April 3, 2013
That's not a bubble... THIS is a bubble!
Aw hell, I'm gonna blockquote it anyway, because the widely quoted passages are the wrong ones. The right ones are here:
These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.
It would require, finally, benching the Fed’s central planners, and restoring the central bank’s original mission: to provide liquidity in times of crisis but never to buy government debt or try to micromanage the economy. Getting the Fed out of the financial markets is the only way to put free markets and genuine wealth creation back into capitalism.
From David Stockman's Sundown in America. New York Times Sunday Review, March 30, 2013.
And I didn't even quote the part about feckless calculations of inflation! That's gotta be worth something.
March 28, 2013
Headline of the Day
December 31, 2012
Quote of the Day
In other words, a household with two people earning a little under €1 million would not be subject to the tax, while an individual making even a dollar more than €1 million would have to pay. So while it is fair to take 75% of what someone earns, it isn't fair unless the law confiscates 75% from all rich households equally. Come to think of it, that sort of social and economic leveling was the point of the French Revolution. -- WSJ Ed Page
December 18, 2012
Qui Est Jean Galt Deux
Gérard Depardieu gets Dr. Helen's QOTD
"I am handing over to you my passport and social security, which I have never used," he said. "We no longer have the same homeland, I am a true European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me to believe."
December 17, 2012
Qui Est Jean Galt?
The only word I question is "Despite."
Nonetheless [Gérard] Depardieu remains widely popular in France, despite making headlines for occasional drunken and lewd behaviour. The actor asserts he has always been an upstanding citizen, deserving "respect," and who has employed 80 people, always paid his taxes, and "never killed anybody." He said he paid 85 per cent of his income in taxes in 2012, and over 45 years, has paid 145 million Euros -- or £118 million -- in taxes.
Hat-tip: Blog friend EE by email. He enjoyed the phrase "vice president of the moderate conservative Radical Party,"
December 13, 2012
Exit, Stage Right
A few days back I posted a link to Part I of Brit philosopher Nick Land's crushing take on democracy and liberty, "The Dark Enlightnement." Strangely enough, the orignal entries disappeared from the "That's Shanghai" website shortly after the piece began to be extensively linked...
Fortunately, a Tumblr named Matt Leslie had posted it in full back in September. At over 27,000 words of reading neither easy or light, it's not everyone cup of tea, but I present it for your consideration.
I know that not everyone here agrees completely, but we are entering interesting times. It is not the end of civilization or a return to the Dark Ages, but it is indeed the kind of inflection point that has been seen before, many times, in human history. Things that cannot go on, will not. Reality is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate.
I wrote before that I am dead to national politics now, though I am still involved at the state and local level. Some states and locales will be much better to live in than others, when the New WoMen really get their program in place.
It's now about Flight, or Exit. Since there is no new frontier on Earth, and space isn't quite ready yet, it's going to be an internal exit. In the next few years a lot of the best people we've got are going to quit working so hard, quit trying to deal with DC, quit trying to make the world "better." Just for awhile.
Rand's vision was awesome, because it relied on the reality of human beings qua human beings, and the reality of this earth. "Is Atlas Shrugging?" articles have been written periodically for over 50 years. Maybe I'm wrong; but I hear it coming, like the faint low staccato of a distant stampede, that no one can stop. One can only get out of its way.
I'm not "depressed" (what a typical modernism!) by this, not at all. Again, interesting times! I'm with author Sarah Hoyt (of Colorado):
And then there’s the fact that in the rest of the world, if things get unbearable, you can always go to America. But we don’t have an America to go to. Which will only make us more determined to “ignore the order, buck the directive, roll up our sleeves and do for ourselves.”
I'll tell you what's really funny; I've basically returned to where I was back in '75 when I read Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. If you haven't read it, I recommend you do. No spoilers here.
But the title says a lot.
December 12, 2012
75% Taxes! Mon Dieu!
I love Gerard Depardieu! The Wall Street Journal reports his relocation.
The latest rich Frenchman to make for the hills--or rather, the lowlands--is movie star Gérard Depardieu, who has recently become a resident of Belgium. Specifically, Estaimpuis, a small town less than half a mile from the French border. Per Estaimpuis Mayor Daniel Senesael: "He adores the canal, he adores the Burgundian castle, he adores the small butcheries, the cute little shops, the small corner cafe." No doubt.
July 18, 2012
The cost of government "help"
I finally made a cogent point out of a post I put up day before yesterday:
Government tax revenues as a percentage of national GDP:
Doing much to explain why manufacturing [of Olympic uniforms and other necessities] is less costly in communist China than in "free" America. Also revealing why leftists think Americans are whiny losers for claiming we are Taxed Enough Already.
