New York City Abortions changing the Color of the City

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2014

Week in Review

The Democrat’s most sacred issue is abortion.  Any attempts to restrict abortion and the left immediately starts bleating that the Republicans have a war on women.   As if the only thing women care about is having an abortion.  But could there be another reason behind their defense of abortion rights?  Perhaps.

New York City (NYC) requires that all abortions are reported.  They just released a report summarizing abortions in 2012 (see SUMMARY OF VITAL STATISTICS 2012 THE CITY OF NEW YORK PREGNANCY OUTCOMES released in February 2014).

All pregnancy outcomes, whether a live birth or a spontaneous or induced termination of pregnancy, are required by law to be reported to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  This report compiles the information reported about these events to monitor the health of women and their infants in New York City.  For additional tables, technical notes and samples of NYC certificates of birth, please see the Bureau of Vital Statistics website at www.nyc.gov/vitalstats.

In Table 1. Pregnancy Outcomes, Pregnancy Outcome Rates*, and Pregnancy Rates* by Mother’s Age Group, Racial/Ethnic Group, and Borough of Residence, New York City, 2012 we see the information summarized here.

 NYC Live Births and Abortions R1

According to the U.S. census the demographic breakouts are approximately non-Hispanic white (63%), Hispanic (16.9%), non-Hispanic black (13.1%) and Asian and Pacific Islander (5.3%).  Which agrees with the order of the percentage of live births in the table above.  But things are different on the abortion side.  Where non-Hispanic blacks top the list of abortions.  With Hispanics a close second.  While non-Hispanic whites only come in third.   Despite their making up the largest percentage of the population.

If you look at the ratio of live births to abortions we see some startling statistics.  For every Asian and Pacific Islander abortion there were 4.71 live births.  For every non-Hispanic white abortion there were 4.03 live births.  But for every Hispanic abortion there were only 1.60 live births.  While for every non-Hispanic black abortion there were only 0.79 live births.  Or for every 10 abortions there were approximately 8 live births.  Meaning that more non-Hispanic black women are having abortions than having a live birth.

So what does this tell us about abortions?  That non-Hispanic blacks are more likely to have an abortion than any other group in NYC.  With Hispanics a close second.  Interesting.  For Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks typically vote Democrat.  As the Democrats constantly tell them that Republicans hate them.  Even though Republicans oppose abortion.  So if Republicans had their way there would be more black and Hispanics babies being born.  Which would suggest that it’s not the Republicans that don’t like blacks and Hispanics.  But the Democrats.  Because keeping abortion legal is making NYC whiter.

For the sake of argument let’s change the title from ‘Abortions” to ‘Infant Mortality’ in the table above.  What do you think people would be saying then?  Probably not what they’re saying now about these abortion numbers.  Which is nothing.

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Tasmania to Ban the Sale of Cigarettes to Anyone Born after 2000

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 25th, 2012

Week in Review

Tasmania is getting serious about smoking.  Really serious.  Unlike U.S. politicians.  Sure, they’ll put a picture of a diseased lung on a cigarette pack.  They’ll ban smoking in all public areas.  They’ll tax the bejesus out of cigarettes to ‘dissuade’ people from smoking.  They’ll even sue Big Tobacco.  They’ll do just about everything under the sun to protect the people from the evils of tobacco.  Except what Tasmania’s legislature is doing (see Tasmania move for cigarette sale ban by AAP posted 8/22/2012 on The Australian).

TASMANIA’S upper house is calling for a ban on cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000…

The ban would begin taking effect once people born in 2000 turned 18.

Independent MP Ivan Dean said the move would stop young people from taking up the habit…

Tasmania has the highest rates of smoking in Australia.

Wow.  This is serious.  They must really care about their people.  Would the U.S. go this far?  Some simple math will answer that question.

New York City (NYC) is probably the most liberal city in the U.S.  Pretty much anything goes there.  Except smoking in public areas.  But they allow the sale of cigarettes.  And they are the most expensive cigarettes you can buy in the U.S.  For they add $5.85 in taxes to each pack they sell.

NYC has a population of about 8.2 million people.  Approximately 19.3% of people smoke in the U.S.  So approximately 1.6 million people in NYC smoke.  If they buy a pack of cigarettes a day they generate approximately $3,397,754,206.96 in cigarette taxes for various levels of government.  That’s $3.4 billion of tax revenue from cigarettes.  And this is the reason why the U.S. government will never do what the Tasmanian government is proposing.

NYC used $3.5 billion in nonrecurring resources to balance their budget.  Otherwise they would have had a $3.5 billion deficit.  So imagine what giving up that $3.4 billion in cigarette tax revenue would do to the city.  So NYC will do everything in their power to get people to quit smoking.  Except for taking away their cigarettes.  Because without those cigarette sales they could easily double their deficit.  As would all cash-strapped cities with large public sector costs.

