Thursday, August 31, 2006

Canadian Invasion!!!

So I wake up, which I normally do in the morning.

Buy myself my Rooster Booster light and traipse on over to the office in a zombie like state.

Now everybody knows that despite this being the private sector, we're quite literally only a smidge more efficient than North Korea, which necessitiates that we spend at least 1 hour on the internet answering e-mails and checking up on "stuff" and not making a lick of a contribution to GDP.

Now, a lot of people's "stuff" entails logging on to People Magazine to see if Angelina Jolie is still a psycho or whether or not their fantasy football team did well, because lord knows the people who play that stupid game are so out of shape playing a real game of football literally is a fantasy.

My "stuff" is checking the stats and IP addresses to my blog.

So this morning, I pulled up the stats and POW!!!! This is what came up;

The reason it's odd is because of two reasons;

1. Hits had already broken the daily average and it wasn't even double digits in the morning yet
2. All the hits are from Canada!

So I'm trying to find out what gives.

I originally thought it was our very own Junior Deputy Economist in Canada, Bradman, but upon further investigation it's due to a Canuck named Kate with the catchy-named blog;


"Who doesn't like small dead animals?" I asked myself aloud early this morning. "Hard to hate them," my co-worker said.

That being said, when you explore young Kate's site you notice;

1. She does art for motorcycle helmets

2. She rides a motorcyle

3. She likes America

4. Probably bends towards the free-market side of things

5. Has a blog

6. She's not to shabby looking.

Which led me only to conclude that no doubt she was an imposter! That this is an elaborate ruse by a crafty leftist trying to infiltrate the pro-capitalist, manly, hockey loving, Canadian blogsphere. Certainly couldn't be real, and I must have drank way too much Blue 100 the night before and was still hallucinating.

Regardless, pay young Kate a visit. Gives us traditional 1940's American types hope that not all the girls in the world are watching Desperate Housewives.


And while I have the entirety of the Canadian nation's attention, tune into my radio show, this Saturday. Broadcasting from the Minnesota state fair, 1-3PM, Central Standard time.

You can listen online by webstreaming;

Would be cool if a bunch of Canadians called in. Long distance number is 1-877-615-1500.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Economics for Idiots - 101

Now I know that all you aspiring and junior deputy economists out there are smarter than your average bear.

And I know that economics, when it really boils down to it, is REALLY not that difficult.

So for your average person, economics should be a pretty easy concept to grasp and usually, it is.
Unfortunately, not everybody is gifted as us. We have people that are not necessarily as smart as us. Some people are poorer and never learned to read. Additionally, the public schools do their darnedest to turn out idiots, and thusly something as simple as economics is like trying to understand quantum physics for a lot of people.

So, because I am a kind, charitable soul, I thought I'd offer a lesson for the stupid people in the world. Kind of an "Economics for Idiots" lesson, so that not only can geniuses like you and me understand economics. Not only can average everyday people understand economics. But complete freaking retards and mollusk can understand economics.

This need for "Economics Lessons for Idiots" was brought to my attention when I got an e-mail from American highlighting the recent Census Bureau report on income distriubtion and poverty and wealth as PROOF POSITIVE Bush's economic policies are creating Nazis and killing babies.

The proof?

Well, as you know my affinity for charts, I decided to use the chart they sent me;

A pity. Shame shame shame. Obviously the work of a retard...or a mollusk.

OK, so, let's begin the lesson in Economics for Idiots - 101 because it is glaringly obvious we need one.

First, if you're going to make a chart, don't manipulate it by changing the scale on the Y-axis so that it shows this dramatic increase when in reality, it is quite small. If you are an idiot, you would look at this chart and think poverty has tripled under the Bush presidency. When in reality it's only gone up by 20%.

Now the idiots over at the Center for American Progress will still probably get all in a tizzy over that fact right there, a 20% increase in poverty. They'll salavate over it, HEE HEEE HEEEE HEEE! 20% increase, WE HAVE BUSH NOW!!!!

Well, that's because they're idiots.

Any person of average intelligence would say, "hey, hasn't the population of the country been growing? And wouldn't a more accurate measure be some kind of, you know, "poverty rate," you know, like the percent of the population that's under the poverty threshold?" And by golly, those good men and women at the Census Bureau have calculated just such a thing. They call it;


Those crafty devils!

Well here's a chart FROM THAT SAME DAMNING REPORT that shows the poverty rate.

Not quite so damning is it? The poverty rate doesn't show this dramatic increase in poverty as the Center for American Progress would have you believe. Who would have guessed a communist institution like the Center for American Progress would misrepresent data?

