Monday, September 12, 2011 Top 3 Common Myths of Capitalism

If you won't believe me, will you believe a Harvard professor?
Click the link below for an excellent short video. Top 3 Common Myths of Capitalism

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11: Capitalism under attack

Capitalism is not the same thing as large-scale heavy industry or tall, glorious skyscrapers. It is the everyday voluntary cooperation of free people in the marketplace; trade among friends, neighbors, suppliers and customers from the neighborhood to the world. Yet only capitalism in its most avanced form could produce the United States of America as we know it and everything that it has built, including one of capitalism's greatest testaments: the World Trade Center.
It is no random chance therefore that the fascist islamists chose to vent their rage on the twin towers. They represent everything that a backward, tribal, intolerant and ignorant mindset could hate: individual liberty, tolerance of differences, freedom of religion, interest understood as an exchange of different money values across time, equality of the sexes, private property and rule of law in the Western tradition.
The terrorists hate us for who and what we are. Capitalism works and offers hope to millions who flock to the shores of capitalist nations. Communism, fascism and fundamentalist islamic Sharia law offer only physical and mental prisons, torture chambers, privations and death to all but the most privileged elite.
The innocent victims of 9/11 died for living, and thereby defending, freedom and capitalism. Among the honors we give to them, let us continue to defend the same principles.

Friday, September 09, 2011

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Nothing To Do About Jobs

The one thing the government hasn't tried for at least 3 years is to get out of the way.

Now that President Obama’s hope-and-change green job-creating juggernaut has flatlined (with 0% job growth in August and downward revisions for prior months), a reasonable question to ask is, what can governments do now?
The answer is that perhaps they can do the one thing they haven’t tried in at least 3 years, if not more: nothing. That is, governments can minimize their footprint on the economy, lighten regulations, cut tax rates (permanently), stop threatening ‘millionaires and billionaires’, banks, oil companies, non-union workers and the private sector in general and basically get out of the way of the people who would otherwise be creating the jobs.
For the fact is, governments and politicians, no matter how wise or worthy, don’t create jobs, on net balance. Even big, established business corporations don’t do it; they’ve lost almost 3 million net jobs in the US over the past decade.
Real job creation is the role of startup entrepreneurs: businessmen and women, investors and speculators with an assist from venture capitalists and private insurance companies. That’s right, the people most reviled on the Left as undeserving rich, racist polluting exploiters are in fact the ones from whom all prosperity flows (prosperity that has to be created before it may be distributed). The pudding is that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, Waters & Co. are at the top of their game in crushing and suppressing these fatcat scum of the Earth, and the logical and inevitable outcome has come to pass, among which the worst spike in black teen unemployment in a generation: 47%.
Entrepreneurs put together business projects on their own account, without subsidies, privileges or prejudice, hoping to enjoy profits (which arrive years or decades after everyone else, including workers, have been paid) but having no guarantee against losses for failing to provide the optimum mix of high-quality low-priced products and services and well-compensated JOBS most urgently needed in the marketplace. When they fail, entrepreneurs lose their own money, not yours and mine, and they don’t indenture our grandchildren.
All the undue laws, regulations, taxes, red tape, lawsuits, threats, monetary manipulations and hostility toward profits that governments slap on the private sector, can only have the effect of raising the cost and risk of hiring people to prohibitive heights, resulting in the unemployment that we are suffering.
By ‘undue’ is meant those interventions which do not derive from governments’ legitimate role of preventing and punishing murder, robbery, theft, fraud, assault, rape, persecution and/or conspiracy. Does it really take tens of thousands of pages of laws, hundreds of agencies and 8 million unionized public-sector employees to do that?

Entrepreneurship doesn’t need to take direction from government in order to do the right thing for the economy. Whether the subject is food, clothing, shelter, minerals, energy, clean air, medicine, university faculty parking spaces or JOBS, the same entrepreneurial cycle pattern emerges: Scarcity leads to rising market prices, which signal entrepreneurial opportunity; there’s money to be made (‘there’s gold in them thar hills!’). Investors and speculators advance their own savings to fund research and development to invent new ways to extract and produce more, to drill deeper under the ocean floor using only one tower where five had been required before, to design new industrial and technological processes, to genetically engineer seeds that multiply crop yields, to discover new life-prolonging and enhancing miracle drugs, etc. Many entrepreneurs fail, at their own expense (not the taxpayer’s) but others succeed, and the result is profits for them and abundant products and services at prices for you and I that are lower than before the ‘crisis’ that started the cycle.
The only force capable of stopping this virtuous cycle is… force: Prohibiting the market to function; controlling wages and/or prices so that signals and information about the true relative abundance and scarcity do not get transmitted properly; awarding contracts and employment positions based on political favoritism, nepotism or ethnic preferences rather than objective competence and qualifications; forbiding an aerospace company from opening a new plant in a right-to-work state because it doesn’t please the Big Labor bosses; barring the exploitation of available resources (EPA); destroying the U.S. IPO market via Sarbanes-Oxley; forcing taxpayers to prop up firms that have failed; failing to enforce the rule of law consistently and fairly; bringing criminal charges against oil companies over the death of a few birds while giving the windmill industry a free slaughter pass; paying people increasingly generous benefits for not working, out of the pockets of those that are; wasting taxpayer money on ‘bridges to nowhere’ on the ludicrous principle that government spending somehow multiplies economic benefits above what that same money would accomplish in private hands from which it was taken…and on and on. Instead of being the custodian of individual liberty and private property rights, government has metastasized into a giant job-killing machine.

The great economic revolutions that began in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and were carried forward in the United States in the 19th  and 20th , were the result of liberty, of government permitting it to happen, not interfering, not doing what most governments to this day still do, which is to stomp on and crush any force or individual that competes with their power and status. The sooner we learn that lesson, the sooner the jobs engine will be revived.
To quote Rich Karlgaard of Forbes Magazine: “Entrepreneurs are not just a cute little sub sector of the American economy. They are the whole game”. Or Tim Kane of the Kaufman Foundation: “When it comes to U.S. job growth, start-up companies aren’t everything. They’re the only thing.” Government has a whole lot of nothing to do about it. May it get started right away.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hispanic Voters, Immigration and the Republican Party

The Hard Right and Extreme Left both need to give way to the Sober Center

Two of the most miserable groups on the American political scene, especially in my beloved California, are Republicans on the one hand and Hispanic immigrants on the other; Republicans because in spite of the Tea Party wave sweeping the nation they face nearly insurmountable challenges (bordering on impotence and irrelevancy in California), and Hispanic immigrants because they can’t get their legal status normalized despite the power of their supposed friends in Washington DC. Caught in the crossfire are Hispanic American citizen voters and libertarian-minded Republicans who want the Tea Party movement to succeed in rolling back bloated government, ObamaCare, public employee union privileges and the rest, but favor a (classical-) liberal free-market approach to immigration policy.
There can be little room for compromise on restoring limited, constitutional government, low taxes, sane regulation, fiscal responsibility and with them renewed job growth and economic strength. But the immigration issue is one where the extremes must be reined in towards the center, for their own good and for the good of the country.
To the Republicans it must be repeated: There are 20 million Hispanic voters (US citizens, not talking about illegal aliens) in the US, and Hispanics are the single fastest-growing sector of the population, up 43 percent in the last decade. Republicans can’t win elections without gaining the hearts and minds of a substantial percentage of this diverse population. They will continue to fail if they appear hostile to Hispanic voters’ cousins.
Even so, to the undocumented immigrant population it must be told: You won’t succeed without Republican support at the national level. Notice that you got nowhere – and late – with Democrats when they had all the power in 2009 and 2010. Fortunately the most compelling arguments in favor of legal normalization are those that spring from the principles of free markets, limited government, individual responsibility, work ethic, familiy values, free trade and capitalism. These are (or should be) guiding principles of the Republican party. If you can embrace these and discard the false promises of socialistic welfare policies offered by the Democrats (the effects of which after all are what you fled from in Latin America) then you will find allies and solutions.
Unfortunately, much of the self-appointed political activist immigration reform movement elite are out for power for themselves first and tend to lean hard Left. For that reason, Republicans must make their appeals and outreach directly to the people at large rather than wasting too much effort trying to make nice with adversarial power brokers.

The Obama-Reid-Pelosi administration may have blundered fatally by ramming the government takeover of healthcare down the throats of the American people before they (the Democrats) had shored up support of the Hispanic voting bloc. Imagine if they had poured half as much energy into pushing the Dream Act or some other sweeping immigration reform in 2009. After the smoke from that battle had cleared, unlike healthcare the political body count likely would have emerged as a net gain for Democrats, who would then still have ammunition to spare to pass ObamaCare in 2010 with greater support left over for its defense in the aftermath. Instead they gave the flesh-and-blood people they had shed so many crocodile tears for the short stick while pouring all of their energy into a largely abstract goal of comprehensive health care ‘reform’ first. They ticked off not only their enemies but also their supposed friends.
This is a blunder upon which Republicans can and must capitalize. The Republican share of the Hispanic vote rose again in 2010 to 38% (in congressional races) from its low of ~20% in 2008. The question is whether Republicans can maintain the momentum or if they will do what they have been too good at in the past, which is to alienate people with emotional rants foaming at the mouth against illegal aliens, providing ample fuel for the Democat-Academia-Media machine to exploit.
Republicans opposed to compromise on immigration restrictions, border enforcement, amnesty etc. need to consider priorities. This country has serious problems, which were NOT caused by immigrants. Cap and Tax, Card Check, profligate ‘stimulus’ waste, too-big-to-fail bailouts, public employee union Ponzi-scheme pension liabilities and out-of-control administrative agencies like the EPA are greater threats than gardeners and house cleaners. The violence associated with narcotraffic is not an immigration issue; it is the radioactive fallout of the prohibition of substances that Americans demand and support with their dollars at a rate three times greater per capita than the nearest rival country. ObamaCare threatens to fundamentally alter the relationship between the federal government and the citizen in ways not seen since the Constitution was ratified.
These are the priority battles that must be fought without taking prisoners. Immigration calls for moderation and a sober, dispassionate look at the economic and social impact.