Friday, October 31, 2008

Fundamentals Are … Fundamental

My latest article published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute:


Fundamentals Are … Fundamental
By Jim Fedako


Imagine that you and a friend are sitting on a bench across the street from a construction site. In quick succession, two trucks arrive and dump a pile of sand, one pile next to the other. Moments later, a bulldozer appears and pushes the two piles together. After some thought, your friend has an "a-ha" moment.

"Interesting," he notes, channeling Jacques Derrida, "one and one are no longer two."
His comment slowly invades your thoughts. Finally, you respond, "What did you just say?"

Repeating his statement, only with more certainty and strength, "One and one are no longer two, under all circumstances. See that pile of sand. Before it was two piles of sand, and now it's one. So, one pile plus another pile is just one pile. One and one are no longer two."

Floored, you stare at your friend hoping to find a sign of jest.

He continues, "This isn't the first time that fundamentals have changed. During this past year, we've witnessed the fundamentals of economics — you know, supply and demand — rocked by oil speculators. It is no longer supply and demand setting the price, it's now the speculator. The fundamentals changed. Times have changed. We are living in a different world."

Taking a deep breath, you slowly note, "Fundamentals are just that: fundamental. By definition, they can't change, regardless of the time or place."

"But they do, and they did," he replies.

Throwing aside the linguistic deconstruction of a pile of sand, the pronouncement "This is the dawn of a new economy, an economy where scarcity and supply and demand are no longer constraints," is as cyclical as our fiat-driven economy. And, in the face of the history of such pronouncements, many folks still believe that the fundamentals of the market can change under certain circumstances.

Speculation in the Oil Market

Speculation can change the market price if and only if speculation causes a change in supply or demand. A futures price driven by speculation may induce producers to modify the amount produced. The price may also encourage speculators to buy current supply for later sale or induce producers to exercise their demand to hold. In both cases, the actions can cause the spot supply curve to be other than it would have been in the absence of speculation — a change in supply that is covered by the fundamentals of economics.

Additionally, there are instances where oil speculation can change the spot demand curve. Suppose company X wants to expand a product line that uses oil as a primary factor of production. Seeing the price of oil futures rise may lead X to delay its planned expansion. Or X may plan to reduce production — and, hence, consumption of oil — based on the price of the futures. But, again, the changes to the demand curve are covered by the fundamentals of economics.

But, speculation per se is not the issue here. The issue is not whether speculators manipulated the spot price of oil;[1] the issue is the insistence that the fundamentals of economics can change. Once such a position is accepted, further analysis is subject to political propaganda and nonsense. Once the foundations of economics are removed, any idea can be assumed true.

Austrians to the Rescue

The Austrian school is the only school of thought built on a solid foundation. The Austrian school's a priori knowledge is apodictically true, and not subject to time or place. Contrast that with the other schools of thought, schools that try to define knowledge based on observed data.

In these schools, any observed trend or correlation trumps the fundamentals. If the observed data appear to refute a fundamental law, the observation is reaffirmed and the law suspended. But such an epistemology is nothing more than poking in the dark — or poking in the data.

Outside of deconstructed linguistics, no one is going to accept the dawning of a utopia where one plus one is one. We turn our backs on such nonsense. Yet when someone shows correlated data implying a fracture in the law of supply or demand, many folks accept the conclusion.

The Filter

These are the questions to ask: What's your epistemological filter? Do the fundamentals rule? Or do the data rule?

When it's the data that rule, all things can be proposed, but are not all possible. When it's the fundamentals, all things can be understood, even when not observed.

Conclusion

We have not entered a new age — a utopia of sorts — and we never will. Yet we continue to hear the claim that this time things are different; this time the new age has dawned. However, the proclaimed utopia never arrives — it can't. Scarcity and the law of supply and demand can not be waved away.

Instead, the vision of each utopia is destroyed in a blaze of capital destruction. The new economics driven by tech stocks: ashes. The world of exponentially increasing property values: ashes. The savior of credit derived exclusively from notations on the books of the Federal Reserve: quickly burning to ash. And, of course, the list goes on and on.

While playing with piles of sand can be a fun mental exercise, the fundamentals of math are not affected. The same is true with economic data or intervention. The fundamentals of the market rule, regardless of the observation or desire.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Truth and Tone

I have to laugh whenever someone (such as a recent reader of this blog) says something along the lines of, “I would agree with your assertion if only you would adopt a different tone.” Such sophistry is funny, if you think about it for a moment. But as an assertion, it is logically false. Tone and truth have nothing to do with each other.

The statement above is the same as someone asserting, “I would accept your conclusion that one plus one equals two if you changed your tone.” That claim is nonsensical, or worse. The validity of one plus one equals two stands true regardless of the tone or presentation. Truth is truth.

When I first became aware of Gary North (link on the left sidebar), I googled him. I quickly found folks making claims such as, “I would have been a Christian if it wasn’t for North.” So much for the inherent truths of the Bible. But does anyone really believe that these writers are being honest in their claims?

Either the Bible is God’s word or its not. And Gary North’s tone has nothing to do with the fact that the Bible is God's word -- North's tone can neither validate nor invalidate that truth.


In essence, the writers are claiming that they admit biblical truths (by implication that such truths exist absent North), only to refute those very same truths based on something as superfluous as North’s tone. Are these writers misguided? Or are they employing sophisms for some other purpose? Hmmm.

When folks state that they hinge their acceptance of fact on the presentation layer, they are not being forthright. They are simply trying to move the discussion toward that which they believe true – they are employing techniques of manipulation, etc. They are really asking you to modify your beliefs so that your beliefs do not conflict with theirs. Recasting the claim above, we end up with this, “I would have been a Christian if being a Christian did not mean having to live according the biblical truths noted by North.”

When you read claims about truth and tone, do not believe the writers. They are being dishonest at best.

FFF Hits the Mark

It's amazing how two words can destroy Liberty. But there it is . From yesterday's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

With respect to the two words “general welfare,” I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the “Articles of Confederation,” and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted.
— James Madison, letter to James Robertson

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Vision of Public Education

Communist society considers the social education of the rising generation to be one of the fundamental aspects of the new life. The old family, narrow and petty, where the parents quarrel and are only interested in their own offspring, is not capable of educating the “new person”. The playgrounds, gardens, homes and other amenities where the child will spend the greater part of the day under the supervision of qualified educators will, on the other hand, offer an environment in which the child can grow up a conscious communist who recognises the need for solidarity, comradeship, mutual help and loyalty to the collective.
-- Alexandra Kollontai

Kollontai wrote this passage in 1920, but she foretold our current condition. Her description sounds just like our version of public education.

Folks, The collective at your local school has the same ethos as Kollantai's collective. They are one and the same.


I write 'em, but that doesn't mean they are published

Dear Editor:

In your editorial, "Time-tested," (Dispatch, Wednesday, October 22, 2008) you did a great disservice to science when you made the claim that evolution is a fact. A theory is not a fact. A theory is simply the explanation of observed and verifiable phenomena -- facts.

Now this is not some minor quibble over your choice of a word. It is a question as to the intent of your message. Was your intent to further science or the theory of evolution? I wondered.

But then your final paragraph revealed your intent. You created a crisis (the supposed sad state of science education in the US) in order to further your cause. My questions: Does my belief in Biblical creation affect your life in any way? What about the same belief held by my children's doctor?

Is this really a crisis of science? Hmmm.

Jim Fedako

Being Naive: it must make it easier for some sleep at night

Paul Lambert over at Save The Hilliard Schools wants to believe. He does. And the Hilliard City School District wants his tax money, along with the tax money of every other property owner in that district. So, a little naivety on Paul's part and the levy is in the bag.

Does Paul really believe that once Hilliard passes its levy, things will change? Does he really believe that?

Paul, You are about to learn a big boy lesson. I hope that you take it to heart the next time a levy is on your ballot.

note: You can almost hear the Hilliard district officials snickering behind Paul's back. He's the perfect useful idiot.

A Socialist and a Fascist Debate Nonsense

With Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi and Democratic challenger David Robinson debating who has the best -- read most intrusive -- energy plan, I have to wonder: Have either of them read the Constitution? Or is a Mussolini-inspired country our final resting point?

Both Tiberi and Robinson are the antithesis of liberty. Regardless who wins, Liberty loses.

note: Vote for Libertarian candidate Steve Linnabary. And I say this as a central committee member of now-statist Republican Party.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Politics: one Christian to another

Tom,

You're splitting the Solomon baby, politically speaking. "Actually, I am deeply disappointed in our choices for President this year." So why a vote for McCain?

Put your faith in God and vote for a godly man. If you believe that none exists, do not vote at all.

Do you believe that God will ignore your cry? Do you believe that God wants us to rally behind the lesser of two evils? I don't. And you would be hard-pressed to use God's words to show otherwise.

I hold out little hope for this country (we are a country, not a nation) as long as we live on debt. A good man provides for his grandchildren (Proverbs 13:22), yet this country is leaving our posterity nothing but debt and ruin. Sadly, many Christians -- just like the Israelites before us -- have taken a lead in the demand for greater debt, for greater sin.

"Thy silver is become dross" (Isaiah 1:22) is one of God's indictments of the Judeans. Isaiah delivered the message, and God then turned his back. McCain and Obama, as Bush before them, will continue the destruction of our currency. In essence, we exchange goods for paper lies. Do you believe God will reward us for that?

Look, we've known this for years, we knew this time was coming. Yet we blindly continued our worship of the government of the US. We have allowed -- and encouraged -- a truly sinful state of affairs. We ignored history and our Bible. A vote for McCain is a vote for the status quo.


By the way, I fear fascism the same as socialism -- they are twins of the same evil.

In this election, Baldwin is the godly man (though I struggle with voting at all). Reconsider your choice. Have faith.

Jim Fedako

Note: Regarding socialism -- some key passages are:

1. Mathew 13:44 -- You own that which is yours. The just price is the price paid, not the assumed value to the buyer or owner after the trade.

2. Mathew 20:1-13 -- The fair wage is the wage settled between laborer and entrepreneur, it is not based on the amount of work or sweat. Again, the wage is not to be changed handshake.

3. Exodus 20:17 -- Envy (covetousness) is a sin.

4. Mathew 25:14 - 30 -- Interest and profit are the expected return from a business investment. Of course, usury, the expectation of any return from benevolence, is ungodly.

5. Then there are the passages in Titus which instruct us on how we as Christians should take care of our own. But the instructions in Titus are for Christians -- they are our spiritual direction. The instructions are not codified law that forces all to act in the prescribed manner. Remember, we work out our own individual salvation with fear and trembling.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Psychic Impairment

My latest post on the Blog at Mises.org.








Psychic Impairment

Jim Fedako

Last week wmtbsX.gif
I suffered a psychic loss in the form of a goodwill impairment charge. What?!? Only the business firms take goodwill charges. Not so fast. While it is true that firms take such charges, it is also true that everyone experiences psychic profits and losses throughout the day.

Acting man seeks to increase the asset side of his psychic value in every exchange; he seeks psychic profit. However, just as in a free market, losses are everywhere. And it's our value judgments of potential psychic profits and losses, and our value judgments alone, that have the ability to guide an economy toward an efficient utilization of scarce resources.

Unlike other schools of economic thought, the Austrians do not construct homo economicus as the originator of action. In its place, the Austrians assume a myriad of acting individuals, all basing their actions on purely subjective valuations. The key here is that acting man can change his valuations at any point, based on purely subjective reasoning.

I have a used car that I value more than the market price as noted by Kelley Blue Book, etc.[1] This is an apodictically true statement since I still possess my car, in spite of the market price. By way of an example, let's assume that KBB notes the market value of my car at $10,000. From the above, we know that I value the car at some price greater than $10,000. I call the difference between the KBB value and my subjective value goodwill. But what is goodwill?

Goodwill is an accounting term that describes (generally) an intangible asset. An example is a brand name that raises the value of a company over that of its underlying assets. Therefore, when you buy (say) PepsiCo, you buy the intangible value of the brand name Pepsi along with the company's bottling plants, etc. The same holds for our personal possessions -- we assign value that exceeds the market price.

If a month ago I had constructed a psychic balance sheet of my personal assets and liabilities, I would have recorded my car at some value greater than $10,000 -- say $15,000. I would have noted the difference between my subjective value of $15,000 and the market value of $10,000 as goodwill.

To me, the goodwill value existed because I know (inter alia) the history of my vehicle -- I know my car's repair and maintenance histories, etc. I saw no value in trying to find arbitrage opportunities by trading my car for a similar one. So, if presented with an equal exchange between my car and one with (say) 10,000 less miles and a slightly higher KBB value, I would have said no. That all changed last week.

There I sat in downtown Delaware, Ohio in a car that would not start. After a tow to my local garage, I learned that the fuel pump needed to be replaced - $700 out the door. So I took a hit against cash and I recorded a large goodwill write-down. Why the write-down? I no longer consider my car to be a trusted vehicle. It is impaired, and so is my psychic balance sheet. Gone are almost $5,000 in psychic value, just like that. Of course, I say almost because I am still not willing to sell, though I am considering.

The point is that subjective values are subjective, and they are subject to change the first time the engine does not turn over.

The same can be said of preference ranks. These purely subjective rankings can change within seconds. Consider this: All morning at work you've dreamed of the Big Mac. Come lunchtime, you grab your keys and head to the parking lot. On your way out the door, a coworker asks you where you are going - McDonalds, of course.

In essence, you are stating that the Big Mac holds the highest position on your lunchtime preference ranking. Yet, once on the road, the Whopper sign catches your eye. Hmmm. Now the Whopper was near the bottom of the ranking, but in less than a second the Whopper shoots straight to number one. You turn into Burger King and enjoy your meal, satisfied.

To assume homo economicus as the acting agent in all activities, and then build models with indifference curves, etc., does nothing to advance knowledge. Individual actions are the result of subjective valuations that are themselves changing. The time spent constructing the car versus Big Mac indifference curve is exposed as a waste once the key fails or the Whopper appears.

The subjective valuations that guide human activity are much too complex to be modeled in a manner that explains or predicts anything with certainty. The beauty of the Austrian approach is that it allows us all to be our fickle and erratic selves. Moreover, by doing so, the Austrian school reveals the truths of the science of human action. And in our current financial crisis, we need to hear those truths again and again, loud and clear.

Jim Fedako, a homeschooling father of six who lives in Lewis Center, OH, maintains a blog: Anti-Positivist.

Note:

[1] Of course, the market price can only be determined by an exchange between freely acting participants.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Ward Churchills of K-12 Curriculum

An article previously published by EducationNew.org:



The Ward Churchills of K-12 Curriculum
By Jim Fedako


The Ward Churchills of K-12 education are subverting public control over curriculum while leading future generations down the road of relativist, deconstructivist nonsense. And these subversives are doing so with a wink or nudge from administrators, while their employers, the local school boards, argue over bus routes and lunch offerings.

Through their boards of education, residents of school districts approve the curriculum of their local public schools. This approved curriculum details the ends of the education process, defining what students are supposed to have learned upon completion of their studies.

Teachers using professional discretion - the amount of discretion depending on the local district - implement the approved curriculum in their classrooms. This is the means of the educational process. At the same time, teachers must ensure that students master each element of the curriculum. This is the ends, or the accountability component of the educational process.

Fair enough. Yet in many districts, as in my district, some teachers are simply using the community-approved curriculum as a means to justify their own personal curriculum. And by doing so, teachers are harming students and wasting tax dollars.

Two ways to apply a curriculum in the classroom (hypothetical):

One. Take sixth grade math. The math teacher looks at the approved curriculum and decides the most effective manner to tackle the elements of the subject. For example, within a geometry unit, the teacher chooses the next appropriate topic, "Identify and label angle parts and the regions defined within the plane where the angle resides". The teacher selects one of any number of ways to introduce these concepts, using professional judgment and a host of resources. The teacher pre-tests to inventory current knowledge and then post-tests to evaluate the effectiveness of his classroom presentation and chosen activities. The students learn math and are proud of their efforts, as is the math teacher.

Two. Take sixth grade math once again. The math teacher has it in for SUVs. He cannot stand those vehicles -- he simply hates them. So, he has made it his life's goal to ban such vehicles from the roads of this nation, and the world for that matter.

This teacher wants to see change, and he knows that children are still forming opinions of the world. He recognizes that he can affect change if he can form opinions for the students, instead of letting the students and their parents work out the understandings of a complex world together. The teacher wants students to leave his class believing as he does, at all cost.

Within a measurement unit, the teacher introduces the topic, "Determine surface area, mass and volume using the appropriate units and tools," by ranting on and on about the evils of SUVs. He then assigns a project: The students are to gather photos of SUVs and bring them to class. The students will then form groups to discuss the photos and construct a group consensus on the evils of SUVs, and their drivers for that matter.

The teacher is aware of the influence of parents on their children. While that influence is an obstacle at times, the teacher has an easy way around problematic parents. He adds a group component to the grade, and weights that component very high.

Students must work well within their groups and students must neither argue nor question. Students must turn their backs on the guidance of their parents and echo the views of the teacher, else face a failing grade. A huge weight for a young child.

Knowing that this project is not aligned with the board-approved curriculum - though, it is aligned with his personal curriculum of social change - the teacher adds another component to the assignment: The students will estimate the area, mass, and volume of SUVs by using a ruler to measure the physical features of the vehicles in the photos.

The teacher notes the measurement element in his lesson plan and claims that he is teaching the curriculum as defined. And, better than that, he has implemented the curriculum in a cross-subject manner.

Of course, the teacher is turning his students into math fools, but that is the price one pays for social change. In the back of his mind, the teacher hears the Trotsky line, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.


Two applications of a curriculum; one approved by the residents through their elected board, the other the personal curriculum of a teacher who has no concern for district residents, or district students.

A real example. The following discussion is based on the Olentangy Local School District, though most other districts are facing similar issues.

The excerpt below, taken straight from the district website, details the rationale for the use of the controversial novel, Whale Talk, in the classroom. This novel is one of the most challenged books in public schools and libraries due to its language and subject matter. Consider the above approaches to applying a curriculum as you read.
This book is one of six novels selected to explore and examine how marginalized groups and/or individuals are represented in society. The selection of books for this unit allows students to view the world from the viewpoint of marginalized characters. We will be examining stereotypes and questioning how stereotypes are established and perpetuated. Students will be asked to propose solutions to stop stereotyping and call others to action against stereotyping.

Students will work in literature circles as they read this novel. The reading will be done individually and students will meet in their groups to discuss their novel. Literature circles offer powerful benefits to readers of all ages. The circles are structured to move readers through a range of cognitive roles as they discuss books that are self-selected. Literature circles allow students to connect with each other, with texts, and ultimately, with the world in which they live. They learn to take responsibility as members of a group who, together, must construct meaning through discussion, debate and reflection. Discussion, debate and reflection are anchored in the text which serves as a springboard to explore social issues.

Connection to the state standards/OLSD curriculum map(s):
• Acquisition of Vocabulary (1)
• Reading Application Informational (5, 6)
• Reading Application Literary (7, 9, 10, 11)
• Writing Process (all)
• Writing Application (5, 7, 9)
• Writing Conventions (10)
• Research Standard (11)
• Communication Standard (13)


Which application of the board-approved -- hence, community-approved -- curriculum is being applied here? The answer is obvious. The Ward Churchills are justifying their personal curriculum by noting tangential elements of the approved curriculum.

By providing some specious justification, a teacher can align any topic to a curriculum by simply noting the elements of the curriculum in the lesson plan. Based on objectives available on my district's website, it appears that anything goes for some teachers.

Can you imagine the discussions in the literacy circles -- obvious edu-speak nonsense -- after students read this book? Is the teacher guiding -- dare I say, enjoying -- these discussions? Isn't it creepy that an adult wants to prompt students to discuss such topics?

Whatever happened to the three R's? Can't schools simply teach the curriculum without indoctrinating?

While some teachers and administrators are taking advantage of the system, local school board members are shirking their duty by allowing this mess to continue and spread. It is the duty of school board members to oversee the successful implementation of the community-approved curriculum, yet they are allowing the personal curriculum of some to trump.

This is a real indictment on the current direction of public education in general.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Proof that Presley was a Piker

Alright, Buddy Guy provides an unfair advantage. But shouldn't the imitation be better than the original? Big Mamma Thorton proves that Presley was minor league. -- Jim



Weekend Read from Ludwig von Mises

A great essay by Ludwig von Mises. Perfect for understanding the free market. Because it's not all about profits, it's also about loses. Want more? Go to Mises.org. -- Jim




Friday, October 24, 2008

The Olentangy AD gets his number wrong

On purpose? Or does he have no understanding of cost?

As reported in The Olentangy Oracle from this week's Olentangy Valley News, according to Olentangy Athletic Director Jay Wolfe, football at Olentangy High School only costs the district (and taxpayers, of course) $17,000 per year. Really?!?

Consider this: In 2006, the district administration commissioned a study of operating expenses. The State Standards Analysis report shows costs associated with most district activities. The cost for football at OHS in FY06: $79,010 (that figure is now three years old).

That figure only includes operating expense directly aligned with the football program at the school. It does not include indirect costs such as a portion of Wolfe's salary, etc. Nor does it include the maintenance, capital, and interest costs associated with the stadium and other facilities. It also does not include ancillary costs such as weightlifting, etc.

I know, I know, there he goes again with the little stuff. But I ask: Can't they ever get their numbers right? Do they have any idea on what drives expenditures and my tax rate? Do they even care?

And if they can't understand the small stuff, what makes anyone think they can understand the big stuff?

No need to answer, those are all rhetorical questions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Free Riding Leftist Nonsense

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Free Riding Leftist Nonsense

I think it's safe to assume that the folks running local public radio stations adhere to leftist politics. Given that, it's a wonder that their reality never affects their politics.

My local public radio station is currently in a fund raising cycle. Today, the radio hosts noted a couple of interesting points: one, 10% of their funding comes from the feds, the balance from listeners; two, only 10% of listeners support the station.

While I found the first point interesting (I assume the feds really kick in at the national level), it was the second point that caught my attention. Free riders outnumber contributors 9 to 1, yet the station still exists. In fact, the hosts openly accept free riders as welcome members of their listener base. Why? I suspect the hosts understand the situation and realize that each listener is a potential contributor (and, likely, headcount for federal funds).

Here I thought that one of the main reasons for interventionist government is the free rider gumming up so-called public goods. But the free rider (this rider included) has not stopped NPR from broadcasting in Columbus, Ohio. If the free rider can't stop the leftist propaganda machine on the radio, why would anyone believe that other so-called public goods would disappear without government funding?

If the hosts would only take a hard look at their reality, they might just realize that government is not the necessary means to their ends. Or, for that matter, the means to any productive end.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Credit Spotting: an update

This post shows that even the FED agrees that the credit crunch is a myth. Read the FED report, it's only a few pages of text. The real meat is the dozen or so easy to understand graphs. -- Jim








The Credit-Crunch Myth

Jeffrey Tucker

Three economists for the Minneapolis Fed have written a paper called "Myths about the Financial Crisis of 2008." The myths they refute: 1) Bank lending to nonfinancial corporations and individuals has declined sharply, 2) Interbank lending is essentially nonexistent, 3) Commercial paper issuance by nonfnancial corporations has declined sharply and rates have risen to unprecedented levels, and 4) Banks play a large role in channeling funds from savers to borrowers. They argue that all four claims are completely false, and cite an overwhelming amount of data showing this.

In response to Alex Tabarrok's posting of this paper, one commentator compares the credit-crunch claims to the fears of WMD in Iraq.

Since we're on the road, might as well read the map

Click the little blue button to begin:

A Little Humor

1st, a joke for economists:
Question: What's the capital of Iceland?
Answer: About $4.72
Next, a political joke:
And this week, President Bush announced a $250 billion -- everything's billions now, millions don't even count, have you noticed that? Millions is like chump change -- plan for the government, to directly buy shares of the nation's leading banks, to make sure they're run properly. They're going to make sure they're run properly, yeah. Because one thing we know is the people who gave us a $9 trillion debt, they know how to handle money.

— Jay Leno, The Tonight Show (courtesy of The Future of Freedom Foundation's Email Update)

Finally, a humorous tale that explains tax cuts:
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something
like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18..
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59..

So, that's what they decided to do.
The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the
arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

'Since you are all such good customers, he said, 'I'm going to reduce
the cost of your daily beer by $20.'

Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the
first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers?
How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his
'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.

But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man
and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's
bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the
amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $50 instead of $59 (15% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before.

And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the
restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,' declared the sixth man.
He pointed to the tenth man, 'but he got $9!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man.
'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got nine times more
than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man.
'Why should he get $9 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the
breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison.
'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor.'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat
down and had beers without him.

But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something
important.

They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the
bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists, and college professors, is how
our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not
show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is
somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Restoring dignity

This is a repost since the current topic deserves more attention.






Restoring dignity

by Jim Fedako


How do you restore the dignity supposedly missing from our capitalist society? According to the socialists at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), you restore dignity by having one group of Americans thieve from another, and you have government arrange the transfer. Where is William Graham Sumner when you need him most?

According to EPI's latest briefing paper
A New Social Contract: Restoring Dignity and Balance to the Economy:

The very role of government is to ensure that the prosperity of our economy is broadly shared among all hard working Americans and their families. Yet, in the past two decades, government has not only retrenched in its obligation to set rules in the economy that value all working Americans, but it has set rules that undermine everyday Americans. It is time for government to be on the side of working Americans.


The paper was presented at a recent EPI public forum where Paul Krugman, keynote speaker and recent Nobel Laureate, provided the following words of wisdom:

So, if you say what would I really like if I went into a Rip Van Winkle sleep and woke up ten years from now, I’d like to wake up and discover that we have a national health care in some version with the necessary funding supplied in part by higher taxes on me, or actually, the top two percent of the income distribution. But people a lot richer than me, of course. But it’s not the whole story that the only thing you can do is taxes and social insurance. And the arc of history for the United States suggests that there’s actually a lot more that can happen.


And if you’re looking for a progressive agenda, certainly from my point of view, a large part of that ought to be straightforward orthodox stuff, which is still very hard to do politically. It would be essentially restoring progressivity of the tax system, and using the revenue to improve social insurance and, above all, health care.

But the amount of inequality in the United States is substantially less than it would be if we did not have still at least somewhat progressive taxation, and still a pretty extensive, though not nearly extensive enough, system of social insurance. And that makes a big difference. Certainly if you’re looking at say the United States versus Canada, a lot of the difference between the two countries is just that Canada has more of a better safety net financed by somewhat higher taxation.


Where is Bertrand de Jouvenel when you need him? The ideas of Sumner and de Jouvenel are still with us; their reasoning simply remains lost to the Krugmans of the world. The Progressives and their government allies have had over a century to work out the kinks of their socialist utopia, yet it remains beyond their grasp.