Second, also notice another thing, aspiring and junior deputy economists. Notice how the chart from the Center for American Progress goes back a whopping 5 years. While the good men and women of the Census Bureau go back to 1959. See, this is what we call "context."

With context we see that the poverty rate, though ever so slightly up, is still technically at a historic low. Thus, official economists would come to the professional conclusion that;

"People should shut the hell up and stop their whining. Poverty is not a problem in America."

Third, no doubt you've heard this Census Bureau report being paraded by the left for the fact that incomes have remained stagnant or slightly dropped in the past 4-5 years. Again, PROOF POSITIVE that Bush is out hurling rocks at the elderly and kicking dogs. But do you see a trend here? The left keeps going back only 4-5 years. Might it be time, once again ladies and gentlemen, to use that "context" we learned about earlier?

Well, here's the chart;

When you look at it you'll notice them nice slim shady lines. Those are recessions. Notice after each recession how real incomes historically have dropped and then recovered, as you WOULD NORMALLY EXPECT THEM TO DO???? So perhaps this is just a function of a normally functioning economy and not Bush hurling rocks at the elderly?

You see folks, this what happens when you have publicly educated children who never grow up and major in El Crapo studies in college while working for some non-profit or the government because they have no skills of use that the private sector would actually want to fork over good money for. People who find nothing wrong with misrepresenting data and reality to the detriment of society because it makes them feel good and feel like their lives actually have a purpose. Because they feel like they're crusaders. Because they feel like they're heroes fighting some imagined evil (If you need an amazingly interesting reference to this cowardly psychology, please feel free to read this post).

Fourth and finally. This will be your assignment in Economics for Idiots - 101. What might the effect be on poverty levels AND WAGES OF THE LOWER INCOME QUINTILES if 10.5 million illegal aliens have entered the country AND if the Census Bureau does NOT exclude non-citizens from the data?

Monday, August 28, 2006

What Did You Expect?

So it seems that Evo Morales and his nutjob leftist government is running into a little trouble with nationalizing the entirety of Bolivia’s natural gas industry. Not only do they not have the cash flow to continue operating the newly nationalized firm, but they also lack the scientific and engineering expertise to manage and operate the gas fields (see article in The Economist - need subscription). This has effectively halted the nationalization of the industry, but production I'm guessing as well.


You mean a bunch of uneducated, leftist, professional
activists with no real education, job, work ethic or life
experience who now currently head up the Bolivian
government are not financially savvy enough to run a
multi-billion dollar industry???? Let alone have the
engineering know-how to maintain and run has fields???

How can that be???

Well, it isn't terribly shocking when you look at who now currently heads up the Bolivian government. Here's a list of the current cabinet ministers appointed by Morales. If you do a google-search of their names you'll get everything from a Maid Union chief who now heads THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT to a former guerilla terrorist who is now THE VICE PRESIDENT (and the leftist nutjobs in America here claim Cheney is the terrorist).

That may take too much time, so just read this article put out by the WSJ, it profiles a couple of these idiots, but you get the idea;

Bolivia is now headed by professional activists, protestors, community workers, and the occasional leftist terrorist, or as the left insists on calling them "progressive revolutionaries," which compose the majority of careers for most leftists, not just in Bolivia, but here in the US and around the world as well, and the results should not be shocking.

Then again, maybe this picture sums it up more efficiently than a background check unto Bolivia's new government. These people;

quite literally are the exact same people now in charge of the Bolivian gas industry. The idiocy is almost as staggering as the french labor protests.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

I Find This Hard to Believe

So my good pal Hugo down in that "$5,800-GDP-Per-Capita-Utopia" known as Venezuela likes to blather on about how the US is out to get him and that they're preparing for invasion and he will "save" the "people" from that horrible plague known as capitalism (which for a plague has this amazing track record of eliminating poverty, famine, disease and bringing about untold standards of living).

Thusly, I thought I might pull a Norwegian on him and show the masses that without oil Venezuela would be absolutely nothing and to threaten the US with cutting off the supply of oil would mean slicing his own throat.

Oddly enough, I may be wrong. According to the latest GDP and oil production figures put out by Venezuela's Central Bank it seems oil has not been taking up a larger and larger percent of the economy and that there has actually been some viable private sector, non-petroleum growth as well. Oil as a take of Venezuela's economy has actually gone down from 19% to just above 15%.

But, I am cynic.

When a girl says yes to a date, I'm experienced and wise enough to know to apply the rule of 505025.

