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Michael Rulle


Stiglitz and Vanity Fair: “Have You No Sense of Irony Sir, at Long Last…?

2011 April 10

This popular post was originally published April 5, 2011.

Joseph Stiglitz is a left leaning, big government, 68-year-old Nobel Prize winning economist with a life long sinecure at the magnificently wealthy Columbia University. His recent essay in Vanity Fair, “Of the 1%, By the 1% and For the 1%“, is an incoherent mish-mash of boring class politics. In a winding series of bizarre conflations and assertions (for example, Iran and Russia have economic equality equivalent to America) he concludes that if only we could make the “top 1%” less wealthy, we would have a better society. Most important, we could finally leave the really important decisions to Government Technocrats, who shockingly happen to come from places like the aforementioned magnificently wealthy Columbia University.

My initial reaction to the essay was my usual sense of mental numbness when the Left talks about economic inequality. Similar essays have been written by hundreds of lesser mortals than Stiglitz over the decades and all have the same predetermined conclusion. The argument goes something like this: “Everyone in the country is economically worse off, or barely better off, than 10 years ago (or 20 or 30 years ago) except for the ‘top 1%’ (or 5%, or 10% etc.) because of Republican Party policies.” The solution is more  government involvement in the economy. Economic statistics about growing disparities among “quintiles” and “percentiles,” which are always misunderstood, are trotted out as proofs. The policy prescriptions always include higher tax rates “for the wealthy” and more “government investment” in education, technology, health care, etc., etc. While few actually call for the execution of the “top 1%,” Stiglitz does darkly warn that throughout history the “top 1%” often learn ‘too late’ that their fate is bound up with the other “99%.” I wonder what percentile Stiglitz is in? My guess is he makes the cut at the “top 5%,” thus still safe from the hordes.

My second reaction was to laugh out loud. read more…

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Stiglitz and Vanity Fair: “Have You No Sense of Irony Sir, at Long Last…?

2011 April 5

Joseph Stiglitz is a left leaning, big government, 68-year-old Nobel Prize winning economist with a life long sinecure at the magnificently wealthy Columbia University. His recent essay in Vanity Fair, “Of the 1%, By the 1% and For the 1%“, is an incoherent mish-mash of boring class politics. In a winding series of bizarre conflations and assertions (for example, Iran and Russia have economic equality equivalent to America) he concludes that if only we could make the “top 1%” less wealthy, we would have a better society. Most important, we could finally leave the really important decisions to Government Technocrats, who shockingly happen to come from places like the aforementioned magnificently wealthy Columbia University.

My initial reaction to the essay was my usual sense of mental numbness when the Left talks about economic inequality. Similar essays have been written by hundreds of lesser mortals than Stiglitz over the decades and all have the same predetermined conclusion. The argument goes something like this: “Everyone in the country is economically worse off, or barely better off, than 10 years ago (or 20 or 30 years ago) except for the ‘top 1%’ (or 5%, or 10% etc.) because of Republican Party policies.” The solution is more  government involvement in the economy. Economic statistics about growing disparities among “quintiles” and “percentiles,” which are always misunderstood, are trotted out as proofs. The policy prescriptions always include higher tax rates “for the wealthy” and more “government investment” in education, technology, health care, etc., etc. While few actually call for the execution of the “top 1%,” Stiglitz does darkly warn that throughout history the “top 1%” often learn ‘too late’ that their fate is bound up with the other “99%.” I wonder what percentile Stiglitz is in? My guess is he makes the cut at the “top 5%,” thus still safe from the hordes.

My second reaction was to laugh out loud. read more…

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Hot Post: Why the GOP Fears Sarah Palin

2010 December 18

This popular post was originally published on Monday, December 13.

One way or the other, Sarah Palin will have the biggest impact on the GOP’s chances to win the presidency  in 2012. Her recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal supporting Rep. Paul Ryan’s economic deficit reduction and economic growth plan is simply her latest in a series of comments on the important issues for America. Her astuteness in these matters is apparent. No, I don’t care if she actually writes these, although there is no reason to believe she does not. Whether she does or not, it is apparent she understands their importance and meaning.     read more…

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Why the GOP Fears Sarah Palin

2010 December 13

One way or the other, Sarah Palin will have the biggest impact on the GOP’s chances to win the presidency  in 2012. Her recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal supporting Rep. Paul Ryan’s economic deficit reduction and economic growth plan is simply her latest in a series of comments on the important issues for America. Her astuteness in these matters is apparent. No, I don’t care if she actually writes these, although there is no reason to believe she does not. Whether she does or not, it is apparent she understands their importance and meaning.     read more…

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A Message to Buffett on Taxes: Shut up and Play Bridge!

2010 December 4

The photo above depicts Warren Buffett and Bill Gates at a bridge event in Omaha, Nebraska in 2006.

An updated version of the first blog I ever wrote (July 3, 2006)

Warren Buffet was back on television last weekend telling ABC News how the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes. One would suppose that just the very fact of that statement, coming from a man worth $50 billion or so, who pays and has paid virtually no taxes, is 78 years old, and whose estate also will never pay taxes would be self evidently ridiculous. For some reason it is not. He apparently agrees with Obama’s definition of the rich as a married couple making $250,000 (in New Jersey for example) whose marginal income tax rate is over 50%. Let me explain the nature of Buffet’s tax advantages. read more…

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Holder and Napolitano: Keeping Us Safe

2010 November 21


This week’s juxtaposition of Janet Napolitano’s theater of the absurd roll-out of new airport screening methods with the conviction of “man caused disaster doer,” Ahmed Ghailani, for conspiring to destroy property, almost makes one forget how bad our economic circumstances are.

When Napolitano was asked by reporters Monday “will you insist that {women wearing hijabs} go through full body pat downs?” she responded not with a “yes,” but said “with regard to that specific issue there will be more to come…..we are doing this to keep powders, liquids, and gels off the planes.” That really is all you need to know about Obama’s TSA. But for extra credit, I include the following. read more…

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October Surprise! The Left Ferrets out Trotskyite Fashion Critic, Juan Williams — Schiller Next

2010 October 22

Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR, has one of the best jobs in the world. Illustration by Riccardo Vecchio

At first I thought this was a joke—“Juan Williams firing may be violation of Foreign Agents Act “. The lobbyist group, The Center for Security Policy, has suggested CAIR (The Council on American Islamic Relations) was responsible for Williams’ firing. To the extent they are major contributors to NPR or its parent, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this is plausible. While CAIR was highly vocal in criticizing Williams for putative anti-Muslim comments, this is what they do. They have an outrage a day.

But I don’t think that was why he was fired. read more…

“Young Guns” and “Chastened Rebels”: The Clowning of America

2010 September 18

Lame, limp and self absorbed attention seeking is not what most of us are looking for this year in our politicians. That’s what the Democrat Party is for. But Republican House members, Congressmen Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy have released a new book entitled Young Guns, featuring themselves on the cover, apparently designed to magnetically attract us to the Conservative cause. Rich Lowry of National Review has added a second tag line in an essay yesterday, calling the trio “chastened rebels”. The Weekly Standard claimed credit last week for the “Young Gun” moniker as they were referred to as such in a 2007 issue. Have people lost their minds? Normal people cannot possibly find this appealing.  Is one supposed to imagine a trio of mythic, heroic Roland Deschain Gunslingers, (from the Stephen King Dark Tower series), striding into town to take on the High Princess of Evil, Nancy Pelosi?  Maybe they envision someday having this cover photo replacing Che Guevara as the college dorm poster of choice for future rebellious youth. read more…

What Constitutional Right to Build the Ground Zero Mosque?

2010 September 11

The countless articles and commentaries about the proposed Mosque near Ground Zero never fail to include the proviso “no one disputes their constitutional right to build it……….”. From the always odious Keith Olbermann to the always entertaining Ann Coulter it is de rigueur to make this point when discussing the proposed Mosque. Why we need to constantly reference this point is beyond me. Our original constitutional right to dispose of our property at will is derived from the Fifth Amendments Takings Clause. But as all property owners in America are aware, our rights to do what we want with our property has long been superseded by local zoning boards, the EPA, local historical committees, farm usage regulations, and countless other restrictive powers of Local, State and Federal Government. Plus the Supreme Court ruling in Kelo versus the City of New London expanded the concept of eminent domain to include taking property from one group of private citizens to give to another group of private citizens. read more…

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Barack Obama is Running Out of Time

2010 September 2

It is hard to believe it has been only 19 months since the president’s inauguration. But in “political time” it has been much longer. When a president seeks “fundamental change”, and actually means it, political time expands as he attempts to break through decades of built up political boundaries. Remember how Obama bragged he accomplished health care reform when every president since Teddy Roosevelt failed? Putting aside the absurdity of the statement itself, it demonstrates that our president thinks in terms of centuries, not mere 4 year election cycles. read more…

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The Ever-Growing Government: Just Another Long Day’s Journey Into Night?

2010 August 30

In the wake of the successful Tea Party rally in DC, small(er) government proponents can be forgiven for a sense of heightened optimism about the future. While the Glenn Beck rally was light on politics, its audience knew why they were there. But halting, let alone reversing, the massive federal and state bureaucracies will require enormous and persistent political will by the populace. Is there enough consistency of opinion within this nation to slow the growth of government? Let’s hope we get the opportunity to find out. But it’s usually the other guy’s handout we want to abolish, not our own. read more…

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Idiomics and the Obama Administration

2010 August 11


President Obama’s Chief Economics Adviser, Christina Romer, resigned last week. Private sector jobs declined about 130,000 or so according to the July jobs report. That’s what she deserves for supporting political policies in stark contrast to her own research The Macroeconomic Effects of tax Changes where she states in the abstract: “…….tax increases {designed} to reduce [an} inherited budget deficit or to promote long term growth…..are highly contractionary. The effects are strongly significant {and} highly robust…..The large effect stems in considerable part from a powerful negative effect of tax increases on investment”. As Reason Magazine’s Tim Cavavaugh noted re: Ms. Romer, “Now how will you get your soul back”? read more…

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