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AP Analysis Shows No Economic Impact of Bathroom Bill on North Carolina March 27, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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That is not, of course, the way they present it. Anyway, the AP has a terrifying report on the devastating damage to the North Carolina economy as a result of keeping bathrooms the way they have always been:

‘Bathroom bill’ to cost North Carolina $3.76B, report says

Despite Republican assurances that North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” isn’t hurting the economy, the law limiting LGBT protections will cost the state more than $3.76 billion in lost business over a dozen years, according to an Associated Press analysis.

That sounds pretty bad, but . . . hey, wait a minute.

$3.76 billion over 12 years is $313 million/year. Is that a lot?

Not really:

HB2 supporters say its costs have been tiny compared with an economy estimated at more than $500 billion a year, roughly the size of Sweden’s.

So $313 million out of $500 billion is: . . . . . 0.06%.

What they should have asked is how much it cost Paypal to change its plans. That might have been interesting.

Because there’s no story so far as North Carolina’s economy is concerned.

The Dollar Takes a Beating March 27, 2017

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The value of the dollar soared after Trump’s election, but has lost much of that gain since. Why? Well, first take a look at the federal rate for the past 10 years:

FederalFundsTargetRate2017

So the first thing you notice is that the Fed was essentially unable to raise the rate for the entirety of Obama’s inglorious reign (they changed it once: from 0.25% to 0.5% at the end of 2015). They talked about raising on numerous occasions, but were never able to pull the trigger, for fear of killing off our already-anemic recovery.

Until Trump, when they were able to raise it twice

What does this have to do with the value of the dollar? Well, Zero Hedge put up this chart today, which I think tells the story pretty effectively:

20170325_dollar_0

You see the post-election boom, and then a jump at the first rate hike due to excitement over the benefits of higher interest rates to the banking/finance industries. But then reality for the rest of the world sets in, and the dollar starts sliding.

Stock markets are taking a big hit as well, since the market’s confidence in Trump’s ability to stimulate economic growth have eroded after the Obamacare modification debacle.

I think the Fed may have been a bit aggressive, and it would sure be nice if Congress would restore the wind under the president’s wings.

Because I’m kind of fond of prosperity.

 

CNN Devolves March 22, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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If you haven’t seen this yet, it’ll be your first opportunity to gape in awe at how far CNN (once the gem of news media) has fallen:

STAIRS-600x405

Sniper Fashion March 21, 2017

Posted by geoff in Fashion.
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You all are so lucky, because Yes! It’s time for another fashion post!!

Today we have a fashion statement reminiscent of Tom Berenger in Sniper. Potentially unisex (if the gents don’t mind showing a little leg)?

Get close to your target and celebrate haute couteur at the same time! I present you the the grassy smocky hoody thing!

SniperFashion

Satisfaction vs. Unsatisfaction March 21, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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Via Digg we have the most satisfying video in the world (5 minutes of everything working just right):

…aaaaannnnddd the most unsatisfying video in the world (where everything is off). OCD people should not watch this one:

The Daily Beast Can’t Fact Check Either March 20, 2017

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The Daily Beast gets this one completely wrong. (“Either” in the title refers to WaPo’s notoriously bad fact-checking)

Apparently President Trump tweeted this on Saturday:

…Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!

The Daily Beast then ponderously points out that there is no NATO bank account for Germany’s money, so Germany doesn’t actually “owe” anything. It has just not kept up with its promised military expenditures. They point this out, then quote the Brookings Institute on the matter, then mention other (anonymous) experts who concur.

But none of that matters.

Trump is, as usual, staking out a negotiating position. He is speaking of a moral debt and an unfulfilled treaty obligation, not actual cash due to some bank account. There’s no question that Germany has been falling 40% short of its NATO obligations for years, as admitted by the Daily Beast. Trump wants use that fact to guilt Germany into a vulnerable position in future negotiations.

