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More on Bitcoin


This from Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View: 

Is bitcoin money, or a payment system? Mounds, or Almond Joy? Great taste, or less filling?

 If bitcoin is good at both those jobs, then it’s probably got a bright future. If it’s good at neither of them … well, farewell, bitcoin, we hardly knew ye. In a previous column I tackled the question of whether bitcoin was going to replace existing payments systems, and concluded that well, no, probably not. So. Today we ask whether it makes good money.
Megan’s work is always excellent, more here:

Voting With Their Feet

Mass Exodus From States Run By Top Democratic Governors Continues

The lede from 

The Democratic Governors Association, in an attempt to attack Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) tweeted this week about how 33,000 people left Illinois for another state over the past year, continuing years of outmigration from the Land of Lincoln.

With that tweet, the DGA is trying to make the public dumber. The DGA knows full well that Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t run his state. That would be House Speaker Mike Madigan (D), who has presided over the decline of a once great state during his 34 years as Speaker. By attempting to pin Illinois’ continued decline on Gov. Rauner, the DGA is either ignorant about how Illinois politics works, or they are lying. Most likely the latter, but either way it’s not good.

 The DGA wants to talk about the 33,000 people who have fled Speaker Mike Madigan’s Illinois over the last year. What they won’t be touting is the fact that during the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Rauner’s predecessor, 247,410 people on net left Illinois for the likes of North Carolina, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and other states that are better stewards of taxpayer dollars. Those 247,410 people who left during Gov. Quinn’s time in office, according to IRS migration data, took $13.7 billion with them to states that that are better run and have lower taxes.
And what about California since Jerry Brown became governor in 2011?

Since Gov. Brown was sworn in, becoming the oldest governor in state history, 243,099 people have fled California on net for other states, taking $7.794 billion with them to states that don’t have such high taxes and onerous regulations that make housing unaffordable for middle class households. The top recipients of Golden State refugees last year were Texas and Nevada, two states that have zero income tax. California, meanwhile, levies the highest top marginal income tax rate in the nation. Policy, like elections, has consequences.

The personal and corporate income tax hikes championed by Gov. Brown in 2012 have likely helped exacerbate the exodus of Californians. In a move that will further drive up the cost of living in one of the hardest states in which to get by, Gov. Brown approved an extension of the state cap & trade program earlier this year. This will hurt low and middle income households the hardest, who will face what is effectively a regressive tax hike in the form of higher gas prices and utility bills.

Cap & trade makes Gov. Brown, Democratic lawmakers who run the state legislature with such large majorities they don’t even feel the need to discipline sexual offenders in their caucus, and their supporters feel good about themselves. But the program doesn’t improve the environment. In fact, California, even with its cap & trade program and renewable energy mandate, is home to 8 of the 10 cities with the nation’s worst air pollution.

Read the whole thing:

As Walter Russell Mead suggested a few years ago, the Blue Model is collapsing.  The process appears to be accelerating now.  More here:


Global Warming, Erie, PA


The Lede:  A lake-effect snowstorm hammered Erie, Pennsylvania, Christmas Day into Tuesday, shattering not only city records, but also at least one all-time Pennsylvania snowstorm record.

A stationary lake-effect snowband off Lake Erie dumped an incredible 34 inches of snow at Erie Airport on Christmas Day alone, quadrupling their previous record snowiest Christmas Day – 8.1 inches in 2002 – as well as smashing their all-time snowiest single day on record by over a foot – 20 inches on Nov. 11, 1956.

That heavy snow continued into early Wednesday, bringing their storm total since 7 p.m. EST Christmas Eve to an incredible 63.8 inches of snow – more than five feet of snow – in just 60 hours.

Which brings to mind another mind numbing quote from an Climate Change Expert(2000): 

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

“Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

Stay warm my friends. 

Can’t Top This

Merry Christmas…


:  A sailor meets his child for the first time following the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf’s (CG 72) return to homeport.

Seen on Twitter

F is for Fighter


F-35 Rising


F-35As Cruising


F-35A Pilot


F-22 Raptor

Sleep well my friends.


Christmas Lessons From California

From the Desk of Victor David Hanson.  The lede: 

Rarely has such a naturally rich and scenic region become so mismanaged by so many creative and well-intentioned people. In California, Yuletide rush hours are apparently the perfect time for state workers to shut down major freeways to make long-overdue repairs to the ancient pavement. Last week, I saw thousands of cars stuck in a road-construction zone that was juxtaposed with a huge concrete (but only quarter-built) high-speed-rail overpass nearby.California’s steep new gasoline tax — one of the highest in the nation — has not even fully kicked in, and yet the cash-strapped state is already complaining that the anticipated additional revenue will be too little.

Another great read from VDH.  Read the whole thing:



From  A California Air National Guard C-130J Hercules drops fire retardant over the hills above Santa Barbara, Calif., Dec. 13, 2017, while helping fight the Thomas Fire. The aircraft is assigned to the 146th Airlift Wing. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Nieko Carzis

New Home Sales Reach 10 Yr. High


This should come as no surprise:

  • Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly rose in November, hitting their highest level in more than 10 years.
  • The Commerce Department said on Friday new home sales jumped 17.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000 units last month.
  • That was the highest level since July 2007 and followed October’s downwardly revised sales pace of 624,000 units.

More:   Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly rose in November, hitting their highest level in more than 10 years, driven by robust demand across the country.

The Commerce Department said on Friday new home sales jumped 17.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 733,000 units last month. That was the highest level since July 2007 and followed October’s downwardly revised sales pace of 624,000 units. New home sales surged 26.6 percent from a year ago.

Rollbacks matter…

Read the whole thing:

Consumer Spending Surges

The latest news on the U.S. Consumer is impressive.  Key bit:   U.S. consumer spending rose more than forecast in November and the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge advanced to an eight-month high, signs of economic vitality that should keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates gradually in 2018.


More:  Purchases rose 0.6 percent after a 0.2 percent advance that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.5 percent gain. Incomes rose 0.3 percent, slightly below projections, though the three-month gain was the fastest since early 2017.

Rollbacks matter…

Read the whole thing:

Voting With Their Feet

Illinois Lost One Resident Every 4.3 Minutes in 2017

The lede from   Illinois is drowning under a mountain of debt, unpaid bills and underfunded pension liabilities and it’s largest city, Chicago, is suffering from a staggering outbreak of violent crime not seen since gang wars engulfed major cities from LA to New York in the mid-90’s.

Given that, it’s hardly surprising that the Prairie State lost a net 33,700 residents in fiscal year 2017, according to the Census Bureau.  Also not surprising is the fact that the mass exodus from Illinois was the largest of any state in the country with lower taxed, lower cost of living states like Texas and Florida posting the biggest gains. 

2017.12.20 - Population 1

There are currently seven states where zero income tax is charged in addition to the federal bill:

Texas, Florida, Washington, Nevada, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota.  New Hampshire and Tennessee do not charge state taxes on income but do on dividends and investment income. 

How will this population drain affect the Ponzie Scheme that is more often called the state ‘Pension Plan’?

Not well at all, especially considering it’s already in dire shape:

2016.11.16 - IL Pension 2

More from  While we could be wrong, the last we checked folks were no longer on the hook to pay Illinois taxes after making the decision to move to another state.  Meanwhile, efforts to offset the lost tax revenue will only result in an acceleration of population declines in the future…

Read the whole thing:

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