Free Market Capitalism is the Best Way to keep Workers from Bathing in the Milk we Buy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 29th, 2014

Week in Review

Competition makes everything better.  If there was only one restaurant in town they could serve pretty bad food.  Because if the people don’t have time to cook for themselves where else are they going to go?  This restaurant could use ingredients past their ‘use by’ dates.  Meats discounted by stores because they passed their shelf life date.  They could use canned goods they heat up in a microwave.  Using the cheapest ingredients that can be cooked the least amount of time by the fewest people.  To keep costs down.  It can work.  Until there is competition.

If a restaurant opened next door that cooked only with fresh ingredients and did not use a microwave oven their food is going to taste a lot better.  And people will stop going to that other restaurant to enjoy the better quality next door.  This is why competition makes everything better.  Because people choose what’s best for them.  And if a business continually strives to exceed a customer’s expectations their customers will keep coming back.  If they don’t people will just take their business elsewhere.  And businesses will run tight ships.  To make sure no one brings harm to their brand.  Because if they didn’t something like this could happen (see Russian dairy plant closed after workers bathe in the milk by Sergei L. Loiko posted 3/28/2014 on the Los Angeles Times).

A Siberian dairy plant was temporarily closed Friday after its workers had been found bathing in milk, a Russian consumer oversight agency reported.

Trade House Cheeses, a dairy producer in Omsk, about 1,600 miles east of Moscow, was closed for 90 days by regional authorities for an urgent inspection after complaints resulting from photographs and a video posted by one of its employees on a Russian social network.

In the photographs and video clips posted on New Year’s Eve by worker Artyom Romanov, a group of undressed employees relax in a container of milk as part of their celebration. While still partly undressed, they then demonstrate cheese making in a clownish manner…

After the video appeared on NTV, a federal television network, many residents of Omsk refused to buy products made at the plant, an NTV report said this week…

“For five years Russia has been languishing in a so-called experiment of practically exercising no control over consumer production after a law was introduced limiting inspections of such facilities to only once every three years,” said Yanin, the board chairman of the Russian Confederation of Consumer Societies, a Moscow-based group…

The average salary of a sanitary inspector is equal to $500 a month, but instead of raising that, the government decided to try to prevent the inspectors from taking bribes by in effect seriously curbing their ability to control production norms and practices, Yanin said.

Of course, this is the wrong conclusion to draw from this. The problem isn’t lax inspections by underpaid inspectors.  The proper conclusion is in a previous paragraph.  That conclusion is why we don’t have these problems in the United States.  Or if we do they are very rare.  The same goes for other capitalistic societies based on free markets.  Unlike the communism they once had in Russia.  Or the crony capitalism they now have in Russia.  Because communism and crony capitalism are corrupt systems.  Government establishes and maintains monopolies.  Either by force under communism.  Or by bribes and kickbacks under crony capitalism.  Which, of course, eliminates competition.  And THIS is the problem here.  As the residents of Omsk identify.  Who refused to buy an inferior product.

You could get rid of all the inspectors in the United States and this problem would not be any more prevalent than it is now.  Why?  Because of competition.  Especially in the age of social media.  For business have lost sales for just appearing to think ‘incorrectly’ on social issues.  Just imagine what would happen if a video like this came from an American dairy.  The backlash would be the worst conceivable.  And this would happen before any government action.  That backlash would spread to every store throughout the nation.  Nay, to every capitalistic country based on free markets in the world where that brand sells its products.  People would pause as they reached for a product from this dairy on their supermarket shelf.  And move to the left or to the right.  And pick up a product from another dairy.

This is what keeps American dairies clean.  And every other established brand.  For with competition consumers can reach for another product on the shelf.  And once they do because they lost faith in a brand for any reason (such as cleanliness) it could take a very long time for that brand to reestablish the trust of the consumer.  Costing it billions in lost revenue.  This is why food businesses are cleaner in capitalistic countries based on free markets.  Because of competition and profit.  The two best protectors a consumer can have.

