Category Archives: Economics

Animal’s Daily Texas News

Before I get into this, check out the latest chapter of Barrett’s Privateers – Unrepentant Sinner over at Glibertarians.

Now then: Why is Texas better than California?  Well, one word: Liberty.

Hate Texas? Get over it. Why so many people are moving to the Lone Star State.

It gets hot in Texas in the summer, but my home state gets even more heat from critics for its politics, policies and even cowboy culture.

Case in point: In the new film “Civil War,” guess which states pair up to fight the federal government? Texas and California.

That actually could be believable − because so many Californians are fleeing the Golden State for the Lone Star State.

Hate Texas all you want, but last year, for the sixth time in eight years, Texas’ population grew more than any other state, according to U-Haul Growth Index. The report also says, “For the fourth year in a row, California reflected the largest net loss of one-way movers.”

People are indeed voting with their feet, and Texas is sure a popular destination (Alaska is, happily, too cold for most of the Californians) and there’s a good reason for it: Texans enjoy far more personal liberty than Californians.

Residents are free to live, work, defend themselves, ride horses or raise their families pretty much any way they see fit. The things they can’t do aren’t tyrannical; they’re helpful boundaries.

If anything, Texas opposes tyranny like Democrats oppose lowering taxes. It’s not in any one law or person, but it is an idea that permeates our culture, and Texas embraces it well.

Turns out, a lot of other Americans do, too.

It’s a model that works. Florida is proving the same thing.  And here in the Great Land, at least outside the Anchorage Bowl, we’re the most “mind your own business, leave us alone” folks you’re liable to find anywhere.

There is a problem; the country is becoming more and more polarized as time goes on. The red states are getting redder and the blue, bluer.  National politics are getting more and more ruthless.  And out November election, no matter who emerges the victor, will be hotly contested not only before but also after the results are known.

We live, as I’ve been saying for a while now, in interesting times.

Rule Five Great Replacement Friday

There is a thing called “replacement theory,” wherein it’s hypothesized that (at least part of) the reason for the Biden administration’s blithely allowing in a few million illegal immigrants is to, essentially, stack the census by artificially inflating the population of the predominantly urban blue cities and states. The thing is, intentional or not, that’s sure as hell what’s happening.  Issues & Insights has the news.

Earlier this week we reported on our findings about net domestic migration trends in the U.S. based on voting patterns in the 2020 elections. (See: “The Great Divorce: 3.7 Million Have Fled Counties That Voted For Biden.”)

But we realized there was a discrepancy in the numbers. For example, while more than 483,000 people have moved out of Los Angeles County since 2020, the county’s population only declined by 351,000. Over the past three years, more than 88,000 Americans left Harris County, Texas, yet its population actually increased by 104,000.

And, while we found that, overall, 3.7 million people moved out of Biden-voting counties since the 2020 elections, the population of these counties went down by less than 1.5 million.

Why the difference?

Were those who stayed behind particularly fertile and long-lived?

No. The difference is almost entirely from what the Census Bureau calls “net international migration.”

It’s important to note that the census doesn’t just count citizens – it counts everyone who lives in each state, and those numbers are used to determine the apportioning of Congressional representatives.

Overall, the country saw a net gain of 2,534,150 people from international migration from 2020 to 2023, Census data show. These are presumably what Census describes as “lawful permanent residents.” (A separate report shows that in 2021 and 2022, there were 1.8 million people who obtained lawful permanent resident status, and the average per year is close to 1 million. So that would easily account for the 2.5 million net immigrants.)

Where are they coming from? Census data show that 35% are from Central and South America, 37% from Asian countries (including 6% from China, and 12% from India), 8% from Africa, and less than 7% from Europe.

Here’s the onion:

Of the more than 2.5 million international migrants, more than 2 million went to counties that voted for Biden. Which means fewer than 500,000 of them ended up in counties that voted for Trump.

