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Getting Your Exercise Ball Out From Underfoot March 29, 2017

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We used to have an exercise ball, but it was underused and always in the way. Finally gave it to our local charity. But if I’d seen this post a few years ago, we’d probably still have it.

Trust the Japanese to figure out how to conveniently store an exercise ball:

ExerciseBall

Out of the way, but easy to get to every other year when the desire to exercise overwhelms you.

Expect the Unexpected March 28, 2017

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Remember back in the Obama era when we used to make fun of the media whenever we got bad economic news, and they would always say “unexpectedly?” Things are a little different now:

U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Surges to a 16-Year High

Not Impressed With Tax Payments of Illegal Immigrants March 28, 2017

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Same sort of analysis as last post.

A cute young illegal immigrant posted this to Facebook:

SisaTax

Note, of course, that she doesn’t mention what she can benefit from:

  • DREAM Scholarships (up to $25K for a bachelors, or up to $80K in certain states)
  • In-state tuition (they charge $10.6K for in-state, and $26.5K for out-of-state)
  • Financial aid from the college or university
  • K-12 Schooling/School lunch & breakfast programs
  • Emergency medical care

But hey, she’s contributing the tax base, right? CNN is quick to point out that a recent study showed that illegal immigrants pay almost $12 billion in taxes per year. Count those smackers, racist trogolodytes!! But since there are around 12 million illegals (give or take a million), that’s only about $1000/illegal.

But taxpayers as a whole paid $1.5 trillion last year. That’s about $4300/person. If we just eliminated the all thetax contributions of the illegals, it would decrease tax revenues by a mere 0.8%.

So, while I’m somewhat gratified that Ms. Belen tried to follow the law as much as she was able, the contribution of she and her fellows is paltry in total, and disproportionately small per capita.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.