Morning Report 5.8.12

Vital Statistics:

 

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1361.3 -4.5 -0.33%
Eurostoxx Index 2280.4 -2.7 -0.12%
Oil (WTI) 96.95 -1.0 -1.01%
LIBOR 0.466 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.74 0.132 0.17%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 1.85% -0.02%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 175.4 0.4  

Markets are generally lower this morning on follow-through from the weekend elections in Europe. German industrial output rose more than forecast, suggesting that Germany may avoid a recession. German GDP growth was negative in Q4, however as an exporter, they benefit form Euro weakness. Such is they symbiotic relationship between the North and South – the Southern European countries benefit from their ability to borrow at lower rates than they otherwise would, while the Northern European countries benefit from the currency weakness that results. Bonds and MBS continue to rally, and the 10-year yield has cracked 1.85% 

The National Federation of Independent Businesses released its Small Business Optimism Report this morning. The report contained an interesting statistic – nearly half of the respondents hired or tried to hire in the last three months, and 3/4 of them said they had “few” or “no” qualified applicants. Hard-to-fill job openings rose, and are typically a leading indicator to a drop in unemployment. Capital Expenditures have increased from the record lows of August 10, but are still below “normal” levels, indicating spending is in maintenance mode, not expansion mode.  Contrary to public perception, access to credit remains low on the list of concerns. Earnings are pushing to cyclical highs. Anyway, it is an interesting report. RTWT.

Wells Fargo made nearly 34% of the $385 billion of mortgages originated in the first quarter. Their next closest competitor was JP Morgan at 10.6%.  Should the Federal Trade Commission start preparing an antitrust lawsuit?  Probably not, as the reason for their increased market share was due to their competitors scaling back the business.

It is looking more like Ally will put its Residential Capital unit into bankruptcy and Treasury will support the decision if it happens. Treasury wants to put Ally on the block and recoup their money, but the liability stream from ResCap is making that impossible. The end result could be an acceleration of putback claims.

215 Responses

  1. Caught this on the radio on the way in. BOA starting a mortgage principal reduction program. First link I found: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47331680

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  2. Brent, are you saying the effect of an 11 on ResCap would be increased putback claims? Was Ally the loan originator or a loan purchaser? If Ally was a loan purchaser and servicer I can see the rise of putbacks as likely.

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  3. “novahockey, on May 8, 2012 at 7:22 am said: Edit Comment

    Caught this on the radio on the way in. BOA starting a mortgage principal reduction program. First link I found: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47331680

    Thought they already had one, but no one qualified? Plus this only applies where they hold the note themselves, correct? Not where they are servicers for mortgages held by Fannie and Freddie.

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  4. Sigh: The solution to the Internet displacing your old business model is of course public financing of the old business model:

    “If we are to successfully combat the corporatization and gutting of media, we must develop new public funding sources for accountability journalism, and train the next generation of reporters to honestly and boldly seek the truth. This is not a radical proposition; other countries, including those at the top of The Economist’s index of free and democratic states — publicly fund independent journalism.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/new-models-will-allow-investigative-journalism-to-thrive/2012/05/07/gIQA8ovEAU_story_1.html

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    • The assumptions in that woman’s arguments almost always annoy me. First, she lauds private journalism. Then she says there isn’t enough of it. Then she implies that CPB and PBS and NPR and APR and MPR are mere rat turds by calling for an independent publicly funded media outlet.

      Look, nothing is more likely to devolve into status quo propaganda than a government owned media. However, public seed money doesn’t bother me when “90% of the funding is from viewers like you”.

      And whose job is it to produce better educated and trained journalists? Take any good journalism department [e.g.; Columbia, Northwestern, Mizzou, Texas, and NoVAH’s alma mater] and do what with it? Micromanage its curriculum? By the federal government? That woman annoys me.

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  5. looks like it has to be “owned by Bank of America or serviced by Bank of America for an investor who is allowing the modifications.”

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  6. sad face b/c mark left my journalism program off the list. but it was funded by the same group that is a big Frontline sponsor.

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  7. ha!

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  8. unfortunately, i think quite a few j-school students are more interested in being stars than being journalists.

    and local TV is just pathetic. They refuse to deviate from the standard. A-block, B-block, weather, sports, and we’re clear. and stories must include reporter standup. i considered that failure of story telling. If i can tell the story without standing in-front of a camera, shame on me.

    i think it was the CBS affiliate here in DC was consistently being beat in the ratings by Simpsons reruns from 10-15 years ago.

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  9. Mark, Ally both purchased and originated MBS.

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  10. ” i think it was the CBS affiliate here in DC was consistently being beat in the ratings by Simpsons reruns from 10-15 years ago.”

    On a couple mornings lately I’ve been home & turned on the morning news. At first I was surprised – CBS hired Charlie Rose as a host. Might there be real news? The next time it was on they were gushing over a dog that was sitting by its ‘friend’ – another dog that had been hit by a car. Sure, a.heartwarming story. But national news? Good God, no wonder people in this country are so uninformed.

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  11. Good TV reporting is possible. but it takes time. You can’t turn around a compelling story on an important issue in a couple hours. But I can crank out a 2 minute package on that dog in under 2 hours.

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  12. NoVa, I’m always fascinated as to why the interviewer ever thinks I want to see their reaction.

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  13. Slow Joe crossed himself at a Jewish event. Luckily we dodged a bullet with that obviously disqualified Palin chick.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/provincialelitist/the-rabbis-joe-biden?s=mobile

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  14. One time I was driving back from an interview that I had shot for another student and she remarked how she couldn’t wait to see her face on billboard. I told her she didn’t need a journalism degree for that. I believe she’s at a station in FLA now.

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  15. NoVa, I’m always fascinated as to why the interviewer ever thinks I want to see their reaction.

    There are times when somebody states such an obvious truth, it resonates to the very marrow of my bones. This is one of those truths.

    I tend to find the thoughtful, nodding interviewer b-roll to me gut-churning. I second George. What it the world makes them think that adds anything (especially gravitas) to their interview?

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    • Agreed, except for a conversational interview, in which the interviewee sometimes asks questions, as occurs on Charlie Rose, and seems to always occur when anyone is interviewing a comedian.

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    • Kevin/McWing:

      What it the world makes them think that adds anything (especially gravitas) to their interview?

      I know what you guys are saying, but since the interviewee can see and might be effected by the demeanor of the interviewer, it can be worth seeing sometimes. For instance, I thought Charlie Gibson’s demeanor during his interview with Palin was notable, and something we wouldn’t have seen minus the cuts back to him.

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  16. Good God, no wonder people in this country are so uninformed.

    The competition for ratings against an ever-growing raft of content-free, high-calorie consumer choices prevents news.

    I used to be disturbed by the liberal bias in the media, much as many liberals later became disturbed by the conservative bias of Fox and talk radio. But I don’t watch Fox News myself much myself any more, and not because of their conservative bias. The same reason I don’t watch much news, period, on television: high calorie, low content, interviews that are in fact advertorials, and punditry that is also advertising . . . for the particular talking head.

    I would welcome more overt political bias in news reporting, if it meant less stories about fluff, nonsense, beach-related stores that necessitate five-minutes of bikini footage, and product placement and self-promotion. I’ve thought for a while that much television news is turning into a combination of reality television and The View.

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  17. beach-related stores that necessitate five-minutes of bikini footage

    let’s not go crazy. unless this is an obesity-related story.

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  18. “Troll McWingnut or George, whichever, on May 8, 2012 at 10:00 am said: Edit Comment

    Slow Joe crossed himself at a Jewish event. Luckily we dodged a bullet with that obviously disqualified Palin chick.

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/provincialelitist/the-rabbis-joe-biden?s=mobile

    Was it an actual cross or some sort of complicated Star of David hand gesture?

    On occasion you can’t separate actual Joe Biden reporting from the Onion:

    “Biden admits he gets distracted by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld”

    vs

    “Biden Unveils New Health Initiative To Make U.S. Women Hotter
    Onion News Network On IFC (1:10)

    Inspired by the First Lady’s health plan for children, Vice President Joe Biden has pledged to make every American woman beach-ready.”

    http://www.theonion.com/video/biden-unveils-new-health-initiative-to-make-us-wom,28031/

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  19. beach-related stores that necessitate five-minutes of bikini footage
    let’s not go crazy.

    There are other channels for such things, where the footage in question represent the steak as well as the sizzle. My problem, or lack of interest, in most modern news outlets stems from their being too much sizzle and not enough steak.

    At the same time, once work and family is taken care of, their remains generally enough time for sleep, and I wouldn’t want to miss Big Bang Theory or Modern Family. Heh.

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  20. I like modern family, but i think the last couple of episodes have been “meh.” parks and rec is where it’s at. and community.

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  21. With regards to Katrina vanden Heuvel’s piece on public financing of media, I was actually surprised she refrained from calling for a federal bailout of the America Prospect.

    http://prospect.org/savetheprospect

    I’m actually considering making a donation myself because I appreciate the content, but that’s a long way from saying that it deserves to be subsidized by the government.

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  22. The PL crowd was all for Govt regulation of the media and I would presume the funding thereof. I know that many newspapers in Mexico went under when PRI was finally defeated. It did keep them in power for 75 years though.

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  23. “ScottC, on May 8, 2012 at 11:22 am said: Edit Comment

    Kevin/McWing:

    What it the world makes them think that adds anything (especially gravitas) to their interview?

    I know what you guys are saying, but since the interviewee can see and might be effected by the demeanor of the interviewer, it can be worth seeing sometimes. For instance, I thought Charlie Gibson’s demeanor during his interview with Palin was notable, and something we wouldn’t have seen minus the cuts back to him.”

    True, but usually it’s just an exercise in Anderson Cooper like celebrity appeal.

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    • jnc:

      but usually it’s just an exercise in Anderson Cooper like celebrity appeal.

      True enough.

