It’s because you collectively suck

Teachers are in shock at the contempt in which they are held:

The jabs Erin Parker has heard about her job have stunned her. Oh you pathetic teachers, read the online comments and placards of counterdemonstrators. You are glorified baby sitters who leave work at 3 p.m. You deserve minimum wage.

“You feel punched in the stomach,” said Ms. Parker, a high school science teacher in Madison, Wis., where public employees’ two-week occupation of the State Capitol has stalled but not deterred the governor’s plan to try to strip them of bargaining rights…. Around the country, many teachers see demands to cut their income, benefits and say in how schools are run through collective bargaining as attacks not just on their livelihoods, but on their value to society.

Even in a country that is of two minds about teachers — Americans glowingly recall the ones who changed their lives, but think the job with its summers off is cushy — education experts say teachers have rarely been the targets of such scorn from politicians and voters.

Perhaps the reason for this scorn might have something to do with little facts such as these:

About three-quarters of the 17,500 freshmen at the community colleges this year have needed remedial instruction in reading, writing or math, and nearly a quarter of the freshmen have required such instruction in all three subjects. In the past five years, a subset of students deemed “triple low remedial” — with the most severe deficits in all three subjects — has doubled, to 1,000. The reasons are familiar but were reinforced last month by startling statistics from state education officials: fewer than half of all New York State students who graduated from high school in 2009 were prepared for college or careers, as measured by state Regents tests in English and math. In New York City, the proportion was 23 percent.

I would argue that most public school teachers don’t even deserve minimum wage, for the obvious reason that they can’t do their jobs. Fire them all, tear down the system, and replace it with a technological spin on homeschooling for those parents who can’t homeschool. I guarantee the results would not merely be superior, but vastly superior.

A long-awaited dance

I can’t pretend that I’m anywhere nearly as excited as a lot of epic fantasy fans are, but I will probably re-read the series in order to refresh my memory before reading the next book in the series:

Great news for fans of epic fantasy today: The great George R. R. Martin has announced on his web page that the long, long-awaited 5th book in his SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series is almost done. No kidding this time. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will be hitting stories on July 12, 2011. Although previous dates have been set and then cancelled, Martin says this one is “for real.”

I generally enjoy the Fire and Ice series, but I thought the last book, divided into two, bordered on the tedious and didn’t advance the story much. Like pitchers, writers tend to lose their fastball abruptly, and often without any warning. I suspect Martin’s inability to finish the book in a reasonable time frame after turning in a relatively mediocre, (in comparison with the standard he’d previously set, you understand) prior novel doesn’t bode well for A Dance with Dragons, but I will be pleased to be proved wrong in July.

Mailvox: the replay link

Cocomoe sends a link for the benefit of those who couldn’t listen live yesterday:

The Vox Schiff interview can be relistened and relistened to here for free Mar 3 hour 1: (Vox starts at minute 27). I thought Vox did real well and even better the 2nd time you listen and get Schiff to be more background.

Actually, I don’t feel as if I even began making a case, for as I mentioned in the comments yesterday, I had no idea that there was going to be a debate about inflation. I was told that we’d be discussing inflation and deflation in the context of Bernanke’s recent testimony to Congress. So, what you’re hearing is my attempt to be polite and avoid simply telling the host “congratulations, you’ve figured out the basics of supply, demand, and the quantity theory of inflation, which has only been around since Ssu-Ma Chien in the second century BC.” There is literally nothing that Schiff is saying that any economics student didn’t learn in Econ 101 except the bit about the Federal Reserve Notes. That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily wrong about high rates of inflation coming, only that repeating what the Wall Street Journal has been saying since April 2008 isn’t telling anyone anything new nor does it explain in any way the various anomalies that I have noted in the money supply and the credit markets. Just saying “housing is an asset”, which isn’t even true in the case of housing, is not a meaningful response, let alone a substantive rebuttal. For all that there are multiple definitions of inflation, all of them include the concept of a general increase in prices and there can be no price inflation if wages and housing prices are falling even though prices are rising in other sectors.

“The only Chinese with notable views in the more strictly economic realm was the distinguished second century B.C. historian, Ssu-ma Ch’ien (145c. 90 BC)…. Ch’ien was one of the world’s first monetary theorists. He pointed out that increased quantity and a debased quality of coinage by government depreciates the value of money and makes prices rise. And he saw too that government inherently tended to engage in this sort of inflation and debasement.”
– Murray Rothbard, An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, pp 26-27.

By the way, here are the specifics on the incidences of default versus hyperinflation in Europe since 1800 that I mentioned in the interview. There have been 73 sovereign defaults compared to 20 total years of hyperinflation in Austria (2 years, 1,733%), Germany (2 years, 2.22E+10%), Greece (4 years, 3.02E+10%), Hungary (2 years, 9.63+26%), Poland (2 years, 51,699.4%), Russia (8 years, 13,534.7%). Similar ratios are seen in Latin America and Africa. However, high rates of annual inflation are quite common historically and the USA is actually quite unusual in having had only one year since 1800, 1864 to be precise, where inflation exceeded 20 percent. One thing inflationistas might find interesting is the fact that hyperinflation is NOT necessarily dictated by the increase in the quantity of money, because in at least two cases, those of Germany and Hungary, the amount of inflation exceeded the increase in the money supply.

UPDATE – WND has a nice, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek article on RGD hitting #1 in its category on Amazon. Of course, the headline is a little unfortunate, as I would hope demand for it hasn’t actually peaked at this point.