iPad

The Proletariat Uprising Against Evil Corporations

With the economy in a sustained recession, unemployment at or above nine percent for approaching three years, and tens of millions of Americans struggling just to put food on their table, perhaps few people or organizations have been showered with such hostility and ill-repute as have “corporations.” Yet, of all of the root causes of our current economic malaise, such contempt may nowhere be more misplaced.

Obama, after the shellacking his party took in the 2010 elections and with no end in sight to the economic downturn, has turned to finding a scapegoat or two to deflect blame for the anger and frustration America feels. His two favorite targets are Republican “obstructionism” and those evil, faceless corporations that steal from the poor to sate their insatiable greed.

Maybe he has a point though. After all, we all know that Steve Jobs became one of the richest men in the world as the head of Apple by hiring legions on thugs to go out across America to households and college campuses, brandishing guns and clubs and threatening violence if the poor masses did not give these brutes their money in exchange for little pieces of molded plastic and silicon and copper which Jobs called “Macs” and “iPods”, “iPhones” and “iPads”. His reign of terror was so complete that every time Jobs released a new version of these little pieces of plastic, hundreds and thousands of people would camp out overnight at one of his stores to give up their money in exchange for these gadgets, in the hope that by voluntarily doing so his thugs would not show up at their homes, schools and places of businesses and threaten them there.

Steve Jobs: A man worth emulating

Seeing as nearly every site on the Internet has a tribute of some sort to recently deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, I won’t bore you with another.  Needless to say, as one of the millions who has contributed some portion of his salary to Mr. Jobs over the years, he has had an impact on my life.  But I see him as more than a guy who made me fork over hundreds for fancy MP3 players, smartphones, and more.

Steve Jobs was, in my mind, the quintessential capitalist.  He is not a man who was known for great charity, in the traditional sense.  Instead, he contributed to society in a way that is far greater than that.  He created things that we actually wanted, and that actually made our lives more productive and happy.  And in the end, we were more than happy to give him our hard-earned money because these were, in our estimations, things of VALUE.

This is an important distinction in a world where the media and those left-of-center tend to obsequiously worship only those wealthy who set up foundations and grants, or who lobby for taxes on their peers to be raised (see Obama, Bill Clinton, Buffett, and many others).  Now, there is nothing wrong with giving to charity, if that is your choice.  But it is indeed strange for anyone to be lauded for advocating the forced confiscation of wealth from others.  It’s a strange mindset indeed.

Steve Jobs, on the other hand, was the opposite of this.  He was not a political player in any major way.  He just innovated and put forth new ideas, new ways of thinking, new technologies that we didn’t know we needed.  In this way, he was the living embodiment of the truly beautiful relationships that a free market can create - a system wherein millions got gadgets they wanted, and Jobs became incredibly wealthy.

Mike Lee: Senate Majority Hasn’t Passed A Budget In 3 Years

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Congressional Transparency: There’s an app for that

Looking for a way to encourage transparency in Congress, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has released a new app, WhipCast, for smartphone users to track votes, receive alerts, and track issues that are being tackled in Washington:

Many OWS protesters are the 1%

While Occupy Wall Street and other Leftists are whining endless about the rich and oppressive corporations and costing local taxpayers millions, Morgan Housel of the Motley Fool notes that many of these protesters would likely find themselves in the 1% income earners…in the world:

The recent Occupy Wall Street protests have aimed their message at the income disparity between the 1% richest Americans and the rest of the country. But what happens when you expand that and look at the 1% richest of the entire world? Some really interesting numbers emerge. If there were a global Occupy Wall Street protest, people as well off as Linda Frakes might actually be the target.

In America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year. We are, however, among the richest nations on Earth. How much do you need to earn to be among the top 1% of the world?

$34,000.

That was the finding World Bank economist Branko Milanovic presented in his 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. Going down the distribution ladder may be just as surprising. To be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it’s $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000.

Of course, goods and services cost different amounts in different countries. These numbers only apply to those living in the U.S. To adjust for purchasing power parity, those living in Western Europe should discount their dollar-denominated incomes by 10%-20%, Milanovic says. Those in China and Africa should increase their incomes by 2.5-fold. India, by threefold.

My tribute to Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, died yesterday at the age of 56.  Jobs is known as the genius businessman who made Apple Computers into a household name.  What people need to remember is that Jobs was also the man who kick started a technological revolution.

I remember well the Apple Computers that littered school classrooms in the 1980′s.  They had been around for a little while, but were still pretty basic.  At home, I had a TRS-80 from Radio Shack.  It was pretty basic too.  However, the personal computer age had begun.  Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak had an idea to put the Apple 1 computer into people’s homes.  Wozniak was hand building the things, and Jobs was the business mind.

It’s important to remember that, despite the fact that Windows is on so many computers out there, it was Apple that first gave us a personal computer with a Graphical User Interface, or GUI.  The GUI is also what we are all using on our Windows machines right now.  Bill Gates might get the press today, but he lifted the idea of a GUI based operating system from Apple.

Jobs was indeed the mastermind behind a revolution.  It was Jobs who deserves the credit, if one person can be credited, for the series of middle eastern dictators who fell this past spring.  Were it not for computers in every home, the internet would never have bothered to come out from DOD and University walls to become what it is today.  Therefore, disaffected citizens would never have had the means to communicate via social networks and coordinate protests that garnered freedom for people who had been oppressed by dictatorships.

I’ve never been an Apple person.  I’ve never owned an Apple product.  In an even remotely free market, I’m free to decide what products I want.  However, I also recognize that many of the products I own owe some of their current features to something that Apple did first.

Harsanyi: No bailout for newspapers

David Harsanyi, a columnist with the Denver Post, argues against a bailout for newspapers, an idea that seems to be coming up more frequently these days:

You know what journalism could really use more of? Government participation. Who better, after all, than a gaggle of technocrats and political appointees to guide the industry in matters of entrepreneurship, fairness and coverage?

Thankfully, the good folks at the Federal Trade Commission are all over it, cobbling together a report aimed at saving newspapers called “Potential Policy Recommendation to Support the Reinvention of Journalism.” It’s only the first step in a long-term plan to rescue the Fourth Estate from itself.
[…]
The majority of the FTC draft focuses on ways to bail out the newspaper business, which isn’t exactly the same as “saving” journalism. I love newspapers. I make my living at a newspaper (for now). But journalism doesn’t need salvaging. Newspapers — as in, news on paper — are struggling, for now. But consumers (scrupulously ignored in the FTC report) have an array of news outlets to choose from, and most often, the coverage offered them is far more thorough than what we’ve had in the past.

How we disseminate information is being reinvented — it is always being reinvented — and one day soon a breakthrough will allow newspapers to be more fairly compensated for the content they produce. But propping up antiquated models is no way to save any industry.

Let me put it another way. In 1985, the FTC did not set forth recommendations on how to “reinvent music” and propose a 5 percent tax on compact discs as a way to subsidize companies that produced vinyl records. That kind of intervention would have hindered technology rather than driven it.

iPad versus ObamaPad

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