Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bailouts: impractical and immoral

Sent to my congressmen today. Find yours here.
Do not bail out any more failing companies with tax receipts.

Bailouts are not practical, they are financially destructive. Bankruptcy is a normal part of a free economy, because it allows capital to move from malinvestments to successful enterprises. Giving life-support to a failing company wastes money on a non-productive venture -- money that could be put to productive use, including the creation of viable jobs, at companies chosen by the free market for their ability to create the most valuable goods and services.

But more importantly, bailouts are immoral and statist. Appropriating taxpayer money to a private company is simply the road to fascism, in which the government controls the fundamentals of the economy, thereby violating every individual's right to freely pursue happiness.


Brad Williams
North Portland


Friday, November 07, 2008

The beginning

When was he elected, like three days ago, right? I admit I was actually relieved, because I think there would have been actual riots had the equally-repulsive McCain pulled it off. But already reality has set in, because on the website which supposedly speaks for "The Office of the President-Elect" -- an "Office" which doesn't exist, mind you -- the president-elect doesn't think it's too soon for this:
Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.
Actually, my kids won't be compelled to do jack fracking squat hours of "community service", thank you very much. If America doesn't just say "no" (or something a bit more colorful) to this, it will be more evidence of, let's say, those ominous parallels.


Already, there's more! With GM and Ford predicted to go bankrupt next year, the Senator has this to say:
I have made it a high priority for my transition team to work on additional policy options to help the auto industry adjust, weather the financial crisis, and succeed in producing fuel-efficient cars here in the United States.
Exactly which laws will the executive branch of the United States government be fulfilling when it helps two companies on the brink of insolvency "weather the crisis"?

In other news, the Federal Reserve's balance sheet just went to $2T, thanks to "bailouts". Meanwhile, unemployment is shooting up, which means tax revenues will plummet. Methinks car companies aren't the only thing insolvent around here.

The march to fascism continues.

Update 2:

Obama has replaced his plan to make students part-time slaves with a plan to make students part-time social workers. Now the site says:
Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.
So the "service" won't be required -- but note that $4,000 is a fortune to a college student, especially for 50 hours of "service." This is still government coercion.

The scariest thing here is perhaps not the content, but the political method: float the statist proposal you really want, but if it attracts too much of an outburst replace it with a similar but evolved statist proposal that will silence the first criticism. I assume this is nothing new in politics, and I expect we will see it over and over again from this administration (which isn't even an administration yet). In the years to come, we are going to get every bit of statism that the filters of the left and right let through, and I fear that is going to be a lot.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

db4oProviders Release 1.0

db4oProviders Release 1.0 now available.

Description: Custom ASP.NET 2.0 providers which use db4o as back-end. Beginning with Membership Provider, Role Provider, and Profile Provider. Code is based on MSDN sample code and is unit-tested. Version 1.0 uses db4o 7.4 and C# 3.0. Prior versions of source use db4o version 6.1 and C# 2.0.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Where blame is due

Blaming the crisis on anyone other than the government -- and its supporters -- is a big mistake. Investors, speculators, financiers, businessmen, house-flippers, real estate agents, banks, bad credit house-buyers, money managers, ratings agencies -- they are all proximate causes. Their failure to avoid risk on the present, catastrophic scale would not have been possible without specific policies of our governmental institutions, and primarily the central bank. In fact, the functioning of the central bank -- its very existence and the lack of a gold standard -- must lead to excessive, underestimated risk-taking and widespread malinvestment. This is explained simply and clearly in a book by Murray Rothbard (1.5MB PDF).

There is no need to look for the devil(s) in the details. The fundamental cause of the latest boom and bust is clear, and this path was generally predicted by many -- because decades of money and credit inflation ineluctably lead to deflationary meltdown.

As Amit Ghate explains:
When the free market functions--and failure is allowed--people become viscerally aware of risk, with the result that they voluntarily assume less of it.

Conversely, when the government tries to "manage" the economy--when the consequences of risky behavior are shifted from self-interested actors to taxpayers, as was done by the creation of the Fed and its various insurance programs, or when weak financial firms are propped up rather than being allowed to fail--people take on risks they would not otherwise. Banks are less careful, depositors no longer evaluate their institutions, and risks are concealed and amplified until they become catastrophic.
To put it negatively, don't blame speculation as such:
Speculators and short-sellers don't create facts, they seek to identify and respond to them; and in the process they help adjust prices to economic conditions and establish smooth and liquid markets. As a result--instead of being scapegoated and banished--they should be respected and welcomed for the productive role they play in our markets.