Archive for Finance and money

Earth hour: get people off it for betterment?

Mark Perry explains why Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty, and backwardness citing Canadian economist Ross McKitrick.

“Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.”

“The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.”

Why? What is it that drives those who are able to put their own energy needs into the background to want to deprive others of the freedom and liberty it can bring?

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Public servants or public masters?

James Rust says Barack Goes Berserk on Climate ‘Deniers’ (gold stars for fed alarmists?) but the real story is that so many government employees have forsaken their primary duty and become a political arm.

“Organizing For Action (OFA) is a non-profit and community organizing project formed after President Obama’s 2012 re-election to promote his agenda. On March 5, 2015, OFA sent out a letter under President Obama’s signature reporting certain elected officials were climate change deniers with the following statement:

“You’re part of an important team with OFA, with a mission of holding climate change deniers’ feet to the fire.“

“Recent actions of intimidating letters sent to university presidents by Congressman Raul Gripalva February 24 and letters sent February 25 to 100 pro-energy organizations by Senators Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse protesting alleged conflicts of interest due to compensation received by those who question carbon dioxide from fossil fuels causes catastrophic climate change.”

“Using the Freedom of Information Act, attorney Chris Horner uncovered a March 3, 2009 internal EPA memo to Richard Windsor (EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s cover-up name) that recommended a different approach be used to generate public support for EPA’s policies. ”

“Another example is shown by activities of the Department of Interior’s U. S. Geological Survey (USGS).”

“On February 10, 2015, the Department of Agriculture issued a press release “USDA Announces Funding for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects” which described the availability of $280 million from the 2014 Farm Bill for their Rural Energy for Americans Program (REAP)”

So many agencies with so many governmental employees: you’d think there would be some pushback on the effort to force an ideological fantasy on the public. So far, it seems, it’s just crickets chirping.

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For the greater good

There was a letter sent to several universities inquiring about research funding from several members of the minority party in Congress. That created a backlash that has resulted in a number of FOIA requests to provide insight into the “Climate Empire.” Paul Driessen describes how The Climate Empire Gets Nasty (‘crony science’ for funding, power).

“As the pressure for debate and reform mounts, the Climate Empire insists that its actions serve “the greater good” – preventing catastrophic climate changes. But aside from the absence of evidence clearly linking fossil fuel emissions to significant climate events (or even to phenomena that are simply different in frequency or intensity to what mankind and planet have endured since time immemorial), there are two insurmountable problems with this alarmist tautology.

“The “Greater Good”?

“First, it requires depriving billions of people of reliable, affordable energy today – to prevent hypothetical crises decades from now. And that means causing thousands of deaths each winter in Britain and Europe in households where families cannot afford proper heat – and millions of deaths annually in Third World countries, from lung, intestinal and other diseases that modern energy and living standards would prevent.

“Should the Climate Empire have such life-or-death powers? And who has the moral or legal authority to grant it such powers? Perhaps there was a reincarnation of Moses’ burning bush?”

“a recent analysis by economists William Butos and Thomas McQuade on how “Big Players” can distort climate research and other scientific endeavors” provided topics for a more fruitful discussion than the efforts of the Congressmen.

“Will the lies and other outrages ever stop? Probably not anytime soon. But those of us who believe in the scientific method, evidence instead of models and proclamations, and modern living standards for all who want them must not cease our efforts.

For as Rabbi Tarfon said five centuries ago, “You are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to abandon it.””

Much as Ferguson is revealing the outcome of catering to thugs and criminals due to race by senior government officials, The Mann court case and the assault on Professor Soon are revealing the tactics and that result in changes such as responsible researchers avoiding climate research altogether. The costs, as the economists note, are horrific. To those on the left, those who worship Marx and communism in any form, those costs are of no concern because it is all for the greater good.

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The ‘Free Internet’ movement: Looking for governmental solutions

Ryan Radia says Don’t Extend the Dead Hand of the FCC to the Internet — “Entrusting the FCC with broad and ambiguous regulatory powers was, and remains, a grave mistake“.

“On February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a proposal to regulate companies that provide Internet access as public utilities.”

“Why the sudden march to regulate? In 2008 and again in 2010, the FCC tried to impose somewhat less onerous rules on Internet providers, but both times, a federal court found that the agency exceeded its authority. Rather than admit defeat and move on, the FCC took a third stab at rulemaking in 2014—this time proposing more modest rules that hewed to the court’s rulings. But last summer, the White House began making its own plans for the Internet, as if it were a “parallel version of the FCC itself.”

