The Claremont Institute guys provide LJ with hours of entertainment.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The Claremont Institute guys provide LJ with hours of entertainment.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
And I'm not pointing to this because it's funny. It's just so incredibly lame.
Monday, May 23, 2005
And it's not just because LJ is a big tipper. It's the democritization of credit! The democratization of money! I think everything should be democratized. Why didn't mankind think of this idea earlier, say, 2,000 years ago? Man, these modern financial innovations (collectivized banking and monetary system) really do eliminate scarcity and generate massive wealth!
Sunday, May 22, 2005
They say never sell America short and with good reason. Any country whose equity market has been able to crank out 6.8% real returns annually over the past century stands as a formidable obstacle for any speculator willing to bet the "don't come" line. The odds of winning a long-term wager laid against the U.S. "house" have been about as bad as heading out to the track and betting on your favorite color of jockey silks. Even when the bear gets his facts right, the timing and the wait often spell his doom; the "house" has more chips, especially a house with reserve currency status like the U.S., so a wager must be done prudently in order to conserve capital for that prospective rainy day.The Gross forecast on the U.S. economy:
Our point on the "Pump" then, is to suggest that in combination with a globalized free trade-based economy exhibiting a surfeit of cheap Asian labor, it will be difficult to generate U.S. inflation higher than our current 3% even if interest rates fall further. If 3% inflation is all we can get from the past 5-years' asset inflation, it's hard to believe that we get more from what's left. The potential to reflate via interest rates is nearly over. We draw the same conclusion for Euroland and Japan. Japan, of course, is the primary example of how 0% nominal yields can fail to generate any inflation whatsoever, is it not? Continued disinflation not reflation, then, will rule our fragile future kingdom, with the potential for 1-2% CPI prints in most years between 2006 and 2010 throughout much of the global economy. Readers may remember our past few years' Secular Forum descriptions of the tug-of-war between disinflation and reflationary forces. We have proclaimed a winner based on our observation of massive fiscal and monetary global stimulation described above, the limited inflationary response, and the lack of further ammunition. Long live our disinflationary King.Calling Cards House review http://www.pimco.com/LeftNav/Late+Breaking+Commentary/IO/2005/IO+May-June+2005.htm
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Much of the outrage has been focused on Rev. Chandler's position, or implicit suggestion at any event, that one party is more godly than another, or that it is more godly to support President Bush than the Democrats, and that true Christians will be found in one camp and not the other. Democrats have seen this as yet another example of the ongoing conservative assault on them as "godless Libs" and a growing "American Taliban" or "Jesus jihad." The critics' main thrust has been to maintain, and argue for, a separation between religion and party affiliation, to uphold the view that one can be a good Christian and be either a Democrat or a Republican.Read the rest and read Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God Is Within You.International Phone Cards
However, there is another view that is, well, more extreme, and that is that a "Christian" does not participate in, or uphold, the state at all - either as politician, soldier, policeman, member of a jury or as a voter. This view is based on Christ’s teachings, and has support in writings of the early Church fathers. In somewhat more recent times this view was passionately advanced by the Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy. His argument why a Christian does not rule, and why rulers are not Christian, is excerpted below.
In what follows it is important to recognize that what Tolstoy means by "Christian" is one who acts in accordance with Christ's teachings, not one who knows or believes that he has been saved by the blood of the Lamb, the latter apparently (judging by the phenomenon of warmongering "Christians") being a solipsistic, perhaps narcissistic, pre-occupation that appears to have little, if not an inverse, correlation to the actual practice of Christ's teachings. I can only surmise that Luke 6: 46 is not much propounded from the pulpit, or read for self-instruction.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Why? The positive case is that, over time, laws are least bad and oppressive when they are closest to the people. In these conditions, we are more likely to experience government by the people. If that is not the case, smaller units of government permit people to move from one jurisdiction to another, and the competition between units drives the whole system towards greater liberalization. Capital and labor flow to areas that permit more liberty, even as despotic jurisdictions drive away new wealth and talent.I recall a few bloggers running their lips about how Wal-Mart's strategy is to set-up on the edge of towns to drive business away from traditional downtown establishments. Well I can't speak to Wal-Mart's strategy, but I can tell you for certain that cities in California want retail commercial development on the edge of town in hopes of enticing consumers from neighboring cities to stroll across municipal lines and drive up taxable sales. If the sale is made there, a trickle of the tax revenue returns there from the State of California . . . eventually. Notice this revenue stream has NOTHING to do with municipal service demands. You see, even if we were to take government provision of public goods seriously, we would still have to conclude that local government is a miserable, miserable failure. International Phone Cards
We see this in local governments all the time. Neighboring towns frequently compete with each other on the rules by which the residents live. It can be a small matter of the local sales tax which can cause a business to locate on this instead of that side of the tax jurisdiction. Zoning laws can drive companies and developers from one town to another.
Of course, I'm guessing Masugi doesn't really want to carry his argument to its logical conclusion. Why stop at the state level for trade restrictions? Why not the county? The municipality? The private neighborhood organization? How about each man decides what the heck he wants to buy and sell? If he did, he'd have to come out in favor of secession and anarchy! Bring on self-government!
