ran a hedge fund and was short a stock, he would routinely get his analysts in on that particular company's conference calls. He ordered them to grill, insinuate, and basically accuse management of shoddy performance and whatnot. All the other analysts would hear this badgering and would undoubtedly get nervous or at least less comfortable with that company. In other words, it was a manipulative way to drum up negative sentiment on a stock in which he was short.

So how was Black Friday?

USA Today said it was “Dazzling”.

Bloomberg said it was “Good”.

The Associated Press said it was “Modest

And shocker of all shockers…..the New York Times said it was “Horrible” or at least they deeply implied that in Mall Stores See Trouble in Sales Data. The Times spun Black Friday as all about “discounting” and poor people running up their credit cards.

So when we have high energy prices from a strong global economy…that is bad.

And when we have low priced televisions and clothing, the standard fruits of capitalism......that too is a bad sign.

Black Friday just brings another day's version of the same old agitprop.

Perma-Commi Naysayers.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Shame on Forbes

Shame on Forbes.

The November 14th, 2005 issue had an article titled, We’re Not That Dumb written by Michael J. Handel of the Economic Policy Institute. (Again, try bugmenot if you can't get that article.)

I am going to dissect this incoherent tripe.

First, the subtitle,

Our economic ills are supposedly due to a gap between workers' skills and job demands. That gap is a myth.

Now exactly what are “our economic ills”? Handel doesn’t say. About halfway through, I can only infer “rising wage inequality” with ZERO supporting evidence. But it’s not a good start when the reader has to guess the subject at hand.

Handel then says:

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has repeatedly said that U.S. workers need to beef up their skills and training if they want to compete globally in this era of technological innovation. President Bush proposes education policies based on the assumption that the quality of schools is sliding inexorably downward.

Okay, I don’t want to include too much of this article on my blog. It was painful enough to read it myself and the link is above for those so inclined. But I wanted to illustrate a common Moron debating tactic.

First, Handel makes a broad-brushed statement of our nebulous “economic ills” and then tries to link that to an equally vague notion, in this case a “skills gap”. Now this masturbater, I mean MASTER DEBATER sets off to debunk the “myth”.

Of course fueling these “ills” and the “myth” are two major enemies to socialism, Alan Greenspan and President Bush. A little background – the Economic Policy Institute is a Commi-propaganda think tank which I recognized right away but which could easily be missed by an undiscerning reader.

I fully understand the limits of space in penning an article such as this, but this is ridiculous. The first paragraph almost epitomizes the word propaganda. Handel is trying to suck the reader into a syllogism that he created out of thin air. Whatever our unnamed “economic ills” are, you can be sure that President Bush and Alan Greenspan are complicit. Nine out of ten people on the street will tell you that government schools are “sliding downward”. Only a elitist ideologue can dismiss that reality and I will get to the ideological bias later.

It is quite a leap from one Greenspan quote about workers needing to “beef up their skills” to a “wage gap” and then to our unnamed “economic ills”. But such is common practice amongst the Morons who start with ideological conclusions and then scamper to create the supporting evidence. And for good measure, this faux evidence usually impugns as many enemies of the Moron as possible, e.g Bush and Greenspan. Hey why not - it is all made up anyway?

It is almost impossible to debate a guy like this because he made no connection from our unnamed “economic ills” to his whacky construct of a “skills gap”. But like most of the Morons, I can even Marginalize this guy by assuming his misbegotten premise.

For the sake of argument, I will accept that we have some economic problems caused by deficiencies in workers’ skills. Handel proceeds to attacks this "myth":

In the early 1960s nearly 50% of all Americans had dropped out of high school, including nearly one-third of young adults. Today both figures are under 15%. Four-year college completion rates for young workers doubled from 15% to 30% over the same period. In fact, Americans are more educated now than ever before.

So why the concern with education? Scores on college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT did decline between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s. For much of that time the U.S. economy was also in recession and faced a withering challenge from the apparently better-educated Japanese. This began what is now a tradition of blaming education for economic problems.

(This last sentence is a doozy. I must have forgotten about our BLAME EDUCATION DAY. It is actually not a bad idea.)

So more kids graduate from high school and more go to college than 40 years ago. Big deal. How the heck does this imply that kids are entering the workforce today with no gap between their skills and what an employer needs? The great majority of people that I know will freely admit that they hardly use their college education at all on the job.

Furthermore, hasn’t high school education been dumbed down to the point of being a joke? For crying out loud, today students can take 12 years of ESL courses (English as a Second Language) and still earn their diploma. I would STRENOUSLY ARGUE THAT NOT BEING FLUENT IN ENGLISH IS QUITE A SKILLS GAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aha – now I get it. What Handel really wants to say is that our educational system is good – which is quite off-topic from the still unnamed ”economic ills” and not to mention, quite a stretch of the imagination.

High schools are so deficient today that kids (their parents and taxpayers) have to spend 100k on college just to become literate now. Yet Handel somehow sees this increased college enrollment as a validation of our public educational system? Please Mr. Handel, come back to Earth. Actually I think Handel’s idiocy is irreparable. Clearly he has that dominant 2+2=5 gene so apparent in blind ideologues.

Handel then predictably steps in the excremental SAT propaganda.

Let's set the record straight. Since the early 1980s scores have remained level or climbed, depending on the test. Math SAT scores are higher now than they were in the early 1970s.

Sorry Moron, this isn’t evidence of a solid educational system either. As he himself already stated, there has been a significant increase in college matriculation and therefore a much greater percentage of students are taking the SAT. Before, only the smartest kids took the SAT, now plenty of the dummies are also taking it.


Of course they should be lower. I am going to fill everybody in on a dirty little secret.


They have been gradually inflating the scores for the last fifteen years at a minimum. Today a score of 1300 is just not comparable to 1300 when I took the exam in 1990-91. According to this link, the average SAT score in 1990 was 1026 and in 2004 it was 1049. Now that may not look significant but look at this steadily rising trend in average math scores.

1990 - 521
1992 - 521
1994 - 523
1996 - 527
1998 - 531
2000 - 533
2002 - 534
2004 - 537

You know, all of these public companies get in a heap of sh*t for accounting gimmicks that smooth out their reported earnings or revenue. Yes, I am accusing the College Board of deliberately inflating students' scores.

I couldn't find any historical data on the percentiles but I would bet my right arm that if 1300 was a 94th percentile score (meaning better then 94% of the other applicants' scores) in 1990, I bet it is down nearer the 87th percentile in 2005. You see, they are making the test easier, but the smarter kids benefit more from easier questions than the other students. They have all sorts of skews in there as well to try and blunt this effect, but they can only do it so much. For instance, a student may get only one question wrong on the math part, lose 30 points, and be scored at 770. But the student who gets 10 questions wrong won't lose points proportionally. In other words, he will be penalized by less than 10 * 30 points and score above 500.

IT IS NOT A STANDARDIZED TEST at all because scores are clearly not comparable from year to year. I guess all that matters is your percentile score.

Why inflate the scores? Well, they simply do it to make nice with everybody. Colleges love to tout each incoming class' higher average SAT than the prior year's. Educrats and Big Government advocates like Mr. Handel hunger for contrived statistics to hide the deficiencies of public schools. In short, society just prefers feel-good pabulum over the cold hard facts.

(Coach Thompson and star "graduate" Patrick Ewing who freely admits his illiteracy.)

By no means am I the only SAT critic. Coach John Thompson famously walked off the basketball court sixteen years ago to protest the SAT as "culturally biased". I remember his one example. He said:

"How is a minority from the inner city going to know what a 'yacht' is?"

I don't know John....maybe if they read it in a book. I never saw a yacht in central Massachusetts when I was growing up either. Libraries seem to be free in every locale that I have visited.

