Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Socialism is Seductive

It's easy to see why socialism is so appealing to so many people. It promises so much (even if it is short on delivery). It preaches that there are simple solutions to everything; all you have to do is pass a law and it will be so.

It can even point to localized successes. Afterall, if you take from the many and give to the few it is very easy to prove that the few have benefited. Because of this the socialist must constantly find small groups to enrich at the expense of their neighbors. This weaves a patchwork of special interest groups who may not defend every program but are united in their defense of the system.

Thus it becomes that “The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Monday, November 11, 2013

How's that Inflation?

Although official numbers show the recession ended in 2009, 72% of consumers still feel like they're in a recession.

That's inflation folks. It fudges the numbers so you can tell everyone everything is fine, but even if they can't put their finger on it people know it just isn't true. Wages may be going up nominally but the price of goods is going up faster. Portions are getting smaller. Purchasing power is decreasing.  And wealth is systematically getting transferred to banks and political cronies.

Why? Because monetary inflation is caused by Uncle Sam deficit spending and printing money to "pay" for it. This money goes to government contractors and banks first, where they can spend it before the market prices adjust to accommodate the new money competing for the same amount of goods.  The price of goods increases and then wages gradually trail along behind.

But the banks and cronies have already gotten their share of the pie. They spent the money before prices went up; the workers are spending it after. It's traditional buy-low, sell-high and the banks are keeping the spread.

Why can they do that? Because the politicians continue to spend money we don't have by counterfeiting it out of thin air. They keep lying to us that this is making things better and helping the economy.

Somewhere deep inside 72% of people know something is not right. But we'll keep reelecting the same liars until enough of us can finally see through their tricks.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tiger Woods Makes How Much??

“I can’t believe that America pays athletes and movie stars so much!”

The presumption in this statement is that “America” is some single entity that has decided it values athletes more than police or teachers and that if only “America” changed its mind, this could somehow be “fixed.” However the reality is that in economics, having an available substitute usually drives prices down. For example, despite the importance of Police Officer Smith’s job, he is far easier to replace than Michael Jordan. The same can be said for teachers, nurses, firemen and even soldiers. In most cases, there is no shortage of applicants possessing the necessary skills to fill these important roles.

The movie-star effect is also a product of mass media. There are two ways to get rich: bring a million dollars’ worth of value to one person, or bring a dollar’s worth of value to millions of people. When an actor’s effectiveness was limited to the number of people you could fit in a single theater, their economic position was similarly poorer. Once they were able to bring their performance to millions of people through movie reels, their value and wealth increased dramatically.

So, why are athletes paid so much? Because you, me and millions of other people are willing to pay a few dollars for their performance, and that adds up. But when someone complains about their salaries, what are they suggesting? Are they willing to launch a campaign to convince millions of people to stop paying to watch sporting events? Or are they suggesting that by fiat, dictate or some other law we should place a cap on how much we value those individuals?

I’m often torn on whether people who make such statements are simply ignorant of basic economics or truly desire to wield power over others to bring into existence their own world view. I’d prefer to think it’s the former.
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