Does this make you laugh?

“What continues to amaze me is this: Japan’s current strategy of massive, unsustainable deficit spending in the hopes that this will somehow generate a self-sustained recovery is currently regarded as the orthodox, sensible thing to do – even though it can be justified only by exotic stories about multiple equilibria, the sort of thing you would imagine only a professor could believe. Meanwhile further steps on monetary policy – the sort of thing you would advocate if you believed in a more conventional, boring model, one in which the problem is simply a question of the savings-investment balance – are rejected as dangerously radical and unbecoming of a dignified economy.”

Author?Maybe Ben Bernanke?

How about Treasury Secretaries Timothy Geithner or Hank Paulson?

No, no and no.

Drum roll please…

Paul Krugman! 09/21/1999

I know it’s nerdy but COME ON! That’s hilarious! Oh how times change, we knew that Nobel Prize winning mind was in there somewhere, would love to hear more of it 🙂

Killing Creativity

Ken Robinson (English author and expert on arts education) speaking on the underlying requirements for creativity during a recent TED Talk:

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I heard a great story recently of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson…

She was 6 and she was in the back drawing and the teacher said this little girl hardly ever paid attention and in this drawing lesson she did.And the teacher was fascinated so she went over to her and she said, “What are you drawing?”

And the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.”

And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.”

And the girl said, “They will in a minute.”

(Pauuuuuuse for laughter)

… Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go… They’re not frightened of being wrong.

Now I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative but what we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong you’ll never come up with anything original.

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If you don’t understand how profound that idea is; don’t know how many of us are so terrified of being “wrong” we opt ourselves out of any original thought; don’t see how often our society mocks the experimenters, the dissenters, the questioners, the “heretics”, the entrepreneurs, the explorers… then I suggest you re-read this quote in your best British headmaster accent and try to grasp this concept.

OR even better you can check out the link below 🙂

Anti-trust humor is always the funniest…

A little legal joke by Prof. Ivan Pongracic of Hillsdale College:

Three businessmen found themselves together in prison.The first man said, “I was convicted of price gouging because I was charging more than my competitors.”

The second man said, “Well I was charging less than my competitors and was convicted of predatory pricing.”The third man, eyes wide, said, “I was charging the SAME as my competitors and the government threw us all in jail because we’d formed a CARTEL!”

Arbitrariness… A wonderful basis for law in a just society.

The Vain Illusion

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it.” – Lysander Spooner, political philosopher (1808 – 1887)

“(We) must do more than chase the vain illusion that someday a good and illuminated man will come to power.” – Guatemalan “ProReforma” Campaign Brochure (2009)

These quotes always help me remember that there is no perfect elected representative or perfect political legislation that once in power or enacted will turn my life around.They remind me that “We, the people” must be the guardians of our own lives. We don’t “guard” our lives by voting for the guy or supporting the law that gives us more cookies out of the communal jar. We guard our lives by supporting and pushing for more FREEDOM and for those who will stand up against more intrusion in our private lives.

Again, there is NO perfect choice, but the marginal revolution happens when we make choices that push us a little further along the continuum one way or another.

In this election, it is not about who will make you free (see above for that fantasy) but who will make you free-ER. Then the next time choose again, to be free-ER.

When we make choice after choice after choice, always in the direction of more economic freedom and personal liberty, how different, better, more prosperous will this country be when our kids are our age and making these same choices?

Conscience and Property Rights

“Conscience is the most sacred of all property” – James Madison. When our govt has come to so blithely restrict and control our rights in real property and in the use of our time (in production and in leisure), is it any wonder that we spend more and more focus every year (on Left and Right) on government’s attempts to restrict and manage topics rightly handled by individual conscience?

If you don’t respect my prerogative to choose how I spend my time and money, why should I expect you to respect my prerogative over my beliefs and opinions. How many on the Left and Right can get behind the simple but profound idea in the history of nations instituted by men, that government, “shall make no law”?

How many of us can put aside our discomfort/unease/uncertainty and instead of supporting the VERSION of law we prefer, can simply and directly say I want NO law.

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s23.html

A Story About Hogs…

A quick story as related from Lawrence Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education (www.fee.org):

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Thomas Anderson, author, farmer and presidential candidate in 1972 & 1976, used to tell a story about a herd of wild hogs, that lived along a bend of river in Georgia.

Now this band of pigs was a stubborn, ornery, independent, self reliant bunch. They had survived floods, and freezes, and fires, and droughts, and hunters, and dogs, you name it.Nobody thought that these hogs could ever be penned up or captured.

But one day a stranger came to a town not far from where the hogs were, and he went into the general store and he said, “Tell me where I can find the hogs. I have a plan to pen them up.”

And the store keeper said, “Ah, well you’ll never do that.”

But he nonetheless gave him some general directions and off the stranger went with nothing but a few sacks of corn, an axe, and a one-horse wagon.

A few months later he came back into town, came into the store and said, “I’ve got ’em all penned up, out in the swamp. I need some help to bring the hogs out.”

