Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trying to Pick Winner, Feds give $535M to Loser

Mercury News: Fremont solar tech firm Solyndra to shut down, lay off hundreds of workers
Solyndra, a Fremont-based solar panel manufacturer that flared then sputtered, abruptly ceased operations on Wednesday and immediately laid off all 1,100 of its workers.

The shutdown marks a high-profile collapse of a company that received more than $1.6 billion in federal and private funding in recent years.
Even with $535 million of taxpayer money, Solyndra could not compete in the solar panel industry. Think about that. Then think about the interest you and will be paying on that "investment". Unreal.

Update: Corrected title and copy to reflect the $535 million figure that Zerohedge ran.

Paul Krugman Schooled on Ricardian Theory

Steve Landsburg takes Paul Krugman to the woodshed in: Panglossian Economics:

Notice that Krugman goes beyond implicit insistence that everything today is perfectly hunky-dory; he says that it makes no sense to believe otherwise. In other words, he’s really really sure of this. I await his salute to the Tea Party for its role in bringing us to this state of Nirvana.

The Tea Party: just a switch to beat Ricardian theory into the head of a Nobel laureate.

Will More Stimulus Spending Help?

Megan McArdle: Why didn’t the stimulus create more jobs?

This paper goes a long way toward explaining why fiscal stimulus usually doesn’t have such a great “bang for the buck.” It raises the question of whether as “twice as big” stimulus really would have been enough. Must it now be four times as big?

More often than not, fiscal stimulus seems to redirict taxpayer money to politically favored companies and constituencies. No where is that more evident than in the imploding "green jobs" business of solar energy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Video: Ed Martin: Voting is not Enough

From the YouTube description of the video above:

Ed Martin, congressional candidate, speaks on state sovereignty, interposition, and voting - at Nullify Now! Kansas City on August 20, 2011.
This is no time for just voting. Voting is not enough. But in both parties, we have too many leaders who think that's the answer.
We ought to have governors around the country who say NO!
Where are the representatives who will stand up and say NO. Not just vote no, that's not enough.
It's not enough to just run these folks out of office, although we should. We also have to win the argument.
The front line is going to be the question of how states are going to assert their sovereignty.
The question of state sovereignty and the question of how we'll fight back begins with the states. But, the most important thing to remember is this, the starting point is us.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Existing #Aerotropolis Warehouse Space is Sufficient so What's the $300 Million for?

Audrey Spalding of the Show-Me Institute: What's Wrong with Aerotropolis - What's the $300 Million for?

If two warehouses would satisfy the projected demand for exports, what's the $300 million in tax credits for? In this video, Show-Me Institute Policy Analyst Audrey Spalding discusses recently released documents from the Midwest China Hub Commission which contain expert findings suggesting that existing warehouse space around Lambert Airport would satisfy increased international air cargo demand.

I also learned that the Midwest China Commission opened their Beijing office in 2009. This passage from that press release looks interesting:

The Beijing office, which is housed in the building of London Export Corporation (LEC), will support the Commission's efforts in administrative and research functions. It is in close proximity to key government offices and will act as the direct liaison with Chinese officials.
LEC Managing Director Stephen Perry, also is chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting positive relations with China.

I wonder if we will learn more about London Export Corporation and the 48 Group Club before or after the special session.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Striking Workers Now Collecting Unemployment Benefits Verizon Strikers Boost U.S. Unemployment Claims:

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that initial jobless claims in the US have risen to 417,000, far above the forecasted value of 405,000. That means more people filed for unemployment for the first time last week, than the week before… roughly 5,000 more. The high number disappointed many, but the data was skewed higher by an irregular event… claims by striking Verizon phone workers.

So the Federal Government is providing unemployment benefits to striking workers now!? Doesn't that increase the incentive to strike? Why is the government taking sides in labor actions like this? It's as if the feds support the strikers over their employers.

I remember the good ol' days when you had to actually be unemployed to collect unemployment.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Video: Roger Williams (R) is the Donkey Whisperer

Roger Williams is running for the House of Representatives in Texas's new 33rd district.

