Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Economics of Beer or bE-conomics

I found this on, of all places, a comment to a news article on Yahoo!. It's brilliant! Enjoy and understand...

A small lesson using our favorite American beverage... Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3. The seventh would pay $7. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. (In case this isn't clear, it means that the "bottom" 70% of all citizens pay only 10% of all Federal taxes. Those in the top 10% of earners are paying almost 60% of the bill!)

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes, so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings) The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings). The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant the men began to compare their savings. 'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!' 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!' 'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!' 'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!' The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill! And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction (even though it's the smallest proportional break). Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier. --David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. Professor of Economics, University of Georgia.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Gotta Buy WHAT?!

Now wait just a minute. You're telling me I HAVE to buy health insurance? Really!? But what if I don't want to? What if I don't need it? What if I can't afford it--or I have other priorities? Say I'd rather self-insure; pay as I go? You, my fellow citizen, are going to use the full force and power of the United States government to MAKE me buy health insurance because YOU think it's better for everybody? Who do you think you are? What if I buy it but you don't like the brand I buy or you don't think I bought enough? Will you make me buy more? What's gonna stop you if we open this door?

See, this is pretty extreme stuff. We're talking about the federal government walking into my home (or yours) and forcing me to buy something at the point of a gun. Hyperbole? No! Not really. Because to enforce this little gem they're gonna add 16,000 new IRS agents who will make it their business to verify whether or not you're writing checks to an insurance provider or receiving benefits through your employer or whatever. Then, if you're not, they'll have to have some kind of enforcement mechanism. They might take it out of your tax refund. Or if you owe no taxes or have no refund coming, they'll fine you. If you don't pay the fine they'll doubtless add penalties, fees, interest or whatever, and then, if you still don't buy the insurance or pay the fine, they'll have to attach your bank accounts, confiscate your property or send the police to haul you off to jail. They'll HAVE to or else the law will have no effect. Oh, but THAT would never happen! *wink wink* this cool with you? I mean, you're upset if the government wants to tap your phone if they deem it necessary to stop a terrorist attack. THAT bothers you. Is this any less of an invasion of your personal liberty and privacy? And while only those involved in nefarious activities should be apprehensive about being wire tapped, the healthcare police will now be surveiling EVERYONE to make sure we all have this one product that no one can live without! Or that it's unfair to live without. What?!

I'm a little amazed that so many Americans are yawning about the new, outrageous, unprecedented move on the part of the federal government to force citizens to purchase a product? No matter what the product is or what excuse they have for forcing you to buy it at the point of a gun. If you open this door, what's next? Birth control for people they don't think are fit to have kids? Diet pills for fat people? Dance lessons for the rythmically challenged?

And don't give me the argument about auto insurance. That's a straw man. First, auto insurance is NOT a federal mandate. It is mandated and enforced at the state level. Second, it is mandated in exchange for the privilege of driving as regulated by the several states. Third, you don't have to buy it. You can walk, ride a bike, bum rides, take a cab, or use public transit. You have a choice! And finally, it's clearly in your self-interest to purchase because driving is inherently a high-risk activity that carries a probability that you will, at some point, injure yourself or others incurring a financial liability that could be ruinous--the same kind of liability that drives most people to at least want health insurance.

Finally, the free market--yes, glorious capitalism--left unshackled by overly aggressive mandates, restrictions, and regulations A) has already given us the best healthcare in the world and B) will solve the cost and coverage issues with broader competition, TORT reform, innovative products and smart regulation targeted at specific cost and availability objectives. Comprehensive reform--a politically driven giant step towards the stated objective of a single payer system is not the answer for America. What say ye?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Reaction to 15 Year Old's Abortion in Washington

This is a pretty sad and alarming story. A 15-year old child went to the health clinic at school and received a pregnacy test. When the test was positive, she was immediately "given a pass, put in a taxi and sent off to have an abortion during school hours all without her family knowing." Further, she was told that if she kept the abortion to herself, there would be no cost. Perhaps most alarming of all, this child was a pro-life advocate and her mother stongly objected to the school's handling of the matter, although too late. She was denied the opportunity to counsel her daughter who was undoubtedly confused and afraid at the time--in no position to make such a profound life-changing decision without the benefit of abundant advice. Read the full article here:

Among the comments to the article were those who stated that the state acted appropriately because it has to protect children from abusive parents, and others who maintain that the state had the right to intervene because it will save health care and welfare dollars down the road. Interesting...

