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October 06, 2011

DOOM: Every day I have the blues


RIP Steve Jobs. Jobs was a man who can honestly be numbered in the ranks of the world’s great industrialists/captains of industry. I disliked his monomaniacal effort to turn Apple's digital world into a "walled garden", but I admired the hell out of his uncanny ability to create whole markets nearly out of thin air, and to ruthlessly out-compete his adversaries. In an industry where razor-thin margins are the norm, Apple was able to carve out 10% profit margins on a regular basis. Much of the modern electronic landscape looks the way it does now because of Steve Jobs and Apple.

War on the young: Greece exiles the future. Walter Russell Meade asks, "Do welfare states always end by eating their young?" Given the evidence so far, the answer is yes. And the young 'uns so far are going rather placidly to the slaughter.

The government pisses away more of your tax dollars chasing the green unicorn.

Harry Reid: Squeeze those rich bastards! SQUEEZE THEM! How dare they presume to have a lot of money! The gall! But, er, leave me and my friends alone because we use our money for stuff Democrats like.

The Greek people sit down and calmly and rationally decide how to deal with their financial crisis. Hah! Just kidding. They're striking and rioting again. Because they've had so much success with that tactic in the past, I guess.

Apparently, Peter Orszag is not a fan of John Lee Hooker’s “House Rent Blues”.

Occupy Wall Street? I don’t know what to say about this collection of layabouts, ne’er-do-wells, professional agitators, hippies, yippies, academics, naive college kids, stoners, boners, groaners, red-diaper babies, trust-fund socialists, idiots, idjits, fidgets, New Age freaks, anarchists, union thugs, post-modern relativists, lookie-loos, journalists, and random stupid people. Additional commentary simply seems unwarranted -- listent to them yammer, shake your head, and go about your (productive) business. Think of it this way: if these people had something more important to do or somewhere more important to be, they wouldn’t be standing around in the middle of a workday shouting nonsense.

Some rare good news: Obama finally ratified a pending free-trade agreement with South Korea. (And this is good news in spite of the “lost jobs” moaning from the usual suspects.)

It’s something I’ve noticed myself for many years: in modern cinema, the bad guys are always the businessmen and industrialists while the good guys are always the public-sector folks -- cops, firemen, D.A.’s, FBI agents, and so on. Why is that? Yes, there are exceptions (Iron Man, Batman) but not many. And what about the dearth of war movies based on our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan? The few that we have gotten are lefty fantasies of US perfidy; the single good combat film (“The Hurt Locker”) was well-received but drew no imitators. The siege of Fallujah and Ramadi would make for an excellent combat film, but so far...nothing. Compare this dearth of film with past wars -- even the hated Vietnam war spawned hundreds of movies and television shows.

Rhode Island court asked to overturn ruling that pension benefits are a contractual right. I doubt the courts will do it, however necessary it will be, especially in a deep-blue state like RI. Still, money that can't be paid out, won't be, regardless of what the courts decide.

John Tamny at RealClearMarkets applies the concept of "Schumpeterian destruction" to the jobs market rather than industry itself.

[T]he paradoxical truth is that the fastest path to true job creation is one that seeks to reduce labor costs through job cuts.

To understand why, we must remember that all jobs are a function of investment. Investment is first and foremost attracted to profits, so when philosopher kings talk up their plans for creating jobs, they're missing the essential point that investors seek commercial situations where companies can produce as much as possible with as little in the way of labor costs as possible.

The Bank of England liked our QE party so much they decided to throw one of their own.

Annals of the boned: California's wild ride.

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posted by Monty at 08:43 AM

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