Friday, December 27, 2013

Let's Protect Canadian Cheese !!

I've been going through some old stuff that I've saved for a few months and came across this gem of an essay that run in Industry Week a while back. 
The United States sugar industry has been protected (for various, ever-changing reasons) since the James Madison administration in 1816
Remember that when you get to the part about artisan Canadian cheese-makers ! 

This is good stuff.  From an economist named Brian Beaulieau

Canada and the European Union are on track to ratify a free-trade deal in 2015. Leaders in both countries expect the deal to be approved without a lot of resistance. The deal, called CETA, would eliminate tariffs on goods and provide for greater access of services both ways across the Atlantic. Some regulatory dismantling would also occur. Free trade with less regulation in Canada and the EU – that's great news if you are a cheerleader for the free market.

The estimate is that this deal would increase the current EU-Canada trade volume of €80 billion (aprox $109 billion) a year by 23%. Consummation of CETA would also mean that Canada is the only Group of Eight nation to have preferential access to the US and Europe, the two biggest consumer markets in theworld.

The European Commission estimates that up to a quarter of the economic benefits will come from eliminating regulatory barriers to trade. Reducing barriers sounds like a terrible idea to protectionists or to uncompetitive industries, but it fosters competition, efficiencies, and in the end, results in economic gains for consumers.

There's an old joke that I love that goes "If you don't go to other peoples' funerals, they won't go to yours." 
But seriously.....  If your citizens aren't allowed to buy other countries' goods and services, those countries aren't going to buy yours.  Protectionists just don't get it. 

There are those who would prefer that the protective barriers would continue. Canada's cheese industry is one such group. They state that Canada will lose its small, artisan local cheese makers as Europe's name-brand makers have easy access to their market. This is exactly the protectionist versus free market point. These small Canada cheese makers are not seeing the potential of access to a huge market; they fear that superior goods will take away market share.

The free market answer is to improve your quality and marketing and compete on a larger stage. If the local cheese makers truly produce an inferior product, why should they be protected from those who are better at their trade? The reality is most will probably improve their process, product and positioning, and in doing so be better entities because of this. That's the beauty of the free-market system; it pushes participants to new heights.

Go here to read about the Florida's Fanjul family and their (protected) sugar empire.  God has more competition than they do. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Why ObamaCare is different from Obama's other thefts

There was little or no major outrage over Cash For Clunkers. 
There was some outrage over The Porkulus Package, but not much.
Nobody gave a damn about Solyndra, or LightSquared, or the Detroit giveaways. 

But now that Obamacare has hit the mailboxes, Obama's popularity is taking a nose-dive, his congress-critters are deserting him, and he has to keep doing executive action fixes to the thing.  People are pissed!

Why?  All of these programs gave to the wealthy at the expense of the middle (and the not-so-middle).  What makes Obamacare different? 

You have to go all the way back to Fred Bastiat to understand what's different this time....
In the economic sphere an act, a habit, an institution, a law produces not only one effect, but a series of effects. Of these effects, the first alone is immediate; it appears simultaneously with its cause; it is seen. The other effects emerge only subsequently; they are not seen; we are fortunate if we foresee them.

That's from "Things Seen And Unseen". 

Everybody saw the new cars from the Cash For Clunkers program.  Everybody saw the factory down the street get new overhead doors with their Porkulus check.  Everybody read the Green Energy bullshit about how Solyndra and Lightsquared would one day bottle all known fairy farts and successfully power our homes. 

Nobody got a bill for the cars that were destroyed. 
Nobody got a bill for the pork. 
Nobody got a bill for the Crony Capitalist green boondoggles. 

Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have to pay for that stuff, and they can't vote yet.

Obamacare is different. 

The bill is in the mail, mofo's, IF you are lucky enough to still have insurance.  There ain't a free lunch.  Almost all insurance has gone up, and the fools who advocated for this disaster are, in many cases, the ones who are also having to pay for it.  Pass the Kleenex. 

Of Obama/Pelosi/Reid had stuck to traditional methods and put it on your baby's bar tab (or simply printed it), Obama would still be flying high. 

