Putting the losers in Liberty, Tea Party boosted GOP will double-down on the gays is 2012, right at time of NH primaries.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Posted by Amicus at 10:05 AM
We can gather why the Democrats hang together, facing unique opprobrium if they bust.
But, on the Tea Party side, what is the cost of agreeing with 60%+ of the populace that Walker's power consolidation ploy is ugly?
Posted by Amicus at 8:16 AM
Sunday, February 27, 2011
IN OUR CONTINUING SERIES: IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHO IS PAYING, IT'S LIKELY IT'S YOU
So far, my research is turning up that it has to be the two legal offices of the Congress who will become funded/responsible for being a party to any appeal(s) of DOMA actions.
However, I have to say, it does look like individual Congresscritters might have wiggle room to intervene and that could mean that they could hire ADF, PJI, or some other polarizing legal group. It's not clear, however, that they could use taxpayer dollars to do so, if they chose to intervene in this way; but there is no class of people more ingenious than the Congress when it comes to spending other people's money, so I'll bet they find a way and later that way is declared unethical after-the-fact.
Posted by Amicus at 10:11 AM
Told you that pulling a "Chris Christie" wasn't going to fly in Wisconsin.
See here (FLKR user has a bunch of really clever signs from yesterday's protests). They are wise to his brand of phony capitalism.
And the crony capitalism, exempting police, firemen, and, at the national level, exempting the military burgeoning benefits packages makes them at least as opportunistic as anything else, yes?
Posted by Amicus at 8:55 AM
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
So, far, it appears that they built dossiers on visitors. You know, like the kind of information that anyone would ask of their staff or even the people doing "opposition research".
There is a throw-away line that some General is more interested in his career than defeating the Taliban. That makes it look like someone was given room to just "leak" on the pages of Rollingstone.
Does Michael Hastings and/or Rollingstone really think the course of history is changed because someone knows that Sen Lieberman, say, likes flattery? And, even so, this is impermissible because ...
Posted by Amicus at 7:48 AM
Will it come down to street fighting in Tripoli?
Andersen Cooper has amazing first-person coverage tonight, giving psychological and moral portrait of the conflict.
Posted by Amicus at 1:23 AM
Just a very, very short while ago, he was calling for "doubling the State Department", which might cost a cool $20-30 billion.
Today, he's making the rounds, talking about Tea Party cuts of $100 billion, and "news anchors" don't ask him, "Say, Newt, do you remember when ...?"
Posted by Amicus at 1:17 AM
Thursday, February 24, 2011
- 1. Reihan thinks he's being bold, with this. But, did he stop to ask if the conclusion isn't that private workers are underpaid? I don't mean that to be flip.
- 2. Meagan has my eyes popping over this: "adjusting for worker quality, the median government worker is probably overpaid".
What's she going to do/say when she gets around to justifying executive pay and those who do actually get obscene pension and post-retirement benefit packages? Also, I wonder how one rank-orders the "skills" required to hold together a classroom of 20+ of today's kids.
- 3. Even though being misleading, this potentially rises to the level of true insight: "When pensions are underfunded, compensation from pensions is underestimated."
A pension can be underfunded in more than a few ways, but the insight here appears to be that authors of one study used what was paid into the fund instead of what should have been paid into the fund.
It's possible, but I find that unlikely, because they are stating things in terms of rates (e.g. 8% of salary).
Given that it is an AEI author, one has to ask for the actual figures, rather than a rule of thumb. It would be impermissible double-counting to include underfunding that was the result of States that "skipped" payments, for one reason or another, and that's what it appears the rule of thumb does.
Posted by Amicus at 6:40 PM
(See how that headline works? We're all "learning" from FOX... I know, I used quotation marks - I... I... just couldn't not.)
Posted by Amicus at 5:59 PM
Posted by Amicus at 1:57 PM
From GLAD, the true community pioneer-winners from yesterday's historic shift in Executive intent:
As always, special thanks to those who put it all on the line in these suits, which, no doubt, involve all manner of intrusion and patience.
Posted by Amicus at 11:40 AM
While Hitler was busy abolishing unions, they were getting started in the U.S.
On Labor Day, unlike other national holidays, you don't find the networks running retrospectives...
The Spit Shine is no labor history buff, but you gotta know what you don't know, so here is:
Posted by Amicus at 2:40 AM
What are her contacts in India?
Posted by Amicus at 1:34 AM
Read it all, from HRW (and blame the French, but at least there are numbers!).
Posted by Amicus at 1:19 AM
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Bombshell for history.
I've listened to thousands of conference calls. I have to say that my opinion is that these calls in which a blogger pretends to be David Koch to get Governor Walker to chat at length sound authentic.
Posted by Amicus at 2:42 PM
Face it, you don't join most elements of the public service if you are looking for "promotion opportunities", i.e. salary growth. What's more, the nature of the work is not often not described as "creative".
Therefore, the types of people attracted to these jobs are so-called "lifers", in personnel speak.
Posted by Amicus at 1:09 PM
STRAIGHT TALK FROM GAY PEOPLE
- 1. The answer is zero, especially for the most competitive labor markets. (A special exception for start ups, for which you can promise the world.)
- 2. After that, the answer is 'as little as you can get away with', which may hardly be "enough" for anyone to "secure" their old age needs, right? One way to get away with "a little" is to churn the labor force, periodically while basing "benefits" on years-of-service or creating exclusionary periods (e.g., nothing until you've worked for two years).
Put it in these terms: At 15% forced savings, i.e. 'pension contribution', you can work 30 years and retire for 12 with 65% of current salary, say (you run the numbers). If the average life expectancy at retirement is 88, then the retirement age should be 76 (except that would imply starting work at age 46, so you have to jigger the calculations until they fit).
If life expectancy rises, does that mean the retirement age *must* go up, too? No. The standard of living could rise, so that 15% savings allows one to retire for a longer period.
Could a formula be devised so that we can get the politicians hands off it, mostly? Yes.
NEW RULE OF ECONOMICS: WAGES WILL FALL AS HEALTH COSTS RISE
First, it's just stupid to ask employees to "contribute" to their healthcare premiums, apart from, say a co-pay. Why pay people, just to take it back in the form of a "contribution"?
What's really going on?
Well, the GOP-Tea appear to have thrown in the towel on any prospect of health cost containment, because, the effect of their proposal is to say that wages will fall as health costs rise, so that budgets don't get out of balance (and the richest won't be asked to pay new taxes to re-balance).
Posted by Amicus at 1:07 AM
Current GOP Talking point: We must engage in some type of tax reform favorable to business, so that our cities and states can compete to keep companies here.
While total hourly compensation costs for manufacturing workersincreased more rapidly in China than in the United Statesbetween 2002 and 2004, hourly compensation per employee in China 3 percent of the level in the United States-BLS
That's not a typo. (Yes, I know the situation is dynamic...).
On wage differentials that big, quibbling over the corporate tax rate is meaningless! It's a put-up. Unfortunately, I heard a liberal talking-point person parroting the myth.
El-Hillow [CEO Evergreen Solar] says manufacturers in China have received massive government grants and loans to inexpensively ramp up production while keeping costs down.
Posted by Amicus at 12:34 AM
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
- 1. defund the consumer financial protection bureau, CFPB
- 2. insist that the largest insitutions get even more humongous, by terminating FannieMae and FreddieMac (remember, with the collapse and acqusition of Bear, Lehman, Merrill, Wachovia, WAMU, the largest already got something like 20% larger than before).
Posted by Amicus at 8:34 PM
Question of the Day:
Obama should make a move, soon, before the stakes go up.
'Cause soon enough, the "Pinkertons" are going to get involved and/or everyone is going to get hauled into court, 'pretextually' or otherwise.
Posted by Amicus at 4:37 AM
Nothing shows the greater contrast in American politics than, say, Jennifer Granholm and the freakish leadership of Wisconsin start-up Governor Walker.
I'm sure Walker isn't 100% bad. But, this is not media-bias. There is clearly a 100% difference in leadership, in capability, in vision.
Add this in, too:
There have been times when the Dems strongarmed; but, seriously, for all his faults, this is not the tone that Obama or the Democrats have set, nor does the situation demand it. It really does seem to be a path set for its own sake.
Posted by Amicus at 4:00 AM
WE CAN'T USE THE WORDS "HIGHER INDIVIDUAL TAXES", SO WE'LL JUST SAY "LOWER WAGES"
Trapped by their incoherent political posturing on taxes, the Tea Party in Wisconsin and soon elsewhere will turn to wage cuts.
