January 23, 2009

Request: How can government make productive enterprises more productive?

UPDATED: Now with comments! (See below.)

Clearly, Obama is more than a little stumped by the economic problems facing the country. His assumption during the campaign was that the big problem was that America was too damn rich: all that getting and spending was causing inequality and global warming. So, he figured he'd gin up an alternative energy bubble to help his kind of folks get rich quick while the economy as a whole transitioned to higher taxes. Sure, some people would suffer, but it would all be in a good cause.

Now, however, it apparently has dawned on Obama that America isn't anywhere near as rich as his economic advisers were telling him. Here's Jeremy Grantham, via Clusterstock, on just how big the shortfall in wealth is.

The fundamental problem is that Americans aren't productive enough.

Uh-oh. Obama was looking forward to the Presidency as the culmination of a career single-mindedly devoted to spending other people's money. What does he know about making money? To Obama, creating wealth was always an occupation for cruder souls. Let Old Man Annenberg get rich on TV Guide, so long as he would give tens of millions to finer spirits like Obama and Ayres to dole out to their allies.

So, Obama has been thrashing around, announcing giant plans to screw in lightbulbs here and fill in potholes there. And, there will be lots more regulation. It's all been depressing and dopey, but who has any better ideas?

So, let's come up with some better ideas. Please post them in the comments.

Personally, I'm not very interested in macroeconomics. In my experience, macroeconomic fixes work until they stop working. I'm not trying to be glib. A lot of macroeconomics is based on fooling the public, which works great as long as the public stays fooled. For example, when I was a kid in the 1960s, the Philip's Curve was all the rage among the reigning Keynesian economists. It said that you could cut unemployment by raising the inflation rate, because that would fool job-seekers into thinking that they were getting offered more than they would actually get.

A foolproof plan! What could possibly go wrong?

Well, by the 1970s, everybody had figured it out, so the Philip's Curve was junked. But, now, macroeconomic gimcrackery like that is back in fashion.

To my mind, however, the most plausible way to make American enterprise more productive is to cut back on the government-mandated luxuries that seemed affordable during the fat years but now aren't worth the cost.

If you have any suggestions for what those are, please post them.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

101 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, the number one thing the government could do, by far, is to give us back honest money. The Fed keeps interest rates artificially low. As long as they do that, the best way to get rich is to find a bubble and jump on - whether that's in tech, real-estate, bond sales, whatever. The easily borrowed money chases positive returns in a positive feedback cycle - modest returns are amplified by borrowed money, enticing more borrowing, which goes on until the bubble bursts painfully. In the process, smart people who could have put their efforts towards difficult problems decide it's more rewarding to game the system instead. Thus you have a huge percentage of bright math majors from the Ivy League schools spending their time in zero-sum financial wizardry, rather than working on better pharmaceuticals, or rocket engines, or better solar cells.

The absolute best thing the country could do is move to honest money - either a gold standard or something equally restrictive of money creation. But I don't have much hope, since the bankers benefit most from the current situation, and they're among Obama's largest contributors.

Anonymous said...

Cut the payroll tax in half and finance the cut with a national sales tax (not a VAT).

Halving the payroll tax would make it less expensive for companies to operate in the US and encourage job growth for small and medium businesses - the businesses that create 80% of jobs.

Anonymous said...

-cut payroll taxes is a good one
-shift public school funding to follow-the-child individual vouchers (they can be restricted to non-religious schools to be more palatable to SWPL Democrats), vouchers don't boost performance much but they can certainly cut costs (i.e. administrative bloat and union salaries disconnected from productivity/number of students taught and how well)
-cut wasteful healthcare spending (i.e. most of it, according to the research)
-bring in more skilled immigrants and stop paying for services for the illegals and their kids
-cut occupational licensing requirements
-reduce land regulation in cities to allow higher density
-improve policing in cities to allow higher density
-cut federal student aid for majors other than science or math, and subsidize those more (would-be lawyers won't need B.A.'s with the reduced occupational licensing, and could be permitted to take the bar exam at will, like actuaries)
-make federal student aid take merit into account so it's not wasted on people who will just flunk out with high probability
-offer large X-prize style prizes for handy breakthroughs that have weaker commercial incentives, with the IP then going open-source
-pay for agricultural research
-reduce labor market regulations to make it easier to hire and fire

Anonymous said...

Scale back bureaucratic burdens on business and everyone else (including bloated permit regimes, data-collection for hundreds of alphabet agencies, much occupational licensing, and ADA mandates).

(Heck, just cancel every single regulatory burden imposed since 1984. Surely we had a pretty civilized country then-- couldn't we survive without all the crap piled on in the last 25 years? We would be much more prosperous.)

I don't expect to see this, but it sure would help. The USA is way down the road toward the "permit Raj" and we know what things look like at the destination.

I really think this would help us much more than tinkering with the tax code.

Anonymous said...

Ultimately, the goal is to make things that others want to buy at a cost that is less than the price you can sell it for.

So, what puts constraints on our ability to do that?

- Labor costs
- Regulatory costs
- Taxes

are all one category of costs, but there's lots of cheap labor, low regulation, low tax places that don't produce an awful lot of things people want to buy.

So, there has to be something else. I think its more about moving up Maslow's hierarchy and becoming self-actualized. So, a lifestyle that encourages creative yet productive thinking. That means living in a place with decent housing stock, without fear of crime, in a place that's relatively compact and easy to get around, and with good health care and quality education not too much of a concern.

Of course, everyone's definition of "good" is different - some people like the environment of Dallas, TX, and some people like NYC. But many potentially productive souls are looking for something that removes the basic worries so they can get on with the business of dreaming and acting on a grand scale.

We shouldn't force one size fits all solutions on the country - we should allow more experimentation to happen on a local level and see what models of productive living work for which people.

What do you guys think? This is written off the top of my head, but you all seem like a curious bunch, so I'm interested in your reactions.

Anonymous said...

Let's be realistic, Steve. Obama is going to continue business as usual. He is going to spend a lot of borrowed money like a drunken sailer on make work projects, and when that doesn't work, he will just spend some more.

Meanwhile, the country will slowly crawl out of this recession. The government "solutions" will only lengthen the time it takes to recover since they will have the tendency to crowd out private investment.

The good thing for Obama is he has time on his side. He isn't up for re-election until 2012. The economy will mostly have recovered by then (if not, then we are all fucked), and he will be credited with "fixing" the economy much like FDR was.

There is no point in figuring out how to make more productive enterpises. That is what the free market is for. As long as Obama doesn't completely shut down capitalism, then the "invisible hand" will fix this economy by itself.

The End.

Anonymous said...

The Obama organization is a neverending blitzkrieg propaganda war machine.

We were told that unprecedented teeming multiple millions would attend the inauguration. The media pounded the 'it will be the biggest human gathering ever' as a general meme since the election ended.

'WE CREATE OUR OWN REALITY'

Turns out the crowd was significantly less than record-holding LBJ at only 800,000-1,000,000 (as opposed to LBJ 1,200,000) judging from the satellite photos.

And Reagan had significantly better TV ratings as Drudge blasted for days.

We were fed the same bogus 'flood of humanity' media meme about the voter turnout in the election. Young America did not turn out in higher % in 2008. Record overall voter turnout did not occur in 2008.

The people behind Obama's image (paid and otherwise) are the slickest most cynical Stalinesque liars to ever come along. It's the George Soros/David Geffen machinery undergirding this entire reality. It's an ugly 'Obama's World' faux-reality TV show that we're watching on a daily basis.

Remember when they had Obama speak at that huge outdooor rock concert last summer and then they flooded the media with photos and captions couching the entire event as an Obama-only gathering.


Some links tell the story:


REAGAN BEATS OBAMA: 41,800,260 to 37,793,008...

http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/media_entertainment/nearly-378-million-watch-president-obamas-oath-and-speech/


Obama's inauguration most-watched since Reagan's

http://www.thrfeed.com/2009/01/barack-obama-inauguration-ratings.html


Satellites, balloons, and math used to count inauguration crowd

http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10146632-76.html


STUDY: Obama inauguration got 35X more news coverage than Bush...

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE50K6E320090121

Anonymous said...

1. Legalize marijuana. (and grant a pardon to anyone convicted of a marijuana possession or distribution crime since 1958)

2. Enforce the immigration laws.

3. Lengthen prescription drug patents to 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Cut business taxes: 30% for corporation and S corporation income. Cut regulation. This is all fantasy for the next 4 years. I'm working on new hobbies to wean me off reading depressing news on the internet.

Evil Sandmich said...

Have the military abandon all it's foreign missions all at once and station them around the Washington Mall; then cut the soldiers pay and give them half rations.

Anonymous said...

New wealth mostly comes from tech startups. So...

First, fix or junk Sarbanes-Oxley so that IPOs become feasible again. Their lack has hurt investment in startups much.

Second, get all state governments to follow California's example in essentially nullifying employee non-compete agreements. New enterprises tend to come from ambitious men competing against their former employers.

Third, repeal the Bankruptcy act of 1005 to make bankruptcy a possibility again for high earners who have gone bust in a startup they have founded.

More as I think of them...

Jody said...

Abolish the EPA, DoE (both of em), the NRA (the govt one), the FCC, and virtually every government bureaucracy.

We need to reboot / reformat the federal government.

Drop Sarbanes-Oxley.

(the other Jody)

Anonymous said...

"The good thing for Obama is he has time on his side. He isn't up for re-election until 2012. The economy will mostly have recovered by then . . ."

Way to crank up the optimism, "King Obama"! I cannot work out the scenario in which the US economy recovers. We're on the downhill slope. We're using up the last bubble, spending what's left of our credit. After that, I can't figure out what we do. . . maybe feudalism?

My gut feeling is that the stock market won't see 14,000 before the 2012 election, and maybe never, except as a reflection of hyper-inflation. Once it starts approaching 10,000, so many people will be cashing out, relieved that they got at least some of their paper profits back, that it will be hard to break through that barrier.

Pension plans are collapsing, state governments going bankrupt, insurance companies will be the next to go; this is not like previous recessions. There's a collapse of confidence in all forms of investment in this country. For 30 years I've been putting money in a retirement account religiously, but not this year. I no longer believe in long-term plans--they're futile.

That's my cheery thought for the day.

Anonymous said...

1. Focus on infrastructure that we actually could use, such as more airport runways, better air traffic control, and upgrading the Boston-DC rail corridor. This could lower transportation costs.

2. A minor point that I like is ending the Jones Act that would perhaps give us back a shipbuidling industry, could help revitalize the Great Lakes economy, and reduce the cost of bringing Alaskan oil to California.
(The Jones Act requires trips between US ports to be on US flagged ships with US crews). This would help lower the shipping cost of bulk raw materials such as oil, coal, and iron.

3. End price supports for agricultural products, as well as the ethanol program. This would lower many businesses costs.

4. Stop subsidizing failing financial institutions which blocks more successful and productive institutions from picking up new business.

5. End the ability of boards of directors of public companies from instituting poison pills and other defenses that allow managements to become entrenched. Isn't this what happened to the major financial institutions? We need an active market for corporate control.

6. End laws exempting credit default swaps and other derivatives from laws requiring an "insurable interest".

7. Lower the corporate income tax to encourage dividends, and to disfavor huge pay packages for entrenched management.

Anonymous said...

the US federal government can't do anything to increase productivity. BY DEFINITION, a government reduces productivity.

it's whole purpose is to interfere, to get in the way, to slow things down. IT ONLY EXISTS for one reason, to observe and to intervene. for it's core missions (defense) this is good. in most other cases, it is bad.

the only thing the US fedgov can do to increase productivity is to GO AWAY. reduce itself in half. cut it's own budget 50%. shut down half of the cabinet level departments.

stop collecting half of the taxes it collects now, stop enforcing half of the regulations it enforces now, stop existing in half the places it exists now.

the fedgov was never supposed to be an octopus with a tentacle touching everything. and it is an inefficient failure of an octopus anyway.

go away, government, and watch everything fairly quickly get better.

Anonymous said...

Repeal the CPSIA.

Anonymous said...

Get better people to be citizens. The opposite policy has been in place too long.

Among citizens, subsidize the good ones. The good ones = those people always judged as "not needing" any subsidy, the people who by dint solely of judged ability "can get along fine on their own." That is why those people (trust fund kids excepted) SHOULD be subsidized, since you always get more of what you subsidize.

We have an upside-down morality in this country. We throw money at failure, and take money from success.

It comes down to wanting to succeed or not. Our nation doesn't, not really. The aim is downward, the solicitude is extended toward the worst not the best, the intelligent are abandoned so we can concentrate on lovin the cruds and the tards.

Get rid of our death wish first. Maybe government can put ambition and happiness pills in the water, or something to increase IQ.

John Seiler said...

Chief Seattle is right. First you need honest money, or you don't know the value of anything. Only the gold standard works. The periods of an inflating dollar, 1971-1981 and 2001-now, were disasters. Obama is being advised by Volcker, who as Fed chairman crushed inflation in the early 1980s, bringing an unofficial gold standard (at an average of $350 an ounce) that lasted 20 years. So there is slight hope.

Jorn said...

Pay people to take computer/internet literacy courses-- raising the average will keep us more competitive worldwide

Anonymous said...

1)Junk Basel II accounting. It prevented the USA from fixing the problem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_2

2) Accept that global atmospheric warming is not man made and that since 2003, global temperatures have fallen back to 1970 levels. Sunspot Cycle 24 is late. Sunspot Cycle 25 could be very weak. That's not good. http://wattsupwiththat.com/

CO2 is not a pollutant, it is essential for plant growth. Carbon credits are a scam. They are the Emperor's new clothes and this winter's weather and next year's poor harvest will give America the opportunity to pursue Al Gore, J.Hansen & Gavin Schmidt of NASA and M. Mann (Hockey Stick) for every penny they've misappropriated by their socialist AGW crap.

3) Accept that Iraq and Afghanistan are lost causes and pull out all troops. Defend America's borders and root out those in your society who do not contribute, not integrate. Political Correctness is self deception. America is for Americans. You forgot that.

4)Teach multiplication tables in school, by rote. Even dyslexic children learn when they chant.

5) Do not ignore my advice.

Anonymous said...

Harry Baldwin:

Have you ever heard of "chicken little"?

If not, google it and read the story because that is who you sound like.

The economy will rebound. Obviously, it won't rebound as quickly as before (I doubt we will have another bubble like the tech bubble or the housing bubble for a while), but it will rebound. Our economy will always have business cycles, even without government intervention. It is just a fact of capitalism.

Recessions can have a cleansing effect (assuming the government doesn't bail out everybody) by punishing and driving out the speculators and the fools. Think of it as darwinian "survival of the fittest," except applied to the business world.

So, relax and have a glass of wine. The sky is not falling.

Xenophon Hendrix said...

The trouble with daydreaming about solving the problems of government is that the needed changes are so unlikely to happen that one feels like a crank when one attempts to discuss the issues. That said, a couple rules of thumb have already been mentioned above. One, a free market, on its own, is enormously powerful in creating wealth. Two, government has a bad tendency of getting in the way of the free market. Proviso: beware of becoming an anarchist. Government remains necessary. Anyone who believes otherwise is letting his ideology get in the way of his perceptions of reality.

Another rule of thumb I use when thinking about this stuff is to imagine the United States in 1960. The world wasn't perfect, but we had functioning courts and roads. The economy was growing fast. Technology was exploding. Note that the size of the government was smaller than it is today. This leads me to believe that many of the changes to government since then haven't added much. There certainly have been some positive results. There is less pollution, and consumer products are safer, for example, but we have way more government than what's needed to get those benefits.

Those things said, on to the luxuries.

The education system, K through university, is clearly bloated. Adjusted for inflation, increasingly greater resources have been going in, but improved results have not been coming out. I don't claim to know the specific reasons why it is such a black hole, but it clearly is one. I suspect the primary problem is that we are trying to turn pumpkins into carriages.

Griggs v. Duke Power Co. and related disparate impact rules have created a vast amount of waste. Allowing inexpensive employee screening would increase efficiency and eliminate a great deal of worthless credentialism.

Credentialism in itself is a ridiculous waste of resources. One positive intervention the government could make--as opposed to getting out of the way--is to set up an alternate system of proving what one knows. For instance, as CLEP and AP exams show, many academic subjects are effectively tested by inexpensive and easily accessible multiple-choice examinations taken on computers. Perhaps the federal government could issue United States of America associate and bachelor's degrees to those who demonstrate the academic skills of the average current graduate with those degrees. Notice that by setting the standard to average competence, a USA degree would be harder to get than a degree from a non-prestigious school. This should make the resulting credential carry some weight.

By the way, I wouldn't put any age limit on the United States of America degrees. There would be lots of bright students coming out of high school with an associate's degree, and a few with bachelor's. For a lot of subjects, the resources are already freely available on the internet.

Allowing people to start collecting Social Security at age 62 looks like a luxury we could safely eliminate.

Affirmative Action has outlived its usefulness.

I have no idea why we allow public employees to unionize. Feeding out of the public trough was already too much of a spoils system to begin with. Now, civil "servants" are allowed to unionize to extract even more from their noncompetitive positions.

NATO looks like a luxury to me. Some serious people say that NATO maintains the peace in Europe. Perhaps. I don't pretend to know for sure. I do know, though, that Western Europe is rich and sophisticated. Is it the duty of the United States to maintain their peace if they are too inept to do it for themselves?

The disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan don't seem to be accruing benefits, if any, for the United States commensurate with their costs. Will the US armed forces feel betrayed if we declare victory and leave? That's a non-rhetorical question.

The use of environmental laws as weapons to derail development has already been talked about on this site. That's pretty clearly an expensive luxury. Their use against nuclear power plants has been a great misfortune. To those who say, "But uranium is a limited resource, too!" I say, "Breeder reactors can make the useless kind of uranium into highly useful plutonium."

I think Jerry Pournelle, scattered all around his site, has made a pretty good case that much of what NASA does could be provided more effectively and efficiently by offering a series of prizes. Note well: a prize does not mean that the government gets the invention. Ownership remains with the inventor.

As covered here and on multiple places around the Web, the FNMA and the FHLMC go beyond luxuries to being moral hazards.

Again, as covered on this site and VDARE, encouraging low-skill workers to immigrate to the United States is a long-term disaster. Blood will tell. The children of the low skilled will, on average, grow up to be low-skill adults themselves. Unless and until we get genetic engineering, there is no fix for this. (I suppose eugenics would also be a fix, and I expect the upper-middle class and above to start doing it quietly via embryo selection any year now, but I don't guess that the less intelligent will be at all interested.)

The welfare state, in itself, is a great luxury, of course. Keeping to the spirit of things that are unlikely to happen, Charles Murray's "In Our Hands" plan is interesting. It yields to the reality that the welfare state is probably here to stay, but it attempts to tame the beast.

Really, I don't claim to be an economist, but I don't see any quick fixes. We have lots of places where resources are being misdirected. If one digs around, one will often find that this misdirection is a result of government action. Undoing that government action should increase efficiency, but it will take time.

Given the real world, I don't expect much to get done, especially by a Democrat congress with a Democrat president. I don't want to take a cheap shot at the Democrats, but their record when given a free hand has not been good. FDR and LBJ grossly bloated the welfare state, and poor Carter appears to have been clueless. That's not to say that the Republicans, when they had their chance in W's administration, did any better.

Perhaps the best real-world thing Obama could attempt is to do as little as possible. Veto big projects. Try to limit government hiring. Allow insolvent entities to restructure or fail. It's far from optimum, but it gives the market time to adjust and forces the states to solve their own problems once they know that Uncle Sam isn't going to bail them out. I don't suppose that benign inaction fits the temperament of the new president, though. People who run for that office have an unfortunate tendency to do things.

Anonymous said...

In 1948 Erhardt abolished price-fixing and production controls in occupied Germany.
Instant economic recovery.
What equivalent could we do now?
Only Nixon could go to China; only Obama could abolish HUD, Sarbanes-Oxley, -all business regulation?

Anonymous said...

Most problems in the West ultimately originate from decades of low birth rates.

Not just low, too low.

Obama should give tax breaks to families or install pro-natalist programs like they have in France and Sweden.

Anonymous said...

"-shift public school funding to follow-the-child individual vouchers
-reduce land regulation in cities to allow higher density
-improve policing in cities to allow higher density"

I will endorse those three heartily. Cities can be extremely efficient machines for satisfying the needs of many human beings economically, reducing energy use for transportation, and assimilating, in productive fashion, even the less-skilled among us. We have allowed the destruction or desertion (Detroit) of these machines by trying to cram a one-size-fit-all (another comment point) criminal justice system, educational system, welfare system and set of social values on a lot of places that need to both experiment and find their own way of governing themselves.

"-cut federal student aid for majors other than science or math."

Or, in other words, subsidize only the fields that do not pay a return to students, but do pay a return to society, which is what subsidies should be reserved for.

More broadly, Cato, Heritage and AEI have repeatedly produced long, detailed and broadly similar lists of government policies that reduce production excessively. You can start with these, and then look for areas the think-tankers may have been to shy or cautious to mention. These will likely involve two areas, 1) pretended or forced identity of talents among different races and sexes and 2) the consequences of moral collapse on, not just crime rates, but economic performance generally and the earnings of the bottom quartile particularly.

Under 1 falls illegal immigration, diversity programs and Affirmative Action, bans on competence and intelligence testing and manipulation of lending standards. Under 2 falls the dismantlement of pubic policies that reinforced the two-parent, stable family standard, habits of self-discipline and avoidance of chemically induced delusional states in adolescence.

Of course, all or at least most of these improvements could be achieved by returning the Federal Government to its proper role of handling public matters that only a national government can handle.

Anonymous said...

Raising labour costs will increase productivity!

Anonymous said...

Mostly, human capital and lack of truly disastrous government or other intervention are the only two variables to worry about long term. Sweden had ruinous socialism for decades and under Von Misesian economic theory it should have been reduced to Zimbabwean squalor. Socialism hurt Swedish industry and Sweden generally, but the Volvos kept coming off the lines, Swedish women raised their children as they pretty much always did with or without marriage, and ABBA made Sweden a pop cultural presence as did several Swedish tennis players in sports. Life went on. The soccialism of Sweden was of a sort that impeded but hardly destroyed progress, and Dr. Revilo Oliver's prediction (The Ends of Socialism, 1965-download it) that Sweden "would not survive long enough" to complete the experiment were unfounded-until immigration, unthinkable in 1965 even for progressive Swedes, became a tsunami. THAT probably will be the death of Sweden. Not, however misguided or malicious, any economic misrule.

The fact is that libertarianism, and with it the only feasible meta-environment (aside from Singapore style social control) for true laissez faire, is not politically thinkable in America today. The Libertarian Party has been out there for longer than Mozart, Mann, or Monroe were alive and they have provided a superb intellectual argument for laissez faire-and they get less than one percent of the vote. Sorry. No one in power or out wants real laissez faire.

We need a more stable currency, yet gold backing is probably equally quixotic. Monetizing gold today would put gold at over $4000/ounce and would create the mother of all deflationary depressions.

We need a value added tax. There, I said it. The moral uprightness of Americans has been used forever by the powers that be to our disadvantage, and the general Italian and French disregard for the moral necessity to pay taxes made VAT inevitable there. VAT is the only way to go.

