The Economist's Cookbook

Recipes For A More Free Society

  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

"Ken"sian Economics via Hannity.

Posted by The_Chef On 3:51 PM 1 comments

So for some unknown reason I walked by a radio that was blaring the infamous windbag known as Sean Hannity. He was busying himself with his "analysis" of economics. I was struck by this:

He was referring to the Keynesian (Pronounced like Kanesian) model of economics as the "Ken"sian model. Now I understand that most people have no idea who John Maynard Keynes was, or what his ideas were. I understand that most people may not know how to pronounce his name.

For the love of god, if you're going to TRY and act like you have ANY clue what the hell you're talking about, at LEAST get the guy's name right.

This goes for most of the pundits out there: Both on the left and the right. Olberman, O'Reilly, Rush, Matthews, all of you. STOP. Stop playing in the economic sandbox like any of us care what you think or what you say. You all are not qualified to do anything more than mouth breath.

So please, all of you, have a nice hot cup of SHUT THE HELL UP!

Thank you and have a nice day. at Leftist Rally...

Posted by The_Chef On 9:52 PM 2 comments

...and the results are fairly typical. Dodge the question. Babble incoherently. Make up facts. etc.

Here is what upsets me. These people are just as blind and unwilling to reason as many of the "Freepers" that inhabit the Tea Party movement. "What we need are everyone to have a good community/neighborhood school". Ah yes, where you can funnel 60+% of your funding into administrative costs rather than into actually teaching kids knowledge. In fact, this union leader has advocated for banning private schools. Let's see ... Yup, you're a tyrant.

There is nothing redeeming about these people's point of view. It's all talking points, ignore the question/data and keep sticking it to the private sector.

These people will keep smoking that pipe until this whole house of cards collapses around them.
Well, Let's see, Drug War? Check. Pregnant Suspect running from the people kicking her door in with guns? Check. Shooting of said pregnant female? Check. Now this fine upstanding officer will most likely get put on desk duty during the investigation, and be back at work in a month. If a concealed carry permit holder pulled a stunt like this, we'd never hear the end of it from the Brady Campaign. Keep licking your master's hand boys.

I'm not saying that drug dealers are nice people. I'm not saying that they are roll models. I'm not saying that drugs aren't destructive to one's health. But so are burgers, nicotine, and many prescription drugs. It's this goddamn neurotic thought that somehow these boys in blue are better then we are. Bullshit. These guys are people and should be trusted no more than you or I.

You're An Asshole

Posted by The_Chef On 11:30 AM 1 comments

Today's entrant is a complete hack, a completely intellectually dishonest hack.

Behold! I present Markos Moulitsas, the founder
of the Daily Kos.

In his latest piece that is published in the San Fransisco Chronicle's Online arena, He equates the Radical Right with the Taliban. But here's the funny thing. He lumps in gun owners and anyone who thinks pop culture is complete joke. He also states that what these "radicals" are doing is sewing the seeds of violence. maybe he's right. I can't say for sure what the outcome of their actions will be. But since I'm in the business of making fun of both sides of the aisle, let's take a look at what Markos stands for. Let's see: Theft of property: Check. No right to resist any government action that he deems is right and just: Check. Economic Illiteracy: Check. Preventing people from freely practicing their ideals even at the exclusion of others: Check.

No Markos, you're a fascist, you just don't want to admit it. It's not that I like the religious right. It's not that I support people that think that we should let the Bible inform invasive domestic policy and regulation of lifestyles. It's the fact that not only does he paint with such a broad brush over gun owners, he doesn't even understand that he's encouraging people to make themselves servants and slaves to this monstrosity we call the state. Reminds me of this:
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Goethe
Yeah Markos, keep towing that empty headed line, attacking strawmen, and refusing to acknowledge that there is more than just a false Left-Right dichotomy in this country.

See here is what I don't understand, if you look at the history of Marijuana and you learn WHY it was banned, there should be no problem legalizing/de-criminalizing it. My own mother has had cancer... twice. So this one is near and dear to me. She almost didn't survive her first encounter and was extremely ill due to the treatments.

Medical Cannabis is a wonder drug basically. The fact of the matter is that too many people shriek about how EVVVVVIIIILLLL it is, or how those that smoke pot are wastrels and no good people that are not worthy of relief from pain or other symptoms that Medical Cannabis can treat. I don't smoke pot, but by god, if I had severe pain issues I'd rather smoke pot than take any of the myriad of opiate derivative drugs out on the market for pain management.

