‘Right To Repair’ Law Passes

We should look for good ideas, wherever they may come from. One of the most recent comes from a referendum passed in Massachusetts this week dubbed the ‘right to repair’ law. It’s a victory for free markets and consumers.

The law, simply put, requires that new vehicles be made with common, standard electronic data systems that can be accessed by anyone with the proper equipment. Previously, car manufacturers had installed proprietary systems to access data on cars that would require an owner needing service to go to a dealership for certain types of repairs. Now, people will be able to go to independent garages or possibly even do the repairs themselves since they will now have access to data that previously manufacturers made sure only their own dealerships could access.

That’s free market economics and when consumers have choices, they win.

Here Is Why We Don’t Have A Covid Relief Bill

When the pandemic hit and began to devastate the economy, Congress passed a bill to supplement unemployment benefits for people who lost jobs, give aid to business so they could keep meeting payrolls and aid to the airline and travel industries that were most hard hit. Supplemental unemployment benefits ended July 30 and aid for the travel industries expired on Sept. 30. Since that time, Democrats and Republicans have had plenty of time to campaign but haven’t been able to come up with a new relief bill for the largest health crisis in 100 years and the largest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Why?

Continue reading “Here Is Why We Don’t Have A Covid Relief Bill”

Pelosi Shows Why We Need Term Limits

Nancy Pelosi just showed us that we are in dire need of term limits on politicians. She demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that she has forgotten that she works for the people, and that the people she is supposed to serve are more important than anything else.

Continue reading “Pelosi Shows Why We Need Term Limits”

Pandemic: Reality vs. Perceptions of Reality

One of the crazy things in the crazy year that is 2020 is how a health issue has become so politicized.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the whole world. It is unprecedented in our lifetime and, indeed, in the last one hundred years. How to deal with this new virus was totally unknown at the outset and even now we don’t completely understand it and are still finding data that is seemingly inconsistent. How to react and address it was always a judgment call and Thinking Man can completely understand widely different perspectives, from concerns about health and deaths to concerns about economic devastation and the lives of millions of people thrown into crisis by unemployment and a crashing economy, and everything in between. Simple organizational behavior tells us that people speak from their perspectives and so it’s not surprising that medical people will always tend to err on the side of health and preventing even one death if they can. Business people and economists will tend to err on the side of concern about a contracting economy, high unemployment and the impact of job losses on individual households. Notice the background of the person giving an opinion and more times than not you know their perspective without even knowing what they are going to say.

Any action, anywhere on the spectrum of choices is a judgment and an attempt to strike a balance between a number of bad choices:  health, economic and individual financial outcomes. What I can’t understand is people who view anyone with an opinion other than their opinion being bad or evil or unconcerned. In a problem with so many unknowns, to take that view is, frankly, purely emotional and simply doesn’t make much sense. Unfortunately, however, that is the world where we find ourselves.

Below is a link to an article by the Chief Investment Officer at Franklin Templeton Fixed Income. A PhD, she worked with the Gallup polling organization to compare actual medical data on the pandemic with people’s perception of the pandemic.  That research group then took the demographic data of the people polled to show how perceptions are very different from reality in many cases by various segments of the country. And, as would be important for an investment firm, she draws some conclusions on how all that may impact the economic recovery. An important note: she does not debate the data, but uses the data to project some possible outcomes. For example, people are willing to pay for increased safety measures. How much they are willing to pay has implications for inflation.

The article’s sub- title “They Blinded Us From Science” speaks to how far from the medical are perceptions about the actual medical situation.


Is California Becoming A Third World State?

One of the hallmarks of modern governments in the developed world is the ability to provide certain basic services to citizens. A basic responsibility of government is that there is a certain level of things that a government does for its people as part of the ‘social contract’, as part of the people allowing the government to run its lives. In California, cracks are starting to appear in that arrangement. Continue reading “Is California Becoming A Third World State?”

While Democrats and Republicans Have Their Conventions, Americans Suffer

Last week and this week, the major political parties held their conventions to formally nominate their candidates for President. While the professional politician class of both parties are preparing to spend record amounts on political campaigns this year, a large part of the rest of American is suffering. Continue reading “While Democrats and Republicans Have Their Conventions, Americans Suffer”

Maybe Bipartisanship Isn’t Totally Lost

Recently, 60 members of the House of Representatives promoted a framework for budget reforms.

The group led by Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Jodey Arrington (R-TX), released a letter to House leadership  calling for future budget reforms to help address the rising national debt once the public health crisis has passed and the economy starts to recover.

The letter, signed by 30 Democrats and 30 Republicans, recommended several steps to be taken to address the critical debt issue.

The greatest threat to the prosperity of the next generation will be the national debt. It’s a small sign of hope that a bipartisan group of lawmakers is looking ahead to plan on what needs to be done.

The Arrogance of Illinois Gov. Pritzker

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has asked for a bailout from the federal government to help with the state’s debt and high spending, saying that the current pandemic has put them in a financial crisis. To be blunt, that’s simply not true. Continue reading “The Arrogance of Illinois Gov. Pritzker”