Friday, October 30, 2009

Q3 GDP Growth: Don't Get Too Excited Because It Isn't Sustainable

This chart demonstrates why I did not get too excited about yesterday's announcement that Q3 GDP grew 3.5% and that the recession therefore ended in June. Look at the contributions to GDP growth in the chart below. The growth in consumer spending came largely from the Cash for Clunkers program in August. Another appropriate name for this program could have been: "Borrowing money that we don't have, from the Chinese, in order to subsidize purchases from poorly managed US car companies, for some Americans...all while destroying perfectly good older cars in order to satisfy the lunatic leftist environmental fringe in Congress."

The growth in housing came largely from the First Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit. Another name for this program could be the following: "Having renters and existing homeowners that live within their means subsidize the purchases of people that probably aren't ready financially to buy a home, thereby reducing the pool of homebuyers in the future."

Finally, you can see how government spending (aka "taking money from productive citizens to spend in unproductive ways) also "contributed" to growth. The only pure growth in Q3 came from inventories, which needed to be rebuilt after the tremendous production decline in the panic of late 2008.

Q3 Growth Contributions (2009 Advance)

Big, Dumb, Inflexible Government

From the WSJ:

Everything about the health-care exercise is looking very old hat, starting with the old guys working on it. Max Baucus, Patrick Leahy, Pete Stark—all were elected to Congress in the 1970s, and live on as the immortals in Washington's Forever Land. But it's more than the fact that Congress looks old. The health-care bill is big, complex, incomprehensible and coercive—all the things people hate nowadays.

If we were really living in the world of leading-edge politics that many people thought they were getting with Barack Obama, he would have proposed an iPhone for health care—a flexible system for which all sorts of users could create or choose health-care apps that suited their needs. Over time, with trial and error, a better system would emerge.

No chance of that. Our outdated political software can't recognize trial and error. What ObamaCare is doing with health care—the "public option"—may be fine with the activist left, but I suspect it's starting to strike many younger Americans as at odds with their lives, as not somewhere they want to go. Wait until EPA's ghost busters start enforcing cap-and-trade.

People thought something small, agile and smart was coming to government, but so far it's turning out to be just big-box politics.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Economic Performance of 100 Largest Metro Areas

It's good to be in Texas. This is from Metro Monitor at the Brooking's Institute website:

The map below classifies the 100 largest metro areas into 5 categories (quintiles), based on their average rank across a series of four indicators: employment change from peak; unemployment rate change from one year ago; gross metropolitan product change from peak; and housing price index change from one year ago.

Obama's Disapproval Ratings

This is an interesting chart from Calafia Beach Pundit. If you inverted the blue approval rating line and graphed it alongside the S&P 500, I am sure that you would get a very tight correlation between the two. The market rallies as investors anticipate that some of Obama's nuttiest socialist proposals might get watered down, like cap and trade.

Sector Weightings in The S&P 500 Over Time

Very interesting charts from Bespoke on the changing weightings of various sectors of the S&P:

The weighting of the Financial sector in the S&P 500 has made a huge move since the March lows. After being the biggest sector of the market for six years in a row, the weight of the Financials dropped all the way down to 8.9% (6th place) on March 9th, 2009. After the recent rally we've had, the Finanial sector has nearly doubled its weight to 15%, and it now ranks 2nd behind the Technology sector (18.8%). Technology, Financials, Industrials, Consumer Discretionary, and Materials are sectors that have gained market share during the bull market, while the other five sectors have lost share. The Financial sector has gained the most, while Health Care has lost the most (16.1% to 12.5%).



Cat Fight With Subtitles

This video is fairly amusing, especially if you hate cats like I do. The reason that I don't like cats is because of their sense of entitlement, their "what can you be doing for me right now human?" mentality. That being said, I would never make them fight to the death like Michael Vick probably would, even if I could somehow get them to hold sharp little swords with their paws.

The UN is Useless

This is actually a true story about some of the very important work that the UN is doing these days.

Money Quote:

Do counter-terrorism measures targeting bombers who dress as women offend the rights of transexuals? This is one of the pressing questions addressed in a new United Nations report on "Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What You've Seen Is What You Get - Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner on National Review Online

My federal government spent $800 billion and all I got was 9.8% unemployment, a plummeting dollar and a deficit that will burden me and my children forever.

Christina Romer is the Chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors. When she was a professor at UC-Berkeley, she published research that demonstrated that the multiplier effect of tax cuts was much higher than the multiplier of deficit spending. She decided to disregard her life's research upon joining Obama's team. Now, she admits that any positive impact of the stimulus (taking money from taxpayers or borrowing it from future consumption) has mostly been felt and that it will diminish going forward. Joe Biden, the intellectual titan, said last month that the stimulus has worked "better than in my wildest dreams." Great work d-bags!

What You've Seen Is What You Get - Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner on National Review Online

Paul Krugman, and the Middle-Class Champion Myth

Good stuff from John Tamny, showing yet again how easy it is to debunk Paul Krugman. In this article, he explains why debasing the dollar in an attempt to export more is a loser's game and hurts the poorest Americans the most.

Money quote:

The Obama Treasury can do as the Bush Treasury did and talk down the dollar, but eventually all prices must adjust. So while a weak dollar might in the near-term make U.S. goods attractive, the globalization of production means that the costs of the myriad imported inputs that go into the creation of U.S. goods will eventually have to rise. Inflation steals the benefits of devaluation, and ultimately renders the notion of "money illusion" moot.

Paul Krugman, and the Middle-Class Champion Myth

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Shortage of Natural Gas

This a good article on the abundant supply of natural gas that the United States possesses, due in large part to the technological advances in horizontal drilling. I am not sure if anyone has explained to Nancy Pelosi that natural gas IS, in fact, a fossil fuel. She liked natural gas when she didn't realize that it's a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels being evil and all.

Experts now believe that the country has far more natural gas at its disposal than anyone thought three or four years ago. The revised estimates are largely due to advanced drilling techniques that make it economically feasible to extract the fuel from shale. And while the Marcellus is the most recently discovered and possibly the largest shale-gas deposit, others are scattered throughout the country. The U.S. consumes about 23 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas a year, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Agency (EIA). The Potential Gas Committee (PGC), an organization headquartered at the Colorado School of Mines, put the country's potential natural-gas resources at 1,836 TCF in a biennial assessment released in June. That's 39 percent higher than its estimate of two years earlier. Add to that the 238 TCF that the EIA has calculated in "proved reserves" (the gas that can be produced given existing economic conditions) and the PGC pegs the future supply at 2,074 TCF. In other words, there is enough natural gas to supply the country for 90 years at current consumption rates. Even if we used natural gas to totally replace coal in generating electricity, domestic supplies would last for 50 years.

Hypocrisy Alert: Congress To Exempt Itself From Obamacare

Hypocrisy alert. Our moral and intellectual superiors in Congress will get to keep their gold-plated health care benefits even if Obamacare passes, because they will exempt themselves from the inefficient, rationed care that the rest of us little people will receive:

While it’s not news that Congressional health insurance plans are posh, CBS News recently uncovered the details of plans – right as the details of the Baucus health care bill are being hashed out.

Members of Congress can choose from five different plans, and have access to both the VIP Bethesda Naval Hospital and a reserved spot Ward 72 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, an elite division usually reserved for military members. Their everyday medical concerns can be taken care of at a doctors office located inside of Congress.

Their premiums are the same as those of insurance plans with half the benefits, and the plans last a lifetime; not until Medicare kicks in do ex-Members or loose their Congressional health benefits. Congress has repeatedly voted down any provision that would switch their insurance plans to the lower-grade public option if Obamacare goes through.

Biden: The Stimulus Is Working Great, But We're In A Depression

Explain to me, please, why the mainstream media gives a total pass to the gaffe-machine cretin known as Vice President Joe Biden. Oh yes, now I remember, it's because he's not a Republican. Dan Quayle made one spelling mistake back in 1989 and the media painted him as a dunce and a buffoon for the rest of the Bush I administration. Joe Biden makes several idiotic comments per week, in addition to simply not being especially intelligent overall. Here is one from this week that the liberal media (I repeat myself) chose not to cover:

Today: Vice President Biden: "Well, it's a depression — it's a depression for millions of Americans, through no fault of their own," he said. (ABC News 10/19)

September: Vice President Biden: “In my wildest dreams, I never thought the stimulus would work this well,” (The Wall Street Journal 9/24)

So, the stimulus is working, it's working better than Biden ever expected, and yet we're in a depression?

How Accurate Have Congressional Cost Estimates Been Historically?

How have the bureaucrats in Congress performed historically when they announce that they will save money with one of their programs or entitlements? If the historical record shows that in every case, Congress has dramatically underestimated the cost of a new program or entitlement, wouldn't you be reluctant to believe them now? If cost savings and efficiencies are being promised by people like Nancy "Natural Gas Is Not A Fossil Fuel" Pelosi and Charlie "Taxes Are For Little People Who Don't Have Buildings In Harlem Named After Them" Rangel, would you take their word for it?

Washington has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009, even as we are told a new health-care entitlement will reduce red ink by $81 billion over 10 years. To believe that fantastic claim, you have to ignore everything we know about Washington and the history of government health-care programs. For the record, we decided to take a look at how previous federal forecasts matched what later happened. It isn't pretty.


We Need A NFL Salary Czar, stat!

According to this data, there appears to be income inequality in the NFL. The top 20% of the highest paid players earn between 50% and 70% of all the income. This is an outrage. We need a courageous young president, preferably one who is skilled at reading teleprompters, to immediately appoint a NFL Salary Czar to end this insidious disparity. This aforementioned Czar, like other Czars, should be an unelected bureaucrat, who has not been vetted publicly or confirmed in the Senate like cabinet members are as outlined in the U.S. Constitution...or what remains of it in the Obama era. This NFL Salary Czar should immediately reach out to those teams with the most egregious violations of salary inequality and slash the pay of their owners, management and players using totally arbitrary terms and figures. Only then will this outrage be adequately addressed.

