Archive for Finance and money

Perfect storm for solar

David Bergeron explaines: Why I’m Still Not a Member of the Solar Energy Industries Association even though he runs a solar oriented business in Arizona.

The more I learned about this new artificial solar industry, the more disturbing I found it to be. On-grid solar is nowhere near a break-even economic proposition. It is a very expensive and futile means of reducing CO2. Its job-creation argument is hollow in terms of opportunity cost given that there is no free lunch in the real world of economic scarcity.

Solar is a great field. Many hardworking entrepreneurs have and will continue to strive in free markets to make products that meet real needs. My own company is on a high-growth mode from niche off-grid applications; we have no rooftop business that will inevitably go through a boom/bust cycle according to political favors or a retrenchment thereof.

On-grid solar is a perfect storm for taxpayers: concentrated benefits for the industry, diffuse cost for ratepayers and taxpayers, and, yet, a strong positive public sentiment for solar created by energy Malthusians.

The fact is, when you figure out the total cost of a typical residential on-grid solar plant before subsidies, rebates, incentives and other ‘crony capitalist’ artifacts, the rate of return on the money spent usually exceeds the normal power bills. And that doesn’t include maintenance and repair costs over the lifetime of the solar plant.

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Get a life. Think about pros and cons. Consider the context. How unusual an idea!

Jon Evans has an interesting post on a modern delemma: Is Uber The Root Of All Evil? There is a lot of nuance in the ride share business ranging from ideas about employment and workers to impacts of technology to the encrusted regulation as a means to protect business classes to matters of relativism and choice making based on evaluation of risk versus benefit.

Allow me to humbly propose that the pendulum has perhaps swung too far into backlash. Allow me to suggest that “Uber is evil / represents the worst of capitalism!” is not just wrong, but actually dangerous. Allow me to submit that perhaps Uber is the lesser of two evils.

It may be too soon to say that “the full-time job is dead,” but I think it’s clear that a growing fraction of workers will find themselves working a fragmented panoply of gigs and contracts, rather than pursuing a full-time career with benefits. Yes, this isn’t near as stable and secure. Yes, many-to-most of these people may find themselves living in the precariat for much of their lives, barring the hoped-for eventual introduction of a basic income.

Consider the concern for Uber’s “exploited” drivers today; will we be quite as concerned for them when they are no longer being exploited, because they have been replaced by self-driving cars? Somehow I doubt it.

Whenever defenders of the status quo object to a new idea on the hallowed grounds of security, you can be pretty confident that they are lying. So it is with Uber.

Does Uber knowingly violate local law in cities they enter? They sure do. Is knowingly violating the law always an evil thing to do? …No. Not if the law itself is manipulative, exploitative, and written only to benefit a small class of rentiers — which, alas, is all too often the case.
But just because Uber’s evils are front, center, and spotlit, doesn’t mean that they are the worst of all possible alternatives. I still counsel to ride Lyft instead, when you can. But when your choice is between Uber and the local taxi cartels, please think at least twice, hard, about which is actually the lesser evil. The answer may not be as obvious as it seems.

Think about the context? What a novel idea in this era of absolute ideologies that ban and even deny anything not in line with desires and fantasies! Note how much the propaganda machine has infiltrated the language and biased the discussion. precariat, renters, exploited, — where’s Marx when you need him?

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Income Inequality Insight

A request from a student doing research for an assignment got Patricia L. Dickson thinking: Liberals’ income inequality concerns built on false premise. The conclusion should not be surprising considering where all the noise about the issue is sourced.

I now realize that the issue of income inequality is based on a false premise. A premise is a proposition upon which an argument is based or from which a conclusion is drawn. A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of an argument – since the premise (proposition or assumption) is not correct, the conclusion drawn may be in error.

The false premise behind income inequality complaints is that income is distributed instead of earned.

In other words, employment and income is something like an entitlement such as a poverty program provides to the left. Income inequality allegations are really just about the idea that some people are cheating the system. Instead of looking to the government for their ‘income’ they use their own skills, education, and capabilities to get their own income and that is what is considered cheating by the left because the government has no control over what they get.