Even Krugman notes that we don't want the level of redistribution found in Cuba, but a level just to the north would begin to solve the nation's economic ills. How? By restoring dignity through repealing the tattered remnants of the concepts of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Sometimes it is as if the Soviet Union never imploded. I await the coming day when the New York Times finally changes its masthead to
Workers of the world, unite! That day won't be soon enough for Krugman and his minions at EPI.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Arrival of a New People: looks like they are here to stay

As noted in The Future of Freedom Foundation's Email Update from Friday:
If republican principles are to perish in America, they will succumb only after a long, frequently interrupted, repeatedly renewed period of social travail. They will more than once seem to be reborn, and will disappear forever only when an entirely new people has taken the place of the one that exists right now. Such a revolution can have no harbinger, no premonitory sign. [emphasis added]

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]
The new people have arrived, and based on a comment left on this blog, they live and breath envy, dreaming of a socialist utopia:
Wow, $6,000 in school taxes, I wish I could be so lucky to have such a large and expensive house. Somehow that statement doesn't buy a lot of sympathy from me.
Tocqueville was right. When the ideals of a new people replace the ideals of our founding, the republican principals will disappear forever. A sad state of affairs.

The Chronological History of Public Education

In her book, the deliberate dumbing down of america, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education, details the:
chronological history of the past 100+ years of education reform. Each chapter takes a period of history and recounts the significant events, including important geopolitical and societal contextual information. Citations from government plans, policy documents, and key writings by leading reformers record the rise of the modern education reform movement. Americans of all ages will welcome this riveting expose of what really happened to what was once the finest education system in the world.

Readers will appreciate the user-friendliness of this chronological history designed for the average reader not just the academician. This book will be used by citizens at public hearings, board meetings, or for easy presentation to elected officials.

Publication of the deliberate dumbing down of america is certain to add fuel to the fire in this nation's phonics wars. Iserbyt provides documentation that Direct Instruction, the latest education reform fad in the classroom, is being institutionalized under the guise of 'traditional' phonics thanks to the passage of the unconstitutional Reading Excellence Act of 1998.
The book is available here as a free download. Take some time to read what has gone on so that you can understand what is going on. At the very least, you will understand what Hooie is saying when she mumbles educatist nonsense.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Credit Spotting

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Credit Spotting

I'm finding credit all over the place. Tonight, while taking my daughters to dance, I noted a developer offering zero-down mortgages and heard radio ads for home equity lines of credit. It certainly seems that Columbus, Ohio is flowing with credit. Fiat credit, of course.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama and the Thermidor

These gentlemen have, it seems, completely forgotten that socialism was to remove the cause which impels women to abortion, and not force her into the "joys of motherhood" with the help of a foul police interference in what is to every woman the most intimate sphere of life.


Obama's latest TV ad? Close, it's Trotsky writing in "Thermidor in the Family" from The Revolution Betrayed (marxists.org).

The Thermidorian Reaction was the period in the French Revolution that signaled the end of the Reign of Terror. To Trotsky, the Thermidor represents the end of a revolution, with society turning toward its pre-revolutionary state. For Trotsky that meant the return of the family and the end of the social collective.

No longer were the workers looking to the institutions of the socialist state for their intimate needs. Instead, they were returning to their homes and family. Trotsky saw this counter movement as a betrayal of the revolution, blaming Stalin's bourgeoisie bureaucracy.

The Obama revolution will be another step toward the social state and away from the family. Obama channels Trotsky in all of his stump speeches and platform policies, including his views on life. His latest commercial (appearing during ABC's 20/20) was a direct paraphrase of the Trotsky passage above.

Sadly, McCain wants to lead this nation to fascism. So, either the state owns the means of production (Obama) or allows nominal private ownership with effective control (McCain). What a choice?

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Dividing Question

Some folks want to believe. They need to believe. This is especially true when the issue involves their local public school. Some folks will defend any action by their school system and its employees. These folks will bend and contort all logic to make wrong right. Who are they? Let me ask a question that will divide those above from those willing to ask questions, point fingers, etc. Here we go ...

If a former employee continued to use his district cell phone for weeks after retiring (making calls to Bermuda, a party supply company, a local spa, etc.), would you consider that wrong?

Yes ___

No ___

A yes puts you in the latter category. However, I bet there is a significant number of residents who will say no -- of course, they will say no to any similar question. They have to say no in order to satisfy some need, a need which I cannot understand. But there it is.

note: The above situation is not hypothetical -- it's true. Compare your response to the question above to how you responded to Jim Ward and his use of a taxpayer-funded cell phone.

Words of wisdom from Jimmy Kimmel

From yesterday's Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

There's a new bank bailout today. The government is taking a $250 billion ownership stake in a bunch of failing banks, which is great news, because at long last, banking will be as efficient as going to the DMV. And there's a debate going on right now about the whole thing. Financial analysts are saying, what does this mean for the country? On one hand, some experts say that buying up private companies makes us socialists, but others say it makes us communists, and it's hard to decide.


— Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting goes to ...

And the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting goes to ... Becky Jenkins.

Wait a minute. Jenkins didn't put the district's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report together. The report was assembled and formatted by a paid consultant. That's right, a paid consultant -- your tax dollars at work ('cause the work ain't being done in the offices at 814 Shanahan).

Folks, instead of sending accolades to the district on a job well done, call the treasurer's office for the name and number of the consultant who is deserving of the award. Make certain that you pat the right back -- it's only fair.

Oh, and by the way, the award is based on presentation only. That's it. The award is not based on accounting practices or fiscal responsibility (whatever that means in government); it's based solely on presentation. So as long as the font and pagination are pleasant to the eye, the fact that Hooie recently spent somewhere around $1400 on hotel expenses is of no concern to the Government Finance Officers Association. Set the fund balance less the $1400 in the right font and it's good to go.

note: You have to love the choice of words in the ThisWeekNews article. Very 1984-ish. "Several" is used to describe two, while "more than one" to describe four. Here's what's odd: ThisWeekNews video taped the meeting and still couldn't get it right. Or did Amanda write the story for Kelley using district-speak? Hmmm.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tiberi: No help at all

A letter in this week's Olentangy Valley News notes how Tiberi's office helped a constituent navigate the morass that is government. But doesn't he have a hand in creating that very same mess? Sure the departments are run by the executive branch, but Tiberi helps write the laws and fund the beast.

Pat, instead of helping the chosen few, work toward limiting government in all areas of life. I know, I know, that's what you stand for. But your bailout vote shows that what you say and how you vote are worlds apart.

The Debate: And the winner is?

Obama, of course. Why? He has a stronger program of envy. McCain is only going to help the 11 million homeowners at or near default ... and Joe from Ohio. On the other hand, Obama is going to help 95% of Americans thieve from the out-of-luck 5%, including Joe. And in a democracy that no longer respects the rights enumerated in the Declaration, envy wins.

Robert Owens for Ohio Attorney General

A repost ...


A Ron Paul supporter running as an independent ...



