Here are two good videos dealing with stimulus spending and Keynesian economics. The first video comes from January 2009 about Pres. Obama’s stimulus plan. Daniel Mitchell clearly specifies how the stimulus will not work, and now drawing close to two years later, we see that the stimulus spending did not help the nation, as proved by our flagging economy and stagnant unemployment rates.

The second video was produced by Daniel Mitchell again a month earlier than the previous video, but this time he is talking specifically about why Keynesian economic theories don’t work.

Albert Einstein is attributed with the following quote that clearly describes this administration and anyone who advocates government spending to “prime the pump” of the economy: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Keynesian economics has never worked, but that doesn’t stop governments from trying it again and again. “This time,” the government tells us, “it’s going to work.” Certainly sounds like insanity to me.

When someone calls and leaves voice mail at work, the message is sent to us in email rather than appearing on the phone. The message is attached to the email as a sound file so we may listen to it, and somewhere along the way, the voice mail is processed and added to the email as text so the message may also be read. It has worked well each time I’ve gotten voice mails in the past.

But then my niece left me a message. It was perfectly clear when I listened to it, but her message brought the machine to its knees as it completely failed to accurately convert her message into text:

Ring if you please bring me see you on a minute. Anyway — coming and going into now that they cast — and not not — not preferring to spell it anyway we’re going to there’s going to be going there we were gonna go shopping — there — entered into doing some stuff there anyway so while we’re there we were in my there they were in today is there any way anyway so will be there for a while and — fiasco probably be home late always get bigger from day and then if you’ll offline that I don’t think your offline maybe homemade is that it’s best — that I don’t know. About that bye.

Cutting-edge technology taken down by a 13-year-old girl. Tragic.

I’ve written before about our government’s problem with the economy, as witnessed by their mistaken belief that the government can spend the nation back into productivity. Part of this belief is that there exists some magical multiplier of government spending. The theory goes something like this: when the government spends a dollar on some project, the effect on the economy is greater than the original dollar. It magically multiplied!

As theories go, it’s fine. The problem happens when the ivory-towered Gedankenexperiment is tried in the real world. I’ll simplify this to make it clear: three people, Peter, Paul, and George are the citizens of Madeupistan. To stimulate the economy, George takes $10 from Peter and gives it to Paul. Wealth has not been created, it’s only been transferred since Peter is now $10 poorer and Paul is $10 richer. The net effect on the economy is $0. And this is the best case scenario.

What really happens is far worse. George takes $10 from Peter and gives $4 to Paul. George pockets the other $6 as his handling fee. And as long as George takes money from Peter to give to Paul, both George and Paul are happy with the outcome. Any election or referendum on finances in Madeupistan pass with 66% of the vote as George and Paul are solidly behind the stimulus spending. Peter keeps voting against having his money taken away from him to fund George and Paul, but he’s in the minority, and so he loses. George starts keeping $7 from the money taken from Peter since he has to pay for the increased advertisements needed to demonize the evil greedy rich Peter. Paul doesn’t like getting only $3 when he was getting $4 before and was used to it, so he petitions George to increase the rate of fiscal confiscation from Peter. Eventually Peter gets fed up with having his money seized, so he moves to Freedonia, taking his business and money with him. George then starts eyeing Paul as the new source of stimulus funds.

Policy wonks and university intellectuals love the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, but Keynesian economics just don’t work in the real word. When the government “stimulates” the economy with spending, it does so with money first taken from the people, or with freshly-printed money that is taken from future generations. And in either case, the government keeps some of the money to pay for the process of transferring the money. And the net result isn’t a magical multiplier increasing the wealth and economy of the nation; it’s a unmagical divider doing the opposite. But government will continue to push for Keynesian economics because they get their cut of the money, and they get to say who receives the money and reap the political benefits of their largesse.

If the government wanted to truly stimulate the economy, it would get out of the way by reducing taxes on corporations and people. And this isn’t some wild speculation or untried theory in Madeupistan. It has worked every time it has been tried in the real world.

It’s been nine years since I woke up one Tuesday morning and turned on the radio as I got ready for the morning on the west coast. The news I heard was not the normal silly morning news stories. Instead, I listened to horror after horror as the newscasters explained over and over that the South Tower had fallen, and the North Tower was still burning. I was still trying to grasp what was going on when they announced that the North Tower had just collapsed. Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the attack nine years ago?

If you want to review what happened, in 2009 I posted a timeline of actions that occurred that Tuesday morning.

Sept. 11th, 2001 at 8:46 am
Sept. 11th, 2001 at 9:03 am
Sept. 11th, 2001 at 9:37 am
Sept. 11th, 2001 at 9:59 am
Sept. 11th, 2001 at 10:03 am
Sept. 11th, 2001 at 10:28 am
Sept. 11th, 2001 at 10:50 am
Sept. 11th, 2001

And to finish setting the tone for today, the following video was released a year ago by Andrew Klavan:

Back in the late ’80s, Leona Helmsley was brought to trial and convicted of multiple tax violations. During the trial a former housekeeper, Elizabeth Baum, testified that she heard Helmsley say, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” Helmsley denied having said that, but she will own that quote for as long as she is remembered.

And I remembered that quote when I read a distressing news report out of the Los Angeles Times this morning:

But we do know that as of the end of 2009, 41 people inside Obama’s very own White House owe the government they’re allegedly running a total of $831,055 in back taxes. That would cover a lot of special chocolate desserts in the White House Mess.

In the House of Representatives, 421 people owe a total of $6,524,892. In the Senate, 217 owe $2,774,836. In the IRS’ parent department, Treasury, 1,204 owe $7,670,814. At the Labor Department, where Secretary Hilda Solis’ husband had some back-tax problems before her confirmation, 463 owe $7,481,463. Eighty-one workers for the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors owe $1,076,733.

Over at the Justice Department, which is so busy enforcing other laws and suing Arizona, 1,971 employees still owe $14,350,152 in overdue taxes.

Then, we come to the Department of Homeland Security, which is run by Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona who preferred to call terrorist acts “man-caused disasters.” Homeland Security is keeping all of us safe by ensuring that a Dutch tourist is aboard every inbound international flight to thwart any would-be bomber with explosives in his underpants.

Within that department, there reside 4,856 people who owe the tax agency a whopping total of $37,012,174.

And why should they worry about paying their taxes when the department in charge of gathering taxes is led by Secretary of the Treasury Timothy “Oh, you mean this $42,000 in unpaid taxes” Geithner?

As one of the little people who pays his taxes on time and in full, I object to having thousands of tax scofflaws in government. They are not our betters; they work for you and me, and they should obey the same laws we do. Anyone who can’t should be fired immediately and see what it’s like to work in the real world.

Today’s political cartoon was drawn by Lisa Benson.

Obama's Stimulus Game

I’ve played carnival games before, but I’ve never been hit with player fever: “Just once more! This time I just know I’ll win!” We’ve already had a near-trillion-dollar stimulus, and the results have been less than advertised, as demonstrated by the following graph borrowed from Gateway Pundit:

Stimulus Jobs

You can see the unemployment numbers President Obama’s administration said the U.S. would have, with or without the huge stimulus plan. It was passed, but reality has shown that the administration should hang up their crystal ball because they cannot predict the future with any accuracy. Face it — the stimulus has been a failure to stimulate the economy and jobs, but it has been a success for feeding money to state governments and unions.

But President Obama isn’t done spending your money yet. Welcome to Son of Stimulus! No, the administration will tie their tongues in knots before they call this “infrastructure spending” another stimulus package. But *quack* *waddle* *poop* — yeah, it’s a duck, I mean stimulus.

Vowing to find new ways to stimulate the sputtering economy, President Barack Obama will call for long-term investments in the nation’s roads, railways and runways that would cost at least $50 billion.

