Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Regulate Until There’s Nothing Left to Regulate

August 18, 2016

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

     Wherein we see that the New Elite do well however the rest of us do.

The Regulatory Industry Is Growing Faster than the Real Economy

Matthew Andrews
James L. Gattuso

Want to work in a field that has more than quadrupled in size since 1960? Consider being a regulator for the federal government. Even during the last recession, the regulatory agencies were hiring.

In 2015, the U.S. government employed more than 277,000 regulators. To put that number in perspective, it’s 50,000 more workers than General Motors Co. employs throughout the entire world.

It has cost our economy over $100 billion during the Obama administration.

The Fourth Branch of Government

We’ve all heard of the regulatory agencies that constitute the “fourth branch” of government. It has cost our economy over $100 billion during the Obama administration.

But it wasn’t always like this. We haven’t always lived in a world where unelected bureaucrats could fine a man $55,000 for taking photos of his friend’s art project.

Thankfully, Susan Dudley from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Melinda Warren from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, have tracked the growth of federal regulatory agencies, allowing us to see how we got into the predicament we’re in now.

Using data from the annual federal budget, Dudley and Warren have recorded the number of federal regulators and the amount of taxpayer money given to them for each year since 1960. All monetary figures that they report are in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars.

Tip of the Iceberg

While their data show federal regulation has exploded since 1960, it’s important to realize that they included only regulatory agencies that explicitly restrict business transactions in the private sector.

That means the 277,000 regulators they recorded in 2015 didn’t include anyone from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Defense Department, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—even though these agencies account for roughly one-third of all final rulemaking actions in a typical year.

From 2014 to 2015, the economy grew by only 2.6 percent, while the regulatory business grew by 4.3 percent.

<insert>

     When the rider gets heavier than the horse, the horse dies.

However, even without these agencies, it’s apparent that the size of federal regulation is massive compared to what it once was. From 1960 to 2015, the amount of taxpayer money allocated to federal regulators increased by more than 1,800 percent, from $3.06 billion to $57.05 billion.

The growth of federal regulatory agencies has not been limited to any particular field or industry.

From 1960 to 2015, the budget of the Federal Aviation Administration increased from $241 million to $1.36 billion, the budget of the Comptroller of the Currency increased from $63 million to $1.13 billion, and the budget of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission increased from $40 million to $286 million. Since its beginning in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency added over 10,000 employees to its payroll.

Even when the rest of the country is doing poorly, the regulators do well.

From 2014 to 2015, the economy grew by only 2.6 percent, while the regulatory business grew by 4.3 percent. So if you’re looking for work and the private sector isn’t hiring, you can always try finding work as a bureaucrat in the industry that never shrinks.

<end>

      The cost of regulation goes far beyond the outrageous salaries and benefits paid to those of the New Elite, the government workers. The multiplier of real costs lies in the inefficiency, lost time and cost of compliance. It takes a lot to suppress free enterprise, but the government does its best.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

Advertisements

When the Entitlement Hammer Comes Down, We’ll all be Under It

August 14, 2016

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

     Wherein we see, like many government programs, certain things are unsustainable. Many cities in the U.S. are bankrupt.

Sorry, Millennials: We’re The Ones That Are Going To Have To Rein in Entitlement  Spending
Matt Vespa

Denver, Colorado–We all know the ship of state is going to hit an economic iceberg called our entitlement state. Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt. That’s a fact. At the annual RedState Gathering in Denver, University of Colorado Boulder’s Dr. Barry Poulson reiterated the usual problem: there’s been a growth in federal spending and a stagnation of incomes. Right now, our total debt is over 100 percent of GDP. Debt growth, coupled with economic torpor, spells disaster and Dr. Poulson said we have roughly two decades (maybe sooner) to turn this around. Baby boomers aren’t going to be the generation that solves this problem. They’ve failed. It’s now up to Millennials, who don’t have the best reputation regarding their contribution (and attitude) in the workforce, something that Compass Colorado’s Kelly Maher, who was on a panel with Poulson, touched upon when it began.

“I found it ironic that we we’re having a panel about Millennials at 8 a.m.,” she said, which drew chuckles from the crowd. Maher said she was an economy junkie, who wanted to be an economist until one of her college professors told her, “Kelly, what you don’t understand is that economics may be right, but politics always wins.”

<insert>

    Politics wins in the short run. The long run belongs to reality.

Well, that’s what shifted her from being an economist to winning the fight regarding freedom vs. free stuff. Everyone needs to get involved and start a conversation because the enormity of the economic issue we face with entitlements is biblical—and many people, especially young Americans, are ignorant of that. That means using various mediums to convey that message. Maher said to get on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat and use those social media platforms to launch an offensive against the dependency-based politics that seem to be firmly entrenched in Washington.

The time is ticking. Dr. Poulson added that Millennials are going to be the generation that could shoulder the brunt of the economic impact brought on by the unfunded liabilities from these programs that are just unsustainable. Spending and the adoption of fiscal controls must be adopted. Albert Downs of Generation Opportunity, who moderated the panel, said that young people are already seeing the writing on the wall. They’re saving earlier (starting at 22), they’re saving more than old people, and two-thirds know that Social Security will not be there for their retirement. Right now, 79 percent of young people are saving, 50 percent are saving five percent of more of their income, and 53 percent have specific benchmarks related to saving. In contrast, older generations start saving at 35, 37 percent have nothing saved, and only 38 percent have defined goals regarding saving in their financial plans. For young people, that’s great; the program will spend $106 billion more than it takes in through taxes.

On health care reform, Dr. Poulson drew Sweden as example of a socialized country that reformed its health care system, expanded choice, shifted health care decisions to the local level, and economized care. He said that we know what needs to be fixed, but politicians don’t get the message.

Maher said that this gets back to the messaging war of freedom vs. free stuff. She says that the new economy is another way to address the new economic reality regarding entitlement reform. The relationship between workers and firms is changing; more Americans have gone from employees to contractors. The new media consultant is one of the many new positions created from this shift. Taxes being withheld vs. having to pay them quarterly is now showing young Americans where their tax dollars are going. And it’s that change in the workforce in the relationship between government and Millennials that could induce many to ask questions about spending.

How do we implement change?

Well, don’t trust Congress to do the job. That’s one hope Dr. Poulson said everyone should shy away from, as government has promised much and done little regarding curtailing spending (no shocker there). He cited Switzerland, where referendums guide fiscal policy, they have balance budget amendments, and the people have a voice in controlling spending. We don’t have that here, but Article V states that Congress must hold a constitutional convention on amendments if 34 states agree. So, that’s one avenue for change.

Maher noted that at a local level, some states, like Colorado, have a Taxpayer Bill Of Rights (TABOR), which states that any tax increase, debt service, or expenditure that will likely increase the financial burden for residents must be voted on by the people. Legislation like this is a great first step, though Maher added that until young people turn out to voice their own economic interests, and don’t follow people like Bernie Sanders, we are not going to prevail.That’s a tall order, but it’s an assignment we’re going to have to do. It could be a smooth path to reform or one that brutally slashes benefits for millions because the house is burning down.

<end>

   Some government pension  programs need a 7.5 percent return on investments to achieve sustainability. When they get .68 of a percent, they pretend they’re still on track. It’s pathetic, but that’s government for you.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

Socialized Medicine–Unsustainable

August 13, 2016

   Glenn Yarbrough, a singer whose songs enriched my life, has passed at 86. His latter years were made difficult by problems brought about by an operation. “Movin’ on”

   Today is the 55th anniversary of the Berlin Wall. Socialism never works, but academics still love it.

    Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

     The socialized medicine Canada enjoys is unsustainable. Newly-minted nurses get $800.00 for special shifts. Unions get to increase costs by featherbedding. All the salaries and benefits are far above what is reasonable. The politicians don’t know it, but this is unsustainable.

    National Post –Editorial

Our great health-care spendfests

A new report from the C. D. Howe Institute offers an illuminating look at the cost trends in Canada’s healthcare system, and should be studied carefully as Ottawa approaches negotiations with the provinces on a new health accord.

Canada, it notes, has undergone two distinct periods of restraint in healthcare funding. The first, in the mid-1990s, resulted from a serious fiscal crisis facing federal finances, leading to cuts in health transfers to the provinces and four years of reductions in per- person spending. The second, starting in 2011, has seen a milder decline in per capita spending and results largely from pressure on provincial budgets, rather than federal finances. Having borrowed themselves into a corner, the provinces are struggling to make ends meet, and health care — as everyone’s biggest budget item — is feeling the effect.

Bracketed by periods of rapid growth, the trend depicts a roller- coaster effect: when Canada feels prosperous, health costs shoot up. When the bills arrive, governments struggle to pull in the reins. It’s not an efficient or effective way to run a business, much less the biggest annual cost facing Canada’s provinces. C. D. Howe notes that both periods of restraint coincided with painful national recessions.

Cutting back on health care only makes a recession more painful on people, of course. In the 1990s, the biggest impact was on hospitals, which were forced to delay or reduce maintenance, upgrades or expansion programs.

Today the squeeze is once again impacting hospitals, but is being felt as well in drug costs, capital expenditures and “other institutions” such as long-term care facilities. Governments may portray their efforts as “holding the line,” but they result from years of poor management and inadequate cost controls, and have a very real effect on the level of care Canadians can expect.

Once the 1990s recession ended, spending shot right back up again, at an even faster rate than before. C. D. Howe expects the same will happen again should the provinces return to a period of reasonable growth. That’s because expenses are largely being avoided or delayed, rather than eliminated. Hospital upkeep can only wait so long, demand for long- term care is only likely to increase, in most provinces physician costs continue to rise, and governments operating in a period of record-low interest rates will face a much-tougher squeeze when rates inevitably begin to rise.

The provinces’ strategy has been to demand more money from Ottawa, yet again. Under a 2004 accord, the Canada Health Transfer has increased at a rate of six per cent a year, well above inflation, almost doubling in size over the past decade. The pact expired in 2014, but the Conservative government agreed to maintain the six-per-cent annual increase until this year, after which it is to fall to a minimum guaranteed level of three per cent.

Although the new rate is still well above inflation or anticipated growth, the provinces greeted it with cries of dismay and bitter accusations aimed at Ottawa. At a recent federal- provincial conference meant to address the issue, Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao characterized it as “a sudden and significant deceleration,” even though it represents a real increase and the provinces have known it was coming for five years.

The Howe report warns against yielding to the provinces’ demands. “There is evidence to suggest that provinces find it easier to spend federal money than to spend the revenues they raise on their own,” it notes dryly. Provincial leaders need to answer to their voters when they increase taxes, fees or levies due to their inability to control their spending urges, but face no such pressure if they can wheedle the money out of the federal treasury rather than their own.

The Harper government recognized that danger, and was willing to endure provincial outrage in the interest of forcing the provinces to take real measures towards containing costs. The Liberals, however, have promised negotiations towards a new accord, even as they rack up annual deficits to pay for their many other promises.
It’s fair enough for federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau to meet with his counterparts and discuss a new deal, but the government must make clear that a resumption of sky-high annual increases is not on the table. Never- ending budget hikes are not the answer to the strains on health care. If they were, the strains would have disappeared long ago.

<end>

     We’ll spend as much as we can with not a thought for the future. It’s the government way.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

 

Big Government, Big Money, Poor Food

August 12, 2016

Displaying

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

   Wherein we see that feeding the poor means feeding the rich.

Big Agriculture Is a Glutton  for Food Stamps
Bernadette Barber

People generally think that food stamps (now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) is a program for the poor. But the driving force of the program is an impetus to subsidize the rich, particularly big agriculture and other legally privileged food producers.

The program guarantees these massive corporations a market at taxpayer expense. And these same interest groups, while celebrating the right of consumers to use SNAP, oppose the rights of individuals and small businesses to produce food freely. All this was made abundantly clear at the Republican National Convention.

Up with Junk Food

During the RNC platform discussions, Maine state senator Eric Brakey introduced an amendment to a plank that would allow states to have the power to take junk food off the menu for SNAP participants. The amendment was designed to be deferential to states’ rights, the use of tax dollars, and good health.

Noel Irwin Hentschell of California opposed the measure, saying, “We are supposed to be the party of individual freedoms, where people eat what they feel they need to eat… It’s not Republican.” Strangely, Hentschell’s concern for food freedom did not lead her to object to the federal raid of the Rawesome food private market that happened in her own town of Los Angeles.

Scott Johnson also opposed the amendment, warning that when we define things as junk food for purposes of restriction, we entangle retailers in a web of regulations. He noted that in his state of Georgia it was attempted and a problem arose concerning Oreos and chocolate covered Oreos. The former is considered allowable for SNAP and the latter is considered a candy which was unallowable. The measure was repealed after too much push back by retailers. It is also interesting that Coca Cola has a huge presence in Georgia and is a major snack food manufacturer.

Andy Puzder of California, CEO of Hardees, complained, “I hope we don’t become the party of the food police. This is something Bloomberg tried in New York and won’t be very popular with our voters.”

Talk about Policing Food

This is effective rhetoric. But factually speaking, far from consistently championing food freedom, GOP establishment politicians have a long history of violently policing food through draconian regulations against farmers, farmers markets, and any direct sales from farmer to consumer. Under the pretense of “food safety,” they have extensively criminalized fresh and local food production and sales.

For example, during the Reagan administration, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the interstate transportation of raw milk for human consumption. States have an uphill battle to fight on getting EBT cards accepted at farmers markets. USDA and FDA regulations vastly favor huge producers and processors at the expense of small, independent, and family farms.

Through heavy-handed policing and economically choking small producers, the Republican Party has long adhered to the industry’s wishes of destroying small farms and the cottage industries that branch from them: all this to favor a junk food industry that is slowly killing their constituents.

Cynthia Dunbar of Virginia agreed with the basic premise of the anti-junk food amendment, but believed it did not go far enough. She raised the constitutionality of the entire issue, saying, “there is no basis for the federal government to be funding welfare or regulating food consumption. It is not one of the eighteen enumerated powers within the constitution; therefore, it is reserved for the states and people under the Tenth Amendment.”

Senator Brakey wrapped it up with a strong argument: “These programs are supposed to be for helping people cover their basic necessities as they get through a tough time in their lives. They are not to enable people to live excessive or unhealthy lifestyles at the expense of the taxpayer. There is a big distinction to be made with someone spending their own money and spending taxpayer money that is designed to give people in poverty nutritional food. It is an abhorrent misuse of taxpayer dollars to let that money go to anything else.”

In a follow-up conversation with Mr. Johnson, president of Supermarket Bank, Brakey remarked that fulfillment of food stamp purchases are made through retailers because those retailers have efficient food distribution systems – much different than the original distributions through USDA channels of the past. Retailers must petition the government to be able to accept food stamps and receive a food stamp license. Modern updates have modified that for Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. He also made the point that sodas are an allowable purchase on an EBT card.

