Sunday, December 31, 2006

So Long Nifong

You piece of sh!t!

Thanks to Dave - Women's Labor Force Participation

OK, so many thanks to Dave at the beloved US Postal Service he found a chart that shows the bump in the labor force participation of women in WWII.

Previous to this, Mollie tendered an excellent argument that the origins of women entering the labor force was due to Rosie the Rivetter, not the women's liberation movement. But it seems labor force participation dropped back to normal levels after the conclusion of WWII.



Regardless, Dave is now officially donned a junior deputy economist for the speed in which he got the chart!

ALL HAIL DAVE!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

This One's for Mollie

Mollie brought up a good point, that the transition of women into the labor force had its origins in WWII, not the women's liberation movement. I can't disagree or agree because I haven't seen any data. This is the best data I could find, labor force participation rate for women. It only goes back to 1948.



Anybody else got older data?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Women's Liberation Movement Felled by the Division of Labor

The largest single factor in US economics, as well as the economics of the developed world in the past 50 years has been hands down the migration of women into the labor force.

No argument about it. Cannot be debated. Cannot be questioned. Just go and look at the data yourself.

It shouldn’t be surprising since allowing the better half of society to enter college, work, establish careers, etc., effectively doubles your labor force, doubles your intellectual capital, and therefore doubles your ability to produce wealth. Therefore the majority, or at least the plurality of increases in standards of living in the past 50 years can be contributed to women working.

It may also go a long way in explaining why Islamic countries or just countries in general that have their women subservient to men suffer such low standards of living, since they effectively bar half their potential labor force from working, severely handicapping their country’s ability to produce wealth.

Regardless, for all the economic benefits to women entering the labor force there are some drawbacks.

Notably with women out of the house, the responsibility of child rearing has not been outsourced to the father (oh, no, we’re too proud for that), but rather outsourced to the state. It is no coincidence that spending on public education has not only exploded, but expanded to cover things like feeding kids (lunch boxes are antiques now with taxpayer-financed breakfast and lunch served to the students), pre-school, after school programs, tutoring, counseling, teenage pregnancy programs, sex education, etc., as more and more women have entered the labor force, effectively turning the Department of Education to the Department of Baby Sitting and Child Rearing.

Also, the explosion in the use of day care facilities. A fact that I particularly detest for, again, it would seem to me that if you had the child and loved the child, you would want to spend those precious few moments with them in childhood. Alas, I must be too damn idealistic or old school for it seems to me children are now no different than an SUV, a huge diamond ring, a flat panel TV etc., ie- a “status” symbol, an “item” to have that goes well with the drapes, and sadly something that is no more loved than one’s granite kitchen counter tops. Ergo, it’s like a dog, you can leave “it” at the kennel. I can think of no other explanation why somebody would use day care.

An additional drawback to women’s entrance into the labor market, though I have not scientific evidence for it, is that I would speculate a lot of the “social” problems children have where they’re walking into schools, shooting their peers, doing drugs, putting “bodily fluids” in cafeteria salad dressing, waving gang signs at each and just in general acting like immature, disrespectful feral youth comes from the fact there is not a stable traditional “nuclear” family around. And as these kids age and become “adults” no doubt the crime rate will increase as these “Lord of the Flies” adults enter society, as it has.


Now fingers are typically pointed to the “women’s liberation movement” as the main culprit for women’s migration to the labor force and therefore these social costs (and the rarely mentioned economic benefits). However, I had an epiphany recently that points to a different culprit/hero (depending on your take).

It was Fall and I was too busy to rake my own yard. Ye, the city of Minneapolis demands that it be raked so, despite it hurting my blue collar soul, I actually decided to drop the money on having somebody else rake my yard for me.

There was an element of lost pride there as I always fathomed myself raking my own yard for “such a thing would never be beneath me.”

But with 90-100 hour work weeks it had to be.

Fortunately I had a female friend of mine rake my yard for the low low price of dinner. This permitted me, in the classical Adam Smith’s Division of Labor way, to work up more money than I would have had to pay for dinner, benefiting not just me, but my female friend as well.

But the interesting thing was my female friend is an accountant and by no means has a lot of free time on her hands either. She’s just a very charitable person and was only working 50 hours a week. But I thought, she could have just as well outsourced the job to some neighborhood kid, paid him $10 and got a $40 out of me.

And then the epiphany hit.

Raking is a chore. Cleaning is a chore. Preparing food is a chore.

All of which we outsource because it is more efficient to do so.

Child rearing is also a chore.

Child rearing is also being outsourced.

And thus my theory was born. It is not so much because of the women’s liberation movement that women entered the work force as much as it may be just the natural progression of economics and a further specialization of labor.

One cannot argue that this isn’t effectively is happening anyway. We are effectively outsourcing the upbringing of our children to third parties, either be it nannies, the government, or day care facilities. And the reason I surmise isn’t so much because women swallowed whole the ideology of the women’s liberation movement about “being independent” and “having a career just as a guy,” but rather because it makes complete economic sense.

In outsourcing your child to be reared by somebody else not only do you free up your own time to go and pursue a career, but (in most cases) you make more money. Both husband and wife can pull down $50,000 each, cumulatively $100,000 together, pay the schools $10,000 a year per pupil to take care of their children, netting them $90,000 in income (assuming one kid). Whereas if a wife (or husband) has to stay at home and rear the child, $50,000 of income is lost and the family must do with $50,000. It only makes ECONOMIC sense to then farm out your kids to child-farms (read, day care centers).

Of course the quality of the rearing may be called into question. The utter deteriorating in decorum, respect, civility and so forth demonstrated by today’s youth and even Gen X’ers my age show the social costs we now get to deal with.

Instead of gossip about Sophia Loren and Cary Grant being an item, we gossip about whether Britney Spears has panties on.

Instead of men singing eloquies about the beauty of women such as Frank Sintara we have a bevy of degenerates singing about pimps and hoes and how women are meat.

Chivalry is shot. So are women that like upstanding men. If you want to keep a girl now, you just treat her like crap. Dare you show any chivalry or Cary Grantedness or (as a policy I’ve recently discontinued) buy your date a corsage, you are a stalker, or at least at minimum, weird.

No, now we have SENIORS IN HIGH SCHOOL putting their semen into salad dressing.

Brilliant. Grand.

Throwing the fabric of society down the toilet because it’s more efficient to outsource the upbringing of our children.

I’m sure there’s no longer term consequences for this.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Better Than a Diamond Ring at Least

IN READING THIS POST YOU WAIVE ALL RIGHTS TO SUE ME, WHINE, COMPLAIN, BITCH AND/OR OTHERWISE MOAN AND GRIPE

Understand? Good.

Well I said I was going to give you a gift and here it is;

GWLLF.

Yep, that's it. It's my latest stock investment.

You see, Bradman a while ago was complaining because I didn't tell him about my stock pick of Northwest Airlines when it was trading at 60 cents a share. Now it's at $5 a share or something and I made a tidy profit on it.

And how did I manage this amazing return?

I

Got

LUCKY!!!!!

Skill had nothing to do with it.

Talent had nothing to do with it.

I didn't even bother looking at the financials.

IT WAS ALL LUCK!

I figured it was trading a pennies per share, and thought, "eh, what the heck, I'll gamble $1,000 on it" and by LUCK, it paid off.

The same thing with GWLLF.

YOU ARE PRACTICALLY GUARANTEED TO LOSE ALL YOUR MONEY ON THIS INVESTMENT!!!!

It's a horrible investment.

Only fools would invest in it.

A pox upon you and your family if you are foolish enough to invest in it.

Woe upon the man or woman that parts with their money and invest it in this company.

So don't tell me I didn't warn you.

You are an idiot for investing in GWLLF.

However, there are much worse investments in my opinion than GWLLF. Like Beanie Babies. Children. A degree in philosophy. And a diamond ring. And despite GWLLF practically GUARANTEEING A NEGATIVE RETURN, I'd still rather invest in GWLLF than a diamond ring for a bevy of reasons.

1. From The Economist



GWLLF can make a brand new car for $6,500. GOD BLESS CHEAP CHINESE LABOR. If you thought Toyota was going to give GM and Ford a run for their money, wait till you see what non-unionized Chinese labor can do! Of course the quality of the cars are incredibly poor, but so too was the quality of Daewoo and Hyundai. Now they produce decent quality cars.