ZeroHedge Calls for Paul Krugman to be Fired

ZeroHedge: A (Hopefully Fake) Paul Krugman Laments The Lack Of Death And Destruction Following Today's Earthquake:

We truly can only hope that this Google Plus account of Paul Krugman is merely a well-orchestrated parody, because if it is indeed that of the self-styled uber-Keynesian, the time for the public outrage, his economic beliefs aside, has arrived. In a blast post on Google's immitation of twitter and facebook, which should immediately result in the termination of the Nobel prize winning economist if it was indeed penned by him, this particular account of "Paul Krugman" writes: "People on twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage." Translation...well it's pretty obvious, but for those laboring under the aftermath of a full frontal lobotomy, the person who tweeted this essentially yearns for his voodoo economic religion to be validated following countless failures of Keynesianism (not, but really, after this injection of *illion dollars into the economy things will really be well), at the expense of death and destruction. Even more poignant translation: "Krugman" would like nothing than to put an equal sign between the death of a human being and the proportional GDP replacement value. What next: Krugman lamenting that only certain races end up getting killed in conflict, those whose replacement potential is too low, demanding more death? Or that X number of deaths would have been more stimulative if it was really XXX? This is about as close as we will get to a Keynesian admitting that reparations for death and destruction are the only two special clauses under which fiscal stimulus does work. Which of course means that with idiots such as the poster of the above who actually thinks this, be it Krugman or some of his countless voodoo brethren, and with their proximity to the president, the only logical explanation is that a war is coming, and is being welcomed by all these s[h|c]am "economists", for whom human death and suffering is a fair tradeoff in preserving their tenure or modestly-paid, liberal publication blogging job.If this indeed Krugman's account, it is imperative that the NYT immediately terminate this pathologically deranged psychopath.

"Krugman" apparently doesn't understand the Broken Window Fallacy. Here's a video (featuring Krugman, no less) that explains that fallacy:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Success of Welfare Reform

Megan Mcardle: Did Welfare Reform Work?

Welfare enabled people to make bad long-term decisions that were rational short-term choices. Welfare reform changed that. That's good news.

Mcardle goes on to examine other ways in which welfare reform has been a success, so read the whole thing.

One Pig at the Trough Becomes CEO while American Taxpayers Struggle with Financial Serfdom


ZeroHedge: S&P Board Fires CEO For Telling The Truth, To Be Replaced With COO Of Citibank:

Following years of pandering to client demands, and assigning trillions of dollars in fixed income securities with whatever rating money bought (among other things, a factor to the credit bubble and its subsequent implosion) S&P finally tried to do the right thing and tell the truth. However in this case it picked if not the worst, then certainly the most hypocriticial credit in the world to expose - the US itself. Sure enough two weeks after the downgrade, someone made the phone call and the CEO Deven Sharma is no more. As for the kick square in the gonads: Sherma will be replaced with the COO know it... the bank which demanded tens of billions in secret Fed bailout loans itself, Citibank, and whose existence is inextricably tied to America not seeing any more downgrades ever again.
As the FT reports, "The McGraw-Hill board made the decision to replace Mr Sharma at a meeting on Monday, where it also discussed an ongoing strategic review." Alas, this is nothing but a case study of modern corporate reality in America: if you are not with the status quo, you are against it, and you are promptly booted out of it: anyone who does not share the visions of one glorious future built on ponzi schemes, houses of cards, and games of three card monte, will be promptly suicided, either physically or professionally.

For those of you wondering what qualifies the COO of Citibank to take the reigns at S&P, let me remind you that Citibank is a subsidiary of Citigroup which is part of the Wall Street Aristocracy. They were in the news the other day:

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.
The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

It's fascinating to me that despite the fact that the US Constitution's forbids titles of nobility, we seemed to have acquired a parasitic aristocracy that lives largely at the expense of serfs they keep at bay with an oppressive tax system. For more information about the chart above, see this post from Greg Mankiw.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Will there be Spending Cuts in the Continuing Resolution?

The majority of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that the federal deficit should be reduced only or primarily through spending cuts.

It looks like we have a consensus for The Next Crisis:

The date will be on or about September 30th. The issue will be the need to pass a Continuing Resolution by the House.
For more than 850 days the US has gone without a budget. The House passed one not long ago; the Senate tabled it. The Administration has not offered up one either. The absence of an approved budget means that the only way the country can continue to operate is through a series of temporary extensions.

