Saturday, April 23, 2011

Obama's Employment Policies Have Failed Because of Quack Economics

I was just reading the recent edition of Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. Celente lives in Kingston, New York, which is about 1/2 hour from my home. Celente makes a good point about unemployment numbers. They don't count the people who have stopped looking for work. Therefore, a more meaningful statistic than the unemployment rate is the employment rate.

Here's some numbers. The employment numbers are as of January while the population numbers are as of July:

Employment is still below what is was following the financial paroxysm of 2008-9. The so-called stimulus package in early 2009 involved Obama's spending nearly a trillion dollars to increase employment. Besides the idea being nonsensical, the Obama administration spent billions on handouts to cronies, including George Soros's Brazilian oil holding. The net effect will be to reduce employment over time. In 2009 the employment rate was about 46.3% (my numbers are off somewhat because I took the employment and population estimates from different months). Today, two years after the Obama stimulus the employment rate is roughly 45.1%, more than one percent lower.

Of course, the Obama administration needs to take responsibility for taking the ridiculous idea of a "stimulus" seriously. As we study in elementary economics, the justification for a stimulus would be that the marginal propensity to consume is lower than the government's ability to spend money. This occurs because consumers save. But American consumers don't save. Moreover, the entire notion of the stimulus is dumb because the spending will cause future taxes to rise, dampening economic growth. It is outrageous that the public has been conned into subsidizing the crackpot theories of Keynesian economists.

The economists who recommended squandering the $800 billion have to bear responsibility for the failure of Obama's policies. They have no more claim to the status of having "scientific knowledge" than do astrologers or fortune tellers. Since economics is a failed profession, we can safely exclude economists from any public office, including the Federal Reserve Bank. Quacks deserve jobs as snake oil salesmen, not on the public dole.

As far as Obama, whatever absurd policies he and his quack advisers have concocted, we can conclude that he is a failure in the economic realm.

Music Video: How Federal Reserve Bank Policy Works

Glenda R. McGee asked me for a pictorial depiction of how the Federal Reserve Bank and world monetary system work. Fortuitously, Dennis Sevakis sent me this Rube Goldberg music video that captures the essence of current American economic and monetary policy.

Vote Libertarian in 2012

The Obama presidency has worsened the Bush administration's mismanagement of government and the economy. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama aims to extend the profligate spending that he and the Democratic Congress budgeted in 2008 and 2009 with only slight reductions. Although the Republicans have pushed for modestly greater reductions in spending, even the most conservative budget this year will exceed the Bush administration's bloated budget by ten percent. Moreover, contrary to his campaign claims, Obama has extended military involvement overseas and has continued the Patriot Act.

Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that the GOP's 2012 presidential playing field is blurry. That is, no candidate can command much support. Astonishingly, 16% of Republicans support Donald Trump, a dishonest, eminent domain socialist who was born on third base and cannot figure out how to reach home plate without government subsidies, looting of private property, cheating contractors and repeated bankruptcy. Someone needs to investigate whether Trump has received financing from organized crime in connection with his Atlantic City investments. Trump exemplifies the failure of the American economy under Progressivism, and he is a product of the stupid Federal Reserve Bank policies that led to the 2008 financial meltdown, have stopped the growth of the real hourly wage and guarantee that future generations of Americans will be much worse off than previous ones.

With 16% of Republicans supporting Trump, an additional 13% support Governor Mitt Romney. Romney implemented a failed socialist health plan in Massachusetts, and his policies are largely the same as Barack Obama's. As a presidential candidate for 2012, his first impulse was to aim to attempt to win financial backing from the same socialist Wall Street slime that finances Trump, that supported Obama in 2008, that received trillions in welfare payments in 2009, and that would not exist without ongoing welfare subsidies from the Federal Reserve Bank.

