Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SAR #10320

America's worst addiction may be lying to itself.

House Rules:  Hamid Karzai believes that as President he has some say about what goes on in Afghanistan.  Naturally General Petraeus, who is actually in charge, was surprised when Karzi said he wanted to send a lot of US troops home pretty damned soon and wanted the rest of them to stop knocking down doors at 3 AM.  Petraeus claimed that this would undermine whatever it is the US hopes to do there over the next decade or so.

Stirrings:  Retail sales were up 1.2% m/m and 7.3% y/y in October.  Without car sales, the increase was only 0.4%. S ales are back to within 2% of the pre-recession peak.  Where's the money coming from?

Day Care For Adults:  One way to cut government waste would be to dismantle TSA.  (1) True.  (2) Very True.  (3) Step over here...

Thimblerig:  Last Friday the government pointed at a shell and told you an incredible number of jobs had been created by the economy in October.  They also told you not to pay any attention to the stodgy old household survey, which didn't agree.  Turns out the pea wasn't under that shell – instead, they changed the way 'seasonal adjustments' are made and created 100,000 jobs.  Right out of thin air, just like dollars.

Bottom Line:  Rather than extend the Bush tax cuts to everyone including the obscenely rich, it would be far better to let the cuts expire for everyone.  The rich benefited most from the cuts and would lose the most from their expiration.

Special Pleading:  According to Vikram Pandit,  “There is a point beyond which more is not necessarily better.  Hiking capital and liquidity requirements further could have significant negative impact on the banking system, on consumers and on the economy.”  Mr Pandit should have added “and especially on Citigroup”, of which he is the head.  Add salt as necessary.

Flailing:  It really isn’t going to end, is it?   Not in Iraq in 2011.  Not in Afghanistan in 2014. Not ever.  Yemen's just getting underway.  Wars without end, Amen.

Reality Check:  The simple fact is we are spending too much on health care.  The health care cost discussion remains facile, avoiding the hard edges of the decision-making process. Health care costs consist of  1) profits, mainly those of insurance companies and for-profit hospitals,  2) administrative costs, and  3) the cost of health care itself.  We can cut 1 and 2 by going to a national single payer system and reverting back to community owned non-profit hospitals, ambulances, and clinics.  Controlling the actual cost of health care would require rational rationing (instead of rationing by money, which is what we have now) and a strong, tough-love approach to preventive health to cut the costs of obesity, diabetes, slothfulness and nutritional suicide.  And yes, death with dignity as opposed to plug 'em in and let 'em linger would have to be part of the solution.

Actions, Not Words:  Senator John Ensign (R-NV), who voted against the health care bill and speaks often and loudly against earmarks, got a $960,000 health care earmark for the University of Nevada.

Feedback Loop:  Science makes progress by discovering that it had previously made mistakes.  For example scientists have thought that the gigantic ice sheets in Greenland would take thousands of years to melt and that the seas would only rise a few inches, maybe a foot in a century.  Recent studies show that ice sheets know a few tricks about melting that the scientists are just learning, and that makes them pretty sure that the change in sea level will be at least three feet by 2100.  And while that's bad enough, check back in a little while – there is every chance that the three feet will become six.

Quoted:  "The only way you generate wealth is you make it, you mine it or you grow it.  Just exchanging things back and forth, services, it doesn't generate wealth. It just moves it.”


ibilln said...

Great paragraph on health care! Concise! Germain! Quotable!

Btw, my comment verification word of the day is "catshets". Such vitriol from Blogger...

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Quoted: "The only way you generate wealth is you make it, you mine it or you grow it. Just exchanging things back and forth, services, it doesn't generate wealth. It just moves it.”

It's nice to see you get part of it, but sadly not all of it. How exactly does this quote square with your thoughts regarding the redistribution of income for the productive in our society?

Liberals have no concept of action and reaction concerning a productive economy. The luxury tax of the early 90's damn near put many businesses and their workers out of business in short order. The complete dumbasses in CONgress had to eat that tax rather quickly as their constituents were about to be laid off and thrown out of work. I know this will be news, but liberals, there is no magic money tree growing anywhere in the land. You have to produce to grow an economy, and when you take away the incentive to produce by way of confiscation of earned income, you are doing just that. Clueless!

marketmania said...

healthcare---sorry buddy, common sense has no chip in this game...

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

marketmania - Ah, you limit yourself. Not only is common sense absent from the health-care discussion, it is apparently banned from all political discussion in these vaguely United States, as is common decency and any recognition of the communal good


SPECTRE of Deflation said...

communal good says it all socialist. LOL! Never mind it doesn't square with your quote on productivity because liberals never need to make sense with other people's money.

OkieLawyer said...

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Re: the generation of wealth

It is a fallacy of yours to assume that wealthy people got their wealth through production.

There is a saying in the accounting industry and law practice: "All great wealth starts with a crime." Typically that crime is fraud. Now that rich person you laud, individually, has all the markings of "success." However, the way they create "wealth" is through parasitical behavior ("extraction"). The ones I know make money off of "other people's money." Not only do they not add value, they actually destroy it. They destroy trust. Given that the law either can't or won't take it back and restore it to its rightful owner, the next best way to "restore" it is through taxation. It is not perfect, mind you; but it is far better than leaving it in the criminals hands.

Remember how we got Al Capone? Tax evasion.

Secondly, even those who make money "legitimately" make it off of the labor of others. For instance, if you own a company, and you hire workers and pay them $10 per hour, you expect that the worker is actually producing $25 per hour. Other than the risk premium, what is the basis of your making money off of the labor of others? At what point does it become exploitative rather than "smart business?" I would hope you would acknowledge that that point is reached somewhere.

Those of us who were in the private practice of law know the real truth about how some "successful businessmen" made their riches.

Trisha said...

Right on the money! In fact, the U.K. economical miracle of the 90's and early 2000's was based entirely on banker parlor tricks and a bunch of middlemen selling the same German-made washing machine back and forth to each other, thereby creating lots of Value Added Tax records for newly hired bureaucrats to record as robust growth.

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

O.L., my discussion, or lack thereof, concerned productive wealth creation in this country, NOT FIRE ECONOMY, and the govt.'s constant attempt of confiscation by way of taxes and regulations to the productive in our society, and did you mention that you are a lawyer?

Someone truly wealthy pays little to no Federal Tax in this country, and they usually sit on their dead asses paying 15% on qualified divs., and they sure as hell are not productive and have no income to report. Oh to have a great tax lawyer in order to lawfully, Hell the laws were written by lawyer lawmakers, twist what is beyond human reason and understanding into paying nothing at all.

I will mention that better than 40%in this country pay no Federal Income Tax at all. It's the middle and upper-middle class that carry the load. Bravo lawyer, bravo!