Friday, November 14, 2008

Public Jobs are the ticket out of the economic downturn. It's an oldy but a goody.

Despite what some laissez-faire types think, problems in the economy are tied to jobs.

The Washington Post offers up dismal information related to the economic downturn.

Consumption drives a significant portion of our economy. Available credit greases the wheels of consumption allowing us to acquire the things we need and want. As long as credit is available and we have income to pay the debt, things work fine.

Jobs are essential to consumption. When jobs are scarce, credit becomes scarce since creditors have a duty to ensure repayment of any credit they extend. Simply, No job, no credit?

Wages have remained stagnant in the face of every-increasing productivity gains for some time now. Plain English: People are working harder and more for less money; this includes benefits that have the power of money too, like health insurance and so on.

The productivity push has been driven in part by policies and an atmosphere encouraging off-shoring and workforce flexibility. Workers responded rationally to this environment of instability by increasing productivity (making them more valuable) and accepting less money (making them cost-effective to retain). Workers accept more work for less money because its economically rational to have some work rather than no work.

Wage stagnation occurs when inflation outpaces wage growth. When adjusted for inflation, wages are lower now than they've been in years. The net result: Workers are making themselves poor by working hard just to keep a job and to stay in place.

Inflation reduces the dollar's purchasing power. I remember when sodas cost $0.20. What do they cost now? $1.00 - $2.00. That's inflation.

To make up for inflationary wage losses and wage stagnation, many workers relied on credit to fill in the gap. Now, credit is drying up leaving those who were on the edge falling off the precipice.

As a nation we cannot borrow our way out of this. Consumption is out of the question because we have no means to consume when wages are falling and credit is non-existent.

What about growing our way out of this? Can't happen. Why? No credit and no money equals no tools to pump the economy and thus no growth.

Taking a page from history, our government must begin a jobs program much like the public works projects from the New Deal.

Only by infusing the country with cash via workers will the economy start working.

New technology may be missing its true calling.

I've wanted an e-reader for a time. However, the thought of getting always nagged me and I couldn't figure out why until now.

This article from hits the nail squarely on the head.

I love books. Most of what I read is non-fiction, so the pressure to get rid of them once used is less than for fiction.

The e-readers don't really allow me to keep a bookshelf of non-fiction. The e-readers are designed mostly for readers of topical fiction.

The author of the article makes the point that e-readers should focus on periodicals that have a limited shelf life.

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Libertarian hypocrites. Libertarians should be for personal freedom.

Here's what I don't get.

Libertarians are worried that Obama's election spells the end of libertarian ideals.

Many libertarians have bought into the notion that only Republicans and by extension, conservative ideals represent the last best hope for freedom.

What I want to know is why do libertarians drink the kool aid from the Right?

Where were libertarians when a Republican and self-described conservative took complete advantage of a crisis to push through one of the most invasive restrictions on our privacy rights? (Patriot Act)

Where were libertarians when this same politician sought to restrict a woman's right to control the use of her own uterus?

When Republican supporting libertarians talk freedom, they should choke on their words.

Neither party has the market cornered on freedom.

I, myself, have rather libertarian views. I've even voted libertarian in the past.

What I won't abide is a hypocrite. And for libertarians to suck it up and vote for a party that seeks restriction of personal rights, then I call them for what they are: Liars.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Conservatives are lying to themselves and trying to get us to believe it too.

Here's what I don't get about the "conservative" movement.

Those who call themselves such were more than happy to support George Bush, not once, but twice for the presidency.

Now, when his malfeasance has come back to tarnish the Republican brand and along with it, conservativism's bona fides, those same conservatives claim that Bush "wasn't a true conservative."

This is nothing but post hoc definitional hedging. In other words, it's bullshit.

Conservatives may need to lie to themselves about the state of their ideology and the status of the party who carried their banner (Republicans), but they shouldn't expect the rest of us to buy into their lame excuses and justifications.

I get so tired of conservatives who, when times were great for their agenda, were content to ignore the obvious signs of idiocy in their chosen candidate. But now, when time and reality smack them in the faces, they are wont to cut loose the very same people and party they hooked their wagon to.

The pretzel-like machinations they go through in order to maintain some semblance of cohesiveness in their ideological world is astounding.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AIG screws up again. It's this kind of decision-making that got them into this mess in the first place

Let's see if I get another comment from AIG after posting this one.

AIG, you know the big insurer who begged for taxpayer money because they were on their last leg, has managed to blow a bunch of money at another resort.

Of course AIG has the money to pay someone to cruise the internet looking for bad press and respond, so they have the money to send their executives to a resort.

AIG's response? Well, they said someone else paid the majority of the expense. Fair enough

BUT, here's the issue: AIG should be conscious of what we in the legal profession call the appearance of impropriety.

Even if what they say is true and they are not technically exploiting taxpayers for lavish events, they are still under the microscope and should be cognizant of the effect such extravaganzas would have on those lending them a whole bunch of cash. A technicality is not going to fly in the political world of taxpayer bailouts.

When you live in the rarefied world of corporate compensation, creature comforts like resorts, spas, and golf are just every day things to help a beleaguered executive out.

Back on planet earth with the rest of us, we see this as a con job.

Sowell's an idiot trying to paint liberals with an excessively broad brush--He must listen to Limbaugh

I find this diatribe from Thomas Sowell on RealClearPolitics to be absolutely hilarious.

The humor comes from his ending the article with an accusation that PhDs are ignorant. The larger theme is that intellectuals are really idiots.

Sowell goes on to talk about the mistakes intellectuals have made in the past. All good points.

Unfortunately, Sowell's attempt to lump all intellectuals together is bull. It's a logical fallacy called an Inductive Fallacy. Rush Limbaugh uses the same moronic crap to keep his sycophants hating reason and education.

Of course, individual intellectuals make mistakes, but that doesn't mean all intellectuals are guilty of those mistakes or share some complicity. Sowell implies as much by his indictment of intellectualism.

Using the same argument, I could just as easily indict the whole of conservativism and republicanism by the mistakes of the last eight years.

That would be bull also, but I have a whole truckload of evidence buttressing my argument, instead of just a few cherry-picked incidents like Sowell.

Give it up Sowell. Grow a cerebrum and learn how to use it. If can be fun riding with the big boys with big brains.

Automakers are short-sighted crybabies who deserve a spanking

I don't get it.

Automakers are staunch Republican allies. They advocate the free market so they can clean up and fight the unions.

When times get tough they turn into the biggest bunch of cry babies.

The free market is fine when money's rolling in, but when the losses start mounting over the bad management decisions, then what do they do? They turn into a big group of pussies.

Of course they'll hide behind that tired old chestnut: It'll hurt the economy and hurt working families.

I got news for you: Of course it will hurt the economy and hurt families, but the responsibility for that falls squarely on the shoulders of management.

Everyone would like the power to make decisions affecting the economy. With that comes the responsibility to man up and bear the burden of those decisions for good or ill.

I have no sympathy.

The hypocrisy is astounding. Free marketers when profit is involved, but panty wastes when their short-sightedness leads to economic ruin for the rest of us.

I repeat: No bailout.

We can't keep bailing out industries for their bad choices. That removes any incentive for them to behave in the future.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Atheists suffer at the hands of the religious

This article suggests that prejudice against atheism is why many American atheists are less happy than their religious brethren.

Prejudice of any sort makes the victims of it suffer, so this stands to reason.