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Roaring Twenties, Farmers, Mechanization, Smoot-Hawley Tariff, Stock Market Crash, Great Depression and Taxi Medallions

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 12th, 2012

History 101

The New Economic Reality of Farming was that we needed Fewer Farmers in the Age of Mechanization

The Roaring Twenties was a decade of solid, real economic growth.  The world modernized during the Twenties.  Electric power, telephone, radio, motion pictures, air travel, etc.  So much of what we take for granted today became a reality during the Roaring Twenties.  But there was a downside.  Farmers borrowed money to mechanize their farms.  As farms mechanized they produced great crop yields.  Bringing bumper crops to market.  There was so much food brought to market that prices plummeted.  Reducing farm incomes so much that they couldn’t service the debt they incurred to mechanize their farms.  They defaulted.  Causing banks to fail.

By the late Twenties all the European farmers who fought in World War I were back on the farm.  And were feeding Europe again.  So not only were the Americans producing bumper crops they were losing a large export market.  Forcing farm prices down further.  There were simply more farmers than the economy was demanding thanks to the new efficiencies in farming.  But because there were so many farmers they were an important political constituency.  They were still casting a lot of votes.  So the politicians stepped in.  With a complete disregard to economic principles.  And tried to help the farmers.  With rent-seeking policies.

The farmers were hurting.  So they wanted to transfer some wealth from the masses to the farmers.  As in rent-seeking.  As opposed to profit-seeking.  Instead of creating wealth (profit-seeking) they were transferring wealth (rent-seeking).  And they did this with price supports.  They raised the price of their crops above market value.  Forcing Americans to make sacrifices in their lives so they could afford to pay higher food prices to help the farmers.  So the farmers wouldn’t have to adjust to the new economic reality of farming.  We need fewer farmers in the age of mechanization.  But it just didn’t end with higher prices.  The government would buy excess food grown by these ‘too many farmers’ and destroy it.  Or pay farmers NOT to grow food.  Then they took it up a notch.  And slapped tariffs on imported food.  Further raising the price of food.

In an Effort to raise Farming Prices the Rent-Seekers caused the Great Deflation of the Great Depression

Food tariffs were just one part of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.  This act pretty much raised the tariff on everything the U.S. imported.  Greatly increasing the cost of all imports.  To protect the domestic producers from cheap foreign competition.  But there was a problem with increasing the cost of all imports.  It increased the price of whatever we built with those imports.  So much so that when they were discussing this act in Congress businesses across America knew the boom of the Twenties would end.  As did investors investing in these companies.  So even before the bill became law it caused a huge stock selloff.  Which led to the stock market crash of 1929. 

At first the higher prices helped American businesses.  Their revenue increased.  Everyone thought the tariff act was a success.  But as prices went up costs went up throughout the manufacturing pipeline.  Prices grew so high that people stopped buying.  Inventories accumulated so they cut production.  And then laid people off en masse.  Causing a great recession.  Then further rent-seeking solutions (more governmental intervention into the free market) turned that recession into the Great Depression.  What started out as a problem for overly efficient farmers turned into a national crisis.  In an effort to raise farming prices they caused the great deflation of the Great Depression.  As prices fell so did revenues.  Making it very difficult to service debt.  More people defaulted on their debt.  And more banks failed.

When the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act became law our trading partners answered in kind.  Leading to a great trade war.  So on top of everything else what limited export markets we had shut down as well.  As the trade barriers went up economic activity decreased.  David Ricardo’s Comparative Advantage worked in reverse.  Increasing opportunity costs.  When international markets closed less efficient domestic industries took their place.  Pulling resources from more efficient uses.  Raising the cost of those resources.  Adding these cost increases on top of the tariffs.  Which further increased prices.  And further lowered economic activity.  Adding further woe onto the Great Depression.

The Medallion System dates back to the Medieval Guilds and Restricts Entry into the Cabbie Market

As the Great Depression languished on few people filled the streets of New York City (NYC).  At least few people with money who had to go places.  There were more cabs than people needed.  Supply exceeded demand.  Putting a downward pressure on taxi fares.  And increasing the time a cabbie had to work to earn some decent money.  Usually the market steps in and corrects such a situation.  Forcing some cabbies out of the cabbie business.  But not in NYC.  There they used the power of government to address this surplus of supply.  And introduced the medallion system.

This was the kind of rent seeking that dated back to those medieval guilds.  The medallion restricted entry into the cabbie market.  By limiting the number of cabs in NYC.  Every cab (at least those who can pick up passengers who hail a cab at the curb) must have a medallion permanently affixed to their cab.  Which they must purchase from the city.  Or transfer from another cab.  Currently, if you want to drive a taxi cab in NYC you better have some deep pockets.  Or have the kind of credit that lets you get a very large mortgage.  For the medallion system exists to this day.  And that medallion may cost you close to a half million dollars.

If you ever wondered why it sometimes takes so long to hail a cab in NYC this is the reason.  Rent-seeking.  As in the medallion system.  Which works just like tariffs.  Reducing supply.  And increasing prices for consumers.  So the rent-seekers can use the power of government to transfer wealth.  Instead of using innovation to create wealth.  And bringing that wealth to the market place to trade.  Instead they choose to take more wealth from the market place than they bring to it.  With the help of government.  And their rent-seeking policies.  Thus reducing overall wealth in the economy.  Which reduces economic activity.  And does nothing to help lift an economy out of recession.  Or out of a Great Depression. 

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