Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Optum Health-Kelly Benefit Strategies Team Presentation

charles aaron
Charles Aaron, head of Circuit Global Sports Management, presents the 2012 men's and women's Optum Health-Kelly Benefits cycling teams.

Celebrated Minneapolis theater venue and architectural marvel, the Guthrie Theater, was the setting on the evening of January 30, 2012 for the presentation of the Optum Health-Kelly Benefits Strategies cycling teams. Beginning with a food, booze and schmooze including riders and fans from across the globe, the event moved onto the main theater stage itself for an introduction of the veteran riders and new additions to the squad and interviews with the most prominent members, including stars Jesse Anthony, Alex Candelario, Janel Holcomb, and Kristen Sanders. Everyone then adjourned to the open bar in the lobby for some extended chat with America's leading race riders. A great time was had by all.

Colton Barrett
Second-year team member 20 year-old Colton Barrett from North St. Paul represented the extensive local cycling scene.

Leah Kirchmann
Winnipeg, MB native Leah Kirchmann is looking forward to another hugely successful racing campaign with a new sponsor and a podium spot at the Olympic games in London in July.

Reid Mumford
Dr. Reid Mumford, particle physicist from Johns Hopkins University, now considers larger moving objects while he maneuvers through the pro peloton.

Jonelle Holcomb
Janel Holcomb is the current National Racing Calendar champion.

Joelle Numainville
Canadian Joelle Numainville is the 27th ranked elite female cyclist in the world.

Sarkozy and the VAT

IMF head LaGarde, German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy examine the sheet of clues for a European scavenger hunt.

French president Nicholas Sarkozy proposes raising that country's Value Added Tax rate to 21.2%. Ostensibly, the increased tax revenues will be used to offset reductions in government-mandated employer expenses related to payroll, ie. French social security programs. The French tax system confiscates between 40% & 45% of national GDP. Sarkozy says that increasing the national sales tax will allow French manufacturers and exporters to more effectively compete with their foreign rivals. He also intends to institute a "financial transactions tax" of .1%, meant to discourage short term speculation as well as raise state revenues. The French president's popularity is rapidly declining and he will soon face an election that will be considered a referendum on his stewardship of an ailing economy with an unemployment rate hovering near 10% and a Standard & Poor reduction in sovereign debt rating from AAA to AA+.

The word now in Europe is "austerity". The most proficient money manager in the Eurozone, Germany, intends to protect the integrity of the Euro and its own economy by reining in the profligate spending of its neighbors like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy by establishing central control over member states' budgets. Lots of luck with that. France, too, is being pressured, like all social democratic states, by the insoluble situation of increasing demands for state services that must be paid for by bonds that seem less and less likely to be redeemed at face value, plus interest. The austerity lamented by some economists and other observers is a reduction in government spending on social services while taxes are increased to pay off an interlocking web of international bondholders. Politicians have borrowed massive sums to purchase votes in the vain hope that economic growth, hamstrung by growing government regulation and parasitic tax policies, will provide the tax base for repayment. Such is not to be. A wave of financial woes are moving across Europe, Great Britain will feel more discomfort soon. As always, there are really only two ways out of the situation, monetizing the debt (print more money) and enduring inflation that wipes out the savings of ordinary people and requires a new form of fiat currency or repudiation of the debt, which is often a cause of war and eliminates the possibility of future sovereign debt, at least in the short term.

The small (at least for now) financial transactions tax is the nose of the camel under the tent. Other countries will see how it works out for the French and if there isn't outright rebellion it will be adopted across the globe in a more insidious form. Its future configuration will be the registration of all contracts, accompanied by a graduated fee, with the government to guarantee their enforceability. A real property lease, for instance, will have to be registered with a government agency if either party to it wishes to enforce its terms. Independent adjudication, such as with arbitration panels, will be required to abide by the terms as well. There will be no escape.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

World Record Holders

On May 12, 2010 three American ladies set a new world record in the women's team pursuit on the Bicentennial Velodrome at Aguascalientes, Mexico, during the PanAmerican Track Championships. Sarah Hammer, Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch zipped the 3000 meters in 3:19.569, about 2 seconds faster than the previous mark. The 2012 Olympics in London will include the women's team pursuit for the first time and the USA cycling team is preparing for it now.