So what did we get with the $862 billion spent in the first stimulus that we need to spend another $50 billion for our roads, railways, and runways? Obviously that first stimulus didn’t go to roads, railways, and runways. It went to fund stupid stuff like replacing windows in a Mount St. Helens visitor center that was closed in 2007, funding computerized dance software, or providing funds for a underground tunnel in Pennsylvania already described as a “tragic mistake” by Gov. Ed Rendell. And those are just the first three of 100 stimulus projects singled out in this report.

But government succeeds in throwing your money around with great abandon. That pinch you feel in your wallet right now is President Obama reaching back there to spend even more of your money. He’s caught up in stimulus player fever — “Just one more stimulus! This time I just know it will work!”

Here’s a bit of pleasant news to kick off the week. As reported by Matthew Archbold:

Two abortionists in Maryland (Dr. Steven Brigham and Dr. Nicola Riley) were ordered to stop practicing abortions in Maryland after a woman was severely injured.

Subsequently, police raided the clinic searching for medical records and to their horror they discovered dozens of unborn babies stored in a freezer.

After being shocked and disgusted my mind raced back to an incident a few months ago.

This would be a strange and horrible story if it had never happened before but just a few months ago another abortionist, this one in Philadelphia, was discovered to be keeping aborted babies in jars.

The news story has been picked up and linked by many blogs, and it’s been posted on the Drudge Report, making the original story hard to reach as the server is struggling to handle the load of visitors. At this writing, 10 hours after the story was posted, there are 127 comments and 48 retweets. It seems to have hit a nerve.

I don’t understand the fuss. For decades feminists have been telling us that abortion is a morally neutral choice. They have claimed that what is being aborted isn’t really a baby, just a mass of unnecessary tissue. They have referred to it as a fetus, a lump of cells, even a parasite. So this is just the equivalent of the doctors keeping a few cell samples, right?

Nope. This is a moment of moral clarity. The common reaction by the people shows that we instinctively understand that we are not dealing with just a mass of tissue, but an unborn baby, stripped of its chance to live.

Close to a month ago, Ace at Ace of Spades HQ posted a long but excellent article about the so-called neutral story lines that the mainstream media regularly uses to bash Republicans while still giving the appearance of being neutral. Here’s a snippet of Ace’s full article, for people who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing:

Mickey Kaus often notes the media likes Neutral Story Lines, as they’re easy to write, but are supposedly nonpartisan, as they usually criticize some procedural defect in both parties.

What makes the “Neutral Story Line” not neutral at all is that the media seems most interested, each cycle, in the “Neutral Story Line” that hurts the Republicans more….

And this is how media bias works 75% of the time. Most of the time, the media is selecting between several possible “rules,” many of which are arguably correct, but which are contradicted by nearly opposite rules, which are also arguably correct. The media never decides which rule is correct in the most cases; instead, they choose whichever “rule” benefits the Democrats this cycle.

Are we too interested in personal scandals which don’t really have much to do with a party’s governing philosophy? The answer is “No” if you mean Mark Foley or Mark Sanford; the answer is “Yes” if you mean Eric Massa or John Edwards.

Is it out of line for a former vice president to toughly criticize a new president of a different party? Well, if you’re Al Gore criticizing Bush, you’re just being patriotic and expressing the frustrations of millions of Americans. If you’re Dick Cheney criticizing Obama, you’re deliberately weakening a new president and endangering national security.

Have you noticed that when Republicans are in power, there are lots of news stories about the homeless? But these stories dry up when a Democrat is president. It’s certainly not because homelessness ceases to be a problem; if anything, based on the increasing number of panhandlers I’ve seen recently, it seems to be getting worse. It’s just not deemed newsworthy when a liberal is in charge. Such stories might make the liberal look bad, and we just can’t have that.

