"We just have to slow down our economy"

That's what Bill Clinton says needs to happen to stop the supposed anthropogenic global warming. If Bill truly wants to be the First Lady, I doubt this type of campaigning is going to help Mrs. Clinton win the Presidency.

But, keep in mind that Bubba is one crafty character. So if his wife is elected, she will undoubtedly raise tax rates, which will undoubtedly slow the economy, and Bubba will take credit. "See, I told y'all we needed to slow down the economy- it's for the good of the planet."


More ideas from Congress to "stimulate the economy"

Well, this idea couldn't be much worse than some of the others. As reported by America's Finest News Source.



Tomorrow's Wall Street Journal Editorial page examines the corpse of the California "universal" health care initiative. The supposedly "post partisan" Governator was deemed the perfect doctor to deliver this baby.

What caused even the most liberal legislature in the West to pull the plug? Largely the astronomical cost.

"If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free."
-P.J. O'Rourke


I want my jet pack!

Jessica E. Vascellaro, on the future of technology, writes in today's Wall Street Journal:

"Let's get this out of the way first -- in the next 10 years, no one will travel to work by jet pack or have robot maids that serve dinner. But technology will continue to transform the rituals of everyday life -- sometimes in startling ways."

Whadchoo talkin' about Jessica?! "The Future" promised me a jet pack, and I'm getting tired of waiting for it. You can keep your robotic maid, I just want my jet pack. Ever since The FDC was a small child he's dreamed of jetting around the neighborhood in a jet pack, just like James Bond.

Jessica, have you not seen the videos. Jet packs are here! I haven't seen them at the local sporting goods store or car dealerships, but you must be able to get them somewhere! In fact, you can get them here. It's the Jet Pack T-73. Due to be released early to mid 2008. Pre-orders being taken now. Jet-A fuel (bet that leaves a serious carbon footprint). 83 mph. Retail price is $200,000 (including training). Which means I'll be able to pick one up at my local Costco for only about $135,000.

Ms. Jessica goes on about "The Future" and describes some gadgets that would make George Jetson drool, and also predicts that HD television screens are going to get even more high def. If this is the case, then in "The Future", real life will look fuzzy. So The FDC predicts that the engineers at Sony will probably come up with HD glasses that everyone will wear, and your whole life will occur in high def - which will lead to boom times for the purveyors of pimple and wrinkle remedies.


The Economy is Fine (Really)

As pointed out in this space before, the media has predicted nine of the last five recessions. It appears perhaps that that number should be raised to ten of the last five recessions.

This time the politicians were falling all over themselves to give tax credits to tax payers (and even non-tax payers). Chalk it up to election season. Even the Republicans succumbed to this shameless bit of political theater.

Writing for tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, Brian Wesbury notes that:

"It is hard to imagine any time in history when such rampant pessimism about the economy has existed with so little evidence of serious trouble."

The FDC agrees. Sure, fourth quarter GDP was lower than in some time and unemployment went up to 5% (still astonishingly low), among some other soft numbers, but the CW is that anything but astounding growth means a complete and utter economic apocalypse is on the horizon. Or at least the media would like you to think so.


The University of Google

Thomas Lifson, the Editor and Publisher of The American Thinker has a great essay today about the Internet, and the many ways it has transformed our culture.

Mr. Lifson's essay is one that I'd thought about writing myself. It's a topic that I regularly bring up at the dinner table with Mrs. FDC and the kids. A question pops up in the conversation that no one knows the answer to, The FDC speaks up with, "I'll go look it up on the Internet." This usually results in a lot of eye-rolling, and "there he goes again" all around the table. But, they are starting to come around.

The kids aren't that impressed, because they are being brought up in this age of instantaneous information. When I was my kids age, and I wanted to know the answer to a question about a subject of interest to me, I'd ask my mom and dad. If they didn't know, I'd ask my teacher. If they didn't know I'd try to remember to look it up in an encyclopedia or at the library the next time I was there. But, I'd usually forget that I wanted to look it up, and I as a result I remained ignorant on that subject.

With the advent of the Internet, that has all changed.

An example:

Years ago, while I was eating lunch, I read a magazine article that mentioned Milton Friedman. He sounded like an interesting fellow, so after lunch when I returned to my computer, I looked him up here. Reading that, I found out he was this. That surprised me. I thought to myself, he couldn't be one of those, because he sounds like one of these. But, I found he was indeed one of those, because to my surprise, those were not to be confused with these. I found all this information almost instantaneously, and the only real time I spent on it was the time it took me to read the information. I'd just expanded my mind to several ideas that I'd never pondered too hard. It lead me to read many new books that I'd never have read otherwise, and helped me to have a better understanding of our economic world.

Now on the other end of the spectrum, if you just want to learn how to play Beer Pong, you can find that too. Instantaneously. It's a beautiful thing isn't it?

Bill Gates says capitalism doesn't work. Huh?

This from the guy who has been probably the single biggest beneficiary of capitalism's rewards - ever.

His idea is "creative capitalism". Its sounds more like socialized capitalism to me, which sounds more like just another form of wealth redistribution.

One problem I have is with Gates terms. Capitalism is creative, period. Creative capitalism is just plain capitalism.

If you read his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he seems to have a firm grasp of the mechanisms and benefits of free-market capitalism.


"The genius of capitalism lies in its ability to make self-interest serve the wider interest."

Bill, so if it serves "the wider interest" please tell me again why we need this so-called "creative capitalism"?

Gates also agrees with The FDC that life is good, and getting better all the time.


"The world is getting better. In significant and far-reaching ways, the world is a better place to live than it has ever been."

But, Gates says the crux of the issue for him is that he is impatient. Despite improving conditions for even the poorest on this earth, he wants prosperity to happen quicker. It's a noble idea that hardly anyone would disagree with, but his high-minded solution will undoubtedly devolve into just another run-of-the-mill wealth distribution scheme administered by the government.

Gates gives some examples of recent "creative capitalism", and to me it's just good ol' capitalism. Capitalists have always looked for their niche to make a profit. Just because a new product or service benefits the poor doesn't make it "creative capitalism", it's just regular capitalism.

To help make his point Gates trots out a quote from Adam Smith:

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

When you consider this quote was written more than 225 years ago, you realize that Gates brand of "creative capitalism" was thought of a long time ago. Gates uses this quote to strengthen his point, but it only proves my point that "creative capitalism" or capitalism coupled with philanthropy is not a new idea.

No Mr. Gates, everyone can't be as wealthy as you. You went from being just another college drop-out to the wealthiest man in the world. Count your blessings, not your guilt.

Gates has gone through many phases in his life. As he was sitting on top of the most valuable company in the world several years ago he was enjoying life and all of the fruits of his accomplishments. He enjoyed his stature for awhile and bought everything he'd ever wanted, then, looking for more meaning in his life, he transitioned into his philanthropy phase(The Gates Foundation). That must have left him unfulfilled, so then the guilt set in. Guilt over how much money he has versus well, every single other person in the world. Don't sweat it Bill, I'm not jealous of you. I admire you. You provide inspiration to me. Anyway, Gates is now guilt-ridden, and that guilt must be assuaged. Hence, his view of the same capitalism that made him what he is today.

Larry Kudlow read Gates speech too, and points out that:

"free-market capitalism is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised by man."


The Tax Threat to Prosperity

Writing today in the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Laffer has written an excellent explanation of American tax policy history, and the differing effects of tax rate cuts on high and low income earners. This analysis should not be surprising coming from the architect of the famed Laffer Curve. Rich Lowry agrees, here.

The FDC concurs with Mr. Laffer, but would like to add that if you continue the trends that he points out we will eventually have a country where many people won't be able to brag, "I'm a tax-paying American citizen and yada, yada, yada." Why? Because if current trends continue, more and more people will NOT pay income taxes. You say, "I'm not rich. Fine with me. Let them pay. They can afford it." Eventually, when the number of taxpayers who don't pay any income taxes, reaches over 50%, then the lower 50% of income earners controls the whole game - with their votes. Next, the folks that are make barely more than the top earning no tax payers also vote for whoever or whatever will get them into this tax skate club, and so on, and so on, and so on. Pretty soon the rich are paying all the taxes. Then, Atlas shrugs, and the whole house of cards collapses. Back to the drawing board.


Are The Fed's rate adjustments helpful?

Although the FDC is true believer in free markets, he wonders if The Fed's rate adjustments really do "work" - in a long term sense. It was fairly obvious that today's 3/4 point rate drop did have an effect on the stock market performance - today. But, what about the long term?

Look at it another way: During an economic expansion, The Fed incrementally raises rates to avoid a supposed harder fall later. But would we really have a harder fall later?

Again, looking at the long term, perhaps if The Fed did not interfere, we'd probably have more sustained prosperity over the longer term. But, our markets are set-up for instant gratification, so in comes The Fed.

Perhaps economic booms would be a little more restrained if everyone knew that The Fed was going to ride to the rescue with what amounts to welfare (rate cuts) to keep the boat sufficiently afloat.

Alan Greenspan is the most obvious example of a studied free market libertarian economist who whole-heartedly believes in the role of The Fed in it's attempt to balance the market. But still...The FDC wonders. If the "invisible hand" can work it's magic for all other markets, why not the biggest market of all?


Life is good, and getting better all the time #2

The FDC firmly believes that life is good, it's getting better all the time, and despite temporary setbacks, life will continue to get better for the foreseeable future.

Exhibit #2:

A better "rat trap".

As reported in US News and World Report, perhaps life for the Irula community, a low caste tribe in India, wasn't "good", but it's getting better for many - particularly the centuries old rat exterminators.

Chinnapayan Krishnan, 41, is just such a rat exterminator. Typically, his day used to consist of exterminating rats for the local farmers. Mr. Krishnan would routinely cover all the holes in a rat hole except one. Then he'd light a fire in a clay pot, and blow smoke through the hole in the ground with the hope of either killing the rat or rendering it unconscious. This was a particularly inefficient and dangerous system, as the rat frequently escaped, or the smoke blower suffered burns or smoke inhalation that shortened their life expectancy to the early 40's. Mr. Krishnan was paid by the local farmers about five cents for each rat, and as an added bonus he got to keep the rats for his family to eat as well as keep the grain he could retrieve out of the rat hole that the rats had made off with.

Now, through a small bit of human ingenuity, the old method has been improved with the addition of a hand pump to pump the smoke into the rat hole. The pump not only pumps more smoke into the hole making the process more successful for Mr. Krishnan (to the detriment of the rats), but it also is safer Mr. Krishnan's health. He has now quadrupled his income from 25 cents a day to $1 per day. More importantly, the illiterate Mr. Krishnan can now afford to send his children to school.

When you are stuck in the bottom of India's caste system, this is real progress.

Life is good.


Feel-Good Economics

Writing in the Wall Street Journal today, Bruce Bartlett agrees with The FDC that President Bush's proposed $800 tax rebate will do little if anything to "stimulate" the economy.

Now, don't get me wrong. I want to keep more of my money, and I like the idea of the government giving it back to me. Honestly, I wish they'd give me back even more. But, I don't have any hope that these one-time cash hand-outs will do what they are intended to do.

Bartlett also brings up Milton Friedman's concept of "permanent income" which we posted about in this space (see FDC post 1/15/2008). In short and $800 check isn't permanent income, but an immediate, permanent, marginal tax rate cut does increase permanent income, and would stimulate the economy. It's not only the immediate $800 (or whatever your tax savings may be) in your pocket, but the knowledge that the same thing is going to happen again, and again, and again is what spurs consumers to actually spend the money, rather than save it, or pay down debt.

The Top 10 Political Speeches of All Time

Rick Moran (one of the best bloggers out there) has a run-down of his top 10 political speeches of all time. It's an amazing list that should remind Americans how proud they should be of our history.

He pegs our hero's speech at Point Du Hoc in 1984 in at #6. This was the speech Reagan gave at the 40th anniversary of D-Day.

Moran: "I challenge anyone – conservative or liberal – to watch this June 6, 1984 speech in its entirety and not get choked with emotion."

Video here.

Diversity Gobbledygook

Typical mumbo-jumbo from the diversity police at Yale. We're still waiting for diversity to include political thought. More specifically, conservative political thought. It will likely (continue to) be a long wait.


Conservatives are happier than liberals

The FDC has stumbled through life and made this observation over and over again (and of course there are many, many exceptions). And now, there is proof. Arthur Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University wrote the article for today's Wall St. Journal. Mr. Brooks is the author of the forth-coming book, Gross National Happiness.

More on this at Michelle Malkin's blog here.

Fred Thompson's numbers moving in the right direction...

So says the Right Wing Nuthouse. Some of Fred's recent polling numbers I've seen indicate the same, and you have to figure in the lag time in the way polls are done, i.e. a candidate who's numbers have been moving up will show an even higher percentage of votes if the poll reflected in real-time, and vice versa.


Fred Thompson - The consistent conservative

Fred's new TV ad, courtesy of http://www.fred08.com/...

Click to play

"Predatory Borrowing"

I wish I'd thought of that term to describe less than honest mortgage borrowers. Economist Tyler Cowen apparently coined it "predatory borrowing". Perfect. The FDC has observed that contrary to CW, this practice is much more prevalent than the always maligned "predatory lending".

Michelle Malkin links the article too, and has more here.

This topic is deemed worthy of future posts. Watch this space.

Support the troops with The Gratitude Campaign

The FDC supports the troops. And their mission. Here's one way to thank them...The Gratitude Campaign.

The story from the website:

"For the past several years as I've been traveling around the country, I've been approaching soldiers in the airports and thanking them for serving for us. On several occasions I have noticed that it felt a little awkward for both of us. There are several reasons, some of which I am even just now learning as I produce this film and talk to more soldiers. But they have always appreciated being thanked, and I have always felt better having expressed my gratitude.
I started to think that it would be nice if civilians had a gesture or sign that they could use to say "thank you" quickly and easily without even having to approach. I did some research and found the sign that we are now using.
Is this limited to the military? Not at all. If you look around you I'm sure that you'll find lots of people who are serving their communities, from local to global. If you appreciate their service, give them a sign. Say "thank you."


Free trade (not "fair trade") = Prosperity

The Wall Street Journal released their annual Report on Economic Freedom.

An exerpt from the editorial:

"Here's bad news for those who oppose global free trade: Not only did the world-wide trend toward greater economic liberty hold steady over the past year, but the incomes of poor individuals across the globe are rising as result. The world isn't only growing richer. The gap between the per-capita income of have-not populations and that of the developed world is narrowing."

The rankings are here. Some countries to note are:

1. Hong Kong (naturally)

2. Singapore (no surprise)

3. Australia

4. United States (of course)

6. UK

7. Ireland

10. Canada

11. Chile

12. Estonia (see FDC 1/11/2008 post)

49. Mexico (see FDC 1/12/2008 post)

119. China (a long way to go)

120. Russia (a long way to go, but going in the wrong direction)

142. Syria

144. Venezuela (Hugo, look at the bottom of this list. Getting any clues??)

150. Iran (of course)

156. Cuba (ditto)

DEAD LAST #157: North Korea (or more formally, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

Reality Deniers

Although Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D. doesn't go into the science in his National Review column today, he definitely addresses it here. Those that say "the science is settled", ought to take a look at the science.

I can appreciate Al Gore's passion in his crusade to "save the earth", but I'm suspicious of his motives. But seriously folks, Al Gore continues to answer (or shout down) his critics by saying, "the science is settled". Al Gore could gain the respect of the so-called "deniers" by heeding the words of Albert Einstein when he directly responded to doubts about his new E=mc2 theory:

"If I was wrong, they only needed to send one scientist to prove me wrong."

Well, Roy Spencer is one scientist, but Al doesn't want to give back his Nobel.

"...politicians have predicted nine of the last five recessions."

So says the National Review's editorial today.

And eventually the politicians will get it right. So, just in case they do get it right, something must be done, and since we are in the midst of a presidential primary...let the cash hand outs begin!

The National Review's Rich Lowry gets it right on these so-called "stimulus plans" to "jump-start the economy". The FDC loves that Lowry cited Milton Friedman's (one of our heroes) "permanent income hypothosis" that Lowry boils down to: "You can’t fool people into thinking that they are richer than they really are. "

Meanwhile, it should come as no surprise that New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, praises the hand-outs. Krugman disregards the lessons he learned earning his undergraduate economics degree at Yale and his Ph.D. at MIT, to wallow in what Lowry calls the "the lowest common denominator of sophomoric economic policy".


Newt Gringrich's new book Real Change

Newt was a guest on Hannity and Colmes tonight to talk about his latest book to be released tomorrow.

An excerpt from his talk with Hannity and Colmes:

"If Ronald Reagan were alive today he would be looking around and saying we've got to compete with China and India. We've got to defeat the secularists who would drive God out of the public square. We've got to find a solution to those who would eliminate English as the common language of the country. We've got to solve immigration. We've got to defeat Al-Qaeda."

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg seems to be generating quite a bit of controversy with his new book, Liberal Fascism, at least in the minds of those on the left. The book is currently the #12 best-selling book at Amazon.com.

Why is the book causing so much controversy? For decades, the left has associated fascism with the right. Why? Because fascism is evil. And if President George W. Bush (or fill in the blank with another conservative) is deemed to be evil...voila, George Bush is a fascist. See how easy this is. The FDC has never quite understood the argument equating conservatives to fascists, but understands very well the motivation behind the effort. Because, fascists are radio-active. And someone or some group that is successfully labeled a fascist is more easily marginalized.

"Liberal fascism" is not a new idea, as you will see here. After all, "Nazi Party" is "the official German language name of the National Socialist German Workers Party."

This post is not a review of the book, as it is the FDC's policy not to review books he has not read. But, it appears that doesn't seem to be the policy of many of the pre-reviewers at Amazon.com (particularly those giving the enthusiastic one-star ratings).


Candidate Match Game

Courtesy of the McPaper: Confirm your vote, or if you don't have a clue, get one here quick.


We don't need to build a wall...

...and we don't need to deport illegal aliens. With all due respect to many of my conservative friends who want to solve the illegal immigration crisis here in the US with either of these two options, there is one solution that is almost never considered. The Mexican government needs to create incentives for illegal aliens in the US to self-deport themselves, or to not export themselves to our country in the first place. How in God's name can we do that? The Mexican government needs to establish firm property rights and rule of law that the citizens can trust to protect their personal interests.

Here in the US, we take property rights and rule of law for granted. Americans enter into contracts and such willy-nilly without a care in the world. Whether it be to buy a car, buy real estate, apply for a patent on a new invention, or even just sign a contract for two-years of service when we purchase a cell phone. Why are we so carefree? Because we know that if the other party fails to perform on their end of the contract that we have legal recourse. If you stop and think about it, property rights and rule of law bound together really are the linchpins holding all of America's economic wheels on - and liberty is the engine making it go. Not so in Mexico - and it is what's holding back the country from having a productive economy that creates enough jobs to keep their population home.

The FDC had a tough time finding a link to find some support for my position, but I did find this two year-old article here (the author has a cool eye patch, eh?) Although, this seems to be a solution that is not really on the table, I'm sure that the late Milton Friedman would concur.

Enthusiastic Young Fred Heads


"Reduced marginal tax rates have stood the test of time...."

" They are an effective economic stimulant...."

Larry Kudlow goes on to point out that most of Eastern Europe has adopted a flat tax, and not surprisingly, their economies have taken off like a rocket.

Since Kudlow, brings up Eastern Europe, that reminds me...

Estonia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world (the annual GDP growth rate in 2006 amounted again 11.4%!) After their young Prime Minister, Mart Laar, read Milton Friedman's Free to Choose, Laar was inspired enough to reform Esonia's economy by adopting a flat tax. Now Estonia is known as "The Baltic Tiger".

I like the idea of a flat tax in the US, but when will it happen? When hell freezes over. But that's another post for another day.

Life is good & getting better all the time! #1

The FDC firmly believes that life is good, it's getting better all the time, and despite temporary setbacks, life will continue to get better for the foreseeable future.

Exhibit #1:

The WSJ online Editorial Page is now FREE. Formally, The WSJ had offered the online "Opinion Journal" (a small daily sample of the Editorial Page) for free, and full access to the entire Editorial Page when you paid for an annual subscription.

Rather than cry about lost revenue, the editors were smart enough to note that it's another example of "creative destruction" that benefits all of us.

How does this make life better? For past subscribers, it saves them at least $79 per year that they can invest, donate to charity, or blow in Vegas. For current non-subscribers, it gives them greater access to more knowledge and ideas. The Journal benefits by gaining a wider readership, and increased advertising revenue.