Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
As a Boomer, I must say I find it hard to believe we will stand for it--aren't we the vainest generation in history that wants to live forever, etc.? Don't we want the full might of the American medical-industrial complex dedicated to devising expensive breakthrough treatments that will prolong the lives of our friends and us? I know I do
Of course the young have always wanted the old to shuffle off to Buffalo as soon as possible.
But I disagree that we Boomers (I'm 58) want to live forever. Our narcissism, vanity and hedonism work against our infantile desire to rule the cosmos -- and live forever.
That is, we want to live -- but as we always said, really live. Sitting in poopy diapers as we drool on our bingo cards in some nursing home that smells of disinfectant -- that's not our thing.
We want to live, but only as long as we can live well -- sky-diving, hitchhiking to Katmandu, etc., to the very end.
But that could work with the Obama vision.
Instead of cash for clunkers, the government could sponsor "Harleys for the Gray-Haired." Give everyone over 55 a motorcycle. We boomers could continue our pursuit of kicks. And it would reduce gas usage. And after awhile, it would reduce the number of people alive and qualified for Medicare.
A similar effect could be obtained by giving Boomers free skydiving and bungee-jumping lessons, etc.
For those continuing their spiritual quests, the government could give away free trips to far away lands where there's great religious ferment. The Swat Valley of Afghanistan, for instance.
Or Woodstock parties. Only now three days of sitting in the mud and rain and ingesting powerful chemicals would again reduce the Medicare rolls.
And didn't Aldous Huxley, before he got into LSD, see this very clearly?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
- People in high cost areas (e.g., New York City, Boston, South Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles) would get much bigger subsidies than those in low cost areas (e.g., much of the rest of the country, especially in rural areas). The subsidies are calculated as a percentage of the “reference premium,” which is determined based on the cost of plans sold in that particular geographic area.
The House bill outline is not specific on this point. I would not expect it to be – this is something you can tell only from legislative language.
In other words, Utahns would subsidize people on the Upper East Side of New York, Beacon Hill in Boston, or the Gold Coast of Chicago.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
It's like when Michael Jordan tried to be a baseball player -- they're just two different things.
Or, for those who detest sports metaphors, like when Pierce Brosnan "sang" in Mama Mia.
Every time you hear how the government is going to make a unionized automaker a success, try (if you dare) picturing Pierce Brosnan singing.
Maybe all these words have meaning to insiders that's not apparent to outsiders. But it sure looks like 1) Some union locals are holdouts in GM's campaign to get rid of inefficient work rules. (The power of union locals, even in the face of the UAW national leadership, has always been a problem when it comes to streamlining work practices); 2) Under the new agreement, the work rules haven't "been removed." Rather, the parties have pledged to complete the tooth-pulling process of negotiating their demise by the end of the year. It's a target, not a fait accompli. And what happens if that target isn't reached (as, apparently, the earlier targets weren't reached)? The deal doesn't say.
ONE more point:
When, oh when, with management have more leverage? Are these autoworkers going to quit en masse and go work somewhere else?
If management can't put the hammer down now, it never will. So GM (and Chrysler) will fail.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Productivity is still lower in U.S. plants of U.S. firms that it is in U.S. plants of foreign-based firms. As a result of high compensation costs per worker and low productivity, it appears that labor cost per vehicle produced will still be uncompetitive with the transplants.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
But what about the assessment that Utah won't go too far right?
I can't claim to be any expert on the moods and attitudes of Utah. Still, it seems to me that Utah is not necessarily what it appears on the surface.
Look at what Marxists might call the objective situation: General Motors nationalized! The banks cowed and cowering. The health system next.
I'll just mention Iran and North Korea having/working on nuclear weapons.
So the situation, from a conservative point of view, is desperate, tea parties or not.
So is Bob Bennett a guy for such a time?
Forgive the martial metaphor, but in the military there's a time for desk generals and a time for fighting generals. Grant, Sherman, Patton, Billy Mitchell -- these guys are just trouble in peace time, and what good are they then? But in war time ...
If you don't like martial metaphors, think of the difference between entrepreneurs and managers, or inventors and technicians.
