Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Time Is Now: Join The New Blood Party

Please vote on Tuesday.  And when you do, please consider joining the NBP  Read about it below.

Here’s an idea for a new political party.  It won’t cost you a cent to join, but if you do join, it would make a monumental difference in your life and in the lives of all other Americans.

This new political party won’t hold a convention, won’t elect officers, and won’t ask you for money.  All you have to do to join is don’t vote for an incumbent.

This New Blood Party has only one party plank; vote every incumbent out of office in the next elections and in every future election.  You'll get more bang for your buck if you vote with the NBP at every political level --- local, state, and federal.  But it's exceptionally important at the federal level.

In other words, federal politicians would get one term, and one term only.  If you like, we can expand the term for a member of Congress to four years.  One 6-year term as a senator seems just about right as it is, in my judgment.
 
If you're Democrat, vote Democrat. Just don't vote for the incumbent Democrat.
If you're Republican, vote Republican. Just don't vote for the incumbent Republican.  Whatever your political stripe, just don't vote for an incumbent.  Join the NBP

Send a message to all politicians; we're tired of their B.S., and we’re not going to take it anymore. Use the ballot box; make a difference.  Don't simply vote for the "lesser of the two evils" as we've all been doing.  Join the NBP; don't vote for an incumbent. No exceptions.
It's pretty simple. Nobody needs to change parties or political philosophy. A few good politicians would lose their jobs, but don't worry; they probably have better retirement and health insurance than 95% of the American public anyway.  They'll be okay.
 
We’ve all had to struggle for the last five years. Have you had a raise?  Me neither.  Some of you have lost your job and may now be working a lower paying job just to feed your family.  You can thank Congress for that; The 545 have the power, you know.  Recessions don't just happen.  You can read more about that here , and for good measure, here.
 
It really doesn’t even matter who is President of the United States.  It is pleasant to have a President who can make a good speech, but that's not really what matters.  It wouldn't hurt if the President believed in personal liberty and voluntary exchange, either.  But in the end, it isn't who's President that really matters.

It’s the 535 members of Congress who pass laws and control spending that really matter.  Let’s review the record of the Incumbent Party, which is the party we have in Washington today.  Want the facts about that claim?  Check it out here.
       

  • The U.S. Post Service was established in 1775. Congress had 234 years to get it right, but it can’t compete with Fed Ex and UPS, but the Postal Service wants more tax-dollar subsidies (and higher rates), just same.
  • Social Security was established in 1935. Congress had 74 years to get it right, but everyone knows it will be bankrupt without enormous increases in our taxes.  By the way, lots of us know how to fix Social Security.  Just make it an actuarial annuity program.  But wait; that wouldn't get the Incumbent Party re-elected, even though it would work.  Maybe that explains why we have the Social Security program we have?
     
  • Fannie Mae was established in 1938. Freddie Mac in 1970. Any questions about these two financial debacles?  If so, read about it here.  They played a central role in the Great Recession we are still in the grips of today.
  • The War on Poverty started in 1964. But even with $1 trillion of our money confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor," all we have gotten is a permanent class of “the poor” who want ever larger handouts.
  • Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. Everyone knows that without massive increases in taxes, both programs will be bankrupt in 20 years.
  • The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000employeeswith a budget of $24 billion a year, but we import more oil than ever before. Congress and its Incumbent Party had 32years to get it right, yet it is an abysmal failure.

Congress and its Incumbent Party has failed in virtually every "government service" it has shoved down our throats; meanwhile, the federal debt has ballooned to more than $12.5 trillion with no possibility of slower growth in sight.  Read about it here. This year's federal deficit alone will top a mind-boggling $1 trillion.  Simply stupefying.

Now, Congress and its Incumbent party want Americans to entrust health care to the federal government and its bureaucratic minions.  Simply unbelievable. 

Join the NBP; don’t vote for an incumbent, regardless of who it is or what she or he has done for you or your state.  If your politician did a great job, fine; thank them and then let’s move on.
If you like what’s going on in Washington, and you think voting out every incumbent is a bad idea, then keep voting for the same folks who are bringing you just what we've got.  But if you're fed up and think getting rid of long-term professional politicians is a great idea, then don't vote for an incumbent ever again.  Join the NBP.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Think We Have Fraud With Medicare? Just Wait

Read here about the duplicity of the AMA and at least some of the nation's medical doctors.  Do you suppose any of this will get better with Obamacare?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Worried About Deflation?

I know that most of the readers of this blog are in a panic about the possibility of deflation (instead of inflation), so I thought I'd better try to allay your worries.

