Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Fun Platitude

When the going gets difficult, the difficult get going.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Customer Service

At our organization, we give customers better than they deserve.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anti-Poverty Social Programs

In Ronald Nash's book Poverty and Wealth, he gives statistics on the per capita expense of United States anti-poverty programs.

In 1982, the total U.S. welfare bill at all levels of government (federal, state, and local) came to 403 billion dollars. If we take figures from the Bureau of the Census (August 1984) which state that the number of people living in poverty in the U.S. was 15.2 percent of the population, or 35.3 million people, an amazing fact emerges. Had we simply divided the 403 billion dollars this nation spent on poverty at every level of government among the estimated number of poor people, each poor person could have received $11,133. For a family of four, this would have totaled $44,532. Since the official poverty level per family for that year was $9,287, it is clear that America's fight against poverty involves enormous overhead costs. Most of the tax dollars collected to fight poverty end up, Thomas Sowell notes, "in the pockets of highly paid administrators, consultants, and staff as well as higher-income recipients of benefits from programs advertised as anti-poverty efforts." Clearly, the bucket used to carry money from the pockets of the taxpayer to the poor is leaking badly. Many think the real beneficiaries of liberal social programs are not the poor and disadvantaged but the members of the governmental bureaucracy who administer the program.

Today's statistics are not much different. $591 billion per year (on the Federal level alone) spent on 39.8 million impoverished equates to $14,849 per person, or $59,396 for a family of four. We spend a lot of money on anti-poverty programs, and it sure isn't helping.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Explaining the United States Debt Limit

Our country is going through a crisis right now, going even deeper into debt. This video helps to explain just how we got into this situation, and how we might be able to get out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Fatal Flaw in the Keynesian Model

When I took macroeconomics at Kent State University, I think the primary flaw in Keynes' economic system is its assumption that the price of labor exists only relative to the price of goods, and vice versa. In other words, take the price of a certain bundle of goods and ask "how many hours of work will it take the average laborer to earn this?" That is how Keynes defined price.

Because of this paradigm, Keynesians suggest altering the labor to goods price ratio to solve economic problems. Because labor costs do not change quickly, a rapid change in the cost of goods can temporarily alter the labor to goods price ratio in one direction or another, and hence ramp up or cool off the economy.

For example, an economy in recession, according to the Keynesian, has a high labor to goods ratio, which means higher unemployment and a weaker economy. The way a Keynesian would fix this is to increase government spending while cutting taxes (this is called fiscal policy) in order to increase the money supply. The increase in the money supply will drive up the cost of goods, but it will take time for labor costs (such as labor contracts) to adjust to this. Hence, we get a temporary decrease in the labor to goods price ratio, and a stronger economy. For those of you wondering why the government is increasing spending while we are already in debt, this is the reason.

Such a system cannot account for situations where the economy as a whole becomes stronger (e.g. technological improvement). If some rapid advance in technology came overnight, and everyone was able to produce twice the amount of goods that they produce today, the price of labor would then double relative to the price of goods.

Fair enough, but what if instead of technological advancement, something changed overnight in human biology or our social situation that would cut our hours available for work in half. The price of labor would again double relative to the price of goods.

Clearly, the former situation would lead to increased prosperity and reduced poverty, as it would double our resources for providing food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. The latter would reduce the availability of essential services such as firefighting, police services, and medical care. Yet the Keynesian model cannot distinguish between the two!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jon Stewart: One of the Most Biased Talk Show Hosts

What really bothers me about comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is not that they are left-wing ideologues, but that they pretend to be politically neutral outsiders.

Friday, June 10, 2011


If a state of affairs is necessary, then the proposition which states that the state of affairs holds will be necessary; and conversely, if a proposition is necessary, then the state of affairs which it states to be the case is necessary. Necessity de re entails necessity de dicto, and conversely.

-Richard Swinburne, The Coherence of Theism, p. 235

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bradley Monton on Methodological Naturalism

"If science really is permanently committed to methodological naturalism – the philosophical position that restricts all explanations in science to naturalistic explanations - it follows that the aim of science is not generating true theories. Instead, the aim of science would be something like: generating the best theories that can be formulated subject to the restriction that the theories are naturalistic. More and more evidence could come in suggesting that a supernatural being exists, but scientific theories wouldn’t be allowed to acknowledge that possibility."

- Philosopher of science and atheist Bradley Monton

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Fallacy of Income Redistribution

Income redistribution is taking income from one group and giving it to another group. From economic liberals, there is a strong belief that the rich are too rich and some of that money needs to go to the poor. Perhaps this is true, but the suggestion that comes out of this is that we should tax the rich to subsidize the poor.

My opinion on the issue can be summarized in two graphs:

The first graph shows the amount of money the United States government spends per year on anti-poverty programs.

The spending on antipoverty programs was around $2.5 billion in 1962. Today, it is around $616 billion. That's an increase of 24,640% in anti-poverty spending. The next graph shows the United States poverty rate by year:

Wow. We made a slight dent in the poverty rate for the first few years of this antipoverty spending. Notice that the poverty rate did decrease until about 1970. Now look at both graphs from 1970 onward. We increased antipoverty spending about 12,000% (that's twelve thousand percent) with no decrease in the poverty rate.

I do not know what the solution is, but I am pretty sure it is not raising taxes to fund more social programs.