Another perspective on this is that the state of Nevada has now decided that fantasy football is gambling despite a federal court ruling. That means the state wants to control the income anyone might get by being sharp in building a fantasy football team. The battle that Uber and Lyft are fighting is also about government control over income. 

A false premise is a straw man and, it seems, easy to dress up so as to disappear in the background. Building an argument based on such a foundation lacks intellectual integrity and will result in collapse when the weight of the issue gets to be too much for the straw man to bear.

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Overstep. And stumble? Alarmists misstep

When someone doesn’t realize a high profile is probably not a good idea, it lends credence to the hypothesis that maybe they don’t know that what they are doing is not so good an idea either. The IGES RICO allegations provide An Instance of Warmist Corruption.

We have often written about the fact that the world’s governments pour billions of dollars annually into the global warming project, the object of which is to increase the powers of government. And yet governments, the main parties that stand to benefit from the warmists’ campaign, pretend that their money is somehow innocent, while any private entity that supports climate research is suspect.

Alarmist scientists have gone so far as to urge the Obama administration to prosecute criminally scientists who disagree with them. The premise for this proposed RICO investigation was that “corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters”–i.e., scientists who don’t buy the global warming hype–are deceiving the public for financial gain. This despicable effort, which we wrote about here, is led by Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University and several of his colleagues.

That inspired curiosity about Shukla’s own funding. The results, while incomplete, are striking. Shukla is remarkably well paid by George Mason, for a professor. His salary is currently around $314,000 a year. But that isn’t the half of it. Steve McIntyre writes that Shukla set up a “non-profit” entity, the Institute for Global Environment and Security, Inc. (IGES), to which the federal government has funneled millions of dollars. IGES operates as a slush fund for Shukla and his family; not only is Shukla on the payroll, apparently double-dipping in violation of university regulations, but his wife and daughter also draw substantial income from the “non-profit.”

Generally, when you know that bringing attention to yourself might reveal problems, you avoid doing doing things that spark attention. The climate alarmists appear to be beyond this. That leads to wonder about just what blinds them so.

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Understanding socialism and the religion of the left

Mark Perry uses what What four previous popes had to say about socialism as a contrast and as a view of economic systems not often considered. Besides a contrast to the current Pope, the selections indicate that his predecessors were much more aware of the deeper issues involved in economic systems.

Pope John XXIII (1958-1963) … Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production; it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority.

Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) … Too often Christians attracted by socialism tend to idealize it in terms which, apart from anything else, are very general: a will for justice, solidarity and equality. They refuse to recognize the limitations of the historical socialist movements, which remain conditioned by the ideologies from which they originated.

Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) … The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call “his own,” and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community.

Pope Benedict XVI (2005 – 2013) … The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern.

These ideas do not often surface in arguments about socialism vs capitalism. They delve into the depths of human nature and, in that, provide us an opportunity to examine our own beliefs and how they can be corrupted by desires and fantasies.

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Measuring global poverty

John Hinderaker says it’s a dose of reality for the Pope.

I really don’t like Pope Francis. Some popes have been positive, world-historical figures, like John Paul II. Others have been clueless tag-alongs with the intellectual fashions of their time. I am afraid that Francis falls into the latter category. His hostility toward free enterprise is the fruit of ignorance, not holiness. His best defense is that as a citizen of Argentina, he has no experience of the benefits of free enterprise. But as the leader of a world-wide church, he is obliged to inform himself before he pontificates.

A reader passes along this graph, from EconLog, which plots on the horizontal axis a person’s position in his own country’s income distribution, and on the vertical axis, a person’s position in global income distribution, as of 2008. The poorest Americans (points 1 or 2 on the horizontal axis) have incomes that put them above the 50th percentile worldwide. Note that 12% of the richest Americans belong to the global top 1%:

The graph only shows the U.S., Russia, Brazil, China, and India in citizen position on a global versus country income distribution. It has much of interest. The exceptional nature of the U.S. is quite evident in both position and in the shape of the curve. If you want to address either poverty or income inequality, you need to look in places other than the U.S. if you are serious about addressing the issues involved.

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The new religion

We have a Pope who, it seems, loves the poor to such an extent that he wants many more of them. Dennis Prager discusses the implications of The Pope and the Hammer and Sickle.