So is a "peacetime" senator right for the times?
Conservatives would say no. They might say -- so what good is dickering in D.C? So the government only owns 65 percent of GM rather than 70 would be significant? Big deal!
Hard to say what's going on, in Utah or nationally. Or whether it can get 50 percent of the vote.
Still, are we in one of those watershed times? And can Bennett or other standard-issue Republicans survive?
But, however, can Shurtleff or others beat him? Can't beat something with nothing.
Friday, May 29, 2009
... it was thought that Chukchi's waters northwest of Alaska's landmass held 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas.
Today, Science magazine reports that the U.S. Geological Survey now finds it holds more than anyone thought — 1.6 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered gas, or 30% of the world's supply and 83 billion barrels of undiscovered oil, 4% of the global conventional resources.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
... Washington will have no choice but to deal with him directly, rather than merely as one party among several in the multilateral talks that have characterized negotiations with North Korea since 2003.
Now is not the time for unilateral threats. The disaster in Iraq should be foremost in our minds when dealing with North Korea. And that means, hard as it may be to swallow, working with Beijing.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Why don't Democrats instead push to provide everyone with health care using the argument that ... everyone needs health care? ... Just a thought
So ... everybody needs food. So have the government be in charge of providing food!
Ooops, it's been tried, with not so good results. (Google "Communism, famimes")
I hurry to add that Kaus makes good points. There's no arbitrary percentage of national income that should or should not be spent on health.
And there is huge waste -- even conservatives admit that.
But who decides? And how?
The key element is what's productive. Good health care could be productive.
Bad health care ... Like, say, Medicare ...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Turns out that's not what the groups said at all. In their letter to Obama, they promised to "do our part to achieve your Administration's goal of decreasing by 1.5 percentage points annual health-care spending growth rate -- saving $2 trillion or more." Of course, their part of that savings may be significantly less than the full $2 trillion. The groups offered no further specifics. And, anyway, there would be no way to enforce such a hazy commitment.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The market seems to want C.E.O.’s to offer a clear direction for their companies. There’s a tension between being resolute and being flexible. The research suggests it’s more important to be resolute, even at the cost of some flexibility.The second thing the market seems to want from leaders is a relentless and somewhat mind-numbing commitment to incremental efficiency gains. Charismatic C.E.O.’s and politicians always want the exciting new breakthrough — whether it is the S.U.V. or a revolutionary new car. The methodical executives at successful companies just make the same old four-door sedan, but they make it better and better.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Eventually, economists came to understand that vast numbers of individuals and businesses throughout the economy don't make exactly the same mistakes simultaneously unless something has changed the rules of the game. Government isn't always responsible--bubbles can occur on their own, as they have over the centuries--but systemic errors usually result from government policy.
Illustrating the Fed's failure is this graph showing the national median housing price ratio to the median annual income. For more than twenty years, this ratio moved in a narrow range between 2.9 and 3.1. This range held through several recessions, wars and expansions. Beginning In 2001, the ratio climbed to 3.3, peaking in 2006 at 4.6. This can only be described as a stunning increase for this long used indicator of housing affordability.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The bailout and the stimulus and the budget and the trillion-dollar deficits are not merely massive transfers from the most dynamic and productive sector to the least dynamic and productive. When governments annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk of individual liberty. You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher—and you make it very difficult ever to change back. Americans face a choice: They can rediscover the animating principles of the American idea—of limited government, a self-reliant citizenry, and the opportunities to exploit your talents to the fullest—or they can join most of the rest of the Western world in terminal decline.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The Times analysis exemplified our collective amnesia about Washington's repeated attempts to expand homeownership and the disasters they've caused. Each time we clean them up, then — as if under some strange compulsion — set in motion the mechanisms of the next housing calamity. That's exactly what we're doing once again.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Profits can be made when energy is rationed or subsidized, but only within an economy operating at lower, or even negative, growth rates. This means that over the longer term, everyone will be competing for a piece of a pie that is smaller than it would have been without energy rationing.
This does not auger well either for growth or for working our way out of today's crisis.
