Protect Your Assets During the Spending Crisis

Protect assets during the spending crisis; fortunes will be made at the bottom.
Protect Your Assets During the Spending Crisis
By: George Noga – October 21, 2018

         This is the second and final post about protection during the coming spending crisis. Last week’s post, available on our website, focused on timing issues and on protection for your family. This post is about protecting your assets.

         Protecting assets during the crisis is hugely complex as it is difficult to know what peril to protect against and when. We must consider (1) deflation and depression; (2) economic collapse; (3) inflation and hyperinflation; and (4) repudiation, restructure and repression. Moreover, we must consider these perils singly, successively and in combination. We will address each scenario and suggest essential protective actions. Finally, we will reveal how you can profit from the greatest crisis of our time.

Deflation and Depression

           Deflation, followed by depression, is likely but may follow a period of inflation, as government initially floods America with newly printed money. Assets that provide the most protection from deflation and related perils are cash (treasury bills), US dollars, long bonds and quality dividend-paying stocks of companies that make products essential for survival. Avoid real estate, commodities and precious metals.

Economic Collapse

       A prolonged depression (or hyperinflation) could lead to economic collapse. Many banks will go under. For protection, you should have an account at an ultra safe US bank, of which there are only a few; research this on the internet. You also should have a foreign bank account; for simplicity, consider opening an account in a Canadian bank denominated in Canadian dollars. During the crisis, government will prohibit new foreign accounts and will impose exchange controls to prevent money leaving the US.

      Avoid debts and US government securities. Be dependent on government for as little as possible. Protection can be gained from precious metals and foreign currencies. Consider government or corporate bond funds in developed countries with low debt ratios such as New Zealand (22%), Chile (24%), Switzerland (44%), Nordic countries (40%), Germany (64%) and Canada, which has a high, but stable or declining, ratio.

Inflation and Hyperinflation

      Government’s first instinct will be to print money, at least temporarily while it gropes for solutions. Prolonged inflation is distinctly possible. Protect with TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities), commodities, real estate, precious metals and foreign assets. Avoid stocks, bonds, cash and US dollars. It is better to be a borrower than a lender. To combat hyperinflation, own blue chip foreign equities and assets in resource rich countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and New Zealand.

Repudiation, Restructure and Repression

      Although outright and total debt repudiation is unlikely, restructure and repression are very much in play. Government could: (1) reduce interest rates or even impose negative rates; (2) lengthen maturities; (3) accrue (rather than pay) interest; and (4) mandate conversion into some other (less desirable) security. As happened in Poland, government could confiscate a portion of all IRA, 401(k) and pension assets. As in Cyprus, there could be a forced “bail in” whereby government overnight confiscates a percentage of all bank accounts. Cash transactions can be banned. To counter this, avoid government debt directly and indirectly in money market accounts. Keep funds outside the US and denominated in other currencies to the extent possible.

Five Low Risk Actions to Consider Now

       To get started, following are five actions to take now. These are the most obvious, embody relatively low risk, work under the most crisis scenarios and deliver the most bang for the buck. Nor will they be unduly penal in the unlikely event you are wrong.

  1. Open a foreign bank account denominated in foreign currency. Switch most of your cash into uber-strong US banks – of which there are only a precious few.
  2. Hold 5% to 10% of your assets in precious metals. Keep small denomination gold and silver coins at home for use during a crisis.
  3. Invest a portion of your assets in TIPS.
  4. Own bond funds focusing on highly rated bonds in places with low debt ratios.
  5. Retain some portion in a quality stock portfolio, invested mainly in dividend paying stocks of companies producing essential products.

How to Profit from the Spending Crisis

You can profit by leveraging safe assets, shorting government bonds and through options, derivatives or hedge funds geared to benefit from the crisis. However, merely protecting and preserving your assets will result in considerable profit. If you preserve your assets intact while everyone around you loses most of theirs, you are a big winner.

The bottom of the spending crisis will represent the best buying opportunity of a lifetime. Many fortunes will be made acquiring valuable assets at or near the bottom. This is harder than it appears. Everything seems darkest at the bottom and precious few investors will be able to summon the courage to act at that time. Will you?

Next we present ultra short topics including socialism and the Supreme Court.

