December 23, 2005

Parody Update: There’s No Church on Christmas

Filed under: Business Moves,Corporate Outrage,General — Tom @ 7:01 pm

Several megachurches are not having services on Christmas Day (HT Mike Meckler’s

Christian ‘megapastor’ blasts believers on Dec. 25 dispute

In “honor” of this foolishness, I resubmit the following song, originally posted on December 10:

There’s no church on Christmas

There’s no church on Christmas.
Worship somewhere else.
We can’t put on the show we want,
But we’ll still ring the bells.

There’s no Christmas service,
We don’t have the staff.
So don’t you come for Christmas,
And please try not to laugh.

Blog Pause

Filed under: General — Tom @ 3:04 pm

Several Positivity and Christmas-related posts have already been scheduled and will appear during the the next three days; don’t miss them, as many are classics.

Regular blogging and response to comments will resume on the afternoon of December 26.

Merry Christmas to all!

Passage of the Day: Donald Boudreaux on Where Prosperity Comes From

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day — Tom @ 11:50 am

The George Mason University prof busts the myth that it’s all about technology:

….. only the most doctrinaire ascetic would deny that almost everyone today in the Western world is vastly better off than were the overwhelming bulk of the human population before the Industrial Revolution.

But what caused this great wealth explosion?

The most common answer is technology. This answer is wrong.

Technology clearly has advanced over the years; happily it continues to do so. And these advances indeed are indispensable to our modern way of life. But the deeper cause of our widespread wealth isn’t technology; rather, it’s the force that unleashes and directs the human energy necessary to produce technological advances and its fruits: free markets.

The clearest evidence that markets are more fundamental than technology to prosperity is the fact that billions of people today remain desperately poor.

People in Niger and North Korea are starving to death now, even though the technical knowledge for growing and distributing basic foodstuffs is readily available across the globe.

Many Latin Americans and east Europeans still carry their goods to and from market on wooden carts, despite the easy availability of automotive technology.

Countless other people still dwell in earthen huts, have no indoor plumbing, die of malaria, and suffer all manner of other indignities and dangers that are easily avoided with commonplace technologies.

It is grossly mistaken to suggest that technology is the reason for our prosperity. Clearly something else must be present — something else that both promotes technological advance and, even more importantly, encourages the use of technological knowledge to produce and make widely available the goods and services that we Americans today take for granted.

Again, that something else is economic freedom.

As described by the Cato Institute, “The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete and security of privately owned property.” And as shown again and again by researchers who study the relationship between prosperity and economic freedom, the greater is economic freedom, the greater and more widespread is prosperity.

Among the best of these studies is one produced annually by economists James Gwartney and Robert Lawson, and published jointly by the Cato Institute and Canada’s Fraser Institute. The 10th such study was just released — “Economic Freedom of the World: 2005 Annual Report.” Among its most important findings:

- Nations in the top fifth in economic freedom have an average per-capita GDP of $25,062, compared with $2,409 for those nations in the bottom fifth

- The top fifth also has an average per-capita economic growth rate of 2.5 percent, compared to 0.6 percent for the bottom fifth

- Unemployment in the top fifth averages 5.2 percent, compared with 13.0 percent in the bottom fifth

- Life expectancy is 77.7 years in the top fifth but a mere 52.5 years in the bottom fifth

- In the top fifth, the average income of the poorest 10 percent of the population is $6,451 compared with $1,185 for those in the bottom fifth.

There is no denying that more freedom means more prosperity for more people — and that lack of freedom ensures poverty for the masses, regardless of the degree of technological sophistication.

Voting with Our Feel Redux–Leaving High-Tax States for Low-Tax States

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

Richard Vedder of The Heartland Institute looks at migration trends, and how tax climate has influenced them, with pretty impressive supporting numbers:

One of the great stories of modern times has been barely mentioned in the popular print media, has been the subject of no movies, and is rarely discussed on talk radio. Right before our eyes, one of the great migrations in human history is going on, one that has led millions of Americans to move during the past decade.

Specifically, people are fleeing high-tax, big-government states for low-tax havens where they can keep more of their income.

Compare the nine states that do not have a general state income tax with the 41 states that do. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from April 1, 2000 through June 30, 2004, a total of 1,318,963 native-born Americans moved into the no-income-tax states from those states taxing a portion of people’s income. This is net of persons moving in the other direction.

This movement of 310,000 persons a year is a continuation of a trend of the 1990s, when about 3 million persons made similar moves. From 1990 to the present, about 4.6 million persons have fled the income tax states–a vastly larger number than moved from East Germany to West Germany in the 15 years before the Communists built the Berlin Wall.

And people have been voting with their feet to avoid all taxes, not just those on income.

For example, my research shows 2,845,700 Americans moved into the 10 states with the overall lowest state and local tax burden in the 1990s, from other states. Meanwhile, there was a net out-migration of 2,151,300 from the 10 states with the highest tax burdens.

Positivity: Iraqi Children with Heart Defects Arrive in US for Surgery

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:11 am

Rotary Clubs do a lot more than weekly lunches: