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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hazlitt Speaks to our Time...

Over fifty years ago (1946), economist Henry Hazlitt commented on the panic bailouts of 2008:
"The lobbies of Congress are crowded with representatives of the X industry. The X industry is sick. The X industry is dying. It must be saved. It can be saved only by a tariff, by higher prices, or by a subsidy. If it is allowed to die, workers will be thrown on the streets. Their landlords, grocers, butchers, clothing stores and local motion pictures will lose business, and depression will spread in ever-widening circles. But if industry X, by prompt action of Congress, is saved--ah then! It will buy equipment from other industries; more men will be employed; they will hive more business to the butchers, bakers and neon-light makers, and then it is prosperity that will spread in ever-widening circles."
In his own time, it was the silver and coal subsidy. The Treasury was forced to "acquire, at ridiculous prices far above the market level, hoards of unnecessary silver, and store it in vaults." Similarly, the fixing of the price of coal, below which it could not fall, accelerated the movement of consumers from coal to oil and natural gas.

What is the end result of a bailout? In Hazlitt's words, any attempt to save the X industry by a direct subsidy out of the public till would:
" nothing more than a transfer of wealth or income to the X industry. The taxpayers would lose precisely as much of the people in the X industry gained...And consumers, because they are taxed to support the X industry, will have that much less income with which to buy other things. The result must be that other industries on the average must be smaller than otherwise in order that the X industry may be larger. But the result of this subsidy is not merely that there has been a transfer of wealth or income, or that other industries have shrunk in aggregate as much as X industry has expanded. The net result is also...that the capital and labor are driven out of industries in which they are more efficiently employed to be diverted to an industry in which they are less efficiently employed. Less wealth is created."


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Working with the Boss's Son

I've been brooding over this topic for some time now, but I've got to make a comment. First let me emphasize how great and generous my employers are. These guys would give the shirt off of their backs to help one of their employees who is down on their luck (with construction workers, that seems more often than not). More than a few employees have left the company heavily in debt to my bosses, so they hardly fit the left's mold of greedy, hard-hearted capitalists titans. In that light, I begin.

I was walking down the hallway today after completing some work on a legal motion. In what has become a common occurrence, I looked into the office of the Boss' Son. I guess my shoes weren't striking the travertine tiles hard enough, because he didn't bother to stir from his slumber. In fact it took some tenacious throat clearing on my part to even get a bob of the guy's head. I could understand dozing off after pulling a late night in order to meet a work deadline, but when filing, even one document per day, becomes too great a burden, his paycheck, no matter how large, mocks the efforts of everyone else in the office.

Maybe I wouldn't mind if he no longer lived in his parents' basement, commonly bathed, shaved, brushed his teeth, or looked in the mirror before arriving at work. Maybe I wouldn't take notice if he didn't singlehandedly clear out the company's soft drink supply room by devouring twelve Coke's per day (not an exaggeration). Maybe I wouldn't be so embarrassed when investors and clients came to the office if he actually tucked in his shirt, rotated his jeans at least quarterly, and tied the shoelaces on his white Reebok high tops.

I ask I expecting too much? After all, none of those things are required in the 'virtual world' in which he lives.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Windmills for Suckers: Pickens' Genocidal Plan

Ouch!!!! This article appears in the Science & Technology section of the August 22, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
"Unless you want to kill people by energy starvation, wind is useless for an industrial society. It is intermittent, unreliable, subsidy dependent, with high costs and low energy density, and, for these reasons, wind requires a full-time back-up power source."


"Obstructing Official Business"

Despite all of the China's "progress," their people are still slaves. Read the following excerpt and I will explain below. For over a decade, Ni Yulan, 47, has been a prominent rights activist and lawyer fighting against Kelo (Chinese style) government land grabs in Beijing.

"They stuck the demolition notice on our front door," Dong said, (Ni's Husband)

"Nobody came to talk with us, there were no negotiations for compensation, no public hearings."

As all land belongs to the state in China, local officials enjoy immense powers to determine land-use rights, and critics say residents and farmers are often forcefully evicted in shady deals between the government and developers.

Ni was charged with "obstructing official business", and she has been in custody ever since although she has not appeared in court.

Sound familiar to the creeping property law changes in our own country? First, the Public Use Clause was "reinterpreted." Since that bulwark has been breached, look forward to the time when the Just Compensation Clause will be eviscerated.