In terms of your own personal wealth, can I ask, "What is the difference between taking a wage cut that you won't recoup for a long time and, say, paying a one-time tax for an economic stimulus?"
[This is why some commentators don't get it. It IS rational for individuals to want the risk of a stimulus versus the risk of wage cuts that only induce more rounds of wage cuts.]
Posted by Amicus at 1:26 AM
Ranks up there with "we had to destroy the village in order to save it."
Posted by Amicus at 1:18 AM
Monday, February 21, 2011
I'm investigating Paul Krugman's chart (above).
Posted by Amicus at 7:23 PM
Here are Governor Walker's (TP, Wisconsin) magic numbers:
Why does one pay workers and then turn around and collect what you just paid them?
Usually such weirdness is explained by tax distortions, but I don't see one operating, off-hand.
Shorthand: You bring the rhetoric, you bring the results.
The GOP-Tea re-interpreted their election win as a mandate, not just to continue saying "no", but on the proposition that no tax increases were required, either long or short term. (To be fair, Obama did some of this too, but he and his party didn't win the election and no longer have control of the purse).
Posted by Amicus at 11:18 AM
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Do the Democrats caucus at all? Do they ever even try to "get their story straight", even if that is as simple as a talking points memo?
Polls do not support putting Social Security "on the table", do they?
The program is a success, no? We do not have people living in grueling poverty in their old age, right?
Last, I'm afraid that Obama already "put it on the table". We are in the middle of a first ever "holiday" (ugh!) in contributions, the first step in so many, many cases to a welsh on benefits.
NJ skipped contributions to its public sector pension funds. Now, the new GOP Governor immediately used that to declare that there was a pension crisis ... and, frankly, there is.
Posted by Amicus at 2:50 PM
LACK OF LEADERSHIP? NOT BY HISTORICAL STANDARDS
The 1983 Amendments to the Social Security Act, the ones that enacted the so-called Greenspan Commission recommendations, raising the payroll contribution to SS, so that the system would remain in actuarial balance?
Well, it wasn't "included" in the Feb 1983 budget and the recs were carried as a stand alone bill.
Check it out. Many Republicans opposed the measure or didn't bother to vote!
So, the idea that the Obama administration had to include something in his budget is bogus, at least by historical standards, even allowing that the commission reported out in Jan of 1983.
And the other entitlement programs are a matter primarily of (a) aging and (b) health cost inflation. Obama has moved already to try to tamp down the cost inflation.
Where's the GOP for any of that?
Posted by Amicus at 2:39 PM
ASK YOURSELF, IF YOU HAVE KIDS AND A FAMILY, DOES THE GOP-TEA REALLY CARE?
Remember "compassionate conservatism", the ball of wax that was sold and bought in 2000 election?
Well, a long ten years later, that's outlived its usefulness, even as it died a hard death in practice long before that.
This week, the GOP-Tea House Speaker said, "So be it", to a question about destroying the livelihoods of families, even as they passed out tax cuts the month before to the wealthiest "families".
Everyone without a job is on a ticking timeline, because the GOP bargained for and got limits on how long the current downturn will "officially" last, apparently.
Last month, the democratic party went along with an ill-conceived "holiday" in social security taxes, a step that raises the probability that families will work harder, longer.
Rather than looking for people-friendly ways to make shared sacrifice, the GOP-Tea in Wisconsin took an in-your-face, five-day, ram-it-through approach, blaming families who are a part of unions and demanding that they give up benefits and pay as a first-line of cuts, even while the same people privilege the politically-friendly families of the firefighters and police and demand that these families give up their collective bargaining rights.
This week, GOP Gov Chris Christie took Washington by storm, swaggering with his prowess at tossing various New Jersey families to the wind, while capping property taxes. Not a single word about whether these cuts might be counter-productive in the current environment, whether their might be smart ways to prioritize cuts so that it minimizes economic drag, or even a upfront concern or lessons-learned about the families that might face the brunt of it.
Tea Party airheads and John Stossel want to eliminate the Department of Education. Something like 50% of its funding goes to help families who have kids with disabilities.
Last weekend and this, the GOP-Tea boosters are out in force making the case that we have to sacrifice some families, so that we can balance the budget during the worst economic downturn in 50 years. Some of them are the same people who, in the 1980s said "deficits don't matter", in the 2000s never balanced a single budget.
