Silber on Stiglitz

Sigmund “Sig” Silber is a New Mexico writer and economist who makes it a habit to report on economics, water, water law and government.  He is recognized as an expert on New Mexico water issues and he has a great sense of humor … sometimes with a dark cutting edge.

He has given me permission to publish his “stuff,” on my blogs.

Sigmund Silber <sigmundsilber@q.com> wrote:
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/politics-of-economic-stupidity-by-joseph-e–stiglitz#AL36G2Abwt15dk7V.99

He has won a Nobel Prize. But I have to disagree with him to some extent.

Yes for sure austerity policies are stupid. They are based on some false assumptions about debt especially when money can be created out of thin air. But even without that, one person’s debt is some other person’s asset so debt is overrated……until you get to the point where you can’t pay the interest. If you have a central bank that is never a problem. As an aside, Europe has its own particular issues which are addressed quite well in this article econintersect.com/a/blogs/blog1.php/stratfor-the-european-union-nationalism

But I certainly am not disturbed that we have fewer public-sector employees. In fact I am elated. In New Mexico we may have insufficient state and local employees. That is because we are a very large state with generally a low population density. But there are far too many Federal Workers. This data may be out of date or wrong but if correct it indicates that in 2009 the average Federal Employee earned $81,258 with $41,791 of benefits. Thus the Federal Bureaucracy is a tremendous drain on the economy. econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog2.php/2015/01/19/killing-the-american-dream And the Federal Government does not attract the best and brightest that is fairly obvious. Fail anywhere in society private or state and local government and off you go to the Feds for a nice sinecure.

The recommendation that we build roads to nowhere also does not impress me. Based on my research, which I suspect is as good as Stiglitz’s research or better, in developed nations infrastructure investments are not very effective at improving the economy. The n th road does not produce the same benefit as the first road. I wonder how you can not know that and still win a Nobel Prize. Infrastructure is usually based on major inventions. Has Stiglitz read Schumpeter? It might be a good investment of his time. Major paradigm shift innovations do not occur on a regular schedule. Chances are there will be some soon. Chances are the public sector employees that Stiglitz loves so much will slow their deployment or prevent their deployment entirely. Why do we not have automated highways or vehicles that drive themselves? It is not a deficiency of engineering expertise; it was public sector employees. Why does it take twenty years to get a new drug approved? Public Sector employees.

I think our problems are more complicated than Stiglitz thinks. But he has the Nobel Prize. And it is tax free. I suspect the reason for this article was shopping around for political clients. I am just speculating on that but that is how it struck me.

But for sure you do not improve an economy by extracting purchasing power from the citizens in the economy. So there I totally agree with Stiglitz. On the other hand, redistribution is a strange concept based on the probably correct assumption that some are more likely to spend than others but countered to some extent at least by the equally correct assumption that spenders are less likely to invest. In the olden days, investment was considered more effective than consumption at improving an economy. Does redistribution encourage innovation and investment? Is Europe doing better than the U.S.? How about Russia? To me it seems that a disrespect for private property is a negative for an economy growing. But Stiglitz may not be thinking about redistribution but simply helicopter drops. In fact neither is discussed in the above linked article but I am speculating that this is on his mind.

I agree with Stiglitz that it is not wise to deflate economies as the World has been doing. But I do not agree with his Marxist/Sayian/Reaganist/IBM Supply Side strategies. To have demand you have to produce things that people want badly enough to exchange labor for those things whether they be products or services. It is very difficult to mandate demand other than by draconian policies. One could mandate that every house have an outside outhouse. That will stimulate demand. Would the World be a better place? GDP would be higher.

Perhaps we have sufficient toys.

Yes with a helicopter drop of currency, sales of toys would increase. Is that progress?

Would more bridges improve things? Keeping bridges from falling down is certainly a good idea. One can call that investment and account for it as investment but it really is maintenance. There is no impact on the economy other than the spending associated with doing the maintenance. Those receiving the payment for their services are better off but the overall wealth of the nation does not change.

I think it is an old fashioned concept as applied to a developed nation. That is not to say that there are no infrastructure opportunities. There certainly are. But I think Stiglitz has made an incorrect diagnosis in that area but a correct one re austerity policies.

Sometimes one just has to wait for demand to materialize especially in developed nations. In less developed nations we need to avoid garroting their economies. I think that Stiglitz and I probably see monetary policy in the same light in this regard. But again time can solve a lot of problems. And in some cases growth is generational.

Errors of Enchantment: “Education Group,” wants to kill innovation and competition

We are thankful to Mr. Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation for permission to post this article from Errors of Enchantment.

“Education group” wants to kill innovation and

competition

Posted by – March 18, 2014 –

I rarely laugh out loud at Albuquerque Journal headlines, but I did this morning. The headline was “Education Group Protests SF Contract.” What a euphemism! The National Education Association (NEA) is not concerned with “education.” It’s concerned with getting more money out of taxpayers. It does as all government employee unions do: by convincing politicians to hire more dues-paying teachers, limiting competition, increasing pay and benefits for its members, and supporting friendly politicians who will give them MORE.