2. From Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_Motors

That's right, it's the only privately held auto manufacturer in China right now.

Now, even though the Chinese government at any time could reposses the assets of this firm. At any time the local provincial governors or the town's politcal boss could hit it up on trumped up charges. At any time Great Wall Motors may decide to do something EVEN WORSE and replace their Chinese labor with labor from the UAW, thus guaranteeing their demise. Despite all these possibilities, it is still better than a diamond ring.

For at least with Great Wall Motors there is hope.

There is hope, albeit very little, it will become the next Toyota.

There is hope, albeit very little, that they will increase the quality of their cars putting them on par with Honda, GM, Ford and BMW.

There is hope, albeit very little, that it will turn a profit and cash flow.

However, with a diamond ring there is no hope of a return. There's only the chance the girl you give it to will divorce your ass anyway.

So men, knights, economists and heroes, lend me your ears.

Don't buy your beloved a diamond ring or jewelry of any kind this holiday season.

Buy her hope.

Buy her GWLLF.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lot's O' Charts

Merry Christmas all Junior, Deputy, Aspiring and Official Economists!

Busy as we all are during Christmas season, but I've happened upon a lot of charts whilst reading my favorite periodical, The Economist. Would like to discuss them at length but I've only time to address them briefly.

Besides which I will be presenting to all of you your Christmas gift here in a couple days!

Anyway, here we go;

First off the bat I found this chart amazing. The non-stop optimistic blathering I hear from the real estate industry about how this "housing bubble" is just a minor blip and things are going to be just hunky dory. They immediately cite construction, mortgages, sales, etc. and how they've recovered or at least stabalized.



That's nice and all, but I'm a little more concerned about the housing "burst" spilling over into the rest of the economy. And it doesn't seem residential construction has woken up to reality yet. Right now we're flirting with high 1.X% RGDP growth. Will be curious to see what happened when they start laying people off in construction.

Second, we all know Frank. Well looks like those Aussies are following their American capitalist counterparts in the pursuit of managing hedge funds. The more I study Australia, the more eerie I find out how alike it is to the US economically. The day may come the Australians become the raiders of capital.



A third chart I found interesting in that it shows how corporate China is financing its expansion and growth. It shouldn't be a surprise the majority of financing comes from banks, no doubt the majority of which are state owned. But notice the increase in the stock market and corporate bond market. I predict 5 years from now when The Economist runs this chart again, Chinese companies will get at least HALF their money from private sources, if not more. Get ready to speak Mandarin.



And then a place I wouldn't mind investing in, once I finish investing in all the other places I'd like; the former Soviet Bloc. Particularly the Baltics.



Isn't it interesting how countries that were under communism, remember it so starkly, that they are now the most ardent supporters of capitalism? Doesn't it make you spoiled brat "fair weather" socialists ask questions?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's the All Canada Show!

Many thanks to SDA and Brad I have a disproportionately high readership in Canada, which is good.

So it made me very happy to hear that my radio station AM 1500 KSTP is endorsing (drum roll and fanfare...)

THE ALL CANADA SHOW!!!!!

"Who doesn't want to go to The All Canada Show?" I ask!

You can go here to see if the All Canada Show is coming to your town!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Minneapolis Monorail Morons

Two years ago the Twin Cities metro was sold a bill of goods by the supra-county government called the “Met Council.” It was billed as a necessary public service, but I can’t think of it anything different than the “Monorail” episode from the Simpsons. Yes, we now have had a light rail mass transit line in the beloved Twin Cities for 2 years and if memory serves me correctly we’ve had 3 deaths arise from the light rail (whereas our carry conceal permit has resulted in only ONE death).

Regardless, the whole sales pitch we were given was that this light rail system that ran from DT Minneapolis to the Mall of America was necessary. For not only would it alleviate traffic on the stretch of 35W, but there was this massive pent up demand for light rail which would no doubt finance its costs.

Really?

I’m always skeptical of government types because, by definition they’re in government. They don’t have to answer to the market, they don’t have to make ends meet, they don’t have to turn a profit. My skepticism turns into full blown cynicism when you have political interests afoot;

Environmentalists who have no real purpose or meaning in life that would thinking nothing of forcing a $713 million project upon the tax payers, just as long as it makes them feel good about themselves, even if there is no tangible results.

Outright communists and leftists that envy the suburb people for all their wealth and income and their nice houses. No, don’t become one of them and get a degree in something that matters or establish a career or work hard. No, best to bitch, whine, gripe, moan and complain and criminalize the suburbs and force your socially engineered dream of public transit, East-Germany-Communist era, 1970’s minimalist architectural crap public housing, and making everybody equal (read – equally poor and miserable as you).

And then there’s the politicians. Ah yes, politicians. Parasites worse than lawyers who are willing to sacrifice the integrity of their country as long as they get a life-long political career and don’t have to work for a living. Politicians who can always be counted on to bribe the poorer half of society with worthless public projects to make it look like they’re doing something, when in reality they’re just pissing away hard earned tax money that would probably be better spent on the poor in any number of ways.

So, with the all the aforementioned parties all with a vested psychological, psychotic or political interest in the game, you can see why I was so cynical about such a project.

Anecdotally, my cynicism was vindicated as I could see what a farce it was within the first 6 months of operation since I live near the damn thing. They put the transit line right next to a major artery out of Minneapolis. This just furthered congestion and made stop lights last that much longer. Punishing those of us rugged individualists, capitalists, self-supporters and in general non-parasites who financed our own method of transportation;

The car.

And, was it any shock that the spin the left would put on this is a self-fulfilling prophecy was that we needed MORE light rail lines?

“Look at all of the congestion! And traffic is just as bad as ever on 35W! Which (while sane minds would say, “the light rail is a failure,” brainwashed leftist minds with an agenda would say) shows that “we need MORE mass transit to alleviate congestion.”

Right.

Regardless, my point isn’t about the hypocrisy of all this light rail transit BS. It’s about the economics of it all.

Presumably there was all this “pent up demand” for a light rail. That people were bursting at the seams to have a light rail.

Did they want the disposable income to afford a PS3?

No

Did they want the extra money to mayhaps afford their children attendance at a private school?

No.

Did they want an LCD projector or flat screen TV?

No.

They wanted the light rail. Of course, what kid doesn’t want light rail for Christmas. Glad we had the communists and suburb haters at the Met Council to tell us that.

So, presumably, this “venture” would turn a profit with all this demand and necessity for it, right?

I mean, if the government could make money on the deal, maybe even a hefty profit, then I’m all for it. That would lower and subsidize my tax bill if the light rail produced millions in profits like a normal everyday company.

Of course, the government is not a “normal everyday company.” It’s a political entity. It doesn’t respond to the market forces. It is not scared of losses (for it can always force the taxpayer to pay for its incompetence). And it’s goal is not to make money or be efficient or even deliver good public service. It is first and foremost an agent of wealth redistribution so that it can secure future election and a life-time career in politics to its current politicians, then you bitches (affectionately and euphemistically called “the constituents”) come a distant second.

Now, I know, I know. I’m cynical.

I’m sure those good people at the Met Council would never ever think about forcing people who don’t use the light rail to subsidize it just to either bribe schmucks to vote for them or to masturbate their egos so they call feel like they’ve done something for the community and give meaning to their meaningless lives. They would put first and foremost you ahead of their personal interests because you are a hard working tax payer forfeiting precious minutes of your finite life to convert your time into the life-blood of money so you can make the mortgage and put food on the table. And if you’re not going to use the light rail, that’s OK, because this was such a great idea that it was bound to make a buck and wouldn’t need your subsidy.
Well here’s the latest projected income statement from the Met Council on the light rail for 2006.


At first it seems like the light rail is making a tidy profit of $1.3 million.

But let’s put on our “auditor” hat and assume we’re auditors looking at the details of the income statement.

If you look at total revenues from passengers and advertising the light rail took in $8.7 million.

Then there is a bevy of government “revenue” sources. This manifest themselves in the form of various county, state and federal government agencies putting up the money. Of course it really isn’t the GOVERNMENT putting up the money. It’s not like the elected representatives on Met Council, the Hennepin county commissioner at the congressional representatives in Washington are dipping into their own pockets to give us their money.

No.

There is no such thing as “government money.” It’s all TAXPAYER’S MONEY.