Posted by Amicus at 2:02 PM
On full display in Montana, this week, in this clip about a bill spearheaded by the GOP-Tea "purification" politics:
Special note to Tim Geithner, HUD Secretary, President Obama, and Senator Baucus: is it easier to just offer mortgage backstop credit in fairness (via Freddie and Fannie) in a way so broad that it "rationalizes" the whole market, or is it really more efficient to have x number of regulators trying to (a) find and then (b) redress grievances of unfair lending practices?
The question kinda answers itself...
Saturday, February 19, 2011
First, people on the Left and the Right seem to not understand how brilliant this propaganda is.
Second, they fail to appreciate the insidious consequences of it. For one thing, if you start out small and find that you can put over the "Big Lie" on people, then suddenly you get emboldened. The dynamic is such that, over some period of time, so many lies have been told that the people propagating them no longer know or care the difference. In the end, there is no truth, just a "narrative".
Third, it is very hard to fashion a reply to this kind of stuff. If you elevate it by responding somehow, you "feed" it, in a way. So far, John Stewart seems to have the right tenor, with his "Senior Beckologist", but the epistemic closure on the Right pretty much shuts him out, so this problem is like an open sore on the body politic:
Friday, February 18, 2011
Regarding the "liberal media", are there any major newsprint organizations for which The President's visit to Oregon yesterday is front-page news today?
I found one.
How 'bout online news outlets?
What does this say about the ability to set the agenda? Was it an effective use of time?
Posted by Amicus at 11:25 AM
The President flew over Wisconsin today.
All 10 electoral votes.
I hope they know what they are doing.
Politico reports that this has been on the radar screen for a long while, even:
"Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and new DNC executive director Patrick Gaspard, a former union official and onetime White House political director, have been talking with Wisconsin labor leaders for several days, according to two labor officials."
Posted by Amicus at 12:33 AM
Thursday, February 17, 2011
You knew this was coming, right?
Why do they want to end the new CFPB?
Well, hell, the organization has subpeona power...
And giving the government the means to know what is going on is like ... well, it's like letting the adults into the henhouse.
Posted by Amicus at 10:58 PM
USING GOP-TEA STANDARDS TO SAY WHO AMONG US IS FISCALLY SERIOUS
Where were these two, when "fiscal sanity" required demanding that "fund the troops" was no reason to give the GOP a pass on shared sacrifice?
You know, the long-term picture of imbalances hasn't changed in the 24 months that Obama has been in office.
Except, that he improved it with at least some attempts to curb health cost inflation, right? Against lock-step opposition.
We can eliminate the mortgage deduction on non-primary residences or any combined amount of interest on mortgage debt on non-investment properties over $500,000, say (pick a number). Do it now. Why one has to "phase in" so you can soak the lower and middle class is inscrutable. I'd put in an exclusion for people who refinance, who had planned to be able to do so at a tax-advantaged rate, that's all.
Raise the social security tax to 90% of income. Do it now or over five years.
The fact that these are not on the table, shows that you're not fiscally "serious", maybe, right?
End agricultural subsidies to large-scale farmers, excluding some programs. Do it now.
Posted by Amicus at 10:10 PM
Leadership is not telling people the truth, apparently, because that is 'telling people what to think'. The truth is not my job, says new American Speaker of the House, John Boehner, representing Ohio's 8th.
Why is it not surprising, in current memory even, to have GOP leadership that is only casually bound to the truth, even on critical matters at law? (even revisionists, see here)
Anyway, this post inspired this idea (I was thinking of changing "Kaboom" to "Kachoo", what do you think?):
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that while he believes President Obama is an American citizen and a Christian, Americans have a right to think otherwise if they so choose. "It's not my job to tell the American people what to think,"
Greg Mankiw qualifies! ... for our "Worst Budget Chart Evah" competition, first annual.
In his most recent "cover" piece, they are smoothing 50 years (!!!) of deficits (presumably to avoid having to locate the source of those averages with Reagan and the Bushes...or to include Vietnam to make it look better or who knows, exactly).
Mankiw chooses a chart that doesn't show the massive hole blown into the real economy, with the worst unemployment in the post-war era, which of course makes the Obama administration look horrible.