Here’s another way to look at it:

Of the 100 counties with the largest gains from net international migration since 2020, all but eight of them voted for Biden in 2020.

At the other end of the spectrum, of the 100 counties with the lowest levels of net international migration, only five voted for Biden.

You can see the complete data set that we compiled here.

It’s hard to see this as anything but deliberate.

I’m generally inclined to see anything bad the Biden administration does – in other words, anything at all that the Biden administration does – is the result of stupidity and/or incompetence rather than malice.  But this situation just stinks a little too much to be random stupidity.

No, this seems an awful lot like a calculated tactic to raise the odds of keeping the United States House of Representatives in Democrat hands.  And, as we’ve seen in all the news of late – you can see a lot of my own coverage of this linked in yesterday’s Red Thursday post – this uncontrolled, unchecked illegal immigration isn’t really a good thing.

The Biden administration has let in millions of illegal aliens, and we have no idea who most of them are, where they intend to go, or what they intend to do when they get there; we are, effectively, setting ourselves up for our own Crocus City Hall/October 7th event.

Nothing about this will end well.

Rule Five Step In The Right Direction Friday

Finally, some good news, in that one level of government is actually scaling back some requirements!  Granted, it’s just our local Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which is proposing to repeal the Borough’s required business license.  The state license will still be required, but hey, it’s a start.

A proposal to end the requirement is scheduled for an April 2 borough Assembly hearing.

Each borough license carries a $100 fee and must be renewed every two years. Businesses operating in Alaska must also hold a state-issued license, which carries a $50 annual fee. And those in Palmer, Wasilla or Houston city limits are also required to carry a city-issued license, which cost $25 each year.

The licensing fees can create an unnecessary burden, particularly for small or home-based businesses, borough Mayor Edna DeVries said in an interview this week.

Business license fees in Mat-Su essentially function as a tax, according to a memo accompanying the proposal.

The city taxes don’t apply to us out here in the Borough, and the removal of the Borough license requirement would cut our business tax liability by two-thirds. I’ll take that.

Borough officials do not use the license process to regulate or police businesses, and the information submitted in each business application is not used for economic development, DeVries said. The borough also does not enforce the proper display of licenses, she said.

“It just seemed to me like it was one of those things where we didn’t actually need it,” she said.

I think Edna DeVries just earned my vote in the next Mayoral election.

While this is a small issue in the greater scheme of things, and while the calculus isn’t necessarily on the focus of making things easier on Mat-Su businesses, it’s nevertheless a step in the right direction and a small sign of progress.  Consider our lines of work: I’m a journalist, my wife a publisher; the liabilities incurred in our businesses are essentially non-existent, unlike, say, a carpenter, who if he is incapable, may result in a house collapsing on its owners.  We present little physical risk to the community should we screw up, and we carry insurance to cover what mishaps we may encounter – so why, then, should we be required to apply to permission from the Borough to conduct our affairs?

Answer: In a sane world, a world that values liberty, we shouldn’t.

The borough collected about $630,000 in business license fees in fiscal year 2023, according to the proposal memo, with about $94,000 of that paying for the salary of a full-time borough employee who manages the licenses.

Losing that income will have a “negligible impact on the borough’s finances,” the memo states. That’s because repealing the fee would not eliminate the employee from the system. Instead, the change could free up time to apply for state and federal grants, which bring in far more than the licenses, DeVries said.

“Within the administration, one of our greatest needs with all of the grants out there is to have somebody who can have some more time,” she said.

Now I’m not too sure about what grants the Borough is applying for, but that’s a topic for another day.  What is apparent is that the Borough appears to be doing some fiscal calculations and is determining that this licensing requirement just isn’t worth the effort.  That’s how government should work.  That’s why government works best when it’s as close to the people as it can possibly be.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time, The Other McCain, The Daley Gator, and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!

