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Mark Steckbeck
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In the video below, Kevin O'Leary does a pretty good job of explaining how many regulations disproportionately adversely impact small businesses relative to large businesses. My only quibble is that he keeps referring to job creation and taxes paid to state and federal governments as benefits of successful business. Those are not benefits — they are costs of doing business. What I would have liked to have heard is how much these businesses improve our lives and how excessive and inefficient regulation prevents companies from doing this. Creating value for others is the sole purpose of a business, not creating... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at The Liberal Order
The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has been running the ad below locally, apparently in an attempt to unseat incumbent Republicans in the state legislature. They are also embarking on a direct mail campaign using the same tactic. I can think of many reasons to want politicians from both parties unseated, but this ad may actually backfire. Here is a very fair criticism of the content of the ad from WRAL, but that's not the point I will make. Here's the problem with the NRDC's ad: it will probably help these three politicians get re-elected. By running this ad on... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2014 at The Liberal Order
Wow! $1125 million is of course $1.125 billion. This cannot be $112.5 million, because the cash option would be much less than the stated $107 million. So it looks like tonight's Mega MIllions jackpot is now the largest in history. Is this just a mistake or another way of deceiving unsuspecting customers? Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at The Liberal Order
One of Frédéric Bastiat's best pieces (other than The Law) is this piece on government. He states: Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. I thought of Bastiat's quote as I read this article on the employment effect of the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2014 at The Liberal Order
Another Congressman is retiring and laments the acrimony in the House today relative to some idealized past. Dingell told the Detroit News he finds "serving in the House to be obnoxious" and that "it's become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets." In his prepared "State of the District" remarks, Dingell said he was hopeful the "fever" that has come over Congress will break. First, governing in our federalist republic has never been pretty, and that's a feature not a bug. Getting things done through the political process is intentionally meant to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2014 at The Liberal Order
If I want to increase my profit for an existing product I have one of two ways of doing so: raise the nominal price, or reduce the size of my product. If a candy company currently prices its candy bar at $1 for a 6 oz. bar, it can increase its profit by raising its price to $1.20 for the 6 oz. bar, or it can instead keep the price fixed at $1 and decrease the size of the candy bar from 6 oz. to 5 oz. It effectively did the same thing, but the latter method is a bit... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2014 at The Liberal Order
During a deposition to a lawsuit, a representative for the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles was asked by the plaintiff's attorney if someone could have "COMMIE" printed on his or her vanity license plate. This representative said yes. He was then asked if someone could have "NAZI" printed on a license plate, to which the representative replied emphatically that they could not. The lawyer queried whether the representative understood that Stalin and other leaders of former socialist countries were either directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of ten times the number murdered by Hitler. Why do Stalin and other... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2014 at The Liberal Order
From a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office yesterday comes some disturibing news about the effect the ACA is expected to have on employment. Principle #2: People respond to incentives. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will tend to reduce participation, with the largest impact stemming from new subsidies that reduce the cost of health insurance purchased through exchanges. Specifically, by providing subsidies that decline with rising income (and increase with falling income) and by making some people financially better off, the ACA will create an incentive for some people to choose to work less. This New York Times story... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at The Liberal Order
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at The Liberal Order
The Aquinas College Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center is having a bake sale to raise awarness of the fact that women are discriminated in the workplace by the fact that women earn just 77¢ for every $1 earned by men. Here's Christina Hoff Sommers explaining the reasons for this difference in income between men and women. The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at The Liberal Order
Jeffrey Dorfman offers some good insight into the minimum wage and who actually earns relatively low wages. That leaves only about 1.1 percent of all workers over 25 and 0.8 percent of all Americans over 25 earning the minimum wage. - - - - In fact, according to a recent study, 63 percent of workers who earn less than $9.50 per hour (well over the minimum wage of $7.25) are the second or third earner in their family and 43 percent of these workers live in households that earn over $50,000 per year. - - - - Further, almost two-thirds... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2014 at The Liberal Order
I received an email from asking me the following: As someone who owns Schlage F10ACC619 Accent..., can you help this fellow customer? [Name Withheld] asks "what is the difference between Schlage F10VACC619 and Schlage F10ACC619 ?" A customer asked a question, and Amazon used crowdsourcing to come up with an answer. (I'm guessing they sent the same email to other people.) It just so happens that I had the same question last year when I purchased the locksets for the doors on my third floor and emailed the manufacturer about it. I was able to reply to this... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2014 at The Liberal Order
