Monthly Archives: June 2011

Gay marriage hurts states’ population growth

With the addition of New York this week, six states permit gay marriage. Looking at the data, those states that permit gay marriage are growing more slowly than the rest of the country.

Below are the population growth rate between 2000 and 2010 for those states that permit gay marriage. Data from the 2010 census.

Connecticut: 4.9%

Iowa: 4.1%

Massachusetts: 3.1%

New Hampshire: 6.5%

New York: 2.1%

Vermont: 2.8%

Additionally, Washington, D.C. permits gay marriage.

District of Columbia: 5.2%.

In contrast, the United States population grew 9.7% between 2000 and 2010. Every singe state that allows gay marriage has grown more slowly than average.

Now, I don’t imply that gay marriage reduces a state’s growth rate, though that could be a logical conclusion because heterosexual couples are much more likely to reproduce. Nevertheless, I think the number of people in the LGBT community is too small to effect the population number to that extent.

Instead, it is the other policies of the liberal states, especially their tax policies, that drive migration between states. Notice how low-tax New Hampshire was the fastest growing of all the states listed above. It is the overall effect of liberal policies that are driving people out of these states into more conservative states.

Three classic quotes on perfection

“We are not to expect perfection in this world.” ~ George Washington

“Absolute perfection is almost never a feature of a system of laws.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

“I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.” ~ Alexander Hamilton

There is something rotten in the state of Greece. Also in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

Europe is patting itself on the back as they supposedly work out a fix for Greece. Basically, Greece will get billions more Euros in exchange for spending cuts. As a result, Greek interest rates fell slightly, though they are still very very high.

Greece 10-year interest rate:

Greece 2-year interest rate:

Great job Greece and Europe! The 10-year interest rate in Greece is now only 16.81%. And the 2-year rate is down to 29.38%. A job well done, indeed!

But wait a second there Europe. Don’t drink your champagne just yet. What about the rest of Europe?

Ireland 10-year interest rate:

Portugal 10-year interest rate:

Spain 10-year interest rate:

Italy 10-year interest rate:

Very puzzling. Why are those interest rates rising to record highs if you solved the problem? I’m starting to think you don’t know what you’re doing.

Obama the Luddite

Barack Obama believes that unemployment is high, in part, because of ATM machines.

Our President is totally right. It’s totally the ATMs fault. I think we should go around destroying all ATM machines. Think about how many jobs we’ll create by destroying all those machine.

Luddites of the world, unite!

In a foxhole with an attractive girl

On Monday, Barack Obama had this to say about Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

“If you’re in the foxhole, you want Debbie alongside you, because not only is she charming and has that dazzling smile, but she’s tough as nails. And that’s what’s needed during challenging times.”

Really? If I was in a foxhole, I wouldn’t care much about the attractiveness or charm of my fellow. I’d much rather have somebody who knows how to shoot a big gun. You know, somebody like Sarah Palin or Pamela Gorman!

Do we have a problem with our federal government? Or with government in general?

We often complain about the excessive spending of our federal government, and for good reason. We even argue for “states’ rights” as a way to restrain the federal government. But are the states any better than the federal government?

This first chart clearly show that the federal government spends, on average, as a percentage of GDP, more than our state and local government. But notice that state and local government spending caught up to the federal government back in 2001 (after the fiscal responsibility of the 1990s).

Obviously, the chart above has two large spikes representing World War I and World War II. What would it look like if we excluded volatile defense spending?

Doing this, it looks like the state and local government spend more money than the federal government. More important, states and local government has grown from about 15 percent of GDP in 1980 to 22 percent today. The federal government has “only” grown from 15 percent to 19 percent.

Looking at these chart, I have no confidence that the states will act with more restraint than the federal government. If our governments are incapable of fixing the problem, that only leaves you and me. We have to replace the people running and governments. We have to teach them and ourselves the value of small governments designed to protect our rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Everything else government does is an infringement of our rights and they should leave us alone.

 

More trouble ahead for John Paulson

I am assuming that John Paulson, one of the most well-known and successful hedge fund managers around, is not a reader of this blog. In a previous post, I questioned his strategy of buying land and expecting the real estate market to recover. If you’ve been following the data lately, you know that the real estate market continues to decline.

But John Paulson may have more pressing losses to deal with:

John Paulson, who holds a significant long position in gold and gold mining stocks, suffered a heavy hit to his portfolio when Sino-Forest (TRE.TSX) plummeted following accusations from Muddy Waters Research that the company overstated its timberland holdings in China’s Yunnan province.

Paulson’s Funds own 34,714,300 shares, or 14% of the outstanding of Sino-Forest. The stock remains halted after sinking 25% yesterday to C$14.46. Shares of Sino-Forest are indicated at C$6.75, off over 50% versus its previous close. The hit to Paulson would be in excess of $500 million.

Oops.