Go to BNQT.com for more videos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Short History of the US Gold Standard from "Liberty", Nov. 1995 Book Review

From Here to Economy: A Shortcut to Economic Literacy (Dutton, 1995, 259 pp., $21.95), by Todd G. Buchholz.

Although I am not a professional economist, I am reasonably well read in the field. As I read this primer, I marveled at how concisely Buchholz explained complex economic concepts and economic history, and the liveliness of his prose. Further, he shows
considerable respect for Austrian economics - a respect not often in evidence among mainline economists or their popularizers - and an admiration for the Chicago School. Surely, I thought, this is a book of great merit, making matters economic understandable to those unwilling to devote the study to the field that I have. I was already planning to buy copies as gifts for the economically underendowed when Iencountered the following two paragraphs:
The U.S. moved to a de facto gold standard in the 1830s and adopted it formally in 1900. Tourists who visited Washington could walk up to the Treasury Department building on Fifteenth Street and swap their bills for gold. Every bill was inscribed with the following promise: The United States of America Will Pay to the Bearer on Demand One Dollar in Gold." (In the 1930s the U.S. dropped this pledge and replaced the inscription with a promise to Pay to the Bearer on Demand One Dollar in Lawful
Money." A puckish man from Cleveland who decided to test the government then mailed a ten-dollar bill to Washington asking to swap it for lawful money." The wits at the Treasury Department mailed him back two fives!)

As it happens, this passage discusses the one aspect of economic history where my knowledge is systematic and arguably expert. And I immediately recognized several errors:
(1) The United States more or less adopted the gold standard de facto in 1873 and de jure in 1900, more or less abandoned it in 1934, and completely abandoned it in 1971. Prior to 1873, the U.S. was on a bimetallic standard; that is, the U.S. dollar was defined as a fixed quantity of either gold or silver; in
effect, there were two dollars in circulation, one .7734 troy ounces of silver, the other .04837 troy ounces of gold. Needless to say, this bi-metallic standard was an utter failure, as in the marketplace the values of both gold and silver fluctuated. Prior to the Coinage Act of 1834, the laws of the United States decreed that one ounce of gold was worth 15 ounces of silver, the market ratio that prevailed (more or less) at the time of the creation of the U.S. monetary system in the 1790s. Unfortunately, by the early 1800s, this arbitrary valuation was out of whack with the prices of gold and silver in the market. It overvalued silver; that is to say, $100 in silver coin had less value as metal than did $100 in gold coin. At the time, Congress had no authority to repeal Gresham's Law, so the result was predictable: gold coins were driven from circulation. The Coinage Act of 1834 changed the gold-silver ratio to 16-to-l, which was by then, more or less, the market ratio. As before, this new ratio worked for a while, but soon the market ratio changed, this time in favor of gold. (That is to say, the ratio soon overvalued gold.) Silver coins were driven from circulation. Between 1849 and 1873, the coinage system was an utter mess, thanks to this problem and to the paper-money inflation of the Civil War years. In 1873, Congress repealed authorization for striking a silver dollar, in effect, reducing the status of silver coins from standard to subsidiary coinage and demonetizing silver. Finally, the U.S. was on a de facto gold standard.
(2) There was no government issued paper money at all until the Demand Notes of 1862 and the Legal
Tender Notes of 1863. These notes were not legally redeemable in gold or in silver and, in fact, were routinely refused by the federal government when tendered in payment of tariffs. Needless to
say, they never included any language guaranteeing that they could be redeemed upon demand in gold.
(3) Between 1862 and 1933, the U.S. government issued, at one time or another, thirteen different types of paper money: Demand Notes, Legal Tender Notes (also known as United States Notes), Compound Interest Treasury Notes, Interest Bearing Notes, Refunding Certificates, Silver Certificates, Treasury Notes (also known as Coin Notes), National Bank Notes, Federal Reserve Bank Notes, Federal
Reserve Notes, National Gold Bank Notes, Gold Certificates, and Fractional Currency. These pieces of paper money had a wide variety of redemption clauses, some of which were changed from time to time. The only ones the federal government promised to redeem in gold were Gold Certificates and Federal
Reserve Notes (Series 1928 only). None of these were issued in denominations of $1.00. The Treasury Notes (Series lS90 and 1891) promised redemption in "coin," which in fact meant the bearers choice
of gold or silver coin, but this is nowhere stated on the note. The National Gold Bank Notes (co-issued
by the federal government and certain federally-chartered National Gold Banks during the 1870s) promised redemption in gold, but by the National Gold Bank, not the federal government.

