Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Presser

I have criticized Donald Trump for his Twitter obsession; an ongoing "flurry of 140 character mind farts."

On reflection, I've changed my mind. I prefer that over 75 minute press conferences consisting of self interruptions every 140 characters.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Please, Mr. President, help us out

A thoughtful defense of the raid on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and a number of Yemeni civilians were killed. It notes that the planning took place under the previous President and castigates the "journalism" practiced. RTWT

It also illustrates what is already so wearying about Trump's Presidency. A slice:
Rather than respond with reason and logic, however, Trump did what Trump does — tweeted personal insults.
There's every sign that this will go on for Four. More. Years. I get the argument that the MSM is so corrupt that such behavior may be necessary, but Reagan was equally vilified and didn't stoop to such tactics.

As usual in these cases, the administration's response was needlessly strident, full of insults premised on slipshod exaggeration, distracting and petty. It is a) exactly opposite of what one expects in a leader, b) behavior calculated to enrage a peer, and c) cause for dismissal of a subordinate. There's no place for it. None.

For those not on the train, but who would nevertheless like to see Trump do well, it's exhausting. It's alienating. It's embarrassing. How many times can one drag oneself to the barricades to defend the boorish, simplistic flurry of 140 character mind farts? Mike Pence must be wondering.

Even the hard core of true believers must eventually get tired of all the whining.

It's not going well. All the more so when Trump is actually right.

Sad.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump trade

Protectionism is simply a method of redistributing wealth from consumers to favored groups, like the UAW. By definition, it reduces our freedom, strengthens the regulatory State, encourages rent-seekers and wastes resources.

People favor it because, per Bastiat, the negative effects are unseen.

Monday, January 30, 2017

That could have gone better

Predictably, Trump supporters are praising the President's executive order on immigration despite its flaws. Even more predictably, his detractors are invoking their Hitler analogies and ignoring the fact that the countries targeted come from a list developed by the Obama administration, who actually did use it to discriminate - against Christians.

If the Left wants ever more of this sort of thing, they should keep ramping up their hysterical whining.

Yes, the EO was not very well thought out since it stopped green card holders from entering the United States. They've already been subjected to sufficiently extreme vetting that holding them overnight isn't going to help fight terrorism. They spent months or years waiting to become legal immigrants. The Administration belatedly recognized this and reversed itself. An unforced error.

It's merely the most recent example of Trump's idea that he knows more about everything than anybody. I.e., he's not Hitler, he's simply impulsive and ignorant in the manner of big government authoritarians like Barack Obama and every Democrat in Congress, if more crude.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Thank God that's over

It's an immense relief that Barack Obama no longer occupies the White House, nor can be referred to as "President."

Hail to the Chief.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mr. Thompson* speaks

“I have a Twitter account," is the populist version of “I have a pen and phone.”

You might say these are just negotiating positions, but if the negotiating positions are immoral, where do the negotiations end up?

On health care
“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us."
No, I get it. If you can’t pay for it we’ll steal it from others.

“In some circles,” is worthy of an Obama speech.

"It’ll be another plan. But they’ll be beautifully covered. I don’t want single-payer. What I do want is to be able to take care of people,”
Depends on your definition of “plan” and “single-payer,” I suppose: Direct from the Feds, or from insurance companies run by the Feds. A distinction without a difference. The former is socialist, the latter fascist. Both are statist.
“The question of whether the government should start negotiating how much it pays drugmakers for older Americans on Medicare has long been a partisan dispute, ever since the 2003 law that created Medicare drug benefits prohibited such negotiations.”
There's a reason for that: It wouldn't have passed if it put the Feds in control of pricing drugs. It was a partisan (a question of principle) issue when one party promoted fascism and the other paid lip service to free markets. Even that small distinction is being dissolved. The question that’s been forgotten is whether the government should be doing this at all. Just like “repeal and replace” is surrender because it assumes Obamacare should be replaced.

On tariffs

“Trump then attacked another carmarker, previosuly [sic] unnoticed by the president-elect, when he warned the United States will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market.”
Now foreign companies are to be punished for operating in Mexico? Actually, it’s Mexico and American consumers being punished.

Ask yourself what Hank Reardon would have said.


*Mr. Thompson was US "Head of State" in Atlas Shrugged.
"He is not particularly intelligent and has a very undistinguished look. He knows politics, however, and is a master of public relations and back-room deals. Rand's notes indicate that she modeled him on President Harry S. Truman, and that she deliberately decided not to call him "President of the United States" as this title has "honorable connotations" which the character does not deserve."

