Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Today sucks if you still have to finish your taxes. It sucks more in California than Texas, since you have to pay state income taxes as well. That includes a marginal tax rate of 9.3% for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year. As opposed to Texas’ marginal rate of 0.0% for all…

  • Rich Californians don’t seem to mind that their green fantasies are screwing the poor.
  • California Democrats are trying to write racial quotas into the state Constitution. Oddly enough, Asian Americans are actually objecting to their children getting screwed out of college admissions. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “A combination of unfriendly tax policies, military budget cuts and cutthroat competition is wreaking havoc on California’s storied aerospace industry, a new study cautions.” ​​More here, which notes that:

    Texas and Washington offer low corporate income tax and no personal income tax, while providing a stable business climate and skilled work force. Many high-profile corporations have relocated their operations to new states. Recent examples include Northrop Grumman, which moved its headquarters to Northern Virginia; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which moved its headquarters to McKinney, Texas; and Boeing, which moved two aircraft modernization programs, for the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and the B-1 bomber, from Long Beach to Oklahoma City.

  • CalPERS latest report proves conclusively that the fund spontaneously generates unicorns, rainbows and jobs. The Wall Street Journal examines the claims, wipes the vaguely yellow liquid off their legs and concludes “This political report offers one more reason why taxpayers and public workers shouldn’t trust Calpers with their money and would be better served by defined-contribution retirement plans that employees own and control.”
  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced it faces $73.7 billion in long-term liabilities. “CalSTRS has a $71 billion unfunded pension liability.”
  • Both CalPERS and CalSTARS are desperately in need of reform.

    The state teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, needs an extra $4.5 billion each year for 30 years to pay off its unfunded liabilities. CalPERS’ local government members will see costs increase by 50 percent during the next six years. And the state needs to contribute $1 billion more per year for retiree health care benefits.

    These obligations for benefits already earned must be paid, and over the next decade, they will continue to drain funding from essential services such as education, public safety, transportation and health care.

    Yet, powerful interests remain all too eager to kick the can down the road and push our pension problems onto future generations.

  • Why California has an affordable housing crisis.
  • Is there a way out of Taxifornia? As such a solution would require liberals to stop acting like liberals, the answer is: probably not.
  • Bell’s corrupt officials agree to plea bargain deal. Bonus: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo gets 33 months on federal tax evasion charges. (Hat tip: Dwight, who has been all over the Bell story.)
  • At least 60 companies have relocated from California to Texas. But Elk Grove, California is striking back, trying to lure Texas companies to California. “The slogan: ‘Don’t wait for high taxes and stifling regulation to come to you, end the suspense and move to California’ just doesn’t seem too appealing to me.”
  • Continuing troubles with California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Sports equipment maker MonkeySports is relocating from Corona, California to Allen, Texas, adding up to some 225 Texas jobs over two years.
  • A closer look at relocations to the Austin area.
  • Venezuela: A Ray of Light Amidst the Encroaching Darkness?

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

    When last we checked, Venezuela had come down with a case of Terminal Socialism. Here’s an update.

    Faced with crippling inflation and a shortage of basic goods due to endemic cronyism, horrible mismanagement and laughable official exchange rates, Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has finally thrown in the towel and instituted floating exchange rates… sort of:

    A dollar will cost you 6.3 bolívares if you are the government, or if you can persuade Cencoex (the government’s foreign-trade body) that you intend to import vital goods such as food or medicine. Then there’s the Sicad I rate, currently just over 10 bolívares to the dollar, but contingent on irregular, “auctions” (which are nothing of the sort). The new Sicad II process, which is as close to a free market as the government will allow, opened at a whopping 50 bolívares to the dollar. But even that is a bargain compared with the unofficial exchange rate, which at the time of writing stands at almost 68 bolívares.

    Meanwhile, shortages of basic goods mean Venezuelans get to enjoy that classic staple of late stage socialism: waiting in line to get food:

    And the violent crackdown against opposition protesters continues:

    Naturally, as a prelude to cracking down on the opposition, they followed the old socialist playbook by outlawing private ownership of guns. It’s always so much easier to oppress people once they’ve been disarmed. Even so, as the following video (via Legal Insurrection) shows, police don’t always get the upper hand:

    Security forces have also committed dozens of documented instances of torture.

    Are there any rays of home in the grim situation? Yes, Maduro’s government and opposition leaders have agreed to talks. Whether these can actually accomplish anything remains to be seen, but the fact that Maduro “ruled out any changes to the course of what he calls the Bolivarian revolution, the distinct brand of socialism created by his predecessor in office, Hugo Chavez,” tends to indicate that the prognosis is still grim.

    Other Venezuela news:

  • An interview with the jailed opposition leader.
  • Two relative of opposition figures murdered.
  • Globovision assignment editor Nairobi Pinto kidnapped.
  • Spain halts shipments of riot gear.
  • Red States Produce Jobs, Blue States Produce the Homeless

    Friday, March 28th, 2014

    Will Franklin has a detailed piece up correlating homelessness with Democratic Party rule.

    “It turns out that when it comes to mitigating homelessness, the blue state model is just as deeply flawed as the failed blue state model for job creation and economic growth.”

    Substance abuse, broken families, or mental illness– tragedies all– often drive people to homelessness, but long-term unemployment and a general lack of economic vitality play a critical role in pushing people out of their homes (and keeping them out). Indeed, when it comes to reducing homelessness caused by economic hardship, we can chalk up another win for Texas and the red state model.

    Snip.

    California, with just under 12% of the nation’s population, has 22.43% of the nation’s homeless population, giving it a homelessness quotient of 0.88. Quite high, in other words. Almost double the number of homeless people one would predict, given its population.

    Texas, which has roughly 8.2% of the nation’s population, only has 4.85% of the nation’s homeless population (meaning: Texas has a quite low homelessness quotient of -0.41).

    Read the whole thing.

    Venezuela Slides Toward Civil War

    Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

    I knew things in Venezuela were bad, thanks to the magic power of socialism, but now they’re poised to get a whole lot worse.

    “Over the past week, Venezuelan protesters have been fighting against corruption in the government, high inflation, and a high murder rate.”

    The unjust, corrupt and incompetent socialist government of Hugo Chavez protege Nicolas Maduro just raided the offices of the main opposition party

    Also, they just expelled three U.S. diplomats.

    Here’s the skinny in a video nutshell:

    Torture, repression, censorship, media control; Chavez and Maduro certainly learned Fidel Castro’s old playbook.

    Ditto the economy, where inflation tops 50% and good shortages are widespread thanks to the usual socialist mismanagement and currency controls. (In just one indicator, Toyota suspended production in Venezuela due to the hard currency shortage. But at least Toyota sold 722 cars in January, while Ford sold a grand total of…2.)

    The situation in Venezuela can’t get better as long as the current socialist government is in power, but Maduro’s thugs won’t leave without a fight.

    Meet the Kronies

    Monday, February 3rd, 2014

    The Kronies has already been blogged by half the rightospehre, but it’s so well done that I wanted to post it here on the off-chance you haven’t watched it yet:

    LinkSwarm for January 29, 2014

    Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

    Lots of news from around the world, where the global economy is handing like a Kia that’s just started losing traction on an icy hill:

  • Bundesbank: Don’t look at us, broke PIIGS, you’re going to have to screw your own people.
  • Does a big default loom in China?
  • Russian bank halts all cash withdrawals?
  • Meanwhile, reports that Chinese banks have stopped allowing withdrawals turns out to be a false alarm.
  • European earnings outlook: Zero.
  • Problem: Greek economy still sucking wind. Solution: change how GDP is calculated.
  • Japan hits record trade deficit. Remember when they were supposed to take over the world?
  • The ruble flirts with record lows.
  • Obama and the Democratic Party’s numbers are worse than they were in 2010.
  • Planned Parenthood wonders what’s the big deal with a little statutory rape among friends?
  • Florida heroin kingpin is an illegal alien on food stamps.
  • Another Democrat convicted of that vote fraud that doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Dwight.)

  • Democrats actually polling worse than they were in 2010. And that’s from Dem pollster/booster John B. Judis.
  • Target’s part-time workers get ObamaCared.
  • We have a winner for troll of the year:

    Every time I hear someone say that feminism is about validating every choice a woman makes I have to fight back vomit.

    Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same. It’s hard for me to believe it’s not just verbally placating these people so they don’t get in trouble with the mommy bloggers.

    Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones. We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them. They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world. They are, by definition, average.

    Amy Glass, come down and collect your coveted Trolly! (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • “Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show”
  • In case you didn’t notice, Iran’s mullahs are still lying, violent scumbags.
  • Strangely enough, Israeli’s trust Netanyahu more than Obama. Funny how a mere 40+ years Palestinians breaking every agreement they’ve signed will sour people on the peace process…
  • Michael Totten wanders around Cuba some more, where he let’s us know that Cubans can be arrested for unauthorized shrimp.
  • California Court determines that disgraced serial journalistic liar Stephen Glass is too dishonest to be a lawyer.
  • In other news, Eugene Volokh stuns Washington Post readers with non-liberal thoughts on guns and other topics.
  • Have you ever considered the possibility that Woody Allen isn’t a child molester?
  • Drive a Fit, a Prius, a Yaris, or a Fiat 500? Hope you’ve made out a will.
  • Anthony Weiner forced to downsize to an apartment whose rent is a mere 6 times my mortgage.
  • Blogroll Addition: Zero Hedge

    Monday, January 27th, 2014

    Newly added to the blogroll: Zero Hedge, for all your DOOM-y international economic news needs.

    Also consider this your “I didn’t have time to put up an extensive blog post” post…

    LinkSwarm for January 6, 2013

    Monday, January 6th, 2014

    It’s in the 20s here in Austin, which for Texas does indeed count as cold. Here are a few links to keep you warm:

  • Another cheerleader for ObamaCare finds out she can’t afford it. (Hat tip: Moe Lane)
  • ObamaCare supporter unable to obtain ObamaCare after two days of trying.
  • Evidently Sarah Palin was too optimistic. The vast confusion over ObamaCare has essentially made every hospital its own death panel.
  • The Obama Administration has lost 53 of 60 rulings on the abortion drugs mandate. To put that in perspective, they’ve won a smaller percentage of victories than the 2013 Houston Texans…
  • Volunteer firefighters still trying to figure out whether they’re screwed by ObamaCare or not.
  • I’ll just leave this here (Hat tip: Economic Policy Journal):

  • Chinese bubble looking ever-more pop-able.
  • There are reports that Zimbabwe’s President-for-Life and socialist thug Robert Mugabe has collapsed, much like his country’s economy.
  • The civil war in Iraq Bush had largely won is flaring up again thanks to Syria. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Actually residents of Prague would would like to see that Palestinian “embassy” disappear.
  • Brainwashed sheeple feed the poor.
  • Liberals make fun of black child because he’s Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson. Maybe they’d prefer adoption to be “separate but equal.”
  • It’s no wonder that MSNBC viewership is down 29% since 2012.
  • Ann Althouse: “The left I see isn’t critical of the fist [of government power]. It wants to be the fist.”
  • Paul Krugman’s SUPER-genius prediction about the Internet.
  • Obama enjoys what the New York Times describes as a “rare” vacation, in much the same way Charles Bukowski used to enjoy a “rare” drink. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Former Republican congressman lives entirely off the gird.
  • Unions should have to undergo regular recertifications.
  • Popehat channels David Brooks channeling Hunter S. Thompson. It’s a match made in Purgatory.
  • Infographic on The Raid: Redemption‘s body count.
  • LinkSwarm for December 24, 2013

    Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

    Merry Christmas a day in advance!

