Saturday, August 27, 2011


So, a CAT 2 is rolling through the east coast.  All storms are potentially dangerous, but...really?

Millions have been evacuated, and the storm hit with 85mph winds. Politicians are so worried about becoming the next "Katrina" mayor, they're forecasting the apocalypse if people don't drive to Kansas and dig a hole to live in.

"What absurdity?" you may ask.  Behold:

The President has manned the "hurricane command center", as if any decision he makes there will have any outcome on what the hurricane does.  Mother nature, Sir, is not beholden to the Executive Branch.  Who is able to make the best decisions?  Local officials there on the ground, or the President who is staring at a nice LCD monitor getting the info...from the officials on the ground?  To me, this is another perfect example of the trend of running to the federal government for all of our problems.  Hurricane coming?  Leave.  Board up your windows.  Mayors, call out the emergency personnel.  Why do we need the President manning a command center like this was the opening wave of WWIII?

Part of me wants to blame the media.  The media started this circus by describing this as the storm of the century.  Mayhem.  Apocalypse.  And no matter what happens, whether the facts prove them wrong about the intensity of this hurricane, there's a story to be told.  And the story is what sells.  So, sell, baby, sell!

Oh, the winds are only at 85 mph?  Hmm...oh wait!  A guy got killed by a falling branch!  See, we told you it was the worst thing in the world!!!  Are you still a little skeptical of the Skippy cynicism?  Behold:

Look, I really hope I'm wrong.  I hope our elected officials are right, and are making calls on what they truly believe are the rights things to do.  But something tells me it's not.  Something tells me this is grandstanding mixed with a lot of CYA.  Call me a cynic.  

When the mayor of New York and the governor of New Jersey say that staying behind is "against the law" and "are putting emergency personnel at risk", I get a little cynical.  Where is that law written?  There's no law against stupidity, if in fact these people are acting stupidly.  This, from a mayor who wanted to ban salt from restaurants.  No kidding.  And putting emergency personnel at risk?  Driving a car, swimming in the ocean, lighting candles in your living room, camping in the forest, hiking up mountains, flying, scuba diving, hand gliding...well, you get my point.  These are all risky actions, and they all have the potential to put emergency personnel at risk.  But they're not against the law.  

And that's why I'm cynical.  When things aren't logical, you should find the true answer in politics or money.

I think I found one, at least.

"Wal Mart, Home Depot, grocers get big boost from Irene."


Like I said, follow the money trail.  "New Jersey governor Christie expects storm damage in billions."  Hmm.  Wonder where the money is going to come from.  I wonder.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Seems the representatives of the people are not educated in the ways of supply and demand or debits and credits.

According to a report from the Employment Policies Institute, only 1 in 5 members of Congress has a formal education in business or economics.  Broken down, only 8 percent majored in economics while 14 percent majored in business or accounting.

Of course, you don't necessarily need a formal education to make good policy.  But if you lack the formal education, maybe you should spend more time listening than talking.  Maybe your statements would not make you sound, so...what's the technical term?  Ah, yes.  Boneheaded.

Well, based on that logic, let's give everyone food stamps!  Put everyone on food stamps and we'll really stimulate the economy.  We'll borrow the money (from China, probably) and turn every one of those dollars from China into $1.84.  We'll have a robust economy!  And we'll have more money so we can pay them back!  Heck, if we gave everyone food stamps, we could stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget and eliminate the national debt!  And if a dollar turns into a $1.84, why stop at food stamps?  Let's give everyone a huge paycheck each month, and then they can go out and buy all kinds of stuff!!!  Of course, we'll need to take everyone's income and production so we can fund it.  Hmm, that sounds like another economic theory, but I just can't put my finger on it.  An economic free lunch!  Of course, the above video was only the Secretary of the Agriculture.  I'm sure no one in Congress would say such a thing.

The report says of our politicians, "This research suggests that our elected representatives may want to dust off their Econ 101 textbook (if they have one) before trying to tackle the weighty questions about the impact of taxes, spending, and debt on our economy and the labor market."

Gee, how novel of an idea.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's Been A Long Week

It continues to be a busy couple of weeks for me, so until things mellow out, here's something to pacify your Skippy-necessity.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Allow the Judges To Retort

The following is an update to my previous post, but it is so good, it deserves it's own section of the blogosphere.

As you may know, especially after my last post, I do not agree with the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obama Care or Socialism In A Can).  I've attempted to relay that sentiment at times, but sometimes other people say it better.

In this case, the judges from the 11th Circuit Court have said it magnificently.  Why reinvent the wheel?  Especially if you have other things to do.

The Court wrote, "The government's position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual's existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.  This theory affords no limiting principles in which to confine Congress's enumerated power."

In other words, if the White House's and Congress's view on this hold, it can force individuals to enter contracts with private companies from birth to death.  In other words, there are no longer any limits on what Congress can do.

The Court continues, "Every day, Americans decide what products to buy, where to invest or save, and how to pay for future contingencies such as their retirement, their children's education, and their health care.  The government contends that embedded in the Commerce Clause is the power to override these ordinary decisions and redirect those funds to other purposes."

The government has never claimed a power like this in the form of an individual mandate.  The Obama administration claims that health care is somehow inherently different from other economic decisions.  The 11th Circuit retorts that these claims are "ad hoc, devoid of constitutional substance, incapable of judicial administration--and consequently, illusory....they are not limiting principles, but limiting circumstances...(that) imperil our federalist structure."

I'm not quite sure what that means, but I think they are saying the former law professor who is now the President should just teach law, not practice it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Allow Me To Retort

Today, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled "Obamacare" (Affordable Care Act) unconstitutional.

Of course, the White House was not pleased with the decision and issued a statement on the White House blog. I'll save you some time and provide the most qualifying comments...with Skippy "addendum's", of course.

“There has been no shortage of court cases regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Before today, four courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, examined the health reform law and found it constitutional.  Today, a different court ruled against the Affordable Care Act’s individual responsibility provision. We strongly disagree with this decision and we are confident it will not stand.”

Skippy summation: "We would like to pick and choose which law is good and which law is bad. You see, these judges over here are making the right decisions...those over there are not. Since these judges over here agree with us, then they are right. Since those judges over there do not agree with us, they are wrong. Questions?"

“The individual responsibility provision – the main part of the law at issue in these cases – is constitutional. Those who claim this provision exceeds Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce are incorrect.”

Skippy summation: "It's constitutional because we say it's constitutional...capiche? Those who claim this provision exceeds Congress' power to regulate are either Tea Party terrorists, or people who think that government should not be able to tell its people what they should buy and how much they should pay for it, essentially destroying any free market solution. The former probably believe that government should allow the free market to decide the price of goods and services. Those same people probably assume that pharmaceutical companies who make profits from people being sick is a good thing, in that the desire to make profits cure disease and increase the medical welfare of the people, as shown over the last 100 years. Those same people probably wish that government would help increase the supply of doctors vice incentivizing the increase of supply of free riders who increase the demand of medical services (increase in demand with decrease in supply...aka, what economists call a shortage...we've seen that in Canada and the U.K., but we're confident it just can't happen here...we're awesome!). We completely disagree with those people. They are idiots."

“Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are making an economic decision that affects all of us – when people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayer are often left to pick up the tab.”

Skippy's summation: "Not one single person in this country goes without health care. There are, of course, people who go without health insurance. We'd like to conflate those two so that you find it harder to understand. You see, while we don't have a problem with illegal immigrants who use health care and make the rest of us pay for it, those Americans who do the same are bad, very bad people. Also, we don't like that people can make economic decisions that affect other people. For example, if you have an iPad and I don't, you've created a inequality that just can not stand in this America, comrade. If you have great insurance, and this guy over here does not have great insurance, well, that just will not stand. We must make everyone equal. To each according to his ability, to each according to his need. (P.S.--the "pick up the tab" thing was probably a bad choice of words after Congress increased the debt limit this past week, ensuring our children's children's children will be picking up the tab of our current spending)."