“The rallying cry behind the FCC’s impending rules can be summed up in two words: net neutrality. According to this superficially benign concept, coined by the left-leaning law professor Tim Wu, Internet providers should be barred from discriminating against applications, services, content, or devices without an extremely good reason. Over time, net neutrality has morphed into the broader notion that Internet providers shouldn’t even be allowed to accept payment from content companies such as Netflix or Amazon for priority traffic handling.”

“Why the drive to handicap Internet providers’ business models? Because, the argument goes, infrastructure is special—so much so that it deserves comprehensive federal oversight. Internet service providers are supposedly all-powerful gatekeepers with the incentive and ability to pick winners and losers online.”

As a general rule, the government is a last resort for solving society’s problems. Advocating governmental involvement when you can’t really define a problem should raise many questions. Creating conspiracies and imagined collusion in order to assert monopoly is not a good basis for action. The record of the government in regards to telecommunications regulation was only adequate when there actually was a monopoly and technology needed a gateway. The heyday of that for telephones was forty years ago. Twenty years ago, technologies provided a means around the established infrastructure. But we still have taxes from a hundred years ago, taxes that hit the small and less capitalized persons and businesses the hardest. Getting government to let go is even more difficult that getting it involved in the first place. That is the threat with this effort to implement socialist theology on the I’net.

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Nobody so blind as he who won’t see

Someone defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. That seems to be a chosen mode of operation in some political corners these days. For an example, see ‘Hidden in Plain Sight': A Q&A with Peter Wallison on the 2008 financial crisis and why it might happen again

“Legislation can only be effective if it is drawn up by a Congress that understands the nature of the problem it is supposed to solve. Dodd-Frank was based on the false idea that the 2008 financial crisis was caused by insufficient regulation of the private sector. This narrative supported what the 2010 Democratic Congress wanted to accomplish—the imposition of much greater regulation on the US financial system—but did not come close to identifying or addressing the government policies that were the actual cause of the crisis. Indeed, by absolving the government from any role in the crisis, the supporters of Dodd-Frank left the government free to do the same thing again—something that is occurring right before our eyes. The president’s proposal last week to reduce the FHA’s insurance premiums, and the FHFA’s ruling that Fannie Mae and Freddie should accept 3% down payments on mortgages, are only the most recent examples that we are on our way to repeating a very sad history.”

“The key question is whether the American people have learned that it was the government’s housing policies, and not the risk-taking and greed of the private sector, that caused the 2008 financial crisis. With that understood, we can have a genuine national debate on whether the US should continue a government role in the housing finance system. At the moment, the signs are not good.”

It does sound so nice – for everyone to be able to own their own home. The problem occurs when it is decided that the government is the agent to be used to accomplish this idea. Then, when the results of that effort hit home, the ‘sounds nice’ crowd get into rationalizations that choose an ‘evil capitalist’ to explain the failure. That continues to downward spiral of solving the wrong problem, creating more problems, and spending ever more resources on solutions to the wrong problems.

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A recipe for American decline

Brian Wise says Blocking Uber’s innovation is not the American way

“Saving Uber isn’t just about one company, but giving all innovative products that aim to respond to market demand a fair chance to thrive without unjust government interference. At a time when an explosion of technology is changing the marketplace virtually every day, we either innovate or we fall victim to a debilitating self-restraint that means less productivity and a lower quality of life for everyone.”

The trade licensing issue fits in here as well. Nevada is especially pernicious in its assault on small business in the many license requirements for low skill vocational activities. These are supposedly to ‘protect the public’ but that was in a day before you could easily check up on companies and individuals regarding their service capabilities and customer satisfaction.

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Another ‘big lie” – bank bailout

It’s Hinderaker on the occupiers and their complaints about Wall Street and the bailout of big banks:

“For years, my friends in the banking industry told me that the federal government was forcing them to make bad loans. Mortgages were not the only such bad loans, but while they were the largest, they were also the least problematic from the banks’ standpoint, since the taxpayers, through Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, stood ready to buy them and assume the risk. The financial collapse of 2008 and the recession that followed were caused primarily by liberal policies enforced by the federal government that went back to the Carter administration.”

“”In what sense were banks “bailed out”? They weren’t “given” anything. Large banks were forced to take liquidity loans by the lender of last resort to prevent a bank run while the equity holders got mercilessly hammered in the market. Most “bankers” had huge amounts of their bonuses and net worth in options or in equity in the bank, respectively, which also became nearly worthless. Hundreds of thousands of “bankers” lost their jobs and will never work in finance again, most likely. This is a “bailout”?””

“”The bank liquidity programs were nothing like the bailout of GM or Chrysler, which were actually given money directly and indirectly, through special tax legislation creating a loophole worth about $45 billion in foregone taxes, most of which will never be recovered. And it was done in an irregular.””

“Of course, if the Democrats want to base their 2016 campaign on anti-bank populism, they will have to deal with the fact that the financial industry contributed more money to Barack Obama’s campaigns than any industry has contributed to any candidate in the nation’s history. Why might that be? The Democratic Party is, and has been for a long time, the party of Wall Street. The congruence between the Obama administration’s policies and Goldman Sachs’s interests is almost perfect.”

It’s where the money is and that means it is a rich target for political hacks who haven’t considered the morality of their ideology. The lack of intellectual integrity is a necessity in order to maintain the pretense, to believe the lie. That never turns out well.

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Uber and the taxi wars of the 60’s continue

You may have heard of Uber. It is a modern take on taxi service that is encountering resistance from the established business model. The Las Vegas Review Journal describes a bit of the history of this struggle: Taxi wars’ of ’60s predate today’s stand-off with Uber.

“Taxi regulations are overseen by the Nevada Taxicab Authority, which was established in 1969 after more than a decade of confrontations among cabdrivers that casino executives feared were getting so violent that they would discourage tourists from coming to Las Vegas.”

“Many of the “taxi wars” battles were waged between union drivers represented by the Teamsters Local 881 and nonunion drivers for companies such as Checker Cab”

“Over the years, statutes were modified and the five-member Nevada Taxicab Authority remains in place and only regulates taxis in Clark County. Cabs that operate in other counties are administered by the Nevada Transportation Authority, which also regulates buses, limousines, towing and moving van companies.”

“The authority board’s top objective is to best serve the riding public. But state statutes have other criteria that the public has been quick to criticize as anticompetitive and protectionist.”

Of course, the usual pattern: Union violence stimulates anti-competitive regulation that is promoted under the banner of public safety and order in commerce. What has changed? 

personal accountability via capitalist incentives.

The taxi companies primary service, that of dispatch, now no longer needs to be centralized as an app on the cell phone can do most of the work. Instead of having to depend upon the reputation of the taxi company, potential riders can now investigate the reputation of a particular driver. The scene is changing and it will take time to determine the implications and work them out to acceptable solutions. Once again, it is those playing by the old rules up against those who want to make new rules. Let’s hope it doesn’t repeat the violence from past taxi-wars.

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Innovation escaping

Dr. Kanav Kahol left Arizona to get back to India in order to develop his idea for medical testing.

“There, he and a team of researchers produced the Swasthya Slate, or “Health Tablet.” The machine, built from sensors and an Android tablet, measures vitals like blood pressure and glucose levels and tests for conditions like HIV and pulse oximetry. Medical labs certified that it was as accurate as pre-existing technologies, and the Indian government has underwritten successful pilot projects using the device in the field. Where it was introduced, the device worked wonders. For example, a complicated antenatal testing process that previously took 14 days can be performed in 45 minutes using the new machine.”

India Welcomes a Medical Innovation Rejected by America tells the story. Too many obstacles here doesn’t help anyone.

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Here we go again: re inflating the housing bubble

“Is the Obama administration actively trying to create the conditions for another housing collapse? What everyone who follows the housing market knows full well is this: The major reason for the millions of home foreclosures during the meltdown was the policy of low down payments on home loans.

“One study by researchers at the University of Texas in Dallas looked at some 30 million mortgages issued before the bubble burst and found that “[t]he evidence strongly suggests that the single most important factor is whether the homeowner has negative equity in a house” — i.e., whether they paid a high or low down payment. This study found the down payment was a much stronger prediction of whether a loan would end up in default than the credit score of the borrower.”

Stephen Moore describes how The feds are pushing the same lax rules that triggered the crash.

