Weekend off

May 30, 2015

hammock nap day off

Didn’t have time to post yesterday, and this weekend has turned into a busy, albeit thankfully productive one. So, I’m declaring a “weekend blog holiday.” Enjoy the late spring weather, folks, and, if you need some reading material, check out the fine sites in the sidebar on the right.

Normal service will resume Monday. smiley cool hey babe

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Recycled: 2035 Himalayan Glacier Claim

May 28, 2015

Amazing. This claim was totally debunked, yet the Green Cultists are pushing it again. They must think the public has the memory capacity of an ant, or something.

Watts Up With That?

Himalayas

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Alarmists are busy recycling old debunked climate claims, in a desperate effort to build up momentum for the upcoming Paris climate conference.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald;

Glaciers in the Everest region could shrink at least 70 per cent or even disappear entirely by the end of the century as a result of climate change.

Researchers in Nepal, the Netherlands and France have studied weather patterns on the roof of the world and then created a model of conditions on Everest to determine the future impact of rising temperatures on its glaciers.

“The worst-case scenario shows a 99 per cent loss in glacial mass … but even if we start to slow down emissions somewhat, we may still see a 70 per cent reduction,” said Joseph Shea, who led the study.

The IPCC, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to…

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Los Angeles: union hypocrisy on parade #RaiseTheWage

May 27, 2015
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Union economics adviser at work

You have to love the moxie of these racketeers: demand a economically nonsensical minimum wage, $15 per hour, and then, when the city is about to implement it, demand an exception for union members because business owners have threatened to do the logical thing: cut jobs.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Labor leaders, who were among the strongest supporters of the citywide minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are advocating last-minute changes to the law that could create an exemption for companies with unionized workforces.

The push to include an exception to the mandated wage increase for companies that let their employees collectively bargain was the latest unexpected detour as the city nears approval of its landmark legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

Let’s review a basic lesson in economics, shall we, from another progressive, heavily unionized city:

Like I’ve said many times before: the laws of economics cannot be repealed by legislative fiat. Raise the cost of labor, and businesses will be faced with a choice from among four options — pass the costs on to the consumer; reduce labor costs by cutting hours or whole jobs; eat the costs and accept lower profits; or cease doing business in that jurisdiction, either by moving or closing shop. Ritu Shah Burnham may have loved her business, or she may have hated it. But, regardless, she’s come to the conclusion it isn’t worth staying in business in Seattle. She isn’t the first, and other small businesses in other progressive cities have made the same choice.

Apparently Rusty Hicks understands economics better than the Los Angeles city council and realizes he stands to lose union (dues-paying) jobs when the minimum wage goes up. So, he wants the freedom to negotiate a lower wage, more in line with economic reality. Fine. He’s pursuing his members’ interests.

How odd that he doesn’t want to allow that same freedom to all workers and business owners.

Afterthought: There is actually a sneaky benefit to this for the unions, besides preserving jobs. If unions can negotiate lower wages, there would then be an incentive for non-union businesses to unionize. That would lead to more union jobs and more dues coming into the union’s coffers. Oh, Rusty. You sly dog, you.

via Michael Strain


Move over, Nicolas Cage; Hillary Clinton is the real “Lord of War.”

May 27, 2015
"Obama loan officer at work."

Clinton Foundation staff at work

No, there’s no direct evidence that reveals bribery or other corruption, but the pattern of large donations to the Clinton Foundation occurring roughly at the same time as the Clinton-lead State Department awarded favorable decisions to the donors is pretty suspicious. Maybe not a “smoking gun,” but definitely a lot of shell casings lying around.

Which is fitting, since it seems Hillary was one of the most accommodating arms-dealers on the planet:

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.

The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.

Now, I’m not one of those who’s squeamish about selling arms to unsavory governments; sometimes the interests of the United States will make this necessary in pursuit of a greater goal. This happened a lot during the Cold War. And let’s not forget the Great Progressive, FDR, sold untold amounts of arms to Stalin, one of the true monsters of history, in order to defeat Hitler in World War II. The needs of foreign affairs and war often make for strange bedfellows.

But, somehow —call me “crazy!”— I don’t think FDR’s Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, was taking note of Russian gold going to the “Hull Foundation” while shipping planes to Uncle Joe.

Let this sink in:

In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.

There’s much more at the IBT article. Be sure to read it all.

By any standard of public decency and good government, Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be running for president. She should be hiring defense attorneys to represent her (and Bill!) in a federal bribery investigation.

But, I suppose it’s too much to expect the leading and sole serious candidate for a major party’s nomination to be held to the same rules as the rest of us. Especially under Obama, and especially when it’s a Clinton.

via The Washington Free Beacon

Related: Why am I not surprised? Read all about Bill Clinton’s “shell corporation.” I can almost hear the money-laundering machines whirring away. (h/t Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt newsletter)


(Video) Should the US be the world’s policeman?

May 26, 2015

It’s a question that’s vexed Americans ever since the end of World War II, when maintaining the world order fell to us after the exhaustion and devastation of the European Great Powers. In the following video, The Wall St. Journal’s Bret Stephens answers this question in the affirmative because, in his view, the alternatives are much worse.

For what it’s worth, as an admitted foreign policy hawk, I tend to agree with Stephens.

via Prager University


Government-Subsidized Third-Party Payer Is a Great Recipe to Make a Sector of the Economy More Expensive and Less Efficient

May 25, 2015

It’s had the same pernicious effect on college education costs as it has in the health sector.

International Liberty

What’s the most effective way of screwing up a sector of the economy? Since I’m a fiscal policy economist, I’m tempted to say that bad tax policy is the fastest way of causing damage. And France might be my top example.

But other forms of government intervention also can have a poisonous effect. Regulation, for instance, imposes an enormous burden on our economy.

Today, though, we’re going to look at how subsidies can result in costly distortions. More specifically, using examples from the health sector and higher-ed sectors, we’re going to see how “third-party payer” is a very expensive form of intervention.

We’ll start with the example from the healthcare sector. Writing for the Institute for Policy Innovation, Merrill Matthews has a must-read article about an unintended consequences of Obamacare.

He starts with a very sensible point about the effect of third-party payer.

Health care actuaries will tell…

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(Video) National Popular Vote and the attack on the electoral college

May 25, 2015

vote03

The Electoral College is one of the more obscure features of our government, yet it plays a crucial role: it elects the president, not the popular vote. When people in a state go to the polls, they’re really voting for slates of electors pledged to a particular candidate. The electors have traditionally honored the voters’ wishes (with the occasional individual exception for a protest vote), but the fact remains that they could choose someone other than “the People’s choice.” It also means that, occasionally, a candidate could win enough electoral votes to win the presidency while not winning the overall popular vote, as happened in 2,000 in the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

The fact that the winner of the popular vote might not win the race has annoyed a lot of people, especially on the Left (1), and they have proposed something called the “National Popular Vote,” a compact among the states comprising 270 electoral votes (the number need to win) to award them to whomever wins the national vote, regardless of individual state results. Not surprisingly, given the source, this represents an end-run around the system established in the Constitution, rather than an honest attempt to amend it.

In the video below from Prager University, attorney and author Tara Ross explains how the Electoral College works, why it was set up this way, and why NPV is a very bad idea:

Footnote:
(1) Because, you know, the Electoral College is “unfair!” “Unfairness” meaning “I didn’t get what I want!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)