American Elephants

Now That The Election Is Over, The Economy is No Longer “Recovering.” by The Elephant's Child

It wasn’t even a month ago when the media was telling us that the economy was gathering steam. Things were improving, Obama just needed a little more time.

So Now he wants $1.6 trillion in new taxes on “the rich,”something over $255 billion for another stimulus for next year — including $50 billion for roads, $30 billion in extended unemployment benefits, and some short-term tax breaks.

So now the “recovering economy” is so sluggish that the New York Times says it requires a shot in the arm. We changed our mind?

According to the data, “the recovery once again is sputtering.” The underlying rate of growth is too slow to bring down the unemployment rate by much. Manufacturing and exports are lagging. Consumers and businesses are “holding back” and “wage growth is weak.”The economic data, the Times says have “come in surprisingly weak,”

I think the usual word is “unexpectedly.” Maybe the Times finally noticed because they are laying more of their people off.  Forecasters have “slashed their estimates of growth in the fourth quarter.” Macroeconomic Advisers thinks annualized GDP growth will be just 0.8% this quarter.  0.8%!

How many stimulus do you have to do before the fact that stimulus don’t work penetrates?

Just one month before the election, the Times ran a story extolling all the “signs of growing economic strength” and boasting about how the country was in the midst of a “steadier recovery than previously thought.” AP reported in mid-October that new retail sales figures showed that consumers would help the economy “emerge from the malaise that clouded the spring.” There’s a nice turn of phrase.

The always responsible press agreed that growth would accelerate after the election, regardless of who won.

Now that Obama has won re-election on the claim that the economy is improving, the press feels safe to admit what it should have been reporting all along.

Here’s another little secret. The American people don’t like being lied to. It’s one thing to hold back information that may be sensitive or reveal secrets, but just plain old lies to get elected? That’s a little trickier. What’s the old saying — fool me once…

Forgive Me, But I’m Tired of Warren Buffett! by The Elephant's Child


Billionaire Warren Buffet has been advocating that we raise taxes in the U.S. And President Obama uses Warren Buffett as a shining example of a rich man who wants his taxes raised in every speech and at every opportunity. You know the litany: “Warren Buffet pays less than 15% on his taxes, and his secretary pays more than that. That’s just not fair.” Uh huh.

Warren Buffet is not advocating a tax hike because of his deep patriotism; it’s pure business, and entirely in his own self interest.

Warren Buffet does not receive a salary. His income comes in the form of capital gains. He pays less than 15% because of all the write-offs against his income. He is not a folksy grandpa, but a cunning, competitive capitalist.  He has been so successful that he has the cash and connections to play a different brand of game than anyone else.

Massive tax increases will drop the acquisition costs for businesses. Mr. Buffett does not build and create businesses, he swoops in and buys undervalued businesses and waits, or changes their operations to make them efficient so they throw off streams of cash. This is called “vulture capitalism.”

Buffett is a highly disciplined investor. He is advocating a change in policy because it is the best interest of his company to have that change. If he gets his way, company valuations will drop. Berkshire Hathaway is sitting on a huge pile of cash that in the current environment they find it impossible to employ.

Of course, there is the small matter of the $1 billion that Mr. Buffett owes the IRS in back taxes, which he has been battling for the past decade. Most of us scramble to find another deduction, but $1 billion may be worth an extended battle.  Little hypocrisy though.

You will notice that Berkshire doesn’t pay a dividend.  Buffett says they will talk about that next year. If tax policy does not change, he will be under incredible pressure to send cash to investors because he can’t earn a high enough rate of return on it. Raising taxes, especially estate and capital gains taxes, would lower the valuations of companies.

Does Obama know that his efforts will just make his billionaire supporter richer? What does that do to all the president’s blather about “fairness?”

Celebrate Diversity of Thought; Not Race, Not Sex. by The Elephant's Child
December 4, 2012, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Education, Freedom, Politics, Progressivism, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Few bad ideas are more devastating, and conversely more celebrated than “diversity.” There are few, if any, places where “diversity” is more important and more needed than in America’s colleges and universities. Every picture taken for the college catalogue will be a careful array of skin colors and ethnic heritages. If they could get some Indian (excuse me Native American) headdresses and Sikh turbans in the pictures they would be in seventh heaven. Yet conservative thought, conservative speakers and heaven forbid, conservative faculty members are simply not allowed. Diversity of thought is unwelcome.

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto has some wonderful examples today:
“A construction crew working on the campus of Ohio’s Sinclair Community College was forced to halt work until it removed a ‘Men Working’ sign that was deemed ‘sexist’ by a college administrator,” reports National Review’s Eliana Johnson:

A spokesman for the college told National Review Online that the incident, which occurred on November 21, stemmed from the school’s “deep commitment to diversity,” and that it takes that commitment “very seriously.”

One laughs, but then one reads stuff like this, from a Lafayette College (Easton, Pa.) press release:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $100,000 grant to Mary Armstrong, associate professor of English and chair of women’s and gender studies, and Jasna Jovanovic, professor of psychology and child development at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, for their study of how colleges and universities can more effectively support the success of underrepresented minority women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) academic fields. . . .

“Our approach is based on the idea that institutions tend to structure supportive initiatives that address only one aspect of a potentially marginalized group, such as gender, or race, or sexual orientation,” explains Armstrong. “But an underrepresented minority woman will, by definition, have several such identities; hence, lesbians or women of color experience being a woman in STEM with complex, compound disadvantages.”

Armstrong and Jovanovic are conducting the first comprehensive study of how initiatives funded through the NSF ADVANCE program are enhancing the success of underrepresented women in STEM. The research team believes that successful institutional programs have to be creatively reshaped to accommodate the complications experienced by women who identify within multiple underrepresented identities.

One wonders how much money and talent are being poured into this sort of thing instead of producing scientists and engineers. It reminds us of that scene in “Star Trek” when Captain Kirk asks (we quote from memory), “Scotty, can you get us warp drive?” and Scotty replies: “I’m doin’ my best, Cap’n, but I’m strugglin’ with multiple underrepresented identities!”

We really have to do better than just holding up examples to laugh at. Ridicule, disparage, mock, sneer and taunt. They deserve every bit of it. I think it’s a kind of mind rot.

Political Correctness? Where Did That Come From? by The Elephant's Child

Few ideas are more noxious and more damaging than notions of political correctness. Bill Whittle explains how it all came about. Rebel. Go offend someone today! Tell a Polish joke, or an Irish Joke or an Italian joke. Thumb your nose at bad ideas.

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