Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Germans Hoarding Cash

"Don't look now, but there's something funny going on over there at the bank, George. I've never really seen one, but that's got all the earmarks of being a run."
--Ernie Bishop (It's a Wonderful Life)

Interesting article on the increased tendency of German citizens to hoard cash. Particularly as banks begin charging fees on deposits, Germans are yanking cash out of banks and keeping it at home or in deposit boxes. Sales of safes are soaring.

This is a predictable consequence of NIRP.

Also some interesting tidbits on German tendencies related to cash. Roughly 80% of German retail transactions are in cash, nearly double the US rate. Cash is preferred to plastic. "Only cash is real" goes the saying.

Germans keep more cash in their wallets and visit ATMs more often. They withdraw about $250/visit compared to about $100 here in the US.

Cash is favored for its anonymity. Because Nazi and Cold War regimes featured secret police and government snooping, today's Germans have inherited a healthy mistrust of EU proposals to ban cash transactions in favor of digital (and more traceable) monetary transactions.

Activists are demanding that the existence of cash is guaranteed by the German constitution.

Coming soon to a shore near you...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Above and Beyond

"Gentlemen, whenever you have a group of individuals who is beyond any investigation, who can manipulate the press, judges, members of our Congress, you are always going to have in our government those who are above the law."
Nico Toscani (Above the Law)

Have to agree with this guy. It does seem amazing that a serial lawbreaker can still be running for president this far into an election cycle. Equally amazing are the numbers of people willing to look the other way in order to get her elected.

Truly, the ends seem to justify the means in some people's eyes.

Also an indicator of just how far off the rails we've gone.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Obamacare's Meltdown

"Well, we're not in the middle of nowhere. But we can see it from here."
--Thelma Dickinson (Thelma & Louise)

Ron Paul discusses the socioeconomic meltdown that is Obamacare. He captures the gist of the problem here:

"Government has no legitimate authority to take money from taxpayers to fund healthcare or any other type of welfare program."

Healthcare is not a right. In order for people to consume healthcare services that they did not earn, others must be obligated to provide those services. In socialized medicine, that obligation is enforced by the strong arm of government.

As RP notes, this does not mean that a safety net is not a good idea for providing healthcare for those who cannot provide for themselves. But, to be durable, that safety net must be voluntary, and could be patterned after charitable institutions in place prior to the advent of socialized medicine.

Because Obamacare is far away from a peaceful solution to a social problem, it is destined to run off the cliff that it is hurtling toward.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mr Rogers History Lesson

Strange voices are saying
What did they say?
Things I can't understand
It's too close for comfort
This heat has got
Right out of hand

Hadn't heard from Jim Rogers in a while. Here he explains what he's doing to position himself ahead of the next market catastrophe. Rogers has been an outspoken commodities bull but barely mentions them here outside of gold. Instead he discusses 'special situation' country markets such as Russia and Nigeria. And currencies.

He thinks China will come under more pressure the next time down due to its increased debt load. He also thinks that US markets are a short as they have yet to come down like other markets have.

Great quote on history: "The main lesson of history is that nobody knows the lessons of history."

position in SPX

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Recession Probability

So hold on
Here we go
Hold on
To nothing we know
--The Motels

JP Morgan estimates the probability of a recession within the next 12 months to be 37%--the highest odds since the beginning of the present 'expansion' in early 2009.

Eyeballing suggests that the last recession spawned by credit collapse commenced right around this level of estimated probability.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Favor for Sale

Say that you'll never, never, never need it
One headline, why believe it?
Everybody wants to rule the world
--Tears for Fears

Evidence continues to mount that Hillary Clinton and her hubby have been huge sellers of political favor over the past decade or so. While the multi $100 million size is eye opening, that they have been sellers shouldn't be a surprise. Whenever government is capable of redistributing resources from some for the benefit of others, then markets for political favor will thrive.

As noted here, the solution is not to try to restrain the buyers of political favor. Whatever the rules might be limiting campaign contributions et al., those seeking to gain political favor will find a way to purchase it.

Instead, the solution is to prohibit government from forcibly taking property from some for the benefit of others. Then and only then would politicians have nothing to sell. The market for political favor would at that point be shut down.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pension Put Selling

They gave you life
And in return you gave them hell
As cold as ice
I hope we live to tell the tale
--Tears for Fears

A predictable consequence of eras of financial repression is that investors will seek out riskier sources of yield. Pension funds, for example, unable to earn large enough coupons from traditional fixed income vehicles, are now resorting to put selling to earn income. 

As long as prices stay elevated, then the 'free money' comes tumbling in. However, when prices fall, then risk becomes reality and losses mount as those who are short puts must cover at higher prices.

At some point, stretching too far for income in this environment will sever people from their capital.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Welcome Robots

C-3PO: Is there anything I can do?
Luke Skywalker: Not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest, or teleport me off this rock.
--Star Wars

Another nice contribution that counters the robot fallacy. One particularly noteworthy quote: "Simply put, jobs that robots can replace are not good jobs in the first place."

The author also observes that capital seeks to destroy low productivity work in favor of work that produces more output/hr. That more wealth per unit of human exertion, not less.

He also notes that in 1962, JFK worried about "how to maintain full employment at a time when replacing men."

Technology always creates more jobs than it destroys. Since JFK's question, US employment has nearly tripled.

Automation increases focus on the strengths of human capital: intelligence and flexibility.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ball and Chain

"These walls are funny. First you hate'em. Then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized."
--Ellis "Red" Redding (The Shawshank Redemption)

Welfare chains people to poverty.

More people snapping on the leg irons by the day.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Swimmer Lies Matter

Drawn into the stream
Of undefined illusion
Those diamond dreams
They can't disguise the truth
--Level 42

Right on cue after yesterday's post.

Only swimmer lies matter, it seems.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lying Down

We're so sorry, but we haven't heard a thing all day
We're so sorry, Uncle Albert
But if anything should happen
We'll be sure to give a ring
--Paul McCartney

Was thinking during my morning workout about the media's double standard regarding lying. Gallons of ink are spilled over the lying of an olympic athlete but the 'short circuiting' of the truth by a presidential candidate is virtually ignored.

Then saw this am tweet from Johnny Bench:
Right on, JB.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mechanical Slaves

Kyle Reese: There was a nuclear war. A few years from now, all this, this whole place, everything. It's gone. Just gone. There were survivors. Here, there. Nobody even knew who started it. It was the machines, Sarah.
Sarah Connor: I don't understand.
Kyle Reese: Defense network computers. New, powerful, hooked into everything. Trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decide our fate in a nanosecond: extermination.
--The Terminator

Fears escalate about the "robot fallacy"--i.e., that robots will take over the world of work. Some good rejoinders here. Robert Samuelson reviews the history of the misplaced fears of technological unemployment and notes that robots are merely the most recent chapter in the drama.

Prof Boudreaux adds that not only do robots not threaten long term unemployment, but they improve productivity and prosperity.

Prof McCloskey might state it best, "The repeated alarms against robots are silly, since robots are merely mechanical slaves for our benefit."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Productivity and Monetary Policy

Get back
Get back
Get back to where you once belonged
--The Beatles

Productivity in the US is declining. Peter Schiff explains why (Bill Gross also gets it). Central bank policies have been driving depletion of savings. Without savings, there can be no capital. Without capital, there can be no investments that improve output per worker hour.

Output per worker hour is the way productivity is commonly defined.

How to rebuild the capital stock thru savings? Raise interest rates, which provides a signal that capital is in demand.

Rates do not have to be risen artificially. Central bankers merely need to step away from the interest rate lever and let the markets determine where rates should naturally be.

