But I ask you again (and again and again, I know) to consider that the bubble is the policy and the big question in all of this is why, with the economy on square footing and corporate board rooms raking in the dough, do our monetary leaders continue to take from the poor and pay out to the rich?
Much like with the minimum wage debate, can’t we find a little something for Grandma in all of this as well? All she wants is to use her passbook for monthly withdrawals and see some of that replaced by interest returned on her savings. It used to be as American as apple pie, saving that is.
So hey Janet, will you and the eggheads you meet with at the next FOMC please consider firming up here and ending ZIRP or at least tapering it up (you know, .5% → 1% → 1.5%… can you handle that?) while T bond purchases are tapered down? Show the ultimate in confidence and get on the path to normalizing policy. People are gainfully making a killing in the stock market with your predecessor’s compliments and now it is time to help the non-speculators.
Hey Janet February 26, 2014
Crazy February 3, 2014
From today’s MMQB:
So Saturday was our Hall of Fame voting day in Manhattan. We cast our ballots in a ballroom on the second floor of the media hotel, the Sheraton Times Square. Lunch was brought in midway through the proceedings. Specifically, box lunches for the 46 voters and Hall officials. A description of my lunch:
• Chicken breast on focaccia.
• Lays Classic chips (small bag).
The cost: $102, including tip.
Per box lunch.
Gibson Government Series February 1, 2014
Definitely an “in your face” kinda thing. Good for them.
Great Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville—only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended—it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson’s history.
Click to see the guitar:
Link via Joe_in_Indiana on Twitter.
Pay Attention January 27, 2014
This background comes to mind as Mr. Prince makes the surprising claim that “there’s very little advantage to being an American citizen anymore. They tax you anywhere in the world you are, they regulate you, and they certainly don’t help you, at all.”
His advice for Washington: “Stop committing suicide.” Lawmakers should “get out of their heads this idea that they can recklessly spend money that they don’t have,” he says. “The United States government is too big in all areas. . . . It’s time to make the entire thing a lot smaller.” That would include doing everything from allowing Americans to buy incandescent light bulbs to reining in domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency.
“Look,” he says, grasping to end our talk on an optimistic note, “America can pull its head out at any time. That happens at the ballot box. Ballot boxes have consequences still in America.” He continues: “But the American electorate has to actually pay attention, has to turn off the Xbox long enough to pay attention. Otherwise they’re going to continue to elect the government they deserve.”
Link from Instapundit.
Sounds Familiar December 26, 2013
I’ve heard similar things somewhere before…
The U.S. health-care market is dysfunctional. Obscure prices and $500 Band-Aids are legendary. The reason is simple: Health care and health insurance are strongly protected from competition. There are explicit barriers to entry, for example the laws in many states that require a “certificate of need” before one can build a new hospital. Regulatory compliance costs, approvals, nonprofit status, restrictions on foreign doctors and nurses, limits on medical residencies, and many more barriers keep prices up and competitors out. Hospitals whose main clients are uncompetitive insurers and the government cannot innovate and provide efficient cash service.
We need to permit the Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Apples of the world to bring to health care the same dramatic improvements in price, quality, variety, technology and efficiency that they brought to air travel, retail and electronics. We’ll know we are there when prices are on hospital websites, cash customers get discounts, and new hospitals and insurers swamp your inbox with attractive offers and great service.
Open pricing and competition are what drive prices down.
Earthrise December 25, 2013
Neat — with audio from the Apollo 8 astronauts as they took the shots.
Link from Instapundit.
Pro-Work December 23, 2013
Somebody’s figuring out that endless handouts don’t make sense:
The Dutch have just announced a massive reform of their welfare system, designed to reduce dependency and put a new emphasis on work. For example, welfare applicants will now be required to prove that they spent at least 4 weeks actively searching for a job before they become eligible for any assistance. And once they begin to receive benefits they will either have to work or perform volunteer community service. Dutch welfare recipients would be required to take available jobs even if they had to move or commute up to three hours per day.
Given that just 42 percent of U.S. welfare recipients are engaged in even broadly defined work activities (including job training, college, or job search), and that an attempt to restore work requirements to the food stamp program has been met with a storm of resistance, the Dutch appear to be much more pro-work than we are.
According to the Dutch government, the reforms will ensure that welfare is seen as “a safety net, rather than a right.”
Here in the US, for too long now, welfare has been viewed as a ‘career choice’.
Link from Instapundit.
Punch Bowl December 22, 2013
From Bernanke comments and the FOMC statement I discerned subtle confirmation of what I believe is a desire within the Fed system to end its experiment in massive asset purchases. Of course, they seek to gingerly manage this key inflection point in monetary policy/history. But, in true Bubble Dynamic form, “gingerly” is tantamount to a green light for market Bubble speculation. You’re either willing to remove the punchbowl or you’re not. Telling the intoxicated you’re going to modestly reduce the alcohol content of their drinks and then shut the bar down completely in a few hours is not likely to elicit the desired behavior (unless you’re fine with drunkenness).
Snow Bank December 16, 2013
Bad To Worse December 10, 2013
I, for one, am not going to miss going through another round of antics with Reid, Boehner, and all the other nitwits we had to stomach in late September and early October. I do think, however, that Congress has been lulled into a sense of financial complacency by the tentatively-healthy economy. As things sour in the months ahead on the financial scene, the situation with the finances of the U.S. government are going to go from bad to worse.