The truth on unemployment:
And somewhere between a quarter and a half a century down the road, there is a big, menacing yellow arrow, showing deficits!
We can't even get forecasts of the budget that are accurate, let alone precise, for two years out.
Now, I'm all for taking warnings seriously, but, Greg, won't we all be dead or drown by then?:
Projected Sea Levels Under Obama's Budget:
Anyway, dear reader, this chart is now in the 'top five', shall we say.
Posted by Amicus at 8:30 PM
IT'S NOT THAT "WE'RE BROKE" - LIKE THE BANK BAILOUTS, IT'S 'WHO PAYS'
Why should Americans pay for the failed Bush years, with massive cuts to rank-and-file programs like medicare, rather than a tax on those who supported Bush to get elected, "the haves and the have mores" as he once put it?
JUST THE FACTS
Here are the on-budget deficits from Bush-43:
Total -3,368 [That's three trillion dollars - years of total GOP control in bold.]
Here are the on-budget deficits from Clinton:
Total -1,004 [That's one trillion dollars]
And that evil fiend (!!!), Jimmy Carter?
Adjusting these for recessions, which can be done, doesn't change the general picture.
Posted by Amicus at 8:30 PM
CLUB FOR GROWTH GOES FOR "BROKE"
GOP-Tea are making like busy, busy bees to lay people off.
Orange Julius actually said, "So be it", yesterday.
Just a reminder: basic economic "theory" says that you repay the costs of a recession at the top of the cycle, when things are going well, not here, with 9% unemployment and policy rates at zero and a Fed doing backflips to boost growth.
Some voters will thrall to his tough language and Reagan-like, pithy non-complexity.
But, the truth, if you care to seek it, looks more like this.
Posted by Amicus at 3:08 AM
Is the public sector really causing states to be "broke"? Is deliberately churning the public labor force really a good idea?
It looks like Governor Chris "In your face" Christie's style of myth making is going to backfire in places where people are actually educated and paying attention. Like Wisconsin.
It's a tough call, but I think that it would be good for President Obama to go to Wisconsin. He's got to get right into the thick of it, whatever he thinks is "political point scoring".
He's getting deep into the pocket. He's got to get out and bleed with The People.
Democrats would do well to find an alternative, success-story, too. Unions don't like the kind of f-u confrontation offered by the new GOP class of Governors. If Cuomo can pull off a "deal", he'd be a rival model for 'how to get business done' fairly.
Posted by Amicus at 2:24 AM
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
MOVING FROM "UNSUSTAINABLE" WHINER TO, YOU KNOW, JUST A BUDGETER
I'm so encouraged that there is a lot of good stuff going on!
Krugman, Ezra, Yglesias, just to name a few and probably to miss many others.
I'm ready for the next evolution. (In which Paul Ryan does a face plant...).
Is there any amount of budget variance analysis that would convince a sober, sane mind that we really do have a revenue problem, not a "spending problem"?
Let me try.
We hear often that "entitlements", "SOCIALSECURITYMEDICAREANDMEDICAID", are the "big government" that is driving us to Obama deficits or whatever.
So, let's go have a look at what percentage of the yearly budget variance is being driven by "SOCIALSECURITYMEDICAREANDMEDICAID", right?
How? Take how much outlays for "SOCIALSECURITYMEDICAREANDMEDICAID" change each year and compare it to the overall budget surplus or deficit.
Remember, Social Security is a net _positive_ in the unified budget, because receipts are greater than outlays (by a lot, because of the boomers). So, if MEDICAREANDMEDICAID add 16 billion to the deficit and SOCIALSECURITY subtracts 26 billion, the net is -10 Billion expected variance. [See year 2000, in the table below.]
Here's a table for what happened during the Bush years.
So, you can see what so many call "the problem" is just "one problem", because, on these figures, mandatory spending is only driving about 11% of the annual budget variance.
Posted by Amicus at 8:52 PM
Well, you know about network effects, right, as a "thing" in economics? If you don't, dude...!
But, it appears that there is another network effect. It's meta: 'now we know what we know'. It's powerful. It needs a name: "Revealed unknowns effect" or some such, like "Marginal uncertainty calibration theorem".
Facebook and Twitter, in Egypt and possibly Tunisia (I'm less versed), apparently "solved" the collective action problem, by reducing psychological-fear (real and perceived) through risk-sharing.
It's true. You heard it here first, but it won't be the last.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Everyone shares the sentiment that our house should be in order more often than not, but the time to have put his marker in the sand was last year, during the fight over tax-cut extensions for the wealthiest among us. (For those of us who thought so, it appears the political calculation is that it was decided it would be an election year issue, i.e. 'not today'. And the short-term dynamic would, of course, be some complex Washington political match - how else could it be?)
Posted by Amicus at 10:56 PM
The politicians (including the Democrats) have told everyone what they want to hear, but here's someone who has, in plain language, said what you need to know.
Posted by Amicus at 10:20 PM
Anything that shows "social security spending" (a dedicated-tax transfer payment) on par with "defense spending" is eligible, but it is not limited to that.
Posted by Amicus at 2:04 PM
Yes, you guessed right, from the post title, it's about the mid-east.
It seems a bit unreported, that the Palestinian's chief negotiator has resigned, after years and years of being in the role.
Why all negotiations have to occur 'in secret' still eludes me. It's as if both sides were perpetually embarrassed to be talking to each other, because of a fictitious need to be blaming each for non-progress or to show the 'all appropriate outrage' at the outrage-of-the-day.
Posted by Amicus at 1:49 PM
The White House Budget is released, today, just as it is every year at this time, a fact few Americans know, actually.
Posted by Amicus at 12:55 PM
Monday, February 14, 2011
We'll know in a year or so, probably. Maybe just before election season.
People outside Wall Street seldom know when they are being bought, not sold. (If you don't understand that, you wouldn't be the first).
Now, given this calculus, remind me why NBC dropped its "eyeballs-on" called Keith Olberman? It wasn't the vast rightwing conspiracy? Okay. [you'd never know know until it was too late, maybe, anyway..]
Posted by Amicus at 2:18 PM
But the fact remains that the authorities could have put down the uprising in Egypt. Is there any doubt about that? The Iranians have learned how to combat the social media, by means other than just shutting it off.
One could surmise that the Egyptian regime leaders made a conscious choice to not attack their own people, to distinguish themselves from Iran, to avoid a "crackdown" as a matter of calculus.
Until we know what happened behind the scenes, we'll continue to have this Facebook-incompleteness theorem.
As for the trajectory of the upcoming struggles, we have a tendency to analyze things giving favor in history to the acts of great men, rather than "systemic forces" empowering them. But at this time, positive assessments of both seem lacking from the Egyptian equation, which makes the odds look long. The parallels to Romania, say, and Condi's Eastern Europe analogies, seem stark.
I would argue that haste in imposing a constitutionally (secular) order is required, as a prolonged period of waiting is not conducive, risky, even if it might take political parties longer than that to form and organize properly.
Posted by Amicus at 12:49 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011
But right now, all I can ask is, "Is there anyone - anyone? - in the Obama economic/finance team who is an A-string progressive/liberal?"
Seriously. I find this proposal so second-class that it is hard to write about it, without counting to ten first.
Posted by Amicus at 11:13 AM
One has to savor the irony of the Obama administration's proposals for high speed rail with the release of the movie version of Atlas Shrugged.
Since it went public four years ago, the SEC says, AEHI [aka Alternative Energy] has raised millions of dollars by promising to build a nuclear power plant even though the company has “no realistic possibility” of ever achieving that goal [alleges the SEC].
Posted by Amicus at 10:32 AM
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I'm shocked at the number of people who are shocked that he's not going.
What do you think it takes to be a "strongman"?
What's more, to leave extra-legally is anathema (even if that equates simply to "involuntarily" in the current state of law).
Given they are one of the prime beneficiaries of it, do you really think that the military are anxious for 30 years of corruption to unwind, to be made visible?
Posted by Amicus at 6:11 PM
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Dear Center For American Progress:
How do you feel about the AEI getting just under 100 pages of inference-filled material attached to the taxpayer funded, massive report on the causes and consequences of the financial crisis?
Liberalism is weak in America.
For those who don't know, the Financial Crisis Inquiry report itself is about 400 pages. So, an additional 100 pages is about a quarter of the length of the main event.
Posted by Amicus at 11:03 AM
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The path that might have been.
They, the economists who have now left town, were worried that the lags on the spending would take too long. I wonder how they feel now?
Dear Hamilton Project:
Posted by Amicus at 2:43 AM
Every now and then, contradictions just fall into your lap. [Just read the bold, if you are in a hurry...]
Greg Mankiw, trumpeting Jacoby, who writes:
In condemning Obama's initiatives, someone called Debra Saunders writes this as the backwater Townhall.com:
So, which is it? Leftists are wrong for decrying the decline in manufacturing or wrong for hoping for more of it or both, somehow?
Posted by Amicus at 2:12 AM
...and "today" is not called the "inter-war period" or whatever.
Anyway, Ireland has been debt-bombed back to the stone age.
There is little point trying to cherry pick quotes from Michael Lewis's latest.
So, I'll just pick two favorites, like everyone else:
True or false: without a thriving periphery, the economic growth prospects for the Eurozone look bleak, in the long run. After all, weren't Spain, Portugal, and Ireland the "California" of Europe? No? Okay.
no, there is nothing here. What else can one do, but weep?
Remember "DOW 36,000", the aspirational book for serious people by serious people? That's kinda what happened with respect to property in Ireland, except, before the bust, they obligated the taxpayers to payoff the "36,000" figure.
Posted by Amicus at 1:37 AM
Monday, February 7, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
My 2-cents on this bit about how the press might have been complicit in the financial crisis?
- -The details of the wheeling-and-dealing of Daniel Mudd, CEO of Fannie, and his firm's dealings with Countrywide's Mozillo
- -A lot more on the originate-to-sell model, investigative reports of "liar-loans" in the system, investigative reports of predatory lending
- -Government regulatory reports, compelled by subpeona power if necessary, on the rapid growth of the sub-prime/alt-a market
- -Details on the risk-management practices -NOT theory- for credit derivatives (these would have easily exposed the over-reliance on the ratings agencies in reaching conclusions).
- -Simple language disclosure of deals that ended up having systemic impact (CDOs)
- -Reporting on the ignorance of regulators who estimated the size of the sub-prime problem at $200 billion, rather than the much larger multiples that were achieved through swapping credit
- -Details on the size and scope and systematic risks of off-balance sheet vehicles, funded with short-term money
- -Accounting practices that allowed Lehman to "look good" each quarter
- -Headline reporting of SEC waivers of capital requirements during good times
- -Notice how large banks had become horribly under-reserved in their retail business
Posted by Amicus at 10:16 AM
Here is their conclusion on critical and important mortgage giant, FNMA:
But there is nothing in the report that supports that conclusion!
The only thing that they report is that Daniel Mudd, the guy in charge "particularly from 2005 on", said this. The jokes write themselves, right?
Even allow for significant overstatement, that has to be in the right direction, given the breakdown in underwriting discipline. (Of course, everyone may still be fighting lawsuits, so the truth may be hard to write, yet.)
Mr. Mudd is the guy who is disparaging, in the report, of the regulatory bodies, when questioned about them. But, seriously, you don't *need* a regulator to be a responsible business leader.
Let me illustrate:
"Dear Senator Hope-a-Lot:
Blah-blah-blah we love to work with you and make a great America. Please contact our lobby firm for a fishing trip for your family.
However, we have run risk analysis and we cannot add riskier loans to our portfolio, without significantly increasing our capital cushion, risk-based fees, or portfolio composition. (Changing portfolio composition involves less of other types of loan risks, a trade-off in goals).
Safety and soundness has to be the number one consideration for organizations with our level of risk exposure and responsibility. While we are eager to try several programs to expand lending, experience and prudence indicate that these new businesses must be developed slowly, until risk estimates are well seasoned.
Daniel Mudd, Republican CEO of FNMA"
What did "we" get instead? A dash for the cash? Who knows.
I would go further and submit that ANY professional who knows and understands the business of banking could write that letter without thinking twice.
Posted by Amicus at 12:11 AM
Friday, February 4, 2011
A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM
Who can support wholesale tinkering with FNMA and Freddie, as a priority?
These organizations have operated for years. Fannie Mae since 1938! If there were some sort of systematic "problem" with them, it might have shown up a lot earlier, no? Which means, on face, we're dealing with an episode.
*If that's not a quintessential sign of American decline, that you can't even get an honest appraisal of error and lessons learned, what is?
Posted by Amicus at 9:36 PM