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Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Northern Virginia just got buried by more than two feet of snow.

This has two implications. First, I’m going to have a fun time shoveling my driveway.

Second, I’m going to add to my collection of humor that pokes fun at libertarians.

And now, courtesy of a left-leaning, quasi-populist softball buddy, we have our new addition: The tyranny of government snowplows!

Now that we’ve all enjoyed a good laugh (because some of us libertarians can be very doctrinaire and dour, and thus deserve to be teased), it’s worth noting that plenty of places, such as private communities, shopping centers, etc, do rely on the private sector.

And it’s no mystery that the snow in those places is generally cleared faster and at lower cost.

That being said, most libertarian types are far more tolerant of local governments spending money on things that arguably might be public goods.

Indeed, one of our principles is that things tend to go awry (like the water scandal in Flint) when responsibility and accountability are blurred because of involvement by state government or the federal government.

So most of us will tolerate snow removal by local governments, even if we would prefer the private sector.

P.S. I also have a collection of pro-libertarian humor.

P.P.S. Just in case you want to vicariously share my snow-shoveling misery, this picture will give you an idea of the size of the problem.

Though it is nice that one of the cats is helping to point the way.

And another one of the kitties seems rather fascinated by the walls of snow.

For what it’s worth, this snow definitely beats the December 2009 storm and also is heavier than the February 2010 storm.

P.P.P.S. Since I’m not as smart as my neighbor, who parked at the end of his driveway, I have hours of work ahead of me. Too bad there aren’t any criminal, unlicensed teenagers looking for work.

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I spend a lot of time mocking statists, and with good reasons.

But since I’m an economist, maybe I should be careful about throwing stones.

Especially since, based on a fairly miserable track record, my profession lives in a big glass house.

So let’s take a closer look to see whether Shakespeare was wrong about which profession most deserved extermination.

We’ll start with a story from The Economist, which informs us that the IMF has a perfect record of failure when predicting recessions.

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable,” John Kenneth Galbraith, an irreverent economist, once said. …The IMF publishes forecasts for 189 countries twice a year, in April and October, for the year in question and the following one. The Economist has conducted an analysis of them from 1999 to 2014… Over the period, there were 220 instances in which an economy grew in one year before shrinking in the next. In its April forecasts the IMF never once foresaw the contraction looming in the next year. …Our random-number generator correctly forecast the start of a recession 18% of the time.

I’d also add that the IMF has a near-perfect record of trying to undermine countries by recommending tax increases, but that’s a separate issue.

And I don’t mean to pick on the IMF. I’m sure that the forecasts from the Federal Reserve, the Congressional Budget Office, and private entities would show similarly dismal forecasting results.

Especially if their models are based on Keynesian theory, as shown in the cartoon in this post.

If an inability to forecast was the worst thing you could say about economists, that wouldn’t be too awful. But it seems that we also have shady ethical values.  Consider some findings from a recent academic study.

The present article analyzes the differences between economists and non‐economists with respect to observed corruption behavior… For this purpose, I analyzed real world data of relating to the 109th–111th US Congress between 2005 and 2009, including 695 representatives and senators. I show that those who hold a degree in economics are significantly more prone to corruption than ‘non‐economists’. These findings hence support the widespread, but controversial hypothesis in the ‘economist vs. non‐economist literature’ that economists lack what Frey and Meier (2004) call ‘social behavior’.

Wow, we’re “significantly more prone to corruption” because we lack “social behavior.” That doesn’t sound good.

No wonder fraudsters can easily pass themselves off as economists.

Though maybe that data simply shows that economists with bad morals go into politics, whereas those of us with good character work at places such as the Cato Institute.

Or maybe it’s just evidence that there are too many left-wing economists, as reported in another article from The Economist (though at least the profession isn’t totally dominated by statists, like in anthropology).

A survey conducted in 2003 among practitioners of six social sciences found that…left-leaning economists outnumbered right-leaning ones by three to one, compared with a ratio of 30:1 in anthropology.