“As the housing bubble kept inflating from 2001 to 2006, aspiring homeowners could walk into a bank or a branch of Countrywide Financial and walk out with home loans with as low as 2.5 percent or 3 percent down payment (including closing costs, which also could be financed through the loan). The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily and other free marketeers warned of the insane risk that taxpayers were underwriting on almost $1 trillion in mortgages. They were shouted down as alarmists.”

“None of these lessons from the last crisis have taken hold in Washington. The best and the brightest in President Obama’s camp want to roll the dice again and lower, not raise, down payments and ease the credit rules at banks. When sensible people protest this insanity, critics call us fear mongers. That, too, is what the housing lobby said on the eve of the previous housing crisis.”

Try, try, again. Hope for different results this time. Never stop to think about why the fantasy might not be reality and why trying to make it so is a sure path towards disaster (again).

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Forty years after and Vietnam learns capitalism

It took forty years after being abandoned to the communists but Vietnam has discovered what capitalism can bring. The mindset there is a comparison and contrast to that in the U.S. as Glenn Harlan Reynolds explains in How we ‘won’ in Vietnam, but are losing at home.

But the Vietnamese advantage may boil down to this: Free markets are new there, whereas America has had them for a long time. Scientist Thomas Ray once said that every successful system accumulates parasites, and the free market in America has been successful for a very long time. Established businesses get tied down with regulations that keep out new innovations — like Michigan’s GM-backed anti-Tesla law that bars car makers from selling directly to the public — while politicians line up to line their pockets with taxes and fees and campaign contributions.

The question is what it will take to get the U.S. back on track. That is what worries.

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Racist mindset

Patricia L. Dickson is accused of being too logical. An example is her explanation that Poverty In The Black Community Is The Result of Culture Not Racism

A black female friend and I once discussed how our historically unemployed (lazy) relatives often claimed that we were rich simply because we had things that they did not. I said to her that surely they understood that we worked for everything that we have. Her response to me was that they did not understand how we acquired what we had. I told her that it was illogical for someone not to correlate money or possessions with work, and I refused to believe it. Well, a short time later, my friend’s comments proved true.

Until the black community looks inward to solve its problems, nothing will change. Many problems in the black community are the result of a self-imposed inferiority complex. That is why it infuriates me so much to hear race baiters telling poor blacks that they are victims. The victim mindset causes complacency and impotence of action in an individual. One reason that the black community has regressed instead of progressed is due to the victim mindset that has caused cognitive blindness and mental paralysis. Blacks cannot continue to blame society for how blacks Americans are perceived. The black community must examine its culture and its effect on the lives of the individuals in the black community.

Looking inward is always a good start for discovering a source of problems as it is where you can find those things over which you have the most control

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aspirational vs envious

It’s New York measured against Hong Kong. Richard W. Rahn – Hong Kong, an aspirational society to emulate – “The currency of Hong Kong is effort, rather than envy”

Why is Hong Kong succeeding while New York City is receding? They are both world-class cities with about the same per-capita income and great natural harbors.

Hong Kong, like Singapore, South Korea, Chile and Switzerland are aspirational societies, rather than societies consumed with envy, like France. Work, saving and investment are not punished in aspirational societies, and there tend to be less social conflict and a higher level of civility. The United States used to be an aspirational society, but has increasingly become an envious society.

The leaders of China understand that aspirational societies work and those based on envy do not — but an aspirational society requires both economic freedom and individual liberty. Those who seek to control the lives of others, whether they are in Beijing, Paris or Washington, fear aspirational societies and thus, seek to regulate them — out of existence.

Envy, hate, and greed – it isn’t capitalism but rather the take from those who have to give to those who appear to need (or those who are friends of those in power). Powerful emotions overwhelm the ability to learn from history or from reality.

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Moralizing markets

There is a struggle some have about the wealth created by modern capitalist markets. Kevin Brown hits this in his column Capitalism and the Common Good — How to gear the free market so that people floursh.

As people of faith, we need not deify or demonize the market. Instead, I propose we focus on ensuring that the market’s consequences create the least possible damage and the greatest common good for our neighbors near and far. The market may be one gift from God, but he’s given us a greater gift in the church. Together, we can watch out for the most vulnerable members of society lest they slip through the cracks of our global marketplace.