Yet wouldn’t you think people should know Gore is a partner in a company that has invested $1 billion of clients’ money in 40 companies set to benefit from the global warming policies he’s urging on the US?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Barack Obama's decision to give the nod to Congress and his attorney general to investigate and possibly prosecute former Bush administration officials opens a Pandora's Box that could ultimately consume his presidency.
From a WP guy who's no raving conservative:
At the Central Intelligence Agency, it's known as "slow rolling." That's what agency officers sometimes do on politically sensitive assignments. They go through the motions; they pass cables back and forth; they take other jobs out of the danger zone; they cover their backsides.Sad to say, it's slow roll time at Langley after the release of interrogation memos that, in the words of one veteran officer, "hit the agency like a car bomb in the driveway."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Consider the Justice Department memo of May 30, 2005. It notes that "the CIA believes 'the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001.'
Friday, April 17, 2009
More broadly, haven't liberals historically prospered when they promised and delivered more for the average American (more Social Security, health security, prosperity, clean air) in exchange for increased spending? Why not try the same with health care? Give pandering a chance.
1. We're broke. We don't have more to give, or even credibly promise.
2. As Robert Samuelson's column puts it: we're at the point where more health spending -- harms our ability to spend more on health.
It's not that industry and such are better; but they remain the foundation for all funding of good things.
Choke off such productive growth, and you choke off the source of money for other good things, including health spending.
3. All health spending is rationed. We can't put an ambulance and paramedics on every block. The question is: who decides?
4. There is waste. But who decides how to appropriate?
5. The problem with generous government approvals is that political pressure will distort what should be spent.
I'm a Baby Boomer. We'll demand knee replacements so we can still dance (somewhat) as we used to.
And we have the votes to make it happen.
6. But the real question is: when do these pay back society? If a middle-aged delivery driver gets a knee replacement so he can stay on the job and not go on disability, great.
But how does society benefit if a 75-year-old retiree gets a knee replaced so his shuffleboard form remains unmarred?
7. Political pressure means LESS health care that's needed. And MORE health care for those with political clout. Those are different.
8. Of course, there are equality questions, but not the ones that usually come up. If we as a society pay for your knee replacement, do you have to keep working to pay back society?
9. So is it fair that the healthy keep on the treadmill, and the unfit get to kick back?
Equality isn't possible -- especially if politicians run it. The problem isn't how to get the maximum, for that would be 100 percent, and our economy would collapse before then.
The problem is how to get the optimum allocation of health care.
And that raises brutal questions for a democracy that aspires to equality -- but can't bear to deny anyone anything.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
But then in mid to late June, along came the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy. The Democratic triumvirate’s intent to starve the nation of energy, regardless of the consequences, and newly minted presidential nominee Barack Obama’s designs on punitively taxing 5% of the nation’s most productive in the name of redistributing money to everyone else, both became crystal clear. As a result, paraphrasing what I wrote at the time, businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs responded to the trio’s total lack of seriousness by battening down the hatches and preparing for the worst.
They haven’t stopped, which is why the POR economy is now the POR recession as normal people define it. It is also why tax collections have taken a dive.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Watch out, France and Co, there is a new surrender monkey on the block and, over the next four years, he will spectacularly sell out the interests of the West with every kind of liberal-delusionist initiative on nuclear disarmament and sitting down to negotiate with any power freak who wants to buy time to get a good ICBM fix on San Francisco, or wherever. If you thought the world was a tad unsafe with Dubya around, just wait until President Pantywaist gets into his stride.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Some of the most outspoken members of the Blue Dog Coalition also scored points with the big spenders, voting with Frank and Lee six out of nine times. They include Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Allen Boyd (Fla.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), and Jim Matheson (Utah).
Still, this gets at the worldview behind the bubble.
Repression in economic matters may not always lead to doom. But the scale of unconscious denial of the past five years amounts to a Great Repression. That is the widespread and sustained, if unconscious, denial of economic reality on a scale sufficient so that eventual reckoning spells equally widespread and sustained financial devastation—of which we should now be collectively acutely conscious.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I don’t blame him for borrowing the money to blast the U.S. and world economies out of their current rut. I blame him for accompanying his borrowing with a slew of long- discredited statist interventions. These will hugely burden those future Americans who inherit the job of paying off his debt.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The so called “Food Safety Act” which would punish small farmers by putting them under a mountain of byzantine regulations that would shut them down. And punish people who try to grow their own food with million dollar fines. This will make people reliant on big agri-corporations and restrict or ban people from trying to support themselves.
