Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From The Junk Drawer

(You knew I'd use it sooner or later, didn't you, Gentle Reader?)

1. The Graciousness Of Our Public Servants.

Say, remember Nancy Pelosi's "Are you serious? Are you serious?" response to a citizen's request for the Constitutional authority behind ObamaCare? Do you remember saying to yourself, "That's it, we've hit rock bottom?" Well, there's a new anchor man on the contempt-for-the-public curve:

Infowars correspondent Dan Bidondi approached Miller and other lawmakers at the Rhode Island State House where a slew of anti-second amendment legislation was set to be heard later that evening.

“The second amendment shall not be infringed, you people need to understand that,” Bidondi told Miller.

“Go fuck yourself,” Miller responded as he smiled, before one of his staffers repeated the insult.

According to another individual who was with Bidondi, Miller repeated the “go fuck yourself” jibe a further two times after he was told “the majority is outside”. Miller had previously asserted that the majority was inside when speaking to a pro-gun control audience.

Yes, it really happened. Play the video if you don't believe it.

2. Political Tactics.

Consider these snippets collected by Nice Deb about the rallies outside the Supreme Court as it entertains the Hobby Lobby religious-freedom case:

OUTSIDE THE COURT: A banner case like Hobby Lobby brings out an array of advocacy groups, and presents a tough marketing problem: How do you distinguish your organization from your allies, let alone your opponents?

OUTSIDE THE COURT II: The women’s rights groups are carving up one end of the color spectrum (Planned Parenthood Federation of America activists are wearing pink hats, Naral Pro-Choice supporters are using purple.) Some of the religious liberty campaigners are using green for the “Religious freedom is everyone’s business” signs but there’s also a competing “Repeal the HHS mandate” placard doing the rounds in red (and a conservative group, Women Speak for Themselves, is trying to take back pink in their placards.)

OUTSIDE THE COURT III: While we’re talking about messaging: Americans United for Life coined the #TEAMLIFE hashtag we mentioned earlier, and that’s just one of the Twitter plugs being offered on that side of the plaza. Meanwhile, UltraViolet, a new-on-the-scene women’s rights group, is using a variation on a tried-and-tested abortion rights message designed to appeal to libertarian-leaning voters: “No bosses in my bedroom.”

The passions being stirred by this contest are unmistakable -- and on the Left, unmistakably political. Note the attempt by UltraViolet to cloud the issue by presenting the case as a "women's rights" controversy, as if anyone were attempting to constrain women's bedroom behavior. This is, of course, part and parcel of the Left's overarching "Republican War on Women" theme.

Tactics stand front and center here. The pro-life groups are doing it right, with one exception: insufficient attention has been given to the opportunity to turn the "War on Women" theme against the Left. The mandatory coverage of contraceptives and abortifacients embedded in ObamaCare is one of the reasons the cost of medical insurance has risen beyond the means of many female-headed households. Why no one is pressing that motif upon the public remains a mystery.

3. "The Eighth Wonder Of The World."

Baron Philippe de Rothschild said that of compound interest. Albert Einstein concurred. Business Insider highlights what that means for our retirements:

In the good ol' days, young Americans went to work for an employer who would promise a comfortable retirement in the form of a pension plan — that is, a defined benefit plan.

Today, it's increasingly become the responsibility of the worker to put money away for retirement in the form of a 401(k) plan or an IRA — that is, a defined contribution plan.

The goal of this post is not to explain the mechanics of retirement plans. Rather, we want to show you the importance of saving sooner than later.

It all comes down to one elementary mathematical principle: compound interest.

Compound interest occurs when the interest that accrues to an amount of money in turn accrues interest itself. It's the deceivingly simple force that causes wealth to rapidly snowball. This is why it's the concept that is at the core of all finance.

The folks at JP Morgan Asset Management demonstrate the true power of compound interest in their 2014 "Guide to Retirement."

Their example consists of three people who experience the same annual return on their retirement funds:

  • Susan, who invests $5,000 per year only from ages 25 to 35 (10 years)
  • Bill, who also invests $5,000 per year, but from ages 35 to 65 (30 years)
  • And Chris, who also invests $5,000 per year, but from ages 25 to 65 (40 years)

Intuitively, it makes sense that Chris would end up with the most money. But the amount he has saved is astronomically largely than the amounts saved by Susan or Bill.

Interestingly, Susan, who saved for just 10 years, has more wealth than Bill, who saved for 30 years.

That discrepancy is explained by compound interest.

Virtually no one appreciates the full power of compounding. It's why the Social Security Ponzi scheme, which seizes and squanders the funds with which we could capitalize on compounding, is such a complete disaster.

Funds paid into the Social Security "Trust" Fund are immediately borrowed and spent by Congress. By law, those funds must be either paid out to current beneficiaries or used to purchase U.S. Government Bonds -- federal debt instruments. Thus, the immense payments we're making into the "Trust" Fund only add to aggregate federal debt; they don't compound as genuine savings do, but rather as a debt does: the amount to be repaid (by distant generations, if ever) increasing from minute to minute.

How's your "trust" in Washington doing lately, Gentle Reader?

