Monday, December 13, 2010

Pawlenty on the Public Unions

Is it too early to join the Pawlenty for President bandwagon?
When Americans think of organized labor, they might think of images like I saw growing up in a blue-collar meatpacking town: hard hats, work boots, tough conditions and gritty jobs. While I didn't work in the slaughterhouses, I did become a union member when I worked at a grocery store to help put myself through school. I was grateful for the paycheck and proud of the work I did.

The rise of the labor movement in the early 20th century was a triumph for America's working class. In an era of deep economic anxiety, unions stood up for hard-working but vulnerable families, protecting them from physical and economic exploitation.

Much has changed. The majority of union members today no longer work in construction, manufacturing or "strong back" jobs. They work for government, which, thanks to President Obama, has become the only booming "industry" left in our economy. Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly eight million jobs while local, state and federal governments added 590,000.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So Much for Hopenchange

Barack Obama in 2004:

"Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America.

There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America."

Barack Obama this morning:

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

Via Rich Lowry:

It should be taken as an axiom of political life that if your argument is about the other side’s advertisements, you’re losing. If your argument is about who’s funding the other side’s advertisements, you’re losing badly. And if your argument is about how foreigners might — lack of evidencenotwithstanding — be secretly funneling cash into the other side’s advertisements, you’re losing in a historic landslide.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Keith Olbermann Warns of the Great Terrorist Threat Against US Muslims

I have never considered Keith Olberman some sort of intellectual giant, but this is stupid even by his standards. From 3:45 in:

Maybe those exploiting 45 Park Place would still shake their fists and decry terrorists by extremists, who happen to be Muslim, and never face the shameful truth about our country, as the Jacksonville Mosque bombing shows, since 9/11 Muslims have been at far greater risk of being victims of terrorism in the United States than have non-Muslims.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If That Doesn't Work He Will Put a Boot to Their Throat

First he usurps the bankruptcy process with GM and threatens the creditors to get them to accept it, then he extorts $20 billion out of BP, now he is threatening the insurance companies. RIP capitalism.

President Obama, whose vilification of insurers helped push a landmark health-care overhaul through Congress, plans to sternly warn industry executives at a White House meeting Tuesday against imposing hefty rate increases in anticipation of tightening regulation under the new law, administration officials said Monday.

The White House is concerned that health insurers will blame the new law for increases in premiums that are intended to maximize profits rather than covering claims.

Uhh, you are responsible. The new law changes the way the insurance market works, they will have to respond to it. You have nobody to blame but your own misguided policies. Go back to school and take economics 101.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Tale of Two Counties

As I have touched on before, end public employee unions now, before they turn us into another Greece.

Virginia law denies public employees collective bargaining rights; that's helped Fairfax resist budget-busting wage and benefit demands. As revenue dipped two years ago, Fairfax officials froze all salaries for county government and school employees with little ado. By contrast, Montgomery leaders were badly equipped to cope with recession. County Executive Isiah Leggett took office proposing fat budgets and negotiating openhanded union deals after he succeeded Mr. Duncan. Then, as economic storm clouds gathered, he shifted gears and cut spending -- while still trying to appease the unions.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Did the Stimulus Work? Don't Ask the Government.

I have touched on this before. The supporters of the $800 billion stimulus package claim all these jobs have been created and credit Keynesian theory, but the way that the jobs are being calculated is by using that very same Keynesian theory, in a perfect bit of circular logic.

In response to a new CBO update on the effects of the stimulus, DemWarRoom, the twitter feed for Senate Democrats, has posted a triumphant note about the program's success: "Critics of the stimulus listen up: CBO estimates that it put 2.8 million ppl to work in 1st 3 months of 2010." But it's stimulus boosters who ought to be paying more attention: Douglas Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, has stated plainly that his team's estimates do not measure real-world outputs (just inputs), that they do not serve as an independent check on its success or failure, and that if the stimulus had not created jobs, the CBO's figures would not reflect that fact. So no, sorry, try again: The CBO's updates do not actually confirm whether or not the stimulus is creating jobs.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is Keynesian Theory Dead Yet?

It didn't work in the 30's, it didn't work during the lost decade in Japan, it didn't work now. I know economics is a soft science, but still...

In latest quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics, the index that measures employment showed job growth for the first time in two years -- but a majority of respondents felt the fiscal stimulus had no impact.

NABE conducted the study by polling 68 of its members who work in economic roles at private-sector firms. About 73% of those surveyed said employment at their company is neither higher nor lower as a result of the $787 billion Recovery Act, which the White House's Council of Economic Advisers says is on track to create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another Racist Calls Obama a Socialist

Where are the denuciations?

"I think that the president and Nancy Pelosi get credit," Sharpton said. "I think this began the transforming of the country the way the president had promised. This is what he ran on."

