Saturday, January 24, 2009

Life Imitates Fiction

I just started reading the Fountainhead again on inspiration from the painting my niece Rachel gave me for Christmas. I'll have to wrap it up quick so that I can give AS another go!

'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years
Many of us who know Rand's work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that "Atlas Shrugged" parodied in 1957...

Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism...

The current economic strategy is right out of "Atlas Shrugged": The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you.
I was a little disappointed to see that in the last paragraph of this article, Moore makes a reference to the subjectivist David Kelley, who himself has had some pretty nasty things to say about Rand. I have no idea why people call him an advocate of her ideas.

UPDATE: Oooh. A video interview.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Doctor Wants Kidney Back As Part of Divorce

As a person who is only living with a partial kidney removed, not even someone with a whole kidney removed, Lia has this to say:

"This guy rocks! I'd want that thing back too. He should hire some Russians to put her in a bathtub full of ice and take the sucker out!"

A four-year divorce, a doctor that knew beforehand what it would do to him to give up a kidney (he must have really loved her), and a lady who cheated on him after getting one of his organs. Also he is confident enough in his ability to make a living that he doesn't want any other money, the house, or other part of the estate: just the kidney, or it's equal value: 1.5 Million Dollars.

It's not as if having a kidney removed is nothing: you can live without it, but it's 6 months to a year before you stop feeling all your insides shifting and rearranging from the void you created by it's absence. Also, it's a major surgery, meaning they cut through flesh and muscle to get to the damn thing, and it's a long recovery to get over that.

Financial Crisis Link Roundup

Bush says sacrificed free-market principles to save economy. Umm. You didn't have any in the first place, George.

John Stossel: The Next Crisis

"Barack Obama says, '[Today's economic problems are] a stark reminder of the failures of ... an economic philosophy that sees any regulation at all as unwise and unnecessary.'

What? Does that mean that until last week the Bush administration embraced the free market? Nonsense.
BB&T chief blames crisis on government
“I think George Bush has been one of the worst presidents in history, but this is not his fault,”
ARI: Stop Blaming Capitalism for Government Failures
"...whatever one wishes to call the unruly mixture of freedom and government controls that made up our economic and political system during the last three decades, one cannot call it capitalism."
Repeal the Bailout
"...once started, the bailouts were not going to stop.
Consequently (and unfortunately), we expect this domain and website to be policy relevant for years to come. So with all due respect to those who may have thought us naive, we would like to gently suggest that it was more naive to believe that the government was going to close the the "Pandora's Box" of bailout policy once they had opened it."

The Only Stimulus Package That Will Work

An economic emergency? Yes. Time to take action now? Yes.

But not the kind of action Obamalicious is calling for. Exactly the opposite: Not more deficit spending, but less; not more taxes, but less, for ALL Americans; not more individual welfare, not more corporate welfare, but less.

Don't just cut taxes for 95% of America. Cut it for everyone. Repeal the capital gains tax. The result? Everyone is free to invest and spend and save as they see fit. AS THEY SEE FIT! Interesting concept. No imperious overlord standing by to force us where to put our money. Actual monetary freedom.

How do we pay for all this then? By taking every bureaucratic wealth redistribution scheme that has been created in the last 70 years and repeal them all. We'll start with the most current ones and work backwards:
  • Repeal the recent $700B bank bailout
  • Repeal Bush's prescription drug bill ($120B)
  • Repeal Medicare and Medicaid ($580B)
  • Repeal Social Security ($560B)
And in addition, repeal every statist, restrictive law that has come into being since the 70's, such as the Community Reinvestment Act, which had a hand in causing this recession, and Sarbanes Oxley, the IPO inhibiting monstrosity that got passed after the Enron-WorldCom debacle.

It's a simple, two part plan, really. The government should:
1) Cut the hell back
2) Leave my money alone

Obviously it would take years to dismantle these huge entangled bureaucracies, but it needs to happen. Most of the entitlements people get from Social Security and Medicare are immoral anyway, and those that aren't can be made through the private sector, and done cheaper.

This guy lays out the numbers pretty well of what our debt would be if the stimulus plan passed.

Trillion-Dollar Spree Is Road to Ruin, Not Rally: Kevin Hassett
We are in the midst of a crisis caused by so many financial institutions borrowing too much money. Somehow, a critical mass of policy makers now believes that the correct response is for the U.S. government to borrow too much money.
He talks about a couple senators that are trying to trim back the budget, but no specifics yet on where. The Senate press release he links to is a year and a half old, but it's still the right idea.
Now is the time to address the unsustainable shortfall between our expected revenues and the trillions we know we will be spending for federal health and retirement programs.
Screw these Keynseian economics theories. They say more and more deficit spending will bring back the economy. If deficit spending is the path to economic nirvana, then that means with all the deficit spending we've had in our lifetime, everything would be puppy dogs and unicorns by now. But it's not. Keynes sucks.