Even so, wouldn't France be much better off if they didn't waste so much tax money on smart bombs and aircraft carriers?
July 16, 2012
International Tax Misery Index
Well aware that I'm risking graphic chart overload here, I couldn't resist posting the graph below showing the combined total, in percentage points, of corporate income tax rate, personal income tax rate, employer SS tax rate, employee SS tax rate, VAT/sales tax rate and wealth tax rate for the countries that have such a thing. Sixty-one countries are listed, including China. Since both corporate and personal taxes are listed I suppose the theoretical maximum index score is 200, or 100 percent of personal income plus 100 percent of corporate income. But this is no justification for US federal government confiscation of 42.65 percent of both personal and corporate income. (61.6% and 53.9% in NYC when state and local taxes are included.)
Of sixty one nations, four have a TMI below 52 points: Qatar, UAE, Hong Kong and Georgia. The rest start at 70 points and go up from there. I find it mind boggling that Americans take to the streets to protest taxes that approach 50 percent, while Frenchmen sit still for tax rates of 79.4% on corporations and 86.7% on individuals. I realize these are top marginal rates, paid only by evil "one percenters" and corporations. Nonetheless...
And despite the second highest Tax Misery Index in the world, China is still better disposed to make American Olympic Team costumes. (Perhaps this is better explained by an average US hourly compensation cost of $34.74.)
May 17, 2012
Haven't posted a "Let them eat Cake" for a while. But I need to borrow the WSJ's Notable & Quotable today. "Actor Will Smith during a French television interview this week:"
Smith: I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here--I'm a black man who didn't go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing. . . .
October 22, 2011
Not Getting It
How much longer do we have to endure government economic estimates based on static analysis of tax rate changes?
In November the mail-in ballot votes will be tallied to decide whether Colorado will lose 7,400 to 11,600 private sector jobs [you know, the ones that pay their own way and don't require a new tax every year to keep them going?] The culprit is Colorado's Proposition 103, a five-year plan to hike three different state taxes on individuals and businesses, conceived and placed on the ballot almost single handedly by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and his personal fortune.
Voters will decide between the projected outcome voiced by one Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) who said "she’s optimistic that state finances will not take a turn for the worse," or that of Barry W. Poulson, Senior Fellow in Fiscal Policy and Professor of Economics (retired), University of Colorado, Boulder and John D. Merrifield, Professor of Economics, University of Texas whose analysis resulted in the job loss estimate in the lede. To understand the magnitude of the job loss you can read the paper or just watch this video from a Jon Caldera press conference that, somehow, I haven't seen reported by Denver's Fox 31.
By the way, there weren't enough dominoes to have one for every job lost. Each domino represents TWO jobs.
May 18, 2011
Quote of the Day
First of all, Strauss-Kahn has evidently gotten away with treating the fairer sex as his playthings for some time. No wonder his nickname among the French is "le grand seducteur," which I believe roughly translates to "the short, tubby serial rapist." -- Ann Coulter
May 17, 2011
Quote of the Day
Time to dust off the francophobe "Let them Eat Cake" category:
Meanwhile, while Bernard-Henri is scandalized that a mere chambermaid can get a "great" man like Strauss-Kahn in trouble with the law merely by credibly accusing him of sexual assault, I am proud to live in a country where a housekeeper can get a world leader pulled off a plane bound for Paris. If something like that couldn't happen in France, then shame on France and shame on Levy for thinking otherwise. -- Jonah Goldberg
October 19, 2010
Velveeta Socialism® update.
If the US is becoming France, is that so bad? Well:
PARIS – Masked youths clashed with police and set fires in cities across France on Tuesday as protests against a proposed hike in the retirement age took an increasingly radical turn. Hundreds of flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train service in many regions was cut in half.
This is, of course, a response to President Sarkozy's plan to make workers retiring in 2018 work until they're 62 -- Mon Dieu!
Importing their economic model does not give us 700 year old castles, fields of lavender and sunflowers, world-class cuisine, cheese or chocolate. Just the double-digit unemployment and riots.
September 30, 2009
Naive and Egotistical
I used to think that of French leaders...
Is this fair? I would object to hearsay testimony from a Greta guest on a topic I did not agree with. But I think we can agree it has verisimilitude.