Robert Owens for Ohio Attorney General 2008
Press Release 5/28/08
Posted: 28 May 2008 11:46 AM CDT

Former Prosecutor Robert Owens set to formally announce he will run for Ohio Attorney General as an Independent, says he will restore the rule of law over political favoritism

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Delaware County lawyer Robert Owens is set to announce that he will seek the office of Ohio Attorney General vacated by Democrat Marc Dann. There will be a special election for the office held November 4. Democrat Marc Dann resigned from office in disgrace on May 14 following revelations of a sex and money scandal. The lesser known Democrat from Youngstown won the office in 2006 as a result of the Republican’s hugely embarrassing “Coingate” scandal that cost Ohio millions of taxpayer dollars and resulted in criminal charges, though not nearly enough jail time for those involved.

A grassroots effort of almost 100 volunteer circulators collected more than 1300 signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties to gain ballot access for Mr. Owens. Upon filing the necessary petitions, Mr. Owens released the following statement with regard to why he is running for office; “There is an inherent conflict between the law and big money politics. The Attorney General is the highest law enforcement official in Ohio and has a duty to protect the State and its citizens by upholding the law. That duty is challenged when influenced by the corrupting nature of partisan politics.

Corruption is the natural consequence of this conflict. As an Independent candidate for Attorney General, I will not be bound to powerful special interests or promises of votes that will affect my enforcement of the law. When I say I will bring integrity to the office, I truly believe this can only be accomplished by an Independent administrator.”
Mr. Owens was educated at Ohio Wesleyan University, Oxford University (United Kingdom) and Capital University Law School. In his legal career, he clerked for a Federal District Court Judge, worked for one of the largest law firms in Ohio, served as a Prosecutor in Sunbury, Ohio and now has a private law practice handling criminal and civil matters. Mr. Owens is a long time community leader and activist for pro-American legislation at the Federal, State and Local level. Mr. Owens and his wife Teri have been married for 10 years.

Ohio law makes an independent run for office extremely difficult. However, a dedicated grassroots network is already emerging, having delivered well over the required petition signatures with less than ten days to organize. The lack of previous press information is a result of the extremely tight time restrictions imposed by Ohio law.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please call Owens 2008 Campaign HQ at (614) 839-8544 or e-mail info@owens2008.com. A formal press conference will be set within the next week to officially announce the campaign.

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The "Let's Agree to Disagree" Mantra

A reader kindly sends me very interesting articles on the subject below -- dialectics and movement of change. I am reposting this as it is imperative that we understand subtle manipulations of our ideals. To quote a line from movie, Broadcast News:

What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit...
The "Let's Agree to Disagree" Mantra

Don't embrace the current mantra, "let's agree to disagree," in areas where policy is discussed.

Politics creates nothing other than winners and losers, where 50% + 1 of those who vote dictate life for the rest. And in many circumstances, an appointed board or commission holds sway and is not subject to direct voter accountability.

I can "agree to disagree" with my wife over the cola wars -- I favor Pepsi and she favors Coke -- because the free market allows us both to be satisfied.

In the public school environment, the "agree to disagree" agenda plays out along the lines of Hegelian Dialectics. Hegel wrote about the process where the conflict between opposing ideas and ideals formed new ideas and ideals through synthesis. Change "synthesis" to "consensus" and you have the current version of Hegel's vision.

During my board service, Olentangy formed a Wellness Committee in response to federal mandates -- I participated. Since the mandate requires representation from all stakeholders, I was not surprise to find a committee comprised of those from both ends of the political spectrum. Those who believed that food consumption and exercise are a personal or family matter were joined with those who think that Big Government needs to enforce dietary and fitness rules on both student and parent.

To reach consensus, everyone except me sold their viewpoints for the feel-good ideal of consensus -- "let's agree to disagree and meet somewhere in the middle" -- driven by governmental agents of change (county health department employees). But there is no "middle road" since the middle road is simply the somewhat longer road toward socialism.

The point: As we accept the agree-to-disagree mantra as the politically correct path for civilized societies, we will see ourselves moving closer to that which we feared all along.

Hegel believed that synthesis would be adopted whole-heartedly by the vast majority, and they would then recast their internal moorings in a new bed of sand, only to drift once again toward the rocks as the next consensus was built.

A process that would continue on and on. And so it does.

note: The divide between Hegelian and Fichtean dialectics is fuzzy. While my example above was closer to Fichtean, Hegelian is now the commonly accepted term for both.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taking Jen Smith to Task

Enough is enough. Let's take a hard look at board member Smith and her agenda. What does she want?

According to the newspapers, the audio files of board meetings, and the email recently blasted to OFK members, Smith is a real troublemaker. As proof, consider this: Smith wants to see the actual expenditures made by the district. Can you even imagine? What nerve.

Think about this OFK folks: A sitting board member, and member of the board's Finance and Audit Committee, wants to see how the district spent your tax money. That's it.

Yet, to the rest of the board, this request is a burden for the treasurer and her department -- yes, she has a department.

Now this is 2008, so the Smith request does not mean employees thumbing through filing cabinets and paper folders, looking for receipts, etc., to be followed by days running the copy machine.

No, this is the computer age. The info that Smith wants is likely three or four mouse clicks away. Yet the other board members see this as an unreasonable request. Really?

A six month cat-and-mouse game just to stop a board member from reviewing expenses. Hmmm.

OFK folks, email Feasel and ask her: "What is the district hiding? Why can't Smith have her expense report?"

Smith's other issue is also a non issue. From what I gather, Smith wanted the board to discuss (inter alia) replacing a few art classes with a few new technology classes. This was to be just a discussion. Yet ...

This simple request rattled the district. The union flexed its muscle while Hooie read the ultimatum:

Board, You must play by our rules. No independent thinking allowed.

The district employees showed their teeth and the rest of the board rolled over in submission.

Folks, that's it. That is the Smith agenda. Seems reasonable and sensible. Yet the board, administration, and employees are afraid. Do they have something to hide?

Hmmm.

note: OFK folks, while you're at it, ask Feasel about an assistant treasurer collecting two salaries over the summer. That's just a hint, let Feasel fill you in on the rest.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Olentangy Residents: Corrections requested

A recent reader noted that she was "disgusted with the constant misleading and sometimes outright wrong statements that you and your band of merry men continue to throw at our good district." My put-up-or-shut-up challenge is this: Note the factual errors found on this blog and I will post retractions. Please distinguish between facts and rhetoric (I know, I know, Hooie is not a card-carrying Marxist -- she's only sympathetic to the cause).

Update: For all that disgust, the reader could only find two minor errors on one comment (not a post of mine, but a comment from another reader). Yet, in the true essence of irony, the reader herself posted an error. So, of the three errors on this site (including 909 posts plus many comments), one is hers. Some people.

Ron Paul: We told you so!