Back in 2006, I got a mass mailing from my then-Congressman. In part of his letter, he was bemoaning the increasing price of gas as it was nearing $3 a gallon. Today, I bought some gas for my lawnmower, and I paid $3.059 a gallon. (Interestingly enough, gas prices are one of the few remaining usages of the mill, valued at 1/10th of a cent.) Do you remember the nightly news stories in 2006 about the rising price of gas? Do you remember newspaper articles about hypermiling and avoiding auto use, the vilification of the oil industry, and calls for a “windfall tax” to take away their evil profits? I sure do. But here we are under a Democrat leader, and the news stories about astronomically high gas prices have vanished.

My wife has suggested that Republicans should always be in power, for one simple reason: they keep the media doing its job. When Republicans hold the reins of government, the media carefully scrutinizes everything they do. But when Democrats are in power, the media seems to relax, then becomes lazy and fails to fulfill its Fourth Estate responsibilities. It’s almost as though the reporters’ drive has vanished away, just like those “neutral” news stories.

Here’s the news out of a high school in New Hampshire:

On March 11, [Kyle] Dubois attached an electrical clamp to one nipple while another student attached another clamp to the other. A third student plugged in the cord.

Dubois was critically injured.

The shock was sufficient to stop his heart, but I would expect that with electricity going through his chest. So what is the American thing to do in this situation? Why, you sue everyone, don’t you know?

A New Hampshire high school student shocked so severely in shop class that his heart stopped beating is suing his teacher, the school district and the city of Dover.

Kyle Dubois and his parents claim teacher Thomas Kelley did not warn Dubois and other students of the dangers of the electrical demonstration cords in their electrical trades class.

The New Hampshire Union Leader says Dubois’ suit contends he suffered permanent brain damage.

Based on his action, I’d say there’s good evidence that his brain damage is a pre-existing condition. After all, what exactly did he expect to have happen, some mild tickle? If he’s made it all the way to high school without realizing that electricity is dangerous, then he has a case of the stupids. Did he get that way because he wasn’t taught, or because he just didn’t listen?

In any case, he should spend some time learning the principle of “what happens next.”

This news report out of Missouri caught my eye:

When it comes to politics, there may be as many opinions as cars cruising down U.S. 65. So, naturally, there are different reactions to a billboard south of Ozark that says “Voted Obama? Embarrassed yet?”

“I know the president didn’t win down here, but there were a lot of people down here that voted for him, and I think I can speak for them and say we are not embarrassed yet,” Matthew Patterson, executive director of the Greene County Democratic Central Committee, said in a telephone interview on Sunday. [So this local Democrat believes Obama only won the Presidency in places where he received a majority vote? No wonder so many Democrats thought Gore won in 2000. --TPK]

“My partner and I felt lots of frustration here lately, and we liked that sign and we thought that was a reasonable question to ask,” Steve Critchfield said in a telephone interview on Monday.

Critchfield and his business partner from Commercial One Brokers, a real estate firm in Branson, saw a similar sign online, bought it, and brought it to the Ozarks.

“I’ve certainly voted for people I’m embarrassed to say I’ve voted for,” he said. “We’re not naïve enough to think that we wouldn’t get someone to be upset. I’m just surprised how upset people are.”

Critchfield says he’s received death threats due to the sign; people accuse him of hate speech and racism. He insists the billboard was for something more American in the name of discourse, conversation, and old-fashioned debate.

“If everybody thinks [President Obama's] done a great job and they’re very happy,” he said, “then I guess they’d be buying billboards saying ‘I’m proud to have voted for him.’ That’s what makes America great, isn’t it?”

Did you catch both the good and bad examples of free speech being exercised in the article? Obviously Steve Critchfield is exercising his right to free speech by buying the billboard, and people who are issuing death threats and accusing him of racism and hate speech are also exercising theirs. But those people are using their freedom of speech in a way designed to shut Critchfield up and deny him his freedom, a typical liberal response to the speech that liberals dislike.

But Critchfield nails the essence of free speech in the final two paragraphs of the news story: if people disagree with his opinion, the best way to express that would be to purchase a billboard of their own to support President Obama. That would be a dialog of ideas, and people could weigh the merits of each. And a dialog is much better than one side demanding that the other side shut up.