9-24-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How did they get that number?

Suppose you and everyone in your neighborhood were robbed of a significant portion of your assets, including your identity, by a criminal gang. Suppose further that you were all made privy to the gist of how that gang was spending the proceeds, including money borrowed in your name. Suppose you were told that the gang claimed that the spending spree was being performed for your benefit. And finally, suppose someone called you at home to ask what percentage of that money you thought the gang was wasting.

What would you do? I'd hang up.

The fact that Gallup had no trouble generating a completely meaningless poll result (Americans Say Federal Gov't Wastes Over Half of Every Dollar) shows that too many people accept massive government theft as a given, or at least excuse it on the flimsy grounds that it is supposedly for the benefit of "society."

Weekend Reading

"If they really thought all that much of themselves, they wouldn't need to prove it." -- Michael Hurd, in "Achieve for Your Own Sake," at DrHurd.com

"Because intervention creates a systemic risk, the benefit of diversification has shrunk as Washington's control over the economy has grown." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Federal Actions Create Fear, Correlation," at SmartMoney

Highway Robbery

The fact that the phrase "speed trap" is an idiom tells us that the following type of thinking from government officials is very common. What is significant about the example below is just how far -- to the point of a blatant disregard for human life -- such reasoning can go at all levels of government.

Eventually the absurdity of the 55 mph speed limit [as a safety measure] sunk in and in 2006 MassHighway traffic engineers recommended a speed limit increase [on a road that had been rebuilt for high speed]. State Police vetoed the change, preferring the 99% violation rate that let them write tickets at will. Police have no legal role in setting speed limits. Somebody in the Romney administration weighed the risk of losing ticket revenue against the risk of being blamed for accidents. Police won.
Keep this in mind the next time a chance to get the government's nose out of ensuring our "safety" comes up.
The Oatmeal on Netflix

Whether the recent Netflix decision to spin off its DVD business is poorly-executed foresight or complete stupidity, only time will tell. And only The Oatmeal can get a good laugh out of its customers in the meantime.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

no link for hoenig?

Gus Van Horn said...

Fixed. Thanks.