Thursday, November 30, 2006
Is It Really that Hard to Close the Gap?
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"
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Hype in the Airline Industry; Delta and Northwest Airlines
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
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
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;
2. Cappy Cap wit
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
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
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
“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
Oh Yeah, We've Got a Way to Go
Friday, November 17, 2006
The Best of Captain Capitalism - Can't Afford Health Care Insurance? THEN DON'T BUY IT!
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!?"
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;
"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.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
We'll take it from here.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The Best of Captain Capitalism - Do Not Disturb the Economists
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.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Hmmmm....is a precedent being set here?
Hat tip to Swanblog.
Best of Captain Capitalism - Governments Compete, They Just Don't Know It Yet
The arrogance of governments gets me at times. The arrogance that they have 100%, complete and total sovereignty over their nation, its people and its resources. That the people, resources and technology is the government's bitch.
For governments, no matter how Stalinistic, no matter how Mao Tse Tungish, no matter how Hillary Clintonish, have to answer to the forces of capitalism and the free market.
Let me repeat that for all you leftist idiots out there.
GOVERNMENTS HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE FORCES OF CAPITALISM AND THE FREE MARKET!
For you see, stupid leftists, capitalism and free markets isn't an idea, it isn't an ideology, its...
THE EFFING TRUTH!!!!
Sorry, hate to break it to you.
You see, while you think you rule over all that is within your borders, you cannot control the people and their capital.
For if you tax them to death to help bribe the lesser classes of society into providing you a life long career in politics by bribing those lesser people with social and income transfer programs, the people who actually produce the wealth, and thus, the money to help finance those programs will, uh, leave.
Where will they go? Well there's 176 nations on this planet offering a wide variety of amenities for them to choose from, but typically they will go to the countries that offer the most freedom and allow them to keep the lion's share of their work and not fleece them of all the fruits of their labor.
Of course this slams the true leftist vermin up against the wall and points out several hypocrisies and shows them for what they truly are.
1. The only way you can prevent the capital, human and intellectual flight out of your socialist "utopia's" is by abandoning democracy and FORCING people to stay in your country. Last I checked Kim Jong Il isn't too keen on people leaving the borders of North Korea. And my Vietnamese friend could regale you with tales about how the North Vietnamese frowned similarily upon people wishing to go to the south. And why wasn't there a "Soviet-American" exchange when I was a kid in the 80's?
In other words, surprise, surprise, socialism typically ends up in dictatorship.
2. You leftists are supposed to hate monopolies. You're supposed to hate "Big Business." But, oh how quickly you change your tune once it comes to the public sector. You LOVE one big, monopolistic government with all the money, power and control because that is the only conduit you have to employment and wealth with your pathetic communications and sociology degrees. If you had to compete in the private sector, if you had to grow up, become adults and provide for yourself by offering society something of value you'd starve (this is by and large why I have infinitely more respect for drug dealers, prostitutes, MacDonalds workers and janitors than politicians). But if a big government is there extrapolating resources from the people to provide "education" and "health care" and "community" services, damn, you can get yourself a pretty good set up doing absolutely nothing and contributing absolutely crap to society.
3. Your support for the UN, the ICC and other supra-national entities only highlights the fact that you hate competition among governments and economies because it threatens your ability to rape and fleece the tax base and thus transfer wealth to yourself, and therefore if you can get it all under one entity, you can eliminate the threat of "cheap labor in China" or "low taxes in Ireland."
Of course, you're not going to believe me, so I guess we'll just have to bitch slap you upside the head with a dose of reality.
OK, so here's the deal. Try to imagine you are a consumer. And instead of having valuable dollars to spend, you have valuable minutes of a life. And that this life, of which people always seem to be in desperate need of reminding of, is....
FINITE AND THUS EACH MINUTE IS EXTREMELY EFFING VALUABLE!!!!
And instead of governments, consider them companies offering different plans to provide you with various services such as legal systems, defense, police, roads, schools, etc. And instead of "price tags" consider how much you'll have to pay in taxes for that plan.
Well here's a pricing schedule.
Seems Japan, the US and Ireland offer the best terms while Denmark and other Scandanavian countries want to fleece you.
Now of course some countries charge more, because they're offering more. But the trick is, ask yourself, if you're a person who is going to go out and work for a living and get themselves educated and more or less support yourself, why the EF should you be paying for a massive welfare system and free health care and free education????
