If there is one overriding economic myth that plagues us today it is the notion that society can do collectively what we cannot do individually.
Some friends on the Book of Face shared a couple of articles that reinforces my belief that cities, particularly the largest metropolises, are about to enter a depression.
First is an article about the impending death of New York. He makes an interesting case about the damage done by COVID may be the mortal blow.
Second is an article on people fleeing San Francisco.
Between COVID and the riots, I believe many folks are asking themselves if all the costs of living in these cities are worth the cost. For a lot of them – particularly those who can do their work remotely – will answer no. They will move to lower cost and relatively safer cities. There will be many cascading effects from the diaspora, but two that I’m watching with interest.
Will this cause the wave of municipal and state bankruptcies some of us have been expecting for some time? If so, does the fed step in? I’m kinda thinking that if it plays out where the fed has to go in and sort out the states’ and cities’ messes, the states and cities will become even more the puppets of Washington. It may also accelerate the feds reckoning, but that’s kind of like a runaway train on a flat track. We know it’s a matter of time when it will derail, but we can’t see where.
What will happen when the refugees from these cities start voting in their new home areas? Will they adopt the values of their new homes? Will they try to bring the “perks” and “expectations” (along with the requisite taxes and regulations) to their new homes? Based on prior experience, I’m not too hopeful.
The real problem of poverty is not a problem of distribution, but of production. The poor are not poor because something is being withheld from them, but because, for whatever reason, they are not producing enough. The only permanent way to cure their poverty is to increase their earning power.
So John Kra-something-or-other sold his web series “Some Good News” to CBS.
I’m torn. As a capitalist, I’m glad he’s going to make a bunch of money on a great little project. On the other hand, part of SGN’s charm was its simplicity and “thrown-together” feel, as well as John K’s charisma and enthusiasm for his project. I’m skeptical that will survive CBS’s ownership.
I am very leery of proposing new laws because I am aware the root of all laws is state-sanctioned violence. So, if I’m asking for a law to be passed, it’s because I’m willing to see violence done to enforce it.
Which in the case of New York demanding income taxes from people who came in to help, I want the state of Florida to say that it will not assist in any collection effort against its residents or companies with presence in the state of such a bullshit cash grab. Further, I would be just fine with a corollary that if NY does steal money from the people who came up to work and volunteer during the emergency, the state of Florida will pay those taxes by seizing any and all property in the state owned by any New York government or government official.
In my various feeds, the argument to stopping shelter-in-place and take steps to le businesses open up has been met with caustic derision. The two refrains I hear the most is “You want to sacrifice lives for jobs” and “If it saves one life, then we must continue these measures.” Both of these are hyperbolic extremes that display an outstanding level of ignorance about the nature of trade-offs. The argument isn’t jobs vs lives. It’s lives vs lives.
Those of us in the gun community have heard the “If it saves one life” argument before. Usually, owe r opponents garnish this with “if it saves just one child’s life.” A good example of this argument in action is over waiting periods. Waiting periods may save a life, but we do know it has cost other people their lives who were attacked during that window.
When we look at shutting businesses down and putting millions of people out of work, there is a known uptick in deaths from suicide, overdoses, interpersonal violence, and other conditions. Not doing elective surgeries will cost lives due to not dealing with certain diseases early enough (e.g., cancer). The argument isn’t jobs vs lives, it’s lives vs lives.
The best argument I’ve heard recently came from the podcast Words and Numbers. When we’re deciding among these trade-offs, we often have to boil it down to dollars spent per life saved. It’s not that a life is only worth so many dollars, but more a matter of deciding how to use scarce resources.
How do we help the most people?
The transformation of charity into a legal entitlement has produced donors without love and recipients without gratitude.
My coworkers and I were having a discussion on the impacts of shutting everything down. Since we work for a government health agency, they were focusing on the “flattening the curve” aspect. Me being me was introducing the overall economic picture.
