27 October 2010


Reason: Hit & Run | Katharine Mangu-Ward | State Charges Man $1,000 to Open Business in Dying City, Wins Praise

Today at CNN.com, there's a piece chronicling the awesome awesomeness of the stimulus, and the miracles hundreds of thousands of federal taxpayer dollars have brought to the semi-defunct manufacturing town of Kokomo, Indiana. [...]

But over at Crispy on the Outside, Baylen Linnekin (after sharing some choice words about the quality of the analysis offered by the piece, one of which is "muckiness") highlights this doozy of a sidenote about one of those exciting new businesses:
26-year-old Blake Kinder is using recycled antique wood and glass to open up an Irish bar in what was once a Chinese restaurant.

Kinder said the city's designation of the downtown as a redevelopment zone allowed him to get a state liquor license, normally valued at over $100,000, for a mere $1,000.
Elsewhere on CNN.com, the new price is described as "dirt cheap." Here's a tip for would-be entrepreneurs in Indiana, or any other state. If you can buy three two-bedroom houses for the same cost as one liquor license in your town, you probably shouldn't buy any of the above. The state offering to accept a mere 1,000 clams in exchange for allowing someone to opening a business is a dying town shouldn't be so impressive.
The Indiana liquor control board deserves to be ... you know, this is a family blog, so I'm not even going to say what those meddlesome little know-it-all wowzer shits deserve.

Oh, and throw the above anecdote onto the list of reasons I dislike Kokomo.

(1) It's a boil on the side of Rte 31. It's a Bastiat's Negative Railroad come to life.

(2) My old Camry broke down not far from Kokomo. Because Kokomo is dying tendril of Detroit's failed attempts at auto manufacturing, I found it difficult to find parts for a Japanese car. It's not that it was difficult that bugs me, it's that I was treated like requesting parts for an import was rude. Not only did they not have parts, they thought it was obnoxious I would even consider asking about parts. I might as well have walked into the corner diner and asked for a hamburger made out of the family dog.

Bonus video:  Via Business Insider, which named Kokomo the sixth most depressing city in America last year.

"America must end free trade, or free trade will end America."  Thanks for that opinion, you self-centered jerk.  Now come back and try again when you have learned to look for the unseen as well as the seen, to measure the under appreciated as well as the obvious, and to examine the effect on all people and not just the few closest to you.

"We wish all Americans well."  Just not the ones who want to buy things from nasty foreigners.  They can go screw.  Also not the ones who would employ someone on the other side of a line on a map.  Those are OUR jobs.  OURS OURS OURS OURS ALLLLLLL OURS.

~ ~ ~

Why are we surrounded with the sea? Surely that our wants at home might be supplied by our navigation with other countries, the least and easiest labour. By this we taste the spices of Arabia, yet we never feel the scorching sun that brings them forth. We shine in silks which our hands have not wrought ... We only plough the deep and reap the harvest of every country in the world.

— Doug Irwin, "Considerations on the East India Trade"

~ ~ ~

Free trade isn’t a battle that countries (or states) win or lose. It is a human right – the liberty to engage in voluntary transactions that leave both participants better off. If John wants to sell something that Mary wants to buy, it should make no difference to the lawfulness of their exchange whether they are residents of different neighborhoods, different states, or different nations. [...]

Protectionism, an old delusion, enriches the few at the expense of the many. The blessings of free trade, by contrast, uplift all of us.

— Jeff Jacoby, "The old delusion of protectionism"

~ ~ ~

An international economics course should drive home to students the point that international trade is not about competition, it is about mutually beneficial exchange. Even more fundamentally, we should be able to teach students that imports, not exports, are the purpose of trade. That is, what a country gains from trade is the ability to import what it wants. Exports are not an objective in and of themselves: the need to export is a burden that the country must bear because its import suppliers are crass enough to demand payment.

— Paul Krugman, Pop Internationalism, 1997


  1. If you liked Kokomo, you'll love Bradford, Pennsylvania (NOT!).

  2. Well Breezewood, PA is already on my shitlist for the negative railroad thing. And PA does have a shitty liquor board, like Indiana.

    What should I know about Bradford?

  3. "What should I know about Bradford? "

    You never want to stop there for any reason.

    The inhabitants are mental kinsfolk to the Kokomoans; visit the McDonalds if you want to relive your Camry parts experience. Just don't do it at night - the place gets weird (old guy in powder blue leisure suit dancing in the aisle to muzak weird).

    A while back TJIC and Brian Dunbar blogged about the going out of business message a Bradford espresso bar left on their website (F&@k You Bradford for not giving us your money!). It's a classy place.

  4. Wow. Sounds like a great place.

  5. WooHoo! I found it:


    The McDonalds staff had the same rude attitude as the Emery staff. It's a Bradford thing.