The internet tames inflation

We’ve had annual trillion dollar deficits for a decade now, and there’s no end in sight.  After almost a decade of printing money (quantitative easing), a national debt of over $22 trillion, a red hot economy with record low unemployment, and an insanely  inflationary fiscal policy, why don’t we have inflation?

According to the latest numbers, over the last six years inflation has averaged 2%.   It hit 2.95 in July, and is back down to 2.2.

Inflation occurs when there’s too much money chasing too few goods and services, driving up their price.  An antidote to inflation are productivity increases, which cause an increase in the supply of goods and services.

We’ve had such productivity increases since the rise of the internet.  Here’s a Microsoft introduction to the concept.  For some reason, traditional metrics of the economy don’t measure these productivity increases.

Perhaps it’s because they transcend the realm of business, and have made personal productivity increase dramatically.  Anyone who’s used Google maps to navigate a big city knows what I’m talking about.  I’ve saved countless hours of my time because of the internet, and none of that shows up in economic statistics.

There’s no inflation because of the internet.  And productivity increases from the internet are just getting started.

For what it’s worth, I took two Econ courses at Cal, and got a C in both.  In my defense, my professors were apologists or advocates of socialism.

Damn you, Donald Trump!

So I get all rigged out to split logs for my winter’s wood.  I had some old gas in my log splitter, which I drained.  Mike down at Mike’s Mowers told me the California blend of gasoline can only be safely used in small engines after a few weeks of storage, then it goes bad.  So I had fresh gas, but the engine wouldn’t start.

I’m not a mechanic, so I took it down to Mike’s.  I told him I had fresh gas in it, but he said that didn’t matter.  Even fresh fuel in California can foul a small engine, he said.  When I asked him if it was the ethanol, he said it was.

So I wasted a day, and have a fouled engine in my log splitter, because of Donald Trump’s pandering to the ethanol lobby in Iowa.

I’ve held that against Trump ever since, and I got on the Cruz wagon because he had enough guts to tell the ethanol lobby to fly a kite.  And he still beat Trump in Iowa.

Now Trump has decided we’re going to have more ethanol in our fuel.  He made that pandering promise in Iowa, and he’s going to keep it.  And the rest of America pays the price.

Say what you want about Trump, but he keeps his promises.  Except on the national debt.  He said he’d eliminate it in eight years.  Instead, he’s adding a trillion to it every year.  I’ve got a proposal for him on that topic, which I hope to have delivered to him after the midterms.  It’s a different way to balance the budget.

It’s related to, and a derivation of, the BBA Task Force’s campaign for an Article V Balanced Budget Amendment.  That campaign stalled at 28 of the needed 34 states.

I worked with the Task Force for five years, trying to sell the BBA.  I kept running into the same three objections, to which I didn’t have a good answer.

What exactly is a BBA?

Why do we think Congress will comply with a BBA when they disregard the Constitution on a daily basis?

Couldn’t the BBA include a tax increase?

My proposal will quite nicely answer all three of these concerns.

 

Is Ginsburg the next William O. Douglas?

In 1974 Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas suffered a stroke which confined him to a wheelchair and greatly impaired his mental faculties.  But he refused to retire.  Ford was President, and Douglas didn’t want him appointing his replacement.

After several months he was so incapacitated that seven of his fellow Justices agreed that they would postpone any decision where Douglas’ opinion would be deciding.  After almost a year he was finally persuaded to retire.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and ailing, and she has a decision to make.  If her health begins to really fail, will she hang on, in order to prevent Trump from replacing her?  How far is she willing to go?  She certainly seems to be more honorable than the execrable Douglas, a vicious, loathsome man.

In the end, it really didn’t matter.  Ford appointed John Paul Stevens, who was as liberal, if not as whacky, as Douglas.

If Ginsburg does retire Trump can be trusted to make another outstanding pick.  A 5-4 majority is tenuous, and can be overturned by one vacancy, as with Scalia.  6-3 would be a whole lot better.

If Ginsburg needs to retire, she should do it soon.  The closer her retirement is to election day, 2020, the more it becomes a political issue.  To Trump’s immense benefit.