Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: October 19, 2011


The Stupid! It hurts!

Earlier today, New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff opined on Twitter about cuts in government services. It’s not every day that you see such stupidity displayed so confidently…except from the Left:

Imagine John Boehner home in OH, seeing an escaped tiger–and getting a msg that help is unavailable due to govt cutbacks.

Well, I don’t know about John Boehner. But I do know that if I received such a message, it’d be because I was trying to call up a government flunky to haul a tiger carcass away. And if I did get such a message, my very next call would be to a good taxidermist.

It’s an interesting glimpse into the worldview though. The unspoken assumption is that, without government tiger hunters, we’re all doomed to be mauled by wild beasts. Presumably, this is because we are all tiny, little children, utterly incapable of solving our problems without the intervention of our benevolent government overlords. It’s a worldview that operates on the assumption that the government is the only adult in the room.

Note especially the all-or-nothing mindset: Either we pay for massive government services, or we’re completely unprotected. There are no other conceivable options in Mr. Kristoff’s worldview. It’s as if the very concepts of self-help or mutual aid are inconceivable to him.

And I don’t get the feeling that Mr. Kristoff regards this as a bad thing. It’s just the way it is. We have to keep ponying up money to the government to provide services, or society will collapse. Apparently, we’re just too stupid to be trusted to take care of ourselves.

It’s always interesting how the same people who are so keen on "democracy" tend to believe that the electorate is too stupid to care for themselves, but wise enough to vote on policies that directly affect their lives. 

One of those things cannot be true.

Of course, spending much of his time in Manhattan, perhaps Mr. Kristoff is merely speaking from personal experience. After, they have created a city in which it is practically impossible for a law-abiding citizen to defend himself, so calling NYPD is about the only option when trouble arises. And I’m sure NYPD responds as quickly as they can, though, sadly, it probably won’t be before your wife gets a good raping. I’m certain they’ll investigate the hell out of it, though. After the fact.

You see, once you cede the power to defend yourself to others, you’re always a potential victim. This, however, is something about which Mr. Kristoff seems blissfully unaware.

What a sad, artificially constrained view of life.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed


Europe’s debt crisis and the US

James Pethokoukis reminds us that if we’re not watching the European debt crisis, we should.  The one thing Tim Geithner apparently got right was how it could effect the US negatively.  Geithner said:

Europe is so large and so closely integrated with the U.S. and world economies that a severe crisis in Europe could cause significant damage by undermining confidence and weakening demand.

And that’s the obvious truth.  If you need to catch up, here’s an article in the Financial Times to bring you up to date (you may need to sign up or register to read it).

Pethokoukis then points to a report from Barclays Capital that details what Geithner was talking about:

Our baseline forecast assumes that policymakers will prevent the turmoil in Europe from leading to a full-blown financial crisis similar to 2008 and that US policymakers will not impose excessive fiscal tightening starting in 2012. If, by contrast, either of these risks is realized, the potential for another recession will increase substantially. We use the Fed’s stress scenario under the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) as an alternative scenario to our baseline, but ratchet up the intensity modestly and analyze its effect on the outlook for house prices.

1) Our modeling suggests that in a recession scenario, house prices, as measured by the CoreLogic headline index, could decline another 7% in 2012 . … The scenario posits declining real GDP for four consecutive quarters, with Q2 12 having the deepest decline at 6% (q/q saar).

2) Real disposable personal income also declines for four consecutive quarters, albeit with a one-quarter lag relative to the decline in GDP, and the unemployment rate moves  persistently higher, peaking at 12.1% by the end of our forecast horizon.  …

3) Furthermore, the rising unemployment rate suggests that delinquencies would push shadow inventory higher, putting downward pressure on distressed home prices. Together, the two effects send home prices significantly lower in 2012.

Or in simple terms, if Europe goes, so does the US.  Housing down another 7% and unemployment up into the 12% area.

Obviously this is all based on modeling and plugging in various numbers.  So just as obviously those numbers could be off a bit.  However, the basic premise is correct.  If Europe can’t solve its debt crisis, the US will also suffer and, as you can see, suffer mightily (check out the chart at the link). 

I think the political implications are clear even for the most partisan among us.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic statistics for 19 Oct 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Consumer price inflation remains warm, with the overall CPI up 0.3% for the month, and 3.9% for the year. The core rate—less food and energy, or, stuff you don’t need to buy every day—rose 0.1% for the month and 2% for the year.

Housing starts in September were 658k, up 10.2% on a year-over-year basis. Housing permits, however, fell 5% to 594k, but up 5.7% from last year.

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports a short Columbus Day week saw mortgage applications fall -14.9%.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed


Obama: OWS not that different than Tea Party

The Weekly Standard tells us:

In an interview that will be aired tonight on ABC News, President Obama continues to express his commitment to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

“The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded,” Obama tells ABC News. “And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded.”

The president also compares the protesters to the Tea Party. “In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party," Obama says.

Really?  Not that different?

In Cleveland they’re investigating a kidnapping and rape at OWS there.

In Atlanta, the OWS protesters stormed a hospital.

An OWS protester in Seattle was arrested for exposing himself to children.

They’re talking about plans to disrupt the World Series.

And thievery is rampant within the OWS camps.

There is evidence of anti-Semitism.

Yup, just like the Tea Party.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO