Friday, March 27, 2015

Affordable...heh heh....whatever

Zerohedge, as opposed to any of those organizations that are supposed to at least to pretend to provide at least a modicum of research and analysis (e.g. MSM newspapers and network television), has revealed the primary driver of recent GDP growth:
And the absolute shocker: of the $89.1 billion increase in Q4 GDP in chained-dollars, healthcare was $35.3 billion of that, or 40% of the total.
Pretty neat trick.  You impose a mandatory tax and have the benefit of being able to run it through the US income statement.

So basically the more you tax people the faster the economy grows! Brilliant.

Now we know where Americans spent all their "gas savings"...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gender Discrimination: This is becoming boring

The New York Times today breathlessly announced that a "Stubborn Pay Gap is Found in Nursing""
Male nurses make $5,100 more on average per year than female colleagues in similar positions, researchers reported on Tuesday.
The new analysis, which included data on more than 290,000 registered nurses, also found that the pay gap had not narrowed within workplace settings and specialties from 1988 to 2013. The new study is the first to have measured gender disparities in pay among nurses over time.
The obvious conclusion is of course that:
“We now have pretty compelling evidence that there are pay inequalities between men and women in nursing over the past 25 years,” said Debra J. Barksdale, the director of the doctor of nursing practice program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not involved with the new study.
Now what pay "inequalities" did this study document, other than the fact that the gross pay numbers for men was higher than for women?  Well actually...none:
The study did not address reasons underpinning the persistent gap.
So just like countless liberal talking points before the mere fact that men get paid more is a clear sign of gender discrimination.  No need for any analysis. No mention of differences that could have been caused by factors such as number of continuous years in the workforce or something as basic as number of hours worked.

Given that men typically work around 10% more hours than women this would seem to explain the entire differnce by itself, but this of course would ruin the liberal narrative of helpless women being abused.

AKA - Please do not fully implement Obamacare until after we are re-elected
In a letter exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller, Senate Democrats pleaded with Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell to delay an Obamacare rule change that puts companies with 51 to 100 employees in the costlier “small group” market instead of the “large group” market. The rule change, which will result in higher premiums for many companies, goes into effect in 2016...

...we believe continuing on with the redefinition of small group next year would be particularly harmful and disruptive....We therefore encourage you to delay the effective date in the definition change for two years so the market can more smoothly transition to the new rules....

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's S.O.P: Liberals always call Hispanics they don't like white

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Forget about white privilege...what about Asian privilege?


Minority Asians make 15% more than whites. Is that because of “Asian privilege” or discrimination against whites? Or does it demonstrate that “minority” does not equal “disadvantaged,” and the American dream is attainable with hard work? If nothing else, the success of one minority group – Asians – really messes up the standard narrative of white privilege, minorities need affirmative action and special preferences, etc. And it should be noted that the Asians have succeeded in America without any race/grievance hustlers like The Rev. Al Sharpton.

Carpe Diem

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet the people behind let's talk-about-race#

Next up talk-about-gender# quickly followed by talk-about-millionaire-champagne-socialists#

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Anyone can be racist, but creating true disasters requires good intentions
...To find inconvenient facts suppressed in one leading university may be regarded as censorship. To have an entire society silenced looks like something worse, and far more sinister...
...You have to hand it to the former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. It takes guts to tell a story in which your own side, who fancy themselves supremely virtuous, emerge as the baddies.
...Yet that is the picture of the UK drawn by Trevor Phillips in his excoriating Channel 4 documentary, Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, to be screened tonight.
The trouble is that, even as the Equalities Commission worked hard to prevent racial stereotypes, a troubling proportion of them, as Phillips concedes ruefully, turn out to be accurate. These are statistics laid out by his programme: a third of London pickpockets are Romanian (how Fagin would have loved them!); black people are six times as likely to be jailed for robbery; the Chinese are tops at people-trafficking; when it comes to drug dealing, Afro-Caribbeans are pathetic amateurs compared to the Colombians; meanwhile, white idiots are the national champs of alcohol-fuelled crime. 
 Phillips and a Muslim former senior Met officer agreed that the police’s reluctance to use racial profiling arose from an attitude which was basically: “OK, maybe you’d catch more criminals, but they might think we’re a bit racist.”...
 Daily Telegraph