We can be certain, however, that markets would raise them...substantially.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

CO2 and Global Greening

Vera Prescott: I hate trees. They suck up all the oxygen.
Brantley Foster: Actually, trees produce oxygen.
Vera Prescott: Who are you, Mr Wizard?
--The Secret of My Success

Research findings suggest that higher atmospheric CO2 levels have facilitated greening of the planet. It is well known that higher CO2 levels increase plant productivity and growth. Part of the productivity gain relates to reduced plant water requirements which improves efficiency.

Meta-analysis of over 1700 measurements collected from 21 sites found a positive correlation between ambient air CO2 and soil moisture content. Moreover, the effect was greater in drylands than in wetlands, Considering the inherent water limitations in drylands, additional soil water availability brought about by higher CO2 levels should be a driver in increased vegetative greenness.

These findings are supportive of comments made on these pages about the robustness of nature to a wide range of circumstances.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Multi-Gen Households

Carl Fox: I don't get it. You get a scholarship to NYU. You made thirty five thousand your first year and fifty grand last year. Where does it all go?
Bud Fox: 50K does not get you to first base in the Big Apple, Dad, not anymore. Look, I pay 40% in taxes. I got rent of $15,000. I got school loans, car loans, food, park my car costs me 3 bills a month. I need good suits, that's $500 a pop, shoes...
Carl Fox: So come on home and live rent free instead of that cockroach infested place you live in. Fifty thousand dollars. You know I made $37,000 last year and that was before taxes. Jesus Christ, the whole world's off its rocker.
Bud Fox: It's Queen's, Dad. And a 5% mortgage and you rent the top room. I gotta live in Manhattan to be a player, Dad. There's no nobility in poverty anymore, you know. One day you're gonna be proud of me, you'll see.
Carl Fox: It's yourself you gotta be proud of, Huckleberry. How much you need?
Bud Fox: Can you spare three hundred? Pay you back next month, promise.
--Wall Street

Article posits that high debt, under/unemployment, and helicopter parents are encouraging large numbers of young adults to live at home with their parents. While these factors certainly play roles, the article ignores the possibility that more people realize socio-economic value by operating multi-generational households.

For instance, older generations can teach and care for youth. Younger generations can care for aging parents and grandparents. Young adults can save and build capital to degrees that would not be possible if they were out on their own.

The social stigma about adults living at home with parents has not always existed. It was not long ago when three generations commonly lived under the same roof. Of course, it was often the case that young adult children would move out and aging parents or grandparents would move in.

Regardless, perhaps the stigma associated with multi-gen households is once again cycling lower.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Politics Decivilizes

In violent times
You shouldn't have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really, really ought to know
--Tears for Fears

Statists like to think that government brings civility. Without government, society would deteriorate into chaos.

It is precisely the opposite.

Political action involves violence and force via the strong arm of the state to get what one wants. Violence and force are the essence of de-civility. As the state grows, chaos beckons.

Those seeking civility in human affairs would be wise to shrink the state in favor of peaceful and voluntary transactions.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Negative Yielding Debt

Drawn into the stream
Of undefined illusion
Those diamond dreams
They can't disguise the truth
--Level 42

ZeroHedge reports that negative yielding debt now exceeds $13T worldwide. Who's buying? Institutions and asset allocators that must buy bonds regardless of yield, perhaps. Also folks who are risk averse but see no other 'safe' options.

More likely buyers, however, are momentum traders. They don't care about the coupon. They care about the direction of bond prices. As long as prices are going up, bond traders are long.

And leveraged...

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fire and Division

Judah Ben-Hur: He gave me water, and the heart to live. What has he done to merit this?
Balthasar: He has taken the world of our sins onto himself. To this end he said he was born, in that stable, where I first saw him. For this cause, he came into this world.
Judah Ben-Hur: For this death?
Balthasar: For this beginnning.

This week's gospel comes from Luke 12:49-53. The majority of the passage is as follows:

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three..."

I can imagine some big double takes in the crowd as Jesus spoke those words. The shock value carries thru to today. Here is the Prince of Peace stating that he has come to divide the world. Even families would split. How does it square?