Regarding Republican free market ideals, he said that although it seemed like corporate welfare, he welcomed tax incentives for grocery stores to move into “food deserts.” I asked him if he knew of any silver bullet national food solutions. He stated there possibly could be, but he was unaware of any. I asked him if he ever heard of the concept of food freedom, he replied no.

Who Controls Food?

It never occurred to me that food would be discussed on the national level at political conventions. I found that it is a major topic among many politicos. A “Great American Farm Luncheon” was hosted by major agribusiness firms and organizations to pitch their platform desires to the convention delegates. CropLife America president and CEO, Jay Vroom, was the Master of Ceremonies at this event. Many commissioners of agriculture from various states attended. Current and past members of Congress attended as well as the Agriculture Committee Chairmen from both the House and Senate and the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee chairman.

Those that sponsored the luncheon included the usual suspects, many of whom are some of the world’s largest privately held corporations.

<end>

     If you have government subsidies, you have corruption.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

 

Want Higher Prices—Let the Government Run It

August 11, 2016

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.


    Wherein we see that, although electricity costs less to generate, the government agency sells it for a much higher price. That’s government for you.

    National Post
    Ross McKitrick Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics at University of Guelph, is Research Chair, Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
    Financial Post

Cheapest power, highest bills

THE MORE THE WIND BLOWS, THE BIGGER THE LOSSES AND THE HIGHER THE HIT TO CONSUMERS.

You may be surprised to learn that electricity is now cheaper to generate in Ontario than it has been for decades. The wholesale price, called the Hourly Ontario Electricity Price or HOEP, used to bounce around between five and eight cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), but over the last decade, thanks in large part to the shale gas revolution, it has trended down to below three cents, and on a typical day is now as low as two cents per kWh. Good news, right?

It would be, except that this is Ontario. A hidden tax on Ontario’s electricity has pushed the actual purchase price in the opposite direction, to the highest it’s ever been. The tax, called the Global Adjustment ( GA), is levied on electricity purchases to cover a massive provincial slush fund for green energy, conservation programs, nuclear plant repairs and other central planning boondoggles. As these spending commitments soar, so does the GA.

<insert>

    Green energy is the biggest component, but let’s not forget the rich salaries and benefits paid to those modern-day saints, the government employees.

In the latter part of the last decade when the HOEP was around five cents per kWh and the government had not yet begun tinkering, the GA was negligible, so it hardly affected the price. In 2009, when the Green Energy Act kicked in with massive revenue guarantees for wind and solar generators, the GA j umped to about 3.5 cents per kWh, and has been trending up since — now it is regularly above 9.5 cents. In April it even topped 11 cents, triple the average HOEP.

So while the marginal production cost for generation is the lowest in decades, electricity bills have never been higher. And the way the system is structured, costs will keep rising.

The province signed longterm contracts with a handful of lucky firms, guaranteeing them 13.5 cents per kWh for electricity produced from wind, and even more from solar. Obviously, if the wholesale price is around 2.5 cents, and the wind turbines are guaranteed 13.5 cents, someone has to kick in 11 cents to make up the difference. That’s where the GA comes in. The more the wind blows, and the more turbines get built, the bigger the losses and the higher the GA.

Just to make the story more exquisitely painful, if the HOEP goes down further, for instance through technological innovation, power rates won’t go down. A drop in the HOEP widens the gap between the market price and the wind farm’s guaranteed price, which means the GA has to go up to cover the losses.

Ontario’s policy disaster goes many layers further. If people conserve power and demand drops, the GA per kWh goes up, so if everyone tries to save money by cutting usage, the price will just increase, defeating the effort. Nor do Ontarians benefit through exports. Because the renewables sector is guaranteed the sale, Ontario often ends up exporting surplus power at a loss.

The story only gets worse if you try to find any benefits from all this spending. Ontario doesn’t get more electricity than before, it gets less.

Despite the hype, all this tinkering produced no special environmental benefits. The province said it needed to close its coal- fired power plants to reduce air pollution. But prior to 2005, these plants were responsible for less than two per cent of annual fine particulate emissions in Ontario, about the same as meat packing plants, and far less than construction or agriculture. Moreover, engineering studies showed that improvements in air quality equivalent to shutting the plants down could be obtained by simply completing the pollution control retrofit then underway, and at a fraction of the cost. Greenhouse gas emissions could have been netted to zero by purchasing carbon credits on the open market, again at a fraction of the cost. The environmental benefits exist only in provincial propaganda.

<insert>

    Statists just don’t like coal, regardless of the facts.

And on the subject of environmental protection, mention must be made of the ruin of so many scenic vistas in the province, especially long stretches of the Great Lakes shores, the oncepristine recreational areas of the central highlands, and the formerly pastoral landscapes of the southwestern farmlands; and we have not even mentioned yet the well- documented ordeal for people living with the noise and disturbance of wind turbines in their backyards. We will look in vain for benefits in Ontario even remotely commensurate to the damage that has been done.

The province likes to defend its disastrous electricity policy by saying it did it for the children. These are the same children who are now watching their parents struggle with unaffordable utility bills. And who in a few years will enter the workforce and discover how hard it has become to get full time jobs amid a shrinking industrial job market.

Electricity is cheaper to make than it’s been for a generation, yet Ontarians are paying more than ever. About the only upside is that nine other provinces now have a handbook on what not to do with their electricity sector.

<end>

    Anyone still believe that the government must be in charge of “essential services?” Government employees will benefit, favoured firms will benefit and you and I, benighted taxpayers, will foot the bill.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

Politicians–Hate the 1% they’re part of

August 10, 2016

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

    Wherein we see that even the most ardent socialists wants a  nice summer home. I’m sure he’ll open it to the deserving proletariat to share it with him.

Sanders’ Latest Purchase Has His Supporters ENRAGED
Andrew West

Bernie Sanders purchased a $600,000 home after fighting the economic elite for most of his public career.
Bernie Sanders has made some questionable moves in the last few weeks, first endorsing establishment shill Hillary Clinton, and now this.

Oh, the disappointment that Bernie Sanders’ supporters must feel knowing that their socialist, seemingly incorruptible hero tucked his tail and fell in line behind the queen of collusion.  The latest inexplicable move by the ageing socialist will leave an even worse taste in the mouth of those who propped him up for months.

    “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is the proud new owner of a summer home on the Champlain Islands, Seven Days has confirmed.

    “The Burlington resident last week plopped down nearly $600,000 on a camp in North Hero.

    “Sanders’ new waterfront crib has four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront on the east side of the island — facing Vermont, not New York. The Bern will keep his home in Burlington and use the new camp seasonally.

    “’We’ve traveled up to the islands many times over the years — almost always on day trips,’ Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, told Seven Days in a written statement. ‘We’ve been impressed with the North Hero community, eaten at the North Hero House and Shore Acres and have suggested them to friends who were looking for a beautiful place to stay or have dinner. St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle La Motte is my favorite church and it is nearby.’”

Having a socialist democrat plop down $600,000 on a summer home in a posh, island neighborhood is an enormous oxymoron that will leave his army of handout-seeking voters scratching their dreads.

<end>

    The communists had their dachas. All are equal under socialism, but some are more equal than others. This is Sanders third property.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

 

They Hate Capitalism because They Love Control

August 9, 2016

Displaying

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

    Wherein we see that liberals are killing the very thing that pays their outrageous salaries–Don’t shoot the horse you’re galloping on.

National Post – (Latest Edition)
Peter Foster
A transition to be avoided

THE PAIN IS ALREADY BEING FELT IN THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLICS OF ONTARIO AND ALBERTA.

‘The transition to a low-carbon economy” is a mantra mouthed by almost every political party, environmental group, global bureaucracy and media outlet. It is invoked not just as a policy prescription but as a moral signpost. However, like all the catchphrases of the Big Green Agenda – sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, climate crisis, environmental justice, social licence, etc. etc. – it demands trenchant analysis.

Free markets are always in the process of transition due to innovation and ingenuity, but the low- carbon transition is to be forced. Its great proponents are the enforcers, and we are talking about something far more radical than merely the way we generate energy. Leading Transitionistas such as the late Maurice Strong and UN climate Suprema Christiana Figures have admitted that they want a fundamental change in the global economic and political system.

<insert>

     When socialists talk about “fundamental change,” the mean there’ll be a lot of pain from which the friends of the government will be completely isolated. We’ll suffer, they’ll do alraight.

Whenever I hear such people assert both the necessity and viability of the Great Transition, I think of the introduction to my old paperback copy of Joseph Schumpeter’s great book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, which was first published in 1942.

In that introduction, written in 1976, British Marxist academic Tom Bottomore declared that the book’s popularity was explained “by the fact that it undertakes a serious and thorough examination of the great social transition of the present age, from capitalism to socialism.” Bottomore, failing to see Schumpeter’s ironic message – “Socialism is coming, and won’t you be sorry when it arrives” – went on to praise Soviet satellite Yugoslavia as a likely model for the state enterprise that would bring about heaven on earth.

Fast forward 40 years and the Soviet Union has collapsed, but radical socialism has far from disappeared. It has simply gone green. The transition to a low- carbon economy is still code for a transition to more political control, less freedom and less wealth.

<insert>

      Less wealth, that’s a detail they never mention.

Fortunately, like that “inevitable” transition to socialism circa 1976, the transition to the low-carbon economy has profound practical problems. Unfortunately, the public’s slowness to grasp those problems will prolong the pain, although the pain is already being felt in much of Europe and in the People’s Republics of Ontario and Alberta.

The natural tendency of markets is always to use less energy per unit of output. Exxon Mobil, the now criminally-persecuted Great Satan for the radical green movement, projects that global GDP will be 80 per cent higher per capita by 2040, but this will require only a 35 per cent increase in energy use. That energy won’t be wind and solar.