Yes, you, me, and just about everybody else I know who hasn’t ever taken one stinking ride on that little toy of socialism are still paying for it. And we’re paying on the order of $11 million (and without our subsidy, if the light rail were to be treated like an adult, ie- private sector firm, it would be losing $10 million per year).

Per working man and woman in Minnesota this translates into about $4 per person to help some spoiled brat, gray haired, trust fund baby boomer that’s on an environmental crusade boost their ego and deal with the fact they’ve never achieved anything in their lives.

That’s $4 per working Minnesotan to ensure a politician gets re-elected by the 12 people that ride the thing regularly and the thousands of Volvo drivers that will never use it (see previous paragraph for more detailed description).

That’s $4 per working Minnesotan to help make the enemies of freedom force their utopian idea of equal misery on the rest of us.

And while you may say $4 per working person is nothing and so what, that doesn’t include the negative externalities or opportunity costs. The light rail corridor is backed up. DT Minneapolis is shot on 3rd street. And let’s not forget that in providing public transportation for people who, frankly, do not produce much wealth going to the “Mall of America” to shop, we forego the opportunity to open up the arteries (read roads) in the suburbs where the real wealth producers are, thus bottlenecking our economic growth.

The real issue though is that public transportation is once again, nothing more than an elaborate scheme of wealth redistribution. The majority of people who are paying for the light rail, not to mention its needed perpetual bailout by the taxpayer, are people who do not use it. The majority of people who pay for it are by default people who drive and live in the suburbs or the rural areas and are in the upper half of income earners. The majority of people who use it are city folk that do not produce the majority of wealth, therefore do not pay the taxes to finance the light rail, not to mention a bevy of kids and shoppers who are just going to the freaking Mall of America to shop. It is nothing more than providing subsidized transportation to the inner city at cost to the suburbs, not to mention the opportunity cost of better roads. It is the most convoluted and complex way to orchestrate an income transfer. Heck, I would have probably voted for a tax break to poor folks for transportation purposes. It just behooves the question why so much sugar was required to make this horrible tasting medicine to go down.

But expect more medicine folks. A new light rail line is going to be rammed down your throats along University Avenue. I just wonder how much sugar they’re going to use this time.

“I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, North Haverbrook, AND MINNEAPOLIS and by gum, it put them on the map!”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The $8.5 Billion Question

So Northwest Airlines has had its stock price go from 60 cents a share to $5 per share on this
merger talk circulating around.



I originally invested at 60 cents a share in the hopes that the good socialists of Minnesota would vote for the government to bail them out. Fortunately I got lucky with the merger talk and the same effect occured. But there is something that concerns me and should concern those folks out there getting all giddy thinking NWA will arise from the ashes like a pheonix.

To legitimize the current stock price, a potential suitor would have to offer, at minimum $8.5 billion.

Right now NWA has $8 billion more liabilities than they do assets. So any acquirer of NWA would have to pay that minimum to take the creditors out of the deal. But with 87 million shares outstanding, each trading at $5 per share, this would mean roughly another $500 million would have to be added to the pot to make these shares worth it.



The question is whether NWA is worth $8.5 billion when Delta, a much larger carrier, was just offered $8 billion.

Regardless, I still listen to the investor relations web site of NWA.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Laying Down Some of Dat Christmas Economic Cheer

I hope you maximize
Your utility
This Christmas

I hope you maximize
Your time
This Year

So why don’t you get smart?
Allow me my economic wisdom to impart
And move your cute bod over here.

I hope you allocate
Your resources
This Christmas

I hope you allocate
Efficiently
Along the frontier

If Milton Freidman has his way
He’d look at you and say
“Baby, all I want for Christmas is to leer.”

I hope you model
All your formulas
This Christmas

I hope you model
In front of me
In something sheer

And I’m sorry I must insist
That you give me your kiss
For your kisses provide me more utility than beer.

Have a Merry Christmas all, I'll be in and out for little while.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Global Warming for Idiots (Repost)

Seeing COWS are now responsible for global warming on the level of cars and the UN is now rescinding it's oh-so accurate prediction of the end of the world, I thought it appropriate to remind you all about the merits of actually looking up historical global temperatures over time...say like 49,000 years.

OK, once again, for the people in the nose bleed section;

GLOBAL WARMING PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS!

End of story.

Statement of fact.

Truth as only the truth could be.

So I found a web site where you can go and look at Ice Core/bore holes where they try to estimate the temperature from those bore samples. Go ahead, check it out for yourself. ESPECIALLY if you're one of these morons that believe in global warming but never bothered to look up the actual data and instead liked the idea of sticking it to the capitalists of the world (which is your primary impetus in pushing such tripe anyway).

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/recons.html

They hide it pretty well and really push those 500-1000 year old data sets that show you the general trend upward in global warming and why we should continue our assault on capitalism.

Of course that's 500 to 1,000 years of Earth's 4 billion year history.

What’s really neat is if you actually get some perspective and look at temperatures going back to say, 49,000 or 412,000 years ago and see what a bunch of BS this global warming conspiracy is. John Stossel’s new book put me on to it. Pretty good book. Seems to upset a lot of people. But truth has a tendency of doing that.

Oh, and just out of curiosity I pulled Greenland's temperatures and threw them into a chart.



Don't ask my why it gets so unvolatile around 10.3 thousand years ago. This science as you probably already know, is prone to errors in measurement, sanity, truth and logic.

Globalization for Idiots

This just about sums up globalization in one sentence.

Communications and sociology majors beware.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Of Strippers and Poverty

I had this scum bag parasite student in my economics class one time. He claimed he was the "poor starving college student" and had to go on "MinnCare" Minnesota's state subsidized health care.

So there I, as well as all the other working students in class, are paying for this little brat's health care.

Next day he comes in with a brand new portable DVD player and "The Family Guy" DVD set.

Another interesting anecdote is about strippers and dental work.

Friend of mine just opened up a dental practice and was amazed how many strippers she has patronizing her practice. She was even more amazed with their spending patterns in that when it comes to "basic" dental work like fillings, braces, etc., the (again) beloved State of Minnesota takes mine and your money to help these...err...um.."disadvantaged women."

But if they want non-basic or "cosmetic" dentistry done (teeth whitening, caps, etc.), which the beloved State of Minnesota does not pay for, they have more than enough cash to afford it.

It is the disparity between the "poor" status these people claim to the state in order to get other people's money and how they actually live that angers me, and no doubt some of you, to no end.

This poses an interesting case then for a different way to measure "poverty."

Officially, government statistics look at an "income based" approached to ascertain whether you are poor and can suck off the money blood of Captain Capitalism and all the other producers of society. However, this is frought with one glaring oversight in that it really isn't "income" that determines your standard of living, but your consumption.

Say you have a suburbanite trophy wife who files seperately in her taxes. She works part time at the local fru-fru shop selling fluff. She only makes say, $10,000 per year to chat and discuss gossip with the other trophy wives. By an income tested means she is "poor."

However, her husband is a VP at the regional investment bank and takes down $250,000 per year, allowing her to spend $249,999 of that money. By a consumption tested means she is rich.

Such an extreme example is not typical for your "poor" or "lower income" folk, but when you consider the bevy of government programs and subsidies that go to "poor" people it shouldn't be a surprise that with free housing, food, day care, child care, and health care, these people have the discretionary income to go and afford themselves DVD players, luxury dental services and so forth.

It may also go a long way in explaining why, when I drive through the public housing projects enroute to the radio show, that the majority of these "poor" people have nicer cars than me.

But fear not ladies and gentlemen, for at the forefront of every battle against socialism are your highly trained, highly intelligence and highly sexy Jedi Knights of the social sciences; economists. They've developed a consumption based measure of the poverty rate that considers what "poor" people consume, rather than earn.



Of course, it would be an easier battle if it seemed all of America wasn't hell-bent on becoming a socialist country in the first place (see post below). Maybe Ireland could use some Jedi Economists.

The Best of Captain Capitalism - The Left IS Winning

I think this is a post that gets to the heart of the matter. That no matter who is in office, the "people" are voting to have the government take on a larger and larger role in support them. Of course this condemns us to failure until we learn our lesson again, but this is what happens when a population forgets the lessons of the past.

Despite the cocophany of complaining you hear from the left about how things are so horrible and that the plight of the poor is getting worse,

remember, a little dose of reality provide a lot of clarity.