Last week the Marxist quasi-dictator of Bolivia, Evo Morales, presented Pope Francis with a gift: a carved wooden hammer and sickle cross on which the figure of Christ is crucified.

The pope’s acceptance of Morales’ gift — along with his attacks on capitalism during his Latin American tour — further confirms one of the most troubling moral developments of our time: The Roman Catholic Church is currently led by a man whose social, political and economic views have been shaped by Leftism more than by any other religious or moral system.

It also reconfirms what is probably the single most important development one needs to understand in order to make sense of the contemporary world: The most dynamic religion of the past hundred years has been Leftism — not Christianity or Islam or any other traditional religion. Indeed, regarding traditional religions, Leftism has influenced them — particularly Christianity and Judaism — far more than they have influenced the Left.

There could not have been a gift that more accurately represents this pope’s value system than Christ crucified on a hammer and sickle. First, in a literal sense, that is exactly what Communists have done wherever they have assumed power: crucified Christ by working to violently to destroy Christianity and murder Christians. Second, in a figurative sense, the gift represents the melange of Christianity and Marxism, precisely what much of the church, again especially in Latin America, and especially this pope stand for.

Tragically, we cannot turn to the contemporary Catholic Church. When the pope keeps a hammer and sickle crucifix; when the pope declares free market capitalism, the one economic system that has lifted masses of people out of poverty, to be largely evil (“the dung of the devil”); when Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega declares that there are no political prisoners in Cuba; and when the pope issues an encyclical on global warming while the oldest Christian communities in the world are exterminated, it is clear that while one can still turn to individual Catholic priests and lay leaders for moral guidance, one cannot turn to the Catholic Church and its pope for moral guidance.

On this same topic, David Robertson suggests that Pope Francis needs a PR person and a speech writer. [Post Updated]. “If Pope Francis wants to promote a Third Way, as opposed to promoting Communism or unfettered capitalism, then he needs to improve the way that he delivers his message.

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Explaining the Pope

Gene M. Van Son explains why Francis is not the Left’s Pope.

In fact everything Pope Francis has said regarding marriage, family, divorce, contraception, homosexuality, women’s ordination — and economics — has been perfectly in line with traditional Catholic teaching. And while he is all for helping the poor and is against greed and crony capitalism, he does not support liberation theology, and he is not a socialist or a communist.

The issues have nuance and it is easy to suffer misperceptions if words are used in more of an ideologic manner without appropriate care. For instance:

Regarding economics, in a January interview in the Italian journal La Stampa, Francis — yet again — clarified his views on capitalism, saying, “When money, instead of man, is at the center of the system, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced to simple instruments of a social and economic system.” He added that “We need ethics in the economy, and we also need ethics in politics.”

The problem here is that capitalism, as Professor Walter Williams explains, is an economic system based on service to individuals. The very core of the economic system is that man, not money, is at the center of the system. Yes, capital is needed in order to provide the entrepreneur the resources to provide a service or product but, unless that service or product does not serve individuals who make choices one a a time, the capital will not yield any return. You can clarify views on capitalism all you want but unless you make it clear that fundamental basis of the system and its primary reason for its contributions to humanity is service to people and not money gamemanship, one will remain misunderstood.

A capitalist who makes money his idol looses focus on his market. When that happens, the capitalist looses his money as well as his market. He forgets that his business success in based on providing people with something they want or need and that wealth, both financial and otherwise, comes from that service to humans. Confusing the need for funds with the use of those funds is a propaganda tactic often used to malign capitalism. One needs to be careful with how one uses words and associates them with other concepts and it is this area that the Pope has created sufficient worry for articles trying to clarify his point of view.

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Trying to figure out what is bothersome

Jazz Shaw finally found it. Something about the Hastert case didn’t feel right but couldn’t pin it down until Connor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic provided the proper analogy. So evading government scrutiny is a crime. Why?.

Let’s toss in one more hypothetical from Friedersdorf just to drive the point home.

What if the government installed surveillance cameras on various streets in a municipality and then made it a crime to walk along a route that skirted those cameras?

That’s it in a nutshell.

This is behind why the extension of the PATRIOT Act caused so much rancor. The telephone records data mining effort is like the surveillance cameras and it bothers people that there is no way to get out of sight, to take another route, to avoid getting hassled for trying to avoid governmental snooping. The abuse of prosecutorial discretion in going after political enemies is a realized fear and the Hastert case is looking to be another example in such efforts. 