So I don't know how much I ought to recommend From Here to Economy. Its discussion of the one area where I might be considered an expert is fraught with errors. The frustrations of a book-reviewer!
-R.W. Bradford

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Candid Camera

A January 18 article posted on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune website:

A Florida man has been charged with surreptitiously videotaping men in an airport restroom by using a camera rigged into a book.

Joshua Fletcher, 34, of Valrico, Fla., appeared in court Wednesday to answer to two gross misdemeanor counts of interference with privacy. He was charged after a Monday incident at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in which someone complained to police that Fletcher was holding what appeared to be a book with a hole in it, with a camera or cellphone behind the book.

Charges say airport police approached Fletcher outside the restroom and recovered his cellphone, which contained multiple videos of men urinating in public restrooms. A search of a trash bin nearby revealed an address book with a hole in it and a digital camera.

The incident occurred in the same restroom where former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was arrested in June 2007 for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.

Fletcher's attorney, Marsh Halberg, called the arrest "an unfortunate situation."

"We will await what is discovered on the camera," Halberg said. "Obviously there's the question of privacy and limitations regarding private versus public sexual activity."


Don't get the idea that I'm an advocate of this kind of behavior but questions about it are part and parcel of the simmering debate about things like police arresting individuals for recording their activity or confiscating their phones and cameras, the use of surveillance cameras on private and public property and the difference between a human observing something personally and looking at a recording of the same event. There seems to be a general agreement, or at least acceptance, that businesses have the right to record the images of people entering their premises, apparently to both discourage crime and aid in the apprehension of perpetrators. The same seems to be the case with public spaces like business districts and college campuses.

The case could be made that there's a difference between an observer taking notice of the size of a man's penis at an airport rest room urinal and the same observer taking a digital photo of the member. But is there really? How do we even know that there aren't hidden surveillance cameras in public restrooms? Singer Chuck Berry was arrested for taping the occupants of a lady's rest room in a business he owned. What comparison would be made between a photo of a person and a sketch or very well done portrait? Would a quick pencil caricature of someone be an invasion of their privacy? Primitives around the world are often reluctant to have their photo taken because they feel the process steals part of their soul. Are we wrong to dismiss their concerns and if we're not, why do we care if someone is recording us? Recently there have been news stories of people convicted of child pornography for downloading computer images of imaginary children, children that couldn't have been harmed, because they don't exist. Disgusting as such behavior is, there's a philosophical issue there that really hasn't been explored to the point of resolution.

An Example of Professionalism

When your ID expires, you're not a person anymore.

Experience has taught that no one can receive money or favors without proof of identity. This is a good thing. Nobody should be allowed to cash my paycheck or pick up my Lady Gaga ducats at will call or fly to Pittsburgh with my Delta ticket unless they can prove they're me. So when I push an endorsed check through the teller's window at the bank, I also submit a state-issued document with a photograph that seems to prove that I am, indeed, the person whose name is on the check. The teller will examine this item of identification not only to ascertain that my face closely resembles that of the photo, but that the document itself has not EXPIRED. There's a problem with this "expiration" concept. With the arrival of an arbitrary date printed on a driver license, the license holder is no longer legally authorized to drive an automobile on the streets and highways. There's perhaps more than one reason for this but a major reason is that the issuing authority is collecting a tax. This tax is paid just as much for the privilege of presenting legal proof of identity as it is for legally conducting a Buick down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. But when the expiration date arrives, does my identity expire as well? Does the invalidity of my state identification card invalidate my identity vis a vis actors that are not state agents? Maybe the bank could ask to see my birth certificate, which evidently does not expire. As a private business, they have the right to establish requirements that may or may not guarantee their services but why should they care about the date on an identification card? Or is there some sort of legality that turns one's ID to junk with the passage of a day as far as the bank is concerned? And what about passports? Why should a passport ever expire or require renewal? Is there the possibility that a person's identity might change over the ten year lifespan of a passport? And if it did, for instance when a woman takes her husband's surname after marriage, couldn't something be done for that particular eventuality? Or, since the money involved is relatively small, is this just another case of the state shepherds attempting to assume as much control as possible over the subject flock?