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Washington DC is Literally Full of Explosive Stinky Gas

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 19th, 2014

Week in Review

One of the riches places to live in the United States is in the Washington DC area.  And you know what you can do to rich people?  You can increase their utility rates.  Because whatever they charge a rich person is going to be able to pay it.  Easily.  In fact, they won’t object to rising utility rates.  For they have so much they wouldn’t want to deny pensions and health insurance to the working people.  At least they wouldn’t want to be seen as denying pension and health insurance to the working people.  So they don’t complain about rising utility rates.  Which is probably why stuff like this happens (see D.C. Full of Gassy Leaks, Researchers Say by Alan Neuhauser posted 1/17/2014 on US News and World Report).

Nearly 6,000 natural gas leaks were discovered beneath the streets of the nation’s capital last year when a team of researchers from Duke and Boston universities surveyed all 1,500 miles of the city’s roadways, according to an article published Thursday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

A dozen were leaking enough methane to explode, while others were letting off enough gas to fuel from two to seven homes…

On average, pipelines across the country lose about 1.6 percent of the natural gas they transmit. The pipelines in D.C., by contrast, were losing about 4 percent of their gas. These findings, Jackson says, highlight “the opportunity to fix them.”

Gas leaks?  So what.  Just raise the utility rate.  It’s easier.  And less costly.

Public utilities are highly regulated.  They just can’t raise their rates.  They need the approval of government to do that.  The problem with these public utilities is that they are very close to the people that regulate them.  Who often approve high rates in exchange for something nice from the utility to show their appreciation.  It’s this kind of cronyism that brought satellite television into the market to compete against cable television.  Because cable television companies had some real sweetheart deals that were gouging the consumers.  Now the cable companies have a lot of competition.  And they have to be a lot more creative in how they charge their customers today.

Competition makes everything better for the consumer.  Where there is no competition you get high utility rates.  And a lot of explosive natural gas leaking up from buried pipelines.

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Union Cabbies want you to wait Longer for a Ride

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 19th, 2014

Week in Review

Today there is an app for everything.  Have smartphone will travel.  Literally.  Unless, that is, union cabbies want to make you stand in the rain/snow and cold for an hour in a bad neighborhood (see Why a taxi driver protest turned violent in Paris by Dylan Stableford posted 1/14/2014 on Yahoo! News).

The attacks by striking cab drivers on Uber cars in Paris on Monday — with protesters shattering windows, smashing mirrors and slashing tires — appear to be the first violent clashes in the ongoing battle between local cabbies and app-based car services.

But tensions, in Paris and elsewhere, have been brewing for months. Cab drivers say Uber and apps like it, which allow customers to hitch rides nearly instantly from their smartphones, create unfair competition and undermine the traditional cab-hailing business…

In Portland, Ore., Uber has urged lawmakers to change an ordinance requiring town cars to wait an hour before picking up would-be passengers.

In Paris, a “15-minute law” went into effect on Jan. 1, requiring all Uber drivers to wait 15 minutes after a request is placed to pick up a passenger — a move aimed at leveling the competition for traditional Parisian cabbies.

Nonetheless, hundreds of unionized cab drivers participated in Monday’s protests in Paris, demanding a 30-minute delay, minimum fares and a driver recruitment ban. At least 12 Uber cars were targeted, according to local reports.

Imagine that.  Because someone else found a better way to do things union cabbies want new laws to prevent that better way.  They want to make a person wait for an hour before anyone picks them up.  An Uber car could be around the corner when they get the request.  They could drive around the corner and pick this person up within three minutes.  But if the union cabbies get their way the Uber car will have to sit there for an hour before moving.  To give a union cabbie a chance to drive by and get hailed.  Leaving that person in the rain or snow.  Or in a bad neighborhood.  Just standing there.  Vulnerable.  Just so someone providing a poorer service can get his or her business.

This is the difference between free market capitalism and crony capitalism.  In free market capitalism the consumer is number one.  And gets the highest quality at the lowest price.  In crony capitalism unions, businesses and government are number one.  For they are cronies and look out for each other.  At the expense of the consumer.  Who gets lower quality and higher prices.  As unions, businesses and governments collude together to enrich themselves by forcing people to pay more for less.

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Crony Capitalists paid their Friends in Government to Ban the Incandescent Lamp

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2014

Week in Review

Competition makes everything better.  For consumers.  That’s you and me.  For it’s that competition that makes business give us more for less.  To please us.  And to persuade us to give them our dollars for their products.  It’s a great system.  It prevents businesses from giving us shoddy goods at high prices.  For if they did they would lose their customers.  And go out of business.  So competition in free market capitalism gets businesses to choose to please their customers.  By giving them more for less.  Which allows them to stay in business.  Unless they have corrupt friends in government (see Industry, not environmentalists, killed traditional bulbs by TIMOTHY P. CARNEY posted 1/1/2014 on the Washington Examiner).