Less regulation would be helpful, but not of the essence. Regulation does create some jobs even as it takes away others, and getting rid of it is rarely a panacea in practice.

Curbing product liability is also a beneficial but hardly essential issue. No industry supposedly "destroyed" by liability did not bring it on its own head with stupidity. Taxing product liability insurance premiums, in fact, or making companies pay a certain deductible out as public cash payments would fix the problem as industries would start making lawyerproof products and the lawyers would go away.

Outlawing multi-level marketing, curbing the highest credit card interst rates and busting payday loan operators in the chops probably would do a surprising amount of good. My mother pays 22.85% on her JC Penney credit card and does not care. If they were throttled what would be the effect? They'd quit issuing cards to habitual deadbeats and 80 IQ hood denizens, right? Waaaahhhh.

Contrary to libertarians (of which I was one for an embarrassingly long time) the real fix is to fix a few people's wagons. The problem is their owners are the very ones with political pull, and that takes us back to square one.

Anonymous said...

1. Legalize marijuana. (and grant a pardon to anyone convicted of a marijuana possession or distribution crime since 1958)

I'm going to disagree with that. Drug laws serve a very important purpose. No, not saving junkies from themselves - as far as I'm concerned they all couldn't OD fast enough. It's a great pity that marijuana doesn't actually kill those who consume it.

The real purpose of drug laws is to preventively jail riff-raff before it commits any real crimes. It's relatively difficult to jail people for murder. A typical murder takes seconds to accomplish and often occurs out of sight. It's very easy to bust people for drug sales. I've been in a grand jury, so I've heard a lot of cops' and perps' testimony about this. Drug sellers have to stand in highly public places all day to make any money. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. And they're the same people that kill, rape and rob. It's the same demographic. Drug laws provide a completely honest (they were all warned beforehand that it's illegal) and relatively easy way to take them off the streets.

Rudy Giuliani's "broken windows" strategy was based on the same principle.

Just think of it as an IQ test. You declare something that no respectable person would ever do anyway, but which has a powerful pull for the dregs of humanity, illegal, and then pick off the idiots who continue to do it anyway. It's like erasing all those warning labels off everything, only much more effective. Depending on your attitude towards religion, you're doing either God's or Darwin's work.

Anonymous said...

No stimulus package. No further bailout. No "tax cuts" that move money to people who didn't pay taxes. No more Fannie or Freddie.

Anonymous said...

Invent some fake historical alibi, declare war on Japan, agree to exchange of territories (say 200 sqare meters of Okinawa base west against 200 sq m Okinawa base East) and concurrent exchange of populations (100 million of lowest productivity Americans - not necessary on ethnic lines - as against 100 million Japanese under 50). American productivity should jump immediately.

Anonymous said...

Modify the reward structure in academia at the big research universities, e.g. MIT, Caltech, etc... Currently, if a prof publishes fifty papers publishing the same bad idea (say Hydrogen fuel cells), using the same flawed method with just slight tweaks, they'll likely receive some large governmental grant to continue study. However, if that same prof only publishes five papers and actually solves an important problem (for instance, ensuring a jet-age nuclear reactor pressure vessel doesn't burst), then not only will they not get funding - after all, the problem is solved - but they might not get tenure. The perverse incentives of academia ensure our supposed best and brightest spend their days effectively counting the number of angels on a pin. Government money, if invested in academia, must demand results, for instance by government required refund from the professor if they fail.

Also, we probably shouldn't be spending large quantities of American dollars training non-Americans, especially in a poor economy. Otherwise, once they get the Phd in the advanced engineering program, they might just return how, and we'd never recoup our investment. Universities that receive federal aid, so basically all of them, should on a departmental have a low cap for the maximum number of foreign students.

Anonymous said...

Kriegman speaks to the stupid people:-

Convert the USA from screw-fitting light bulbs to bayonet-fitting light bulbs. Convert the UK from bayonet-fitting to screw-fitting. Thus will both nations be made prosperous again.

Anonymous said...

obama is herbert hoover.

Alan Stewart said...

Since we're all into fiscal stimulus:

An all-out effort now to build border control fences, walls, moats and mazes: http://notweighingourmerits.blogspot.com/2009/01/fence-and-wall-infrastructure.html

Seriously those supporting immigration reform should demand this if only to prove that Obama and the Democrats aren't serious about border control.

Anonymous said...

The way any nation gets richer is by minimizing waste and maximizing productive, successful investment.

Squandering is easy; successful investing is hard. It is also impossible to know in advance what the successful investments will be.

The best we can do is to minimize waste--and adopt sound money, which will reduce the distortions that lead to wasted investment.

We need to cut government waste and government-imposed waste ruthlessly.

Unfortunately our political elites are expert parasites who waste resources for a living. Cutting government waste directly cuts into them.

Jeff Burton said...

Some good suggestions here, but a lot of the regulations and burdens on small businees and startups come not from the feds from the states and local govt's, which Obama can't do much about. I think the one best thing he can do is refrain from enacting idiotic things like his green agenda and tax hikes. But the dems seem hell bent on it at this point.

Anonymous said...

Easy. Pass a law requiring that businesses be more productive. That'll work.

Anonymous said...

1.) Suspend the payroll tax indefinitely.

2.) Distribute about $300B based on population to state govts. with no strings attached.

3.) Offer an $8/hr public service job to anyone who shows up.

Inside 6 months, the economy would be booming so much, people will wonder what the big deal was.

Instead, we will pass this too-little too late package, and as soon aas the economy people whow don't understand reserve accounting in a floating exchange rate fiat money system will get concerned by the deficit, os they will rasise taxes or cut spending, the economy will tank again, lather, rinse, repeat. Basically Japan in the 90s all over again. People never learn...

Anonymous said...

WHITE PEOPLE NOT INCLUDED IN ECONOMIC STIMLUS PLAN. I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP! ROBERT REICH-OBAMA'S TOP ECONOMIC ADVISOR-DOES NOT WANT ANY MONEY GOING TO "WHITE CONSTUCTION WORKERS." STEVE, ITS TIME YOU COMMENT ON THIS! EVERYONE ELSE, SEE THIS LINK AND WATCH THE VIDEO:

http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2009/01/23/a-rangel-coached-by-a-reich-bad-news-for-americas-whites/

Jeff Burton said...

I forgot to include my idea: build a hundred nuclear power plants. Just write the check.

Audacious Epigone said...

Seconding the first anon and raising him, a national sales tax to replace the federal income tax. Income taxes punish work and reward (relatively) profligacy. Sales taxes reward (relatively) work and punish profligacy. The former squanders wealth, the latter creates it. But since our plan is to spend our way out of debt, I'm not getting my hopes up.

neil craig said...

Here is an blog I did with a 16 point programme to get out of recession. It is aimed at the UK but the problems are remarkably similar (possibly slightly worse over here) - for H&S Executive read EPA in America but the economic effect is similar:

http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2008/11/getting-out-of-crunch.html

It boils down to less taxes & less government regulation at all levels. Economic freedom being "a necessary & sufficient condition" for economic success - as both countries used to know.

I would also suggest anybody interested in how a country can be turned round should look at Ireland. Up till 1989 a poor & backward country which then cut taxes & regulation & is now, for the first time since the Viking era, wealthier than almost all European states & the US.

Anonymous said...

King Obama sed:
"The good thing for Obama is he has time on his side. He isn't up for re-election until 2012. The economy will mostly have recovered by then"

That's what I'm thinking as well. Basically Obama can sit on his arse and watch TV for 4 years and by virtue of being the black who overcame white prejudice get re-elected. He does not have to do anything. Bush gave him such good excuses and he took over at exactly the right time. It's also not a coincidence so what do Soros and his friends have in mind?

Anonymous said...

The way I see it is that most major western nations have been dented in the last 100 years or so. France lost WWII and was teetering even during WWI. Thereafter its colonies disappeared. Britain only survived WWI and WWII through US intervention and thereafter lost ALL its colonies and with that most of its wealth and influence. Russia had the revolution from which it has not recovered to this day, then Perestroika which shattered its stature as a world power. The situations in Germany and Japan are well known.

