A. Barton Hinkle on Virginia’s Libertarian Moment

Unless just about every polling outfit in
the country is wrong, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe should
cruise to victory in Tuesday’s election. Some conservatives blame
Libertarian Robert Sarvis for taking votes from Republican Ken
Cuccinelli. A. Barton Hinkle explains that it’s Cuccinelli’s
campaign could have fared better if he cared more about personal
and civil liberties.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/04/a-barton-hinkle-on-virginias-libertarian
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Senate Mulls Outlawing Anti-Gay Job Discrimination; What Will Come of Freedom of Association?

The kind of rainbow flag the government stitches together after citizens have been fighting the fight for decades.The Senate is scheduled to vote
today on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which adds
sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of verboten
reasons to deny somebody employment. According to The
Washington Post, all 55 Democrats are on board. They need
five Republicans to join their side to avoid a filibuster and that
may well happen.

Then, of course, it will die in the Republican-controlled House.
It is probably not cynical to suggest that this is all part of the
plan. Okay – maybe it’s a little cynical. But gays were used as a
wedge issue by the right back in 2004 in the midst of the
struggling Iraq War. Now the left’s signature achievement under
Barack Obama’s administration is struggling. Given the incredibly
quick (historically speaking) shifts in opinion in favor toward
accepting gay people, it would be foolish of the left not to try to
run with this and force some tough choices on Republican congress
members leading up to the midterms. The Washington Post
notes that support for ENDA-like laws is now in the
majority in all states
:

Nearly all recent opinion polls indicate that a large majority
of the American public — more than 70 percent — supports efforts to
make employment discrimination against gay and lesbians illegal. Of
course, these national numbers are not what the senators are likely
to care about. However, when we use national polls to estimate
opinion by state, we find that majorities in all 50 states support
ENDA-like legislation (note that in 1996, majorities in only 36
states supported ENDA). Today, public support ranges from a low of
63 percent in Mississippi to a high of 81 percent in
Massachusetts.

Libertarians who believe that hiring policies – even
discriminatory ones — fall under the First Amendment’s “freedom of
association” provision may end up getting lumped in with the
religious right on this one (not that this is a new thing).

I
wrote
about the prospect of ENDA’s passage back in April,
wondering whether there was actually data that backed up a real
need for laws to protect against anti-gay discrimination in the
first place. Andrew Sullivan noted on Sunday that following the
passage of the federal hate crime laws in 2009, there have been
only two prosecutions for anti-gay cases. But despite Sullivan’s
previous opposition to anti-discrimination laws, he has relented:

[T]he libertarian position on such crimes is largely moot – for
good and ill. The sheer weight of anti-discrimination law is so
heavy and so entrenched in our legal culture and practice, no
conservative would seek to abolish it. It won’t happen. And if such
laws exist, and are integral to our legal understanding of minority
rights, then to deny protection to one specific minority (which is
very often the target of discrimination) while including so many
others, becomes bizarre at best, and bigoted at worst. Leaving gays
out sends a message, given the full legal context, that they don’t
qualify for discrimination protection, while African-Americans and
Jews and Catholics and Latinos and almost everyone else is covered
by such protections. It’s foolish to stick to a principle, however
sincere, in the face of this reality.

Secondly, the federal government has ceased its own
discrimination policies in marriage and military service and
therefore now has some small sliver of moral standing to lecture
private individuals across all states. My objections twenty years
ago are now moot.

Put those two developments together and I would not vote against
ENDA if I, God help us, were a Senator. But I would vote for it
with my eyes open. I don’t think it will make much difference in
reality just as I don’t believe hate crime laws make much
difference in reality. Of course that’s an empirical question and I
promise readers horrified by my luke-warm support of this that I
will gladly recant such skepticism if ENDA truly does lead to a
flurry of successful suits across the country against anti-gay
bias.

I think I’ll stick to my sincere principles. The ending of the
federal government’s discriminatory practices still doesn’t give
them moral standing to lecture anybody about anything. Governments
are not our moral guardians or arbiters and is still prone to
extending and retracting various privileges to certain citizens on
the basis of who is in control.

Over at Cato, Walter Olson out-cynics me by suggesting that
pushing ENDA is a way for politicians to take credit for cultural
shifts they had nothing to do with. He also wonders if
there is an upper limit the number of categories where private
actors’ rights of freedom of association will no longer apply:

[A]t some point we do need to stop adding new groups to the
parade—either that, or see freedom of association turn into a
presumption of something else. At what point do we say no to future
demands that protected-group status be accorded to employees based
on political and controversial systems of belief, physical
appearance (the “looksism” issue), family responsibilities, résumé
gaps because of unemployment or other reasons, or use of lawful
products or engagement in lawful activities in off hours—to name
just a few of the areas that in fact have been the subject of
real-world agitation in recent years? If we say yes to all, we
introduce a new presumption—familiar from the prevailing labor law
in parts of Europe—that no employer should be free to terminate or
take other “adverse action” against an employee without being
prepared to show good cause to a judge. That is exactly the goal of
some thinkers on the Left, but it should appall believers in a free
economy.

That’s reason enough to oppose ENDA, as I see it.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/04/senate-mulls-outlawing-anti-gay-job-disc
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…And Markets Break Again

UPDATE: 10 minutes later – *BATS EXCHANGES REVOKE SELF-HELP AGAINST NYSE EXCHANGES

It’s Monday morning and stock “markets” are open for trading… well some of them…

  • *BATS EXCHANGES DECLARE SELF-HELP AGAINST NYSE
  • *NYSE AND NYSE MKT REVIEWING TRADES MARKED AS SOLD

Of course, as CNBC once said, we are all getting used to this now (and stocks are going higher) – so it doesn’t matter.

 

From BATS:

 

and from NYSE:


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/Ph5HSEXQRco/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Bubble Watch: Twitter Raises IPO Price By 25%

Just days ahead of the most-anticipated IPO of the year, and despite the constant calming language from the mainstream media, as the WSJ notes, investors are stampeding into initial public offerings at the fastest clip since the financial crisis, fueling a frenzy in the shares of newly listed companies that echoes the technology-stock craze of the late 1990s. October was the busiest month for U.S.-listed IPOs since 2007, and while ‘everyone’ is convinced that the Twitter IPO will be different from Facebook, the early exuberant demand suggests otherwise:

  • *TWITTER SEES IPO PRICE $23-$25, HAD SEEN $17-$20

So a 25% rise in the offering price perhas best contextualizes the comments of one broker: “When I hear intelligent investors asking me not which companies are good to invest in, but which IPOs can I get into, it scares the heck of me.”

 

But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns:

  • TWITTER INC UPDATES RISK FACTOR IN IPO FILING; TWITTER RECENTLY GOT LETTER FROM IBM ALLEGING THAT CO INFRINGE ON AT LEAST 3 US PATENTS HELD BY IBM
  • TWITTER INC – PATENTS SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIED BY IBM INCLUDED PATENT ON ‘METHOD FOR PRESENTING ADVERTISING IN AN INTERACTIVE SERVICE’ – SEC FILING

 

But of course, none of that matters – as the flow has to go somwehere, and the VC has to get paid…

 

Via WSJ,

October was the busiest month for U.S.-listed IPOs since 2007, with 33 companies raising more than $12 billion.

 

 

The rush to buy shares of newly public companies is the latest sign of investors’ thirst for assets with potential upside, at a time when relatively safe investments are generating scant income due to tepid economic growth and Federal Reserve policies that have kept a lid on U.S. interest rates.

 

Many of these companies aren’t profitable. But investors increasingly are willing to roll the dice, particularly on technology firms that they say have the potential to “disrupt” the industry.

 

 

So far this year, 61% of companies selling U.S.-listed IPOs have lost money in the 12 months preceding their debuts, according to Jay Ritter, professor of finance at the University of Florida. That is the highest percentage since 2000, the year the Nasdaq Composite Index roared to its all-time high of 5048.62.

 

 

Many IPOs this year have raised funds to pay back debt to private-equity owners rather than to invest in corporate expansion,

 

 

“These are good companies,” said John Bichelmeyer, co-manager of the $450 million Buffalo Emerging Opportunities Fund, the top small-cap growth mutual fund by three-year performance, according to Morningstar. “It’s just, you’re pricing in all the growth on day one.”


