Sharianomics Success Stories

From Egypt:

Thirty months after several senior figures in political Islam inaugurated the first hotel abiding by Islamic Sharia in Hurghada, the hotel closed its doors due to losses.

The owner of the hotel terminated the contract with the renter.

The hotel did not allow guests to drink alcohol and kept men and women separate.

Its failure will forever by a mystery.

From Malaysia:

Last December, Malaysia inaugurated its first halal-compliant airline, Rayani Air, one of just a few airlines in the world to comply with Islamic principles.

Wait for it.

Flight attendants were required to wear a headscarf, no alcohol was served, all food was halal-certified and prayers were recited before each flight.

Wait.

Plagued by complaints of late flights, last-minute cancellations, a pilots’ strike and an unsuccessful safety audit, however, the airline was shut down in June.

Sharia Air crashes and burns.


Political Bill

CBC News:

Canada's open approach to immigration and its willingness to welcome tens of thousands of Syrian refugees is an "enlightened" move that will benefit the country's business sector, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says.

Yeah, that's what Syrians are famous for: providing explosive boosts to the economy. Why would Gates utter such nonsense?

In 2014, the Canadian government sped up the immigration process by exempting Microsoft from having its foreign employees complete labour market impact assessments.

The federal government has been criticized for the move, as Microsoft faces accusations of using Vancouver as a "staging ground" for non-Americans to qualify more quickly for a transfer to the U.S.

His public praise for Prime Minister Zoolander is just a form of big business chumminess with big government. They'll all look like short-sighted opportunistic fools when a Syrian gang unleashes a Black Swan from hell in Canada.


The basic stuff

Chicago Boyz:

I try to promote financial literacy and have helped many friends and some family members when they ask questions. Ideally we would actually drive financial literacy through school and into the university. Even those who have a degree in finance or accounting often lack practical advice on personal finance and don’t know how to approach these issues.

A colleague of mine asked me about stock market returns some year ago. I told him that it averages 8% in the long run. So, if you invest a $100,000, then in ten years--

"You'll have made $80,000," he said.

Sigh. Is compound interest that difficult?


The spending is the issue

Financial Post:

A new survey highlighting the fact almost half of working Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque reveals the inevitable corollary of failing to save enough: For most of us, retiring before age 60 will be a pipedream if we don’t get our saving act together.

This from one of the richest countries in the world:

Almost one in four (24%) don’t think they could come up with $2,000 if an emergency arose in the next month.

Don't these people have a credit card or a line of credit to tap into? Or, horror, those are already maxed out!? This is the case for far too many people. If their incomes go up, then their spending increases proportionally. Most of them saved 0% before and after getting extra cash, their saving rate is still stuck at 0%.

Anecdote #1: a few years ago, a woman at my workplace was telling us her sad story. She graduated university and immediately went into debt by purchasing a house. Every month after her mortgage payment and other expenses, she had no savings.

A few weeks later she was talking about driving into the heart of Toronto for a ... hamburger. That was a two-hour round trip.

A few months after that, in March, she did her taxes and pleasantly found out that she'll be getting a $1,000 refund. She immediately went on a one-week vacation and burned through a grand -- it went on credit. She spent the bloody money before she even had it!

Anecdote #2: a woman was telling us how life was so uncomplicated before she had children. She, with her husband, used to live in a condo, went to a pricey gym, dined at fancy restaurants, had parties on weekends and on and on. Now, with kids, every single cent goes towards managing the household expenses. They have no money for the gym, restaurants or other necessary luxuries.

Guess how much they saved before the kids ruined their paradise?

Anecdote #3: I read this story in the news a few years ago. A childless, working couple were making approx. $250,000 a year in after-tax income. Their spending patterns were meticulously detailed: house, utilities, food, dining, clothes, pets, gym, booze, etc.

The last item was savings. $0. If you can't save for a rainy day or retirement when you're making a quarter million a year, then when will you?


Apple + Ireland vs. EU: Dawn of Drama

Financial Post:

Apple Inc. was ordered to repay a record 13 billion euros (US$14.5 billion) plus interest after the European Commission said Ireland illegally slashed the iPhone maker’s tax bill.

How does the EU decide what Ireland did is "illegal"? Isn't Ireland independent? Doesn't Ireland have its own rules and regulations?

“I disagree profoundly with the commission’s decision,” said Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Ireland’s tax system is founded on the strict application of the law “without exception,” he said.


