06 February 2009

Stimulus, because all economies have performance issues


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I didn't know there was one, but it's

Go dogs go!

Conservative Democrats in the House are pushing back against their leaders’ economic stimulus plan even as President Obama steps up his push for the spending package.

To paraphrase my BIL -- who won't like this post -- "Do it like a Blue Dog!"

How Amazon.com is thriving in a horrendous retail climate.

If you and your housemates buy more than two items a month from Amazon, you should consider subscribing. Be warned, though, that Prime membership will alter how you think about shopping. These days, whenever I become cognizant of some need that would ordinarily require an unplanned trip to the store—when I want a bathroom hook, a shelving system for my closet, a new wireless router, or a discount pack of kitchen sponges—I check Amazon first. It's usually faster to order the item there and get it shipped for free than to add the thing to my shopping list. With Prime, you don't really need a shopping list.

Prime membership sure will. One click and your book/item shows up two days later. How to develop bad habits.

05 February 2009

Instapundit: stimulus bill harmful over long term

the Congressional Budget Office says the stimulus bill will be harmful over the long term: “President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.” I don’t think there’s much long-term thinking going on in Congress or the White House, though . . .

Here's the CBO report itself:

04 February 2009

Less Keynes, More Hayek

Something everyone from Scott Allen to Sarah Palin can agree with!

Nobel economist Friedrich Hayek gets more ink in the Wall Street Journal today than he has in a long time in an op-ed on the “stimulus” bill being debated in Congress. And rightfully so, considering his arch rival John Maynard Keynes is getting more air time than he has since the last time politicians sought cover for a massive power and wealth grab.

Hayek and Keynes had a famous (well, famous for economists) debate over Keynes’ theories. FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey returns to his previous career as an economics professor and provides a lesson everyone on Capitol Hill should read.

Armey notes:

Keynes’s thinking was a decisive departure from classical economics, because arbitrary “macro” constructs like aggregate demand had no basis in the microeconomic science of human action. As Hayek observed, “some of the most orthodox disciples of Keynes appear consistently to have thrown overboard all the traditional theory of price determination and of distribution, all that used to be the backbone of economic theory, and in consequence, in my opinion, to have ceased to understand any economics.”

Professor Armey also reminds us of one of the central insights from the Public Choice school or economics:

A father of public choice economics, Nobel laureate James Buchanan, argues that the great flaw in Keynesianism is that it ignores the obvious, self-interested incentives of government actors implementing fiscal policy and creates intellectual cover for what would otherwise be viewed as self-serving and irresponsible behavior by politicians.

Armey continues:

It’s clear why Keynes’s popularity endures in Congress. Intellectual cover for a spending spree will always be appreciated there. But it’s harder to see any justification for the perverse form of fiscal child abuse that heaps massive debts on future generations.

Which leads to the conclusion:

The charade of the current stimulus package, chockablock with earmarks to favored pet constituencies and virtually devoid of national policy considerations, is the logical consequence of Keynesianism in action. It is about politics and power, not sound economics, and I believe that the American people will reject it.

The Washington Post toda reports “Senate Lacks Votes to Pass Stimulus.”

The 1,000-plus FreedomWorks activists who called Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on 1-866-928-0525 asking him to oppose the stimulus had something to do with that.

Were you one of them?

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"Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter." --then-Sen. Tom Daschle on 7 May 1998

I got nuthin. Absoflippinlutely nothing.