Say goodbye to the regular light bulb this New Year.

… Starting Jan. 1, the famous bulb is illegal to manufacture in the U.S., and it has become a fitting symbol for the collusion of big business and big government.

The 2007 Energy Bill, a stew of regulations and subsidies, set mandatory efficiency standards for most light bulbs. Any bulbs that couldn’t produce a given brightness at the specified energy input would be illegal. That meant the 25-cent bulbs most Americans used in nearly every socket of their home would be outlawed…

Competitive markets with low costs of entry have a characteristic that consumers love and businesses lament: very low profit margins. GE, Philips and Sylvania dominated the U.S. market in incandescents, but they couldn’t convert that dominance into price hikes. Because of light bulb’s low material and manufacturing costs, any big climb in prices would have invited new competitors to undercut the giants — and that new competitor would probably have won a distribution deal with Wal-Mart.

So, simply the threat of competition kept profit margins low on the traditional light bulb — that’s the magic of capitalism. GE and Sylvania searched for higher profits by improving the bulb — think of the GE Soft White bulb. These companies, with their giant research budgets, made advances with halogen, LED and fluorescent technologies, and even high-efficiency incandescents. They sold these bulbs at a much higher prices — but they couldn’t get many customers to buy them for those high prices. That’s the hard part about capitalism — consumers, not manufacturers, get to demand what something is worth.

Capitalism ruining their party, the bulb-makers turned to government. Philips teamed up with NRDC. GE leaned on its huge lobbying army — the largest in the nation — and soon they were able to ban the low-profit-margin bulbs.

When you have collusion between big business and big government you no longer have free market capitalism.  No.  Instead you have crony capitalism.  Where rich people both in business and government collude with each other to make themselves even richer.  While making consumers poorer.

The lamp manufacturers got new laws that forced consumers to pay the higher prices they wouldn’t without a law compelling them to do so.  Making the lamp manufacturers richer.  And the lobbyists poured lobbying money over their friends in government.  Who probably stripped naked and rolled around on it, rubbing that cash all over their naked bodies.  And said God bless global warming.

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Oil Trains Derail as President Obama tries to Enrich his Rich Billionaire Friends

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 4th, 2014

Week in Review

If there are two things President Obama doesn’t like they are rich people and oil.  Well, at least he acts that way.  Espousing more concern for the working man.  And clean energy.  Which is why President Obama said “no” to the Keystone XL pipeline.  Or could there have been another reason (see BNSF opens North Dakota track as oil by rail faces more scrutiny by Nicholas Sakelaris posted 1/2/2014 on the Dallas Business Journal)?

Burlington Northern Santa Fe re-opened the double track Thursday morning outside Casselton, N.D., where an oil train collided with a grain train, causing a massive fireball-like explosion earlier this week…

Fort Worth-based BNSF hauls an estimated 750,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The railroad carried an estimated 100 million barrels of crude oil out of the Bakken in 2012, a massive increase from previous years.

You know who owns Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF)?  Warren Buffett.  For BNSF is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.  So Warren Buffet is profiting greatly from President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.  One can’t help to wonder if that has anything to do with the Buffett Rule (see Buffett would profit from Keystone cancellation by Dave Boyer posted 1/24/2012 on The Washington Times).

Warren Buffett, whom President Obama likes to cite as a fair-minded billionaire while arguing for higher taxes on the wealthy, stands to benefit from the president’s decision to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owns Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC, which is among the railroads that would transport oil produced in western Canada if the pipeline isn’t built…

If completed, the $7 billion Keystone XL would deliver 700,000 barrels a day of crude from oil sands in Canada to Texas refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It would traverse about 1,600 miles.

The State Department’s review of the project said shipping oil via rail is more costly than delivering it to refineries by pipeline.

Mr. Obama often cites Mr. Buffett as an example of a civic-minded billionaire because the entrepreneur has said he should pay a higher tax rate than his secretary. Mr. Buffett and the president like to tell the story of how Mr. Buffett pays a 15 percent effective tax rate, while his secretary pays a higher rate even though she earns only a fraction of what he does.