From Carpe Diem:

Increasing Income Inequality: Lessons from the NFL

Click to enlarge.
An analysis of the USA Today Salaries Database for the National Football League (NFL) reveals that the share of total team payrolls in 2008 going to the highest-paid 20% of players ranged from a high of 69.8% for the Indianapolis Colts to a low of 49.2% for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and averaged 59.5% for all NFL teams (see chart above). That compares to an NFL average of 56.3% in 2000 for the share of team payrolls going to the highest-paid 20% of players.

For the entire U.S. population, the top 20 percent of American households earned a 50% share of total income in 2008
according to the Census Bureau, slightly higher than the 49.8% share of income for the top fifth of households in 2000.

In other words, there is significantly greater income inequality in the NFL than in the general U.S. population, both in terms of the share of income going to the top 20% in 2000 (56.3% for the NFL vs. 49.8% for the entire U.S.) and 2008 (59.5% vs. 50%), and also in terms of the increase over time for the top quintile’s share of total income (56.3% to 59.5% for the NFL between 2000 and 2008 vs. 49.8% to 50% for the general population).

Monday, October 19, 2009

White House Communications Advisor Admires Mao

Here is more on Obama's Communications Advisor Anita Dunn and her admiration for mass murderer Mao Tse-Tung. Where is the mainstream media in all of this? This was not a slip of the tongue...these were prepared remarks to a bunch of high school students. The White House Communications Advisor (a very Orwellian position) confesses admiration for a totalitarian monster who was responsible for between 40 million and 80 million deaths, and all we hear from the liberal media (I repeat myself) is crickets.

From Mark Steyn:

Rush Limbaugh is so “divisive” that to get him fired leftie agitators have to invent racist soundbites to put in his mouth.

But the White House communications director is so un-divisive that she can be invited along to recommend Chairman Mao as a role model for America’s young.

Obama's Communications Advisor Admires Chairman Mao

At this point, should we even be surprised?

President Obama's acting chief White House communications advisor, Anita Dunn has been much in the headlines of late, owing to her comments during a CNN interview last week branding Fox News as an arm of the Republican Party.

Interestingly, Dunn delivered a commencement address in June in which she named Mao Tse Sung, the genocidal founder of Communist China, as one of her "two favorite philosophers," with the other, she chirpily noted, being Mother Teresa.

Mao and Mother Teresa are, Dunn explained, "the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is to say you are going to make choices, you are going to challenge, you are going to say why not." She then quoted an alleged Mao statement about winning the Chinese civil war his way: "You fight your war and I will fight mine."

She could as easily have encouraged the newly minted college graduates to take inspiration from Frank Sinatra's memorable pop hit, "My Way." At least Sinatra was not a genocidal killer of millions, as was Mao, which is what make Dunn's choice of heroes so utterly perplexing.

Rather than the truth about the choices Mao made, it appears that all Dunn knows about Mao are the Potemkin Village myths sown by his apologists among the U.S. and European intellectual elitists in the 1950s and 1960s. This mythical Mao was wise, kindly, and selfless, a veritable Chinese Jesus.

But it is impossible to accept that vision of Mao after reading the full account of the Chinese dictator's political career in British historian Paul Johnson's "Modern Times," the definitive, stark account of the rise, rule and ruin of totalitarianism throughout the 20th Century.

Here are just a couple of passages from Johnson that reveal the murderous truth about Dunn's hero. First, Johnson describes Mao's actions in the weeks immediately after winning the civil war: "Mao's first act was to extend his 'land reform,' already begun in the North, to the entire country, It was aimed at 'local bullies and evil gentry' and he urged peasants to kill 'not one or two but a goodly number of each.' At least two million people perished, half of them the tyrannical owners of less than 30 acres."

Mao thus, Johnson observed, "launched the largest nation on earth into a frenzy of violent activism which was to rival the social engineering of Hitler and Stalin."

That systematic genocide was among Mao's routine policies is seen in the continuous tragedy that was "land reform." During the years between 1951 and 1953, for example, Mao conducted these campaigns with what Johnson describes as "great savagery." Millions died after being convicted as "counter-revolutionaries," an all-purpose criminal classification used to make short work of anybody who came under suspicion.

"All major towns held mass rallies at which social "enemies" were publicly denounced and sentenced," Johnson wrote. "Over a few months, nearly 30,000 such meetings were held in Peking alone, attended by three million people. The papers published long lists of names every day of executed 'counter-revolutionaries.' In October 1951, it was stated that 800,000 cases had been dealt with in the first six months of the year."

Estimates of the total number of people killed in these land reform campaigns of extermination ranged as high as 15 million, though Johnson cautions that "a figure of one to three milion is more likely."

In any case, these two passages make clear that Anita Dunn's hero was a man who thought nothing of decreeing the deaths of millions of people for no reason other than suspicion that they might not accept his ghastly totalitarian vision for China. To fully grasp what Mao did, just imagine here in America today millions of non-political middle-class Americans suspected of being Tea Party sympathizers being rounded up, tried, sentenced and executed merely on suspicion of their being opposed to "change we can believe in."

You can view the referenced portion of Dunn's commencement speech here, courtesy of Michelle Malkin, who also provides a host of additional facts about Dunn's career as a flak for such notables as Tom Daschle and Nancy Pelosi. The White House has claimed Dunn was joking in her reference to Mao. Judge for yourself.