Now, Americans are loyal to the two party system for a good reason. If a third party were to be elected they might do some bizarre, radical things. They might:

-Start three wars at a time
-Quintuple the nation's money supply and hand the printed money to cronies, commercial banks and incompetently run Wall Street stock jobbers.
-Encourage the Fed to hand between $12 and $25 trillion to the same incompetently run financial firms at the expense of taxpayers
-Repeal Americans' sacred liberties by legalizing unconstitutional searches and seizures under pretext
-Borrow nearly a trillion dollars and give it out to politically connected friends, claiming that it is a "stimulus," ignoring that the only justification for "stimulus" is that private savings rates are high so that government spending is needed to stimulate the economy.
-Declare that a firm like Boeing doesn't have the freedom to open a plant in a new state because it has labor troubles in the state in which it currently does business
-Replace the education system with an ideologically driven, politically correct indoctrination system that does not teach reading, writing and arithmetic
-Pass a cap and trade law that would condemn and loot a large portion of Americans' private homes
-Declare morality to be dead and then claim that on moral grounds they have the right to tell Americans what to eat, what kind of light bulbs to use, and that they should be servile to a United Nations dominated by tyrants.

Wait, that's what the Democrats and Republicans have done. I really don't see how a third party could be worse. So why don't Americans want to vote for third parties? It's because they're bloody morons who cannot think for themselves and do what the even bigger morons in the legacy media tell them to do.

Therefore, libertarians have to engage in damage control. The best way to limit both parties' ability to do harm is to split the government into a Republican-dominated Congress and a Democratic Party-dominated presidency.

The six percent of Republicans who are Ron Paul supporters can and might consider doing just that by voting for the Libertarian Party should Ron Paul fail to win the GOP nomination.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Donald Trump's Eminent Domain Empire

Michelle Malkin hits a home run with this blog (H/T Dennis Sevakis). If you have any doubt that Trump is a big government con man, take a look. Malkin's observations skim the surface. The corruption and looting in which Trump has engaged over a lifetime are a public disgrace.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Progressivism, Narcissism and Auguste Comte

Auguste Comte was the founder of sociology. At least, he coined the terms sociology and social physics. Comte's life's work began in his adolescence and ended with his death at age 59. It is remarkable that Comte envisioned his life's work at age 13 or so and then pursued it for over 45 years. His work was divided into two parts. In the first, he created the notion of positivism, that science is based on laws, that there is a hierarchy of sciences, and, most importantly, that there have been three stages of human development. The three stages are the theological, the metaphysical and the positivist.

Comte believed that society must be united around a single vision and aimed to re-institute the theological order of the Middle Ages based on scientific grounds. It was possible to unite society in a theological setting, but the metaphysical period, which began with Aquinas and carried forward through the Enlightenment and into Comte's day (he died in 1857), was conflictual and so ought to be brought to an end by Positivism. That is, Comte argued that a new religion was necessary to unite all of society in a single faith: Positivism. In other words, he claimed that science ought to be the universal religion. He devoted the second part of his career to arguing in favor of his new Positivist religion.

One of the important points in Lucien Levy Bruhl's Philosophy of Auguste Comte is Levy Bruhl's remark that Comte did not see scientific laws as absolute. Rather, Comte had a modern view of science, which sees its laws as local and subject to reinvention. I was interested to learn how far Thomas Kuhn's ideas in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions rely on Comte's insights. Kuhn sees science as occurring under a paradigm, but the paradigms inevitably reach dead ends and self-contradictions, which lead to scientific revolutions.

If Comte wishes Positivism to be a religion, and science is ultimately based on the limits of human understanding, then Comte's Positivist religion is narcissistic. It is a religion devoted to worshiping scientists' impermanent insights. defines narcissism simply as "inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity" or, in psychoanalysis, the "erotic gratification derived from admiration of one's own physical or mental attributes, being a normal condition at the infantile level of personality development."

The worship of the scientific insights of humanity, advocated by a social scientist, constitutes this infantile pattern. Carried forward a few decades, there is a link between the ideas of Progressivism and positivism. Positivism argues that sociology can apply the methods of science to morality. Comte believed that scientific methods could be so applied, so that society could be re-engineered along a line that unites all of society in the faith in optimal, scientific approaches to re-engineering society. This is the essence of the message of Progressivism advocated by Herbert Croly and Theodore Roosevelt.

