The Last Capitalist

A site dedicated to restoring individualism in the United States of America

Archive for January, 2009

The Victims of a Stimulus

Posted by jemartynowski on January 29, 2009

The stimulus package that has already been pushed through the House and is currently residing in the Senate is being praised by many Democrats and their allies for providing emergency relief to a struggling economy.  They claim it is great because it is pumping money into the economy to give the private sector more wealth.  What exactly is their basis for this thinking?  They cannot magically create wealth.  Are we that ignorant that we actually believe that they can? 

The best description of what Barack Obama and his stimulus-pushers are trying to do is made by Dr. Walter Williams:  It is as if they are taking buckets of water from the deep end of the pool and putting it into the shallow end, claiming it is making the shallow end deeper.  There is no net gain for the American people.  Is Barack Obama really that stupid?  Of course not.

The move looks great politically because the people receiving the government spending are very visible, and they can be shown happily accepting this check with Obama’s signature attached.  This money, though, wasn’t just magically created.  It was stolen from you and me.  Money is always spent more wisely in private hands, because it is our own money, not someone else’s.  However, it looks good because the beneficiaries are very visible.  You and I, who financed those things, are invisible.

They can say, hey, we just created 50 new jobs because we’re contracting a big infrastructure project.  Maybe a new road or mass transit system.  The contractors who receive the money will spend it on those new jobs and materials they need.  Yay, magically-created new jobs. 

But wait, what about all of the purchases we would have made with that couple million dollars?  The things we would have spent money on, perhaps food or necessities, no longer goes to the grocery store.  Now, there are millions of us buying a little less, and that adds up.  Maybe now there are 50 or even more jobs lost from other things.  The government spending did nothing. 

Oh, and let us not forget that since they are the government they will not get the best deals.  They will spend way more than a private individual ever would on things.  So what’ does that add up to?  A net loss for the American people.  Thanks for that, government.  Why don’t you go stimulate yourselves.


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Want to Stop Corruption on Wall Street? Gut the SEC!

Posted by jemartynowski on January 27, 2009

That’s right.   I said it.  Actually, Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, says it much better, but it is exactly what needs to be done.  I say these things every day because I work in the financial industry.  His short commentary on how to stop the next Madoff is excellent, but I know that many people who need to hear these things won’t read it.  It is highly unfortunate, but if you know anyone who needs some real world examples, let me give you a good one:

I recently did a financial plan for a couple that was very detailed.  It involves their investments they will make with me and their personal needs and goals.  I tried to be as honest as I could with these people and abide by all the rules of disclosures for my investment recommendations.  However, when given a prospectus on each of the eight mutual funds, they laughed.  A prospectus has all of the legal information necessary for a fund and is like a small book.  Then, I gave them a one-page report on a fund that had six pages of disclosures in fine print attached. 

The point is this:  are these people really going to read six pages of small print about a mutual fund?  If it was just one page, wouldn’t the odds of them reading and understanding it go way up?  Much of these disclosures and prospectuses are written by lawyers for lawyers.  The government’s involvement has gone beyond the scope of their original powers.  They were supposed to stop people from lying and cheating.  If someone was lying or cheating, they would punish them.  Now, however, they appear to be in the business of making investments as safe as possible for the public, even though that is not possible or even the point of investing. 

Mr. Brook says, “In pretending to guarantee to investors that their investments are sound, which is impossible, the SEC encourages the kind of blind group-think that characterized the Madoff investors.”  He is exactly right.  When people start to believe that everything is covered and watched over by someone else, they get careless and make poor decisions.  It is a direct consequence.  Plus, with the SEC wasting time doing things they shouldn’t they miss some obvious problems.  Don’t believe me?  “…a 29-point, 17-page report on Madoff, submitted in 1999, 2001, and 2005, entitled The World’s Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraud slipped through its cracks…”  That’s pretty sad for an organization whose sole purpose is to stop these things.  This is a prime example of big government gone seriously wrong.  When politicians say we need to increase the scope of these oversight organizations they are getting it completely wrong.  We need to get them focused on what they were intended to do from the beginning.

Posted in Capitalism and Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Room for Racism

Posted by jemartynowski on January 20, 2009

On this historic day, I can’t help but be annoyed at all of the talking heads on television, whether it’s on CNN or an NBA telecast, talking about how amazing it is that a black man can be elected President of the United States.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m OK with people who’d been discriminated against in the past being extremely proud that this country no longer cares about the color of a person’s skin, but rather the content of his character, but I’m not entirely convinced that that’s true. 