September 29, 2009
Looking to France for Strength
The Wall Street Journal recaps the French admonishment of President Obama's naive UN speech. Excellent in that it was completely unreported in other American media,
They also add new data. This was not just frustration with a speech. France and the UK tried to get the President to make a strong speech at the UN and confront Iran in tandem. Instead, Obama wanted to take his hope and change act on the road.
Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.
UPDATE: @MajoratWH (Whose tweets from WH press conferences make Twitter worth signing up for): Gibbs: at Geneva IAEA talks the US will confront Iran "on behalf of the world" and Iran will show "the world" its true nuke intentions.
September 26, 2009
HOPE AND CHANGE!
I don't have explicit permission, per se, but I am gonna roll with this. I've known blog friend SugarChuck for many moons. And I am going to share this one just as it came:
We might need to update our list of great Frenchmen...
UPDATE Check this headline in The Telegraph (The Telegraph!):
Barack Obama: President Pantywaist restores the satellite states to their former owner
UPDATE II: A good blog friend agrees that it is time to update the good frog list. The real story seems to be the lack of coverage in the American press. One gets tired of saying "What if this had happened to President Bush?" But one wonders all the same.
And sc sends a link to Michael Gerson's devastating WaPo piece..Gerson waited for his anger to subside -- good thing. SC adds: "Comparing what he did to high school kids and mock UN is an insult to highschool kids."
June 23, 2009
A hard line for Iranian freedom, a hard line on taxes:
Jimmy P: France on the left side of Laffer Curve:
In the minus column, do I remember his letting Carla get away? That's a bad move.
April 30, 2009
Without the Great Cheese
Reason's Veronique de Rugy asks the President not to turn the US into France
January 5, 2009
Not a very Happy New Year for French auto insurers:
The French Interior Ministry has increased its provisional count of the number of cars torched over New Year's Eve from 445 to 1,147.
Hat-tip: Pillage Idiot, who mentions "land of brie, wine, and car torchings. I omitted "body odor," because that's understood." I guess the Sarkozy spirit of Hope and Change hasn't made it to Baltimore.
July 11, 2008
Le Tour, Duex
The "Let Them Eat Cake" blog category was started long before we had met Nicolas Sarkozy (or Carla Bruni) and was put in place to collect all our bashing of France. I come once more to praise her.
I admitted that I enjoyed watching the Tour for the excitement of sport, the beauty of the French countryside, and the preternatural athleticism of the riders. This all holds. But I am going to add that Le Tour de France represents classical liberal economics and individualist values better than any other sport.
I say this because it captures the hybrid of team and individual dynamics of the real world. Typical team sports blend individual and team achievement in a good way, it's healthy for young boys and girls and I have no objection. In cycling, though, you end up working with other teams when your interests match.
This happens all the time without any forethought between individuals, individuals and teams, or among multiple teams. Stages three and five were dominated by breakaways: in the first kilometer of Stage 3, four riders broke off the front on a very long stage. "Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works" sneered the peloton in their smug little European accents. "The four of you cannot possibly sustain the power that the 174 of us can. When we feel like it, we will flex our collective muscle and bring you back. Mon Dieu, and all that..."
Only they did not. The audacious four held on and Samuel Dumoulin crossed the line first, followed by America's Will Frischkorn, Frenchman Romain Feillu and Italy's Paolo Longo. Their breakaway held for almost the entire 208km course. These guys are not on the same team, but they created an ad hoc partnership that garnered them glory and time (Feillu got the yellow jersey). Stage 5 was the opposite. The peloton allowed an early break to stay just out front, with multiple teams keeping the peloton close enough to snap it away in the last 300m.
Sometimes a team's second best sprinter may try to play off another team while his team sets up their star. This sounds an awful lot like business to me. You partner with a competitor to achieve a certain goal, go outside your team to achieve an individual goal, or even team up with a rival to smash somebody else.
All riders use the power of the group to advance their individual goals. Adam Smith would be proud (though he might wonder about those Lycra® shorts).
July 8, 2008
I love all things American and can be almost as much of a sports jingoist as James "Metric Football" Taranto. In all my time in the UK and Ireland, I never developed a taste for soccer. To be honest, the Olympics remind me too much of the UN for me to enjoy any but a few of my favorite events.
Enough Ugly American cred for you? Good.
The Tour de France is one of the great sporting events. They don't always speak 'merican real good, and they have funny names -- but this is well worth watching. I was an avid, compulsive cyclist before I had MS. I had a couple of 10,000 mile years, I went with no car for most of a year, and I was in the mountains every warm weekend (usually bleeding in the dirt).