The president has called his push for higher taxes on the wealthy the “Buffett rule.”

Funny.  Warren Buffett says we should tax rich people more and the Keystone XL pipeline doesn’t get built.  Instead that oil goes on Buffett’s trains.  Making him a lot of money.  Just like the president’s rich friends on Wall Street are making a lot of money.  Who have all gotten richer under the Obama presidency while median family income fell for Main Street.  So more oil is traveling across the country.  Some of which is derailing and soaking into our pristine environment.  Or exploding.  While rich people are getting richer.  And President Obama would have us believe he’s for the working man and clean energy.

It would seem President Obama is more for getting Democrat supporters rich than helping Main Street.

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Is the New York Times ready to blame Bill Clinton for the Subprime Mortgage Crisis?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 18th, 2013

Week in Review

President Obama likes to say that the Republicans only want to try the failed policies of the past.  And he’s both right and wrong.  For the Republicans do want to implement the policies of the past.  Because these policies did NOT fail.  Contrary to President Obama’s recurring bleat.  For the policies of President Reagan were based on classical economics.  Those same policies that made America the world’s number one economic power.  While the policies of the left, Keynesian economic policies, have failed every time they’ve been tried.  And reduced America’s economic prowess.

Before John Maynard Keynes came along during World War I the U.S. economy was steeped in the philosophy of our Founding Fathers.  Thrift.  Frugal.  Rugged individualism.  These are the things that made America great.  For over a hundred years Americans worked hard and saved their money.  Spending as little for the here and now.  Always planning for the future.  They put everything they didn’t have to spend into the bank.  As everyone put away these small amounts of money banks turned the aggregate of these numerous small deposits into capital.  Which investors borrowed at reasonable interest rates because we had a high savings rate.  Providing plenty of capital to grow the American economy.  Thanks to a sound banking system.   That exercised sound lending practices.  With investment capital a high savings rate provided.

This system worked so well because people balanced risk with reward.  Bankers made wise lending decisions based on the likelihood of those loans being repaid.  And investors with a history of wise and responsible borrowing had continued access to that investment capital.  While banks who took too great a risk failed.  And investors who took great risks soon found themselves broke with no further access to investment capital.  This balance of risk and reward complimented with a populace that was thrifty and frugal with their money created Carnegie Steel.  The Standard Oil Company.  And the Ford Motor Company.  Risk takers.  Who balanced risk with reward.  And paid a heavy price when they took too great a risk that had no reward.

But the days of Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil) and Henry Ford are gone.  These men probably couldn’t—or wouldn’t— do what they did in today’s regulatory environment the left has created.  The higher taxes.  And the financial instability caused by the left’s destruction of the banking system.  As the left has made high-finance a plaything for their rich friends.  By transferring all risk to the taxpayer.  Allowing bankers to take great risks.  With little downside risk.  Giving us things like the subprime mortgage crisis.  Where President Clinton’s Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending (1994) unleashed 10 federal agencies on banks to pressure them to loan to the unqualified or else.  So they did.  Using the Adjustable Rate Mortgage as the vehicle to get the unqualified into homeownership.  These with no-documentation mortgage applications, zero-down, interest-only, etc., put people into homes by the droves.  Especially those who could not afford them.  Of course, banks just won’t loan to the unqualified without some federal assistance.  Which came in the guise of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Who bought those toxic mortgages from these lenders, repackaged them into collateralized debt obligations and sold them to unsuspecting investors.  And, well, you know the rest.

So Bill Clinton gave us the subprime mortgage crisis.  And the Great Recession.  It’s always the same.  Whenever liberals get into power they do the same thing over and over again.  They destroy the economy with policies that only benefit them and their rich friends.  America’s aristocracy.  Yet they talk the talk so well people believe that THIS time things will be different.  But they never are.  Already President Obama is talking about doing the same things to increase homeownership that got us into the subprime mortgage crisis.  And his disastrous policies didn’t even prevent his reelection.  Because he can talk the talk so well.  Just like Clinton.  So well that few look at the swath of destruction in their wakes.  At least, not on this side of the Atlantic (see The New York Times takes down the Clinton Foundation. This could be devastating for Bill and Hillary by Tim Stanley posted 8/14/2013 on The Telegraph).

