Category Archives: Economic$

Today’s Annual Xtortion And Other Thefts

So I was looking for some good tax-related songs that weren’t “Taxman” or the other obvious choices for today’s happy funtime payments. There are some songs that reference taxes, but not too many that are flat out about taxes, per se. So we will do as Daddy G does and profit off of someone else by skimming off their efforts…

…much like that song did. Wonder if they paid Pharrell any royalties?

Yeah, I used that one before. What of it?

I did find an L7 song that disses the taxman, but it’s just the first in a list of grievances about life in general when you’re an 80-90s Riot Grrrl.

Sounds a little like this song by Screaming Trees which came out a few years later, doesn’t it?

Finding that L7 song reminded me of another tune of theirs, “Pretend We’re Dead” (which I suppose is a way to avoid paying taxes)…

I always thought the song “She Hates Me” by Puddle Of Mudd sounded familiar, but I never could quite nail down why (uncensored version ahead) –

I wonder what other bands have been, uh, inspired by L7? And, given how often musicians borrow government-style from each other, one also has to wonder who was L7 ripping off?

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Baconing The Question

Economics and bringing home the bacon.

So I’m reading this post by Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek and come across this bit –

Market prices are not arbitrary.  Prices are determined by the forces that economists comprehend with the theory of supply and demand.  An attempt by government to change a price or wage from what that price or wage would be without government price controls at best masks the true price or wage – in the way that dressing up a woman to look like a man at best changes the woman’s outward appearance without altering her chromosomes.  (Many proponents of minimum wages and other price controls – those proponents who deny that such price controls generate negative effects – are victims of the primitive superstition that the superficial appearance of something is the essence of that something.)

I walk over to my wife who is frying bacon and ask her, “Does this make people like Bruce Jenner a price control on the sexual/marriage marketplace?” A book in the 90s about dating and relationships called The Code¹ defined a false economy as “RuPaul.”

While thinking all this, my wife is lifting the first piece of bacon out of the skillet, and I ask her “Is it still hot?” She patiently points out that she’s taking it out of the skillet right now, so of course it’s hot. We both decided that I can’t process simple things while simultaneously pondering such things as economics.

Side note – Boudreaux often sings the praises of Deirdre McCloskey, but never references the fact that Deirdre was born Donald. I suppose it doesn’t matter when regularly talking about price ceilings, exports, or Keynes, but it’s kinda funny after his comment about dressing up.

Bonus round – A Hayek Outside The Cafe

Example of comments by Stage Three people.

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¹ A parody of The Rules

Random Static: Low Tax And High Times

The entire Gamergate mess with Social Justice Wannabes… I mean, Warriors, trying to impose their Flavor-Of-The-Month causes on gamers strikes me as a total waste of leftist resources. Seriously, what group of people is least likely to interact with women, much less harass, rape, or oppress them?

Many gamers have been treated like shit most of their lives and just want to be left alone. If they’re busy gaming, they can’t be out oppressing anyone, and when they do go out, they’re pumping money into the economy buying games, the same money which is taxed and funneled to the SJWs. So the SJWs have steady income and no hassle as a result of gamers gaming, but they wanna sledgehammer that golden goose anyway.

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It would be nice if the people always blathering nonstop about standing with the workers actually asked some of the workers what they thought.

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Angel investor Jeffrey Carter blasts career politicians

Most of the Republican candidates that are running for state wide office were private business people at some time in their careers.  Bruce Rauner was a successful investor.  He ran a Venture Capital and Private Equity firm that made hundreds of investments.  Jim Oberweis has run a successful money management business, and also has a dairy/ice cream business.  Mike Webster is a CPA.   Without Tom Cross, gay marriage would not have passed the General Assembly.

…Yesterday, Senator Dick Durbin blasted Oberweis on minimum wage, taxes, corporate inversions and any other capitalist endeavor he could think of.   I guess if I was a reporter, I’d ask Durbin, “What private business have you ever run?”

The Senator, bless his heart, has been a career politician.  When I mean career, I mean the last time he worked in the private sector was probably mowing lawns as a kid.  Our current governor is a career politician.  Every Democratic candidate for statewide office is a career politician.

Personally, I don’t agree with Oberweis on all the issues.  However, I hate to see the Democratic Party continually demonize Americans that are successful.  What?  Should we all be failures?

Carter also blames career politicians from both sides for running up massive debt, cronying, and rampant bureaucracy. I say there should be a law stating no one can run for office if they haven’t at least worked in a 7-11 for six months.

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Regarding the above-mentioned Bruce Rauner… Carter writes that Rauner “wants term limits.  By the way, the Democrats sued to get that issue off the ballot.  He wants to cut taxes, and decrease government spending.”

Cutting taxes, retiring replicants politicians, and slicing spending, he should campaign as “Blade Rauner!”

