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Tag Archives: Stimulus

The President finally got around to delivering the bill that he wanted passed last Thursday.  In it we find that he pretty much delivered exactly like we all thought he would:

…the bulk of the plan –- $400 billion over 10 years — would be raised by limiting the itemized deductions, such as those for charitable contributions and other expenditures, that may be taken by individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making over $250,000 a year. The rest would come from provisions affecting oil and gas companies, hedge funds, and the owners of corporate jets.

Nice.  Innovation.  Mr.  President.

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A long time ago there was a really good economist.  Then something happened and now that economist doesn’t exist anymore.

After claiming that aliens would solve our economic woes, now rumors are out that the aforementioned Krugman has claimed that a larger earthquake would drive economic recovery:

“People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.”

Right.

Reminds me of this:

Milton Friedman went to Asia to visit a jobs project; it seems that a canal needed to be built.  When he arrived on the site, he witnessed that the workers were using shovels and wheelbarrows.  He asked the government administrator why there wasn’t any heavy earth-moving machinery?  The official responded that this was a “jobs program”.

Milton responded, “Well, if that’s the case, why not give them spoons and buckets?”

North Carolina is interested in building out it’s light rail infrastructure.  And, in those places that make sense, it should.

For example, if there is a destination that has significant traffic, it might make sense to install some form of rail service to alleviate traffic or even draw revenue.

The problem with such plans?  Trains have to run on tracks.  And tracks are both expensive to build and impossible to move.  They are where they are and nothing can be done concerning the “ad hoc” needs of commuters.

So rail planning HAS to rely on data, good data, well thought out data aboiut the goals and ability to meet ’em.

Most, including the News And Observer, don’t do their due diligence.

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When a robbery victim has the gall to try and get their money back!

See, when you’ve made the leap that you can relieve people of their money because you know how to better spend it, it’s WRONG when those people try to get it back.

So, when those people actually DO get their money back, the best course of action is to demonize them.  And what better way to accomplish that than by releasing the hounds of war?

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The main objection by folks who want the government to remain small is that money in the hands of individual people gets spent faster and better than money taken from those people to be spent at government discretion.   Every single dollar the government spends is a dollar that has been taken from someone and handed to some government agency.  For every $20 an hour job created by government there is one less $20 job in the private sector.  It can’t be any other way.  The government produces nothing.

But the argument is that when folks get scared and hoard their money, the government has to intervene, take their money and forcefully interject that money into the economy.

And fast.

But does it work that way?

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Last week I talked a bit about the waste of money that we named “Cash for Clunkers”.

In short, what I said was that car purchases are elastic.  People can pull forward or push out the purchase of a new car by several months.  In this case it turns out to be 7:

The government’s “cash for clunkers” program boosted auto sales by 360,000 during the two months it was in place.  In the seven months that followed, sales were down by 360,000 compared with what they would have been without the program…

Basically, 7 months after cash for clunkers ended, the same amount of cars wound up being sold.

Wanna know the unintended consequence?

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There are three things that you can do with money:

  1. Make more of it
  2. Trade it for something you value
  3. Piss it away

Mostly I want smaller government because I’m afraid that the government is worse at 1 and 2 than I am.  More often than not, they’re Pissing it Away.  Either for votes, or, if they really ARE trying to make things better, they just don’t know how.  [‘Cause serious, if they knew how, they’d be out doin’ it and not subjecting themselves to government].

I know there are things we need a government to do; I know that.

But there are other things that a government SHOULDN’T do; and THEY should know that as well.

And marketing cars is one of those things.

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Monday I saw that my local McDonald’s was still trying to get someone to fill their manager position. They have had their help wanted sign up for 26+ days. Yesterday I stopped to get lunch for the wifey and saw this:

At some point we have to call this what it really is.  Something besides “I can’t find a job”.

The simple fact is that when the government is willing to pay you virtually the same amount of money to stay home rather than work, the reasonable person is going to stay home rather than work.

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