4. While We're Speaking Of Debt...

...have a look at this radically interesting article by Paul Rosenberg of Freeman's Perspective:

What if your grandfather had gone on a wild spending binge, long before you were born, and put himself millions of dollars in debt to people who knew he could never pay? Would it be your obligation to work double-shifts all your life to pay that debt back? And if you died before paying it off, would it become your baby’s obligation?

I think most of us would answer those questions with a resounding “No way!” As well we should. We are not and should not be slaves to the past – slaves to actions we never took and for which we had no possible means of consent.

On September 6th, 1789, in the very first year of the US Constitution, Thomas Jefferson endorsed precisely this conclusion in a letter he wrote to James Madison:

I say, the earth belongs to each of these generations during its course, fully and in its own right. The second generation receives it clear of the debts and encumbrances of the first, the third of the second, and so on.

For if the first could charge it with a debt, then the earth would belong to the dead and not to the living generation.

He wrote the same thing to John Wayles Eppes twenty-four years later, in June of 1813:

The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead.

To lay debt upon the unborn is thoroughly immoral. To try to enforce such a debt is thoroughly criminal.

Rosenberg is, of course, speaking of the "national debt:" the trillions of dollars borrowed to fund Congressional profligacy in the service of vote-buying and bloc-maintenance. Please read the whole thing. Try your best to refute it -- not on legal but on moral grounds. I'm having a rather hard time with it.

5. Come On, You Global Warming!

Quite a number of Americans have been chanting something akin to that lately, at least along the Atlantic Seaboard, which has suffered unusually low temperatures and severe winter weather for several months. Indeed, even at better times it's seemed to be that "global warming," if it were actually happening, would be a boon. Warmth, after all, is energy, and Man can always find a use for more of that. But the warmistas, their political allies, and the Amen chorus in the Main Stream Media will have none of that. Too many rice bowls could be overturned by the mere suggestion.

Fortunately, today we have the World Wide Web:

A new study by the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change shows that the benefits of a warming earth will outweigh any costs incurred.

The new report summarizes scholarly research published as recently as January 2014 on the impacts, costs, and benefits of climate change. Hefty chapters summarize thousands of peer-reviewed studies of the impact of rising levels of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas produced during the burning of fossil fuels – on plants and soils, agriculture, forests, wildlife, ocean life, and humankind.

The authors find higher levels of carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures benefit nearly all plants, leading to more leaves, more fruit, more vigorous growth, and greater resistance to pests, drought, and other forms of “stress.” Wildlife benefits as their habitats grow and expand. Even polar bears, the poster child of anti-global warming activist groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), are benefiting from warmer temperatures....

The authors look closely at claims climate change will injure coral and other forms of marine life, possibly leading to some species extinctions. They conclude such claims lack scientific foundation and often are grossly exaggerated. Corals have survived warming periods in the past that caused ocean temperatures and sea levels to be much higher than today’s levels or those likely to occur in the next century....

Rather than continue to fight what is most likely a natural and unstoppable phenomenon, the authors call for adopting new energy and environmental policies that acknowledge current market and environmental realities. Such policies would encourage economic growth as the foundation for a cleaner environment, responsible development and use of fossil fuels until superior energy sources are found, and repeal of many of the regulations, subsidies, and taxes passed at the height of the man-made global warming scare.

The cited study can be found at this site.


SiGraybeard said...

Francis, there's a fatal flaw with the savings aspects that I'm fighting myself. That flaw is to go compare the yield if the different savers with the effects of inflation. Real inflation, not the crap that the hands out (famously not including food or "energy" (I would argue they're the same thing in different tanks)).

Of course it's best to start young. And it's better yet to increase your contribution every year and save for your entire working life (all of the scenarios I've ever seen ignore this). Where do you invest to get better than the DJIA, which has been falling (inflation adjusted) since 2000? Bonds, when the stated purpose of QE is keep bond yields lower than the market would support without them buying our debt? Both of these are losing money.

As long as we have a fiat currency managed to protect the banks and to focus money (=power) in DC, they have the power to wipe us all out with press of a key on keyboard. Increasingly, it looks like they plan to address debt by inflating it away.

In the 1970s I used to say that by the time I had a million dollars it would be worth about $20,000. That's actually looking like a pretty decent prediction.

Russell said...

1. This is why these politicians are fighting so hard to remove guns from the citizen. They want to move on from just being suggestive to being able to inflict their whims whenever with fear of retaliation.

Savings? I lost more out of my 401(k) in the past 4 years than I've been able to put in. This year I stopped putting money into it. Screwing my tinfoil hat, I predict that shortly Congress will seize all savings. All of them. For the public good, of course.

Anonymous said...

"No bosses in my bedroom"...I thought we were supposed to stop calling people "bossy"? And, forgetting the fact that everyone will soon have free contraception and no one is telling anyone what to do in their bedrooms, is attempting to stop genocide REALLY being bossy? Were the anti-Nazis "bossy"? Were the abolitionists "bossy"? Some would say yes, but then, they lost their respective wars, and with it, their voice in history. Let's hope the same can be said of the baby murderers someday soon.

That reminds me, are women's libbers "bossy"? HMMmm...


Weetabix said...

Damn Alexander Hamilton, anyway!