      BTW, another, perhaps more relevant, reason news orgs use the cut-to of the interviewer is to cover edits of the interview and make it appear smoother. This can be both benign, for esthetic purposes, and malign, in order to alter the context of responses and questions. 60 Minutes is a master of the latter.

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  24. I would have loved to have seen all of Couric’s Palin interview footage but I guess editing is only bad for the O’Keefe’s of the world.

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  25. “True, but usually it’s just an exercise in Anderson Cooper like celebrity appeal.

    God I hate that guy. He was the host of the Mole! a shitty game show that I watched for some reason. and now we take him seriously. /end rant

    Off to the hill to do some looting. catch you all later.

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  26. “novahockey, on May 8, 2012 at 11:28 am said: Edit Comment

    “True, but usually it’s just an exercise in Anderson Cooper like celebrity appeal.

    God I hate that guy. He was the host of the Mole! a shitty game show that I watched for some reason. and now we take him seriously. /end rant

    Off to the hill to do some looting. catch you all later.”

    He was a speaker at the Richmond Forum, and just as celebrity like in person as on TV.

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  27. Some good invective/ranting by Matt Taibbi to get us through an otherwise dull Tuesday.

    “Is This the Most Boring Election Ever?
    POSTED: May 7, 12:48 PM ET
    Matt Taibbi

    “The Republican base is angrier and more determined than it ever has been, yet Republican voters picked as their nominee the one candidate in their slate of primary challengers who depresses them. This is exactly the John Kerry scenario. Kerry was never going to win, either, and everyone pretty much knew that, too. But at least in the Kerry-Bush race there was a tremendous national debate over the Iraq war, which many people (incorrectly, probably) thought might end more quickly if a Democrat was elected.

    This year, it’s not like that. Obviously Republican voters do hate Obama and genuinely believe he’s created a brutally repressive socialist paradigm with his health care law, among other things. But Romney was a pioneer of health care laws, and there will be dampened enthusiasm on the Republican side for putting him in office.

    Meanwhile, Obama has turned out to represent continuity with the Bush administration on a range of key issues, from torture to rendition to economic deregulation. Obama is doing things with extralegal drone strikes that would have liberals marching in the streets if they’d been done by Bush.

    In other words, Obama versus Bush actually felt like a clash of ideological opposites. But Obama and Romney feels like a contest between two calculating centrists, fighting for the right to serve as figurehead atop a bloated state apparatus that will operate according to the same demented imperial logic irrespective of who wins the White House. George Bush’s reign highlighted the enormous power of the individual president to drive policy, which made the elections involving him compelling contests; Obama’s first term has highlighted the timeless power of the intractable bureaucracy underneath the president, which is kind of a bummer, when you think about it.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/is-this-the-most-boring-election-ever-20120507

    Interesting that he characterizes the 2008 election as “Obama versus Bush”. I can’t decide if that’s a freudian slip or intentional.

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    • jnc:

      Interesting that he characterizes the 2008 election as “Obama versus Bush”. I can’t decide if that’s a freudian slip or intentional.

      Good catch. I’m voting for Freudian slip.

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  28. “The PL crowd was all for Govt regulation of the media and I would presume the funding thereof.”

    Troll, can you explain on what basis you make this statement? I don’t recall any such thing, but then I do not claim I have read all PL posts and comments.

    “I would have loved to have seen all of Couric’s Palin interview footage but I guess editing is only bad for the O’Keefe’s of the world.”

    Are you saying no journalistic editing whatsoever should ever be allowed? And/or that you have evidence beyond mere innuendo (or self-serving Palin statement) that the Couric/Palin interview was unethically edited? Are you saying O’Keefe is a journalist on par with Couric? Perhaps I am misinterpreting the tone of your comment.

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  29. ” Perhaps I am misinterpreting the tone of your comment.”

    Generous helpings of bitterness & sarcasm, with a side of selective memory.

    What was perhaps most damaging to Palin in the couric interview was the lack of editing out a rather uncomfortably long pause…

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  30. ” Interesting that he characterizes the 2008 election as “Obama versus Bush”.”

    I think he was talking about Kerry vs bush in 2004, not Obama v McCain.

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  31. “okiegirl, on May 8, 2012 at 11:41 am said:

    “The PL crowd was all for Govt regulation of the media and I would presume the funding thereof.”

    Troll, can you explain on what basis you make this statement? I don’t recall any such thing, but then I do not claim I have read all PL posts and comments.”

    Based on my reading of commentary from some of the more prolific commentators there (who don’t post here), it was in reference to the repeated calls to have the government “do something” about Fox News and it’s pernicious influence on the American electorate.

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    • Thanks, jnc. I was actually giggling at the thought that “the PL crowd,” even just the left leaners, would all agree on anything. But I certainly do not recall discussion of government funding of the media in the context of regulation. The only discussion I recall about government funding of media was in re NPR.

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    • jnc

      Based on my reading of commentary from some of the more prolific commentators there (who don’t post here), it was in reference to the repeated calls to have the government “do something” about Fox News and it’s pernicious influence on the American electorate.

