What If You Build It – and They Don’t Come? Send the Bill to the Taxpayers

So-called progressives have no problem taking from the working class to give to the rich – so long as it’s the rich of their choosing… via L.A. Liberty

The Fisker Karma is Back

What if you build it – and they don’t come?

Send the bill to the taxpayers!

Twice.

This is how you make money in the New America. Well, the green America.

Don’t earn it.

Steal it.

The “business model” is simple enough: Glom on to a politically high-fashion issue – electric cars, for instance. Then obtain government (meaning, taxpayer) “help” to fund their design and manufacture. When no one – or not enough – people buy your electric wunderwagen, simple declare bankruptcy and walk away.

With your pockets full of other people’s money.

Then, when the smoke clears, do it again.

This is exactly what electric car company Fisker – which produces (well, produced) the $110,000 Fisker Karma – did.

And is getting ready to do a second time.

Back in ’09, the company secured $529 million in government loans, which were being doled out generously by the Obama administration (and previously by the Bush administration) under the auspices of something called the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

Well, “loan” is not exactly accurate – because the government doesn’t really have any money of its own to loan. It only has the money it takes from you and me others via taxation. So what really happened is that the government forced the taxpayers of the United States to loan Fisker $529 million. (It also forced the taxpayers to “help” fund another electric boondoggle, the infamous – but now forgotten – Solyndra debacle.)

Fisker, like Tesla, specializes in high-dollar electric exotic cars that – so far – have not earned an honest dollar but have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions. Billions, actually. The reason for this ought to be obvious – no engineering degree required.

Electric cars make sense when they are economical cars.

To date, no one has managed to manufacture one. They cost more – overall – to own than conventional cars and they also (unlike conventional cars) have functional liabilities that include long recharge times and limited range. Rather than focus on – and fix – these issues, which might make for a marketplace-viable electric car, manufacturers like Fisker and Tesla build high-performance, flashy and very, very expensive electric cars. On the theory that sex appeal rather than economic sense will sell ’em. … [B]uying a Fisker or a Tesla literally triples or quadruples the cost of driving.

Yes, yes, the cars are sleek and sexy – and even quick.

Which is as relevant insofar as the bottom-line purpose of an electric car… People in a position to buy a six-figure Fisker Karma (like the actor Leonardo diCaprio, for instance) are not struggling to pay their fuel bills.They buy a Fisker or a Tesla as a fashion statement.

But the people who are concerned about gas bills aren’t in the market for a six-figure Fisker.

Hence the need for government “help.”

When you can’t sell ’em, force others to subsidize ’em. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Teamsters Withhold Endorsement for Hillary Want to Meet With Donald Trump


Hillary Clinton Still Democrats’ Queen Bee

hillary-drudge

Party’s ‘safe haven’ may see a few bumps in the road – and rumours of Joe Biden considering a run – but strategists agree she remains Republicans’ top opponent.

 writes: Not so long ago, Hillary Clinton’s supporters main concern seemed to be a fear that her coronation as the Democratic candidate for president would leave her unprepared for battle with the Republican nominee.

hillary-arms

Now, by all metrics, the former secretary of state retains a historically strong lead in the race to secure her party’s nomination. She is well ahead of the other declared candidates in terms of poll numbers, money and endorsements. But a succession of setbacks and the possibility of another mainstream rival joining the race has, to some degree, checked the presumptiveness of the presumptive candidate.

obama-clinton-golf

This was a week that started out on a high note, with the rollout of Clinton’s college affordability plan, a policy prescription driven in large part by the party’s progressives. But the spotlight quickly moved to escalating investigations into the private email account the candidate used while secretary of state, and a drop in polls as reports renewed speculation that vice-president Joe Biden may join the race. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Should You Need the Government’s Permission to Work?

A Case Study of How Regulation Harms Poor People

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing is the first national study to measure how burdensome occupational licensing laws are for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The report documents the license requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations—such as barber, massage therapist and preschool teacher—across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It finds that occupational licensing is not only widespread, but also overly burdensome and frequently irrational.

On average, these licenses force aspiring workers to spend nine months in education or training, pass one exam and pay more than $200 in fees. One third of the licenses take more than a year to earn. At least one exam is required for 79 of the occupations.

Barriers like these make it harder for people to find jobs and build new businesses that create jobs, particularly minorities, those of lesser means and those with less education.

License to Work recommends reducing or removing needless licensing barriers. The report’s rankings of states and occupations by severity of licensure burdens make it easy to compare laws and identify those most in need of reform.

A Case Study of How Regulation Harms Poor People

h/t International Liberty

 


Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Captured in ‘Dumb and Dumber’ Billboard in Wisconsin

hillary-sanders-billboard

via Red Alert Politics on Twitter


What Is Rent-Seeking Behavior?

fair-exchange

Much rent-seeking is redistributing the surplus of one group of the middle class to another group of the middle class via the government. Although there might be great incentives for one group to seek another’s surplus, there is no added value for society as a whole

David John Marotta writes: Voluntary trade benefits both sides. Unless both parties believe they will benefit from the exchange, they will not consent.

In most exchanges both parties can produce the item they are trading more efficiently than they can produce what they are receiving. Producing a surplus of one item provides each party something to trade for someone else’s surplus. Having more than your family needs opens the opportunity to trade the excess for profit.

“In the public sector, for example, government lobbyists are hired to sway public policy to benefit their companies and punish their competitors. Although hiring lobbyists clearly benefits the company they represent, the work of lobbyists does not add value to the larger marketplace.”

Unfortunately, when property rights are weakened and the ownership of someone’s wealth or goods is debatable, people can gain more by trying to appropriate that wealth than by producing themselves. This behavior is called rent-seeking.

Rent-seeking frequently requires spending your own resources so you own someone else’s surplus in the end. In the public sector, for example, government lobbyists are hired to sway public policy to benefit their companies and punish their competitors. Although hiring lobbyists clearly benefits the company they represent, the work of lobbyists does not add value to the larger marketplace. If property rights on the surplus the company seeks had been more stable, such roles for lobbyists would never have been created.

1943 June Workers leaving Pennsylvania shipyards Beaumont Texas LOC FSA OWI Photo Credit John Vachon

Rent-seeking doesn’t add any national value. It is coerced trade and benefits only one side. Rent-seeking can include piracy, lobbying the government or even just giving away money.

“Imagine a thriving sea trade in which ships carrying cargo receive a 20% profit on the value of the goods. Now imagine the first pirate who arms his boat with cannons and rent-seeks the profit. The pirates are not producing any value of their own but are spending their own resources to capture the surplus of the shipping trade.”

If the pirate ship captures just one in every hundred ships, the average profit for the traders will drop to 19%. Meanwhile the pirate ship is seizing a 100% profit. There is incentive to join the rent-seeking pirate trade. By the time 10 pirates are competing for plunder, the profit of honest merchants has dropped to just 10%. At 20 pirates, there would be no profit remaining and no incentive to engage in the shipping trade.

titanic-pirate-ship-wallpaper-free-3

The rent-seeking of pirates motivates merchants to spend their resources to prevent the theft. They sail with an armed escort. They pay privateers to capture the pirates. Even if these efforts cost 15%, they will still preserve a 5% profit. If the effort costs much more, however, shipping will simply cease. All of this expense could be avoided if incentives to be a rent-seeking pirate were somehow eliminated.

“If the pirate ship captures just one in every hundred ships, the average profit for the traders will drop to 19%. Meanwhile the pirate ship is seizing a 100% profit. There is incentive to join the rent-seeking pirate trade.”

When I (David John Marotta) was applying for college, I was told that hundreds of scholarships, many based on merit, were available. After hours of research I found very few for which I qualified. I found one scholarship for a student of Italian-American ancestry. It was worth $1,000 and required me to submit an essay. It took me three hours to write the essay. I was engaging in rent-seeking.

“By the time 10 pirates are competing for plunder, the profit of honest merchants has dropped to just 10%. At 20 pirates, there would be no profit remaining and no incentive to engage in the shipping trade.”

You might think that giving away money is free, but it is not. Even if you hold a random lottery, potential winners still need to take the time to enter. At my $5 hourly wage, my entry cost me $15. I learned later they received 450 entries. If my experience was typical, the rent-seeking cost of all the applicants was $6,750 just to win a $1,000 scholarship. If you add the time to judge the competition and send return letters, the waste gets even greater.

pirate-flag

“Rent-seeking never encourages productivity. The production of valuable goods and services is maximized with strong property rights when little is wasted in efforts to seize the surplus of others or to prevent others from seizing our surplus.”

During a strong economy there are fewer incentives for rent-seeking because production is highly rewarded. But when economic times make it more difficult to produce, it becomes more attractive to rent-seek someone else’s surplus.

This situation can create a downward spiral because the rewards of rent-seeking are often constant, whereas the surpluses available in a market economy are more variable. When the economy is poor, the burden of fixed rent-seeking costs on producers drives surpluses even lower. This makes rent-seeking relatively more attractive, which in turn further burdens those who try to remain productive.

“Any efforts to subsidize or bail out struggling businesses are rent-seeking. When some banks take excessive risks to gain excessive returns, they are risking that the returns will be worth the hazards involved.”

Much rent-seeking is redistributing the surplus of one group of the middle class to another group of the middle class via the government. Although there might be great incentives for one group to seek another’s surplus, there is no added value for society as a whole. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Holder: I Cleaned Up Bush’s Politicized Justice Dept

Nice Deb

9_162014_b1-funda8201_c0-0-2933-1710_s561x327

A favorite tactic of Obama and members of his Regime, is to run with the biggest, boldest lie possible, and dare anyone to question it. Eric Holder – easily the most corrupt Attorney General in our nation’s history –  fully embraced that tactic in spectacular fashion at a press conference Tuesday when he made the ludicrous claim that he cleaned up Bush’s Justice Dept. 

Yep. He actually said that.

Via The Washington Times: 

Attorney General Eric Holder pushed back against Republicans who said the Justice Department, under his leadership, had become little more than a political machine to push liberal causes — and said that he’s actually cleaned up all the politicking that had taken place under the former Bush administration.

In a press conference that began with his personal introduction — “For the record, I am Eric Holder” — the exiting agency head took shots at critics who suggested…

View original post 484 more words


[VIDEO] Pelosi on CNN: Wait, I Was Told I Could Bash Republicans, Why Do We Have to Talk About NEWS? We’re Out of Time?


White House Officials: ‘Very Significant’ Immigration Executive Actions Needed for the ‘Survival of the Democratic Party’

White-House-w-Fence

From The Butcher’s Notebook: White House officials said on Friday that President Barack Obama will enact “very significant” executive actions on immigration at the end of summer, “not because it’s good for America, but because it’s essential for the survival of the Democratic party.”

“American voters are beginning to figure out that progressive policies don’t work, because they’re not designed to work. There’s only so long we can get away with this before voters rebel, and special interest groups stop donating money. We can’t change American’s minds about this. We can’t win the argument, so we have to change the voters,” said a DeShove-it-Americamocratic campaign official, speaking informally, on the condition of anonymity. “Can we get another drink over here?”

“The president assured us that pissing off Republicans is personally more important to him than policy success.”

“Look. We may not be able to change the voters overnight. But we can sure as hell accelerate the process, by granting citizenship to the Democratic voters of tomorrow,” adding “without it, the Democratic party has no hope in hell of surviving past the next twenty years.”

Sitting in a corner booth in the lounge of a Chinese restaurant in suburban Washington D.C., after a few lines of coke, a few tabs of MDMA, a few injections of sodium pentathol, and a fresh round of drinks–mistakenly assuming he was speaking off the record–the senior White House official ventured further.

“Democracy is a means to an end. You need it, temporarily, to get your party in power. Once you do that, you have the tools to undermine it, a stage at a time. Not all at once. Otherwise, people catch on.”

lounge-chinese-drunk

“Look. Our opponents are at a disadvantage, because they’re all hung up on ‘playing by the rules’. You know, the constitution, rule of law, separation of powers, all that idealistic, parchment-paper 18th-century crap. We’re not interested in ‘rules’, and ‘laws’. They are a barrier to our goal of accumulating power. That’s how the big boys did it, before the American revolution.” Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats Lining Up to Oppose Obamas Anti-Gun Nominee For Surgeon General

anti-gun-candidate

Katie Pavlich writes: President Obama’s anti-gun nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, could go down in flames on the Senate floor. Murthy, who has a history of calling guns a “healthcare issue,” classifying guns as a “public health threat” and of slamming the National Rifle Association, is being opposed not by just Republicans, but numerous Democrats in an election year.

[See Emily Miller: Obama’s Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy is a Radical Gun Grabber]

[Don’t miss our Exclusive: Interview with Obama’s Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy]

Democratic Senate aides estimated on Monday that from eight to 10 Democrats may oppose Murthy’s nomination if the vote were to be held soon, mostly because of his left-leaning views on gun policy, which have attracted opposition from the National Rifle Association.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple’s CEO Puts Cronyism Over Profit

 

apple-img

Justin Danhof, Director of the Free Enterprise Project (and one of Tim Cook’s least favorite investors) joined the program to discuss his recent dust-up with the Apple CEO… Apparently, Cook thinks that return on investment isn’t nearly as important as pursuing “green energy” dollars from DC.

Click here to listen to Ransom Notes Radio live or for archives of previous shows.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] K-Street Cronyism Has its Own Action Figures: Meet The Kronies

Over at the CornerVeronique de Rugy has this treat:  Like every year, we can expect that bankers, farmers, green-energy providers, defense contractors, health insurers, and other protected industries will be among the winners of the agenda the president outlines in tomorrow night’s State Of Union Address. Well, now they have hot new toys to represent them and this very funny video to tell their story:

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] New Film ‘Bankrupt’ Examines The Downfall Of Detroit

Debra Heine reports:  On January 21, conservative filmmaker Ben Howe will be premiering his latest movie, “Bankrupt”

at the DC Auto Show. The subject he chose for his first full length documentary, is the cronyism that he believes brought down Detroit. In the documentary, he examines why Detroit failed and what rest of the country needs to do and avoid Detroit’s fate.

Here’s the trailer:

The website for Bankrupt is here. It will be freely available on YouTube after the premiere.

Read the rest of this entry »


Corporate Donor List Revealed: Who Funds the Far Left? You’ll Be Surprised

85905aba74665a3c0173

Reminder: large corporations are not, in general, supporters of free enterprise

John Hinderaker writes: The Center for American Progress is a left-wing organization that is closely associated with the Obama administration. Its principal product is a web site called Think Progress. Think Progress is part of the internet cesspool that modern liberalism has become. Written by hack left-wing bloggers, it is bitterly hostile to free enterprise. It is a low-rent site that traffics in the most absurd smears and conspiracy theories. Many have wondered for some years who finances far-left web sites like Think Progress. As of today, we know at least part of the answer, as CAP released its corporate donor list for the first time.

CAP says that individuals and foundations account for more than 90% of its funding, and corporations only around 6%. It would be interesting to see the individual and foundation donor list; my guess is that left-wing foundations, most of which spend money left by dead conservatives, would loom large. But what corporations fund Think Progress’s anti-free enterprise propaganda? The full list is here; it includes:

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] When I grow up, I Want To Be A Crony