Christ came into the world to deliver Truth. He knew that many did not want to hear Truth as it conflicted with their views of the world. Moreover, there was a large group of people who had a vested interest in lies and deception. The message of Truth would upset the Establishment and its idea of proper 'social order.'

Jesus realized that the 'baptism' for his efforts would be death, as the division that he would foster would ultimately cost him his life.

Of course, he could have sought to be politically correct. He could have toned down the rhetoric and done things to keep him in good standing with the Establishment. Had he done so, however, he would not be able to generate the tension necessary to open eyes to the Truth.

Had Christ opted for political correctness, the world would have been lost.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cultural Marxism

Love is hard to find
In the church of the poison mind
--Culture Club

Original Marxist theory posited that its centerpiece communist revolution would have economic roots. The working class 'proletariat,' being denied economic prosperity by the ruling class 'bourgeoise,' would rise up in arms to release the socioeconomic pressures accumulated thru class conflict.

In the early part of the twentieth century, Marxists believed that if war broke out in Europe, then that would be the spark to ignite the revolt.

That didn't happen. Marxists were forced to revise their theory. They proposed that the working class didn't rise up in revolution because they had been blinded by the successes of democracy, capitalism, and other Western institutions. Until those institutions were first put down, a communist revolution was not possible.

In the 1920s, prominent Marxist thinker Georg Lukacs proposed a program of 'cultural terrorism' to erode Western conceptions of family and social morals. His program included 'education' for children that would encourage them to deride and reject Christian ethics.

At a conference in Frankfurt, Germany, Lukacs ideas resonated with a wealthy Marxist named Felix Weil. Weil liked the idea of complementing classical Marxist theory of economically motivated revolution with Lukacs' cultural angle. He decided to fund a new Marxist think tank called the Institute for Social Research which subsequently become known as the 'Frankfurt School.'

In the 1930's, the Frankfurt School began incorporating ideas from Sigmund Freud. In classical Marxism, the workers of the world were oppressed by the ruling classes. In the modified theory, the working class was unable to rise up on its own because everyone in society was psychologically oppressed by Western culture. New vanguards were needed to take down that culture and spur change.

Around this time, the rise of the NAZI party was making it uncomfortable to be Jewish Marxists in Germany--which many members of the Frankfurt School were. As such, the faculty moved to New York City and set up shop at Columbia University.

Now that the Frankfurt School had gained a presence in a bastion of Western culture, it went to work publishing and advancing fundamental works of cultural Marxism, including:

Traditional and Critical Theory. Authored by early Frankfurt School director Max Horkheimer in 1937, the title is a play on words. The idea: criticize every pillar of Western culture--family, the Constitution, liberty, common law, etc, and hope that the criticism causes the pillars to crumble.

The Authoritarian Personality. Authored by a group of Frankfurt School refugees who landed at Berkeley in the late 1940s, the book redefined American views on gender and sex as 'prejudice' and compared them to traditions that led to the rise of fascism in Europe.

Frankfurt School theory became grounded in Freudian-flavored psychological repression. The theory split society into two groups: the oppressors and the victims. History and reality, the theory argued, was shaped by the groups that controlled the traditional institutions (code for white males of European descent). Social roles of men and women at the time had been defined by the 'oppressors' and could be changed if the oppressors could be taken down.

Eros of Civilization. Authored by Herbert Marcuse in 1955, It argued that Western society was inherently repressive and called for 'polymorphous perversity,' which included the idea of seeking sexual pleasure outside of traditional norms. The book helped shape the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Marcuse would be the one to answer a question posed by early Frankfurters: Who would replace the working class as the vanguards of the Marxist revolution? Marcuse believed that it would be a victim coalition of minorities: blacks, women, and homosexuals.

The social revolution of the 1960s offered Marcuse a unique vehicle for releasing cultural Marxist ideas into the mainstream. Piggybacking the black power, feminist, gay rights, and sexual liberation movements and railing against all things establishment helped the Frankfurt School's ideas to be embraced on college campuses across America.