Amerika: Only little people have to obey the laws

The Washington Examiner reports on the latest Secret Service embarrassment:

The Secret Service told members of Congress that the majority of the surveillance videos documenting the latest allegations of misconduct, a March 4 crash at the White House, have been erased and that the destruction of the tapes is standard operating procedure.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy showed him two existing surveillance tapes of that night, when two Secret Service agents have been accused of bumping into a White House barricade while driving after a night of drinking, but they offered only severely limited views of the sequence of events that night....

... "That's just a stunning revelation that 72 hours after they make a tape, they destroy it? That doesn't make any sense to us."

Why exactly is this stunning?  Based on recent events, such as IRS-Gate, Hillary's email server, the decimated FOIA etc, this seems like standard operating procedure in Washington.

California's water shortage : When something costs next to nothing people use a lot of it

Alex Tabarrok explores the economics of the California water shortage:
The NYTimes has an article on California’s extreme water drought with the usual apocalyptic imagery (see the video especially):

 California is facing a punishing fourth year of drought. Temperatures in Southern California soared to record-high levels over the weekend, approaching 100 degrees in some places. Reservoirs are low. Landscapes are parched and blighted with fields of dead or dormant orange trees. 

The apocalyptic scenario needs to be leavened with some basic facts. 

California has plenty of water…just not enough to satisfy every possible use of water that people can imagine when the price is close to zero. As David Zetland points out in an excellent interview with Russ Roberts, people in San Diego county use around 150 gallons of water a day. Meanwhile in Sydney Australia, with a roughly comparable climate and standard of living, people use about half that amount. Trust me, no one in Sydney is going thirsty. 

 So how much are people in San Diego paying for their daily use of 150 gallons of water? About 78 cents. As Matt Kahn puts it: 

Where in the Constitution does it say that the people of California have the right to pay .5 cents per gallon of water?...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I know commitment and delaying gratification is not cool, but....
Wise words from Megan McArdle on the growing divide between, generally more affluent, children raised in two parent homes and those, generally poorer, kids raised in unstable homes:
... there is pushback from those who see the problem as primarily one of economics and insufficient government spending, as well as from those who argue that there are lots of good ways to raise kids outside the straitjacket of mid-century, middle-class mores.

I have been trying to find a more delicate way to phrase this, but I can't: This is nonsense. The advantages that two people raising their own biological or jointly adopted children have over "nontraditional" family arrangements are too obvious to need enumeration, but apparently mere obviousness is not enough to forestall contrary arguments, so let me enumerate them anyway.
Raising children the way an increasing percentages of Americans are -- in loosely attached cohabitation arrangements that break up all too frequently, followed by the formation of new households with new children by different parents -- is an enormous financial and emotional drain...

...a systematic difference between the way the affluent and the poor form families is going to mean systematic differences in the outcomes for affluent and poor kids.
Trying to explain this all with a bad labor market or insufficient government benefits won't wash, either. It doesn't explain why people in 1930, who were much poorer in every sense than people today and had virtually nothing in the way of a government safety net, managed to get and stay married...
The Welfare State and the road to hell are paved with good intentions....

Want to know why minimum wage is so "low"?