In any event, if you want to argue that the world would be better off without economists, the real clincher is that we even have the ability to make sex less fun. At least indirectly, as pointed out in this Quartz article.

Does more sex make people happier? Or do happy people just do it more? A gaggle of economists and statisticians lead by Carnegie Mellon University’s George Loewenstein, a well-known behavioral economist, have done their best to find out. Their study, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, finds that more sex doesn’t always make people happier—especially if the increase is the result of taking part in an economics experiment. …So is more sex now a bad thing? Probably not. The findings seem to indicate that “the instruction to have more sex leads to a decline in wanting for sex and in enjoyment of sex.” … at least we know conclusively whether participation in behavioral economics studies is the best way for married couples to spice things up. The answer is no.

Let’s consider the tally so far.

Economists are 100 percent wrong, they’re crooks, and they even ruin sex for other people.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

But as every good economist will tell you, it’s the real world that’s messed up, not our theories.

And for some economists, that’s not just a joke.

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Since we enjoyed yesterday a libertarian version of the night-before-Christmas story, let’s continue today with the holiday spirit.

During previous Christmas seasons, I’ve shared Keynesian Christmas carols, a great Jay Leno joke, a video of Santa as a small business owner dealing with red tape, and a look at the all-important question of whether Santa is a leftist or conservative.

Today, though, let’s be momentarily serious and enjoy a Christmas present to the nation from an unexpected source. The Obama Administration has announced that the odious practice of asset forfeiture is going to be curtailed.

Here are some excerpts from a Washington Post report.

The Department of Justice announced this week that it’s suspending a controversial program that allows local police departments to keep a large portion of assets seized from citizens under federal law and funnel it into their own coffers. The “equitable-sharing” program gives police the option of prosecuting asset forfeiture cases under federal instead of state law. Federal forfeiture policies are more permissive than many state policies, allowing police to keep up to 80 percent of assets they seize — even if the people they took from are never charged with a crime. …Criminal justice reformers are cheering the change. “This is a significant deal,” said Lee McGrath, legislative counsel at the Institute for Justice.

But don’t get too excited. This almost certainly is not a sign of genuine libertarian thinking inside the Obama Administration.

Indeed, the story suggests that the Justice Department made this change at least in part because it didn’t want to share money with state and local governments.

The DOJ is suspending payments under this program due to budget cuts included in the recent spending bill. “While we had hoped to minimize any adverse impact on state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, the Department is deferring for the time being any equitable sharing payments from the Program,” M. Kendall Day, chief of the asset forfeiture and money laundering section, wrote in a letter to state and local law enforcement agencies. In addition to budget cuts last year, the program has lost $1.2 billion, according to Day’s letter. “The Department does not take this step lightly,” he wrote. “We explored every conceivable option that would have enabled us to preserve some form of meaningful equitable sharing. … Unfortunately, the combined effect of the two reductions totaling $1.2 billion made that impossible.”

Good, I’m glad they didn’t find a “conceivable option” that would have enabled the government to continue stealing property from people who haven’t been convicted of wrongdoing.

Now that we’ve been serious, let’s get back into the Christmas spirit.

An article in The Atlantic looks at Christmas cards, as designed by economists. Mostly they showed why we’re not at the top of people’s invite lists for holiday parties. Here are my two favorites.

Yup, only economists could describe things like love and family in this fashion!

I don’t even know how to characterize this card, but this sometimes is how economists think.

Last but not least, here are a couple of great Christmas-themed cartoons from two years ago, both by Michael Ramirez.

We’ll start with a Christmas wish that Santa hopefully granted.

Amen.

After all, a GOP with spine wouldn’t cower, as illustrated amusingly by A.F. Branco, when Obama threatens a so-called government shutdown.

Our next cartoon looks at an implication of all Obama’s spending plans.

And if you wonder about the size of Santa Obama’s sack, just check out these very depressing numbers.