It's only a matter of time till we witness American versions of Ni Yulan playing out all across the fruited plain. Why might you ask? Because both the federal government, and the states alike, have moved away from their ultimate and primary purpose--that of preserving private property and personal safety--to seizing the property of one class of citizen for the service of the rest.

One cannot be free when the fruits of their labor can be arbitrarily stripped from him by force. Property rights are inextricably intertwined with human rights. They cannot be separated. Former United States Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland stated it this way:
It is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual--the man--has three great rights, equally sacred from arbitrary interference; the RIGHT TO HIS LIFE, the RIGHT TO HIS LIBERTY, and the RIGHT TO HS PROPERTY. These three rights are so bound together as to be essentially ONE right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him liberty but to take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave." (From speech to the NY Bar Assn.)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama's BC$ Intervention

Having graduated from a "Mid-Major" college, President Elect Obama's threat on 60 Minutes "throw his weight around" (which, even while wearing his empty suit drenched in water, probably doesn't amount to much more than 175 lbs) in order to get the BC$ replaced by an eight team national playoff system, was music to my ears. The problem is that, if the "Wall Street Bailout" is any indicator, Occidental, Columbia and Harvard (Obama's alma mater), despite their lack of merit, will all soon be receiving an "automatic bid" to the playoff. Those greedy politicians just can't seem to resist funneling prizes to their friends.

While I wholeheartedly agree that no sport should ever be decided by a computer, or bunch of balding news desk-bound sports reporters, the idea of seeing the federal government intervene in college football is a little absurd, don't ya think? This is almost as grand as McCain proposing to propose a steroid czar to fix a problem that has already been rectified.

Here's the Quote:
The interview ended on a question about creating a college football playoff system for the national championship, with Obama calling for three rounds and potentially three more weeks to the season.

"I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this," he said. "I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."


Friday, November 14, 2008

Just in Time for Christmas

In the past two days (and just in time for Christmas), two of the nation's most influential editorial pages have weighed in on "public square" controversy brewing in Pleasant Grove, Utah--hardly a hotbed of social activism. All I can say is get ready for the day when your Christian Creche will be "balanced" by the atheists' singing Kansas' All we are is Dust in the Wind right next door.

The crux of the controversy in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum is that some ACLU lawyers, in order to make a name for themselves, dared a few members of some new-aged-Star-Trek-pseudo-religion to file a complaint against Pleasant Grove in order to have its teachings displayed on the grounds of Pioneer Park. Sounds funny, but let there be no doubt. Ultimately, this case is about one thing and one thing only--universal removal of religious monuments from the public square. It's not about "tolerance" or "inclusion." If it were, the attorneys would not have chosen so peculiar a plaintiff. After all, I highly doubt that there is a massive groundswell of support for this group's teachings to be placed in the park. The lawyers are simply trying to make a point. It was not long ago that the Supreme Court began its open hostility to religion (read Christianity) and it is being waged intensely under our noses.

It's interesting (but unsurprising) to note the divergent positions taken by these two papers. The NY Times frames the issue thusly:
The real problem is that Pleasant Grove City elevated one religion, traditional Christianity, over another, Summum...There is no shortage of churches, synagogues and private parcels of land where the Ten Commandments could be displayed without the need to include the credos of alternative faiths. Public property like Pioneer Park must be open to all religions on an equal basis — or open to none at all.
Aha! The last line reveals their true intentions. The WSJ, however, has a different view:
The common-sense argument against Summum's claim, which the U.S. Solicitor General made to the Supreme Court, was that it would cause a clutter of public monuments. If a city let private donors contribute a memorial to local boys who died in the Iraq war, would it have to accept another group's monument to pacifism? As Chief Justice Roberts asked yesterday, "Do we have to put any president who wants to be on Mt. Rushmore?"(As of now, perhaps.)...This is the sort of case that cries out for the judicial wisdom of Solomon, long dead in the U.S. Indeed it was the departure from common-sense wisdom that pitched the country into endless legal thickets
With the election of Barack Obama you can expect that the left wing radicals will be emboldened on every front. It's time to defend our traditions and our culture. It's time to push back the liberal hoards.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

California Cross Stomping

You know the times (and Culture) have changed when the desecration of the Christian cross hardly raises an eyebrow. They always say that what starts in California spreads to the rest of the country. Let's just hope that this trend travels really slow! (See minute 2:20)