A recent study from ETS is another in a long line that show that despite spending more per student than virtually every other country in the world results continue to be abysmal:
How do the average scores of U.S. millennials compare with those in other participating countries?
  • In literacy, U.S. millennials scored lower than 15 of the 22 participating countries. Only millennials in Spain and Italy had lower scores.
  • In numeracy, U.S. millennials ranked last, along with Italy and Spain.
  • In PS-TRE [Problem Solving in Technology Rich Environments], U.S. millennials also ranked last, along with the Slovak Republic, Ireland, and Poland.
  • The youngest segment of the U.S. millennial cohort (16- to 24-year-olds), who could be in the labor force for the next 50 years, ranked last in numeracy along with Italy and among the bottom countries in PS-TRE. In literacy, they scored higher than their peers in Italy and Spain.
For those that will claim these results are not valid (read Teachers Union) for some reason they are in line with almost every other serious study done in recent years:
In 2013, NAEP reported that 74 percent of the nation’s twelfth graders were below proficient in mathematics and 62 percent were below proficient in reading. In addition, organizations such as ACT, which evaluates the college and career readiness of the young adult population in the United States, recently reported that nearly one out of three high school graduates (31%) taking its exam failed to meet any of the four college readiness benchmarks in English, math, reading, and science, suggesting they are not well prepared for first-year college coursework. Similarly, the College Board reported in 2013 that 57 percent of SAT takers failed to qualify as “college ready.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

The New York Times has a rare moment of clarity..but fails to identify the cause

Nicholas Kristof, who is normally reliably annoying, has written a rare insightful op ed:
Partly because there is often only one income coming into a single-parent household, children of unmarried moms are roughly five times as likely to live in poverty as children of married couples.
Causation is difficult to tease from correlation. But efforts to do that suggest that growing up with just one biological parent reduces the chance that a child will graduate from high school by 40 percent, according to an essay by Sara McLanahan of Princeton and Christopher Jencks of Harvard. They point to the likely mechanism: “A father’s absence increases antisocial behavior, such as aggression, rule-breaking, delinquency and illegal drug use.” These effects are greater on boys than on girls 
Conservatives shouldn’t chortle at the evidence that liberals blew it, for they did as well. Conservatives say all the right things about honoring families, but they led the disastrous American experiment in mass incarceration; incarceration rates have quintupled since the 1970s. That devastated families, leading countless boys to grow up without dads...
...So let’s learn from 50 years of mistakes. A starting point is to acknowledge the role of families in fighting poverty. That’s not about being a moralistic scold, but about helping American kids.
Bravo Nicholas Kristof.  Acknowledging the importance of two parent families on the economic prospects of children is a major step forward for a liberal newspaper such as the Times.  However, without recognizing the major driver behind the enormous increase of single parent households since the 60's this epiphany is going to achieve nothing.

Kristof's only recommendation on what can be done - "help girls and young women avoid pregnancy" - is pathetically useless.

As scholars such as Thomas Sowell have written for years the disintegration of the nuclear family can be  traced to the  well meaning, but disastrous introduction of the welfare state:
The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.
Kristof has made the first step by articulating the problem. but the harder step is to acknowledge the cause.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Would you lend money to someone to get a degree in puppetry or gender studies? Probably not so why should taxpayers?

(Andria has an Honors BA in Social Justice and Peace Studies and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender Studies)

Megan McArdle explains the idiocy of the federal student loan program:
...As part of changes to the federal student loan program, the Barack Obama administration will be looking at relaxing the restrictions on bankrupting student loans. This is a change we should be looking at. But it has to be done the right way.

The first problem with allowing easy bankruptcy of student loans is that these loans are made without regard to the borrower's credit history or their likelihood of repayment. As long as you're using your loans for an accredited program, you can borrow. This is possible because the loans are guaranteed by the government. The potential for abuse is obvious: If you make student loans easy to get and easy to bankrupt, the government is going to lose a lot of money.

There's a reason that we make such loans without credit history information, of course: At 18, when a typical student enrolls, they don't have much of a credit history. ... The way you could change this is by underwriting: looking closely at the student, the institution they are attending and the major they are choosing to get an estimate of whether they are likely to repay before you make the loan.