After perusing that data, some of us may not be feeling like our statist friends deserve any holiday cheer. But this is Christmas, so let’s try to feel love and joy. So if you see some of your government worshipping friends and family today, we even have a Christmas greeting that’s appropriate for leftists.

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Time for some holiday spirit.

Last year, our night-before-Christmas story featured a very happy story about the benefits of deregulating air cargo.

In 2011, Larry the Cable Guy read a politically correct version of the night-before-Christmas story.

This year, we have Ted Cruz’s rendition of the night-before-Christmas story.

Needless to say, I especially enjoy the digs at Obamacare and Lois Lerner.

And it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I’m one of the few people who defend government shutdowns (indeed, as Jay Leno famously joked, the real problem is when it re-opens!).

But let’s not get distracted by real policy issues.

So to rekindle the spirit of the season, let’s share an adaptation of the night-before-Christmas classic from Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the House,

All the liberals were stirring, while conservatives groused.

The wish lists were hung on the approps bill with care,

In hopes that Obama would bless it with flair.

The Members were nestled all smug in their heads,

While visions of donors danced in their heads.

As Ryan the new Chief, and Nancy the shill,

Agreed they would stick us with a huge spending bill.

They went to the House floor with most in cahoots,

One trillion and more and tax breaks to boot.

It took some arm-twisting to get enough votes,

While hapless taxpayers must carry the note.

Then on the House floor there came so much chatter,

That Members looked up to see what was the matter.

Away to their cell phones they flew like a flash,

To make sure their pet projects hadn’t been slashed.

They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,

To pass all the goodies, while big-spenders smirked.

And laying restraint aside for the time,

Said let’s spend some money, put it all on the line.

Now, Ryan!, Now, Nancy!, Now, Hoyer and all;

On, Schumer!  On, Harry!  Cried Mitchell, “roll call.”

To the front of the room, and let gavel fall,

Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

Their eyes—how they twinkled!  Their dimples how merry!

Their cheeks were like roses, from wine and the sherry!

They all slapped their backs and most had a smile,

Though taxpayers will feel the pain for a while.

But some raised a ruckus and said it’s not right,

“We promised the voters that we would be tight.”

“Who cares?” came the answer, “It’s Christmas, don’t fear,

We’ll just tell the voters we’ll do better next year.”

Then they sprang to their limos, with drivers inside,

And away they all flew, all filled up with pride.

And I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight,

Happy Christmas to all, we spent trillions tonight!

In the interest of fairness, let’s also share the Bernie Sanders’s version of the story.

Of course, that’s not where the story really ends. The cartoon needs a few more frames to commemorate the 100 million-plus people butchered by communism.

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I almost feel sorry for the gun-control crowd.

They keep trying to convince themselves that people are on their side, but schemes to restrict the 2nd Amendment keep getting defeated on Capitol Hill.

And when a handful of state governments go against the trend and try to trample on constitutional rights to gun ownership, politicians get tossed out of office and gun owners engage in massive civil disobedience.

Now we get to the icing on the cake.

The New York Times just released polling data showing that a majority of Americans are against banning so-called assault weapons. Look at the bottom line and see how the numbers have dramatically moved in the right direction.

These results are especially remarkable because many non-gun owners probably think “assault weapon” refers to a machine gun.

In reality, the types of guns that some politicians want to ban operate the same as other rifles (one bullet fired when the trigger is pulled), and they’re actually less powerful than ordinary hunting rifles. I imagine if people had that information, support for these weapons would be even higher than what we see in the poll.

Another reason I almost feel sorry for our leftist friends is that they must be going crazy that terrorist attacks and mass shootings aren’t swaying public opinion in their direction.

But they’re underestimating the wisdom of the American people. Most Americans may not have strongly held philosophical views on gun issues, but they’re smart enough to realize that bad people almost certainly will be able to obtains guns, even if they have to do so illegally (as is the case in Europe).

