Wed, 30 Sep 2009

It's Not a Conspiracy

It's not a conspiracy if they don't need to conspire. For an example in the natural world, consider that raindrops fall. The natural laws that apply to them ensure that this happens. No doubt if the molecules in a raindrop could conspire to form themselves into the shape of a glider, and locate an updraft, they could fly forever.

So why don't public school teachers teach good economics to their students? Why don't they teach that minimum wages just hurt the least qualified workers? Why don't they teach that unions mostly serve the employees and leaders of the union? Why don't they teach that unqualified amateurs (homeschoolers) teach better than trained professionals (themselves)? These are all documented facts.

Are public school teachers conspiring to suppress these facts? No, they aren't. No conspiring is necessary. No consultation, no coordination. It is in the interests of each and every teacher to fail to teach these things. No conspiracy exists because no conspiracy is needed.

Contrast this with your favorite conspiracy theory, e.g. the 9/11 truthers. They claim that the U.S. Government faked these attacks in an attempt to cause people to give them more power. Such a conspiracy would require the continued cooperation of at least a hundred people. Not likely that they would continue to cooperate for 8 years.

No, no conspiracy is needed to get people to cede power over their most intimate parts of their lives to governments, e.g. health care.

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Sun, 20 Sep 2009

Ride starting Sun Sep 20 13:36:06 2009

35.77 km 117351.89 feet 22.23 mi 8690.00 seconds 144.83 minutes 2.41 hours 9.21 mi/hr

7.70 km 25272.29 feet 4.79 mi 1790.00 seconds 29.83 minutes 0.50 hours 9.63 mi/hr

Rode up to Norfolk the back way, then south on Sober St. through Norwood, to Quaker Meeting in Potsdam, had meeting and dinner, then rode home. 27 miles is a decent ride for a weekend. Wasn't tired; could have gone much further.

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Thu, 17 Sep 2009

Ride starting Thu Sep 17 10:51:35 2009

10.37 km 34011.98 feet 6.44 mi 2865.00 seconds 47.75 minutes 0.80 hours 8.09 mi/hr

Forgot to turn the GPS on for the ride home.

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Wed, 16 Sep 2009

Ride starting Wed Sep 16 18:29:41 2009

10.62 km 34846.32 feet 6.60 mi 2511.00 seconds 41.85 minutes 0.70 hours 9.46 mi/hr

Got a ride into town with Heather and the bicycle, then rode home.

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Mon, 14 Sep 2009

Ride starting Mon Sep 14 09:22:58 2009

11.62 km 38108.22 feet 7.22 mi 3646.00 seconds 60.77 minutes 1.01 hours 7.13 mi/hr

9.58 km 31421.00 feet 5.95 mi 1987.00 seconds 33.12 minutes 0.55 hours 10.78 mi/hr

Just rode into work and back last Monday.

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Sat, 12 Sep 2009

Ride starting Sat Sep 12 15:50:34 2009

44.34 km 145478.63 feet 27.55 mi 12494.00 seconds 208.23 minutes 3.47 hours 7.94 mi/hr

Rode down to Browns Bridge and went looking for Jim Bonner's house. Either I didn't find it, or didn't recognize it; one or the other. But I had a nice ride, heading down the east side of the Racquette River, and back up on the west side.

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The Public Option is not Competition

I fail to understand why any economist (Nobel Prize or not) can say with a straight face that "the public option" is competition for the private insurers. And Krugman says it, again and again.

A marketplace with competitive entrants, is one in which success or failure exists. Think of a competitive footrace (well, one without Usain Bolt!). Someone comes in first, someone in second, someone in third, and the rest are not named presumably to be counted as losers (except of course that any loser in such a race is faster than 99% of the general population). Failure is an option; in fact it's guaranteed for all but the top three medal winners.

In a marketplace with private insurance companies, any of the companies could go out of business at any time. In a free market system (which ours barely approximates) you have profit and loss. You have success (growth in market share, growth in profits), and you have failure (loss of market share, loss of income). Ultimately, if a market participant loses all their income, they go bankrupt.