I think that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be slightly disappointed in us, despite the great strides we’ve made in the time since his passing.  The problems we have now with race, though different than they were then, still have the same fundamental flaw:  We care.  It’s not that we wouldn’t want a black man to do this job or that; it’s that we even notice.  We get all excited about the first black coach to win the Super Bowl or the first black president.  Maybe this is just me, but I wasn’t taught that black people were less able to do these things in the first place.  I remember growing up being told that people all look different but that’s it. 

Honestly, if I wasn’t taught that black people were different and needed help from the government by the media, I don’t think I’d notice.  Isn’t that what the Dr. King was dreaming about?  There were people who voted both for and against Barack Obama because of the color of his skin.  Both of those groups are just as responsible for racism.  No, it’s not reverse racism on one side, it’s still just as racist against people to patronize any group. 

Every time someone gets on television talking about the first black man to do this or how impressive the number of black coaches is in some sport it comes accross as arrogant to me.  I always think the guy is almost saying, “Amazing.  A black man is doing the same job as a regular person.”   Isn’t that almost more insulting than some backwards KKK member?  At least we know those guys are crazy.  We’re giving racial differentiating credibility.

See, in a truly capitalist society, there’s no room for differentiating between races.  There’s no “teams” to root for, no sides to take.  If we lived for ourselves and we needed a job accomplished or a service done for us, we’d only choose someone based on their abilities and character.  It would be detrimental to us to consider race, because we might choose someone not as qualified to do something and it would set us back. 

I understand the historical significance of a black man taking the office of president.  I just don’t like that people were taking sides either way based on just that fact.

Posted in 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, laissaz-faire capitalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Barack Obama, The Yankees, and Economic Downturns

Posted by jemartynowski on January 8, 2009

With the economy on the forefront of most Americans’ minds, Barack Obama has come out with strong words about how to help out.  Recently, he has come out with more brilliant plans to spend loads of taxpayer money on the problem, because if we don’t we’ll lose money.  Sure, it doesn’t make sense, because either way we’re paying for it (through our own tax dollars and massive inflation which totally hurts the country way more than if a few hundred thousand people are unemployed because you are in essence lowering the quality of life for 100% of Americans but hey who cares because it sounds good to take money from the rich and use it as you see (fit holy crap someone please think more than five minutes into the future), but when you are President of the United States of America (er, almost) you need to look like you’re doing something. 

This problem is made worse because both he and John McCain kept throwing out all these things they would do to help the economy should they become president.  Now that Obama’s there, he needs to keep that up.  This has happened and will happen no matter who gets elected in the future because nobody is going to win an election by saying, “hey, maybe we should learn some lessons and stay out of the public’s business because we keep making it worse.” 

Really, the only way politicians seem to know how to do anything is by spending more money on things.  If you really looked at what it is supposed to be like in the US, that’s not completely constitutional, but I digress.  The point I’m trying to make is that the leaders of our country only know how to spend money, not how to run a country.  They can’t take a long, hard look at themselves and take responsibility for their errors and, more importantly, learn from them.  They aren’t taking any steps in the right direction to get the right personnel where they should be and cut spending in wasteful areas.  Which leads me to another crappy group of leaders:  The New York Yankees.

The Yankees are making exactly the same mistakes and have been for years now.  Every time they don’t win a World Series, the first thing they do is start spending money.  They don’t ask questions, they just spend money.  The reasons for that are similar to the reasons the government spends recklessly:  public perception.  It looks like they are doing things make everything better, but really all they are are older and less athletic than before.  They don’t develop a whole lot of new talent.  They aren’t being very wise about their spending, as they could have spent a bunch less over the years on better talent.  Just like our federal government.

The Yankees may win a World Series this year or next, but the odds aren’t that much better than other teams.  If they do, everyone hates them because all they did was chuck money around.  Plus, they’re just setting themselves up to have to do it all over again, because you have no young talent and every year your older players keep losing a step.  It’s a very familiar, crappy cycle.  At least they can’t print their own money like the federal government.

Posted in Socialism and Democrats, Sports Analogies | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Big Three Should NOT Get a Bailout

Posted by jemartynowski on January 6, 2009

The so called “Big Three” automakers should not get any form of bailout. If you think otherwise, you probably won’t like this post, comrade. But seriously, there are many reasons, but in times like this I like to listen (or read) a man who can sum things up in a logical, simple way:  Dr. Walter Williams.

There are some excellent points in there, but most importantly I just like the way he describes the bankruptcy. It wouldn’t be as damning as everyone tries to make it sound. It would be for the UAW, but that’s about it. I could go on all day, but just read this and come back when you read it.

Posted in bailouts, Capitalism and Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »