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The Speaker

It is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt

"...Speaking of the Hurricane season, renewed attention has been brought to the way we refine gasoline in this country. Today, energy companies started reporting their 3rd quarter earnings, and while Americans paying were record prices at the pump, energy companies were making record profits. Read more »

Random Question

Given a purposeful human action, can a meaningful and unambiguous judgment be made of that action in retrospect?

Example --

You decide to start smoking at age 15 and get lung cancer 50 years later. Was the decision a mistake?

Same question, but you get run over by a truck a year before you get cancer.

What If the Eurocrats Ruled the US?

While the European Common Market undoubtedly makes economic sense to the extent that protective barriers to trade are eliminated, and, possibly, a common currency is introduced, I suspect that they may well be wading into deep water when they proceed much beyond that. I don't even pretend to have any expertise in this area, but I get the impression that one of the goals of the economic integration of Europe is to attempt to equalize the prices of individual goods throughout Europe.

It seems to me that prices tend to equalize of their own accord if and when arbitrage Read more »

The Magic Money Machine and the Great Prescription Drug Funding Fallacy

If you can predict the content from the title, you're cheating.

I have a Magic Money Machine in my attic. If I feed it a $1000 bill, it spits out $10,000 twelve months later. A 900% annual gain is nothing to sneeze at, even if the attic is dusty.

However, what if I don't have $1000 to feed it? Am I out of luck? Not necessarily.

If my credit is good, I can borrow $1000 at, say, 10%, and still feed the machine. After 12 months the machine spits out $10,000 and I repay $1000 in principal and $100 in interest, netting a gain of $8900.

While this is still great, it's not a gain of $9000. It looks like there is a $100 price to be paid for not having $1000 sitting around in the beginning.

However, this is not correct. If I don't feed my $1000 into the machine, I can instead loan it out for 12 months at 10% interest. This means that the operation of the machine produces a gain of $8900 12 months out independent of whether I have the money or have to borrow it, just as long as the interest rate is the same.

What does this have to do with prescription drug funding? Good question. Read more »

Solving the US Obesity Crisis With Two Words

Universal Foodcare

What If?

What would be the economic effects if everyone could buy a non-discriminatory membership card in Sam's Club, or Costco, etc., at the beginning of every month, that allowed all of your gasoline and groceries and paper goods for that month to be free?

Addendum : Gasoline, groceries and paper goods are not available by any other path, and must be purchased with a membership card.

New Bankruptcy Law

Letters to Mish

Rich from Iowa :

...The bankruptcy bill is the worst piece of legislation ever purchased in the history of the United States. Not only is it a sham, it proves that the Congress and the Presidency are both for sale. Price for a bill these days: $400 million will get you whatever you want....

When the Death Penalty Isn\'t Enough

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

PETA Employees Face Added Felony Charges

...PETA’s massive euthanasia program which has resulted in the deaths of over 12,400 “companion animals” since 1998. Last year, PETA’s income exceeded $29 million...


Referenced by Karen de Coster at

UAM softens tactics

The union's recent success among auto parts suppliers shows the UAW is able to rebound from losses, said Harley Shaiken, a professor specializing in labor issues at the University of California in Berkeley. He believes it is only a matter of time before the UAW scores a victory at a foreign-owned auto assembly plant. Read more »

GW Bush and the Military

Tomorrow's News Today

Washington: President George W. Bush today indicated that he expected to soon begin using the military to monitor and enforce laws against gasoline price gouging in the US nationwide. Because of their great success in holding down gasoline price increases in Iraq, it is expected that this task will fall to servicemen who are on their home duty rotation, on a part time basis. Actual assignments, as to trouble spots such as Honolulu, will be made on a lottery basis. Read more »

Random Questions About Economists

In progress, in no particular order :

1. Has anyone ever seen a job description that required for which a BS in Economics was both necessary and sufficient?

2. If every CEO of a publicly traded company in the US were called into the Oval Office and were told that it would no longer be legal for them to employ economists, how many of them would care? How many of them would feel constrained to issue public statements to satisfy fair disclosure rules because of a material change in their business outlook? Read more »

You Couldn\'t Make This Up

Ball State (0-3) to be undermanned against Boston College

Ball State suspends 16 for BC game
September 29, 2005

Ball State's football team will be severely undermanned in its nonconference game at Boston College after nine starters (five defense, four offense) were among 16 players suspended Sunday for obtaining free textbooks they weren't entitled to have, which was deemed a violation of NCAA rules for extra benefits

Name a non-government organization that effectively inflates the money supply

And is traded on the NASDAQ.

The Federal Reserve is ruled out by not being a stock company traded on the NASDAQ.

Hints :

1. It has a meaningful four letter trading symbol starting with a letter in the range of A-D.

2. Many people probably pass within a reasonably close proximity of its property at least once a week.

3. It is NOT a bank of any kind.

Time and Tide Wait For No Man ( GW Bush and Congress Excepted)

According to this,

Date change in 2007

On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This Act changed the time change dates in the U.S. Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday of March, and end the first Sunday of November. Note that the Secretary shall report to Congress on the impact of this change. Congress retains the right to revert the Daylight Saving Time back to the 2005 time schedules once the Department study is complete.

Economic Freedom and Prosperity

From Donald J. Boudreaux :

Prosperity, technology & economic freedom

"...As described by the Cato Institute, "The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete and security of privately owned property." And as shown again and again by researchers who study the relationship between prosperity and economic freedom, the greater is economic freedom, the greater and more widespread is prosperity...."