Randian Super Productivity Part 1

So one of teh primary tenets of Objectivism, at least as I understand it, is something to do with Productivity. How being Productive is some sort of Virtue and is representative of one's worth as a human being - hence the disdain for moochers and idolatry of the super-productive entrpreneurial Galtian übermenschen.

Here's an observation - teh self-financed Atlas Shrugged Part 1 film came in at $20 million to make. Revenues might be as much as one quarter of that.

Also self-financed, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog had a budget of $200,000, or 1% of what teh Galtian Ubermenschen burned through and at least as good revenues. Granted teh actors worked gratis, but by the time they had all been paid by DVD sales, total revenues were still way under $20 million. Atlas Shrugged Part 1 has so far raked in marginally higher box office reciepts than Clerks did, but Clerks was made for around $28,000. I'm not even going to mention Blair Witch.


My Generation's Reaching Out For You*


We got our phone call from Toronto Public Health to see how things were going. They phone all new parents and "interview" them to make sure they're raising the kids in the Government Approved Prescribed Method**. I was talking about it to the mother-in-law who explained how things went back in the day. Public Health made house calls. To every home with a new baby. They didn't ask to be let in, they just flashed their "badges", barged in and inspected your baby for signs of abuse. The State wasn't acting like a nanny, it was acting like you were the nanny of their child.

Tea Party people are, by and large, geezers. They are from generations before mine, from the Olden Days when Government actually acted in the ways they claim it does now.

Maybe it's really different south of the border. Maybe you guys really do have some sort of massive Creeping Socialism thing going on. But I doubt it. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly true that the current Administration is making some pretty broad and sweeping claims to power. Suspension of habeas corpus, warrantless wiretapping, the things being done in the name of the Struggle With The Existential Threat To Civilization Posed By A Few Unhinged Religious Nutjobs, or whatever they are calling it these days. But,,,

The generation before mine was the one that got drafted to shoot the Viet Cong. The generation before that had McCarthy's witch hunts. Imagine the response to the "grassroots" Tea Party protests if they were held in the fifties.

We laugh at blue laws now, but for me - it was only twenty years ago that Government decree prevented people from shopping on Sunday. The stories I hear about the hoops one had to go through in order to purchase alcohol back then make my head spin.

All a part of that arcing moral universe bending towards justice and whatnot.

Now if the complaints against Government were that the arc was bending too slowly - that we aren't doing enough to get to that just society where people are judged by the contents of their character - then I am all in. In fact, my words to the "Moral Universe" are "Get Bent".

But that's not what Tea Partiers and conservatives in general are saying. They aren't calling for progressive changes, they aren't clamoring for moving with that arc. They are pining for the Olden days - when there wasn't as much SOCIALISM! - only that Government intruded much moar deeply and into way moar areas of your life.

Here's what I'm saying (although I recognize no one that needs to hear it is going to be reading this blog) - you are now more Free than you ever have been***. It's a bit clouded for the Tea Partiers since everything they want to do are the socially and legally mandated behaviours, but being prevented from doing things that you probably weren't going to anyways is still a loss of Freedom.

In closing, my baby is UNBELIEVABLY ADORABLE! SHE IS THE BESTEST THING IN TEH UNIVERSE (even if her hand is too small for my bourbon glass).

* Title from this song which I may have posted before, but this video is a newer version.

** Mostly that you're feeding her and that mom is recovering well. Oh, and that you are reciting the correct ideological manifestos**** to her while she sleeps.

*** Offer not valid for Bradley Manning and other Enemies Of The State.

**** This is what I mean. The concept of reading brainwashing materials to a baby as it sleeps is too ludicrous to be considered reasonable satire. Especially by those who read the Bible to their sleeping babies.


Looking Down on Creation

Now that I am a father, I find myself drifting rightwards and becoming more and more conservative. I'm even thinking of voting for the Communist Party in the next election.

Thnax all for the nice words. Although to be honest, my ecstatically delighted meter was already pretty much overloaded beforehand. I'm so overjoyed that only the impossibly beautiful voice of the tragically doomed can capture it.

I'm only just starting to catch up with what's been happening elsewhere in the world, but I'll be getting back to posting and commenting sometime soon. Even if it is just to spite the zombie.


It's a Girl

So anyways, that happened.

She's going to have to get used to camera flashes.



Three Things I Learned From Paul Ryan

Well, like everyone else who has commented on Teh Ryan Budget, I am going to start off with Teh Blockquote.
Well, first of all, I think we need to have a fact-based conversation about our budget. We need to get rid of all these accounting tricks, all these budget gimmicks and we`ve got to attack the drivers of our debt.

This from someone who presented his budget not with a CBO score, but with something from teh Heritage Foundation. If you remember Ryan's shadow budget (also titled Teh Path to Prosperity) from last year, he is already pretty well-practiced in giving CBO some ludicrous conditions for analysis but this time around - he didn't present the results of rigging teh game - he just pulled numbers outta his ass. So I guess he did get rid of gimmicks and accounting tricks, by simply ignoring accounting altogether and inventing numbers with no basis in reality whatsoever.

Is that a harsh description of Heritage's analysis? Well, general consensus is that teh Heritage analysis is full of shit - from "unicorn sighting" optimism to unemployment numbers that violate decades of central bank practice. You know, when even teh guys who did the analysis thinks something might be off, you know something might well be off.