According to optimistic projections from the International Energy Agency (which, like all multinational bureaucracies, is a node of transition-speak), these alternatives will account for just over two per cent of the world’s energy needs in 2040, when the use of fossil fuels will be greater. How does that equate with the alleged essential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050? It doesn’t.

Despite the success of radical greens and their political puppets in bringing new pipelines to a halt in Canada, the fossil fuel industry shows no prospect of dying either here or elsewhere. Ironically, thanks to the fracking revolution, U. S. output has enjoyed a resurgence under the most anti- petroleum president ever. Crude oil production in 2015, at 12.7 million barrels a day, was 72 per cent higher than in 2010. Natural gas production was also at a record, at 74.2 billion cubic feet a day.

According to Harvard guru Michael Porter, not only does cleaner-burning natural gas promise further to lower emissions, but its sudden abundance and cheapness has revitalized the entire U.S. economy. Wind and solar still account for just three per cent of U. S. power generation, despite all the grants and subsidies.

<insert>

     If the government subsidies ended, the per cent would fall to very close to zero.

If lowering emissions really is the radicals’ priority, natural gas should be environmental NGOs’ ideal transitional fuel. Thanks to the shale gas boom and the (market-based) switch from coal, the U. S. is leading the world in emissions reductions. But ENGOs are not delighted at the fracking revolution. They hate it, and have pulled out every piece of fearmongering and misinformation available to close it down, particularly in Europe, where they are eagerly supported by Vladimir Putin. They want fossil fuels dead, and they want them dead now. Schumpeter was among those who warned of the dangerous leftist trends that were building during and after the Great Depression. His work was followed by similar warnings in Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and fictional works such as Nineteen Eighty- Four and Atlas Shrugged. And yet societies continued down paths warned against by those authors for three or four more decades before socialist economic policies were exposed as disastrous. Exposed, that is, to everybody but reflexive socialists, who continue to fret and strut in countries such as Venezuela, or seek new rationalizations, such as catastrophic climate change and the related need for a forced transition to a low-carbon world.

Schumpeter wrote that capitalism was doomed partly because it funded a “scribbling class” of leftist intellectuals and academics committed to its destruction. These “judges,” he wrote, “have the sentence of death in their pockets.”

The costs of the new transition to green socialism are – or should be – already clear in soaring energy bills and sluggish economies, but the faithful – and the self- interested scribblers – claim the problem is merely one of denialism, obstructionism and, ultimately, moral turpitude. The transition is still inevitable in their minds, and their sentence for freemarket capitalism is still death.

<end>

   In Ontario, electricity generation is, in essence, run by civil servants. They enjoy incredibly high salaries and benefits and costs are higher than almost anywhere in the world. As recompense, we have lots of solar panels and windmills and no fracking.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

 

Government Believes All Your Money is Theirs

August 8, 2016

    Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

   Wherein we see the result of government overspending and tax overreach.

When Taxes Threaten Your Livelihood
Bob Dick

Chris Hughes has owned Fat Cat Vapor Shop for almost three years. The shop – tucked away in a small Lycoming County borough in Pennsylvania – specializes in electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), which many people seek as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking.

His capacity to help others is now in jeopardy.Chris understood the needs of people looking for an alternative to cigarettes. Instead of waiting for someone else to meet those needs, Chris took a risk and opened his own vape shop in December of 2013. “I didn’t go into business for myself," Chris said. "I went into business to help people.”

His capacity to help others is now in jeopardy.

Paying the State’s Deficit

Earlier this month, the state legislature passed a 40 percent excise tax on Chris’s vape shop and others like it. Worse, the tax is retroactive. Not only is the 40 percent tax imposed on products Chris buys, but he must also pay the tax on existing inventory.

According to Chris’s estimates, the new law would require him to make a tax payment of up to $40,000. “I just can’t afford that. This tax is forcing me to close my business.” Lawmakers included the new tax on e-cigs as part of a $650 million tax increase package to balance the state’s budget.

<insert>

     Alas, when budgets are balanced, spending is not decreased, taxes must be raised.

"I’m going to continue to fight, but I can’t help but feel let down by my government."The new e-cigs tax raises $13 million, which accounts for just 2 percent of the overall tax package. But to Chris, the tax is an enormous burden on his business – one he won’t be able to recover from. Chris isn’t the only one upset at the prospect of closing. “I’ve had customers come in crying because of the news that I’m shutting my doors. This is wrong. This is just unfair.”

Chris attempted to work with the legislature to pass a less punitive tax, but to no avail. His pleas to avoid a life-altering tax fell on deaf ears. Chris plans to close his shop in September if lawmakers don’t repeal the tax. “I’m going to continue to fight, but I can’t help but feel let down by my government.”

Fortunately, there’s still time to make things right. Lawmakers should come back to Harrisburg and repeal the excise tax. Any revenue lost could be offset by cutting spending from the $800 million of corporate welfare in the state budget.

Reducing special subsidies to save the livelihood of small business owners like Chris is a practical and moral solution to an unacceptable problem. It’s also a cause worthy of lawmakers’ attention—and one they must pursue before time runs out.

