Wednesday, December 24, 2014

20 Years in a Cage for Possessing Forbidden Plants

According to a recent report an accused, 62-year-old Dennis Sandy alias ‘Bow’ of Lowkie Trace, Penal was ordered to serve a 20 year prison term after being found guilty of trafficking marijuana in 2007 — four bags — with a street value of $.5 million.

Justice Rampersad justified his sentence on the grounds that the judiciary must send a clear and unambiguous message to persons of like mind, that marijuana trafficking is detrimental to society.

What the Justice has failed to realize is that is by his very judgement he has all but destroyed Mr. Sandy's life, and severely damaged his immediate family; while at the same time placed a further premium on the price of marijuana, thereby making the drug trade even more lucrative and attractive.

Thomas Sowell - Culture Matters

Dr Sowell explains why culture is the single biggest determinant of financial success not race, gender or political connectivity.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway - Cable Barrier Racket

Unfortunately traffic accidents inevitably occur on the highways of T&T and their outcomes are far worse when vehicles cross the median and collide with bystanders heading in the opposite direction. 

The state in predictable fashion has used this unfortunate reality to further fleece taxpayers. 

Instead of the installing the most suitable and cost effective road restraint system the Ministry of Works has opted for the most ineffective and most expensive option so that they can line the pockets of their political cronies. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A "Political Solution": An Oxymoron

In the long run politicians and politics don’t produce “solutions” to any issue or problem. In fact, most major societal problems are as a result of government interference into family and social life in the first place. 

Be it government created inflation (money printing), taxes, corruption, welfare or the drug war, all serve to destroy the family and society.

Any government intervention ultimately produces arbitrary winners and losers, impositions, unintended consequences, corruption, cultural and racial animosity and destruction of voluntary market interactions and wealth. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Starting: Russians and Chinese Are Ditching the US Dollar and Europeans Are Using Renminbi in Their Reserves

By Simon Black

At present, US dollar accounts for roughly 61% of the world's foreign exchange reserves.

It's still a safe bet for most, not because the currency is actually strong, but because so many others are already so reliant on it.

Between those with reserves in and pegs to the US dollar, many countries have given their allegiance, and now have a vested interest in the health of the currency.

Due to this common interest, a sort of unofficial, involuntary alliance has been formed between them all.

Together, they’re all playing along, pretending that everything is fine. If the dollar collapses, they're all screwed, so they've got to get each other’s backs.

From the throne of the world’s reserve currency, the Federal Reserve, with the power to print the US dollar, feels dangerously omnipotent.

They can get away with just about anything. For now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Police Force Goes on Strike, Residents Pleased

What would happen if the police went on strike?  Would all of your once friendly neighbors become thieves and murderers? 

Or would the peaceful majority quickly begin to self organize to protect one another from the few in their communities who actually are thieves and murderers?

Despite conventional wisdom societies don't actually descend into complete chaos. After all public police forces were not imposed on the populace until the middle of the nineteenth century in the United States and Great Britain.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Myth - T&T Needs Big Government To Redistribute Oil & Gas Wealth

Trinbagonians have been comprehensively convinced by a state funded and controlled school system to believe that the T&T government must comprise a large percentage of the T&T economy to redistribute oil and gas wealth; otherwise T&T's patronage would be siphoned away by foreigners.
Overlooked however is current and historical government energy policy that imposes extremely high barriers to entry on companies wishing to enter the energy space ensuring only large multinationals can participate. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Government Shouldn't Be In The Housing Business

According to recent reports $227 billion would has been spent nationally from 2010 to 2015. Data provided by the HDC shows that from 2010 to present, the HDC has allocated 4,902 houses to new homeowners.

A simple calculation would indicate that each of the 4900 houses delivered many of which had design deficiencies and poor workmanship cost the taxpayer a staggering $46,000,000 per home. 

In fact given that the gov' t builds homes primarily on state lands with the typical modest home construction costing around $600.000 privately, the state should have delivered 378,000 homes for the price tag of $227 billion.

Of course; most of the money was siphoned away by the politically connected; even whilst housing applicants are lulled into a state of paralysis waiting for an illusive substandard home -instead of trying to acquire a home privately.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Public Sector - The Most Fertile Environment For Discrimination and Ineptitude

Although the government presents itself as a selfless crusader for justice, fairness and equality, it is the very institution most guilty within society of discrimination, nepotism and cronyism.

The above are the inherent features of the state for they do not exist in a competitive environment where decision making is based on performance and service to a paying customer who has an option to take their business elsewhere. Only competition ensures the consumer is best served by unbiased decision making, for biased decision making jeopardises owner's profitability. 

In the Tunapuna market for example, if a vendor decrees he would not be selling his tomatoes to persons of a certain political party he not only would be summarily hooted out the market; he would ultimately deprive himself of sales to a significant number of paying customers. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ukrainian Mob Throws Politician Into A Dumpster - He Probably Should Have Taken An Armored Vehicle Home

Tom Ley reports:
An angry mob was waiting outside of Ukraine's parliament today, and they were not playing games. When they spotted Economic Development Party member Vitaly Zhuravsky leaving the building, they grabbed him and threw him into a dumpster.
It's not clear exactly what Zhuravsky did to deserve getting himself thrown into a garbage receptacle, but as NBC News points out, it probably had something to do with the fact that he has a history of trying to pass bills that would crack down on anti-government protests. He's also fond of suing the press for saying things about him he doesn't like.

Youtube link here
Astutely, the T&T politician has purchased armored vehicles, stockpiles of ammunition; and the police service has increasingly become militarized to ensure the safety and security of the political class when the economic "crap hits the fan".

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Predictable Consequences of Centralized Power in Cuba

As power becomes more centralised in the hands of imperfect human beings comprising a ruling class, it will most certainly be abused to the detriment of the masses. This is true of communist countries like Cuba or countries embracing communist or centrally planned policies. According to former bodyguard to Fidel Castro, Juan Reinaldo Sanchez; Mr Castro secretly enjoyed an opulent lifestyle even whilst cubans suffered poverty and austerity. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Seven Things You Should Do To Make A Difference in T&T

The Emperor has no clothes!
The size, scope and role of the T&T government is now so large and distorted that unless the state's role and expectations of the state are curbed continued moral and economic depravity will ensue unabated

For the more power mystically ascribed to government the more vulnerable the citizenry to abuse and perennial looting.

What can one do to combat this decomposition?

Individually you should do everything in your power to deflate the mistaken belief the state in its bloated corrupt form is necessary and legitimate. For without the tacit support of the state’s legitimacy, it could not engage in such wanton indecency. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Truth About "Power to the People" - Deconstructing The Constitution Amendment Bill

The state circus surrounding the "Power to the People" campaign only serves to dupe the masses into acquiescing to greater political exploitation by offering false, inconsequential political choice. 

Amendment 1: Term Limits for the Office of Prime Minister

"With this amendment, the President shall not appoint as Prime Minister a person who has previously served in that office for two full terms or for an aggregate of at least ten years and six months."

A mere distraction to appear self righteous and sacrificial, while at the same time transferring the power of appointing the Prime Minister to political party leadership and financiers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

No Virtue In Giving Away Other People's Money

With the population inundated with government propaganda promoting supposed government "generosity" it becomes increasingly important to remind citizens that there is no virtue in giving away other people's money.

Consider the definition of the word "generosity": willingness and liberality in giving away one's money, time, etc

Note that politicians do not give of their own time or money, rather they tax Peter, line their pockets and pay Paul, while taking credit for paying Paul.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Absent The T&T Central Bank There Would Be No $US "Shortage"

In a local free currency market, absent the Trinidad & Tobago Central Bank regardless of how "limited" the supply of US dollars, there would never be any "shortage" -where a would be purchaser cannot find $US available at the market price in $TT. 

For in a liberated currency market there is always enough supply available to satisfy demand at the market clearing exchange rate.

For example if there are severe declines in energy production and consequent declines in exports ($US earnings) there will be increasing scarcity of US dollars locally. This scarcity would be "rationed" voluntarily to the purchasers of US dollars by the uncoerced rise in the exchange rate, a rise sufficient to equalize supply and demand. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The More Relevant Question: What shouldn't government do?

When a growing government and the politically connected enjoy the spoils plundered from the population it is substantiated on the basis that an elite ruling political class inevitably exists for society to function. 

Via T&T's government funded education system the population is taught that the political class are especially special, wise and benevolent, exceedingly superior than members of the general population.

Monday, July 14, 2014

How the Drug War Drives Child Migrants to the US Border

By Dr. Mark Thornton

Most attentive parents today rarely allow their children to go unsupervised, particularly in public. It starts with the wireless baby monitor for the crib and ends with the ever-present cell phone at college graduation.

This is what makes reports from the US-Mexican border so perplexing to most Americans. It is hard to believe that parents would send their children, even young children, to travel many hundreds of miles, up to 1,600 miles without guardianship, or under the control of “mules” who guide the children with the hope of a safe voyage to the United States.

The journey is both harsh and dangerous. The northern regions of Central America (i.e., Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) and Mexico are some of the most dangerous areas of the world. The climate can be harsh, roads and travel conditions are mostly poor, and the children are subjected to robbers, kidnappers, rapists, government police and soldiers, drug cartel members, and bandits of all sorts.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Helping Laventille to Become Helpless

Apart from the criminalization of drugs which inflates drug prices to the benefit of producers, traffickers and gangsno other single factor has contributed to the socio economic decline of Laventille and its environs than the billions of taxpayer dollars spent "helping" Laventille.  

Sadly, more people are living in fear and in substandard living conditions in East Port of Spain and Laventille today than 20 or 30 years ago. 

This unfortunate reality has come about in spite of a heavy concentration of welfare dollars via social programmes such as the URP, Food Card Programme, CEPEP, Targeted Conditional Cash Transfer Programme and other make work programmes.

These programmes all seek to undo the consequences of poor individual moral choices. For poor moral choices typically precede poor personal financial outcomes in the long run. These poor moral choices include casual, unprotected premarital sex and apathy towards educational attainment, deferred gratification and hard work

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

US Lead War in Iraq Will Not "Stimulate" US Economy

As the US continues to slide economically with dire consequences for the Trinidad and Tobago economy, economist will postulate that escalating sectarian conflict in the Middle East which could trigger another US lead war will be economically beneficial for the US. 

The above however is false -as wars and military engagements drain limited economic resources that could otherwise have been utilized more productively. Ultimately wars only serve the economic interest of the politically connected military contractors and the military industrial complex at the expense of taxpayers.

Although in the short term higher oil / gas prices will increase T&T's revenues; after the dust settles the US will be deeper in debt and further compromised economically.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

An Underlying Cause of Child Neglect and Abuse in T&T

While Trinidad and Tobago remains shocked and dismayed by the recent spate of child abandonment and abuse incidents many religiously look toward the government as the messiah. Yet they fail to recognize that the family and societal dysfunctionality is as a direct result of a parasitic state apparatus sapping productivity and purchasing power thereby placing major strain on the family unit.

Consider that inspite of the growth in the budget, the scope and presence of the various regimes of the last 51 years the society and the culture in Trinidad & Tobago is in decline. Why is this? It is because the growth of government comes at the expense of the individual and the family. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Putting The Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited IPO In Perspective

Once again given the limited investment options caused by onerous, unnecessary securities regulations and the excessive liquidity in the T&T economy caused by Central Bank monetary expansion (legalized counterfeiting) everyone is clamouring for the upcoming PPGPL Initial public offering (IPO).

Although the business model appears sound buyers should be cognisant of the potential downside risks that are not being mentioned. Prudent investors would be wise to note the following: 

1. ConocoPhillips would not have disposed of a top performing asset to begin with inspite of the rationale provided for the disposal. Often times when the going gets tough energy majors bamboozle clueless governments like the T&T government to overpay for assets that they deem to have outlived their usefulness.

2. Petrochemical plants and infrastructure are normally amortized over 20 - 25 years which is consistent with their normal useful life. Coincidentally PPGPL is 25 years old; granted they would have been doing on going upgrades / maintenance, however PPGPL's infrastructure may likely need major turnarounds / maintenance soon. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Five Popular Excuses For Government Failure

Government provision of goods and services will always leave consumers and taxpayers wanting, because of the absence of a profit motive. "Public servants" will never be fully motivated to serve the public as there are no conferred benefits for performance or negative consequences for non-performance. 

Here are five common excuses for government non performance. 

1. The existing legislative framework is inadequate - Obviously, we need to enact new legislation and create another regulatory agency so that we can avoid this failure in the future! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Resisting The Default Human Condition - Blaming Others

For successful people an important principle adhered to is taking personal responsibility for their decisions and their consequences. 

This doesn't mean that we fail to acknowledge actual obstacles that may impede our progression, rather it means acknowledging that sometimes bad things happen -even to good people.  The true determinant of success however is appropriately and resolutely responding to life's challenges when they arise. 

Though the above description reeks of an overused cliche, this personal approach to life is the antithesis of the default human condition. For this reason many reflexively blame others or "the system" if they find themselves in circumstances that are less than favorable. Why? Its a basic human psychological defense mechanism used to resolve feelings of inadequacy or personal deficiency. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Five Useful Job Hunting Tips

Inspite of the job market becoming more and more competitive; universal, proven job search methods to land great opportunities remain. A job seeker would be well advised to incorporate the following strategies in their job search.

1. Identify 10 - 15 potential companies with all your preferred work characteristics. You should not be waiting until they advertise positions as this puts you at a severe disadvantage and increases the number of potential candidates you'd be in competition with. It should also be noted that most jobs are never even advertised.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Takeaway from the Sterling Affair

Walter Williams
By Walter Williams

Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers owner, was recorded by his mistress making some crude racist remarks. Since then, Sterling's racist comments have dominated the news, from talk radio to late-night shows. A few politicians have weighed in, with President Barack Obama congratulating the NBA for its sanctions against Sterling. There's little defense for Sterling, save his constitutional right to make racist remarks. But in a sea of self-righteous indignation, I think we're missing the most valuable lesson that we can learn from this affair — a lesson that's particularly important for black Americans.

Monday, May 12, 2014

T&T's "Security Alert System" No More Than "Theatre"

Government recently implemented a Colour-coded National Security Alert System to indicate "the level of national security threat". The National Operations Centre (NOC) supposedly advises the National Security Council who decides on the security level. 

Laughably, this entire system is nothing more than window dressing that accomplishes nothing. Note however that its real aim is to make the government look like it is actively engaged in protecting the public so as to substantiate the colossal government spending on a largely dysfunctional security apparatus. ($4.7 billion or $7,400/ taxpayer or 8% of govt expenditure in 2013) 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Seven Reasons For T&T's Declining Fertility Rate

In a recent article it was reported that T&T was experiencing a falling birth rate (currently 15.2 births per year per 1,000 people), equivalent only to the population replacement rate. 

Further, the Health Minister revealed that 34 per cent of T&T’s men have a low sperm count. Although plausible explanations were presented for this decline, including environmental pollution, obesity and diabetes -other lesser explored, yet compelling societal explanations abound.

1. The increasing number of women pursuing tertiary level education because of GATE are resulting in women delaying engaging in marriage and motherhood. As a result women are dedicating the most fertile years of their lives to academia only to render themselves "less fertile" after pursuing academic qualifications. Moreover, after investing tremendous time and effort on achieving academic qualification, many women are inclined and/or feel obligated to stedfastly pursue their careers at the expense of motherhood and family life. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Government Policy Fostering Systemic Poverty in Trinidad & Tobago

Despite billions of dollars being funneled into poverty eradication programmes the poverty scourge remains; even whilst more citizens are now trapped in destructive inter-generational poverty traps actually set by government.

According to recent reports at least 20 per cent of the population are living below the poverty line in Trinidad and Tobago —despite this coun­try’s "high-income" status and overly generous social welfare system.

The primary cause of the persistent poverty problem however is neglected; -the declining prevalence of the nuclear family in Trinidad and Tobago society and the steady rise in the single-parent family -absent of husbands and fathers.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

T&T's Personal Tax Allowance Becoming Meaningless

Under T&T's tax system implemented in 2006 all individual taxpayers are granted a Personal Allowance of $60,000 per year. This means that you do not pay income tax on your first $60,000 of income and 25% on amounts above $60,000. 

Since 2006 however inflation which has averaged a minimum of 9% has stolen purchasing power away from salaried workers and persons on fixed incomes. At the same time food prices have averaged annual increases of 17%. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

T&T Medical Malpractice Problem a Function of Protected Monopoly Status Bestowed Upon The Medical Board

As a general rule whenever consumers face market abuse it is because they are forced to transact in a marketplace where the producer or service provider has an artificial advantage. The unfair advantages are never organic but are usually the result of government granted and enforced restrictions on consumer options. The Trinidad and Tobago medical care marketplace is a prime example of this.

The T&T Medical Board is responsible for licensing and enforcement. However only doctors that engage in activity that may embarrass the profession due to massive media attention can expect some sort of faux disciplinary action if any. All this is done only to show the public that the board is aggressive in enforcing its regulations, in protecting the public.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Securities (Amendment) Bill 2013 - Serves The Interest of The Established Investment Houses

The primary purpose of these new regulations are not to protect the investor rather they serve erect and maintain high barriers to entry into the securities market, thereby limiting competition for the established market participants. This is why these regulations are drafted only after extensive consultations with established players in the securities industry. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Five Reasons Why The State Loves Carnival

Contrary to the state's narrative, the state's primary motivation in 'supporting' carnival is not to promote and preserve culture or T&T's historical heritage. 

The state apparatus is enamoured with Carnival because it serves their ulterior agenda of expanding the size and scope of their control over society ultimately for their personal benefit. 

1. It keeps the population ‘happy’, and distracted from peering at the state’s economic depredations, corruption and maleficence.

2. It severely undermines religious mores and traditional values that historically trump state overture and competes with the state as the sole and ultimate moral authority in society.

3. It encourages carnality, frivolity and moral depravity the main cause of poverty individually and as a society. This consequently fosters a larger class of persons dependent on the state

Friday, February 14, 2014

To Protect and Serve Those Who Pay

With the escalation of murders, drug trafficking and general criminality the government is focused not on improving detection and prosecution rates but rather on transforming the police service into a paramilitary force that has veered away from protecting and serving the greater population. Instead the police service has become an agency of mere theatre. 

This description is substantiated not by what the police and their handlers say but rather by what they have done and are doing. It is evident that their true priorities are not to prosecute real crimes, like murder, rape, burglary, assault, fraud etc. This is demonstrated by the terribly low detection and prosecution rates.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Caribbean Countries Reeling From Top Heavy Government Structures

Barbados, St Vincent, St Kitts and Nevis, Belize and Grenada along with other Caribbean countries are the latest victims of top heavy government bureaucracies that have crippled their economies; bringing them to the brink of financial insolvency. 

Although the politically connected intellectuals and media are quick to point fingers at exogenous factors; including the global financial crisis, declines in tourism etc., they neglect to highlight the state's complicity in dragging their nations into national bankruptcy. The reality remains that their economies and populations are too small to sustain the massively bloated government apparatus that is maintained at the expense of the working population. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Exposing Inflation in T&T

The public has been conveniently misled about the primary cause of inflation. The interpretations and definitions have been deliberately obscured so as to hide the destructive policies of Central Banks at the bequests of their governments. 

Typically inflation is described as; a general increase in prices; however the full definition is conveniently ignored i.e. a continuing rise in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services. The T&T money supply ($TT dollars in circulation) since 1991 has increased annually at an average rate of 15.5% and is the core driver of inflation.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Law Abiding Citizens Should Be Granted Easier Access To Firearms

The recent incident where a knife wielding home intruder was shot a killed by the owner who happened to have a licensed firearm highlights the urgent need for law abiding citizens to be granted legitimate access to firearms. In this regard state policy should be adjusted to immediately remove the bureaucracy in sourcing firearms for law abiding citizens. 

Undoubtedly, the current system which frustrates licensed firearm applicants ensures only the politically connected, the wealthy business class, criminals and on duty police officers can carry firearms. This scenario emboldens criminals because they know that law-abiding citizens are unarmed and powerless to defend themselves. Consequently the majority of Trinbagonians are potential victims.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Simple Crime Fighting Strategies for T&T

The police can't be everywhere at once therefore they can't stop all criminality. Once this premise is accepted the primary way the police / the government can safeguard public safety is by arresting and prosecuting perpetrators of reported crime, thereby limiting the criminal to a single violation rather than repeated violations of the public.

The current low detection and prosecution rate is the fundamental problem and consequently the police along with the judiciary are culpable. T
his core responsibility of the police service and judiciary to administer justice has been largely ignored and is directly contributing to unabated criminality.

To quickly counter the recent surge in murders the following policies should be implemented.  

1. Decriminalize marijuana

This will minimize the wastage of police resources on the policing of small time narcotics and allow the police to assign more officers to investigate and prosecute actual crimes, increase detection and conviction rates. 

This approach would also reduce marijuana premiums paid, thereby making the marijuana trade less attractive to traffickers and criminal gangs.