Update: The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby reflects on the same subject.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Emma Johansson is Tougher than a Football Player

The number two ranked lady road cyclist in the world, Swedish champion Emma Johansson, has narrowly escaped death from an illegal automobile maneuver while training in the Canary Islands as reported here. She estimates that her two broken collarbones and badly injured arm will heal up in time for the London 2012 Olympic road race where she was a favorite for a medal. Good luck, Emma.

Update: Emma tells us she's back on her bike and training already!

What About Me?

In the waning hours of the day set aside to honor the memory of the life and accomplishments of the Reverend Martin Luther King some of us are tempted to think about others with similar stories that have yet to receive similar honors, Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull, for instance. While Sitting Bull's people were never held in bondage by Americans, they, like all other native Americans, were swindled out of or physically evicted from their lands and subjected to a national policy of extermination. Sitting Bull himself was assassinated by members of his own tribe that had become agents of a government that hated and feared him. American liberal/progressives, always on the look-out for an oppressed minority to use as political cannon fodder, have made it a point to ignore the injustice and cruelty visited upon the native Americans that continues to this very day. When will we close the post office for Sitting Bull?

A Psychological Test: When You Hear The Word "Hayek" Do You Envision


Or Salma?

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Perhaps the greatest rock and roll songstress anywhere, anytime, the fantastic and certifiably crazy Alejandra Guzman belts out "Hey, Guera".

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

3M Sues the State of Minnesota and the Metropolitan Council

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

The 3M Co. has a new tactic to defend itself against a lawsuit filed by the state of Minnesota and the Metropolitan Council: If we polluted, so did you.

In a counterclaim filed Monday, the company said that if it is found liable for polluting the Mississippi River, the Met Council also should pay.

That's because, 3M says, the planning agency for the seven-county Twin Cities area dumps chemicals into the river from its seven waste treatment plants.

The court document is a new twist in the legal battle over PFOS, or perfluorooctane sulfonate, found in the river.

The state sued 3M in December 2010, saying its chemicals had damaged the environment. The Met Council joined the suit 11 months later.

But 3M now argues that the chemicals are coming from treated sewage and other sources.There has been no dollar amount specified in the state's lawsuit, but removing PFOS from the Mississippi could cost billions. In November, the Met Council said the cost of stripping the chemical from water discharged from a single plant could be $1 billion and would require a 40 percent rate hike.

In an email Tuesday, a spokesperson said the Met Council would not comment on the 3M counterclaim.

"In the unlikely event that we were held liable to the state for damages or reparations for the Mississippi cleanup, the Met Council should be assessed for a proportional share," said Bill Brewer, a partner at 3M's law firm, Bickel & Brewer, which has offices in Dallas and New York City.
The 3M document was filed in the Fourth District Court in Minneapolis. In it, the company said it has spent $100 million - double previous estimates - to clean up ground and river water in the past 10 years.

Those efforts stand "in sharp contrast to the Met Council's inaction," the document says.

Starting in 1949, 3M manufactured chemicals called perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, including PFOS. They were used in Teflon, fire extinguishers, Scotchgard stain repellent and other household products.

The company legally disposed of waste products containing PFCs in landfills until the 1970s. In 2004, minute amounts of PFCs were found in groundwater around those landfills, affecting the drinking water of 67,000 people from Oakdale to Hastings.

PFCs in megadoses cause cancer, thyroid problems and birth defects in mice, but they have never been shown to be harmful to people at any level.

3M says amounts found in the Mississippi River measure in parts per trillion and are far too small to harm people or wildlife. The water has been regularly tested in Pool 2, between the Ford Dam in St. Paul and Hastings.

The state says 3M should pay for damage to the environment.

"3M polluted and damaged our waters with these chemicals," Attorney General Lori Swanson said when the original lawsuit was filed.

"The lawsuit asks the company to make right the problems caused by its contamination of our waters."

Minnesota spent $13 million - and 3M contributed $8 million - to install a liner beneath a landfill in Lake Elmo to prevent PFCs from leaching into groundwater.