So the net result of gun-free zones and gun control is more danger to the public since evil people will have greater confidence that victims will be disarmed. And that rubs people the wrong way because they’re smart enough to pass the IQ test that causes such angst for our left-wing friends.

Moreover, I think folks are getting tired of the dishonest propaganda from the White House.

Normally the establishment media is a willing co-conspirator with the Administration, but – as you can see from this footage from a White House press briefing (h/t: Michelle Malkin) – one reporter actually committed an act of journalism and the net result is that the White House’s spin doctor was forced to confess that 1) none of Obama’s proposed policies would have stopped a single mass shooter from getting weapons, and 2) not a single mass shooter is on the Administration’s no-fly list or terrorist watch list. Enjoy.

You can tell, by the way, that the White House has done some polling on how to sell its approach, referring over and over again to buzz phrases such as “common sense” and “gun safety.”

Yet if common sense actually guided policy,the Obama Administration would be trying to make it easier for law-abiding people to get guns.

Now let’s look at another video.

You may remember that I wrote last week about the White House’s attempt to deny 2nd-amendment rights to people who get unilaterally placed on the no-fly list without any due process legal rights.

Well, that topic came up at a hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Congressman Trey Gowdy took the opportunity to ask one of Obama’s appointees whether they intend to preemptively infringe on other freedoms in the Bill of Rights.

On one level, this video is very amusing. The Obama official is like a deer in the headlights and eventually confesses that she doesn’t have an answer.

But if you think about the issue more deeply, it’s really worrisome that we have a president and an administration that treat the Constitution and Bill of Rights as something that can be cavalierly discarded whenever there’s a conflicting short-term political objective.

Makes me think the humorous image I shared back in 2012 wasn’t a joke after all.

So let’s make something completely clear. The 5th Amendment constitutionally guarantees that American citizens can’t be deprived of their rights in the absence of some sort of legal process.

Which is precisely the point that Congressman Gowdy was making. The Obama Administration wants to preemptively curtail 2nd Amendment freedoms based on the arbitrary whims of bureaucrats.

Here’s the relevant language.

So the bottom line is that the White House is so ideologically rigid on guns that it is willing to run roughshod over the Constitution even though it admits that its gun control proposals would not have stopped a single mass shooter.

But I guess you have to give them credit for being consistent.

Though I guess this is where I confess to once again feeling sorry for statists. Imagine having to defend this approach!

Let’s close with some humor.

Here’s a very clever video featuring a burglar’s perspective on gun control.

P.S. Here’s my collection of other humorous videos mocking the gun grabbers.

P.P.S. Last but not least, I’ll share an amusing joke.

Participating in a gun buy-back program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.

And if you want even more gun control humor, click here.

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After the grim pessimism of yesterday’s topic, it’s time for something lighter.

In the past, I’ve shared lots of libertarian humor, both from a friendly perspective and a critical perspective.

Now it’s time to add to that collection. We’ll start with a great video from the folks at Reason. They have a parody trailer for a libertarian version of Star Wars.

Excellent job. I’m surprised this video doesn’t already have 100K-plus views. Please share it.

The first segment of the video reminds me of the libertarian chicken.

Also, for those who may have missed the reference, the “Free to Chewbacca” segment at the end is based on Milton Friedman’s great Free to Choose program. You can see Chewbacca’s part within the first five minutes of Episode One. But you should watch the entire series.

Our next video could be considered a follow-up to the Hayek love song I posted five years ago. It warns that faith in government and politicians puts a nation on a road to serfdom (I’ve argued that the VAT does the same thing!).

Quite amusing and clever.

To be sure, the Hayek videos that everyone should watch are the rap versions about his debates with Keynes. Part I and Part II are both superb and very economically sound.

Now let’s switch to a short video about shopping in Texas.  Sort of reminiscent of this joke about the difference between conservatives, liberals, and Texans.

It’s not as good as this classic video mocking gun-free zones, but still worth watching. And you can see other humorous gun control videos here, here, and here.

For inexplicable reasons, you can’t actually watch the embedded version of this next video featuring Ron Swanson. You’ll have to click through and watch it on Youtube (at least that’s what I have to do on my computer), but it’s worth that extra step.

There’s also another great Ron Swanson at the end of this post, though once again you’ll have to click through and watch it on Youtube.

P.S. Here’s a different version of the how-the-world-sees-libertarians poster I shared in early 2012.

And if you like this type of humor, you’ll enjoy seeing whether you (or libertarians you know) belong in one or more of these 24 categories.

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What are the wisest words ever uttered by an American president?

I’m not going to pretend to know the answer, but there are some options that are high on my list.

I like what Ronald Reagan said about the government’s view of the economy, a quote that I shared just a few days ago.

I also like what the Gipper said about big government during his inauguration in 1981.

Since I’ve asserted that Calvin Coolidge may be the best President of the 20th Century, it behooves me to point out what he said, as cited by Reagan, about shrinking government to save people.

Going back further in time, it’s hard to come up with better advice than these sage thoughts from Thomas Jefferson.

And let’s not forget the principled words of Presidents Madison, Pierce, and Cleveland. Walter Williams has cited their impressive fealty to the Constitution, an approach that is in stark contrast to the behavior of today’s politicians.

Now let’s look at another option in our best-quote contest.

But, first, some background.

What is it that our statist friends want? At the risk of oversimplifying, they think the government should use redistribution to provide basic needs for everyone.

That certainly was the core message of FDR’s so-called second bill of rights.

And it’s certainly the prevailing mindset of most Europeans.

Well, there is a group of Americans – numbering above 2 million – who do have all their basic needs provided by government.

They get their housing from government. They get their food from government. They also get free health care from government. And their clothing as well. And don’t forget free utilities!

Who are these “lucky” folks? Well, these are the people locked up in America’s prisons. So, yes, their needs are provided by government, but the tradeoff is that they don’t have freedom.

And this brings us to a very good quote from General Dwight Eisenhower. Here’s part of what he said to students at Columbia University in 1949.

In these times when we hear so much of security, security, security for everything we do — when so many of us want to be sure that we shall never be cold, or hungry, or out in the rain, or have a leaky roof… I should think that the best example of it would be a man serving a lifetime in a federal prison.

And here’s an image I found online that captures the same spirit, though I confess I don’t know if Ike uttered these specific words (shockingly, not everything you find on the Internet is true!).

But since it echoes the same sentiment as his remarks in 1949, I figure it’s worth sharing.

Now let’s close with an amusing interpretation of Ike’s quote.

I’ve shared many jokes about our political masters.

Here’s one that I got from my mother.

It’s about a possible new “Part G” for Medicare.

Medicare – Part G – Nursing Home Plan

Say you’re an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of
yourself. The government says there’s no Nursing Home care available
for you. So, what do you do? You opt for Part G.

Our plan gives anyone 65 years or older a gun (Part G) and four bullets.
You are allowed to shoot four politicians. This means, of course, that
you’ll be sent to prison where you’ll receive three meals a day, a roof
over your head, central heating & air conditioning, cable TV, library,
and all the Health Care you need. Need new teeth? No problem. Need
glasses? That’s great. Need a hearing aid, new hip, knees, kidney,
lungs, sex change, or heart? They’re all covered.

As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often
as they do now!

And, who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just
told you they can’t afford for you to go into a home. And….you can
get rid of 4 useless politicians while you’re at it. And now, because
you’re a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any more income taxes.

Is this a great country or what?

Now that we’ve solved your senior financial planning, enjoy your week.

Though I suppose I should add that this is just a joke and that no actual politicians were harmed in the writing of this post.

After all, there’s no need to shoot these scoundrels. As Instapundit periodically reminds us, tar and feathers are a much more appropriate punishment.

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