Here, Robert P. Murphy does his usual excellent job of explaining why the threat of deflation is a hoax perpetrated by the Fed and other power brokers who move all the rest of us about by mangling financial markets.

Since the invention of the Fed in 1913, the purchasing power of a dollar has been steadily eroded by inflation.  What $1 used to buy in 1913 now buys less than 10 cents worth of equivalent goods and services.  Now that really is a problem.

Price inflation is a sustained increase in the average of the prices of all goods and services in the economy. Price inflation is a problem because it is a silent but effective form of government theft.

Price inflation occurs if and only if the money supply is inflated first and persistently.  When the federal government runs a deficit --- as it has since time out of mind --- new money injection into the economy finances the government's deficit.  In other words, the federal government purchases real stuff with newly created money.

The newly created money results in general price inflation if the economy is growing at a slower pace than the rate of new money creation.  In simple terms, prices get bid up because the new money is just money, and production of real goods and services hasn't grown enough to keep up with the creation of new money.

Price inflation means the purchasing power of your dollars falls.  You thought you had a dollar of purchasing power, but by next year, you have only 98 cents of purchasing power.  After 10 years of just 2% price inflation each year, you have only 82 cents of purchasing power from every dollar you had 10 years earlier.

In the mean time, the federal government has spent billions of newly created dollars on real stuff without bothering to tell you that they were taxing you with the inflation tax to finance the spending.  Pretty nifty, huh?

Money inflation is exactly what the Fed has been up to for the past 98 years or so.  So now, Bernanke's Fed wants us to believe that even more inflation is necessary to ward off the specter of deflation.  Just why general price deflation would be such a problem is not clear, but we are supposed to be terrified at the prospect.

Pardon me for thinking this way, but I think the real reason the Fed keeps inflating the money supply is because the Fed is a creature of the federal government (i.e, the 545), and the U.S. Treasury is the first and most substantial beneficiary of new money creation.

If you can steal from people without them recognizing they have been robbed, you can probably keep stealing from them indefinitely.  That's what inflation is all about.  And it's not new; it's been around for centuries, all the way back to the days of coin clipping by kings to finance wars.

Of course, if your personal income keeps up with inflation, you probably don't mind.  But what about the rest of us?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Want Your Money

I'm just guessing that readers of this blog will probably want to see the movie whose trailer can be seen here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your Public Servants At Work


Highway Robbery on Capitol Hill, Part Deux
By Rich Smith (TMF Ditty) | More Articles
October 11, 2010 | Comments (4)
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander," or so the saying goes. But what happens when good geese go bad?
Two words: Gangster ganders
A few months back, I described the epidemic of insider trading -- legalized insider trading -- in Congress. Elected officials were snapping up shares of inverse ETFs, shorting homebuilders, and betting against the U.S. dollar at the same time they were approving hundreds of billions in bailouts.
Turns out, though, the problem is bigger than we thought. It's no longer just congressional geese flying foul -- now their salaried congressional staffers are ruffling investor feathers as well. As today's issue of The Wall Street Journal reveals, it's not just Congress-people dipping their hands in the till. In addition to your elected representatives, you see, some 17,000 of their paid and unpaid staffers roam the halls of Congress, and as it turns out, they're all stock market geniuses, too!
According to Journal analysis of publicly disclosed stock trades -- disclosed, of course, long after the fact -- placed in 2008 and 2009, congressional staffers have been caught investing in shares of:
·        Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), during the period between when bank "stress test" results were tallied, and when they were published.
·        Citigroup (NYSE: C), just before Treasury announced a conversion of the government's preferred Citi shares to common.
·        Fannie Mae (OTC BB: FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (OTC BB: FMCC.OB ), just two days before Congress authorized emergency funding for the mortgage lenders.
·        Sunpower (Nasdaq: SPWRA) and Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER), in the midst of debate over how much "stimulus" funding should go to subsidizing alternative-energy investments.
The list goes on and on -- and it's not even a complete list! These are just a few examples culled from the Journal's study, which polled the data on 1,700 of Congress's highest-paid (up to $170,000 a year) staffers. But another 15,000 staffers do not meet the requirements for even this kind of mealy-mouthed, once-a-year, "I bought somewhere between 10-and-10,000 shares" non-disclosure disclosure. Result: Ninety percent of the staffers on Capitol Hill have no obligation whatsoever to tell the public about their trading.
As I said in May, it's all totally legal. Crazy as it may sound, there's actually no law forbidding insider trading inside Congress, or requiring Congress-people to inform the rest of us of what they're up to. At best, we're given an annual report on what our representatives did ... months after it was done. And while Congressman Brian Baird of Washington and Louise Slaughter of New York have offered a "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act" to curb insider trading in Congress, only nine of their peers -- your representatives -- have signed on in the House. And none in the Senate.
For now, it seems, the game remains rigged.
Senator Reid? Caesar's wife called. She's not impressed.
Practicing damage control after his own staffer was caught trading Energy Conversion Devices shares on the sly, Sen. Harry Reid's PR spokesman declared yesterday: "[Our] actions must not only follow the law, but must meet the higher standards the public has a right to expect from elected officials and their staffs."
To which I reply: "Amen, brother." But there's a better solution. You're in the business of passing laws, so now pass this one: Henceforth, elected officials and their hirelings should take a page from the disclosure requirements we follow here at the Fool. They should publish their intent to buy or sell stock before placing the trade. Not months after the fact.
Love this article? Get our best articles delivered direct to your inbox at no cost. Sign up for Foolwatch Weekly by entering your email below.

The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Isn't the Private Sector Creating More Jobs?

Markets Alert
from The Wall Street Journal

"The U.S. economy continued to lose jobs last month as small gains in the private sector failed to offset big cuts in government workers, pointing to a still sluggish recovery.

Private-sector employers added only 64,000 jobs in September, the Labor Department said. Overall, nonfarm payrolls fell by 95,000 as temporary census workers were let go and state and local governments also cut employment.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated with a separate household survey, remained unchanged at a lofty 9.6% in September."

Not good news, obviously.  But why has job growth been so painfully slow, now that the economy is growing again?  What can be done about it?  Are the nation's leaders doing the right things to speed up job growth?

I believe two important factors are working in tandem to keep job growth so slow.  The first factor is structural and it will take years, not months to overcome.  The second factor depends entirely on the laws the 545 have given us and could be changed in a few months.

The first cause of such slow recovery in job growth is a mismatch between skills and knowledge of the labor force, compared to skills and knowledge that businesses need to compete in the global economy.  The simple truth is that American businesses no longer want as much of what the labor force has to offer, and certainly not at the wages the American labor force was enjoying before the Great Recession began.

As has always been true throughout the history of humans, technology has made it possible to produce more goods and services with ever decreasing quantities of human labor.  That fact is lamentable if you are a worker whose labor is no longer wanted, but that fact is also the wellspring of the vast increase in human prosperity that most humans on the planet have enjoyed over the most recent 50 years past.

Each year, I ask my beginning economics students how it is that star athletes like Tiger Woods, Peyton Manning, and Kobe Bryant --- big, strong, capable laborers, all --- get paid so much to play games.  Any number of answers students offer up catch a piece of the right answer, but students always miss one answer that is actually quite important.  That answer is that we no longer need these fine specimens of human labor out in the field hoeing the corn.  Technology has made that job quite unnecessary.

As recently as the year 1900, about 98 percent of the American population lived on a farm.  They did so because that's were they could get enough food to stay alive.  Today, less than 2% of the American population lives on a farm.  Technology made living on farms to stay alive unnecessary.  That same technology made countless jobs utterly unnecessary.

As humans learn more and more about the world and technology that gets embodied in capital goods --- machines, equipment, computers, and all the rest --- more and more human labor will become quite unnecessary.  As a very direct result, when economic recession is brought on by the bungling of the 545 and the Fed, as it was once again in 2007, large numbers of workers will never be rehired to do the jobs they lost in the recession.

What can be done about this job-destroying fact?  Certainly nothing that will be done by BHO, Washington and all the rest of the federal government.  Individual people will simply have to recognize the mismatch between the skills and knowledge they have now and get to work on changing their skills and knowledge to better match up with the ever-advancing state of technology.  There is no going back.

Extending unemployment benefits works exactly in the opposite direction of the only solution to the problem. Growing government and transfer payments also works in the opposite direction.  Fortunately, lots of voters appear to be understanding more about how vacuous BHO and crews' policies are.  Fortunately, November is just around the corner.

Retooling takes time; years, not months.  Retooling will also require that the growth in transfer payments from Peter to pay Paul must stop.  Creating new money must also stop.  Transfer payments and more new money give people exactly the wrong incentives to do what will be necessary.

Anyone looking for a quick, policy-driven solution to this part of the slow-growth-in-jobs problem is looking for something that just isn't going to happen.  Never mind the eloquent rhetoric of BHO. 

The second major factor causing job growth to be so slow is the set of laws the 545 have given us --- laws that have placed a strangle hold on American productivity, ingenuity, and ambition.