“That’s why the Affordable Care Act requires everyone who can afford it to take responsibility for their own health care and carry some form of health insurance.”

Skippy's summation: "We'd like you to take personal responsibility for your own health care, but we need you to choose this plan for this price...we don't care if you don't like it and could do better. Or for that matter, we don't care if the country can't actually pay for this system. We're talking about your personal responsibility, not the government's responsibility, ok? You see, health care is a right. If we call it a right, the government must pay for it. You question this? Capitalist Pig! Now that we think about it, isn't food a right? Well, we'll be implementing the Affordable Safeway and Kroger Act soon which will ensure everyone eats well and doesn't have to pay for it. Also, we plan on enacting the Affordable House Act, which will ensure everyone has a free house to live in. I mean, if health care is a right, then surely food and and a place to live are also. And for that matter, we'd like to see the Affordable Water, Sewage, and Electricity Act, because people have rights to those also. How could you live without water, sewage or electricity? Those are rights too. And since everyone needs to be able to transport themselves to their jobs, we'll be recommending the Affordable Car Act, followed shortly by the Affordable Gas Act. I mean, a car without gas does no good, right? We plan on funding these too, via the federal government...we'll just need to continue to increase your taxes. What, you have a problem with increasing your taxes? What are you, a terrorist?"

Well, in all seriousness, I don't blame the White House for responding. It was a great piece to read (and I know the brother of the author...Guano, you owe me money). It just still amazes me that so many people still believe in the fallacy of a socialist world. It doesn't work. I wish I could say something to these people who believe in socialism that would change their mind. But there's really nothing I can say. Like telling my daughter, over and over, not to touch the hot stove, sometimes...well, she just has to touch the stove to see that it really will burn.

I just wish we all didn't have to feel the pain along with them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Your Yearly Hearing Test

Listen closely.  Replay if necessary, but turn your volume up.  If you catch it, congrats, you, bad choice of words.

I'm sure it was just the chair.  But wouldn't it be great if it wasn't?  Disclaimer:  I'm no fan of Congressman Barney Frank.  Especially since he thinks that the first place to gut funding is the Department of Defense, and that "no good purpose" has come from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yes, we're spending $140 Billion a year on these operations....but, currently, the debt is increasing by $3.8 Billion per day.  In July of 2009, we paid $19 billion just in interest on our debt.

By my math (using old 2009 numbers), that's approximately $230 Billion a year just in interest.  Almost double what we paid in military operations.  While he may think we're not getting much out of these operations, I think he would privately admit it's a lot more than we're getting by paying interest.

Or not.  He is a politician.  But back to my original point, I do feel sorry for that chair.


And one more thing for the Honorable Congressman from Massachusetts (that's a hard state to spell...and I'm from Mississippi!).

Since 1967, our spending on the DoD has fallen from 45% of the budget to 20%.  Social Security has risen from 14% to 21%.  The payment on the interest (to our debt) has risen from 7% to 9%.Medicare and Medicaid has risen from 2% to 21% of the federal budget.

You tell me...which is the growing beast?  Defense or entitlements?  Which is the growing problem, defense or entitlements?  Which, if left unchanged, will consume the federal budget...that which is shrinking or that which is growing?

It's a pretty simple answer, but a very complex solution.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Think I'll Call In Sick

Ah, I feel a 3-4 day flu coming on.  Cough, cough.  Yeah, I may not make it into work this week.

Maybe one day I'll make the voyage.  Until then, keep the shiny side up...have fun!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Art of Compromise

Ah, yes, compromise.  Like I said before, compromise for the sake of compromise is worthless.  Unless something good comes from it, compromise is...compromising.

Good thing we "hurried" to get the compromise debt deal know, before our credit was downgraded.

Behold!  The art of compromise!

Ever been to a art studio?  Sometimes, the art just sucks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Admitting You Have a Problem

Well, the first step to dealing with a problem is accepting you have one.

