Category Archives: Atlas Shrugged

Detroit, liberalism at its finest

Obama Detroit

Sadly, he doesn’t have a city….he has a country.

The fall of this city reads like the story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company.  Large government spends, overregulates, gives into unions at every turn, hampers business at every opportunity, a deference to cronyism without any concern for free markets, corruption, all leading to the destruction of a city that still has all the infrastructure necessary for growth. And the worst part is that this can be easily, EASILY reversed.  Lower taxes, remove regulations, gut the bureaucracy, open up school choice, tell the unions exactly where they stick all their whiny demands.  It would be a slow growth at first, and the city would need to redirect every single cent they get to police to clean up the dangerous streets of Detroit first (although allowing open carry and remove the restrictions that allows law abiding citizens to procure weapons to protect themselves could solve that problem, criminals tend to go where the targets are easy and a well armed populace is not that) and fix the crumbling infrastructure second.  If the city did these things and let the free market and individual choice drive the way the city would be thriving again within a decade.

But we know they won’t do that.  And so the city will continue to decay.

 

But I’m sure if you asked idiots like Paul Krugman or Barry the answer would clearly be that we just didn’t spend enough money and we didn’t regulate enough.  Because that’s always the problem for liberals.  Government is never the problem and always the solution, even though they don’t have a single shred of evidence to back that claim up.




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Why we fight, or, I will not shrug

“Mr. Rearden,” said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, “if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders-what would you tell him to do?”
“I . . . don’t know. What . . . could he do? What would you tell him?”

To keep doing what he knew in his heart to be right, no matter the cost, no matter the struggle.

So in amongst all the stupid idiots claiming that Romney didn’t win because he wasn’t conservative enough (yes, because his economics were more conservative than Reagan’s, his foreign policy was as conservative as Reagan’s and like Reagan he seemed to have a certain libertarian streak for social issues at the federal level…no, not conservative at all) and all the bickering over “demographics are destiny” (possibly the stupidest line I’ve ever heard), I heard a very bleak assessment by Dennis Miler:

I like a country where people bust their tuckus, and I think this country’s gone a long way towards becoming more of a European model. And I would say, once again, read the book, Amity Shlaes’ book, The Forgotten Man. If you are out there now making $45,000 a year, busting your hump, being away from your family because it’s in your hard drive to do the ‘right thing’– the ‘right thing’ changed in this country yesterday. You can get close to that from the government. And I’m telling you, when Nancy Pelosi said ‘kids take some time off, read a book, learn an instrument’ well listen it’s not always about kids, sometimes it’s about these hard working guys out there who I feel sorry for. And I would tell them, get in the hand out line, don’t get in the hand down line anymore—it doesn’t make sense.

I understand where Miller is coming from…all too well. That’s what is so disheartening about this election is that 62 million people voted to ensure that the 300 million in this nation will continue to suffer, continue to struggle, continue to lose what they have made and continue to work for what must seem to no avail. And damn them and their shortsighted grasping evil ways. They voted in a tyrant that will hurt the people of this nation and the world. And it just hurts to see that there is nothing we can do about it right now.

But Miller is wrong; the right thing did not change on Election Day.

The right thing before the election and after is to do what is right. And it will never be right to take something that has been stolen from another person. It will never be right not do everything in your power to make your life, your family’s life and the world around you better through whatever means you have.

I understand what Miller is saying, and I understand why he feels that way. But I cannot give up. It is just not in my nature. I was pretty depressed on Tuesday night and I even briefly took a longer than usual look at all those emails I get with offers to teach overseas (they were still not tempting enough). But what got me through were two things. The first was my faith in the universe that everything happens for a reason and that eventually everything will work out as it should—even if there are periods of extreme pain and suffering.

The second were two quotes.

The first was from one of my preferred British politicians, Tony Blair:

That’s what we’re fighting for. And it’s a battle worth fighting.
And I know it’s hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I’ve never been to, but always wanted to go…
I know out there there’s a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, “Why me? And why us? And why America?”
And the only answer is, “Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.”

The quote may have originally been about the war in Iraq, but the sentiment is still true. There is right and there is wrong. There are policies that promote liberty and there are those that promote tyranny. It doesn’t matter if you want the fight or not, if the fight is there and you recognize right from wrong then “destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.”

But what if I just let some else do it?

And that’s where the second quote comes in, from one of the greatest movies ever made: Casablanca.

When asked why we fight, the character of Victor Laszlo gives the perfect answer.

Rick: Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this? I mean what you’re fighting for.
Victor Laszlo: You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.

There is right and there is wrong. Good and evil. And every step Obama has made has been in the absolute wrong direction, and I have no faith he’s going to change course. (If he did, hell I’d support him—but I’m not so stupid as to think for one second he will). And thus whatever limited power I have through this blog, through my interactions with others; I have to use to push against this man and the ideology he represents.

Capitalism.  Liberty.  The Individual.  What is Right, and Good, and True, and Just.  America.  These are things worth fighting for, regardless of whether we win or not.  The fight holds its own virtue and is never in vain, for even if we don’t win this battle, or the next, or the next we provide the groundwork for the next person to pick up where we left off.

I’m not terribly convinced I’m going to win this fight in the short run. A miracle could always happen, but only a fool bets on them. But we do what is right because it is right, not because we are assured of winning. Yes there are times to make tactical retreats (which I think everyone forgets Atlas Shrugged was supposed to be, but Rand in her ever inefficient way hammered the let them have what they want point and forgot to hammer harder the point of we need to do this to have a chance to actually win in the long run) but that does not mean give up. So despite the taunting of some trolls, and despite Miller’s depressed statement. I will still be my workaholic self, because to be anything less would not be true to myself and for me would be unethical. And I will continue to use this blog and any other means I can find to advocate for what I believe to be true. Now I’m also going to divert a lot of the energy I’ve put into the blog for the last year into other projects I have neglected…
…but I will not shrug. And I hope I am not the only one.

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The Sad Life of Julia Part III–The wacky college years

Our little Julia continues to be among the most worthless excuses for a human I’ve ever seen (not really, there are worse)

So now that we’ve covered her early life and adolescence let’s move onto her college years.


Ah, I remember the first time I had major surgery in my early 20’s, just like everyone I know…oh wait, no…most people don’t have surgery in their 20’s.  Assuming Obama took office when Julia was 3, that would mean he has been Fuehrer for 19 years so I can promise you that almost all private insurance companies have gone out of business as Obamacare is designed to put private companies out of business and have everyone go to government care  …but don’t worry most of the doctors and nurses will have already left the field long before the private insurance companies as there will be no way to make ends meet in the medical profession if Obamacare goes into full effect.  But don’t worry, long before this happens drug companies and medical supply companies will go out of business.  And have we talked about this thing called the adverse selection death spiral, which is as bad as it sounds, caused by Obamacare.   So Julia will be having her surgery in a government facility, being treated by third rate doctors (the first and second rate ones went to countries with fewer regulations on the medical field like Canada and the UK…maybe India will start importing doctors from America), being done on a very limited use of anesthetics and antibiotics.

So it’s actually a small miracle she makes it out of the hospital alive…truly God loves Julia, and of course, by God, I mean the divine Obama.

Let’s compare this to the Ryan plan or Romney’s proposals for health care.  You know the ones that would one up choice and competition, lower fraud, reduce prices, and improve quality all over.  Yes Julia and her parents would have to pay for her surgery…but it will be half of what it costs rights now and one-twentieth of what it would cost under Obamacare.  And God (and I don’t mean Barry) help Julia if the rationing board determines that her surgery isn’t worth the cost.

Well if there were any jobs left…which at this rate 110% of the populace will have dropped out of the work force by the time Julia is 23 and Obama has been ruling the People’s Republic of America for 20 years.  Of course with no one seeking jobs anymore the Department of Labor will declare 100% employment and praise Obama for his genius.

I’m curious about the fact that she’s starting her career two years before finishing college…but I’m just not going to touch this bizarre non-sequitur.

Okay let’s take about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act…or as I call it bullshit.

What is it really?  It’s a bone to the trial lawyers who now have legal cover to sue for perceived injustices that are decades old.  It’s the exact opposite of the tort reform we so dearly need.   Because it has nothing to do with equal pay.

Did you know that women in their 20’s make more money than their male counterparts in the same field?  Did you know that when you correct for experience and education and the job then women of any age earn more?   It’s just that women take these large swaths of time off from their careers…the Obama administration can find no explanation but sexism for the time women take off from their jobs.

Since women in their 20’s are making more than men in their 20’s, actually if you had equal work for equal pay it means most men should be making more…hmmm…..oh wait because we’ve put in card check and unfair practices at the federal labor board everyone will be in a union by Julia’s 20’s whether they want to be or not.  Thus we will all be getting paid the same, irrespective of education, work, merit, seniority or skill.

But let’s see with lawyers suing up a storm expect everything to cost so much more which means even if Julia is making the same amount of money (which is odd as web design is often more of personal venture than a big corporation…but again let’s not get into the leaps of logic) it really doesn’t matter as with her inflated (caused by everything else Obama is doing to the economy) currency she will be able to buy even less!

I’m still a little confused, if she started her career 3 years ago and is still in the same field at 42…what was so important about college?  I think college is important, and when I have children it will be very clear that they will be going to college…but if you already have a career before finishing college and are making money off of it (and since she doesn’t switch careers between now and 42 she’s either making money or is very very stupid…oh wait)…but going to college has worked for a few like Paul Allen, Michael Dell, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mary Kay Ash, John D. Rockerfeller, Mark Zuckerberg, and Robert Jackson (Attorney General of the United States, Supreme Court Justice, and chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials…never finished college let alone Law School) and I’m not so much of a snob as to chide someone for not going to college if they can make their career work…

Anyone a bit disturbed by the fact that it’s taken Julia 7 years to graduate from college?  It doesn’t quite make sense.  I can only assume she studied computer engineering, as she’s a web designer, but 7 years?  Web design actually wouldn’t take even an AA…so does she have a MA (still a year too long) or a Ph.D. in computer engineering…if so Microsoft, Apple or a dozen other programming firms would have hired her on the spot and lavished her with money, benefits and stock options…but she’s only a poor web designer.  And since she is still dependent on Obama for the rest of her existence I can only conclude it took her 7 years to get her B.A. (now we’re seeing why she didn’t get any scholarships and needed Obama’s help to pay for college tuition…and not a very bright college either as they don’t know that flag code requires that flag goes on the LEFT of the podium if you are facing the podium).

Also, and I’m not entirely sure here, but isn’t “web design” something you can get done it 2 years at ITT Tech or DeVry?  7 years?  Really?

And yes Obama kept the interest rates low, making that money cheap.  Which any basic understanding of how an economy works means that money that could have gone for investment in business or industry and created jobs will go to fund Julia and other slackers like her in their 7 year quest to become Web Designers.  Hey, Barry, look up the term “opportunity cost” and ask yourself if it has any bearing on artificially lowering the interest rate on college loans.  Of course it’s a lie that her loans are more manageable, the college jacked up their prices to be on par with what Julia could borrow…it’s just that Julia is really hoping for a bailout from Obama soon, like he bails out everyone.

(I wonder if Barry also paid for the dye job to her hair as it has gone from an inhuman shade of blue to red for no explicable reason).

So rather than letting the Romney/Ryan plan burst the bubble on college costs and actually make it more affordable for a far greater portion of the country, we must keep those prices artificially inflated.

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The Best (and worst) Movies of 2011

It is the year-end review of movies.  It was a crappy year for movies.  A really crappy year!  No.  I can’t even get a top 10 list.  You get 5.  And those five aren’t great.

Why you ask?

I’m looking over the other picks for top movies by other critics and can’t believe it.  For instance 50/50 made it on a lot of lists, yeah, it had some good acting, but it read more like a poorly conceived documentary than film…art is supposed to have a point, a theme, a message, a meaning, or hell even catharsis…this movie had none of that…just an accurate documenting of what happens to a person when they’re dealing with cancer.  Or there is Hugo, which admittedly I haven’t seen, but given that Scorsese is the most overrated director in history who has NEVER made a single even decent, let alone a quality film, I have no desire to watch it.  I would however love to know what the f!@# people see in his terrible body of work?   Midnight in Paris, a cast like New Year’s Eve but with a worse director…again, what the hell is entertaining in ANY Woody Allen film?  War Horse…wow, Seabiscuit meets Saving Private Ryan…or is it Secretariat meets Private Ryan…maybe it was supposed to be Black Beauty meets…you get my point.  (Spielberg has done some good work…but he has also done some of the worst films ever made…1941, Lost World, or Munich anyone?).  Oh, The Help…the idea that help in a household knows more about what is going on than anyone–I got the feeling that the writers and the critics found this a very original concept…which tells me none of them did well in English class or have ever run across a 19th century British novel of manners (it might actually be good, but the banality and unoriginality of theme projected by the advertising when trying to be presented as something new, offends the English teacher in me).  Harry Potter and Muppets (yes, I’ve seen this on lists of critics Top 10’s)…you know if you add Twilight and Justin Bieber’s flick you might actually have the 4 horsemen of an artistic apocalypse.  Drive, or as the most accurate review of it I saw, Grand Theft Auto, is pointless.  A Separation… I haven’t seen it yet but I have read a full plot summary…I don’t need a movie to tell me how shitty life in Iran is, and as I’ve stated before art should show me the best in humanity (and the reviews I’ve seen haven’t exactly convinced me that this is there).

And some movies I was hoping for to be great, weren’t.  Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, which shouldn’t even really be considered because it wasn’t actually released to the public until 2012 was well acted, but the director was overly taken with himself (I think he always wanted to direct a silent film), the actors were wasted (except Oldman and Cumberbatch), but while the movie was a great thriller, it was thematically pointless (at best it was a statement about how people who live only their jobs don’t have healthy personal lives, somewhat undermined by Smiley being quite content at the end). J. Edgar was a well-done character examination of a flawed man…but it left me bored if anything.  And Girl with the Dragon Tattoo left me preferring the book, not to mention I found having to watch the rape scene (where a good director could have shown a lot less and still given you an idea of what happened) needlessly graphic.   Also the problem with Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that both are the first books in their respective trilogies and neither is a complete work so it’s unfair to judge them for good or ill until the whole thing is put to film. (I’d actually recommend seeing these three, but J. Edgar was too flawed and Dragon Tattoo and Tinker, Tailor left me wanting more and I refuse to judge them until, at least, I know if their other parts will actually be made).

Admittedly The Descendants might make it on this list…but I just don’t feel like paying the money for a ticket of a movie that cannot possibly be improved by the big screen.

Okay that’s why a lot of stuff didn’t make it…let’s take a look at what did make my list of great films.

Remember I have 4 basic criteria for great art.

1. It must be enjoyable (I have some kind of positive emotional reaction)…so that throws most of critic’s picks out.

2. It must understand human nature…that throws out just about anything made or written by a liberal.

3. It must use the tools of the medium well…that throws out Spielberg and Scorsese

4. It must have a meaningful and correct theme.

5. Thor–Is this a stretch on all 4 counts?  Hell yeah.  But this is more to say what a crappy year this has been (hell #4 and #3 were a stretch, but I should at least give 5 films.)  So let me tell you why.  Clearly the plot was better than any of the other superhero movies this year (it actually had three acts…and a prologue and epilogue to boot).  And clearly it was fun and moving (don’t tell me your heart didn’t drop when he couldn’t Excalibur the hammer out of the stone, and that your heart didn’t jump when it finally came flying to him).  The characters actually act far more human than most of the non-superhero movies this year.  The theme of sibling rivalry, the need for the approval of a parent, the difficulty of growing up and living in a parent’s shadow (all very Shakespearian…especially challenging King Lear and Henry V, with a touch of Much Ado in the humorous scenes) show that director Kenneth Branagh has not strayed far from his usual cup of tea with this film.  Now a friend of mine complained that while the plot and characters were good in this film, there were simply no great lines of dialogue…which is incorrect…there are no great speeches, there are lots of great witty and pithy lines.  “Yes, but I supported you.”  “I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?””Do you want me to take him down or would you rather send in more guys for him to beat up? “”Live, and tell those stories yourself!”   Every line from Darcy.  It’s not The Dark Knight but it could not have been better and it (very) loosely meets all of my 4 points. Should Thor have cracked the top 10, let alone the top 5…no, but that’s how crappy a year it’s been.

4.  The Ides of March.  This a dark film about how power and politics can corrupt just about anyone who is in it.  I justify this as a positive theme because it shows all of us what we shouldn’t be…Democrats…no just kidding (kind of, okay maybe not)…it shows that often the people who claim integrity have none and that those who want power will take it no matter the cost.  It shows us everything we’re not supposed to be, and even though the characters fall short in every way, the writer, director, and message of the film understand that all their actions are deplorable and need to be condemned and shunned.


3. The Company Men.  (Technically it came out in 2010…but that was only a release for Oscars, it wasn’t until 2011 that real people could see it).  The Company Men?  Yes I’m sure odds are you didn’t see this.  Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper all in excellent parts.  It’s a little liberal for my tastes, but, it does not deal in cheap hackneyed stereotypes so I will forgive that (except maybe in Costner’s blue-collar character…but it is very opposed to the usual type Costner plays so I could still appreciate it) .  The story of how various upper and middle management employees of a company deal with being laid off in the current recession.  While it’s critical of business, it makes a justifiable critique that most company boards right now care more about stock prices than they do about making things, about getting a big pay off than the long-term profits, about short-term gain more than long-term thinking…which I will heartedly embrace.

2.  The Debt

I’ve already talked about this movie, so I will simply reiterate that this movie is a masterpiece.

1.  Moneyball

And I’ve covered this genius film already as well…but it without a doubt the best film of the year.

And then we have the honorable mentions

Atlas Shrugged.  (You may object that I include this third of a trilogy when not putting in Dragon Tattoo and Tinker, Tailor…but I have seen confirmation that I will get all 3 parts of Atlas where I have not seen proof with the other two).  Thematically the movie as the book is perfect.  As a representation of the main characters from the book it does an excellent job.  Like the others there are some stylistic flaws.  But still you need to see this movie.

Green Lantern.  I know it has a missing second act.  I don’t care.  I found it enjoyable.

Same with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Sherlock Holmes, and Mission Impossible.  They were just fun.  (Crazy, Stupid Love, DreamHouse and Real Steel might also make it, but I just felt like waiting for the rental with these).

No Strings Attached and Just Go With It.  Cute, stupid romantic comedies, nothing more.

As I said J. Edgar was well done, but dull.  And I can’t justifiably comment on Dragon Tattoo or Tinker, Tailor until I know they’re stand alone films or part of a trilogy (they’re well done, but somehow lacking if they’re stand alones).

Which of course brings us up to what was the worst film of the yearTwilight…the vapid lack of a point makes it a tempting target, but no.  Justin Bieber?  No, although I yearn for the day I never hear that name again.  Fast-Five?  Drive Angry?  Captain America(which was probably the 2nd worst film of the year)?  Hangover II?  Fright Night for having the audacity of redoing one of my favorite horror films?  No I would have to say, without a moment’s hesitation, the worst film of the year, the film which the world might be a better place if every copy were rounded up and incinerated would have to Anonymous.  Haven’t heard of it?  You’re lucky.  Long and short of it is that the movie is about how the man we know as William Shakespeare didn’t write the plays.  This is based on a long held academic theory that the Will we know was just a simple middle class boy with a basic education and couldn’t possibly have done it…no the author needed to be a noble.  The rank snobbery and petty elitism of this is astounding.  And for over 100 years academics have been trying to rewrite history to present the idea that there couldn’t be a self-made man (liberals and academics really hate that concept because it ruins their elite status…and being one of the most famous men of non-noble background Shakespeare has to be destroyed in their mind).  And nothing is worse than Anonymous which give you a string of historical inaccuracies and inventions and claims them as truth.  Some may compare this to a Renaissance birther or truther movement (although even those movements have better ground to stand on…not that I buy into those two in any way shape or form, I just want to point out if you run into an anti-Stradfordian, run because they are morons) but that is to compliment the theory because it is always so far fetched and so without evidence that it defies even the momentary act of common sense it takes to dismiss the argument of a birther or truther.  As history goes Anonymous ranks more with the idea that we didn’t land on the moon or that the Holocaust never happened (though obviously it doesn’t reach the evil of that denial, they just both require you to deny all known facts.).  This film should never have been made.  Oh, and from a writing, directing and acting standpoint it’s also a piece of shit….or as one critic described it “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

***

Movies I’m looking forward to in 2012; Haywire, Underworld Awakenings (I’m allowed to have my pure brain candy guilty pleasures…no I don’t for a second think it will even be making the honorable mentions list, and you know what low standards I have for that), Safe House, The Vow, This Means War, Brave, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing, Knights of Badassdom, Veronica Decides to Die, Skyfall, Les Miserables (Notice the lack of quality movies there…I’m guessing it will be a top 5 list next year too).

