Bitcoin Is Not Money

One of the ways to spot a fanatic is the old line about their inability to change their mind or change the subject. The first part is the key. No amount of evidence can dissuade them. You see it with Bitcoin. The believers, despite the mountain of bad news, are still hoping and praying their Utopian fantasy will come true. This latest set back could, however, make the fantasy more expensive.

The Internal Revenue Service may have just taken some of the fun out of Bitcoin. But that may mean that the virtual currency is growing up.

The I.R.S. announced on Tuesday that it would treat Bitcoin, the computer-driven online money system, as property rather than currency for tax purposes, a move that forces users who have grown accustomed to operating under the government’s radar to deal with new tax issues and reporting requirements.

While that may seem like an expensive headache, some financial experts view the move as a way to push Bitcoin further away from the fringes and into the mainstream financial system.

“It’s getting legitimacy, which it didn’t have previously,” said Ajay Vinze, the associate dean at at Arizona State University‘s business school. The ruling, he said, “puts Bitcoin on a track to becoming a true financial asset.”

This was always going to be a problem for Bitcoin. No government on earth is going to treat it as a sovereign currency. It will always be property. That means the guys who bought ten grand in Bitcoin when it was trading at $50 will now owe taxes on their windfall. If I go into a pawn shop and sell a million dollars in gold coin the pawn shop is reporting the sale to the IRS and I have to report the gain or loss on my tax return. In most states, gold is not hit with sales tax, but that is not the case with Bitcoin or any other digital currency. That means Bitcoin dealers will now be hit with sales tax audits.

The flaw in the Bitcoin plan has always been obvious to anyone familiar with how countries work. To be a country, you must control your borders, your currency and your central authority. Puerto Rico is not a country. It has a defined border, but Washington runs its currency and most of its government. The Russians are slowly learning the cost of not having a decent currency. The world does business in dollars. When most of the world is pissed off at you, they stop giving you money and they stop pretending your fake money is real money.

The US government guards the dollar better than it guards the border. They know the key to keeping the American ruling elite in power is the dollar. If the world went to different money, say backed by energy, the current arrangements in Washington would unravel quickly. When you can no longer print away your mistakes, thus transferring the cost to some other place in the world economy, you have to act differently.

The Cost of Cheap Money

I’m looking at this news report and wondering if anyone at the Post bothers to read this stuff before posting it.

The super-low mortgage rates that tens of millions of Americans locked in during the refinancing boom are now discouraging many of these borrowers from buying another home and giving up those loans.

The multiyear refinancing craze, which included some of the lowest rates ever recorded, freed up cash for borrowers to sink into the economy. But refinancing activity began receding last spring, and rates have been rising since. The average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit 4.32 percent this week, up from 3.54 percent a year ago, according to mortgage-finance firm Freddie Mac, based in McLean, Va.

The higher rates, soaring home prices and a tight inventory have kept potential buyers on the sidelines, hurting the sales of previously owned homes and undermining the recovery of the housing market, a huge contributor to economic growth. Homeowners who are reluctant to move and lose their low rates — a phenomenon that economists call interest rate “lock-in” — could slow the churn of home sales across the country.

Just let that roll around in your head for a bit. If home prices are soaring, that must mean buyers are bidding up prices. Otherwise, the houses would remain unsold, forcing sellers to lower prices eventually. That’s how markets work, when left alone. On the other hand, if rates are discouraging buyers, the banks will eventually have to lower rates to attract new borrowers. Of course, that can only happen when the Fed is not monkeying around with the money supply, which is what they have been doing for more than two decades now.

A healthy turnover of homes is critical to a robust housing sector, enabling critical first-time home buyers to enter the market and existing homeowners to move or trade up. But housing experts worry that interest rates, which are expected to gradually rise to nearly 6 percent by late next year, will chill enthusiasm for home purchases. They say they’re already seeing signs of that, most recently among existing homeowners.

This is what frustrates me with modern economics. They never see the other side of the balance sheet. Artificially suppressing interest rates today has consequences. There’s another side of the entry and it will make itself know eventually. In this case, pulling forward demand for housing with cheap credit means demand will be below average at some point in the future. Cheap credit is eating your cake before you bake it. Whatever pleasure you had in the eating is forgotten once you are into the baking. Then you’re left with nothing, seemingly, to show for your labor.

The truly damaging consequence to what rulers have done is right here:

It’s too early to quantify the impact of the lock-in phenomenon. But it’s happened before and could happen again, say researchers who have studied the effects of rising rates on housing turnover. Statements by Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen this week sparked investor fears that the agency could soon begin allowing a key interest rate to rise, helping push mortgage rates even higher.

Ella Lore said she and her husband are fence-sitting. Now that their daughter is studying abroad, they would like to sell their D.C. home, buy a two-
bedroom condominium and rid themselves of the hassles and costs of maintaining a large home.

But when they did the math, they discovered that they would be paying about the same amount each month for considerably less space partly because of rising mortgage rates, Lore said. The couple refinanced into a loan with a 2.8 percent rate in 2012. Now, with a new loan, they’d get a 4.25 percent rate.

For two decades, people ave been planning and building their lives in a world of artificially cheap credit. When that cheap credit begins to unwind, suddenly everyone, even the prudent, have unanticipated problems. Think of it this way. If tomorrow the poles reversed and north was now south and south was now north, what would have to change in your life? The answer is everything. Most of what you depend on, at some level, relies on the long held assumptions about the earth’s magnetic field. Money is just about as important. Credit is money so when it gets more dear, money becomes more dear. That changes ever financial relationship.

 

Ramblings About Big Box Stores

Karl Denninger likes to pick on Best Buy. The reason is Best Buy is a big nationwide chain like Home Depot or Walmart. Instead of printing money, they are hemorrhaging it. The reason for that is not price or on-line competition. The reason is Best Buy offers no added value. It has been a while since I have been inside a Best Buy, but my recollection is the staff just stands around avoiding eye contact with the customers. Why would anyone pay even a small premium for a product from Best Buy? Karl’s answer is they won’t and they don’t, which is why Best Buy is a dead man walking.

That’s a fine argument, but what explains Home Depot? I have one near me that I pass on my way to and from the office. When I need something for a project, I stop there for supplies. They never fail to disappoint. Yesterday I stopped for some solvent to degrease a bike chain. Cleaning a bike chain is not a black art, but you don’t just soak it is gasoline either. I ride a Specialized carbon fiber bike so that means taking care when tuning it up for the season. Instead of spending fifty bucks at the bike shop, I thought I’d get something for half the price.

Anyway, I asked three different people for the aisle where they keep solvents. All I found was WD40. They have truck loads of WD40 in the place for some reason. After walking up and down the store twice, I gave up. Like Best Buy, the help runs from you if you look like you are about to ask a question. You just about have to tackle them to get any help. After I gave up and decided to leave. I walked past half a dozen employees bullshitting with one another, totally disinterested in why I was leaving empty handed. Home Depot may be cheap, but it sucks. How in the hell do they prosper and Best Buy fails?

I stopped at some little auto part joint I never knew existed and found what I wanted. The guy at the counter knew exactly what I was looking for and he also sold me some space age spray lubricant I figure I can use on my brake cables. I paid twelve bucks. Maybe Home Depot would be cheaper, but I don’t want to spend all day finding something just to save a few bucks.

Perhaps I’m an exception. Maybe people like spending hours browsing Home Depot. That certainly seems true of garden customers. I always see some poor guy with his wife in the garden center. She’s looking for plants and he is looking for some way to hang himself. The shopping carts shaped like race cars so the kids can come along tells me Home Depot is not targeting men. Home Depot could just be making money from the emasculation of men. Value perceptions is not an empirical phenomenon. Modern men may put a high value on standing in the garden center as their wives pick flowers.

That really is the difference, I guess, between Best Buy and Home Depot. Women are not the primary shoppers for TV’s, sound systems, game consoles and computers. Women are the main shoppers for home improvement stuff. I can live in spartan quarters, in fact I prefer it, as long as I have my communication gear, a way to listen to some music and light by which to read. Women would trade every electronic gadget, if necessary, for pretty curtains, nice furnishings and a pleasant garden.

 

Those Hitler Loving Frogs

The wireless brings news that French voters have gone big for the fascists in their recent elections. They don’t call them fascists these days, but we know what they mean by “far right.” Here in the States that’s called a dog whistle.

France’s far-right National Front party dealt a major blow to the ruling Socialists Sunday after several of its candidates took prime position in the first round of local elections.

The main centre-right opposition UMP party also hailed a “big victory” as initial estimates showed it came out trumps in the elections, as President Francois Hollande suffers record unpopularity against a backdrop of near-zero growth and high unemployment.

According to preliminary results from the interior ministry, the UMP and allies took 47 percent of the vote nationwide while the Socialist party and allies took 38 percent, and the FN five percent — far higher than its 0.9 percent result in the first round of 2008 municipal polls.

Ooops! I guess the headline was a bit misleading after all. The last time I checked, both 47 and 38 are larger than 5. Maybe democracy works differently in France than here in America, but I’m pretty sure you don’t win much of anything with five percent of the vote.

Applauding what she said was “an exceptional vintage for the FN”, Marine Le Pen — head of the anti-immigration, anti-EU party — said the polls marked the “end of the bipolarisation of the political scene”.

Although the FN had been expected to do well, the first round results were far better than expected.

Far-right candidates came ahead in several key towns and cities that will put them in pole position in the second round on March 30.

France's local elections

In the former coal-mining town of Henin-Beaumont in northern France, Steeve Briois went a step further and achieved 50.3 percent, an absolute majority which made him the outright winner and mayor.

Under municipal election rules in France, any candidate who gets more than 50 percent is declared the winner and there is no need for a second round.

The FN hopes to claim the mayorship of 10 to 15 mid-sized town after the second round, and if it achieves that, it will have beaten its previous record in 1997 when it had four mayors.

OK, it looks like the FN did well in rural areas while the Slightly Less Socialist Than The Socialists (UMP) did well in the major urban areas. Still, five percent is five percent.

For Americans, this is a glimpse of what’s on the way. The FN is mostly what the Democratic Party looked like in the 1950’s. That’s populist, patriotic and protectionist. In France today, being patriotic is like being a Klansman in New York City. Populism is about as tasteful as a septic tank. Of course, protectionism is considered on par with witchcraft. The idea that the government should put the interest of citizens ahead of foreigners is a banned concept in France. In a generation, that will be true of America.

Nonsense On Stilts

I like Steve Sailer a lot, but sometimes he makes assertions that are hilariously wrong. I suppose that’s to be expected. Blogging is about off the cuff commentary on a range of subjects. You’re going to get some stuff wrong. Some of that will be comically wrong. Here’s an example:

Michael Vick, who has long been the ultimate in NFL black athlete quarterbacks — an incredibly fast runner with a strong arm — has gotten another $5 million contract to play back up for the NY Jets, a half decade after he served 18 months in prison for running a dog fighting ring on his property.
I’ve always thought Vick was a sort of symbolic sacrificial victim for white America’s discomfort with its black athletic heroes. In Vick’s rather backward Southern rural culture, dogfighting was considered sporting and glamorous, just as bullfighting in Spain seemed sporting and glamorous to Hemingway 90 years ago. So Vick saw himself not as some evil person, but as a sportsman take a sporting interest in the sport of dogfighting.
Newport News is not rural. It is a small city, for sure, but it is almost as densely populated as San Diego and no one in their right mind would say that’s rural. It’s not Chicago or New York City, but it is not Mayberry either. The best comparison is the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Further, dog fighting has never been popular in the South. It sure as hell has not been on the same cultural level as bull fighting in Spain. That’s probably the most asinine thing I’ve read in a long time.  Steve’s displaying an ignorance of the South you rarely see anymore. At least he did not claim the Klan was still running things.
The real reasons whites have for resenting black football players all sound like racist stereotypes — their lack of preparation for being college students, their high rates of sexual assault on white coeds, their tendency to beat up nerds, their unfortunate rates of sticky fingers around other students’ electronic entertainment devices, and so forth — so those are largely unmentionable in polite society. For whites to get furiously mad at a black jock over dogfighting, however, doesn’t sound racist, so a lot of white anger at black athletes in general was focused upon Vick.
A better answer, one based on something closer to observable reality, is that Americans really love their pets. Everyone can identify with a pet. The idea of Fluffy being torn to pieces by another animal is horrifying. The image of someone drowning Fluffy or torturing Fluffy sends chills down the spines of the typical American. It’s true that black sportscasters rallied to Vick out of racial solidarity. It is also true that most everyone quickly forgave Vick once he served his time and was appropriately contrite.
I don’t know what Steve was thinking with this post, but he could not be more wrong on the facts.

Why Are Jews Liberal?

Reading Destructive Generation, I kept noticing that Jews were way over represented in the New Left. I’m just talking about the guys and gals with obviously Jewish names. If your name is Tov Schlomo I’m probably on safe ground assuming you are a member of The Tribe. Just looking at the Weathermen, it appears close to half the founding members were Jews. Huey Newton and the Black Panthers were largely brought to life and sustained by Jews in California. Of course, communism in America was very Jewish.

Even accounting for the fact Horowitz may have highlighted the Jews he knew in the movement, it is impossible not to conclude that Jews were way over represented in radical politics.  When one percent of the population is 30% of anything, that’s a clue. It’s not just the number. In Horowitz’s telling, Jews more often than not played the defining role in these radical movements. After all, Barak Obama would still be fixing parking tickets in Chicago without the Jewish radicals who sponsored him and nurtured his career.

I was reminded of it the other day, so I put “why are Jews liberal” into the nearest Google-machine and out popped this list of links. When you get 12 million links, it must be an oft-pondered query. But, it is not as popular as that figure would suggest. Change “liberal’ to “midget” and you get 47 million hits. Make of that what you will, but the first link of my original query is something I remembered from way back.

Norman Podhoretz wrote about this in 2009. Podhoretz repeats the old line, “Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans.” Obama captured 78% of the Jewish vote, despite being mildly anti-Semitic and hanging out with raging anti-Semites.

Most American Jews sincerely believe that their liberalism, together with their commitment to the Democratic Party as its main political vehicle, stems from the teachings of Judaism and reflects the heritage of “Jewish values.” But if this theory were valid, the Orthodox would be the most liberal sector of the Jewish community. After all, it is they who are most familiar with the Jewish religious tradition and who shape their lives around its commandments.

Yet the Orthodox enclaves are the only Jewish neighborhoods where Republican candidates get any votes to speak of. Even more telling is that on every single cultural issue, the Orthodox oppose the politically correct liberal positions taken by most other American Jews precisely because these positions conflict with Jewish law. To cite just a few examples: Jewish law permits abortion only to protect the life of the mother; it forbids sex between men; and it prohibits suicide (except when the only alternatives are forced conversion or incest).

The upshot is that in virtually every instance of a clash between Jewish law and contemporary liberalism, it is the liberal creed that prevails for most American Jews. Which is to say that for them, liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right. And to the dogmas and commandments of this religion they give the kind of steadfast devotion their forefathers gave to the religion of the Hebrew Bible. For many, moving to the right is invested with much the same horror their forefathers felt about conversion to Christianity.

The response to his query and the book that followed was predictable. The NYTimes dragged out an old warhorse to defend the faith, so to speak. First you discredit the man:

Norman Podhoretz loves his people and loves his country, and I salute him for it, since I love the same people and the same country. But this is a dreary book. Its author has a completely axiomatic mind that is quite content to maintain itself in a permanent condition of apocalyptic excitation. His perspective is so settled, so confirmed, that it is a wonder he is not too bored to write.

Then dismiss the argument:

The veracity of everything he believes is so overwhelmingly obvious to him that he no longer troubles to argue for it. Instead there is only bewilderment that others do not see it, too. “Why Are Jews Liberals?” is a document of his bewilderment; and there is a Henry Higgins-­like poignancy to his discovery that his brethren are not more like himself. But the refusal of others to assent to his beliefs is portrayed by Podhoretz not as a principled disagreement that is worthy of respect, but as a human failing. Jews are liberals, he concludes, as a consequence of “willful blindness and denial.” He has a philosophy. They have a psychology.

The long and short of it is we have one person, as far as I can tell, asking the obvious question. Why are Jews liberal? His answer is that liberalism has become the religion of The Tribe. That’s a bit of a tautology, but at least it moves the ball down the field. The alternative theory as seen here, here and in the NYTimes book review is the typical boilerplate we see from the cult of modern liberalism every day. “The reason for X is the Cult is the shining city on the hill and down in the valley, where the bad people dwell, is Y.”

I like the Podhoretz’s explanation for a number of reasons. One is it fits with something we know about liberalism. It is clearly a religion for the hard thumping Liberals. This political ideology provides the inner measures traditionally considered to be a religious territory, such as ethics, values, symbols, myths and rituals. At the same time, its attachment to the Standard Social Science Model, appeals to those raised in the Talmudic tradition. Instead of divining God’s will from the Torah, liberals divine the will of “science.”

Successful minority groups the world over have one thing in common. That is they attach themselves to the strongest element of the ruling class. Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire, is a good example. Carols is not Mexican. He is Lebanese. He is also tight with the ruling class. He has to be as he controls 90% of the telephone market. If he does not make sure the guys with guns are well compensated, they may decide Carlos needs some competition. In other words, minorities can be useful to the ruling elite.

The trouble with this theory is Jews have been out front in American culture and politics for generations now. The days of Jewish entertainers, for example, passing themselves off as Italians are long gone. Joe Lieberman was a Vice Presidential candidate 15 years ago and probably kept Gore in the race. Lieberman was a very respected political figure and very publicly Jewish. I just don’t see how modern Jews would feel they have to cozy up to the elite for protection. They are the elite and mostly in control of America.

That brings me back Podhoretz. I like his reasoning, but I have a couple of problems with it. Catholics, Episcopalians and Baptists have not followed the same path. Catholics used to be a core Democratic constituency, but that was more class and economics than religion. Plus, when they left their old church, they did not join the new faith. Instead they started voting Republican. Protestants certainly swapped the old religion for the new in many cases. Episcopalians, for example, are mostly moonats these days.

Genetics may hold the key. Jews, as known in the West, are not the same Jews as in the Middle East. Most Jews in the West are Ashkenazim, not Sephardim. Recent studies suggest Ashkenazim descend from the earliest Europeans.

The majority of Ashkenazi Jews are descended from prehistoric European women, according to study published today (October 8) in Nature Communications. While the Jewish religion began in the Near East, and the Ashkenazi Jews were believed to have origins in the early indigenous tribes of this region, new evidence from mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on exclusively from mother to child, suggests that female ancestors of most modern Ashkenazi Jews converted to Judaism in the north Mediterranean around 2,000 years ago and later in west and central Europe.

The new findings contradict previous assertions that Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages originated in the Near East, or from mass conversions to Judaism in the Khazar kingdom, an empire in the north Caucasus region between Europe and Asia lasting from the 7th century to the 11th century whose leaders adopted Judaism. “We found that most of the maternal lineages don’t trace to the north Caucasus, which would be a proxy for the Khazarians, or to the Near East, but most of them emanate from Europe,” said coauthor Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in the U.K.

Given the state of religion in Europe 2,000 years ago, it is rather amazing that a group of people would elect to become monotheists, much less Jewish. A religion requiring a relatively high degree of literacy and one that comes with a rational legal code is going to make them even more unusual. I don’t think it is too much of a reach to think that Ashkenazim are hard wired to believe and to believe a certain way. Those unique traits and a high degree of endogamy meant those traits were reinforced through mating.

Keep in mind that I’m just trying to reason thorough this inductively. There’s too much missing from my discussion to be more than ruminations. There’s some evidence from genetics that belief is heritable, but not enough to draw too many conclusions. How much of culture is genetic is an area where disagreement is near universal. The fact that Jews and Gypsies have remained culturally unique, despite it all, suggests genetics is a bigger role there than the SSSM crowd would like to believe.

In the end, Jews are liberal because they are biologically tuned to be liberal.

Imaginary Tax

This post over at Marginal Revolution reminds me of something I find baffling. Since the 1990’s Conservative Inc has been peddling tax cuts in one form or another. Most of it is just social engineering through the tax code. Rich Lowry’s house boy, Ramesh Ponurru, still yaps about child tax credits as if it is a novel idea. For the life of me I’ve never understood why anyone thinks that guy is smart or interesting. Yet, Conservative Inc drools over him and swears he is a brilliant. Maybe it is all relative. There are not many smart guys left over there. Still, even by the standards of National Review he is a mediocrity.

Where was I?

The idea that you never hear much with supposed pro-capitalist types is a zero income tax on business. Politically, it has the obvious defect of seeming to be pro-rich people. People are not that dumb. They are rather stupid and some segment will fall for just about anything, but the persuadable voters can also be sold on an idea that will get them a job or a raise, too. A zero business tax would instantly make America a magnet for every global corporation on the planet. That’s easy to understand and easy to sell.

There’s another piece that would be good politics. The candidate running on this idea could tie it to political reform. Our politicians no longer serve the people. Instead they extort money from business by selling them indulgences in the form of tax breaks. John McCain has often said he spends too much time shaking down businesses and threatening them with taxes if they don’t give him money. Remove the weapon and he and his coevals can no longer use that weapon to shake down business. Any politician worth a damn should be able to make this last point the focus of his proposal.

