Archive for the ‘Must Reads For The Week’ category

Must Reads For The Week 3/18/17

March 19, 2017

Portable 3D Printer Builds A Tiny House For A Tiny Price, by Adam Williams, at newatlas.com. Increasing output with less imput (becoming more productive) is how economies grow. Printing money doesn’t make an economy more productive. Printing money distorts the process of production. Only real increases in production grows an economy.

Ford Begins Testing 3D Printing Large Car Parts For Cost-Effective Customization, by Darrel Ethrington, at techcrunch.com. Again this is a good thing. Becoming more productive helps everyone.

Students Criticized The University’s Speech Polices, So It Cut Their Social Media Access, by Bre Payton, at thefederalist.com. At first I thought this headline was from The Onion. But The University of Lincoln proved the students right. Did someone in charge have this thought, “I’ll take away their free speech for criticizing our free speech policies”? And then actually think it made sense?

How Middlebury College Enabled The Riot During Charles Murray’s Visit, by Peter Wood, at thefederalist.com. Colleges are really indoctrination camps. If the student didn’t get brainwashed in high school, than it must be completed in college.

Politician Proposes Seat-Belt Law For Dogs, at targetliberty.com. Another example of a possible headline from The Onion, which turns out to be real.

THE SURVEILLANCE STATE

Congress Created The Spying Monster, by Andrew Napolitano, at lewrockwell.com. When you create a potential monster, you have to tie it down with strong enough chains to keep it in it’s own yard. Oh, and check on it every once and a while.

Here Is A List Of More Than A Dozen Proven Victims Of Obama’s Many Wiretaps, by Jim Hoft, at thegatewaypundit.com. Don’t listen to people who tell you these kinds of things don’t happen.

Obama Advisor Rhodes Is Wrong: The President Can Order A Wiretap, And Why Trump May Have The Last Laugh, at zerohedge.com. The President through the Attorney General can order electronic surveillance. This is part of the law Congress created.

INSIDERS DON’T LIKE OUTSIDERS

Although I disagree with Trump a lot when it comes to economics. He is fighting some battles against government insiders who don’t want to give up power. Winning these battles is important if we are to maintain our individual freedom.

Trump vs. The Deep State, by Ryan McMaken, at mises.org. Excerpt from the article: “The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability“. Trump is an outsider who is trying to deminish the power of the unelected deep state. He is fighting powerful forces.

Obama Administration Declared War On Trump, Trump Declared War Back, by P.H. Guthrie, at thefederalist.com. I don’t care what tactics Trump uses to fight the insiders (including the main stream media). We are fighting against people who want to take our individual freedom away. When you are in a fight for your life, there are no rules of conduct.

 

CARTOONS. From theburningplatform (more here).

Must Reads For The Week 3/11/17

March 12, 2017

ECONOMIC STUFF

Donald Trump and Peter Navarro Suffer From ‘Trade Deficit Disorder‘, by Mark J. Perry, at carpediemblog. Here is an excerpt form the article: “In his speech and op-ed, Navarro laid out Team Trump’s trade agenda that involves expanding US exports, reducing imports, and thereby reducing America’s merchandise trade deficit and supposedly therefore increasing our nation’s economic growth. Unfortunately, that’s a pure mercantilist trade agenda, which is an approach to trade that has been discredited now for several hundred years.

How Did Peter Navarro Ever Get A Ph.D In Economics From Harvard? economicpolicyjournal.com. Regular people being ignorant about economics is one thing. But having a Ph.D in economics and being economically ignorant is dangerous.

What Is Laissez-Faire? by Jeffery Tucker, at mises.ca. It simply means ‘Let it be’. A majority of people believe that complex order comes from top down planning by leaders possessing authority. It is inconceivable to them that unplanned order arises when people are allowed to manage their own lives and interact with others. Language is an example of complex spontaneous order. The rules of English were not written by someone and everyone started to follow them. People communicated with people and over time the ‘rules’ were established after discernible patterns (unwritten rules) were recognized. Attempts by Government central planners to control every aspect of society leads to chaos and conflict. Laissez-Faire. Please!