And when somebody says they want to contract me out, I know not to get excited until not only have they actually contracted me out, but until they gave me a check AND THE CHECK HAS CLEARED!

And when a girl actually goes out on the date and impresses me, I know enough that it's a temporary show and I'm bound to discover 3 dates later some new psychological disorder with its foundings in suburbian 90210-induced hatred for her mother, not to mention some failed-to-be-mentioned-illegitimate-children that were the products of years past, and let us not forget the always reliable Jesus Freak Fanatic that makes radical Muslim terrorists seem quite reasonable.

Oh yes, I know when to be the cynic.

Additionally, my economic spidey senses are tingling about this chart and they've yet to be wrong once.

So my question to those of you who might know something about this, can figures from the Central Bank of Venezuela be relied upon?

I have a hard time believing oil HASN'T taken a higher percentage of Venezuelan GDP especially with the increased social spending and petro-programs Hugo's been splashing his money about with. Not to mention the fact the price of oil has been at historic highs and hasn't seemed to translate into additional GDP. And let's face it, Hugo ain't exactly known for his transperancy in governance let alone government income statements.

The Harsh Realities of the Market

The market. Ooooo! The cold, hard market.

The one thing in the world where if people are allowed to move their resources freely and do as they want it will result in that thing that the left despises so;

The truth.

And the reason the left doesn't like this is because the truth is, well frankly, most of what the left expouses sucks and nobody wants.

The labor market for example. Most people are willing to pay a chemical engineering major $50,000 fresh out of school because we all need chemicals in the multitude of food we consume, machines we use, etc. A social sciences graduate or education major can expect $31,000 because frankly, nobody needs community awareness, counselling or crappy public school education.

International markets are also efficient. They've punished Argentina for its greedy and childish default on $132 billion worth of foreign debt.

And I've said it before, I would love to see a stock market index for Bolivia, especially when Evil Moraless decided to nationalize the gas industry...but since it's now ran by a bunch of leftist retards getting a functional stock market seems to be too difficult for this bunch.

But my favorite example of the market reigning cold hearted truth upon the left came as I was broadcasting at the Minnesota State Fair.

Here's all the people that showed up to the AM 1500 stage, the mouth piece of fascists, dictators and Snidley Whiplash;

And here's all the people that showed up to Air America's affiliate, 950 AM;

No doubt this is all Bush's fault.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Is This Real?

Anybody know if this is a doctored photo? See, unlike Reuters, Time, USA Today and Newsweek I kind of like to make sure before I go and parade such a picture as reality.

Regardless, if this is a legitimate photo, methinks I have to rethink my policy about not using nukes.

Seriously, this fanaticism and brainwashing of the masses is no different than the Japanese during WWII. The parallels between Hirohito's crazed Japan and radical islam carry me to the same solution Truman derived.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Federal Budget from 1901-Present

So I was driving back from Fargo, ND a couple days back when by Fergus Falls, MN my car decided to have issues with the front right wheel hub. Which left me stranded in scenic Fergus Falls for the better part of two days.

Not a lot to do in Fergus Falls, but managed to get what errands I could get done while there.

Got a hair cut.

Walked the 5 miles into town from the interstate to get access to the internet.

Had a decent meal at a local 1940's type diner.

Read through two issues of The Economist.

But when all was said and done, I still had to kill about 6 hours of time waiting, which for my personality is the equivalent of hell.

So while suffering the flames of hell waiting for a buddy of mine to pick me up, my brain in desperate bid to stay sane came up with the idea of going back further in the US federal government's history to calculate the overall taxation rate, expenditure rate and surplus/deficit as a percent of GDP.

Up to this point I had received the data available at the OMB. But I recall having GDP figures going back to 1790. That would make a spiffy chart indeed seeing how federal spending/revenues compared from today to the founding of the country.

Unfortunately, the OMB only has data going from 1789-1900 CUMULATIVELY. In other words, it isn't year by year, they just added up the budgets and the GDP's of the first 111 years of the country and listed in on one line item.

Obviously the economist who thought up that brilliant idea is getting no girly action because he is an idiot.

That being said, at least there was data from 1901 on, which still made for a better chart which only goes back to 1930 and would include WWI.

Several observations I made of the chart.

First, you really get a feel for what a real war costs with the spikes in WWI and WWII. Tragic as the deaths and so forth may be in the current war, but the American people are not suffering or sacraficing squat in this current war. It reminds me of a story I recall where the upper classes of society from the Union decided to take their carriages near the battle frield to "watch the war." Sure enough the Confederacy delivered a defeating blow and the upper classes were shocked as to not only the horrors of war, but were throwing up as mutilated Union soldiers were thrown on their carriages to be evacuated from the battlefield.

