The Real Things Haven’t Changed

I ran across a great quote this morning to help us remember some of the things that really matter for which we can be grateful at this time of Thanksgiving:

“The Little House Books are stories of long ago. Today our way of living and our schools are much different; so many things have made living and learning easier. But the real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong. Great improvements in living have been made because every American has always been free to pursue his happiness, and so long as Americans are free they will continue to make our country ever more wonderful.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Of course, the greatest freedom for which we should be grateful is the freedom from sin we have in Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving

Computer Prices and Creative Destruction

I ran across a 1989 product comparison of several top-of-the-line computers. Including one from Dell, which featured an 80286 (20 MHz) processor and a 40 MB hard drive, all for the bargain price of $4,099!

I remember consistently paying $3,000 for a new computer from Tandy (my first one, with an 8086 processor purchased in 1986) and then Gateway until about 1995-6, when the price started dropping. My first Tandy computer did not have a hard drive, and everything ran off of two floppies. Then about a year later, I was able to buy a 15 MB hard card and at that point was able to start loading some programs and saving files on the computer hard drive, instead of running/saving everything off of a floppy.

I skipped the 80286 processor, and bought my next computer with an 80386 processor in 1990, again for about $3,000, then repeated the process again around 1993 at the same price. But finally prices started coming down at the next purchase.

I thought it was great! And it was. The problem was …

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The $2.6 Trillion Health Care Plan

Don’t buy the claims that the ObamaCare bill will be deficit neutral. Don’t even trust the claim that it will result in increased spending of only $343 billion. And you can completely ignore the fiction that this bill will only cost $848 billion over the next ten years.

The truth is that new spending in the bill will total at least $1 trillion. But that is only a fraction of the total bill. According to Michael Cannon, the mandate that everyone buy a high dollar insurance policy–or face fines and jail–should account for about 60 percent of the total cost of the bill. But these costs are being totally left out of the calculation, despite the fact that eight Democratic senators have asked that these costs be accounted for.

Add them to the mix, and we get a $2.6 trillion health care plan. And since the bill is being touted as a way to provide new health care coverage for 31 million Americans, that works out to a cost of $8,387 per person per year covered. Remember, these are new costs, so this is on top of the all the money that is already being spent on the uninsured for health care.

That is the dirty little secret of the whole health care debate. People who don’t have health insurance already receive health care. And most of it is pretty good. Just like most–but not all-of the health care that everyone else gets is pretty good.

This debate isn’t about compassion. It isn’t about helping the poor. ObamaCare will be just as bad for the poor as it is for the rest of us as we turn to government-rationed health care. The debate is about whether a few people in power will satisfy their insatiable appetites for destroying profit–at least the profit of others.

When the Going Gets Tough, Let the Government Handle it

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

There are a lot of ways to measure how the economy is doing. But employment, or jobs, is probably the measure that means the most to us. On a macro level, we understand that it means something good when we read that two million new jobs were created and unemployment fell to 4.2%. On the micro level, it doesn’t require a Ph.D. to understand what it means when we look around and see our friends, neighbors, and even ourselves losing jobs.

So when we look at Texas today, it is easy to figure out why Texas is doing better than the rest of the national economy. It is because of jobs.

We created more jobs than the rest of the country combined in 2008, and kept creating a net increase in jobs much further into the recession than any other state.

To be sure, we’ve lost jobs this year and unemployment has increased, but we’ve still outpaced the national economy in keeping jobs and in creating new jobs to replace some of those that are lost.

Why is this? Why has Texas, alone among the 50 states, been a beacon of job creation?

We know it is not because of high taxes and government spending. The Associated Press reported last week that the administration’s report on jobs created by its economic recovery plan—how shall I put this—overstates the number of jobs actually created. And a new Harvard report finds that “fiscal stimuli based upon tax cuts are much more likely to be growth enhancing than those on the spending side.”

Maybe it is because we know that it is Texans, not the government, who create jobs. And because our level of taxes and regulations allow Texas entrepreneurs to go about their jobs of meeting consumer demand and in the process, create more jobs.

I moderated the Texas Public Policy Foundation‘s Center for Economic Freedom policy primer last week that examined the causes behind Texas’ economic success. It featured Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission; Ken Legler, state representative from Pasadena; Kurt Summers, owner of Austin Generator Service; and Andy Ellard, general manager of Manda Machine Co. in Dallas.

We spent some time looking at the big picture, but honed in on the role of the entrepreneur of in keeping the Texas economy going. 51% of Texas jobs and 48% of payroll expenditures are provided by employers with less than 500 employers. And most new jobs come from these smaller businesses. The panel pointed out that the entrepreneurs/owners of these businesses have a hard enough time providing jobs while meeting the demands of the market. When the government steps in to make life even harder, the jobs can disappear pretty quickly.