Too Big To Fail?

Too Big To Fail.

I’ve heard this phrase a few times, referring to some banks and auto-makers and I thought it was something of an indicator of a way of thinking. A collectivist, statist mode of thought where organizations are more important than individuals (pretty much the definition of collectivism, anyway).

In my perfect world, no company is too big to fail. No “industry” is too big to fail. Why? Because of a simple law. This is not a law made by governments, because if they had their way, I think they would want to repeal it. The law I’m referring to is, of course, the Law of Supply and Demand. As long as there is a demand, someone will supply it.

Example: A major car maker goes out of business. Almost happened, but government intervention prevented it by making all of the rest of us pay them. Why are they going out of business? They can’t compete. Someone else makes it better, faster, cheaper, with better quality. Or, they are bad managers. They use all their profits to line their pockets with golden parachutes and sweet bonuses even when the company is doing badly. Really, it doesn’t matter. The point is, they should be allowed to go out of business.

Will the demand for cars suddenly drop now that our hypothetical car company goes out of business? No. People will still want cars, and the same number of people will want cars. The demand won’t drop, because there’s no reason for it to drop. So, now you have the same demand, but the supply dropped significantly. What will happen?

Prices will go up? Possibly.

Production by remaining car-makers will go up? Probably. They want a some of that stranded demand.

Ex-employees of the defunct car-maker will start up their own companies? Probably. I think it’s entirely reasonable to think some of these smart engineers and managers will start their own companies and make cars they always wanted to make but couldn’t.

Ex-employees will be hired by the remaining companies to help meet the demand? Probably.

So, what’s happened when we let the company fail? Some people are out of work. Well, 10% of Americans are already out of work. New companies start up, requiring workers. Other car-makers increase production, requiring workers. If I seem callous about job losses, I’m not. I’ve been laid off more than once, so I know what it’s like. I thought it was the end of the world, but it wasn’t. Sometimes I did better than I did before, other times I did worse.

My point is, it won’t be the end of the world. People will still make cars. People will still buy houses. People will still want all the things they’ve always wanted. The difference will be that the ones providing them are now the ones who can deliver better, cheaper, faster, or with higher quality.

Is that so bad?

No, and Yes


You Are a Smart American


You know a lot about US history, and you’re opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

You Passed the US Citizenship Test


Congratulations – you got 10 out of 10 correct!

And yes, they were on the first try.

Outrage of the Day: Presidents Shouldn’t Bow

It’s hard to imagine what President Obama was thinking when he decided to bow to a foreign monarch, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

Aside from being offensive generally — no American should bow to a foreign monarch, least of all, our Head of State — it really makes one wonder: If our President thought doing this was a good idea, what other things might he be contemplating?


I think he was thinking we might get a break on the interest rate for the loans the Saudis are holding.

Photo ID: Bad for Polls, but Good for Premieres

Not sure I can agree with the reasoning here. “Papers, please!” More comments at the end of this.

Photo ID: Bad for Polls, but Good for Premieres:

From David Almasi:

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Indiana election law requiring that people show valid photo ID at a polling place before they receive a ballot. The decision was made over the outcry of critics who claim it will restrict access to the polls – particularly for the poor, elderly and minorities.

This Sunday, HBO debuted its new movie “Recount,” a star-studded drama about the 2000 post-election recount in Florida. The decision to certify the election in George W. Bush’s favor was made over the outcry of critics who claimed the voting process was too confusing and irregular — particularly for the poor, elderly and minorities.

Don’t think a Hollywood film about it won’t echo these beliefs. According to a review of “Recount” in Entertainment Weekly: “Speaking of Democrats, ‘Recount’ may not be downright blue, but it’s not as purply as it wants to appear. Despite its ‘equal time’ approach, ‘Recount’ is an underdog story, and thus a Democrat story.” On the Politico website, Laura Dern, who plays then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, says of the story: “As much as I consider myself a conspiracy theorist, it was much worse than I expected.”

I am a subscriber to Entertainment Weekly and sometimes receive its online giveaways. I won a pair of tickets to go to a premiere of “Recount” at a movie theater in downtown Washington. I’m busy, but I wanted to be able to give the tickets to a co-worker. No can do. In order to use the tickets, according to the personalized e-mail I received, “please have photo IDs for you and your guest available for inspection.”