I think I finally got some traction when I compared these measures to chemotherapy. We are introducing a small amount of economic poison into the nation in hopes of killing or at least shrinking the damage. However, we don’t know the dosage, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll end up killing the patient – in this case the economy.
What’s worse is that we don’t even have good diagnostics to determine if the poison is being effective. All we can do is guess and provide some small ameliorative for the side effects.
It ain’t a perfect metaphor, but I’ve found it’s a good way of thinking about things,
If you bound the arms and legs of gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps, weighed him down with chains, threw him in a pool, and he sank, you wouldn’t call it a “failure of swimming.” So, when markets have been weighed down by inept and excessive regulation, why call this a “failure of capitalism?”
Previous Podcast Posts:
This is the third year I’ve reviewed which podcasts I listen to, how I listen to them, and when I listen to them. Part of it’s my own curiosity at how my podcast habits change. I’m also curious what others think about the same podcasts and which podcasts come and go.
I list the podcasts into some broad groups, with any annotations about frequency I listen to them or general impressions. I listen to my podcasts in Overcast. I prefer Overcast because the app deletes podcasts I’ve listened to, plus it has a smart speed feature which will speed up if it hears dead air. Generally, I listen to my podcasts at 2X speed.
I used to use three playlists, but I’ve consolidated it down to one playlist. I was finding over the past year that I wasn’t listening to my history or writing playlists. So, now I’m just down to my Daily playlist. This is a playlist of what I want to listen to during my commutes, work, and other times. I used to have certain podcasts for certain days/times, but the volume and rate with which I go through podcasts makes that difficult. Some are “promotable”, which means they go to the top. The rest are filler, and I’ll get to them when I can – or just delete them if they don’t capture my interest.
My podcasts as of March 2020:
Friendly Fire – Three guys watching and critiquing war films. Sometimes they get a bit too much into the art of film, or into the wokeness world, but I generally end up enjoying what they bring to the film. This is filler.
The Incomparable Game Show – Rotating panels playing rotating series of obstensibly board games. Often hilarious, sometimes dangerously so when driving. It’s filler.
Penn’s Sunday School – Penn prognosticating on the world with a few of his friends and/or guests. Hilarity ensues. This is a promotable.
The Rewatchables – Variety panel of guests discussing a movie that is considered highly rewatchable. It’s filler.
Roboskull Cast – A Robotech podcast where the hosts go through the episodes and the new comics. One has seen the series, one is watching it, and neither were old enough to watch in ’85. It’s filler.
Economics / Libertarian Theory
Cato Events Podcast – Recordings of various panels put on by the Cato Institute. I’ve heard a lot of very interesting discussions and arguments. Some, not so much. I would recommend listening even if the subject doesn’t seem interesting. I’ve been surprised by what I learned. It’s filler.
Econtalk – Economist Russ Roberts does great interviews with a wide variety of guests and topics. I’ve been learning a lot on economics, and some wildly different topics. This is a promotable.
Free Thoughts – Interview podcast on libertarian issues and theories. It’s a filler.
GAO Podcast – GAO discussing some of their reviews they’ve done on federal agencies. This is filler.
Make No Law – Ken White delves into the case law around the First Amendment and free speech. It’s a promotable when it infrequently drops.
Pop & Locke – This one looks at pop culture media (books, TV, movies) through the libertarian lens. It’s filler.
Power Problems – A Cato podcast focusing on foreign affairs. It’s a filler.
The Pursuit – The first season was a great overview of government seizures of private property, with the second going into various abuses of power by the government. It’s filler.
Short Circuit – From the Institute of Justice, this one discusses notable cases that IJ is arguing. I put it under libertarian theory rather than politics because it discusses legal libertarian arguments rather than issues of the day. This is filler.
So To Speak – FIRE’s podcast discussing free speech issues. The guests and legal theories put this more into theory although it sometimes delves into the issues of the day. This is filler.
The SoHo Forum Debates – Oxford-rules debates on a variety of issues. It’s a filler.