This sheds light on the refusal of Progressives to be pragmatic, and to insist on government solutions even when they repeatedly fail. Although Progressives never went so far to claim that Progressivism ought to be a religion, the same aim was adopted by several strains of Protestantism in the form of the Social Gospel, and has been carried forward in Liberation Theology and Reformed Judaism. It is only a short step from saying that religion ought to be concerned with the well being of society to saying that the well being of society is religion's ultimate end, and given that the ultimate end is found through science, that the insights of sociology are Gospel. Thus, Progressives react to questioning of the claims of The New York Times much as a fundamentalist preacher reacts to disputing the claims of the Bible.

The narcissistic fanaticism with which left wingers, Progressive liberals, and Obama supporters have resented all dissent derives from Comte's Positivism. The debate between Progressivism and libertarianism is a debate about the limits of human reason. In turn, faith in God depends in part on the recognition that our own capacities are limited. Faith in God is logically inconsistent with the unlimited Positivism to which the mainstream of American liberals adhere.

Comte's philosophy can be viewed as a prototype of today's Progressivism, and Comte can be viewed as a prophet of Progressivism. He saw that the worship of scientific insight can replace traditional religion. Although it was too jarring to be achieved in his lifetime, religion itself has served to supply the moral justification for Comte's narcissism.

Progressives believe in science; they consider the pretense of science and Gospel of the New York Times to be sacred. Even when scientists are accused of fraud, as occurred with respect to the climate change researchers last year, Progressives retain their faith in the revealed positivist scripture and defend the sacred from the profane accusation that science is subject to the same cognitive and moral limitations as all other human endeavors.

Obama Addresses the Nation

h/t Robroy4355.

Obama's Crotch Salute

H/t Sharad Karkhanis.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Undetectable Vote Rigging Technology Readily Available with US Election Technology

In a 2004 congressional hearing, a computer programmer, Clinton Eugene Curtis, testifies that Tom Feeney, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, asked him to develop software that could rig election outcomes. The software is easy to develop and may have been used in Ohio. Curtis subsequently unsuccessfully ran against Curtis for his congressional seat. H/t Mairi.

Institute for Justice Makes a Federal Case out of Nashville's Minimum Limo Price Law

Government's incompetence and greed sometimes take creative turns. Recently, in Nashville, Tennessee, the city government turned its corrupt cross-hairs on limousines and other unmarked sedans. The Institute for Justice's Mark Meranta writes via e-mail:

Until last year, limos and sedan cars in Nashville, TN were an affordable alternative to taxicabs. A trip to the airport only cost $25. But in June 2010, the Metropolitan County Council passed a series of regulations requested by the Tennessee Livery Association—a trade group formed by high-end limousine companies. These regulations force limo and sedan companies to increase their fares to $45 minimum. And, in January 2012, companies will have to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than seven years old for a sedan or SUV or more than ten years old for a limousine.

Advocates of government regulation have to come to terms with corrupt special interests' consistent capture of the very government whom they religiously believe will reduce abuses. Here, government regulation is serving to institutionalize high prices and institute monopoly at consumers' expense.

Happily, the Institute for Justice, the group that brought Suzette Kelo's law suit against New London, Connecticut's corrupt city government, is bringing a case against Nashville on behalf of the small operators whom the government bosses and high end limo operators aim to grind under their heels.

According to the Institute

The regulations prohibit limo and sedan companies from using leased vehicles, require them to dispatch only from their place of business, require them to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before picking up a customer and forbid them from parking or waiting for customers at hotels or bars. And, in January 2012, companies will have to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than seven years old for a sedan or SUV or more than ten years old for a limousine...These regulations have nothing to do with public safety.

IJ has teamed up with some limo drivers to bring suit in federal court. Bless them, and may they win in court.

Gold Surges Toward $1500 Per Ounce

Gold is casting a vote against the American financial system. I'm about 15% in commodities and my portfolio is at an all time high. The question is whether gold will vanquish the $1500 barrier. Just ten years ago the yellow metal sold at $250 per ounce. How high will it go? I am buying a little extra silver for the short term. Expect corrections further down the line. One rule is "sell in May and go away." Gold stocks have been lagging. Maybe they are a better bet now. Silver has been having a great ride. But parabolic rises (something like 20% in the past couple of weeks) cannot last forever. On the other hand, the trend is your friend. I may go with some shares of Barrick Mining and leveraged silver. But this is short term. I don't expect this kind of parabolic increase to continue for more than a few weeks.