Marcuse's Repressive Tolerance was published in 1965. It argued in classic Marxist upside down fashion that tolerance of all values and ideas meant the repression of the 'correct' ideas. Marcuse called for 'liberating tolerance' that tolerated all ideas coming from correct sources (e.g., the Left) but none from incorrect sources (e.g., the Right).

An overarching theme of the Frankfurt School became total intolerance for any viewpoint but its own. Parenthetically, these pages have discussed this phenomenon on several occasions, e.g. here, here, here, here.

It is straightforward to construe that cultural Marxism courtesy of the Frankfurt School has, over the span of a half century or so, shaped popular perceptions of America as a divided, animosity filled nation, There is certainly seems to be some explanatory power here.

It is also interesting to ponder the extent to which the cultural Marxist movement has been endogenous vs exogenous in nature. Stated differently, is cultural Marxism a natural progression of social development (per Marx's original conceptualization), or must it be force fed to a culture by nefarious agents? 

Perhaps some of both. Because socialism is oxymoronically anti-social in that it runs counter to natural tendencies of people to pursue their interests and cooperate peacefully, it would seem to require a litany of sequentially connected rationales that enable the ideology to advance in practice. When one flavor dies out (e.g., economically-oriented Marxism), another flavor (e.g., cultural Marxism, 'watermelon' socialism) takes its place. Cultural Marxism can be seen as merely another rationale, perhaps even a predictable one, concocted by socialists that keep their ideology alive.

On the other hand, because the folly of socialism becomes increasingly evident as chaos endpoints inevitably approach, people are likely to throw it off in search of better designs. To stem its rejection, socialism, including the cultural Marxist brand, requires an deep pool of dedicated external agents--such as those hailing from the Frankfurt School.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Prehistoric Economy

"What is this mania you have with telling the truth? You must have been weaned on sodium pentathol or something."
--Fred Flintstone (The Flintstones)

The always insightful Jim Grant offers several nuggets here. I particularly enjoyed this remark related to negative interest rates. He notes that researchers Homer & Sylla could find no instances of negative interest rates in 5,000 years of human history. Driven by recent central bank policies, however, there are now nearly $12 in bonds effectively yielding below zero.

Grant asks, "If these are the first sub-zero interest rates in 5,000 years, is this not the worst economy since 3.000 BC?"

In what ways might the answer to his question be "yes"?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Obamacare's Continued Unraveling

Flirtin' with disaster
Y'all damn sure know what I mean
You know, the way we run our lives
It makes no sense to me
--Molly Hatchett

Predicting the negative consequences of Obamacare was straightforward. Higher costs and prices, capacity leaving the system, lower quality, less availability...not to mention adverse selection in the insurance pool.

While all are in motion, the most evident one currently is price. Insurance premiums have been rocketing higher. The so called state insurance exchanges, where enrollees can connect with state-sponsored insurers, have been collapsing. All major insurers claim that they are losing money on the exchanges.

That means another year of premium hikes ahead. On average, annual insurance premiums are forecast to increase 9% in 2017 although the jump in some states will be much higher.

The solution proposed by Democrats including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton? More taxpayer funded advertising to increase public awareness. That's right, people just don't understand it yet.

Propaganda rarely reverses train wrecks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Engaging in Politics

"A shepherd must tend his flock. And at times, fight off the wolves."
--Reverend Oliver (The Patriot)

Politics can be seen as activities associated with gaining control over the strong arm of government for personal purposes. Many people are likely to refrain from engaging in political process. Politics will be seen by many as a non-value added activity, a distraction from what they are interested in doing. Moreover, for those opposed to the use of aggressive force to get one's way, they will likely refrain from political process for ethical reasons.

However, there are some who like the prospect of employing strong armed government agents to advance their interests. These are the people who are likely to engage in political process at an early date. Particularly when political issues are decided by democratic vote, then these political activists hold a distinct advantage. They can marshal majority votes much easier when those who are disinterested in political process stay away from the polls.