The Tom Woods Show – A mainstay of the Mises wing of the libertarian world interviews and discusses events and theories. It’s filler.
Words & Numbers – Two economists from the Foundation For Economic Education discuss different aspects of economics from a libertarian perspective. Sometimes dipping into issues of the day. It’s filler.
Guns, RKBA, and Prep
Assorted Calibers Podcast – The spiritual successor to the Gun Blog Variety Cast. Weer’d Beard and Erin Pallette are the real reason I listen to this, but the other segments are generally pretty good. I’m also a patron, and listen to the Mag Dump round tables, Film Tracks, and Blooper Reels. This is a promotable.
Concealed Carry Podcast – This is a good podcast that will do interviews or just discussion from the hosts. It’s filler.
Firearms Nation – Interview podcast with leading competition shooters and others to discuss both competition and practical shooting techniques and strategies. It’s a filler.
Geeks Gadgets and Guns – A couple of geeks discussing guns and other geeky stuff. It’s filler.
Gun and Gear Review – This is a good review podcast for new stuff in the gun world. I enjoy the reviews and the banter between the hosts. It’s filler, but may go to promotable in the next year.
Guns Guide To Liberals – This is a good podcast focusing on how to talk about guns and RKBA to those who don’t share our views. It’s a promotable.
Handgun Radio – This one I’ve been enjoying. Especially the in-depth histories of different firearms companies. It’s a promotable.
Handgun World – This one is filler on my Daily playlist. Bob has good information, but sometimes his views annoy me, particularly when he goes off on rising evil. This one’s filler.
Managing Uncertainty – This podcast is mainly focused on risk management from an organizational standpoint, but I find it’s useful as a prepping exercise as well. It’s filler.
MichaelBane.TV On The Radio – This is the successor to DownRange.TV podcast, with Michael opining on the gun world. It’s filler.
Polite Society Podcast – Good information, but often too long if I have a backlog. This one is filler.
Save The Second – Podcast on the current issues with the NRA and the fight to reform the organization. It’s filler.
Self-Defense Gun Stories – I like the analysis of what went right and wrong from a variety of professional trainers. This is another I recommend to new shooters and those who are thinking about using a gun for self-defense. This one is filler.
Skip’s Tactical Solutions Podcast – Avery’s a new voice in the gun podcast world, and I find some of her insights fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that she’s local. I may end up taking a class from her if I can scrape up the cash/time. It’s filler.
This Week In Guns – Three hosts talk on issues in the gun world. It’s a promotable.
Trigger Words – Just subscribed to this one and haven’t made up my mind. It’s filler.
Hardcore History – Dan Carlin’s storytelling on various historical events is spellbinding. This is promotable on the infrequent occasions new podcasts show up.
Hardcore History: Addendum – A companion to the Hardcore History podcast where Dan Carlin does segments outside his normal narrative style. This one is promotable.
The History of WWII Podcast – This one is going through WWII chronologically, with interview episodes interspersed. It’s filler.
Revolutions – Really good series on various revolutions. Each season goes through one of the more pivotal revolutions in history, starting with the English Revolution. This is a promotable.
Intellectual Dark Web / Interview
The Femsplainers – Christina Hoff Summers and her sidekicks discuss free speech, free thoughts, and feminism of the issues of the day. It’s a promotable.
The Long Game – Long interview form podcast with different former and current politicians. This is definitely on the progressive side of the aisle.It’s filler on my Daily playlist.
Popular Front – A look into smaller conflicts going on or unusual aspects of modern warfare. It’s filler.
Quillette Podcast – Interviews and articles focusing in on free speech issues and cancel culture. It’s filler.
The Reason Interview With Nick Gillespie – Reason editor interviews a variety of guests. This would be an even better podcast if they had a different host. It’s filler.
The Portal – Eric Weinstein discusses a variety of subjects with guests. Very high-intelligence demanding. It’s filler.