Of course, this sort of underwriting would send shock waves through the world of higher education. Students at institutions with high default rates probably wouldn't be able to get loans, and students majoring in less vocationally focused programs would also have difficulty. Though this would be bad in individual cases, I think in aggregate it would be better for everyone: Students should not be encouraged to take on debt when they have a high probability of defaulting. In fact, I think one of the major benefits of allowing loans to be bankrupted is that it would encourage lenders, and the government, to be more discriminating about the loans they make. But the schools would freak out, and their lobbyists would descend on Washington with the righteous fury of a thousand suns.
 For more go here

Says the person making half a mil a year

Funny how the Teachers Union never provides any evidence of the massive profits hedge fund managers are supposedly making via their DONATIONS to Charter Schools.

Never forget the Teachers Union represents teachers not the children and until proven otherwise individuals who make donations to improve America's abysmal education system have far better intentions than Randi Weingarten et al

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What is it about politicians that makes them think they can do whatever they want and not get caught?
Rep. Justin Moed, a Democratic legislator representing downtown Indianapolis, the state’s largest city and its capital, posted graphic sexual texts to Leathers on Twitter using the handle “Bitch Boy” and sent her gifts including a “Fetish Fantasy Series Pink Leash & Collar.”...

... “This guy is into some really freaky stuff,” Leathers said in the Page Six report. “He wanted to be forced to wear a French maid outfit and clean my house while I degraded him. He wanted to be tied up and left in a closet to watch me have sex with my boyfriend.”...
Maybe its because voters only seem to really care when poor judgment involves sex and not anything important like national security...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"I did not email any classified materials"

Sounds a lot like "I did not have sex with that woman". Come to think of it sounds remarkably like "I did not inhale" as well

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hmmmm. Wonder when Government hearings will begin on this latest inequality travesty?

Prof. Sonja Starr

Professor Starr finds large unexplained gender disparities in Federal criminal cases:
If you're a criminal defendant, it may help—a lot—to be a woman. At least, that's what Prof. Sonja Starr's research on federal criminal cases suggests. Prof. Starr's recent paper, "Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases," looks closely at a large dataset of federal cases, and reveals some significant findings. After controlling for the arrest offense, criminal history, and other prior characteristics, "men receive 63% longer sentences on average than women do," and "[w]omen are…twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted." This gender gap is about six times as large as the racial disparity that Prof. Starr found in another recent paper...
For more go here

Sunday, March 8, 2015

College loans, Obamacare and mortgages: The road to hell....

...On Monday, The New Yorker offered a sympathetic report (“A student-loan debt revolt begins”) about 15 former students of Corinthian Colleges, a dodgy and now largely defunct operator of for-profit schools, who intend to stop repaying their student loans as a matter of principle. “They believe that they have both ethical and legal grounds for what appears to be an unprecedented collective action against the debt charged to students who attended Corinthian schools,” writes Vauhini Vara, “and they are also making a broader statement about the trillion dollars of student debt owed throughout the country.” 

Senator Warren has called on the federal government to simply discharge the debts of former Corinthian students. An Occupy-affiliated organization called Debt Collective is pressing a similar agenda. 

What does not seem to have occurred to Senator Warren, to Debt Collective, to the Corinthian 15, or to Vauhini Vara and the editors of The New Yorker is this: The students in question do not owe money to Corinthian Colleges. They owe money to third parties, those being private lenders and the federal government. As an instrument of protest, they might as well stop making their car payments, skip their rent, or boost mocacchinos from Starbucks — the people who lent them money are no more responsible for Corinthian’s woes than are their landlords and baristas. 

This is classic leftist misdirection. The students in question took out loans and used their credit to purchase a defective product, no different from putting a bucket of magic beans on a MasterCard. They made poor decisions with other people’s money, which is not entirely surprising: Access to other people’s money is an invitation to making poor decisions. There is an excellent case to be made that they were defrauded by Corinthian — or, at the very least, that Corinthian failed to deliver on services contracted — and that the students are therefore entitled to a refund of the money they paid to the firm. But just as MasterCard is not responsible if you put a lemon on your credit card (you’d be shocked how many people purchase cars with credit cards), Bank of McNasty and Uncle Stupid are not responsible for legal adults who borrow money to buy subpar educational services. This is not to say that the students in question weren’t mistreated — it certainly appears that they were — but they were not mistreated by their banks. 

Michelle Obama famously complained about having to make cumbrous student-loan payments early in life, blithely oblivious, as she tends to be, that one has a moral obligation to pay one’s debts, and that student loans are generally made at concessionary interest rates, meaning that somebody, somewhere, is doing you a favor by lending you money at below-market rates. 

Part of the problem is that nobody much knows what a market-rate loan for a college education should really look like. Most student loans are either made by the federal government or guaranteed by the federal government; the 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility (ho, ho!) Act, which was rolled into the Affordable Care (ho, ho!) Act, eliminated federally subsidized loans and replaced them with direct federal loans. If you think of the student-loan bubble as being like the subprime-mortgage bubble — and it is — then SAFRA “solved” the problem of subprime lending in the private sector by replacing it with subprime lending by the government. There are basically no underwriting standards when it comes to student loans, which are mainly made to young people who have little or nothing in the way of credit histories upon which to evaluate their creditworthiness. Intelligent approaches, such as taking into account the institution being attended and the degree being sought, naturally are unthinkable, implying as they do such inegalitarian outcomes as a Wharton MBA student’s being judged a better risk than a women’s-studies major down the road at Temple or an “individually designed major” major at Menlo College paying 40 grand a year. 

See if you can spot the pattern: The federal government decides that health insurance is a right, but also decides that traditional methods of evaluating health-insurance risk are unfair (read: “politically unpopular”), gets directly involved in the market, and health-care prices go way up; the federal government decides that access to mortgage credit is a right, but also decides that traditional methods of evaluating mortgage-borrower risk are unfair (read: “politically unpopular”), gets directly involved in the market, and housing prices go way up before crashing and causing a worldwide financial catastrophe; the federal government decides that access to student loans is a right, but also decides that applying traditional methods of risk evaluation to those loans is unfair (read: “politically unpopular”), gets directly involved in the market, and college prices go way up . . .  

If you make cheap money — credit at below-market rates — available for the purchase of X, then the price of X will typically go up. Dodgy operations like Corinthian (or Countrywide) will spring into existence to soak up the great raging streams of money being shunted into the X market. Just as people will buy more expensive cars when zero-interest financing is available, and people will buy more expensive houses when squat-down-interest-only-Crazy-Eddie-clown-show mortgages are available, people will spend money irresponsibly on higher education when they are spending somebody else’s money, which is exactly what is happening when the federal government arranges loans at concessionary rates. Sweetheart financing is a favorite federal gimmick, because the federal government, unlike a bank, does not have to account for or price the risks it assumes when making loans. If the federal government just gave students money rather than giving them money indirectly by offering them loans without the risk properly priced in, that spending would have to show up on a budget, somewhere. Discounted financing is one of the ways that the federal government spends money on political constituencies — college students, politically connected businesses and industry groups — without having to honestly account for the money spent. 

But there’s more than $1 trillion in student loans out there, and you’re on the hook for a lot of it — not in a bank-bailout, too-big-to-fail, indirect way, but explicitly. And the default rate continues to climb — and the progressives are embracing loan default as a moral good...

For more go here

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The hypocrisy of equality champion Hillary Clinton

In late February, Hillary Clinton, a self-proclaimed champion of women's rights and gender equity, came under fire for a Washington Free Beacon analysis that showed women on Mrs. Clinton's staff during her tenure in the Senate were paid an average of 72 cents on the dollar compared to male staff. 

Now, an analysis of the latest IRS filing for the foundation that bears her name, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, shows a similar compensation disparity between men and women employees. Although compensation figures are available for only a limited number of Foundation personnel, the 2013 Form 990 filed with the IRS shows that out of eleven highly compensated individuals listed, the top eight are all men...
For more go here