Protection For Your Assets and Your Family

Protect your assets and your family against the inevitable spending crisis.
Protection For Your Assets and Your Family
By: George Noga – October 14, 2018

         The United States is on track to surpass the critical 90% public Debt to GDP ratio within the next few years; however, the crisis may not begin until years later when the ratio is much higher. The timing is highly uncertain and depends on economic cycles, interest rates and events, many of which are unknown and/or unknowable.

      The crisis will begin abruptly at the Minsky Moment, after which nothing is the same. The Minsky Moment could be an event of seemingly little consequence like a routine Reuters or Bloomberg story that goes viral and, by the end of the day, the government no longer can borrow on acceptable terms and the crisis is upon us.

     Timing is crucial. Repositioning your assets too soon may mean many years of missing out on higher returns. Waiting too long has serious and obvious consequences. The best approach is to reposition assets gradually, beginning now and culminating as the debt ratio is around say 125%. Your actions can be phased such that early changes won’t be unduly penal if the timing proves wrong. There is one timing issue about which we can be fairly confident. After the Minsky Moment, the Fed will create money to keep the government running, but it soon will become apparent that this is a short term fix to buy time. Printing money can work for only about 6-18 months.

       I am confident about the final outcome but the timing is highly uncertain. For example, if the Fed keeps interest rates ultra low, the US may be able to survive a much higher debt ratio and postpone a full blown crisis for many more years.

The Spending Crisis Goes Thermonuclear

      After the Fed money printing is no longer effective and it becomes obvious no magic solutions exist, the crisis will be in full bloom. Treasury securities owned by banks, insurance companies, mutual funds and pensions will plummet in value like Venezuelan bonds, triggering a financial meltdown of epic proportion. Simultaneously, government must slash spending, including on Social Security, Medicare and pensions.

       There is but one certainty, i.e. all the excess debt must be purged. The only ways to accomplish this are through some combination of: (1) tax increases and spending cuts; (2) hyperinflation; (3) debt restructure and repudiation; and (4) financial repression. No matter how we purge the debt, it will require a generation (15-25 years) to accomplish and when the US crisis hits, it will plunge the entire planet into a period of darkness. Note: MLLG will publish a post in the next several weeks about financial repression.

Protecting Your Family

         Before the crisis begins, it is prudent to plan for civil unrest, breakdowns of law and order, interruptions in public services and financial/monetary chaos. I have faith in the American people that lawlessness will be limited, but given the volatile situation in our country, anything could happen. During the crisis we also will be highly vulnerable to foreign threats due to defense cutbacks. Even if you consider societal collapse or foreign aggression to be remote, it is judicious to take steps to protect your family.

        Caution dictates you do at least the following: (1) maintain a supply of gold and silver coins in small denominations; (2) have firearms and ammo; (3) stockpile water, available in 55 gallon drums; (4) keep a supply of non-perishable foodstuffs; and (5) have a supply of propane or a generator as well as batteries, flashlights and candles.

Part II Next Sunday

       The second and final part of this posting focuses on protecting your assets from the various perils that could happen during the worst of the spending crisis. And yes, it is possible to profit from the crisis and that will be addressed as well in Part II.

Nordic Nations and Socialism

Liberal politicians and media celebrities conflate Nordic nations and socialism. 
Nordic Nations and Socialism
By: George Noga – October 7, 2018

         The stunning victory of democratic-socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez squarely inserted socialism as an issue for 2018 and 2020. Polls show more Democrats have a favorable view of socialism than of capitalism. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton praised Nordic countries as veritable socialist utopias. Joy Behar on The View cited Nordic countries as proof socialism works. The media, millennials, progressives and many regular Americans believe Nordic nations owe their success to socialism.

          This post addresses that issue head on. Please visit our website and read our posts of April 24, 2016Is Scandinavian Success Due to Socialism? and October 15, 2017, Socialism, Sweden and Scandinavia for background information. For brevity, this post focuses on Sweden; however, the same narrative, to varying degrees, applies to the other Nordic nations: Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

The Progressive Nordic Narrative

         Circa 1970, Sweden (and other Nordics) morphed into a big government, social welfare state; Swedes sharply increased taxes and public spending and discouraged private enterprise. Over the next two decades, public spending soared from 30% of GDP to 60%. Sweden instituted a cradle to grave welfare state with uber-generous benefits including heavily subsidized child care, preschool, university, maternity, family and sick leave, unemployment benefits, pensions and health care.