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Econ 001

If you read the brief articles below, you'll have a better understanding of the obstacles the President elect faces in implementing his economic agenda, and you'll understand the damage much of that agenda will do.

Reason Magazine:
A Stronger Economy Will Also Destroy Jobs, but It’s Necessary
Luddites need not apply.

The Brookings Institution:
Global economic forces conspire to stymie U.S. manufacturing
Stopping productivity increases will preserve jobs for some and destroy jobs for many others. All of them will be poorer.

The Foundation for Economic Education:
Taxing Global Trade Is Not Deregulation
The Regulatory State is where you find it.

I heard some guy named Sexton (guest hosting for Rush) making excuses for cronyism and protectionism on Tuesday. Hannity, too (while flipping stations).

The corruption of conservatism is well underway. These guys only ever paid lip service to the idea of small government. They’re just fine with Statism if the “right people” are in charge.

Cafe Hayek:
Trump’s Ignorance Is Matched Only by His Thuggishness
Remember when Obama screwed GM bondholders and fired the CEO? Donald Trump probably liked that. Conservatives didn't.

Now, apparently, we're supposed to cheer the big bully in the pulpit.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

"Offshoring" meets automation

These jobs aren't coming back no matter how much the President-elect threatens Apple:
After announcing its 40,000 robot workforce in October, Foxconn (OTC:FXCOF) is automating production at its factories in China in three phases, aiming to fully automate entire factories eventually.
If the average Foxconn employee making Apple products gets $3.00 an hour (it's probably closer to $3.00 a day), and those jobs are being eliminated by automation, we don't want them back.

Robots cost the same to operate everywhere.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Seen and Unseen

The other side of manufacturing job loss: Global Trade Is Why Your Television Did Not Cost $6,200 Like It Did in 1964

Automation has also destroyed manufacturing jobs while benefiting consumers.* As automation creeps into other industries, it becomes a much bigger threat than foreign labor. We need a leader with a plan for that challenge, not one who wants to raise consumer prices through protectionist tariffs.

Bringing offshored jobs back - when most of those jobs are going to be automated out of existence - is the opposite of visionary.

*U.S. manufacturing productivity has steadily increased since 1950.

Monday, December 19, 2016

No, really

The WaPo says, The electoral college is thwarting our ability to battle global warming
[T]he electoral college will have a lasting legacy on all of our lives through climate change. The combination of two administrations headed by presidents who lost the popular vote has and will slow our progress down, and that delay contributes to an ever worsening global climate problem.
You needn't bother to RTWT.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Phish Called John

How John Podesta's email was hacked.

Oh, those dastardly Russian phishing trawlers. Hillary lost the election because they used an ultra-sophisticated hacking program only a State-sponsored entity could deploy. Then they used mind control rays to get Podesta's aide to click on a suspicious link.

A 10 year old script kiddie could have pulled this off, even if he wasn't a Nigerian Prince.

And, let’s not forget that what Podesta’s emails mainly revealed was the actual rigging of an American election by the DNC: The Democratic primaries. It’s why Debbie Wosname Schultz resigned as DNC Chairman.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hacking the easy things first

There are suggestions by the CIA that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta's email for the purpose of helping Trump win the election. The FBI disagrees. The CIA also apparently claims the Republican National Committee was hacked, but the Russians deliberately withheld release of any information gathered by that hack.

Reince Priebus denies the RNC was hacked, and says that after conferring with the FBI.

An alternative explanation for the hack of the DNC and Podesta is that some entity other than Russia easily found the means to get into those servers via Hillary Clinton's unprotected private server. There's more public evidence pointing to that than there is to the Russians.

Update: Dec 13 10:50AM
Top U.S. spy agency has not embraced CIA assessment on Russia hacking

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The $7 million being taken from Indiana taxpayers and given to Carrier

...(a United Technologies company) is really small potatoes.

If you take nearly a billion dollars in government carrots and the Feds are a big client, where do you hide when Trump swings the 35% tariff stick? Behind your lobbyists?

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Cronies and corporatists

The Myth of Clean Politics

Exactly what I've said about lobbyists. If they can't turn a favor or donation into a multi-million dollar contract or sweetheart regulation they'll stop lobbying.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Carrier

The President Elect's success in keeping 1,000 Carrier jobs in Indiana is great PR. While it depends in part on 7 million dollars in state tax rebates, the silver lining is that this might cause people to wonder why all businesses don't get such a tax break. At the Federal level Mr. Trump is promising exactly that, as well as reducing the Federal regulatory burden.

Unfortunately, he's simultaneously proposing another regulation, reviving his threats of a 35% tariff on goods produced by American based companies if they move manufacturing overseas. Apparently, this won't apply to Trump apparel since it's always been made in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mexico or other countries where labor is cheaper.

Like George W. Bush's steel tariffs, this is a bad idea that would damage American consumers (including businesses) to favor a small group of workers.

Some (Chao, De Vos and Mnuchin aren't exactly swamp drainers) of his choices for Cabinet positions have been good, so it's too bad he's keeping his campaign promises on trade. Mr. Trump's businesses have depended on government subsidies and regulatory exemptions and he's showing every sign that he thinks that's good "industrial policy."

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oh, No Canada!

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the death of the monster Fidel Castro:
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”
Mocking follows: #trudeaueulogy

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Vegetarian Mandate

On October 31st I wrote:
It’s so simple, just find a big 'social problem' with dozens, or hundreds, of different causes and impose a single 2,000 page solution. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this approach to solve the obesity epidemic. We’ll just put nutrition labels on candy machines, ban soft drinks over 16 ounces and move toward taxing calories.
While we've already done the first two of those things, the part about taxing calories was half tongue-in-cheek. I needn't have worried that it was over the top, though I did get the wrong social problem. I should have known "Climate Change" would be the real reason: UK Researchers: Tax Food to Reduce Climate Change
“Emissions pricing of foods would generate a much needed contribution of the food system to reducing the impacts of global climate change,” said Dr Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, who led the study. “We hope that’s something policymakers gathering this week at the Marrakech climate conference will take note of.”

Much of the emissions reduction would stem from higher prices and lower consumption of animal products, as their emissions are particularly high. The researchers found that beef would have to be 40% more expensive globally to pay for the climate damage caused by its production. The price of milk and other meats would need to increase by up to 20%, and the price of vegetable oils would also increase significantly.
This is a perfect example of MIT Technology Review editor David Rotman's demand for an updated command-and-control industrial policy:
[There is a] compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions
The 2000 pages needed to implement this will consist of 1) tax credits for pregnant mothers, exemptions for starving third worlders and waivers for Senators and Congressmen and their aides; 2) lobbyist provisions for Archer Daniels Midland; 3) definition of the bureaucratic requirements; 4) determination of the amount of tax for protein content, say tofu vs. hamburger; 5) surtaxes based on greenhouse gas contribution variation due to processing and transportation; 6) all manner of amendments entirely unrelated to the taxing of food and 7) other things you'll have to read the bill to find out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lobbyists

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recent rant about lobbyists in the Trump transition team (just before they were all sent packing) brings me once again to editor David Rotman's MIT Technology Review article Capitalism Behaving Badly. Specifically this:
[W]e should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
If we are to admit that markets are created and shaped by government, we also must admit that lobbying is created by government as a protective reaction to that regulatory manipulation 'market' creation and shaping.

Don Boudreaux puts it well at Cafe Hayek
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is upset that President-elect Trump’s transition team includes many corporate lobbyists (“Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Donald Trump Over Lobbyists in Transition Team,” Nov. 15). Well now. Sen. Warren is second-to-none at empowering Uncle Sam to exercise broad discretionary powers over corporate affairs – powers that, if exercised one way, yield that company hundreds of millions of dollars in additional profits or, if exercised another way, saddle that company with hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that corporations work diligently to have their voices heard among the din of everyone clamoring for the new emperor’s attention.

For Sen. Warren to be upset that Trump’s transition team is filled with hordes of corporate lobbyists panting for political favors is akin to a Madam being upset that her bawdyhouse is filled with hordes of men panting for female favors.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Lobbying is protected by the First Amendment. Even absent Constitutional protection, lobbying would continue at a level commensurate with the degree to which government creates and shapes markets, only it would be more nefarious - say like the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play shenanigans.

Meanwhile, the House GOP beat back a plan by some of its own members* to restore internal super-lobbying by reinstating earmarks.

*Who should now be Primaried.

Update 1:15PM: In the interests of naming names, "Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, and Tom Rooney of Florida are listed as sponsors of the amendment."

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

In Flanders Fields
Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Congratulations to the President Elect

All the best of luck to Donald Trump. I sincerely hope he turns out to be the President his most fervent voters expect.

My favorite parts so far are the tears, anger, confusion and whining from the Democrats. Best part of the outcome? Clinton Inc. is finished.