The biggest problem is that he confuses causation with correlation and neglects the inherent moral issue centered on the temptation of man. From “The Coltan Conundrum” to child labor laws, he confuses the sources of evil. He shows an awareness of this:

Stanford ethicist Debra Satz says that in Adam Smith’s classical economic vision, markets flourish when they are grounded in property rights, with appropriate government regulation and social conventions. In other words, well-functioning markets do not so much produce these attributes; they need to be grounded in them. Thus Christians can be actively involved in shaping the regulatory environment and the moral and ethical social conventions that allow for healthier markets.

The ideology is the false assumption that corrupts thoughts and lends bias. It is one that delves into motivations rather than actual behavior.

The market is regularly tempted to think of humans less as persons and more as “factors of production.”

The economist occasionally surfaces in this mudstorm:

UK political philosopher Jonathan Wolff says that for an economic system to survive, it need not be optimal, just superior, to other systems. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be the best available option in an imperfect world. As an economist and a Christian, this strikes me as a helpful vantage point in moving the market debate forward.

At the practical level, most critics of the market system advocate some form of a planned economy, … this only introduces new problems. In planned economies, we do not see the same level of innovation or effectiveness … Planned economies also hinder the supply and demand forces that ultimately provide consumers with the best prices. … We must also note that a paternalistic environment usually discourages human creativity, initiative, and industry. And these are all ways in which we bear the image of God. There is a spiritual cost to a planned economy.

While Brown wails on at length about “collateral damage” he seems to forget how the market brings this into personal consumer decisions (along with context and other issues). In marketing, this aspect of the transactions is known as the brand. People will pay a lot to get what they want from a vendor who has an image they endorse. You can see this in the assault on WalMart (and others) regarding merchandise made in China, for instance. The key here is that a market system is not simple. It is composed of many transactions and each one has many factors that involve personal choices. As the first quote above signifies, the issue with markets, the angst and moralizing, isn’t really about the market system but rather about individuals and the choices they each make every day and for every purchase.

That is the fundamental problem. Instead of looking at ourselves, we are looking for a scapegoat. Ragging on that scapegoat isn’t going to solve anything as long as each of us as individual humans do not take possession of our faults and failures

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Myth propagating

Slate, of course: Amanda Marcotte says Let’s Stop Idealizing the Home-Cooked Family Dinner.

Money is also a problem. Low-income women often don’t have the money for fresh produce and, in many cases, can’t afford to pay for even a basic kitchen setup.

Well, yes, being poor does usually mean money is a problem but what is at note here is the denial of reality. The ‘poor’ in the U.S. would be considered ‘middle class’ in most of the rest of the world. You can see this in the fact that the targets for dinner aren’t exactly suffering. See Census: Americans in ‘Poverty’ Typically Have Cell Phones, Computers, TVs, VCRS, AC, Washers, Dryers and Microwaves (and 96% have stoves).

Beyond just the time and money constraints, women find that their very own families present a major obstacle to their desire to provide diverse, home-cooked meals. The women interviewed faced not just children but grown adults who are whiny, picky, and ungrateful for their efforts.

and then the bias

the main reason that people see cooking mostly as a burden is because it is a burden. It’s expensive and time-consuming and often done for a bunch of ingrates who would rather just be eating fast food anyway. If we want women—or gosh, men, too—to see cooking as fun, then these obstacles need to be fixed first. And whatever burden is left needs to be shared.

ya’ see? It’s the war on women! When it comes to such ideologies picked for mainstream promotion by those on the left, facts and reality just don’t matter. They are made up to support the fantasy. What used to be a service for loved ones now becomes a burden for ingrates. The fix isn’t to control the ingrates but rather to re-assess values and attitudes of the burdened.

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Shakedown

Kudlow describes a shakedown of epic proportions and how it is being used for political gain.

the solution is not to call them names. Or question their patriotism. Or attack “rich people” and “fat-cat bankers.” Or tell America, “You didn’t build it.” The solution is to reform the corporate tax code by slashing the rate to 20 percent. Or better yet, abolish the corporate tax altogether. The biggest winners, by the way, would be wage earners.

So what does all this have to do with billion-dollar bank penalties? Everything. The timing is more than coincidental.

And now, in the saddest of ironies, the Obama administration is again loosening credit standards for “affordable” home purchases and expanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is incredibly stupid. The same mistakes are being made.

But it’s all part of Mr. Obama’s election-year strategy. Blame it all on the big boys. Pull out the class-envy cards. Rekindle divisive resentments and anger.

Follow the money. Where’s it go? Then examine the tactics. Then examine the implications and what actually happens. 

The people that end up bearing the burden are not those subject to political assault and that is another dishonesty that needs to be properly addressed.

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Whither the Pope? – creating a new Jesus Christ for modern sensibilities

“Ours is “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” Pope Francis insisted. Our system of “inequality” both results from and encourages “laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless.” Thus, “masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.”

“Worse, the Pope informs us, our “capitalist” system with its “inequality” violates the divine injunction against “killing,” for “such an economy kills” (emphasis added).”

“First, as already noted, it is simply dishonest: there is no basis, Biblical or otherwise, for equating an obligation to care for the poor with an obligation to endorse political policies ostensibly aimed at reducing “inequalities” in income and wealth. Decent minded people of all faiths and no faith have long recognized the need to care for those in poverty, and Christians specifically have always been acutely aware of this as a moral imperative.

“But it hasn’t been until the emergence of large, centralized governments, immensely affluent, industrialized societies, and the dominance of secular, egalitarian ideologies—i.e. phenomena that don’t appear until relatively late in Christian history—that anyone, much less any Christian cleric, has thought to identify compassion for the poor with the amelioration of “inequalities.””

“Second, even the tireless emphasis that pastors place upon Jesus’ relationship with “the poor” is less than fully honest, for it is grounded in a selective reading of the New Testament.”

“Third, this exclusive stress on Jesus’ fondness for “the poor,” whether by accident or design, conveys the impression that He was exclusively fond of “the poor,” a respecter of persons by virtue of their socio-economic condition—exactly what the Bible insists God is not.

Jesus, Today’s Church, and ‘Inequality’ by Jack Kerwick.

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Corruption funded government

RAHN: Government corruption on the rampage

“The Obama administration is arguably the most corrupt administration in U.S. history. Corruption destroys civil society and economic growth by undermining the rule of law and protection of private property.”

“The Justice Department is involved in a $100 billion shakedown racket against the big banks. The banks are heavily regulated and can easily be destroyed by government officials.”

“The Constitution is quite specific in that revenue measures are to begin in the House of Representatives and go through a congressional appropriation process. Yet the Justice Department and others have been able to greatly expand their budgets outside the legislative process by obtaining financial “settlements” from the private sector, through threats, intimidation and asset forfeiture. Bank settlements with the Justice Department now total something near $100 billion. This is corruption on a massive scale. Again, banks have little alternative but to settle with the Justice Department in order to stay in business. John Allison, president of the Cato Institute and former CEO of the 10th-largest bank holding company in the United States, BB&T, has noted that many laws contradict each other, such as the Patriot Act and many of the financial-privacy laws and rules, thus making it impossible for a bank to be in compliance with both. Then the Justice Department comes in and says if you pay us X billion dollars, we will not prosecute you.”

Banks, of course, are big, profit making, corporations and that, by modern ideological popular standards, makes them intrinsically evil. That means that many think the sort of thin Rahn notes is entirely a good thing. 

worried yet?

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Wailing for more – taxes for infrastructure

The complaint seems to always be the same ol’ supply side — need more to fix it. Education, health, roads, whatever. Mead takes on How the Highway Fund Impasse Illuminates Important Truths About American Life.

“When you look past the political tooth-gnashing and think about it for a second, this is really good news—the kind that Malthusian greens keep trying to ignore. The U.S. highway trust is running out of money because Americans are using much less gas even as our economy grows. Vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient, and the patterns of economic development are changing in ways that make energy use less intensive. As a result, gas and diesel taxes aren’t generating revenue growth in the highway fund. This is of course bad news for the highway fund, but we really should be celebrating a big national win here overall.”

“When dealing with the consequences of this happy shift, media coverage looks short-sightedly only on the revenue side. Gas tax receipts aren’t rising fast enough! But the other side of the equation also needs serious examination: What’s going on with the cost of infrastructure?”

The difficulty in the article is that they cite government controls as part of the problem and then beseech intellectuals and philanthropists to solve it. The obvious solution of reducing the government and giving the market a chance seems to be out of sight. That is its own problem as the market has a proven track record of success while that of intellectuals and philanthropists is nowhere near as rosy.

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EPA attach your wages?

scary. BRUCE: Feds plot to steal your paycheck. “The EPA takes its cue from rogue president on wage-garnishment scheme.”

Government bureaucrats gone rogue?

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