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Joined: 2009-08-30
Columns on STR: 14
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Les Lafave works in the insurance industry.  The opinions in this column are his own.   

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Columns by Les Lafave

U.S. Dollar: No Upside to Deceit and Betrayal
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Les Lafave 2009-12-14 16:00
Exclusive to STR Through decades of economic turmoil, there's one thing we've been able to rely on--when the U.S. dollar weakens, an endless herd of analysts start mooing the same refrain: 'A falling dollar is actually good. A falling dollar has an upside. A falling dollar helps American business to compete and export.' The moos often accompany self-satisfied expressions of self-perceived...
Death Squads and Taxes: Health Care Bogies Follow Noble Tradition
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Les Lafave 2009-09-07 15:00
Exclusive to STR There's two methods to separate scare tactics from scariness (unless there's three or more methods and I haven't thought of some of them yet). First there's the reactive bias method: whatever side I'm on has real fear (or if we don't want to seem like wimps--concerns). The other side has scare tactics. The advantage of the reactive bias method is it works no matter which side...
Universal Health Care: A Near Death Experience for Innovation
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Les Lafave 2009-07-27 15:00
Exclusive to STR If economies of scale and a government system to compete with the private system are effective price reducing mechanisms, shouldn't we have a government restaurant system to drive the cost of a McDonald's hamburger to 20 cents? Surely we could squeeze a few billion out of these fat restaurant middlemen who stand between us and our food--even from advertising budgets alone. And...
Waste and Corruption Out of Thin Air
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Les Lafave 2009-06-22 15:00
Exclusive to STR June 23, 2009 If government proposed a 'stimulus' program to give each American $50 million, we'd immediately think of inflation. At that scale, the proposal would meet its deserved ridicule.
Carbon in the Monetary Unit: Alternatives to Fiat Currency
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Les Lafave 2009-05-18 15:00
Exclusive to STR May 19, 2009 Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain--all of these mainstream presidential candidates used the 'put a man on the moon' comparison. The logic is that we put a man on the moon, therefore we can solve X, where X = something that inspires (and/or annoys) voters. However, the campaigns didn't fully explore the fun side of the comparison. Since there are no...
Carbon in the Monetary Unit: Alternatives to Fiat Currency
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Les Lafave 2009-03-29 15:00
Exclusive to STR March 30, 2009 In an earlier piece, 'An Energy and Carbon Monetary Unit,' I wondered if there might be a happy medium (so to speak) between the bubbly excesses of fiat currency and a perhaps distant but disturbing problem of interest payments under a gold standard. Energy money can be considered on its own, but I'd like to introduce a 'carbon' credit sub-plot, on the theory that...
An Energy and Carbon Monetary Unit: A Realistic Money to Replace Fiat Currency ?Optimism?
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Les Lafave 2009-03-09 16:00
Exclusive to STR March 10, 2009 Money is 'a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value.'
Bernanke Moves the Sun-Dried Fish (Fun With Austrian-Style Crusoe Economics)
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Les Lafave 2009-02-22 16:00
Exclusive to STR February 23, 2009 In this adventure of Robinson Crusoe, the writer is so bitter that he takes it out on innocent characters in his own imagination, meanly depriving Crusoe of tools, supplies and opportunity. Seven hundredths of a second after Crusoe thinks, 'I wonder if I could rescue some supplies from the ship?', it sinks almost instantaneously with a perverse Champagne cork...
Where Does Speculation Come From?
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Les Lafave 2009-01-19 16:00
Exclusive to STR January 20, 2009 Speculation, as we know, comes about when bridge trolls get hold of refined sugar. The rush of the abrupt shift from their normal grumpy diet of bone marrow and gruel causes the trolls to dance out from under their bridges in a miasma of invisible gaseous trollulose, which makes the human world go mad. Florida real estate soon follows.
Public Works (and Won't Works)
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Les Lafave 2008-12-21 16:00
Exclusive to STR December 22, 2008
Environmental Banking
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Les Lafave 2008-12-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR December 5, 2008 When someone runs for office under a promise of fiscal reform, the office seeker may try to grab some press by throwing out big budget cut numbers. Once the numbers make a big splash, the cuts may turn out to be in the category of 'waste, fraud, and abuse,' whereupon everybody rolls their eyes. We've heard this one before.
We Will End the Fed?
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Les Lafave 2008-11-24 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 25, 2008 I returned from the 'End the Fed' rally at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta , and zapped on the news to hear the tag end of a story on enormous nationwide protests (about Prop 8). If 30-word columns ever got published, it'd be tempting to leave it there, with the quick ironic reflection of an obvious key question-- just how memetically challenging is the...
Globalization: Spreading the Wealth (of Mistakes)
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Les Lafave 2008-11-13 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 14, 2008 What would the U.S. be doing now if the rest of the world wasn't infected by our credit collapse? Probably a good imitation of an old fashioned emerging market collapse, which is a good imitation of a fire in an over-crowded roller skating arena, just after the concession has spilled a vat of popcorn machine butter in front of the only unblocked exit.
Fed Chairman Bernanke Clowns Around, Exceeds Stock Market Expectations
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Les Lafave 2008-11-04 16:00
Exclusive to STR November 5, 2008 Anyone who's watched the business channels for more than an hour or two will have been well indoctrinated in the magic thinking that is the Federal Reserve mandate.