Seen as the end-all gateway to higher education, the SAT invites criticism from a multitude of angles beyond Thompson's ridiculous argument. Coach Thompson just didn't want his freshmen declared athletically ineligible because they couldn't score 700 or whatever the proposed minimum was.

Minorities don't score well ergo the SAT is racist.

Women lag men ergo the SAT is sexist.

The SAT is a poor predicter[sic] of college grades....Historically the test did a particularly poor job of predicting how females, students of color, and older test-takers will perform in college.

(All that from a website devoted to bashing the SAT and advocating colleges to stop requiring it.)

My wife wanted to add "football player" to that list of demographics that perform poorer on the SAT than they do once in college. Now here is the burden of humoring and debunking Moron arguments - once you start, you keep encountering more and more sophistry that needs to be taken out.

Why do many kids do poorly on standardized tests and then seemingly do better in college?


While at UPenn, I witnessed firsthand kids who struggle in Economics, Calculus, Engineering, and Pre-Med courses and then take mad dashes into the departments of Psychology, Sociology, Spanish, English, and the joke fields of Afro-American and Women's studies.

So they blow on standardized tests but excel in "all A's and B's", "there are no wrong answers" fluff majors. This "poor predicter[sic]" argument is another standard Moron tactic - Selective Metric Fishing.

The whole point of standardized testing is to objectively and fairly measure all students. These joke fields abominate that end. Did I mention that Michael Handel is a sociologist? I know, what a shocker.

Okay, so the Moron has made neither a coherent nor trenchant case for our educational system yet feels sufficiently content to move on.

What about rising wage inequality? Many labor economists think the spread of computer use to the broader workforce explains most of the change, especially between college- and high-school-educated workers.

Then he rambles on about how computers aren't that important or difficult to use. But wait a second, what about "rising wage inequality"? Handel doesn't bother to source this AND apparently expects readers to sheepishly nod in agreement of both its existence and depravity. CaptiousNut has already debunked its wickedness in a previous blog.

The Gini coefficient measures wealth inequality in a given society. In this country, it has been rising steadily for 30 years – implying a widening gap between the richest and poorest. Propagandists love to pounce on this stat to show how “unfair” capitalism is, yet countries with narrower gaps (lower Gini coefficients) suffer higher unemployment, lower growth, and lower standards of living. SOCIALISTS JUST CAN'T COMPREHEND THE FACT THAT THE EXISTENCE OF VERY RICH PEOPLE IS A GOOD THING FOR THE REST OF SOCIETY.

Moron Handel glosses over that crippling salient, as would any other devout socialist.

I apologize for the redundancy, but again Handel tries to elevate a dubious notion of "rising wage inequality" by linking it to some half-baked theory of computers and worker productivity and then dispelling that "myth".

(Please only skim read this insipid diarrhetic babble.)

In fact, most people use computers in ways that are relatively easily learned and do not require expert knowledge or much greater cognitive skills than before computers arrived on the job. Much of the early evidence that computers raise the average users' pay or the skill level needed for typical jobs has proven shaky on closer examination. Most of the growth in the college-versus-high-school wage gap occurred between 1980 and 1990--suggesting that technology was not the main driver or that its biggest effects on skill demand are behind us.

Of course, technology may change the job mix. But again, the most rapid shift to skilled white-collar work is in the past. It happened more quickly in the 1970s and 1980s, when the percentage of all jobs in the managerial and professional category increased by between four and five percentage points, than in the 1990s, when it grew three percentage points.

Skill requirements will continue to rise, probably at about the same steady, measured pace as in the last four decades, not at the breakneck speed of popular imagination.

("breakneck speed of popular imagination" - WTF kind of vague generalization of the populace is this?)

As the Moron drones on it becomes painfully clear that this is in fact an article about "nothing" - at least on a substantive level. Seinfeld and Costanza could maybe appreciate it, but I certainly didn't from a normally very edifying publication.

