Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Economics 101 Video Series

The video on Keynesian Economics below this is actually the most recent in a series of short videos on Economics. They're well worth your time to watch. There are ten, including the one in the post below this. You can find them at the Center for Freedon and Prosperity website.
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Why Keynesian Economics Is Wrong

This 5 minute video produced by the Center for Freedon and Prosperity of the American Enterprise institute explains why the Keynesians are wrong. Economic growth causes consumer spending, not the other way round. This is why no amount of Keynesian "stimulus" will cure what ails our economy. Improving the lot of consumers by way of policies that increase their disposable income, such as lower tax rates, are the right prescription.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Bill Whittle - What We Believe, Part 7 - American Exceptionalism

The seventh and final installment of Bill Whittle's "What We Believe" series is up.  If you haven't seen parts 1 through 6, they are posted here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Bill has also produced the series on DVD, which is available for purchase here.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vegetarianism From the Other Side - Turnabout

Via Instapundit we have this rather funny YouTube:

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Take Me To Your Lizard Gets a New Look - What Do You Think?

I've been trying to figure out how to widen the post area in the template I've been using for this blog so it will accomodate YouTube videos. I've been having to cut them down to about 70% of size by changing the standard width from about 640 to 448 pixels wide so the right side doesn't get cut off, and dropping the height from 385 to 270 pixels to keep the aspect ratio right. I couldn't quite get it to work right, so I thought I might just try a new look entirely.  I think I like the way it turned out after I customized a bit. The contrast between the text and the background is higher, which ought to make it a little easier on the eyes and I can always go back to the old template if I want to.  

For those of you familiar with the way the blog was before, do you like the new look?   
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Will Happen When the Bush Tax Cuts Expire?

According to Gary Wickert a tsunami, actually three of them, will sweep over the economy one after the other and they won't just affect "the rich":

First Wave

Bush Tax Cuts Expire. Congress didn’t even have the strength of character to stay and vote on extending the Bush tax cuts before running home to protect their professional political careers. These tax cuts all expire on January 1, 2011. Thereafter, the top income tax rate will rise from 35% to 39.6%, the same rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed. The lowest rate will rise from 10% to 15%. All the rates in between will also rise. Somewhere I seem to recall a promise about tax cuts for 95% of “working families.”

Second Wave

Obamacare will be the focus of congressional wrangling over the next two years, but it is unlikely to be repealed in that time. There are over 20 huge and completely new taxes contained within the new health care law which was hurried through Congress without being read and passed against the will of the American people. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011.

Third Wave

The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes. The AMT, which was originally intended simply to make sure that wealthy taxpayers didn’t use tax shelters and other tactics to avoid having to pay any taxes at all (a good start for an argument for a flat tax), affected nearly 4 million families last year. Starting in 2011, it will affect over 28 million families.

There's much more. Read the whole thing.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Mitch McConnell Endorses Earmark Ban

Finally, it looks like the Republican establishment is getting it. The Weekly Standard has the story and the full text of his remarks but here is what it boils down to:

Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.

Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.

That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.

Read the whole thing.

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Top 10 Ways to School Your Leftist Friends on Facebook

It isn't just Facebook where this rings true but Diane Schrader pretty much has the usual  course of the argument down. She summarizes in number 1:

1. Challenge them on being “offended.”

After I pointed out a series of inappropriate statements made by another writer on the election thread (see #2), we finally reached the motherlode of Leftist indignation – the opportunity to play the offended victim. In this case, the tiresome but fully predictable whine came from the original writer, who accused ME of insulting her friends. At this point it is often helpful to provide a brief summary of the entire thread… something along these lines:

1. RB makes a crack about scary elections.

2. PB says it’s terrifying and he wants to move to Canada.

3. Diane asks what’s scary.

4. PB calls her a teabagger.

5. Diane suggests that is not an effective argument.

6. PB says Diane can’t know what he was really thinking when he called her a teabagger.

7. Diane says words have meaning, and asks if you going to answer my question.

8. PB says you only care about your own opinion.

9. Diane notes again that she just asked for his opinion.

10. RB says when she said elections were frightening she meant she was scared by low voter turnout.

11. Diane laughs hysterically.

12. AC joins in to offer the news that she and her husband are smarter than all the stupid, ignorant and shallow conservative screamers.

13. Diane sighs and points out that this is also not an argument but simply an ad hominem attack.

14. RB accuses Diane of insulting her friends, who have either implied or outright stated that Diane is a stupid, ignorant, shallow, screaming, teabagger who won’t listen to their side. Although they never stated their side.

Ahhh… Arguing with Leftists. Sometimes it’s like taking candy from a baby. But remember, other people are almost always lurking, reading, and considering. Stay cool (easy to say, difficult to do – I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes on this one) and try to be the bigger person. Those lurking readers will be able to see who’s presenting rational thoughts, and who’s devolving into hysteria. I think it’s telling that in this thread I’ve used as an example, some of the participants went back the next day and deleted all their comments. Apparently even they eventually recognized how foolish they sounded. Score.

Read the whole thing.
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Quantitative Easing Explained

You may have heard the term "quantitative easing" employed (unlike far too many people) lately and wondered what it means. The short answer is "printing money" (like there's no tomorrow) For the longer version, watch the following:

(h/t Bob)
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Occupational Licensing and the Economic Damage It Has Done

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, has produced a short YouTube video about the explosion in occupational licensing requirements since the 1950's when only 1 in 20 people needed government permission to make a living. Now it's 1 in 3. It isn't all just the government driving this though, it's industries using government to erect barriers to entry for potential competiors, i.e., rent-seeking behavior.  Anyway, here you go; five minutes well spent:

(Via Instapundit and Reason's Hit & Run)
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Bill Whittle - What We Believe, Part 6: Immigration

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Zombie On the Evils of Gerrymandering

Over at Pajamas Media, Zombie offers up a course on Gerrymandering 101, that is where instead of the people choosing their congressional representatives, the representatives choose their constituents by redrawing the lines between electoral districts to protect their own reelection chances. He follows up with another post naming and shaming the ten most bizzarely gerrymandered congressional districts of the 111th Congress.

Read it all.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

What We Believe Part 5 - Bill Whittle On Gun Rights

Here is part 5 of "What We Believe", Bill Whittle's series of video essays on what conservatives believe and why. This one is about gun rights. There are going to be 7 parts in total with part 6, "Immigration," and part 7, "American Exceptionalism" to follow soon.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

How to Make Atlas Shrug....

....Or to reach even further back into literature, how to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Forbes publisher Richard Karlgaard explains why increasing tax rates is counter-productive to increasing tax revenues (for those that still don't get it) and notes that the effect is non-linear:

The more you tax and regulate things, the less you get of those things. What's really important to understand is that the "less you get" part is not linear. There's a tipping point at which you may get nothing if you pile on too many burdens. The supplier always has a choice to supply or not. Capital can go on strike. Atlas can shrug.

That's the theory, but is it true? Let's ask Rolling Stone Keith Richard:

"The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says Keith, Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all.” [my emphasis]

QED. Nothing like a nice little example from the real world to prove the point.

(h/t Bob)

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Why We Should Eliminate the Corporate Income Tax - Megan McArdle

Megan McArdle sets forth the arguments for why the corporate income tax should be eliminated. One of the best is the fictional idea that corporations actually pay the taxes. Ultimately, taxes are always borne by an individual somewhere:

You can't tax a corporation; you can only tax a person. For all the talk about corporate personhood, ultimately, all the income in a corporation ultimate ends up in the hands of some person: shareholders, employees, suppliers. Ultimately, we're not interested in the accumulation of money and power in "Ford Motor Company"; we're interested in the managers and shareholders who benefit from that accumulation.

This is a central concept of the FairTax also.

It's all good. Read the whole thing.

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