Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gold regulation in Obamacare

As Nancy Pelosi foretold, we continue to find out what's in Obamacare.  And it ain't good.

Thomas Sowell has discovered that Obamacare regulates gold sales.  Is this some kind of Austin Powers "smelting accident" joke that the Congressional staffers were pulling on us?

I can make a case that gold isn't a great asset, although owning gold has certainly been the right thing to do recently.  At best, gold is a store of value.  It's not a growth asset.  There's a reason it's called the "barbarous relic"; we go to great efforts to dig this yellow metal out of the ground, process it into bars and coins, and then re-bury it in vaults around the world.  Sure, some of it is made into jewelry, and there are a few industrial applications, but mostly it just gets dug up out of one hole and put back into another.

One should only own gold if one thinks there is zero real economic growth in equity earnings underneath the inflation-boosted nominal growth.  If there is any real growth at all, one should own stocks instead of gold. 

Of course I could be wrong.  And that's why Congress shouldn't regulate gold sales, particularly in a health care bill.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More of this please --> Ron Johnson

How can Republicans win in hostile territory?  Candidate quality:

It has very little to do with being a "moderate", and just about everything to do with the ability to convey a message.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Roundup: Reapportionment, Katy Perry, Coffee Party, Biz Bill, Borgish Jewelry

(1) PA is set to lose one Congressional seat in the upcoming reapportionment.  I'm just surprised it wasn't more than one.

(2) Ace wrote an absolutely spot-on critique of Katy Perry's over-sexualization of tween girls.  Simply put, there's a difference between adult-themed music made for adults, and adult-themed music made for little girls.

(3) Coffee Party is a bust.  Didn't all the major newspapers tell us the Coffee Party was the next big thing, capable of countering the Tea Party?

(4) Remember that small business bill Obama was so high on?  Yeah, it's really not all that popular among business or bankers.  Which really only makes sense -- why tax business with one hand and redistribute with the other?  Just cut out the middle man.

(5) Apparently the fine line between high fashion and Borg is being blurred:

Friday, September 24, 2010

A South Park Flashback to November 2008

Kyle: "No, that's not true, Ike. The economy could easily stabilize with Obama's plan."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GOP Civil War Delayed, Not Averted

NR scribe Jonah Goldberg thinks tales of the GOP Civil War have been greatly exaggerated.  His main argument is that everybody seems to be gravitating to the Tea Party side, and you can't have a civil war with only one side.  I beg to differ on the grounds that peculiar circumstances have allowed us to stave off some of the most heated battles of our looming intraparty combat.  Also, the electoral assumptions underlying each wing of the party are both wrong and incompatible with each other, and this incompatibility is destined to reemerge in the future.

It seems fate has intervened in strange ways to delay our squabbles.  When RINOs quit the Republican party, even the most amorally strategic among the party establishment can hardly support traitorous individuals.  Before Arlen Specter fled the GOP, the party leadership was once again gearing up to defeat Pat Toomey.  The battle would have been absolutely epic.  Pennsylvania might have gone Democrat for a generation as the GOP would have destroyed itself.  Even for some time after Specter defected, “the establishment” was reluctant to accept Toomey as their candidate.  RNC committeeman Bob Asher (a popular bogeyman for many base voters) commissioned a poll showing moderate former Governor Tom Ridge performing better than Toomey in a general election.  Party leadership was openly and frantically looking for a candidate “who can win”, with the obvious implication that Toomey couldn't.  It wasn't until the Ridge scenario failed to unfold that Ye Olde Establishment started softening their tone on Toomey.  Now, Toomey looks like a lock for the Senate seat, but rest assured that there is still quite a bit of bad blood in the party.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Watching the world wake up from History

Twenty years ago this month, musical group Jesus Jones released "Right Here Right Now" as a single.  The song was written amidst the rapid de-sovietization of Eastern Europe and as a response to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Now nobody under the age of 19 has lived contemporaneously with the Soviet Union, and the song is used to sell Toyotas.

(You can listen to it here. YouTube embedding has been disabled by the record company.)

The world woke up from History.  May we never fall asleep again.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Not Spock

The traditional media often complains that Obama is too cool, too cerebral, too Spock-like.

Balderdash.  He can show emotion when he's in his environment.  And by "his environment", I mean an old-fashioned labor rally where class rhetoric is thrown around like a Frisbee on a college campus. He's still a community organizer at heart, and always will be.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Gibbs, Hayes, and Economic Uncertainty

In the twitter war between The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes and White House spox Robert Gibbs, Gibbs cited this USA Today article to support his case for the President's small biz bill that's currently being held up.

However, I don't think it quite makes the case Gibbs thinks it does.  In fact, it makes the opposite case if you look at it right [Bold added for emphasis]:

Kaur's is among about 1,000 other small businesses that "have their bank papers all done and will be funded in the days — moments — after the bill passes," says U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills.

In Kaur's case, she's concerned that the property seller is going to get antsy as she waits out the political decision-makers. "I keep asking my seller if he can give me a couple more weeks," she says.

Many other businesses have paused expansion as they wait for the outcome of the bill, says Bob Coleman, publisher of the Coleman Report, which provides information on small-business lending.

Some businesses can save thousands of dollars on the waived loan-fee provision alone, and they are thinking, " 'I might as well hold off and save the money,' " he says.

What I'm seeing here is that there are a lot of deals that are going to be done anyway, and folks are (rationally) waiting to see if they can stick their hand in the government cookie jar.  Meanwhile, Rome burns.

I'm not usually one to trot out the uncertainty line, as I think precious few people understand it, but this is a prime example of uncertainty killing jobs.