The other benefit, politically, is it would allow the Republican to shift the focus onto the Left. Corporate taxes end up in one of two places. That’s the price of the product or the employee’s paycheck. Taxing business is a false populism. The Cult has for years fooled the working man into thinking he is on his side by pushing taxes on business. A reasonably savvy pol could turn this on its head and argue it is a hidden tax on working people. The only way normal people can escape the current paradigm and get the attention of the voters is to turn the spotlight onto the Cult. Make their man defend this stuff, rather than chant platitudes.

But, they are not called The Stupid Party for nothin’.

One Reader Writes

From Walt:

The final goal of “race realism” seems unclear. I think if anything, it is a vehicle being used to reinstate freedom of association and freedom of speech. People are happy to live amongst those of other tribes, as long as they are able to say and do as they please without hurting others. Race realists have a recurring theme, that non-whites seem to be able to do and say as they please, while whites have to constantly self-edit what they want to say and end up living a lie to appease those whom they hate. Namely, self-righteous cowards waving the middle-management magic wand of political correctness. Which is no more than poor self-esteem manifested.

The freedom of association and speech wont be coming any time soon. The easy solution is quick, brutal and very politically incorrect. That wont happen either any time soon.

I think this is probably right. It strikes me that most of the race realists are simply offended by the double standard. If whites must self-edit to keep the peace, all of the other groups should do the same. The only other race that mentions the self-editing stuff is Orientals. Once in a while this crops up like the revolt over Prop 209 in California. Otherwise, it is a one-way street and explicitly so. The sports racists Mike Wilbon often says exactly that on ESPN. For instance, blacks can discuss the use of the magic words and how and when whites use them, but whites are prohibited from engaging in the debate entirely.

My sense is this has everything to do with the suicide cult we call liberalism and very little to do with race. In my youth, race relations were better than today and it is largely due to fanatics gaining greater control of the culture. The list of things people of all races could say in public in 1975 (Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, Mel Brooks), but cannot say today is very long. That’s what makes me less inclined to embrace the doom and gloom side of it as expressed in Walt’s final sentence. Eventually, it comes to a head and usually much faster than the suicidal nut expects. The people working to stop them from jumping or swallowing the pills, throws in the towel and stops interceding. The nut either jumps or steps back. Either way, the game is over.

 

The Pod People

One of my themes is how the people ruling America look like Americans, make noises like Americans, but are nothing like Americans. If you pay attention for any length of time you have moments like this one:

Now, I don’t think alien have taken over the country. Aliens would not be so foolish and stupid. If you can master interstellar travel, you’re going to have no trouble running a currency or negotiating with Putin. No, our rulers are human. They just work extra hard to be nothing like those over whom they rule. As Pat Buchanan noted decades ago, we may be the first country in history whose ruling elites hate the nation over whom they rule. A good example of it is in this hilarious Drudge story.

A White House aide set off a stampede of liberal media criticism for Internet news pioneer Matt Drudge over Obamacare – but his critics don’t seem to understand how small businesses pay taxes.

The brouhaha started when Drudge tweeted, “Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not ‘getting covered’… I’M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX.”

Jesse Lee, the Director of Progressive Media at Barack Obama’s White House, responded that that was a “Flat lie, no fee for previous year,” adding, “Scary how much influence he once had.”

Lee’s response to Drudge set off a firestorm in the liberal media, with many mainstream media and left-wing reporters countering him on Twitter and in their own articles to claim he does not have to pay Obamacare’s Individual Mandate tax until next year. The individual mandate went into effect Jan. 1 of this year, and most people paying their taxes right now are paying taxes for 2013.

“Dude, there’s no penalty until next yr,” Sahil Kapur of the leftwing Talking Points Memo tweeted.

Kapur’s colleague at TPM Dylan Scott wrote a full story with a headline alleging Drudge was “probably lying.”

“Americans don’t pay a penalty for not having health insurance until they file their 2014 taxes — in 2015,” Scott wrote. “So either Drudge is lying or he paid a huge penalty a year earlier than he needed to.”

“Penalty isn’t collected until 2015,” Sam Baker of National Journal tweeted at Drudge.

The Huffington Post’s Jeffrey Young wrote a full article in which he described Drudge’s tweet as “weird” and a “little head-scratching” because the Obamacare tax does not kick in until the 2014 tax year.

Drudge indicated in his followup tweets that since he is self-employed as the proprietor of The Drudge Report, he files as a small business. According to the IRS’s website for self-employed individuals, they are required to pay taxes quarterly.