Some of those laws are tax laws.  America has an arbitrary, unfair, growth-choking federal income tax code.  It could be fixed; read about it here.

Some of those laws are regulatory laws.  The litany of regulatory laws that choke the American economy is vast, convoluted, and deeply ingrained.  Getting rid of that body of law might be nearly impossible at this stage of the game.  But we must try, just the same.  We could start by repealing the enabling legislation recently passed  for the new consumer finance agency. 

Some of those laws rob Peter to pay Paul.  Obamacare is the most recent example.  Do you want to see even more loss of jobs in America?  All we need to do is allow Obamacare to get under way.  Yes, our health care system needs to change.  Read how here.  But Obamacare isn't the right change.

All those laws are counter productive, and they retard and inhibit the economic growth that simply will be necessary to return America to wide-spread economic prosperity.  Read a really revealing explanation of these laws here. To read a compelling and accurate account of why we had a recession and what it will take to recover, read this.

This second important factor responsible for slow job growth can be changed, and we can get started on the task as early as next month.  Join me in the New Blood Party.  We are definitely in a hole; let's quite digging.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blame It On the Chinese

Evidently, Tax Cheat in Chief, Timothy Geithner, is following marching orders from on high.  Blame the lack of recovery from the Great Recession on the Chinese.  Most folks won't have even a slim clue about whether Geithner's statement below is sh** or shinola:

"Mr. Geithner said more countries face stronger pressure over time to resist market forces pushing up the value of their currencies. The collective impact, the treasury secretary said, causes inflation and asset bubbles in emerging economies or else depressed consumption growth."

Trust me; it's sh**.  Who are you going to believe; the nation's  Tax Cheat in Chief, or me?

Since BHO and crews' economic policies haven't worked, now its time to find someone else to blame.  The Chinese are easy whipping boys, since most folks don't really understand much about international finance and exchange rates.  Read more about the utter  nonsense of blaming the Chinese for America's economic woes here.

Inflation isn't caused by market forces that are "pushing up the value of their currencies," and I truly believe that the Tax Cheat In Chief knows it.  His words were offered at a recent IMF conference, which was nothing more than a big political stage that would need to come up several notches to reach vacuousness. If you want some real economic meat on the subject, read this.

In the United States, the Fed causes inflation.  In other countries, their monetary authority, be it a central bank or some other part of their government, causes inflation.  Market forces do not cause inflation.

The Tax Cheat in Chief is a well-trained economist, so we can be sure he understands what causes inflation.  We can also probably understand why he says something at the IMF conference that contradicts what he knows.  It's election time, and BHO and crews' economic policies are making a loud sucking sound.

Here, the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Evans, calls for still more of what really causes inflation.  That would be the Fed purchasing Treasury bonds with newly created money.  Read more about the Fed and inflation here and  here.

The Tax Cheat in Chief's remarks are intended to divert attention from BHO and crew and the real causes of the Great Recession and the continuing lack of recovery from it.  It is election season, you know.  Read here about what is really going on.  You will notice that the truth has nothing to do with the Chinese.

If I Had a Hammer

Here, president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Evans, calls for increasing the already bountiful monetary base (high-powered money).  Yeah, right.  That'll work.  Look how well it's helped stem the Great Recession so far.  Read here for a more extended explanation of why expanding the money supply won't help.

Evidently, the Fed believes that most every economic problem can be solved by growing the money supply.  That's the Fed's main hammer, you know, so just about every problem looks like a nail to the Fed.

Is anyone but me wondering why growing the money supply would work now, since it hasn't ever resulted in economic prosperity before?  Read here for an extended explanation of what will happen when the Fed engages in still more "quantitative easing," as the Fed likes to call it.

If more money in the economy won't spur a recovery, what will?  If you read this blog once and a while, you already know.  Production of real goods and services and voluntary exchange free of government regulation and control will fan the flames of recovery. Nothing else will.

Some Conservatives, (and All Libertarians) vs. Some Liberals (and All Progressives)

An old friend from the hood back in Kansas sent me this.  It's too good not to pass along.

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college.  Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative, a feeling she openly expressed.  Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.  He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew.  She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.


Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?”

She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by.  All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA.  She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast.  She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0.  That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”  


The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, “That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair!  I've worked really hard for my grades!  I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work!  Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree.  She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the conservative side of the fence.”

If anyone has a better explanation of the differences between conservatives, liberals, progressives, and libertarians, I'm all ears.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

If you ever wondered what side of the fence you're on, here's a little test.

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.  A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it to his friends so they can have a nod and a chuckle.  A liberal will most likely delete it, because he's "offended."