       During this same timeframe (1970-1990), Sweden was rich; in 1970 it was the fourth wealthiest country. Therefore, the liberal perspective is that Sweden was both wealthy and socialist at the same time. This narrative of the Nordics as successful socialist states is beguiling because, taken without context, it has the color of truth.

The Truth About Nordic Nations and Socialism

            During the 19th century, Sweden was so dirt poor it sent waves of immigrants to America. Circa 1870 Sweden turned to classic laissez-faire liberalism and began a century of rapid economic growth culminating in becoming the fourth richest country. During the 100 years it took Sweden to get wealthy, public spending was 10% of GDP and it was a capitalist economy. Also, Sweden was neutral during both world wars, profited from trade with all sides and preserved its industry and male population intact.

             From 1970 to 1990 Sweden was a social welfare state as described supra. By 1990 it all unraveled. There was Kafkaesque bureaucracy, drug addiction, welfare dependency and crime; the educated and affluent fled Sweden. The economy ground to a halt; inflation skyrocketed and no new private sector jobs were created for 20 years. Sweden dropped from 4th to 14th in wealth. By 1990 Swedes viewed their socialistic experiment as a colossal failure and reversed course; they cut taxes, deregulated, privatized, restored free markets, cut pensions, and voted out leftist governments.

Takeaways from Nordic Nations and Socialism

1. No Nordic ever was truly socialist, i.e. with government ownership or control over the means of production, distribution and finance. They were big-government, social welfare states, which liberals conflate with socialism when it suits their purpose. True socialist states are Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba. Sweden was a capitalist success and a socialistic failure; today, all Nordics have capitalist market economies.


2. Nordic people saw their socialistic experiment as an abject failure and rejected it. Moreover, their big-government social welfare model also is vastly underperforming. Nordic GDP growth is about half that of the US and other more laissez-faire states.


3. Sweden was rich prior to its socialistic flirtation; it became much poorer during it. Socialism turned Sweden’s big fortune into a small one, just as Venezuela, once the richest nation in South America, has been rendered a basket case under socialism.


4. No socialist economy ever has generated enough wealth to fund social benefits on a Nordic scale. No socialist economy ever has produced sustained prosperity; they only plunder wealth that already has been created. They create hunger amidst plenty.


5. Nordics are not as wealthy as Americans believe. The GDP of Houston, Texas is bigger than Sweden’s; if Sweden were a state, its per capita GDP would be similar to our poorest state. But Sweden is 30% more expensive than Mississippi, which means, that in terms of purchasing power, Sweden would be the poorest US state by 30%.

Next: Protecting your assets and your family during the coming spending crisis. 

Victory in the War on Poverty!

The War on Poverty is over. America won – poverty, hunger and homelessness lost.
Victory in the War on Poverty!
By: George Noga – September 30, 2018

          We have written for years that poverty per se barely existed in America; now,  it’s time to declare victory in the War on Poverty! The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently issued a report which included the following: “Based on historical standards of material well-being . . . our War on Poverty is largely over and a success.” Predictably, progressives and poverty pimps won’t accept victory; they continue to rant that anti-poverty programs are insufficient and must be expanded.

          Please note we use the term “per se“. There are about 8 million Americans, or 2.5%, living in material poverty. The normal distribution of human IQ dictates 2.5% will have IQ below 70, which is de facto retardation. That means there are 8 million Americans in that category – the same number as in material poverty. It should be incandescently obvious that those two cohorts are one and the same; a Venn diagram would show the two circles nearly 100% overlapping. This is the basis of our statement that there is no poverty per se, because the real problem is retardation, not poverty.

          In addition to poverty, low cognitive ability accounts for hunger, homelessness and a host of other social pathologies. Venn diagrams for these also would mostly overlap with low IQ. As with poverty, hunger per se has been eliminated. Nearly 40% of Americans are obese and food insecurity has replaced hunger in the liberal lexicon. We have reversed the centuries old paradigm; today, the wealthy are thin and the poor fat. Homelessness also is extinct, apart from low IQ and untreated mental illness.

        By far, the biggest flaw with usual measures of poverty is that they are based entirely on reported income. When we look at spending instead of income, the picture changes dramatically. The poorest quintile of Americans spend $2 for each $1 of reported income. Official measures of income fail to take into account benefits such as SNAP, EITC, public housing, Medicaid and many others. They ignore the underground (cash) economy estimated at $3 trillion and concentrated among low income groups. They also fail to account for quality changes and shifts to uber low-cost stores.