Of course, looks can be deceiving. While spending cuts would be nice in the next continuing resolution (CR), there wont be any of any significant size.

EFSF: The Financial Fourth Reich

James G. Rickards (Tangent Capital) and James Turk, Director of the GoldMoney Foundation, talk about the European Central Bank's role in the crisis and how it is becoming increasingly politicised, in contrast with its predecessor of sorts -- the Bundesbank. They talk about the possible differences between Jean-Claude Trichet and his successor Mario Draghi. James Rickards explains how Europe is developing a common fiscal policy with a common Treasury, in the form of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which will dictate fiscal policy for many member countries in exchange for rescue funds.

Rickards comments about the EFSF functioning like the U.S. Treasury while being under the political control of Germany leads to the conclusion that, in a way, Germany is taking over European fiscal policy. Whether this is good for the continent or not remains to be seen. Germany's fiscal track record is better than other EU countries, so there's reason for optimism; however, the narrow interests of member states may undo the political union. The rise of this "Financial Fourth Reich" helps explain why Germans are not as upset with footing the bill for the Greeks as I would have expected them to be.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Iran Jails Two Americans for Eight Years


Associated Press: Iran Sentences 2 American Men to 8 Years in Jail:

Two American men already held for two years in Tehran have been sentenced to 8 years each in prison on charges of espionage and illegal entry into Iran, state TV reported Saturday.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ed Martin taps Allen Icet to Build Grassroots Base

Ed Martin For Congress: Allen Icet Named Chairman of Ed Martin for Congress Campaign:

Today, Ed Martin is honored to announce that conservative leader, former State Representative Allen Icet, has accepted the key leadership position of Chairman of the Ed Martin for Congress campaign. As Chairman, Icet will have a critical leadership role in the campaign’s operations and in helping the campaign effectively deliver the message of Restoring America’s Greatness.

For a lot of reasons, this struck me as a savvy move for Ed Martin's underdog campaign. Bringing on Icet indicates to me that Ed recognizes that he will not win the money game against his primary opponent Ann Wagner, but he has to win the ground game. That dove-tails with the analysis I provided at the Missouri Record in late July. Patrick Tuohey who runs the Missouri Record, provides this analysis of the Icet pick:

At first this may look like standard issue political rhetoric. Rah-rah. Icet served in the Missouri House until termed out. In 2010, Icet was considered the grassroots candidate in the auditor's race, but he lost the Republican primary to Tom Schweich by a landslide, securing only 41% of the vote.  
In western St. Louis County, however, it was a different story. That area, which makes up a significant portion of the Republican voter base in the new 2nd Congressional District, voted for Icet.  He beat Schweich handily in the three largest townships of West County—Chesterfield, Wildhorse and Lafayette—winning 62%, 62% and 53% respectively.  West County is Ann Wagner's Home turf.
A conservative blogger who lives in St. Louis summed up the matter by saying, "Icet has street cred in that area, if he can turn his grassroots into Martin grassroots then that is significant."

Ed Martin is leveraging political assets from 2010. That includes the name recognition that he developed in the region and now the remnants of Icet's political machine have a reason to get behind Ed. It's not enough to win, but it's an important step toward victory.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Video: Peter Kinder on the need for School Choice in St. Louis and KC

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder spoke at the Sherman T. Parker banquet about the importance of educational options and school choice. The banquet was part of the first conference hosted by Move on Up, a social network of African American conservatives and moderates. Kinder spoke about the public education system that is failing Missouri's urban children--especially the children of St. Louis and Kansas City. He emphasized the need for school choice.

Video: Martin Baker announces for US Congress MO-01

Martin Baker announced that he would run for US Congress in Missouri's First Congressional District as a Republican at the Sherman T. Parker banquet. The banquet was part of the first Move on Up conference. Move on Up is a social network of African American conservatives and moderates.