How do I donate money to the "local liberty" institute?
If you borrow $350,000 with an interest-only mortgage that carries a fixed rate of roughly 4.8% for the first five years, here's what you will pay:
-The monthly payment on the loan would be $1,403 during the initial period.
-Even if interest rates don't rise, the monthly payment would jump to $2,008 after five years.
-If rates jump by two percentage points instead, the monthly payment would jump by 73% to nearly $2,500.
In California, where home-price growth has been sizzling, interest-only loans accounted for 61% of the mortgages taken out to buy homes in the first two months of this year, up from 47.1% in 2004 and less than 2% in 2002, according to an analysis prepared for The Wall Street Journal by San Francisco researchers LoanPerformance, a unit of First American Corp. Just 18% of California households can afford to buy a median-price house using a conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to a report issued this month by the California Association of Realtors.
In another report issued this month, mortgage strategists at UBS AG called the shift to ARMS and nontraditional mortgage products such as interest-only loans 'symptomatic of...the end of the housing cycle. The thing that all of these loans have in common is that they allow homeowners to buy a more expensive home than they could have qualified for with a 'traditional' loan.
Since 1990, income for the median American household has risen only 11% after adjusting for inflation, while median household spending has jumped at 30%, according to an analysis by Economy.com. How could the typical family afford to spend so much? Median household debt outstanding has leaped 80%.
Despite the dicta of old sages, many economists--led by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan--see the expansion of credit to lower-income families as a sign of progress. Some speak of the "democratization" of credit. In an April speech, Greenspan said that in colonial times through the late 19th Century, only the affluenct had access to credit and raters were high. In the early 20th century gasoline companies and retail stores started issuing credit cards, but cards didn't spread widely until the late 1960s when banks piled into the business. Now, Mr. Greenspan says, "innovation and deregulation have vastly expanded credit availability to virtually all income classes.
The funniest strategy: purchasing a house on interest only or ARM and then recruiting your friends to pay your rent so you can afford to make the mortgage payment. Disaster waiting to happen. International Phone Cards House review
Monday, May 16, 2005
"Through violence you may solve one problem, but you sow the seeds of another." -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Saturday, May 14, 2005
I've been spending a lot of time listening to Jay-Z lately. The Blueprint is my favorite when throwing the hardware around at 24 Hour Fitness. When jumping the speed rope, I tend to favor the Jay-Z/LP album.
More importantly: Is the movie fueling the recent popularity spike in Pinot Noir? Come on, people, Pinot Noir?
Oh yeah, I went to a wine tasting the other night in CDM. All Spanish wine and tapas. I think you can tell a lot about a woman by her taste in food and wine. For starters, it's good to actually have taste.
Thank a cop? For what? Driving around town looking for people to pull over?
UPDATE: More Malkin insights here. You do realize that most gangs organize and thrive as a result of non-market institutions, right? I think the point you are missing is that gang crime does pay.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
What do you think? You heard it here first . . .
Greenspan has to be one of the biggest failures ever produced by the free market movement. You do realize that, without the Fed, none of the government's massive programs of destruction -- both of life (military destruction) and wealth (redistribution) -- would be possible on this scale?
Probably true, but is that a reason to be upset with the guy?
Monday, May 09, 2005
In the homeland, meanwhile, prices are still going up - especially in that Mecca of the absurd and extravagant, Las Vegas. Prices of residential real estate rose 47% last year. And Donald Trump reports that every one of the 1,282 units in his 64-story hotel/condo are already reserved by buyers - despite the fact that not a single shovel has yet hit the sand. So many other high-rise projects are being discussed that builders are talking of the "Manhattanization" of the desert city - with skyscrapers full of luxury condos all up and down The Strip. If anyone knows why people would want to live in Las Vegas, he does not work here at The Daily Reckoning headquarters. Still, the city attracts 5,000 new residents every month.If anyone knows why people would want to live in Las Vegas, he doesn't know what he's talking about. My guess is that the Vegas residential market will be one of the hardest hit in the crash, considering most of the population depends entirely on tourist spending to support their living. Hello, recession! Goodbye, Vegas tourists! Did you know Vegas generates more revenue off retail commercial development than casino gaming? It's true. Calling Cards Drug tests Alcohol tests
Sunday, May 08, 2005
As for wristbands, I, myself, had been rockin' at least 5 wristbands, including the LiveStrong that is now the Gold Standard. At the moment, however, I just have two, baby blue "Cultivate Peace" wristbands -- one on each wrist.
I look good.
Of course, Trump says we don't even have a bubble!
Damn, that kid is funny. Who did he learn this from?
My response: if you think that's how government operates you really need to get a clue, brother.
Same goes for all you "Washington, D.C. Libertarians." Leave the swamp immediately.
That's right, folks, Jordan brings in more money than FAT SHAQ and he's 5 years removed from the league.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
It's beautiful stuff. I like to call it a Tuscan-themed home.
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