White House Press Secretary: "The White House doesn't create jobs."

Bravo.  I'm actually surprised they understand this, with their massive Keynesian gavel they've been slamming on our heads lately.

Next step, though, is actually putting your actions behind your words.  You see, if you admit that the White House (executive branch of government) doesn't create jobs, then who does?

Business creates jobs.  Business, with the goal of making profit, producing goods that people want to consume, hire labor to produce those goods.  Those goods meet a demand ( to the demand...think I read that somewhere before).  Those laborers then can purchase other goods with their salary and contribute to funding the government with taxes.

The White House spokesman (Jay Carney), went on to say that "legislative priorities the President believes will create jobs" will help the economy.  Doh!

Well, I guess he needs to go back to step 1.  The legislature doesn't "create" jobs.  Business does.  Government jobs (all jobs, really) are a cost, not a benefit.  Government should only provide services which the benefits outweigh the costs...or those that can only be realized at an organized federal level (e.g., the military).  Economically, you should only invest in that which the benefit outweighs the cost.  Businesses, as a logical being, incur costs only when the benefit is greater, and part of those costs are jobs.  Those jobs are the costs which are incurred by attaining the benefit.

Where does tax revenue come from?  Ah yes, the laborers from the businesses (who are actually the creator of jobs). You see, there would be no government jobs if there was no revenue coming into the government to hire those government workers.  Government doesn't create wealth, it redistributes it.

Well, I guess the simple fact of saying "the White House doesn't create jobs" is pretty good for this administration.  You know what, who am I to lecture on economics?  Listen to an expert.  I wish I could have spent an hour with the Professor.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Dereliction of Logic

Logic: "A particular mode of reasoning viewed as valid or faulty."

Overkill: "To obliterate with more force than required."

Unjust: "something characterized by injustice"

Why the drive down Webster's lane?  Oh, I don't know.  A little linguistic foreplay before the "you gotta be kidding me" moments you are about to enjoy.

- 11yr old girl saves woodpecker from family cat.  Keeps bird in cage until well enough to fly away on its own.  US Fish and Wildlife officer finds out and shows up with a State Trooper at their front door with a citation and summons.  Feds fine the family $535 and a possible 1 year imprisonment for the girl's mother.  Story here.  Update: US Fish and Wildlife commission: "Oops.  Sorry about was a 'clerical error'."

- Police in Coralville, Iowa, shut down a business they say was breaking the law.  The proprietor of the business was given a cease and desist.  The proprietor was 4 years old and the business was a lemonade stand.  Story here.

- Police chief in Midway, Georgia told a couple girls (saving up for a water park visit) to stop selling lemonade at their stand.  Police chief said that "the law is the law".  The law requires the little girls to buy a business license and food permit which costs $50 per day and a $180 per year.  They're going to have to sell a LOT of lemonade to make that profit margin work.  Story here.

You know, if the government is having trouble making budgeting cuts, I can recommend 3 "officer of the peace" positions that should be eliminated.  They seem to have too much time on their hands and a lack of perspective.

Rant complete.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Some Humor to Lighten the Day

Disclaimer: This humor is offensive.

In other words, it's pretty funny.

Fun With Numbers 2

With "million", "billion", and "trillion" being thrown around in the news constantly, I thought it would be important to add a little perspective.

What is a million?  What is a billion...and a trillion?

Let's use age as a perspective.  When a baby is born, how long does it take for that baby to live a million seconds?

The baby would be approximately 11 days old.

How long does it take for that baby to live a billion seconds?

The baby would be 31.7 years old when it has lived for a billion seconds.

What about a trillion seconds?  How old would that baby be alive if it lived for a trillion seconds?

The baby would be 31,709 years old.  That's an old baby.

Interesting stuff to keep in mind when thinking about our $14 trillion debt...and increasing by $3.81 billion per day.

One more thing--if every man, woman, and child had to pay down our debt, how many dollars per person would that be?  $46,149.96 (that's using an estimated population of 311,043,303).

My daughter better start charging more at her lemonade stand.