      You may be right but while the criticism of Fox News has been consistent and loud, I can’t recall anyone thinking the government should “do something” about it. That just seems bizarre to me but I admit I don’t and didn’t read all the comments from some of the more outlying radical posters on either side.

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  32. “bsimon1970, on May 8, 2012 at 11:51 am said:
    ” Interesting that he characterizes the 2008 election as “Obama versus Bush”.”

    I think he was talking about Kerry vs bush in 2004, not Obama v McCain.”

    Not how I interpreted:

    “In other words, Obama versus Bush actually felt like a clash of ideological opposites. But Obama and Romney feels like a contest between two calculating centrists”

    It does imply that the Obama campaign’s efforts to make the election a contest against former President Bush was successful in some quarters.

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    • “It does imply that the Obama campaign’s efforts to make the election a contest against former President Bush was successful in some quarters.”

      Based solely on portions quoted here from Taibbi, this would be my interpretation as well. Of course, not being a GWB fan (understatement), I rather enjoyed that.

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  33. ” Republican voters picked as their nominee the one candidate in their slate of primary challengers who depresses them. This is exactly the John Kerry scenario. Kerry was never going to win, either, and everyone pretty much knew that, too.”

    If that’s true, who’s going to step into the role of kid johhny Edwards? Paul Ryan as a dark brooding counterweight to Johnny’s sunny brightness?

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  34. Jnc- I read it as comparing the motivated bases who hate the incumbent, but nominate a weak candidate that they (mis) perceive to have the right qualities for the job
    Kerry as war hero, Romney as economic guru. Neither one particularly likable, even by the base.

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  35. ” the criticism of Fox News has been consistent and loud, I can’t recall anyone thinking the government should “do something” about it.”

    I can’t speak to what’s been proposed at PL, but many on the left have called for a return if the fatness doctrine. Nut that would impact broadcasters – like talk radio – not cable news, like fox.

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    • Fatness doctrine? Does that have anything to do with Limbaugh?

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      • okie:

        Fatness doctrine? Does that have anything to do with Limbaugh?

        I’d say it is primarily due to Limbaugh.

        edit: Just noticed the typo. Now I get it. Nevermind.

        Like

    • Bsimon, I just don’t believe a return of the fairness doctrine or any other government controlled content of radio, print or broadcast news is a priority or even much of an interest on the left. The same way I don’t believe the preacher they had on the Hannity show recently is taken seriously by the right when he calls for the vote to be taken away from women.

      I don’t think it helps anyone to highlight the really outlying opinions of either side as being representative of the mainstream left or right. I do think it’s fair to judge legislation as being radical as well as holding political candidates and office holders responsible for their opinions and comments. Just my opinion though.

      There are people at the PL on both sides of the political divide that have some warped ideas, in my opinion, and I sure wouldn’t want to push others into the same pool.

      Like

      • lms:

        I just don’t believe a return of the fairness doctrine or any other government controlled content of radio, print or broadcast news is a priority or even much of an interest on the left.

        From wikipedia’s entry:

        In February 2005, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter (Democrat of New York) and 23 co-sponsors introduced the Fairness and Accountability in Broadcasting Act (H.R. 501)[20] in the 1st Session of the 109th Congress of 2005-7 (when Republicans held a majority of both Houses). The bill would have shortened a station’s license term from eight years to four, with the requirement that a license-holder cover important issues fairly, hold local public hearings about its coverage twice a year, and document to the FCC how it was meeting its obligations.[21] The bill was referred to committee, but progressed no further.[22]

        In the same Congress, Representative Maurice Hinchey (another Democrat from New York) introduced legislation “to restore the Fairness Doctrine”. H.R. 3302, also known as the “Media Ownership Reform Act of 2005” or MORA, had 16 co-sponsors in Congress.[23]

        In June 2007, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) said, “It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,”[24] an opinion shared by his Democratic colleague, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.[25] However, according to Marin Cogan of The New Republic in late 2008:
        “ Senator Durbin’s press secretary says that Durbin has ‘no plans, no language, no nothing. He was asked in a hallway last year, he gave his personal view’ — that the American people were served well under the doctrine — ‘and it’s all been blown out of proportion.'[26] ”

        On June 24, 2008, U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, California (who had been elected Speaker of the House in January 2007) told reporters that her fellow Democratic Representatives did not want to forbid reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, adding “the interest in my caucus is the reverse.” When asked by John Gizzi of Human Events, “Do you personally support revival of the ‘Fairness Doctrine?'”, the Speaker replied “Yes.”[27] On October 22, 2008, Senator Jeff Bingaman (Democrat of New Mexico) told a conservative talk radio host in Albuquerque, New Mexico:
        “ I would want this station and all stations to have to present a balanced perspective and different points of view. All I’m saying is that for many, many years we operated under a Fairness Doctrine in this country, and I think the country was well-served. I think the public discussion was at a higher level and more intelligent in those days than it has become since.[28] ”

        On December 15, 2008, U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (Democrat of California) told The Daily Post in Palo Alto, California that she thought it should also apply to cable and satellite broadcasters.
        “ I’ll work on bringing it back. I still believe in it. It should and will affect everyone.[29] ”

        On February 11, 2009, Senator Tom Harkin (Democrat of Iowa) told Press, “…we gotta get the Fairness Doctrine back in law again.” Later in response to Press’s assertion that “…they are just shutting down progressive talk from one city after another,” Senator Harkin responded, “Exactly, and that’s why we need the fair — that’s why we need the Fairness Doctrine back.”[30] Former President Bill Clinton has also shown support for the Fairness Doctrine. During a February 13, 2009, appearance on the Mario Solis Marich radio show, Clinton said:
        “ Well, you either ought to have the Fairness Doctrine or we ought to have more balance on the other side, because essentially there’s always been a lot of big money to support the right wing talk shows. ”

        Clinton cited the “blatant drumbeat” against the stimulus program from conservative talk radio, suggesting that it doesn’t reflect economic reality.[31

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        • Scott

          That many huh? Guess I’m the outlier this time. As I said I don’t recall that much discussion of it at the Plumline. But just based upon the dates you cited and me not showing up at WhoRunsGov until 2009, I guess I’m not that surprised. Anyway, as I said it’s fair to criticize legislators and politicians for this stuff, so no I don’t agree we should re-instate the Fairness Doctrine and I don’t recall any serious push to do so regardless of your links. I think people fantasize about it occasionally when certain radio and tv personalities seem to go off the deep end but I still can’t imagine it ever being re-instated. Also in 2006 – 2008 I wasn’t much involved in politics as I was obligated by family matters so I must have missed most of those legislative endeavors. You win though and as we all know I’m not a very good democrat anyway.

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        • lms:

          I’d guess there is little chance of it being reinstated, and obviously there are other priorities that have taken precedence for the left since O became president. But a preacher who thinks the vote should be taken away from women isn’t quite comparable, I don’t think.

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        • scott

          But a preacher who thinks the vote should be taken away from women isn’t quite comparable, I don’t think.

          Dammit, I was trying to sneak that one in all day and you caught me. Isn’t it funny though?

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        • lms:

          Isn’t it funny though?

          Yes. I didn’t see him, but presumably he is a crank. I assume Hannity didn’t agree.

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        • Scott, here’s part of the “crank’s” sermon from I think a month ago (don’t worry, I know no one here would agree), and Fox News Host Kirsten Powers tried to get Hannity to repudiate the guy’s mysogynisitc (her characterization) words but I’m not sure what happened after that.

          “I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” Peterson says. “We should’ve never turned this over to women. And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees with them who’re gonna take us down this pathway of destruction.”

          “And this probably was the reason they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men. Because men in the good old days understood the nature of the woman,” he adds. “They were not afraid to deal with it. And they understood that, you let them take over, this is what would happen.”

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  36. I once had at least half a dozen PL’ers (including Bernie) state that they would prefer a system in which the government regulated the media and what constituted news. I beleive Mark commented on the threadhow disturbing that line of thinking was. I still think some were for that kind of regime simply because I was against it.

    I have literally no idea what, if anything, was left out of the Couric/Palin interview, I just am holding her to the same standard some hold O’Keefe too. And no, I don’t think O’Keefe is on the same level as Couric. I think he’s on a higher level.

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  37. Lms, my post was a hypothesis only. Perhaps troll will return to clarify his point.

    In the meantime, I’d rather speculate on who plays the Edwards role to Romney’s Kerry.

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  38. Ah! Ask and you shall receive… this will surely stimulate a productive discussion… force the left to defend Couric, while promoting O’Keefe as a journalist. A more apt comparison might be to michael Moore.

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    • bsimon:

      this will surely stimulate a productive discussion… force the left to defend Couric…

      That is an interesting characterization. okie asks “Are you saying O’Keefe is a journalist on par with Couric?” but somehow it is McWing “forcing” a defense by simply answering the question.

      Like

  39. Scott, what do you think of Ryan in the Edwards role? Or do you think he’ll tap ayotte & try to rerun the McCain script?

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    • I like Ryan, but don’t really know anything about Ayotte. I confess that I do like the idea of a conservative woman on the ticket, mainly because of the amusement value of seeing how ostensible feminists react this time.

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  40. ” I just don’t believe a return of the fairness doctrine or any other government controlled content of radio, print or broadcast news is a priority or even much of an interest on the left.”

    controlling the message and limiting speech is what’s behind the outrage over citizens’ united, in my opinion.

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  41. “state that they would prefer a system in which the government regulated the media and what constituted news”

    there was legislation introduced in Michigan that would require journalists to get licensed.

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  42. Scott,
    That is a pretty impressive list. I had been hitherto under the assumption that re-enstatement of the Fairness Doctrine was just one of the more durable strawmen used by Rush et. al. to keep his listeners in a perpetual state of outrage. I have never run across anyone in favor of it.