For if you look at the federal budget over time and how we've "voted" to spend our money, you'll note that wealth redistribution programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, welfare and so forth have taken a larger and larger percentage of the budget.



Going from all of 3% in 1943, this has now ballooned to over 64% in 2005, suggesting (nay, convicting) the government of not so much being an agent of governance as it is a political agent of wealth redistribution.

Consider the total percentage of the nation's wealth that has been redistributed and it is very clear who is winning the ideological battle of economics;


Going from under 2% in 1947 now a full 12% is redistributed.

And when you consider that the two largest wealth redistribution programs (Medicare and Social Security) are going to balloon in the next 20 years;



Alas, it seems Chairman Mao himself could not have wished for a better outcome of the world's soon to be No. 2 Superpower.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No, That Would Be Too Easy

Cripes, all the human labor hours wasted blathering on about the minimum wage.

Literally any discussion of the minimum wage is wasted as long as the current and/or proposed minimum wage is below the market rate.

So blather on about it all you want, it's a waste of time.

However, as a mere zygote economist I asked myself "why don't we just index the minimum wage to inflation? Each year we'd increase it based on the CPI and then there'd be no debate."

Alas it seems politicians insist on using this effectively irrelevant issue as a political football because this simple solution would deny them the chance to masquerade themselves as people who actually give a damn about low-income earners.

Regardless, I decided to go and adjust the minimum wge myself. Set at $5.15 on Sept 1, 1997, today it would be $6.44.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dog is Co-Pilot

I figure I need a dog. Because dogs get excited no matter where you go. As a teenager I would take our dog, Pretzel, get him all riled by shaking the car keys, and in a Pavlovian conditioned response he’d immediately run out to the car, hop in the passenger seat, tail wagging furiously.

Didn’t even start the car.

Didn’t drive nowhere.

Just sat there for a couple minutes.

Sure enough I’d hop out and Pretzel would get out all excited as if we had driven to the moon and back.

Dogs are like that.

So why not in my economic exploits, searching the peaks and valleys of the bevy of databases out there, have a trusty and loyal co-pilot next to me, assisting me in my research who is just as excited as I am to go to the FRED database?. A side kick of sorts I fathom. And what better more American and capitalist side kick is there than a dog?

Alas, it would have been pretty cool to have a companion that was ecstatic as I when I happened upon these figures at the OFHEO.



Anyway, remember to tune in tomorrow to The Economics Supper Club.

Every Saturday from 1-3PM central standard.

Join us and call in; 651-646-8255

And for long distance folk 1-877-615-1500

Also, listen online www.am1500.com

The Best of Captain Capitalism - All I Want For Christmas...

I figured since it's Christmas time we should resurrect an old post that I think shows just how well off we are here in the US

OK, so if you're not familiar with this, those little ads on top of my blog are inserted there so in the INEVITABLE event this blog becomes as popular as Drudge, and each day everyone who visits this site clicks on it, I make a bajillion dollars.

How the code in Adsense works is it identifies key words in a post and then advertises relevant or related items.

So in one of my more recent posts I referenced "Old Farts" when talking about the costs the older Americans are putting on our health system. It didn't occur to me until I looked a bit more closely at what was being advertised.
Wow, just what I always wanted! A FART MACHINE! Forget X-Box 360! I want a Fart Machine!

Oooo! A DISCOUNT Fart Machine! I don't know about that. I only want grade A acoustics when replicating farts.


Wait! What's this! I can CHOOSE from 5 DIFFERENT FART NOISES!!!!??? God Bless America! Some kids don't have running water in some countries. Some kids' growth is stunted in the likes of North Korea because of lack of nutrition. But our American children get to choose the octave of fart they want!


No, no way! I mean, is it possible??? Is it true! I can get a REMOTE CONTROL Fart Machine???!!!! Forget a luxurious life style of double income, no kids, with a beautiful and insanely intelligent wife where we gallivant across the globe and I lavish her with gifts and she plays the video game sex maiden who likes to serve me martini's. No, I have now found my true purpose in life.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

If We Adjusted for "Fluff"

Interesting chart from the OECD. Shows the percent of the "adult" population with a college degree.



Although I would pay good money to see it if we deducted those getting degrees in fluff such as "communications" and "philosophy."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hurray for NAFTA!

Sometimes the most compelling evidence for something that works is something as simple as a map like the one below, showing various average incomes for the different states in Mexico.



Note the northern provinces are significantly better off than the southern provinces.

If only there was some kind of "trade agreement" that would be to Mexico's south that would help bring about the same benefits. You know, like closer to Central America.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Iceland Has No Military"

I've often opined what the US could spend its money on if it wasn't effectively subsidizing the rest of the free worlds' militaries. Latest figures on military spending as a percent of GDP.



My favorite is the footnote at the bottom "Iceland has no military."

I demand Ms. Iceland as recompense.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dating Advice from The Captain

I was talking to a younger 20 something buddy of mine who was adamantly against dating liberal chicks. Upon finding out they were of the lefter leaning ideology he would immediately cut them off, stop calling them and would let them flail about in the dark wondering what happened. "Good, that'll show 'em!"

And I presume this mentality is more prevalent on both the male and female sides of the dating world, for I too had this close-minded approach.

But there are two reaons now that I fully endorse and advocate dating leftists;

1. You stand a better shot at showing them the short-comings of their ideology and the merits of your's the longer you associate with them. And if you really care to win the war against socialism you will take a more "Dennis Prager" approach and try to explain things to them, rather than punish them.

2. Dating a leftist provides you with an unrivalled opportunity to advance your, ahem "aims" and perhaps allow for a little naughty flirting. And the way you achieve this is through betting.

Allow me to show you what I am talking about.

TRUE STORY;

I was dating a rabid leftist and borderline feminist. She wasn't what I would call a "hard core" leftist or feminist because she just regurgitated the crap she got in college (then again, how does this materially differ from you average leftist anyway?). So when she would say something that would display her ignorance and brainwashing I would say,

"You want to make a bet?"

One time she said we didn't spend enough on health care. Remembering a chart I had recently seen, I then said the US government, on average spends just as much per person on public health care than your average socialist European country.

She didn't believe me.

So I said, "well, care to make it interesting?"

Her ego, belief and entire world view system was now being challenged, naturally she said, "sure" no doubt fully expecting me to be wrong.

"OK, if I'm right you have to wear a naughty stewardess outfit and serve me dinner for an evening."

Dead silence.

For you see, previous to that there was no penalty or cost associated with blathering on ignorantly about nationalized health care. There was no price to be paid for being ignorant. Any leftist can blather on all they want at a party or at class or at a protest because there is no penalty for being stupid and misinformed.

Now she had to make a choice; her ego or her ignorance.

Of course she balked, as most lefists do when they realize they may not know everything they've thought they knew the past 10 years of their lives, especially when there is a penalty associated with it (of course, one could make the philosophical argument why would getting dressed up in a naughty stewardess outfit would be a "penalty" if it was all good fun, alas I'm left to opine women hate doing such things for reasons I'll never understand)

But now isn't the time to let them go, you gotta stay on 'em, otherwise they weasel out of it.

"What, certainly you won't admit to being wrong? I mean, you've staked your entire political ideology on such beliefs, additionally you've no doubt voted based on those beliefs and thusly your great responsibility as a citizen to the governance of this nation is based on those rock solid beliefs. So how can you possibly lose?"

That goosed her ego.

"Fine, what do I get if I'm right?"

"Well, whatever you want."

And this is another advantage to the "betting game" as I like to call it. If you are an educated aspiring economist, you don't make bets unless you are absolutely 100% guaranteed to win. So you can promise her to mortgage your house and give her the proceeds if she wants, because it isn't going to happen. Of course such outlandish betting will show your hand and she will retreat from the bet. Fortunately for me she posed a reasonable penalty for me should I lose;

"OK, dinner at The Lexington."

"Very well."

40 seconds later we were on the OECD's web page and I showed her this chart.

I'd like to tell you the details, but let's just say sometimes economics does actually help you get a chick.

Why I Love The Economist

Because they call Lou Dobbs what he is;

a blow hard.



I'd even go so far as to say he's one of these people that puts his own advancement ahead of anything else, thinking nothing of advocating policies that would hurt and harm people and making people poorer across the world just so he can boost his ratings.

Putz.

The Real Dictators are ALWAYS on the Left

Hitler was a socialist. That's why they called it the National SOCIALIST Party.

