I Fought the Law (of Gravity) and the Law Won

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."
-Stephen Hawking

Believe me when I tell you that there are few greater pleasures in this world than waking up and realizing you are smarter than Stephen Hawking!

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." For a supposedly smart man, he sure can say stupid things! Sorry, Stephen, but your thinking has jumped either a few steps or the shark here!

Let us consider for the moment, the "law" of gravity. According to Wiki:

Every point mass attracts every single other point mass by a force pointing along the line intersecting both points. The force is proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

The force of gravity is a form of energy, which my old astronomy prof used to call "The Glue of the U". The law is not an edict such as "Let there be light", but describes the immutable relationship of mass to this force. With me so far? Good. We'll go over some of the math, but if your eyes start to glaze over, please feel free to jump ahead. Hawking did.

The Tax Cut is a Trick

By Grant Davies

The tax debate is back. Well, I guess it never left and it never will. But we can't let that stop us from talking it to death. After all, that's what blogs are for.

Meanwhile, let's make a few points about the recent tax legislation, as long as everyone else is talking it to death.

Obviously those who passed it (Republicans) are saying it's the best thing ever, as usual.

Those who oppose it (Democrats) are claiming the end of the world, as usual. 

Democrats say the stuff they always say. Basically they say that because of it we may be looking at starving babies, starving seniors, no health care, school closings, no fire department, no police, faster global warming, increased alien abductions, more Russian meddling, increased free speech, more student debt, more guns, more deportations, more walls, and general chaos. Did I miss anything?

Okay, I made some of that stuff up. They only hinted at those things this time out. But what they are actually saying again is even more inane. Oh, the old canard of "tax cuts for the rich" is still being used but the most preposterous worry of all is that this will "blow a hole in the deficit." (I've never been sure what the hell that meant since I always thought if you didn't like something and you had a bomb, you should blow a hole in it.)

The complaint might have more credibility if it wasn't being complained about by the very party that advocates more spending in perpetuity with no concern whatsoever for the inevitable consequences.

But let's get to my point/opinion about this new tax law. It sucks. Surprised? Only if you don't know me very well.

It sucks because it is merely toying with the code again and adjusting the numbers. What we really need, and what I have repeatedly asked that fictional old fat man for each Christmas, is a new tax system. Getting rid of the entire tax code, all 73,954 pages. (2014, it's more now) Just like the pony I asked him for as a kid, he never brings it. But, I digress. 

Let's contemplate the worst case scenario. What is better, the same old system, or the same old system with lower tax rates? Yep, the old system with rates not being reduced is the worst case. So should we make the perfect the enemy of the not quite as bad? Not in my mind.

And since I'm an old stock trader, I love graphs. Let's look at this simple one and see if we can figure anything out.

Other than making a good point, there is something wrong with this illustration. It's wrong because perfection would be a new system, and that would be more than barely noticeable. But we all get the idea, I think.

To wrap things up, I would like to make a much bigger point. It has to do with the level of taxation. 

When someone is asked what the level of taxation is, they usually go looking for statistics about how many taxpayers there are and dividing it by the total amount paid. I'm sure there are many more calculations that could be done, but it's something like that.

But as any old economist can tell you, (I'm only one of those things) there is a much simpler way to find the level. However, politicians never bring it up because it lays the whole stinking deception bare.

Simply add up all the government spending and the total amount is the level of taxation. Since the government isn't Santa Claus and there is no Easter bunny either, and since government has no funds of its own, every thing they spend money on must be taxed from the citizens.

Wait, you say....what about what they borrow or print? And what about those pesky subsidies and trade barriers and other gifts to favored businesses or unions?  The answer is, some of the people being taxed haven't even been born yet. And when the FED inflates the money supply by printing dollars, the amount of the decline in your purchasing power is tax as well. Also, any law or regulation that cause you to pay more for a good or service than you otherwise would have is also a tax. A tricky one, but a tax none-the-less.

If you guessed that answer correctly, you get to tell it to a liberal or other pinhead in a smug voice or a snarky meme.

So, the tax cut sucks, but not as much as if they didn't do it. The real answer to lowering taxes is to cut spending.  That would be a perfect way to deal with it. And it would be more than barely noticeable.

So screw this tax cut. It sucks because it's a trick. 

Control the assumptions, control the outcome

By Dean L

Whether it relates to weather prediction models, polling questions or  even (perhaps especially) "non-partisan" assessments of government budgets, if you control the assumptions, you control the outcome.  Liberals get it, we don't.

I work extensively with statistical models in my day job.  Models can have very strong predictive power if they are created with proper diligence. That means that you must control the assumptions that go into them to avoid creating your own confirmation bias.  If you skew the input variables you skew the outcome accordingly.  For example if you treat a missing value in a row of data as a zero as opposed to ignoring the missing value, you are lowering your overall average and therefore skewing your outcome towards a lower value for that particular income.

Democrats have understood this for decades - controlling "non-partisan" groups in order to control the message that comes out of them to condemn every Republican bill (e.g. the recent tax cuts) and heap praise on every Democrat bill (e.g. Obamacare's fictitious budgetary cost reductions).  They have granted money extensively to scientists to predict weather calamity as a result of global warming, thus incenting them to find problems in order to secure more funding.  Intentionally done or not (it really is intentional), the results are skewed towards the desired outcome.

Democrats have stacked everything in their favor over decades of working their way into positions to do so - not just entertainment, journalism, government bureaucracy but also polling firms, lobbyists and even statistical modelling and supposedly non-partisan  organizations.  The trick in the latter is to find a gullible but well-intentioned Republican to co-found an organization or co-sponsor a bill in congress so the claim of non-partisan can be applied. Afterwards they ensure that they stack the top positions and teams involved with those who will find, or skew their findings to their own liberal liking.

This is an important lesson for conservatives.  It will take decades but we should be working towards undoing those decades of entrenching bias and deliberately skewed findings just as we should be working towards re-balancing journalism and entertainment and all the way down to the assumptions that go into models and forecasts.  It's not just a matter of voting for the right people and hoping for the best, or leaving it to them to do all the work. Progressives understand this and are fighting this way on all fronts, if conservatives do not fight with the same level of intensity, we are destined to lose despite being on the right side of the truth.

The Democratic Party Morphs Into The Donner Party

By Grant Davies

The Pelosi/Conyers affair (as I have just named it) is the equivalent of a Political Donner party.

As long as your fellow travelers are dead anyway you may as well eat them to save your own skin.

This is what just happened as Pelosi threw her old buddy John Conyers under the pictured bus because the people paying her fare on the bus might stop doing so if she didn't solve the conundrum of being loyal to her cabal or staying politically viable.

She chose to eat Conyers. Wise move.

PS  I couldn't resist delighting in some snarky fun when I came across the picture below even though it's in bad taste. I guess I ain't very PC.