Archive for the 'economics' Category

11
Aug
09

Going To a Land Down Under: Kiwi? Aussie?

Who’s been a very naughty blogger? Who? WHO? (You, Joshie Joshie, You)

Actually it is true that blogging has greatly lost its luster for me (but, no, this blog did not die with Michael Jackson). Facebook and Twitter are way too time consuming and pretty much fulfill my longings for pontification. But I think the ol’ Smoak House still has a few good ones in her. Let see what we can conjure up today.

Here is something Lyndsay and I have talked over and thought about a lot lately. Nothing major is going to happen in the very near future but it could happen one day. No, I am not talking about parenthood.  I am talking about moving to another country.

We have not packed our bags yet, but the reason we have discussed this is for the very simple fact that HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. I refuse to be one of the foolish ones who forget that. You all know where I am going with this. The Obama administration has made great and frightening strides toward Socialism in the last seven months.  I could not have predicted the swiftness with which he would put the hammer down.  Now I love studying history. In so doing I have seen what happens when governments take over the everyday aspects of commerce and people’s personal lives. I read of a Hitler who plunged an entire nation into ruin and hatred (Nazism was a Socialist movement); I have studied a Stalin who oppressed and murdered his own people. I have seen Socialism and Communism destroy, maim, oppress, and murder. I have never seen them actually work. I refuse to live under any version of either system. I will not subject my wife or any of our future offspring to such evil and tyranny. I can not let my family suffer under the type of single-payer healthcare system Obama wants to implement. I can not let my family suffer through a dead-in-the-water economic system that could result from the impending collapse of the U.S. dollar. I would rather leave the country. Chances are there are some who would rather I do so. 😉

But on a lighter note, what country should we move to if it were to come to that? Well by most accounts New Zealand and Australia seem to be good choices. They are ranked high in the world in terms of personal freedom, low government intrusion, and free market capitalism. There are a few differences though. New Zealand is a small island with some great natural resources, but not many. Kiwis must import many, many goods and thus they are more subject to dependence on foreign nations. Not necessarily a bad thing but something to consider. Australia on the other hand is in a little bit better position on that front. Also it stands to reason that more jobs would be available in a larger country like Australia. Plus it is its own continent. That’s just awesome! Keep in mind that I do not know minute details of either, only what I have read on the internet and heard from talking to people. So I would love to be educated by anyone who knows more.

There would be some non-economic/non-political details to consider as well. First of all, there’s the speech of those who live down under. A Georgia boy would tend to stick out like a sore thumb in a conversation. After living there for a time there’s a good chance that I would pick up some of the accent. I would rather maintain my southern speech but I am afraid there is just no way around it. The way I talk would most certainly change. Can you imagine me saying “g’day, mate?”  Oh brother.

Then there’s the problem of Christmas in the summer time. Yes, the seasons in the southern hemisphere are flip-flopped. Our fall and winter here is spring and summer down under and vice-versa. That means that December 25 is right smack in the middle of summer. It would be hard singing Jingles Bells while applying sunscreen.

What do you think? Australia? New Zealand? Some other place?  Let me hear from you.

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17
Jun
09

U.S. Senators’ “Trust Busting”–Why?

I recently posted to Twitter an article from PCWorld.com reporting that a group of Senators have sent a letter to the FCC urging it to consider regulating device/carrier exclusivity deals in the mobile device industry. The most obvious one that comes to mind is the iPhone deal between Apple Inc. and AT&T. If you want an iPhone you need AT&T. However Apple and AT&T are not, by any means, the only companies with such a deal.

There is a term in the business world that explains what agreements like these create: a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage is any inherent or created edge that a company possesses that sets it apart from its competitors. A competitive advantage may be created by partnering with another company.

First of all, the only Constitutional power given Congress that is even remotely related to business is the regulation of interstate commerce (Article I, Sect. 8, Clause 3). This enumerated power applies to commerce between states or with foreign powers. Phone/carrier exclusivity deals do not fall into either category.

On the night of Obama’s election to the presidency I wrote an article borrowing heavily from “Nineteen Eighty-Four” imagery. At the time I considered that perhaps I was too hasty had not given the new president enough time to prove himself. Well within the first six months of what is sure to be a long and grueling term, he has proven me right. And now it seems that liberals (and big government folks in general) are emboldened by the leftist presence in the Oval Office.

24
Mar
09

So Obama’s Gonna Help Me Get an Auto Loan

I was just watching the President give a press conference about the stimulus package. One thing he said stood out to me among all the rhetoric. He said that part of the purpose of this package is to “help” banks (read: take over banks) to be able to loan money for autos and homes at affordable interest rates.

I wish that the President was a Smoak House reader. That way I could tell him that when the economy is down so are interest rates. I learned that in…hmmm, let’s see….Economics 101 in college. And that was at Macon State College. Obama attended Harvard!

Furthermore I would like to tell him that last week, during a recession, without his stimulus package I bought this brand new 2009 car…

Look, Ma! No Government Aid!

Look, Ma! No Government Aid!

…and I financed it for five years at an interest rate of 5%. Not bad for the good ol’ free market, eh?

This quote by Ronald Reagan has been trumpeted far and wide but I feel I must remind you of it:

“Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.”

ps: I sure wish I had voted for Ron Paul.

07
Feb
09

Look at Your W-2: See How Much You Really Have?

You read that right. I am going to say something good about the process of filing your tax return (“this oughta be good!”). There is one advantage to getting that W-2 in the mail—it means that you actually have a job. I thought I should lay down a few reasons to be thankful as we move into the tax season because now that I am starting my income tax return (which usually means I have to pay more money when all is said and done) some angry anti-tax posts can not be far behind. 

1. I consistently complain about my job. However I have heard of so many people who are unemployed. I know first hand that jobs are scarce because I have searched for new jobs and there just are not any that require my skill set and it sounds like many others are in the same predicament.  I am glad to be where I am. Heck! Right now it is good to be anywhere.

2. I consistently complain that I do not feel I get paid enough to justify having gone to college. I do not mean that I would have not gone, but somehow I think I deserve more. The truth is I make pretty dang good money considering what little I do know (did I just hear some “amens”?). Tom DiLorenzo’s book “How Capitalism Saved America” states that we all have different interests and tastes and aspirations. Some workers labor so as to achieve a wealthy lifestyle. Others work simply to provide for themselves with perhaps some nice amenities along the way. In my heart of hearts I tend a little toward the former, but I am grateful to be resting securely in the latter.

3. My job seems to provide less than my ideal amount of income. Then again there are two other factors that I fail to consider: a) my wife also works and brings in a tremendous supplement to my income and 2) our income exceeds our expenses. This means that I am living larger than often think I am.

When I consider that last year I went out to eat innumerable times, bought some great gifts for my wife for her birthday and Christmas, went to Dragon*Con, went to Mississippi, made a trip to Alabama, went camping, bought a Macbook, bought lots of iTunes music and gave a weekly tithe to my church all without starving, then I must admit that I things are not as dire as I am wont to make them out to be.  Does anyone else have this tendency?

Josh H.




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