Sunday, March 28, 2010

Me and the Dingbats


I regularly go to the Huffington Post and comment on various articles. A conservative is guaranteed an exchange of comments there whereas, if you comment on a more conservative site, you may get one or two “True dats”.  Much more engaging to joust with the other side.  It usually results in me being called “uncaring” and other names.

Yesterday, there was a post there about AT&T taking a $1,000,000,000.00 charge to pay for Obamacare and as you would expect, HuffPo readers just think that is awful of that big, evil company to do that and to warn that some cuts in benefits or people would have to happen in order to adjust to this new reality.  (I covered this below.)  I went there and pointed out to them a point that I have made there before:  It’s fine to aspire to European-style healthcare, but they need to be prepared to live with a European-style economy; permanently higher unemployment, social stratification, etc.  My comments begin here.

So I found this nifty little website that nicely summarizes various statistics for any country that publishes stats, .  Here is how the US unemployment rate compares to France, Italy, Canada and that paragon of Liberal pining, Sweden.  I’m using 2007 as my comparison because my argument is based on historic rates of unemployment, not current and because that was the last full year before the global meltdown began.  You know, back in the good ol’ days.

2007 Unemployment Rates, the evil US vs. Socialist Nirvana


Sweden=5.6%, 14.3% higher than the US.

Canada=6.4%, 25% higher than the US.

Italy=7%, 31.4% higher than the US.

France=8.7%, 44.8% higher than the US.

The US’s current rate is about 9.7%, my home state of North Carolina is over 11%.  Prior to the meltdown, NC hovered around 4-5%, but the losses in the finance business have really hurt us, particularly Charlotte, our biggest city.  My guess is that if this ever straightens out, the nationwide number will settle somewhere around 6-8% on a permanent basis.  We will become Canada or Italy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Waxie and Stupie


Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak have ordered Randall Stephenson, the Chairman, President and CEO of AT&T to appear before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to explain why AT&T announced that they will take a $1 billion (that’s $1,000,000,000) charge against earnings to pay for their precious baby, Obamacare.

Now, whenever Waxman is involved, you can’t discount the likelihood that this is a veiled threat and an invitation for him to launch invective through his enormous, upturned nostrils at someone. 



But if you read the letter Waxie and Stupie sent, it almost reads like they are surprised at AT&T’s action.  Like they never thought this could happen.  It reads to me like they they never heard of the difference between static analysis and dynamic analysis; that is, static assumes that nothing else changes in the data set while dynamic attempts to account for all possibilities.  Or, as it is more commonly known, “The Law of Unintended Consequences”, a term that seems to have first occurred to these two dopes for the very first time in this letter.

Beginning with the third paragraph of this letter, let’s look at just how stupid these two are:


  • That first sentence in the third paragraph is our first clue of their stupidity.  They talked themselves into believing this turd would lower costs for companies. 
  • The second sentence is where they begin to question AT&T’s own analysis, disbelieving that AT&T knows its own numbers and how changes in the law will affect them.  Waxie and Stupie don’t name the independent analyses that they are referring to, but I’m betting none of those looked specifically at AT&T.  Probably just looked at a broad swath of fake numbers. 
  • The third sentence points out that the CBO projects a 3% decrease in average premium costs by 2016, conveniently leaving out what will happen in the intervening five years and implying that AT&T should keep their costs artificially high in the interim while awaiting this earth-shattering savings that is headed their way.  I also would be willing to guess that, if the CBO projected a savings, they said that the decrease will be 3% less than it would have been without it.  That is, not 3% less than it is now but 3% less than the normally-expected increase would have been.  Waxie and Stupie aren’t thinking dynamically here, they are assuming that everything else stays the same, nor do they or the CBO have the slightest clue about what other business expenses AT&T anticipates coming their way.  For instance, AT&T is in a notoriously capital-intensive business, requiring a huge annual investment in upgrading their network to accommodate the Jesus Phone for the millions of hipsters who voted for Obama. 
  • Finally, the last sentence in this paragraph points out that the Business Roundtable “asserted…that health care reform could reduce predicted health insurance cost trends…”.  Emphasis mine.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda, douchebags.  Ideology, meet the real world.  This statement also suggests that maybe the Business Roundtable was looking at the data dynamically when they used the c-word, but Waxie and Stupie chose to only take into account what they wanted to hear.  Had the Roundtable said that it would reduce costs, that would point to static analysis.  But they didn’t say that; they are business people and are well acquainted with the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The second page of the letter is where the threat is issued.  “Give us a data dump for our accountants to dive into and then send us everybody with a title above Vice President for all of your subsidiaries.”  This, too, displays the idiocy of these two morons.  AT&T has 281,000 employees and who knows how many subsidiaries.  I hope AT&T rounds up the hundreds of VPs that they must have and sends them all to this hearing.  It would be a great display of just how big the economy is and how little Waxie and Stupie understand about what they and the Dems are screwing around with.  But the business cost of doing that would be prohibitive, especially with the Dems yanking cash out of their company as fast as they can.