Here's my comment on the article:

This is shocking! So, because there's a chance that a given parent might react badly to a child who is pregnant, no other parents have the parental right or responsibility to counsel their children or influence their immature and/or potentially uninformed decisions? This sounds like a presumption of guilt towards parents--the assumption that children will be mistreated and need to be protected from the people who gave them life. (This innocent unborn would have benefitted from similar protection!) What other excuse is there for the secrecy? And how do you justify the bribe..."we'll pay if you don't tell?" Who did pay for this abortion? Who protected this child from the influence of the state that violated her core pro-life values? What kind of psychological, emotional, and spiritual damage is being done to her and her family? Sorry folks. This is an outrageous, upside-down perversion of terms like rights and protection. It's time to grow up, America! Start managing your own lives--and those of your underage children--and stop turning your responsibilities over to "the state."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Great news! Job losses continue...only slower!

You gotta love this! Here's a classic example of the kind of lollipop liberal logic that is dragging America down to ruins: I got this amusing market update from JobBait yesterday:

Hi Bruce,

Our Job Market Report was updated today for the State trends by Industry. Here are a few observations:

Nationwide employment growth has been improving for the last 7 months. We're still losing jobs, but the losses are getting smaller. This is analogous to being sick - the fever broke 7 months ago and we're getting better, but we are not "well" yet. You can look at this two ways: 1) we're still sick, or 2) we're getting better. Both are true. It depends on whether you see the half-empty or half-full glass of water.

If improvements continue at this rate, the nationwide employment growth rate will be positive by this Summer and we will be adding jobs.

Mark Hovind

Ha! What are these guys smokin'? Sincerely? Gimme a break! Here's my response:


I don't know who you are, but that BS behind your name is well-deserved. How do you justify positioning the slowing of job shrinkage as “growth?” There is no growth rate. Or, I guess if you insist on using the term growth, it’s still a NEGATIVE rate. In other words, nothing is improving—it’s just that the rate of decline is slowing. Be ye an optimist or a pessimist, the glass is still getting emptier. The fever is still climbing albeit at a slower pace. The patient is getting sicker, not better. If "improvements" continue at this rate, the patient will DIE! Plain and simple.

Honestly, you sound like a lacky for the Obama Administration. Here's a hint: Just report on the numbers. Somehow, we'll figure it out from there. When the net job loss rate shrinks to zero and we start ADDING new jobs back into the economy, THEN you can say the fever has broken and we're getting better. On your website you promise to shoot straight. Live up to it!

B. Ackerman

Now, I don't know this guy from Adam. Apparently, he's some kind of Executive Employment Coach. I'm sure he's just trying to put an encouraging word our there for his clients and followers. But this is the kind of lollipop logic that is fruit-flying the country! The twisted, anti-capitalist economic policies of the United States stink like rotting potatoes. They are ensuring our demise by lifting up corrupt and bloated government over and above the creative ingenuity of individual, self-interested, free and independent people. The Federal government, in particular, is the pathogen not the cure to our employment and economic ills.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Seasons of Home

Born among the children of the flowers
The spring of life seems safe in the womb of family love—
But too soon the changes come.
Secretly unsettled in a world of shifting illusions
Like the tiny craft unshackled from its moorings
Set adrift on a quiet, seething sea;
And the chasm widens silently.

Innocent childhood gives way
To the summer of turbulent youth
Unbridled and unsure;
Uncommon and unappreciated;
Unconventional and alone.
Summer colors darken as storm shadows fall
Making sure-footed pathways disappear beneath--
As the brush strokes begin.

Summer swelters and the uncompassed artist
Seeks respite—the cool, comforting breezes
Of family and home. He cries out, but there is no wind
To carry his voice. No echo in the smothered air.
Only a mother’s constant, unconditional affection
Breathe fleeting whispers of comfort
As the bottle and brush become
The roof and door.

But even summer’s homeless torment fades as
As a new season beckons from a distant shore.
Palm trees and manatee replace the moose and pine;
White sands, the snows of crusted peaks.
Somehow, the storm tossed craft innocently,
Unexpectedly drifts home.

Early autumn cat-birds the
Work of spring breathing new life!
Youth’s tempestuous passions transform as
The certainty of love settles in.
Images enliven as home and occupant possess each other
Feeding the mind’s fertile eye and
The spirit’s generous wit.
Life’s canvass emerges in resplendent view
With a bold new pallet of deep and vibrant, soul satisfying color.

But autumn’s Indian summer fades too soon and leaves begin to fall.
At first almost unnoticed and finally as a torrent from a cloudless sky.
Winter’s whistling winds chill the air and still the artist’s brush.
But the certainty of spring looms evermore as the wanderer
Travels Home.

In loving memory of the triumphant life of The Artist Kip (Ackerman)
March 23, 1960 - February 19, 2010