Is This A Bull Market?

Are we in a bull market? It looks like it for now. This is an interesting table of past bull markets and their longevity. The bull market in 1938 is what makes me nervous.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is Obama Anti-American?

From Wizbang, you decide:

All the freedoms I've discussed can very quickly be distilled into a single essence, an American essence: American individuals are free from control by and fear of their own government, and the American nation is free from control by other nations.
Barack Obama is anti-American because he wants to change this American essence. His domestic policy is directed at increasing government control in every area, which decreases individual liberty. Here's an incomplete bullet-point list of his anti-liberty goals on the home front:

He wants to remove any last vestiges of the marketplace from individuals' control over their own health care, and put the government entirely in charge.

He's willing to give government control over American businesses (i.e., Bank takeover ands Government Motors).

His administration, while on record as opposing the Fairness Doctrine, is aggressively exploring a backdoor regulatory scheme that would have precisely the same practical effect as the Fairness Doctrine: it would impose government restrictions on content, rather than allowing the market (that means us, the consumers) to control content.

His FCC wants to control the internet, which is a humming beehive of free speech, much of it critical of Obama.

Although he's mostly erased the record, his dream is to create a civilian national security force, subordinate to the administration, which would be larger than the American military. The military, please note, is controlled by the Constitution and has traditionally existed as a separate entity from any government.

He wants to take away the right to bear arms. He'll pay lip service to supporting the Second Amendment, but his fundamental goal is to use government to remove arms from individuals. I've never held a gun in my life, but I know that the Founders understood that, for individuals, their single biggest defense against an overreaching government, is the right to arm themselves. Statists never allow their citizens to bear arms. Indeed, the first thing the Nazis did was ban guns in citizen's hands.

He wants to redistribute wealth. Without money, people have no choices. The more money the government siphons to itself, the fewer choices we, as individuals have, which makes us increasingly subordinate to the government.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dow 10,000? Try Dow 7,500

I am forced each day to watch CNBC. Lately, the anchors have celebrated the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching 10,000 again. There is really no reason to celebrate, given that we first touched 10,000 in 1999 and that the dollar has dropped almost 25% since then.

Another great representation of the amazing loss of purchasing power by the US public are today's oblivious statements about the Dow at 10,000. While in absolute terms the Dow may cross whatever the Fed thinks is a necessary and sufficient mark before QE begins to taper off (Dow crosses 10k just as Treasury purchases expire), the truth is that over the past 10 years (the first time the DJIA was at 10,000) the dollar has lost 25% of its value. Therefore, we present the Dow over the last decade indexed for the DXY, which has dropped from 100 to about 75.On a real basis (not nominal) the Dow at 10,000 ten years ago is equivalent to 7,537 today! In other words, not only have we had a lost decade for all those who focus on the absolute flatness of the DJIA, but it is also a decade where the US Consumer has lost 25% of purchasing power from the perspective of stocks! You won't hear this fact on the MSM.

Certain Opinions Are Worse Than Torturing Dogs to Death

Hypocrisy alert. Al Sharpton and the NFL Players Union do not want Rush Limbaugh to be an owner in the NFL, but they have no problem welcoming a dog-torturing thug like Michael Vick.

The message? Uttering opinions with which powerful activists like Al Sharpton disagree is worse than feloniously torturing animals.

Would You Lend Money To Someone Like This?

Would you lend money to a deadbeat relative who needs the money just to pay the interest on his credit card, not even the principal? I would argue that this is a bad loan to make. Well, the United States' Treasury now needs 40% of the income tax revenue it brings in just to pay the interest on our national debt. And Barack Obama, not understanding things like basic economics, wants to double our debt as a % of GDP. If you double the size of the debt and do it by borrowing at higher and higher rates, then this percentage of taxes needed to service the debt will move vertiginously higher in short order. There is a term for when a country borrows money just to pay the interest on previously borrowed money. It is called a "Ponzi Scheme." We have become an unserious country.

As of Sept. 30, 2009, the national debt was almost $12 trillion and interest on that debt was $383 billion for the year, according to the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt. The Congressional Budget Office on Oct. 7 estimated the 2009 budget deficit to be almost $1.4 trillion (about 10% of GDP). In August, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) estimated total government revenues at about $2 trillion. The revenue estimate included $904 billion from individual income taxes. This means the cost of interest on the debt represented more than 40 cents of every dollar that came in from individual income taxes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Higher Premiums and Lower Wages

PriceWaterhouseCoopers just finished a study of the Baucus bill that is making its way through the Senate, which shows that the bill will make health insurance MORE expensive than under current law. Wasn't the whole effort to overhaul our health care system (with which 80% of Americans are happy) designed to reduce or at least slow down the increase in costs?

Money Quote:

For example, the analysis shows that the cost of the average family policy is approximately $12,300 today and will rise to:

  • $15,500 in 2013 under current law and to $17,200 if these provisions are implemented.
  • $18,400 in 2016 under current law and to $21,300 if these provisions are implemented.
  • $21,900 in 2019 under current law and to $25,900 if these provisions are implemented.

In fact, between 2010 and 2019 the cumulative increases in the cost of a typical family policy under this reform proposal will be approximately $20,700 more than it would be under the current system.