The case from Santa Fe is a classic example. As the story notes, Santa Fe Public Schools have a new program designed to get dropouts back on track for a diploma. The rub is that they’ve hired a private company (heaven forbid) to run the program. Implied, but not stated in the story is that the teachers in the program are unlikely to be unionized.

The union cites a provision in New Mexico’s Constitution which states that “public schools, colleges, universities and other public educational institutions “shall forever remain under the exclusive control of the state,” and that no part of the funds “shall be used for the support of any sectarian, denominational or private school, college or university.” To say the least, this is a provision of New Mexico’s Constitution worthy of changing, but there will likely be a legal battle over whether it makes the school illegal or not.

The more important thing is that the NEA is attempting to deny students who are not being served by traditional schools a different option for their educational services because the program in question does not serve the selfish needs of the union.

Interestingly enough, an “important” provision of New Mexico’s Constitution is ignored on a daily basis in New Mexico schools. Sec. 8 states “The legislature shall provide for the training of teachers in the normal schools or otherwise so that they may become proficient in both the English and Spanish languages.” I don’t know how many of New Mexico’s teachers are fluent in Spanish, but I have met several teachers who taught in government schools and I don’t believe they spoke Spanish.

National Education Association Headquarters by the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s Note: If you wish to comment at Mr. Gessing’s Errors of Enchantment page you may click on this link 

Be sure to check the related articles below.

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All About The “Macker”

For those readers not familiar with the name “Macker,” you will be after you read the article found below.  The article is from Townhall magazine and it was written by Marita Noon.  According to the article, the “Macker” was caught or discovered to have told a whopper about where the money came from for his almost toy car adventure.  Here, have a read:

Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democr...

Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and former chairman of the Hillary Clinton for President committee, at the 2008 Democratic National Convention at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

With the embarrassment the three “er”s—Switzer, Wiener, and Filner—have created for the Democratic Party, one would think they would want to steer clear of scandal-ridden candidates. But—no. Terry McAuliffe is, once again, hoping to become the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia when voters go to the polls next month. Among his friends, McAuliffe is known as The Macker—which my sources tell me is a play on the Yiddish “Macher,” meaning: “Big shot. A man who is (or thinks he is) really important. Usually refers to someone who is showing off in some way.”

I don’t cover campaigns. I write on energy issues. So, other than the fact that, at their respective 2012 conventions, I met both the Republican candidate Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli—who I found to be totally solid, humble, and extremely good-looking, and Democratic candidate former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe—who worked the room at the private party with back-slapping chumminess and a toothy smile, why am I writing about McAuliffe? Because, when we were introduced, my friend told him that I write on energy issues—specifically green-energy, crony-corruption.

McAuliffe, aka, the “Macker,” moved in, posed for a picture with me, and told me that I’d like his new green car project because it was being fully funded through private money. I looked askance at him, and told him that if that was really true, I’d be interested in hearing about it. He assured me it was—and then, quickly slipped off to someone more receptive.

Here comes the Murkey Turkey revelation.  Please click here and read the rest of the adventure.

19 Cities Worse Than Detroit

By now we have all heard of Motor City’s tumble into bankruptcy.  It hasn’t been a quick downhill slide, but we can generally point to corrupted unions, corrupt city government and shoddily operated industry.  We can, contrary to progressive groups mantra, stack the beginning at the feet of liberal fools.

Here’s some comparisons pointing to 19 American cities that are in worse shape than Detroit when it comes to population to city employee numbers.

 Detroit declared bankruptcy due in no small part to $3 billion in unfunded public employee pensions owed a sprawling city workforce that kept growing even as the city’s population shriveled, but a Washington Examiner analysis found that 19 major American cities have even bigger ratios of such workers to residents.

The Examiner used the Census Bureau’s 2011 Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll to rank every U.S. city with a population of 200,000 or more.

Some of those cities managed to get along fine with comparatively few municipal employees, such as San Diego, which has 9,501 employees for 1.3 million residents, or one for every 137 residents.

But others like San Francisco had a bureaucracy seven times as large, with one of every 28 of the city’s 800,000 residents on the city payroll.

Remarkably, the Census Bureau excluded from these figures all teachers and education professionals, which make up the largest group of local government employees.

Detroit Skyline from the Cultural Center [A630...

Detroit Skyline from the Cultural Center [A630-2194] (Photo credit: Juan N Only)

Here is a link to the story and an interactive map showing citizen to employee ratios

You Can Call, Email Or Blog The Apology

One of our earnest, or was it actually Ernest detractors, excoriated us for a series of posts on Pigfod I and Pigford II.  His criticisms were tiring and uninteresting at the time and we left him to argue with himself.  The articles we posted contained video and audio verifying and/or supporting the accusations made about many of the fraudulent claims and other actions by some of the Pigford claimants, their attorneys and perhaps government employees.  While we had no problem with the sources, our detractor did, choosing to call Andrew Breitbart and his employees less than honest and grabbing everything Media Matters for America, a progressive site supported by rich progressives, had to say against Breitbart., After which, it was piled it up as the epitome of righteousness.