Stalin was not a fan of capitalism either.

Neither Mao Tse Tung.

Nor Kim Schlong Ill.

Hugo, favorite of Cindy Sheehan, Belafonte and a bevy of other freedom haters and parasites, is no exception.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4376202.html

Venezuelans will rue the day they didn't study up on their economics and elected this putz in.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Why Captain Capitalism Was Made



because blogger sucks and is uploading only 1 in 10 charts I try to upload, this is merely a drafted post. wanted to get at least SOME of the charts up here. Charts are at the bottom;


Every super hero has an origin.

Batman lost his folks to the Joker and went on a vendetta against crime. Your friendly neighborhood Spiderman was bit by a spider and opted to become altruistic with his newfound powers. Superman was an orphan from a planet that blew up which somehow would incentive him to defend truth, justice and the American way.

And so too does Captain Capitalism have his origins.

However, the origins are not as exciting as much as they are a pet peeve. Tired of people being misinformed about politics, government, society, etc., (not to mention the trillions of dollars that were on the line) I thought that economics would be a great tool to cut through the political BS and show some people what the truth of the matter was.

And while it has evolved a bit since then the mission remains the same; to educate people about the truth of the matter via economics.

Alas, it seems I shan't get a break for the Captain Capitalism signal has the sky lit up.

So here's the latest in Minnesota. turns out we are going to have a $1 billion surplus on the state budget this upcoming year.

Naturally this gets leftists and rightists alike are all abuzz about what to do with the money. And without even having to think about it, you can already guess the bumper sticker sound bytes being exchanged;

"we spend too much on education."

"We need more money for health care, schools and jobs."

"Minnesota is one of the highest taxed states in the US"

"That money should go back to the tax payer."

"we dont' spend enough money on roads."

Alright, all you idiots shut up.

And the reason I want all the idiots to shut up is because I haven't heard one person quote or give any kind of indication they've actually LOOKED AT THE BUDGET!

There's a novel idea, looking at the budget.

ie-studying something before you open your mouth.

Sadly this is how all of politics and economics is discussed by your average TV-watching, college student, suburbanite crusader housewife type people out there.

So, as a benefit to all of you out there that wish to INTELLIGENTLY comment on the budget, may I suggest looking at the following charts before you do?

Short version, we spend enough on education and health care. So the left may take their broken record off the record player and quit playing that damn song "we don't spend enough on eduation and health care."


Here's a pretty colored picture with all the items and their respective percentages.


Also if you look at where the money has gone for the budget over time, you noticed that there really hasn't been that much of a change. The vast majority of it going to education and health care and very little of it going to things everybody uses like roads, police and general government.



Another interesting measure is different budget items as a percent of GROSS STATE PRODUCT. ie-what percent of your salary goes to these wonderful programs.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is It Really that Hard to Close the Gap?

Mock the US. Mock Bush. Mock capitalism. Mock Texans and big cars. Mock corporations. Mock mock mock.

When it boils down to it we just produce more wealth, period. Sorry, deal with it.

And it's not like it's a secret how to replicate this. Any time you want to join the club, let us know.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Paying to Live Longer, But Not Necessarily "Live"

So in my gallivanting through the BEA I happened across the national accounts where they break them down into pretty specific detail. And out of curiosity I calculated how much housing accounted for GDP over time.


Again, still a long ways to go.

But while I was there, why not find out what percent of the economy other sectors account for?

So I looked at two;

Recreation and Medical Care.



And while we spend now twice the percent of the economy on "recreation," we've increased our spending 6 fold on medical care.

I think we've forgot what life is all about. For the left would like you to think that the true measure of "standards of living" and happiness is how much is spent on education, healthcare and touchyfeelygoodfeelings. No wonder the UN and all the bevy of NGO's always point to the worthless "Human Development Index" as a measure of "happiness" No wonder "Finland" tops the "Best Country to Live In" in all these commie-sponsored studies.

The true measure of happiness is how much disposable income you have and how much of it you spend on recreation.

Too bad too many people are paying to live longer, but not necessarily live.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Best of Captain Capitalism - The Stupidity of Unions

I never figured out why this post was one of the more popular ones. regardless, for some unforeseen reason, it got a lot of hits. I just don't know why.

So I went out dancing about a week ago. Rockability band at a DT dive called "Lee's Liquor Lounge." I opted to switch to Rockabily because of two reasons;

1. The chicks there are more prone to dance than the latin scene.

2. The chicks there are not Jesus freaks, but rather gals that pull of a delicate balance of nice, traditional girl that appreciates dancing that might be a little naughty and likes to wear leather.

My theory seemed to have some merit as upon my second foray in the Rockabily scene I met a girl who insisted on two things;

1. That she was NOT a "flight attendant" but rather a "stewardess."
2. She wanted me to call her Ginger.

How could I refuse? So we were dancing the night away, having a grand time. And knowing a thing or two about the airline industry I asked her,

"So, do you work for Northwest Airlines" the local carrier here in Minneapolis.

She said "yes I do"

And I recalled that the flight attendant's union was contemplating going on strike so I asked her, "you guys on strike yet?" To which she said, "not yet, but we might go."

By the end of the night we had danced about a solid 45 minutes, I had to get going and as I got her number and wished her farewell she gave me a rather close hug and almost kissed my ear whispering in it "I had a great time."

Now, most normal, rational, logical males at this point would assume that if the girl gave you the number and you had had such success on the dance floor that chances were pretty good you'd have a date. And whilst I am always warying of women and their ability to flake out, this one had gone off so well that I admitted, I got arrogant and cocky and actually assumed that a date was in my future.

A week or so passes by and through phone messages, she tells me that she and some of her friends are going to a venue DT Minneapolis called "The Local" and that I'm invited. Nice Irish pub, been there before, so I decide to show up.

Now there are times in my life where I wonder if I'm just bombed out of my gord and don't know it. You ever have that feeling? Like you missed something completely and the only way you can explain it is that you were on drugs or maybe you got hit on the head and lapsed out. Kind of like Edward Norton in "Fight Club" doesn't know he's Tyler Derden and living the second life? Because I could have sworn she said, "we are going to The Local." And "You are welcomed to show up." I wish I didn't delete the message so maybe I could prove to myself I'm not insane.

Regardless, I can't be too insane, because they were at the Local when I showed up, thus I was not hearing things when I heard "we are going to The Local. "

Where it gets confusing and I am righteously punished for my arrogance and stupidity in assuming I would have a date and that chicks mean what they say, is upon my arrival Ginger seemed shocked. I gave her a quite innocent and standard hug hello and after the greeting pleasantries she immediately excused herself to the bathroom for the next 20 miuntes.

In her absence I started talking to her friend. Being somewhat observant of the fact Ginger was having quite the movement, I asked her friend if I had done something wrong. "No, not that I'm aware of." And so I wrote it off at nothing. Finally, Ginger returned and then proceeded to...talk to everybody else but me. With her back to me for the majority of the time the only person I could really talk to was her friend. And while that conversation was pleasant, it unfortunately ended as a guy that had caught her attention waved to her and absconded with my only conversationalist.

So there I am, sitting at the bar with Ginger's back to me contemplating if a good stint in Iraq wouldn't be better for my mental health than the life of luxury I lead in Minneapolis. I'm looking at myself in the mirror wondering if indeed the rating of 8.6 I got on Hot or Not.com was legitimate. And with a seminar to be conducted in the early morning the next day, I opt to leave and sneak away unbeknownst to Ginger.

Now, there are several lessons to learn from this episode;

1. Ginger is a moron.
2. I am a moron for thinking things should go as they should as if it were 1947.
3. I should have drank a lot more that night
4. Union workers are idiots.

And if I had remembered lesson number 4, this whole pissing away of my time would have been avoided. And it shouldn't have been that hard to remember for unions have displayed incredibly stupidity in recent months. Particularly with bankrupt or borderline insolvent companies.

As I mentioned before, Ginger works at Northwest Airlines. Northwest Airlines has filed for bankruptcy. It can only hope to come out of bankruptcy as a mere fraction of its former greatness. And the better it can do now whilst under bankruptcy protection, will certainly help it survive in a higher-employing capacity in the future.

It seems all the unions that work for Northwest Airlines are too stupid to make the connection that their jobs will be lost unless the company survives. So what do they do???? THEY STRIKE!!!!!