Hope this explains things. 

You're welcome. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ski Mississippi

I'm still getting over a cold/the flu/an upper respiratory infection/AIDS.  Or something. 
Obama's on vacation in Florida and hasn't been able to screw up anything. 
Congress isn't doing anything. 
The White House keeps fiddling with "the law of the land", rather than take the consequences of writing the legislative drivel known as Obamacare. 
Not much else happening.

So here's a rerun....   I sent this in to Delta Magazine on a Sunday night back in 2011, and they accepted it Monday morning.  One of my favorite Christmas memories.  If my father sounds like a great person, it's because he was. 

Merry Christmas, everybody !!
I can only remember one white Christmas from my Mississippi Delta childhood. Not because of the snow, which was the largest we’d ever seen, not because the snow was particularly beautiful on our plowed-under rice fields, which looked like someone had sprinkled a thin layer of white sugar on a Mississippi Mud Cake, but because of how my father decided to celebrate the snowfall.

He took us snow skiing.

The Mississippi Delta is flat and snow skiing requires a hill. Our nearest hills were the on-ramps for the I-20/Highway 61 intersection in Vicksburg. Eudora Welty once complained that the Mississippi Delta was maddening, and couldn’t imagine spending days with nothing to see but the horizon. (I tell friends about the time my dog ran away, and three days later I could still see him.) It’s flat.

So Delta natives water ski.

My father probably taught two hundred kids how to water ski. During summers for a couple of decades, he tread water in Beulah lake, supporting his students through failed attempts until they “got it” and skied. After each success, he would dog-paddle back to shore with his wet comb-over hanging triumphantly past his left ear lobe, grab something to eat, and then get back in the lake to teach another one.

But when my little brother Steven came along, teaching had become a challenge. Keeping unwieldy skis and someone else’s fat child on top of the water was no job for a 40-year-old. When Daddy saw a pair of “training skis” at a sporting goods store, he bought them.

Imagine a pair of skis, much shorter and wider than usual, connected at the toes with an 18-inch long board. A traditional ski rope and handle went from this board to the skier’s hands. We could tie this thing behind a boat and pull a screaming child all over the lake on the first try. Steven was no more than four years old the first time he got on them, and he instantly got the hang of it.

Back to our White Christmas…. We enjoyed playing in the snow, but we couldn't go into town to see our friends.

After the mandatory snowmen and snow angels, we went inside and dared to say that we were bored. Our mother shot back at us with one of her anecdotes about growing up dirt poor in Yazoo City, and spending her winters sitting in a semicircle with her sisters and spitting on a radiator to see whose saliva would disappear first.

Daddy told us to stop our bellyachin', get dressed for the snow, and come outside. Waiting for us in the rice field in front of the house were the training skis tied to the back of a Massey-Ferguson 1800 series 4-wheel drive tractor.

The Massey Ferguson 1800 series could pull anything. They didn't get stuck, no matter how deep the mud.
We’d long suspected this, but at that moment we knew. We had the greatest… father…. ever.

I got on the skis first, my younger siblings crawled into the cab with Daddy, and we were off. The tractor took off across the frozen field, and I was towed along about 30 yards behind. I could feel every frozen clod underneath the skis, but Lord Have Mercy, it was fun. Once we got up to the cruising speed of 35 miles an hour, it was downright exhilarating.

I could lean back against the rope handle and go wide left or right. When the tractor made a quick turn, it would fling me past the “wake” like a slingshot, and then snatch a knot in my neck when the slack disappeared. The other downside were the unplanned exits from the skis. Hitting frozen mud at 35 miles an hour HURT.

My sisters and brother got their turns, and soon the field had been rutted enough to give us some nice jump ramp opportunities.

(I just got off the phone with my little brother, who is now a history professor at Mississippi College. He remembers us doing this, but was too young to remember details. However, he says that when he sees the "Jackass" show on TV, where a deathproof gang of idiotic males attempt ridiculous stunts and expose themselves to bodily harm just for fun, he thinks to himself, "Yep. That's how we grew up.")

