A Cynical Take on Economics

Call me crazy, call me simple, call me what you will, but the main reason I don't trust mathematical economists is that I am not aware of a single one who made a billion dollars doing it.  With reliable, scientific information about the future of a national or the world economy, shouldn't it be a peace of cake to make massive fortunes with well placed, well timed investments?

This Sovereign Is Enjoying a Day around the House

I realize this probably doesn't bother most people - which itself annoys me - but I had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing, over my scrambled eggs, some news coverage of Kate Middleton's pregnancy.  It bothers me enough to see the British obsessing over the Royal Family, but why are so many Americans interested in the least about their day-to-day activities?  They are the ultimate celebrity for the sake of celebrity.  Granted Paris Hilton has never been particularly productive, but at least her recent family has been.  How many generations of royalty do you have to go back to find an ounce of wealth or fame that was actually earned?

All of that aside, the part that really stuck in my craw was when the news correspondent referred to the baby as "the future sovereign."  I guess technically, by most people's definition of the term, her statement was correct.  But as someone who considers himself a sovereign (and his neighbor, and his coworkers, and the kid down the street...), it really made my skin crawl.  So this sovereign turned off the tube, poured another cup of coffee and took a shower.  Stay tuned for more developments from the royal estate here in Pittsburgh.

Marble Wall Coverings

I've been in the homes of some pretty wealthy people.  They weren't billionaires by any means, but they are well off.  I have seen enormous rooms with unnecessarily high ceilings and televisions bordering on the absurd.  I have been in swanky, downtown office buildings of hugely profitable companies.  I've seen some nice amenities is what I'm trying to say.  Today I was in the county Marriage License Bureau - the epicenter of the mundane - and the room was covered in marble from floor to ceiling.  This led me to develop what I am going to call the Marble Law of Finance:
Nobody covers a wall with marble using their own money.  
This is a helpful realization.  If I am ever abducted by aliens, wake up on a marble floor and look up to see marble walls, I'll know I'm in one of their government buildings.

The Golden Rule Revisited

There is a tongue-in-cheek version of the golden rule, "He who has the gold makes the rules."  Sure, it's humorous and to some extent true - those who wield political power are on average likely to come from relatively high levels of economic status.  But, I have formulated a golden rule that I think is more universal and incontrovertible, "He who makes the rules obtains the gold."

Who Stopped Dreaming?

YouTube has gotten very good at suggesting videos that I will like, and it has gotten just as good at suggesting videos that will really get me torqued.  Case in point: this video of Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Bill Maher show (sounds like the perfect storm for trouble right?).  Dr. Tyson is livid, as usual, that not enough money is being extorted from the American public to fund his pet projects.  He compares the magnitude of money confiscated for NASA's budget to the amount confiscated for TARP and the various wars, as if two or more wrongs make a right.

I've written fairly extensively on the subject of NASA funding (and the funding of state science in general), so I think I will let Murray Rothbard take this one:
How shall we finance our future explorations in space? The answer is simple: insofar as space explorations are a byproduct of needed military work (such as guided missiles) and only insofar, let the space exploration proceed on the same basis as any other military research. But, to the extent that it is not needed by the military, and is simply a romantic penchant for space exploration, then this penchant must take its chances, like everything, in the free market. It may seem exciting to engage in space exploration, but it is also enormously expensive, and wasteful of resources that could go into needed products to advance life on this earth. To the extent that voluntary funds are used in such endeavors, all well and good; but to tax private funds to engage in such ventures would be just another giant government boondoggle.
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