Saturday, October 18, 2008

Going out of Business

I had no idea how much ad revenues blogging would be able to generate, or how many readers I would have to attract to be able to make blogging profitable. My plan was to blog for a month to do something I enjoy, and learn about how many readers I would need to be able to make blogging profitable. A month or two later, and I have learned that I will need several thousand daily readers to be able to make this profitable. I appreciate everyone who took time to read my blog, but several thousand readers would require an exponential growth in my readership. Additionally, I am certain that we are headed for a very severe economic downturn, which will reduce the amount of money that advertisers are willing to spend. With all of this taken into consideration, I have determined to pursue new paths to make my fortune.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope I was able to provide some entertainment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Palin Hating Conservative

Heather Mac Donald versus Laura Ingraham

It is sad. Really really sad that a conservative would believe that losing this election could have a long term benefit to conservatism. Anyone who believes that is either hopelessly naive to what the next 2 years may hold, or cares more about ideology than country. The reason that conservatives must win this election is that the threat of a depression is real, and conservatives have the right ideology to pull America through it as painlessly as possible. Liberals, on the other hand in an attempt to spread the wealth, will spread the poverty instead.

Many of these Sarah Palin hating conservatives are well off rich fools who are essentially insulated from the hard times that they are willing to consign many Americans to. And, they are doing it to advance liberal policy positions.

Economic Theory

Megan McCardle is trying to spark an interesting discussion on economic theory in light of the financial crisis. I added my 2 cents to the comments, which are:
If followed, the right theory will never come in contact with the enemy, because it will tell policy makers how to avoid such contact. Milton Friedman's theory on monetary policy took hold in the 80's and have been the basis of world monetary policy ever since. No one is discarding Milton Friedman's monetary policy theories because of this crisis. In fact, all policy makers are building their bailout policies in accordance with that theory because of its strength. So, if his theories are so sound, why did the theory come in contact with the enemy? Because his theories on government fiscal policy have been ignored for 70+ years, and to be fair his theories on government fiscal policies while strong are more ideological rather than based upon a theoretical framework. Economists need to provide a strong theoretical framework which shows that Milton Friedman's views on government fiscal policy are theoretically just as strong as his theories on monetary policy.

Making everybody happy

Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting article on Quebec separatism and Conservatives in Canada:
Canadian Conservatives prefer relatively pro-market policies. Quebec is the most statist province in the country and its political influence drives Canada's economic policies well to the left of where they would be in a separate anglophone Canada. Canadian Conservatives hate paying for federal government subsidies to Quebec (Quebec is a major net recipient of transfer payments from the federal government). Obviously, there would be no such subsidies if Quebec were an independent nation. In the long run, secession might even lead to relatively more market-oriented policies within Quebec itself, since an independent Quebec government could no longer rely on Ottawa transfer payments to finance its statism. Finally, Quebec secession would be a major political boon for the Conservative Party. In the recent election, the Conservatives won 133 of 233 parliament seats in the anglophone provinces, but only 10 of 75 in Quebec. The Tories won't necessarily do this well in the "rest of Canada" every time; but their odds of getting a majority would be greatly improved if Quebec were to secede.

One of the readers at the Volokh conspiracy answers Ilya's question by saying:
Being a "federalist" party in the Canadian sense (that is, anti-secessionist) is the sine qua non for support in English Canada. There might be some number of western voters who would cheer Quebec's departure and be happy that the ideological median in their new country had moved a long way right. But the Conservatives would sacrifice something close to all their votes in Ontario (the largest province)-- many of whom have no identity-commitment to being Conservative but have a massive investment in the idea of Canada.... Ontario is far from solidly conservative or culturally conservative, and it would electorally cut off at the knees any party that abandoned federalism. Whatever Conservative leaders might wish in their hearts, it's a political non-starter.

How about America, Canada, Conservatives and Liberals come together and give everybody a little of what they want? Quebec gets its own nation. Liberals get a nation made up of the following Canadian provinces and American states: Ontario, Newfoundland and Labradour, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii. Conservative get a nation made up of the following Canadian provinces and American states: Alaska, Yukon Territories, Northwest Territories, Nunavet, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. The following American states would go with whatever nation they prefer to join: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.

I know it is not going to happen, but it would be a solution that should leave everybody better off.

Iran versus Israel

If there is any truth to the following (via Ace of Spade and Doug Ross), I do not see how a catastrophic war between Israel and Iran is avoidable. Additionally, that war will probably include America and may also include Jordan, Lebanon and Syria aligned with Israel against Iran (such an attack as described in the link would almost certainly kill quite a few Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians).

The world desperately needs the Iranian people to rise up and overthrow the Iranian regime. It also might be in the Iranian people's interest to replace the Iranian regime. As the Iranian regime seems to show no regard for the fact that such an attack might be greeted with a massive retaliation that endangers the lives of many innocent Iranian civilians.

The benefits of being married to the right person.

Man, I beat Dr Helen by two day with a reference to John Galt, but Dr Helen gets the instalanche. Oh well, I guess being the instawife has its privileges. Then again, maybe it was my own incompetent linkage skills that prevented the post from being a worthy read.

Want to be President?

In the USA Today, Susan Page wonders:

Why exactly would anybody want this job?

The candidate who wins the White House on Nov. 4 will face the most calamitous economy for any new president since Franklin Roosevelt took over amid the Depression in 1933. He'll assume command of the biggest wartime deployment of U.S. troops since Richard Nixon was sworn in during the Vietnam War in 1969.

The bigger the obstacles that you have to overcome; the greater the rewards are when you succeed. Additionally, America faces a critical choice in this election. Choose one way, and America may very well choose poverty, choose another way and America may very well choose prosperity. Both parties believe that their way brings prosperity, while the other party's way brings poverty. Hence, both parties should feel that winning this election is critical. I hope America chooses wisely.

Bad Management

Some have argued that the free market is to blame for the financial crisis because greedy corporate managers have acted irresponsibly, and taken on risk that exposed their companies to huge losses. My response is that is all true except for the part where the blame is placed on the free market. Our government and not the free market is responsible for fostering the climate where these corporate managers could act irresponsibly without the fear of being punished by the free market. Our government did this by insulating corporate managers from the fear that if they acted irresponsibly their company would be taken over and they would be fired for their irresponsible incompetence:

If managers are misusing a corporation’s assets, there will be profit opportunities for the alert investor who figures it out, buys up a controlling share of stock, and replaces the managers with better ones. This is a hostile takeover....

The takeover is a key tool in what Henry Manne, the great economist and former dean of the George Mason University Law School, long ago dubbed the market for corporate control....

...the federal and state governments have done all they could to prevent corporate takeovers. In 1968 the federal government enacted a law forcing anyone who acquires a specified amount of a corporation’s shares (today it’s 5 percent) to disclose his intentions to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Obviously, if someone announces that he intends a takeover, the stock price will rise, wiping out the profit in the takeover. That was the point.

...managers who feared losing their jobs lobbied Congress and the president. It was special-interest, protectionist legislation all the way....

In the 1980s the states and state courts enacted even harsher anti-takeover measures. The result? “The number of hostile tender offers dropped precipitously and with it the most effective device for policing top managers of large, publicly held companies,” Manne writes.

The article that I linked to was written in 2002. I believe that further corporate managers protection laws were enacted after that article was written in 2002.

Money Supply Contraction

In the Wall Street Journal, Andy Kessler writes:
...after the 1929 market crash and subsequent bank runs, 10,000 or roughly 40% of banks failed, $2 billion in deposits were wiped out and 30% of the money supply disappeared. So did a similar percentage of GDP. Today, bank deposits are mostly safe, but with $1 trillion in bank and Wall Street writedowns taken or soon to be taken on bad real estate securities, some multiple of that in money supply will vanish with the stroke of an accountant's pen. Restarting bank lending is the only way to top it back up.

The contraction in the money supply is what will trigger the depression. It must be avoided. Desperate times call for desperate meaures.

Bottled Tap Water

In case you are buying bottled water:
"In some cases, it appears bottled water is no less polluted than tap water and, at 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better," said Jane Houlihan, an environmental engineer who co-authored the study.
In my experience, bottled water always taste better than tap water. Maybe it is a placebo effect.