Repeal And Replace Needn’t Be Complicated, by Hunter Lewis, at mises.org. Do you use the term “healthcare system” or “healthcare market” when talking about ‘healthcare’. Most people talk about our “healthcare system”.  This shows we think of healthcare as a centrally planned system. The cost will never go down unless we see healthcare as an economic good rationed by prices in a market. Obamacare was 2500 pages of rules and regulations designed to ‘fix’ what was left of a healthcare market already encumbered by mountains of government regulations. The only ‘fix’ to our current “healthcare system” is to allow it to become a healthcare market. LAISSEZ-FAIRE! Get rid of all government regulations and a complex healthcare order will almost magically form itself. It won’t be a perfect order (nothing man does is perfect). But it will be the best that can possibly exist in a world of scarce resources and subjective value.

High Prices Don’t Cause Economic Bubbles, by Frank Shostak, at mises.org. When central banks increase the money supply (counterfeit money), scarce resources are misallocated to activities that would have never come into existence under normal market conditions. The 08 bubble was caused by the Fed electronically printing counterfeit money. It was not allowed to liquidate. More electronically printed counterfeit money was created to stop the correction. This counterfeit money has and is creating our present financial bubble. Excerpt from the article: “The emergence of a bubble or a monetary balloon need not be always associated with rising prices – for instance, if the rate of growth of goods corresponds to the rate of growth of the money supply then no change in prices will take place……what matters is not whether the emergence of a bubble is associated with price rises but rather with the fact that the emergence of a bubble gives rise to the emergence of non-productive activities that divert real wealth from wealth generators. The expansion of the money supply, or a monetary balloon, in similarity to a counterfeiter, enables the diversion of real wealth from wealth generating activities to non-productive activities.”

The Fed’s Dependence On The Consumer Will Backfire, by C. Jay Engel, at mises.org. Production is the creation of wealth and consumption is the destruction of wealth. Spending is consumption. Consumption is the destruction of what has been produced. Spending doesn’t grow an economy. We can only spend out of our own production. What we produce allows us to spend. Consumption has to lag behind production for an economy to grow. When consumption is increased by debt and money printing, we start a process where consumption is out pacing production. We start to eat our seed corn so to speak. Artificially increasing spending is a quick shot of adrenaline.  But it has no staying power.

 

CARTOONS

Must Reads For The Week 3/4/17

March 4, 2017

The Craziest Regulations In The Obama Era, at freebeacon.com. The nanny state is in every aspect of our life.

The Most Ridiculous Occupational Licensing Laws, at generationopportunity.com. Why should you get permission from government to get involved in these professions. Shouldn’t politicians have a basic understanding of economics since their policy decisions interfere with our economic decision-making.

Florida’s Government Built A Train – And It Didn’t Go Well, by tho Bishop, at mises.org. Government decided to construct commuter rail connecting the largest towns around Orlando. You can guess the result. It’s losing money. It is so bad, “the cost of issuing and taking tickets is greater than the revenue from ticket sales“.

Trump Orders Agencies To Reduce Regulations, at news.wghb.org. Regulations interfere with free market activities as we can see from the articles above. We need to take the regulatory shackles off of producers.

NY Teamsters Pension Becomes First To Run Out Of Money, As Expert Warns Of ‘Pension Tsunami’ Is Coming, at zerohedge.com. Many of these Union pension funds have turned into Ponzi schemes like social security.

Trump To Propose 24 Percent In EPA Spending, by David Henry, at thehill.com. Cutting the size and scope of government is as simple as cutting their funding. Government agencies exist by leaching off the tax payers aka producers.

Minimum Wage Massacre: Wendys Unleashes 1000 Robots To Counter Higher Labor Costs, at zerohedge.com. Who would have thought that increasing the cost of labor would lead to less of it being employed? Only those ignorant about economic principles.

Economic Reality Check: US Factory Jobs Are Not Coming Back, by Mark J. Perry, at carpediemblog. Our manufacturing output is increasing as the number of people needed to produce this output is declining. This is a good thing. We are producing more output with less input.

25 Reasons Why Protectionism Is Taken Seriously When It’s Actually A Form Of Economic Suicide, by Mark J. Perry, at carpediemblog. 1st reason. “The false belief that trade is a zero-sum game (win-lose), when in fact it is a win-win”.