Is the New York Times being guest edited by Rush Limbaugh? Today it runs with a fascinating takedown of the Clinton Foundation – that vast vanity project that conservatives are wary of criticising for being seen to attack a body that tries to do good. But the liberal NYT has no such scruples. The killer quote is this:

For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.

A lot of people are scratching their heads as to why the New York Times would run this story.  For it is very out of character for a liberal paper to attack a liberal icon.  Could it be to air out this dirty laundry long before Hillary is a candidate for president?  What, that?!?  That’s old news.  We’ve talked about it already.  Talked it to death.  Nothing to see there.  So let’s focus on what’s important for the American people.

Or could it be that the left has grown tired of the Clintons?  After all, Barack Obama was the first black man elected president.  Something the young people can get excited about.  But will today’s young even know who the Clintons are?  Could be a problem for a party that historically gets the youth vote.  So is this the first sign that Hillary won’t be the anointed one in 2016?  And is this an opening broadside against Hillary?  A harbinger of what is yet to come?  Perhaps.  Or it could mean people are just not falling for the Clinton charm anymore.  Something our friends in the British media have no problem seeing through.

The cynical might infer from the NYT piece that the Clintons are willing to sell themselves, their image, and even their Foundation’s reputation in exchange for money to finance their personal projects. In Bill’s case, saving the world. In Hillary’s case, maybe, running for president.

It’s nothing new to report that there’s an unhealthy relationship in America between money and politics, but it’s there all the same. While the little people are getting hit with Obamacare, high taxes and joblessness, a class of businessmen enjoys ready access to politicians of both Left and Right that poses troubling questions for how the republic can continue to call itself a democracy so long as it functions as an aristocracy of the monied. Part of the reason why America’s elites get away with it is becuase they employ such fantastic salesmen. For too long now, Bill Clinton has pitched himself, almost without question, as a homespun populist: the Boy from Hope. The reality is that this is a man who – in May 1993 – prevented other planes from landing at LAX for 90 minues while he got a haircut from a Beverley Hills hairdresser aboard Air Force One. The Clintons are populists in the same way that Barack Obama is a Nobel prize winner. Oh, wait…

Wish America could see Clinton and Obama as plainly as this.  And not get lost in the gaze of their eyes.

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If you’re Rich you’re doing well during the Obama Presidency

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 9th, 2013

Week in Review

The rich continue to get richer in the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  And it’s a Democrat in the White House.  Who said he was the champion of the middle class.  But the facts sure don’t bear that out (see Tim Carney: Conservative reformers should fix the rigged game by Timothy P. Carney posted 6/4/2013 on The Examiner).

The game is rigged against the regular guy in America today. And it’s rigged in favor of big business, the politically connected, and the wealthy…

Corporate profits soared to a record $1.73 trillion annualized rate in the first quarter of 2013, more than triple what they were in 2001, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Banks made a record $40.1 billion in profits in the first quarter, 16 percent higher than a year before, according to FDIC data…

And how’s the regular guy doing?

New business formation continues to fall to record lows. In 1980, nearly half of all firms were less than five years old. The latest data from the Kaufmann Foundation puts that number at about one-third.

And the working man isn’t faring better. Unemployment, while improving, is still high. Maybe worse is the collapse of median household income — down more than 7 percent since 2008, and it is not noticeably climbing.

Wait a minute, did I miss something?  I thought President Obama won the 2012 election.  Not that rich guy with Wall Street friends.  Mitt Romney.  For this is exactly what President Obama warned us would happen if we elected Mitt Romney.  The rich would get richer.  And the poor would get poorer.  And here that is happening under the Obama presidency.  Guess Mitt Romney isn’t the only rich guy with friends on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, federal spending hit a record 26.9 percent of GDP in 2010. While it dropped a bit to 24.8 percent in 2012, that is still higher than any year between World War II and 2009 and 18 percent higher than the average year from the previous five decades.

So it’s no surprise that seven of the 10 richest counties in the United States are in the Washington, D.C., area. Revolving-door lobbyists and government contractors are living the high life in McLean, Georgetown, and Great Falls.

The game is rigged, and conservatives can point out that the chief game rigger is government. The tax code is convoluted, regulations are terrifying, big businesses that fail get bailed out while small entrepreneurs get crushed by bureaucracy…

Republicans ought to abolish corporate welfare, including subsidies for exports and green-energy projects. Break up the big banks. Get rid of corporate tax credits.

Politically, these policies checkmate Democrats because corporatism is at the heart of President Obama’s economic agenda. Subsidies for Boeing, Chrysler and General Electric are the building blocks of Obama’s “New Economic Patriotism.” Obamacare was built in collusion with drugmakers and the hospital lobby.

So big government policies help, surprise, surprise, big government.  Where we are but pawns in their game of ruthless power acquisition (as in the IRS harassing those Tea Party members).  And accumulation of wealth.  For it’s all about them.  Those in government.  And those connected to those in government.  Sure, they’ll throw a few alms out to the poor.  Some free birth control to young voters.  Not enough of anything to improve their lives.  But enough to keep them happy.  And voting Democrat.  While they laugh.  All the way to the bank.  And then back to their plush estates in McLean, Georgetown, and Great Falls.

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President Bush spends $222,000 on Bathroom Renovation, President Obama adds $5.3 Trillion to the Federal Debt

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2013

Week in Review

President Obama added approximately $5,294,450,000,000 to the federal debt in four years.  While President George W. Bush added $2,660,250,000,000 in eight years.  So President Obama is clearly outspending President Bush.  Even though the Interior Department under George W. Bush spent $222,000 to renovate a 100-square-foot bathroom (see Interior Department’s 2007 bathroom renovation cost $222,000 by Stephanie Condon posted 1/16/2013 on CBS News).

In 2007, the Interior Department wasn’t skimping on its own interior. The department spent $222,000 that year to renovate the bathroom in the interior secretary’s private office.

Under the direction of President George W. Bush’s Interior secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, the department made a number of lavish renovations to the 100-square-foot bathroom: New wall panels cost more than $1,500, while custom cabinetry was installed for $26,000. The bathroom was outfitted with a $689 faucet, a $65 vintage tissue holder and even a $3,500 refrigerator…

The Interior Department said the renovations — which were approved and contracted by the General Services Administration — were needed because of water leaks in the bathroom. The GSA told CBSNews.com, “These renovations began in 2007, which predates the current leadership at both the GSA and the Department of Interior. Under the current leadership, we have greater oversight to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. The renovations were part of a larger restoration project at the historic facility.”

Did the GSA spokesperson say this with a straight face?  That they have greater oversight under the current leadership?  Right.  Pull the other one.

The near trillion-dollar stimulus package was going to explode all that shovel-ready work.  But it actually went to shore up public sector pension and health care plans.  Investments in clean renewable energy didn’t produce any new jobs of the future but instead repaid campaign bundlers.  The auto bailout didn’t help the auto companies become more competitive.  Which was their ultimate problem.  And why they couldn’t fund their pension and health care liabilities.

The bailout did not make GM or Chrysler more competitive.  It just injected cash into the UAW pension and health care plans.  And the only reason why they’re profitable now is because they aren’t paying any federal income taxes.  Their stock price has even fallen.  For as the government sells their GM stock they’re selling it at a loss.  So the taxpayer is collecting no taxes from GM.  And they are not going to get all their money back from the bailout.  And this is greater oversight to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars?

Gee, I’d hate to see irresponsible oversight.

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The Government made us Obese by making us Eat and Drink High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2013

Week in Review

The study of sweeteners can be confusing.  Once upon a time people used sugar made from sugar cane grown in tropical climates.  Then we found we could make sugar from sugar beets grown in cooler climates.  These are pretty much pure sucrose.  Then there is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is a combination of glucose and fructose, heavy on the fructose.  Made from, of course, corn.  Today this is the dominant sweetener in the United States.  Because of intensive lobbying by the HFCS lobby.  Who had their friends in government place a quota on domestic sugar production, subsidize U.S. corn producers and slapped an import tariff on foreign produced sugar.  Artificially raising the price of sugar in the U.S.  To force those buying sweeteners to buy the higher priced HFCS.  Create great profits for the HFCS business.  And their friends in government.  While increasing the cost of the sugar millions of Americans add to their coffee.  And water else they like to sweeten.

As bad as this manipulation of the market economy is it gets even worse.  Due to the greed of those in government this rise in HFCS use may have caused another problem.  Our obesity epidemic (see Fructose makes people think they’re still hungry: Study by QMI Agency posted 1/3/2013 on the Toronto Sun).