First it was the airlines mechanics. Complaining about not enough pay and how Northwest Airlines wanted to outsource/sub-contract some of the repairs to subsidairies and other countries. Then you had the pilots thinking about striking about changes to their pay plan. And now you have the flight attendants.

You stupid, effing morons.

For you see, in nature there are some creatures that have a symbiotic relationship that benefits both creatures. Like whales and whatever those things are that attach themselves to whales. And while optimally, you'd think that the airline and the unions could have a similar relationship, it seems that the unions don't want a symbiotic relationship, as much as they want a parasitic relationship. And hell, you have to give more credit to a parasite in that they know they don't want to kill off the host. Such intelligence can't even be applied to NWA's bevy of unions as they're seemingly insistent on accelerating the death NWA.

Of course, I don't credit union workers with being able to think that far ahead. Ask any union worker, "well if the company liquidates its assets and goes out of business, where will you work," you'll get a blank stare. But even this line of debate is irrelevant. For what the flight attendant, mechanic and (to a lesser extent) pilot unions fail to realize is that they are effectively obsolete. Especially in an airline. Planes are notorious for flying long distances. Why pay Fatass Joe in Eagan, Minnesota to repair a plane at $35/hr when that plane can be flown to Mexico or Jakarta (that's in Indonesia for you union folk...Indonesia is a country) and have Bukbar fix it just as good for $10/hr?Flight attendants as well. Why should an airline pick up flight attendants from Grosse Pointe and pay them $20/hr when they can load up the plane with Mexican women or Chinese women for a fraction of that cost.

And (although this makes for an interested argument FOR nationalized health care) why the hell would NWA load up the plane with American flight attendants at all? American flight attendants demand health care coverage. Canadian ones don't because the Canadian government is paying for their health care, making it worth the flight to load up your attendants in Winnipeg. Of course, if unions don't understand the argument that they're killing off their host and they'll have nothing to parasite off of if the host dies, they certainly are not going to comprehend the arguments that have their basis in complex international economics and globalization.

So as a favor to all the flight attendants out there, and especially for Ginger, perhaps I could simplify the argument a bit so they can better understand the situation. This is your competition;

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Left Must Just Hate Ireland

The left hates capitalism.

The left hates responsibility.

The left hates George Bush.

The left hates the concept that if a society wants to eat, it must work.

Ergo, the left must REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hate Ireland.



Didn't realize it, but Ireland will soon surpass the US in income per capita.

What did you expect when you implement an economic system based in reality?

Best of Captain Capitalism - Lou Dobbs is a Moron

This more or less explains why you shouldn't bother with CNN.

FOREIGN LABOR

Overview

In the never ending effort to cut costs and maximize profits, companies are always looking for the cheapest source of labor. This often means looking outside borders as foreign labor typically offers a cheaper alternative to domestic labor. But no matter how logical, the practice of outsourcing jobs overseas is very unpopular. Sending jobs overseas not only cost jobs at home, but deprives us of future jobs that would have otherwise been located here. But the issue of foreign labor is more complicated than most suspect and warrants a deeper look in order to fully understand its effects and consequences for an economy.

Data



Analysis

While cheap foreign labor most certainly costs jobs at home, there are several overriding benefits to employing foreign labor. Foremost of which are cheaper goods and services.
Since labor is one of the largest expenses in the production of a good or service, by employing foreign labor we are able to produce those same goods and services at a cheaper price. This is a very unappreciated benefit to foreign labor since lower prices increase purchasing power universally. And by increasing purchasing power universally we not only increase the standards of living for a select few, but all people, especially the poor.

Another rarely contemplated benefit to foreign labor is that it frees up capital and labor resources to pursue more profitable ventures. By sending textile jobs to Bangladesh or Thailand, billions of dollars in resources are freed up here at home to pursue more profitable industries such as software programming, pharmaceutical development, electronics, and media. And perhaps even more important is that resources are freed up to pursue new, creative and innovative ideas and technologies that will advance and benefit society; the Internet, hydrogen powered cars, cures for diseases, etc.

It is in pursuing these more profitable and innovative industries that foreign labor provides us with another simple, yet overlooked benefit; the luxury of offloading dangerous, hard, and low paying jobs and replacing them with safer, easier, and higher paying ones. With each successive economic "revolution" old, hard, dirty and dangerous jobs are replaced by cleaner, easier, safer and more profitable ones. No longer does Jimmy Patriot have to till the fields with his mule for 80 hours a week just to get by in colonial America. Now Jimmy Javascript sits at a comfortable desk, barely breaking a sweat in an air-conditioned room programming C++ earning 18 times as much as his revolutionary ancestor, largely in part thanks to foreign labor.

But no matter how many reasons and benefits there are to employ foreign labor, any debate about foreign labor is actually quite irrelevant simply because there is no argument to be had. Foreign labor is a reality, it is an unavoidable fact of life. Labor transcends all borders and, like it or not, foreign competition is here to stay especially given advances in transportation and communications technologies which make it even more economical to employ foreign labor. This reality can either be accepted, faced up to, and welcomed as a benefit to society, or it can be feared, ignored and futilely fought against with government regulation that will only prove detrimental to society.

Capitalist Arguments

The true strength of an economy is not just its ability to produce more goods and services, but to produce them at a cheaper price. This is the single most important strength of an economy as it does more to pull people out of poverty than any government program ever could. It is by making goods and services cheaper that we make them affordable to the masses and thereby enhance the wealth and standards of living of all people. And to obstruct any attempts to make goods and services cheaper for the masses for one’s own selfish interests is the epitome of greed and arguably evil.

Such arrogance is demonstrated by unions and protectionist who insist on forcing the remaining 280 million Americans to pay higher prices and forsake a higher standard of living to subsidize a job that has either become obsolete or has priced itself out of competition.

Furthermore, employing foreign labor sends a wake up call to our own domestic labor force; that we are not the only people on this planet and that we are eternally in competition with foreign labor. Thus it behooves us to not only produce, but to produce more efficiently and to educate our labor force so that they not only work harder, but smarter.

Socialist Arguments

1. Cheaper labor doesn’t necessarily result in cheaper goods and services. There’s nothing to stop corporations from keeping the extra profit by employing foreign labor. Therefore instead of passing on those savings to the consumer, corporations just keep the profits for themselves, but we still lose out on the jobs.

2. While we may benefit from lower prices, we lose jobs. This loss of jobs not only costs us income, but additional income .

3. You won’t be ensured of the quality of work performed by foreign labor. Products may be faulty and even unsafe. By using US labor those products are subjected to the same laws and regulations

4. The new jobs (if any) that are created are lower paying jobs resulting in underemployment.

Counter Arguments

1. This argument would be true if all corporations in the US were monopolies. But the fact is corporations are in perpetual and intense competition with each other (despite conspiratorial theories that all corporations are under one sentient entity). And by sending jobs overseas they are not so much pursuing additional profits, as much as they are trying to remain competitive. It is the forces of competition, a vital and required component of capitalism, that ensures those costs savings are passed on to the consumer.

2. There most certainly is a cost to employing foreign labor and that is a foregone job at home. Fortunately, despite this massive exodus of jobs offshore, more jobs are created than destroyed as evidenced by US job turnover. This shows that (excluding times of recession where it’s obvious more jobs would be destroyed than created) even with all the jobs being sent overseas, as well as those domestic jobs that through the natural course of economics are eliminated anyway, the US economy creates more jobs than were lost. And while there are no figures that exist as to just how many jobs are sent overseas, a very detailed breakdown and analysis of job loss figures (performed by Jacob Kirkegaard of the International Institute of Economics) shows that of the total amount of jobs lost, the vast majority are due to natural economic forces and not outsourcing.

.

Furthermore, the jobs sent overseas are predominantly more mundane, boring, labor intensive and less desirable than the jobs that replace them. However, there is a drawback to the new jobs in that they usually demand a higher level of skill or training. This is why it’s vital to educate and train your labor force so that they are able to perform these intellectually and skill-demanding jobs.

3. Commonly used by labor unions to protect their jobs, they are largely the victims of their own success. By driving labor costs so high in certain industries, unions have effectively priced themselves out of competition and either driven their former employers into bankruptcy or offshore.

