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Economics

Local Bike Nut Meets the Real World

Are You Talkin’ to Me?

There’s post at Chicago Boyz highlighting the contradictions between leftoid rhetoric and the details of leftoid policy. They say they want to tax the rich and protect the middle class, but can’t define who is in which group. Is a small business owner who shows $200K of revenue rich or middle class?

What really caught my eye were a couple of campaign-worthy slogans for Tea Partiers:

    • Shouldn’t “tax cuts” be distributed to those who pay taxes?

    • Let the tax rates go back to the Clinton administration rates but let’s also go back to the number of government employees of the Clinton period.

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Same Picture, Different Frame

Perhaps the notable feature of the [1980s] decade was not that some people made money but that so many others were so bent out of shape by that. If some yuppie got a bonus, what was that to us? Rather than the Decade of Greed, wasn’t it really the Decade of Envy? Or the Decade of Envy, Jealousy, and other resentments there was no reason for those afflicted to sound so proud about?

Subjectively, far from being a Decade of Greed, the early 1980s were years of hard work and maximum productivity, better in my opinion than any period that has come since. For me and a lot of other people, the eighties were the young-adult Wonder Years, when autonomy came to the fore and we could finally do the things we were in uncomfortable preparation for all the years before that.

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Taking Credit for Not Doing a Worse Job

TJIC shows his best form ripping the current President and Big Media:

So why, exactly, is this being spun as an Obama victory?

Measured as a percentage of total economic output — the gauge that economists say is most meaningful — the deficit would be 10 percent of gross domestic product… well below the records set during World War II.

Fascinating!

The deficit was 25% when we assembled the largest armed forces in the history of human civilization, and conquered two continents at once.

…and with Obama’s socialist experiments, we’ve only run up a 10% deficit!

That is news – he’s doing a heck of ajob!

Just go read it.

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Fury on the Horizon

Vox Day writes:

A private sector job which exists solely to comply with government-dictated paperwork is every bit as government-manufactured and unproductive as a public sector job. And that is precisely the type of job which is going to disappear entirely once the debt edifice collapses and the extent of the dollar-denominated imaginary economy is revealed. Just as stripping out the debt-funded component of GDP reveals that there has been no actual economic growth for decades, stripping out the paperwork jobs will demonstrate that the real labor force is still roughly 2/3rd male, just as it was in 1950.

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College Marxists Are Just Adorable

At a campus coffee shop, sitting near a PoliSci major and a Planning major. There is so much nonsense, I wish I could just record the whole dialog. It has been a perfect stereotype of what Big Ed does to mushy young minds.

Individualism creates an environment where, if everyone can succeed and you don't, it is your fault. People need to recognize the system is at fault.

Yup, Jenny, in a Utopia without personal responsbility, nothing bad would ever happen.

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Unemployment is Welfare

I may need to work up a better-documented rant about this. But I have had enough of people proudly proclaiming their extended unemployment benefits. Getting laid off is not an invitation to twiddle around working on your novel. YOU NEED A JOB!

Twiddling on a novel is not a job. It will not lead to a job. You need to develop a new skill that someone will actually pay you to practice.

If people are afraid to take a job because it pays less than the job they lost and choose to spend another six months on the dole, they are parasites. GET OFF THE PUBLIC TEAT!

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By Your Attendance, You Assume Some Risk

The area where law and economics overlap is intensely interesting to me. The common law represents centuries of wisdom, for example, about who is responsible for what, under which circumstances. The section of law about righting wrongs between unrelated parties is called Tort Law. A central principal in torts is the concept of negligence. We expect people to know certain things, to expect certain things, and to take some care not to hurt anyone.

But accidents happen. Despite the protective glass, hockey fans get hit by pucks. And sometimes oil platforms explode.

So we have to decide who was harmed by whom, and how much the injury is worth. Putting values on things is what economics tries to do.

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Government Confers No Virtues

MaxedOutMama writes:

Current policy makers seem stuck on the idea that if the government does a thing that is highly destructive when a private entity does it, the activity will somehow become economically functional due to the government interference. That defines "Stuck on Stupid".

My quibble is over calling out only current policy makers. For most of organized history, government has been seen as some sort of divine agency, above the laws of men. Only perhaps during the first century of the United States was government not seen as a special exception to the rules of morality and wisdom. The Founders explicitly overturned the Divine Right of Kings.

Sure, the Failed Obama Administration™ is expanding the assumption of state divinity into new territories in the U.S.A.

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Vienna vs. Omaha

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Price is determined by the operation of the laws of supply and demand. Value is determined by the operation of human whim and preference.