Only when forcible intrusion by government challenges preference for liberty will those who dislike politics get involved in the process. Because preference for liberty varies among individuals, we should expect the engagement of those previously disinterested in politics to be gradual--perhaps taking many years or even decades.

Meanwhile, the early activists have gained a distinct edge, having wrested the strong arm of government in their favor. The late engagers are behind the curve. They have done nothing wrong, but their liberty is now being forcibly compromised and they lack political sophistication for reversing their condition via government.

Unless the late engagers are able to peacefully gain control of the political process and reclaim their liberty, then pressure builds in the system for them to forcibly defend themselves.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hostile Cash Environment

At night
When you turn off all the lights
There's no place that you can hide
--Miami Sound Machine

From a personal finance standpoint, I continue to struggle with how much cash to hold. In a vacuum, my preference right now would be to hold a lot of it. High levels of cash provide financial flexibility and freedom. Unanticipated expenses are easy to deal with and economic resources can readily be brought to bear when opportunities arise.

However, it is difficult to imagine a more hostile environment toward cash than the present one. Foolish policies such as NIRP suppress returns on cash deposits far below market, essentially serving as a tax on savings. Risks being taken by banking institutions are far above market. All nations on this planet are printing money to 'solve' fiscal problems.

Extrapolating the current trajectory of this monetary madness leads to the conclusion that the value of cash will continue to decline at relatively 'modest' rates until people catch on to what's going on en masse.

When that occurs, then no one will want cash and we get hyperinflation as people unload dollars like they were hot potatoes. Prices of everything, including hard assets perceived as alternative 'stores of value' for traditional cash, skyrocket.

Needless to say, holding large cash balances in such an environment would be an ill-advised strategy.

It is that scenario, which seems increasingly likely given the foolish policies pursued by policymakers worldwide, that tempers my enthusiasm from building large cash positions. It also keeps me siphoning off more cash than I otherwise would in favor of hard assets such as gold.

position in gold

Monday, August 8, 2016

Respect for Individuals

Welcome to your life
There's no turning back
Even while you sleep
We will find you
--Tears for Fears

Prof Miron explains that a primary difference between libertarians and statists (i.e., progressives and conservatives) is respect for individual decisions. Libertarians believe that individuals should be free to make their own decisions without forcible interference from others.

Progressives and conservatives believe that there are situations where others, via the strong arm of government, must intervene in individuals decisions. Stated differently, statists do not believe in the sovereignty of the individual.

Miron's observations translate into the central principle of libertarianism: that of non-aggression. Aggression, or offensive force applied directly by an offender or indirectly thru contracting with strong-armed government agents is always wrong. Wrong from both a moral and a utilitarian perspective.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


I can't stand this indecision
Married with a lack of vision
Everybody wants to rule the world
--Tears for Fears

Always ironic when a politician with a questionable record declares someone else unfit to hold political office.

Matthew 7 and John 8 come to mind...

Rhetoric that once again adds to, rather than subtracts from, divisiveness.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Identity Politics

Tom Duffy: You know, I'm trying to remember if the Democrats have ever nominated an atheist before.
Paul Zara: Well, we know they've nominated a jackass before.
--The Ides of March

Identity politics is the practice of making political arguments and decisions based on one's appearance, persona, or affiliation rather than on careful, well-reasoned thought. Identity politics emphasizes image over substance.

Basic demographic characteristics such as race, nationality, gender, age, religion, and wealth level can form the basis for identity politics, as can affiliation with particular organizations such as political party, military, or school.

Identity politics can be seen as an expression of social identity theory where people seek to enhance their self-esteem by connecting with some groups and disparaging others.

It can also be seen as a product of fast thinking which seeks to render judgment quickly and effortlessly. Because fast thinking dominates human thought process, we should expect that identity politics to be a popular, perhaps the most popular, approach to politics.