Second, after each war, a new and HIGHER level of taxation was established. Previous to WWI the federal government taxed Americans at a rate of about 2.6%(like the shirt says, "Imagine a world with no liberals.") That in itself is worth pondering. Then after WWI, the over tax rate went to something around 5%. FDR, the modern day socialists's All American Hero, kept taxes at that rate, until WWII came about. Today, democrats would cruxify FDR for being such an obvious shill for the rich. Regardless, after WWII the tax rate quadrulped up to just below 20% GDP where it has stayed. If this is the effects of war, I might just become a pacifist.

Third, contrasted to previous generations, you see the reiteration of the Baby Boomer generation voting in congressmen to spend beyond their means and mortgage the future. Right about when Jim Morrison was OD-ing on heroin was about the time balanced budgets would take a 30 year sabbatical from America and we'd run deficits to finance programs that would ultimately do nothing other than transfer wealth and destroy families.

As far as I can tell this chart just shows how a higher and higher percentage of the people are chosing the dead-end road of voting in people who promise to take money from Paul and give it to Peter. The day will come we'll expect the government to provide so much for us, we'll have no incentive to work, and thus we'll have no wealth. However, we will have one thing; a Bolshevikian revolution.

The only solace I can take in it is that the people will bring it upon themselves and get what they deserve for their ignorance of history and economics.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Captain Capitalism's ADVENTURES IN FARGO!!!

Yes, Fargo.

The largest town in North Dakota. A place many of you aspiring economists have heard of but never been to.

I've been to Fargo a couple times and being within 4 hours driving distance from it, I thought it not a big deal. But I fathom Fargo to many of you out there is like "Savannah" or "Cancun" to me (neither of which I've been to, but often wonder what it's like).

So to quench your curiosity, I took some pictures of Fargo on my most recent trip to celebrate my buddy Johnny Fargo's wedding, so that all of you may come to know and feel what it's like.

First thing you'll notice is that LaSalle or Wall Street it ain't. This is the main drag of Fargo. This is down town Fargo.

And while it's flat and I meandered about a fair amount, I'm pretty sure this is the tallest building in all of Fargo.

It's a residential building I presume and by the horrible 1970's architecture I surmise it is public housing.

Now you may be laughing, but Fargo is hip. It's cosmopolitan. It, like all other major metropolitan areas has a RED LIGHT DISTRICT! This is the central hub of the district;

But something Fargo doesn't have like major metropolises is expensive gas. I recall gas being $3.50/gallon on Clark and LaSalle in Chicago. Here, smack dab downtown Fargo, gas is a ghastly $2.86.

This alone makes it better to live in than California...then again, California didn't have much going for it anyway.

Another thing that I noticed and was VERY MUCH IMPRESSED WITH IS THIS PICTURE HERE!

Can you see what I see?

Look closer!

Something a true capitalist and hater of the most oppressive form of taxation ever developed!

Look close! If you live in New York, LA, or heck, any slightly populated area, there's something missing!

That's right! NO PARKING METERS!!!! And this is downtown Fargo!

Seriously, I view this as a major advantage of Fargo over other conventional cities.

Now, of course you're saying, "Gee Captain, we sure don't see a lot of culture or cool fashion in Fargo! We'd almost expect everybody out there to be wearing mullets."

And ohhhh! How wrong you would be to say such a thing. Because the heart of downtown Fargo is beating on the cutting edge of fashion. Some people have Aveda. Some people have Ralph Lauren. Fargo has Josef's!

Now, criticism and humor set aside I will say this; Fargo does actually have better architecture than your average metropolis, BARRING New York and Chicago. Seriously. They haven't torn down all their old buildings and you get the feeling you're in a 1920's bootler, gangster movie, but on the frontier. And while you may have the impression that the people of Fargo are just a bunch of dumb Republican hicks that have mullets and Miller, if you look closer, you couldn't be any more wrong. My impression of Fargonians is that they are a higher class of people there that appreciate the olden days. Civility. Dressing up. Taking time to put on a good ol' hootinany (SP?) and instead of getting plastered at the local BoomChickaBoom Bars, my GOD! They might actually learn a dance step or two and hold a dance in a beautiful hall.

That and out of 24 dances, I was only shot down once. Sadly, the reverse holds true for most other metropolitan areas I've been to. Alas, Fargo may be old fashioned and backwards for today's world, but that is fine with me.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Diplomatic Immunity

You remember Lethal Weapon 2?

You know where Mel Gibson goes crazy after he loses yet another girlfriend. Hooks up his truck to the support beam of this hoity toity LA house in the mountains and destoys it. Always wanted to do that, but I wouldn't need the loss of a loved one to drive me to doing that. I just plain want to do it under my own volition.

Regardless, in the end battle scene the bad guy, a diplomat from South Africa who is using his diplomatic immunity to avoid the cops and run drugs, shoots Riggs in the leg and Roger points his gun at him. The diplomat holds up his passport and laughs, “Diplomatic immunity” unaware that the law is quite clear that he can be shot now.

Roger then shoots him in the head and says, “Has been revoked.”

Then you sat there in awe as a 17 year old kid as to the wit and humor of that cool one-liner.

Regardless, it would seem that many New Yorkers and New York cops would like to do the same to UN diplomats in New York. For as a diplomat, it seems you can park wherever you want, drive your convoy through New York streets and hold up traffic, and piss off a town of 12 million people AND not pay a single parking ticket.

So two savvy economists, Edward Miguel and Raymon Fisman, did a study looking at which countries were the worst offenders of New York City parking law. And the results were that it read like a Who's Who list of Transperancy International's Corruption Index.

Here are the worst offenders;

Here are the best behaved;

Well, OK, that's how they make it sound. When you run the corruption score against "Parking Violations Per Diplomat," the measure by which Fisman and Miguel gauge a country's propensity to ignore the law or respect foreign culture, the correlation isn't a passage from the Who's Who list, but a pretty decent correlation of -.33.

But as I thought of it further, the implications of this hit on a theory I've been toying around with in my head;

Lower taxes bring about higher economic growth; fine.

Hard work ethic brings about higher economic growth; fine.

But what of the culture of a country?

Spefically how mature and grown up a culture is and how adult they act certainly must have a bearing on the growth and standards of living of a country.

What put me onto this theory was the Scandihoovian countries. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, all have highway-robbery level taxes, yet still manage to produce the same amount of wealth than their low-taxed counterparts AND WITH LESS DEBT (actually, surpluses in most instances).

Head just a little south where recent French protests against labor law reforms showed just how ignorant and uneducated the French youth are of basic economics, and you have a country with only 75% that of Scandinavian standards of living and a TON OF DEBT that still didn't increase their standards of living.

Go further south and you have Italy where again, taxes are similar, but standards of living are French AND GOVERNMENT DEBT EQUALS 110% GDP.

Alas, the only thing I can chalk the Nordic countries' ability to beat out their high tax, socialist economy rep and post higher standards of living than their mainland European counterparts is that they are a more responsible people, their culture is indeed superior. They are less corrupt (by corruption measures), they are more professional (I would fully expect a Norwegian to be on time as opposed to an Italian), and they seem not to take advantage of their welfare-state by evidence of their lower unemployment rates. This results in more wealth being produced and the higher standards of living they enjoy, all the while supporting a massive welfare state.

Of course, criticizing cultures and dare saying one would be superior to another is the equivalent to setting off a bomb in an quadrapalegic orhpanage in the political world.

Thankfully I'm not in politics and still appreciate the freedom of speech, not to mention, just the plain truth. Some cultures are superior to one another. It's just that simple. Please, somebody tell me how Somali culture is superior to American culture. Or somebody show me how Venezuelan culture is superior to Luxembourgian (sp?) culture. Or how French culture is superior to...ummm...mold culture.

Additionally, please show me the reason and rationale of the arugment that we shouldn't insist people assimilate into American culture, but rather keep living like they have in the past in a futile and counterproductive pursuit of "diversity" when that diversity, as far as I've seen, translates into wealth tranfers and the criminalization of American culture.

Alas, we will be able to see the effects of culture on economic productivity sooner than we may think. I recall it was Sweden that has massive immigration from countries where their diplomats are some of the worst violators of New York Parking Law. And based on projections, the Swedes will soon be in the minority in their country. No doubt they are passing on their hard work ethic to the new comers?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Crowded Out No More

Cripes, Blogger. With the reliability and consistency of a North Korea power grid.

Sorry to do this to you folks, but a post without a chart;

I did a piece testing whether or not there was indeed a crowding out effect.

There was.

I emphasize "was" because despite Reagan levels of deficit spending, interest rates under the Bush Jr. administration have remained historically low and for a long time.

Upon further investigation we find out the reason for our debt markets bucking this trend is because the Chinese and Arabs are more than happy to loan us money, thereby financing not only our current account deficit, but also inadvertently triggering a housing bubble through artificially low interest rates.

The fear then was, what would happen when it became apparent an entire generation of sociology majors (read Gen X) would not be able to produce the wealth necessary to pay back the trillions the Chinese and Arabs loaned us? Logic would dictate that they would turn off the valve of cheap money, the US government would have to borrow from a pool of finite domestic dollars, which would drive up interest rates.

But not so fast.

It was whilst driving down Hwy 280 listening to a piano concerto on public radio that this totally unrelated idea popped into my head;

"When the Baby Boomers retire or as they’re approaching retirement, they’ll switch their massive retirement holdings from equity to fixed income, providing yet another source of loanable dollars, thereby keeping downward pressure on interest rates."

In other words, the Chinese and Arabs may pull out, but the Baby Boomers, looking for consistent income and moving out of riskier assets as their death approaches, will come in. And arguably, this should already be happening as the Baby Boomers aren’t exactly young spring chickens any more and the elder of the Baby Boomers no doubt have already switched some of their portfolio into fixed income.

This will of course put downward pressure on long term interest rates and arguably keep long term money cheap, affording younger generations the ability to afford housing. Ironically, it seems the Baby Boomers will contribute something positive to the economy after all.

The Nazi's are Coming Hurray, Hurray, The Nazi's are Coming Hurray, Hurray


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mr. Ducks

MR ducks!

MR not ducks!


CDEDBD wings?

MR ducks!

YIB, MR ducks.

I owe this piece of fine literature to my Geometry teacher, Mr. Katz


So I checked my Adsense account and there are people actually clicking on the links! One of those things that you just think, "eh, not until I'm getting 20,000 hits a day will it really matter."

But all of the sudden I checked the account and I have a little tidy sum there!


The Captain shall release some of these funds and maximize his utility by having a cocktail in your honors!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mold Theory

Money is the bread by which the mold known as "social ailments" grow on.

That's about as far as I could figure it.

You see, the solution to any social ailment tendered by the left always, ALWAYS consists of spending MORE MONEY on it.

Schools suck?

Spend more money on it.

Health care sucks?

Spend more money on it.

Crime sucks?

Spend more money on it, as long as it's community centers and not cops.

But as far as I can tell, we're just adding fuel the fire with the full expectation that it's going to be put out.

So what I did was chart social spending (minus SS and Medicare) against two crime rates;

Offensive and property crimes.

And shucks howdy, what do you know. It seems government spending on the vast and unending bevy of social programs doesn't actually HELP abate or end these social ailments, but rather FEEDS IT!

Alas, this should come as no surprise when you do not punish people for their criminal behavior, but rather ignore them, borderline reward them with "treatment programs," "free housing," "free health care," and "touchy feeling puppies and bunnies feel good programs."

Of course, there are certainly other factors driving crime and people's lack of stewardship for society. One could make the argument that the dramatic increase in crime over the 60's and 70's was when the World's Most Spoiled Generation entered adulthood and fumbled the ball while voting themselves a boost in social spending to avoid getting real jobs and producing wealth.

One could also make the argument that crime is more driven by economic growth (or contraction) than government spending as you see a rise as we approached the Volcker Recession and then a drop off with the 20 years of basically uninterrupted economic growth to today.

Regardless, one thing can be deduced from this chart;

Government spending on social problems has, if any, a perpetuating effect on social problems.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

From My Beloved Sister

As you all know my sister attends Berkeley where she is a communist. Of course, this isn't by choice, but by city ordinance of the municipality of Berkeley.

She sent me this.

Please don't tell her Berkeley Overlords she mocked the French.

It's the "Capita" in "Income Per Capita" You Idiots

Too much capita.

That's my primary complaint.

Too much capita.

You see, "capita" starts out as evil incarnate itself; a child.

These things, as we all know, not only consume resources that should be spent upon yourself, but they also bring in disease, famine and plague and scream a lot in public.

Sarcastic a tone as I may be striking, sadly, children and too much capita is quite literally at the heart of the problem in Africa.

An excellent article in The Economist details all the problems currently plaguing the Horn of Africa, but if you have not the time, just allow me to quote one quip;

"Then there are the destitute Somalis. Some 6,000 of them live in one slum the size of a football pitch. The number could grow to 10,000 within a year. If fighting breaks out in southern Somalia, it will be even more. It is a typical Horn of Africa slum. Only the air is free. Several families split the rent on a cardboard shack. Fires sometimes break out, fanned by sea breezes, often burning people alive. Wells are private: filthy water is a commodity for sale. There are few jobs for the men. Women venture out to sift through the rubbish that blooms and shines like armour in seemingly every open space in Bossaso. Islamists pass through the slums, looking for likely recruits. Disease is a bigger worry. A local doctor reckons that a new epidemic could easily break out: polio and typhoid are already on the prowl. "

And then further allow me to point out how all the problems seem to be too many people crammed into not enough space.

It's not that difficult people. It's simple division. If you have $100,000, typically, TYPICALLY, you are considered rich. But if you're the average Somali or Ethiopian and have 6 kids (and assuming the father is still around) you have family of 8, and your income per capita, despite the rare and unlikely salary of $100,000, is only $12,500, a smidge better than your average 2nd world country.

So throw all the aid to Africa in the world you want. Until this changes;

Nothing will.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Come to the Minnesota State Fair!

I'm not joking. This is real. Besides which I don't work for Reuters, nor do I have Adobe Photoshop;

You just can't make this stuff up.

Friday, August 11, 2006


So I was, WAS under the impression MY realtor WORKS FOR ME!

Then I get this e-mail;


and embedded in the e-mail is a bunch of data that isn't structured in a manner it can be graphed in Excel.

So I go and I rearranged the data and make a pretty little chart that shows an index of prospective buyers coming through houses for sale.

Hopefully my realtor will not shot me and then send me to the Russian front and then shoot me again.

The Economist is Only a Year Late

I made these spiffy charts approaching a year ago.

Then The Economist came out with this article this week.

So much for "Big Oil" and additionally, I love being right.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Remember those 11 Egyptians that were going to Montana to blow up sh!t...errr,...I mean "learn English." Well, somebody, after 72 hours, finally got the brilliant idea to release their mug shots.

Cripes, and it was the Canucks that had to get these guys' mug shots up here, not our blessed FBI or authorities.

And I don't believe for one freaking second they were going to Montana just to go where the deer and the buffalo roam.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Energy Per Unit of GDP

I've often heard people tout stats about how "yes, we use a lot of energy, but given how much GDP we produce with it, we're really not that bad."

Frankly, I couldn't care less how much energy we use to produce GDP as I have a hard time believing in this global warming tripe (which is the underpinning for such a statistic). Additionally, a lot of it depends on what industries compile your economy. A tax haven/financial center is obviously going to use less energy than an industrial/mining/steel mill country. Not to mention if you have a large country and goods require transport, and thus fuel.

Regardless, seems the US isn't terribly efficient with its energy. Ireland (a small, but kick ass island) manages to produce the same amount of GDP with 1/2 the energy. Of course, Iceland (another small island) requires 4 times the energy to produce an equivalent amount of GDP as Ireland.

Of course this all irrelevant as all good economists know what truly matters is which country is more proficient as producing attractive women per unit of energy. Alas, while Ireland may be more efficient at producing GDP per unit of energy, I'm torn between Ireland's ability to produce attractive women per unit of energy;

versus that of Iceland's;

This requires further study.

For Frank!

You all know Frank.

This one is for him and all the Aussies out there.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gross Municipal Product

So I finally get around to searching for a concept I had.

We have Gross Domestic Product.

We have Gross State Product.

But if I want to gauge how big a city is (and thus run additional calculations, like overall tax rates, etc), it would be really neat to have GROSS MUNICIPAL PRODUCT (GMP).

The concept already exists, but primarily in Japan where a Google-search turned up maybe a dozen hits of Japanese city's municipal products.

But I got nothing as splendid as a list or a database that shows say the top 50 cities' GMP in the US.

Anybody got a link or know if this information actually exists?

Whilst Packing for the Burbs

So I've decided to move to the burbs for reasons that are obvious, but which I'll detail in greater length on my radio show some day.

That being said, when you move, of course you have to start packing, cleaning, and go through boxes you hadn't unpacked from your previous move that contain things that your memory has long forgotten.

And while rummaging through old pictures, post cards, deciding what to keep and what to throw, I happened upon what was arguably my first economic poem ever written, circa 1996.

Only but a junior in college, I was taking a master's level course in international economics because it knocked out two requirements. It also happened to have had a knock out blond in the class who vied for my attention against the professor's lectures.

Of course, college classroom strategery dictated that you wait until most of the people are sitting down on the first day of class before you do so you can choose the seat next to the cutie of the class. And even if there is no assigned seating, people will be prone to sit in the same seat they did on the first day of class, thereby guaranteeing you a spot right next to the cute dame. From thence on you have a captured audience for the next 9 weeks.

So I played by the rules. Didn't hit on her. Let time work to my advantage. And over the course of time found out she was the PRESIDENT of the U OF MN'S ECONOMICS GRADUATE STUDENT ASSOCIATION! Could she be any hotter?

And then came my stroke of genius. I would wait until the final was being taken, finish first (which arrogance and cockiness set aside, I knew I would) and then drop off my genius poem that would surely win her heart over and we'd engage ourselves in eternal economic bliss. And how could she refuse? For the poem was pure genius;

Alas, somehow she managed to find a way to refuse, for I never received a call. Of course this is now approaching over a decade ago and I'm very much over it... that bitch.

It's Nice to See Efficient Markets Working

I despise dead beats.

My favorite is when some schmuck who bled every penny of equity out of his house to pay for a brand new pick up truck, an ATV, a flat panel TV and a snowmobile (because he doesn't earn enough money to pay for these things) comes to my company begging for a loan because he can't afford all the new interest he's incurring and needs to consolidate all his debts.

And then when the interest rates on the ARM's adjust, WOW, who would have guessed;

They all go into default.

Now, that's usually on some slack-jawed yokel up in the northern hick suburbs of Minneapolis where (if you're not familiar with the area) it is nothing but a sea of trailer courts and a severe dearth of tornadoes. However, these are not the only dead beats.

The biggest dead beat of them all is probably Argentina.

Remember Argentina? When they defaulted on what amounted to $132 billion in debt (and accrued interest)?

Not a lot of people think about Argentina and ponder even less about the country's historic finances, but I do. And since I so despise dead beats and what an utter parasite they are on society, I thusly despise Argentina. (I further despise the country because the arrogance of some of their people were to BLAME THE US AND THE FOREIGN LENDERS THAT LOANED THEM THE MONEY FOR THEIR INCOMPENTENCE AND INABILITY TO PAY IT OFF!!!! I even recall a couple foreign banks getting torched and destroyed).

Alas, I was very happy to see this;

While most people may have forgotten the fleecing they received for loaning Argentina money, it seems the market's memory is more keen. And this makes me happy for this is exactly what the markets should reflect; Argentina is a higher credit risk in that it cannot be relied on to pay back its debts, therefore it should be charged a higher interest rate as it is essentially a "super-sub-prime-borrower." Even more subprime than the slack-jawed yokels of the northern Minneapolis suburbs (heck Argentina's even worse than Nigeria and Pakistan!)

Now, if you want a good guffaw, check this web site out;

I'm glad I could give you your Monday morning laugh.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Question Tendered to All You Economists Out There

Hey all.

Terribly sorry for the delay in posts, but I'm currently working on buying some new property (remember, all aspiring economists, it's now a buyers market out there!).

So to whet your appetite for economic discourse, here's something that's always been bothering me;

Monetary policy.

Monetary policy was never a strength of mine, but I’m finding it harder and harder to see why it’s so difficult.

Will somebody please tell me why we have a target inflation rate of 2% and not 0%? And I know that if we get inflation of 0% the deflationary fighters’ fear/argument is that, "we could fall into deflation which would have the same misallocation/wealth redistribution effects and problems inflation has except in reverse."

So what?

It would seem to me deflation is the easiest thing to fight and politically beneficial;


Japan had been staving off deflation for years, most recently by printing money and this was actually heralded as "genius monetary policy" in The Economist no less.

Like to think I’m missing some gapping thing here, but I just can't see it.

Any central bankers out there?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

You Can't Make This Up

I had the unfortunate experience of spending a year in a small Wisconsin town during my youth. And of course the stereotype is that it's a small Wisconsin town, they're all hicks, they drink beer and drive old pick up trucks.

But we have intellectually evolved here in the US to know that stereotypes aren't true. That stereotypes exist for no reason other than to promote bigotry, racism and prejudice. That there isn't a seed, an ounce, a kernel of truth to the stereotypes out there and if you categorize people based on stereotypes you are a racist/bigot/homphobe/sexist, etc.

Yeah right.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Whilst Studying Ethanol

So I'm looking at an ethanol plant, which obviously necessitates a fair amount of economic research, particularly commodity pricing.

However, during my research I happened upon an interesting little chart that highlights the common refrain, "well, if there weren't so many rules and regulations about detergents, additives, etc. on gas, then (fill in state here)___________ wouldn't have such high gas prices."

Not a perfect correlation, but it does seem the Left and East Coasts bring it upon themselves. And if memory serves me correctly, wasn't it California and New York that not only experienced rolling black outs this recent spat of a heat wave this year, but suffered a severe black out a couple years back AND an energy crisis under Gray Davis?

Yeah, NIMBY all the way!