The sad part of this story is that Ron Paul will never be able to yell, "I told you so." Why? Because our list of freedom is disappearing as fast as the value of the dollar.



Olentangy School Board: Time for an ethics investigation

A repost of district nonsense. From May 22:


Thanks to OVN reporter Matt Gerish, the investigative legwork is already done. Simply copy and paste his article in an email to the Ohio Ethics Commission, follow up with a phone call, and the process takes over.

It's time this nonsense stopped.

Please note: This in not the first time that board member McFerson has been linked to questionable activities, but this instance stands out since the smoking gun is printed in the newspaper. The attorney mentioned in the article is Greg Scott from Scott, Scriven, and Wayhoff, the same law firm that provided the bogus "opinion" regarding the district's ability to close schools if the levy had failed.

They're all coming home to roost.

By the way, how are the district's knee-jerk supporters -- OFK, this blog's resident district apologists (Stan, etc.), and the other bobbleheads -- going to explain this one away.


Superintendent candidates named; process in question
Discussions among board members behind closed doors show a desire to hide the candidates and the process from the public.
By MATT GERISH
Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 10:36 PM EDT


Five candidates have been selected as finalists in the search for a new Olentangy superintendent -- but questions remain about the process used to find them.

School boards in search of new administrators often turn to outside sources such as the Ohio School Boards Association or regional educational service centers for help.

The Olentangy school board was asked to vote April 8 to approve the Educational Service Center of Franklin County as the search firm to find the district a new superintendent.

During that meeting, board member Jennifer Smith raised concerns that the board violated Ohio's Sunshine Laws by allowing the center to give a presentation to the board behind closed doors about the services it would provide in locating the district's next superintendent.

Ohio's Open Meeting Act and Public Records Act are commonly referred to as the Sunshine Laws.
The statutory laws are based on the idea of openness in government and the right of public access to records, meetings and activities of government.

Public bodies are allowed to meet behind closed doors in what are referred to as executive sessions for only very specific purposes.

Smith suggested the center's presentation didn't qualify.Board President Scott Galloway said later that the district's legal counsel reviewed the issue, but it was unclear whether a violation had occurred.

The school board brought the center back April 11 to give the presentation before the public.

Smith gave the lone dissenting vote to approve a contract with the center for $1,500 plus expenses to find the next superintendent.

Smith said the board had not done its due diligence by considering only the Educational Service Center of Franklin County for the job.

An outline distributed at the closed-door meeting and obtained by the Olentangy Valley News shows that the Educational Service Center of Franklin County was all but approved a month before the board actually voted and that it may have been chosen in hopes of selecting a candidate as quickly as possible while keeping the process out of the public eye.

Board Vice President Dimon McFerson handed out the draft outline to board members regarding the search process during a March 18 executive session.

McFerson and Galloway are acting as the sole board liaisons for the superintendent search firm and were responsible for selecting the five finalists last week.

During the March 18 closed-door meeting, McFerson said the board should consider the Educational Service Center of Franklin County, which employs former Olentangy Superintendent Bill Reimer.

In the outline, McFerson said it wouldn't be necessary to put the process out for bid because the search for a superintendent is "all about who you know and have contact with."

McFerson said Reimer and the Educational Service Center of Franklin County already know the top candidates in the state.

McFerson's suggested process was to have Reimer bring the five best candidates to the board.

"All of these will be working somewhere and will have to be talked into applying. (Reimer) knows a great deal about them because he has probably talked to them in the last few months," McFerson wrote.

"We just might get lucky and find the person we want using this quick process and not have to spend the bigger dollars to do the longer regular process," he wrote. "If we proceed this way and fill the job, there may be some in the superintendent ranks that complain they didn't get a fair shake. So be it."

McFerson and the Educational Service Center of Franklin County both have said the top candidates already have jobs and won't want anyone to know they're interested moving to Olentangy.

In McFerson's outline, he said the right search firm would be able to hide the candidates and the process from the public and the press.

"We want the search firm to keep all paperwork. They can be protected from Freedom of Information Act requests. Our lawyer will explain how this works," McFerson wrote. "We will need to give a few interviews along the way but they will be general in nature. Absolute confidentiality must be maintained throughout the process. If leaks occur, top candidates often remove their names or deny they are interested if cornered."

Discussion regarding the search for a new superintendent continued April 1, when the Educational Service Center of Franklin County met with the board for a presentation in a closed session.

On April 8, McFerson defended the board's actions after Smith suggested it broke the law.

"I'd just like to publicly state that in my view there was no violation whatsoever of the Sunshine Laws. We talked in a global sense about the process we would put in place for the hiring of the superintendent. It's a most elaborate, delicate issue," McFerson said. "I did not violate any Sunshine Laws, nor do I believe any of my colleagues violated Sunshine Laws."

Smith later said that if the board were talking only in a "global sense," then it wouldn't warrant talking behind closed doors.

On Friday, May 16, the district announced five candidates had been selected for interviews with the board. All five candidates come from Ohio. They are:

*Valerie Browning, superintendent of Greenview Local Schools in Jamestown;
*Davis Estrop, superintendent of Lakewood City Schools;
*Todd Hoadley, superintendent of Olmsted Falls City Schools in Olmsted Falls;
* Scot Preble, superintendent of Granville Exempted Village Schools; and
* John Richard, superintendent of Perry Schools in Massillon.

The five candidates were chosen by Galloway and McFerson after they spent May 15 looking through all the applications.

The board will begin interviews of the candidates Thursday, May 22 and hopes to have a new superintendent hired by mid-June.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Economic Indoctrination: Teacher, You're leading the witness.

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Economic Indoctrination: Teacher, You're leading the witness.

Today, NPR News visited Garret Capping's US Government class to hear how the financial crisis is being addressed in the government's schools.

Capping asks his students, "In a nutshell, what would you say caused the financial crisis that we have today?"

Three students parrot the party line:

Spencer: "Corporate greed."

Alison: "Adjustable rate mortgages and the housing crisis."

Sam: "Subprime mortgages."

Capping: "Subprime mortgages. Good. Alright, so those are pretty good answers"

The discussion then turns to the role of securities, specifically credit default swaps.

Capping: "But these investors got nervous. So what they do to cover their bets is something called a credit default swap. But they didn't take enough money -- they didn't reserve enough money to actually cover if those things failed. Now, why did they not have to do that?"

Kate (a student): "Ok. It was because that they, uh ... Oh, it's because it wasn't technically an insurance policy. It was called, you know, a credit default swap. And so it wasn't, you know, part of, like, the government's job to make sure that it was regulated."

Capping: "Excellent. Good answer. Right. What happens is -- because we're not calling it insurance, we're calling it a credit default swap -- it's not regulated by the government. So these companies don't actually need to set aside this money to sure they can cover their bet."

Hmmm. Teacher, You're leading the witness.

No mention of the FED. And the correct answer is always the feds and more regulations.