So let me get this straight: I’m not supposed to be required to show a photo ID before doing something as important as voting, but I do need one to see a movie? A movie, by the way, that at that time was scheduled to be on television in just four days.

I’m figuring the people behind this movie were outraged when they heard about the Supreme Court’s decision.

This is just one of the many things I’ve dealt with lately that required photo ID. I needed photo ID last week to donate blood. I needed a photo ID to get a free burrito from Moe’s on my birthday. And I need to show a photo ID just to get past the lobby in my wife’s office building. Shouldn’t one also be required for voting?

But, based on prevailing liberal logic, the photo ID requirement at these places and at the “Recount” premiere is wrong — particularly for the poor, elderly and minorities.

David Almasi is executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. To contact David directly, write him at dalmasi@nationalcenter.org.

_____

(Via Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog.)

Now, substitute boot to the head for photo ID, and see if you think one should be required for voting. Or, you could substitute jumping off a cliff for it. My point? Just because one person is treating you badly, doesn’t mean you deserve it everywhere. My opinion is that you shouldn’t have to show a photo ID for any of the things Mr. Almasi cites, and neither should you have to show one to vote.

Bureaucracy Exposed!

This is something that bugged me the last time Morgan changed schools. You get a sheaf of forms from the new school, in which you need to enter all kinds of information. Name, who does the child live with, address (so far so good), phone numbers, emergency contacts, alternate people to contact if they can’t contact me or Ash (that would be nobody, btw, how pathetic are we! More on that further down, though).

“Why are you bugged by this?,” you ask. “It’s all good information for a school to have.”

You are correct, and thanks for asking!

It bugs me because every school he’s ever been to has exactly the same information. His kindergarden school has it. When we moved him to a new school, they asked the exact same question (sometimes on the exact same form! More on that later.) When he hit first grade, same questions. When they moved him this time, same questions.

Why not just have a group of standard school district forms and send them on to a new school? The information hasn’t changed. If it had, they could just ask before they forward the information. “Excuse me Mr. Shaffer, has any of the personal information we have on your family changed?”

“No.”

“Right, then we’ll just forward copies of it to the new school.”

“Great! Thanks!”

Nope. Well, we know its the same information, but we just need you to fill it out all over again.

“Why?”

“If you could just fill it out.”

“Sigh.”

Hmm. What else? Oh yeah, we have no backup person in case the school can’t call me or Ash. Well, all our friends are in New Hampshire or Maine. All our family is in New Hampshire, Maine, Houston or San Antonio, so who are you going to call? Why don’t we have friends here? Because we can’t get out! We have a son with autism and we can’t get a babysitter for him to have a nice night out and meet people! Shut up!

Anyway, that was a concrete example of bureaucracy and why I hate it.

Abolish Anti-Discrimination Laws

Today, I read an article on LewRockwell.com about attempts to open an all women’s health club to men. I think Wendy McElroy puts it well for men. Are you more interested in revenge against women who forced their way into all men’s clubs, or are you more interested in justice.

If you disagree with all-(insert sex, race, religion or whatever) clubs, then refuse to associate with them, let them know you are refusing to associate with them and why, and show your disapproval with people who join these clubs.

Forcing people to accept members can ruin businesses and causes more bad feelings than the original exclusivity ever did.

Religion and the Public Schools

Our local school district was sued recently over elementary school students passing out candy canes with religious messages. They were stopped by the school district, and their parents sued over freedom of speech. The school changed it’s policy so that students could pass them out in between classes.

I have a few thoughts on this (no, really…).

First, if you want to pass out candy canes with religious messages, more power to you. Just don’t do it on the teacher’s time. Not in class, only in between classes. Also, don’t push it. I’ve noticed that Christians who start to pass out these things get pretty pushy about it. Especially kids, who demand conformity. It can reach the point that any child who doesn’t want their candy cane or their message will soon be harassed or intimidated by the rest of the kids. If you think this can’t happen you haven’t been to the same schools I’ve been to.

The real problem here is one of control. Since public schools are controlled by elected officials, whoever gets elected gets to dictate what happens or what is taught in the schools (witness the recent issues about Intelligent Design vs. real science). This means that if you can win a majority on the school board, you can decide what happens. Now the question will arise (especially if you are not the winners of the election) about what happens to the losers of the election. The same thing that happens in any elections. The losers have to suck it up and take whatever they’re given.

So, now your children are going to a school where you disagree with the fundamental principles of the school board. What do you do? Take control yourself and impose your views on the school board, of course! This can turn into a vicious cycle of election, re-election, lawsuits, etc.

The real solution is to get the government out of the schools. When you do this, there is no longer and incentive to take control of the school. Instead, if you disagree with a schools founding principles, you just go find another school that meets your needs. Since all schools will be private, there are no issues of freedom of speech or religion, since the government isn’t involved. Also, if you don’t like the schools in your area, you can just start your own school.

There are, I’m sure, a lot of questions about private only schools. How can everyone afford school if they are all private? First think about the property taxes you’ll no longer need to pay. How much of your property taxes go to funding schools? Take that money and you can afford a private school. Second, consider the money that will be available in the form of scholarships and grants. That money is available now, but if tax money is freed up, consider how much more would be available.

$7.74

$7.74:

Let’s put that in perspective. The Walton family’s net worth is $90 billion. So $8 million dollars represents .009 percent of their total.

The average family’s net worth is $86,100. If an average family contributed at the same rate as the Waltons, they’d donate $7.74.

There are thousands of families all around country that are being far more generous to Katrina victims than the Waltons. Few of them will be personally thanked by a former President.

(Via Think Progress.)

You have got to be kidding me. The Walton family gives $8 million, and instead of saying thank you very much, you say they didn’t give enough as a percentage of their net worth. This is why I hate liberals. They didn’t donate $7.74 for crying out loud, they donated $8 million. That doesn’t include the $15 million from the company.

When the average family decides what to donate to charity (people like me), they figure out what they are making and carve out an amount they can afford. They don’t sit down and think, “What’s my net worth?” Instead, they think “How much can I spare from my paycheck this month?”

Let’s see, what is the average family’s income as a percentage of their net worth? Perhaps that would be a better indicator. How much does the average person make in a year? I heard it was around $40,000 or so. Let’s call it $43,500, meaning that the average family makes half their net worth in a year. Do the Walton’s make $45 billion a year?

Shame on you for belittling what is a truly generous donation.

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Hurricane Relief Suggestion Box

Hurricane Relief Suggestion Box:

I’ve not blogged the Katrina aftermath much, partly because I’m so disgusted I don’t trust myself around a keyboard when I’m thinking about it, and partly because I have been assuming that most decent, clear-thinking people are thinking pretty much the same thing.

I guess I was wrong on the second count, at least, because The Paragraph Farmer has posted a list of Katrina-related suggestions by people who are, as far as I know, decent and clear-thinking, and I disagree with a far amount of these suggestions. So, I’m going to have a post with my running thoughts about Katrina, and if/as I update it, I may bump this post to the top.

<snip>

I have more but that’s enough for now. Probably more than I should have written, actually.

Addendum: Coyote Blog has a picture that is worth a thousand words.
(Via Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog.)

Some very good suggestions here. As usual Ms. Ridenour has eminently sensible advice. Most of you know that I disagree with a lot of what liberals and conservatives say, but I agree with more of what she says than any other conservative I know of.

Liberty Matters: Property Rights May Be a Major 2006 Election Issue

Liberty Matters: Property Rights May Be a Major 2006 Election Issue:

The Liberty Matters News Service, writing August 5, had some good news for property rights advocates:

The Supremes’ decision in Kelo v. New London in June has had some unforeseen results; people in all walks of life have suddenly realized their homes are not secure from government seizure and are taking steps to correct the problem. ‘A property rights revolt is sweeping the nation, and Alabama is leading it,’ said Republican governor Bob Riley, as he signed the nation’s first bill to prohibit local governments from seizing private property to turn it over to other private interests. The Kelo decision has been a wake-up-call for those who have long considered property rights concerns to be ‘red state’ issues. ‘A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that Americans cite private property rights as the current legal issue they care most about.’ Donald Lambro, writing for the Washington Times said; ‘[T]he property rights movement, which had been somewhat moribund before the court acted, has spawned what many political strategists expect to be a major issue in the 2006 election cycle.’

(Via Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog.)

Let’s remember folks, all rights are property rights. The root of property rights is the right to ownership of yourself. Everything flows from that, and it’s the reason taxation is theft and slavery.