<end>

     For decades, libertarians have been warning of this. Government bureaucrats don’t care–They’ve got their guaranteed jobs.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

Politics as Usual—Lying About Everything

August 6, 2016

 

Displaying

  Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

     Wherein we see incontrovertible evidence of straight out lying. The Iranians must be cackling about this. The Great Satan humiliated once again.

    National Post – (Latest Edition)
    Rex Murphy
    National Post

The Democrats and their lies

I think Hollywood could have saved itself some turmoil this year, and made a few bucks in the process, if it had held off on the new Ghostbusters movie and gone for something a little more current. There’s a great story sitting on the script writing tarmac, just waiting for the proper writers to put a little creative wind under its wings. It may be seen as a cross between The Price is Right and a State Department version of Casino Royale.

The plot: shady individuals in the U. S. government load up a huge cargo plane with pallets of stacked hundred- dollar bills — close to $ 400 million in total — and fly them off to Switzerland, where they are covertly exchanged for Swiss Francs, Euros and other currencies, then sent on to Iran. All this under a shroud of secrecy and in the darkness of night. The cargo plane with the mountain of laundered cash lands in Tehran and moments later, another plane takes off with some American hostages, who are now free to return to the United States.

A spokesman for the U. S. State Department (I see Charlie Sheen in this challenging role) claims that there is “no connection” between the release of the hostages and the $400 million delivered to the very same airport where the hostages were waiting to be flown out. And he flatly rejects a statement from one of the hostages who said that they were kept on the tarmac in Tehran for “hours and hours,” while their handler told them they were “waiting for another plane (and) if that plane doesn’t come, we never let (you) go. ” The cash arrives in Tehran; the hostages leave Tehran. No connection. Pure coincidence.

<insert>

    Whoever handled this for the U.S. should be fired immediately. The same airport?   

In real life, this would be very, very hard to believe, but as a movie, it’s as credible as any. The problem is that it’s not a movie. It’s this week’s real news. So when U. S. President Barack Obama, wearing the smile of a cat belching on its way past an empty goldfish bowl, tells Americans and the world that the cash and the hostages have “nothing to do” with each other, some people — at least those over the age of 10 who are not employed by MSNBC — are a little troubled.

They are probably the same cynical skeptics who raised an overworked eyebrow when Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton went on national television to tell America that FBI Director James Comey found all her statements to be “truthful,” right after he invalidated nearly every statement she had ever made about her private email server.

We should remember that on the matter of truth and how to escape its embracing tentacles, cloud its appearance and erase its presence, Clinton has trained at the dojo of the great sensei himself, the Houdini of equivocation and denial, Bill Clinton. But for Hillary Clinton, it may also be the case that her capacity for taking what has just been said and claiming that it actually meant the opposite derives from a past trauma.

Could it stem from the post- traumatic stress from the time she “was under sniper fire in Bosnia?” After all, battle stress from nonexistent bullets fired by nonexistent snipers can leave a secretary of state unnerved. This could easily lead her to imagine, for example, that an unseen video triggered the Benghazi attack that left four Americans dead, when all the world knows otherwise — that terrorists saw an under- defended American embassy on an anniversary of 9/ 11 and stormed it, leaving its ambassador and four others murdered.

But why acknowledge the many confusions and contortions contained in her statements, when she could simply dismiss the truth? As Clinton herself so plangently put it, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” This is the same tact taken by Obama when he declared of his health-care policy — on numerous occasions, I might add — that, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; if you like your hospital, you can keep your hospital.” These were all lies — explicit, unqualified, and direct lies — every time they were spoken.

On big things and small, Obama and Clinton seem more alike each day. Perhaps that is why Obama is so invested in seeing her take over from him. They both share an exceptional insouciance when it comes to asserting that what is the case is actually not the case, and what is not the case is the case. Considering this affinity, and their sovereign dexterity in exchanging reality for fiction, it is no wonder he sees her as the “most qualified person in American history to be president.”

Exactly. Just like the planeload of cash that had nothing to do with the release of the hostages.

<end>

  Lying does have one advantage. If one doesn’t like events and motivations, just lie about them.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

 

The Government Fighting the Tide—Regulating Uber and Airbnb

August 5, 2016

Displaying

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

 

   A similar cartoon was in a history textbook, way back when. It showed, as this one does, an  unstoppable phenomenon against the doomed attempts to stop it.

   Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

How Information Entrepreneurs are Outsmarting Regulators
Ilma Amin

Across the globe, a cohort of young companies is driving dynamism in the private sector, despite frequent threats of regulatory measures. Today’s innovative entrepreneurs are providing as many benefits as the industrial revolution did in the 19th century.

What are the secrets behind the overwhelming success of these young innovative companies? Progressive companies have been extending new services to people even though these companies are not the owners of the most relevant and profitable tangible assets that make the business work.

Consider the companies at the forefront of social media: Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is the most popular social media site, whilst Instagram claims the top spot as the most valuable photo company yet. Neither provides original content or owns any actual cameras. Instead, these companies are powered by consumers who are willing to become part of a digital sharing community, in return for the global platform that Facebook and Instagram offer for free. They have augmented online repositories of user experience by digitizing the details of our everyday interpersonal relationships.

