Ozark: The Anti-Sitcom

By The Professional Asshole

I just started watching the show Ozark [on Netflix], and I love it! The premise is a money launderer for a Mexican cartel from Chicago is suddenly forced to make up for his partner’s pilfering. In a moment of brilliance, the money launderer comes up with a scheme to launder money through the Lake of the Ozarks (a St. Louis/Chicago summer lake spot in Missouri).

Jason Bateman, instead of being a comedian, is a somber, worried, straight-man who is much more brilliant than he initially lets on.

Laura Linney is the former spoiled upper-class housewife who has to become a useful accomplice for a change, and quick.

Both are excellent.

The show is the opposite of a sitcom, and possibly the next Breaking Bad.

Sitcoms have long been written and produced by the undermining powers of the Hollywood left. Usually in sitcoms, the dad is a selfish, boorish, moron, while the kids are snide, but otherwise brilliant, and humble while abiding their father’s stupidity and ruinous behavior. The wife is flawless, humble, self-effacing, and patient.

She’s a saint, while he a sinner. Continue reading “Ozark: The Anti-Sitcom”

The Big Short and Curlies

By The Professional Asshole

Auditing is bunkum.

Quoth the Yoda, “insane you are.”

No, really. The entire public auditing side of the accounting profession is wackadoodle.

Many libertarians are also disciples of the Austrian school of economics which teaches that central bank’s involvement in credit creation creates credit bubbles, fueling the boom and bust cycle. But, there is another major threat to financial markets that even many Austrians are not aware of: auditing.

Since the formation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1933 publicly traded companies have been required to provide independently audited financial statements done by a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). Most public companies go with large accounting firms, like the Big-Four, or a large regional firm. They have internal auditors (usually non-CPA accountants) who do most of the accounting year-round for both management and eventual external auditing. But external auditing is required of financial statements for publicly traded companies. Auditors provide an opinion on the veracity and accuracy of financial statements which aid in investment decisions.

The company being audited is required, however, to pay for its own audit. This creates a perverse conflict of interest—the ones paid to be skeptical of a company (auditors) are being paid by their prospective enforcement subjects. How can auditors be skeptical of their paycheck? As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Big problem. Continue reading “The Big Short and Curlies”

Cops Always Lie, Even When They Don’t. Ask Tiger.

By the Professional Asshole

Normal people often chafe at libertarian’s condemnation of police. “They protect society from the bad guys, don’t you know?” “Don’t like Cops? Call a crack addict.” With such pithy statements, how could we possibly be right? Even if police have faults, they are necessary to society, so we can’t do without them. This is the normal defense of police, when it’s not “my brother/cousin/boyfriend is a cop. Is he a jerk?”

I’m not going to take the time to go over the many systematic faults of police officers (much higher domestic violence, divorce, drugs, alcohol, steroids, substances in general, and behavioral disorders, and that’s just the beginning) or the free-market alternatives to state-policing (see here, here, and here) that are dramatically superior. What I will address is one aspect of why the state naturally corrupts law enforcement.

The incentives for the state are always to benefit itself. No, duh, right? The individuals are there for themselves, and ultimately state agents want larger budgets and power to benefit themselves. It’s why state workers are much more likely to vote Democrat (excepting the defense sector for obvious reasons).

State agents aren’t more moral than anyone else. They are frequently less so.

But, aren’t most cops just trying to help people out? Doesn’t really matter. The incentive structures they face are the same as all state agencies—to maintain and increase their budget and try to bring in as much revenue (tax) as possible. It’s that simple. That’s why 50% of all police interactions are traffic incidences despite the overwhelming evidence that it does not change or improve traffic patterns. It’s cheap, easy revenue. It’s why when the Parks Service faces a budget cut they cut the Washington Monument or Yosemite, the most painful thing to cut, as opposed to the least painful/profitable thing to cut like a private firm does.

The state, as a monopoly, faces perverse incentives as a matter of course. It can do no other. Continue reading “Cops Always Lie, Even When They Don’t. Ask Tiger.”