       Today, the bottom quintile of Americans live as the middle class did a generation ago – as measured by size of homes, number of rooms per person, air conditioning and  other amenities. The top income quintile spend only about twice as much per person as the bottom quintile, showing low inequality. The poorest 10% of Americans live equal to or better than most Europeans. If Sweden, touted by many as a socialist paradigm, were a US state, its per capita GDP would be similar to Mississippi, our poorest state.

         No discussion of poverty is complete without noting relative poverty, defined as less than 50% of a nation’s median income. By this stilted metric, the US has more people in poverty than many third world countries. A country uniformly and utterly destitute has less relative poverty than America because in places where everyone is dirt poor (Haiti, Congo, Guinea), no one is relatively poor. When you see news stories asserting high poverty rates in America, they invariably are based on relative poverty.

         America has extinguished poverty, hunger and homelessness per se. Nonetheless, there are 8 million still living in material poverty – many of whom also are hungry and homeless. These people deserve our compassion and assistance. We do not help them by being politically correct and ignoring the true cause of their predicament. Instead, we need to tailor solutions to deal with low ability and untreated mental illness.

         We also should recognize our victory over poverty. This truly is a great American accomplishment and worthy of being honored and celebrated throughout the land.

Next: The definitive account of socialism in the Nordic countries.

Balanced Budget Amendment and Spending Cap

The debt crisis is misnamed. At root, it is not an economic crisis, it is a moral crisis and it is not a debt crisis, it is a spending crisis.
MLLG’s Continuing Series About the Spending Crisis
Balanced Budget Amendment and Spending Cap
By: George Noga – September 23, 2018

        This is the latest in MLLG’s ongoing series about the US spending crisis. I will publish regular, periodic (non-consecutive) posts as the runaway debt train hurtles toward the cliff. I have been inundated with requests to write about what actions can be taken to protect you and your family against (or to profit from) the greatest and most predictable crisis of our time. I listened and in October I will publish such a post.

        Americans overwhelmingly (80%) favor a balanced budget amendment (“BBA”) in the belief it will force fiscal discipline on the government. However, a BBA is doomed to fail and the following list identifies twenty one of its numerous flaws.

  1. Writing a BBA is tough; how do we define budget; what does balanced mean?
  2. How do we deal with economic cycles; do we balance annually or over a cycle?
  3. What about exceptions/waivers for wars or disasters; how are they defined?
  4. Lawsuits will challenge the BBA and judges will wield enormous influence.
  5. Do we distinguish annual expenses from capital; how?
  6. How do we deal with off budget spending such as Fannie, Freddie and USPS?
  7. Is interest on the debt exempt; what happens if interest rates skyrocket?
  8. How about special taxing districts of which there are 50,000 nationwide?
  9. Are entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and pensions included?
  10. Are there restraints on user fees? If not, watch out for  outrageous new fees.
  11. Loan guarantees can be used to fund programs off budget. Isn’t this spending?
  12. Regulations can be used instead of taxes for de facto government spending.
  13. California, Illinois and New Jersey have BBAs; what does that tell you?
  14. Greece, Italy and France have anti-deficit laws but are in or near bankruptcy.
  15. A BBA would be the only part of the Constitution subject to waiver/exception.
  16. The tax code can be larded with tax expenditures, incentives and earmarks.
  17. Don’t forget mandates; the Obamacare mandate survived judicial scrutiny.
  18. A budget can be balanced via tax increases instead of spending cuts.
  19. You can’t take the politics out of politics. Watch for unintended consequences.
  20. There are myriad paths around, through, over and under a BBA to eviscerate it.
  21. A BBA would beguile us into falsely believing the crisis is permanently solved.

The debt crisis is misunderstood. At its heart, it is a moral crisis, not an economic crisis. The debt crisis also is misnamed. It is a spending crisis not a deficit or debt crisis and in the future MLLG always will refer to it as the spending crisis. It can’t be solved by artifices like a BBA. It can’t be solved until the American people make some incredibly difficult and painful choices, which they are not yet prepared to make. Moreover, the USA has, in all likelihood, already passed the point of no return.

If a BBA can’t work, can anything else work? Since we really are in a spendingcrisis, a hard constitutional spending cap is a better alternative. Switzerland (Article 126) and Hong Kong (Article 107) have constitutional spending caps that work as did Colorado (TABOR) for many years until voters opted for a “time out” in 2005. A hard spending cap takes tax increases off the table and is much better than a BBA; however, spending caps are subject to most of the same 21 problems noted supra for BBAs.

The ineluctable and bitter truth is nothing will work because we have dug the hole too deep and are blissfully continuing to dig it deeper. Also, there isn’t enough time. Simply to freeze the debt ratio at its present level requires permanent spending cuts of $1.25 trillion a year, equal to over 25% of federal government spending, most of which must come from entitlements. This is impossible politically and absolutely nothing will happen until America is deeply enmeshed in the worst crisis of our time.

Our next post on September 30th declares victory in America’s war on poverty.

Reality and Denial in America

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, won’t go away.” (Philip Dick)
Reality and Denial in America
By: George Noga – September 16, 2018

        Mokita is a word in the Kivila language of Papua New Guinea; it describes a truth everyone knows but agrees not to talk about or pretends doesn’t exist. There’s no comparable English word; however, mokitas are regular topics in conversations behind closed doors, around kitchen tables and office water coolers throughout America. Political correctness or “PC” demands such conversations not take place publicly or even be acknowledged. This post intrepidly addresses mokita in America.

        Reality does not go away because it is unpopular, politically incorrect or even offensive. Objective realities exist despite what we want them to be, despite what political correctness demands they be and despite aggressive suppression of the truth that is a central fact of modern progressivism. Subordination of objective reality to political imperatives has always been a central tenet of totalitarian regimes.

         Progressives assert benign motives for PC such as preventing loss of self-esteem. Some are willing privately to acknowledge reality but argue that the truth would be unnecessarily hurtful to protected groups. But clinging to false PC narratives does not alter the underlying facts – which John Adams famously noted are stubborn things. But lies have consequences and any society choosing fantasy over reality is at grave risk.

        PC is particularly virulent when it involves groups with victim status. Of 325 million Americans, statistically 2.5%, (8 million) have an IQ two standard deviations below the norm (below 70 IQ), which means de facto retardation. Not uncoincidentally, there are about 8 million Americans in material poverty. It is incandescently obvious these two cohorts are the same; nonetheless, we delude ourselves about the cause of poverty because it is politically incorrect to blame it on low cognitive ability. To varying degrees, the same is true of homelessness, crime and even failing schools.

        Mokita thrives at the University of Pennsylvania where law professor, Amy Wax, was savaged for openly criticizing Penn’s racial preference policy. Wax, intending to be supportive of blacks, noted that quotas can harm their ability to succeed by putting them in over their heads at elite schools. Penn’s law faculty and administration knew Wax was correct and never tried to refute her facts. Instead, they brutally attacked her, not for being wrong but, for violating a mokita by publicly speaking a known truth.

       The Law School Admission Council has compiled data on 27,000 law students in 90% of law schools. After one year, 50% of blacks ranked in the bottom tenth versus 5% of whites. Two-thirds of blacks were in the bottom fifth while only 10% were in the top half. After 5 attempts, 22% of blacks did not pass the bar versus 3% of whites. Racial preferences are to make white liberals feel good about themselves and to create jobs for diversity, equity and inclusion bureaucrats. The beneficiaries of preferences suffer; they fail to get choice clerkships, law firm slots or even to pass the bar.

         Whenever we see someone from an identity or victim group occupying a position that seems incongruous, we wonder whether it is a result of merit or quotas; whether it is due to qualifications or to political correctness; or if it stems from competence rather than from preferences or window dressing. This is grossly unfair to and demeans those members of victim groups who achieved their positions solely through merit.

        Mokita is present whenever truth yields to power. Mokita is present whenever fear of reprisal yields to political correctness. Mokita is present whenever facts yield to identity or victim group politics. But, in the end, objective reality always prevails and, unlike progressive denials, it wont go away when people stop believing in it.

Our next post on September 23rd continues our discussion of the debt crisis.