Conversely, ask yourself the question;
"If I'm a scum bag parasite that just wants to live off of other people and not really work and have become addicted to the dependency mentality" where would I want to live and what kind of system would I vote for???
Huh, I wonder where THE GOOD UPSTANDING ADULTS WHO DON'T EXPECT A HANDOUT are going to shop.
Consider another aspect of this, corporate taxes.
Why is it a wonder to you leftists that corporations go offshore??? Hmmmm? Seriously, is this a mystery to you? You can't figure it out? Are you REALLY that stupid??? Why the ef should a corporation stay in a country that almost taxes it at 40% and then taxes another 15% taxes on dividend income, not to mention all the bitching and whining? It's like being a loser boyfriend that borrows money from his girlfriend, never pays it back, beats her, does drugs and then wonders why she leaves. SERIOUSLY THAT'S WHAT YOU LEFTISTS SOUND LIKE!
Of course I know why sound like that, because you let your envy, hate and greed get in the way of clear thinking. Clear thinking would suggest that we abolish corporate taxes all together to attract corporations to INVEST here and CREATE JOBS here. But oh, no, you don't want none of that. No, you are blinded by pure greed, envy, hatred and evil and want to fleece them. You want to tax them to death. You want to nationalize their assets. You want to sue them and penalize them every chance you get.
Well, they can most certainly take their business elsewhere, and they most certainly do;
Ironic how the FORMER SOVIET BLOCK COUNTRIES have the lowest (and in the case of Estonia, no) corporate taxes. Think these people who lived under leftist utopia instead of spoiled brat suburbia know something you left-worshippers don't?
What's also ironic is how those countries with lower corporate taxes tend to experience higher economic growth than the higher taxed ones. No wonder you European leftists hate Ireland so much. She's proving socialism wrong and right off your doorstep!
But then again, what do I know? I'm just a crazy wild economist sitting in this bitch ass cold in Minnesota, drinking my Rumpleminz to fight off a cold, chasing the occasional skirt. I just play X-Box and dance with the occasional chick with an accent at some latin bistro. I don't work for the UN or the State Department. I'm not some professor with 10 years of schooling behind him. And my daddy ain't the mayor.
So never mind me. You go and keep believing that treating the engines of economic growth like criminals by taxing them and punishing the successful is the way to go.
In the meantime, I'm going to be finding me a way to gain Irish citizenship.
Anybody know any cute Irish redheads?
No, seriously, I'm being totally serious here. I am so up for moving to Ireland and settling down with a sweet Irish girl. No, you think I'm joking, but I'm not. ANYBODY READING THIS IN IRELAND SET ME UP!!! I mean it! I play a mean game of Halo, know how to program HTML, and like whiskey, what more could an Irish girl want? You all think I'm joking, but I'm totally not! Ireland's got the best taxes and the best women in the world. What more could a man ask for??? E-mail me, email@example.com! I'm willing to pay a commission or something. Whatever, just make it happen. I'm helpless here in the cold, Jesus Freak, non-redheaded tundra. LET ME LIVE!!!! I WANT TO LIVE!!!! Every minute is priceless!!!! And they're slipping away!!!!
Best of Captain Capitalism - Why Low Corporate Taxes are Like Cary Grant
His Mini-Me Poodle (and waaaaay more of a poodle than Blair could even be accused of being Bush's) Evo Morales just stole the two largest gas fields from Petrobas, BP, Total and Repsol. And let's not forget their handcuffing of Suez, the French water firm that has brought water to more people in Bolivia than any government could, by denying them the ability to (GASP, HOW DARE THEY) CHARGE FOR WATER!!!! This resulted in the contract being cancelled...and poor people getting NO water.
And let's not forget my favorite, the Argentines decision in 2001 to pay back that $132 billion when they damn well feel like it, if at all. Until that time Nestor Kirchner has asked his people to boycott Shell, which is the epitome of all their problems...not stupid people who elect morons into office.
So here's what I don't get;
Why the hell is anybody going to invest in these scam countries again?
No seriously. $5 billion alone was invested in Bolivia's natural gas industry by foreign firms. They turned fields that were producing nothing, literally nothing, into fully functional gas fields. The same could be said for Hugo's beloved and sole source of power; oil. Anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the oil being pumped out of Venezuela is pumped out only because foreign companies came in and did the work. And once the infrastructure is built up and everything running (not to mention billions of dollars worth of investment and therefore jobs created in these local countries), the moronic people of these nations, lacking any sense of basic economics, elect socialists and renationalize everything, essentially bitch slapping the foreign investors in the face.