    Frankly, that ship has sailed, the worms are out of the can, and the milk has been spilt, among other half-baked metaphors. While I wish Fox News were more intellectually honest (you can report the news from a conservative position without ‘accidentally’ adding a “-D” to the chiron of everybody caught in a sex scandal), I would hope that the marketplace of ideas was sufficient to regulate their worst excesses without some sort of government sponsored nanny. The FCC in its current configuration is too much of a lap dog to be trusted with this role anyways.

    Like

    • yello:

      you can report the news from a conservative position without ‘accidentally’ adding a “-D” to the chiron of everybody caught in a sex scandal

      I suppose you’d prefer the more mainstream approach, employed by Reuters, of never adding a “-D”, identifying party affiliation only when the subject is a Republican, even within a single story mentioning several subjects of various affiliations.

      FOX sure is out of the mainstream regarding its standards!

      Like

  43. “controlling the message and limiting speech is what’s behind the outrage over citizens’ united, in my opinion.”

    There is a segment of society that think it is more important to prevent some ideas from being heard rather than advocate their own ideas.

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  44. ” controlling the message and limiting speech is what’s behind the outrage over citizens’ united”

    For whom?

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  45. ” There is a segment of society that think it is more important to prevent some ideas from being heard rather than advocate their own ideas.”

    Which side is for the fairness doctrine?

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    • Which side is for the fairness doctrine?

      Is it a “side”, or just a part of a “side”? That is, not everybody on the left is so thin-skinned and churlish that they feel mortally offended that there are people out there who like Rush Limbaugh, and thus believe the government should require them, by law, to have him balanced out with correct opinions.

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      • Kevin:

        Is it a “side”, or just a part of a “side”?

        Obviously part, but that could be said about virtually any claim about what the left or right does or holds. Surely not all left/right generalizations are objectionable. It seems pretty clear that whatever desire exists to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine emanates from the political left, not the right.

        Like

  46. Bsimon — I’m not sure I understand your question.

    What other motivation could there be for wanting to overturn CU than to limit speech?

    Like

    • What other motivation could there be for wanting to overturn CU than to limit speech?

      If it came with an overturning of CFR, it could be just to get the government out of the business of defining and constraining (or unconstraining) political speech all together.

      Like

  47. No joy for Round 1 of Greek government building (I’m shocked!). More market turmoil for the next month as Rounds 2 and 3 fail too …

    Like

  48. ” What other motivation could there be for wanting to overturn CU than to limit speech?”

    How is it about message control?

    Like

  49. In the sense that it limits the ability to express a message

    Like

    • “I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” Peterson says. “We should’ve never turned this over to women. And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees with them who’re gonna take us down this pathway of destruction.”

      There have been analysis in the past that indicate social spending (and nanny statism) went up dramatically, once women could vote, correlated with the large female role in the temperance movement that led to prohibition, etc. Though I’m not sure a causative case can be made, just a correlative one.

      As regards what happens when women “take over”, look at a few statistics pre and post women’s suffrage. GDP, longevity, consumer choice, rural electrification . . . there’s a huge basket of metrics that clearly improved, tremendously, after women got the vote. Whether this is causative or correlative, I can’t say (I assume correlative).

      Clearly, exemplary patriarchal cultures like Saudi Arabia would be preferable to America. 😉

      Like

  50. John – “Germany Is Already Printing Money – Deutsche Marks
    October 26, 2011 |”

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/302290-germany-is-already-printing-money-deutsche-marks

    Like

  51. ” In the sense that it limits the ability to express a message”

    Seems like a broad definition to me. The law restricted corporate/union messaging in the 60 days before an election. How is that any different from restricting protesters to ‘free speech zones’ outside party conventions? (Talk about an oxymoron)

    Like

  52. “Troll McWingnut or George, whichever, on May 8, 2012 at 12:33 pm said:

    I once had at least half a dozen PL’ers (including Bernie) state that they would prefer a system in which the government regulated the media and what constituted news. I beleive Mark commented on the threadhow disturbing that line of thinking was. I still think some were for that kind of regime simply because I was against it.”

    This completely matches my recollection. Things went nuclear with the Murdoch U.K. tabloid hacking scandal. Calls for the Justice Department to indict Fox News under RICO, have the FBI arrest Fox principles, etc. The consensus was that Fox News/Roger Ailes/Rupert Murdoch were responsible for all that was wrong with the Republican Party, the Tea Party and by extension the United States, through organizing opposition to President Obama’s agenda. In order to square the idea of shutting down Fox news with ostensible support of freedom of the press, the solution proposed was to have the government determine what was a legitimate news organization and what wasn’t. The irony of Cao leading the charge here was lost on all concerned.

    Like

    • JNC

      The irony of Cao leading the charge here was lost on all concerned.

      Oh, now I get what you’re talking about. There’s a reason he wasn’t invited over here, which is virtually the same reason I won’t go back, but of course it’s not just him.

      Like

  53. Why wouldnt a candidate endorsement by, say, the NYT or CBS constitute political speech by a corporation?

    Like

  54. Ann Coulter has expressed similar ideas:

    “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat [sic] president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.”

    As with anything she says, it’s impossible to determine how far up her cheek her tongue was.