Compassionate Canadian Government

A colleague of mine told this story some years ago. Her friend had gone to the hospital to see a doctor about some strange spots on her skin. This was in the beginning of August. Eventually, an appointment was made for the end of August. Her friend left and then came back a few weeks later. The receptionist started laughing. She was told that the appointment was for the end of August next year. If your dog had some skin problems, then you could go to a doctor now and have the issue sorted out in a matter of days.

Most Canadians who haven't dealt with the health care system are very positive about the whole twisted socialist scheme. It's only when they, or someone close to them, gets seriously sick do they grasp the horror show.

I know one elderly person who messed up his knee. It was immediately obvious to the doctor that a surgery was required. He waited over six months. Depending on the province you live in and the surgery you require the median wait time can be over 12 months!

Anyway, this is the story that prompted all that:

An elderly Canadian couple who've been married 62 years are being forced to live in separate nursing home facilities because a backlog in the Canadian health care system has made it impossible to move Wolf Gottschalk out of the transitional nursing home where he currently lives into the care facility where his wife Anita is living.


Painful finances

CBC News:

Jing cobbled together a 10 per cent deposit on the $560,000 property by borrowing from her parents in China. She said they in turn borrowed money from friends and family.

This was a big mistake by Jing. She cobbled together a) all her money, b) savings of her parents, and c) cash from friends. Of course, what the moronic government in British Columbia did next made things much worse:

But last month, 12 days after Jing signed the purchase contract, the B.C. government threw a wrench in Jing's Canadian dream when it levied a 15 per cent property transfer tax on foreign real estate buyers in the Vancouver area.

Jing is not a permanent resident in Canada, so the tax adds $84,000 to the home's cost, something she's certain she can't afford. But if she backs out of the deal, she would lose her deposit of about $56,000.

It doesn't matter who you are; a Canadian or a foreigner. Putting all your money in real estate is a huge risk. Jing, fresh out of university, with no income stream now has ugly losses in front of her.

Anyway, this property transfer tax on foreign buyers, introduced in late July 2016, is quite puzzling. Take a look at this graph (from Garth Turner):

Vancouver is fucked

The average detached house price in Vancouver in March 2016: $1.5 million.

The average detached house price in Vancouver in July 2016: $1.15 million.

That's a stunning 23% crash in just four months! So, why did the B.C. government introduce this dumb tax? Because politics. They have got to show the economically and financially ignorant voters that they're doing something!

Jing doesn't have a vote. So, screw you Jing!


Give me a break

Denver Post:

Colorado’s labor department has ruled that more than 100 Muslim workers fired from a Fort Morgan meatpacking plant are eligible for unemployment benefits because a company cannot force workers to choose between their religion and their jobs.

The workers filed for unemployment payments after they were fired in December by Cargill Inc., amid a dispute over whether the Muslim employees could take prayer breaks during their shifts.

There are five prayers in a day for Muslims. Each prayer, including cleaning rituals, can take anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes. Let's say that during his shift, the Muslim worker has to take three prayer breaks. That's up to 45 minutes of time on the clock for which no work gets done. Don't be surprised if the Muslim worker expects to get paid for that break. In an eight hour shift, that amounts to almost 10% charity from the business. With razor thin profit margins (5% or less), that's just dumb.

It's better to simply not hire the morons in the first place.


Moist millennials

Financial Post:

Millennial are not giving up on the dream of owning a detached home, despite national prices soaring to record levels, buoyed by average prices that routinely reach seven figures in hot markets.

Why do a majority of millennials want to buy a crazy expensive detached house in Canada?

Part of what also drives them is this idea that real estate will always be a good investment. The survey, which was conducted online by Ipsos between May 31 and June 2, 2016 and is considered accurate to within 3.5 percentage points 95 per cent of the time, finds 77 per cent of Generation Y thinks real estate is a good investment. A year ago only 70 per cent felt so.

Life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid.

If you're an average 25 years old, then you probably don't have a lot of savings. To buy a house, you'll have to borrow money from a) Dad, b) Mom, and c) the bank. This means that even with a nice job you'll have basically zero money left for savings. All your cash will be going into your investment house. Your mortgage will be done when you hit 50.

You'll be half a century old with no money. You'll have a house which you cannot eat. This is a very bad idea.