Does anybody think the public plan for insuring people would ever lose all its income? Go bankrupt?

I thought not.

So I ask you again, how can any economist say that a company which is guaranteed not to fail be competing with companies that can fail? The obvious answer is: they're not competing; they're not even participating in the same market.

And that puts paid to Krugman's assertion that the argument against the public option boils down to the fact that it's a government program (his emphasis). No. I argue against it because it cannot fail. Without the discipline of potential failure, the program will never succeed, either.

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Thu, 10 Sep 2009

Obama IS lying

Wilson is right. Obama IS lying. He says that none of the people opposed to his plan have an option to offer. Well, that's just a steaming pile of bullshit. How about this option: everyone pays for their own health care up to 20% of their pre-tax income? Effectively, then, the rich will pay for all of their own health care and a lot of other people's, the poor will have a single-payer socialist health plan, and the middle-class will largely pay for their own health care but nobody will be bankrupted.

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Mon, 07 Sep 2009

Michael Moore is Evil

Michael Moore says that capitalism is evil. Oh? Why is he selling admission to his movie, then? If he believed his own propaganda, his movie would be free for the downloading off, say, Youtube, or

Michae Moore has gotten rich off of telling other people that they shouldn't be rich like him. A pox on his house!

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Sat, 05 Sep 2009

Ride starting Sat Sep 5 15:21:35 2009

76.51 km 251014.88 feet 47.54 mi 18315.00 seconds 305.25 minutes 5.09 hours 9.34 mi/hr

(Posted a week late.)

My 28th wedding anniversary! A good day for a nearly 50 mile bike ride, excepting that I had forgotten that I was taking Heather out to dinner to celebrate, sigh. I took her out for ice cream as a consolation, and took her to dinner on the following Wednesday. The ride was excellent otherwise. Went along the Rutland Trail from "North Stockholm" aka Knapps Station to Moira. I'd done a similar ride four years ago except that Heather picked me up at the far end.

Either I'm willing to spend more time on the bike, or else I'm in better shape and simply don't notice the miles, because I wasn't particularly tired after this ride, whereas I remember being worn out when Heather came to get me four years ago.

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Fri, 04 Sep 2009

Ride starting Fri Sep 4 09:15:58 2009

9.93 km 32575.64 feet 6.17 mi 2046.00 seconds 34.10 minutes 0.57 hours 10.86 mi/hr

Bicycled up to the hill last Friday. Forgot to turn the GPS back on for the trip home, so I don't have the log for it.

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Wed, 02 Sep 2009

Ride starting Wed Sep 2 17:32:28 2009

41.52 km 136209.96 feet 25.80 mi 7879.00 seconds 131.32 minutes 2.19 hours 11.79 mi/hr

A nice long ride without ever leaving the neighborhood! I call this my zig-zag ride, because it zigs and zags at every road. At the south edge, I hit US-11B three times, and don't hit any other road more than once.

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Tue, 01 Sep 2009

Krugman and Recalculating.

Paul "MIT wants its PhD back" Krugman is at it again. When government action causes an economy to go bust, people need to adjust their spending (recalculating). This includes employers and employees. So unemployment goes up. Krugman can't understand why this process doesn't apply equally to boom times.

His claim is comparable to saying that because the distance between two floors is equal (the amount of spending adjustment), that it should take an equal amount of effort (unemployment, as some jobs are destroyed and others created) to climb the stars as go down. By this metaphor he's obviously lost all shred of his former Nobel-inducing glory. All that's needed is to show that gravity exists in economies as well as houses.

Causes of gravity: information (in a boom, everybody knows where the jobs are; in a bust that information is hard to get), confidence (people take more risks with their jobs if they know a replacement is easy to get), egoism (everybody wants to get paid more; nobody wants to get paid less), time (booms happen slowly and busts quickly), and probably a few more that I can't think of, but really, these are sufficient on their own. Four reasons why recalculation results in unemployment on the bust side rather than the boom side.

It must suck to be Krugman.

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