“As a self-employed individual, generally you are required to file an annual return and pay estimated tax quarterly,” the IRS website reads.

So, when they file and pay those 2014 first quarter taxes, such individuals have to pay the Obamacare Individual Mandate tax if they opted to not have health insurance—like Drudge just did.

These people going after Drudge not only have never signed the front of a paycheck, they have no idea how taxes even work. They take their “stuff” to an accountant, who does all the work. It is not just the hard core liberal fanatics. I doubt most in Conservative Inc. have a clue as to how people file taxes. After all, if they want to know something about taxes, they will call a buddy from the BLS or Cato to give them something clever sounding to say on the issue. The mundane task of actually complying with the tax code is for the little people.

When I was a teenager, I worked construction in the summer. During school, I had other odd jobs that fit around studying and sports. Mine was the last generation where any prep school kids worked. Most of my coevals from upper class families had no jobs. Their job was to be a student. This carried through to college, graduate school and then life. Their goal was to take up positions in the ruling class and that meant self-actualizing professions like journalism, government work, university life and so forth. Menial labor like construction or flipping burgers offered nothing they would ever need later in life.

The result, over the last few decades, is a ruling elite with little knowledges of what Americans do every day. How could they? They’ve never done any of these things. The toadies in the media prove their worth by displaying their cultural ignorance. Like braying asses, they make lots of noise in order to get the attention of their masters, not the audience for whom they allegedly work. Mainstream news organizations live entirely on charity, either the largess of patrons or through expropriation of your money through the cable bill.

If you pay attention long enough, this begins to  seem reasonable:

 

Race Realism?

I must admit I have enjoyed reading a lot of what falls under the heading, “race realism.” Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire do a great job laying out facts as opposed to the wishful thinking so popular with the ruling cult. I guess reading outlawed ideas is always going to appeal to a renegade mind. Plus, the people out waving their pom-poms in favor diversity and tolerance are the worst sort. As I’m fond of saying, they talk like MLK and live like the KKK. Anything that makes them appear more absurd is pleasing to me.

That said, I wonder, what’s the point? This Taki column by Fred Reed is mostly stupid, but it does brush up against this question. I’ve never understood the attraction to the cornpone offerings of Fred on Everything, but I’m not everyone’s cup of tea either. This is what I find stupid:

While I want to regard all of humanity as inferior, with regard to particular groups, vile ripples of unwanted evidence occasionally raise their ugly heads (if ripples have heads). Consider Latinos. After living for eleven years in Mexico, I cannot see that Mexicans are any stupider than anyone else. (This, of course, leaves ample leeway for being stupid.) The assertion among fans of IQ is that because of their admixture of Indian blood, Mexicans, and for that matter all mestizos of Latin America, are stupid. I don’t see it.

I know some teetotaling Irishmen, but that does not change the statistics on Irish drinking. OK, I don’t know any teetotaling Irishmen. Everyone knows all Irish everywhere are drunks and like to fight. I was simply making a point by way of example. Anyway, he does acknowledge this retort, but then goes on to talk about one small example, as if no one in the race realism camp every considered it.

In a disorganized way, however, he does touch on three problems that face the race realists. The first is what you see in the Fred Reed column. Unless you are a liberal, you know lots of pleasant people outside your tribe. Most of the people I know are outside my tribe. Whatever the statistical differences, whatever the cultural differences, pretty much everyone has a soft spot in their heart for someone outside their tribe.

That makes discussing this stuff tricky, but not impossible. Where things get dicey is when you move from listing facts to forming public policy based on those facts. Think about it. Let’s say population X is not very bright and prone to violence. Let’s say you lay out the facts to everyone’s satisfaction and there is general agreement that population X is not very bright and prone to violence. Then what? What policy arises from these facts? What would be the point of the policy?

Let’s pretend you can come up with some policy, say for education, that handles the violent stupid people in a humane and productive way. They get some benefit without placing a burden on the rest of society. I don’t know, maybe a colony of some sort where this population is placed. What about the exceptions? What about those pleasant people who are not dimwitted or dangerous? Do you ship them off to the colony too? If so, how do you sell that to the people in your tribe who are friends with these exceptions?

Maybe the race realism crowd has worked through these puzzles. I don’t follow this stuff that closely. I’m not sure it matters. The country is following the path Rhodesia followed and that South Africa is following. Maybe Charles Murray is right and a great snap back is coming and the race realists are merely the shock troops. I don’t know, but I still asked, then what?