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Obama enemy of capitalism

PODCAST VERSION

Obama Enemy of Capitalism

 


‘But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. “–Obama on capitalism.

Yes Obama is right, deregulation, balanced budgets, low entitlements, and low taxes don’t ever work…so long as you ignore the economic prosperity of Hong Kong and Singapore, the economic growth of Sweden, Chile, and New Zealand in recent years, the booms of the industrial revolution in the U.S. and Britain, the U.S. Depression of 1920 (the reason you haven’t heard of it was deregulation and low taxes made it a very short depression) and the economic collapse of Soviet Russia and the E.U. In fact Obama is absolutely correct, all you have to do is ignore ALL of history and ALL sane macroeconomics theory…once you get rid of those little things hell it’s an easy thing to prove that low taxes and proper deregulation don’t work.

I say proper regulation because deregulating and lower taxes on the people who helped get you elected isn’t what we mean by capitalism, that comes under two different names (1) socialism or (2) crony capitalism…po-tay-to, po-tah-to…given this man’s great understanding of economics let’s call his whole second term off.

Clearly at this point any claim that this man is not a die-hard socialist is preposterous, he just said capitalism doesn’t work. He has made it clear that he doesn’t actually believe in the history of America where America prospers and prospers under capitalism and only really begins to slow down when letters like FDR and LBJ get involved (yes I’ve simplified that, trust me you do not want to read me going over 200+ years of economics). This man is a socialist.

And you have to love his statement, “And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker.” Actually the collected works of Smith, Friedman, Hayek, Von Misses, Sowell, WIlliams, Laffer and a whole host of other economists doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker all that well. Let me see if any of this works as a bumper sticker…”Lower taxes across the board will improve the flow of capital in the economy and allow for greater growth”. No, that’s a little long. Hmmm…what does work as a bumper sticker? What politician has been defined entirely by stupid phrases and bumper stickers? Hope. Change. Fair-share. Hmmmm….which side is defined by bumper sticker policy again? (Yeah both sides use bumper stickers…but the capitalists at least have really thick, well researched and thought out books behind them).

Oh and look what he has for proof “Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did it get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. ” That’s right because the Democrats continuing to hyper-inflate the real-estate market and the college tuition market and control the minimum wage and spend more than we took in and offer more entitlements and not pass Tort reform…yes all those efforts on behalf of socialism should clearly not be taken into account.  Nor should the much larger tax cuts by Kennedy and Reagan which boosted the economy even be looked at. No we should only look at tax cuts that didn’t have an immediate effect because that is all that matters in the economy. Again whose understanding of the economy could fit on a bumper sticker?

Then he goes onto say “Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class — things like education and infrastructure, science and technology, Medicare and Social Security.” This coming from the man who supported TARP and the Stimulus and all the other forms of creating that massive debt. No, no let’s not look at spending or regulation. It only has to do with tax cuts. That’s it. That’s the only thing that is possibly relevant to an economy. To hell if raising taxes won’t close the debt or even this year’s deficit. Do you also like how he implies that education, science and technology couldn’t even exist without the government? Without the government nothing could happen in this man’s mind. Yeah he’s not a socialist. Hell you couldn’t even get into the middle class without the government according to Obama. That’s right getting a high school diploma, making good choices and working hard has nothing to do with getting into the middle class…it’s all the government and nothing else.

“Remember that in those same years, thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress, we had weak regulation, we had little oversight, and what did it get us?”

Of course. In the last decade we had very weak regulation. We only had rules that prevented insurance companies from crossing state lines and prevented competition…that’s very weak regulation. We had piles of laws, regulations, rules and lawyers to make sure that Banks had no choice but to offer loans to people who couldn’t possibly afford them. We had EPA regulations that forced entire sections of the California agricultural community to shut down all to save an ugly fish no one had ever heard of. We had OSHA rules that prevent productivity. We had a tax code that only benefitted the friends of politicians (GE and Warren Buffet anyone?) We prevented oil drilling in Alaska that would have been safe and forced drilling in the Gulf to be pushed out to more dangerous deep water drilling (remind me how that turned out). As for oversight, I’ll grant you that we had weak oversight, we’ve always had weak oversight. Mainly because the people who we should be looking at are contributing by the barrel load to Obama and the Democrats who controlled the Senate for the majority of the last 10 years and the House for quite a few of them. I love the basic argument of Democrats, since the last few decades of of pseudo-socialism in America has proved that capitalism doesn’t work, we need more socialism. Huh?

I love this one.
“[M]ortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford, a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.” Tricked. They tricked people into taking these loans. It wasn’t like the law firm you worked Barrack actually sued banks in conjunction with the Clinton Justice Department when the banks tried to not give these people loans. No. It has absolutely nothing to do with laws like the CRA and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd actively preventing legislation by the Bush administration to have more oversight and deregulate the sector and thus stop forcing banks from making bad choices. Nothing to do with that at all. They tricked people. Those evil evil banks.

“We simply cannot return to this brand of “you’re on your own” economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country. We know that it doesn’t result in a strong economy.” We know that? Really? Oh, I forgot we’re going to ignore all of human history that shows that it does work. That’s right how could I be so stupid? I forgot we have class warfare to maintain….and yes he then goes into 7 paragraphs on “inequality” and “fair share.” Despite the fact that this has no relevance in real economic discussions.

And who can forget these passages…

Today, even higher-skilled jobs, like accountants and middle management can be outsourced to countries like China or India. And if you’re somebody whose job can be done cheaper by a computer or someone in another country, you don’t have a lot of leverage with your employer when it comes to asking for better wages or better benefits, especially since fewer Americans today are part of a union

Today, manufacturers and other companies are setting up shop in the places with the best infrastructure to ship their products, move their workers, communicate with the rest of the world. And that’s why the over 1 million construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing market collapsed, they shouldn’t be sitting at home with nothing to do. They should be rebuilding our roads and our bridges, laying down faster railroads and broadband, modernizing our schools — all the things other countries are already doing to attract good jobs and businesses to their shores.

So foreigners, growing markets, and technology are to blame…sounds like a Ron Paul ad doesn’t it? And apparently if we were all in unions everything would be fine (except you know for the fact that every industry with unions is complete crap right now…I’m sure it’s just a coincidence).  And he seems to forget that the infrastructure that he’s touting is often built by the companies that are leaving America not by the nations they’re leaving for…so if they’re leaving to spend money on building their own infrastructure at great cost,what is the reason they’re leaving…might it have something to do with high taxes and over regulation? And construction workers are out of work so let’s take carpenters and electricians who aren’t building homes and have them…build roads….wait did I read that right? Yes I did. He apparently thinks all construction workers are the same (they’re not) and even if someone did want to cross lines from one form of construction to another, Obama doesn’t seem to realize those pesky unions he touted just a second ago will not let that happen. Oh and this is all from a man who ensured there would be no new jobs for constructions workers by delaying a massive construction project (of a pipeline from Canada to the gulf) that would have created thousands of privates sector paid for jobs until after the election. Yes, clearly he cares about America construction workers being out of work.

I could go over the rest of the twaddle this man spouted but why bother. It only continues to show a complete ignorance of history, economics, human psychology, and long term thinking. I merely point out this paragraph from near the end of the speech:

“This isn’t about class warfare. This is about the nation’s welfare. It’s about making choices that benefit not just the people who’ve done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class, and those fighting to get into the middle class, and the economy as a whole.”

And whenever you hear a Democrat tell you it’s not about class warfare, trust me it’s about class warfare…class warfare that will only benefit those politicians and the corrupt who pay to keep them in power because they couldn’t survive in a real capitalist system.

….
And another look at how we don’t exactly have a capitalist system right now…

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The dangers and evils of debt relief

China is bailing out Europe and Obama wants to forgive student debt. I don’t know which is worse but they’re both terrible calls.

All of these Other 99% and Occupy Wall Street, in between blaming the Jews for every problem in their lives (and probably fantasizing about furnaces), they’re complaining about bank bailouts and their college loan debt. It’s an odd combination. The Tea Party complained about bank bailouts because they were in support of to good old fashioned Hayek/Friedman capitalism policy. They complained about the size of government because it was against capitalism. They complained about health care because the idea of positive rights is against capitalism. They complained about taxes, regulation, too big to fail all because of one basic reason–all of it’s against capitalism.

The Occupy Wall Street people however are complaining about banks getting bailouts (even though I remember these were the very people who supported Obama…you will recall the right started grumbling during that bullshit that was TARP) because they hate capitalism. So why are they complaining about having debt…oh because they hate capitalism because they didn’t get a bailout themselves. It’s not that they’re opposed on principle to people having money…they’re just opposed to people who aren’t, you know…them, having money. And you wonder why I constantly refer to them as a bunch of whiners.

But let’s deal with their claim that their debt is a problem, a problem the government should fix. Well, technically, they might have a point there if they took the line of argument I made that the government CAUSED the problem by offering loans, grants, and subsidies in the first place. The government caused a bubble in college tuition. It’s their fault. Now if they wanted to end ALL government grants, loans, subsidies and scholarships which would burst the bubble on the cost of college tuition and after and only after ending all the BS forgive all outstanding debt over say $10,000 (because THEY ARE THE ONES WHO CAUSED IT TO BE THAT HIGH) as a mea culpa for truly f!@#ing the system up, I could understand and be in favor of that. However that’s not what Obama is proposing. He’s proposing just forgiving some of that debt. Do you know what that will do? It will make colleges think they can bilk even more in tuition because, hey, it’s not like the kids will ever have to pay it back. Just forgiving debt will drive costs higher, will cause more debt in the long run, and it will even further ruin the educational opportunities of students looking to go to college and put future graduates even more behind.

Everything this administration does boggles the mind. They’re either idiots or evil geniuses. There is no in between. Either they know absolutely nothing about economics, because EVERYTHING they do is the wrong thing (bailouts, corporate takeovers, more regulation, health care, backing unions, everything) or he sincerely wants to destroy this economy . I personally believe Obama and his team to just be the dumbest idiots in the world, but who knows I may be proven wrong. 

But let’s not just focus on forgiving debts and bailouts of losers in this country, because this form of insanity is becoming an international pastime.

Greece is once again about to default on its debt so let’s bail them out again. But this time it’s not just the EU and the IMF (read U.S. money) now we’re adding China. You know how in crime movies they always describe that one loan shark you do not want to owe even a single nickel to because if you do you will never pay it off and you will always be in their pocket. Yeah, China. But more importantly is the simple fact that this is never going to work. Never. Greece is a total entitlement state that spends more than it can possibly take in. And they have shown no inclination to make the massive cuts required (you know kind of like how this country should have started making massive cuts right around the time Enron and Arthur Anderson went under…but Bush knowing nothing about economics, yet still more than Obama, didn’t). But let’s be honest here, Greece is beyond help. They’re going to default. Even if they went for true austerity measures, stopped all socialist policy and instituted Hong Kong style capitalism the economy will not grow fast enough to stop them from going into default. This is just a fact. They passed the point of no return a long time ago. All we can do now is choose whether that default is going to be big, as it is now (we could have made it much smaller had we let them default years ago, but that time is past) or we can choose for that default to be unbelievably massive as another round of bailout after bailout will make it. Greece will default. That is a fact, the only question is now how big do we want to make that disaster and how many of us should go down with her.

But no. Like a the crazy idiot who can’t pay their bills Greece is just going to take out another credit card and put all their new debt on that one. I’m sure that plan will work.

The unfortunate fact is that people, whether it’s the EU or the Occupy Wall Street idiots, don’t want to deal with the facts of debt. Debt is an agreement to pay back what you have borrowed. To socialists who don’t hold property and contract law as sacrosanct this may come as a bit of a perplexing issue, but for the rest of us we understand. In any loan agreement there are two parties. The loaner who agrees to take a risk and loan you money which you will pay back with interest as payment for having the money up front when you needed it but didn’t have it. This person knows they are taking a risk and if they’re smart will not loan out more than they can afford to lose (banks and governments should take a hint). And there is the loanee who thinks that they will do better by taking out the loan and buying something now rather than waiting to have the money and buy it later. It’s a capitalistic act. Both parties make out better. The loaner gets interest on their loan, the loanee gets the benefit of buying something that will benefit them. Each party is supposed to be better off than before (remember capitalism is a win-win system). Now the loaner takes a risk, and they should know it’s a risk, and with any risk you should not throw good money after bad, you should not loan out more money just to get your original investment back. It never works. For the loanee you take on an ethical requirement to pay that money back (and for college students out there, it’s a good investment because you will make more money with a college degree and spend less time unemployed…unless you study Sociology or Modernist Literature, in which case you will rightfully be unemployed and have all day to just sit around and bitch about how life is unfair with other idiots at Occupy Wall Street). If you can’t pay the money back (i.e. Greece, idiots who buy houses they can never afford, U.S. Congress) DON’T TAKE THE MONEY. You’re an idiot to loan money when you can’t afford to, and you’re an idiot to take money when you can’t pay it back. And you’re an idiot and an unethical bastard to say someone else should pay back the loans you should never have taken. But more than just that it ignores that while capitalism is a win-win system where everyone does better on every capitalist transaction, it is also a system about profit and loss. You may do better off of every transaction because you always get what you want; however, what you want may not be in your best long term interest, and if you’re an idiot and make stupid choices based on immediate wants that will lead to your own failure with no one to blame but yourself.

If we bailout people who took out loans on houses they couldn’t afford you encourage more bad home loans. If you bail out people who can’t get a job with their stupid liberal arts degree you encourage more useless degrees. If you bailout banks with bad loan programs you encourage more bad loans. If you bailout businesses with bad growth policies you encourage more bad business decisions. If you bailout countries with unsustainable socialist policies you encourage more socialist policies. Stop bailing out and supporting losers. Every dollar spent on bad policies form the individual to country level is a dollar not going to policies that work, a dollar that encourages more bad choices and less good ones. Stop the bailout and loans by governments which seem to always encourage the worst. Get out of the loaning system, leave it up to the banks, which, as they are convened with profit will only subsidize good choices, and thus subsidize economic growth, and which will be better for everyone. Stop doing encouraging all the things that ruin people’s lives and let them live their lives…not everyone will make it to the top, but it will because of their own choices, not because a government got in the way.

Worrying about people’s debts, especially people who have made bad choices and can’t pay off those debts, worries only helps those about people who have made bad choices allowing them to make more bad choices..and it hurts everyone else. The government seems to have no ability to look at people suffering and subsidize their bad choices…so it needs to leave because all it is doing is encouraging more bad choices. Will this have consequences? Yes. Lots of loans from the personal level to the international level will have to be defaulted on. But the effects of this will be lower prices in numerous fields and capital will be freed up to be given to people who will repay their loans, to people who will invest in education that will lead to a job, to businesses that will grow an economy.

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Law for the GOP to pass: Get the government out of the economy

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”—James Madison Federalist No. 51

Read the above.  It makes clear that people are not perfect.  That the system needs to be made so as to encourage the best and keep the worst down, because if we could expect people to always be at their best we wouldn’t need government.  So when people do bad things, yes, they are to be blamed, but when they do bad things because the government set up a system that ENCOURAGED that bad behavior then first and foremost it is the government to be blamed for making the game one where bad behavior is rewarded.

Which is why these Occupy Wall Street people are such idiots.

Besides  apparently having a large portion of anti-semites in their midst  the Occupy Wall Street people and all their fellow whiners in other cities seem to be complaining about the wrong things.  They complain that the cost of college is too high…ignoring that it was government interference with college tuition that led to high prices.  They complain about bailouts…yeah, thanks for being a couple of years late, the Tea Party already has been bitching about that one for some time now.  Of course the Tea Party realizes that it is the fault of the government for giving out the money that is primarily to blame and not the banks for taking the money (not that the banks and corporations are without blame).  But the government is the one that is primarily to blame.  When you set up a system that can choose winners and losers (which any system with loopholes, regulations that serve one industry or company over their competitors, useless laws and tariffs that keep competitions from sprouting up, give loans to people) you’re going to have the companies this affects try and work the system to their advantage.  Businesses are in the business of making money.  If a government doesn’t get involved in picking winners and losers then the only way to make money is by making a superior product with superior customer service and a great marketing campaign.  That’s hard.  Bribing politicians through campaign cash to work the rules in your favor is so much easier.   It’s not the ethical choice, it’s not the long-term thinking choice, it’s not even a good choice…but it’s the choice that most people will make.  If you set up a system that makes it easier for people to give into their worst inclinations, don’t be surprised when they do. Thus government needs to set up a system where it makes more sense to worry about product, service and marketing than on which candidates to back.

If we had the right system, one where it wasn’t in the best short term economic interests of businessmen, then they would just have to focus on their business.  (Yes I would prefer it if they acted in a long term economic way directed by ethics…but you know I’m dealing with humans, humans don’t always do what’s right, thus we need a system that encourages the best in us and does not give opportunities for the worst in us).  So how do we get that system?

No loans.

Loans to banks and corporations.  Or bailouts…a government loan by any other name would smell just a rancid.  These need to stop.  All of them.  Without question, without exception.

While Bush and Obama weren’t the first to use them, they are the most recent and most egregious examples.  Let’s look at that waste of legislation called TARP.  That worthless half brain Bush would whine “but it would have destroyed the entire financial system.”  This is one of the two reasons Bush was a moron (the other being that he had no plan for the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq).  No it wouldn’t have.  What would have happened was that one bank would have collapsed.  Immediately everything that Bank owned would have been up for sale at fire sale prices.  All of that bank’s competitors would have been buying up notes on loans for a tenth of the price of the loan from the bank that collapsed.  Let’s remember that all the banks were forced to take money not because they all needed it, but to hide which banks were unstable.  Most of the banks were stable and would have been able to buy those notes.

So what?  Well if a bank bought the note on a loan for a house that sold for $200,000, the house would probably have been worth only $120,000 after the crash, but as the new bank got the note for probably somewhere around $60,000 they can work with the homeowner and probably re-fi the cost of loan down to something more reflective of its current value and hey they still make a profit.  So suddenly the loam market is more stable and the remaining banks are probably on more solid ground.

Does this happen overnight?  Nope.  There would probably be a couple of down years, maybe even three, but by the end of the third year (about now) the recession would be clearly over.

But we didn’t do that.  We chose winners and losers and decided, like a bad elementary school teacher, everybody was going to be winner!  Everybody gets gold stars!  What does that invisible hand know anyway?  It’s not like bad businesses with bad business practices should go the way of the Dodo.  No let’s keep the bad businesses around, because despite all the time during their fall into instability they never had the good sense to change their policies and do something intelligent, well that doesn’t mean they won’t be good now that we just rewarded them for bad behavior.  No I’m sure they’ll be a much better business now.  Uh-huh.