I'm not saying don't buy a house. I'm saying: don't buy a house when you have to put all your current savings and your future 25 years of savings into the monstrosity. House prices do fall. Less than a decade ago, they crashed by 30% in the US. That would suck when your one and only "investment" collapses in a similar fashion.


Not respecting Demand and Supply

This is one of the most bizarre and asinine things I've read:

But others also contend that the appearance of new residential skyscrapers won't automatically reduce housing prices.

"You cannot lower the cost of housing by building more. Supply creates its own demand," said Amit Ghosh, chief planner for The City.

If more market rate dwellings are built, Ghosh predicted, "rich people living outside would want to come to San Francisco to fill them. And how does that relieve our supply problem?"

What, pray tell, is the solution?

The answer, Ghosh said, is subsidized housing.

Of course, bigger government. That, by the way, was written in 1999. Since then, San Francisco has become the most expensive city in all of the USA. Economics is not an exact science. However, the basic Laws of Demand and Supply apply everywhere in the world. Ignoring them causes misery.


Oh Canada

The Financial Post:

The Alberta wildfires torched the Canadian economy in May, which saw the GDP contract by 0.6 per cent — the country’s deepest one-month decline in more than seven years.

On Friday, Statistics Canada’s latest reading for real gross domestic product revealed the extent of the economic damage caused by the blaze that roared through the heart of oilsands country.

The solution is simple. We need to buy more local oil.

Hot Lesbians for Canada

Do it for Canada!


Sweet sweet socialism

Isn't this just lovely:

Starting today, most Canadian families with children under 18 can expect to see a bigger child benefit payment, as money starts flowing in one of the most ambitious social policies to be implemented in Canada in decades.

The Canadian government debt: $1,300,000,000,000.

Under the new CCB, families with children under the age of six will receive as much as $6,400 per child per year. Families with kids between six and 17 will receive a maximum of $5,400 annually under the new plan.

Thanks to Prime Minister Zoolander that debt is going to increase by a significant amount in the foreseeable future. Debt is one issue; the tax system is another.

We have a progressive income tax system in Canada. Let's take a look at two simple examples:

  1. If you make $1,000 per month in Ontario, then your entire income tax for the year will be approx. $180. This means your income tax rate is 1.5%.
  2. If you make $100,000 per month in Ontario, then your entire income tax for the year will be approx. $606,166. This amounts to an income tax rate of 50.5%.

The people who are "poor" are already getting the benefits of a generous and progressive income tax system. But now, in addition to being half-slaves of the state, the rich have to fork over more money to pay for poor families. (Who do you think is going to pay even higher taxes in the future for the additional debt?)

On the same topic, here's a timely video by Dennis Prager:


The return of the clocksucker

Fox News:

Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager who made headlines last year when he was suspended for bringing a homemade clock to school in Irving, returned to the United States Monday afternoon.

Follow the money.

Ahmed’s family is still suing Irving ISD and Irving Police for $15 million in damages, according to Mohamed's uncle.

The best response to this little shit was by Stefan Molyneux.


Gérard Goes Galt

One French actor has had enough:

The French actor whose eccentric personality has come to symbolise a certain, old fashioned form of Gallic love for good food and the pleasures in life, also known as a "bon vivant," said he is finished with the country, in a letter published in the Journal du Dimanche.

Take a look at these staggering numbers:

He said he paid 85 per cent of his income in taxes in 2012, and over 45 years, has paid 145 million Euros – or £118 million – in taxes.

Still, the socialist politicians scold this burdened fellow:

However the minister of culture, Aurelie Filippetti, joined her Socialist colleagues who criticised the actor's decision on Sunday. She said he was "deserting the field in the middle of a war against the [economic] crisis," and that "French citizenship is an honour, and includes rights and also duties, which include the ability to pay taxes."

Ability! He paid 85% tax this year. He's practically a slave of the French state. There's no "honour" in that.


The locust class

Mark Steyn:

Republicans think they're importing hardworking immigrants who want a shot at the American Dream; the Democrats think they're importing clients for Big Government. The Left is right: Just under 60 percent of immigrants receive some form of welfare. I see the recent Republican proposals for some form of amnesty contain all sorts of supposed safeguards against gaming the system, including a $525 application fee for each stage of the legalization process. On my own recent visit to a U.S. Immigration office, I was interested to be told that, as a matter of policy, the Obama administration is now rubber-stamping all "fee waiver" requests for "exceptional hardship" filed by members of approved identity groups. And so it will go for all those GOP safeguards. While Canada and Australia compete for high-skilled immigrants, America fast-tracks an unskilled welfare class of such economic benefit to their new homeland they can't even afford a couple of hundred bucks for the necessary paperwork.

That's just lovely.


The decay continues

A three-year-old post about California's decline. Victor Davis Hanson has also written about the deterioration of society in his own part of California. The noxious combination of illegal immigration, an overloaded and thus broken melting pot, and white liberal guilt is causing havoc in the once golden state.

What can be done? It seems it's too late. The financial and cultural price has to be paid for decades-long dumb policies.


Abnormal Americans

Tom Scocca:

There is a real, airtight bubble in this election, but it's not Obama's. As a middle-aged white man, in fact, I'm breaching it. White people—white men in particular—are for Mitt Romney. White men are supporting Mitt Romney to the exclusion of logic or common sense, in defiance of normal Americans. Without this narrow, tribal appeal, Romney's candidacy would simply not be viable. Most kinds of Americans see no reason to vote for him.

I find this quite amusing: Without that tribal appeal, Romney couldn't win. A spectacular number of blacks (90%+) voted for Obama four years ago and yet the "tribal" tag is being put on Romeny for appealing to 60% of whites.

Of course, if you support Romney, then you're a racist. For example, here's what Scocca has to say about Romney's "47%":

In white people's political English, "personal responsibility" is the opposite of "handouts," "food stamps," and particularly "welfare," all of which are synonyms for "niggers." This was Ronald Reagan's rallying cry, and it was the defining issue for traumatized post-Reagan white Democrats.

Wow. At least when Scocca was writing about most whites voting for Romney, he could use the racist angle. But now, when the issue is largely economics, it's also because those whites hate niggers!

It seems Obama is winning the majority of the asshole vote.


Leave the economy alone

Nick Gillespie via Instapundit:

Having sunk most of his savings into the venture, it went belly up, he said, partly because of a bad economy but also due to “federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc.”

Lamenting his lack of business experience while he was a legislator and presidential contender, McGovern concluded that “ ‘one-size-fits-all’ rules for business ignored the reality of the marketplace.”

As he explained, “setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels -- for example, 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales -- takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.”

Too many people don't understand the stress businessmen deal with. Most businesses, like the above example, lose money. McGovern's policies were in the abstract, theoretical realm but once he saw the ugly reality he realized just how out of touch and idiotic politicians are. 


So many contradictions

The Telegraph:

The core values of women’s education, emancipation and entitlement to respect must endure: but some of the wilder shores of Western feminism are ridiculous.

[Emphasis mine.]

Entitlement to respect? Why would anyone, man or woman, be entitled to respect? The author writes that in the context of female babies who get aborted before birth because of their gender.

But don't we then have a conflict? A pregnant woman only has a right to abort her unborn child if she's completely unaware of the sex of the baby. However, as soon as that knowledge becomes available, then the baby ought to be respected if the baby is a she.

Some "value" that.

More:

Great that women’s earnings have risen: but it’s a little worrying that, in the United States, the family wage has simultaneously fallen, and sometimes more than a little worrying that it now usually takes two salaries to raise a family. Where is the “choice” in that? No easy answers!

One of the reasons that the average wage is falling is that women are entering the labor force in large numbers. So much so that today in the US most of the workers are women! When supply of something increases, it's price decreases. More workers, lower wages. It's surprising that the author isn't aware of such a simple fact.

I guess women's education doesn't include basic economics.


Debt is not your friend

Katie Brotherton:

There is great irony in pursuing freedom through education only to be shackled by crushing debt.

What good is an education which doesn't illuminate the reality of modern life in the US? Simple knowledge of history and economics should be enough to show that tuition fees have seen an insane increase while salaries have been either stagnant or dropping thanks to inflation.

Link via Instapundit.


Gimme gimme gimme!

America in only 50 years:

The growth of entitlement payments over the past half-century has been breathtaking. In 1960, U.S. government transfers to individuals totaled about $24 billion in current dollars, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. By 2010 that total was almost 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown 727% over the past half-century, rising at an average rate of about 4% a year.

Stunning.