    Like

  55. I once had at least half a dozen PL’ers (including Bernie) state that they would prefer a system in which the government regulated the media and what constituted news.

    Seeing as none of the principals are here to defend their statements, I’m going to have to accept your assertations of their beliefs as hearsay.

    Like

    • Seeing as none of the principals are here to defend their statements, I’m going to have to accept your assertations of their beliefs as hearsay.

      They said something a lot like it, as I recall. This would be easy to demonstrate . . . if the WaPo’s comments section wasn’t completely unsearchable, via WaPo or Google. Innovation!

      Like

  56. ” Why wouldnt a candidate endorsement by, say, the NYT or CBS constitute political speech by a corporation?”

    A reasonable question. Do the TV networks traditionally endorse? I thought that was mostly a newspaper thing. My perception is that most journalists/reporters try to retain that air of objectivity by not taking sides & leaving endorsements to editorial boards. Which I don’t recall most TV stations having.

    Like

  57. “The law restricted corporate/union messaging in the 60 days before an election. How is that any different from restricting protesters to ‘free speech zones’ outside party conventions?”

    I don’t much of see a difference. maybe in potential reach. but they’re equally wrong.

    The idea that we’re protecting the integrity of the election process or the voters by limiting campaign contributions or when and how people or organizations can broadcast a message or endorsement isn’t something that I put a lot of stock in.

    I’d have no problem if the the NRA or the Sierra Club or anonymous billionaire want to blanket the airwaves with political messages or even endorsements.

    Like

    • NOVA

      How does an anonymous billionaire make an endorsement? That seems impossible to me.

      Like

      • How does an anonymous billionaire make an endorsement? That seems impossible to me.

        By financing think tanks and having them make the endorsement? One of the reasons I think money spent on issue advocacy and SuperPACs and donated to politicians should be fully disclosed, so we don’t have to wait for Glenn Beck to tote out the chalkboards. Let people donate as they please, and disclose fully who is donating what to whom. If George Soros is donating a lot of money to my favorite Republican, that might make me stop and think.

        Like

  58. ” I’d have no problem if the the NRA or the Sierra Club or anonymous billionaire want to blanket the airwaves with political messages or even endorsements.”

    Isn’t that another way of controlling the message & limiting others’ speech?

    Like

    • bsimon:

      Isn’t that another way of controlling the message & limiting others’ speech?

      No. Does my posting comments here limit your right/ability to post comments here?

      Like

  59. Bsimon, how much coverage a news channel gives a candidate (or how little) could be interpreted as an in kind contribution. Or, just how the narrative of a story is framed could be considered to help a candidate or hurt them. 

    Like

    • Troll: Bsimon, how much coverage a news channel gives a candidate (or how little) could be interpreted as an in kind contribution. Or, just how the narrative of a story is framed could be considered to help a candidate or hurt them.

      While this is generally true, I think it’s less true than it was. The folks who would pay attention to such coverage and stories, by and large, seem hyper-sensitive to media bias, media framing, etc. What little exposure the non-political, non-news-watching public gets exposed to might be effective, but most political aficionados are probably not heavily influenced. And if the press was more even-handed, and did a hatchet job on everybody like they did on Palin, it would not make the press more popular, only more broadly despised than they already are.

      Like

  60. Just cuts and ad and endorses and candidate. Who is behind the ad? don’t know. don’t really care either. i’ll consider the merits of the argument.

    “Isn’t that another way of controlling the message & limiting others’ speech?”
    How?

    I’m out the door — let’s pick up tomorrow.

    Like

  61. ” how much coverage a news channel gives a candidate (or how little) could be interpreted as an in kind contribution. Or, just how the narrative of a story is framed could be considered to help a cndidate or hurt them.”

    That’s a pretty sad statement on the state of political discourse.

    Like

    • There are two perpendicular issues. Or do they directly collide?

      1] Freedom of speech and press. As long as no one buys so much of the available space that other messages are not effectively precluded from circulating, C.U. is an appropriate civil libertarian decision – “my speech does not crowd out your speech”.

      2] Open floodgates of money threaten to control the actual candidates for HoR, Senate, and POTUS, as well as the state leges and big cities, b/c they cannot successfully run for office without a certain minimum level of big bucks. Listening to members of Congress explain how much fundraising they do every week, and knowing as I do that each major donation buys some listening time, the sea of money must wash away any thought I might have of being heard by my elected official on some individual basis.

      Reconcile these two facts and claim the title of Genius.

      Like

  62. This would be easy to demonstrate . . . if the WaPo’s comments section wasn’t completely unsearchable, via WaPo or Google. Innovation!

    The previous comment engine was searchable but the WaPo database is slowly eroding and even the comments from very old posts are disappearing. Don’t get me started about the complete fustercluck their new blog engine is.

    Like

    • The previous comment engine was searchable but the WaPo database is slowly eroding and even the comments from very old posts are disappearing. Don’t get me started about the complete fustercluck their new blog engine is.