Capitalism and Pope Francis

Capitalism is not moral because it works; it works because it is moral.
Capitalism and Pope Francis
By: George Noga – September 9, 2018

       As someone born Catholic, who attended parochial school and was observant much of his life, I take no pleasure in this posting. But Pope Francis is astoundingly callow and ignorant of even elementary economic concepts. Because 1.25 billion Roman Catholics (1 of every 6 souls on the planet) look to the Pope for enlightenment, it is important to set the record straight. Go to our website to see our related March 13, 2016 posting entitled “Pope Francis Enters the Twilight Zone”.

      Recently, the Pope (directly and via Vatican pronouncements) has criticized capitalism for, inter alia, consumerism, fossil fuels, environmental harm, materialism, lack of charity, speculation, seeking profit, promoting individualism, harming the poor, credit rationing, injustice, legal tax avoidance and credit default swaps. He advocates more government intervention, regulation, politics, taxes and central planning.

        If you missed it, read the September 2nd post on our website. It reports capitalism cutting extreme poverty in the world by 75% and lifting 1.2 billion humans out of the grip of poverty in the past 25 years. Every day, capitalism raises 135,000 more living, breathing people out of extreme poverty. Again thanks to capitalism, every metric of human well being is improving. Capitalism has produced a cornucopia of wealth and is the greatest human success story of all time for the common man. Yet strangely, there is never any mention of this economic miracle by Pope Francis – only vitriol.

         Capitalism is effective and also moral. A market economy is based on voluntary transactions in which both parties benefit; that’s why, upon concluding a transaction, both buyer and seller say “thank you”. Capitalism is peaceful and non-coercive; it channels human nature and self interest toward the common good. Capitalism is a positive sum game since both parties win in all transactions; there are no losers. The most powerful force on earth is a consumer armed with a free choice and even the biggest and most powerful corporation cannot make someone buy its product.

         There is space to address only a few of the Pope’s naif criticisms. Nations must be wealthy (capitalist) to be good environmental stewards; the worst degradations of all time took place under the commies and now are  being cleaned up by capitalists. The Vatican labels credit default swaps “economic cannibalism that profits from the misfortune of others“. Such swaps are merely insurance against defaults and make it easier for poor countries to borrow. The Pope condemned derivatives and speculation, both of which make markets more orderly and especially help third world agriculture.

          Pope Francis doesn’t grasp that squandering trillions for uncertain, infinitesimal climate benefits means the money cannot be spent now to alleviate suffering from unsafe water, malnutrition and lack of electricity and medicine. The last thing a poor child in an African slum needs is a solar panel. The Pope has called money “the dung of the devil” – no riposte needed. Capitalism doesn’t cause consumerism; it responds to it. If consumers demanded more bibles, the market would instantly supply them.

        The Pope is concerned for the poor but attacks the greatest anti-poverty engine in human history. Poor countries suffer due to insufficient capital; wealth must be created before it can be shared and private charity is much more effective than government redistribution. Pope Francis said building a wall is “unchristian”. Is the US unchristian for creating great wealth amidst liberty and becoming a magnet for emigrants?  Or, are socialist nations unchristian for creating great poverty, stifling liberty, fomenting civil unrest and making life so miserable that their people desperately flee their homes?

        Capitalism is not moral because it works; it works because it is moral. Capitalism has achieved, and continues to achieve, miracles that in earlier ages could only have been ascribed to the gods. However well-meaning Pope Francis may be, he fails to understand the morality of free markets and the immorality of statism and collectivism.

Our next post on September 16th addresses reality and denial in America.

Celebrate Capital Day 2018

“The achievement of capitalism is not to provide more silk stockings for princesses but to bring them within reach of the shop girl.” (Schumpeter)
Celebrate Capital Day 2018
By: George Noga – September 2, 2018

       This Monday, let’s celebrate capital along with labor. Labor is a noble activity but capital puts labor on steroids by making it more productive. The natural condition of mankind is, and always has been, poverty. Therefore, we should not be asking what causes poverty, but what causes wealth. The answer to that question is capitalism.

       Paleolithic fishermen worked incessantly spearing enough fish to survive until one nascent capitalist thought of a net. Since he had no capital, he worked longer hours for months to accumulate enough extra fish (his capital) to give him time to construct a net. He then generated a surplus of fish to trade for other goods. His capital investment made him wealthier than others but it also made everyone else better off. The same is true of the capitalists who founded Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.

        Per the World Bank, capitalism has cut extreme poverty by 75% in just the past 25 years, equal to 1.2 billion human beings with an additional 50 million being lifted out of poverty each year. Each day there are 135,000 fewer people in poverty. Today less than 10% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty and it could end within our lifetime. This is by far the greatest economic success story of all time. For the average human being, the world has never been a better place – thanks to capitalism.

        Americans are ignorant of the dramatic progress against extreme poverty. Surveys have asked if, over the last two decades, extreme poverty has doubled, remained the same or halved (the correct answer). A staggering nineteen out of twenty (95%) Americans get it wrong. The only plausible explanation is media ignorance and bias. Despite capitalism stamping out poverty and vastly improving the human condition, it is widely condemned – even by the Pope. Why all the criticism?

  •      Capitalism is perceived as flawed because it hasn’t solved every human problem. In fact, capitalism is purely an economic system and most of the things for which it is criticized (wealth distribution) are political rather than economic issues.


  •       An ubiquitous critique is that capitalism is based on self interest or greed, if you insist. Like it or not, greed is an inseparable part of the human condition. The genius of capitalism is that it channels greed into incentives to serve your fellow man. Greed is just as endemic under socialism but it is channeled toward destructive ends.


  •       The practice of capitalism always is compared to the theory of socialism; this is a wholly dishonest comparison. If actual results of both systems are compared, capitalism triumphs handily. If the theories of both systems are compared, capitalism again wins because socialism is contrary to human nature and it never can succeed.


  •       Leftists, academia and the media are infatuated with socialism even though in 10,000 years socialism (and its cousins) never has succeeded in any group bigger than a family, clan or tribe (about 25 people) in which familial bonds supersede economic interests. How many more Venezuelas must there be before they learn?

      Capitalism has created a cornucopia of wealth unprecedented in human history. Extreme poverty is being eliminated; every metric of human well being is improving. Even inequality is shrinking as the poor are getting richer at a much faster pace than the affluent. Average folks live better than monarchs a few decades ago. Luxuries a short time ago are selling for ridiculously cheap prices at Wal-Mart and Costco.

        Not one of these miracles was created by government or socialism. Who has done more to benefit the common man – Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton or any king, president or commissar? America is the bastion of capitalism; tomorrow, let’s celebrate capitalism and the capitalists who had a dream and the will to accomplish it!

September 9th we blog (reluctantly) about capitalism and Pope Francis.

Kavanaugh – SunRail – Election Meddling

Robots don’t create unemployment – politicians do. 
Kavanaugh – SunRail – Election Meddling
By: George Noga – August 26, 2018

Micro Topics: If liberals were in charge in 1776, America’s founding document would  be the Declaration of Coexistence and New Hampshire’s motto would be Live Free or Coexist. . . . . The Second Amendment exists to protect citizens against tyrannical government and recently it was used twice successfully (Nevada and Oregon) for that very purpose. . . . . Progressive comedy is meant to be serious, but when they are serious, it is comedy. . . . . Robots don’t cause unemployment, politicians do. . . . Under capitalism, both buyers and sellers customarily say “thank you” after transactions because both benefited – unlike under socialism or when dealing with government.

SunRail & Greece: We once wrote that the Greek national railway, Hellenic Railways, could save money by paying every passenger to take a taxi. We yucked it up at this example of socialism run amok and why Greece was bankrupt, never believing such lunacy could happen in America, much less in Central Florida and within just a few years. Silly us! SunRail could pay every rider $35 to take Uber and save money.

The math is straightforward: SunRail costs $34 million to operate; tickets bring in only $1.9 million, creating a loss of $32.1 million. Average ridership is 3,500 for the 254 days each year SunRail operates, resulting in 890,000 riders. Dividing SunRail’s loss by the passenger count, equals over $36; hence, SunRail could pay each passenger $35 for Uber and taxpayers would be better off. Incredulously, government considers SunRail a success and is rapidly expanding it. Even the Greeks weren’t that crazy!

Kavanaugh Causes Progressive Paroxysm: Progressives contort into pretzels to avoid uttering “abortion” in which they believe passionately but refuse to say aloud; they substitute euphemisms like women’s healthreproductive rights and choice but they all mean only one thing: abortion. They demand abortion anywhere, at any stage of pregnancy, at any age and for any reason including gender selection, which is equivalent to femicide. Preposterously, they argue that females must be aborted to protect their rights; i.e. that it is necessary to kill women in order to save them.

Progressives also twist into pretzels to oppose Judge Kavanaugh even though their real argument is not with him but with the Constitution. Kavanaugh clearly is eminently qualified and has an impeccable personal narrative, but liberals demand judges who will enact their agenda from the bench. They have given up on the legislative branch and the thought of losing the judicial branch reduces them to paroxysms. However, just as they refuse to utter the word abortion, they refuse to articulate that their real bete noire is not Brett Kavanaugh but the Constitution of the United States of America!

Election Meddling: America is awash in progressive crocodile tears over meddling although the USSR/Russia interfered in every US election since the 1950s. Perhaps Obama ignored the 2016 meddling because he was busy with his own interventions. Following are the top six of meddler-in-chief Obama’s most egregious meddles.

(1) In Kenya he supported Raila Odinga, an Obama relative, whose son is named after Fidel Castro; (2) Israel, where he diverted US government funds to Netanyahu’s opponent; (3) He favored the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; (4) In Honduras he supported leftist Zelaya who defied the Honduran constitution and supreme court; (5) Macedonia, where he destabilized a center-right government at George Soros’ behest; and (6) He publicly opposed Brexit while visiting England just before the vote.

Next on September 2nd, we will post something apropos for Labor Day. 

Montana Moments – Favorite Stories

Huckleberry Finn got his name because, like huckleberries, he could not be domesticated.
Montana Moments – Favorite Stories
By: George Noga – August 19, 2018

        This post contains some favorite vignettes about life in Whitefish and NW Montana. The natural setting, adjacent to Glacier National Park, is so spectacular that (unbeknownst to viewers) many commercials you see were filmed here. You can go off the grid in nearby Polebridge which has no Wi-Fi, internet or electricity. Ted (Unabomber) Kaczynski did that for many years not too far away. Enjoy!

Bear Bell: The club where I play golf has a “blind” approach to the 18th green. To signal the group behind that it is safe to hit, departing players ring a loud bell as they complete the hole. When the bell inevitably rings, I act surprised and concerned and tell my visiting Florida guests that was the “bear bell“, warning that a grizzly is nearby. It works every time and the reactions from my unsuspecting guests are priceless.

Huckleberries: Hucks grow many places in the US, but are especially prized in NW Montana, which has huckleberry ice cream, pancakes, jam, syrup, martinis, etc. Hucks only grow in the wild and cannot be domesticated despite prodigious efforts to do so; that’s how Huckleberry Finn got his moniker – he was wild and undomesticated. Each season there are huckleberry festivals and the status of the current huck crop is a ubiquitous topic among Montanans. Families have secret huck patches handed down through many generations, the locations of which are jealously guarded secrets.

Poker Talk: I frequently play Texas Hold’em poker at live games which are legal in Montana. During games, which often last many hours, there is much conversation among the players. Once there was a particularly voluptuous lady in her 40s or 50s playing and a male player remarked several times that she looked “awful familiar” and hadn’t they met before. Finally, when the guy asked again for the umpteenth time, the lady averred, “Maybe you’ve seen me before; do you watch much porn?”

Judge Wears Jeans: Even government works better here, as most interactions with  citizens are polite and efficient. This is because Whitefish is such a small place that if any government employees behaved imperiously, word would soon get around and they would be shunned. I once went to city court to contest a speeding ticket. Upon entering, I noted the judge wore blue jeans and cowboy boots under his robe. When my turn came, I pointed out there were no speed limit signs posted on the road where I was ticketed. He conferred briefly with his clerk and promptly invalidated my ticket.

Great Northern Cabaret: Every Sunday at 9:00 PM there is live cabaret with a new show each month written and produced in Whitefish to incorporate local humor. For example, nearby Butte is the butt of jokes – much like Bithlo is for Central Florida. If you are somewhat priggish, this is not for you. By the way, a Scotch costs only $2.75.

Private/Public Partnerships: The 36-hole golf club where I play is governed by a board composed of half public and half private members because originally one course was public and one private before they merged. Whitefish also has “The Wave“, a massive indoor aquatic and fitness facility with pools, lockers, food court and myriad daily activities for all ages. During long winter months, it is so popular (and affordable) that some days 25% of the town’s population goes there. The golf club and The Wave both are well-run, first-rate facilities. Private/public partnerships seem to work in Montana.

Next on August 26th we discuss Mokita – truths that no one will discuss.