Well done Mr. Trump.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What has government done to you lately?

...would be a better headline.

What’s Government Done For You Lately?
Here is the core error of the 20th century: the belief that government can accomplish anything with enough intelligence, resources, and power. It afflicted regimes all over the world from Lenin’s 100 years ago to Obama’s today (and this will also be true of any probable successor). This theory built massive bureaucracies, justified vast wars, and drove the creation a legal and regulatory apparatus of unprecedented imperial reach.

The faith survives today, though with ever less conviction. Failure after failure has even sown doubts among ruling-class intellectuals and mainstream politicians. But because so much of the state apparatus – and the strategies that collect money from the public to fund it – are based on this model, a shift away from the paradigm will not come easily.
This, of course, is the central problem with David Rotman's MIT Technology Review article promoting a small tweak to traditional top down economic planning as if it were a wholesale change instead of an exercise in relabeling:
[Dani] Rodrik [an economist at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government] said in an interview that while “unfortunately” we’re stuck with the label “industrial policy,” today’s versions are very different from ones conceived decades ago. Rather than singling out a specific sector—say, aerospace or steel manufacturing—for support with large investments and tax incentives, new thinking suggests working across sectors to achieve a desired goal such as addressing climate change, using tools such as carbon pricing...

Take, for example, the failure of the solar company Solyndra. It is often held up as the kind of thing that occurs when government picks winners. But, writes Rodrik, Solyndra failed largely because competing technologies got much cheaper. Such outcomes are not necessarily an indictment of industrial policies. The real problem, Rodrik argues: the U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program that supported the solar company had a mixed set of goals, from creating jobs to competing with China to helping fund new energy technologies. What’s more, it did not properly define procedures for evaluating the progress of potential loan recipients and, importantly, terminating support to those companies when appropriate. Instead, according to Rodrik, in the absence of such rules, money was lent to Solyndra for political reasons...
The problem with Solyndra, then, was a mixed set of explicitly political goals applied to a specific sector subject to intense competition. The solution to such bad industrial policy is to apply explicitly political impediments to all economic activity. The competition will then be for government favors, like suspending the Obamacare cadillac tax.

No more picking winners and losers, no siree, we’ll just apply general taxes on carbon the government will conjure a 'market' in carbon. Do you believe it will be politically neutral, remain focused on the single problem, and with properly defined procedures for evaluating the continuing necessity for the market? I.e., that the bureaucrats running the scheme will ever even look for reasons to suspend it? If so, you must believe that Obamacare has fulfilled its promises.

It’s so simple, just find a big 'social problem' with dozens, or hundreds, of different causes and impose a single 2,000 page solution. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this approach to solve the obesity epidemic. We’ll just put nutrition labels on candy machines, ban soft drinks over 16 ounces and move toward taxing calories.

That this is still picking winners and losers, such as Warren Buffet’s wind farms versus Peabody Coal’s entire business, seems not to occur to these capos of industry.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stick to your knitting

I keep thinking about the MIT Technology Review article mentioned in my previous post.

Editor of Technology Review David Rotman strays into territory far removed from his magazine's titular mission by reviewing Rethinking Capitalism:
A series of essays by authors including Joseph Stiglitz, an economist at Columbia University who won a Nobel Prize in 2001, and Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of the economics of innovation at the University of Sussex… Together, the essays provide a compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions…

[The book attempts] to counter the view that free markets inevitably lead to desirable outcomes and that freer markets are always better: the faith that “the ‘invisible hand’ of the market knows best.” In fact, she argues, we should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
What keeps me coming back to it are the straw men, unconscious assumptions and the anti-scientism buried throughout. Economics is neither technology nor science, nor does Mr. Rotman even understand it.

First up, "[T]he essays provide a compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."

Government intervention never works out to be either coherent or strategic: Obamacare is an example where the government lent its full weight in time, expertise, money, subversion of the political process and publicly repeated big lies. Thank god it was health care and not the "Affordable Energy Act."

Fracking for natural gas has done more to reduce carbon emissions than a dozen Solyndras - despite government opposition.

Second, I know of no one who claims “free markets inevitably lead to desirable outcomes." Free markets lead to better outcomes than manipulated markets, and that includes failure when freely invested private money is lost. This Obamaesque straw-man premise additionally implies that if free markets aren’t perfect we must turn to government for such perfection.

Admitting that “markets are created and shaped by government,” begs a question while assuming a conclusion. It’s true that governments choose to create and shape markets. No natural law says they have to, but if Rotman’s admiring analysis is correct, Mazzucato takes this as a given. However, it is something governments choose to do. As Rotman later grudgingly concedes, this choice is rife with drawbacks.

In fact, placing the average bureaucrat as market arbiter is only better than the free market if that bureaucrat’s decisions are consistently better: More informed, more enlightened, more efficient, than free choice market decisions. This never happens. Assuming command-and-control industrial policy as an immutable consequence of having government indicates such endeavors aren’t market-based at all.

Finally, “government support of innovation,” can be accomplished passively. Ask John Cowperthwaite.

Mazzucato and Rotman only see government support as beneficial when it is active market intervention. A fair look at this question would also include examination of the ways in which government stifles innovation with command-and-control industrial policies, not the least of which is the misdirection of resources and prevention of new ways of doing business. Examples are growing corn for ethanol and taxing Uber to protect existing taxi businesses.

To summarize, Mr. Rotman proposes that government should do a better job when it actively creates and shapes markets. No one would disagree government should do better. The question begged is whether government should be actively involved at all. It would "do better" if it weren't.

Free markets are not perfect nor ever claimed to be. They are better than any alternative, and, as repeatedly demonstrated, vastly better than command-and-control industrial policies.

I think I’ll be doing more detailed fisking of other bits of this horrendous MIT article in future posts.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Corporatism behaving predictably

You would be disappointed if you expected a publication called MIT Technology Review would eschew half baked, agenda driven articles about economics.

The MIT School of Economics needs to give some remedial instruction to David Rotman, Editor of Technology Review. In a recent article, Capitalism Behaving Badly, he reviews Rethinking Capitalism,
A series of essays by authors including Joseph Stiglitz, an economist at Columbia University who won a Nobel Prize in 2001, and Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of the economics of innovation at the University of Sussex… Together, the essays provide a compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions…

[The book attempts] to counter the view that free markets inevitably lead to desirable outcomes and that freer markets are always better: the faith that “the ‘invisible hand’ of the market knows best.” In fact, she argues, we should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
Maybe we should admit that markets are distorted by government and result in misallocation of resources. Whatever we admit, we should not pretend that the United States is a capitalist country. It is a corporatist economy where government decides for policy reasons to give money to favored industries. Mr. Rotman apparently favors ‘green’ industry as a major part of a command-and-control industrial policy.

Rotman explains the failures of Solyndra, A123, Fisker, Navistar, Evergreen Solar and others, by arguing the wrong people were in charge, and they spent the money wrongly or stopped supplying it when more was needed, as if the politics were irrelevant and “some people” are not only above such things, but have nearly perfect appreciation of all market forces.

Mr. Rotman specifically addresses Solyndra:
Take, for example, the failure of the solar company Solyndra. It is often held up as the kind of thing that occurs when government picks winners. But, writes Rodrik, Solyndra failed largely because competing technologies got much cheaper. Such outcomes are not necessarily an indictment of industrial policies. The real problem, Rodrik argues: the U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program that supported the solar company had a mixed set of goals, from creating jobs to competing with China to helping fund new energy technologies. What’s more, it did not properly define procedures for evaluating the progress of potential loan recipients and, importantly, terminating support to those companies when appropriate. Instead, according to Rodrik, in the absence of such rules, money was lent to Solyndra for political reasons—President Obama and his administration used the company as a high-profile way to highlight its green-energy initiatives. Having singled out the solar company for praise, the administration was then reluctant to end its commitment…

The stimulus bill was well-­intentioned, and the instinct to use government spending for a specific social goal, supporting the development of green energy, was laudable…
1-Competing technologies got cheaper. Failure to recognize that likelihood is not external to government decisions, it is central to why the government shouldn’t be making them, and most certainly counts as a failure of industrial policy.

2-A mixed set of goals is likewise a failure of government policy. In this case, its execution of the “strategy,” if one should be so generous as to call such a mess strategic. Close enough for government work, I guess.

3-Slack control of money lent is also a clear failure of government execution of its confused and shortsighted planning.

4-Money was lent for political reasons. Duh.

This is not to be laid at the feet of capitalism, since it had no role in the matter.
Creating a rigorous industrial policy to encourage green technologies is no doubt a worthwhile objective. Economists and the lessons from efforts like the stimulus bill can teach us how to design such policies to be robust and effective…
No, they have demonstrated again and again and again that they cannot. We do not learn from experience. We do not learn from Smith, Hayek, Bastiat, Sowell and Ricardo, et. al..