But, sadly, next to Obama, Bush is a Rhodes Scholar.  No let’s give out even more money.  Let’s continue picking the winner we want to win, not the winners who can make things like a profit or things people want.  No.  Let’s give a shitload of money to a company that builds solar cells for $6 apiece and sells them for $3 apiece.  I’m sure that business model will work wonders.  Let’s face it, yes Bush was a moron for thinking the financial system couldn’t handle the collapse of a major bank…but Obama giving out money to his cronies thinking it will help the economy was both immoral and somewhere far beyond just stupid.

And let’s not forget that with loans comes the same problem as we saw with college loans.  It ruins the nature of prices.  Costs for the consumer go up, profits go down, quality gets screwed and everybody winds up getting the short end of the stick.

The market (the collective whole of billions of economic choices) knows far more than any government planning ever can.  All you need to do is look at how well the Soviet system worked for both Russia and the satellite nations or at China right now which has built massive city expansions that no one lives in, they provide no economic growth, and show that if we can just keep avoiding shooting ourselves in the foot China will go the way of the Soviets and we won’t have to worry about their economic superpower.  If you need more proof see Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions.  Central planning never has and never can work.  It will always make the wrong choice; it will always screw up the system.

And as long as the government is giving out money, it will inevitably go to those who buy influence.  Is that wrong?  Of course!  But the government is the one who set up the game.  It may be unethical, but you can’t seriously expect human beings to act against their own interests when there is a way they can make money.  Human beings at both the top and bottom, and every slice in between, have people who are unethical.  That’s why we have government because we’re not all saints.  If you have a system that gives out money it will always go to those who pay for it.

So let’s stop giving money!

No tariffs

I hate taxes in general, but I hate few as much as I do tariffs.  Tariffs are put in to help American businesses when they don’t want to compete with foreign goods that are made better and cheaper.  You know, those things as a consumer you want.  So do businesses make better products themselves?  Nope.  They contribute to campaigns and get politicians to tax their competitors so they don’t have to make a better product.  If we didn’t have tariffs, Government Motors would have collapsed decades ago as it should.  (There is probably nothing more un-American than GM, a company that has used tariffs to avoid competition, given into the bully tactics of unions and taken government money rather than gracefully die.  With the exception of GE there is probably no company I can think of so opposed to capitalism).

Again this is a power of government being used to help those who can afford to buy it to the detriment of the public.  Yes, it’s done by rich people and they can all go to hell for their unethical behavior…but if government didn’t play this game, then businessmen would have no choice but to make better, cheaper products.

No subsidies and a flat tax with no loopholes.

Again, I think it was conservatives who have been beating the drum for years about how we need to do a flat tax without loopholes.  Why do we want flat taxes and to lower the tax rate…well because taxes are too high but the only people not paying them are the ones who can to pay off politicians.

I’d prefer to go to a completely sales tax model, but short of that I would take a completely flat tax, and short of that I’ll take Paul Ryan’s lower taxes (because high taxes are killing everyone) with no loopholes (so the people who aren’t paying taxes, like Obama’s cronies Warren Buffet and GE will finally actually pay something).  Any of those three systems would be better than the current system where you can buy your loophole and screw the small and medium sized businesses.

No control of anything that doesn’t cross state lines.

The federal government has better things to worry about right now than whether or not the Amish are selling unpasteurized milk.  While I would prefer a constitutional Amendment clarifying that the commerce clause only covers commerce that actually does cross state lines, for right now I will settle for that as a simple law.  States can run their own business without the interference of the Feds.  Federal oversight of commerce only helps to over-regulate, over tax, over burden and destroy business of all sizes (except you know if you can buy the right legislation in your favor).  If the federal government would get out of ALL intrastate commerce you find a sudden and massive jump in economies of 49 out of 50 states (California is beyond saving, mainly due to over taxation, over regulation and too much control of the economy).

The 17th Amendment…

…is perhaps one of the dumbest ideas in history.  Yes, let’s take Senators who are appointed by state legislators and make them publically elected.  So now they’re beholden to the whims of the mob and wants of campaign contributors.  I’m sure that will always make for better government when we stop choosing who is best and go for who is popular.  Repeal this joke of an Amendment and replace it with a hard and fast states can only appoint Senators via the collaboration of legislators and governors (no public election whatsoever).  And to keep them in check give the people the right to recall.

Sunset dates on all regulations with Congressional Oversight.

Here’s a radical idea.  Make every regulation that comes out of the executive branch, be it executive orders or just policy by the different departments open to Senate Veto.  And in addition to that make every single one of those regulations come with a 5 year sunset date.  It would not be in most corporations’ best interests to keep pushing for regulations every few years, it would just be too expensive—making better products would finally be cheaper by comparison.  Further this would get a lot of useless regulations off the books.

In short—GET THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE ECONOMY.  As long as it is in the economy, people will want to buy government power to exploit it to their own ends, and they will succeed.  If you want honest government and honest business then you need to eliminate the power of the one to so heavily influence the other.  If government can’t interfere with the economy and provide free cash, err, I mean corporate welfare, err, I mean bailouts and loans and can’t regulate your competitors out of business then there is no point in getting involved.  If you get the government out to the economy business will for the most part have no choice but to worry about business and the products and services they sell.  Businesses behave badly because the government provides an incentive to do so, take away the incentive and most of the behavior will follow.

Yes government has certain responsibilities and duties in a free market.  We crossed that line almost a hundred years ago and it’s not even visible anymore.  When you have no loan, no tariffs, a book or regulations that doesn’t take up an entire stadium and the government not looking into every legal act of commerce as if it’s a crime against humanity we can talk about where the line should be, but right now we’re so far off that it’s not even a pertinent discussion.

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Economic inequality hurts people…or does it?


“The Other 99%” (or I’ve also seen 98%) they don’t seem to have a lot of specific goals and ideas. But by their title alone they seem to think that because the top 1% has the majority of the wealth in the world then that clearly means that they’re the ones ruining our lives and it has nothing whatsoever to do with our choices. I think it’s fair to say that whatever the cornucopia of beliefs this movement holds; they all seem to think that the wealth should be spread around a little more. But does that work?

Well let’s look at some facts and figures.… (yes I do math so you don’t have to, you should thank me for doing something so drearily dull as this for you).

They seem to think that if the wealth were spread out just a little more that their lives would be better.

So let’s look at some common statistics before we look at the heart of their argument.

What leads to a better life?

Well the UN has some statistics on standards of living (I’m not sure if this is the best judge for what is a good life, but we’ll play in the liberal’s ballpark and use the UN’s numbers).  Now if we chart that against the average GDP for each country (numbers from the CIA Handbook), (I’ll include a long boring chart with all these figures at the end if you want to check my math) we find that, low and behold the more money you have the better the average quality of life is in any given country. (In case you want to know the better quality of life the higher the score). Not terribly surprising when you consider that one of the UN’s criteria is average GDP, but you’ll notice that that the line goes up exponentially (it curves up) rather than linearly (a straight line) thus suggesting that at some point you need more money just to get the same jump you did last time.  Thus to get to the highest standards of living you need lots of money, at least as an average GDP.

Further it would not be unreasonable to argue that there are secondary benefits, (not having to worry about debt, freedom for leisure, the joys of philanthropy–which is really dependent on having lots of money, etc) that come from extra money not shown in the UN’s standard of living numbers thus making the exact curve even more pronounced in the favor of higher GDP having numerous benefits. So in reality, if we were able to measure all the benefits provided by higher income (see video below), for every extra $10,000 you earn your quality of life better than what it is suggested by the UN data graph below.  (Or to put it another way if we had accurate data and not just UN numbers you would not see as great a level of diminishing returns, but closer to a linear progression).

But is money alone what causes a good life? Not quite because we need to answer what creates lots of money.

And for that we turn to economic liberty…you know the very thing these whiners at The Other 99% are arguing against. For that we turn to the Heritage Foundation and its yearly ranking of economic Freedom. (Again, the higher the score the more economically free).  Seems pretty clear to me that if you have economic freedom you get more money and a better standard of living. Yes, yes, yes correlation does not equal causation…but you’d have to be a damn fool to not see that they’re not related. (By the way, the United States has dropped it’s economic freedom almost every year for the last decade…you know all the while that the economy kept getting worse and worse…I’m sure one had nothing to do with the other).

Okay, so it apear to me that you need more economic freedom if you’re going to have a better life. However, maybe that’s only one interpretaion. Maybe these Other 99% people have a point. So where do we get numbers for economic inequality? Luckily the UN collects those numbers as well. They use something call the Gini coefficient–I could bore you with the math, but let’s just say that the lower the number the more wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, and the higher the number the more the money is spread around. I’m dealing with a slightly smaller pool of countries because the UN reports do not have a complete listing for all countries (countries where a GDP of nothing is spread around equally or countires where the dictator owns everything are pretty much what makes up the majority of the list where you find no data).


If you’re looking for a straight line, you’ll find Waldo in there before you find a straight line. At most you could argue you see the a bell curve here (especially since some of the worst countries where everyone shares in poverty are not on the list and proably have Gini coefficient near 10, and GDP near 0 weren’t calculated) but that would be a very weak correlation at best. Yes you don’t want massive inequality like you would see in Saudi Arabia, but you don’t complete socialist sharing either). What you seem to want is a Gini score between 30-45 (the U.S. is at 40) but this is no guraentee of success. You’ll notice that some of the lowest countries for GDP, standard of living, and economic freedom are all in that range. Conversly if you cross a 70 score on econoimc liberty it seems literally impossible to be in a bad spot.

The distribution of wealth on the whole seems to be a very irrelevant piece of information. It doesn’t appear to be a cause of good or bad economies nor does it appear to be an effect or sign of good or bad economies. It’s a useless talking point. It doesn’t matter what portion of the pie you’re getting…it only matter how big in an abosolute sense a piece you’re getting. If you’getting only a diproportionate 1% of the U.S. eocnomy you’re doing better than most of the world currently (would you rather have your exactly equal share by population of the Somalian economy?) and certainly better than 99.999999999% of the people throughout history.

Real math seems to show that economic inequality is nothing more than a useless talking point that drummed up for class warfare purposes.

If these idiots at “The Other 99%” really cared about improving the quality of life of the 99% who aren’t among the rich, then they would be protesting government, bureaucracy, red tape, taxes and regulation…but they don’t care about that…they don’t want it better for everyone, they just want if better for them so they can sit around all day and get paid for doing nothing…that or they are obscenely bad at math.

So the next time you get into an argument that the rich control too much or that they aren’t paying their fair share and that should change (i.e. redistribute wealth and lower our economic freedom) ask them what proof they have that such a move would improve our quality of life or even average GDP. What proof do they have? Because it certainly isn’t any proof from this little thing called reality.

Country GDP per person Economic Liberty Score Standard of living
 Albania

3,900

64

0.719

 Algeria

4,600

52.4

0.677

 Angola

5,000

46.2

0.403

 Argentina

9,000

51.7

0.775

 Armenia

3,200

69.7

0.695

 Australia

57,400

82.5

0.937

 Austria

45,900

71.9

0.851

 Azerbaijan

5,800

59.7

0.713

 Bahrain

19,200

77.7

0.801

 Bangladesh

700

53

0.469

 Barbados

13,900

68.5

0.788

 Belarus

5,700

47.9

0.732

 Belgium

44,700

70.2

0.867

 Belize

4,400

63.8

0.694

 Benin

700

56

0.435

 Bolivia

1,900

50

0.643

 Bosnia and Herzegovina

3,600

57.5

0.71

 Botswana

6,900

68.8

0.633

 Brazil

10,400

56.3

0.699

 Bulgaria

6,700

64.9

0.743

 Burkina Faso

500

60.6

0.305

 Burma

800

37.8

0.451

 Burundi

200

49.6

0.282

 Cambodia

800

57.9

0.494

 Cameroon

1,200

51.8

0.46

 Canada

46,600

80.8

0.888

 Cape Verde

3,200

64.6

0.534

 Central African Republic

400

49.3

0.315

 Chad

700

45.3

0.295

 Chile

12,100

77.4

0.783

 China, People’s Republic of

4,400

52

0.663

 Colombia

6,500

68

0.689

 Comoros

800

43.8

0.428

 Congo, Democratic Republic of the

200

40.7

0.239

 Costa Rica

7,900

67.3

0.725

 Croatia

13,500

61.1

0.767

 Cuba

5,200

27.7

0.76

 Cyprus

21,000

73.3

0.81

 Czech Republic

18,800

70.4

0.841

 Denmark

56,300

78.6

0.866

 Djibouti

1,500

54.5

0.402

 Dominican Republic

5,300

60

0.663

 Ecuador

4,000

47.1

0.695

 Egypt

2,700

59.1

0.62

 El Salvador

3,600

68.8

0.659

 Equatorial Guinea

22,300

47.5

0.538

 Estonia

15,300

75.2

0.812

 Ethiopia

300

50.5

0.328

 Fiji

3,600

60.4

0.669

 Finland

45,500

74

0.871

 France

39,900

64.6

0.872

 Gabon

8,500

56.7

0.648

 Georgia

2,500

70.4

0.698

 Germany

40,600

71.8

0.885

 Ghana

1,300

59.4

0.467

 Greece

28,400

60.3

0.855

 Guatemala

3,100

61.9

0.56

 Guinea

400

51.7

0.34

 Guinea-Bissau

500

46.5

0.289

 Guyana

3,000

49.4

0.611

 Haiti

700

52.1

0.404

 Honduras

1,900

58.6

0.604

 Hong Kong

31,700

89.7

0.862

 Hungary

12,900

66.6

0.805

 Iceland

40,800

68.2

0.869

 India

1,300

0.519

 Indonesia

2,900

56

0.6

 Iran

4,600

42.1

0.702

 Ireland

44,200

78.7

0.895

 Israel

29,000

68.5

0.872

 Italy

33,800

60.3

0.854

 Jamaica

4,800

65.7

0.688

 Japan

42,800

72.8

0.884

 Jordan

4,300

68.9

0.681

 Kazakhstan

8,100

62.1

0.714

 Kenya

800

57.4

0.47

 Korea, South

20,700

69.8

0.877

 Kuwait

51,600

64.9

0.771

 Kyrgyzstan

800

61.1

0.598

 Laos

1,000

51.3

0.497

 Latvia

10,800

65.8

0.769

 Lesotho

1,100

47.5

0.427

 Liberia

300

46.5

0.3

 Libya

11,500

38.6

0.755

 Lithuania

10,300

71.3

0.783

 Luxembourg

110,400

76.2

0.852

 Macedonia, Republic of

4,400

66

0.701

 Madagascar

400

61.2

0.435

 Malawi

300

55.8

0.385

 Malaysia

8,400

66.3

0.744

 Maldives

4,700

48.3

0.602

 Mali

700

56.3

0.309

 Malta

20,400

65.7

0.815

 Mauritania

1,200

52.1

0.433

 Mauritius

7,500

76.2

0.701

 Mexico

9,200

67.8

0.75

 Micronesia, Federated States of

2,200

50.3

0.614

 Moldova

1,600

55.7

0.623

 Mongolia

2,000

59.5

0.622

 Montenegro

6,000

62.5

0.769

 Morocco

3,300

59.6

0.567

 Mozambique

400

56.8

0.284

 Namibia

5,600

62.7

0.606

 Nepal

500

50.1

0.428

 New Zealand

33,000

82.3

0.907

 Nicaragua

1,200

58.8

0.565

 Niger

400

54.3

0.261

 Nigeria

1,300

56.7

0.423

 Norway

88,600

70.3

0.938

 Pakistan

900

55.1

0.49

 Panama

7,900

64.9

0.755

 Papua New Guinea

1,600

52.6

0.431

 Paraguay

2,900

62.3

0.64

 Peru

5,300

68.6

0.723

 Poland

12,200

64.1

0.795

 Portugal

21,400

64

0.795

 Qatar

75,300

70.5

0.803

 Romania

7,400

64.7

0.767

 Russia

10,500

50.5

0.719

 Rwanda

500

62.7

0.385

 Saudi Arabia

17,200

66.2

0.752

 Senegal

1,000

55.7

0.411

 Serbia

5,300

58

0.735

 Sierra Leone

400

49.6

0.317

 Singapore

43,300

87.2

0.846

 Slovakia

16,000

69.5

0.818

 Slovenia

23,900

64.6

0.828

 Solomon Islands

1,300

45.9

0.494

 South Africa

7,300

62.7

0.597

 Spain

30,300

70.2

0.863

 Sri Lanka

2,400

57.1

0.658

 Suriname

6,700

53.1

0.646

 Swaziland

2,600

59.1

0.498

 Sweden

50,200

71.9

0.885

 Switzerland

68,700

81.9

0.874

 Syria

2,700

51.3

0.589

 Taiwan (Republic of China)

18,700

70.8

0.868

 Tajikistan

800

53.5

0.58

 Tanzania

500

57

0.398

 Thailand

4,800

64.7

0.654

 Timor-Leste

500

42.8

0.502

 Togo

500

49.1

0.428

 Tonga

3,400

55.8

0.677

 Trinidad and Tobago

16,800

66.5

0.736

 Tunisia

4,200

58.5

0.683

 Turkey

9,500

64.2

0.679

 Turkmenistan

5,700

43.6

0.669

 Uganda

500

61.7

0.422

 Ukraine

3,000

45.8

0.71

 United Arab Emirates

60,700

67.8

0.815

 United Kingdom

36,000

74.5

0.849

 United States

47,600

77.8

0.902

 Uruguay

12,200

70

0.765

 Uzbekistan

1,400

45.8

0.617

 Venezuela

10,700

37.6

0.696

 Vietnam

1,200

51.6

0.572

 Yemen

1,300

54.2

0.439

 Zambia

1,200

59.7

0.395

 Zimbabwe

600

22.1

0.14

Country UN Gini Score GDP per person Economic Liberty Score Standard of living
 Albania

31.1

3,900

64

0.719

 Algeria

35.3

4,600

52.4

0.677

 Argentina

48.8

9,000

51.7

0.775

 Armenia

33.8

3,200

69.7

0.695

 Australia

35.2

57,400

82.5

0.937

 Austria

29.1

45,900

71.9

0.851

 Azerbaijan

36.5

5,800

59.7

0.713

 Bangladesh

33.4

700

53

0.469

 Belarus

29.7

5,700

47.9

0.732

 Belgium

33

44,700

70.2

0.867

 Benin

36.5

700

56

0.435

 Bolivia

57.2

1,900

50

0.643

 Bosnia and Herzegovina

26.2

3,600

57.5

0.71

 Botswana

60.5

6,900

68.8

0.633

 Brazil

49.3

10,400

56.3

0.699

 Bulgaria

29.2

6,700

64.9

0.743

 Burkina Faso

39.5

500

60.6

0.305

 Burundi

42.4

200

49.6

0.282

 Cambodia

41.7

800

57.9

0.494

 Cameroon

44.6

1,200

51.8

0.46

 Canada

32.6

46,600

80.8

0.888

 Central African Republic

61.3

400

49.3

0.315

 Chile

52

12,100

77.4

0.783

 China (PRC)

46.9

4,400

52

0.663

 Colombia

58.5

6,500

68

0.689

 Costa Rica

48.9

7,900

67.3

0.725

 Croatia

29

13,500

61.1

0.767

 Czech Republic

25.4

18,800

70.4

0.841

 Denmark

24.7

56,300

78.6

0.866

 Dominican Republic

50

5,300

60

0.663

 Ecuador

54.4

4,000

47.1

0.695

 Egypt

34.4

2,700

59.1

0.62

 El Salvador

46.9

3,600

68.8

0.659

 Estonia

35.8

15,300

75.2

0.812

 Ethiopia

30

300

50.5

0.328

 Finland

26.9

45,500

74

0.871

 France

32.7

39,900

64.6

0.872

 Georgia

40.4

2,500

70.4

0.698

 Germany

28.3

40,600

71.8

0.885

 Ghana

40.8

1,300

59.4

0.467

 Greece

34.3

28,400

60.3

0.855

 Guatemala

53.7

3,100

61.9

0.56

 Guinea

38.6

400

51.7

0.34

 Guinea-Bissau

47

500

46.5

0.289

 Haiti

59.5

700

52.1

0.404

 Honduras

55.3

1,900

58.6

0.604

 Hong Kong

43.4

31,700

89.7

0.862

 Hungary

26.9

12,900

66.6

0.805

 India

36.8

1,300

0.519

 Indonesia

34.3

2,900

56

0.6

 Iran

43

4,600

42.1

0.702

 Ireland

34.3

44,200

78.7

0.895

 Israel

39.2

29,000

68.5

0.872

 Italy

36

33,800

60.3

0.854

 Jamaica

45.5

4,800

65.7

0.688

 Japan

24.9

42,800

72.8

0.884

 Jordan

38.8

4,300

68.9

0.681

 Kazakhstan

33.9

8,100

62.1

0.714

 Kenya

42.5

800

57.4

0.47

 Kyrgyzstan

30.3

800

61.1

0.598

 Laos

34.6

1,000

51.3

0.497

 Latvia

37.7

10,800

65.8

0.769

 Lesotho

63.2

1,100

47.5

0.427

 Liberia

52.6

300

46.5

0.3

 Lithuania

36

10,300

71.3

0.783

 Macedonia

39

4,400

66

0.701

 Madagascar

47.5

400

61.2

0.435

 Malawi

39

300

55.8

0.385

 Malaysia

49.2

8,400

66.3

0.744

 Mali

40.1

700

56.3

0.309

 Mauritania

39

1,200

52.1

0.433

 Mexico

51.6

9,200

67.8

0.75

 Moldova

33.2

1,600

55.7

0.623

 Mongolia

32.8

2,000

59.5

0.622

 Morocco

39.5

3,300

59.6

0.567

 Mozambique

47.3

400

56.8

0.284

 Namibia

74.3

5,600

62.7

0.606

 Nepal

47.2

500

50.1

0.428

 New Zealand

36.2

33,000

82.3

0.907

 Nicaragua

52.3

1,200

58.8

0.565

 Niger

50.5

400

54.3

0.261

 Nigeria

43.7

1,300

56.7

0.423

 Norway

25.8

88,600

70.3

0.938

 Pakistan

30.6

900

55.1

0.49

 Panama

54.9

7,900

64.9

0.755

 Papua New Guinea

50.9

1,600

52.6

0.431

 Paraguay

53.2

2,900

62.3

0.64

 Peru

50.5

5,300

68.6

0.723

 Poland

34.5

12,200

64.1

0.795

 Portugal

38.5

21,400

64

0.795

 Romania

31

7,400

64.7

0.767

 Russia

39.9

10,500

50.5

0.719

 Rwanda

46.8

500

62.7

0.385

 Senegal

41.3

1,000

55.7

0.411

 Sierra Leone

62.9

400

49.6

0.317

 Singapore

42.5

43,300

87.2

0.846

 Slovakia

25.8

16,000

69.5

0.818

 Slovenia

28.4

23,900

64.6

0.828

 South Africa

57.8

7,300

62.7

0.597

 South Korea

31.6

20,700

69.8

0.877

 Spain

34.7

30,300

70.2

0.863

 Sri Lanka

40.2

2,400

57.1

0.658

 Swaziland

50.4

2,600

59.1

0.498

 Sweden

25

50,200

71.9

0.885

 Switzerland

33.7

68,700

81.9

0.874

 Tajikistan

32.6

800

53.5

0.58

 Tanzania

34.6

500

57

0.398

 Thailand

42

4,800

64.7

0.654

 Trinidad and Tobago

38.9

16,800

66.5

0.736

 Tunisia

39.8

4,200

58.5

0.683

 Turkey

41.2

9,500

64.2

0.679

 Turkmenistan

40.8

5,700

43.6

0.669

 Uganda

45.7

500

61.7

0.422

 Ukraine

28.1

3,000

45.8

0.71

 United Kingdom

36

36,000

74.5

0.849

 United States

40.8

47,600

77.8

0.902

 Uruguay

47.1

12,200

70

0.765

 Uzbekistan

36.8

1,400

45.8

0.617

 Venezuela

49.5

10,700

37.6

0.696

 Vietnam

34.4

1,200

51.6

0.572

 Yemen

33.4

1,300

54.2

0.439

 Zambia

50.8

1,200

59.7

0.395

 Zimbabwe

50.1

600

22.1

0.14

33

70.8

0.868

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Filed under American Exceptionalism, Atlas Shrugged, Budget, Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Debt, Economics, Education, Election 2012, Equality, Evils of Liberalism, Fear, Free Will, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, liberal arrogance, Long Term Thinking, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics, Selfishness, Taxes, Tea Party, Tyranny, Unions, Unjust legislation, Welfare

Obama Administration reaches new level of….insanity? evil? surreal? WTF! I’m confused!

The Obama Administration through the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the organization which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) is suing 17 of the largest banks in the country for making all of those bad subprime loans which helped spark our current economic problems.

For those of you who read this blog often, keep up on the news, or have read “Republicans and Reincarnation” you’re probably now going through kind of cognitive dissonance that usually only comes from a combination of extreme sleep deprivation, LSD and looking at Salvador Dali paintings in hall of fun house mirrors.  I know, I know this makes less than zero sense and I have no explanation… For those of who you who aren’t getting why this is somewhere beyond insane, let me explain.

Back in the 1995 the government expanded Community Reinvestment Act.  This has the effect of forcing, yes I said forcing as in they will be fined if they don’t do this, banks to make a trillion dollars worth of subprime loans.  You remember subprime loans don’t you?  Those are the loans you wouldn’t make if you had a choice to people who you know can’t possibly repay the loans even if they tried.  These are the kind of loans a group even comprised of Forrest Gump, Rain Man and Sean Penn* wouldn’t be dumb enough to give out.  These are the kind of loans George Bailey wouldn’t give out and if you tried to apply for one he’d tell you to take a hike.  In other words everyone knew that if you ever wanted to ever make your money back (screw a profit, you knew you’d never see that) you would never give one of these loans out.  Yes, the government forced banks to give these loans out.

The banks at first tried to give out of as few of these loans as possible.  After all, why would you try and lose money if your goal is to make money in and profit over the loans.

Several law firms, some in conjunction with such morally upstanding groups as ACORN (you remember ACORN, the organization where every single employee seemed overly eager to help set up the sexual exploitation of underage illegal immigrants….so you know that they really cared about the welfare of people not able to get loans)  then sued the banks when they didn’t issue enough loans.  All with the support of the government.  (Hey, one of the these was Miner, Barnhill & Galland who sued Citibank for not committing suicide fast enough, I mean not issuing enough loans.…three guesses as to which future president named Barrack was working at this real-life Wolfram & Hart at the time).

So the banks gave in.  After all if you have the law firms, the government, the media, and every conceivable petty special interest group against you, would you fight in the courts for what you know to be right?  The banks didn’t.  They probably should have, but I’m not terribly surprised that human beings didn’t choose to fall on their swords.  So they take the unethically, but not illogical, point that if we can’t make money in the long term, then I’m at least going to make money for me in the short term.  Might not be ethical, but it’s entirely foreseeable given this set of laws and lawsuits.

And the government then made it worse.  Because they had pseudo—private-corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy and sell a massive amount of these terrible loans on the secondary market. This was like giving money to a drunken sailor.  Any idiot should have seen the results would have been even worse (but Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, the geniuses who had oversight over Fannie and Freddie, aren’t just any idiots, no they’re a special class of idiot royalty that can look at 1+1= and realize that the answer isn’t even a number, rather something like “Fish” or “maybe that kid with absolutely no experience whatsoever at anything will be a good president”).

So before we go on let’s recap

The government legalized bad loans

They forced bad loans

They encouraged forcing even more bad loans

And they subsidized making bad loans

With me so far?

So the whole house of cards came falling down during the last years of Bush’s excuse for a presidency.  What was that idiot’s answer to the fact that the banks now had billions of dollars of bad loans and losses on their hands, that even thought the banks were trying to make deals with everyone on their loans, most people were just walking away and leaving the banks with the financial lost (trust me if a bank can do anything about it they will not foreclose, they hate to foreclose, foreclosure means they will lose money, so they will do anything they can to make a deal with you so they don’t have to foreclose)?  Why Bush’s answer was let’s bail them out.  Enter the TARP bill.  One of the worst bills I can think of ever being passed under a Republican president (although Prescription drug benefits does rival it in absolute idiocy).

So now, we the tax payers are loaning the banks money so they won’t go under for doing the things we forced them to do.

This would be a story of mere stupidity if it ended here.  But this story then takes a turn from stupid and heads straight into surreal.

Why does it take a turn for the surreal?  Because the Obama administration start pushing for banks to once again start making sub prime loans.  Yeah, cause it only decimated the economy last time…there were a few parts we didn’t manage to destroy.

So to recap

Legalized, forced, encouraged, forced some more, subsidized, and then bailed out when the it came crashing down.  Then forced it again.

And that brings us to today.  Where we’re suing the banks for participating in the subprime loan market.

We’re suing them for doing what we forced them to do?   We’re suing them for doing what we encouraged them to do?  We’re suing them for doing what we bailed them out from?

If a cop puts a gun to your head, orders you to douse your house in gasoline, light a match and burn it to the ground, he doesn’t then get to arrest you for arson.   Yet somehow we’re suing the banks for doing what Obama just a couple of months ago was forcing them to do.

Catch-22 makes more sense than this.

And why?  Most of these banks are not exactly stable at the moment.  I would argue that we should have not passed TARP, just let them fall, and let the economy recover as it always does…but you can’t say that the banks need to be bailed out and then sue them.  If the situation was so bad they needed a bailout, then it’s equally bad to sue them and put them back into economic instability.

Does Obama want to destroy the banks?  Does he think this is a money making scheme that will solve our debt problems?  Is he insane?  Any answer I come up with doesn’t make sense.  Nothing makes sense about this.  I could take a book written by James Joyce while on peyote, have it translated into Chinese and back into English, and that would make more sense than this!  You have strange.  You have insane. You have surreal.  And then you have this which is whatever comes after surreal.

What the hell are they smoking in the White House?  And will it be covered by the ObamaCare?

I can’t call this socialism, or fascism, or stupid or evil.  I can’t even call this insane because I think most schizophrenics would take one look at this and ask “What the fuck are they thinking?” It makes no sense to demand banks do something in May and sue them for it in September.

I only have one more question.

After Obama strong arms a settlement out the banks who will be too gutless to actually fight him on this, will we pass another TARP bill to help them pay that settlement?

*Before you ask I did not mean Sean Penn in “I Am Sam” I meant Sean Penn.  Although I do have to give Sean Penn accolades for playing a character with an IQ 20 points higher than his own so convincingly in “I Am Sam”.

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Republicans and Reincarnation is for sale!!!!

It’s for sale.

Republicans and Reincarnation: The Conscience of A New Age Conservative is finally for sale!!

You should buy a copy. Or three. One for you. One for your best friend whom you want to have one of the best books of the 21st century. And one just because you never know when you’ll need a back up copy.

Buy it at my publisher AuthorHouse

Barnes & Noble

Amazon  (although they apparently are not selling the Kindle version just yet, but they should have it up soon).  

Prices for the book are lower at my publisher, prices for the Nook at B&N is lower than the price at my publisher.  (Royalties are higher from my publisher, so you know where my bias lies).

Feel free to write a review or two…Feel free to mention it to every carbon based life-form you know…feel free to forward information to any member of the media you know.

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Books for Conservatives: Atlas Shrugged


So after many years the movie is finally coming out. As it is a highly conservative movie I will need to review it…but before I do, I should probably review the book.

Many of you have read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Most of you have heard of it. And after half a century I don’t feel like giving away plot points is going to spoil it for anyone.

So what we probably already know is that it is the story of the world falling apart. The books protagonists Dagny Taggart, Hank Reardon and Eddie Willers fight against the destruction of the world, trying to prevent it by keeping their businesses open, running and productive to serve as a beacon for the world to rally around, to show the way that people should act. They are opposed by two groups. One consists of the book’s villains—greedy, idiotic, lazy socialist politicians and so-called businessmen who just want to be given everything in life without working for it. The other group who opposes Dagny’s attempt to save the world and not give into its inevitable destruction is, ironically, the other group of heroes in the book, led primarily by the mysterious character of John Galt. Galt is a man who has seen what the unproductive and incapable are doing to the world in slowly destroying it by beating down and ruining every person who can and does produce greatness, so he decides to let the worthless have what they want. He convinces every person of character and industry he can find to leave, to go on strike, to not offer themselves up as a sacrifice for those who hate them. This destroys the world much more quickly than if Galt hadn’t been around, but it also leaves those of quality and character alive and well at the end, ready to return and help rebuild the world now that the illogic of villains has been shown.

The book has many strengths and as many (if not more) weaknesses. Let’s take the strengths first.

The book through its many scenes, discussions and speeches (yes speeches, there’s a 60 page speech in there. It’s a good speech but if you can’t get through all of it, don’t worry most people can’t in the first reading of the book.) the book lays out the moral superiority of the capitalist-democratic-republic. It is only through this single form of government/economics that the virtues and strengths of the human life can be experienced and used to their full potential. Any attempt at socialism, saying the rich have a responsibility to help the poor, saying that the successful should pay to bolster the worthless, saying government knows better than the free market isn’t just pragmatically stupid (after all how do they seem to be working for Obama in helping the economy), Atlas Shrugged proves that socialism is morally evil.

But more than the defense of capitalism, Rand has an exceedingly clear grasp of evil. It didn’t seem like it when she wrote it. Her villains, grasping, worthless, disgusting creatures who can only steal and harass those who actually can make something of their lives are in many ways little more than caricatures. When I first read it I was convinced that the villains of Atlas Shrugged were so farfetched they were there to demonstrate the illogical extreme of socialism/liberalism/evil. How wrong I was. There are many sections in that book where the villains get off on a rant about how they’re entitled to money, and fame and successes and comfort (without having to work for it) and those who actually make all those things are required to give them up for nothing. It was almost too farfetched to believe that anyone could believe in such preposterous clap trap…and then you turn on the evening news. And there you hear Barrack Obama and Barney Frank and Eric Holder and George Soros and Bernie Sanders and Paul Krugman and Chris Dodd and Chris Matthews and Jimmy Carter and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and everyone at the SEUI and the NEA and MSNBC and NBC and the New York Times (oh this list could go on) saying things that came out of the mouth of Atlas Shrugged villains, WORD FOR WORD, without even the slightest trace of irony. It’s frightening, that Rand’s overblown examples of evils are if anything underplayed and about as far from overblown caricature as you can get.

And this is where Rand’s greatest strength comes into play, her prescience. You read Atlas Shrugged and see an America going into economic collapse. Kind of like right now. You read about the government putting in one socialist-fascist regulation after another to “help” the economy but really it only destroys not just the economy but the character and lives of everyone it touches as well. Kind of like now. It’s not point for point in the progression of Bush and Obama presidencies…but it is far, far, FAR too close to not make you think you’re in a Twilight Zone episode.
I can only pray that Rand was wrong about the only way out of this death spiral is to let the whole thing collapse. (Actually I don’t need to pray, I’m fairly certain things will never need to get that dire).

However despite the wonderful articulation of principles of freedom, liberty, free will, capitalism and the free economy (yes all those things are tied together), there are, I will admit some serious flaws with the book.

The most prominent is that while her work offers a wonderful starting place for philosophy, it is far from complete. Rand once stated that there are only two ways to deal with people: reason or force. Reason is superior and force is what brutes who cannot master reason use. Capitalism is based on reason, on creation, on doing, on treating people as equals that can be dealt with on a reasonable level—all other forms of government and economy are based to one degree or another on force, on taking from those who used reason to create and giving it to those who didn’t (either the ruling class or the poor, either way the middle that actually does work is getting screwed). However, Rand fails to see that there is a third way to deal with each and that is friendship and love (although I’ll grant this has little to do with how government and economics are set up). But still her philosophy only encompasses the beginnings of truth and refutes the most egregious lies; it doesn’t deal with the full range of human experience. As such, while the philosophy is a great place to start, it is inadequate as a place to end philosophical reflection and discovery.

Further, while Ayn Rand has villains and their psychology down to a T, her heroes are a bit lacking. Dagny, Galt, Reardon, Francisco, Roark, Prometheus, pick a Rand hero from any book she wrote and you will find someone who lives by thought out and reasonable principles, is courageous, is just, is temperate, and is utterly emotionless. While Rand heroes show many of the virtues we would all like to have, they are all brain and no heart. They feel nothing beyond a philosophical recognition for others. These are the kind of people who after having sex (on train tracks, that can’t be comfortable) launch into long-winded philosophical speeches of the nature of life (somewhat lacking in what I think most of us consider ideal pillow talk…then again anytime Rand starts dealing with sex things get a little odd and disturbingly S&M in their overtones—it’s not in her official biography but I am convinced the woman experienced some extreme trauma living through the Russian Revolution, which in turn led to her becoming very cold and making her characters come off cold. It would also help to explain her hatred of the idea of God, as her atheism is the dispassionate argument of reason, it comes off more as someone who deeply believed and then thought God wasn’t there for her when she needed him and thus in turn will try to prove to everyone he doesn’t exist as a form of revenge). But in the end the heroes of Atlas Shrugged can be no more than caricatures created to show off specific virtues as they are not full and complete human beings with normal emotional responses and attachments. (I am really, really hoping the director of the movie saw how Jackson turned the equally one dimensional characters of Tolkien into fully formed characters in the movies of The Lord of the Rings, and that we get the same evolution in this forthcoming movie).

And the real problem with Atlas Shrugged is its solution. The solution of the people who create, who do, who reason is to just give the foolish, stupid and evil what they want. To retreat from the world, to not convince people of who is right and who is wrong, but to merely run away. Yes it does show whose plan works and whose plan doesn’t work. But that doesn’t mean that it’s right. Yes, capitalism and a democratic-republic and liberty are right. But they’re not just right for the people who believe in them—they’re right for everyone. A right is now something that someone has because they choose to have it; they have it as a virtue of being human. Rand’s heroes retreat and give up on defending the rights of everyone else in the world (even though most of those whom they leave are not bright enough to want those rights). They’re cowards. They ran away and choose not to fight the good fight, the ethical fight and in the process let the world be destroyed. They may argue that this helped speed the process up and allowed them to come back before a new Dark Ages set in, but this is a foolish argument. Unless Rand is arguing that all the stupid people died (which, yeah, that would work, not very ethical, but it would work) the people who have not died from the world collapsing are still going to be the same idiots as before and Galt and his bunch are still going to have to convince them that capitalism is right and socialism is wrong. So all the heroes of Atlas Shrugged have done by running away is make their lives a little easier for a while at the expense of not only everyone in the world but at the expense of future generations who will have to rebuild what Galt let be torn down. Not very heroic!
Yeah if you’re smarter, braver, more virtuous, it is a burden to bear, and some days you might want to shrug it all off. That’s called being human. But not giving into the willingness to give up, fighting the good fight not because you’re going to win but because it’s the right thing to do, that’s what makes a hero. It is the most damning flaw of the book, the main characters who exhibit many virtuous qualities, don’t live up to them.

In the end however, for all of its flaws Atlas Shrugged will always hold a place in my heart. I read it for the first time when I was in the 8th grade and have since reread it several times (I think it’s best to read it when you’re young, as Atlas Shrugged is to philosophy what Doctor Seuss is to reading—it’s a good start that points the right way, but it doesn’t include the depth that real life has in it). It may not understand humanity perfectly and it certainly has a better understanding of its flaws than its strengths, but it does provide a needed ground work to understanding and defending liberty.

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