I think the President has a point about General Motors

Angry over General Motors’ decision to shutter several US and Canadian auto manufacturing plants, President Trump recently tweeted: A lot of left-wing and progressive sources are claiming that this is inaccurate, and that GM has repaid all the loans given to it as part of the auto industry bailout.  However, that ignores the reality that the US taxpayer lost almost $11.4 billion on the overall GM bailout package, as Pro Publica confirms.  Click the image to be taken to a full-size view at the organization’s Web site. There are those who claim that the GM bankruptcy deal cost the US taxpayer a lot more than

Continue reading

The party of the rich is . . . ?

I note that the recent mid-term elections have produced one interesting result that hasn’t received much comment. California, New Jersey, New York and Virginia dominated the top 10 wealthiest congressional districts. Out of the wealthiest 50 districts, 13 are located in California; eight are in New York; five in New Jersey; and four in Virginia. Massachusetts, which didn’t make the top 10, still sports four of the nation’s richest congressional districts.Here are the 10 richest congressional districts in the U.S. by median household income:. . .Among the top 10 richest congressional districts, Democrats now represent all 10. Out of the 50 richest

Continue reading

“Seizing property before it can escape”

Back in May, we looked at a proposal to use property taxes to pay off Illinois’ and Chicago’s pension deficit.  In particular, its advocates noted: The tax would be capitalized into real estate values which would prevent people leaving the state to avoid paying for the liability. It looks like Chicago and its satellite communities may be about to implement that progressive wet-dream tax. They figured out a way to tax wealthy folks trying to flee Illinois: A progressive real estate transfer tax, and the idea seems to be getting popular.. . .Chicago today has a real estate transfer tax of $5.25 per

Continue reading

Smartphones and what they really cost you

When you add up the cost of smartphones over time, they don’t look very appealing. If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it.Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy.And even they’re only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money.If you factor that in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair with their Apple

Continue reading

The march of the “refugee” army ants

We’re accustomed to hearing illegal aliens, attempting to enter First World nations, described as “refugees” or “victims”, or words to that effect.  Their “plight” is blamed on wars, violence, crime, and other such disruptions.  It’s a constant drumbeat of propaganda in much of the mainstream media.  For example, the Wall Street Journal claimed last week that criminal gang violence is a major reason behind efforts by South Americans to come to the USA. [In El Salvador,] Politicians must ask permission of gangs to hold rallies or canvass in many neighborhoods, law-enforcement officials and prosecutors said. In San Salvador, the nation’s capital, gangs control

Continue reading

First you’re the target market, then you’re the problem

I’m cynically amused by an apparent pull-back in the granting of easy credit to consumers. Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services said last week they have become more cautious in how they’re handling credit limits. The two lenders said they don’t currently see signs of deterioration in consumers’ ability to pay their debts but do question how much longer the economic recovery will last.“In so many ways, one can’t help but be struck by…just how good the economy [at] this point is,” Capital One Chief Executive Richard Fairbank said on the company’s earnings call. “And in some ways, it almost

Continue reading

Smartphones and what they really cost you

When you add up the cost of smartphones over time, they don’t look very appealing. If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it. Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy. And even they’re only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money. If you factor that in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair

Continue reading

The march of the “refugee” army ants

We’re accustomed to hearing illegal aliens, attempting to enter First World nations, described as “refugees” or “victims”, or words to that effect.  Their “plight” is blamed on wars, violence, crime, and other such disruptions.  It’s a constant drumbeat of propaganda in much of the mainstream media.  For example, the Wall Street Journal claimed last week that criminal gang violence is a major reason behind efforts by South Americans to come to the USA. [In El Salvador,] Politicians must ask permission of gangs to hold rallies or canvass in many neighborhoods, law-enforcement officials and prosecutors said. In San Salvador, the nation’s capital, gangs control

Continue reading

First you’re the target market, then you’re the problem

I’m cynically amused by an apparent pull-back in the granting of easy credit to consumers. Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services said last week they have become more cautious in how they’re handling credit limits. The two lenders said they don’t currently see signs of deterioration in consumers’ ability to pay their debts but do question how much longer the economic recovery will last. “In so many ways, one can’t help but be struck by…just how good the economy [at] this point is,” Capital One Chief Executive Richard Fairbank said on the company’s earnings call. “And in some ways, it

Continue reading

The “nanny state” and small business

Having recently formed a company to act as an umbrella for my books and book-related dealings, I was struck by an article in Ricochet about the issue of small businesses and over-zealous government regulation. Kaitlyn (not her real name) just moved here from Georgia. Her husband is an auto mechanic. “He can fix anything with four wheels! Well, except my car – it runs like crap!” She went on at some length about how good he was at fixing things. His plan was to start his own shop once they moved here. They moved into a double-wide trailer that had a nice

Continue reading