And if that transformation is socialism, then so be it, he explained. That is what the American public "overwhelmingly" voted for.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Inane at Any Speed

Ralph Nader, one of the biggest frauds of the last half century, weighs in, poorly, on the recent Supreme Court election free speech decision.

The disparities between individual contributions and available corporate dollars mock any pretense of equal justice under the law. A total of $5.2 billion from all sources was spent in the 2008 federal election cycle (which includes 2007
and 2008), according to the Center for Responsive Politics. For the same two-year period, ExxonMobil's profits were $85 billion. The top-selling drug, Pfizer's Lipitor, grossed $27 billion in sales during that time.

Of course business is the ultimate boogie man for Nader, unless he is busy shaking them down. Nevermind that the McCain-Feingold act which the court truck down was only created in 2002, and there were plenty of rich companies before that, none of which were spending billions of dollars on campaign related commercials. The idea that they would is just silly.

Nader proposes a solution:

In the absence of a future court overturning Citizens United, the fundamental response should be a constitutional amendment. We must exclude all commercial corporations and other artificial commercial entities from participating in political activities. Such constitutional rights should be reserved for real people, including, of course, company employees, to enhance a government of, by and for the people.

Nevermind that the case he is talking about is not about a commercial corporation, but Citizens United, a non-profit one. This also effects unions and other such non-commercial entities. I would love to see Nader supporting an ammendment banning unions from political speech.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Public Unions

Personally, even though it will probably never happen, I think it should be illegal for public employees to be unionized. For starters, the whole point of unions was to protect workers from "capitalist exploitation", so why do they need protection from the enlightened government that they helped elect. Secondly, in a private corporation there are checks and balances, a company cannot survive without paying enough to recruit qualified workers for their industry, nor can they survive if they pay their workers too much to be competitive. GM stands as an example of this, although they have managed to survive solely through government intervention. In government though, they have an endless supply of money they can simply confiscate from taxpayers to pay their workers, in a weird sort of monopoly power. Anyway, the WSJ, as usual covers this topic well.

In private industries, union workers are subject to the vagaries of the marketplace and economic growth. Thus in 2009 10.1% of private union jobs were eliminated, which was more than twice the 4.4% rate of overall private job losses. On the other hand, government unions offer what is close to lifetime job security and benefits, subject only to gross dereliction of duty. Once a city or state's workers are organized by a union, the jobs almost never go away.

This means government is the main playing field of modern unionism, which explains why the AFL-CIO and SEIU have become advocates for higher taxes and government expansion in cities, states and Washington. Unions once saw their main task as negotiating a bigger share of an individual firm's profits. Now the movement's main goal is securing a larger share of the overall private economy's wealth, which means pitting government employees against middle-class taxpayers.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fox News and Media Bias

I found this study on the media and the president interesting. Most of the focus was on the fawningly ridiculous coverage of Obama, but this factoid stood out.

Previous CMPA studies found that Mr. Bush received only 23 percent positive
evaluations in 2001; Mr. Clinton had 28 percent positive evaluations in 1993 and Mr. Reagan had 26 percent positive evaluations in 1981…

Fox News was never in the Obama fan club, however. Only 22 percent of their stories on Mr. Obama were positive during the year, some of it quite pointed.

So otherwise Fox News treated Obama just like the media treated every other president up to Obama. Hey, they really are fair and balanced!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Cheap Economists

I found this rather amusing, and it explained several of my professors in b-school. They know who they are.

Academic economists gather in Atlanta this weekend for their annual meetings, always held the first weekend after New Year's Day. That's not only because it coincides with holidays at most universities. A post-holiday lull in business travel also puts hotel rates near the lowest point of the year.

Economists are often cheapskates.

The economists make cities bid against each other to hold their convention, and don't care so much about beaches, golf courses or other frills. It's like buying a car, explains the American Economic Association's secretary-treasurer, John Siegfried, an economist at Vanderbilt University.

"When my wife buys a car, she seems to care what color it is," he says. "I always tell her, don't care about the color." He initially wanted a gray 2007 Mercury Grand Marquis, but a black one cost about $100 less. He got black.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Why the Health-Care Bills Are Unconstitutional

I am not a huge Orrin Hatch fan, but he is absolutely right here. If Congress can force you to purchase a private product, then their powers are unlimited, and the constitution is meaningless.

President Obama's health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because key provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional. Legally speaking, this legislation creates a target-rich environment. We will focus on three of its more glaring constitutional defects.

First, the Constitution does not give Congress the power to require that Americans purchase health insurance. Congress must be able to point to at least one of its powers listed in the Constitution as the basis of any legislation it passes. None of those powers justifies the individual insurance mandate. Congress's powers to tax and spend do not apply because the mandate neither taxes nor spends. The only other option is Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.