Saturday, November 14, 2015

Republicrats v. Depublicans, Part Deux

The leader of the most transparent administration in American history has stepped up to the teleprompter once more. Demonstrating that when our way of life is menaced, even by our largest trading partner, Mr. Obama is prepared to act swiftly to protect us from the crafty, conniving Canucks. This is why it only took him seven years to rule that we're not about to let 'em build a pipeline to transport their nasty, tar sands-derived oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Mr. O. made this courageous decision in spite of the fact the State Department has concluded that the pipeline will have no effect on global warming, one way or another because, one way or another, this oil has and will continue to be extracted, shipped and refined by somebody. His decision will ensure that boom times will continue for anyone involved in transporting oil via rail even though pipelines are proven to be more efficient, and considerably safer. He will not be swayed in spite of the fact constructing the pipeline would've generated a bunch of construction jobs, the exact number of which depends on whom you choose to believe. Anyway, as he has pointed out, these jobs would only last for a couple of years, though I must admit that the construction workers I know would be willing to trade a non-essential body part for a couple of years of well-paying, guaranteed work. As a matter of fact, I personally know of several citizens of Flyoverland who would be willing to sell one of their kidneys if it were legal...

...Which baffles me because the official unemployment rate is down again and many economists think that a 5% unemployment rate, allowing for all the folks in the process of trading a great job for an even better one, effectively constitutes full employment. I must have too many friends in low places.

The point is that despite the fact we Americans overwhelmingly support the building of the pipeline in poll after poll, Mr. Obama, once again is not afraid to ignore us, to save us from ourselves. He has courageously decided that we will not inflict Mother Earth with this particular 1,200 miles of pipeline even though we are already continuously expanding the 2,500,000 miles of pipes running under our feet. Now he has street cred he can use at the upcoming twenty-first meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Unlike the first twenty conferences, the world has a chance at reaching a workable consensus this time because China, that generates more carbon dioxide than the USA and Canada put together, recently promised that although the numbers will keep rising, they will peak soon and then start going down -- by 2030 at the latest. Barry made Jinping pinkie swear.


The Republicrats, the party of small government, continues their bipartisan alliance with Big sugar, and Big Gubmint Depublicans.

The Gubmint began subsidizing the American sugar industry in 1934, a temporary measure to aid farmers in the midst of the Great Depression. The price supports, quotas, and loans enjoyed by the industry, that the GAO says costs us almost $2,000,000,000 dollars a year, are alive and well 81 years later. Congress, demonstrating that they're capable of bipartisan cooperation when it's important -- or when it's needed to buy votes -- remains committed. For example, Marco Rubio, the Florida Republicrat senator running for president (alleged Rightie) and Al Frankin (proud Leftie, a Depublican of Saturday Night Live fame, that somehow became a senator from Minnesota) stand united to protect the sugar interests in their respective states. Which means that if you live in the USA, you're paying at least twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world. One of the rationalizations offered for this program is that it protects American jobs, and it does -- as long as the jobs are in the sugar industry. Unfortunately, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce estimates that every job protected in the sugar business results in three jobs lost in the candy business.

Egads! exclaims the gentlereader, how is this possible? Information Costs.

"The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."  Henry Hazlitt

When the phrase information costs is used by an economist, it refers to the fact that a given weasel, or group of weasels, can gain an unfair advantage in the market because while the advantage may be huge for them, it often goes unnoticed by the market as a whole. This is because we must choose our battles carefully since it's impossible to win them all.

The market is us. Or rather, the market is us, interacting with -- us. Filthy rich, desperately poor, or somewhere in between -- we all make choices, from moment to moment. Which burger joint should I go to? Who should I marry? How much will I pay for sugar? Who should I vote for? We choose based on available information.

The good news is that we're living in the dawn of the Information age. The bad news is we're living in the dawn of the Information Age.

Time is the cost of information.

Having an actual life, a given gentlereader may be too damn busy to know, or care, how economists define the term information costs. Having an actual life, a given gentlereader may be too damn busy to know, or care, that sugar costs too much -- as long as it doesn't cost enough to matter to a given gentlereader.

Step One.    The weasels donate some of the money you pay them to politicians.
Step Two.    The politicians use the money to buy your vote and get elected and/or stay elected.
Step Three.  The politicians pass laws that help the weasels maximize their profits.


Move along, move along --  nothing to see here but pillars of the community protecting American jobs.

Or, more succinctly:

The weasels make a killing by gently extracting a small amount of your money and giving some of it to politicians to buy your vote with your money.

Have an OK day.                                                                                      

©Mark Mehlmauer 2015

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