  • Obamacare’s popularity hits new lows. If you want to save yourself some time, just save that phrase; you’ll be able to use it lots next year as well…
  • Even the uninsured hate ObamaCare.
  • ObamaCare is falling apart before our very eyes. Good.
  • The harsh truth is that the advertising machine behind the Obama administration seems not to really know what normal human beings are like.
  • Medicaid + ObamaCare + Estate Recovery = The feds get to seize your estate. (Warning: DailyKos) But think of the future! Medicaid + ObamaCare + Estate Recovery + Death Panel = Ka-Ching! State government need but speed up your shuffling off this mortal coil to help close those pesky budget deficits to pay for public employee union pensions! It’s a win-win-win! (Well, for everyone but the poor schmuck getting the state equivalent of a pillow over their face…)
  • Via Moe Lane comes the heartening news that ObamaCare stinks so badly that Democratic gubernatorial candidates in deep blue Maryland are trying to distance themselves from it.
  • ObamaCare, like Obama himself, is a miserable failure:

  • ObamaCare brand heroin. Well, they’re both being pushed by people who want to get you hooked and make you dependent for their benefit. But I’m given to understand that a junkie can tell whether the smack is good within seconds; we injected Obamacare into our body politic four years ago, feel horrific side effects, and we’re still waiting for the high…
  • Even Colorado college students are losing their jobs due to ObamaCare.
  • Liberals have a reality problem.
  • Senators Coburn and Feinstein introduce bill to eliminate corn biofuels mandate. It’s a start. They should eliminate all biofuels mandates and agribusiness subsidies.
  • Nancy Pelosi says that being an illegal alien is no cause for deportation. Evidently the purpose of the border patrol is to hand out free lemonade along with ObamaCare application forms and membership cards for the Democratic Party…
  • Job;less claims jump to the highest level since March. “Unexpectedly!”
  • “The country needs jobs, not more jobless benefits.”
  • Wisconsin Democrats conduct with your tax dollars.
  • Speaking of Wisconsin, 70 unions there deceertify. Funny how many union “members” will escape if given a chance.
  • Good: reheated turkey. Bad: Reheated Huckabee Presidential run, which would be the wrong kind of turkey…
  • “If there’s anything that makes women unequal to men, it’s the need to be treated like pieces of china.”
  • Mack Brown goes out with class. Asked his biggest regret, you’d think he’d say Colt McCoy getting injured in the national championship game against Alabama. Nope. “They’d be two things. I would want Cole Pittman back, and I would want the bonfire [tragedy] not to have happened at A&M.” It was time for Brown to retire, but he always conducted his program with class and respect.
  • Outed black supremacist finally out of federal government job. (Previously.)
  • Remake Gilligan’s Island? “Michael Cera as Gilligan.” Die in a fire.
  • Robbie Cooper is hanging up his blogging gloves at UrbanGrounds.
  • Things Are About To Get Really, Really Ugly in Venezuela

    Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

    The Venezuelan Parliament just passed an “enabling law” to give Socialist President Nicolas Maduro dictatorial powers.

    Gee, you know what other Socialist President had his country pass an “Enabling Law” to give him dictatorial powers?

    Go ahead.

    Guess.

    Maduro’s opponents? Not happy.

    Earlier this month, Maduro sent the army to seize electronics store and force them to sell goods below cost, i.e. at the laughable “official exchange rate” of 6.3 bolivars per dollar rather than the real black market rate, which is some eight times higher. (They even tried to get Twitter to block unofficial exchange rates.) And Maduro is looking to loot more stores ahead of the December 8 elections. Given that Hugo Chavez has been hollowing out the country since 1999, I’m not even sure it’s possible for the opposition to win a large enough victory to escape the margin of voter fraud anymore.

    Inflation is running at 54%. Oil prices are at 16 month lows, and the country’s oil production has been declining for a while. That, and the crazy Socialist looting, have sent Venezuela bond prices into a tailspin and sent their interest rates to an all-time high. Crime is also high, with Caracas being the murder capital of the world (yes, even worse than Chicago).

    Maybe that’s why Goldman Sachs has a scheme to help Venezuela swap gold for dollars.

    It’s almost as if Maduro read Atlas Shrugged and saw it as a blueprint rather than a cautionary tale. Imagine Greece, if hyperinflation was just getting started and they didn’t have German taxpayers to bail them out.

    You can decree imaginary exchange rates the same way you can decree that π be set to exactly 3, and the reality will ignore and punish your delusion. Watch inflation skyrocket and business collapse as sellers are unable to buy goods and unwilling to sell at a loss, guaranteeing that a far-from rich country is about to get a whole lot poorer.

    The only question now is whether Venezuela’s economic collapse will bee Argentina bad, or Weimar Germany bad.