And consider the structure of the ride-sharing phenomenon taking over the world one smartphone at a time: Uber, Lyft, and others. Founded in 2009, Uber it is now the world’s largest taxi company, without owning a single vehicle. The vehicles are all owned by the drivers, who pick you up and take you to your destination with the tap of a button on your phone at the fraction of the cost of traditional cabs.

<insert>

    The howls of the regulators and the taxi owners resonate to the heavens. It’s a case study of why government should stay out of business.

Let us not forget about Airbnb, the multimillion dollar company responsible for turning homes into hotels. The company is now the largest accommodation provider, yet it doesn’t own any real estate. Airbnb is able to provide even the most luxurious accommodation to consumers at a significantly cheaper price than a 5-star hotel.

<insert>

      The screams here are no less loud. If regulators do not have power, they have nothing.

More Information, Fewer Problems

These new platforms are helping individuals shift away from overwhelming work regulations and authoritative figures from top level management. So what are the secrets behind the overwhelming success of these young innovative companies? They are at the forefront of a revolution that is quietly turning millions of people into part-time entrepreneurs, and disrupting old notions about consumption and ownership.

The central feature of this people-driven entrepreneurial revolution is meeting the demand of previously un-served consumers by offering more information. Sharing economy companies put consumers and suppliers in touch with one another, eradicating “asymmetric information” problems where one party in a transaction has access to more information than the other.

When an Airbnb user is able to access a stranger’s networks of real-world connections, the user gains powerful cues as to the host’s authenticity, intent and dependability. Similarly with Uber, the app discloses the name of the driver, the number plate, and most importantly the driver’s rating to the user, which helps build trust even before the user and the driver meet each other.

It is not just consumers who are empowered by the free flow of information; the sharing economy caters to the individual needs of workers too, providing flexibility and mobility. These new platforms are helping individuals shift away from overwhelming work regulations and authoritative figures from top-level management. Workers in the sharing economy system instead have total control with their hours, what they want to sell, and when they are willing to let their product or service be used.

So Much for Regulation

There is growing public awareness that regulations are not primarily designed to protect us but to protect established interests. Today, user reviews and accessible information can help consumers hold companies to account directly, and are proving more powerful than government regulation. And that is what the regulators are afraid of.

Now government regulation is starting to weave its way into this new sector, forming roadblocks to hinder the undeniable progress of Uber and its colleagues in our economy. The governments of China and Iran have even placed restrictions on social media by banning Facebook and Instagram.

Uber often foregoes taxi licenses for many of its drivers, causing an easy loophole for government intervention when the company enters new, heavily regulated markets. As a result, the South Korean government has an excuse to delay the entry of ride-sharing services, while Uber has been ordered to exit the domestic market in countries like Taiwan.

Airbnb has also had to deal with its fair share of restrictions, as seen by the regulations passed in Chicago, which require hosts to register with the city, while also imposing a tax on each transaction to pay for the city’s homeless services and limiting the number of apartments and the days that can be rented out in a particular building, depending on its size.

Fight the Power

However, these entrepreneurs are fighting their way around the regulators.

Despite international forms of social media being banned in China and Iran, entrepreneurs have created alternatives, with apps like WeChat and Qzone allowing citizens to still take part of the social media movement that is shaping the digital community today. In fact, the growth of these apps has made China the world’s largest social network market.

Uber has grown notorious for being the target of aggressive regulations at the hands of local governments, but it has been fighting back and has had some success in winning lawsuits. Regulators argue that drivers do not own a “registered taxi licence” necessary to operate, so the entrepreneurs behind Uber are retaliating by announcing the bold plan to purchase commercial licenses for its drivers. The fight doesn’t stop there; Uber is set to invest £377 million in creating its own mapping system, thus ending their reliance with Google Maps, further certifying its remarkable power in the transport market.

The entrepreneurs behind Airbnb too are working around regulators. Just recently, the company has proposed buying land to build community centers to draw tourists to small, little-travelled towns. Airbnb is drawing more travellers and boosting tourism. In contrast, the weight of regulation from over-active government officials is crushing the tourism industry.

Politicians all over the world have come out to protect the established interest; they do not seem to understand why people would want to work for themselves, or why consumers want more flexibility and choice. They think we need regulations to run efficiently, but clearly the ongoing success of the aforementioned companies proves otherwise.

As long as regulators do not stand in the way, these benefits will only continue to expand throughout the economy. Allowing innovative young companies to disrupt slow-moving industries will lead to higher quality, more dynamism, and more choice.

Governments should instead identify and support these new paths for innovation, and adjust rules to promote them. They are, after all, consistently ahead of the game in areas that will drive the next decades of growth. Transport, media, tourism, communication – who knows which industry will be next?

<end>

   The best thing a government can do for any business is to leave it alone.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Power Teaching: How to Find Someone to Teach Your Child when the Education System has Failed.
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies