Observations, by David Barrows

More musings from a marginal mind

Sex, please

  • As a young man sex was very important to me. There was one minor issue: I did not get any. As you can imagine, this posed a fundamental problem.
  • I always was, and still AM, heterosexual. I have no interest in same-gender relationships or bestiality.
  • But I was quite clear that people could do whatever they wanted to do as long as no one was hurt. It was none of my business.
  • The social environment, at least in North America, has changed dramatically from the 1950s. Alternative forms of behavior are now more acceptable, and the use of language has improved dramatically. From my perspective that is an excellent outcome.


  • One of my relatives, Bridget, a recent High School graduate is now “Emerson”. She has voluntarily decided to make this important change. She/he is now an adult, and he/she should be allowed to make choices.
  • In the interest of addressing past discriminatory practices retailers have made significant alterations to their clothing and promotions. For example, I have recently seen an ad for clothing with a pregnant man.
  • Unfortunately, I do not have grandchildren. If I did, I have no idea what I would say to my 6-year-old grandchild when they see the ad. I know that the at age I was very susceptible and would have had great difficulty in processing this ad. My parents would have been of absolutely no help in the matter.
  • There is now discussion of children being allowed the opportunity to have gender altering surgery without parental consent. Speaking on behalf of the average parent, if there is such a thing, I would be apoplectic. How can a child be allowed to make such a decision. I find it inconceivable.

Horrid public policy 1

  • Household debt in Canada is now the highest of any G7 country.
  • The amount owed by Canadian households is also higher than the country's entire GDP.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said high home prices are to blame for the ballooning debt.
  • Household debt in the US and the UK, by comparison, has shrunk in the last 10 years.
  • The foundation of modern, democratic societies is a strong and vibrant middle class.
  • A key component is the ability to acquire affordable accommodation. In the absence of private ownership, the middle class has less involvement in the creation and implementation of domestic public policy.
  • The answer is simple and was articulated as far back as Ricardo. That is a land transfer tax which captures unearned wealth accumulation through the ownership of private housing.
  • Obviously, there are supply side regulatory issues. In the absence of effective public policy existing property owners are incentivized to restrict new development.

Horrid public policy 2

  • The ineffective use of monetary and fiscal policy for the purpose of creating an environment of sustained real economic growth.
  • The theory and tools with respect to the utilization of monetary and fiscal policy are well understood. For some reason, the use of fiscal policy has completely disappeared, and monetary policy is turned on and off like a garden hose. To continue the analogy, there is either too much water or too little water.
  • The Smithin 2% doctrine or even the quantity theory of money would perform better then the current use of discretion by the American Federal Reserve System.

Horrid public policy 3

  • When I was growing up in the Greater Boston area, we were taught the United States Constitution. It all seemed straightforward to me. We had just received freedom from English oppression and were not interested in an all-powerful state. That is what the rebellion was all about. The Boston Tea Party: no taxation without representation is tyranny.
  • So, what did they do. They said that citizens could form voluntary militias to ensure rights and freedoms. To do so they were given the constitutional right to own firearms. At the time, a very sensible public policy.
  • No one ever imagined that the Second Amendment would give people the right to go into a 711 store and purchase a semi automatic weapon. Common sense would suggest the second amendment was not created for the ownership of such weaponry.
  • One could argue that modern times require modern weaponry. OK, but it should not be available at a 711-convenience store. The United States now has more guns than people.