Friday, January 23, 2015

Et tu, Stimulus?

Any excuse to spend money? Even better when you get to spend gobs of it? Nevermind, of course, the consequences (Boston Review via Instapundit)

Before the recession, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected we would have 5 million more jobs at the end of 2014 than we actually do. It also projected that the GDP would be more than 11 percent higher in 2014 than it is now. This translates into a difference in annual output of roughly $2 trillion or more than $6,000 per person. They predicted that wage and salary income would be roughly 20 percent higher than it is today. Many economists had similar projections.

What about "national socialist" suggests the Nazis were 'right-wingers'?

It's kind of still befuddling why socialism is still considered socially acceptable when Nazis are not...

Related: Well annotated rant on the issue (monsterhunternation).

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Where have the entrepreneurs gone?

Not America (LATimes) - "Countries such as Hungary, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Israel and Italy all have higher startup rates than America does." (

Related: According to Popular Mechanics (via Instapundit), these are the 14 top startup cities, none of which are in Silicon Valley.

Kinda like Rock & Roll and the fall of the USSR?

From Bollywood vs. Bin Laden (YouTube): Why radical Islam fears pop culture

When it comes to the oil, why it's not the 80s anymore

The Saudis are betting against American innovation - which generally isn't a good bet to make. From the WSJ:

Today, the discovery and development of oil from shale rocks means that oil output is faster paced and near at hand—in Texas and North Dakota, Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, even Ohio. Drilling and hydraulically fracturing a well takes weeks, not years. An expensive well costs $10 million, compared with the billions needed to drill offshore wells and build associated infrastructure. Moreover, expenditure of both time and money are falling fast.

The oil field investment cycle has shortened. Wildcatters in Texas discovered the Eagle Ford Shale in 2008. Within five years, it was pumping a million barrels a day—thanks to an influx of capital that paid for drilling thousands of new wells. Each well roars into life and then drops off fast. Without constantly drilling new wells, these oil fields will peter out. [...]

Companies like EOG Resources Inc. are drilling better wells faster. EOG said recently it takes 4.3 days to drill its average well in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, down from 14.2 days in 2012. What’s more, as it drills more of them, it has figured out how to locate wells to get the highest oil output.

Combining lowering costs and increasing output means that EOG says it can drill wells at $40 per barrel in North Dakota, South Texas and West Texas, while still earning a 10% return. We “pride ourselves on being a very efficient operator,” Billy Helms, EOG’s head of exploration, said at a recent industry conference.

Since oil prices began to fall, many companies have cut their capital spending plan for 2015 and the number of drilling rigs in the U.S. has fallen. But output has continued to increase.

Quote of the day

Michael Cannon at Cato: "People who pay for their own consumption don’t have the luxury of being able to pretend that tradeoffs don’t exist."

Thursday, January 08, 2015

'Je suis Charlie'

I think this response from the New Yorker framed it remarkably well:

But the murders in Paris were so specific and so brazen as to make their meaning quite clear. The cartoonists died for an idea. The killers are soldiers in a war against freedom of thought and speech, against tolerance, pluralism, and the right to offend—against everything decent in a democratic society. So we must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A note of optimism...

If it bleeds, it leads... and probably why this kind of stuff doesn't often reach our monitors - with much of this good news directly as a result of the proliferation and hard won gains of markets and capitalism (Cato): 26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better (Vox)

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Missing in the US: young entrepreneurs

The irony is that I would have thought the opposite especially with the emergence of the young tech companies... but the trend is even more troubling as there hasn't even been a shift in increasing entrepreneurship amongst older Americans - this despite the fact that technology makes it easier than ever to start a business (WSJ):

The decline in young entrepreneurs is part of a broader drop in private business ownership over the past 25 years. Between 2000 and 2012, new business formation slowed even in such high-growth sectors as technology, according to economists John Haltiwanger and Ryan Decker of the University of Maryland and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau.

Slowing U.S. population growth since the early 1980s has reduced the supply of potential entrepreneurs of all ages, and lessened demand for new goods and services, said Mr. Litan of the Brookings Institution. Meanwhile, business consolidation has led to more formidable competition for startups, making it harder for new entrants to gain a spot in the market, he said.

Overall, the U.S. “startup rate”—new firms as a portion of all firms—fell by nearly half between 1978 and 2011, according to an analysis by Mr. Litan and his research partner, economist Ian Hathaway.

Building a sustainable business model for primary healthcare

With the turbulence in the US healthcare system while Canada's healthcare system frays at the seams, keeping up with the Qliance model for affordable concierge medicine is fascinating (Time):

Since then, they’ve signed up previously undreamed-of populations: big private employers like Expedia and Comcast, public and industry employee unions like the one for Seattle firefighters and–most radical of all–at least 15,000 Medicaid patients.

The private company’s results so far suggest that the model is scaling up nicely. Qliance now serves some 35,000 patients; the cost of about half of them is paid by the government through traditional and expanded Medicaid programs. Treating a wide variety of patients–young and old, healthy and chronically sick, well-off and poor–Qliance claims to be saving approximately 20% on the average cost of care compared with traditional fee-for-service providers. The company’s staff has tripled over the past year, and Qliance is looking to expand beyond Washington.

SpaceX: A launch towards affordable space travel to watch for January 6th

This is pretty exciting... SpaceX will attempt to land a rocket after launch (PopSci):

Landing on such a small platform that isn’t completely stationary won’t be easy, and Musk estimates a 50 percent chance of success on January 6. Plus, the landing will occur after the first stage separates from the second stage -- the part of the rocket that will take the cargo capsule the rest of the way to the ISS. That means not all of the rocket will be saved, as the second stage will never be recovered. (However, Musk plans to recover the second stage in future launches.)

Still, the fact that SpaceX is attempting such an endeavor instills hope for a cheaper commercial spaceflight industry. According to Quartz, the cost to build a Falcon 9 rocket is $54 million, but the cost of its fuel is only $200,000. If launching a rocket in the future only required refueling and other servicing costs on the ground, that could bring down the price of going to space by millions of dollars.