Friday, May 29, 2009

Who Wins With Inflation?

Debtors with real assets.

That class includes homeowners with fixed rate mortgages. Homeowners without mortgages will get a big payout if they sell, but in the mean time there will be mean times.

People who own other hard assets (such as gold) will also benefit, but few people hold gold as a large part of their financial portfolio. A lot of people are over-invested in their houses. Which is fine, because you can't live in gold.

With significant inflation, the denominated value of a real asset (like the sale price of a house) goes up. Wages go up, though usually not as fast as the cost of living. If the loan amount stays the same, it begins to shrink in comparison to the amount of money available to the debtor.

Another big winner is the Treasury, which is the biggest debtor of all.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rachel Lucas Learns that History Lingers

Before the eleventh century, the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon peoples of England had more trouble with each other and the Romans, Danes, and Vikings than with the French.

In A.D. 1066, William the Conqueror took over England for France. He installed Frenchmen as the new ruling class, to the point where the English we speak now probably owes as much to Old French as to Old English.

Since that time, the English have had a kind of hate-hate relationship with the French.

I look for the European Union to fix all of that in a thousand years or so.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Diversity: FAIL

Judge Sotamayor gets reversed a lot.

That by itself could point to a raised level of diversity in the kinds of opinions in the judicial system.

The trouble is that it is her reasoning, not her conclusions, with which her fellow judges disagree. They don't think she gets the whole judging thing all that well.

Which is the first problem with imposing physical diversity in the hopes of achieving diversity of opinion: you may get diversity, but it will be achieved by lowering the overall quality of the whole.

The second problem with imposing physical diversity in the hopes of achieving opinion diversity is that you really can't judge a book by its cover.

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Permissive Parents, Leftist Children?

I have an hypothesis. It is that children of permissive parents grow up to be liberals, while children of strict parents grow up to be conservative.

I'm sure, before I even start, that if my hypothesis is true it is only a matter of degree, a question of percentages and leanings.

What I know for certain is that liberals generally act like spoiled children, and never want anyone to suffer consequences for their actions (nor to be rewarded for hard work).

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can't get back in the blogging habit

Having taken a semester off, it's hard to want to start up again. It's much easier to read what others write and make the occasional comment.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something Funny About Obama

He hardly ever uses a hard 's' sound at the end of words. Instead, he uses a whistling, hissing soft 's'.

It's like fingernailssss on a chalkboard.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

John Podhoretz, on Joe Klein on Charles Krauthammer:

He won’t like me saying it, but Charles Krauthammer, who is more than a friendly acquaintance, is far from a tragic figure. He is a miraculous figure. He has, through a combination of raw will and a sagacious mind and a rigorous temperament that, were it possible, he should leave to science so that it can be studied and bottled and sold, lived a life both triumphantly important and triumphantly ordinary. (Although his wife, Robbie, is far from ordinary. For one thing, she is from Tasmania. For another, she is an artist of great skill. For a third, she has the dirtiest and liveliest mouth in either her forsaken hemisphere or her present one.) If you are his friend, in a fashion that I can’t quite explain, you come to have no sense whatever that he is in that chair. He may be right about what he argues (obviously, I think so, most of the time). He may be wrong. But whatever he is or is not, to argue that Charles’s views are restricted by the restrictions on his physical form is do violence to the most basic notions of civil discussion.

I'd read the Politico article earlier, but skimmed past Klein's dissing of Krauthammer [w/t link added]. I was too nonplussed at Politico's implication that Krauthammer was some kind of conservative Pied Piper, apparently based on NRO's regular posting of his transcripts. Those transcripts take up no more of NRO's Corner bandwidth than any of the hundred or so other conservative pundits with Corner posting privileges.

In fact, not realizing that Krauthammer has physical challenges, I always wondered why they posted the stuff for him. But I appreciate the fact that they do so, since he's generally on target and I don't catch him on the tube.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frank J Deserves An Award

For clear-headed, outside-the-box thinking to diagnose the troubles currently befuddling his Party, his country, and indeed the very human race, FrankJ of IMAO has won the Socrates' Academy Wisdom and Sobriety "Really Smart Blogger Award" award.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama 1, Pelosi 0

And so we have before us the Pelosi waterboarding kerfuffle (which I am dubbing "Prevari-gate" because "Watergate" was already taken).

Who wins if Nancy Pelosi is weakened politically?

Barack Obama. Pelosi will give him whatever he wants, without so much as a whimper.

Note that CIA Director Leon Panetta has come down on the side of the Bush CIA on this one. He wouldn't do that without White House approval. They want Pelosi out of there.

So who wins if Pelosi resigns?

Barack Obama. Obama will have his pick for Speaker, which would probably be long-time Rahm Emanuel ally House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

House Republicans, agitating against Pelosi because they don't like her very much, are going to give Obama just the Speaker he wants.

In the long run, it will all work out, because Obama-Hoyer-Reid triumvirate will ultimately bring about electoral defeat. But not before they screw the country up in some very bad ways.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

George W. Bush, the Environmental President

The Left has been talk-pointing for years that the air is getting worse and worse, the sky is falling, and it's all George Bush's fault. But this is another thing they know that just isn't so.

From the annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators (pdf), Steven Hayward:

The latest findings are significant because they stand in sharp contrast to a refrain among some environmental campaigners and the media that air pollution is getting worse, and to the assertion that the Bush administration was “rolling back” the Clean Air Act. Final data for 2008 won’t be available for several months, but the EPA’s latest report shows that air pollution levels in every category fell from 2001 to 2007; moreover, air pollution levels in most categories fell at a faster rate than during the first seven years of the Clinton Administration.

Table 1 below displays the reduction in national mean ambient levels of the six criteria pollutants for comparable periods of the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Table 1: Ambient Air Quality Trends under Presidents Clinton and G. W. Bush

Clinton (1993–1999)Bush (2001–2007)

–5.14% –5.9%

Particulates (PM2.5)
N/A* –9.1%

Carbon Monoxide
–24.6% –39%

Sulfur Dioxide

–33.0% –56%

Nitrogen Dioxide
–9.6% –20%

*National PM2.5 emissions monitoring began in 199.
Source: EPA and author’s calculations

OBTW -- w/t NRO

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Hammer, Nail, Assembly Required

U.S. News and World Report's Peter Rolff puts steel to work:

It is true that the U.S. economy was in bad shape when Obama came into office. But he and his top appointees want us to believe that their preferred solution—pushing huge increases in federal spending in his so-called economic recovery act and his budget for the upcoming fiscal year though Congress to prime the Keynesian pump, putting money in the hands of their political constituencies—are in no way related to the just announced record $1.8 trillion federal deficit.
Perhaps the worm is turning. RTWT.

w/t TPM

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