Book Review: An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck

“An Inconvenient Book” by Glenn Beck in a lot of ways sums up what is wrong with the Conservative moment. It is filled with claims that use zero economics, when in fact economics should be their friend. Glenn Beck, who has become very popular among both Conservatives and Libertarians, has done a good job on his show in supporting the free-market and bashing Obama. But after reading this book I wonder what the Glenn Beck show would look like with a Republican held White House and/or Congress.

The book is written very well in that it reaches out to all types of readers and in a lot of ways makes you laugh. It has some of the best info graphics I have ever seen in a mass market book. So as far as the words and pictures, it is a great book. But the content fall short.

A few parts of Mr. Beck book has caused me to write two separate posts on tipping and on running out of oil. I will not dwell on these subjects but I urge you to read them if you think that this review fall short on criticizing content.

The very first chapter on Global Warming was very good and uses good non crazy arguments against the Global Warming advocates. But soon after that he goes into topics in which most people who buy his book. Chapters on Marriage, Porn, Body Image, Renting Movies (not kidding) and Blind Dating are pointless and useless. I know that often time we pretend that pundits are experts on politics, but that does not stretch into other areas that are more personal.

His chapters on the Minimum Wage, Opinion Polls, and Poverty are much more productive and provocative. But many of the time his solutions fell short. Take illegal immigration, which is the chapter he decides to end his book on. This probably means that he thinks very highly on the subject and that he wanted to leaving a lasting impression so it should be the best written.

First, he plays in this paranoia of a super corporate group has control over the United States government and keeps the border from being secure. And his solutions are to build two fences and hit the employers hard. Besides the fact that a Conservative is making an argument FOR government, the two ideas are just moronic.

The fence is very expensive as he wants “double layers of fencing with road in between for patrols, concrete vehicle barriers, surveillance cameras, and tunneling sensors.” He says it would be $20 billion. First, if this is a government estimate you can trust it is wrong. Also what about the maintainance of this. And really if people really want to get into America, is this going to be effective?

Sidenote: Glenn, when you want to compare figures for people do not use “how much 9/11 cost the City of New York.” First, it wasn’t on purpose. Second, it was a terrorist attack.

Next, he wants to hit the employers. I guess he is already assuming that his fences will not work and he is a Conservative against small businesses. All small business are trying to do one thing: survive. Glenn Beck must not think that there is going to be any red-tape involved on already small struggling business.

And let’s think about the reason why businesses hire illegals, part could be minimum wage but mainly it is because they are hard works and can outwork some of us “non-mexicans.” And consider the costs. The business owner is choosing someone who they have a hard time communicating with over “non-mexicans.” That means we Americans are very inefficient workers. So wake up, you cannot be pro-free trade and anti-illegal labor force.

So overall this book is not worth reading or buying. It was a huge let down and it made me think a lot less of Mr. Beck.

Rating: 1/5

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Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 10:44 pm  Comments (5)  
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Economists to Washington, This is the Economists…

Letter sent to Washington –

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate:

As economists, we want to express to Congress our great concern for the plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Paulson to deal with the financial crisis. We are well aware of the difficulty of the current financial situation and we agree with the need for bold action to ensure that the financial system continues to function. We see three fatal pitfalls in the currently proposed plan:

1) Its fairness. The plan is a subsidy to investors at taxpayers’ expense. Investors who took risks to earn profits must also bear the losses.  Not every business failure carries systemic risk. The government can ensure a well-functioning financial industry, able to make new loans to creditworthy borrowers, without bailing out particular investors and institutions whose choices proved unwise.

2) Its ambiguity. Neither the mission of the new agency nor its oversight are clear. If taxpayers are to buy illiquid and opaque assets from troubled sellers, the terms, occasions, and methods of such purchases must be crystal clear ahead of time and carefully monitored afterwards.

3) Its long-term effects. If the plan is enacted, its effects will be with us for a generation. For all their recent troubles, Americas dynamic and innovative private capital markets have brought the nation unparalleled prosperity.  Fundamentally weakening those markets in order to calm short-run disruptions is desperately short-sighted.

For these reasons we ask Congress not to rush, to hold appropriate hearings, and to carefully consider the right course of action, and to wisely determine the future of the financial industry and the U.S. economy for years to come.

Signed

Acemoglu Daron (Massachussets Institute of Technology)
Adler Michael (Columbia University)
Admati Anat R. (Stanford University)
Alvarez Fernando (University of Chicago)
Andersen Torben (Northwestern University)
Beim David (Columbia University)
Berk Jonathan (Stanford University)
Bisin Alberto (New York University)
Boldrin Michele (Washington University)
Buera Francisco J.(UCLA)
Cassar Gavin (University of Pennsylvania)
Chaney Thomas (University of Chicago)
Chauvin Keith W. (University of Kansas)
Chintagunta Pradeep K. (University of Chicago)
Christiano Lawrence J. (Northwestern University)
Cochrane John (University of Chicago)
Coleman John (Duke University)
Constantinides George M. (University of Chicago)
Crain Robert (UC Berkeley)
De Marzo Peter (Stanford University)
Dubé Jean-Pierre H. (University of Chicago)
Edlin Aaron (UC Berkeley)
Ely Jeffrey (Northwestern University)
Faulhaber Gerald (University of Pennsylvania)
Fox Jeremy T. (University of Chicago)
Fuchs William (University of Chicago)
Gao Paul (Notre Dame University)
Garicano Luis (University of Chicago)
Gerakos Joseph J. (University of Chicago)
Gibbs Michael (University of Chicago)
Goettler Ron (University of Chicago)
Goldin Claudia (Harvard University)
Guadalupe Maria (Columbia University)
Hansen Lars (University of Chicago)
Harris Milton (University of Chicago)
Hart Oliver (Harvard University)
Hazlett Thomas W. (George Mason University)
Heaton John (University of Chicago)
Heckman James (University of Chicago – Nobel Laureate)
Henisz, Witold (University of Pennsylvania)
Hertzberg Andrew (Columbia University)
Hite Gailen (Columbia University)
Hitsch Günter J. (University of Chicago)
Hodrick Robert J. (Columbia University)
Hopenhayn Hugo (UCLA)
Hurst Erik (University of Chicago)
Israel Ronen (London Business School)
Jaffee Dwight M. (UC Berkeley)
Jagannathan Ravi (Northwestern University)
Jenter Dirk (Stanford University)
Jones Charles M. (Columbia Business School)
Kaboski Joseph P. (Ohio State University)
Kaplan Ethan (Stockholm University)
Karolyi, Andrew (Ohio State University)
Kashyap Anil (University of Chicago)
Ketkar Suhas L (Vanderbilt University)
Kiesling Lynne (Northwestern University)
Koch Paul (University of Kansas)
Kocherlakota Narayana (University of Minnesota)
Koijen Ralph S.J. (University of Chicago)
Kondo Jiro (Northwestern University)
Korteweg Arthur (Stanford University)
Kortum Samuel (University of Chicago)
Krueger Dirk (University of Pennsylvania)
Lee Lung-fei (Ohio State University)
Leuz Christian (University of Chicago)
Levine David I.(UC Berkeley)
Levine David K.(Washington University)
Linnainmaa Juhani (University of Chicago)
Manski Charles F. (Northwestern University)
Martin Ian (Stanford University)
Mayer Christopher (Columbia University)
McDonald Robert (Northwestern University)
Meadow Scott F. (University of Chicago)
Mian Atif (University of Chicago)
Middlebrook Art (University of Chicago)
Miguel Edward (UC Berkeley)
Miravete Eugenio J. (University of Texas at Austin)
Miron Jeffrey (Harvard University)
Moro Andrea (Vanderbilt University)
Morse Adair (University of Chicago)
Mortimer Julie Holland (Harvard University)
Nevo Aviv (Northwestern University)
Ohanian Lee (UCLA)
Pagliari Joseph (University of Chicago)
Papanikolaou Dimitris (Northwestern University)
Peltzman Sam (University of Chicago)
Perri Fabrizio (University of Minnesota)
Phelan Christopher (University of Minnesota)
Piazzesi Monika (Stanford University)
Piskorski Tomasz (Columbia University)
Reagan Patricia (Ohio State University)
Reich Michael (UC Berkeley)
Reuben Ernesto (Northwestern University)
Roberts Michael (University of Pennsylvania)
Rogers Michele (Northwestern University)
Ruud Paul (Vassar College)
Safford Sean (University of Chicago)
Sandbu Martin E. (University of Pennsylvania)
Sapienza Paola (Northwestern University)
Scharfstein David (Harvard University)
Shang-Jin Wei (Columbia University)
Shimer Robert (University of Chicago)
Siegel Ron (Northwestern University)
Sorensen Morten (Columbia University)
Spiegel Matthew (Yale University)
Stevenson Betsey (University of Pennsylvania)
Stokey Nancy (University of Chicago)
Strahan Philip (Boston College)
Strebulaev Ilya (Stanford University)
Sufi Amir (University of Chicago)
Thompson Tim (Northwestern University)
Tschoegl Adrian E. (University of Pennsylvania)
Uhlig Harald (University of Chicago)
Ulrich, Maxim (Columbia University)
Van Buskirk Andrew (University of Chicago)
Veronesi Pietro (University of Chicago)
Vissing-Jorgensen Annette (Northwestern University)
Weill Pierre-Olivier (UCLA)
Witte Mark (Northwestern University)
Wolfers Justin (University of Pennsylvania)
Zingales Luigi (University of Chicago)

~PCCapitalist

Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 9:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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Stubborn Ignorance by Walter Williams

This is a great article about how the budgetary system works. This is something I have always wanted to say to people whenever you hear about the powers of the President. Here it is from The Washington Times:

“All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”

How many times have we heard politicians, pundits and guardians of our news media say President Bush cut taxes, or Barack Obama is going to raise taxes? The fact is that presidents have no power to raise or lower taxes. They can propose tax measures or veto them but Congress has the ultimate power to raise or lower taxes since they can, with a two-thirds vote, override a presidential veto. The same principle applies to spending.”

This is Williams on the current credit crunch and he is saying the same stuff I have been saying for a long while:

“Many politicians and pundits claim the credit crunch and high mortgage foreclosure rate is an example of market failure and want government to step in to bail out creditors and borrowers at the expense of taxpayers who prudently managed their affairs.

These financial problems are not market failures but government failure. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 is a federal law that intimidated lenders into offering credit throughout their entire market and discouraged them from restricting their credit services to low-risk markets, a practice sometimes called redlining. The Federal Reserve, keeping interest rates artificially low, gave buyers and builders incentive to buy and build, producing the housing bubble.”

This a great article you will have to read for yourself. I have put up the best but there is also a very good part on, does the President actually create job?

The rest of the article can be found here.

~PCCapitalist

Walter Williams on the Sub-Prime

As I have stated over and over, the sub-prime problem is not a problem of banks being dumb or consumers being dumb but in fact the government (in this case the Congress) is being self-interested and rational. They want to maximize their votes and in order to do that they make big promises. As Walter Williams points out in his recent article “Congressional Problem Creation” the government constantly regulates and creates a problem and then naturally they believe the solution is more regulation.

“The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, whose provisions were strengthened during the Clinton and Bush administrations, is a federal law that mandates or intimidates lenders to offer credit throughout their entire market and discourages them from restricting their credit services to high-income markets, a practice known as redlining. The Community Reinvestment Act encouraged banks and thrifts to make so-called “no doc” and “liar” loans to customers who had no realistic ability to pay them back. A decade of monetary expansion by the Federal Reserve Bank, contributing to the housing bubble, encouraged lending institutions to take risks they otherwise would not have taken. Government actions created the subprime crisis and now government-proposed “solutions,” such as foreclosure holidays, bailouts and further regulation of financial institutions, to the problems they created will create more problems.”

He goes on to talk about the energy industry and how we as Americans have been in a strangle hold by the regulations trying to create our own energy supply. People often blame the oil companies but in fact it isn’t their fault at all.

Red tape increases costs for businesses which are directly reflected in either those on the margin going out of business or prices being raised on the consumers.

~PCCapitalist