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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

In The Eye Of The Beholder

I've always looked upon a Wal-Mart Super Center as being a thing of beauty.  Roanoke Times columnist Dan Casey, on the other hand, sees it as being "America at its ugliest."  I see Wal-Mart as being a wonderful provider of opportunity.  Both for those who are given the chance to earn an income and for the community that it supports.  Casey sees the plot of ground on which it stands as being "ripped, blasted, bulldozed and paved."

I can only guess, then, that Dan Casey, when he drives south out of Roanoke (or into downtown Roanoke for that matter) is pleased as punch with the desolation he sees, desolation that was once, not long ago, a thriving part of America, with jobs aplenty.  How pleased he must be that so many factories and homes in the area have succumbed to weeds and vermin.  Weeds being, you see, "quaint."

And as for opportunity?

Hey, that's for someone else to worry about.  He's got his.  To hell with everyone else.
"It's a word that calls to mind quaint images of Americana hamlets, with a post office, a butcher, a barber shop, a church, some stables and perhaps a small school.

"Artist Norman Rockwell painted such villages and the people in them. At one time he might have considered ..."
Spare me.

Don't You Just Love Autumn?


And speaking of that conference convened to combat global warming that's ongoing in Cancun:


Meanwhile here in southern Virginia, the snow plows have worked the road leading to my property every day in an effort to keep the drifts from closing it completely as the wind and snow play havoc on the landscape.

The best part?  We're two weeks away from winter.

Global warming?  If only.

Such Hatred

I may have mentioned this before, I don't know.  But of all the op/ed columns that I wrote for the Roanoke Times back in 2006, the one that brought me the most email responses, the overwhelming majority of which could be described as being hate-directed, it was this one:

Eat The Rich.

In it, I wrote:
It has been said, and I believe it to be true, that the key difference between conservatives and liberals is in their attitudes toward the rich. Conservatives work to make everyone someday wealthy. Liberals work to destroy wealth.

I called a meeting of my sales team not long ago and in the course of my laying out the coming year's plan, I told each of them: I intend, if you do your part, to make every one of you rich. In so doing, of course, I intend to enrich myself. For having succeeded, the corporation to which we all answer will prosper. As will its shareholders. And the families of each shareholder.

As someone once said, "A rising tide raises all boats." This will only happen, though, if there isn't a tidal wave of class hatred sweeping over and capsizing us all.
The response from the class warfarists was pure vitriol.

I was, and still am, amazed by it.

A truism for those who hate the rich:

You could stand every "rich" person in this country up against a wall and execute them and you'd have done nothing to help the poorer people in this country. Nothing.

So what is it about those Americans - like Keith Olbermann - that makes them so hate the wealthy?

What is it about those who say "We cannot support the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for millionaires" when it means Bush's tax cuts for everyone else are axed as well?

Can it be a simple matter of class envy that would prompt someone to launch a petition drive intended to block an effort to have the wealthiest among us keep some of that which they've earned?

Such hatred. 

It's so unbecoming.  And so un-American.

As Robert Stacy McCain makes clear: "As I remarked last night on Twitter, if Glenn Beck had ever gone after Obama this hard, he would have been denounced for committing a hate-crime."

Indeed.

Key word being hate.

And it's worse now than when I wrote that column back in November of 2006.

I don't understand it.  I just don't understand it.

Give Boucher His Due

In a last minute effort to destroy our once great country before they give up power the Democratic members of the House of Representatives last night passed the DREAM Act, otherwise known as the Amnesty for Illegals Act.

Read all about the shameful endeavor here.

Giving credit where it's due, though. Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA9) - a Democrat - voted NAY.

Thank you, Mr. Boucher for supporting the rule of law.

As for your fellow Democrats ...

The 'Stimulus' Verdict Is In

As most people have already surmised, the Obama/Bush fiscal stimuli have failed miserably.  To buttress that belief researchers have been analyzing the economic data for the last two years, looking to see how federal expenditures worked their way through the U.S. economy.  So what's happened to all that dough?

See "The Obama Stimulus Impact? Zero," by John F. Cogan and John B. Taylor in today's Wall Street Journal.

In it they make two points.

First, they provide the underlying - and accepted - premise behind the stimulus programs that our two presidents introduced:
"The key tenet of Keynesian economics is that government purchases of goods and services stimulate additional economic activity beyond the amount of the purchase itself. The impact on GDP of the stimulus depends both on the dollar volume of additional government purchases and on the size of the government purchases multiplier, i.e., the effect of a change in government purchases on real GDP."
So did they? Did the two programs "stimulate additional economic activity beyond the amount of the purchase itself"?

No.

1) "[D]ata covering the first year and three quarters of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) show that, despite the large size of the program, the dollar volume of additional government purchases that it has generated has been negligible."

Negligible compared to ongoing government spending. Which goes along with what I've felt to be the case all along. It is - or was - generally accepted that government "priming the pump" will stimulate growth. But what if that pump is, on a day to day basis, receiving a gusher of priming from the federal government already? Unlike 1932, when domestic government spending was paltry, a massive injection of cash, it could be argued, did indeed prime the pump and stimulate growth. And jobs.

But today, with the federal government spending tens of billions daily, what's another few billion?

The two researchers also found that very little of the stimulus - originally intended for "infrastructure, law enforcement and education" - has seen its way to that end thus far.

2) Here's a fascinating finding. The federal government dumped hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus on state (and local) governments. The result? Zero. As those governments received more in federal aid, they borrowed less to meet daily obligations.  They simply adjusted current budgeting obligations to a new source of revenue:
The Commerce Department also provides data on ARRA grants to state and local governments and the amount of purchases by these governments. According to these data, state and local government purchases of goods and services did not increase at all in response to the large federal stimulus grants.

Our statistical analysis shows that, once revenues are controlled for, ARRA grants have no statistically significant impact on state and local government purchases.

So where did ARRA's state and local grant money go? While some of it increased transfer payments to individuals in the form of welfare and Medicaid, the major part was simply used to reduce borrowing. As ARRA grants increased, net borrowing by state and local governments decreased. In the third quarter of 2010, for example, state and local governments received $132 billion in stimulus grants at an annual rate. In that quarter they borrowed $136 billion less at an annualized rate than they had in the fourth quarter of 2008, even though their revenues from all other sources were only $76 billion higher.

The bottom-line is the federal government borrowed funds from the public, transferred these funds to state and local governments, who then used the funds mainly to reduce borrowing from the public. The net impact on aggregate economic activity is zero, regardless of the magnitude of the government purchases multiplier.
Bottom line? The "stimulus" stimulated nothing.