The Matrix (1999) Directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski
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Fines Are Taxes
Kacy Catanzaro at the 2014 Dallas Finals | American Ninja Warrior
First woman in the history of the sport to complete the course.
New research by economist Koleman Strumpf shows that there is no significant effect of movie piracy on box office revenues. This conclusion is based on data from 150 blockbuster movies that were released over a period of six years, using the popular Hollywood exchange as an indication for the revenue impact.
So if you want to know why there are exceedingly dark clouds gathering on the economic horizon just consider some of their [Federal Reserve officials’] answers and the reasoning behind them. Until recently, a majority of our monetary plumbers in the Eccles Building believed that the ideal long-term Federal funds rate was around 4% in a “well balanced” macro economy where inflation is about 2% and unemployment is about “low” around 5.5%.
Of course, every one of these three magic numbers are perfectly arbitrary, academic and silly. Due to the structural failures of the US economy owing to decades of destructive Washington policies, the “unemployment rate” today is not remotely comparable to what was being measured in the 1950s and 1960s when today’s Keynesian theology with respect to the Phillips Curve, Okun’s Law and full-employment policy was being formulated.
Today there are 102 million adults not holding jobs, for example, but only 43 million of these are retired on OASI (social security) and just 11 million are counted as officially unemployed. At the same time, there are upwards of 40 million part-time job holders, which self-evidently represent additional unutilized potential labor hours. So there are upwards of 100 million adults in America who represent a massive but latent labor supply that makes a mockery of the silly “U-3″ unemployment ratio that the Eccles Building theologians insist on counting down to the decimal points.
Stated differently, the BLS recently revealed that the private business sector of the US economy generated 194 billion labor hours in 2013—the exact same number as way back in 1998 and notwithstanding the massive growth of the adult population in the interim. Indeed, as recently as 2000, there were only 75 million adults (16-years and over) not holding jobs. Yet of the 27 million gain since then, only 7 million entered the OASI rolls. This means that during a 14 years period in which there was no growth of aggregate labor hours in the business economy, 20 million more adults ended up in the safety net, in mom and dad’s basement or on the streets.
These realities are not a mystery, and they do reflect a dangerous fiscal and social policy breakdown. But they are also thumping proof that monetary policy has exactly nothing to do with employment conditions and job creation. During the last 15 years, the Fed engaged in massive and nearly continuous Keynesian stimulus maneuvers, expanding it balance sheet 8X from $500 billion to $4.3 trillion. Yet millions of employable adults and billions of available labor hours have been flushed out of the private economy, while measured hours worked have been absolutely frozen.
The excuse that counting decimal points on the head of the U-3 unemployment rate may sound medieval but that Humphrey-Hawkins makes them do it is just palaver. The so-called dual mandate and minimum unemployment target is just a vague statutory aspiration; there is no quantitative target in the law and the current U-3 version of the endless alternative ways to measure the “unemployment rate” did not even exist when the statute was passed in the late 1970s.
Accordingly, when Bernanke previously, and Yellen now, appear before the Congress or press and piously intone about their full employment “mandate” being a license for perpetual money printing they are simply indulging in a self-serving lie.
The same foibles pertain to the 2% inflation target. Its not in the law; and until the last two decades, price stability was thought to mean an average of zero inflation over time. Certainly William McChesney Martin and most of the first generation of modern Fed policy-makers believed that. Even today, Paul Volcker properly asks why is 2% inflation forever so virtuous when it means that the purchasing power of the dollar will be cut in half every 30 years. …
Early in the American Revolution, rebel forces began fortifying Sullivan Island off the coast of Charleston in preparation for trouble with the British Navy. In the warm June air of 1776, Commander Sergeant William Jasper saw the Crown’s fleet shoot down the flag of the fledgling Fort Moultrie and hollered, “We cannot fight without a flag”, lifting the flag up again and eventually leading the defeat of the Imperial fleet.
After Jasper’s ballsy move, American’s were inspired to be just crazy enough to think they could defeat one of the world’s strongest nations. This cemented the old Moultrie flag as a permanent symbol of badassness and courageous defiance. Coincidentally, it doesn’t make a terrible shirt either.