Powerline speculates that companies didn’t mention these repercussions sooner for fear of being retaliated against.  But companies are thinking dynamically, knowing that whatever Congress does they can adjust.  To a point.  It’s the dumbasses like the Dems who think that whatever they do doesn’t otherwise affect the economy.  When companies unload people over this, the CEOs will be vilified by the Left, but all they are doing is responding rationally, something the Left is entirely unable to do. 

My own opinion?  We will all soon be independent contractors and off the payroll.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Blame Tom Delay


And, to a lesser degree, Newt Gingrich.  And W.  And Trent f’n Lott.  Damn them, it is their fault that we are about to flip socialist. 

Why these guys?  It all started with this, Delay’s “K Street Strategy”.  This is where the fiscal irresponsibilty, corruption and appearances of corruption began.  The K Street Strategy, in a nutshell, consisted of Delay twisting the arms of the K Street lobbying firms to send the vast majority of their money to Republicans and to even remove Left-leaning lobbyists from their positions and replace them with more Right-leaning types.  In return, the lobbyists and their clients got what they wanted.  It was vote-buying in it’s most bald-faced form; a scorched-earth strategy and the earth has been fucking scorched to shit right now.

This strategy led to a surfeit of money in Republican coffers and then to assholes like Ted f’n Stevens and his goddamned Bridge to Nowhere.  And it was this effect that so thoroughly discredited them as fiscal conservatives to the point that we elected a Socialist and allowed the even more Socialist Pelosi, Waxman, Markey and so on to take the reins of government.

The article linked above appeared in the Washington Post, co-written by David Maraniss and Michael Weisskopf in 1995.  They were never more prophetic than when they wrote this, emphasis added:

“Yet money is also the source of increasing tension among House Republicans that could ultimately weaken them, if not tear them apart. The conflict, in essence, is between ideology and populist reform. One wing wants to collect as much corporate money as possible to sustain and expand the revolution. Another wing fears that this will disillusion voters who brought the Republicans to power to change the traditional ways of doing business in Washington. Gingrich stands in the middle aware, people around him say, that his tenure could depend in part on his ability to resolve the conflict.”

Newt, Newt, Newt.  You blew it.  If you saw the tension here and let it go unimpeded, you laid the groundwork for yours and America’s demise.  All those Lefty nutbags back then hated you because they thought that you would ruin the country, and they were right for the wrong reason.  The country is about to take a road that it cannot return from.  The nutbags wouldn’t be orgasming today over Obama had you simply put your foot down on this activity and set the tone then that Republicans should hew to the principles of fiscal conservatism that is so important to conservative voters.  And then along came W with an allergy to the veto pen and here we are.

Folks, it’s gonna be a long, slow descent into European-style malaise.  We get to watch China, Asia and Brazil take center stage on the world now. 

Watch now, once this crap passes on Sunday, as hiring by private companies goes nowhere.  Companies have been waiting to see what would happen with this and other bills and the only conclusion they can come to now is that their costs are going to permanently and unalterably increase.  No CEO in his right mind would take on added costs in this environment.  Get ready for permanent 10 to 12% unemployment.  We won’t have jobs, but we’ll have health care.

I wonder if I can get my congressman to put provisions for nutrient ingestion in the bill?

Monday, March 01, 2010

AP Games


Earlier today, I looked at Drudge and saw a headline about Warren Buffett and his comments on the effects of health care on the American economy.  At least that is what the headline on the AP/Yahoo! story said this morning:



I no longer have the story as written originally, but I remember that it was generally favorable to the reform that is currently on the table. 

So, later I see this story from Politico:



This is from the same interview that was on CNBC this morning.  So, after I see the Politico story, I go looking for the AP story.  I started at Drudge, but the headline was gone.  Then, I dig through the web history of my browser and find it and click through to the story, and here is what I find:



Oops!  If you read the Politico story, they really emphasize the harsh comments (well, as harsh as Buffett ever gets) that Buffett had for the current plan.  The AP story, on the other hand, buries the health care comments deep in the story and really limits the amount of reporting on the health care comments that Buffett made.  Again, I wish that I had the original story from this morning from AP; it would be really interesting to compare that story to the newer Politico version.  Regardless, I smell bias.