Because of the mistakes in judgment that result from fast thinking, we should also expect identity politics to be wrought with the bias and error associated with assuming that What You See Is All There Is.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Equal Pay for Equal Work

"I'm not gonna spend the rest of my life working my ass off and getting nowhere just because I followed rules that I had nothing to do with setting up. OK?"
--Tess McGill (Working Girl)

Jeff Tucker discusses the original meaning of 'equal pay for equal work' during the original feminist workplace movement of a century ago. Unlike today's meaning, which encourages government to inject force into the system, the original meaning was motivated to take force out of the system.

Back then, laws had been passed that limited the work that women could do. For instance, nearly all states had passed laws that restricted daily working hours for women (e.g., not before 6 am and not after 10 pm). Other laws limited the number of hours that women could work in a day (e.g., 9) or in a week (e.g., 50). Some welfare-oriented laws even compensated women for not working in favor of staying home and raising children.

One organization that fought these discriminatory practices was the Women's Equal Opportunity League, centered primarily in New York. The League sought to repeal or impede legislation that prohibited women from competing with men on an equal basis in the labor market. The League even fought against a women's only minimum wage. "Such a bill, affecting women only," the League observed, "purportedly for their benefit, would really be a serious handicap to them in competing with men workers for desirable positions."

The goal of a century ago was to get government force out of the labor market for the betterment of women workers.

Ironically, the modern feminist workplace movement seeks to put government aggression back into the labor market. Should it occur, it will be to the detriment of women workers.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Paper Trail for Guns

[in Spanish] "Go to the sporting goods store. From the files obtain Forms 4473. These will contain descriptions of weapons, and lists of private ownership."
--Col Ernesto Bella (The Red Dawn)

In the original film The Red Dawn, there is a scene where the Cuban-born head of local invading forces instructs his subordinates to head to the sporting goods stores and look for the records that indicate who owns the guns in town. Knowing who those people were, of course, would make it easier for the invaders to anticipate and counter resistance.

Currently, the feds have access to gun ownership info. By law, however, they can use that info for statistical purposes only and must destroy identifiable information such as names and addresses.

A new GAO report, however, finds that the feds, specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is not adhering to this policy. As Judge Nap observes, this constitutes another situation where this lawless administration has broken the law.

It is easy to construe where this brand of lawlessness heads under particular heads of state.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Stocks and Elections

Don't get suspicious
Now don't be suspicious
Babe, you know you are a friend of mine
And you know that it's true
That all the things that you do
Are gonna come back to you in your sweet time
--Steve Miller Band

Table shows the pattern between market performance in the three months preceding a presidential election and whether the incumbent party was able to hold on to the Big Chair. Up market, incumbent party usually wins. Down market, incumbent party usually loses.

We can be certain of this: The current administration understands this relationship and will do all in its power to keep the pattern going.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Localism and Anarchy

When it gets too much
I need to feel your touch
--Bryan Adams

Opposite of nationalism and globalism is localism and anarchy. Localism is the policy of treating one's local area as the proper sphere of political influence. It is marked by preference for products and decisions made in nearby areas. However, rather than being isolated from surrounding communities, localities become inextricably linked, primarily through trade, in order to procure resources to advance prosperity.

Anarchy is localism to the extreme. Anarchy is self rule--people governing themselves. It is marked not by people turning inwards in some anti-social manner. In fact, people must interact routinely in order to survive and prosper.

As anti-federalists and others have long recognized, localism and anarchy are antidotes to statism. The more localized the government, the smaller the state power and the greater the social power.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Railroading Prices

Seven, that's the time we leave, at seven
I'll be waiting up for heaven
Counting every mile of railroad track
That takes me back
--Doris Day

Nice video here that demonstrates the value of market prices in efficiently allocating economic resources and the futility of seeking to 'plan' an economy without prices.

Central planners suffer from what Hayek termed the 'fatal conceit.' They believe that they can know what is in the minds of millions rather than rely on market prices that instantly and everywhere reflect that diverse knowledge.

This hubris drives centrally planned economies to chaos.