America a Republic, Not a Democracy

Mairi sent me the second video below from the Saving the Republic site. I liked the first one even more:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sixteen Tons of Debt

H/t Mairi.

Bill Whittle points the way to the future (H/t Mairi):

More Price Ramps Ahead: How to Retire with Commodity Indexing

Jim Crum, with whom I have corresponded since the beginnings of the search for information about BO's birth certificate, has published an excellent piece with American Thinker. Jim comments on the inflation effects of the Fed's QE2 program:

The recently released BLS import and export report simply confirms what many of already knew was happening or was going to happen. Prices everywhere on nearly everything of substance are going up dramatically.

Jim adds that fuel and agricultural prices are both on the rise. American Thinker's Thomas Lifson adds to Jim's post:

Inflation, using the reporting methodologies in place before 1980, hit an annual rate of 9.6 percent in February, according to the Shadow Government Statistics newsletter.

If you are thinking of retiring, you will have to think strategically. Unlike Jim, who told me separately that he's bearish on the stock market, I am convinced that there will be a short term run up. The reason is the liquidity and ultra-negative interest rates that Helicopter Ben and the Fed are generating. One commentator on Kitco suggests that there will be a few week consolidation period followed by an additional run up in the stock market.

No increase is consistent. The silver market has been doing beautifully, and those of us who have partaken of the white metal have enjoyed the run. My portfolio is near its all-time high in February of 2008, when I had benefited from a short term run up in construction stocks that the late Howard S. Katz had recommended. However, I am not sure about silver's short term performance. Over the long term it will continue to rise, along with other commodities.

My recommendation to deal with Obama's declining America is to plan for retirement by purchasing blocks of commodities that reflect your anticipated consumption. For instance, if you are retiring at age 67 and you figure that you'll live until about age 82, you need 15 years' worth of commodities. If you spend $6,000 a year on fuel and gasoline, $7,000 a year on food, $2,000 a year on house repairs, $5,000 a year on property taxes and $5,000 a year on other consumables then you have a commodity budget of about $25,000 a year. The property taxes can be accounted for with gold or silver. The consumables and house repairs can be accounted for the with Deutsche Bank Commodity Index, DBC and/or the Deutsche Bank Agricultural Index, DBA. So you need to fund $25,000 x 15 = $375,000 in commodities investment before you retire. If you have ten years to go, you should fund $37,500 per year, $75,000 over five years, or put it all in now, depending on your theory of where the market is going to be going.

The commodities should not be used as speculation but rather as savings that you will liquidate over your anticipated retirement period. Whether commodities go up or down, your inflation risk for the funded period will be nil.

The Unbearable Ugliness of the American Left

A neighbor forwarded this video of left-wing anti-Tea Party demonstrators.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Donald Trump Is Barack Obama

Given the steady deterioration of the United States since the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush, Donald Trump's sudden popularity among Tea Party circles doesn't surprise me. Trump calls for Obama's birth certificate, but other than race is Trump different from Obama? Obama was involved with crooked real estate entrepreneur Tony Rezko. Trump has spent his career in crooked real estate dealings. Obama rose through the ranks of the most corrupt political city in America: Chicago. Trump has been significantly subsidized in the most corrupt business city in America: New York. Neither have work experience that justifies their being president. Both have lived off government. Obama is so ethically challenged we can't get a straight answer from him about his background. Trump is so ethically challenged that he has spent a lifetime cheating lawyers and others who have worked for him. I know two lawyers who did significant amounts of work for Trump and Trump simply did not pay them. How many creditors did Trump cheat the times he went bankrupt?

So what, exactly, is the Tea Party? A movement of goons who flock around a crook like Trump? If so, then how do they differ from Obama's supporters? Trump is white; Obama is Black. Trump cheats his creditors, Obama lies about his background. What else?