By the way, these students are seniors and will soon be voters. Scary.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Suing Olentangy Schools: levies, consultants, and public records (part 1)

Why would someone sue their school district? For public records of course. But why would a school district take three weeks to respond to a simple request for public records? Yes, why? Something to hide? Likely. But what? Stay tuned.

note: Now, should the district fulfill its legal obligation, I save myself a trip to the courthouse. The clock is ticking.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Benefits of Government: big and small

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Benefits of Government: big and small

Even as government races to fix the financial crisis, it still makes time for the more mundane tasks that serve its constituents. To that end, my township trustees recently approved October 31 as Beggar's Night. So while I struggle to explain the credit crunch to my younger children, I can send them off to dream of costumes and candy, all thanks to government.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Suing Olentangy Schools: levies, consultants, and public records (intro)

This is the teaser for a series on something strange in Olentangy. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tiberi Flip-Flop: ouch, that's gotta hurt

Integrity and Tiberi mix like oil and water. And his word isn't even worth the buck he grossly deflated last week.

The Liberty Voice's Sherry Clark -- district, left-wing apologist -- got
the story right about Tiberi this time. But she is wrong in thinking that Robinson is the solution.

Since I don't look good in a ushanka, I don't want to live in Robinson's grand social experiment any more than I want to live in a world where Tiberi's goons can knock on my door at midnight.

I will say this in Robinson's defense: He hasn't lied to us yet (at least to my knowledge). He's a socialist, through and through. Of course Tiberi is a fascist, through and through. And a liar to boot.

Or, give him the boot and send Pat back home to earn a living like the rest of us. Now don't cry for Tiberi, he'll do fine living on his government retirement. The epitome of the selfless public servant.

On the stump, Tiberi kisses babies. Then, in Washington, he sends them the bill. Thanks to Pat, my children start their lives $35,000 in debt to (inter alia) the sovereign funds of foreign countries. Now China pulls our strings.


Thanks Pat.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Crises: Garrett speaks

An recent post of mine over on the Blog at Mises.org.








Crises: Garrett speaks

Garet Garrett's "Pensions for Capital" (Insatiable Government, pp 210-1) provides a great insight into these times. While discussing the financial condition of the nation's railroads in 1950, Garrett noted, "This meant that the faster it sloughed off dead and dying capital the faster it could go forward -- provided always that the dynamic principles by which capitalism endlessly renewed itself were preserved."

We've been here before, and the correct advice hasn't changed. Neither has the political response.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

Too far out for even the Gramscians

A repost:

In an earlier post, I reported that the Olentangy School District recently adopted the Marxist nonsense found in Ruby Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty as part of "the literature that forms the research base" of the district's Continuous Improvement Plan.

Then, in today's version of the
Gramscian email rag, the Teachers College Record, the first analysis conducted on Payne's travesty reveals a framework that has no basis in research, or reality for that matter -- powerful stuff coming from the Gramscians at the Teachers College of Columbia University. But, then again, Stalin and Trotsky fought an intellectual and political battle that ended with an ice axe to the forehead.

Despite claims of research, the district administration was either hoodwinked by Payne and her Marxist doublespeak, or they purposefully selected Payne's text since it aligns with their worldview.

Regardless, the book selection shows that Olentangy is leading its students down a path that is opposite the ideals that founded this nation.

So now that you know what the administrators read, is it any shock when the staff creates reading lists full of perverse books?1

notes:

1. The book that started the reading list controversy remains on this year's list. Must be acceptable to the superintendent as he has allowed for three years running.



Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Gift to Your Children's Children

The bailout includes much more than just the $700 billion, with every penny added to the weight of the millstone slowly drowning this once-great nation in debt. Read the 451-page bill to see the nonsense that we bequeath to our children's children.

In the Old Testament, while listing the charges God held against the residents of Judah, the prophet Isaiah warned: "Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water" (Isaiah 1:22).

Printing paper to cover debts and extend credit turns silver to dross. Paper is not real savings, and printing more cannot create the capital required to grow an economy. Yet we allow our government to add toxic waste to our money supply and spread the dross throughout the economy.

Proverbs 13:22 reads, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children." We are not leaving an inheritance of prosperity, we are leaving mounting debt; debt that will ensure that our posterity live as bond servants.

Isaiah's warnings were not heeded and God turned His back on His people.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Palin is a Socialist and Biden is a Fascist

No, wait ... Palin is the fascist and Biden the socialist. No ... it's the other way around ... or, is it?

It really doesn't matter which way is straight since, regardless of who wins, the nation will continue moving down the path of state control.

Just like the McCain/Obama debate, where the only difference between the two came down to what Kissinger did or did not say, the Palin/Biden debate was between two statists, each claiming that their vision of government is bigger than their opponent's.

We have become a nation that beggars its neighbor. "Don't Tread on Me!" is a forgotten relic. We are now a nation that seeks the warmth of government -- in all matters.

In the end, Nietzsche was right: "God is dead." For, as a nation, we worship the madmen (and madwomen) of power.

What a sad state of affairs.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Liberty Voice Revealed

I hadn't spent much time reading The Liberty Voice until the Delaware Country Political Reporter noted this story from TLV. The DCPR post caught my attention, so I clicked over to read what the voice of liberty has to say about the issues of our day. What I found surprised me.

The voice is not one of liberty. It is an eclectic confusion of positions that span the spectrum, though mostly aligned with the far left of the Democratic Party. Sure, it's anti-war, but that is the end of it.

While I agree with a few of the positions there, I am troubled by the lack of an ethical grounding. TLV seems to believe that liberty is what TLV wants it to be at any given moment. But such a usage of liberty is hollow. Liberty must be grounded in God-given rights, namely the right to private property.

But TLV doesn't respect property. In fact, TLV advocates the theft of income in support of a slew of government wealth transfers -- not a lot of liberty in that.

The Liberty Voice is not libertarian, it is not free market, and it is not liberty. TLV is simply rehashed leftist views cloaked by the word that inspired our Patriots. But our country was not founded on a desire to create a socialist utopia, it was founded by those who wanted government out of their lives.

It's amazing how a word can be twisted to suit an agenda.


Note:

According to TLV: Since Tiberi didn't want cameras, the incident became a violation of First Amendment rights.

Maybe the action offended TLV; maybe TLV felt the action was unfair. But liberty is not fairness, and liberty does not protect one from being offended.

In essence, TLV believes it has a first claim to the event -- LTV believes that it holds a property claim that supersedes the property rights of the private sponsors of the event. Hmmm.

It doesn't matter that the public was invited. LTV's belief is the same belief that created the pseudo right -- positive right -- to the property of someone else based on the nonsense of a "place of public accommodation" -- as if the public has a property right to a store simply because the store opens its doors to the public. That's nonsense. But so is the belief that an event which is open to the public automatically becomes public property, part of the public square. That's even more nonsense.

It's time for TLV to rethink its view of liberty or to drop the "L" altogether.