This Modern Age

Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Democrats Got Us Here… Freddie/Fannie Meltdown

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More later…

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September 30, 2008 at 10:15 am

Electoral College Outlook: What Does Lehman Mean?

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For the foreseeable future, the news cycle is going to be all about the economy – Lehman’s $613 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the top bullet of every newscast this morning. 

On the political side of things, John McCain has been surging but the current economic news could lead many swing voters to take another look at the candidates in light of their proposed economic plans. 

Our hypothesis is that voters tend to more comfortable with Democrats on economic issues these days.  But this is largely driven by job concerns and middle class tax cuts.  Once the economic issues begin to focus more on fiscal and monetary policy, voters confidence in Republicans will increase. 

A recent Fox News poll from 9/8 to 9/9 asked, “Which candidate do you trust more to handle the economy?”  Independents favored John McCain over Barack Obama by 45% to 40%. 

Other telling questions in the Fox News poll that may become more relevant; Which presidential ticket do you think:

  • Has more experience combined?  Independents favored McCain-Palin 57%/25%.
  • Has better judgement combined? Independents favored McCain-Palin 51%/32%.
  • Will bring the right change to Washington? Independents barely favored McCain-Palin 36%/38%.

Of course this poll was conducted before the markets tanked on the open this morning, so the numbers could be very volatile over the upcoming week.  But current conditions may favor the McCain-Palin campain.

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September 15, 2008 at 8:53 am

Around the Horn…

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The Pew Research survey was released on July 18.  Despite Obama’s push for evangelical votes and the support he has gained evangelicals like Tony Campolo, he is polling in line with Sen. John Kerry and below Vice President Al Gore.  Any theories on why?  For the full report, click here.

Pew Research on Evangelical Votes

I’ve found a lot of arguments over the years actually boil down to economics.  Unfortunately, people are willing to say so much about it when they understand so little.  Dr. Walter Williams offers a great primer via his weekly column.  Learn and enjoy…  Actually, you can print these all out, staple them together, read them and get a better economics education than 95% of the living world. 

Rasmussen reports that 49% of voters believe reporters will try to help Barack Obama win the presidency.  Odd, who would have ever guessed? 

Click Picture for Full Report on Media Research Center Report on Media Bias

Click image for Full Report

David Freddoso on Democratic Position on Gas Prices

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At NRO, David Freddoso tidily sums up the current Liberal Democrat position on gas prices:

Idea Number One: High gasoline prices are good. A high price, imposed through federal carbon taxes or carbon caps, is precisely the mechanism by which Democrats hope to curb carbon emissions. We know that this mechanism works because it is already working: As gas prices rise, American consumption is down right now, year over year (a historical rarity). CO2 emissions from gasoline are down from 2007 by a modest 84,000 tons, or roughly 2 percent.

Idea Number Two: High gasoline prices are bad. With constituents irate over gasoline prices that are pushing $5 a gallon, Democrats complain that high prices are a bad thing. They have dreamed up a number of boogie men responsible for high prices and drafted silver-bullet bills to kill them off.

This is more a case of cynicism than irrationality, however. Democrats only pretend to believe in Idea Number Two. Their presidential nominee, Barack Obama, lamented in mid-June that high gasoline prices have hurt Americans, but he later gave a much more accurate representation of the party line: “I think that I would have preferred a more gradual adjustment,” he said in an MSNBC interview.

Have fun sorting that out with the voters…

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July 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm

IMF World Map on Household Spending

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IMF Map of World Household Spending

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July 9, 2008 at 2:41 am

ANWR: The Miracle of Directional Drilling

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Jonah Goldberg, of National Review fame, wrote a piece on ANWR that was originally published  in 2001.  But now with $4/gallon gas drilling ANWR is again the topic du jour I thought I would go back and reread it. 

Amidst Jonah’s natural wit and humor there was one part of the description of the drilling that struck me:

Opponents of drilling are absolutely right: Oil exploration isn’t pretty. The Alpine site looks like a few gravel parking lots connected by a gravel road. There’s industrial piping piled up and corrugated trailers and loading paddocks everywhere. The whole place looks like the floor of one of those giant construction pits before they put up a skyscraper in downtown New York. But what the opponents are reluctant to acknowledge is that the place is tiny: The entire Alpine installation, including living quarters for up to 700 people, covers less than 100 acres (97, to be exact). Those 100 acres represent two-tenths of 1 percent of the 40,000-acre oilfield. The drilling that once would have required perhaps a dozen wells, spread out across the tundra, now requires only one.

This is the miracle of directional drilling, a relatively new technology that environmentalist ideologues are loath to admit even exists, because it runs completely counter to the earth-gouging stereotypes of yesteryear. Directional drilling makes it possible to drill in virtually any direction for miles. Indeed, the drilling can go down hundreds of feet, then sideways, then upwards again, like a fishhook. Don’t think of an oil well as a straw, but as an octopus, with tentacles stretching out in all directions. If the Washington Monument were an absurdly tall directional oil well, it could extract oil from underneath the Bethesda suburbs, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Capitol dome – without waking up a sleeping Bethesda baby, rattling an Arlington headstone, or knocking Tom DeLay’s bullwhip from the wall.

 Well, what do you know?  

If you don’t want to trust the authority of Wikipedia to verify this technology, a Google Search for “directional drilling” yields hundreds of thousands of results. 

Honestly, I wasn’t terribly concerned about footprint that could have been left behind in this minor part of ANWR.  However, it is interesting to know that the impact of drilling is significantly less than many of us would have ever imagined. 

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June 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Understanding Poverty in the United States – Part I

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Poverty is always a hot button issue in heavy political cycles.  And truth be told, we are directly called by our Creator to care for the poor.  In fact, the poor should directly effect how we pray, where we spend our money and time and how we vote.

But there are fundamental questions that must answered to deal appropriately with poverty: A) Who are the poor? B) What should be done for the poor?

We are better served to learn who are the poor before we gain a solid understanding of what should be done to help. 

In 2004, Robert Rector and Kirk Johnson published their study on poverty based on the U.S. Census data

The following graphic from their study illuminates the material condition of the poor households in America relative to all American households. 

Interestingly, the first two statistics are based on full and prompt payment.  While obviously some the deficiency of poor households is due to cash flow problems, the category allows room for lack of organization and slothfulness – trust me, I have paid bills late myself simply because I lost track of them. 

Another telling statistic is the eviction percentage.  While we hear of the dramatic increase foreclosures in recent months, these 2004 figures are negligible for poor households – and I would be surprised if they have increased in a statistically significant environment in 2008. 

While there are obvious discrepancies between the poor and non-poor, the plight of the poor does not appear to be as dire as we might sometimes imagine.  

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June 26, 2008 at 12:21 pm