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Some of you may recall when New Y ork Times columnist Maureen Dowd went to Denver Colorado in June and ate a marijuana candy bar, not knowing the the recommended dosage for a newbie was one-sixteenth of a bar. She snarfed the whole thing and got SO HIGH, MAN!!! that she hallucinated for eight hours.

I kind of felt bad for her going through that. but I still find this ad amusing –

"... it was cut with extra sugar. And almonds! Almonds, man.

“… it was cut with extra sugar. And almonds!

Complete with a Dowd stand-in (sit-in?).

The article and ad remind me of when beer companies started their “drink responsibly” campaigns. I expect to see roadside billboards with slogans* such as “Don’t eat candy and drive” and “Eating chocolate? Make it a choc-o-little!”, not to mention the inevitable Forrest Gump parody ads.

Halloween would be changed forever.

*The worst “Don’t-do-edible-pot-and-drive” billboard would be, of course. “Don’t let your edible make you a dead-ible!”

No, I refuse to apologize.

The Difference Between Economics And Politics

…explained in one page.

J. Wilbur Wolfingham instructs the gentle reader in the art of politicism

J. Wilbur Wolfingham instructs the gentle reader in the art of politicism

Originally from “The Sale of The Century” by Craig Boldman, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Bob Oksner. They don’t make comics like that anymore, sadly.

Cover by Hoard Bender and Murphy Anderson

Cover by Howard Bender and Murphy Anderson. Click to embiggen

 

Going for the obvious finish to this post…

Lost In The Weeds

Examining game theory (no, not that type of Game) and K-strategy vs r-strategy by using black market marijuana agriculture as an example – Equilibrium in Local Marijuana Games by Bart Kosko, from the Journal of Social and Biological Structures, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 51-66, 1991

Yeah, it’s a pdf, and yeah it has math.

I first discovered Kosko 15 years ago when I found his book Fuzzy Thinking, which delves into fuzzy logic. It’s a bit off-putting in places though… as one review on Amazon puts it –

…until Kosko gets down to chapter and verse on what FL is and how it works, reader will be put off by the constant put-down of Western logic and philosophy and opposing schools of computer science. But when Kosko is good, he’s very, very good. One comes away from his text with a real understanding of the concepts of fuzzy sets, rules, and systems, and of how they’re applied to make “smart” machines, devices, trains, and planes.

And pretty soon automobiles, at least if Google has its way. No word on whether the computer systems in the cars will have the voices of John Candy or Steve Martin, though.

I can’t say I agree with all of Kosko’s assertions, but it is well worth reading.

A couple years later, I read Heaven in a Chip: Fuzzy Visions of Society and Science in the Digital Age, which raises questions like “Would you still be you if a chip replaced your brain?” and “Who owns the ocean or the moon — or your genome blueprint?” The sort of things I often ponder over breakfast.

If you like science fiction (and probably especially if you like cyberpunk), these are good examples of some fiction becoming fact during our lifetimes.

Fuzzy Cognitive Map of the American Drug Market by Rod Taber. From Wikipedia

Fuzzy Cognitive Map of the American Drug Market by Rod Taber. From Wikipedia

Captain! What You Say?

Well I’m aware that the guy must do his work
But the piledriver man drove me berserk.

– Captain Sensible, Wot?

So Captain Capitalism writes about this piece on the Huffington Post –

Minnesota raised its minimum wage by 75 cents to $8 last week — the first increase in the state since 2009.

An owner of the café claimed the 35-cent fee was a way of “thumbing my nose at the law change,” according to CBS-affiliate WCCO.

“Shame on your protest over over a small increase in pay required by law,” wrote Facebook user Terry Edgar in a one-star review. “Hopefully customers will not continue to patronize your cheapskate establishment.”

By Wednesday evening, the café’s most recent Facebook post, a photo of huevos rancheros slathered in cilantro salsa, had 94 comments, most of them berating the restaurant’s owners for refusing to pay its employees a living wage.

I’m just going to quote Cappy summing it up in his own inimitable way…

Now you,
me,
and anybody with half a f*cking brain knows that this is merely a play on words

That no matter how they break down the bill ALL OF THE EXPENSES HAVE TO BE PAID BY THE CUSTOMER!

It’s always been that way.
It will always be that way.
And if it stops being that way, then the company goes bankrupt because it’s NO LONGER PROFITABLE.

And that’s what so many people just don’t get. Go read the “galactical stupidity” (as CC aptly put it) of the comments. The vast amount of ignorance on display is breathtaking. Not just ignorance, but willful, smug ignorance. They don’t get it, and they don’t want to get it.

You can’t talk to a leftist Progressive Democrat like you would to anyone else. No matter what you say, they can’t or won’t to understand it.

What you say: “Hey, if the minimum wage is raised, then businesses have to pay more in costs, and then have to charge customers more money to cover those costs.”