After all, if the skills gap has been growing all this time, how to explain the latter half of the 1990s, when unemployment rates plummeted, productivity growth soared to levels not seen since the late 1960s and real wages rose broadly for the first time since the early 1970s?

I just introduced the concept of Selective Metric Fishing, now I want you to meet its cousin, Causation Fishing.

The late 1990s were no doubt a period of tremendous economic prosperity and every Moron has a self-aggrandizing spin on how or why it happened. Some dreamily think the stock market rallied because Bill Clinton was in office, others think it was because we slightly raised the minimum wage, and now this Moron is using it to try and debunk his self-authored "skills gap myth".

Does anyone think I over use the Commi- and socialist labels? Well consider how Handel ends his article about "nothing".

But the problem with the skill-shortage story is that it perpetuates myths about both workers and jobs. The reason the wages of most Americans stagnated in the last 25 years is not the lack of skills or education. Rather, the economic crises of the 1970s and early 1980s resulted in a drive to lower labor costs that became institutionalized as a basic premise of management. The real problem lies not with workers but with an economy that doesn't produce enough well-paying jobs.

Unnamed "Economic Ills".

Unassailable Government Education.

Unassailable Workers' Skills.

Wage Inequality.

Evil Management with an "institutionalized" drive to lower Labor costs.

The Economy is the "real problem".

A Commi is still a Commi.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Congressional Morons, Etc.

I guess the quintessential moron is one who repeatedly acts against his own self-interest. Banging your head on a wall comes to mind.

The joke that is government education, especially the collegiate level, is always ripe ground for harvesting morons.

It boils my skin when I hear how schools have banned the military or ROTC from their campuses. The most publicized culprit is of course Yale. Now these schools get millions in federal subsidies directly and indirectly through federally backed student loans. I was thinking the other day how outrageous this was and how the federal government should just revoke all of their funding – especially the student loan backing. The powers-at-be of Yale just don’t appreciate the military (the whole gay issue is a ruse), in fact they hate it. Yale is likely run by pathetic 60s hippies who came of age with an antipathy towards the military. I happily discovered that others already shared my sentiment. The Solomon Amendment was attempting to do just what I prescribed – withhold federal monies from these petulant schools.

CNBC anchor Steve Liesman recently asked U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow about the deficit.

Snow: We cut taxes and it improved the deficit – contradicting what the naysayers forecasted. And now the deficit is a smaller portion of GDP than before.

(Liesman hated this answer and fired back.)

Liesman: Well what about the dollar value of the deficit?

It is tough to do justice to this in print but I will try. This little exchange illustrates why I am starting to really loathe CNBC. They have such a Commi-adversarial bias that permeates almost every second of their programming.

Liesman wanted to hit the Treasury Secretary over the head with the deficit and when Snow returned serve with the undeniable benefits of the tax cuts, Stevie got visibly perturbed. How dare Snow flaunt facts hostile to socialist propaganda!!!!!

Liesman, mental midget and terrible anchor that he is, completely glossed over what Snow said. Stuck on the deficit, he followed up with that stupid follow-up about the "dollar value" of the deficit. Which begs a worthy issue that I will get to in a moment.

While writing a draft of this blog I characterized Steve Liesman as a perma-Commi naysayer. My characterization was purely based on the empiricism of listening to him every day. I hadn't yet read his illustrious profile.

It turns out that he worked for the Moscow Times, went to Columbia School of Journalism, and has an undergraduate degree in English.

Emeril couldn't concoct a better recipe for a "perma-Commi naysayer".

So CNBC's Senior Economics Reporter lacks even an undergraduate degree in economics. WOWSERS!!!!

They pick on Liesman sometimes during programming because he is a bit of a weenie and may in fact deserve it. But to me, his economic illiteracy is the much bigger vice. If I ever debated him on TV, he might not be able to get off the mat when I was through. Way to go CNBC....great hire.