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/QlruZHz9REI/story01.htm Tyler Durden

America's Income – Who Has It?

 

America’s tax system and the major social programs (Medicaid and Obamacare) are driven by income. The Social Security Administration has put out a report on income in America. The data covers all wage earners (153.6 million workers and the $6.5 Trillion they earned). The Following is a pic of the report (link), if you’re working, you’re somewhere on this page:

 

#12#3

 

Let’s start at the top of the pile, those that are making the really big bucks. For example, consider the number of people who made $50m in 2012 (the 0.0001%). There are 166 people in this group. Who are these folks? Basketballer Lebron James made the list, so did actors/performers Robert Downey Junior, Beyonce, Cameron Diaz and Christian Bale. From the corporate side we have Disney’s Robert Iger and Apple’s Tim Cooke.

 

celebpic

 

Who are the wealthy in America? Anyone making over a million bucks a year is certainly on the list. The plus $1M set totaled 119,400 people (0.08%). These lucky few earned a total of $170b (3% of all income). How much should these folks be paying in taxes? Let’s go hog wild and nail them with a tax of 90%. The incremental revenue (they already are taxed at 39.6%) would be $85b, but sadly, that only covers five weeks of Social Security benefits.

 

The IRS defines ‘rich’ as an individual with annual income of $200k ($250k per couple). This income level marks the 1%:

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.50.30 AM

 

1.6m workers (1% of total) earned $900b (14% of all income). This is the measure of US income inequality. The 1% earn 14% of the pie. If the federal tax rate were increased to 75% (double current), it would increase revenue for Uncle Sam by about $150B. That does not fill a $1 trillion bucket, and it would be an economic disaster to set tax levels at French rates. Bottom line – the notion that taxing the rich is a solution is all wet.

 

Now consider the bottom. In the case of Medicaid, the cut off for availability is equal to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For a single person the number is $16,600, for a couple it’s $22,000, for a family of four it’s $33,000. The average income for all individuals/families that might qualify for Medicaid is about $25,000. If you look that up on the SS chart you see that a whopping 46% of all income earners can qualify for Medicaid.

 

poverty #3

 

And then there is the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). To be eligible for Federal subsidies, one must have an income of less than 400% of FPL. Depending on family size, subsides are available up to $90,000 of income, but the average income where the subsidies are significant is closer to $50K. Again, look up that income level on the SS chart. 73% of all workers make less than $50k! 7out of 10 workers are eligible for subsidies? That blows my mind. No wonder the Democrats love ACA so much – freebies have always translated into votes

 

aca

 

So who is left in the middle? There were 41m workers (23% of total) who made more than $50k and less than $250k. This group earned $3.5T (52% of total income). So the middle is where the money is; a quarter of all workers earn half of all income.

 

If Washington needs more revenue, it must come from the folks in the middle. But the reality is that the middle is already taxed from every direction (they also pay state income taxes, Social Security and other payroll taxes, property and sales taxes. So once again, raising taxes as a way of balancing the nation’s ledger seems to be a very difficult task.

 

 

What to make of all these numbers? Something is clearly wrong when 47% of workers earn a poverty level income. Similarly, there is something wrong when 1% of workers earn 14% of all income. The obvious solution is to tax those on the top and transfer it down to the bottom. But that is what we are already doing; more of the same is not going to change the outcome.

 

My conclusion is that America is not the ‘rich’ country that people think it is. And there ain’t a hell of lot that can be done about that.

 

eat-the-rich


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/69EjZGP5-J0/story01.htm Bruce Krasting

America’s Income – Who Has It?

 

America’s tax system and the major social programs (Medicaid and Obamacare) are driven by income. The Social Security Administration has put out a report on income in America. The data covers all wage earners (153.6 million workers and the $6.5 Trillion they earned). The Following is a pic of the report (link), if you’re working, you’re somewhere on this page:

 

#12#3

 

Let’s start at the top of the pile, those that are making the really big bucks. For example, consider the number of people who made $50m in 2012 (the 0.0001%). There are 166 people in this group. Who are these folks? Basketballer Lebron James made the list, so did actors/performers Robert Downey Junior, Beyonce, Cameron Diaz and Christian Bale. From the corporate side we have Disney’s Robert Iger and Apple’s Tim Cooke.