What they hear: “Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”

They’re invulnerable to matching up cause and effect. Consider this comment from the above-linked CBS article –

“You’re essentially blaming customers for the increase when you charge for it the way you do,” one customer wrote on Facebook.

How did the minimum wage increase come about? People voted for politicians who would enact it. Which people voted this way? The same people that eat in restaurants affected by the wage hike. They vote for the piledriver man to work on the street, then complain about the noise.

They are on the way to destruction. And taking us with them.

The Wages Of Dumb

I’ve decided not to surf the internet anymore and just steal from let Vodkapundit bring me my news. It’s the best source for stories about pantless intoxicated female schoolteachers. On her first day of work, no less.

Also of note is his his semi-regular commentary on the latest babytalk by juicevoxer Matt Yglesias. And by “commentary” I mean “smart-ass comment on how ridiculous Yggy’s article is.” Such as Yggy’s” case for a maximum wage.” He uses professional basketball as an example of how such a cap works, noting that the NBA has a salary cap and because of that, players are less motivated to sign with a team for money than for things like “teammate and title chances.” But here’s the kicker –

The most important lesson, however, is what the maximum salary doesn’t do — lead the stars to Go Galt and take their talents to the retirement community.

For starters, the top stars get paid a lot of money! But more than that, it turns out that to be successful at high-level professional basketball requires a certain level of passion for the sport and competitive instinct. Players want to win games and outshine their rivals on the biggest stages. Stars not only play for sub-market wages professionally, but they often play for free for their national team in the Olympics. Top performers like money, but they also take pride in a job well done.

This is followed by a recap of tax rates from World War II on, and the results of changes implemented during Reagan’s administration. Although there’s a comparison of the pre-Reagan and post-Reagan economies (yet nothing about the actual Reagan years), no mention is made of a cutoff point in the post-Ronnie years. Do we stop counting at 2000? Or do we include the dot-com bubble bursting and the endless post-2008 recession?

But don’t think about concrete numbers. What matters here is the feelings involved –

A related issue is raised by Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony Atikinson, Thomas Piketty, and Emmanuel Saez who find that lower tax rates have shifted incentives for executives at big companies such that effort is now “diverted to increasing their remuneration at the expense of enterprise growth and employment.” In other words, in a high-tax regime executives compete to run the biggest, best company for pride and glory whereas in a low-tax regime they compete to take home the biggest paycheck.

Because execs want to play for free every four years in the Executive Olympics. And have more pride and glory to distribute among their workforce.

I also get a kick out of caption beneath the last photo – “happy German factory worker.” Potemkin on the Rhine.

I could go into more problems with this piece, but it’s all ultimately irrelevant. Regardless of arguments for or against such a super-tax, it really comes down to two points –

Point one is that given the problems that come with a minimum wage, is a maximum wage really a good idea?

The second point comes down to property rights. If the NBA owners freely agree to cap their salaries, that’s their business. Imposing a tax by legislation is a different story. This was best summed up in the 80s by the legendary sage Bobby Brown –

I made this money, you didn’t
Right, Ted?
We outta here

In The Village

Number Six: Has it ever occurred to you that you are just as much a prisoner as I am?
Number Two: …It doesn’t matter which “side” runs the Village….
Number Six: The whole Earth as the Village?
Number Two: That is my hope. What’s yours?
Number Six: I’d like to be the first man on the moon.

It must be “Politics & Superheroes” Week on the internet or something…

 

Edison vs the Village

“The Village is mediocrity. The Village is failure.”

 

 

She’s Been Living In Her BitCoin World

Like her transactions, I’m anonymous.
Look at her reading the Economist’s
Analysis

H/T Cafe Hayek, who gets all the cool digital-currency music videos.

Questions With No Answers

Some stuff I’ve been pondering….

Can someone point me to an explanation of Neoreaction? One that is geared toward the layman and not 30 pages long? I’m not very inclined to buy into it, but I would at least like to know what it is I’m not buying into so I can explain why I’m not buying into it.

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I recently asked two questions regarding the Hobby Lobby case. Since no one answered, I’m asking again. First, how much does birth control cost out-of-pocket? Is it really that expensive? It would seem to be rather affordable given how many women use it, and that mass production lowers costs. But I’ve never bought it, so I can’t say for sure. Second, I’ve seen comments claiming women often need birth control for medical reasons other than actual contraception. Do abortifacients provide any kind of medical benefit the way, say, birth control pills do?

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Proponents of population control are saying most people are nothing more than consumers, and will deplete the world’s resources. So why do they push for a welfare state, which is primarily a population of consumers who don’t produce?

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Have any of the very rich politicians or entertainers who complain loudly about income inequality ever just issued some poorer people a check?

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Will the Falco Tribute Band destroy civilization… or save it?

 

Title is from here. Mickey explains it’s historical significance. Although you should watch the original first or this one won’t make much sense to you.