The Republicans have been worse than Democrats:

Notwithstanding the criticisms of "big government" that emanated from their Oval Offices from time to time, the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush presided over especially lavish expansions of the American entitlement state. Irrespective of the reputations and the rhetoric of the Democratic and Republican parties today, the empirical correspondence between Republican presidencies and turbocharged entitlement expenditures should underscore the unsettling truth that both political parties have, on the whole, been working together in an often unspoken consensus to fuel the explosion of entitlement spending.

The Greatest Ponzi Scheme of All Time will end. The only question is when.

Link via Instapundit.


Debt will soon implode

Vox Popoli:

Household has been deleveraging since Q3-2008 and is presently down $1 trillion. Financial has been deleveraging since Q4-2008 and is presently down $3.4 trillion. The only reason this private deleveraging hasn't shown up as general deflation is due to the $5.6 trillion increase in Federal leveraging; the Federal government has literally doubled its outstanding debt in four years.

That's the main reason the full force of this Second Great Depression has been on pause. The MSM is slowly coming to this view; they'll fully realize that we're in a depression right after Romney beats Obama in November.


The fruits of grade inflation

Vox links to this interesting piece:

[...] the weak student who believes in his high grades has also had a disservice done him. He has been misled about his abilities, falsely persuaded that career paths and goals are open that may be out of reach. Eventually, the fraud will be revealed: by an employer who finds him inadequate, by his own dawning recognition that he cannot achieve what he hoped. The reckoning will likely be bitter; evidence exists that the pedagogy of false esteem can even cause psychological harm. When students who have always been praised must confront the reality of their low achievement, their tendency is, as researchers James Coté and Anton Allahar report, not to confront the problem directly but to hit back at its perceived source — the teacher who has given them the bad news, the employer who does not renew a contract.

Assuming that one has a job. 


Frugality helps

Life in Canada today and 30 years earlier:

Today, financial self-sufficiency is impossible without taking breaks from school to work. The Bank of Canada’s handy inflation calculator tells us that my $1,000 tuition back in 1984 would cost $2,028 today if it increased just by the inflation rate annually. But according to Statistics Canada, the latest read on average tuition fees is $5,366.

In Ontario, the minimum wage is $10.25. A student who puts in a 40-hour work week for 12 weeks would stand to make about $4,900. That’s a sizable shortfall on tuition, never mind the cost of student fees, books and living expenses. As a parent of an 18-year-old heading to university out of town next year, I can tell you that budgeting $18,000 to $20,000 per year is prudent.

It's quite depressing to be a graduate from university in the last few years. The tuition fees have outstripped inflation by a huge margin and wages have been stagnant. So, young people are paying more and more money to get a degree which, as time passes, results in a lower and lower wage.

In addition, the price of housing, utilities, food and oil has been increasing. So, whatever litttle money new graduates do make goes to the necessary bills. There's little left over for savings.

Many young adults can avoid a lot of headache if they choose their major(s) wisely and don't spend their money frivolously. There's no question that life is tough but it's tougher if you're stupid.


Bad Economics

Vox Popoli:

In a free and well-governed society, exile is a punishment. In an unfree and misgoverned one, exile is impermissible. There is no stronger indication that America is no longer free than the fact that its leadership is seriously contemplating the idea of attempting to imprison its citizens within its borders.

That's one reason why increasing numbers of Americans are renouncing their citizenship. It's difficult to appreciate freedom when you feel like a slave.


Budgeting Ignored

Ed Driscoll:

A couple of interesting financial stats popped up today, and we’ll see if we can tie them together in our usual tendentious fashion in just a moment. But first, found via blogger/financial author Christopher Fountain, Henry Blodget of Business Insider.com notes that “Households Earning Less Than $13,000 A Year Spend 9% Of Their Income On Lottery Tickets.” Having worked for a time during school vacations selling them, that stat doesn’t surprise me at all.

On the other end of the spectrum, we find athletes who were once rich. One would think that earning millions, sometimes hundreds of millions, of dollars would provide a person with superb financial security. Unfortunately, their self-control is non-existant; their spending outstrips their earnings.

Really, how difficult is it to spend less than one makes?