Driving to campus a few weeks ago, I was listening to a free iTunes song that my son had been listening to. We have very similar tastes in music, so I like to listen to music he has an interest in, and I also like to listen to the lyrics of songs that he listens to. The song by Echosmith includes the following refrain: I wish that I could be like the cool kids, ‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in. I was heading in to teach one of my upper level classes that day, and this... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2014 at The Liberal Order
Data released today shows that 203,000 new jobs were created in the United States in November and that the unemployment rate fell to 7%, it's lowest level in five years. Here is a graph of civilian employment in the U.S. over the last year, indeed showing a jump in net new jobs. And here is the graph showing the unemployment rate. It did indeed decrease over the past year. But this information tells only part of the story. Unemployment is measured by dividing the number of people unemployed by the number of employed plus the number of unemployed people. (Unemployed... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2013 at The Liberal Order
"Yeah, I'll tell you about the whale. That's a story I'll never forget." A good lesson of strict liability. Hilarious! HT: Carolynn Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2013 at The Liberal Order
Jon Stewart interviews Debbie Wasserman Schultz. (See video below.) First, I love the use of the phrase, "We need real people." What she means by"we," of course, is people who believe in more centralized control of our economy, which of course means more power in the hands of people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz to control other people's lives. Further, to explain what she means by "real people," Wasserman Schultz uses the example of mothers needing to become more involved in education. But there are plenty of "real people," both fathers and mothers, thank you, involved in their children's education, many... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2013 at The Liberal Order
The NSA spying scandal is becoming more of a black eye every day. The most recent revelations that the NSA has been spying on its allies, including German Chancelor Angela Merkel before she even became chancelor, reveals an extreme lack of judgement. And politicians have acted—and will continue to act—just as one would expect: they deny any knowledge and involvement in the scandal. "With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies — including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany — let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed," Feinstein said in a statement Monday. “Unless the United... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2013 at The Liberal Order
Reports have emerged recently of the failure of the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) to gain a large turnout of people enrolling in health care exchanges during the first two weeks they've been open. It certainly wasn't unexpected, and this anecdotal stat (below) may have some explanatory power. What it implies is simply that people without insurance might have lacked insurance not because it wasn't available, but instead because they are irresponsible. This failure to obtain coverage through the exchange is a puzzle, assuming that people without insurance actually desired it. But it might simply signal irresponsible behavior on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2013 at The Liberal Order
Read it here. If a readable link doesn't pop up, Google the title, "Scott Adams' Secret of Success: Failure" One funny excerpt. Nietzsche famously said, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." It sounds clever, but it's a loser philosophy. I don't want my failures to simply make me stronger, which I interpret as making me better able to survive future challenges. (To be fair to Nietzsche, he probably meant the word "stronger" to include anything that makes you more capable. I'd ask him to clarify, but ironically he ran out of things that didn't kill him.) Now the important... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2013 at The Liberal Order
Apparently some truckers are protesting by assembling in Washington, DC and attempting to tie up traffic. No major traffic delays were reported on the Beltway during Friday’s morning commute, police authorities said, despite a protest by about 30 tractor-trailers and pickup trucks against what organize describe as excessive government intrusion. What does that tell you about DC's economy? Truckers impede traffic by driving side-by-side on a major thoroughfare around the city, traveling at 15 mph, and they caused no major traffic delays. Remove the federal government from Washington, DC and it becomes a wastelan . . . never mind. Also,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at The Liberal Order
. . . to Master Sergeant Private Clark for prompting me to post more often. Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at The Liberal Order
Looking at the picture below, I don't know which is sadder. Is it that in Thailand incomes are so low that the best means of surviving flood waters is to tie empty water bottles together in order to swim to safety? Or is it that too many Americans with little means wouldn't have the resourcefulness to think of such a device, therefore leading more to likely drown? Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at The Liberal Order
It is not the taxes we pay that are the true cost of government, but instead, the resources diverted from use elsewhere are the true cost of government. Think of that when you read about a hair-brained idea like this. Americans (What about the Canadians and Mexicans? Aren't they, too, Americans?) should be rebated tax dollars for every day the government is shut down. For instance, This would be simple to do. For every day the government is shut down, every American's 2013 tax bill would be reduced by one day's worth of income taxes. Here’s the math. The average... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at The Liberal Order
“If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there is a man on base.” —Dave Barry Read more. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2013 at The Liberal Order