Sherman Parker was a close friend of Baker. Parker's sudden deathin 2008 at the age of 37 from a brain aneurysm is still a poignant memory for Baker.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Photos from Move on Up Conference, a network of conservative African Americans, met in St. Louis. This, their inaugural conference, was an opportunity for black conservatives from around the country to get to know one another and build lasting relationships.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Recipients of #Aerotropolis Tax Credits Don't Have to Fly


Show-Me Institute: What's Wrong With Aerotropolis: Paid Not to Fly?

In this video, Show-Me Institute policy analyst Patrick Ishmael tackles another aspect of the proposed Aerotropolis bill: it may be possible for a company doing no exporting and no shipping by air to receive Aerotropolis tax credits.

Longtime readers of the Show-Me Institute’s research into the Aerotropolis legislation have known for some time that the bill’s tax credits, as written, could be used for trade that was not international in nature.

Goodnews: Obamacare's Individual Mandate is Unconstitutional

Reuters: Appeals court rules against Obama healthcare law:

An appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama's healthcare law requiring Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty was unconstitutional, a blow to the White House.
The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dana Loesch Interviews Mark Steyn

Monday, August 8, 2011

Founder of #Aerotropolis Cargo Carrier Arrested for Child Pornography

The founder of a new air cargo carrier in Texas that has a deal with Lambert-St. Louis International Airport aimed at adding cargo flights to Latin America has been arrested for child pornography.
Connecting St. Louis with Latin America is part of Lambert officials’ larger plan to create a trade hub with China. They are pushing for $360 million in tax incentives for the so-called “Aerotropolis,” despite objections from critics who call it a waste of money.

I didn't realize that the aerotropolis project was far enough along to have developed a seamy underside.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

‪Video: Ed Martin Business Roundtable‬‏

Last Wednesday evening Ed Martin (R) held a business roundtable in west St. Louis county. Martin spoke for a few minutes about the economy and the devastating impact of President Obama's regulatory state. He emphasized the need to get the private sector going again and the need for new leadership in Washington, DC. He also noted the out of control spending in Jefferson City where the legislature is considering hundreds of dollars of tax credits to build warehouses for a so-called aerotropolis.

Video: Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) on the Balanced Budget Amendment

In the weekly Republican address, New York Rep. Michael Grimm said the debt deal legislation was far from perfect and the cuts did not go far enough.

Related articles

Obama's Role in our Sovereign Debt Downgrade

ZeroHedge: Equities In Dallas And Sovereign Debt Ratings:

All else aside, when the President of a country states repeatedly that we could default, someone at the rating agency is bound to notice.  Even the Italian politicians take time away from their various antics to mention that Italy is in great shape and will always pay her debts.  I just don’t see S&P doing anything else in the U.S. for awhile.

That pretty much nails it. Instead of talking up the economy, the President talked it down as he demagogued his side of the issue. That, combined with the fact that S&P wanted $4 trillion or more in cuts, instead of the smaller amount agreed to, has seriously undercut confidence.

#Aerotropolis: Where's the Beef?

The ‪Show-Me Institute: What's Wrong with Aerotropolis: Grounded Beef:

In this video, Show-Me Institute policy analyst Patrick Ishmael explains how, despite the claims of Aerotropolis proponents, Missouri beef can not be exported to China because of current Department of Agriculture regulations.

Even though legislators have argued that the aerotropolis proposal for Lambert/St. Louis airport will spark beef exports from Missouri to China, it turns out that, due to current regulations and agreements with the Chinese, beef cannot be exported.

CATO Examines the Price of a Ratings Downgrade


The federal government's debt may soon be downgraded by major credit rating agencies. What would that mean?

The video above is a good introduction to the ramifications of the S&P downgrade of our debt rating from AAA to AA+.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#Aerotropolis: A Case Study in Political Patronage and Legislative Logrolling

Show-Me Daily: Aerotropolis Kingmaker “Fix” Isn’t Much of One:
The Missouri Watchdog has just posted an updated version of the special session legislation [see  embedded document below]. The kingmaker portion of the bill has been changed and, instead of cutting out the kingmaker portion altogether, it appears that the bill’s drafters have wrapped a bureaucratic maze around the provision in an effort to tamp down untoward use of executive power.