These people are the same damn breed of Prohibitionists that we had running around the US in the 1920s and 30s. They should be treated with the same mockery and scorn.

There are no, repeat zero reasons for banning this for medical use as proscribed by a physician.
(Personally I think there are no reasons to to ban it period, but hey, I'm just a crazy liberty nut, what do I know?)

...0% actually willing to do anything about it.

Seriously people, stop voting for these schmucks. They do not have your best interest at heart. Their job is to rule, how dare you question that.

It doesn't matter what side of the aisle they are from. They are willing to do anything to get elected. This is the essence of Public Choice theory. Almost every one of these people nothing more than pure parasites.

Yet you keep going to the voting booth chanting the mantra "... the lesser of two evils." Hey guess what, you're still making an evil choice.

Until the American people are ready to ditch the fallacious Left-Right dichotomy, we're going to be stuck with this mess.

Why Marriage Equality Is Irrelevant

Posted by The_Chef On 12:38 PM 3 comments

Many of the more "left-libertarian types" might disagree with me. In fact I know some of them will. With all of the fervor over the whole Prop 8 thing in the People's republic of California, there has been quite the outcry over this. I see this on some of the blogs I read all the time. Frankly I'm sick of seeing it. It's not that I have anything against people who bet for the other team. I just don't care about the issue. And here is why:

1.) If you take the Anarcho-Capitalist (Market Anarchist) view there shouldn't be a government so leave it up to the movements of private contract enforcement to decide what they will and won't enforce, combined with the fact that the churches/religious organizations could do as they pleased in the same field. There I gave the AnCap line. Now for the more practical one.

2.) Marriage has, for a stupidly long time had religious subtext. It was a union brought together by the gods/God. Trying to make marriage a secular institution is ... an end-run around the issue at best. SO I have a better idea. Let's separate the religious nature of marriage from the legal and "official" nature of mutual contract between two individuals. This would do several things. It would shut up the religious right about a Federal Amendment banning Gay marriage. And it would let all of this play out on a smaller level, whether that be state, locality, or individual religious institutions.

Have the governments of both states and the Feds recognize any Civil Union Contract between two voluntary people that desire the legal/official rights and responsibilities of a couple etc.

Make marriage the sole area of religious institutions. Some institutions are already willing to marry homosexuals, others are not. Why not get the government out of marriage and let it go? Let the churches etc. fight it out amongst themselves. The simple fact of the matter is that this would allow straight or gay couples to get married, legally unionized, and any combination thereof, with no Federal WARRRGARBLE over the debate about who can and can't get married.

Free up competition in the market for unions/mates/marriages and let the chips fall where they may.

There, solved that problem. I doubt that many of the Liberals or Left-libertarians will agree with me, but that's okay. I don't need their approval to be right.

While the AnCap position is a logically consistent one, it simply isn't possible to go from massive statism to rampant Market Anarchy overnight. It's a process and smaller steps toward a better, more free, world are better than standing in our respective towers of intellectual fortitude shouting heretic at one another.

The Obama Myth (and its followers)

Posted by The_Chef On 5:47 PM 0 comments

I remember back when this guy was running his campaign. The fervor he inspired was down right scary. The blind fanaticism for reasons that no one seem to explain to beyond the idea of "It's historic" and "He's younger, and understands 'our' generation better." The simple fact of the matter is that "He's not Bush" is probably the correct answer. And while I hated Bush with a passion, the Bamster has managed to kindle a fire of Dantean proportions. The rage is still there but has been slowly subverted by disgust and depression.

It would seem that the guy is little more than an empty suit. A figurehead for those that are actually of influence. And yes I am talking about the likes of Pelosi and Reid. Seriously, the guys numbers are tanking, the economy is still in shambles. We have a healthcare bill that no one (not even the IRS) can figure out, and the response of many Americans has been "Well he's not doing enough."

Au Contraire!

He's done too much. Or more precisely those that control things using him have done MORE than enough to damage this country. And yet I still meet those people that seem to worship the ground this guy walks on. The country is going to be broke in the near future and the only obvious solution will be to monetize the debt. The people will not put up with massive tax increases and the government will NOT cut its spending especially in the areas that are going to kill us (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security). The only solution will be to either keep rolling our huge and ever-growing debt (will people keep buying our bonds?) or to fire up the printing presses.

If we do the later. The ensuing economic fallout will make the 70s look like a picnic with a mere ant problem.

So to all of the former and current supporters of Barack "I'm an Empty Suit" Obama:

Yes the song is supposed to refer to GW Bush. but I find it strangely fitting.

Your Fall Reading List:

Posted by The_Chef On 1:11 PM 1 comments

So Dr. Chris Coyne is teaching at GMU this semester and was kind enough to post up his syllabus at Coordination Problem.

Included in the PDF are links to papers by Pete Boetke, Peter Leeson, James Buchanan, and others, here is your chance to do the reading for a PhD level course in Free-Market Austrian Economics. I took courses in Austrian and Disequilibrium Macro in Undergrad

Go get it and start reading. Hell the book list is authored by Mises, Hayek, Kirzner, etc. It's solid.

In an era when Paul Krugman is seen as an economic sage, it's high time that you educate yourself with the weapons on an intellectual battlefield to defend the very things a free society is based on.

End-Run Around The Second Amendment

Posted by The_Chef On 11:40 AM 0 comments

Let's face it gun control is not popular right now. Especially when it comes to national level legislation. Several Supreme Court cases have helped to bolster our case for the ability to "cling" to our guns. So instead of playing by the rules, the gun control nuts are trying an end-run to ban all ammunition that has lead in it. So ... basically all of it.

...the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Lisa Jackson, who was responsible for banning bear hunting in New Jersey, is now considering a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) – a leading anti-hunting organization – to ban all traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976, a law in which Congress expressly exempted ammunition. If the EPA approves the petition, the result will be a total ban on all ammunition containing lead-core components, including hunting and target-shooting rounds.
I know this is executive branch because it's going through the EPA, but everyone needs to get in touch with their Congressman/woman and raise all sorts of hell. Spam fax lines if you have to. If this goes through, there is going to be some serious fallout. And I do mean the kind of fallout where people that are normal, peaceful people begin throwing Molotov cocktails at the EPA building. I do not want to see violence against the political class. It won't help our case. In the end, it might end up happening, but we're not there. Hopefully we'll never get there.

The bullet points are interesting:
  • There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations.
  • Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies.
  • A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk.
  • A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding. The bald eagle’s recovery, considered to be a great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition – the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.
This should scare you if you're a shooter. It is legislating by proxy with little or no recourse for the "little guy" you can't vote bureaucrats out of office.
(image Courtesy of Oleg Volk)

I found this especially interesting. It's very much worth watching and raises some interesting arguments in the justice sphere. How can we hope to "rehabilitate" people that are literally ticking bombs from a neuroscience standpoint.


Well ... the 9th Circuit Court of appeals has done it
again. This is quite frightening. Courtesy of the DEA, of course.

They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand.
So we can watch you from traffic or CCTV cams, we can track you through OnStar without your consent. They can now attach a GPS to your car and watch you where ever you go.
In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.
Really? So... trespassing no longer applies to others? Or is it only okay for agents of the state when they are watching you ... the little guy?

Iran: Still Nothing To Worry About.

Posted by The_Chef On 11:29 AM 1 comments

A friend of mine sent me this on facebook and it helps to corroborate what I've been saying for a while: Don't worry about Iran. The place is a mess with internal instability and as a result they are not a threat to anyone. In fact, intervention by the west might help to unify the government under the current Iranian Administration and that's the last thing we want to see happen.

People want to be free and the Green Revolution movement that was quashed about a year ago was only the first incident that might be coming down the pipe for Ahmadinnerjacket's Administration. Ya see, people are tired of the bullshit over there. The Shah was immensely corrupt, this current government is no less corrupt but wraps itself in the purity of the Muslim State as determined by the Imams. The outcome? Well let's see: You have a pissed off young generation that feels squeezed and controlled by their masters. You have politicians that are beginning to realize that the overthrow of the shah left them with a corrupt state drawing its power from religious tyranny. And you even have some of the Imam's questioning whether or not the path their country is on will lead them to a collapse.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Leave them alone and let the whole thing collapse on itself because it can't help but do otherwise. In fact, this might be one of the few positive things to come out of the invasion of Iraq. With the removal of Saddam Hussein and the current political infighting in Iraq, there is no longer a strong militaristic presence to threaten Iran. Without that fear, Ahmadinnerjacket lost one of the weapons to control his populace.

Hell, their own military is shooting down their own lauded drones. Heh ... if the Iranians can shoot them down, I'm quite sure that the US or the Israeli militaries could swat them out of the sky with ease. As long as they are left alone, the system will collapse on its own. Now what comes out of it? We don't know, but it can't be much worse than what we see now.

Justice Dept. called yo.

Posted by The_Chef On 10:42 AM 0 comments

The US Justice Dept. is hiring Ebonics experts to decode bugged calls.

Your tax dollars at work.

Fo' Shizzle.

I don't know, I've got nothing.


The Economics of the "Gender Gap"

Posted by The_Chef On 10:02 AM 0 comments

There has been a lot of hubub over the so-called "Gender Gap" between the payscales of women and men in the workplace in both the US and in some countries in Western Europe. In a culture where it is anything but PC to assume that there are differences between the sexes, there are some interesting notations to be made. Ironically one of which is a rather insightful comment from someone that I completely disagree with on many issues: Peter Singer. Yeah, the guy that basically jump-started the animal liberation movement. But in writing about the differences in pay scale between men and women. He makes a very interesting observation:

While Darwinian thought has no impact on the priority we give to equality as a moral or political ideal, it gives us grounds for believing that since men and women play different roles in reproduction, they may also differ in their inclinations or temperaments, in ways that best promote the reproductive prospects of each sex. Since women are limited in the number of children they can have, they are likely to be selective in their choice of mate. Men, on the other hand, are limited in the number of children they can have only by the number of women they can have sex with. If achieving high status increases access to women, then we can expect men to have a stronger drive for status than women. This means that we cannot use the fact that there is a disproportionately large number of men in high status positions in business and politics as a reason for concluding that there has been discrimination against women. For example, the fact that there are fewer women chief executives of major corporations than men may be due to men being more willing to subordinate their personal lives and other interests to their career goals, and biological differences between men and women may be a factor in that greater readiness to sacrifice everything for the sake of getting to the top.1
It would seem that Singer makes an interesting evolutionary argument for the difference between men and women. I'm not saying here's right, but it did get the wheels turning a bit. I do respect him for not falling into the typical feminist argument of "THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SEXES!" line that I have heard from people and has actually been espoused by feminist philosophers. To throw a bit of libertarian economics into Singer's argument (which I'm sure would give him a stroke as the guy is a raging socialist and "social justice" advocate): It would seem that, if we accept Singer's argument that males face an evolutionary incentive given our background and genetic programming, we should expect them to have a higher drive to succeed as it increases their potential mate pool. And this isn't that far-fetched given that we know that women in general highly value the stability and ability to provide in a mate.

There is also another reason that I've seen advanced by several Economists with some interesting data to back up their statement that: Women make less during their child-bearing years because companies are discounting the value of their labor inputs because the chances are very good that these women are going to want to have children. As a result they are basically lost to the company for at least 12 months. There's not exactly a temp service for a VP of Plant Operations. I can't seem to find the study right off the top of the net, so if someone has a link to the actual paper I'd appreciate you sharing it. What they noted was that this so-called "gender gap" seems to disappear in post-menopausal women ... I found that, extremely interesting. Yes yes, Correlation is not Causation. That doesn't mean it doens't bear more investigation.

1 Peter Singer, A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 17-18.

This Will End Well...

Posted by The_Chef On 10:40 AM 0 comments


I mean what could possibly go wrong with regulating a fluid industry like "nannying".

*sigh* This will of course increase unemployment in that sector because of the marginally increased difficulty in firing a nanny. If the nanny is in good with the family, we might expect a small drop in employment due to the overtime guarantee provided for in this bill, depending on how the OT is calculated. But the real hit is going to be in those nannies that are on the lower spectrum where in stead of keeping someone around to watch their kids who isn't the best, they simply fire her now and start looking for another candidate who more clearly fits the employer requirements.

The Nanny state is now after nannies. Who would have thought?

Also: Who are the "Jews for Racial and Economic Justice" listed in the footnote of the article? Why does that name just shriek "Socialist Orgy/Thinktank" to me? Oh ... umm ... yep. Another group of yammering collectivists is a seemingly apt definition of the group.

*sigh* I forgot, markets are evil, workers are slaves, the free exchange of goods/services/ideas is dangerous to society. We must control it, right?

You're An Asshole!

Posted by The_Chef On 2:52 PM 2 comments

Today's Recipient is one Judge Thomas V. Gainer Jr. from Chicago.

Let's do a bit of looking at this shall we?

1.) Cop gets videotaped drinking shots and other beverages before getting into his car.
2.) Cop causes an accident resulting in two fatalites.
3.) Cop cleared of all charges.

