State Capitalism in China earns a lot of Tax Revenue from Big State Tobacco

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

Big corporations are evil.  That’s all you hear from those on the Left.  These people hate corporations.  Capitalism.  And the private sector in general.  Where people pursue profits.  Instead of the wellbeing of our fellow citizens.  Like they do in China.  Where state capitalism rules supreme.  And the government puts people ahead of profits (see Poisonous gift posted 1/28/2012 on The Economist).

China’s tobacco industry is both owned and regulated by the government. It makes and sells more than two-fifths of the world’s cigarettes—2.4 trillion in 2011, 3% more than in 2010. The government says the industry took in profits and tax receipts of 753 billion yuan ($119 billion) in 2011, an annual increase of over a fifth. Production, sales and tax receipts are likely to increase for years to come.

Yes, the economic model that those on the Left want us to adopt is worse than Big Tobacco.  For the tobacco companies in China not only kill people in pursuit of big profits.  They’re owned by the government.  So it’s the government killing people in pursuit of profits.  Funny.  Because state capitalism isn’t supposed to work that way.  At least, that’s what those on the Left would tell us.  Government is good.  Corporations are bad.  Yet here is government being worse than the corporations.

Perhaps state capitalism is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Perhaps government can be just as bad as corporations.  Or even worse.  For corporations clearly state that they protect the interests of their stockholders.  Government is supposed to protect the interests of the people.  So who is worse when people get hurt by smoking?  The government, of course.

So why do they do it?  For the same reason the U.S. government won’t criminalize cigarettes.  They want people to smoke for the same reason the Chinese government wants their people to smoke.  The tax receipts.  Addiction is good.  It fills the government coffers.  And as long as it does people will be smoking.  Governments everywhere will make sure of it.

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Starving Poor People to Save the Planet from Global Warming

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

To save the planet we’re going to stop burning fossil fuel in our cars.  Instead, we’re going to burn food.  And what could possibly go wrong with that?  I mean, what other uses does food have (see Beef prices set to soar by RANDY SHORE posted 1/31/2012 on The Vancouver Sun)?

Soaring feed prices across North America and drought conditions in the United States are pushing the cost of meat — beef in particular — through the roof….

The commodity price of corn is another factor driving the price of popular meats skyward, say meat producers. The price of corn grown for animal feed has doubled since the summer of 2010, driven in part by rising demand for corn as a source of ethanol fuel…

Increases in the price of corn in response to the U.S. push to use the grain for ethanol production has also affected the price of pork…

“[U.S. energy policy] did motivate producers to grow more corn, but it wasn’t nearly enough to meet the increase in demand,” said Rice. “That increased competition drove up the price of corn and that was a huge hit [to pork producers].”

Rich people will still enjoy their tenderloin.  As they always will.  High price or not.  But we make something else out of beef.  Hamburger.  The staple of low-income family dining room tables everywhere.  Meatloaf.  Hamburger Helper.  Things I’ve enjoyed as a child.  And I’m not ashamed to say that I still enjoy.  Cholesterol levels be damned.

So we’re saving the planet (from the man-made global warming bogeyman that was created by big world government ‘scientists’ at the University of East Anglia) by making it harder for poor people to have their protein.  Of course, the environmentalists are okay with this.  As they don’t much like people to begin with.  Especially meat-eating people.

Think about this the next time you go grocery shopping.  While you decide what not to buy.  So you can afford your beef and pork products.  To save the planet from a man-made phenomenon.  The man-made fear of global warming.

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State Capitalism spills Toxic Cadmium into the Longjiang River in China’s Guangxi Region

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

Even the heavy hand of state capitalism of the Chinese communists can’t prevent toxic pollution (see Seven detained over China river cadmium spill posted 1/30/2012 on the BBC China).

Seven chemical company officials have been detained over industrial waste that polluted a river in China’s Guangxi region, state media said.

Cadmium pollutants were detected in the Longjiang River on 15 January after tests were carried out on dead fish.

The level then was 80 times the official limit, regional environment protection official Feng Zhennian said…

Cadmium, commonly found in industrial usage such as the production of batteries, is a carcinogen which can damage the kidneys, bones and respiratory system.

People hate corporations everywhere.  And only when government regulates the bejesus out of capitalism will they feel safe from the horrors of capitalism.  Well, in China, you can’t get much further away from free market capitalism.  For government is there.  Everywhere.  And even there they have a horrible industrial accident.

Accidents happen.  Because people aren’t perfect.  And as it turns out, neither is government.

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China’s Largest Port Builder cuts its IPO Funding Target by 75%, China’s Boom Times Over?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

Could the bloom be off the Chinese economic rose?  Perhaps (see China Communications Construction Cuts IPO Offering by 75% by Reuters posted 1/30/2012 on CNBC).

China Communications Construction, the country’s largest builder of ports, launched its long-delayed Shanghai initial public offering on Tuesday, with the IPO’s fundraising target slashed by 75 percent to as much as 5 billion yuan ($789.76 million)…

China’s stock market [.SSEC  2330.41    17.85  (+0.77%)   ] slumped 22 percent last year under the weight of monetary tightening and global economic uncertainty, forcing many Chinese companies to postpone their listing plans or cut fundraising targets.

China Communications Construction will sell up to 1.6 billion shares in Shanghai, or about 10 percent of its enlarged capital, and will use the proceeds to fund construction projects and equipment purchases, according to its prospectus.