Mr. Rotman's actual agenda is clear. He wants more public/pirate partnerships for his pet cause, only better than the last ones. The pirates aren't capitalists, they are robber barons whose victims are taxpayers.
But won’t wise industrial policies also require wise politicians?
No, there is no such thing as a "wise industrial policy" such a thing requires prescient politicians who have the ability to anticipate market changes, develop focused policies and implement them very efficiently. All while avoiding the opportunities for graft and corruption. Can you name such a politician?

Update Oct 25 11:40
How command-and-control industrial policy actually works:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman met and corresponded on multiple occasions in his capacity as a top White House adviser with a previous employer seeking energy policies that it described as a potential “gold rush,” hacked emails and public records show.

John Podesta was a top White House energy policy official before joining the Clinton campaign last year. He previously served on the board of renewable energy investment firm Equilibrium Capital. He owned stock in the firm and drew $4,000 in annual “board fees.”

White House ethics rules bar employees from working on issues affecting former clients or employers for two years after taking their jobs. However, internal emails show that Podesta was in contact with Equilibrium within months of joining the White House as the company pursued a new energy efficiency financing model that would steer it significant revenue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Autarky is where you find it

Originalists Against Trump
Read the whole thing. It's short.

Trump’s 'pen and phone’ executive order machine would be “bigly, bigly yuge.” Sad.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Exercises in authoritarianism

Donald Trump's unfortunate, if entirely unsurprising recommendation, "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything you want," has attracted a by now standard defense from his supporters: "Bill and Hillary are worse."

However, Trump's comment must be generalized beyond simply promoting sexual assault: He thinks of women as property.

In that, he is equal to Bill and Mrs. Bill. The difference is that they comfortably understand their ownership extends to everyone, and they should avoid bragging about it. Because Trump is a slow to learn political novice, he hasn't thought about that yet.

But he will.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Do not a wastrel be

I've made - these - same points, but they bear repeating in another voice. I've excerpted a couple of bits, but you should RTWT.

How Not To Waste Your Vote: A Mathematical Analysis
[T]here are many benefits of voting third party, even for president. It makes a political statement to the majority parties. It helps local politicians of that party in elections. It can help change platforms to include third-party elements. And it provides recognition for the party among voters as a viable alternative...

Your vote is, therefore, an expression of yourself and your beliefs. Your vote has power as a statement. People voting out of fear of the worst candidate is a self-perpetuating cycle. If no one ever has the courage to vote outside of the two main parties, it will never be broken. However, if enough people vote and it shows in the total election count, it will give cause for us to reconsider and embolden even more to vote outside of the two parties...

The value of your vote is what you give it. Should you spend it on a candidate you don’t believe in? Should it be an exercise in fear? It’s up to you. It is my hope that these mathematical calculations will bring you freedom from the idea that only majority party votes matter. A vote is a statement, a vote is personal, a vote is an expression of your citizenship in this country. If enough people vote their conscience and vote for what they believe in, things can change.
The purpose of voting is to express your will. If your will is to validate the lesser of two evils, you're purposely supporting the statist quo. That's a wasted vote.

Further reading:
You Are Not Morally Obligated to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils

Rethinking ‘wasted votes’ and third-party candidates

Voting Third Party Isn’t Just a Serious Choice, It’s the Serious Choice

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Constitution Day

The 2016 Constitution Day Celebration Program Lectures at Hillsdale College. Click the link.

Hillsdale also offers a free course on understanding the Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution is the key to securing liberty for all Americans -- yet very few know exactly what it says, and what freedoms it protects. Hillsdale College is dedicating this year to educating millions of Americans about this critical document. That's why the College is offering its most popular course, "Constitution 101" for free, when you sign up now.

Hillsdale's course, Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution, features the same professors who teach this course on Hillsdale College's campus. Hillsdale is one of the only colleges in America -- outside of the military academies -- that requires every student to take a course on the Constitution to graduate.

The course is delivered via email, with one lesson per week for 10 weeks. Each lesson features lively teaching and discussion boards, suggested readings, weekly quizzes, and more.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Profiles in Mendacity

You know, if Hillary wasn't such a well established liar, people would believe pneumonia. As it is, "political crisis" is an apt description.

It would be ironic if she's telling the truth on this, but her history of coverups costs her the election.

She was diagnosed on Friday, but kept it secret. Bet she regrets that decision.

Happy Birthday, H. L. Mencken

If you haven't read Mencken, you should try him. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite.

Number 12 is most relevant to our present voting opportunity.