Prosecutors made two attempts to prove that Ardelean did. After the two-vehicle fatal crash Nov. 22 in Roscoe Village, Ardelean was charged with misdemeanor DUI -- later upgraded to a felony. But those charges were dismissed when Cook County Judge Don Panarese ruled there was "no indication" Ardelean, who was off-duty at the time, was drunk. Prosecutors reinstated charges after saying they had a lengthy surveillance videotape showing Ardelean drinking five shots and other drinks at a North Side bar shortly before the crash.

Prosecutors also suggested in pretrial hearings that police the night of the crash turned a blind eye to Ardelean's intoxication. Among other things, he wasn't arrested or given a Breathalyzer until seven hours after the crash. But Gainer ruled in April that the supervising officer who ultimately made the arrest didn't have strong enough evidence to do so. Gainer's ruling also suppressed key blood-alcohol evidence.

So what does the judge in this case do? Well he throws out the video evidence of course.

Now I ask my readers, if one of us had pulled a stunt like this, what would have happened to us? More appropriately, what would have happened to one of us if we had killed two cops while driving drunk?

Remember kids: The cops are not on your side. They are not your friend. They are NOT there to "protect and serve" you.

Antimatter - Planetary Confinement

Posted by The_Chef On 11:30 AM 1 comments

: Antimatter
Album: Planetary Confinement
Genre: Dark Atmospheric Rock (Mostly Acoustic)
: Antimatter is in the vein of Anathema and, to a certain degree, Katatonia. It's a dark, depressive, yet well constructed and frankly a beautiful musical journey. It's relatively slow, but it is cerebral and each stage of the music seems to be very well thought out and considered. It's not heavy. It's not groovy. It's simply very pretty, while being rather dark. The work has some Prog influences but it's not a huge part of the album. Highly recommended for those that like a creative work of rock.

Rating: 4/5

Ever Heard The Saying...

Posted by The_Chef On 10:35 AM 2 comments

"When all you've got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."?

VH over at Vulcan's Hammer said something that made me wonder about the psychological nature of the legislative beast.

Shall we take a moment to look at the composition of our houses of Congress?

  • 214 members (182 Representatives and 33 Senators) list their occupation as public service/politics
  • 225 (168 Representatives and 57 Senators) list law []
  • 201 (175 Representatives and 27 Senators) list business
  • 94 (78 Representatives and 16 Senators) list education
[via Wiki]
Now there is obviously overlap in this because we know that there are not 133 Senators. We can however conjecture that of the upper house there are at least 60-70% that are in the "politics/law" area.

I'd like to find a more in depth study of this, but this is good enough for a rough estimate.

If I may modify the famous saying at the top of the post:
"When all you've got is experience in law/politics every problem looks like it can be solved with a law."

We are all prone to do this: I tend to see economics as a primary driving force behind actions and think that markets can solve 99-100% of the worlds problems. We are all looking at things through some sort of colored tint based on what we study, learn, appreciate, and understand. Psychologists see personality types, sociologists see group dynamics and traits, economists see cost/benefit and incentives, etc. and so on; we're all guilty of it to a certain degree.

Perhaps that's the problem with Congress and politicians in general. Their view of things is that problems are to be solved with laws, coercion, and force. That is simply how they see things. Not that such a state excuses their actions, but it makes sense and would seem to fulfill Occam's Razor nicely.

I wonder who in Congress has a Masters or PhD in Economics. I know that as far as I can tell, the most economically astute person in Congress is actually an MD (Thanks Dr. Paul!).

Yes economists disagree about many things. the fight between the Neo-Classicists, Austrians, Monetarists, and Keynesians has been going on for a long long time but at least they hold some sort of understanding of the underlying principles.

These people are making policy without any understanding of the basic and underlying principles. That would be like putting me in charge of a five star restaurant's menu. I like food. I even like to dabble in the kitchen a bit, but I sure as hell don't know enough to construct the menu for a high class establishment.

Congress is meddling in things they don't understand. They are sticking wrenches in a moving engine in an unlit room. If you keep monkeying with the engine, you're gonna break it.

Do you really wanna be sticking a wrench in something like this? I don't.

More Pro-Minimum Wage Nonsense.

Posted by The_Chef On 1:28 PM 3 comments

Oh my... Walter Williams posts up a piece on how minimum wage hurts workers and someone in the House throws a hissy fit. Is anyone surprised?

I'll just leave this here, because it's ... kind of relevant:

I mean come on, these people in congress get to decide fiscal and economic policy!

And people wonder why we're in a financial mess in this country...
H/T to Cafe Hayek.