Hypergamy + Economics

EconLog via Instapundit:

Lots of interesting discussion in the comments, including this: “I’m a stay-at-home mom with three small kids. My husband’s income is quite good, but not amazing (especially since we live in an expensive state and have three children.) My MTR is about 45%. Between that and day care I would have to make about $70,000 a year before I would take home $1. Not worth it. So I’m home with the kids. BTW, I’ve had this conversation with many many SAHMs around here and almost all of them are home because of this. Now it turns out I like being home and probably wouldn’t go back anyway now, but that’s not true of many people I’ve talked to. Ironically, with the rise of assortative mating, its often the highly educated, accomplished women who marry men with high enough incomes to put them in this predicament, so we’re probably selecting for the drop out of some of our most productive workers.”

Women who are interested in having a family will definitely face this situation. Often, the logical and economical choice is for the mother to stay at home. The extra, net income could be negative if the wife works while the child or children are in daycare.

This is the type of conversation forward-thinking men have with women when they are on a date. Do you understand the perverse effects of such a tax system? Are you willing to stay at home and raise the children while I bring home the bacon? Unfortunately, the cancer of feminism results in women calling such men SEXISSS!


Most impressive

Nikons makes their premium cameras in Japan. So, of course, their production was damaged because of one of the most powerful earthquake ever to hit that weird place. Later, in the same year, their low-end camera production went under because of the floods in Thailand.

Yet some people in the comments here are upset because of the product delays and high prices of Nikon DSLRs. Thom Hogan provides perspective:

Everyone needs to think about this in a different fashion: in LESS THAN A YEAR, Nikon will have completely replaced ALL of its DSLR manufacturing with completely rebuilt facilities, all while manufacturing a record number of DSLRs. If that doesn’t impress you, nothing will.

Prices for their cameras are not high when compared in Yen. The stronger Yen has pushed Nikon to increase prices in non-Japanese markets. Again, this is something out of their control.

Anyway, moment of truth coming up next week. The long-rumored Nikon D800 is supposed to be announced. Will it be 36 megapixels of goodness? Or will it be a let down in either quality or less megapixels?


No sexy time in Japan

A staggering number of young people in Japan are not interested in sex.

Combine an economic downturn with the increasing excellence of porn and video games, then throw in female economic independence and this is the result. For all that they are decried as soshoku danshi, the position of the "herbivores" is a perfectly reasonable one.

It's likely that the modern Japanese teenage girl is ultra-materialistic. Japan has lost 'two' decades to poor economic growth. Therefore, a majority of guys in her age group are utterly unappealing.


Moocher lifestyle

Zero Hedge:

Tonight's stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the "Evil Empire", Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that "a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year." And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system. Not surprisingly, it is not only the richest and most audacious thieves that prosper - it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world's most generous entitlement system.

There really are Two Americas. One is where people work hard and don't scam the system. The second is filled with entitled parasites.


Understanding economics

Richard Epstein writes about the effects of the "living" wage and the minimum wage laws in the United States:

When the minimum wage law was equal to $5.15, about 6.6 million individuals earned less than the $7.25 wage level. By 2010, after the wage level was increased, unemployment rates did move sharply upward. Some of today’s workers will be lucky enough to ride the living-wage tide upward, but others are likely to be cast aside. The empirics on matters of degree are always up to debate, given the huge set of other regulations that hit labor markets. In principle, the law of demand says that as the wage demanded increases, the jobs offered will decline. Unless demand curves are flat, there must be unemployment effects. The only question is their magnitude. The imposition of a high minimum living wage will reduce, all other things being equal, the demand for labor.

No question about it. There will be some who will have their wage cut down to $0 because of such laws.


Americans getting poorer

PJ Media:

The essay below is excerpted from the December 2011 issue of Stansberry’s Investment Advisory. Its author, Porter Stansberry, examines the question of whether America is growing richer or poorer based on an analysis of its per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). Said simply, is our economy growing faster than our population? As individuals, are we becoming more affluent? Or is the economic pie, measured on a per-person basis, growing smaller? It’s a hard question to answer, and this article provides Porter Stansberry’s insight.

I was stunned by the level of credit card debt of older Americans.


The Euro Empire

Vox Day:

In the Eurozone, the state of democracy is even worse, thanks to the latest version of what is improbably described as the "Greek rescue deal." The "stability union," which was announced in Brussels last week, removes the power of national governments to make decisions concerning issues of taxing and public spending. This means that the two central economic functions of national government, monetary and fiscal policy, are now completely out of government control.

This is scary. The Euro took away monetary control out of the hands of smaller European governments and concentrated the power mainly in Germany and France. But soon taxation and spending will no longer be decided upon by national governments in Europe! No wonder the peoples in many nations are angry. Their voice has become meaningless.


New inflation

Vox Popoli in the comments:

It appears I should start publishing the monthly Day report to track hooker prices in European capitals the way Case-Schiller tracks US home prices.

Hmm, perhaps someone can come up with The Whores Index. It'll likely perform better than the sham consumer price index.


The same old deal

James Pethokoukis via Instapundit:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was Barack Obama’s signature achievement in dealing with the most worrisome set of economic conditions since the Great Depression. It was how Obama, to use a pair of his now seemingly abandoned metaphors, sought to drag the economy out of the ditch while the Republicans were standing around sipping Slurpees.

As Obama said on the first anniversary of signing the bill, “It is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second Depression is no longer a possibility.”

No, it's partly thanks to the epic and wasteful government spending that we'll see the Great Depression 2.0.

The New Deal had the same effect in the 1930s. FDR tried many different policies which were puzzling and economically destructive but it gave the appearance that he was doing SOMETHING instead of doing nothing like those heartless republicans.

A small sample of what went on in the 1930s:

1. Farmers, who were a decent chunk of the voting bloc, hated low prices for food. So, the US government gave handouts to farmers to not grow food! That's right. Millions are without jobs. Many have lost their savings when hundreds of banks failed. They don't have money for utilities or food. Yet, the government is taking money out of the private sector and handing it to a special group ... so that food prices stay high.

2. The government enforces a minimum wage. If a person wants to buy a service, let's say a haircut for $0.50, then that's illegal because the minimum charge ought to be $0.60. Some "criminals" ignore the law and offer a haircut for $0.50 anyway. When the cops find out, they go to jail. This actually happened -- a person spent time behind bars because they took a lower than mandated wage for a haircut!

3. Promotion of labor unions. They increase the wages of workers in the union but overall decrease the number of employed workers in the economy. Not something you would want in the middle of a depression.


Respek the equilibrium

Schumpeter:

MILLIONS of school-leavers in the rich world are about to bid a tearful goodbye to their parents and start a new life at university. Some are inspired by a pure love of learning. But most also believe that spending three or four years at university—and accumulating huge debts in the process—will boost their chances of landing a well-paid and secure job.

Not in the Great Depression 2.0.

Vox Day:

It's not rocket science. If supply is increasing faster than demand, then wages for university graduates are going down even as tuitions rise.

In other words, a degree is worth less and less with each passing year. One only needs a simple understanding of basic economics to understand this issue. This can be learned in a Grade 11 course but too many are ignorant.

Take another issue: medicine. Specifically, cancer drugs.

Last week in the New York Times, veteran health correspondent Gardiner Harris wrote of the recent sharp and puzzling shortages of critical drugs used for treating a wide range of life-threatening cancers and bacterial infections. The total number of shortages has increased from 58 vital drugs in 2004 to 211 in 2010. These shortages have prompted some wholesalers to hoard certain scarce drugs, which has only aggravated the problem.

But how could a shortage arise? Couldn't firms simply increase their price? Nope.

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 introduced a set of complex price controls as part and parcel of the new prescription drug benefit contained in Medicare Part D. These are not garden-variety price controls, like those on gasoline or rents, which interfere with solely private transactions. They are controls that the government introduced as an effort to prevent overpayments under the Medicare program.

Because the government is your friend! Again, as Vox wrote, this isn't rocket science. The price controls in this case are meant to act as a price ceiling which logically lead to shortages. This was and is predictable. Yet, the US government keeps on using the same policy which results in serious consequences.

I'm sure Obamacare will fix all such issues. To think otherwise would be raciss!


Who decides how much is allowed?

Sam Harris: How Rich is Too Rich?

even in the ideal case, where obvious value has been created, how much wealth can one person be allowed to keep? A trillion dollars? Ten trillion? (Fifty trillion is the current GDP of Earth.) Granted, there will be some limit to how fully wealth can concentrate in any society, for the richest possible person must still spend money on something, thereby spreading wealth to others.

[Emphasis mine.]

Vox Popoli:

And the inevitable atheist tendency towards totalitarianism finally shows through. Rich people aren't "allowed to keep money". They have it. It's theirs. As in, not yours, Sam. This is called the principle of private property, and upon it all the wealth of the Western world is founded. Or rather, was founded before it was turned into collateral in a ponzi scheme.