Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MSNBC dingbat tries to tell the world Animal Farm wasn't aimed at the Soviet Union

Her name? Krystal Ball.

(With a name like that shouldn't she be doing the weather somewhere, or maybe the traffic? No, I know! Market futures!)

Here she is in all her dimness, trying to frame George Orwell's fairy story as a screed against capitalism:

Animal Farm, hmm. Isn't that Orwell's political parable of farm animals where a bunch of pigs hog up all the economic resources, tell the animals they need the food because they're the makers and then scare up a prospect of a phony boogie man every time their greed is challenged?


Sorry, no. The original capitalist pigs were the communists, which is why the communists like "Krystal Ball" work so hard to make you think the opposite:

One publisher during the war, who had initially accepted Animal Farm, subsequently turned it down after an official at the British Ministry of Information warned him off. The publisher then wrote to Orwell, saying: "If the fable were addressed generally to dictators and dictatorships at large then publication would be all right, but the fable does follow, as I see now, so completely the progress of the Russian Soviets and their two dictators [Lenin and Stalin], that it can apply only to Russia, to the exclusion of the other dictatorships. "Another thing: it would be less offensive if the predominant caste in the fable were not pigs. I think the choice of pigs as the ruling caste will no doubt give offence to many people, and particularly to anyone who is a bit touchy, as undoubtedly the Russians are."

In Orwell's London Letter for Partisan Review dated 17 April 1944 he stated how it was "next door to impossible to get anything overtly anti-Russian printed" because of the US, UK, Soviet alliance.

What's next from old Krystal? The OSS (formed in 1941) murdered Trotsky?

America Becomes France, Shrugs Shoulders Over Disastrous Q1 GDP Of 0.1%, News Media Avoid Story

No major news outlet makes the disaster of GDP under Obama, who owns the absolute worst record in the post-war, the lead story this morning except for business news outlets like CNBC and Marketwatch. ABC's story is a one line headline from AP. That's it! You have to actively go looking for the GDP story under "Money" or "Business" or "Economy" to find it just about everywhere even though it is the story of our time because it's the reason there are no jobs, no income growth, declining living standards and growing income inequality. All brought to you by Barack Hussein Obama, hm hm hm, who has turned America into a slum.

Q1 2014 GDP 0.1%: Consensus 1.2% Only Overestimated By 1100%, That's All!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The median priced existing home is affordable only to the highest reaches of the upper middle class

From an interesting discussion recently about what it means to be middle class, here:

One helpful yardstick to judge whether you're middle class: Median household income was $51,017 in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. census data. Robert Reich, a professor of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, has suggested the middle class be defined as households making 50 percent higher and lower than the median, which would mean the average middle class annual income is $25,500 to $76,500.

If you're in the middle of the middle, however – not lower or upper-middle class – that would be an income range between $39,764 and $64,582, says Aaron Pacitti, an assistant professor of economics at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

Again, it isn't official. Nobody gets a membership card to the middle class.

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The former spread, $25,500 to $76,500, comes to about 53 million individual wage earners in 2012 according to Social Security wage statistics, out of almost 154 million total. This spread looks like it comes from dividing the total workers into thirds and seeing where the income lines fall . . . in other words, not a wealth driven measure but grading on the population curve. This means a third of wage earners (about 50 million) make less than $25,500 and a third make more than $76,500.

The latter spread, between $39,764 and $64,582, comes to just 20 million individual wage earners in 2012.

Typically, working couples must combine such incomes to enjoy middle class life styles, which usually means homeownership.

Perhaps a better way to measure membership in the middle class is through housing affordability. Often housing is deemed affordable at about 2.6 times earnings on an historical basis, which implies an existing home price to the $39,764 earner at $103,400 or lower, and $167,900 or lower to the $64,582 earner.

Unfortunately the US existing home median sales price in March 2014 was $198,500, which presently requires an income of $76,300 to be affordable. In other words, you've got to have extreme upper middle class household income just to afford the median priced existing home.

But the median household income in 2012 was just $51,017. That only supported an affordable home at $132,600 or less, not much of a home.

Three Cheers For Dana Rohrabacher: Christian Love Is Furthered By Individual, Not Government, Action

Quoted here at 218, the blog of the oligarchy:

"No. 1, a policy of legalizing the people who are here, the sort of easy way out, would in the long run put 40 million new people into our country, which would change the nature of our country, and that would be a bad thing, not to mention breaking the bank, etc."

“Also, my response was that Christian love is not furthered by advocacy of government policy but instead by individual action and commitment."

“Individual commitment is not individual commitment to changing a government policy, it is to come out and help specific people and people who are in need, and if [the pastors] really wanted to help people who are here illegally or in bad situations they, they want to pay for their health insurance and everything, then I would be saying how wonderful that is. But if they are advocating that the government do that, then it will break our bank and destroy our country.”

If Hillary Doesn't Run, Her Marxism Dictates That Chelsea Must . . . For Something: How About Ambassador To Libya To Get Her Started?

Libya accepts pregnant ambassadors, right?

Mickey Kaus, here:

The Clinton mode of production, then, is running for office or serving in office. That is the material basis for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton lifestyle and the whole Clinton institutional structure. In order to keep this mode of production from breaking down, the Clintons–one of them, at any rate–must be at least potentially in the running for a powerful office at all times. If Hillary doesn’t really want to run, she can’t admit it in public. She must maintain the facade of candidacy until the last minute–or else the Foundation will have to cut back and Ira Magaziner might need to find a job. If it looks like Hillary might not run–perhaps because of health reasons–the model would predict that another Clinton, presumably daughter Chelsea, would start making noises about launching a political career. Voila! Data point confirmed. The theory is off to a good start. …




h/t Chris

Senate Republicans Kill Provision Requiring Disclosure Of Total Executed Annually By Drone

From The New York Times, here:

The provision, passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee last year as part of its authorization bill, required Mr. Obama to make public an annual report on “the total number of combatants killed or injured during the preceding year by the use of targeted lethal force outside the United States by remotely piloted aircraft.” The provision was the same for civilians killed or injured. But officials said that the provision encountered almost immediate resistance both from intelligence officials and Republican lawmakers, some who have fought against any changes to the way the targeted killing program has been managed.

Beaver Pennsylvania: Home Of The $6.30 Screw Job

From the story here:

A widow was given ample notice before her $280,000 house was sold at a tax auction three years ago over $6.30 in unpaid interest, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled.

The decision last week turned down Eileen Battisti's request to reverse the September 2011 sale of her home outside Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania.

"I paid everything, and didn't know about the $6.30," Battisti said. "For the house to be sold just because of $6.30 is crazy."

Another story here says she owes a lot more than $6.30:

Tax records show that as of last week she has an outstanding balance of more than $20,000, including penalties and interest, for county, municipal and school taxes from 2009 to 2013.

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Beaver PA is the home of Boss Quay.


Papal iniquity: Let him who is without money among you cast the first stone

So the pope has tweeted that inequality is the root of social evil.

The redefinition of terms is startling, as if there were a difference between social evil and individual evil. The classic formulation from 1 Timothy 6 says the love of money is the root of all evil, so what we have here is a pope who is at best unanchored. According to Jesus, you cannot serve both God and Mammon.

Speaking of which, since the cost of Christian discipleship according to Jesus is personal poverty, when the fabulously wealthy papacy and the rest of the world's Catholics become as poor as the poor there will be reason to pay attention, but until then the pontweetification will remain just that, and disappear into the ether.

Next stop, an appearance on The Tonight Show?

Monday, April 28, 2014

New book details liberal disdain for the middle class

From Tom Bethell's review of it here:

Ortega y Gasset’s Revolt of the Masses was published in 1930, but don’t be misled—its author was hostile to the masses. They had attained “complete social power,” and he resented that. The masses “neither should nor can direct their own personal existence.”

Fred Siegel’s Revolt Against the Masses (Encounter Books) takes issue with Ortega and can be seen as a belated corrective. A bracing, well-written reinterpretation of liberalism, Siegel’s new book identifies a political trend that has been in place for decades, yet is rarely noticed or mentioned.

It is subtitled “How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class.” Siegel calls them gentry liberals—our equivalent of old-fashioned Tories and every bit as class-conscious. In the 1960s they took up “the priestly task of de-democratizing America in the name of administering newly developed rights.”

His message, says Michael Barone, co-author The Almanac of American Politics, is that “the roots of American liberalism are not compassion but snobbery.” 


Secretary of State John F Kerry does The Mussolini


The end of oligarchy

Oligarchy ends when the few who rule us become so few in number that they eventually resolve into a singularity, known as tyranny.

Matthew Continetti Thinks He Ought To Hear One Of The Oligarchs Complain About The Oligarchy

Here, in The Washington Free Beacon:

If the business editors of the [New York] Times were aware of the irony of lamenting the political influence of great wealth on one half of their page while handling it with kid gloves on the other, they gave no sign. “Mr. Cohen says he understands the criticism that he has access most citizens do not,” says the article, before handing Cohen the microphone. “But I also don’t believe in unilateral disarmament,” he said. Two paragraphs earlier, he had said, “My priorities in political giving are Comcast priorities. I don’t kid myself. My goals are to support the interests of the company.”

There you have it: A wealthy Democratic donor admits he funds candidates to improve his bottom line. And yet I hear from the Senate floor no denunciations of his attempts to buy American democracy, no labeling of him as un-American. I have not received a piece of direct mail soliciting donations to fight David L. Cohen’s hijacking of the political process, nor do I wake up every day to investigations of the Cohen political and charitable network. Why?

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Matthew needs to re-read that George Orwell line with which he starts the story, get his nose out of the Times and aim it in the direction of the Congress:

“To see what is in front of one’s nose,” George Orwell famously wrote, “needs a constant struggle.” 

I'll say.

The whole point of representation is that it be adequate to the task of balancing the influence of competing interests which all from time to time display the same shortcomings of human nature. Continetti's faith in the goodness of the Senate is shockingly naive. It especially misses the fact that the oligarchy it itself constitutes works hand in glove with the oligarchy of business by which it was captured long ago after state legislatures lost their right of electing them. The founders wanted the Senate to be an oligarchy of the interests of the states qua states, balanced by a House of the people which grew in size as the country did, but we willingly gave that up long ago when Senators became popularly elected and Congressmen fixed their number based on the population level of the 1920 US Census. Now every important issue hangs in the balance depending on what just one or two men or women can do in government, as when a Biden, a McConnell or a Boehner, a Pelosi or a Reid brokers some deal to get legislation passed. And almost always bad legislation.

Talk about oligarchy. Wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of government these days, there is one.

It is counterintuitive that in order for the people to have more control of their government, government has to be bigger, just not the part that's already too big, which it is precisely because the part that isn't anywhere near big enough is as small as it is.

Repeal the 17th Amendment, and expand the US House to its constitutional proportions: 10,566. It won't be perfect. It's not a panacea. Some measure will have to be taken to preclude the House and Senate from doing what they did before in concentrating power in their few hands. But there is no other alternative if we are to rescue ourselves from the miserable few who now tyrannize us routinely, as with ObamaCare. If we don't, the next step is a true tyranny of one.


Another reason why "The American Conservative" isn't conservative

They didn't used to be "AmConMag.com" for nothing.

Seen here over the weekend:

"American democracy is rife with troubling inequalities, but calling it an oligarchy is a step too far."

This is the dingbat sort of stuff you expect people without any historical sense to say, not conservatives.


Alarums against oligarchy were already afoot in the debate over the constitution in 1787, whence these excerpts from Brutus to the New Yorkers:


[I]n reality there will be no part of the people represented, but the rich, even in that branch of the legislature, which is called the democratic. — The well born, and highest orders in life, as they term themselves, will be ignorant of the sentiments of the midling class of citizens, strangers to their ability, wants, and difficulties, and void of sympathy, and fellow feeling. This branch of the legislature will not only be an imperfect representation, but there will be no security in so small a body, against bribery, and corruption — It will consist at first, of sixty-five, and can never exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants; a majority of these, that is, thirty-three, are a quorum, and a majority of which, or seventeen, may pass any law — so that twenty-five men, will have the power to give away all the property of the citizens of these states — what security therefore can there be for the people, where their liberties and property are at the disposal of so few men?

It will literally be a government in the hands of the few to oppress and plunder the many. You may conclude with a great degree of certainty, that it, like all others of a similar nature, will be managed by influence and corruption, and that the period is not far distant, when this will be the case, if it should be adopted; for even now there are some among us, whose characters stand high in the public estimation, and who have had a principal agency in framing this constitution, who do not scruple to say, that this is the only practicable mode of governing a people, who think with that degree of freedom which the Americans do — this government will have in their gift a vast number of offices of great honor and emolument. The members of the legislature are not excluded from appointments; and twenty-five of them, as the case may be, being secured, any measure may be carried.

The rulers of this country must be composed of very different materials from those of any other, of which history gives us any account, if the majority of the legislature are not, before many years, entirely at the devotion of the executive — and these states will soon be under the absolute domination of one, or a few, with the fallacious appearance of being governed by men of their own election.

The more I reflect on this subject, the more firmly am I persuaded, that the representation is merely nominal — a mere burlesque; and that no security is provided against corruption and undue influence. No free people on earth, who have elected persons to legislate for them, ever reposed that confidence in so small a number. The British house of commons consists of five hundred and fifty-eight members; the number of inhabitants in Great-Britain, is computed at eight millions — this gives one member for a little more than fourteen thousand, which exceeds double the proportion this country can ever have: and yet we require a larger representation in proportion to our numbers, than Great-Britain, because this country is much more extensive, and differs more in its productions, interests, manners, and habits. The democratic branch of the legislatures of the several states in the union consists, I believe at present, of near two thousand; and this number was not thought too large for the security of liberty by the framers of our state constitutions: some of the states may have erred in this respect, but the difference between two thousand, and sixty-five, is so very great, that it will bear no comparison.

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Can anyone today deny that Brutus' warnings were wrong? He has been entirely vindicated by subsequent events, which we call a precious American history but he would have called a mockery of the original vision they had for the country. Yet Brutus, already horrified in 1787, would no doubt have been struck dead on the spot were he still alive in the 1920s to have witnessed this long-standing paltry representation further prohibited from growing and frozen at 435, the number we still have today. And instead of the 10,000 representatives we should have in Congress, we have 10,000 registered lobbyists instead.

No, the seeds of our present discontents were sown at the founding, but today conservatism is so unthinking and emotionally reflexive that it only means to preserve the baby in its dirty bath water while chiding the nursemaid for sensibly wanting to drain it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A little satire on French economist Thomas Piketty, by yours truly

Thomas Piketty has written a big book,
whose thesis is rickety says Bloomberg's Clive Crook,
mistaken about wages both minimum and higher,
for which Diana Furchtgott-Roth says he's a liar.

Entitled Capital in the Twenty-First Century,
its accumulators he'd put in a penitentiary,
while millions now equal (in the theory of this novel),
would no doubt end-up together in a hovel.

We petits rentiers are his "fairly disturbing" problem,
the progeny of capitalism (for Marxists the hobgoblin),
successfully multiplying left and right like rabbits,
Oui! because of our unequal work ethic and habits.


Bank Failure Friday April 25th 2014: The 6th Of 2014

Allendale County Bank, Fairfax, South Carolina, failed on Friday costing the FDIC $17.1 million.

It was the sixth bank failure of 2014, and the 498th since February 2007.

FDIC insured institutions number 6,812 through 12/31/13.

Calculated Risk reports on the unofficial problem bank list and statistics here:

For the week, there were nine removals and one addition that leave the list at 513 institutions with assets of $167.3 billion. A year ago, the list held 775 institutions with assets of $285.3 billion.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

One reason why Americans have lost their passion and don't seem to care about very much

One reason why Americans have lost their passion and don't seem to care about very much is that they are taking large quantities of psychotropic drugs, many of which level their moods so that they are not too happy and not too sad.

In 2011 the top 25 psychiatric medication prescriptions numbered a staggering 391 million. Most of these prescriptions are for drugs such as SSRIs, SARIs, SNRIs or NDRIs for depression, anxiety and other mental disorders, with just 33 million of the prescriptions intended solely for attention deficit disorder.

Data here.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Real Median Annual Household Income Remains In Depression Measured Since Both 2007 And 2000

The report from Sentier Research is here:

The March 2014 [real] median [annual household income of $53,043] was 5.7 percent lower than the median of $56,271 in December 2007, the beginning month of the recession that occurred over six years ago. And the March 2014 median was 6.9 percent lower than the median of $56,950 in January 2000, the beginning of this statistical series.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nothing Else Is Working, So The US Federal Reserve Should Be QEing Gold Instead Of Treasuries

So said Christopher T. Mahoney, a former Vice Chairman at Moody's, for Project-Syndicate last June, here, just not in so many words:

It may be that when rates are at the zero bound and the banking system is broken, the appropriate policy instrument may not be to buy bonds from banks, since buying them doesn’t seem to affect the price level. Bernanke was certainly correct that the Fed could create inflation by dropping money on citizens from helicopters, but that would be a rather blunt instrument.

It seems to me that the Fed needs to buy something besides Treasury and agency bonds. The obvious alternative to Treasuries would be foreign government bonds, or gold. Since the former would constitute a “currency war”, that would seem to leave gold.

I have no doubt that if the Fed were to announce that it will buy gold until it has achieved 2% inflation and 6.5% unemployment, it would get there. It would disrupt the gold market (and enrich some of the wrong people) but that is a small price to pay. No foreign government could object to the Fed buying gold; it’s been doing it for 100 years.


But I said it more or less three times a year ago this month, here, here and especially here:


The United States at present is in the throes of a deflationary collapse of monetarist making, not of dollar currency but of credit money, and it is the principal reason for the collapse of GDP. One of the largest sources of the "currency" of credit money in recent years has been mortgages, which are now effectively unacceptable as collateral because of the rot permeating the system in the form of defaults and underwaters.

Federal Reserve policy has actually been removing such collateral from circulation, along with US Treasuries, by placing it on its balance sheet. But since there is nothing "real" behind the dollars the Fed replaces this collateral with, there is no corresponding expansion of credit in size to match the former vigor of the process.

So perhaps the Fed should QE gold instead of MBS and Treasuries to provide something real behind the money created which would give that money a surer basis in collateral.

Central banks around the world have been buying gold in quantities not seen in 30 years in order to fill the collateral gap. The Fed should join them.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Housing is a store of value, not an investment

Catherine Rampell for WaPo puts the long term real compound annual gain from housing at 0.3%. For the 100 years up to 1990, i.e. before the housing bubble, Robert Shiller has put it at 0.2% per annum, 33% less!

Here is Rampell:

Over the past century, housing prices have grown at a compound annual rate of just 0.3 percent once one adjusts for inflation, according to my calculations using Shiller’s historical housing data. Over the same period, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has had comparable annual returns of about 6.5 percent.

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Housing's ability to retain its value has made it an attractive target for securitization as mortgage-backed securities which have been highly liquid and trade in large denominations just like US Treasury securities, facilitating transactions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The rapid rise of income inequality in the US dates from the close of the gold window

From The New York Sun, here:

The top decile's share of income went from something like 33% in 1971 to above 47% by 2010.

Hmmm. What could account for that? ...

Before this date, unemployment was, by today’s standards, low. ... From 1947 to 1971, unemployment in America ran at the average rate of 4.7%; since 1971 the average unemployment rate has averaged 6.4%. Could this have been a factor in the soaring income inequality that also emerged in the age of fiat money? ...

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. from MIT or Princeton, however, to imagine that in an age of fiat money, the top decile would have an easier time making hay than would the denizens of the other nine deciles, who aren’t trained in the art of swaps and derivatives. ...

[H]onest money ... works out better for more people. And there is a moral dimension to the question of honest money. This was a matter that was understood — and keenly felt — by the Founders of America, who almost to a man (Benjamin Franklin, a printer of paper notes, was a holdout), cringed with humiliation at the thought of fiat paper money. They’d tried it in the revolution, and it had been the one embarrassment of the struggle. They eventually gave us a Constitution that they hoped would bar us from ever making the same mistake.

As for all good Marxists, Thomas Piketty's biggest problem is eliminating the middle class

From The Wall Street Journal here:

While America's corporate executives are his special bĂȘte noire, Mr. Piketty is also deeply troubled by the tens of millions of working people—a group he disparagingly calls "petits rentiers"—whose income puts them nowhere near the "one percent" but who still have savings, retirement accounts and other assets. That this very large demographic group will get larger, grow wealthier and pass on assets via inheritance is "a fairly disturbing form of inequality." He laments that it is difficult to "correct" because it involves a broad segment of the population, not a small elite that is easily demonized.

So what is to be done? Mr. Piketty urges an 80% tax rate on incomes starting at "$500,000 or $1 million." This is not to raise money for education or to increase unemployment benefits. Quite the contrary, he does not expect such a tax to bring in much revenue, because its purpose is simply "to put an end to such incomes." It will also be necessary to impose a 50%-60% tax rate on incomes as low as $200,000 to develop "the meager US social state." There must be an annual wealth tax as high as 10% on the largest fortunes and a one-time assessment as high as 20% on much lower levels of existing wealth. He breezily assures us that none of this would reduce economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship or innovation.


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"[T]he lower middle class attitude — attachment to the idea of private property, more or less open striving to uphold credit, terror of every fundamental social disturbance — is in practice the greatest internal enemy of the proletariat and the proletarian revolution."

-- Bela Kun, 1918



And you thought I was kidding when I called Thomas Piketty's new book a novel

Diana Furchtgott-Roth for Real Clear Markets, here, eviscerates Thomas Piketty's presentation on the minimum wage:

One might overlook one isolated error as sloppiness to which we are all susceptible. But Professor Piketty's supposed history of changes in the minimum wage is not tarnished by a single error, but by a vast array of systematic errors.

His history is pure revisionist fiction, and revisionist fiction with a political purpose: making Democratic presidents look magnanimous and Republican presidents look uncaring. Yet, over the past quarter century, the period Piketty describes as showing a dramatic increase in inequality, Republican presidents signed into law larger percentage increases in the minimum wage than did Democratic presidents.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Don't blame QE for the decline of the dollar, blame Bush or Greenspan or global warming or war

The decline of the dollar under QE has been nothing when compared with its decline from 2002 to 2008.

Between high water marks in early 2002 and a low beneath 70 in March 2008 the trade weighted dollar sank a whopping 36% in just six short years, 6 times more than the 6% it fell since TARP passed on October 3, 2008 and QE began in late November 2008 until now.

Say what you will about QE, but it's just dumb to blame it for a decline of the dollar.

The dollar was already dead! The dollar declined 36% during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Overall the dollar is down 6% since the emergency measures of 2008, but is recovering somewhat.



Quelle Surprise: Clive Crook Reads Thomas Piketty And Comes Out For Capital Accumulation

Here he is at Bloomberg View having read Thomas Piketty's new . . . um . . . novel, Capital in the 21st Century, and found it wanting:

There's a persistent tension between the limits of the data he presents and the grandiosity of the conclusions he draws. At times this borders on schizophrenia. ... Aside from its other flaws, "Capital in the 21st Century" invites readers to believe not just that inequality is important but that nothing else matters. This book wants you to worry about low growth in the coming decades not because that would mean a slower rise in living standards, but because it might cause the ratio of capital to output to rise, which would worsen inequality. ... In Piketty's view of the world, where inequality is all that counts, capital accumulation is almost a sin in its own right. ...
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As much as I love the rest of what Clive Crook has to say on behalf of capital accumulation, I think that's it right there. More than anything else, Thomas Piketty is an anti-Calvinist of the French type, an heir of Jacobinism who is more interested in leveling society than in lifting it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The One Chart Which Best Explains The Reason For The Growth Of Income Inequality In The US
















The chart comes from The Motley Fool, here, and has nothing to do per se with the subject of the current debate about income inequality occasioned by the US tour of French economist Thomas Piketty promoting his new book Capital in English translation.

But the chart offers a little appreciated explanation for why income inequality has grown in the United States: the tax code of the United States itself treats income unequally, giving preference to long term capital gains. Key here isn't just that rates increase progressively and are unequal, but that capital gains income is at all levels taxed unequally compared to ordinary income, at lower rates. Is it a surprise then that one form of income would tend to grow more than the other in order to take advantage of the lower rates?

Ordinary income has been taxed at extraordinarily high rates off and on since the First World War while long term capital gains have been taxed at comparatively much lower rates off and on just about as long, as a favor to the few who have historically been able to play in that sandbox. It shouldn't surprise us though that the half of the nation which over time has joined the investor class has benefited disproportionately from this arrangement.

It has been a principle of conservative economics from the time of Reagan that if you want less of something, tax it. Well that's what has happened to ordinary income, where wages have been stagnating for some time while gains from investments have soared. You push here, it comes out there. Ordinary income tax rates have come down and stayed down since Reagan's revolution, it is true, but the differential between ordinary income tax rates and long term capital gains taxes has remained, favoring the returns from capital.

Cullen Roche here takes the view that we should raise taxes on long term capital gains, especially for the top 0.1% where he believes most of the inequality shows up:

The solution, in my opinion, is simple and based on a relatively widespread misunderstanding. We currently tax “investment income” favorably. The rationale for this is that we want to incentivize “investment”. That makes sense except for the fact that very few of the people transacting on secondary markets or obtaining dividend payments are actually promoting investment. In fact, one could argue that dividends disincentivize firms from using profits in a more innovative manner. And transactions on secondary exchanges only finance investment in the case of secondary offerings. Otherwise, buying stocks and bonds is a simple allocation of savings and does not remotely resemble the financing of investment. Why these forms of income are tax advantaged makes very little sense in my view. So a higher tax rate on dividends and secondary market transactions seems to make a lot of sense in my view.

I beg to differ. The tax code as it stands is doubly offensive in that it not only favors one form of income over another but that it also discriminates against income as it grows. To make the tax code "fair", it should treat all income the same way. If we equalized all tax rates to 10% irrespective of level or source or time, there would be so much opportunity to make money in this country that yours truly, Cullen Roche and Thomas Piketty would all have something far better to do than write about this, and you something far better to do than read about it.

Princeton/Northwestern study concludes business has representation but Americans do not

Here, where however there isn't the slightest suggestion that increasing representation for the majority of citizens by restoring the size of US House to its constitutionally intended proportions might help mitigate the problem:

The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country's citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded. ... Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it." ... The theory of "biased pluralism" that the Princeton and Northwestern researchers believe the US system fits holds that policy outcomes "tend to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations."



h/t Business Insider


Friday, April 18, 2014

The expansion of NATO into former Warsaw Pact countries under Bill Clinton was a huge mistake

Jack F. Matlock Jr., former US ambassador to the USSR, in the Washington Post, here:

President Bill Clinton supported NATO’s bombing of Serbia without U.N. Security Council approval and the expansion of NATO to include former Warsaw Pact countries. Those moves seemed to violate the understanding that the United States would not take advantage of the Soviet retreat from Eastern Europe. The effect on Russians’ trust in the United States was devastating. In 1991, polls indicated that about 80 percent of Russian citizens had a favorable view of the United States; in 1999, nearly the same percentage had an unfavorable view.

Dear Rag-Headed Heathen Bastards: Our Markets Are Closed For Good Friday


New Gallup Poll of 20,000 Estimates ObamaCare Has Fallen Far Short Of Insuring The Uninsured

The story is here:

Overall, 11.8% of U.S. adults say they got a new health insurance policy in 2014. One-third of this group, or 4% nationally, say they did not have insurance in 2013. Another 7.5% got a new policy this year that replaced a previous policy. The rest either did not respond or were uncertain about their previous insurance status.

The key figure is the 4% who are newly insured in 2014, which most likely represents Americans' response to the individual mandate requirement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This estimate of the newly insured broadly aligns with the reduction Gallup has seen in the national uninsured rate from 2013 to the first days of April 2014. However, the calculation of the newly insured does not take into account those who may have been insured in 2013 but not in 2014.

The ACA envisioned that the new healthcare exchanges would be the main place where uninsured Americans would get their insurance this year, but it appears that a sizable segment of the newly insured Americans used another mechanism. These sources presumably include employee policies, Medicaid, and other private policies not arranged through exchanges.

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If the adult population is presently about 247 million, 11.8% with new insurance in 2014 is 29 million adults.

If 33% of them had no insurance in 2013 (or 4% of the adult population), that's about only 9.6 million to 9.9 million newly insured who weren't previously, leaving 20 million uninsured yet to sign up. Estimates of the total uninsured previously had been widely estimated at 30-40 million Americans.

If the whole point of ObamaCare was to provide insurance to those who didn't have it or couldn't get it, so far ObamaCare is therefore not much of a success, especially since it has caused an upheaval for everyone else who has had insurance, which Obama told us we could keep if we liked it.

Replacement policies going to an additional 7.5% of the adult population who were previously insured means 18.5 million people have had to replace their insurance or wanted to replace their insurance because of ObamaCare, three times as many as the 6 million widely reported to have had their policies canceled because of ObamaCare late in 2013.

That leaves less than a million in the category who were uncertain about their previous insurance status.

It remains to be seen how many saying they have new insurance simply signed up for Medicaid because they didn't qualify for a health insurance subsidy because their income was too low. In Michigan a family of three that doesn't make at least $20,000 a year typically gets forced into Medicaid under ObamaCare if that family wants coverage and hopes to avoid a "tax" for failing to obtain coverage.

Evidently even such a family could avoid the tax, and Medicaid, by making a "hardship" claim.




h/t Chris

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lloyd's of London wouldn't insure half of the power grid

From the LA Times here:

Some members of Congress want to empower regulators to force specific security upgrades at utilities. Others are attacking whistle-blowers and the media, demanding an investigation into disclosures of how easily the country's power grid could be shut down.

The magnitude of the problem is underscored by concerns raised by insurance giant Lloyds of London, which is known for a willingness to insure pretty much everything.

Lloyds' appraisers have been making a lot of visits lately to power companies seeking protection against the risk of cyberattack. Their takeaway: Security at about half the companies they visit is too weak for Lloyds to offer a policy.

"When Lloyds won't insure you, you know you've got a problem," said Patrick Miller, founder of the Energy Sector Security Consortium, a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates tougher cybersecurity measures for the electricity industry.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Janet Yellen's Fool's Errand: Finding A Way To Fix What's Supposedly Fixed

Everybody believes the financial crisis is over, but apparently Janet Yellen does not. She's more right than she knows, but that's a sign of something into which angels fear to look. This could be rough.

Quoted here:

Yellen said regulators must focus on ways to prevent another financial crisis. She spoke via video to a financial markets conference sponsored by the Fed's Atlanta regional bank.

"In 2007 and 2008, short-term creditors ran from firms such as Northern Rock, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and from money market mutual funds and asset-backed commercial paper programs," she said. "Together, these runs were the primary engine of a financial crisis from which the United States and the global economy have yet to fully recover."

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Regulators specialize in keeping capitalism from cleansing itself through failure. According to this line of thinking, recessions are personae non gratae, and depression doesn't even exist as a conceptual category of the contemporary period. If one occurs, they call it something, anything, else, as in "The Great Recession". Bankruptcy? Fuhgeddaboutit. Until these are welcomed once again, that is, until reality penetrates into the penumbra of the reigning ideology, the zombie economics of the last 14 years are here to stay, or perhaps worse, and we shall continue to walk in the darkness.

Why Obama Should Not Be President: Even Recreational Pot Use Alters The Brain, Emotions and Motivation

It took Obama three days to respond to the Christmas Day bombing attempt by Abdulmutallab over Detroit. The New York Times noted his odd unresponsiveness several times in the article cited below. If you wonder why Obama's done nothing about the jobs and GDP crises, perhaps now you do.

The pot study story is here:

The 20 pot users in the study, ages 18 to 25, said they smoked marijuana an average of about four days a week, for an average total of about 11 joints. Half of them smoked fewer than six joints a week. Researchers scanned their brains and compared the results to those of 20 non-users who were matched for age, sex and other traits.

The results showed differences in two brain areas associated with emotion and motivation - the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. Users showed higher density than non-users, as well as differences in shape of those areas. Both differences were more pronounced in those who reported smoking more marijuana.

See here for the New York Times report on December 28, 2009, three days after the bombing attempt on the Christmas Day flight bound for Detroit:

Mr. Obama, making his first public comments since the episode, said he had ordered his national security team “to keep up the pressure” on terrorists. ... Although he had been out of sight for three days, he assured Americans he was on top of the situation. ... The visual contrast of a president on vacation while there was anxiety about air travel also drew fire. Although aides issued statements describing conference calls with counterterrorism advisers, pictures of passengers enduring tougher airport screening were juxtaposed with reports of the president picnicking at the beach and playing sports. Representative Peter T. King of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, criticized Mr. Obama’s silence Monday before the president’s statement. “We’re now, what, 72 hours into this and the president’s not spoken, the vice president’s not spoken, the attorney general’s not spoken and Janet Napolitano has now told two different stories in two days,” he said on Fox News. “First, she said everything worked; now she said it didn’t.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

Global banking crisis: How to be profitable when you can't do it the old fashioned way

Fire your workforce.

EU banks cut 80k positions in 2013 according to this story:

Spurred into action by falling revenue, mounting losses and the need to convince regulators they are no longer "too big to fail", banks across the globe have shrunk radically since the 2008 collapse of U.S. bank Lehman Brothers sparked the financial crisis. ... Europe's 30 largest banks by market value cut staff by 80,000 in 2013, calculations by Reuters based on their year-end statements showed. ... [I]n its heyday of 2008 . . . the 25 of the top 30 banks with comparable figures employed about 252,000 more than the 1.7 million they do today. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fair value of the S&P500 in early April: 1033

Doug Short, here:

The regression trendline drawn through the data clarifies the secular pattern of variance from the trend — those multi-year periods when the market trades above and below trend. That regression slope, incidentally, represents an annualized growth rate of 1.75%.

The peak in 2000 marked an unprecedented 150% overshooting of the trend — nearly double the overshoot in 1929. The index had been above trend for two decades, with one exception: it dipped about 12% below trend briefly in March of 2009. But at the beginning of April 2014, it is 80% above trend, up from 76% above trend the month before. In sharp contrast, the major troughs of the past saw declines in excess of 50% below the trend. If the current S&P 500 were sitting squarely on the regression, it would be around the 1033 level. If the index should decline over the next few years to a level comparable to previous major bottoms, it would fall to the vicinity of 500.

Click the link for his charts.

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts . . . of yield

Greece ranks 2nd worst for debt/gdp.

Cyrus Sanati for Fortune here recaps the recent history of the Greek debacle and the success this week of its auction of intermediate term bonds paying just 4.75%:

Thursday's debt offering only illustrates the severity at which the global junk debt bubble has grown and how desperate investors have become in their futile search for yield. Investors have no real confidence in Greece or Europe. Either they have lost their minds or they view Greece as some sort of momentum play in which they will try to cash out right before the bottom falls out of the market. Europe remains an economic basket case, and Greece continues to be the weakest link in a brittle chain.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Food prices are up 9.52% in the last four years, average hourly earnings just 8.28%

And it's gotten worse in March as reported here:

U.S. producer prices recorded their largest increase in nine months in March as the cost of food and services rose, pointing to some pockets of inflation at the factory gate. ... Food prices jumped 1.1 percent, the largest increase since May, after rising 0.6 percent in February. ... Food prices have now risen for a third straight month, in part reflecting a drought in the West.

On top of that, average hourly earnings dropped a penny.

New Yorkers Rejected For Jury Trial Of Occupy Wall Street Protester

Most of the prospective jurors for a trial of an Occupy Wall Street protester accused of felony assault of a policeman are being rejected because they admit they hate what OWS stands for. Another number hates the cops. I think they just hate jury duty for this malcontent, a female, who appears to be being made an example of rather than a truly violent criminal.

The UK Guardian has the story here.

Meanwhile the crazies at Naked Capitalism still fly their OWS sash proudly if not loudly on the upper right of their page even today by the way. But the top story there when you search for "Occupy Wall Street" is dated December 2012. Yves Smith apparently doesn't feel compelled to use a post label so-named to help you find out why you should support this cause.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A 20% correction from the current S&P500 high of 1890.90 would be . . .

. . . 378.18 points! Or 1512.72 on the index.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bank mergers have doubled annually since 2009 as Dodd-Frank and now new capital rules begin to bite

The Wall Street Journal reports here:

More small banks are selling themselves, and executives say Washington regulations are a big reason why. ... In all, there were 204 bank mergers in 2013 in which the target bank had less than $1 billion in assets, according to financial-research firm SNL Financial. That is about the same as the 206 in 2012 and up significantly from 102 in 2009, before Dodd-Frank was passed in 2010. As recently as 2011, the number was 130. ... Many bankers think smaller banks now must have at least $1 billion in assets to cope with the increased regulatory burden. ... One issue some small banks say they are having a big problem with is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's new "qualified mortgage" rules, or QM, which require lenders to make sure borrowers can afford the mortgages they take out. Some banks say following the rules, which took effect in January, has been complicated and time-consuming.



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New capital rules being phased in between now and 2018 will require the largest banks to boost capital to 5% of assets from 3% and include risk assets in the calculations according to the New York Times, here:

Under the rule, banks with over $700 billion in assets will have to raise their capital, measured by the leverage ratio, to 5 percent of their overall assets. The ratio will have to be 6 percent at the banks’ federally insured banking subsidiaries, where many of their riskiest activities are. ... Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, who has introduced a bill with Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, that envisions higher leverage ratios than those approved on Tuesday, said, “Today’s rule is a major step forward, but we can and must do more.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Light on Mars

Pretty dang weird: Rover captures light emanating from the surface of Mars.

Story here.


Osama bin Laden is dead and so are 13 GM car owners

Michiganders in particular remain in denial about the GM bailouts.

Jim Geraghty here for National Review throws some cold water in our faces:

GM continued to make cars with a life-threatening defect during the era of government ownership. Joe Biden liked to boast, “Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive!” Indeed he is dead, and so are 13 people who were involved in car accidents linked to a defective ignition switch. ...


The New York Times reported that engineers at GM reviewed data in the black boxes of Chevrolet Cobalts at a meeting on May 15, 2009, and confirmed that the potentially fatal defect existed in hundreds of thousands of cars. The Obama administration and GM’s management finalized the terms of the bailout at the end of that month. It’s not yet clear who at GM knew this shocking and scandalous information, but at least some GM employees knew they were selling dangerous cars at the precise moment they were asking for taxpayer money to stay in business. ...


[T]he Obama administration’s Departments of Transportation and Justice came down like a ton of bricks on a Japanese automaker about unproven allegations of defects, while the government-owned American company continued to make and sell cars with proven potentially fatal defects, even after the chief of the NHTSA’s Defects Assessment Division twice proposed investigations.

The U.S. government sold its last shares of GM stock in December 2013; some have asked whether the government did so knowing the recall would be announced in February 2014. 

Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ann Arbor and Detroit make top 10 snowiest list

View the full list here.

Will The Phenomenal Gains In The S&P500 Since March 2009 To Date Be Cut In Half By 2019?

John Hussman, here:

Though we don’t have a 10-year figure for actual returns since 2009, investors should also notice that the improved valuations evident in 2009 will indeed have been followed by a decade of 10% S&P 500 total returns even if the total returns for the market over the coming 5 years are somewhat negative (which we view as likely).

The annual real gain for each of the almost five years to date is just under 20%, so a 10% annual return for each of the ten years in the period implies forfeiting half of what has already been made in the next five years.

Hussman has previously indicated that the vast majority of investors is likely to ride the coming decline all the way to the bottom.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rahm Emanuel Obviously Hasn't Seen The Map Of Middle Class Destruction In Chicago

Rahm Emanuel, quoted here in The New Republic:

"We have very strong middle-class neighborhoods. ... Rather than the exodus of middle-class families to the suburbs, we have reentry into the city. We are at an incredible moment that is actually not momentary."

A time-lapse map of Chicago's disappearing middle class can be seen here.

This is what happens to big cities run by Democrats. Chicago is on its way to becoming Detroit.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2013 was a narrowly "oil investing" year based on the gold/oil ratio

The cumulative average price of gold in 2013 (London fix) was $1411.23 and the average price of Illinois Basin crude was $89.84, yielding a gold/oil ratio of 15.7, a narrowly "oil investing" year.

Gold fell $500 in price in 2013, from about $1700 to $1200.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

6 million people aged 25-54 need to be working and can't

Not only did total private employment collapse by 6 million under Obama over the 16 months after his 2008 election, today 6 million people aged 25-54 who used to be working prior to the recession no longer do.

If there's been any recovery for this age group, it's that we're back to only November 2009 levels after four+ years, recovering about 2 million at work from the beginning of 2011 to now.

Think about these people: 2 million lost their jobs from November 2009 to the end of 2010. That's not Bush's fault. That's Obama's fault. And no matter who you blame for this mess, Obama has been a complete failure restoring work to America's core employment class.

The number of participating institutions in the FDIC has dropped over 32% since the year 2000

Between October 2000 and the close of 2013, FDIC insured institutions have dropped from 10,101 to 6,812, a decline of 3,289 or 32.6%.

Of those, 521 were outright bank failures, 497 of which occurred from February 2, 2007 to February 28, 2014. Before that there were just 24 failures going back to October 2000.

The cost of the 497 failures to the FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund has been $89.26 billion.

The failure of IndyMac Bank FSB of Pasadena, CA in July 2008 was the costliest to the FDIC: $13.2 billion.

BankUnited FSB of Coral Gables, FL was a distant second at $5.9 billion in May 2009.

Colonial Bank of Montgomery, AL cost the FDIC $4.5 billion in August 2009.

WesternBank Puerto Rico cost the FDIC $3.2 billion in April 2010.

And rounding out the top five is Amtrust Bank of Cleveland, OH which cost the FDIC $2.97 billion when it failed in December 2009.

An ambassador is dead under Hillary Clinton's tenure at State, and now $6 billion is missing


Reported here:

The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report. The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.

Maybe someone should subpoena Huma Abedin about this.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Climate-change activists are exasperated beyond endurance by the gullibility of the people

So says Clive Crook for Bloombergview here.

It illustrates a more general point, that the vision of the anointed is always frustrated by the lumpenproletariat. The elites' response to them is sometimes hyperbolic, as in Lenin's recourse to a vanguard to foist the revolution on a less than enthusiastic population, or as in a certain Penn State climate scientist's recourse to the courts to shut down his critics.

Old Clive doesn't mention those, but he does mention Secretary of State John Kerry's kooky statements, and adds this:

[T]his cause isn't advanced by exaggerating what is known in order to scare people into action, nor by denouncing everybody who disagrees with such proposals as evil or idiotic.

The scientists themselves -- some of them, at least -- are partly to blame. They chose to become political advocates, no doubt out of a sincere belief that policies needed to change a lot and at once. But scientist-advocates can't expect to be seen as objective or disinterested. Once they're suspected of spinning the science or opining on questions outside their area of expertise, as political advocacy is bound to require, they lose authority.


I'd say Clive is definitely showing signs of mellowing since his association with Bloomberg. Before that he seemed less temperate, although too temperate for Paul Krugman.


The incremental change of good old Fabian socialism is what Clive seems to have settled on, as has Obama after an early explosion of revolutionary zeal in 2008 when the realities of office overwhelmed everything.

Fortunately for those of us who disagree about the climate alarums, the John Kerrys and Penn Staters don't seem to have received the memo and keep doing everything to hurt their cause.  

Obama's 6 Million: Nancy Pelosi Has Her Holes Mixed Up, Plus 3 Million More Unemployed Than Under Bush

In 2008 from the January 1 peak to the November election, total nonfarm private employment fell by almost 3 million to 113 million.

After the election of Obama, however, it plunged another 6 million until February 2010, 16 long months later.

As usual Nancy Pelosi has her holes mixed up (quoted here):

"I have to note that today we have replaced all of the jobs lost under the Bush economic policies and recession that that took us into," Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. "It's taken this long to build back from that." ... Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the liberal Economic Policy Institute, said the numbers may have political or psychological value, but not much else. There are still nearly 3 million more unemployed people than when the recession started. "I cannot think of anything economically meaningful about passing the December 2007 employment level," Shierholz said.

Unemployment rate remains at 6.7% in March, average year over year job growth slows to 183k monthly, weekly hours recover

The BLS reports here:

"Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment grew in professional and business services, in health care, and in mining and logging. ... Job growth averaged 183,000 per month over the prior 12 months. ... The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour in March to 34.5 hours, offsetting a net decline over the prior 3 months."

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While total nonfarm private payrolls have finally beaten the 1/1/08 peak (by just 96,000 jobs), rising to 116.07 million, neither seasonally-adjusted nor not-seasonally-adjusted total nonfarm employment has yet to surpass the pre-recession peak. Strapped municipalities and states find it difficult to add to government payrolls with reduced revenues due to on-going unemployment and reduced real estate values.

In 2013 job growth's pace averaged 194,000 monthly, which means at the current year over year pace of 183,000 monthly job growth has slowed 5.7% in 2014 to date.

Rising length of the work week arrests a worrisome downtrend for the time being.



Ted Cruz is a disaster on illegal immigration

So says Ann Coulter here.

He'll give us "guest workers" like the rest of the Republicans will, who will in short order be turned into Democrat voters by the Democrats.

She says Rick Perry and Chris Christie are disasters, too.

Time for fruit baskets all around.

Her only good candidate on the issue remains . . . Mitt Romney.

Survey of 7,500 adults says 5.4 million uninsured now have insurance!

Let's see.

The regime says 7.1 million have signed up for ObamaCare.

A new survey of just 7,500 adults says 5.4 million previously uninsured now have it because of ObamaCare. That's right. A survey of 7,500 tells us about millions.

But 6 million actually lost their insurance last year because of ObamaCare because their plans were non-compliant (too bad they weren't all Jewish--at least then we'd never hear the end of it), and had to scramble to replace their coverage, presumably under ObamaCare.

So why isn't the administration reporting 11.4 million signups? Or 13.1 million? Or hundreds of millions?

This farce gets funnier by the minute (does anyone know what Mel Brooks has been up to?).

From the story here:

At least 5.4 million people without health insurance have obtained coverage since last September—and that number will likely climb in coming weeks, a new survey found. ... "This is a great result, it's really exciting, it's really encouraging," said Katherine Hempstead, director of coverage for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The organization helped fund the survey, which was conducted by researchers from the nonpartisan Urban Institute, and questioned 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

ObamaCare Has Terrorized Millions Who Did Have Insurance And Lost It

Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal, here:

What the bill declared it would do—insure tens of millions of uninsured Americans—it has not done. There are still tens of millions uninsured Americans. On the other hand, it has terrorized millions who did have insurance and lost it, or who still have insurance and may lose it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Has America Exported Its Middle Class?

Thomas Edsall for the New York Times here seems to think so, and summarizes a number of studies which say yes and no:

Branko Milanovic, a visiting professor at CUNY who once served as a senior economist at the World Bank, has tracked worldwide changes in income growth from 1998 to 2008.

Milanovic calculates that the middle class in China and India experienced 60 to 70 percent income growth from 1998 to 2008, while growth stalled for the middle and working classes in the United States.

The question then becomes, in Milanovic’s words, “Does the growth of China and India take place on the back of the middle class in rich countries,” especially the United States? Milanovic does not claim a direct causal relationship, but contends that the two “may not be unrelated.”



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

S&P500 Hits New All Time High At 1885.52 Today

The Shiller p/e hit 25.99, and the spread to the all time real price high of the S&P500 in August 2000 at 2018.27 narrowed to 6.6%.

Godless Libertarian Triumph In MI-3: Justin Amash Is Pro-Gay All The Way, Just Like Brian Ellis His Challenger

There really is no choice for social conservatives between the two Republicans in the MI-3 primary in 2014.

Neither candidate can bring himself to support Republican Committeeman Dave Agema's lonely stand against moral and spiritual decadence in our society. In fact, both candidates attack Dave Agema. The only reason to vote for Ellis in the primary is to spoil the reelection of Amash who is a complete traitor to conservatism and never was a conservative to begin with. Of course this means a Democrat has a winning chance in MI-3. But arguably Republicans should vote for the Democrat in the general that the full measure of God's wrath may be felt here.

Michigan's 3rd Congressional District is hopelessly lost from the Judeo-Christian point of view in any case, for reasons which prevailed long before Brian Ellis and Justin Amash existed. Whatever power traditional Calvinism may have possessed in the area in the past is long since transmuted. At least Vern Ehlers gave the appearance of a Christian. This place is cursed, and deserves everything that's come to it, and is coming.

Justin Amash, Antiochian Orthodox, quoted here in January:

“Defending civil liberties is at the heart of the Republican Party and our Constitution. As I've demonstrated with my words and record, I am trying to grow a new generation of Republicans that includes more gays and lesbians, racial-ethnic minorities, women and young people," Amash said.

And Brian Ellis, an Episcopalian, in the same story:

"Dave Agema’s discriminatory rhetoric gets in the way of sharing our Republican solutions," Ellis said in his statement.

Well, look at it this way. If you are looking for a church to join, you now have two more to cross off your list.