Friday, December 18, 2009

Good article on true cost of green energy, green jobs

The Green Jobs Delusion

Essentially it just says that the benefit of the green jobs is outweighed by the extra cost of electricity (solar electricity is more expensive) paid by businesses, results in net loss of jobs.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fun quote

"I'm proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is -- I could be just as proud for half the money." - Arthur Godfrey, entertainer

Monday, November 23, 2009

Interesting thought on problem of current debt

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Articles worth remembering

Read a couple of good articles, wanted to keep them in memory.

Common Objections to Capitalism
By Art Carden

Robbery and the Welfare State
By George C. Leef

Dead Government Walking - "From 2004 to 2009, US unfunded obligations increased
by an average of almost 50% over this six year period under both calculation methods, while US government revenue increased by only 12%. No company or government can increase its liabilities by more than four times the rate of its revenue and stay solvent for an extended period of time."
By Sprott Asset Management

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Davy Crockett and appropriations

I got the following from :

According to the Register of Debates for the House of Representatives, 20th Congress, 1st Session on April 2, 1828, Crocket stood to challenge the constitutionality of one of the earliest welfare spending bills.

While the exact text of his speech was not recorded in full (as that was not the practice of the time), the spirit of his words was captured years later under the heading "Not yours to give" in the book "The Life of Colonel David Crockett" by Edward Ellis.

Ellis wrote, "One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose..."

According to Ellis, Crockett said, "Mr. Speaker; I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.

"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

Though the measure was expected to receive unanimous support, after Crockett's objection, it did not pass.

Be sure you are right...Ellis recounts that Crocket was later asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, and he replied: "Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done."

Crocket explained, "The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

"I began: 'Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and..."

His constituent interrupted, "Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

Crockett replied, "This was a sockdolager ... I begged him to tell me what was the matter."

The farmer said, "Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."

Crocket responded, "Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."

But the farmer fired back, "It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man. ... So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people."

Thus, Crockett explained of his opposition to support the widow of that distinguished naval officer: "Now, sir, you know why I made that speech yesterday."

Today, there are but a handful of Senate and House incumbents who dare support and defend the Constitution as Crockett did. But there are candidates emerging around the nation who, with our support, will deliver orations as brazen and eloquent, and stand firm behind those words.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On the need for young and healthy to have insurance:

"The real reason Obama insists upon making the young and healthy buy insurance they don't want is not the relatively minor free-rider problem, but the potentially ruinous adverse selection problem: The most expensive patients are the ones who are most likely to sign up for coverage. To keep the official 10-year price tag of his plan below that magical $1 trillion threshold, he needs to balance sick people who rack up big bills with healthy people who pay for insurance but don't use it. Instead of acknowledging this reality, Obama portrays the healthy uninsured as irresponsible leeches. Even if Obama could make a plausible moral argument for the unprecedented step of demanding that all Americans buy insurance -- not in exchange for a particular privilege, such as driving on public roads, but simply by virtue of being alive -- he would be hard pressed to cite the constitutional authority for such a mandate. ... Obama might be on firmer ground if he portrayed the levy imposed on people who decline to buy insurance as an exercise of the congressional tax power. But he does not want to admit he is forsaking his campaign promise to refrain from raising taxes on households earning less than $250,000 a year. That's why ... he insisted that the 'excise tax' imposed on the uninsured by the Senate health care bill he supports is not really a tax. How so? After Obama signed a bill raising the federal cigarette tax, his press secretary explained that the tax pledge was still intact because 'people make a decision to smoke.' Likewise, Obama might argue, people make a decision not to buy health insurance. The lesson is clear: If you don't want to pay higher taxes, don't make any decisions." --columnist Jacob Sullum

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In praise of Capitalism - "I, Pencil"

Leonard E. Read wrote an essay, "I, Pencil", told from the perspective of an ordinary #2 pencil, and all the things that go into making it. It's a good read.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My new favorite quote?

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." -- English writer G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Rich not paying their share"?

"The belief that the tax code is skewed to benefit the rich is one that many Americans share. When pollsters ask whether high-income people are paying too much, too little, or their fair share in federal taxes, 60 percent or more of respondents routinely answer: too little. But the data tell a different story. By any reasonable standard the rich pay far more than their fair share. According to the latest (2007) IRS data, the top 1 percent of US taxpayers earn 22.8 percent of adjusted gross income but pay 40.4 percent of all federal income taxes. By contrast, the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers, who earn 62.5 percent of the income, pay just 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. That bears repeating: The income tax burden of the top 1 percent, who comprise just 1.4 million taxpayers, now exceeds that of the bottom 134 million combined. While economic resentment makes a potent political brew, the hangover it leaves can be fierce. Democrats should resist the clamor to soak the rich, and remember instead Paul Tsongas's admonition: 'No goose, no golden eggs.'" --columnist Jeff Jacoby

Just useful to remember.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Ten Cannots

"In 1916, a minister and outspoken advocate for liberty, William J. H. Boetcker, published a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots:

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves."

Found this at the Patriot Post and it describes a lot of the disgust I have with current government.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Part of the foundation for my opposition to ANY government program

"President Obama and congressional supporters estimate that his health care plan will cost between $50 and $65 billion a year. Such cost estimates are lies whether they come from a Democratic president and Congress, or a Republican president and Congress. ... At its start, in 1966, Medicare cost $3 billion. The House Ways and Means Committee, along with President Johnson, estimated that Medicare would cost an inflation-adjusted $12 billion by 1990. In 1990, Medicare topped $107 billion. That's nine times Congress' prediction. Today's Medicare tab comes to $420 billion with no signs of leveling off. How much confidence can we have in any cost estimates by the White House or Congress? Another part of the Medicare lie is found in Section 1801 of the 1965 Medicare Act that reads: 'Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize any federal officer or employee to exercise any supervision or control over the practice of medicine, or the manner in which medical services are provided, or over the selection, tenure, or compensation of any officer, or employee, or any institution, agency or person providing health care services.' Ask your doctor or hospital whether this is true." --economist Walter E. Williams

They never get the costs nor the total effect right.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Funny quote

A brave new world: "President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care." --Los Angeles Times columnist Peter Nichols **"But don't worry. A 'panel of experts' (Barney Frank and two executive vice-presidents from ACORN) will make that determination. So relax: You'll be able to 'opt out' of government health care, in a very permanent sense." --columnist Mark Steyn

Monday, July 6, 2009

Prepare for higher electricity prices due to cap and trade

"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket ... because I'm capping greenhouse gasses, coal power plants, natural gas ... you name it ... whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retro-fit their operations. That will cost money. ...They will pass that money on to the consumers." -- Barack Obama, January 17, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle

It seems that the Obama administration has claimed that this will be a neutral because of tax credits or deductions that they'll be adding, $500 or something. This may work for the average but it is going to hurt some people much more than average. For instance, in the North West where there is a lot of hydro power, cap and trade may be a benefit to them because the cost of electricity won't go up because they're not producing C02, and they'll still get the "$500 benefit". However, in places getting their power from coal, their costs will go up more than average, hurting them disproportionately. So rather than evenly distributing the costs of cap and trade we're going to punish a subset of the American population, not for anything that they've done, but rather because of what the power company servicing where they live is using.

In addition, perhaps my power bill will go up $500, but what about second order effects? My groceries, dining out, etc are going to go up because those businesses are going to have their expenses go up as well.

And then there is the question about the true cost and does government ever get the cost right.

Just seems like a disaster.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Climate of Extremes

This is from a Cato event, you can get an mp3 of the discussion here:

Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know
Thursday, March 12, 2009 12:00 AM

There's a whole new world of global warming science today-but few ever hear about it. In recent years, an internally consistent body of scientific literature has emerged that argues cogently for global warming but against the gloom-and-doom, apocalyptic vision of climate change. Not that you would know. Consult the daily newspaper or evening newscast: dire predictions are nearly all we see or hear.

In their new book, Climate of Extremes, coauthors Patrick J. Michaels and Robert C. Balling Jr. illuminate the other side of the story, the science we aren’t being told. This body of work details how the impact of global warming is far less severe than is generally believed and far from catastrophic. However, because it is not infused with horrific predictions and angst about the future, regardless of its quality it is largely repressed and ignored. This in-depth exploration illustrates the crucial unreported forecasts: that changes in hurricanes will be small, that global warming is likely to be modest, and that contrary to daily headlines, there is no apocalypse on the horizon.

Climate of Extremes is a book for all who are intent on exploring the evidence and the arguments in the climate change debate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Too funny! Differences between God and Obama

"What do Obama and God have in common? Neither has a birth certificate. How do they differ? God does not think he's Obama. And there's another difference between God and Obama, and that is that liberals love Obama. We have some more differences for you here between President Obama and God. God asks for only 10 percent of your money. God gives you freedom to live your life as you choose. God's plan to save us is actually written down for people to read." --radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh

Great quote from Walter Williams

"Many Americans want money they don't personally own to be used for what they see as good causes such as handouts to farmers, poor people, college students, senior citizens and businesses. If they privately took someone's earnings to give to a farmer, college student or senior citizen, they would be hunted down as thieves and carted off to jail. However, they get Congress to do the identical thing, through its taxing power, and they are seen as compassionate and caring. In other words, people love government because government, while having neither moral nor constitutional authority, has the legal and physical might to take the property of one American and give it to another. The unanticipated problem with this agenda is that as Congress uses its might to take what belongs to one American to give to another, what President Obama calls 'spreading the wealth around,' more and more Americans will want to participate in the looting. It will ultimately produce something none of us wants: absolute control over our lives." --George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams

I am all for wealth redistribution, but only voluntary wealth redistribution. People say that Jesus would be for wealth redistribution, and they're right, but in Matthew 19 when the young rich man comes and asks Christ what he should do, Christ says, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." The young man leaves, doesn't do what the Lord asked of him. However, Christ DID NOT SEND PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN TO FORCEFULLY TAKE AWAY HIS RICHES. Try not contributing to the government's redistribution (taxes) and see how fast you get thrown in jail.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

$50 For the Homeless

I just read the following from the Patriot Post's humor email. You can find it at Anyway, here it is:

I recently asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be president some day.

Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, "If you were president what would be the first thing you would do?"

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

Her parents beamed.

"Wow... what a worthy goal." I told her, "But you don't have to wait until you're president to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where homeless guys hang out, and you can give them the $50, you earned, to use toward food and a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

Her parents still aren't speaking to me.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Interesting idea - House of Representatives with 6000 Representatives

The basic idea is then it gets even harder to do pork or wasteful projects because instead of 50 pet projects to bribe enough people to go along, you need 3000, and at some point it gets just too hard to get that many people together. The reduction in government spending would more than offset the paychecks of the new representatives. Apparently they did some studies and found states that have larger House of Representatives have less waste, smaller government. Sounds great to me!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Couple of fun quotes on taxes

"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt." --President Herbert Hoover (1874-1964)

"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." --American humorist Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Settled" science of global warming?

I really liked this quote:

"President Obama has said that the science of global warming is 'beyond dispute,' and therefore settled. This is the justification for the imposition of a carbon cap-and-trade system that will cost $2 trillion. But Obama does not understand science. 'Settled science' is an oxymoron, and anyone who characterizes science as 'settled' or 'indisputable' is ignorant not only of science, but also history and philosophy. Aristotle, who lived and wrote in the fourth century B.C., was one of the greatest geniuses the world has ever known. He invented the discipline of logic, and founded the sciences of ecology and biology. Aristotle's physics were accepted as correct for nearly two thousand years. ... Aristotle taught that heavy objects fall faster than light ones. Over the centuries, a few unreasonable persons expressed skeptical concerns. But the consensus was that the physics of motion were described by Aristotle's dicta. The science was settled. Around the year 1591, an irascible young instructor at the University of Pisa demonstrated that Aristotle was wrong. He climbed to the top of the tower of Pisa and dropped cannonballs of unequal weight that hit the ground simultaneously. Aristotelean professors on the faculty were embarrassed. The university administration responded by not renewing Galileo's contract, thus ridding themselves of a troublemaker who challenged the accepted consensus. ... President Obama, a lawyer and politician, would now have us believe that the process of history has stopped. For the first time, scientific knowledge is not provisional and subject to revision, but final and settled. Skepticism, which has been the spur to all innovation and human progress, is unacceptable and must be condemned. But in fact, it is our awareness of what we do not know that determines our scientific level. ... Knowledge begins with skepticism and ends with conceit." --University of Oklahoma geologist David Deming

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jaguar inflation?

Listened to an entertaining 8 minute podcast Jaguar Inflation from the Mises Institute. The author creates a situation where the Federal Government decides everyone should have a Jaguar automobile and the disaster that follow.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Free Market Failure?

I just listened to Not Guilty as Charged: The Foolish Attempt to Blame the Free Market for the Economic Collapse and found it very interesting. Seems like the federal government is trying really hard not to take any blame for the economic problems.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Stimulus?

In an Imprimis article in January 2009, Burton W. Folsom, Jr.: Do We Need a New New Deal? I found a couple of interesting quotes. First was on the efforts to keep prices from falling, they were destroying crops:
What's worse, some New Deal programs had terrible unintended consequences. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration, for example, overhauled agriculture by paying farmers not to produce on part of their land. After farmers took the federal dollars, the U.S. developed shortages of the very crops taxpayers were paying farmers not to produce. By 1935, for example, the U.S. was importing almost 35 million bushels of corn, 13 million bushels of wheat, and 36 million pounds of cotton. Simultaneously, we had an army of bureaucrats in the Department of Agriculture to inspect farms (and even to do aerial photography) to ensure farmers were not growing the crops we were importing into the country.
I remember hearing of a case during the depression when a farmer who grew more wheat than he was supposed to, although he sold none of the wheat, he was tried under the commerce clause. What an abuse of justice.

The next quote was on the success of all the New Deal programs:
Henry Morgenthau, FDR's loyal Secretary of the Treasury, was frustrated at the persistence of double-digit unemployment throughout the 1930s. In May 1939, with unemployment at 20 percent, he exploded at the failed New Deal programs. "We have tried spending money," Morgenthau noted. "We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!"
So now people are calling for a "new new deal" when they don't look back at how poorly the previous one worked. Why don't we learn from the past?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Interesting Podcast on Global Warming

I found the following audio podcast Climate of Extremes: The Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know - Capitol Hill Briefing to be very interesting, worth listening to. In the end it seems like he thinks there is some warming happening, but nothing like the total gloom and doom so often spouted.

Friday, January 16, 2009

War on Poverty

From an article The Myth of "Failed" Policies by Robert Higgs at

"It would take little more than $50 billion to raise every poor person above the official poverty line, yet the percentage of the population classified as poor hardly budges, while annual welfare spending amounts to four times that much. Where's the money going? "

Based on a Wikipedia article the budget in 2008 for Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending was $324 billion (+1.8%). With roughly 300 million people in US, that works out to about $1000 per person. If we then figure that only 1/3 of the people pay taxes (children, retired-covered under social security), could we just give $3000 a year or $250 a month per taxpayer via the IRS tax rebate stuff and fire the entire Welfare department?

The thought with making the payment not depend on your income, then people wouldn't be faced with the choice of, if I earn another $1,000, I'm going to lose some amount in welfare. It seems like some of the time people will choose to be lazy and not lose some freebie. If we remove that, perhaps they work more.

In any case, it was just an interesting thought. Besides, the idea of gutting an entire federal agency just really appeals.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Phone call investor salesmen

I'm not sure if I get targeted by various investment firms because I'm the president of Cate Enterprises (which consists of only myself) or if everyone gets these phone calls, but I get a lot of phone calls from various firms who want me to invest through them. They've recommended oil right before it did a spike, right before it dropped from $150, gold is undervalued, gold is overvalued, and various other investments which haven't done well. So far I've politely refused, but I'm getting annoyed with the phone calls. They want to "establish a relationship" or "do a handshake" by doing some "small" starting investment of $2-3,000.

I figured out why they want this.

Either way, they get a commission out of me.

They'd prefer the investment go up because then they'll likely get to do another investment for me, getting more commissions. But even if the company goes broke, they at least got that first commission out of me. So they have a 50% chance of getting their investment right, getting to do a new investment for me. And if they get it wrong, there is still a chance I'm lazy and won't get the money out from them.

Fair pay?

I just read an article on yahoo news about "fair pay" that got me annoyed. The main thought is women get 78% of the pay of men. Don't get me wrong, if a woman is doing exactly the same work with exactly the same qualifications, she should get paid the same. However, most of the comparisons are for a 40 year old woman compared to a 40 year old man, and ignore the fact that many of those women have been home with children and as such may have 10 years less experience than the man. Would it be right to pay a woman with 10 years less experience the same amount as another woman with 10 years more experience?

If I were an employer, I would hire only women, pay them 85% so I could get them away from my competitors, and drive my sexist competitors out of business. No businesses have done this, so either they're all in cohorts or there is something more going on.

I think my "favorite" part of the bill is the guilty until proven innocent provisions.

Only winners are the lawyers.


I don't actually anticipate people reading this. I'm not planning on telling people about it, I just want a place to put into writing some of my thoughts about things that bug me. Anyway ...