Alas, I can't see how this would be any different than beating a woman in the hopes of her becoming your wife.
I was under the impression that to woo a lady you (I don't know) BE NICE TO HER????
You know, things like flowers, being funny, witty, taking them out dancing, making their time spent with you enjoyable so they'd WANT TO hang out with you. They WILLINGLY invest their time in you.
The same, I'd assume would apply for companies and investors. If you want companies to invest in your country and create jobs, then maybe a good first step would be to not reneg on your contracts, let alone confiscate all their assets.
And hell, that's physical abuse. Let's talk verbal abuse. Have you ever heard a leftist here in the US say anything nice about a corporation?
Like "they bring jobs into this economy."
Or "I'm happy they make a good product at a good price."
Or "Gee, Wal-Mart has effectively raised poor people's standards of living by bringing the prices down for practically ALL goods and services, thereby boosting their purchasing power; thanks Wal-Mart."
No, it's usually this vitriolic, hate-filled, venom, spewing from their mouths;
"CORPORATIONS DON'T PAY THEIR FARE SHARE!"
"IT'S CORPORATE AMERICA THAT'S CONTROLLING THE WORLD AND MAKING US SLAVES!"
"CORPORATIONS ARE NOT SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE!"
"CORPORATIONS USE ALL THOSE LOOPHOLES!"
It is literally no different than a guy going up to his wife and saying;
"You are the dumbest, fattest slob I know!"
"Get your ass off the couch and make me dinner, woman!"
"If you don't go down to the liquor store and get me my whiskey, you'll feel the back of my hand!"
Alas, I aliken countries to varying men depending on their approach as to how they'd intend to attract investors and companies, just as these men planned on attracting women.
For example, Ireland, Slovenia and most of Central Europe for that matter would be Cary Grant.
They fully expect to woo investors with wit, charm, goods looks, and little, if any corporate taxes.
Then there's the US or any developed "1st World" nation.
A man who maybe at one time was the all-star quarter back in high school, but has since got a gut and just ASSUMES people are going to want to invest in him as he ASSUMES his wife will always stay married to him because how could she possibly do any better than his 40% corporate tax rate. Fetch me another beer, bitch!
And then you have the out right wife beaters and abusers. The Cubas, the Venezuelas, the Bolivias and North Koreas.
And how do they attract investment? By stealing it like some low-life, parasite boyfriend who steals his girlfriend's credit card to buy drugs and booze. They rule by fear and threatening the girl to stay with them or they'll get what's coming to them.
And you wonder why which countries have better economic matrimony?
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The Best of Captain Capitalism - The Beer IRA
I'm still debating the merits of it.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Regardless, much to my and Frank's and every other redblooded male that reads this site's dismay, THERE IS NO MISS LUXEMBOURG!
Look for yourself.
I tried looking for a close economic substitute in Lichetenstein or Switzerland, but no luck their either. It would not suprise me if their population found it beneath them to compete in such a thing, nor would I necessarily fault them for that.
Anyway, tune in tomorrow for The Economics Supper Club! www.am1500.com
1-877-615-1500, 1-3 PM central standard time.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
It's Not Going to Be So Luxurious in Luxembourg
Pension Entitlements as a Multiple of Gross and Net Economy Earnings
The concept behind this is obviously they're trying to show you how much different countries have promised themselves in the form of pensions and retirement benefits, relative to the amount of wealth they produce (and which will in most cases, inevitably pay for those pension entitlements)
Now as much as I whine and complain about the fleecing future generations (both here and in Europe) are about receive from this hoax known as social security, I can't complain too much. For the world's richest nation (on a per capita basis), Luxembourg has promised its people a heck of a lot. 18 TIMES THE ECONOMY WIDE EARNINGS ARE PROMISED TO PENSIONEERS!
My cunning plan of marrying into Luxembourg by finding a hot little Luxembourgian babe has had a very Black Adder failing.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
A House Divided...
The Captain's "Charm School for Men"
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The Rich and The Poor
One is the natural gas production at Bolivia's state owned government agency (as I wait, patiently crouched like a ninja ready to jump upon the inevitable data that will show production has declined under state ownership).
