Monday, November 30, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Contributes to the Crash

The Cash for Clunkers program demonstrated definitively that the Congress and the President don't have the foggiest idea how the economy works, including how wealth is created.

Suppose you have two countries, Country A and Country B, and both countries make Product X at the rate of one unit per year. (We're making it a really simple economy.) That means that both countries have a GNP of 1 unit of X per year. However, let us next suppose that Country A destroys every unit of X it produces when it produces a new unit of X, while Country B keeps all theirs. At the end of four years, Country B will be 4 times wealthier than Country A, even though both show the same GNP each year. (Which also shows that GNP is not the best gauge of a country's wealth.) This is how wealth is created.

With the Cash for Clunkers program, people were encouraged to bring in their old cars for a discount on a new car. This discount was made available by the government, meaning by tax money. Thus, money that could have been used elsewhere in the economy was used for this program. This is aside from all those whose salaries were paid to run the program (such a program that redistributes money does not create anything new, and therefore does not contribute to the creation of wealth in the economy -- those people's salaries are also a redistribution of money). Next, the cars that were traded in were destroyed. Thus, we acted like Country A, destroying wealth -- thus, keeping even -- rather than creating wealth. Most of the cars purchased would have been purchased anyway, either during the time of the program, or shortly thereafter, so no real effect was made on the economy. In fact, to the extent that it just moved up purchases a few months, it took away from future sales. Further, it sent false signals to the car companies that sales were up. Thus, more cars will be produced for upcoming months when people won't be buying cars, creating a surplus that will put downward pressure on prices and idle workers. Deflationary signals and the inevitable layoffs from having idle workers will send yet more signals to the economy that the recession is worsening.

Cash for Clunkers would seem like a great plan only to someone completely ignorant of how the economy works. Which of course is why Congress created it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fix Health Insurance by Abiding by the Constitution

In the current health insurance debate, I have heard repeatedly that we need to allow people to buy insurance in other states. However, the prevention of such interstate commerce is itself unconstitutional. States should have never been allowed to prevent anyone from buying anything from other states in the first place. That is a violation of the interstate commerce clause. Not surprisingly, the biggest problem, it seems, comes about from a violation of the Constitution. It seems to me that the way to solve it is by fixing that violation, not by coming up with a plan that is a complete violation of the Constitution.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

On the Richardson Christmas Village

(With Apologies to Johnny Mathis)

It's beginning to look like postmodern Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
You've got Existential angst and Derrida to thank'st
For the ironic references to snow.
It's beginning to look like postmodern Christmas
Putting off all fun
As we stand in line to see the nose that's artificially
Slapped on with paint -- you're done.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Psychological Inquiry

For those of us interested in evolutionary psychology, I present Psychological Inquiry.

Socialism Is Intelligent Design Theory

In the same way that evolution is a well-established fact, so is the economy as a free market (without the free market, there would be no economy per se). There are of course theories of evolution, just as there are theories of the market economy, but the fact that there are theories doesn't mean that we can deny reality without consequence. Those who support socialism of any sort are the same as those who support creationism or intelligent design -- and Marxism is a theory of socialism in the same way as there are theories of intelligent design. In fact, Marxism and other theories of socialism are precisely theories of intelligent design applied to the economy. People should be honest about what they are. Any sort of support for any kind of intelligent design rather than recognizing that complex entities such as living things or economies are self-organizing comes from a denial of facts and of reality. It is time we were honest about what is really going on here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quatrain 4

Two Scotsmen and a saint provide the light
And tension needed for the growth of man --
Behold their paradoxical delight,
The source of growth from when it all began.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quatrain 3

The island nation lights the lamp of liberty
As it goes out in the devalued, dying west
As they embrace lies' leaders and frivolity,
The promise they can all suck from the common breast.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quatrain 2

The fire shall sweep the countryside to ash
And singe the eagle's feathers, threaten her
Young eaglets in the nest. The nest will crash
Into the flames and crush the moral cur.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quatrain 1

The fiat virus grows relentlessly
To sicken, poison almost all the herd
Until the herd itself is blamed -- the three
Shall kill the herd, supporting the absurd.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Job Search

If anyone out there knows of a job that would be appropriate for me, please let me know. Surely someone out there needs a Ph.D. in the humanities to do or teach something.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Book Critical of Heidegger Coming

It appears new book on Heidegger is coming, and it argues that you cannot separate Heidegger's philosophy from his Nazi politics. I hope it has profound effect, considering how deeply the postmodern Left has been influenced by him. I don't think we can dismiss him -- he did create the waste land that is 20th Century philosophy, art, literature, and art and literary criticism, after all. But the more throughly he and his work is discredited, the sooner these fields can heal. His fascist influence permeates our culture and politics far too much.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

On Tony Hoagland’s Poems

Shall I compare them to good poetry?
The lines are most atrocious, bordering
On adolescent ravings. Gallantry
Is pissed upon by a limp phallic spring.
They bravely condemn racism in the
United States in all their college lines
Ink-jetted in the racist century
Obama was elected, hate declines.
But surely, despite this, they have a point?
But, no – their mindless Marxism is flat,
Pathetic, most embarrassing. Anoint
Yourselves, you silly lines, with flames grown fat.
Such self-important poetry’s not art –
It's nothing but a psychopathic fart.