Jawaid Bazyar

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  1. Kevorkian references Rand

    While the philosophy Kevorkian espouses in this article is clearly not Objectivism, it is instructive that he seemingly has found Rand's philosophy to be at least a partial basis for his disgust for the state interfering in an individual's right to take their own life. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,546245,00.html
  2. Paul Krugman - Cheerleader for Socialism or just plain ignorant?

    I quite agree and did not intend to imply otherwise
  3. Gold strategy

    Invest in a profitable business. As cash your assets are a sitting duck. If you turn your cash into cash-flow, you can adjust your prices and hence cash flow for inflation.
  4. Paul Krugman - Cheerleader for Socialism or just plain ignorant?

    Sorry to throw you off your dinner! What I'm trying to say is, people make mistakes. I could make better economic decisions for some of my friends than they've made. But the point is, they're not mine to make. They will learn, and self-correct (or not, but if not they won't have any excuse). I will be clear what I mean by "perfect" in the sense I used it previously. "Economically optimal". Even assuming the government can optimize economic output by overriding private economic choices, they have no right to. And of course the reality is that government doesn't do anything optimally. When people make mistakes they tend to fix them. When government makes mistakes, it enshrines it in law and names highways after the perpetrators. Jawaid
  5. Post-meltdown investing advice?

    Larry, 10 months late but better late than never! I know you're sitting there thinking you couldn't live without my advice, so here it is ;-) I am very worried about inflation but I don't think there's much you can do about it .I think gold is a risky investment, because it's a volatile commodity market, and governments still hold extremely large reserves and frequently manipulate the gold market to prop up their currencies. I like the idea of gold the same as you but the idea is not reality. My investment strategy, should I ever choose to execute it, is the Warren Buffet approach. Purchase companies with mature, established businesses, which are profitable and pay dividends, and have strong owner-managers. Expect your profit to come from dividends, not from appreciating stock price. This is a fundamentally sound business logic. Anything else is speculation and carries a lot of risk. I guess to sum it up, "long-term sustainable free cash flow" is the goal of any sound business and these are the ones you want to be a part of. Warren Buffet actually dispenses great investing advice in his annual shareholder reports for Berkshire Hathaway. It's good stuff, I definitely recommend it. If you have risk capital, find an entrepreneur with some experience whom you know and trust. Oh and since real estate has gotten about as low as it can get, 10 months after your post, now is a good time to buy Jawaid
  6. "Built-in" obsolescence