I have the build of a blocking tight-end and not a bike racer, and I lacked the athleticism to be good, but I made up for my deficiencies in enthusiasm. More a mountain-bike guy, I nevertheless tried to follow the tour. And it was almost impossible, you could read about it in a magazine, but there was almost nothing on television and VP Gore's Internet was not up to video specs yet.
This year, the cable channel Versus (home of the Stanley Cup as well) is providing incredible coverage. I don't know that they will do every stage, but so far they have complete live coverage of each stage, commentary, interviews -- it's an incredible production.
The race is great this year as well. No time bonuses, and no prolog time trials have really opened it up -- the yellow jersey was available to about any rider on the first stage. All the finishes have been mind bogglingly exciting. It's July: hockey's done, football hasn't started and baseball is in the soft middle. Enjoy the French countryside and incredible athleticism of these premier athletes.
Keep the volume down, and if anybody asks, tell 'em you're cleaning your guns...
May 7, 2007
The Republic of France (Fifth I guess, but whose counting?) has done something I wish Americans would do -- reject 1968.
On one hand, the President is not a powerful executive in the French system. And Sarkozy will face an entrenched bureaucracy that makes John Bolton's and Paul Wolfowitz's jobs seem easy. Yet it would be a mistake to underplay this choice that the French people made.
Larry Kudlow talks about a Sarkozy-Trichet axis: a pro-market, altlanticist leader in France and a powerful and skillful central bank president could really put Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" back on the economic map.
Kudlow does look on the bright side of things. But whatever the eventual outcome, the rejection of Socialism, in France, even well packaged as in Ms. Royal's candidacy, is a great day for freedom. Today France, tomorrow the US Congress...
October 5, 2006
The French Intifada
As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin.
It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.
This and the 10,000 killed in Thailand are fronts in the war against Islamicfascism we simply don't hear about.
Posted by AlexC at 9:33 PM
June 13, 2006
Geno's Imbroglio III
The politically correct police have begun their thought-crime prosceution.
The complaints were filed late Monday. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city claims the restaurant is guilty of "denying service to someone because of his or her national origin, and having printed material making certain groups of people feel their patronage is unwelcome."
The Inquirer spoke with the Rev. James S. Allen Sr., the commission chairman, who said it was the commission's job to get the sign removed.
"We think it is discriminatory, and we are concerned about the image of Philadelphia," he said.
In somewhat related news, Philadelphia's crime rates have gone up. Shootings are up 15.2% to 809 this year, and a hundred and sixty-six homicides so far this year. Up two from the same period last year, which was the biggest year for murder in eight years.
But back to Geno's.
Sanely another steak shop (though not Pat's "King of Steaks" across the street) has taken my advice.
It has posted a sign on the front door that says "feel free to order in any language. We will gladly serve you with brotherly love." The new eatery just opened on South Street.
South Street used to be the bohemian part of town. Now it's got the Gap, McDonalds and a Starbucks.
Regarding the earlier blog post and it's comments, here's a picture of Senator John Kerry eating his cheesesteak with
I'll give Joe Vento the last word.
Vento now says he's received national and local support since his sign gained national attention.
"No way is it coming down."
Update: Philly police officer "Wyatt Earp" says...
June 12, 2006
Maybe Joey Vento should have put a "we reserve the right to refuse anyone service" sign up instead.
The Philadelphia controversy has fed a national debate over immigration in which the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would declare English the national language and politicians have raised objections to a Spanish version of the national anthem.
The sign may violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans businesses from discriminating on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, Lawton said.
"The complaint will say that the sign discourages patronage by non-English speakers because of their national origin and/or ancestry," said Lawton, whose agency enforces the city's anti-discrimination laws.
Geno's will be given a up to two weeks to respond and, if the agency determines the sign has violated the city ordinance, will be ordered to take the sign down. If the restaurant refuses, it will be subject to a $300 fine, Lawton said.
Mr Vento has no intention of taking the sign down.
Good for him.
I wonder if it's a $300 one time fine or $300 / day fine.
One from California said groups like his should be banned for representing "filthy, illegal alien invaders", he said.
"This is dividing this nation," he said.
Geno's or this "mulit-lingual" thing we've got going?
First amendment and freedom expression be damned!
Geno's is probably forty miles from my house. But it might be time for a sandwich.
Update: I take that first part back. He already has that sign. (thanks to Chris)
Posted by AlexC at 3:10 PM
June 9, 2006
The Geno's Imbroglio
Perhaps you may have heard of this.