Basically, the Ryan Budget isn't really a budget document, but rather a work of Objectivist slash fan-fiction. And while there is no useful information about economics or reality to be gleaned from it, it serves as a window into the Randian Super-Mind. The reaction from Heritage regarding 2.8% unemployment is quite interesting and brings us to our first insight.
"We adjusted the full employment unemployment variable," Beach told Weigel. "Nothing else changes as a result of that, but the employment number changes."
How much adjustment? 1.5% or roughly two and a quarter million jobs. Effect on tax revenues? 0. Effect on GDP and economic growth? 0. i.e. the "number of people working" in the Heritage model is incidental. It doesn't influence anything, it's just spit out afterwards - like an after-thought. IOW, in Objectivist Supply-Side magic unicorn land, EMPLOYMENT DOES NOT MATTER. They have literally said that whether or not there are two and a quarter million people at work or collecting unemployment, there is no effect on the economy. So when the Heritage Foundation makes unfounded claims about job losses, bear in mind that they don't give a shit. According to the Heritage Foundation, jobs have no effect on the economy.

Lesson 2 is about vouchers. In the magic world of conservatardism, Vouchers mean Freedom. In this case it's the Freedom to Die From Easily Treatable Medical Conditions, but that is a type of Freedom that you'll have to pry from the cold dead hands of Tea Party People - and by then it will be TOO LATE. Teh Ryan Medicare Plan is to replace teh EVIL gubmint Medicare with vouchers. You'll be able to use your vouchers to purchase the private health insurance of Your Own Choosing and not As Dictated By Some Bureaucrat - SOCIALISM! RATIONING! This totally follows standard supply-side reasoning - vouchers are bettar because it puts more power and choice in the hands of the consumer, plus private enterprise gets to do the job instead of brutally inefficient and immorally coercive Big Government.

So what's the Lesson? The vouchers are only for people under 55. Anyone 55 or older stays on the old system.

There are two possible explanations for this:

1. Paul Ryan hates old people and thinks they should be exluded and denied the Freedom to Choose their own health care coverage. Maybe because he thinks they are all senile idiots who would squander the Freedom he is offering. If so, this isn't age-induced senility, because the people who will have to deal with the magic vouchers will be old by the time they have to use them.

2. Medicare vouchers are not as good as the existing system. Government-run socialistic Medicare is better than vouchers for private-run insurance. IOW - health care, at least for seniors, is better managed by some huge central bureacracy. Now intelligent folk may already know that to be true, but this isn't a statement about what is and what is not. This is a statement about what Paul Ryan thinks, or at least what his budget says about the way he thinks.

There's the real framing on these Medicare reforms. Either teh GOP hates seniors, or not only are they cutting Medicare - but they also acknowledge that health care is better run by the government.

Thirdly, and finally for this analysis - it's the claim about whether or not Tax Cuts Pay For Themselves. Here's the Heritage Report. Appendix 3 presents the numbers. Remember that we are now playing in teh world of magic supply-side sparkleponies - the unadjusted 2.8% unemployment, plus 150 billion dollar per year average growth miracle world of Randian Super Awesome. Net difference with magic sparkleponies over ten years? $325 billion dollars. BUT, and I cannot lie - this is a big BUT, personal income tax is up $680 billion. That works out to thousand dollars per man, woman and child in the US. IOW, the tax cut shifts roughly One Trillion Dollars worth of tax burden from corporations to people.

Hertitage has people taking home an additional $935 billion dollars over ten years. Wait - that's before taxes. After-tax it's plus $255 billion. Still, that's net plus, so obviously the tax cuts are paying for themselves. Well, kinda. That's plus 255 on a base of 97,000 (averaged over 10 years) or a quarter of a percent. A quarter of a percent over ten years. IOW, no difference at all. BUT, corporate after-tax profits go up by $400 billion on $1,300 billion or a whopping 30.7%. Over one hundred times the benefit that households see. Even the most blood-thirsty and sadistic of pirates would have moral qualms about this level of looting.

So the answer is actually no. Even in the Heritage Foundation magical supply-side universe where a Galtian Perpetual Money Machine constantly pumps dollars into the economy without end, Tax Cuts Do Not Pay For Themselves. They Pay Their Corporate Overlords.

Note: CBO has scored the Ryan Budget (in this pdf), and it ain't pretty. Even after slashing trillions of dollars of spending, the ten-year effect on the deficit is marginal. And any gains after that are heavily influenced by the cancelling of Medicare. In this case it's not teh Tax Cuts, but rather the total gutting of Medicaid and CHIP that produce Big Fat Corporate Profits.


UPDATE: Why I've Been So Quiet

Today was our due date, so I've been kinda busy getting things organized - both at home and at work. That plus I am making a concerted effort to not think about anything at all, so it's been a lot of mindless distractions for me. On a related note, I now have my Solomon's Keep Hardcore Demigod achievement (Flame Lash, with no +all skills items).

Anyways, it looks like Ultra Ninja is going to be later than expected, so anxiety and pins and needles and so forth for the next few days &c. I've got some ideas buzzing around my head re: the Ryan budget that I'm starting to have trouble ignoring, so maybe I'll get to committing them to blog post. It'll depend on whether 'Lil Ultra interrupts sooner or later.