Now back to the deficit. This whole idea that we need to raise taxes to pay for the deficit couldn't be more flawed. Not only have tax cuts raised more revenue all four times enacted, econo-illiterates consistently MIS-FRAME the debate.

The fact that Congress is addicted to spending should have nothing to do with where the government sets tax levels. "Two wrongs don't make a right" is preached to 5 year why doesn't it apply to the grown-ups that run society?

Another analog. Consider the parent whose child is addicted to video games. Unable to wean him away from his Sony Playstation, the parent relents and decides to buy the geek a lot more games - to make him happy. Or when people argue that we should legalize narcotics because we can't enforce the drug laws.

Tax cuts make sense because they stimulate the economy. I just don't understand the socialists sometimes. They should be for tax cut stimulation because it will bring in more revenue that they can REDISTRIBUTE. Of course socialists don't care about the financial realities....all they care about is what tax propaganda will help them foment CLASS WARFARE.

Back to the mis-framed deficit debate. I learned the mis-framing tactic back in the fourth grade when a jesting classmate asked me:

"Do your parents know that you are gay?"

Obviously both "yes" and "no" answers elicited giggling.

Republicans have been smart to push for the recent tax cuts. Ideally, they want taxpayers to get so accustomed to the rebates that it becomes political suicide for a pol to be against the cuts. This tactic reminds me somewhat of what Robert Moses said about his huge public works projects, "...all I want to do is drive the first stake..."

These bridges, tunnels, and highways he built were mammoth in size and ungodly in cost. Who could possibly forecast the eventual cost of the Tri-Borough Bridge or the Verrazzano Bridge? Moses, typical government agent that he was, couldn't care less about the real costs. All he wanted to do was drive that first stake in the ground and he knew that no New York City politicians would let the projects lanquish or go unfunded on their watch. They always found the money even as the costs exploded far beyond the worst projections.

So this whole push for tax cuts has been driven by that logic. Congress is really just a bunch of collusive local lobbyists. The federal government scoops up tax dollars and these wanton criminals divvy it up to suit their own perceived political agendas. Congressmen think it is their duty to bring home as much federal money as possible. Think about that for a second. The present-day Congressional metric for success is how much federal tax revenue they can have wasted in their own states.

Boil it down and Congressmen are nothing more than dirty sports agents for their districts. Don't expect leadership or healthy debate on national issues from these weasels. Goverment spending should be held hostage to pro-growth and low taxation levels - not the other way around.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has recently jumped on the "let's tax big oil" pig-pile. He knows darn well that oil companies aren't "gouging" and that taxes will just aggravate energy prices. But this "leader" is worried that he and other Republicans are too identified with oil companies.

This is leadership? Instead of seizing this moment to educate the public on the costs of fanatical environmentalism, the economics of energy companies, and the GOUGING of gasoline taxes (almost 4 times what big oil earns).....Frist is worried about how Big Media and really dumb people percieve him. Inherent in his reasoning are two vile presumptions:

1) His constituents don't want leadership, but rather a waffling, "finger in the wind" invertebrate.

2) That his constituents are dumb and wouldn't be receptive to a common sense lecture on the realities of energy economics.

Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe Frist is pulling a Bill Clinton. Remember President Clinton would pay lip service to big issues like Social Security reform but never take a step beyond the rhetoric. If this were the case I have even less respect for Senator Frist. I mean what is to respect about a jelly-spined pol who thinks common folk are dumb AND docile?

Settle down you Clinton apologists, I am not making this up. In the not too distant past it was very hard to find and transmit information. Before the internet, politicians, pundits, celebrities, and whoever could spew inanities with almost complete impunity. Well, technology changed all that and prompted this nugget:

"We have become hostage to Lexis/Nexis...the problem is an excess of literalism."

Uttered by none other than George Stephanopoulos (while special policy adviser to President Clinton.) Of course the internet and modern telecommunications make Lexis/Nexis look like a stone aged slingshot.

Cornelius, North Carolina recently elected a very young state representative and I remember reading his fresh-eyed indictment of the state legislature. He said something like,

"It is unbelievable.....all they do is vote for each other's pet road projects...."

The failed Coburn Amendment confirms this problem at the national level. Several analyses of its demise have alluded to the “unwritten rule” in Congress of not criticizing others' pet pork projects. It was truly astounding that only 15 Senators voted against shifting the “bridge-to-nowhere” funds to Hurricane Katrina relief. I fully blame the media who couldn’t care less about the level of federal spending. Most people haven’t a clue that there even was a Coburn Amendment – no less are aware of the disgusting vote count. Yet when a perma-Commi naysayer like Steve Liesman wants to impugn the Bush Administration, all of a sudden they are concerned about government waste.

In the past, I have argued that economics is the most important force in our lives. It determines where we live, how we live, how we vacation, how safe we are, what we can offer our children, etc. Economic inefficiency remains anathema to most people because they would never manage their lives like that. Theoretically, Big Government should be doomed but in actuality, Big Media's whitewashing has aided and abetted the plunderage. For decades they have ignored government waste and equated tax cuts with poor minority children starving and the elderly living on dog food. Just yesterday, while inveighing broadly against energy companies, perma-Commi Steve Liesman said people are freezing to death over heating costs. Liesman must be counting fictional people - I guess.

Hey Stevie, why don't you wait for the actual winter before you unleash your agitprop?

I just received a political flyer in the mail from a clown named Gibran Rivera who was apparently running for Boston City Council. Forget economic illiteracy, this guy may be illiterate in general. Read this passage from his website:

We are running this campaign as an organizing campaign and see that as the only way to truly engage with people in a meaningful way. A campaign based in organizing can help to build our society rather than just get someone elected and then outsource your political responsibility to that elected official. Running an organizing campaign means that when Gibrán is elected, he will be accountable to people in a real way.

So in three profound sentences we have 4 campaign’s, 3 organizing’s, and both a “meaningful way” and a “real way”. And what the heck exactly is an “organizing campaign”? It may have been third grade where I was taught not to define a word with that same word.

His flyer is also an affront to the standards of English grammar. In it he kept using the word community over and over again. I went back, counted them, and came up with exactly 14 usages of community in a very terse pamphlet. Not only that, I counted 17 more communidad’s as well!!!

With far too many Gibran Rivera’s in our political farm leagues, it is no wonder that we end up the abomination that is our Congress. Gibran can’t so much as pen a coherent paragraph and so I doubt he’ll ever be able to comprehend the negative consequences of taxing “windfall” profits.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Boston - The Case Study in "Money Isn't Everything"

What do these three high profilers have in common?

They all left big money on the table so they could leave Boston.

Rick Pitino walked away from $20 million in guaranteed money. (The biggest dollar walkaway in sports by a country mile.)

Nomar Garciaparra turned down a $60 million contract. (And subsequently had to accept an $8 million one.)

And yesterday, boy wonder Theo Epstein turned down $4.5 million to continue his dream job of running the Red Sox.

With Theo, sure enough the New York Times was involved. Remember the Times owns the Boston Globe and also part of the Red Sox. Theo was pissed about a Globe article they ran on him during "closed door" contract negotiations. From and the Lowell Sun,

He then goes to say how Epstein was leaning towards accepting the contract offered him by the Red Sox, but that something changed his mind:

But then, shortly after waking up around 7 a.m., an article in The Boston Globe was brought to Epstein's attention. The piece struck a chord for Theo, not only because of the content (much of which defended Lucchino while diminishing Epstein's stature within the organization), but also because of how familiar the verbiage sounded. Many of it was all too familiar to words uttered by Lucchino to his general manager earlier in the week.

The only redeeming quality of Boston is the school system - that is why people of all income levels are fleeing.