Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: August 21, 2012


Economic Statistics for 21 Aug 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

In weekly retail sales, Redbook’s year-on-year chain store sales growth came in at a 1.9% rate, the 5th time in 6 weeks it’s been below 2%. Redbook’s month-on-month rate is -0.3%, signaling weakness in the upcoming government reports on retail sales. ICSC-Goldman showed a -1.5% sales decrease for the week, and a year-on-year rate of 3.1%, which is down -0.5% from last week.

~
Dale Franks
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Obama: The government will buy meat and drive the price up, okay?

Seriously, does this man even have a clue?  Here he is in Iowa using taxpayer money to, well, drive the price of meat up to consumers and, of course, buy the votes of farmers:

President Barack Obama, campaigning in Iowa today, announced $170 million in government meat purchases to help farmers struck by drought, helping to send hog prices to a one-week high.

The purchase of as much as $100 million of pork, $50 million of chicken, and $10 million each of lamb and catfish come on top of $30 million in assistance announced last week. Farmers and ranchers are struggling with the worst combination of heat and dryness since the 1950s, the administration said.

Obama said he also directed the Defense Department to speed up purchases and hold the meat for later use. The buying will help farmers, and the government will get a better price on products than if they were bought later, he said.

Now what do those pesky economic laws of supply and demand say?  That’s right, price adjusts to supply.  More supply, prices normally go down.  Less supply, higher price.

And you naysayers trying to wave this off:

Hog futures rose today following the government announcement, Smith said. The October contract climbed as much as 2.7 percent to 77.6 cents a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest price in a week. Cattle gained as much as 0.9 percent.

So, anyone?  What will be the result of a massive meat buy by the United States Government?  See above.

And who will pay the price?

But don’t call it a tax on the poor, okay?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO


The Todd Aiken fiasco and right ideologues

Missouri Representative Todd Aiken made one of the most ignorant and foolish statements of the year concerning rape and abortion has quickly spread across the nation.

Full stop.  That’s the story.  There’s little if any real debate that what he said was uninformed and ignorant.

For the most part, the right has condemned and disassociated themselves with Aiken’s statement.  Many have ask him to step down (I say that’s up to the voters of Missouri – if they want to punish the man, they can do so in November).  He’s likely given Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill another 6 years in the Senate.

There’s no avoiding the fact, at least for honest people, that what Aiken said was abysmally ignorant and not at all supported by science.  One has to wonder where in the world he got such an idea (and why he’s seemingly held it for so long).

But what has me torqued about the incident is nonsense like this:

Two top officials from the Family Research Council said the Missouri congressman is the target of a Democratic smear campaign and chided those Republicans who have condemned Akin.

Connie Mackey, who heads the group’s political action committee, said the group "strongly supports" Todd Akin.

"We feel this is a case of gotcha politics," Mackey told reporters in Tampa, where the Republican National Committee was gathering ahead of the party’s convention next week. "He has been elected five times in that community in Missouri. They know who Todd Akin is. We know who Todd Akin is. We’ve worked with him up on the hill. He’s a defender of life."

"Todd Akin is getting a really bad break here," she added. "I don’t know anything about the science or the legal implications of his statement. I do know politics, and I know gotcha politics when I see it."

Gotcha politics?  This wasn’t a case of “gotcha politics”.  This was ignorance that caused an unforced error.  Had he simply stated his opposition to abortion for any reason, he might have taken some heat from the other side, but it’s a stance he’s had for the 5 terms he’s been in Congress and it’s no big deal, politically.

But he chose to elaborate on the point with this faux-scientific nonsense about the body knowing if it is “legitimate rape” (instead of some playfully rough sex one assumes) and disallowing any chance of pregnancy.

The right, even the pro-life right for the most part, threw up their hands and said, “whoa, sorry, we can’t support that because it’s just not true”. 

Except for the boobs above.  Instead they “strongly support” Aiken. 

Really?  How!?  By flinging equally uniformed political poo and looking like total fools?  Even Aiken doesn’t support what Aiken said (given his apology):

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins fired back at Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a leading moderate voice in the GOP who called Akin’s remarks "outrageous" and encouraged him to drop his challenge to Democrat Claire McCaskill.

"He should be careful because based on some of his statements there may be some call for him to get out of his race," Perkins said of Brown. "He has been off the reservation on a number of Republican issues, conservative issues I should say. His support among conservatives is very shallow."

Mackey said that Republicans calling on Akin to apologize or drop out should get "backbone."

A “backbone”?  The kind of blind and ignorant backing they call for is what causes many to call GOP the “stupid party” (of course it’s not the only reason).  One has to be an ignorant ideologue to support such a ridiculous call.  And that’s precisely what Perkins and Mackey portray themselves as (and call for the rest of the party to emulate). 

One final thing – again social conservative issues, which aren’t even on the public’s political issue radar screen, are being forced to the front and tripping up Republicans.  This sort of nonsense allows the left to dictate the topic du jure and avoid the economic elephant in the room.

Refusing to acknowledge the stupidity of the statement and throwing down on those within the GOP who’ve condemned it only prolongs the stupidity surrounding the incident and hands the left what it wants – distraction.

But that doesn’t matter to unthinking ideologues, does it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO


The coming government made healthcare crisis

I’ve mentioned it before but a reminder (yes, it’s that nasty combination of human nature and economic laws being ignored that is about to assert itself):

Once the new healthcare law fully takes effect, all Americans will be entitled to a long list of preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs, but the healthcare system won’t have enough doctors to provide them. The shortage will create longer waiting periods that some patients will be able to cope with better than others. Lower income patients will be worse off, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow John C. Goodman.

And where will those who need more immediate care go?  Why emergency rooms, of course.  Wait, wasn’t the overload on emergency rooms touted as one of the primary reasons we needed this law?

So, we are going to add millions to the insured list and give them “free” stuff and expect doctors to maintain the level of care they now have with their patients (which many think could be better) and carve out time to administer the free stuff too?

I’m sure the government solution will be something like redefining an hour to 40 minutes and make each day 36 hours, huh?  Problem solved.

Reality?

No additional doctors, millions of new patients and free stuff – what could possibly screw up there?

The other questions is how will doctors react?   Well here’s how some are already reacting:

Many patients who can afford to do so will sign up for concierge care—medical practices in which patients pay a retainer fee for more personalized and responsive service, such as same day or next-day appointments. Physicians who open a concierge practice typically take about 500 of their patients with them, leaving behind 2,000 former patients to find a new doctor. (Those figures come from MDVIP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respectively.) “So in general, as concierge care grows, the strain on the rest of the system will become greater,” Goodman continues. “We will quickly evolve into a two-tiered health-care system, with those who can afford it getting more care and better care. In the meantime, the most vulnerable populations will have less access to care than they had before ObamaCare became law.”

Or said another way, the emergency rooms will be full to bursting and the fact someone has insurance will mean nothing unless a doctor is willing to take them on – something that will be less likely in the near future than it is now.

Finally, in case it slipped your mind, here are the 18 new taxes found in ObamaCare – something to remember when he and his flacks are out there claiming that he’s never raised taxes by a dime (his promise in 2008) on the middle class.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Facebook: QandO