Now it’s the US turn. The US got lucky because others did the heavy bleeding in WWI and WWII, so it could take the initiative and come out the winner each time. But it kept going on that momentum thinking that both major war victories were due to its own invincibility and heavy lifting, which was not the case.

Korea did not go so well and Vietnam was no raging success either. Gulf War I seemed a runover but then Iraq was never a serious opponent anyway and the US was in a conventional terrain with enormous superiority. Gulf War II does not seem to have been such a success because the US got stuck in another insurgency war, which is by definition unwinnable.

Steve said somewhere that maybe this is the big blow to the US that other nations had gone through in the previous 100 years. Maybe the US just needs to accept that it is not perennially invincible and superior. The MSM and many westerners think that Obama is a signal for great times ahead. I also think he’s a signal, but rather that the pre-eminence of the US as world power is over.

Anonymous said...

Jorn said...
"Pay people to take computer/internet literacy courses-- raising the average will keep us more competitive worldwide"

Then all they do is surf porn.

Anonymous said...

king obama has it right,
this thing is so cleverly worked out that we are making fools of ourselves trying to help Obama solve these problems. He does not even have to solve them, just look like he's trying. He’s perfected that art of acting. The MSM will chalk up every little improvement in the economy as having come out of Obama's ass. As long as his benefactors finance him and the MSM worship him nothing can go wrong.

Anonymous said...

Pay people to take computer/internet literacy courses-- raising the average will keep us more competitive worldwide

Assuming that wasn't a joke, this is exactly the wrong thing to do, and exactly the sort of thing Obama will waste hundreds of billions on. Anyone intelligent enough to do something truly productive with a computer doesn't need computer literacy classes -- he's capable of learning anything he needs on his own and has probably been using computers since age six. Getting the last few million IQ:80 proles onto myspace and youtube does nothing for the economy.

C. Van Carter said...

You’re absolutely right about what needs to be done, unfortunately Democrats are committed, ideologically and financially, to all those “government-mandated luxuries”. I’m hoping reality intrudes enough there is some restraint in adding new ones.

Anonymous said...

The obvious main problem in the US on a company level is AA. I don't understand why nobody talks about this?

Anonymous said...

Legalize marijuana? You've got to be kidding. The brain damage caused by chronic marijuana smoking is one of the main reasons why our labor force doesn't work as hard and is less innovative than it used to be. Make regular testing a requirement for any safety net programs.

Anonymous said...

Chief Seattle said...
"..Thus you have a huge percentage of bright math majors from the Ivy League schools spending their time in zero-sum financial wizardry, rather than working on better pharmaceuticals, or rocket engines, or better solar cells."


Building better rocket engines will do nothing for the economy. Rocket engines are already optimized and those working on them are no dunces. Pharmaceuticals are controlled by a handful of corporations because the investments are enormous.

I think those mathematicians who work on Wall Street were never serious mathematicians in the first place. They just used those flashy degrees to get good paying jobs, bragging with their intelligence. If they were so good how come so many Hedges lost out? Rocket engines mostly work so the guys working on them are smarter.

Anonymous said...

I concur with many of the ideas posted already, such as bringing back a sound basis for money, and abruptly ending our foreign military involvements - and in many cases, we should end our diplomatic involvements as well. To these I would add:

1.) Encourage people to smoke - it boosts short term productivity, and reduces social security and medicare outlays in the long term. President Obama could easily do this by lighting one up at his press conferences (and he probably will really, really want to). If this idea works out, we could bring back the three-martini lunch too.

2.) End AFDC, Foodstamps, WIC, and all such other programs that only encourage women who make the worst mothers to breed the next generation of thugs.

3.) Start a War with a large, powerful, and benevolent nation. Lose. Enjoy the benefits of having had your governmental infrastructure actually physically destroyed, as did Germany and Japan. Build anew, but this time, hire wiser beauracrats. Admittedly this one is a long shot, as the only nations that can lick us are China and Russia, and they hardly fit the description of "benevolent".

Anonymous said...

Have the military abandon all it's foreign missions all at once and station them around the Washington Mall; then cut the soldiers pay and give them half rations.

Go to Hell, whoever said that.

Let's cut YOUR pay and feed you half rations.

Anonymous said...

EEOC and the diversity racket, payroll taxes, education bloat (big waste of money), energy regulation and taxation

Anonymous said...

Also, I suspect that many of the grumpy white men herein deploring GodAwful Big Gooberment would be singing a different tune if GodAwful Big Gooberment were doing more materially for grumpy white men. ... One's philosophy tends to depend on how one is getting paid.

albertosaurus said...

We have the world's most effective military. Let's use it.

Invade Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Make up your own justification. 9/11 and the Iranian hostage crisis might do. It doesn't matter. Find some pretext.

Between the wars, self ruled Iran was a narrow strip between the Russian zone in the north and British zone in the south. Britain transplanted a bit of itself behind the wire. The British oil workers went home to very British looking homes in southern Iran.

We could set up a defensible perimeter and start pumping out the oil. If Hubbert is right we would be able to leave fairly soon. In the meantime there would be US prosperity and s measure of world peace.

The oil under the sands in Suadi Arabia and Iran belongs to them only because we accept that notion. Before the West developed oil in Arabia their main indigenously developed industry was pearls.

Formerly wealth belonged to those with the best military. Most governments in world history would think that our practice of finding and developing a mineral resource and then giving it away after it became profitable, to be a very odd way of doing business.

Critics of George Bush say he was naive to assume that polically and socially primitive Iraq could hope to transition to democracy if only they were given autonomy. However by allowing Iraq, Iran, and Arabia to use the wealth that flows from the oil fields that we in the West discovered and developed, we have done much the same thing. That oil is a one-time world resource. We have irresponsibly given its stewardship to a pack of twelth century fanatics.

The Saudi princes are not popular. Perhaps the people of Saudi Arabia would prefer American rule. Certainly we could reinvest in non-oil development better than the princes. Or maybe the arabs would hate us. Whatever.

Arabia and Iran are relatively easy states to conquer and to occupy. Mexico would be harder. In Canada we probably only need to annex the western provinces. They might like statehood. Again, whatever.

At the constituional convention the delegates recognized that the nation they were founding was a narrow strip of European colonists on the edge of an undeveloped continent. They expected to expand. There is no article which states that the nation will not grow and expand.

Somehow the idea that the US must endure the insults of the world while it stays behind its borders has grown popular. There is nothing in Constitution and very little in our history and traditions that keeps us from pursuing our best interests anywhere in the world as we see fit.

Gingrich was right. "Drill now, drill often". He was just to restrictive in where he thought we should drill.

We don't have to be Nazis. We can pursue a "kinder, gentler" imperialism.

Anonymous said...

I. Switch the side of the road we drive on.

II. Then place a 100% tariff on foreign made cars and lesser components.

III. 100% income tax credit for buying electric car.

People would want or have to trade in a little early.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea for fixing undergraduate university education, at least in California: rename the Cal State schools UCs, and the UC schools Cal States. Why stick the best students in 400-person lecture halls while the second-tier students sit in 15-person classrooms and benefit from much more direct interaction with their professors?

Anonymous said...

"Have the military abandon all it's foreign missions all at once and station them around the Washington Mall; then cut the soldiers pay and give them half rations.

Go to Hell, whoever said that.

Let's cut YOUR pay and feed you half rations."

Uh David, the poster was joking. He was saying to put the soldiers in Washington and make them disgruntled against the government. Now what do you think would be the likely result of surrounding our corrupt politicians with angry soldiers? Read a little history. This often leads to a change of system of government.

Dan Kurt said...

re:" king obama said...
Our economy will always have business cycles, even without government intervention. It is just a fact of capitalism."