The state lawsuit also points to fish consumption advisories in several lakes and the Mississippi as a sign of environmental damage.

The Met Council said in a November 2010 news release that PFCs, regardless of the immediate source, were from a "known party" - 3M. So if 3M made the chemicals, it is liable, the Met Council is arguing.

But 3M attorney Brewer said the company stopped making PFOS in 2002. So, 10 years later, why is the chemical still found in the Mississippi River?

The answer, Brewer said, must be that it is coming from sources other than 3M. He said he suspects other users of PFCs, such as factories or even households, might be the source of PFOS.

The PFOS in the river could be from other U.S. and foreign companies that still make it, he said. It's possible that the Mississippi was polluted when a local fire was extinguished with foam containing PFOS, he said.

"You spray it all over the place, then it rains, and gets into the groundwater," Brewer said.

3M also said the Met Council gives farmers sewage sludge that contains PFOS, which can seep into rivers and underground water.

Wastewater from such sources must be finding its way into the Met Council's treatment plants, Brewer said. Four of those plants are on the Mississippi, and three are on tributaries, the document says.

Bickel said 3M's efforts to reduce environmental PFCs have been working.

In 2011, a study showed that the PFC levels in Washington County residents dropped by about 23 percent in two years.

In addition, PFC levels in fish dropped by as much as half from 2009 to 2011, depending on the species of fish. The study measured PFC levels in fish in Pool 2, from Hastings to St. Paul's Ford Dam.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's quite obvious

that ice hockey is much more violent than football. Hockey officials wear helmets, football officials wear ball caps.


Rastafarian Jamaican reggae star Gyptian populates his videos with nubile Caribbean nymphets that make one want to jump in a magic flying machine and join the party.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Today's Police

Just some 21st century American suburban cops on their way to make a collar, that's all.

Friday, January 6, 2012

They're running out of kid dope

The monsters that have decided that children that do not conform to school requirements and require medication have found that presently there isn't enough of the active ingredient available to modify the mental state of all the children suffering from ADHD. So the government is releasing a new supply of the dope to drug manufacturers. No information on where the feds get this stuff. Do they make it themselves or contract it out? Anyway, they've got it all figured out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Comments on Hegel

Will Durant, in his The Story of Philosophy, 1933, Simon and Schuster, NY, NY,p.221 quotes Scottish philospher Edward Caird's "Hegel", Blackwood Philosophical Classics;pp.5-8: ""But the height of audacity in serving up pure nonsense, in stringing together senseless and extravagant mazes of words, such as had previously been known only in madhouses, was finally reached in Hegel, and became the instrument of the most bare-faced general mystification that has ever taken place, with a result which will appear fabulous to posterity, and will remain as a monument to German stupidity."

In his Fooled by Randomness Random House, NY, 2004 p.74, Nassim Nicholas Taleb says:
"The Father of All Psuedothinkers

It is hard to resist discussion of artificial history without comment on the father of all pseudothinkers, Hegel. Hegel writes jargon that is meaningless outside of a chic Left Bank Parisian cafe or the humanities department of some university extremely well insulated from the real world. I suggest this passage from the German 'philosopher' (this passage detected, translated, and reviled by Karl Popper):

Sound is the change in the specific condition of segregation of the material parts, and in the negation of this condition; merely an abstract or an ideal ideality, as it were, of that specification. But this change, accordingly, is itself immediately the negation of the material specific subsistence; which is, therefore, real ideality of specific gravity and cohesion, i.e.--heat. The heating up of the sounding bodies, just as of beaten and or rubbed ones, is the appearance of heat, originating conceptually together with sound.

. . . . Now consider that Hegelian thinking is generally linked to a 'scientific' approach to history; it has produced such results as Marxist regimes and even a branch called 'neo-Hegelian' thinking. These 'thinkers' should be given an undergraduate-level class on statistical sampling theory prior to their release into the open world."

More Strange Economics From The New York Times

CHRISTINA D. ROMER An economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, she was chairwoman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

THE United States faces two daunting economic problems: an unsustainable long-run budget deficit and persistent high unemployment. Both demand aggressive action in the form of fiscal policy.

Waiting until after the November elections, as seems likely, would be irresponsible. It is also unnecessary, since there are plans to address both problems that should command bipartisan support.

On the deficit, the big worry isn’t the current shortfall, which is projected to decline sharply as the economy recovers. Rather, it’s the long-run outlook. Over the next 20 to 30 years, rising health care costs and the retirement of the baby boomers are projected to cause deficits that make the current one look puny. At the rate we’re going, the United States would almost surely default on its debt one day. And like the costs of maintaining a home, the costs of dealing with our budget problems will only grow if we wait.

We already have a blueprint for a bipartisan solution. The Bowles-Simpson Commission hashed out a sensible plan of spending cuts, entitlement program reforms and revenue increases that would shave $4 trillion off the deficit over the next decade. It shares the pain of needed deficit reduction, while protecting the most vulnerable and maintaining investments in our future productivity. Congress should take up the commission’s recommendation the first day it returns in January.

But we can’t focus on the deficit alone. Persistent unemployment is destroying the lives and wasting the talents of more than 13 million Americans. Worse, the longer that people remain out of work, the more likely they are to suffer a permanent loss of skills and withdraw from the labor force.

Despite heated rhetoric to the contrary, the evidence that fiscal stimulus raises employment and lowers joblessness is stronger than ever. And pairing additional strong stimulus with a plan to reduce the deficit would likely pack a particularly powerful punch for confidence and spending.

The payroll tax cut for workers and employers and the extended unemployment insurance that President Obama proposed last September would help put people back to work.

But even better would be measures that increase employment today, while also leaving us with something of lasting value. Because many people worry about increasing the role of the federal government, why not give substantial federal funds to state and local governments for public investment? Tell them that the money has to be used for either physical infrastructure like roads, bridges and airports, or for human infrastructure like education, job training and scientific research. Then let the states, cities and towns figure out what would work best for their citizens.

Ronald Reagan once said that “there are simple answers — there just are not easy ones.” What needs to happen on fiscal policy is relatively straightforward. The hard part is getting politicians to do it.

This is the same balderdash that's been peddled for the last four years and logically it still doesn't hold up. The budget deficit is composed of two factors, government revenues (not enough) and government spending (way too much). There are two sides in the budget struggle, one that wishes to increase taxes, mostly on the "rich" to balance the budget and a second that wants to dramatically cut government spending. Romer pays lip service to balanced budget architects but implementing the Bowles-Simpson recommendations involves the cooperation of the Congress, the members of which are unlikely to submit to spending reductions in their own districts without a battle. This piece-meal approach isn't going to result in the changes needed for true fiscal reform, namely the abolishment of whole departments like Agriculture, Commerce and Education and the major down-sizing of others such as the EPA and Interior. Amazingly, she doesn't mention, in this particular contribution, raising taxes.

The second part of the Romer recipe is lowering the number of jobless. Naturally, this requires increased government spending on stimulus and unemployment benefits, although she presents zero evidence that these actions have resulted in increased employment in even the near past. We've seen that much of the stimulus funding has gone not to infrastructure but instead has been used by lower levels of government to retain cops and school teachers. Regurgitating the canard that unemployment benefits increase employment is the kind of thing we expect to hear from that intellectual heavy-weight Nancy Pelosi, not a tenured professor at one of the country's most prestigious universities. Logically, as Austrian economists would attest, paying people not to work discourages their search for employment. If you pay for unemployed workers, you get unemployed workers, just as if you pay women to be unwed mothers, you get lots of single moms, not fewer.

Additionally, Romer is implying the other unemployment myth, that benefits are quickly spent and multiplied throughout the economy, the essence of Keynesian magic. That's illogical as well. There's no doubt that some portion of the weekly benefit goes to a couple brews at the saloon down the street and some frozen pizzas from the supermarket but surely much of that largesse is spent on the two most important expenses an American has, his mortgage or rent and his car payment. Both of these are existing contractual obligations, not stimulative at all and having no net positive effect on employment. Other necessary expenses, like heat, power and cell phone service aren't discretionary expenses, either.

The socialist/humanitarian theory that wealth should be extracted from the collective to subsidize the less fortunate is considered valid by many. Fine, but maintaining that this course of action actually produces wealth and increases long term employment is silly.