    This is an old populist canard and is fraught with false assumptions. The big one is that it is easy and cheap to make products that last forever. This is clearly not true, there is a simple and commonplace economic formula that cost increases as with quality or strength. This is not arbitrary, but derives from nature of raw materials and the state of the marketplace. There are always tradeoffs in engineering that is often expressed as "you can have two out of these three things", as one example: inexpensive high quality attractive Two out of three of those are possible in any given device. You could make cars that last 50 years, but they would be so expensive nobody would buy them. The one thing we can safely say is that many products get cheaper and better over time as science and engineering improves. Any company that intentionally made products that broke early, would be at a competitive disadvantage from competitors that did not. "intentionally break early" would imply an unusually good profit margin motive which would attract competition. Over time the "planned obsolescent" product would not fare well in the market. Jawaid --
  7. Paul Krugman always gets my blood boiling, because he is so self-righteous and yet so wrong. He writes in the pages of the New York Times, and talks about how he loves the proles and democracy - but unlike virtually every other media outlet, the New York Times has no reader comment feature. What Krugman really likes, is to pontificate to the masses from atop his ivory tower, and not have to listen to anyone tell him he's wrong. And how wrong he is. In a recent New York Times op-ed (1), Krugman writes: Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good. First off, Krugman like other Socialists just can't get over Ronald Reagan. They are still campaigning against him even though he's been dead for years. Earth to Krugman: Obama is the President now. Blaming Reagan for today's crises is even more daft than blaming Bush. "Let’s talk for a moment about why the age of Reagan should be over. First of all, even before the current crisis Reaganomics had failed to deliver what it promised. Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the “magic of the marketplace” were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn’t happen." (It's only "magic" to someone like Krugman who doesn't like the economic decisions you make and wants to replace them with his own). Let's see. We went from the 70's, a decade of negative real GDP growth after inflation, to amazing real growth in the 80's and 90's. Krugman refers to supply-side economics (the theory that reducing top marginal income tax rates stimulates economic growth) as "Reaganism", though it would be more accurate to refer to it as Coolidge-Kennedy-Reaganism, since all three of these Presidents enacted marginal tax rate cuts and with the same effect every time - turning stagnation or negative growth into large, positive economic growth. While supply-side is most firmly associated with Reagan, the negative impact of high marginal tax rates was known and commented on by Adam Smith in the 1600's. Krugman may be good at math (though this is in some doubt), but he is clearly terrible at history. To be sure, the wealthy benefited enormously: the real incomes of the top .01 percent of Americans rose sevenfold between 1980 and 2007. But the real income of the median family rose only 22 percent, less than a third its growth over the previous 27 years. Yes, lower marginal tax rates were good for the wealthy. Duh! Krugman brings out the class warfare bludgeon early in his article. He mixes two units here, disingenuously: he compares the growth of real income of top earners with "median family income". These are very different metrics. First off, I wish the socialists would decide which rich they want to demonize and stick with it. Is it the top 0.01%? Is it the top 10% Is it the top 1%? The top 0.01%, the targets of Krugman's current class attack, are 30,000 people. If 30,000 people increased their income by 7x I say good for them! We should not institute draconian, punitive economic policies just because Paul Krugman is pissed off at 30,000 productive people. So let's just forget about that, and go right to the middle class, who Krugman attempts to pander to in his tract. So apparently according to Krugman, the 15% inflation and 20% interest rates under Carter were good for "median families". Krugman's history also fails in remembering that Reagan was not the President in 1980, and that Reagan's tax cuts were not signed until 1981 and that recession did not end until 1982. So why does Krugman include 1980 in Reagan's legacy? Paraphrasing, "never let a good recession go to waste". He includes it because it makes Reagan look bad, not because Reagan's policies actually had any blame for the poor performance in 1980 to 1982. Krugman also compares rise in real income between two very different periods. The first period is apparently 1953 to 1980, the second 1980 to 2007. These periods are very different - the 50's and 60's were America's second industrial revolution - and economic growth is fueled by many things, but a large impact on economic growth is population growth. The US population growth rate has been steadily declining from its average 2% peak in 1947 and 1950, to less than 1% today. But what is this "real income of the median family"? What the heck is that? Is he saying, median real income of families? Real income of average-sides families? He's pulling a fast one on us here. First off, median household income data was not available before 1967. So what is Krugman using for periods prior to that? Second, If we're comparing post-WWII to 1970, family income rose dramatically because women in the family went to work en masse for the first time in history. Income would almost double in any family where the woman went to work. By the 1970's that trend was largely completed, so clearly "family income" growth rates would decline accordingly. Third, many people now choose to work part time. Many people have "enough" money and value free time more than additional marginal income - time to spend with family or other pursuits. While median family income growth has declined, median individual income has continued to rise unimpeded. Clearly then we are looking at information that says something other than "Reagan's policies don't work." We are seeing a shift away from both parents in a family working full-time. Since we can (and Krugman does) play games with statistics and start and end points, we should look instead at the sustained slope (long-term growth rate) of family income. Note the "Real Median Household Income" chart about halfway down the WikiPedia "Median Household Income" entry (2) (2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income). Really, pull it up now, the chart is important for many reasons, but mainly because the data Krugman purports shows the failure of Reaganomics, actually shows its success. Between 1970 and 1982, at the height of the Socialist/Keynesian government interventions Krugman so loves - price controls, rent controls, wage controls, massive regulation and intervention - carried through three administrations (Nixon, Ford, Carter), we had not one but four recessions. In 1982 the median household income was the same as it had been in 1970. By the way Krugman, it's this sort of data that casts doubt on your theory that "government intervention is always good". (Or maybe it's Krugman is Always Right). But by the end of 1982, the economic miracle that Krugman claims never happened, began. The Reagan tax cuts kicked in, and by 1990 real median family income (adjusted for inflation) had increased 13% over 1982's low. In 1990, Bush I raised the top marginal tax rates, breaking his campaign pledge of "No new taxes". By late 1990 we were in a recession again, and median family income dropped for the following two years. But 1993 the economy recovered and the miracle resumed: by 2000, median family income had risen another astonishing 17%. In total, from 1982 to 2000, real income after inflation rose 25%. Is Krugman seriously comparing the period 1982-2000 to 1967-1980, and saying that Reagan's policies came up short? I mean, LOOK at it. You don't have to take my word or Kruman's word. The data is there for all to see - Reaganomics worked. Whatever Krugman is smoking, I'll take two. Krugman ballyhoos the economic growth during Clinton while pretending that same growth under Reagan didn't exist: "Moreover, most of whatever gains ordinary Americans achieved came during the Clinton years." That's just dumb, Krugman. It's dumb because you ignore the same annual median income growth rate during the 1980's, it's dumb because you ignored the Bush I tax increase that led to a recession, and it's dumb because even though Clinton was in office, Reaganomics was still in power driven by a Republican Congress which kept government growth in check. Clinton did very little that wasn't in line with Newt's Congress (except sleep with every woman he could get his hands on). Reaganomics did not suffer any serious setbacks until Bush II. While Krugman clumps Bush II in as a "Reaganite", he's dead wrong: President George W. Bush, who had the distinction of being the first Reaganite president to also have a fully Republican Congress, also had the distinction of presiding over the first administration since Herbert Hoover in which the typical family failed to see any significant income gains. George W was many things, but fiscal conservative he was not, and by 2002 the Republicans in Congress had gone astray and become just as bad as the Democrats had been before Reagan, spending like drunken sailors. And here again, Krugman conveniently forgets that Islamic terrorists murdered 3,000 people and blew up tens of billions of dollars worth of New York City. The ensuing economic dislocation has nothing to do with overall poor economic results in the 2000's according to Krugman. No, it's all the fault of that Reaganomics! See, Krugman wants you to confuse the specific policies of Reagan, with those of later Republicans. Bush made taxes the most "progressive" in 30 years by giving money away on the bottom side instead of taxing it at the top. But the effect on people's behavior is the same - people will not work for that which is given away for free. That was not Reagan's vision, Krugman, and you are disingenuous and dishonest for claiming that it was. Finally, Krugman brings up the current recession, and blames Reagan again: There’s a lot to be said about the financial disaster of the last two years, but the short version is simple: politicians in the thrall of Reaganite ideology dismantled the New Deal regulations that had prevented banking crises for half a century, believing that financial markets could take care of themselves. The effect was to make the financial system vulnerable to a 1930s-style crisis — and the crisis came. The Socialists ought to decide whether it was Reagan, or Bush II, who caused the recession, and stick to the script. Their waffling on this issue is becoming confusing. As a "nobel prize-winning economist" Krugman ought to know that the 1930's and the current crisis have something else in common - they were preceded by massive government intervention in the marketplace. In particular, Barney Frank and his cadre of Capitol Hill do-gooders shoved requirement upon requirement on banks to give mortgage loans to people who in sane times no bank would have agreed could afford it. 0%-down lending programs have been forced by the government on lenders four times in the past century, with exactly the same results each time: skyrocketing default rates and a subsequent crash in the housing market. Congress is insane, by the common phrase "insanity is doing the same thing each time, and expecting a different result". Washington, it seems, is still ruled by Reaganism — by an ideology that says government intervention is always bad, and leaving the private sector to its own devices is always good. Krugman wants us to believe that Barney Frank leaning on banks and saying "Don't worry, the government will pick up the tab if anything goes wrong" is somehow a failure of the private sector. But since we already know Krugman is bad at history, maybe we should forgive him this last of many lapses? Not a chance. Krugman isn't ignorant. He's a socialist, and the only way he can defend his ideas is by pretending that they haven't already failed multiple times in the past 100 years; by writing pieces which make claims about the results of Reagan's economic policies which are demonstrably false; and by blaming the private sector for economic dislocations caused by bad government policies. Private enterprise isn't perfect. But it's free. Free people make mistakes. Government makes much more, much bigger mistakes, by shoving people around and replacing their judgement with that of some unaccountable bureaucrat's. What's good, is people being free to decide things for themselves. What's bad, is someone else forcing them to act against their will. To the extent that "Reaganism still rules in Washington, DC", we should be grateful for it. As long as Reagan's ghost roams that perverse city, we will all be a little freer and a little richer. 1. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/opinion/...ugman.html?_r=1 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income 3. http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5001685505
  8. The March of Fascism continues

    Barney Frank is now proposing government regulation and control of ALL executive compensation, not just in companies receiving bailout money: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/11...-executive-pay/ But it's not just Frank. The Treasury Department has released "guidelines" for executive compensation. How long before those "guidelines" have the force of law?
  9. Economic Dictatorship in US Begins

    Before I put in the link to this particular article, I just have to say this: I told you so. No, really. I told you this would happen, if Obama was elected. I stated in this forum and others that Obama was an outright, complete and total unfettered Socialist. I said the slim chance of danger from the so-called "Religious right" was negligible compared to the definitive and assured threats from a Socialist Obama administration. The Constitution I said, protects us from intrusions of religion but not intrusions in the economy. We are now witnessing massive intrusion into the economy by the Federal Government, the most egregious such assault on economic freedom since FDR. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/business...ml?ref=politics The President has just appointed an economic dictator, who is accountable to no-one, who will decide on his whim and his whim alone, the pay and compensation of executives at large American companies. And make no mistake, you're next. Pretty soon this power will be expanded under the theory that the bailout money is now flowing through other parts of the economy and must be "protected" there just as it is being "protected" at Bank of America, etc. Anyone who voted for Obama is directly responsible for this. You might as well have handed him a loaded gun and invited him to loot your pockets. If anyone got *anything* from Ayn Rand, it's that ideas matter. Many, many people put their heads in the sand and ignored the simple facts of Obama the Socialist. This was GUARANTEED to happen - on his campaign web site there was not one single idea or proposal that did not increase the size, scope, and intrusiveness of the Federal Government. Just like the Islamic terrorists who tell us over and over how they are going to murder us, then do it - just like Iran is saying over and over how they are going to wipe out Israel, and we pretend it isn't so.. mass evasion on a national scale occurred before the election, by everyone who hated Bush so much it blinded them to what Obama was clearly saying he was going to do. And he clearly stated he was going to do all of this. And he is doing it. "Oh, I don't like those religious nuts, so I voted for Obama." In a democracy, you get the government you deserve. Enjoy it.
  10. Atlas continues to shrug

    Paul, the last time I shopped at Circuit City I also checked out the Best Buy across the street. On the same day. This was about a year ago. The Best Buy was clean, colorful, well-stocked, and full of people. The Circuit City was plain, and empty of shoppers. Maybe they were successful in years past, but at least by 2008 shoppers found more of what they wanted at the competition (which includes Wal-Mart, and online retailers such as Amazon, where I've made many of my recent consumer electronics purchases). In this case, I believe it's the shoppers who shrugged. It's always a little sad and sentimental to see companies like this go, but we're all better off in the long-run. Jawaid --
  11. Debt - Our National Sin

    Debt. It's an ugly word, and it's our national sin. We once were a nation of savers, for whom debt was an embarassment. We have turned into a nation of borrowers, to buy houses too big for us, SUV's too expensive for us, to pay for lavish lifestyles of gluttony and excess. What equity we had in our homes, was spent to pay down irrational and uncontrollable credit card spending. People have finally noticed that homes don't really appreciate at 20% a year and the whole thing was a sham being used to prop up consumer debt spending. Now the house of cards has collapsed, and Great God Government is going to bail us out - with debt, debt and more debt. The "Me Generation" is now in power in Washington, but they just don't get it. You cannot borrow your way out of fundamental economic problems. You have to change your behavior - this is taught in every Credit Repair program but is a lesson apparently overlooked by Congress and the President (any of them, take your pick). We, as a people and as a Government, must cut spending on "feeling good", and return to saving and investing in assets that will produce real long-term wealth generation. We must stop squandering on feel-good programs, pork-barrel, and earmarks; and start investing in business, in jobs, in research and technology, in education. We must drastically cut spending in order to eliminate the debt. It is relevant that the interest payments each year now total over $400B - almost as much as the total cost of the Iraq war. $400B would put 16 MILLION students through the finest private universities. Yet we squander it, we are funneling it to the Chinese and Arabs who are buying that debt, and want to destroy us. This is insanity! Just the Federal debt is now in excess of $10 Trillion, and this does not include $2.5 Trillion in consumer debt nor the $700B bailout nor the new Obama/Pelosi $1 trillion "stimulus", nor debt of States and Cities, and who knows what will be proposed tomorrow. Each working American's portion of these debts is now in excess of $100,000. Many working people don't have anything approaching this in net worth. We are bankrupt, and more of the same "borrow it" mentality will only further encumber future generations. Each generation claims to seek to leave a better world, a more secure financial life for their children. Yet for the first time in American history, we have left our children a burden, a debt that we cannot possibly repay - and Obama and Congress want to increase our children's debt even more, for our own comfort at the expense of our children. We might as well be putting chains on them and sending them to the mines. This is just as much slavery as the more obvious kind, except that the toil of others which we benefit from, will happen in the future. So it's easy to forget its reality. I expect my pleas to fall largely on deaf ears, as the "Me Generation" has shown it doesn't care about future generations. "We want more government programs, give us more bread and circuses, it's all on credit, right? No problem! Redistribute that wealth and if people complain they didn't get enough just borrow some more! We want and we WANT IT NOW!" I, for one, believe this is immorality of the highest order and I refuse to participate in it. I will not vote for anyone who thinks it is right to indebt future generations to pay for our excesses and our own incompetence. I will rail against anyone who preaches this message of self-destruction through their words or actions. And I will do everything in my power to get this generation to accept responsibility for its own bill. Jawaid Bazyar
  12. Supreme Court may disqualify Obama in December

    And, frankly, I am a huge fan of the natural born citizen requirement.
  13. The Peikoff Endorsement

    And what would 50 years under the unbreakable power of THAT coalition do to the country? But they'll never do it, because the socialists want the government to pay for as many abortions as possible, and the religious want women to be baby factories. The Demoncrats could drop the women's libbers and bring in the religious nuts and then it would Game Over for America for a long time. Alternatively, I think a significant fraction of Americans think the abortion question is settled and are starting to lean towards libertarianism, except that the principles of Objectivism are currently split between the two parties. I wonder if anyone has done any polling on this? A lot of people I've talked to seem to support individual rights and limited government.
  14. The Peikoff Endorsement

    This proposed amendment was voted down approximately 75% to 25%. This means that about half of Republicans here voted against it (including me, incidentally). Getting such measures on the ballot does not represent a "significant attempt". It's actually very easy to get such initiatives on the ballot here in Colorado and another of the initiatives this year was to make it a little harder to do so. Only a small fraction of the electorate has to sign a petition to get something on the ballot. Also, even though Colorado went for Obama by a sizable margin, every statewide attempt at a tax increase or to open a loophole in the current state spending restrictions ("TABOR" or Taxpayers Bill of Rights) was voted down. So I don't think the voters of Colorado are for Obama and Soclialism as much as they were against the Republicans ridiculous performance the past 4 years (corruption, scandal, seeming loss of principle regarding small government) and disgust with the Iraq war. Jawaid Bazyar
  15. It's Election Day!

    So, imagine my surprise when I am filling out the ballot and at the bottom of the presidential list there is a Stevens from the Objectivist Party. I didn't vote for him because I had never heard of this before and had no idea, standing there in the booth, if this Objectivist Party bore any resemblance to Objectivism. What do you guys know? This appears to be a very new thing.