The storekeeper couldn’t believe it, and others came from miles around to hear the story of how this guy had penned the hogs that everyone assumed could never be captured.

He said, “Well it was really rather simple. At first, I made a clearing at the middle of the swamp with my axe. And then I put some of the corn at the center of the clearing and for the first few days none of the hogs would take any of it. But after a while the younger ones would come out and grab some of the corn and scamper back into the underbrush, and before long then the older ones were coming out, each of them taking some corn, figuring if they didn’t take it one of the other hogs would. And so they were all now taking the corn regularly as I put it in the clearing.”

He then said, “It was about that time, unnoticed by the hogs, that I started building a fence around the clearing. One more small section each day until at just the right point I built a gate, and at just the right moment I swung it shut.”

And his last line was, “Naturally they squealed and hollered, when they knew I had ’em. But I can pen ANY animal on the face of this Earth, if I can first get him to depend on me for a free handout.”

That describes a number of civilizations that have risen and fallen in part because of people deciding that it may be easier to vote for a living than to work for one… To use the political process as a means to redistribute wealth that belongs to others.

– Lawrence W. Reed, 2010

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Some great ideas to keep in mind as you head out to vote this Tuesday.

Happy Election Season!

Pima County Passes Smoking Ban

Oh fantastic…

Does anyone else remember those PBS brand commercials built around something like, “You Own This…”? Basically the gist was that the camera went swooping over the National Mall in DC and then the words would pass over the screen “You Own This…” The shot then faded to helicopter shots of Mt Rushmore and Yosemite followed by “You Own This…” It went through a couple of iterations on this theme, ending finally with a slow fade-in and light flare across the PBS logo and then a last drop in of that phrase, “You Own This…”

How patriotic, right?

I was always really offput by those… In my mind, we don’t own ANY of that. The US federal government owns those assets (PBS being a public-private partnershipy thing). We are given some access to those places and assets, but we don’t OWN them in any meaningful way.

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An “Unbalanced” Approach

 

Let me state what this article is NOT about. I am not going to address what we spend our money on. I would like to simply laser in on how we handle the financials in our government bodies, particularly the example of our federal government. We don’t need to address the specifics of priorities or of this or that program decision in order to come to a general agreement that our nation is currently on an unsustainable fiscal track.

We cannot continue to overspend our national government income by over 40% (Source: CBO estimate, FY 2012) year after year after year. In the long run (probably more like the medium run at this point) it is utterly unsustainable and we see examples of the political and economic consequences of ignoring this reality when we look to the current situations of Greece and others.

Thus regardless of our opinions on the place of government in our lives, we likely can generally agree that our financial house needs to be put back in order.

The question then becomes, how can we accomplish this? The simple answer brings us back to a certain ideological divide. Do we lower government expenses, increase government income or some combination of the two?

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Fifty Is The New Zero In TUSD

First published on the Wake Up Tucson Blog:

One of my father’s favorite quotes is from Woody Allen. I’ve heard it a couple ways but he always related it as “90% of life is just showing up.”

The older I’ve gotten the more I have come to find this an astoundingly important and fascinating insight. It (rather unexpectedly) says that doing the minimum or close to it is really a big deal in most of life.

In my firm I write insurance contracts for clients. What my client is looking for, and what they will pay me to do, is fill out forms and file them with insurance companies. There is a lot more that we do in addition to this, policy reviews, competitive bidding to ensure the best price, custom marketing, employee services, etc. But at the end of the day, the client (AT MINIMUM) just needs that paperwork done.

The flip side though, is I get NO credit, NO payment, if I fill out the application to 10%, 30%, 50%, etc. If that minimum standard is not met, I get ZERO credit.

For my job, Woody’s adage certainly applies. 90% of what I do is meeting that minimum effort requirement. Everything above that is icing, but anything below that is worth nothing, nada, zip, zilch.

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Will someone please let me know when “The Long Term” gets here?

 

First published on the Wake Up Tucson Blog:

As we start debating the re-authorization of our state’s 1 cent sales tax I would like to pause for a moment and take a slightly closer look at what has been, and will undoubtably be again, one of the oft heard sentiments in these discussions.

You almost certainly have heard some version of it, but Paul Krugman (writing in his recent release A Manifesto For Economic Sense) provides a good example: “There must of course be a medium-term plan for reducing the government deficit. But if this is too front-loaded it can easily be self-defeating by aborting the recovery.”

So more or less, “Yes, we absolutely, positively know we need to get back to (INSERT NORMAL HERE) but certainly not right now.”

Dr. Krugman is certainly and simply an easy target but is an excellent example of those who, over many years, have maintained an incessant drum beat for “emergency measures”. Whether it is stimulatory fiscal and monetary policy, private company bailouts, vast military spending, expanded police powers, environmental regulatory interventions, increased taxes or other“temporary”, “one-time” reactions to current difficulties, there always seems to happen to be another “emergency” on the horizon which will serve to extend the definition of “temporary” and turn “one-time” into repetitive.

My primary issue are the pundits and government officers who prefer to define us in an almost constant state of “crisis” or for whom at least the pendulum seems only to swing in one direction.

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