Bill Cutshall’s Weblog

October 14, 2009

Steve Thinks We Need Insurance Reform Too

Two months ago I wrecked my brand new car.  You know those rumble strips next to the freeway that are supposed to let you know when you get too close to the edge?  Well, I was texting my friend Steve and the noise from those things startled me so bad I dropped my coffee, swerved off the road, and hit a tree.  I was fine but my car was completely hosed.  I called around to three different car insurance companies to buy an insurance policy so I could get my car fixed but not one of them would pay for the repairs.  Worse still, none of them even offered me an affordable policy.  They said I was “high risk” (like that’s supposed to make me feel better).  It got me thinking that with all this talk about reforming our health insurance industry shouldn’t we take a good look at what these bastard car insurance companies do and force them to stick to the same standards. (more…)


May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Karl Marx

May 5th, 1818, saw the birth of Karl Heinrich Marx, a revolutionary thinker (literally).  Marx was a philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, humanist and revolutionary and is credited as the founder of communism.  In his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program he states that once society reaches its Communistic ideal, it can proudly hang a banner proclaiming “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”  Happy Birthday you brilliant crazy dead Communist. (more…)

February 20, 2009

More of the Same

Should I be worried that our nation’s calls for change are being answered with more of what got us into this mess coupled with depression-era economic strategies?  Should it concern me that FDR’s failed policies are being touted as the roadmap for how we are going to turn our economy around?  Should the fact that the most liberal-voting member of Congress has become our President and is taking 50 billion dollars from people that *can* pay their mortgages and is giving it to people that can’t cause me concern that we are becoming a socialist nation? (more…)

February 17, 2009

Evil Geniuses or Incompetent Idiots

Right now I am trying to figure out whether the current Financiapocalypse is a result of Democratic subterfuge, Republican conniving, or just plain old-fashioned incompetence.  Sliced any way the situation still looks bad. (more…)

December 23, 2008

What Comes After Zero?

Filed under: Economics — billcutshall @ 5:33 am
Tags: , , , ,

With the Federal Reserve’s interest rate near zero some may wonder what tools are still available to bolster our economy and return it to health.  For those interested in monetary policy (and that’s a pretty small percentage of the population even in these times) Robert E. Lucas Jr. has written one of the best quick summaries of what is happening to our economy, what is being done to change it, and why it should work that I have read lately.

My poor summary of the explanation is that people are currently uncertain, risk averse, and looking for high-quality investments as stable as cash.  The Fed’s response is to buy up high-risk investments with cash thereby reducing the quantity of out-of-favor risky instruments and increasing the availability of in-demand stable government-backed instruments like cash and T-Bills.  The theory is basic economics, really.  When something is in demand (safety is in demand) increase the supply.  When demand for a good falls (risk is out of fashion) reduce the supply.  By swapping quality securities (cash and T-Bills) for questionable securities (CMOs and other popular modern villains) the Fed will keep the money market moving and prices stable.

My explanation is a poor substitute for the actual article though.  Read Robert E. Lucas Jr.’s article in The Wall Street Journal for a much more complete understanding.

December 12, 2008

Good is Good, Bad is Bad

Filed under: Economics,Politics — billcutshall @ 6:43 pm
Tags: , ,

Good is good and bad is bad.

Or is it?

During his presidential campaign Barak Obama hit hard on the fact that he would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.  He campaigned on the idea that everyone should pay their fair share and wealthy Americans weren’t doing that.  Now he seems to be retreating from that position stating that in these hard economic times a tax increase on the wealthy would have a negative effect on the economy. (more…)

October 14, 2008

The Brilliance of Obama

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Statiscrement — billcutshall @ 9:15 am

Barak Obama has figured out how to be a tax-and-spend liberal without taxing and spending.  The downfall of the traditional liberal methodology of levying and collecting taxes and then funneling them through government programs to help those in need has always been the transparency of the governmental budget.  People could easily find out how much money went to fund individual aid programs.  Obama’s brilliance in figuring out how to both be a tax-and-spend liberal and still claim to have less impact on taxes than his opponent well very likely win him the election.

How does he pull it off?

In his plan he simply redistributes tax money before the government can get its hands on it.  This has two benefits.  First, if you raise taxes on one portion of the population and give that money directly back to another portion of the population in the form of tax rebates, you can claim that you didn’t raise taxes.  Clearly this claim is well within my definition of statiscrement.  Second and more troubling is that the redistribution is accomplished without any government oversight, management, or accountability.

Turning the IRS into a welfare agency is deplorable policy.

October 1, 2008

Grosser than Gross

Filed under: Economics — billcutshall @ 6:31 pm

The current financial situation distilled:

People got loans and bought overpriced houses then went bankrupt when the houses lost value and they didn’t have the money to cover it.

Banks got loans and bought overpriced mortgages then went bankrupt when the mortgages lost value and they didn’t have the money to cover it.

September 30, 2008

Grossly Oversimplified

Filed under: Economics,Intellectual Crush — billcutshall @ 1:25 pm

It is an election year and nothing is pressing on people’s minds more than our economy.  Suddenly everyone I know would like to have an opinion but most will freely admit to a dangerous lack of knowledge concerning things economic.  This is where I step in to make matters worse.  I will gladly offer a grossly oversimplified explaination of the issues at hand based on how I see things.  As with all things modern, there is nothing so bad that it cannot be made worse by using the Internet so I will now offer my grossly oversimplified explaination of socio-economics to all who are interested enough to search out and adopt unsourced, uncredited opinions on the Internet rather than pick up a book and read. (more…)

September 29, 2008

Gum Deficit

Filed under: Economics — billcutshall @ 5:09 pm

With all the talk about the high-minded discussion about fairness, golden parachutes, and the economy going on right now, the best perspective I gained on the situation came from a simple reminder.  Remember when you were told that if you wanted to chew gum in class that you had to bring enough for everybody?  How many times did you ever get gum?

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