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

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 10:44 pm  Comments (5)  
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The Myth of Running Out of Oil

Update: When looking back at the passage Mr. Beck calls it “an indisputable fact.” So now I do not feel so bad bashing him on this one. Consider it disputed.

Many pundits (including Glenn Beck which I bashed slightly in the past post) state that “face it, one day we are going to run out of oil.”


Maybe it is a semantic issue but I hear it a lot and the semantics over the words liberty, liberal, freedom, and even anarchy started off the same way.

Let me start with, we will never run out of oil.

Okay, so thanks to the modern media both conservative and liberal (uh, I mean Progressive), we have people in a frantic believe that one day the world will run out of oil.

The reason why we will never run out of oil is because there will always be at least one barrel left. Think of it in a different context. Copper.

It was once predicted that we were going to run out of Copper by the year 1993. Go down to Home Depot or Lowes and pick you out some Copper pipes for your house. Wait, that isn’t a good idea. First, it is really expensive. Second, it makes your water taste funny. But wait, it is 2009 and we still have copper.

Well when the original prediction was made, it was made with current production. That means it does not include innovation. Yes, the same innovation that brought us iPods, Computers, the Internet, Planes, and well everything. How could they forget?

Now it could be argued that we could innovate but then we would still run out. Except one thing: supply and demand.

It is time for a lesson on a commodity say diamonds (you can insert gold, copper, iron, zinc, anything that had value). Let’s say there is 1,000 diamonds in the world now. If the number doubles, what happens to the price? If you guessed goes down, you were correct. If the number goes down, what happens to the price? If you guessed goes up, you were correct.

So then what happened when the supply of oil shrinks: people innovate away from it because it becomes too expensive. Then at some point the oil will not be worth as much because it is no longer needed. How much does a gallon of whale oil for a 19th century lamp go for these days?

Oh, you do not care? Yeah, exactly. At one point, we thought we were going to run out of whales to get oil just like we think we are going to run out of reserves to pull oil out of. We innovated so that whale oil was no longer needed in such vast quantities. Now, yes I know, whales are currently being hunted today.

But let’s remember if the people at the time were right, there would be no whales to hunt today.

So it is semantics? Kind of. Is someone like Glenn Beck and I saying the same thing? Kind of. We both understand that the only way out of this problem is innovation. Is he saying we will run out so we better find something else and I am saying the price will rise so we better find someone out? Yes.

But accepting the doomsday rhetoric brought to you by the left is not the way to do it.

World, do not panic, we will innovate.


Published in: on September 9, 2009 at 11:26 pm  Comments (2)  
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Glenn Beck on Tipping

Disclaimer: Glenn Beck  has done a lot for the right wing and has done even more at making sure Mr. Barack Obama is in check everyday. But when someone makes a stupid claim you must keep them in check even if they are your friends. I am currently reading his “Inconvenient Book” and a few things have upset me.

Chapter 13 Gratuities: I’ve Reached My Tipping Point is the title of the chapter and rightfully so. This chapter is full of what is a short rant on tipping in America. Mr. Beck is stressed that tipping has now become apart of a social stigma and that it is a must do. This must do then, supposedly, requires those who receive the tips to slack off. Mr. Beck wants to pay for what he gets: the food.

This is why he is wrong…

Tipping is Capitalism and making a statement like “Business owners, let’s make a deal: You pay your staff, and I’ll pay for the food,” shows a complete misunderstanding of Mr. Beck’s views of a) business and b) economics.

Now tell me, why is it that one works for a service in where they make less than minimum wage? It is simple, because of tips.

What happens if you remove tipping from the equation? Well, believe it or not Glenn, the business owners will have to raise their prices in order to get employees.  In other words, customers will now be paying an automatic 18% more whether they want to or not. Just like businessmen cannot just throw some imaginary windfall profits to the exploited worker as Marx would say, businessmen cannot remove tipping and charge the same prices.

So what does tipping do? Tipping not only allows the customer to have a say on whether service is good or bad but it also signals to the business owner who should be fired and who should be kept with accurate counting. Without tipping, how could you tell? By the number of complaints maybe but the right to tip does not remove the right to complain also.

So where has Mr. Beck’s idea(s) on this been employed? Europe.

When visiting Italy, most will find that a 18% service charge will be included along with sometimes another fee all the way at the bottom of the menu. And believe it or not but the service was both slow and horrible.

Now tell me, if you are out with friends and everyone leaves a nice tip for a nice waiter then what is the problem? If you are out with friends and everyone leaves a nice tip for a bad waiter then the problem is not the “tipping mechanism,” the problem is your friends.

It sounds like Glenn Beck has been having dinner with socialists too long and needs to find a way to stand up and say he is not tipping because the service was bad. It seems odd that he can stand up to Obama and many other politicians on every issue under the sun, but  he can not stand up to his friends when it was clear the service was bad?


Published in: on September 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm  Comments (5)  
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Is Something Wrong With Our Government?

The details of the ongoing credit-crisis and federal bailout proposal have been all over the news lately, and I’ve been doing a little thinking on this subject. The recent actions of our government, and I mean the  support for the bailout plan, has done something I didn’t think could happen…

I now have even less faith in our political system than I did before.

I am not a regular fan of CNN’s Glenn Beck (and I honestly don’t have a clue what his political/econominc position is), but a recent article of Beck’s seems to describe the situation beautifully. The title of the article is ” America’s Chilling Future”, and I’m sure you can see where this is going.

Beck describes an ultra-socialist state, where 2008 is considered the last of the “free, capitalistic, people have rights” times. Not exactly groundbreaking, but Beck then goes on to propose that the problem with our economy is not the government itself, but those who empower it…, me and everyone.

The CNN author claims that the lack of attention of American voters and citizens in general has led to an extremely weak hold on the actions of our leaders. Beck goes on to say that the Presidential election is worthless, as either choice leads to the same conclusion (just different speeds). The gradual socialization of America is said to be unstoppable if action is not taken up by the majority.

I am sad to say that I agree with this loose analysis far to well. I feel that both political parties are generally moving in the same direction; an ever-more restricted economy run by an ineffective and unintelligent government. What we need is less regulation, not more. But what mechanism exists to motivate American voters to change this? Perhaps a social-minded economist can find others, but I believe that only a near-dead economy will motivate the general public to see the superiority of capitalism.

The point of my post today, is a question I pose to you. How can we truly avoid an increase in the socialization of our economy? Simply voting Republican as much as you can won’t do it ( not anytime soon anyway). The Libertarians seem to be economically-well minded, but do they really stand a chance in a Congressional/Senate race? I would love to see the political landscape change drastically, but that seems so horribly unlikely.

If you have a solution, please share….