In classical and Marxist economics, the correct price for a good is something that can be calculated precisely in terms of material and labor required to produce that good. Classical/Marxist theory implores people to adjust their perception of value to align with those correct prices. People ultimately serve the means of production.

The Cost of Community Organizing

The Minneapolis Mirror does a little investigating and calculating of a northside neighborhood group:

The cost of having 3 staff for the Hawthorne Community Council is $183,852 or $61,284 each.

$61,284 divided by 1715 (actual working hours total) = $35.73/hr

So what did the residents of Hawthorne receive for their $35.73/hr on June 2nd 2010?

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Hiding Behind the Rules

Craig Newmark has an excellent post about the inherent flaws in government regulation of commerce, and those who put their faith in regulators (re-quoting his quotes…go read the whole thing):

…it’s hard to think of a recent disaster in the business world that wasn’t abetted by inept regulation. Mining regulators allowed operators like Massey Energy to flout safety rules. Financial regulators let A.I.G. write more than half a trillion dollars of credit-default protection without making a noise. The S.E.C. failed to spot the frauds at Enron and WorldCom, gave Bernie Madoff a clean bill of health…

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Uncertainty Begets Uncertainty

Using last week’s weak employment data as a launching point, George Will lays out the case against big government: 

Today investors and employers are certain that uncertainties are multiplying.

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Minneapolis Ready to Launch Bike-Stealing Program

Minneapolis is ten days from launch its bike-sharing program, now branded Nice Ride. I called this to your attention about a year ago, noting that Paris was having some problems pedaling its way to utopia:

As it approaches its second anniversary, the Paris Vélib' bicycle-sharing program is proving as popular with thieves and vandals as it is with commuters.

Since the program started in July, 2007, 8,000 of the bicycles have been stolen, and nearly 1,400 people were arrested for Vélib' theft just last year.

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Unicorns and the Glue Factory

Non-libertarians want cheap government health care, but they don't want the government to deny them care or euthanize them when their health care threatens to become expensive.

Quoted from: Vox Day

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Our Borrowers are Retiring

Theo Spark posts about the U.S. housing market:

There are 140 million personal residences in the United States today.

  • Zillow says 20 million owners 'plan' to sell their homes if there is any improvement in price.

  • Four million existing homes are currently on the market.

  • Lennar, Pulte, et al have one million new homes for sale.

  • There are one million bank-owned properties.

  • Eight million mortgages are late on their payments.

Not very good numbers.

Now consider that the 80 million baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day, many wanting or needing to downsize residences as they age.

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Tomorrow Was Thirty Years Ago

Cobb sees the apocalypse on the horizon. And it’s wearing a cardigan:

These days I'm trying to think back to a time when America had little faith in itself. Back to the days of Billy Jack and the Feral Motorcycle Movie, when inflation was reality, when Iron Eyes Cody cried on the side of the road and when Richard Nixon ran his White House like Russian Roulette. I remember when we used to say that we were going to see the day when we'd have to buy clean air, back when rivers caught fire and women expected to get raped after dark in Times Square. I remember when suddenly we had to drive 55 and the President told us to keep the thermostat at 68. I remember gas lines and people who stole gasoline out of your tank and Pep Boys started selling locking gas caps.

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Does Marriage Matter?

TJIC suggests that a rise in out-of-wedlock births correlates to a decline in civilization.

A commenter counters that marriage, which makes births “legitimate”, is a function of class and custom. Civilization has progressed even as legitimacy fluctuated, so the correlation does not mean what TJIC thinks it means.

I chimed in:

It’s not the state endorsement [of formal marriage] that matters. That endorsement, like the religious endorsement, strongly suggests that the parties have considered the depth of the obligation they are entering. The religious sanction still usually means the parties have deeply considered their choice. The underlying issue is personal integrity.

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Imagineering for Central Avenue

The City of Minneapolis has an array of programs aimed at invigorating weak commercial districts. Central Avenue—mostly within the 55418—has been awarded its second subsidy under one of these initiatives, The Great Streets Program:

In 2007, the Minneapolis City Council approved the Great Streets Neighborhood Business District program, a coordinated effort to help businesses develop and succeed along commercial corridors and at commercial nodes throughout the city.

City resources are available for business loans, real estate development gap financing, and business district assistance such as façade improvement programs, market studies, and retail recruitment efforts.

A New Way to Run a Railroad

This ad from the 1970s (spotted on NRR’s “Vintage Ads” siding) shows big business working toward improving service to its customers:

Southern Railroad cargo-tracking ad from 1970s

The 70s were not a good time for railroads. But the Southern was certainly still a huge and powerful corporation. And we’ve heard so often about how evil corporations exist to screw people.

How does that narrative square with this ad copy (signed by Southern’s Chairman):

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