Archive for March, 2009

Today In Central Banking

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Forget Earth Hour, today is the 175th anniversary of the Senate censuring Andrew Jackson for ending of the Second Bank of the United States.

The Ron Paul of Britain?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Truth telling on the other side of the pond:

Magical Obama

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Obama has pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his term… Can anyone look at this graph and think he’ll actually do it?

garrison-bho-deficits

By the way, it’s worth noting that the chart was made before another $.9 billion in deficit spending.

Peter Schiff Explains the Economy

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

CNBC really should devote an hour to airing this speech in its entirety. In it Schiff explains, in a jargon-free manner, what went wrong with the economy, why the central planners are mostly to blame, and what is likely to come next.

The Problem With Jon Stewart

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I enjoyed the Daily Show with Jon Stewart before the run up to the 2004 election, when he suddenly seemed to become more partisan and less funny. In the light of Stewart’s latest feud with Jim Cramer Tucker Carlson, Stewart’s old nemesis, explains what happened in a post titled “How Jon Stewart Went Bad“:

The relationship between Stewart and the media is a marriage of the self-loathing and the self-loving: He insists their real news is fake, they insist his fake news is real. He doesn’t take them seriously at all. They take him way too seriously. But nobody takes anybody as seriously as Jon Stewart takes himself.

A serious man needs a serious mission, however, and this is suddenly a problem. With Bush gone and the Republican Party in chaos, most of Stewart’s targets have disappeared. Yet rather than pivot with the times and challenge those now in power, Stewart continues to attack the same old enemies, at this point mostly straw men and pipsqueaks. A couple of weeks ago, he spent an entire seven minutes mocking the crowd at a CPAC conference.

His studio audience loved it, though that isn’t saying much. Stewart’s audience would erupt if he read the phone book, or did his monologue in German, a response that over time is a threat to any man’s soul. During many segments, Stewart’s audience doesn’t laugh so much as cheer, a distinction that would bother most comedians. Stewart keeps them around anyway. Uncritical praise corrupts absolutely.

As Stewart becomes more self-righteous, he inevitably becomes less funny. Sanctimony is the death of humor, and also of innovation. Where a show like South Park challenges its audience’s every conceivable assumption, The Daily Show has become safer than Jay Leno, pandering night after night to the converted. Can you remember the last time Stewart said anything his viewers might disagree with?

Like most sermons, Stewart’s showdown with Jim Cramer ended with a neat moral lesson. Once journalists who cover business regain their sense of responsibility and “start getting back to fundamentals on the reporting,” Stewart said gravely, “I can get back to making fart noises and funny faces.”

But it’s too late. The great comedian is gone, maybe forever. Jon Stewart is stuck in lecture mode.

Read the whole thing here.

Ron Paul Debates For Marijuana Legalization

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Apparently the best advocate the drug warriors could find was Stephen Baldwin?

‘Cap and Trade’ is Really Just a Massive Tax

Monday, March 9th, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal:

Who Pays for Cap and Trade?

Hint: They were promised a tax cut during the Obama campaign.

Cap and trade is the tax that dare not speak its name, and Democrats are hoping in particular that no one notices who would pay for their climate ambitions. With President Obama depending on vast new carbon revenues in his budget and Congress promising a bill by May, perhaps Americans would like to know the deeply unequal ways that climate costs would be distributed across regions and income groups.

Politicians love cap and trade because they can claim to be taxing “polluters,” not workers. Hardly. Once the government creates a scarce new commodity — in this case the right to emit carbon — and then mandates that businesses buy it, the costs would inevitably be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher prices. Stating the obvious, Peter Orszag — now Mr. Obama’s budget director — told Congress last year that “Those price increases are essential to the success of a cap-and-trade program.”

Hit hardest would be the “95% of working families” Mr. Obama keeps mentioning, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with the caveat “unless you use energy.” Putting a price on carbon is regressive by definition because poor and middle-income households spend more of their paychecks on things like gas to drive to work, groceries or home heating.

The Congressional Budget Office — Mr. Orszag’s former roost — estimates that the price hikes from a 15% cut in emissions would cost the average household in the bottom-income quintile about 3.3% of its after-tax income every year. That’s about $680, not including the costs of reduced employment and output. The three middle quintiles would see their paychecks cut between $880 and $1,500, or 2.9% to 2.7% of income. The rich would pay 1.7%. Cap and trade is the ideal policy for every Beltway analyst who thinks the tax code is too progressive (all five of them).

[...]

Cap and trade, in other words, is a scheme to redistribute income and wealth — but in a very curious way. It takes from the working class and gives to the affluent; takes from Miami, Ohio, and gives to Miami, Florida; and takes from an industrial America that is already struggling and gives to rich Silicon Valley and Wall Street “green tech” investors who know how to leverage the political class.