The second is the mean household income of each quintile of income earners put out by the US Census Bureau.
The latest data had only gone up to 2001, and I was particularly interested in this information because it would ABSOLUTELY AND COMPLETELY resolve one of the main (if not THE MAIN) claim of the left that George Bush's tax cuts have only benefited the rich. So imagine my joy when I found out they had updated them to 2005 this past week!
Well junior and aspiring deputy economists, here's the latest income distribution figures from the US Census Bureau;
As you notice the long term trend of EVERYBODY'S income is that EVERYBODY, POOR INCLUDED is getting richer. However, the short term trend, since the economic slow down of 2001 (I still refuse to call it a recession) is that people have been getting poorer, with a recent recovering in income.
Now, leftists, socialists, communists and other mainstream members of the democratic party, will pounce on this as proof positive that GW's policies have failed since he was inagurated as president in 2001. That he is out there whooping it up for his rich oil buddies, and when he's not whooping it up, he's sending his storm troopers out to knee-cap poor people.
But there are two problems with this;
1. It seems that it's more a historical economic trend for incomes to decline (and then recover) after each recession, rather than Bush training Barney to bite and pee upon poor people. I circled in light blue what has happened to the bottom 4 quintiles of incomes after the previous three "recessions" and you'll note that the trend is consistent across all incomes.
After each recession, ALL PEOPLE'S INCOMES DECREASE...LIKE YOU WOULD EXPECT THEM TOOOO, MAYBE HUH?????
2. The left likes to focus their attacks on the "super rich" because they know they can tax such a small minority, promising the masses to transfer the wealth and thus bribe poorer folk to vote for them. Well, even the "super rich," GW's presumed "bestest of buddies" suffered. With not only the top 20% of income earners suffering a decrease in income, but also the tippy top super secret elite top 5% of income earners suffering a loss as well.
So there you have it folks. The answer to the brainwashed, massed produced, broken record mantra of the left, "GW's tax benefits have only benefited the rich," is
"No it hasn't, it seems to have had the same effect on all income levels, besides which the broader economy seems to have a larger role in determining outcomes."
Now, a signed autograph and CERTIFICATE OF JUNIOR DEPUTY ECONOMIST-NESS goes to the adventuresome aspiring economist that can tell me why incomes of the lowest quintile have not recovered as quickly as other quintiles.
This Occurs More than Most Think
Saturday, November 04, 2006
The Economics Supper Club, Eh!
And I check my website stats, and like, ders a bunch of hits, eh.
And so I find out dat der Kate over at www.smalldeadanimals.com has put a link up to my web post.
Soooo I wanted to let not just de Americans know abooot my radio show, but our friendly neighbors to da north, eh!
So you should all tune in, www.am1500.com for the web site streamline. 1-3PM central standard, eh.
1-877-615-1500 for Canadians and out of state people
and 651-646-8255 for da local ones.
It'll be a good time, eh!!!!
Friday, November 03, 2006
DAMN YOU GEORGE BUSH!
They're Gettin' Loopy at the OECD
Knowledge defined as software, R&D, and higher education.
No doubt there is a correlation between higher economic growth and these three items, and how else would you economically measure "knowledge." But it just kind of seems hookie to me.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Overjoyed with the Self-Employed!
For the “capitalist” center of the world, the US sure has a low percentage of entrepreneuers.
They broke down this statistic further by male and female. As was to be expected, a higher percentage of the male labor force was self-employed than the women, but there were a couple countries where the women were more entrepreneurial. Thus I subtracted the male self-employment rate from the female self-employment rate, resulting in a kind of ‘index’ to measure female entrepreneurship in different countries.
The Best of Captain Capitalism - Support Your Local Cynic
Often I have been accused of being a cynic. And not necessarily in a positive light either. No, usually it is followed by some commentary that I should “let go” or “loosen up” otherwise I shall “blow a gasket” and my “blood pressure will skyrocket” and “do I really want to live life this way?”
So to disprove the doubting Thomases and to help us once again advance our understanding about economics I shall demonstrate why cynicism and those that participate in it, cynics, are necessary and right in their insistence on being cynical.
First off, the majority of people you view to be “cynics” are not really cynics at all. No, those of us who seem to have a negative outlook on life and pummel those that come up to us with their brainwashed ignorant smiles saying, “Hey, don’t worry be happy” are in reality REALISTS.