4. The "underemployment argument" is a typical argument any time there is a recovery in unemployment or jobs growth. While being forced to admit the unemployment rate has gone down or jobs have been added to the economy, the left will still critique that progress by claiming the jobs are poor and low paying. The only problem with this argument is that there is no way to prove it simply because the US does not measure underemployment. In other words, whoever uses this argument doesn’t know what they’re talking about. A very simple solution to the argument is to ask "what’s the underemployment rate?" Most will say they don’t know and then revert to anecdotal evidence, but there may be some foolish enough to guess the underemployment rate even though it doesn’t exist.

Contribute to GDP on Thanksgiving

Hey All!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can see everybody now, fully filled with the best cooking of the year. Fireplace going on the side, all the guys staving off sleep just long enough to watch the next play on the football game, and little Jimmy in the corner playing with the mutt. Oh, little Jimmy.

But you know what would make this Thanksgiving Day even better? Super extra special?

Spend a little time with the Captain as you tune into...(drum roll)

A VERY CAPPY CAP THANKSGIVING!!!!

Yes, I'll be subbing for Dave Thompson tonight. They gave me the option to broadcast instead of run a best of and what the heck, I'm a sucker for two things in this world;

1. Cute redheads
2. and contributing to GDP.

So tune in by listening online here.

And call the Captain (cause lord knows calls on Thanksgiving are going to be very slim indeed!)

1-877-615-1500!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hype in the Airline Industry; Delta and Northwest Airlines

So I bought NWA at 60 cents a share a while ago. Thinking I might be able to trade between the ebb and the flow of its amplitude. Then US Air makes an $8 billion bid for Delta, boosting NWA's price up. I sold at $2.40 banking a tidy profit and a personal record 400% return in 7 months.



Now, people would say, "hey, if there's talk of buy outs, why not hold on? If NWA posts a profit, if the unions back off, if the price of gas stays low, if if if if if..."

All fine and dandy, but to all my colleague toying around with the idea that NWA (as well as Delta) might be worth the buy, you might want to consider this first;



Bulls win. Bears win. Pigs get slaughtered.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'll Scope Out the Chicks in Italy

But I'll be damned if I set up a company there!

So PWC came up with a crafty little idea. Since corporations don't just pay "corporate income tax" but also social pension contributions and what have you, the overall corporate tax rate is actually (are you ready to make the leftists roll their eyes?) HIGHER than previously thought.


The US' corporate tax rate is nearer to 50% than the standard 40%. And good ol' super-fast, super rich Ireland is there near the bottom...I'm sure this is just a coincidence.

Regardless, look at Italy. 80 freaking % effective corporate tax rate. Who in hell's name is going to set up shop there???

Right, I'm sure Italy is the economic laggard of Europe for other reasons. Cripes.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Best of Captain Capitalism - Payment in Kisses

Back when I was young and foolish I fell for a girl.

And it's an interesting thing how a person, a song, or just about anything will trigger the release of endorphines or whatever neurochemical that effectively gives your brain an immeasurable boost and soon your brain it churning out pure genius.

You don't know how.

You don't know why.

You almost feel as if somebody else is in control and you are a helpless by-stander watching your brain work at the speed of light producing pure, unrivalled genius. It's like watching a movie in 3D.

But there your hands go, hammering away at the keyboard, almost as if somebody else were commanding them to write a masterpiece.

Well such a masterpiece I wrote in my foolish folly fancying of a female.

And frankly it did not get the attention it truly and rightly deserved, because it really is that good.

For what, I ask you, is better than the mixing of;

1. Romance
2. Cappy Cap wit
and
3. Economics

IN

POETIC FORM NO LESS!???!!!?

Nothing is the answer.

Thus, I present to you all aspiring, junior, and official economists, the best economic poem ever written. (all aspiring, junior and official male deputy economists have permission to plagiarize this masterpiece as long as it is used to score with a dame).

"Payment in Kisses"

Oh the girl so quickly dismisses
My offer for payment in kisses
However, she’d be much smarter
Realizing the merits of barter.

Oh my dear it’s so simplistic
For my kisses are so intrinsic.
Oh baby we would have it made
If you’d accept my payment in trade

Chorus;

Oh, I’d gladly overpay
And then you’d owe me some "change"
Come on baby don’t you know?
It’s the universally accepted medium of exchange.

Oh I’ll show you where they’re minted
And I’ll show you how they’re printed
They come fresh hot off the presses
The only currency that caresses.

The IRS has no rules
My kisses weren’t taught in the schools.
Accept my kisses as money
You'd be the world’s richest girl, honey

Chorus;

Oh, I’d gladly overpay
And then you’d owe me some "change"
Come on baby don’t you know?
It’s the universally accepted medium of exchange.

The Dinar, Dollar and Shilling
I know how you like your billing
No Euro, no Kiwi nor Sterling
It's my kisses that you are yearning

So don't delay,

There will come the day;

that you accept my kisses as legal and tender.

When Dictators Get a Clue

Imagine instead of a democracy where legislation is hammered out, compromised and bastardized from its original form and intent to the point that it is so watered down that its rendered impotent, you have a dictatorship that says,

“We’re doing this.”

End of discussion, no if, ands or buts, just

“We’re doing this.”

Now, of course, most dictatorships are inept, with its primary goal of serving those in power, and thusly the people suffer.

However, every once in a while a dictatorship might get its head out of its ass and start making smart decisions.

China is one such example.

And having learned its lessons from Mao’s Great Leap (ahem) “Forward” modern day (ahem) “Communist” leaders in China are starting to implement free market reforms, yet at the same time still have dictatorial control.
This results in a bevy of decisions that at times, despite being for democracy, I can only envy.

For example China decided it would build a fence on its border with North Korea.

No if and or buts, no ACLU whining and complaining, no Mexican diplomats going to the UN to file a law suit.

Just China saying, “We’re building a fence.”

Meanwhile it took Bush, what, 6 years to get us to AGREE to build the fence? China within 1 month had decided and started on construction.

The Three Gorges Damn is another one I just sit in awe of.

“We’re building the world’s larger damn that will be five times the size of the Hoover dam, displacing several million people and you’re going to shut the hell up and like it.”

No, it’s not open for negotiation, no, we’re not going to listen to the Sierra Club, no we’re not going to compromise the design or change it to satisfy some small group of fishermen on the river.

We’re building the dam and that is final.

Or one that I am truly envious of, for it is the fastest way to reallocate your resources to more efficient production and thereby boost your economic growth incredibly quick, when China lays off HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of workers from its State Owned Enterprises. Meanwhile here in the US we lament, practically go into mourning at the loss of 400 jobs at the local obsolete factory.

So you could imagine my dark and grudging respect for our Chinese competitors when they decided,

“Hey, we’re building the world’s biggest subway system.”

Never in a million years could we pull that off here as no doubt a bevy of environmentalist groups would handcuff the development of such a public transportation project, no matter how beneficial, not to mention it would be gerrymandered in such a way that it would be of marginal public use.

Alas, it seems China has happened upon the rare and magical formula of not only being a dictatorship, but one that makes the right decisions (most of time) for its people, allowing for very efficient and effective decision making and implementation that leaves most democracies in the dust. And no doubt such fast and expeditious decision making on the part of the government manifests itself in the 12% real GDP growth they seemed to manage each year.
Now, I know, I know, inevitably the system will collapse. Some dictator who isn’t benevolent or as economically savvy (as say, Zhu Rongji) will come in and have the system in place to wreak havoc upon the masses like Mao. And I’d still prefer a dysfunctional democracy over what they have. But for now they seem to have the best game in the business.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Friday, November 17, 2006

Recession Time?



Like I said, I don't sense a recession in my blood, but the chart and history are compelling.

The Best of Captain Capitalism - Can't Afford Health Care Insurance? THEN DON'T BUY IT!

This was a little ingenius idea I had. Instead of paying health insurance, why not take the money instead and pay down your house with it. Then if an emergency ever occured you could pull out the money from your house and pay for your medical bills. Of course, that would require people to break their addiction to home equity loans, but the idea has merit.

OK, stupid check here people.

I'm mightily sick and tired of hearing about how health care is becoming so expensive.

How you can't afford it for "you and your 4 children" that you apparently gave little thought about while you were schtooping in the back of a Camaro at the age of 20 without a condom.

How you are an "old" person and didn't know that it would cost this much, that health care costs just snuck up on you and you thought that everything would be magically hunky dory and be taken care of if you could only live to 65.