A new study may provide a clue to North America’s obesity problem.

Fructose — a very cheap and sweet sugar found in North American staples — may be tricking people’s brains into thinking they’re hungry when they’re actually full.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to track the blood flow in the brains of 20 young men of normal weight before and after they drank beverages with fructose or glucose, another type of sugar.

They found glucose suppressed activity in the areas of the brain that control reward and a desire for food. Not so with fructose…

The study’s authors acknowledge the study is small and doesn’t prove a link between fructose and obesity. But the journal’s editors, Dr. Jonathan Purnell and Dr. Damien Fair, note the findings mirror those from previous studies on animals.

What’s more, the study’s participants also reported feeling less full after consuming the fructose drinks, lending credibility to the MRI results.

Of course, the only reason why HFCS is ‘cheap’ is because the government artificially increased the cost of the competition.  Sugar.

While the food purists on the Left are telling our parents they’re making their kids fat because they don’t make them watercress sandwiches for lunch they’re surprisingly silent on the chemically produced HFCS.  They don’t attack those in government that have put HFCS in so many of our food products.  Giving us our obesity problem.

HFCS started entering our foods from 1975 to 1985.  And it was following this period that we started jumbo-sizing everything.  Because we just didn’t feel full like we did when we ate and drank food products made with sugar.  So we overate.  And became obese.  Apparently.

Perhaps we should look at the government as the cause for our obesity problem.  Not the 32 ounce soda.  For we used to feel full when drinking a 12 ounce soda before the government forced us to start drinking and eating HFCS.

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AARP’s Endorsement of Obamacare puts pressure on Social Security Benefits

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2012

Week in Review

AARP endorsed and helped pass Obamacare into law.  In exchange for an exemption from the very law they supported so they can sell their “Medigap” insurance policies easier than their competitor Medicare Advantage could sell theirs (see AARP latest to receive Obamacare break by Matthew Boyle posted 5/19/2011 on The Daily Caller).  Good for AARP.  But not for the senior citizens they represent.  For Obamacare will lower the quality of US health care.  And increase health care costs.  Especially for seniors.  So whenever AARP starts quoting Ronald Reagan one should be suspect as they are no friend of Ronald Reagan.  For Ronald Reagan would not have approved of what AARP did to help pass Obamacare into law.  Even if he and Tip O’Neill worked together to pull Social Security back from the brink of insolvency (see Ronald Reagan’s 9 Wisest Words About Social Security by Alejandra Owens posted 12/19/2012 on AARP).

That legislation, negotiated by President Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, focused on what was needed protect Social Security for the long term. Reagan understood that Social Security is a separately funded program unrelated to problems in the rest of the budget, and he clearly stated that: “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”

Indeed, today the Social Security trust funds hold $2.8 trillion in government bonds. These reserves have been built up with the contributions that workers and employers have paid into the system for the dedicated purpose of paying Social Security benefits. These funds are held in legally established trusts and cannot be used for any purpose other than paying benefits. According to the latest Trustees’ report, Social Security can pay full benefits through 2033, and roughly 75 percent of benefits beyond that time.

The Social Security Trust Fund?  There’s no trust fund.  The government raided it long ago and replaced it with IOUs.  Government bonds.  Current Social Security taxes go to pay for current benefits.  There is no pile of cash earning interest anywhere.  No personalized savings accounts for individual Social Security contributors.  If there were then there would be no Social Security crisis.  No, that money is gone.  Spent by the government to fund their current spending obligations.  Which are so great that even by raiding the Social Security Trust Fund they still can’t find enough cash to prevent a deficit.

The government spends our Social Security contributions for every other purpose they want to other than paying our benefits.  They just launder the money first through the Treasury Department.  Exchange IOUs (i.e., government bonds) for that cash.  Then they go and spend that cash.  And when it comes time to redeem those government bonds they’ll probably just print money.  Inflating the money supply.  And depreciate the dollar.  Making it ever harder for a senior to live on their retirement savings.  And because of what AARP did to help pass Obamacare into law there will even be less money available for Social Security benefits.  Requiring more printing of money.  And more devaluing of the dollar.  Making life a living hell for the retirees they supposedly represent.  At least according to that article in The Daily Caller.

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