Category Archives: Economy

A Professor Who Doesn’t Pander

Economy, Education, English, Internet, Journalism

Still a tad mild for my liking, but far better than any “critique” provided in mainstream media is Tyler Cowen’s assessment of Nate Silver’s “data-driven journalism.” In “Nate Silver’s 538 is up and running,” Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University, writes wryly:

… to me these are “tweener” pieces, too superficial for smart and informed readers, yet on topics which are too abstruse for the more casual readers. … Here is Silver’s introductory essay as to what they are about. It is too sprawling and evinces a greater affiliation to rigor with data analysis than to rigor with philosophy of science or for that matter rigor with rhetoric.

In Cowen we may have a rare professor who doesn’t pander to annoying Millennials.


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Homo Economicus Disagrees With White-House Looter

Barack Obama, Economy, Healthcare

It’s pretty straightforward to the generic Homo Economicus, but not to “The Ass With Ears And His Ali Baba Thieves.” On a day the latter put out their 16 sweet reasons to sign up for Obamacare, other more clear-thinking individuals came up with a much more intuitive list of 16 not-so-sweet reasons not to, among them:

Privacy concerns
Unwanted coverage
Can’t keep your doctor
The young do not need it
Glitches galore
Government overreach
Prohibitive costs
Employers cutting jobs

MORE:


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Are America’s Democracy Alinskyites In Russia’s Backyard?

Economy, John McCain, Military, Neoconservatism, Russia

In absolute numbers, Russia’s military spending is dwarfed by that of the United States. This spending, moreover, is a smidgen of what it was during its “tortured past.” As a percentage of GDP, however, Wikipedia shows the latter parameter to be 4.4 percent in both countries. Thus in need of checking is Forbes’ Mark Adomanis’ assertion that Russia’s military spending as a percentage of GDP is more modest than ours.

Ironclad, however, is the fact that America’s Democracy Alinskyites—blessed and backed by baby Bush and his non-identical, evil ideological twin, Barack Obama—are behind many of the “color-coded,” plant-based revolutions across the world.

Witness Sam LaHood, son of Ray LaHood, in his attempts to shape the Lotus Revolution in Egypt.

And to get his jollies, John McCain has to be talking US intervention around the world. Ukraine has been his target of late—and, seemingly, a State-Department floozy is already talking dirty on that front.

So, the Russians probably have reason to fear the US. Hence the military expenditure.

Adomanis departs from the menagerie of media morons when it comes to prognosticating about Russia, reporting that, “Life expectancy is going up, wages are going up, the birth rate is going up, and the death rate, the suicide rate, the murder rate, and the poverty rate are all going down”:

1) “While Russia is hardly an economic hegemon, its overall economic performance over the past decade has actually been pretty decent, especially when you compare its performance to the horrible post-crisis performances of many formerly communist countries in Eastern Europe.”

2) “Russia’s population was declining rapidly during the late 1990s and early 2000s, but this decline has leveled off and the population has stabilized.”


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The Dynamics And Domino Effect Of The CBOaf

Debt, Economy, Healthcare, Welfare

OK. We don’t expect that parasitical hag Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the political retards in Washington to grasp Bastiat’s What-Is-Seen-and-What-Is-Not-Seen principle. But left off last night from Fox News’ corner of the idiot’s lantern, where looking for enlightenment is as hopeless, was the following pesky detail: Zero Care’s total of $1 trillion in tax increases and $2 trillion in subsidies for low-income individuals come from someone. Some workers are carrying this load. (Some of them live in China, where the money fairy resides.)

In fact, fewer and fewer of these workers are working harder and harder to support more and more.

The context? The latest immoral utterance to issue from the Obama White House, in the person of Press Secretary Jay Carney, and to be repeated across the liberal media: The “2.5 million Americans leaving the workforce was a good thing, because they would no longer be ‘trapped in a job.’”

Clarified by the WaPo’s occasionally factual Fact Checker, “the CBO said ACA, a.k.a Obamacare, would reduce the number of hours worked by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers by 2025. That means that workers will decide to reduce their hours, not that employers are reducing the number of jobs.”

Writes ObamaHead Dana Milbank: “The CBO predicted the law would have a “substantially larger” impact on the labor market than it had previously expected: The law would reduce the workforce in 2021 by the equivalent of 2.3 million full-time workers, well more than the 800,000 originally anticipated. This will inevitably be a drag on economic growth, as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes.”

Incidentally, the mandate of the CBOafs (The Congressional Budget Oafs) is this: First they confirm government predictions of the great saving that are to be had from all government spending on welfare programs. Later, when it’s safer, they adjust their oafish and outlandish lies, so that the TV and radio mouths can continue muttering about their great authority, “Oh, the impartial CBO says this; oh, the independent CBO says that.”

* An example of a recent CBOaf nerd joke-cum-lie is this factoid: “The federal budget deficit will shrink to $514 billion in 2014, or 3 percent of GDP, CBO projects.”