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Let the free market work

Terry Anderson and Donald Leal take onClimate Policy: Adaptation, Not Mitigation (Part I, Theory). They take a look at the tragedy of the commons and how many complex problems can find practical solutions in a dynamic environment driven by free market principles.

Rather than simply throwing up our hands in despair with respect to what appear to be intractable problems of establishing property rights and encouraging markets in regard to global climate, we turn to a major theme of free-market environmentalism—dynamic markets provide the best hope for human interaction with dynamic environments.

The key here is that of using a dynamic system to respond to a dynamic problem. This is not about using static (i.e. governmental regulation and mandate) to fix a ‘real soon now’ problem that may never occur. 

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Always wanting more: education edition

John Hinderaker thinks the President is clueless when it comes to some of his recent remarks on education. It’s not only the President but also those seeking more money for education in Baltimore as a cure for race riots and in Nevada where they think business needs to cough up more, too. The problem is that the numbers indicate that more money isn’t an effective solution. Hinderaker also addresses the continuing complaint that this or that government program is “cut” and therefore suffering intolerably.

Government cuts? What government cuts? Let’s take education, the most important item on Obama’s list. I think pretty much everyone knows that there has been no decline in spending on education; on the contrary. Spending on education has constantly climbed, without any corresponding improvement in quality.

The United States spends considerably more per pupil than the average OECD country, more in fact than any country except Switzerland and Norway

So where is the “disinvestment?” Where is the “anti-government ideology?” Obama’s comments represent rank ignorance; either that or cynical demagoguery. In truth, the cure for poverty is well known: graduate from high school, get a job–any job–and get married. But the real solution doesn’t fit the left’s agenda.

Pouring more money on a fire is an easy thing to do. It burns nicely, too. The question that has to be faced later is where that money comes from and what happens when the fire goes out. In government, the fire often leaves a smoldering heap of sludge that needs constant attention to keep from igniting other fires – as it has in Baltimore. 

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Minimum wage and all the usual ‘arguments’ behavior

Mark Perry brings in his comments about Don Boudreaux on the ‘manifest idiocy’ of Robert Reich’s minimum wage video. It is a case study on the nature of debate on many of today’s hot button issues.

In a series of posts, George Mason economist Don Boudreaux has done a great public service by conducting a systematic, step-by-step takedown of Reich’s economic asininity, because in Don’s words, “Nearly every sentence out of Reich’s mouth in the video is flawed.” Demonstrating his total “economic bad-assery” in regard to regularly dismantling every aspect of economic nitwitery about the minimum wage, here’s a summary of Don’s takedowns of Reich’s “manifestly idiotic” video:

First to note. Of course, you might think that with the focus on Robert Reich that it was an ad hominem rant. The thing to note, though, is that the commentary is not about the person but rather his behavior, what Reich actually said. It is the assertions and debate points that are ridiculed and not the person.

Add the minimum wage fantasies to a long list supported by a lack of touch with reality and reason.

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The Malthusians “land is a fixed resource” argument

The real estate broker says that land is a good investment because they don’t make any more of it. That suits the Malthusians just fine as those folks are always raising the alarm about how humanity is going to run out of something Real Soon Now with disastrous consequences for mankind. The economist tells a different tale. Don Boudreaux responded to the concept and describes why Supply Is Not Exclusively, or Even Mainly, A Physical Phenomenon.

While I agree that efforts to create land out of water-covered areas won’t yield much extra land, I disagree that land is fixed in supply. It is not fixed, at least not economically.

The economic supply of land, like that of any other resources you can name, is not a physical phenomenon. As long as people are free and inspired to innovate – and as long as input and output prices are free to adjust to changes in supply and demand – the economic supplies of even the most ‘fixed’ and ‘nonrenewable’ resources will expand.

The examples used to illustrate how the utilization of land is not fixed include skyscrapers, refrigeration, and computers. If your value of land is only as nature will have it, then there is indeed a problem. But if you value land for its ability to provide housing, food, and preserves, then the imagination an ingenuity of humans provides endless horizons.

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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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