The Rubin Report – Long form interview with an eye to free speech and social justice zealotry issues. It’s a promotable.
Unregistered with Thaddeus Russell – Thaddeus interviews a varied list of guests. Some are very interesting, some less so. It’s a filler.
War College – An interesting look at politics and military issues through interviews with specialists. It’s filler.
Politics of the Day
Advisory Opinions – David French and co-host from The Dispatch discuss legal issues and theory on the politics of the day. With some pop culture on the side. It’s a promotable.
The Argument – The New York Times takes the Left, Right, & Center format, takes one big step to the progressive left, and discusses the issues of the day. Sometimes frustrating, but a good look into the minds of on the political left. It’s a promotable.
Cato Daily Podcast – A good quick bit in various topics from a libertarian viewpoint. This is filler.
Contra Krugman – Bob Murphy and Tom Woods tear apart a Paul Krugman column using Austrian economics. It’s filler.
The Dispatch Podcast – Kind of like The Editors, but for The Dispatch. It’s a promotable.
The Economist – I listen to the Economist, because it provides a different perspective and reports on areas that barely hit my normal feeds. This is a promotable.
The Editors – Editors from National Review discussing the issues of the day. Part of my keeping an idea of the conservative side of the issues of the day. It’s a promotable.
The Federalist Radio Hour – Editors of the Federalist website interviews guests about the issues of the day. This is filler.
The Fifth Column – This is a really good roundup focusing on the issues of the day and how the media reports them. It’s a promotable.
Left, Right, & Center – This covers the week’s political events with a progressive, a conservative, a left-leaning centrist, and often some guests. This a promotable.
LRC Presents: All the President’s Lawyers – I picked this one up because Ken White is one of the hosts. It’s a different perspective on Trump’s legal issues than most of my normal feeds. It’s a promotable.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Charles Cooke. That’s why I listen to this podcast. It’s a promotable.
The One With Greg Gutfield – Greg does interviews in the way only Greg can do. Currently promotable.
Part of the Problem – Rabid anti war libertarian comedian Dave Smith is interesting. He’s certainly challenging some of my ideas. Particularly when he beers over to the conspiracy theories. Promotable.
The Political Orphanage – Politics of the day with a heaping helping of humor. It’s a promotable.
The Remnant With Jonah Goldberg – Politics of the day from *The Dispatch’s** Jonah Goldberg. It’s promotable.
The Reason Roundtable – Four editors from Reason discuss the issues of the day. It’s a promotable.
Squirrel Report – Three former bloggers talking over the issues of the day. Amusing with gusts of hilarity. It’s promotable.
Science and Skepticism
The Prism Podcast – A dentist and a pediatrician interview guests and discuss skeptical topics. It’s a filler.
Skeptics Guide to The Universe – This was my first science podcast and really helped forge my skepticism. It’s a promotable.
Science Salon – Michael Shermer interviews scientists, scholars, and other intellectuals on a variety of topics. It’s filler.
Skeptoid – Another one that helped in developing my skeptical outlook. It’s filler.
Cults – This goes through various cults that have popped up. It focuses mainly on North American cults in the twentieth century, and generally covers the cult over two episodes. Generally, I wait for both parts to drop and then listen to them together. This is filler.
Espionage – This one talks about particular spies in history and some of their methods. Generally each spy is given two episodes. I wait for both parts to drop and then listen to them together. This is filler.
Hostage – This podcast goes through a particular hostage event. Most are done in two-part episodes, and I generally wait until both parts drop to listen to them together. This is filler.
This Is War – The host relates a combat veteran’s story interspersed with the veteran providing his/her own insights. This is the brutal personal side of combat and its effects on a person – both physical and emotional. It’s filler.
The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe – After growing up with Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”, this one is a wonderful substitute. It’s a promotable.
Clockwise – Two hosts and two guests discuss four tech topics in thirty minutes. Generally enjoyable. It’s a promotable.
Daily Tech Headlines – Good summary of big tech stories. It’s promotable.