The reason for this is instead of being placated by Desperate Housewives or Teen Idol and satiated by marrying and having the 2.2 kids in the suburbs as our cookie-cutter American counterparts have done, we think ahead. We survey the land. We ask ourselves questions, “what do we want in life and what will happen in the future and what action should be taken to best navigate that future.” This leads any independent-thinking individual to study and take note of various sociological and economic factors, some of which will certainly be; the pathetic savings rates we have, the impending social security crisis that is looming, not to mention the Medicare/Medicaid crisis, all under the shadow of a property market bubble, and an increasing parasite class nudging the US ever closer towards socialism.
And no, don’t tell me to loosen up.
However, the deteriorating economic fundamentals of the future US is not the reason for my bringing up cynicism. The reason is a talking point that I have heard now one too many times in the talk radio world and that is somehow that men, or rather, boys, are being neglected in schools and this results in (ready for the sound byte???) women earning the majority of college degrees.
Usually this is set in the context of reverse discrimination where boys are forced out of their traditional male role models at school and then usually an accusation of some leftist policy that heralds girls over boys, and then the ensuing “woe are we poor men/boys being discriminated against by the leftist educational machine.”
I have two major points of contention with this;
One, we on the right are not whiners. It’s one of the key things that separates us from the left. You want to call us names? Fine. You want to make the playing field unfair? Fine. But we are not going to bitch and whine and feel sorry for ourselves. That’s the job of the left, liberals, and their bevy of political allies. We on the right get up off the ground and go back into the fight, regardless of the odds. So cut as many men jokes as you want. Post as many oafish, tail-behing-the-legs Ray Romanos on TV as you want. We don’t care, because frankly men know better and we are actually secure with ourselves and needn’t any pity or affirmative action hand out and can let whatever unfair practices in the schools roll off our backs for that is what makes us men. And radio talk show hosts should know better.
My second point of contention was started when a little voice in the back of my head said, “something ain’t right about that” when I heard Michael Medved complaining about how men were trailing women in earning college degrees. Certainly he was right, women do earn the majority of college degrees, but something was amiss. Something didn’t add up. Something I couldn’t put my finger on.
Fortunately, I have that trait that all people seemingly are hell-bent on hating and beating out of me, cynicism. And whilst many of you want to just “let go” and be blissfully happy, ignorant to the realities around you whilst you hold hands around the camp fire singing Kumbya and participate in candle-light vigils, some of us were being vigilant.
For as a cynic I remember college and I remember the majority of the women I dated were frankly, morons. Now one could make the argument, this was a sample bias since only morons would go out with me, but I contend another theory. That the majority of girls I dated in college were morons not because only morons would go out with me, but rather because the majority of women majored in what I call “crap studies.” Fields such as “sociology,” “communications” and my all-time favorite, because you’ve only been speaking it for 18 years, “english.”
In other words, the reason why more women are earning more degrees than men is because they major in subjects that are easier.
“WHY, HOW DARE YOU!!!! YOU CYNICAL ASS YOU!!!!”
Yeah, well, like I said, the majority of cynics aren’t pessimistic, but realists. For you see, to test my theory I called up the University of Minnesota with its some 50,000 students and asked them if they could send me a breakdown between the types of degrees awarded and gender. And after a little number crunching it seems my theory was not a theory at all, but reality.
When broken down the majority graduate degrees that are awarded to women are in “fluff” or since I’m subsidizing their education, I call them “crap” fields such as psychology, women’s studies, urban studies, etc., while the majority of real degrees in fields such as engineering, medicine, accounting, etc., with practical applications to the real world are awarded to men.
Similar statistics are shown in undergraduate degrees, where again the majority of “crap” degrees are earned by women and the majority of real degrees are earned by men.
As an economist I have a particular respect for engineers since they compose not only the majority of my friends, but I deem it the field most productive to society (and the labor market agrees with me based on their starting salaries). Alas, men outdo women 5 to 1 in these fields.
Now you can go ahead can contest that I’ve tainted the data. That somehow the University of Minnesota is not a representative sample of an American college, and who am I to say degrees in Chicano Studies are not as warranted as chemical engineering (you racist cynic you!). All I can say is that if you are offended, well you should be, because it’s not the falsities of life that are truly insulting, but rather the truth. The question is whether you want to deal with it, or go watch some more Desperate Housewives.