Now a member of the mainphelm media has finally posted their own investigation and they have indicated Breitbart was correct and not a dishonest journalist as our detractor has indicated as he and others carry water for the Pigford claimants. It is reported Media Matters has deigned to place their apology at the feet of Mr. Breitbart’s successors and former co-workers.

We don’t expect an apology from our detractor, but our personal email address and  cellphone number are still the same.  Oh, did we mention not one single person ever stepped forward to claim the $100,000 smackers reward Andrew Breitbart offered for proof the “N,” word was hurled at federal legislators as they walked back after signing the bill known as ObamaCare.  But, actually the story of those allegations is another story altogether.

So here we are down to linking to the New Your Times and their reporter/reporters work. We hope everyone … we do mean everyone, sees fit to read it and the related articles below:

 Piggy I & Piggy II

The above link will take you to the Breitbart site which will link to the NY Times work.

Nothing New — He’s Consistent In Wasting Money

He’ll travel most anywhere for a photo-op or vacation paid for by your scarce money.  At this moment, instead of taking care of real business, he is in Las Vegas, NV speaking to people at a high school.  The subject? His idea of immigration changes, never mind Congress already has a plan which includes a secure border … something absent from Obama’s plan.

Read the story found at this link and keep scratching your head like a pensive baboon might scratch his backside, as he puzzles at something which has gained his attention.

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People Are Fleeing States with No Right-To-Work Laws

English:
English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Red State, a conservative on-line publication explains how and why, states sans right-to-work labor law, are losing population at rather amazing rates.  Click the link below for the explanations:

Fleeing Right-To-Work States

You might find it interesting New Mexico makes the “Top” ten list and actually ranks #5.  Those damnable lists will yet be the complete demise of New Mexico.

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Obama Gives Our Money To Labor Movements In Foreign Domains

William Bigelow, in Breitbart’s, Big Government tells us that Obama and his Department of Labor is trying to solidify their standing in the socialist and communist labor movement through donation of our money to labor organizations in different parts of this world.

We know we don’t have to remind you that Obama is abed with labor unions in the United States, but we figured we would pull back the bed covers, to give you a more detailed view of his illicit affair with world labor unions.  Follow the link below and don’t forget to get access to any related articles found after the link:

More Gifts From Santa O

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Mad In Madison

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2011)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

There still seems to be a problem in Madison … imagine that.  The  Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislative Assembly (lower branch of their legislative body)) voted to strip the public employees union of some of it power and the Democrats  in the Wisconsin State Assembly seem surprised.  It turns out, according to one story, they were wiping the sleep from their eyes when they realized the vote was being tallied or had already been tallied for the most part.  What ever happened the they (the Democrats aren’t pleased and now they are blaming the Republicans for their own failure, or so it seems.  Information from the Associated Press and My Way reported by Todd Richmond starts with:

Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers, abruptly passing the measure early Friday morning before sleep-deprived Democrats realized what was happening.

The vote ended three straight days of punishing debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill – and the monumental protests at the state Capitol against it – appear far from over.

The Assembly’s vote sent the bill on to the Senate, but minority Democrats in that house have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. No one knows when they will return from hiding. Republicans who control the chamber sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.

One has to wonder if the Republicans drank more coffee than the Democrats  in order to stay awake, or if the Democrats are just naturally more inclined to doze.  Whatever the story on the sleeping legislators might be, they were, perhaps still are, sufficiently incensed to throw epithets through the Chambers toward their Republican fellows to cause a ruckus throughout the Capitol building.  You can read the rest of the story by following this link and you can watch part of what was once referred to as a tantrum by watching the video posted below:

Thanks to Slate and Dave Weigel for the YouTube video.  You might want to follow additional links posted below.

Sting Bee Sting

Great Seal of the state of Wisconsin

Image via Wikipedia

By Chuck Ring (GadaboutBlogalot ©2009 – 2011)

Quote Freely From The Article – Leave The Pseudonym Alone

A report is out indicating  Andrew Breitbart has foisted an elaborate sting against the teachers, unions and free-note doctors in Madison, Wisconsin.  The report comes from a left-leaning blog known or unknown as Crooks and Liars. I don’t know if you are familiar with Crooks and Liars, and I don’t know if they are just trying to live up to their name or if they have changed direction, and are trying their hand at humor.

I am not going to excerpt from their exposé, short as it is on germane facts, but here is a link to their FAIL:

Hail Fair FAIL

Then you can have a deep look into Breitbart”s (extreme right-leaning) exposé riposte (foreign words are so useful when you aren’t serious) which I’m sure is meant to spank Crocks and Liars’ collective bounteous bottoms — but for sure it might cause a snigger of two … maybe more.  Here’s Mike Flynn’s report on the Hook with essential facts in action.  Watch the video, then follow-up with the narrative to see the complete BreitBoogie or would that be BrightBogey, i.e.. a source of fear, perplexity, or harassment (no golf terms here.)

Anyway, enjoy it or not.  It really is your choice in America.  Maybe some related links will drive by and attach themselves to a spot just below.

A sop of slop to Crooks and Liars and a flap of the cap to Big Journalism.