Tam's point here strikes me as the fundamental difference between a libertarian and... well, just about every other flavor of political enthusiast:
"Keep it from falling into the wrong hands"? It's a government database! It's starting out in the wrong hands!

Why, yes, I live here...

Okay, so let me catch you up.  The city firefighters it seems are sent to the City County building to get flu shots and when the members of one fire station showed up in their fire trucks to get their flu shots while council members were at lunch, they parked their fire trucks in spaces reserved for councilpersons, spaces marked “Special Permit Parking.” 
... [B]ut anyway, the firetrucks got parking tickets and now the fire department is fighting the ticket and hoping for leniency because they were city vehicles parked in city spots and now the city is taking the city to parking court and THIS IS THE BEST SNL SKIT EVAH!
As Myron put it, "Yoi and double yoi!"


I have an online friend - a die-hard liberal - who has, in the past, posted rants about how eeeeevil conservatives are for wanting the government to cut spending, and how we need more government oversight of the banking industry, for example (yes, they are solidly behind the OWS protesters).

The latest "I can't believe people are this stupid" post?  About personal responsibility and the danger of credit cards.  "Don't spend money you don't have, people!"

Pervious rants have castigated the Pennsylvania LCB, because apparently, government intervention works perfectly for everything except liquor stores.

On one hand, the hypocrisy is mind-numbingly staggering.

On the other hand... well, I still hold out hope that the antics of the current administration will become so blatantly and blindingly obvious that they'll open their eyes, connect the dots and have their world view wrenched around 180 degrees.

Hope & Change!

Government Inefficiency, Redux

Even in a rough economy, apparently, someone out there is doing something:
Silicon Valley-based startup incubator Y Combinator is getting just over one application per minute, according to a Tweet from co-founder and partner Paul Graham.
In an earlier interview, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham stated that the total value of the 316 companies funded by YC is about 3 billion dollars - possibly as much as 4.7 billion.  Total investment on the part of YC?

About 5 million dollars.  That's an investment of about $15,000 per company.

Graham goes on to point out that YC generally has a 2%-10% stake in the companies they invest in - so the total initial investment in these companies range from $30,000 to $750,000.  Let's be pessimistic, and say that on average, these companies raised $500,000 in initial private investments from YC and other sources.  That's 1.6 billion dollars in investments, going to companies that are now valued at 2-3x their initial investment.

Say each of those companies employs... oh, 8 people.  Two founders, someone to handle the finances, three folks doing the day-to-day work, and a couple additional people to handle sales and marketing.

That's 316 companies, at 8 jobs each, for a total of 2,528 jobs created at the cost of 1.6 billion dollars... or about $62,500 per job.

As I've noted before, under President Obama's "jobs plan", we're looking at a cost of $1,600,000 per job.

In other words... private investment, in the form of Y Combinator and other investment firms, is 25 times more efficient at turning investment dollars into jobs than the proposed "jobs" bill.

If the government were to flush Obama's jobs bill and instead loan that proposed $447 billion to investment firms like Y Combinator, we could potentially see 7,152,000 new jobs created in over three quarters of a million new businesses.  That's enough jobs to employ every available worker in Wyoming, Vermont and North Dakota combined.

Of course, with investment spread out like that, we wouldn't have the laser-like focus on protecting the taxpayer's money that has given us such rock-solid, non-political investments like Solyndra and Granite Reliable.  (Edit: Oh, and now SunPower, as well.  Joy.)

Y'know, I think I could live with that.


It's Monday morning, and that's the cue for #OccupyPittsburgh.

Oh, no - not the losers who are going to take a day off on a Saturday to come down and whine about how  unfair everything is because someone actually expects them to pay back the $100,000 in student loans they took out so they could get a masters degree in American Beat Poetry Studies.  Nah, those looters will be congregating sometime this weekend.

I'm talking about the real "occupy Pittsburgh" crowd.

It's been an ongoing effort now for... whoa, that's a long time.  Oh, yes.  It's become quite a habit around here, you see, though you really won't see much mention of it in the media at all.  Even though we've gone on long enough that we don't measure our occupation in days, or weeks, or even months.

Two hundred and fifty years and counting, now.  My, how those days just fly!

There are around one and a quarter million people that are employed here in Pittsburgh.  We're on a pretty tight organizational schedule, too.  Some of us contribute a couple of days a week.  Most manage to give it a full five days a week.  Others are more hardcore - they're in it for the long haul, and are working their butts off six or even seven days a week helping keep everything running.

And by everything, I do mean everything.  Grocery stores, shops, hospitals, universities, manufacturing, construction, transportation, finances, publishing, robotics, food service, advertising, news outlets.  We even have one or two of them there newfangled internet thingies going on 'round here.

We do our jobs.  We earn our pay and pay our bills.

We take care of our families and our communities.

We live in houses we can afford, and drive 10 year old cars because, hey - it still works, y'know?

Besides, we've got the kid's college to save for.  Don't want them racking up a huge student loan bill, after all.  Because, you know.  That would be stupid.  When the time comes, we'll let them know that any major that ends with the word "Studies" is pretty much right out, too.  For the same reason.

One million, two hundred fifth thousand people working here in Pittsburgh, occupying the city every day.  Earning a living, making their way in the world.

So... let's do the math.  You "* Studies" majors, see if you can find an engineer or an accountant on their lunch break to give you a hand with those icky, bourgeoisie  numbers.  Oh, and even though it's a word problem, trust me on this one - you don't need to deconstruct anything here.  It pretty much just means what it says.

If there are 12,500 #OccupyPittsburgh protesters this weekend (extremely doubtful as that may be), and there are 1,250,000 people earning a living by working in the city of Pittsburgh...

Tell me, who are the real 99%?

One More Time

Rhymes With Cars & Girls has some questions about the efficiency of government spending to create "jobs".  "Jobs" in quotes, of course, because whatever it is that the government claims to be creating, it would be an improvement if they actually... well, created nothing, instead:
Andrew Stiles notes in the Corner that, if you buy economists’ projections (which I don’t), President Obama’s (DOA) “jobs plan” would cost $1.6 million per job... 
For each $1.6 million per job we could just make up 2 completely-fake jobs paying $80k/year and pre-fund them for 10 years. Literally fake jobs: person comes in, sits down, does nothing. For ten years. $80k/year. This would cost the same amount of money but ‘create’ twice as many Jobs! For longer time!
Seriously.  Give this some thought.

If the government would stop what it is doing now, and instead start spending your money foolishly... it would result in a measurable net improvement in the efficiency and effectiveness of the their "jobs" program.

They would actually have to be smarter to do something stupid.