A slumping stock market and global economic uncertainty?  Things that don’t bode well for an economy based on manufacturing for export.  The boom times may be over.  When they cut the funding expectations by 75% for a company that will use those funds for construction projects and equipment purchases tells you one thing.  Investors don’t think there will be much more construction or equipment purchasing in the not so distant future.  And, perhaps, that there is a surplus of capacity in Chinese manufacturing.

The Chinese were pumping so much easy credit into their economy that they got inflation worries.  Which could be the least of their worries.  Their greatest worry is, or should be, an asset bubble.  Their coordinated effort to raise economic activity with their state capitalism built like there was no tomorrow.  And all those ghost cities built without anyone to live in them may come back to haunt them.  Making Japan’s Lost Decade look more like an unpleasant weekend.  For that’s one thing the Japanese didn’t do.  Build cities for people who weren’t there.

Japan’s Lost Decade was a boon for Bill Clinton and the United States.  For it helped to make the Nineties a prosperous time.  Until those irrational expectations spoiled the party.  Those dot-com investors looking for the next Microsoft.  But a Chinese lost decade may not be as beneficial for the U.S.  Without the Chinese to buy the exploding U.S. debt they will have to find other means to fund that debt.  Either with taxes.  Or with a hidden tax.  Inflation.  Either way is sure to tank economic activity in the U.S.   Dragging out this Great Recession into depression-like waters.

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In British Columbia 18 People have died in Past 6 Months from Taking Ecstasy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

The war on drugs has been an abject failure.  Drugs have never been more powerful or available.  And the drug economy has produced a criminal underworld that has spread unspeakable violence.  So is it worth it?  This war on drugs?  Decriminalizing drugs would go a long way to end the crime and violence.  But making drugs more readily available would no doubt increase the use of these drugs.  For they are spreading now while they are illegal.  And not just in back alleys.  But into the mainstream of society.   In bars.  In homes.  And on college campuses (see Calgary police link 7th death to tainted ecstasy posted 1/30/2012 on CBC News Calgary).

The toxicology report of Southern Alberta Institute of Technology student Cody Gorlick, 23, who died earlier this month, shows he had ingested ecstasy laced with paramethoxymethamphetamine, a methamphetamine known as PMMA…

“From what we’ve seen in these cases, and it’s very apparent, is that the drug [ecstasy] is not just used at raves anymore, it’s used by people in their homes, it’s used at bars, it’s used at all kinds of different locations,” said Bossley.

In B.C., 18 people have died after taking ecstasy in the last six months, and a 19th death is being investigated.

People say telling kids that they shouldn’t have sex until they are married is silly.  Because these kids are having sex.  After all, that’s a big part of college.  First time away from home.  You know they’re having sex.  You know they are drinking.  And you know they’re doing drugs.  Because they are.  And some are dying from those drugs.  So it’s reasonable to assume that if drugs were decriminalized that more kids would try them.  More would start using.  And more would die from overdoses.

So should we maintain the war on drugs?  Should we decriminalize drugs?  Tough to say.  Because you’re kind of damned if you do.  And damned if you don’t.  But one thing for sure is that the lesser of all evils here is for people to choose not to use drugs.  For if they did it wouldn’t matter if they were legal or not.  But getting them to choose this is easier said than done.  Religion may help.  Getting married and starting to raise a family may help.  For few things grow people up faster than becoming parents. 

And really that’s the key to the drug question.  Growing up.  Becoming mature responsible adults.  Because the sooner we become mature responsible adults the sooner we stop the foolish ways of our youth.

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The Canadians will use Family Histories and Genetic Makeup in Rationing out their Health Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 4th, 2012

Week in Review

One thing I’ve always hated about seeing a new doctor was going through all those questionnaires.  Family history.  Are you a smoker?  Have you worked in an asbestos factory?  Do you wash behind your ears?  They just seemed to want to know everything.  When scarring showed up in an x-ray of my father’s lungs his doctor had a lot of questions for me, too.  Did my father and I work in an asbestos factory and, if not, they were going to check him for tuberculosis.  And if I had any plans to travel or do anything possibly infectious, don’t.  Thankfully, my father’s tests came out negative.  We were at a loss to where that scarring came from.  And I now where a mask while cleaning the cat’s litter box.  Just in case.  Because of the potentially scarring dust it stirs up. 

So anyway, family histories and environmental factors during medical exams were nothing new for us south of the border.  But apparently not in Canada.  Until now (see Feds set to pour millions into personalized health care by Jeff Davis, Postmedia News, posted 1/30/2012 on The Vancouver Sun).

Personalized health care is a medical model that attempts to tailor treatments to the unique needs of individuals by taking genetics and other factors into account. Family health histories are considered, as are other elements such as social and environmental factors.

The government hopes personalized health care will enable doctors to choose which treatments will be most effective, rather than using treatments that are likely to fail due to genetic or other factors…

A government source said this is a “cutting edge” approach to diagnostics and treatment that will help the hospitals waste less time and money on ineffective treatments. He said this is part of a larger federal push for more innovative health-care methods.

Perhaps they’re going to actually add genetic testing for each patient to identify possible treatment resistant genes.  Sounds expensive.  But note the reason why they’re doing this.  To cut costs.  Which is a never ending battle in nationally provided health care.  Here this medical model will help cut costs by rationing treatment.  By determining which treatments will have a low percentage of benefiting the patient.  So they can save that treatment for someone who will have a higher percentage of benefitting from that treatment.

National health care is a game of numbers.  And the way to make it most efficient is by creating a system where they can reserve care to those with an acceptable probability of responding to that care.  And give a pill to the others to manage their pain.  Until there is no more pain to manage.

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