Archive for August, 2009

Bernanke 2.0 (August 31, 2009)

Posted in Bernanke, Economics, Federal Reserve, Greenspan, Volker on August 31, 2009 by

Bush’s best appointment is one of O’Bama’s better reappointments.  Bernanke is not the best choice yet is the right choice at this time.  Yet there should be some reservation about and reflection on the entire Federal Reserve scheme.

The Founding Fathers as they are known could not agree on the creation of a central bank.  The issue was at the heart of many early presidential elections.  Every sovereign nation needs a central bank.  The bankers created a central bank in 1913 and filled the vacuum.  America must examine the role of the Federal Reserve and incorporate it into our constitutional system characterized by a separation of powers and accountability to the populace.

The central bank has a history of competent and independent chairmen such as Paul Volker who pursued some harsh policies with painful but necessary consequences without any significant political intervention.

Alan Greenspan, a conservative Republican, acted as the “central planner” of the economy for far too may years with devastating consequences.  At least he has enough integrity and self-awareness to admit some mistakes.  Some thoughtful political intervention was appropriate and necessary during his tenure.

Faith in the Fed. has dissuaded Congress from taking more direct control and dictating policy.  Legislation such as the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act does set some guidelines and parameters.  However, the Fed cannot and should not attempt to establish full employment.

At this time, Ben Bernanke is determining both “monetary policy” and “fiscal policy.”  Fiscal policy has been and should be the province of Congress.  Monetary policy should focus on price stability.

Who should address these matters?  The politicians.  That should give one pause and yet motivate us to act.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Price stability

Cell Phones On The Line Again (August 24, 2009)

Posted in Cell Phones, Health Care on August 24, 2009 by

Some suggest that implanting a cell phone against the side of one’s head may produce brain tumors in the intermediate run.  Try this.  Place a cell phone next to the computer speakers and dial a call.  The speakers hum like a Geiger counter.  Something does not seem right.  Enough studies are raising concerns.  Will the cell phone enter the pantheon of pernicious products along with lead paint and asbestos brakes?

The remedy is cheap.  Cheap remedies are appealing.  Use an ear piece and keep the cell phone away from the brain.  And all the while you look like a secret agent or an international spy.

Bumper stickers of the week:

A word to the wise; a few words to the less wise

This is your brain on a cell phone

Taking Stock (August 17, 2009)

Posted in Society on August 17, 2009 by

Was it a self-absorbed fête of sex, drugs and rock and roll or a selfless gathering celebrating peace, love and Woodstock?  Perhaps a mix of both.  The celebration could have started with a nod and a moment of silence to acknowledge the discipline and sacrifice of the parents who made all the spare time and change to fund the event possible.  Great and enduring sounds.

There did seem to be some possibility and promise of change and improvement.  Perhaps one had to be young and naïve to believe that humans could change and improve and change and improve society.  However, the stubborn limits that nature fixes for human conduct have not changed or improved.

If time will tell, time has not told an inspiring tale.  The Greatest Generation still seems to be a greater generation.  Both generations have worked together to mire the Republic in the current economic and spiritual maelstrom.

Witnessing the festival from afar was a very small part but a part nonetheless in at least one person’s quest to question and reject the arrogance, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and materialism of adult society.  And yet a two-inch repp tie and a buttoned-down shirt remain more appealing than a ripped tie-dyed tee shirt.

Bumper stickers of the week:

No matter how things stay the same, they stay the same.

The Age of Aquarius?

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.  Fulfill your duties, but don’t exercise the option.

Less Government Regulation Series: Cell Phones And Driving (August 10, 2009)

Posted in Cell Phones, Less Government Regulation Series on August 10, 2009 by

Her left hand skillfully dangled a glowing butt just outside the window at such an angle that the slipstream did not extinguish it.  Her right hand clutched a cup of java, an eyeliner brush and the cell phone.  Her eyes appeared glued to the rear view mirror and to the task of gluing plaster to her eye lashes.  All the while negotiating a civilian urban assault vehicle at just under 35 miles an hour while merging into or possibly colliding with traffic.  Unless her knees had fingers, who was at the wheel of the four wheeled beast?  She managed to muster an outwardly friendly smile and another hand to wave thanks to the drivers diving into the ditch and median.  Quite a performance.

Bastante; Enough.

Self interest is not acting as a governor of bad behavior.  The Feds should step in and ban all cell phone usage and texting by the driver of any vehicle on any road at any time.  If a person is caught using a cell phone, the cell phone should be confiscated immediately and be subject to forfeiture or a payment of a $500 fine to obtain its release.  Drivers will continue to eat, sleep, crochet, change diapers, hit the kids, work on crossword puzzles, perform open heart surgery, etc. while driving.  However, cell phone usage is so widespread and dangerous and so easy to detect and deter that we as a society need to ban the use of cell phones in vehicles by the driver immediately.

Bumper stickers of the week:

Hang up and drive

This morning in the interstate I looked over to my left and there was a woman in a brand new Cadillac with her face up next to her rear view mirror putting on her eyeliner.  I looked away for a couple seconds.  When I looked back she was halfway over in my lane still working on that makeup.  As a man, I do not scare easily, but she scared me so much that I dropped my electric shaver which knocked the doughnut out of my hand.  In all the confusion of trying to straighten out the car using my knees against the steering wheel, my cell phone got knocked away from my ear, which feel into the coffee between my legs, ruined the damn phone, soaked my trousers and disconnected an important call.  Damn women drivers.

Less Government Regulation Series: The Terrorist Tax Again (August 3, 2009)

Posted in Automobiles/Automobile Industry, Energy, Gas/Fossil Fuel, Less Government Regulation Series, Taxation, The "Terrorist Tax" on August 3, 2009 by

July, 2008:   Gas:   over $4 a gallon   Toyota Prius Hybrid Car:  $3000 over MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) and a line of buyers occupying the showroom.

July, 2009:   Gas:   under $3 a gallon   Toyota Prius Hybrid Car:  $3000 under MSRP and a flotilla of the cars littering the car lot.

The Volkswagen tdi (turbo diesel injected) cars followed the same price arc in response to the price of diesel.

The market should maintain its central role in American society.  Embrace it.  Taxing gasoline/diesel at a “quarter a quarter” per gallon contemplates a twenty-five cent ($.25) increase in the tax on fuel each financial quarter (90 days).  [See the “e-ssay” dated December 18, 2006 entitled “Pass The ‘Terrorist Tax’”]  As a compromise, raise the tax twenty-five cents a year every year.  Any tax by its nature contracts the economy which in this situation is akin to the body politic sucking in its stomach a little.

Implementing the tax while the market price of fuel is low is timely and crucial.  The market is ready.  More Prius cars will be built without the government passing legislation requiring more Prius cars.  More resources will be invested creating a more improved hybrid car or a new more efficient car without further government directives to create improved and new vehicles.  Although not fundamentally a revenue-generating measure, the tax funds can fill the fisc and reduce the country’s dependence on Chinese money.  So many other positive economic changes will result without any further government action.

O’Bama must deliver a speech on the proposal as compelling as his speeches in Philadelphia and Cairo.  He can sell it.  Writing the speech would be fun.

The Cars Allowance Rebate System (CARS), the “Cash for Clunkers” Program, is a short-sighted, expensive and misdirected use of government resources and misuse of public resources.  Too much government money is being spent to spew vehicles on the road that require substantial resources to produce and consume substantial resources to use.

Bumper stickers of the week:

25 cents a quarter

Stop funding terrorists