From Michael Medved’s most recent column comes a statistic that made me take a double-take:
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has surveyed 1,000 adults almost every day for more than two years, shows that even in the midst of high unemployment and bitter political turmoil, people are pleased with their private progress. From 2008 through 2009, participants’ “life evaluations” of their current situation and future expectations rose by more than 5 percentage points. Without exception, every racial group, income level and age cohort showed brightening attitudes, with particularly big improvements among blacks, young adults (18-29) and people of modest means ($24,000 to $48,000 in annual income).
In other words, blacks, young people and the middle class are doing well. When’s the last time you heard that? Additionally came a striking poll regarding health care:
…just call the folks down the street who happen to have a monopoloy on lethal force. Yep, that oughta do it.
That’s exactly what some local restaurant owners in Los Angeles do when mobile food trucks (Taco stands, snack carts etc…) open up shop along the curb outside their business. The food carts offer cheap and quick bites, which are posing stiff competition to established eateries around town.
Instead of coming up with innovative ideas to compete with the new kids on the block, some restauranteers have called local law enforcement in to make it more difficult for the fresh competition to conduct business.
The fine folks at ReasonTV tell the full story:
As a critique, it would have been helpful to see an interview with one of the restaurant owners.
CNN is out with a new poll that shows Americans don’t trust the government when it comes to safeguarding their rights, and rightfully so:
A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.
Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.
The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.
Some would say that this is paranoia, but it’s not. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a dismantling of the Bill of Rights through restrictions on speech, attempted restrictions on the Second Amendment (Heller was a rare victory), a running over of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, which guarantees the right to privacy, due process and private property. There is also no protection of economic liberty by government anymore.
I know what you’re thinking: man that Pete is a positive guy. I like to describe myself as realistic, with a bit of fatalism throw in. Either way, I find it hard to look at the economic landscape and have any hope. It is especially dreadful when politicians have to get re-
elected, AND said politicians consult certain “economists”.
economic crisis can be “fixed”. The problem is, like in all fields, you have good economists, and you have the not so good (The latter seem to be the ones that always find their way onto the public payroll).have for years looked at what is happening in a society and sought to come up with solutions as to how an
In extremely broad terms economists can be split into two categories:
in the future; AND what it does for not only one segment of society,
but the whole.
2. The “bad” economist does the exact opposite; they examine only what
will fix the present issue and usually concentrate on only one segment of
If you are a student of American history your eyes should be opening as to which economist is most often chosen by our elected officials. The real question is “why”?
Well, why wouldn’t a politician pick economist #2?
It’s that time of year again, when we all make resolutions to change something that we do for the betterment of ourselves. Here’s a resolution everyone should adopt: Move Your Money to a local bank and/or credit union.
It’s our money and we can choose to move it where we wish. Remember in It’s a Wonderful Life, how George Bailey stands up to Mr. Potter? We don’t have to deal with these big banks, let’s put our money in the Bailey Building and Loan.
The idea is simple: If enough people who have money in one of the big four banks move it into smaller, more local, more traditional community banks, then collectively we, the people, will have taken a big step toward re-rigging the financial system so it becomes again the productive, stable engine for growth it’s meant to be.
A recent Rasmussen poll revealed substantial support for small government amongst Americans:
Sixty-six percent (66%) of U.S. voters prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a more active government with more services and higher taxes.
Even if they prefer a small government, Americans are faced with a country in which the federal government is the largest employer and the pay afforded its employees dwarfs that of a private worker:
While many workers in the private sector have despaired of a pay increase in the past few years, Congress takes care of federal employees with annual raises, awarding 3.9 percent in 2009, 3.5 percent in 2008 and 2.7 percent in 2007.
The average pay for the nation’s 1.9 million federal workers is a little over $71,000, with the 372,041 federal workers in the Washington area earning an average of $94,047. The average salary for the nation’s 108 million private-sector workers is $50,028.
Government employees are often unionized and have infrastructure built to keep them from being fired even if they fail to perform their job functions. They tend to vote Democratic and their unions are among the biggest contributors to the Democratic Party. Is it any wonder then that the average American continues to face a vacant job market while a Democratic Congress provides increasing raises for federal employees?
It’s been a while since I’ve had a conversation with a zealot socialist.
I used to all the time when I lived in Seattle, San Francisco and then Berkeley but these types become conspicuously absent while living in the suburbs. When I did encounter them, I was better at avoiding political conversation. However, recently I made the mistake of talking with one.
We were talking about the tuition hikes being inflicted by the University of California and California State University bureaucrats. This gentleman opined about how America was evil and driven by greed (Isn’t it amazing how that talk doesn’t stop even when a Democrat of African American descent is Commander in Chief, the Congress is in the hands of Democrats and the country is on the precipice of universal care?) and how he wondered whether he should leave the country for some place that wasn’t engulfed by “profit-driven bullshit,” like Canada or the United Kingdom.
Yes, he really said that. This brainiac really lives in a mental world where America is the only country with an economy driven by profit. Chances are if you’re at this blog, you don’t need a detailed explanation of why that is wrong.
It wasn’t really a debate because they didn’t appear together, but Ron Paul appeared on Larry King Live last night after Michael Moore and responded to his diatribe against capitalism:
Ever since the financial crisis exploded over a year ago, there has been plenty of rhetoric in the media decrying greed. Occasionally, you get a rabid capitalist taking the opposite position - reverently quoting Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko… “Greed is good!”
Today, I read another article on the subject at naked capitalism. I had been planning on writing on this subject for some time. No time like the present…
What is greed? Wiktionary says: a selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions. It’s also one of the seven deadly sins. My basic philosophy of human action is that every decision - whether trivial or significant - is driven by a complex assessment which seeks to maximize the individual’s self-interest. I also believe that self-interest is not the same as financial wealth. If I had to describe self-interest as anything, I’d describe is as happiness.
This philosophy of human action extends to the microeconomic theory of utility maximization. Generally utility is measured by money. For some, financial wealth is very important. Perhaps money cannot buy happiness, but money may be equated with happiness. I think of utility and self-interest as much more complex, perhaps “softer”, concepts. Why else would one donate to a charity, smell the roses, or even love? These are rational actions which produce happiness.
John Stossel explains that Michael Moore’s beef isn’t with capitalism, he should be complaining about the collusion of government and rent-seeking corporations, which is called corporatism:
Moore declares capitalism evil, but he’s never clear about what “capitalism” means. Considering how much time he spends documenting the cozy relationship between business and government, I thought he might mean “state capitalism.”
But then he uses the term “free market” as a synonym for what he doesn’t like.
What does the free market have to do with businesses manipulating government and strong-arming Congress for bailouts? Moore properly condemns both.
What does he want instead of “capitalism”? He’s coy about that. Claiming that the public became increasingly curious about socialism once Obama was accused of favoring it, he goes to the only self-described socialist in Congress, Sen. Bernie Sanders, to ask for a definition. Socialism, Sanders tells Moore, means “the government represents the middle class and working class, not the wealth.”
Huh? That’s socialism? It’s not government ownership of the means of production and the abolition of private property and free exchange? Sanders reads Marx and Lenin very broadly. By his definition, I’m a socialist. I want government to represent the middle and working classes. Of course, Congress does that best by leaving them free, economically and otherwise.
For two hours, Moore rails against reckless banks and government bailouts, but never once mentions the government-business partnership that created the conditions for the turmoil. The fact that America no longer has a genuinely free market is the unnoticed 10,000-pound elephant in Moore’s room.