Dollar Debasement (Continued)

This is from the FT, written by Roger Altman, who was Deputy Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton:

Money Quote:

This debt surge comes against a fragile backdrop. The national savings rate is essentially zero. Net borrowings are being supplied entirely by foreigners. Foreigners already hold half the national debt. Not only do we know, empirically, that massive deficits raise interest rates, cut private investment and depress standards of living. But there is no precedent for financial markets lending such amounts, over 10 years, at anywhere near current interest rates and exchange rates. Indeed, does anyone think that once recovery takes hold and private demand for capital strengthens, the Treasury will raise $4,000bn a year at below 4 per cent, as it is doing today?

The acute threat is the foreign exchange market. When markets lose confidence in a nation’s financial policy, a sharp and often panicky decline in its currency follows. This has happened before to the dollar and this dire fiscal outlook risks triggering it again.

We saw this in the 1978-79 dollar crisis that shook Jimmy Carter’s administration, in whose Treasury I served. Then, rising inflation and perceived indifference to the dollar’s stability eroded nearly half its value against the yen. Global anxiety rose and an emergency rescue was arranged. It required that the deficit be halved and the Fed raise rates. This was costly to growth and the administration’s goals.

In recent weeks, the dollar has lost 15 per cent against the euro and gold has soared above $1,000 per ounce. There are technical factors involved, too, but these signs are not healthy. They suggest concern over currency stability – and the recovery, with its inflation and financing pressures, has not even begun yet. President Barack Obama and Congress should not risk a replay of the Carter experience. The scale is so much larger now that the impact of a dollar stabilisation programme would be more punitive. It would jeopardise the entire recovery. This is why an overt commitment to deficit reduction should be made now.

Dollar Debasement

Here is another good article from the WSJ, which follows my posts this weekend on the dangers of deliberately weakening the dollar.

Money Quote: The world's investors can also see the arc of overall U.S. economic policy, which is becoming less inviting to global capital. Higher taxes on capital gains and income; new entitlements that will require trillions of dollars in new U.S. borrowing; a wave of new antitrust enforcement, more telecom regulation ("net neutrality") and trade protection, new restrictions on energy production, easier rules for union organizing, and so much more. All of these are signals that U.S. growth is likely to be slower than it otherwise would be, and that the returns on investing in America will be lower than they should be. This too is a reason to sell greenbacks.

For many in the Washington establishment, alas, the falling dollar is considered a virtue. They believe it will help U.S. exports and therefore reduce the trade deficit and bring back manufacturing jobs. But as David Malpass argued on these pages yesterday, capital flows dwarf trade flows as a source of wealth creation. The only way to build wealth and create more high-paying jobs over time is through the productivity gains that come from greater investment and innovation. As the dollar falls and capital flees the U.S. for other countries, those global competitors reap its benefits and become more productive and relatively more prosperous.

The more immediate danger—in the coming months—would be if the fall of the dollar becomes a rout. This could cause a spike in commodity prices, such as oil, that are traded in dollars and jeopardize the nascent economic recovery. But even if there is no dollar panic, the volatility of currency markets is distorting investment decisions and creating more economic uncertainty. It could also lead to a round of competitive devaluations, as other nations try to placate their own domestic export constituencies.

Washington may not care to notice, but the sell-off in the dollar is a daily global vote on U.S. economic policy. It is not a vote of confidence.


Capitalism's Petty Detractors

If you have 20 minutes to spare, read this terrific article from Jagdish Bhagwati, a professor at Columbia whose work is mandatory reading at most business schools around the country.

Actual versus Estimated Costs of Government Health Programs

Supporters of the Baucus bill to have government run health care claim now that it will ONLY cost $892 billion. This, of course, is another $892 billion that our country doesn't have and will need to borrow from the Chinese and other foreign investors. How has the federal government done in the past at keeping costs consistent with their estimates prior to enactment? The short answer is that the costs end up exceeding the estimates by multiples.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Last Post on Obama's Nobel Prize

Sorry, this is too good not to post. From Mark Steyn:

The Nobel prize is like the post-modern version of the Emperor's new clothes: To a fool, His Majesty appears entirely naked. To a wise man, His Majesty is also naked but the wise man is sophisticated enough to admire the potential His Majesty has to be fabulously dressed at some point in the future.

Obama, Gore, Arafat, Carter: Nobel Prize Winners

I am not going to waste too much time commenting on the travesty of Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Here is the best and most succinct explanation of what it is and what it means.

So President Barack Obama said he was surprised that he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize – making him the only person on earth who was surprised that he won the 2009 Nobel Peace prize.

I’d like to say that I’m really happy for him…. but isn’t that what this is all about? Being happy for “him?” Wasn’t that what the Olympics were about? Rooting for “him?”

Wasn’t that what the last presidential election was about? Electing “him?”

It’s never about us. Or the U.S.

Because if it was, no Nobel committee would have ever given him that prize. The fact is, you only win that prize if a particular transaction is made -that is, a weakening of America in exchange for worldly acceptance by madmen, maniacs and mass murderers.

But that’s not all.

The prize is not meant to award achievement, but to insult folks the committee finds distasteful – meaning those who refuse to share their assumptions about a deeply flawed – oh let’s face it, evil – America.

Meaning, you and me. And like I always say, when it happens three times, it’s officially a trend. The 2002 prize to Jimmy Carter was meant to humiliate President Bush for the Iraq War build-up. They even admitted that. Then in 2007, they handed the political prop to Al Gore – a message meant to slap Bush for winning the 2000 election, and also America for not embracing global warming ideology.

And that’s what this prize is all about now. It’s not just another slap at Bush (well, it is), but a prop to help beat back the simmering dissent Obama’s progressive agenda has caused, here.

The Nobel committee wants him to succeed, for they’re smitten with this “citizen of the world,” a man who puts the globe before his country.

Forget human rights activism: this is how you win an award, people.

It won’t help us, but It’ll look great on his mantle. Next to the Grammy.

U.S. Currency Stability Ranked 50th Globally

Another interesting article on the terrifying realization that the debasement of the dollar appears to be part of a deliberate administration plan. The dollar bills that we all carry around in our wallets have absolutely no intrinsic value. No paper money has intrinsic value now that none of them are backed by gold. Currencies only have value if people BELIEVE that they represent value, that others will accept it as a form of payment, that the promise of repayment is one that will be honored. Other nations, many of whom are our creditors, are starting to question whether or not dollars will have any value in the future, given the massive deficits that will require trillions in new borrowing to fund. What happens if we reach an inflection point where nobody believes that our currency has any value? What are the ramifications of global investors deciding that US Treasuries are too risky given the default risk of a $9 trillion deficit over the next 10 years?

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Obama's Secret Plan: Debase the Currency

The title of this article is "Obama's Secret Job Plan." According to the author, a professor at MIT, the administration's plan is to weaken the dollar in order to export more of our manufactured goods by making them cheaper. An increase in exports, according to this theory, will help the country return to meaningful economic growth. He concedes that this could lead to inflation, but that this a worry for after the 2010 midterm elections, where key congressional seats are in play in the industrial midwest.

"If the dollar stays weak or declines further, our car companies, machinery makers, and turbine blade manufacturers will soon be rehiring and we’ll finally get some job growth as part of our sputtering economic recovery."

It is pretty scary to think that that anyone, especially a professor of economics at MIT, can honestly believe that debasing the dollar can lead to prosperity. If the recipe for economic success is to simply weaken the currency in order to export our way to growth, then why wouldn't all countries do the same thing? For the dollar to weaken, it must do so against other currencies. Will our trading partners stand idly by as the U.S. devalues it's currency? If a weak currency were the solution, then why have so many African and Latin American countries suffered economic collapse and widespread poverty as a result of currency debasements?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tax the Rich? How's That Working?

Most politicians, having never actually studied economics or held a private sector job, are shocked to learn that Americans prefer lower taxes to higher taxes. The states with the highest tax burden are losing people to lower tax states. It is even easier for capital to move freely than it is for people. The dollar is tanking against a global basket of currencies because the Obama regime is unfriendly to capital: higher taxes, cap and trade (an energy tax), card check, the seizure of private property from secured creditors of GM and Chrysler in favor of the unions that bankrupted them in the first place, etc. Global investors are therefore fleeing the dollar in pursuit of locales where capital is treated better. Obama has managed to make the USA look like a banana republic in just a few months.

Tax the Rich? How's That Working?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who Gets the Green Medal? Not the Obamas

Here is another Hypocrisy Alert. Obama and his wife flew on separate Air Force One jets to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Olympics. He flew nine hours each way and stayed there for three hours, just long enough to give a vapid, narcissistic speech that went over like a lead balloon. Check out the site below, which goes through the math to demonstrate that flying a second Air Force One to Copenhagen is the carbon emissions equivalent of driving a Cadillac Escalade for 26 years. That's right..from the President who brought us the uber-regressive cap and trade tax as part of a futile effort to try and control the weather. Hypocrisy? You decide. I say "hell yes."

Who Gets the Green Medal? Not the Obamas » The Foundry

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Americans Have the Most Energy Efficient Economy On The Planet

We do NOT need the federal government to implement carbon taxes in order to encourage Americans to use energy more efficiently. As you can see at this link, we are the most energy efficient country on the planet. And, we are becoming more efficient over time. Allow free markets to work...and they will.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roger L. Simon » Tibet: Now Obama loses the Richard Gere vote

I don't think it is too early to submit Obama's name to the list of Worst President's Ever," which is remarkable given his short tenure. He is making people sentimental for Jimmy Carter, another defeatist President.

Roger L. Simon » Tibet: Now Obama loses the Richard Gere vote

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God Help Us

The Cash for Clunkers program is the type of sophisticated economic thinking we can expect from the geniuses in Congress: destroy $2.5bn in perfectly good older cars and buy new cars using money that is taken from other taxpayers.

More from the WSJ:

The basic fallacy of cash for clunkers is that you can somehow create wealth by destroying existing assets that are still productive, in this case cars that still work. Under the program, auto dealers were required to destroy the car engines of trade-ins with a sodium silicate solution, then smash them and send them to the junk yard. As the journalist Henry Hazlitt wrote in his classic, "Economics in One Lesson," you can't raise living standards by breaking windows so some people can get jobs repairing them.

In the category of all-time dumb ideas, cash for clunkers rivals the New Deal brainstorm to slaughter pigs to raise pork prices. The people who really belong in the junk yard are the wizards in Washington who peddled this economic malarkey.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Michelle Obama's Complete B.S.

From Michelle Obama’s failed pitch to the International Olympic Committee:

“Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad’s lap, cheering on Olga and Nadia, Carl Lewis, and others for their brilliance and perfection.”

Mrs. Obama was 20 years old when Lewis first competed in the Olympics in 1984.

Hypocrisy Alert: David Letterman

Imagine for a moment if David Letterman was not a "cool" liberal, but was instead a Fox News employee, or a Republican politician, or a Catholic priest. Would liberals be laughing off his admission of womanizing with his female staffers? He made dozens of Sarah Palin "white trash" jokes during the campaign. Where are the pro-women's groups in all of this?

Learn How To Sell Before Humiliating Yourself

More good stuff from the American Thinker Blog on the Olympics:

Of course Barack and Michelle Obama failed in Copenhagen. Their strategy could not possibly succeed. In their academic arrogance, they thought they could sell a product they clearly do not believe in (the United States) and moreover, they could do so by stressing the benefits to the seller (Chicago) and not the buyer (the IOC). And to top it off, they committed the faux pas of talking too much about the sales force (themselves) and not about the product or the buyer.

Another Broken Promise

As mentioned in previous posts, the vast majority of Obama's promises have expiration dates or are outright lies. His promise to never raise taxes on people making less than $250,000/year is one of those lies. The cap and trade scheme making its way through Congress will cost households at least $1,700/year. It is a powerfully regressive tax that hurts the poorest Americans the most. And, since the vast majority of the growth in future carbon emissions will come from developing nations like China and India, the cap and trade system will do NOTHING to reduce emissions globally.

Michael Moore's Latest Film Bombs At The Box Office

Here is another wonderful example (and there are so many these days coming from Hollywood and Washington) of hypocrisy in its purest form. I love that Michael Moore's idiotic new film is tanking at the box office. Why would it be fun to sit for two hours to watch this? I don't get it at all. The hypocrisy of the entire enterprise is amazing. If capitalism is evil, as Moore asserts, then why is he charging for his film? If capitalism is evil, then why doesn't he write a check to the U.S. Treasury, which you absolutely are able to do, for every dollar he has ever made from his books and films? Then he can live off of a monthly welfare check and thus totally avoid any capitalistic impulses. He should be celebrating capitalism instead of condemning it. It is capitalism that makes it possible for him to consume such voluminous amounts of foods from all over the world and to become morbidly obese. As far as I can tell, there are no fat asses in non-capitalistic countries like North Korea, with the exception of Kim Jung Il.



Saturday, October 3, 2009

Olympic Failure

A nice explanation of the Olympic decision:

Olympics 2016: an inconvenient truth for the President.

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Obama/Pelosi/Reid Stimulus Is A Joke

Just weeks ago, Joe Biden said that the $800bn stimulus package was working "better than our wildest dreams." It turns out that borrowing money to pay unemployment benefits and to increase government jobs is not really stimulative at all. This is not surprising to people that understand basic economics. Obama and Biden are not among them. Compare their promises of how the stimulus would work versus how it has worked in reality.


Hard Hitting Journalist's Response to Chicago Losing Olympic Bid

This CNN anchor had a hilarious response to Chicago's failure to land the 2016 Olympics yesterday. Shouldn't somebody explain to him that he should at least pretend to be objective.

Post Hoc Criticism of Obama's Copenhagen Trip Justified

Great summary of Obama's Olympian Screw Up from Pajamas Media:

Post Hoc Criticism of Obama’s Copenhagen Trip Justified

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A PR Nightmare for the Obamas

Obama's trip to Denmark, with Michelle and Oprah in tow, cost more than $10mm in security and travel costs. It occurred the same day that the US unemployment rate his 9.8%. Not a smart day to take a boondoggle. It should also be mentioned that the President, who favors taxing American families heavily for using energy, under the ridiculous assumption that we can control the weather by doing so, just needed both Air Force One jets to fly nine hours each way for a three hour visit. Hypocrisy? You decide. More than anything, however, it was a colossal diplomatic error by a President that is in over his head.

One other thing. Obama has spent the entirety of his administration apologizing for the United States, for how much carbon we emit, for our foreign policy, for our alleged racism, etc. Then, he goes abroad and tells the International Olympic Committee that his hometown of Chicago deserves the Olympics more than an emerging nation like Brazil, which has never hosted an Olympics. Hypocrisy? You decide.

A PR Nightmare for the Obamas - Victor Davis Hanson - The Corner on National Review Online

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Top 10 Reasons Chicago Didn't Get The Olympics

From the Corner:

10. Dead people can't vote at IOC meetings

9. Obama distracted by 25 min meeting with Gen. McChrystal

8. Who cares if Obama couldn't talk the IOC into Chicago? He'll be able to talk Iran out of nukes.

7. The impediment is Israel still building settlements.

6. Obviously no president would have been able to acomplish it.

5. We've been quite clear and said all along that we didn't want the Olympics.

4. This isn't about the number of Olympics "lost", it's about the number of Olympics "saved" or "created".

3. Clearly not enough wise Latina judges on the committee

2. Because the IOC is racist.

1. It's George Bush's fault.

Americans Have Little Confidence In Obama Foreign Policy

Not only is Obama making the US look weak and vulnerable to our enemies abroad, he is losing the confidence of our citizens, not surprisingly, in his feckless, blame-America first foreign policy.

The latest Fox News/Opinion Dymanic poll is chock-full of bad news for the president. But on foreign policy, the results are nothing short of stunning. On who they trust more to decide the next steps in Afghanistan. 66 percent say military commanders, while only 20 percent say the president. Even Democrats have more faith in the military commanders (by a 45 to 37 percent margin). On Iran, 69 percent say Obama has not been tough enough, including 55 percent of Democrats. Sixty-one percent favor a U.S. military action, if needed, to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Fifty-one percent think Obama apologizes for American too much.

Less than a year into his presidency, this is a remarkable and widespread loss of confidence in the president’s handling of national security. This should actually come as no surprise. Neither his rhetoric or his decision-making to date has projected strength. He spent months arguing that we should close Guantanamo and dump the terrorists into the U.S. or into other countries. The voters disagreed. He dithers on Afghanistan, and the voters no longer see him as the best person to set our course. He sends video valentines to the mullahs, delighting in the notion that we can talk them out of their nukes, and waits for Russia and China to climb onto the Obama bandwagon (or Israel to do the dirty work for us). And Americans overwhelmingly see his performance as weak.

In short, Obama has already achieved what it took Jimmy Carter an entire term to attain: the conviction of a large majority of the American people that he is not protecting our interests or performing adequately as commander in chief. He can either stiffen his resolve to confront America’s foes or continue his decline. World events are unlikely to help him–they will only highlight his shoddy performance as our adversaries, seeing exactly what Americans do, begin to test and challenge the U.S. at every turn.

Joe Biden had a single correct insight during the campaign about foreign policy: Obama’s mettle would be tested, and “it’s not going to be apparent that’s we’re right.” For once Biden has proved to be the master of understatement.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Year Over Year Change In Home Prices

This is stunning data. Almost half of Americans with mortgages are underwater at this point, which doesn't bode well for housing prices going forward. The number of mortgages that are 60 days delinquent is 11X more than the number that have started the foreclosure process, which means that there is potentially a tidal wave of homes that could be put on the market, sending prices further downward.

From Bespoke:


You Mislead! by Michael F. Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru on National Review Online

Here is a nicely summarized list of 20 lies/deceptions from Obama's speech to the joint session on Congress about his dreams of government run health care.

You Mislead! by Michael F. Cannon and Ramesh Ponnuru on

National Review Online

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Some Pervs Are More Equal Than Others

This is a fascinating study in contrasts: look at the way liberal bloggers who write for the Huffington Post are reacting to child rapist Roman Polanski's situation versus how they reacted back in 2006 to revelations that Republican House member Mark Foley had texted inappropriately to male pages.

From the Rhetorician:

Some sophisticrats are really desperate to appear cool by coming to the defense of a very talented artist: HuffPo writers are going all out to defend Roman Polanski.

That doesn’t surprise me. Appearing cool is of tremendous importance to the cultural elite. What surprises me is that all these sophisticrats know that the very talented man in question raped a 13-year old girl.

Strangely, Republican Congressman Mark Foley didn’t attract such sympathies on the HuffPo’s servers when he was caught IM’ing suggestive messages to a Congressional page. But unlike Foley, Polanski is not a Republican. He’s simply wanted in L.A. on a child rape charge conviction.

Imagine If Bush Had Done This (IIBHDT)

I am going to start another series of posts called "Imagine If Bush Had Done This" to highlight Obama and Biden gaffes and the liberal media's deliberate decisions to ignore them. I will start with this email that has been going around:

If George W. Bush had been the first President to need a teleprompter
installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you
have laughed and said this is more proof of how he inept he is on
his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?
If George W.Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to
take Laura Bush to a play in NYC, would you have approved?
If George W.Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM
stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you
have approved?
If George W.Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special
Olympics, would you have approved?
If George W.Bush had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and
incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a
thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?
If George W.Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing
videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly
narcissistic and tacky?
If George W.Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you
have approved?
If George W.Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-
existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?
If George W.Bush had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people
who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have
If George W. Bush had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to
"Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the
5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again,
would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had mis-spelled the word "advice" would you have
hammered him for it for years like Dan Quayle and potatoe as proof
of what a dunce he is?
If George W. Bush had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a
single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?
If George W. Bush's administration had okayed Air Force One flying
low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown
Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered
whether they actually get what happened on 9-11?
If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout
the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in
New Orleans, would you want it made into a major ongoing political
issue with claims of racism and incompetence?
If George W.Bush had created the position of 32 Czars who report
directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what
is happening in America, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major
corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do
so, would you have approved?
If George W. Bush had proposed to double the national debt, which
had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would
you have approved?
If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within
10 years, would you have approved?
So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant
and impressive? Can't think of anything?