Now, to answer what appears to be a rhetorical question: No, it’s not only suckers that buy electrical vehicles (EVs) but a large number of suckers do buy electrical vehicles.

The latest evidence that electric vehicles are nothing more than environmental snake oil can be found in a recent Wall Street Journal article pointing out that these “clean” cars are actually more polluting than their gasoline-powered brethren.

By polluting, we mean actual pollution, not carbon dioxide emissions – which is not pollution but plant food.

The Journal was highlighting a study from 2022 that, naturally, was ignored by the mainstream press at the time. What the study found was that “brakes and tires on EVs release 1,850 times more particle pollution compared to modern tailpipes.”

Why? Because EVs are as much as 30% heavier than gas-powered cars, which means more stress on their “regenerative” brakes and much faster tire wear.

Sure, that’s a problem. I have and still do maintain that there are circumstances in which an EV may make sense – for instance, someone who has an urban/suburban commute of, oh, 10-12 miles and who can charge their vehicle overnight.  Wouldn’t be my choice, but for that person, an EV may make sense – or at least, for them, the choice isn’t downright stupid.

The pollution problem remains, though:

Car buyers expect their tires to last 40,000 miles. But EV owners are finding that they last only 13,000 miles. Not only does that significantly increase the cost of ownership of an EV, but it also adds to air pollution.

That’s because tire wear, in case you didn’t know, is a major source of “fine particulate matter” – often called soot – which the Environmental Protection Agency, in case you didn’t know, considers “one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution and it’s linked to a range of serious and potentially deadly illnesses, including asthma and heart attacks.”

This, True Believers, is known as “unintended consequences.”  Of course, the people who design these cars, presumably being, you know, automotive engineers, should have known this and disseminated this information long before now.

Feature, not bug.  When embarking on an agenda like this, there are always one or two facts best suppressed until the agenda is at least partly accomplished – and that sure as hell looks like that is what happened here.

Rule Five Hydrogen Boondoggle Friday

It seems the bottom has dropped out of the hydrogen-car market. This should, of course, come as a surprise to no one. MasterResource’s Robert Bradley Jr. has the details:

EVs compete against hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles–at least in California where some one hundred hydrogen dispensing stations are. The range and fill-time of HFCVs is quite competitive with EVs. But it is downhill from there–and a major mess for sellers and buyers. The California Energy Commission (remember Methanol?) has failed again.

Consultant James Carter on LinkedIn summarized a recent article in Jalopnik, by Logan Carter, Toyota Offers $40,000 Discount On A Car Most People Can’t Fuel Up.” His autopsy (verbatim): 

  • Toyota’s innovative Mirai might just be the best deal on the car market right now, but access to hydrogen fuel is getting harder.
  • Even with ~$60,000 in total discounts, Mirai is still a BAD deal.
  • “The $40,000 cash incentive deal is limited to 2023 model year Mirai Limited models, and includes zero percent financing for qualifying buyers. All new Mirais include $15,000 in complimentary fuel at the time of sale.”
  • I’ve been around automotive for a long time, but I’ve NEVER seen incentives that represent 90% of new vehicle price. For a Toyota, 10% is the most I’ve seen. Yet, this is exactly what’s happening for the Toyota Mirai.

The incentives – taxpayer money, in most cases – are there because nobody would look twice at these cars without them.  Free markets are a great thing, but when it comes to these green boondoggles, of which hydrogen cars are but one example, the market is anything but free.

But wait! There’s more!  Here are the details of the costs of operation:

Vehicle: $66,000, less $40,000 discount

Finance: $6,500 interest, less $6,500 discount

Fuel for 5 years /15,000 miles annually: $45,000, less $15,000

So, in total, this car will cost you $56,000 over 5 years, which is roughly the same as a Model Y Performance mostly charged from home. Perhaps add $5k for interest payments for the Y.

Here’s the rub: At the end of 5 years, that Model Y will be worth about $25,000. The Mirai? Likely $2,000 to $3,000, based on history. In other words, that hugely discounted Mirai is still a BAD DEAL.