 

celebpic

 

Who are the wealthy in America? Anyone making over a million bucks a year is certainly on the list. The plus $1M set totaled 119,400 people (0.08%). These lucky few earned a total of $170b (3% of all income). How much should these folks be paying in taxes? Let’s go hog wild and nail them with a tax of 90%. The incremental revenue (they already are taxed at 39.6%) would be $85b, but sadly, that only covers five weeks of Social Security benefits.

 

The IRS defines ‘rich’ as an individual with annual income of $200k ($250k per couple). This income level marks the 1%:

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 7.50.30 AM

 

1.6m workers (1% of total) earned $900b (14% of all income). This is the measure of US income inequality. The 1% earn 14% of the pie. If the federal tax rate were increased to 75% (double current), it would increase revenue for Uncle Sam by about $150B. That does not fill a $1 trillion bucket, and it would be an economic disaster to set tax levels at French rates. Bottom line – the notion that taxing the rich is a solution is all wet.

 

Now consider the bottom. In the case of Medicaid, the cut off for availability is equal to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). For a single person the number is $16,600, for a couple it’s $22,000, for a family of four it’s $33,000. The average income for all individuals/families that might qualify for Medicaid is about $25,000. If you look that up on the SS chart you see that a whopping 46% of all income earners can qualify for Medicaid.

 

poverty #3

 

And then there is the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). To be eligible for Federal subsidies, one must have an income of less than 400% of FPL. Depending on family size, subsides are available up to $90,000 of income, but the average income where the subsidies are significant is closer to $50K. Again, look up that income level on the SS chart. 73% of all workers make less than $50k! 7out of 10 workers are eligible for subsidies? That blows my mind. No wonder the Democrats love ACA so much – freebies have always translated into votes

 

aca

 

So who is left in the middle? There were 41m workers (23% of total) who made more than $50k and less than $250k. This group earned $3.5T (52% of total income). So the middle is where the money is; a quarter of all workers earn half of all income.

 

If Washington needs more revenue, it must come from the folks in the middle. But the reality is that the middle is already taxed from every direction (they also pay state income taxes, Social Security and other payroll taxes, property and sales taxes. So once again, raising taxes as a way of balancing the nation’s ledger seems to be a very difficult task.

 

 

What to make of all these numbers? Something is clearly wrong when 47% of workers earn a poverty level income. Similarly, there is something wrong when 1% of workers earn 14% of all income. The obvious solution is to tax those on the top and transfer it down to the bottom. But that is what we are already doing; more of the same is not going to change the outcome.

 

My conclusion is that America is not the ‘rich’ country that people think it is. And there ain’t a hell of lot that can be done about that.

 

eat-the-rich


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/69EjZGP5-J0/story01.htm Bruce Krasting

Fed's Bullard: Bubbles Are "Blindingly Obvious"

In a stunning series of lies, damned lies, and twisted statistics, the Fed’s Jim Bullard unleashed a torrent of self-agrandizing comfort-speak on CNBC this morning. From his comment that “bubbles, such as housing and dot-com, were blindingly obvious at the time,” despite Bernanke’s (and Greenspan’s) insistence at the time that they were not to his comments about the size of Fed Treasury holdings (and monetization) as being “average” based on some statistic, the Fed president gave himself one more out as he admonished:

  • *BULLARD SAYS FED DOESN’T WANT TO SUPPORT ‘FISCAL RECKLESSNESS’

Oh no, you’d never want to do that… With an administration lying to the American people’s face over Obamacare and now the even more powerful Fed incapable of the truth, what hope is there that anyone gets out of this debacle in tact.

 

On the “blindingly obvious” bubbles of the past:

Bullard today (with his hindsight glasses on): “Bubbles, such as housing, were blindlingly obvious at the time…”

 

Bernanke at the time: “U.S. house prices have risen by nearly 25% over the past two years, noted Bernanke, currently chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, in testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee. But these increases, he said, “largely reflect strong economic fundamentals,” such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households. “

But perhaps the most important question is about how much of the debt issued by Jack Lew is monetized by the Fed: The Fed president squirms uncomfortably at around the 1 minute mark when CNBC’s Joe Kiernan asks about just how much of the Treasury’s issuance, the Fed holds (and by implication monetizing) what follows is a very disingenuous bristling, namely that it is no more than during prior episodes.