The "business cycle" is a misnomer. The term should be Banking Cycle. The cycle stems from Fiat Money, central banking and, of course, fractional reserve lending. Read Mises.

"Capitalism" is a pejorative word for a system of voluntary market exchange, the so called Free Market.

Dan Kurt

Anonymous said...

Wow - asking for economy pontification really calls them in, eh Steve?

Anonymous said...

Your right headache - everything is just as good as it could ever be, so anyone putting any intellectual effort into making things better is just wasting their time. I'm glad you set us all straight so that smart ambitious people can spend their most productive years playing poker against each other in the biggest casino in the world without regret.

Anonymous said...

Before you can make any of these changes...you have to change the government. March the Army into Washington DC and have the Congress and the President arrested.

When we get a leader who does that, then we will have change.

Anonymous said...

Getting the last few million IQ:80 proles onto myspace and youtube does nothing for the economy. - Rast

Great comment!

In fact reading many of the posters on youtube and myspace one might conclude that perhaps millions of IQ:70 proles were already there in force.

Anonymous said...

"headache said...

I think those mathematicians who work on Wall Street were never serious mathematicians in the first place. They just used those flashy degrees to get good paying jobs, bragging with their intelligence."

That's an interesting point. I don't know if it's generally true or not. However, I did get the sense during the 90's that some people were actually going to grad school in physics and math with the express intent of becoming Wall Street quants.

As they were hired for their knowledge of math by business types who don't know much math, who's to say that they weren't just making up stuff - write some elaborate code in C++, solve some partial differential equations, mutter some stuff about successive over-relaxation and numerical viscosity, and then collect your fat bonus check. Among all those Harvard and Wharton MBA types......who would know the difference?

Anonymous said...

We're getting ready to buy a bunch of stuff on credit. If it's all crap we don't need, or even nice-to-have stuff that doesn't make us wealthier, then we're going to be hurting for a long time to come. (The credit won't be available forever, and we're at most a couple decades from a government budget meltdown caused by healthcare costs.)

a. To the extent we can find people able to do it, we ought to fund both basic and applied research. The goal here is to get new stuff invented that will help make us richer, so we can pay off our debts.

b. We ought to also spend money on infrastructure, but specifically infrastructure that will pay off for us for a long time. I think upgrading our power transmission infrastructure is one place that would pay off, but I'm no expert. (But it's going to be unsexy crap like that that we need, not big inherently-uneconomical-without-the-subsidy windfarms that look good on TV.)

c. Since medical costs are rising at such a scary rate, we ought to try doing something about that. My recommendation is to use some of that stimulus money to subsidize the medical school tuitions of people who go into primary care, since that's a major need for the next couple decades. (You don't want to be an 80 year old with five different chronic problems being treated by a nurse, because all the MDs went into dermatology to make better money.)

Dan Kurt said...

Anonymous [ Get a Handle, fgs ] said...

"...we probably shouldn't be spending large quantities of American dollars training non-Americans, especially in a poor economy. Otherwise, once they get the Ph.D. in the advanced engineering program, they might just return how, and we'd never recoup our investment. Universities that receive federal aid, so basically all of them, should on a departmental have a low cap for the maximum number of foreign students." 1/24/2009

This is short sighted. The USA gets the use of these bright foreign student's brains for 5 to 7 years or more. Getting a Ph.D. in an engineering field requires original research.

With the dumbing down of American students graduating from High School there is a dearth of qualified Americans to supply engineering students for Ph.D. slots.

Case in point. About 6 years ago a friend of mine's son was a Valedictorian of the HS that my own son graduated from a number of years before. This boy got into an Engineering school and promptly flunked out of the school. The father transfered him to an other expensive out of state college where became an accountant. The boy had actually during HS taken Calculus 1 and 2 at a local College ( actually a glorified Junior College ) but he could not handle the Math at the Engineering College. The boy probably is bright but his Grade School and HS preparation was of such a low level that he was not prepared for the intellectual challenge of a really rigorous engineering curriculum.

My own son is finishing his own Ph.D. studies in Mechanical Engineering at a highly ranked University. He is one of four in his cohort and the only White as two Red Chinese and one Korean started with him as Ph.D. candidates. My son relates to me that the American students he has taught in the Engineering School as a group lack math skills. He blames this lack of math knowledge to the low level of teaching in American primary and secondary schools. The Asians he is the Ph.D. program with not only went to school year around but actually went six days a week. They were also tracked so that they attended classes with high I.Q. students similar to themselves. What happens to American bright students? They tend to be immersed in a school environment with average and dumb students, dumb teachers and plenty of time off. They coast through primary and secondary school, getting their Honors and awards but are actually short changed in their education. As the example above shows where a Valedictorian flunks out of his first year of Engineering. Had he been given a decent education he probably would be Engineering Ph.D. material now instead of an Accountant.

Dan Kurt

Anonymous said...

"Dan Kurt said...

The USA gets the use of these bright foreign student's brains for 5 to 7 years or more. Getting a Ph.D. in an engineering field requires original research."

Much academic research is of little value - it is done so that professors can get grant money, which is their chief metric for being awarded tenure. A lot of the research done by these foreign students could simply not be done at all, and we would never notice.

"With the dumbing down of American students graduating from High School there is a dearth of qualified Americans to supply engineering students for Ph.D. slots."

Then it would seem to me that we should return our schools up to the level they were at through the 1970's or so, so that those American pupils who can profit from them will do so, rather than writing off our own people and hiring foreigners who have no allegiance to this country.

And many Red Chinese students are spies, burning up unpoliced, university provided net-bandwidth sending home everything they can lay their hands on.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Dan Kurt,

If the kid was really that smart, he surely could be brought up to speed in a matter of a year or 2. Tell him to get Teaching Textbooks from the online homeschoolers and teach himself. Then he can go get the PH.D.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Anonymous said...

Start a major war, spend trillions on it. That will pump the economy.

Better yet, smash all the buildings, and tear up all the infrastructure, in the US. Use pickaxes and crowbars. Level it to the ground. Then - jobs for everyone building it back up again!

Sarcasm off.

Anonymous said...

Compare a man with a rifle to a man with his bare hands. Who will bag the biggest take after a day of hunting? Technology is the biggest multiplier of productivity.

BO could do for the Red Planet what JFK did for the Moon. Spend a bazillion dollars on infrastructure … on Mars. Cultivate, educate (and compensate) the next generation of uber-nerds.

Incidentally, BO is a big fan of dumping increased money on “R&D” (i.e. nerds). It’s almost a mantra in his book “Audacity”.

Anonymous said...

There is only one way to do it. Grow the private economy while paying down private debt. You also have to give the banks time to grow their reserves to bring down their debt to asset ratios to historical averages. To grow the economy, you have to stop shipping U.S. jobs to China and India and reestablish a manufacturing base in all industries. This means tearing up free trade agreements. Free trade agreements got us into this decline, and undoing them is the only way out. The problem is, the socialists are committed to the New World Order plan and will let the economy fail completely rather than stop building up Communist China and encouraging multicultural immigration.

Anonymous said...

Wow - asking for economy pontification really calls them in, eh Steve?

So does Michelle Obama. Now if only Steve could dig up a comment by Michelle Obama on the economy...

Anonymous said...

I've seen enough Cheech & Chong to know that legalizing marijuana and switching which side we drive on should NOT be effected on the same day.

Point-of-order: ong-term and even daily marijuana use doesn't appear to cause permanent brain damage, adding to evidence that it can be a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of diseases, say researchers.

The researchers found only a "very small" impairment in memory and learning among long-term marijuana users. Otherwise, scores on thinking tests were similar to those who don't smoke marijuana, according to a new analysis of 15 previous studies. [webmd.com]

Anonymous said...

The current economic crisis is one of massive overproduction and oversupply due to TOO MUCH technology and mechanization.

America was founded as an Agrarian Republic. Take tens of millions of the highly productive Americans from the suburbs (where they pay loads of taxes to support the underperforming ethnic minorities and immigrants in the cities) and re-settle them on good farmland or small towns in the Midwest where they can relearn practical skills and how to build local economies and - reinvigorate the small trades and crafts, and most especially food production. This is the only way people will ever be free - working for themselves and their local community instead of globalist and/or impersonal corporations.

J said...

Steve, you should give a Prize to the best proposal, which is:

Easy. Pass a law requiring that businesses be more productive. That'll work.

j.

Anonymous said...

David Big Government may be spending more on angry black men than grumpy white ones (or it may not if you see how many Washington bureaucrats are whiter than the population average). However it hasn't done them much good has it? That is what's wrong wioth BG - the intentions may be & often are good but it tends to be mismanaged & the results tend to be awful.

Hoss said...

Our 'economic' problems go well beyond tax code, savings rates, etc. They are wrapped up in social, demographic and other declining/downward trends. Fix the following and the economy will right itself. Ignore the following, look for a long uphill climb.

Hoss's Ten Point Plan for Repairing the U.S. Economy.

1. Cut payroll taxes
2. End wasteful campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan now. Reduce overseas military personnel by 90% and reduce miiltary budget accordingly. Focus on border protection and not loopy ideas about policing the world or spreading democracy for pete's sake (!@).
3. Enact a ban on all immigration.
4. Deport all illegals and deport all Muslims (they are unproductive and surly and unassimilable and a drag on everything they contact...note to muslims dont go away mad just go away).
5. Build a fence on the Mexican border and patrol it US military.
6. Begin downsizing the massive overbloated fed bureaucracy. Eliminate NASA, eliminate State Dept, eliminate HUD, Labor, and Dept of Education. Also enact a moratorium on ALL foreign aid.
7. Begin new drive to build and bring on line nuclear power plants.
8. Begin new drive to restore our manufacturing base...chemicals, electronics, steel.
9. Fund new programs in our schools for vo-tech training.
10. Start to clean up the university leftist indoctrination by eliminating all "blank" studies (eg wymyn's studies, queer studies). Much needs to be done but this would be a start and would send a signal.

Anonymous said...

If the current disaster has reached its trough, and the economy is starting to recover by 2012, Obama will be seen as the savior of the economy. Any remaining problems will be blamed on Bush. The economy will probably fix itself by then, at least enough that the MSM will be able to point to some piece of good news and credit it to Obama.

Therefore, Obama's optimal strategy is to not worry about solving any problems, and instead try to seize wealth from groups that would not be expected to support him, and use it to strengthen his own support. For example, suppose humanitarian decency demanded that we take in 4 million Iraqi refugees. For only $40 billion, he could give each of them $10,000 per year stipends. Who would they vote for? He should put them in swing states.

He can probably get through 8 years without killing the golden goose.

Anonymous said...

Macroeconomics is like cancer therapy. We don't do it because we want to do it, or because we are at all sure we know what we are doing and are good at it, but because, as we found out in the 1930s, sometimes we have to do it.

Anonymous said...

These high IQ foreign students...we here a lot about the asian prowess at science and engineering yet most innovation still seems to from those boring white nerds.

Hence who needs all those US subsidized students?

Not to mention all the spying.

Anonymous said...

1. Legalize pot.
2. Fly to Mars.
3. Drive on the wrong side of the road.
4. Destroy everything and build it again.
5. Cut payroll taxes. Cut all taxes. While you're at it, abolish the laws against theft. Government, get out of my way!
6. Settle 4 million Iraqis here and pay them $10,000 a year for life to vote Democratic.
7. Double down on public education.
8. Start a World War.

Holy Jay-sus. Maybe Buckley was wrong about the Boston phone book.

Anonymous said...

Chief Seattle,
Good one!

Dan Kurt said...

Cold Equation said...
"If the current disaster has reached its trough, and the economy is starting to recover by 2012, Obama will be seen as the savior of the economy. Any remaining problems will be blamed on Bush. The economy will probably fix itself by then, at least enough that the MSM will be able to point to some piece of good news and credit it to Obama.
[snip]
He can probably get through 8 years without killing the golden goose."
1/25/2009

"If the current disaster has reached its trough" is happy talk. It is the epitome of the culture of HOPE. Read the following about HOPE [http://tiny.cc/26Ups]
Rather than being in the TROUGH now only expect being at the bottom when "blood is in the street" and every one, including the rulers, have abandoned ALL HOPE.

We are just entering the "Perfect Storm" world wide with the captain of our ship of state a grinning, affirmative action product of central casting with no clue on what to do as the list accelerates. Expect a rough voyage.

sauve qui peut

Dan Kurt

Anonymous said...

Hoss said:

"...note to muslims dont go away mad just go away"

The Muzzies LOVE Debbie Harry, they just do..

Anonymous said...

"Drug sellers have to stand in highly public places all day to make any money."

Drugs aren't sold that way much anymore. Cell phones have made that kind of street level dealing obsolete.

Crack and Heroin in black ghettos are the exception. Middle class people, students, teenagers and other recreational users don't buy drugs on dark street corners these days.

Truth said...

"This boy got into an Engineering school and promptly flunked out of the school...He blames this lack of math knowledge to the low level of teaching in American primary and secondary schools."

Sorry guys, it's all the superior Asian IQ. You know the rules, nature is significant, nurture is nothing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, it's all the superior Asian IQ. You know the rules, nature is significant, nurture is nothing.

Straw Man Alert! Straw Man Alert!

Those aren't the rules, as well you know.

Most here would agree that nurture and nature both influence outcomes. Its only the liberals who advance the extremist notion that's its all one and not the other ie nurture only.

Whats more the proportions are going to vary from case to case. So in one anecdotal case its just that - anecdotal. It can't be extrapolated to every case and that's not being claimed here.

A good liberal would take a case such as this and extrapolate it to an entire population.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:

>>
1. Legalize pot.
2. Fly to Mars.
3. Drive on the wrong side of the road.
4. Destroy everything and build it again.
5. Cut payroll taxes. Cut all taxes. While you're at it, abolish the laws against theft. Government, get out of my way!
6. Settle 4 million Iraqis here and pay them $10,000 a year for life to vote Democratic.
7. Double down on public education.
8. Start a World War.
<<

These policies sound far more likely to be adopted than any of the very sensible reforms others have suggested.

As the NYC talk-show host Bob Grant used to say, "When I try to predict what the government is going to do, I just think of what would make sense and then predict the opposite."

Unknown said...

End the war.

No sense killing people who will probably one day be our allies.

*oof.

Anonymous said...

My Dad runs a high tech company, and some years ago told me this story about a sexual harrassment lawsuit filed there.

A certain married (non-techical) woman X was good friends with a single male co-worker Y. They were such good friends that many of their colleagues asked them if they were having an affair.

This male co-worker Y then became friends with another woman Z.

Meanwhile, X had become pregnant, and decided to leave the company as her pregnancy moved into the advanced stage.

When she left, she sued her co-worker Y and (I think) the company by extension for sexual harrassment.

It was really shocking as everyone felt that the man Y hadn't done anything to woman X.

What people felt had happened was that Y's new friendship/flirtation/affair with the woman Z made X jealous or angry or something.

I vaguely recall that people felt or she admitted she was looking to get some money as she was leaving the company anyway.

The company dealt with the sexual harrassment lawsuit and won I think.

-------------------------

My Dad has told me other stories about a few lawsuits against the company by disgruntled workers.

It really gives you some perspective on employee lawsuits.

You have to change the narrative on lawsuits by employees against their employers.

When you hear about things like sexual harrassment law or anti-discrimination law, you imagine, if the employer is doing the right thing, then why would the employee sue?

But the thing is, when people leave a company, they have the option of suing if they weren't quite satisfied or don't feel properly appreciated.

Even if the lawsuit is bogus, employers sometimes don't even fight the lawsuit, because the insurance company which insures against employee lawsuits says it's cheaper just to pay the employee off.

----------------------

Suggestion:

Loser pays in lawsuits. This should tamp down on stupid or frivolous lawsuits.

Doesn't Europe have this system?

Truth said...

"Most here would agree that nurture and nature both influence outcomes"

What is the percentage of causation of each, in your humble opinion?

I ask because the general consensus here seems to be, "well, the blacks will never do well because they're dumb, but if we just studied a little harder, we could catch those damn Jews and slanty-eyes!"

I say this is the general consensus there are, of course, some smart people populating this site. I think that consistency would dictate that student in question was valedictorian because he was the smartest in a school full of semi-dumbs (whites), and had he been brought up in Hong Kong, he would have failed out of elementary school instead of college.

Anonymous said...

"Lilly Ledbetter Act Passess"

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2009/01/lilly_ledbetter_act_passess.php

The law basically removes the statute of limitations on wage discrimination lawsuits.

I don't think stuff life this is a good idea in light of my previous comment.

Again, people think, why would an employee sue if the employer were doing the right thing? But employees don't lose anything by suing. It doesn't cost them anything.

------------------------

Question:
What if everyone's salaries were openly listed by employers?

In certain countries, for instance India and China for sure, people openly ask about and discuss salaries.

In America, however, it's the height of rudeness to ask, and it can even be forbidden by companies to discuss such things.

Why don't people openly discuss how much they make in America?

Is it because it's extremely uncomfortable to find out other people make more than you?

One potential advantage of keeping salaries secret is that it allows employers to pay competent people more than less competent people.

If salaries were openly discussed, would employees be willing to accept that other employees are more competent and thus more valuable to the company? People tend very naturally towards egalitarianism. People also tend to underestimate their short comings.

On the other hand, the secret salary system means that people who are very aggressive about demanding higher starting salaries and raises will get more money than those who are less aggressive regardless of competence. This is cited as an important reason as to why women make less than men do.

In the Lily Ledbetter case, I think she had a lower starting salary and got lower raises than her male colleagues.

Would an open salary system lead to a spectacular increase in lawsuits as any difference in salaries would lead to an outcry?

Or could an open salary system preempt these wage discrimation lawsuits?

Anonymous said...

Socialism we can believe in:

A cap on managment salaries equal to the lowest paid worker * 50.

In Japan, the CEO of a big company typically make 30-40 times what the peons in the company make, correct?

Has this already been mentioned?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for managers of a public company to be given stock, rather than stock options?

Wouldn't that get rid of the "heads we win, tails you lose" aspect of managing a company which you don't own?

If the company does badly, then the ceo would actually be hurt, no?

Dan Kurt said...

Truth said...
"I think that consistency would dictate that student in question was valedictorian because he was the smartest in a school full of semi-dumbs (whites), and had he been brought up in Hong Kong, he would have failed out of elementary school instead of college." 1/25/2009

High School graduating class size 300+ with almost all white, few Asians and few NAMs but circa 300 whites in the class. White SD about 15. Above 2 SD is 2.5 %. 0.025 times 300 is circa 7 white individuals with IQs of 130+. I suspect the lad had an IQ in that area. His father is a Physician who practices internal medicine and his sub specialty is Pulmonary medicine. The father had to have smarts to do that. His wife is a good friend of my wife [ Next week the two will be driving about 60 miles to a quilt camp together. ] and most of my stories come through that conduit. His younger sister is a stunning beauty attending NYU and she is no slouch in the Brains department as well. The valedictorian just didn't develop a foundation given the primary and secondary schools he attended did not teach by challenging the bright students.

My own son attended the same schools. He also had a miserable education in the primary and secondary levels but is gifted in math. I recognized his talent when he was 12 and made a deal with him. If he did a self study course of math, I would subsidize two things he wanted to do. One was building radio control model aircraft. He built six by the time he finished HS. Each cost in the range of 400 dollars. One needed a new radio transmitter, radio receiver, multiple servos, model kit, etc. for each plane. The second was that my wife and I would underwrite his career in road bike racing which included eventually as he grew two bikes each costing about $4,000.00, lots of money for the shoes and clothing and thousands of dollars in travel costs. When he was 16 he was invited to try out for the Junior Olympic Team which was quite an honor. He kept his part of the bargain doing about 30 math problems a day 5 or 6 days a week. He worked his way through 3 books of Algebra, 1 of Advanced math, and 1 of Calculus. ( I had a strong math background but I didn't need to teach him much as he picked the math up by doing problems and more problems. ) That was the way I learned math in my youth. It is frowned upon now by the American educators as they consider drill a drudgery but educators use the drill method in Asia with splendid results.

Now a little story about the Valedictorian who graduated from HS with my son. She is of Chinese descent. The girl attended school with my son from Kindergarden through 12th grade and she was always the star pupil. They each went to the same difficult to get into out of state University as freshmen. She started out in Pre Med but bombed in Calculus and Chemistry. My son tried helping her unsuccessfully with both courses. She ended up getting a business degree and now works for Microsoft as does her husband who is a programmer there. By chance my wife and I met her over the Christmas Holiday at a Chinese restaurant when she returned home to visit her family with her husband. Our son didn't make it back then as he is getting ready for his Ph.D. General Exam, finishing his 4th Patent, and finishing another paper. ( We will take him to Hawaii the week after he takes the General Exam and celebrate a belated Christmas there. BTW, when my son was a freshman he tested out of standard Calculus and was placed into Calculus for Math Majors. Drill really helped.

Messages: 1) to really do well in math and science one needs both Brains and Education; 2) Asians from Asia have both;
3) American Whites and American Asians often are not getting the Education even if they have the Brains so that they can not compete with the Asians from Asia in Math and Science.

Dan Kurt

Anonymous said...

Dan Kurt sed
"We are just entering the "Perfect Storm" world wide with the captain of our ship of state a grinning, affirmative action product of central casting with no clue on what to do as the list accelerates. Expect a rough voyage."

So? Exactly this happened in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. The result in Zimbabwe is there for everyone to see, and most are looking away. In South Africa the development is the same, only 15 years retarded because some whites had to stay and are trying to maintain a semblance of civilization so they can live. Has anybody in the mainstream ever made the connection between the AA heads of state and the state of affairs down there? Nobody. So it means they got away with mediocrity.

Why should it be different in the US?

Anonymous said...

Bret Ludwig sed:
"Monetizing gold today would put gold at over $4000/ounce and would create the mother of all deflationary depressions. "

In South Africa engineers are devising schemes for a 5000m mine. Ultra Deep Levels. That starts giving them access to lots of gold. That's if mining survives the greedy fingers of the ANC.

Anonymous said...

Good point Blue. The US legal system is the biggest economic handicap the US labours under that Europe doesn't - its effect is rather like all these EU bureaucrats & in some ways it is rather nice that when the US decides to saddle itself with such parasites it does so in a private enterprise fashion ;-)

If the law was changed that losers have to pay both side's legal costs & that there are no "punitive" damages (punitves are basicaly like winning the lottery) there would be far less ambulance chasing. For example the suits over breast enhancements, which have been proven statisticaly to be nonsense, managed to extract $25 billion from the industry.

Unfortunately the trend in Britain is slowly but surely in the US direction.

Anonymous said...

If "loser pays," who will sue any entity with deep pockets and the best lawyers?

"Loser pays" does not comport with justice, just with the rule of the rich over peons whom they can screw at will. Contra libertarianism, such rule does not improve the economy - because it does not improve the nation.

If you don't like sexual harrassment or "Affirmative Action" lawsuits, change the laws.

Anonymous said...

Fair point David - our ITN TV network used that process to break a nagazine which said, correctly, that they had faked a video purporting to show a Serbian "concentration camp". Nonetheless this could be got round by limiting the other side's legal fees to a set amount or to double the loser's.

The present system is hardly fair either & strongly encourages dubious suits where the defendent often finds it easier to settle than to fight.

In this world absolute fairness to everybody is impossible & the economic cost lawyering puts on the whole society isn't fair either.