Geno's Steak owner, Joey Vento, has really touched a nerve with a little sign on his cheesesteak stand that says, "This is America. When Ordering Speak English." Vento has been getting calls from all over the country.
"We got troops (that are) getting blown up, and here we've got this big, bad Joey Vento who's got the audacity to try to teach people to speak English in America where the language is English and if you don't know it, you're not going anywhere," Vento told NBC 10 News.
So, what happens to a customer who cannot or will not speak English?
"The bottom line is no one has ever been refused," Vento said.
Vento said his workers are happy to help non-native speakers and haven't turned anyone away.
First off, Geno's and it's neighbor across the street Pat's are the famous cheesesteak vendors in Philadelphia. Nevermind that they both suck. Real fans of the steak sandwich go to Tony Luke's on Oregon Ave under I-95.
Anyway... Here's an entreprenuer, Joey Vento, who decides to run his sandwich shop the way he sees fit. And there's an outrage?
Actually it's more of a "losing your mind."
For example, YoungPhillyPolitics.
Yeah. Civil rights. It's a good thing all the real civil rights problems in this country have been solved that we can worry about 8000 calorie paper wrapped heart attacks.
Phillyfuture.org has a round up of local links AND says this.
It's one thing to encourage and help immigrants learn English. It's another thing entirely to forget where you came from and take some stand that spits on it.
I can't help feel that the sign was put up for false reasons. That no one can be that hypocritical. That this is a publicity stunt and now we're all taking the bait. Pat's Steaks has been synomonous with Philadelphia cheesesteaks nationally. Now Geno's enters the national consciousness - for entirely the wrong reasons.
There are children dieing in the streets from gun violence seemingly every day in Philadelphia. This kind of story is a distraction from the real problems the city faces and can even serve to re-ignite racial tensions.
So there is only one way to say this...
Shame on Genos. Shame on them.
Of course both posts miss the point that at Geno's you still get your steak. You just have to order it in English.
Blonde Sagacity writes...
(Notice: the sign under the order counter is of Daniel Faulkner -the police officer that was murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal)
Ya know, I might go get some Geno's today...
I mentioned that Geno's main competitor is Pat's - "the King of Steaks". It's directly across the street. In the country I remember, Pat's would have a put up a "Se Habla Espanol" sign up and Geno's sign would end up coming down. And really, I wonder how many customers this would have really affected anyway.
At the end of the day, it's his store. If he wants to alienate (pun intended) non-English speaking customers who insist on ordering steaks in __________, that it certainly his right.
January 8, 2006
Liberté Chérie is the name of a French, libertarian think tank. In "An Australian in Paris," Paul Belien interviews its leader and popular member (to the media) Sabine Herold.
The article is a good look at French thought that changed my mind about many things.
For many French, ‘liberal’ remains a pejorative. The French Revolution didn’t just lop off the king’s head, it enshrined the State in his place as the new sovereign. In some ways, perhaps, it was easier to kill the king than it was to kill the notion of kingliness. In France, someone is always in charge. Today, the bureaucracy is bloated and all-powerful. Bureaucrats rule their petty fiefdoms like little Napoleons, and the state regulates everything it can see. Welfare rules the lives of millions, and entrepreneurialism as understood in Australia or America is almost non-existent. People don’t just go out and do things, people wait to be told what to do. The king is dead, long live the king.Okay, that's not surprising. But that only 7% of the French workforce is unionized? That nobody really knows how they are funded?
Very good article. In the lede, he points out that "After all, if one couldn’t believe three contradictory things simultaneously, [liberté, égalité, fraternité] one wouldn’t be French.
Like liberty minded people everywhere, they suffer from a paucity of candidates that really believe.
Posted by John Kranz at 2:41 PM
November 15, 2005
I wonder if the French are going to take the serious steps of freeing up their economic system to overcome the malaise? I suspect that they're going to look right past the systemic malaise and attempt to patch up the "dissaffected youth malaise" by throwing government Euros at the problem. Building youth centers, etc...
Are they going to be integrating the native born Muslim youth population?
Things are improving nevertheless.
After nearly two weeks of rioting France, only 270 cars were torched last night. Compared to the nearly 1,400 at the riot's peak, so it's hard to discount the progress in the French quagmire.
November 5, 2005
French Muslim riots keep getting uglier.
The town had previously escaped the violence, the worst rioting in at least a decade in France. Some residents demanded that the army be deployed, or that citizens band together to protect their neighborhoods. At the school gate, Mayor Alain Outreman tried to calm tempers.
"We are not going to start militias," he said. "You would have to be everywhere."
In other words, attempting defense is too hard.