Why is it still bad? Because the only Hydrogen stations are in California, and all suffer very irregular supply. In other words, there’s no guarantee you’ll get fuel when you need it. Which, unfortunately, is rule #1….

The reason to have a private auto is so that it will be available when you need to use it, and so that you can go where you need to go.  In this, the various hydrogen autos fall short.  Not only are they prohibitively expensive without subsidies, they don’t age well.

What’s not mentioned here is the production of hydrogen: That takes electricity, and plenty of it, and sufficient power won’t be supplied by windmills and solar panels; meanwhile, the same people pushing these green boondoggles are opposing nuclear power.

Granted, new technology always gets cheaper and more efficient over time.  But this seems like a stretch, to try to lay in an entirely new infrastructure when we already have an established infrastructure, mature and efficient, that delivers gasoline and Diesel fuel when and where we need it.

Maybe someday there will be an unsubsidized market for hydrogen-powered vehicles. But that day is not today, and it won’t be tomorrow.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

For those of you who may not have caught the sticky post on the front page, I’ll be at CPAC 2024 in Maryland this year, from Feb. 21-24.  If anyone who reads these virtual pages will be attending, let me know!  I’ll be hanging around with the Townhall Media Group folks a lot of the time, but figure on doing some wandering and hopefully catching up with some of my indy blogger buddies.  If you’re going to be there, let me know in the comments!

Now then…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I can’t believe this is already the last Hump Day post of 2023!  Watch, though, for Friday’s Rule Five post, as we will be announcing some changes and some fun new stuff for the sight.  Rest assured our Blue Monday, Hump Day, Rule Five Friday and Saturday Gingermageddon displays of toothsome totty will continue, as well as me bringing you my take on the events of the day.

And so…

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Animal’s Daily Oldest Profession News

Before we get into this, check out a preview of coming attractions over at Glibertarians!  The Glibs will be on semi-hiatus over the holiday, I’m told, so my usual Monday fiction slot will resume on January 8th.

Now then: Turns out that December is the busy season for Oldest Profession practitioners all over, not just in Senate chambers. Mia Lee is one such, who caters to the Wall Street market and is making some Wall Street-level bucks in so doing.

Lee — who has been a professional escort for five years and a stripper for a year and a half — said the first two weeks of December tended to be one of the busiest and most lucrative periods of the year for her line of work. In just one of those weeks, Lee can bring in nearly $34,000.

“I think it’s a combination of the cold weather and holiday parties that bring out more clients. And a decent number of them don’t really like spending time with their families, so they’re looking for an escape,” Lee said.

Strippers in London, Texas, and even Alaska have also reported increased clientele in December. Some dancers have also said that their clubs tend to have a warmer, more generous-feeling atmosphere leading up to Christmas, as Vice previously reported.

Well, isn’t that interesting?

And when you look at Miss Lee, it’s apparent that she has the right assets to bring to this business proposition.

Image from article.

The entire article presents a look into the day in the life of a stripper/escort, and I’ll leave it to you True Believers to pursue that knowledge or not, just as suits you.  But as to the larger question, that being the morality of the whole thing, I say, “So what?”  It is belaboring the obvious to point out that nobody is being forced to participate in Miss Lee’s “services.”  I would find a married guy who dallies with an “escort” to be a scumbag, but that’s between him, his wife, and his conscience. I wouldn’t, but there are lots of things I wouldn’t do.

As far as the seasonal aspect, all I can say is, “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Housekeeping notes: A week from today we’ll be flying to Iowa, leaving our house-sitters in place here, where we will spend a week with the entire Animal family at our annual Thanksgiving/Christmas family reunion.  Posts will be scheduled for the balance of next week, and the week of the 27th will be taken up with some placeholder totty.  Regular posts will resume Monday, Dec 4th.

Now then…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News