Older ones include:

“CBO Confirms Families Will Save Money Under Health Reform.”

“CBO Update Shows Lower Costs for the New Health Care Law.”

“CBO Confirms: The Health Care Law Reduces the Deficit.”

That little derisive snicker made by the adorable Sheldon Cooper is in order on each account. (And this column snickers aplenty.)


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South Africa: The Story of Calamity

Africa, Economy, South-Africa

Writes a correspondent who is currently in South Africa:

“I am at the post office. Inefficiency here is nerve wracking: Taxis are on strike, the post office is on strike, the mines are on strike … The story of calamity.”

A story covered in the West only from a narrow, permissible, ahistoric, perspective.

The country has fallen “Into The Cannibal’s Post.”


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The Blind Spots Of Popular Economic Indices

Business, Economy, Private Property, Regulation

In their methodology, popular economic indices are woefully inadequate, as they take into consideration only a limited number of variables. So while you’ll be risking life, limb and property living in Rwanda, and will struggle with everything from poor infrastructure and limited human capital, to the paucity of potable water and Internet and electrical connectivity—as an entrepreneur, starting a new business there is much easier than in the U.S, in terms of “the number of procedures required, the time spent complying with them and the cost of doing so.”

Via Fox News:

A new study by the World Bank and the International Finance Corp. found that the U.S. ranks well behind countries like Rwanda, Belarus and Azerbaijan in terms of how easy it is for an entrepreneur to start a new business. The U.S. did narrowly beat Uzbekistan, though.
The rankings were included in the organizations’ joint study “Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses.” The annual report, released in October, ranks the relative ease of creating a new business in 189 countries, looking at such measures as the number of procedures required, the time spent complying with them and the cost of doing so, among other factors.
The report found that New Zealand is the easiest place in the world to create a new business. Starting one there requires “one procedure, half a day, (and) less than 1 percent of income per capita and no paid-in minimum capital,” the study noted. New Zealand was followed by Canada, Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong in the top five.
By contrast, the U.S. requires, on average, six procedures, takes five days and requires 1.5 percent of the company’s income per capita.

Still, that it is easier for a start-up to open the business doors in Rwanda, Belarus and Azerbaijan than it is in the U.S. is still a grave indictment of America.

Moreover, and as a friend, the Canadian economist Pierre Lemieux, once pointed out perspicaciously, economic indices ignore a “Century of the State.” “If ‘economic freedom’ is inseparable from the rest of human liberty in a social context (using one’s property to express dissenting opinions, travel, have sex, grow marijuana, store one’s firearms, raise funds from “public” investors, etc.), the freedom indexes are off the mark”:

This explains why some countries ruled by hard tyrannies (as opposed to the soft, Tocquevillian brand we know in the West), where nobody in his right mind would want live except to make a buck as a privileged foreigner or a member the local nomenklatura, make it to the top of the list. Who would want to live in Hong Kong (ranked 1st of 151 countries in the HF/WSJ index), that is, under one of the worst tyrannies on earth, and so much so for its very efficiency? Who would want to be a peasant under other Asian tyrannies like Singapore (ranked 2nd)?

The selective definition of economic freedom also explains why the indexes show growing economic freedom while everybody who lives in the real world must know that the 20th century, rightly described by Mussolini as ‘the century of the state,’ is continuing in the 21st with a vengeance. During the 12 years of the HF/WSJ index, economic freedom is supposed to have increased. For example, over that period, both the U.S. (now ranked 9th) and Canada (ranked 12th) have improved their scores by 11%, while in both countries (and others) the Surveillance State was growing uncontrollably, including on financial markets. In the U.S., so many business executives are going to jail that perhaps repression will have to be outsourced to China.

Thus, the ‘economic freedom’ that is being measured is a rather special animal: it is the freedom to do what is narrowly defined as freedom in the statistics underlying the index. In practice, the freedom indexes encompass some general conditions for economic freedom (like a stable currency, or narrowly defined ‘property rights’), specific government restrictions or controls (on foreign investment, for example), and consequences of state intervention (the informal economy or corruption). And, of course, the weights assigned to the components of the indexes are arbitrary.

I am not saying that such indexes are totally useless. They do regroup variables that are correlated with GDP per capita and its growth, but keep in mind that GDP is a very unreliable construct that reveals basically nothing about the general welfare, and is based on arbitrary value judgments (this is pretty standard welfare economics: see my upcoming article in The Independent Review). The indexes may correlate with the difficulties the businessman will have with local bureaucracies. They may even indicate opportunities for investors to make money in limited contexts, assuming the information has not already been incorporated in prices. The HF/WSJ publication even contains some useful country summaries and international statistics.”
But the freedom indexes have little to do with ‘economic freedom’ as we use the term in politics, economics and philosophy.

Via BAB.


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