Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lies, Malinvestments And Parasitical Jobs

Over the past couple weeks I have noted various examples of lies, malinvestments and parasitical jobs -- all of these are symptoms of things going wrong, things clearly bad for our economy and our country.  All three have always existed, of course, and in due quantity, but in my opinion these are much higher than what seems to be "normal".


Lies are bad because they send out bad signals, bad signals that often cause wrong actions to be taken, not just to cover up bad behavior...  I have no desire to explore the topic of current lying too much, as everyone knows about this, but I would like to explore these for a moment to demonstrate their impact.

There are three sets of almost monumental scale lies coming from the Obama administration that almost demonstrate for themselves not just the lies, but the impacts.  The first set of lies are those on Obamacare itself, a subject I explored a time or two before.  It seems that much of the administration KNEW that there would be a number of bad impacts upon our healthcare, but they went ahead with the w hole program anyway.  They KNEW that insurers would make a lot of money (for now, we will see later on if the insurance companies get ground up).

They KNEW that many doctors would "opt out" of various care options.  They KNEW that people would have trouble signing up at the website (they knew it was unfinished and not ready, but they launched it anyway, with great fanfare...  And yet all we have gotten are lies about how many have signed up, how many have paid, what the exact status of each state's programs, etc.

The Obamacare lies add up to a lot of money!  As well as huge negative budget numbers in the years to come.

The IRS targeting scandals are another set of lies and cover-ups.    Apart from targeting "Tea Party" groups (who, as a whole, are very pro-liberty and pro-small business, the latter being about the only source of private sector hiring), we must examine what regulatory uncertainty means for future investment, a topic Jim Rickards explores in his new book (The Death of Money) at great length.  Regulatory uncertainty is one of the major preoccupations of any prospective investor, say, in building a factory or an business that needs an extensive physical presence (eg, warehouses).

Regulatory uncertainty is one of the major reasons why few businesses are building in California (except relatively "clean" ones like software companies, internet companies, etc.), in fact many businesses are leaving California and New York...

Finally, it looks like Benghazi is going to turn out to be another (major?  who knows?) scandal.  Apparently all the important players, perhaps including President Obama himself, knew that the riot leading to the deaths of four Americans had nothing to do with the "video", it was a well-planned terrorist attack, they knew it essentially in real-time, yet they LIED about it not being an Al-Qaeda attack, just "furious Muslims" reacting to the video.  All on another September 11, just when the Obama re-election campaign was in full throttle...

All of these lies have consequences, that is one thing your ever-becoming more humble host here realizes.  Actions have consequences.  Lies are actions, are evil.  These official lies make America a less attractive to not just prospective foreign investors, but to those of us who live here as well.


Malinvestments is another topics I can only lightly address.  A "malinvestment" is one where an investment actually winds up squandering more capital than it creates.  Three large-scale malinvestments immediately come to mind:

-- The bank bailouts and endless QEs, from 2008 until even now
-- Overinvestment (investment past a certain level becomes bad) in US housing
-- Chinese epic-scale malinvestments...

I can think of very few people that I know who were (are) in favor of the bank bailouts, at least since the the immediate acute phase of the 2007 - 2009 Financial Crisis was over.  Those days in 2008 were scary, and no on really knew what was going to happen, so it is perhaps forgivable among among our regulators and Congress to have granted that immediate financial aid (TARP) to stanch the the great bleeding we all saw, even if the Great Recession happened for various reasons that many saw coming (housing bubble / subprime scandals / over-borrowing and scandalous reliance on government).

What seems to be clear is that we should have let a few more banks go under.  To have had a short & sharp recession (like 1920), and gotten it over with (1921 on).  Instead, we have a dismal recovery with endless huge deficits as far as we can see...

The housing bubble speaks for itself.  Fewer Americans own their own homes than before.  Housing prices have only recovered to 2006 levels in certain hot areas (NYC, San Francisco, parts of Miami, etc.).

And we have yet to see what is going to happen in China...  China has spent immense, almost indescribable amounts of money on little used highways, train stations, and even cities.  There are various experts who believe that the Chinese infrastructure investments will eventually create more than has been destroyed ("that people will eventually move into those empty cities"), but I don't think so.  Mish ( has written at length on China, as well as having quoted, numerous times and at length, with respected China analyst Michael Pettis.  I highly recommend Mish's blog for its "truthiness", Mish has a sharp eye out for those government entities that spend money poorly...


Parasitical jobs are the latest thing to cross my radar.  By "parasitical jobs" I mean those that destroy capital, that make our country a worse place.  And yet they legal.

I have been the (perhaps clueless,but still) victim over the past year of the mania for getting my vehicle towed away or "booted".  In both cases, it was legal and there signs...  Guilty!  But, in both cases, I parked in a large lot, at night, far away from the bank (in one case, and Suntrust was closed) and the restaurant (Wendy's, beware of Wendy's!).  In both of these cases, the owners likely have had a deal going with a local towing company and local immobilization company (attaching the "boot" to the from wheel immobilizing a car).  Legal, but nonetheless a scam.  A scam, that adds nothing to our country, to the contrary, it wastes people's (the victims) time and resources while enriching the towing companies and providing a "supplemental" though sleazy income to the owners of vacant parking lots...

Don't get me wrong, towing and booting service providers have their uses, to remove broken-down vehicles (tow trucks) and free-parkers who would take up parking spaces of businesses (or governments) who have legitimate business providing services to those who need to park there.

There are bankers and lawyers who similarly are needed in our economy.  But, a certain percentage of those are parasitical as well...  I leave it up to my readers' imaginations for examples...


Sometimes these things make me want to just scream!  Or run away, run away to see nothing but things like the below.  I am traveling at the moment but caught these creatures of God late one afternoon on a road less taken (*click* on the image for a better view):

(Wild turkeys, miles from the nearest town...)

Now that I think of it, maybe these were the perfect creatures to show here, smile,,,  I feel better already!

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