Maine Drops 9,000 From Food Stamps After Refusal To Comply With Work Requirements, at zerohedge.com. These people couldn’t perform the minimum work requirements to receive food stamp. Obviously they didn’t need them in the first place, or they wouldn’t have made the decision refusing to comply with the work requirements.

Holder Foretells The Return Of Obama: “He’s Coming And He Is Ready To Roll”, at zerohedge.com. Please be like your predecessor George Bush. Just go away!

CARTOONS from theburningplatform.com.

 

 

Must Reads For The Week 2/25/17

February 25, 2017

Four Agencies To Abolish Along With The Department Of Education, by Ryan McMaken, at mises.org. The Department of Homeland Security, The EPA, The Department of the Interior, and The Department of Agriculture should be cut along with the Department of Education according to Ryan McMaken. I would also cut 10% from the budget of all the other agencies just for starters.

The “Washington Monument Syndrome” Strikes Again As Trump Imposes Hiring Free, by Tate Fegley, at mises.org. When Government budgets get cut, the first thing a Government Agency gets rid of is the most popular programs. Because nobody notices if you cut things that aren’t important ( shouldn’t have existed in the first place). Government agencies try to protect their fiefdom, at the expense of the tax payer (in dollars and regulations).

With Sales Depressed By Soda Tax, Philly Gorcers Look To Cut Jobs As Mayor Blames “Greedy” Soda Industry, by Eric Boehm, at reason.com. Who would have thought that raising the price would mean less demand? Less demand to the point of laying off workers?

Don’t Strangle AirBnb; Cut Its Competitors Some Slack, by A Barton Hinkle, at reason.com. The hotel industry should be lobbying the Government to get rid of cumbersome regulations on their industry instead of lobbying  government to pass more regulations in an attempt to crush their competition. The consumer looses when Government intervenes.

Move Over Greece, Italy’s Crisis Will Be Worse, at zerohedge.com. The world is changing. Governments in countries attempting to control every aspect of an individuals life are being tossed out by voters. That is what BREXIT was about.

South Australia Falls Victim To Green Hubris, by Jordan McGillis, at instituteforenergyresearch.org. Mandating the use of an intermittent supply of electricity like wind comes with a price. That price is rolling blackouts when electricity use surges past the point where intermittent wind can’t keep up with the increased demand.

Billions Gone: 2016 Olympic Venues In Brazil Are Now In Ruins, by Alice Salles, at mises.org. Why do politicians think that building the infrastructure to put on a three week one and done event, like the Olympics, would have any lasting economic effect? Hosting the Olympics is a waste of scarce resources that have alternative uses.

Obama Allows Wind Turbines to Legally Kill Eagles, at instituteforenergyresearch.org. Once again the left has a choice between two competing interests. In this case they must choose between  their beloved green energy and natures creatures. Obama has made a decision that increasing the amount of eagles killed by wind turbines by 4 times the previous number, is an acceptable trade off for his beloved green energy. But what would you expect from the oracle on green energy just before he left office. Obama’s ‘Science’ Article Long On Symbolism, Short On Substance, at instituteforenergyresearch.org.

Calexit – Beat The Crowd, at zerohedge.com. We’ve talked about California wanting to exit the U.S. But the real Calexit has and is already taking place. The real Calexit is the exit of individuals from California to states that have lower taxes and less regulation. No shock here. When you increase the cost of being a resident of California, you will have fewer residences.

RESPONDING TO FAKE NEWS

MSM Touts New Poll Showing Record Obamacare Support; Ignores 14 – Point Dem Over Sampling, at zerohedge.com. Here is an example of the MSM creating fake news from a fake poll.

White House Bars CNN, NYT, Others From Media Briefing, zerohedge.com. The MSM doesn’t know how to respond to Trump when he fights back, because past Republicans would have caved in at the first sign of media pressure. This should be the new template for how to deal with media bias. The media bullies don’t know what to do when they get their nose bloodied.

CARTOONS from theburningplatform.com. (more here)

 

Must Reads For The Week 2/18/17

February 18, 2017

THE ECONOMIC REALITY OF OIL

US Rig Count Rise Continues: What Will OPEC Do If The Market Doesn’t Rebalance? at zerohedge.com. The oil market is always balanced between existing supply and demand for oil. It may not be balanced from the perspective of OPEC, but it is always in balance. When the price of oil rose to $120 a barrel  in 2008 the oil price was balanced, and OPEC was happy, because they were the seller. But consumers of oil were not happy. Unfortunately for OPEC, but fortunately for the consumer, this price allowed the US fracking industry to enter the supply side of the market and ramp up production. As a consequence of this price increase, the fracking industry found lower cost ways of extracting oil. On the demand side, people started to use less oil because of the high price. The increased supply and decreased demand eventually reduced the price of oil to $40 a barrel. This price was ‘balanced’ at $40, but OPEC didn’t like this balance. OPEC decided to cut production which would decrease supply and eventually push the price back up. Unfortunately US fracking is now profitable in the $40-$50 a barrel range. As the OPEC cuts raised the price, to above $50, frackers were able to supply oil at this price, establishing a lower price that OPEC is not happy with, but consumers are. The OPEC ‘cartel’ doesn’t have the influence over the world oil market it once had. Thanks to the dynamic US fracking industry. Read my article: Decreased GAsolint Demand + Increased Oil Supply = Decreased Oil Prices.

Goldman Stunned By Collapse Of In Gasoline Demand: “This Would Require A US Recession“, at zerohedge.com. This is the other side of the supply and demand coin that we talked about above. Demand is collapsing. Which means the price will drop to sell off the over-supply which doesn’t coincide with the decreasing demand. The lower price will eventually bring supply and demand back in line with the desires of consumers and producers. Does this collapse mean that the economic activity is shrinking? Maybe. Or will demand go up when the price decreases? Read my article: Gasoline Consumption Is Down: Why?

HEALTHCARE  REALITY

Major Blow To Obamacare Mandate: IRS Won’t Reject Tax Returns That Don’t Answer Health Insurance Question, at reason.com. What does this tell us about Obamacare when bureaucrats don’t want any more paperwork and information? Trumps executive order providing relief from Obamacare seems to be effective.

Healthcare Is No Immune To The Laws Of Economics, by Jonathan Newman, at mises.org. This is why healthcare is not a right. Healthcare is an economic good that has to be produced by someone. You don’t have a right to take what someone produces. You have to exchange something you own for what the healthcare provider produces. Calling healthcare a right doesn’t magically change the reality that it is an economic good.

Judge Rules Health Insurance Companies Matter More Than Taxpayers, by Tho Bishop, at mises.org. The tax payers not only pay for the losses of  insurance companies who participated in government created high risk pools. We have to pay for our own increased insurance costs. Heads they win, tails we loose.

Two Health Insurance Company Mega-Mergers Collapsed Today Update (Humana Out Of Obamacare), at hotair.com. Government intervention always leads to a less optimal economic reality than would exist if the market was allowed to function freely.

DRAINING THE SWAMP

Rex Tillerson Cleaning House At State Department, by Danial Halper, at nypost.com. Getting rid of unelected decision makers who are biased toward big government (insiders) is a great start to changing the culture in the federal government.

E.P.A. Workers Try To Block Pruitt In Show Of Defiance, at nytimes.com. Who still thinks that government workers (public servants) are not biased politically. They don’t want anyone to be elected who they think will cut the size and scope of government. More unelected decision makers are going to be fired.

Over Massive Opposition, Betsy DeVos Is Confirmed As Education Secretary, at thinkprogress.org. If teacher’s unions and their allies are against her confirmation, her confermation must be a good thing. Teacher’s unions main concern is to increase the number of teachers in the country so money from union dues will increases. Educating children isn’t important to the leadership of the teacher’s unions. Although it probably is the main concern of a majority of the teachers who are members of the union.

House Republican Introduces A Bill To Get Rid Of Dept. Of Education, at zerohedge.com. Now this would really drain the swamp. Unfortunately the Republicans don’t have enough hangie down things to pass this bill.

MISCELLANEOUS

Medallion’ Bubble Bursts Around The World, at zerohedge.com. Who is shocked that a government created monopoly is collapsing because of an unforseen competitor. Government created artificial scarcity for Taxi medallions drove up their price. Now look who is paying the cost of this artificial scarcity. It isn’t the Government. It is the suckers who bought the medallions at the inflated prices.

Officials Continue To Dodge Attempts To Disclose Use Of Stingrays, at reason.com. Stingrays are cellular surveillance devices used by police.

Riot-Prone Mobs Are A Product Of America’s Cult-Like Education, at thefedrealist.com. Excerpt from the article: “….Today’s street theater is the culmination of decades of radical education revision. The radical Left’s systematic attack on the study of Western Civilization has essentially been an attack against the study of any and all civil societies. It is an attack n the features that make a society civil and free. Those features include freedom of expression, civil discourse, the Socratic method of figuring out truth, value of the individual, and a common knowledge of the classics of history and literature that help us understand what’s universal in the human experience.”

 

Must Reads For The Week 2/11/17

February 12, 2017

Human Action Beats Stats In The Super Bowl, by Jeff Deist, at mises.org. Being able to predict the outcome of events relies on how many variables are constant. When human beings are the variables, the predictive nature of stats becomes less effective, if not impossible, because human beings are not constant. Who thought the Patriots were going to win when they were down 28-3? When you looked at the statistical possibilities, you had to conclude there was no way. The face that individual human actors on the field and on the sidelines were making the decisions in the second half made this impossibility all too real. If one of the Patriots 2 point conversions was not successful, or if the Falcons decision to pass late had been successful, the outcome could have been different. The clarity of hindsight allows us to judge if the decision was ultimately correct in bringing about the desired result. But at those particular moments, each decision maker, on the sideline or on the field, thought his action would bring about success, or he wouldn’t have taken his decision. People who say that they wouldn’t have made that decision are speculating about something that can’t be recreated. Can all the particular knowledge and experience of a particular person be recreated in another person? Can the situation at the moment the decision had to be made be recreated? No. It is pure speculation to say you would have taken a correct decision at these particular moments in this game. You may have taken a different decision but that doesn’t mean it would have been successful. There is also another variable that enters into whether a decision turns out as planned. The other team gets a vote on whether you are able to execute your decision as you’ve  planned it. Here is the lesson we should take away from the Super Bowl. If the coaches and the 11 players on one side of the ball can’t make their decisions turn out exactly as planned; Why would we think that the decisions by politicians and bureaucrats, that affect 330 individual actors (non constant variables) aka people, possibly turn out as planned? Thinking that politicians and bureaucrats could make better decisions for people than these people can make for themselves is ridicules. Third party decision making doesn’t work as well as allowing the decision to be taken by the individual most affected by the results of the decision.

Bill Belichick: Entrepreneur, by Tho Bishop, at mises.org. This is a great article about Bill Belichick’s decision making as the general manager and the coach of the Patriots. He has a skill set that makes him “…not only America’s greatest football mind, but one of its greatest entrepreneurs.”

There’s A Global Riot Against Psuedo-Experts”, Nassim Taleb Explains, “This Is Not About Fascism, at zerohedge.com. Excerpt from the article: “I often say that a mathematician thinks in numbers, a lawyer in laws, and an idiot thinks in words….I think you have to draw the conclusion that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts. I saw it with Brexit,  Nigel Farage….. said “the problem with the government was that none of them had ever had a proper job. Being a bureaucrat is not a proper job”.”…….. “When Trump was running for election, I said what he says makes sense to a grocery store owner. Because the grocery guy can say Trump is wrong because he can see where he is wrong. But with Obama, he can’t understand what he’s saying, so the grocery man doesn’t know where he is wrong.

Tightening The Money Supply Will Inevitably Lead To A Bust, by Frank Shostack, at mises.org. The last 8 years of a zero interest rate policy by The Fed, was intended to stop the correction (bust) of the housing bubble. But this housing bubble was caused by the previous money pumping by The Fed via their previous low interest rate policy. The bust is the correction. The correction is good for our economic future. But no one wants it to happen on their watch. In our present political climate, The Fed has a scapegoat in Trump if they want to be released from the blame of crashing the market.

US Government’s 2016 Net Loss “More Than Doubled” To $1 Trillion, at theburningplatform.com. Just another trillion dollar deficit that has to be paid back by the Federal Government taking the first fruits from future production.

Cash No Longer King: Europe Accelerates Move To Begin Elimination Of Paper Money, at zerohedge.com. Central planners want to control everything you do by making everything a digital transaction. Because of this many people will barter for goods and services in a black market system. Over all productivity will decrease which means the standard of living will also decrease. Central planning an economy doesn’t create more wealth. All it does is redistribute the lower of wealth produced by their interventions.

16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won, at the federalist.com. No comment needed. Search this story (click here) and let me know if it is fake or real. I’m not quite sure either way.

CARTOONS from theburningplatform. (More Here)

 

Must Reads For The Week 2/4/17

February 5, 2017

 

CRA: The “Regulatory Game Changer” That Could Wipe Out 8 Years Of Obama Regs In An Hour, at zerohedge.com. The Congressional Review Act could be used to repeal much of the burdensome regulations of the last 8 years. But why stop at the last 8 years?

Trump Taps Net Neutrality Critic To Lead FCC, at economicpolicyjournal.com. ‘Net Neutrality’ is a back door, or maybe a front door, into government regulation of the internet. This appointment will help neutralize this push against a free internet.

A Tale Of Two Cities…..Paris & Washington, at zerohedge.com. As Paris is ramping up environmental regulations, Washington is in the process of getting rid of burdensome environmental regulations. These regulations are a cost to businesses and ultimately the consumer. Paris is putting a ‘tariff’ on itself, while Washington is reducing the amount of the self imposed ‘tariff’. Trump should learn a few things about the results of trade restrictions, subsidies and tariffs from this. If he understands that environmental regulations are costs on businesses and consumers, he should be able to understand that trade regulations are costs on businesses and consumers.

Obama Issued A Massive Ammunition Ban Just One Day Before He Left Office, at zerohedge.com. There is no better way to get rid of guns than to make the one activity that introduces younger people into the use of firearms more expensive. Hunting is how many people are taught the safe use of firearms. People who have never been around firearms are generally fearful of firearms and can be manipulated into thinking people don’t need firearms.

Trump Regulatory Freeze Halts $180 Billion Of Proposed Obama Rules, New Study Shows, at zerohedge.com. If just putting a stop on pending regulations will save $180 billion; what happens if existing regulations are cut?

Construction Equipment Rental, at equipmentshare.com. The sharing economy makes us more productive. HT/ Carpe Diem Blog.

Iron Roughnecks Are Taking Over Oil Rigs, at bloomberg.com. Producing more with less. Fewer people are needed to man oil rigs thanks to automation. This is a good thing if you understand economics. But a bad thing if you don’t. HT/ Carge Diem Blog (click here).

Exposing The Cronyist Argument For Carbon Taxes, at freedomandprosperity.com. You know Government has too much power when big business agrees with something like this. This tax imposes costs on the competitors of these big businesses. These smaller competitors can’t afford the tax, like the big businesses can. The smaller competitors are eventually driven out. The consumer pays for this through higher prices.

Destroying The “Wind & Solar Will Save Us” Delusion, at zerohedge.com. Another example of too much Government power. Politicians use the power of government in an attempt to bring things forward in time, before it’s their time to be in the present. High cost energy from wind and solar can’t compete with lower cost energy from fossil fuels. Trying to use regulation and tax payer backed subsidies and loans to move green energy forward before its time is a waste of scarce resources that could, and should, be used in more productive activities. Unfortunately for the green energy zealots, but fortunately for us,  fossil fuels are going to be our main source of energy for a long time. But this fact won’t stop politicians and bureaucrats from using tax payer money for these green boondoggles.

Identity Politics At It’s Best Worst

As Democrat Representative Andre Carson introduces himself at a rally, you can hear Nancy Pelosi reminding him to “Tell them you’re a Muslim”.

My article this week, “Fake Headlines” , talks about identity politics.

Cartoons from The Burning Platform (More Here)