Monday, March 30, 2009
When Pope Benedict XVI commented this month that condom distribution isn't helping, and may be worsening, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, he set off a firestorm of protest. ....
Yet, in truth, current empirical evidence supports him.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Discovered by the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka, the method creates stem cells without using and destroying human embryos. By studying cells created from people with inherited disorders, scientists are observing, in ways never before possible, how diseases progress and react to treatments, said Doug Melton, a Harvard University researcher.
“This is the breakthrough the stem-cell field has been waiting for,” said Beth Seidenberg, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Menlo Park, California-based venture-capital firm that helped start Google Inc.
Stem cell researchers have created embryonic-cell lookalikes that don't have the cancer-causing genes found in earlier experiments.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The president of the United States has decided to address this crisis while simultaneously tackling the four most complicated problems facing the nation: health care, energy, immigration and education. Why he has not also decided to spend his evenings mastering quantum mechanics and discovering the origins of consciousness is beyond me.
The one path not being pursued by the Obama administration, of course, is nuclear energy. That would be too easy. All we’d have to do is admit that the purveyors of “clean and renewable energy” are living in a fantasy world. Once that was done, we could employ current technology, use the existing electrical grid, and skip all the business of flagellating ourselves about all the harm we do to the planet. We could put tens of thousands of construction workers to work, cut through bureaucracy (we’d have to give up the five-year reviews by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission), and let Silicon Valley go back to building computers instead of thinking they can solve world energy problems.
The conversion to the Internet newspaper will be painful and slow, as it awaits more new technology and an almost complete reinvention of the business. But in about ten years, the greatest newspapers will be titles that are familiar now, and will publish about 10 percent of their sale in printed editions for sale at newsstands.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Dramatic advances in public attitudes are sweeping Iraq, with declining violence, rising economic well-being and improved services lifting optimism, fueling confidence in public institutions and bolstering support for democracy.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
What the four economists found is that the Administration's estimates for stimulus growth were six times as high as they could produce under a modern Keynesian simulation. By their estimates, the stimulus would produce, at most, 600,000 jobs and add perhaps 0.6% to GDP at its peak. That's nowhere near a multiplier of 1.5 and suggests the $800 billion would have been better devoted to business tax cuts or fixing the financial system. That's $1.3 million in spending per job, for those keeping score at home.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
For those of you just tuning in on the Fox News Channel or C-SPAN, I'm Rush Limbaugh and I want everyone in this room and every one of you around the country to succeed. I want anyone who believes in life, liberty, pursuit of happiness to succeed.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
While layoffs may seem like a good way to cut costs in the short-term, the direct and indirect costs of downsizing can paralyze your company’s long-term revenue-generating streams. “The books look great for two or three quarters, and then things don’t get done,” says Jonathan Phillips, managing director of Houston-based executive search firm Magellan International.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Most of Washington has reached quick consensus: Government must do something big to shock the economy, and it should cost between $800 billion and $900 billion.
But dissident economists and investment professionals offer a much different take: Most of Washington is dead wrong.
Instead of fighting over what should go in the economic stimulus bill, pitting infrastructure spending against tax cuts and contractors against contraceptives, they say lawmakers should be fighting against the very idea of any economic stimulus at all. Call them the Do-Nothing Crowd.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Subprime Crisis: The media have pounded President Bush for a wave of Hispanic home foreclosures. But it was Democrats who launched a drive to loosen credit for Hispanics — many of them illegals.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that "the science is in." Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.
Friday, January 2, 2009
As the estimable Robert Samuelson writes in the Washington Post, "The great lesson of the past year is how little we understand and can control the economy." The equally estimable Matthew D'Ancona puts it this way in Britain's Sunday Telegraph, "The Sibylline Books remain closed. The crystal ball yields no secrets....Almost nothing is certain about the next twelve months."