And what exactly is he after? He says he wants compensation for the US’s expenditures to protect Germany (and Europe). He probably won’t get it, but he’ll get something. Which is awesome.

The Daily Beast rated Trump’s tweet as “False.” I would rate their rating as “Stupid Critique and Waste of Bandwidth Based on a Misunderstanding of Trump’s Tweet.”

Treating a moral statement as a bank ledger is a silly mistake: the kind of mistake made by rabid anti-Trumpites. So I guess we know where they stand.

Wakey, Wakey March 20, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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Hopefully you’re up early with a slightly different motivation than these poor fellows.

Dang I like me some funk.

Maybe Friday we can do Party Train.

Multicultural Appropriation March 19, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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It’s funny to me that the same people who are fervent advocates of multiculturalism are the same people who screech about cultural appropriation.

Multiculturalism is supposed to enrich the parent culture with language, customs, food, etc. But now it has become “You can look but can’t touch.” If you try to actually incorporate other cultures into your life, you’re an eeevil appropriator.

Not very enriching.

Our Dwindling GDP Growth March 19, 2017

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I made this point several years ago (and even earlier here), but this chart I lifted from Zero Hedge makes it even more clearly:

3-united-states-gdp-growth-annual@3x-1024x477.pngThat right there is your basic real (inflation-adjusted) growth rate over the past 65 years. And as you can see, it seems our fortunes have been declining over the past 20 years.

The article at Zero Hedge claims that this shows that Keynesian economics doesn’t work. I think it shows that Congress is incapable of properly applying Keynesian economics, that the global economy has become more competitive, and that increased regulation has stifled growth.

But regarding Keynesian economics in particular, I think it’s unlikely that our government would ever succeed in applying it. It requires discipline and a better understanding of economics than we currently have.

And an absence of greed.

NyQuil is for Pussies March 15, 2017

Posted by skinbad in Nature Shit, News.
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Ask your doctor if getting shot in the ass with a bear tranquilizer is right for you. Side effects may include sleeping through the winter months and a decreased desire for sex in the missionary position. What else ya got?

 

One Man’s Apocalypse is Another Man’s Freedom March 13, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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The usual suspects are chattering away about the evils of Trumpcare. This NYT article by Paul “I’ve never made an accurate prediction in my life” Krugman is typical:

Trumpcare vs. Obamacare: Apocalypse Foretold

The Congressional Budget Office report on Trumpcare is out, and it’s devastating: 14 million people losing insurance in the first year, 24 million over time, with premiums soaring for older, lower-income Americans — in many cases, the very people who went strongly for President Trump.

I’m going to admit straightaway that I haven’t looked at Ryan’s bill, so I have no idea what Trumpcare is all about. But, unlike Paul Krugman, I can read a CBO report and process what it says. Here’s what it says about those 14 million people:

Most of that increase would stem from repealing the penalties associated with the individual mandate.

Aha. So the bulk of those people who would not have insurance are those who didn’t want to pay for insurance in the first place. The young and healthy, who were dragooned into buying insurance by the individual mandate.

Yes, Paul, those people would now be free to choose how to spend their money. I guess that seems like the Apocalypse to you.

*With regards to the “soaring premiums,” I can only say that the CBO did a crap job in assessing the impact of the new legislation on insurance premiums. I say this because they only accounted for the effect of the young and healthy leaving the market, ignoring the effects of coverage changes and tax reduction.

Catching Up With the CBO’s Latest Budget Report March 13, 2017

Posted by geoff in News.
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I haven’t been keeping up with current events, pal, but the CBO released a review of the 2016 budget last month, and it contained a lovely depiction of the deficit for the past 50 years:

CBOFederalDeficitsThrough2016

So President Obama can proudly note that he was above average in deficit spending for all but one year of his 2 terms.

When you total up the impact of all that spending, you get the federal debt:

CBOFederalDebtThrough2016

I think President Obama’s idea of “The Surge” was completely different than his predecessor’s.