 

Which is simply a lie because Bullard of all people should know full well, the Fed’s holdings are expressed not in notional amounts but in 10 Year equivalents, and as the chart below shows, the line is now very steeply vertical…

And in percentage terms, is now 33% of the entire bond market!

The Fed has never held so much of the US Treasury issuance – ever – in the only terms that matter, namely 10 Year equivalents, despite Bullard’s claims.

Finally on the most meaningless issue of all, the Taper:

  • *BULLARD SAYS ECONOMY HAS TO DRIVE FED POLICY
  • *BULLARD SAYS `WE DON’T HAVE TO BE IN ANY HURRY’ ON TAPERING
  • *FED’S BULLARD SAYS QE HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE
  • *FED’S BULLARD SAYS UNEMPLOYMENT IS A GOOD MEASURE
  • *FED’S BULLARD SEES `CUMULATIVE PROGRESS’ IN LABOR MARKET
  • *BULLARD: NEXT 2 JOBS REPORTS WILL GIVE AN IDEA OF LABOR MARKET


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/qUzn-D0tC2s/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Fed’s Bullard: Bubbles Are “Blindingly Obvious”

In a stunning series of lies, damned lies, and twisted statistics, the Fed’s Jim Bullard unleashed a torrent of self-agrandizing comfort-speak on CNBC this morning. From his comment that “bubbles, such as housing and dot-com, were blindingly obvious at the time,” despite Bernanke’s (and Greenspan’s) insistence at the time that they were not to his comments about the size of Fed Treasury holdings (and monetization) as being “average” based on some statistic, the Fed president gave himself one more out as he admonished:

  • *BULLARD SAYS FED DOESN’T WANT TO SUPPORT ‘FISCAL RECKLESSNESS’

Oh no, you’d never want to do that… With an administration lying to the American people’s face over Obamacare and now the even more powerful Fed incapable of the truth, what hope is there that anyone gets out of this debacle in tact.

 

On the “blindingly obvious” bubbles of the past:

Bullard today (with his hindsight glasses on): “Bubbles, such as housing, were blindlingly obvious at the time…”

 

Bernanke at the time: “U.S. house prices have risen by nearly 25% over the past two years, noted Bernanke, currently chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, in testimony to Congress’s Joint Economic Committee. But these increases, he said, “largely reflect strong economic fundamentals,” such as strong growth in jobs, incomes and the number of new households. “

But perhaps the most important question is about how much of the debt issued by Jack Lew is monetized by the Fed: The Fed president squirms uncomfortably at around the 1 minute mark when CNBC’s Joe Kiernan asks about just how much of the Treasury’s issuance, the Fed holds (and by implication monetizing) what follows is a very disingenuous bristling, namely that it is no more than during prior episodes.

 

Which is simply a lie because Bullard of all people should know full well, the Fed’s holdings are expressed not in notional amounts but in 10 Year equivalents, and as the chart below shows, the line is now very steeply vertical…

And in percentage terms, is now 33% of the entire bond market!

The Fed has never held so much of the US Treasury issuance – ever – in the only terms that matter, namely 10 Year equivalents, despite Bullard’s claims.

Finally on the most meaningless issue of all, the Taper:

  • *BULLARD SAYS ECONOMY HAS TO DRIVE FED POLICY
  • *BULLARD SAYS `WE DON’T HAVE TO BE IN ANY HURRY’ ON TAPERING
  • *FED’S BULLARD SAYS QE HAS BEEN EFFECTIVE
  • *FED’S BULLARD SAYS UNEMPLOYMENT IS A GOOD MEASURE
  • *FED’S BULLARD SEES `CUMULATIVE PROGRESS’ IN LABOR MARKET
  • *BULLARD: NEXT 2 JOBS REPORTS WILL GIVE AN IDEA OF LABOR MARKET


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/qUzn-D0tC2s/story01.htm Tyler Durden