I applaud the bill’s drafters for their attempt to add some transparency to the process of awarding warehouse construction tax credits. However, the new language doesn’t actually address the fundamental problem: The Mayor of Saint Louis and county executives would still be gatekeepers to up to $300 million in state tax incentives.
The reality is that warehouses that are economically viable will be built, so incentivizing the construction of new warehouses with tax credits is not necessary except as a political payoff. The bureaucracy envisioned by the Kingmaker "Fix" underscores the patronage that our logrolling legislators in Jefferson City have engaged in. By manufacturing a bureaucratic process around Mayor Slay and County Executive Dooley in choosing "Gateway zones", our legislature has wisely reasoned that the hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked for more warehouses needs oversight.

But 18,000,000 square feet of available warehouse space constructed before the legal concept of "Gateway zones" was fabricated begs the question: why are local zoning laws now insufficient for new construction?
Special Session Draft Bill

Missouri Sales Tax and Wal-Mart Same Store Traffic Signal Weak Economy

Missouri News Horizon posted the short video above of State Budget Director ‪Linda Luebbering talking about lagging sales tax collections in Missouri. That news dovetails with a confidential Wal-Mart memo that disclosed that same store traffic had fallen 2.6% in the February to June period.

Ed Martin Roundtable

On Wednesday evening Ed Martin (R) held a roundtable in west St. Louis county for entrepreneurs, innovators, and other business owners. Martin spoke for a few minutes about the economy and the devastating impact of President Obama's regulatory state. He then took questions from the audience.

About twenty people attended the event including Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum. Schlafly endorsed Ed Martin, who is running for Congress in Missouri's new 2nd Congressional District, in early July.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Special Interests Maneuver for #Aerotropolis Tax Authority, Revenue

...this legislation would allow city and county executives appoint a three-person board to oversee millions in special tax revenues. That board could impose a special tax on the warehouses receiving the Aerotropolis subsidies, and then would oversee how those tax revenues are spent. Of those special tax revenues, 50 percent would go to the St. Louis airport. But the other 50 percent would be given to a “tax-exempt regional economic development association or associations…” The three-person board would select which association(s) would receive the money.
This, too, represents increased political power. The chief executives of Saint Louis and nearby counties will be in a position  to appoint the people who determine what agency gets part of those special tax revenues. Nothing in the Aerotropolis legislation would prevent them from appointing individuals who have a vested interest in where those special tax revenues go.
Interestingly, it seems that the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA), the organization that pushed hard for the Aerotropolis tax credits, is a “tax-exempt regional economic development association.” There are others, such as the St. Louis County Economic Council. It appears that these organizations could qualify for the Aerotropolis special tax revenues. Awarding a steady stream of tax revenue to organizations that argued for the legislation that created that tax revenue is exceptionally poor public policy.

Meanwhile, Missouri Watchdog is reporting: "A draft of a bill for the upcoming special session expected in September is now being circulated." I wonder what, if any, changes have been made...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Map: Which States Give or Take More Money from the Federal Government


The Economist: America's fiscal union: The red and the black:

SOME American states receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes; others receive less. Over twenty years these fiscal transfers can add up to a sizeable sum. From 1990 to 2009, the federal government spent $1.44 trillion in Virginia but collected less than $850 billion in taxes, a gap of over $590 billion. But relative to the size of its economy, Virginia derived a smaller benefit from America’s fiscal union than states like New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia, where the 20-year transfer exceeded 200% of their annual GDP.

Click through to see a complete state-by-state list of federal revenues versus federal spending.

"‪The Spending is Nuts" Wins the Power Line Prize

Power Line: The Winner of the Power Line Prize Is… Justin Folk:

"When I first heard of the contest, I found it hard to believe that anyone would put up such a great prize to offer creatives a chance to dramatize the debt crisis. Most people don’t want to think about debt or the dangers it holds. Wars and environmentalism have attracted most of the attention of creative people in our culture–and not usually for a good result. But when you consider what debt can do and has done to nations throughout history, we’d be fools to not recognize our country’s solvency as the single greatest issue we face today. In my piece, I wanted to not just show how bad the problem is- which is in itself a noble effort since 15 trillion is hard for most to comprehend–but I sought to convey how we got to this point, and our choices moving forward."

The "Squirrels" video is appropriate for liberty minded folks of all ages.