We rode those skis for hours. If YouTube had been around, movies from that day would've been passed all around the world, titled "Mississippi Ski Slope". Why no one suffered a broken leg is a mystery. The gravel road we lived on didn't get much traffic, but anyone who saw us stopped to watch.

There were families who went to Europe that Christmas. There were young Olympians skiing down the Matterhorn. Aspen Colorado was probably swarming with what would soon be called Yuppies, wearing thousands of dollars’ worth of special clothing and equipment.

We were zipping around a muddy field of frozen mud behind a tractor, in the flatlands between Merigold and Drew Mississippi. We wouldn't have traded places with anyone in the world.

Merry Christmas ! It's what you make of it.

Put down this magazine till tonight. Go outside. Find some kids and a field and nail some skis together.

Ski Mississippi.


Monday, December 23, 2013

You MIGHT be an Anarcho-Capitalist

From FEE, the Foundation For Economic Education....

Suppose that there is a household on the border between the United States and Canada. Currently, this household is a part of the United States and is thus subject to all of its laws, regulations, and tax obligations. After years of being subject to U.S. law, this household is finally fed up (perhaps as a result of some recent policy initiative that passed through Congress). Rather than simply accepting the fact that they must live under a new regime they do not like, they phone up the Canadian government and inquire about the costs and benefits of being subject to Canadian law instead.

After careful deliberation, this household decides that it would be much happier as a Canadian household than as an American household. And after similarly careful consideration, the Canadian government decides that they would rather have this household as a citizen of Canada than not. As a result, this household purchases its governance from Canada instead of the United States.

This much, at least, should not be terribly contentious: Governments sell governance and citizens purchase this governance in the form of paying taxes. All that is different in this case is that the border between the United States and Canada is not exogenously defined and, instead, is determined by people shopping for their government without having to move. If this doesn't sound contentious, then you might be an anarcho-capitalist.

Next, assume that the household is someplace in Virginia!! 

Go here to read the whole thing.  It's greatness. 


Nathan Allen calls for higher standards in Climate Change discussion

A Fascist Chemist named Nathan Allen has taken to The Huffington Post to question why all media outlets don't follow the lead of the L.A. Times and Science/Reddit, and simply ban all Climate Change Skeptics from having their voices heard.  Here's a slice:

Like our commenters, professional climate change deniers have an outsized influence in the media and the public. And like our commenters, their rejection of climate science is not based on an accurate understanding of the science but on political preferences and personality. As moderators responsible for what millions of people see, we felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral.
So if a half-dozen volunteers can keep a page with more than 4 million users from being a microphone for the antiscientific, is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages as proficiently?

I hope you'll read the whole thing.  It's a beautiful example of the totalitarian mind at work. 

But to respond to Nathan Allen's question....  Is it too much to ask for newspapers to police their own editorial pages proficiently? 

Here's Al Gore, stating that the Arctic Sea will be ice-free in 2013.   Hit the link. 

Here's one from a couple of years later, making the same claim, but sliding back the deadline by two years. 

Here's the 2005 U.N. Climate Change Refugee Map,  showing the places likely to be underwater by....2010. 

And here's a comparison of the current trendlines and compared to the Climate Change models.  Canada only.  (You can hit the link for more.) 

So yes.  Tighter standards are indeed in order. 
Nathan, how long are you going to keep swallowing this crap? 

This too shall pass

I came down with the flu a few days ago, and haven't felt like writing much.  Or reading.  Or breathing. 

Friday afternoon, I took a pass on my regular doctor, and went to CareNow - one of those Doc In A Box places. 

In and out with a steroid shot and a prescription for some antibiotics.  The visit goes against my deductible, plus a $15.00 copay on my pills.  Altogether, about $212.00 dollars. 

I have no point to make.  Just putting it down here for future reference. 

In the year of our Lord 2013, someone could see a doctor, get a shot, and get a round of antibiotics for $212.00. 

This too, shall pass.