Time to bitch slap you SOB's upside the head with a little adult and economics reality.

OK, ONCE AGAIN HERE PEOPLE, the simple Economics 101 lesson of supply and demand;

You see, there is only a certain amount of resources in this country to provide health care. This is denoted by the supply curve (S1)

When you have an entire generation of Baby Boomers entering Old Fart age and they've voted in programs like Medicare and Medicaid that effectively make health care free, thereby breaking the association of having to pay for what you consume SURPRISE SURPRISE, DEMAND FOR MEDICAL SERVICES GO UP! This is denoted by D1 moving to D2.

The result is not only an increase in the quantity of medical services provided (now consuming 15% of GDP), but also an increase in the price of medical services, denoted as P1 to P2.



Now, brainwashed dolts who watched waaaay too many after school specials and never had the slightest bit of strife in their lives, and therefore never bother to look ahead and have a contingency plan for the future will no doubt take a break from their candle light vigil to come in and say, "Why, that's so mean! How can you be so cruel to your elders!?"

Well because;

1. Our elders (Baby Boomers mind you) have fumbled the ball with the fiscal austerity and financial planning (or lack thereof) of the country's financial future.

2. It just so happens to be true that the old farts consume the vast majority of medical services. Not that this is necessarily their fault, mind you. As you enter Old Fart age your body poops out, breaks down and naturally needs more medical attention. Regardless Old Farts consume the majority of medical services, even though they don't make up the majority of the population.


I further simplified this chart for all you public school educated kids out there.


Now, what gets me and why I'm in a particularly irate mood today is how people fail to make the connection between the aging of Americans and the increasing costs of health care. They somehow think the cost of health care is going up universally for everybody.

No, that's just the insurance.

You see, if you are younger when you pay for health insurance it doesn't go to help you out. It goes to help subsidize the costs the old farts are putting on the system (and this says nothing about the manditory taxes you must pay for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). Seriously, think about it, do you really consume $400 a month in health care services? I'm a healthy 30 year old that runs and eats right and doesn't smoke. I'm told full coverage would be $385/month. that's an X-Box 360 EACH MONTH! In short, on the average it would be waaay cheaper for you to just pay cash.

"But what if something bad happens? Like an emergency!? I need health care."

Oh you stupid freaking Americans.

For there is another way to insure yourself;

Your house.

"My house?" you say.

Yes, your house.

You see, why pay $400, $500, even $700 a month for health insurance for you and your children are not likely to use (and will inevitably just go to Old Farts anyway) when you can throw that money into your house. This will built up equity in your house on top of any appreciation in the value of your house. Then, in the unfortunate and unlikely event you have an emergency like an appendix needs to be removed or surgery, you can take out a home equity loan to pay for it.

This has many advantages;

1. By making additional principal payments on your house you will save yourself a large amount of interest expense in the future.
2. Your health insurance payments are no longer wasted. You no longer subsidize the insurance and health care of old people, you only pay for the medical services you use. Furthermore, you do not pay for the mark up in health care costs that the insurance companies tack on to pay for their employees and operations.
3. You can afford the most expensive surgeries should the unfortunate happen.

Of course, this requires a bit of financial maturity on your part. Alas I think Americans are tapped out of financial maturity. For they'll take out a home equity loan to pay for an SUV. They'll rack up credit card debt to pay for what ultimately amounts to crap and then consolidate it with a home equity loan. They'll take out a home equity loan to pay for a vacation or their childrens' worthless college education in communications. They'll squeeze every freaking penny of equity out of that house so you can afford that new TV and entertainment system.

But will they take a home equity loan out for health care costs???

Oh, no! They'd rather be the bitch of the health insurance industry forking out $400 a month so they can have that new plasma TV.

I just don't want to hear them complain about the cost of health insurance increasing when they do.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Best of Captain Capitalism - Do Not Disturb the Economists

This one came after what one could expect after a natural disaster; the bumper sticker sound byte that the US doesn't donate enough in foreign aid and charity. It kind of miffed me because you'd think all those "generous" European countries would be thankful for that great doling out called "The Marshall Plan" that allowed them to be so generous today. That aside, the key issue is that the media (surprise) only looks at government spending, not private donations to charity (presumably because the public sector is the only thing that matters).

Regardless, these are some handy charts to save on your memory stick when you get into it with a liberal that demands the US spend more on international aid.

Tis the holiday season and like most normal folk, economists are in the midst of the Christmas/New Year festivities. Which means that like most people we too are festive, over-eating, visiting family and friends, and above all drunk.

But as I have mentioned before, drunk economists are not something to be released into society. We should be treated like hibernating bears;

DO NOT DISTURB!

Alas, leave it to the idiots in the media to rattle our cages and disrupt us from our holiday drunken stupor and incur our wrath.

The idiot that has awoken us is no one individual in particular, but the choir of leftists, democrats, liberals and other varied sorts of socialists whose opinions just happen to be succinctly culminated in an article about the "stinginess" of Americans in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

No more than three days into the horrific events of the earthquake-triggered tsunamis do you have some spoiled brat, daddy paid my way through journalism school, never had to support myself, blame-America-first, editorialist already deriding America and George Bush for their "appalling" lack of response to the tsunami tragedy. This idiot is even so arrogant as to suggest the attire President Bush should wear when giving a theoretical speech about the disaster in south east Asia. But what is even more appalling is that a major "professional" publication would provide this moron a medium by which to spew his garbage to the masses.

But the particular issue I have with this is not stupid editorialists with agendas or stupid publications with agendas, but a leftist myth that almost everyone swallows and you'll be sure to see surfacing as this tsunami tragedy unfolds;

The US donates less than most any other developed nation as a percent of its GDP.

Again it seems the remnants of the Soviet empire and their abandoned pot-smoking, Baby Boomer, 1960's agents of communism are at it again, never sleeping, always trying to destroy capitalism, freedom and all that is good, via misinformation, brainwashing, indoctrination and outright lies.

Sadly they disrupted a slumbering, boozing, hibernating, holidaying economist in the process. And we all know what that means;

A riposte of empirical data and evidence! (a socialist's worst nightmare!)

First off, let's give the leftists their due; they're right.

When it comes to official foreign aid, they're right. The US government does donate on the lower end when it comes to a percentage of GDP. Forget that we don't have to donate this money in the first place. Forget that because our economy is so large and faster-growing than most we can nominally contribute more than anybody else and have it be a smaller percentage of our wealth. And forget that debt forgiveness is not included. Let's just let them have this one and go from there.

The problem is "official foreign aid" only accounts for government contributions. Thus it should be no surprise that countries like Denmark, Germany and France where the government fully accounts for 50% of GDP that they'd be more generous with their taxpayers' money. When private foreign aid is considered, the US is considerably more generous, but then again, when your citizens are not taxed to death, they can afford to be more charitable.

The second issue I have is that "official foreign aid" doesn't account for the largest foreign aid program the US has been running for years. And this foreign aid doesn't go to pits like Sudan or The Republic of Chad, but rather to our developed, 1st world nation status European friends. The program is called "The US Military." The way this program works is that we have this big huge military that is practically omnipresent...so that they don't have to have one! Things like NATO, all our military bases set up during the Cold War, not to mention we forbade Germany and Japan from having militaries, allow countries to cut back spending on tanks, guns and soldiers and allows them to spend money on foreign aid. All one needs to do is look to our Canadian friends to the north. Whilst good hockey players and normally nice folk, capable of repelling a Chinese invasion they are not. Of course they don't have to worry about that because their imperialist warmongering bible-thumping American friends to the south would not let such a thing happen to them(well, maybe Oregon). Alas, a good measure would be to see how much of our GDP is spent on military (pre-Iraq/Afghanistan War) compared to those countries who are so altruistically uber-generous with their taxpayers' money.

It seems being the world's adult....er...I mean "policeman" is not without its costs.

But the larger issue here isn't who spends what on the military or who spends the highest percentage of their GDP on foreign aid. The issue is that in the time it took me to write this blog, no doubt the estimated death number from the tsunamis has increased by 25,000 and the amount of aid the US has pledged has increased by $20 million. With such a dynamic and developing situation that could never beget an immediate finite and final response, how can the left can be so eager and sure to criticize the US and President Bush? It only belies the fact they're being infantile and using the tragedy of 100,000+ people for political gain.

I'm going back to hibernate in my cave.