Sunday, December 31, 2006

So Long Nifong

You piece of sh!t!

Thanks to Dave - Women's Labor Force Participation

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

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

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


Saturday, December 30, 2006

This One's for Mollie

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

Anybody else got older data?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then the epiphany hit.

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

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

Child rearing is also a chore.

Child rearing is also being outsourced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brilliant. Grand.

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

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

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Better Than a Diamond Ring at Least


Understand? Good.

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


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

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

And how did I manage this amazing return?




Skill had nothing to do with it.

Talent had nothing to do with it.

I didn't even bother looking at the financials.


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

The same thing with GWLLF.


It's a horrible investment.

Only fools would invest in it.

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

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

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

You are an idiot for investing in GWLLF.

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

1. From The Economist

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

2. From Wikipedia.

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

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

For at least with Great Wall Motors there is hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy her hope.

Buy her GWLLF.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lot's O' Charts

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

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

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

Anyway, here we go;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It's the All Canada Show!

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Minneapolis Monorail Morons

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The car.

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

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


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

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

Did they want the disposable income to afford a PS3?


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


Did they want an LCD projector or flat screen TV?


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

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

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

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

Now, I know, I know. I’m cynical.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The $8.5 Billion Question

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 15, 2006

Laying Down Some of Dat Christmas Economic Cheer

I hope you maximize
Your utility
This Christmas

I hope you maximize
Your time
This Year

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

I hope you allocate
Your resources
This Christmas

I hope you allocate
Along the frontier

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

I hope you model
All your formulas
This Christmas

I hope you model
In front of me
In something sheer

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Global Warming for Idiots (Repost)

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

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


End of story.

Statement of fact.

Truth as only the truth could be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Globalization for Idiots

This just about sums up globalization in one sentence.

Communications and sociology majors beware.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Of Strippers and Poverty

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

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

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

Another interesting anecdote is about strippers and dental work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Best of Captain Capitalism - The Left IS Winning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No, That Would Be Too Easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dog is Co-Pilot

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

Didn’t even start the car.

Didn’t drive nowhere.

Just sat there for a couple minutes.

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

Dogs are like that.

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

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

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

Every Saturday from 1-3PM central standard.

Join us and call in; 651-646-8255

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

Also, listen online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 07, 2006

If We Adjusted for "Fluff"

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

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

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hurray for NAFTA!

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

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

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

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Iceland Has No Military"

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

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

I demand Ms. Iceland as recompense.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dating Advice from The Captain

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

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

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

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

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

Allow me to show you what I am talking about.


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

"You want to make a bet?"

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

She didn't believe me.

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

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

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

Dead silence.

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

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

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

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

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

That goosed her ego.

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

"Well, whatever you want."

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

"OK, dinner at The Lexington."

"Very well."

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

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

Why I Love The Economist

Because they call Lou Dobbs what he is;

a blow hard.

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


The Real Dictators are ALWAYS on the Left

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

Stalin was not a fan of capitalism either.

Neither Mao Tse Tung.

Nor Kim Schlong Ill.

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

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

Friday, December 01, 2006

Why Captain Capitalism Was Made

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

Every super hero has an origin.

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

And so too does Captain Capitalism have his origins.

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

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

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

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

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

"we spend too much on education."

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

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

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

"we dont' spend enough money on roads."

Alright, all you idiots shut up.

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

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

ie-studying something before you open your mouth.

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

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

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

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

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

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