      They fell in love with AJAX (the tech people, anyway). And it ruined the site. Not every blog+comments is meant to be digg.com! Gosh darn it. I don’t think I’ve been to Plumline but once in the past three months, and did not comment when I did.

      Like

  63. ” Does my posting comments here limit your right/ability to post comments here?”

    Bad simile. He said “blanket the airwaves” which presumably means buying up all the ad time. In a world where money equals speech, my voice is inaudible relative to the billionaires, unions & corporations.

    Like

    • In a world where money equals speech, my voice is inaudible relative to the billionaires, unions & corporations.

      True enough, though if it’s that important to you, it should motivate you to go out there and get some more money!

      I think the white noise of incessant, heavily-funded political advocacy/pandering is barely more audible than the voice of one lone blogger. At least, for me—and it seems for voters. Meg Whitman blanketed the airwaves, to poor results.

      Like

    • bsimon:

      He said “blanket the airwaves” which presumably means buying up all the ad time.

      I don’t assume that it was it means, but that is pretty much an impossible feat in any event. Again, buying ads on TV no more limits your speech than does my posting comments here.

      In a world where money equals speech, my voice is inaudible relative to the billionaires, unions & corporations.

      That may be true, but if so it is your inability to make money, not their ability to be heard, that is limiting you.

      Like

  64. “ScottC, on May 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm said:

    bsimon:

    Isn’t that another way of controlling the message & limiting others’ speech?

    No. Does my posting comments here limit your right/ability to post comments here?'”

    I think your rebuttal is a bit too dismissive here (despite the fact that I am a free speech absolutist). A case could be made, especially years ago before the Internet when there were limited media outlets available especially in smaller markets, that it was possible to buy up all or almost all of the available space for political advertising and thus lock out competitors. Whether this ever happened in practice, I can’t say.

    It certainly wouldn’t be a significant issue in a Presidential election where the markets are over saturated from both sides to begin with.

    Like

    • jnc:

      A case could be made, especially years ago before the Internet when there were limited media outlets available especially in smaller markets, that it was possible to buy up all or almost all of the available space for political advertising and thus lock out competitors.

      But even in such a theoretical and highly unlikely (to the point of impossibility) scenario, competitors are not locked out from expressing their opinion. They simply don’t have access to one particular means of expressing their opinion. Lincoln didn’t have access to TV advertising. Does that mean his right to speech was being restricted?

      The right to free speech does not guarantee access to the means of making oneself heard. If it did, publishing houses wouldn’t need to employ editors to decide what they were going to publish.

      Like

  65. ” if it’s that important to you, it should motivate you to go out there and get some more money!”

    Or give up entirely & join the untold ranks of apathetic Americans.

    Like

  66. “lmsinca, on May 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm said:

    JNC

    The irony of Cao leading the charge here was lost on all concerned.

    Oh, now I get what you’re talking about. There’s a reason he wasn’t invited over here, which is virtually the same reason I won’t go back, but of course it’s not just him.”

    I’d also note that the argument that Fox News isn’t a “legitimate” news organization has a fair amount of purchase on the left:

    “30 reasons why Fox News is not legit”

    http://mediamatters.org/columns/200910270002

    “Fox News isn’t just bad. It’s un-American.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/10/17/the-o-garbage-factor.html

    “Fox ‘not really news,’ says Axelrod”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28417.html

    Like

    • jnc

      I’d also note that the argument that Fox News isn’t a “legitimate” news organization has a fair amount of purchase on the left:

      Yes, I agree both that it has a fair amount of purchase on the left and that Fox News isn’t a “legitimate” news organization. Maybe about 2 hours of the day they cover the news but the rest is largely entertainment and political pandering. Doesn’t the right say the same re MSNBC? None of that particularly bothers me though. I watch the news I feel like watching, usually local for about an hour a day and that’s about it. Occasionally I watch CNBC but there are only a couple of people reporting the economic news that I even barely like there. I think they have a political agenda as well, but I’m able to take that into account while I watch. Every “news organization” seems to have a political opinion these days. I’m not crazy about it but that’s the way it is…………….we’re a polarized nation.

      Like

      • lms:

        Maybe about 2 hours of the day they cover the news but the rest is largely entertainment and political pandering.

        Which distinguishes it from “legitimate” news organizations how, exactly? Which organizations are ‘legitimate” in your view? CNN? MSNBC? CNBC?

        Like

  67. ” I think the white noise of incessant, heavily-funded political advocacy/pandering is barely more audible than the voice of one lone blogger. At least, for me—and it seems for voters.”

    There are small blessings out there. Locally it seems Target has rethought its corporate giving strategy after the 2010 backlash.

    Like

  68. “2] Open floodgates of money threaten to control the actual candidates for HoR, Senate, and POTUS, as well as the state leges and big cities, b/c they cannot successfully run for office without a certain minimum level of big bucks. Listening to members of Congress explain how much fundraising they do every week, and knowing as I do that each major donation buys some listening time, the sea of money must wash away any thought I might have of being heard by my elected official on some individual basis.”

    Significantly reduce oe Eliminate all Fed taxes on businesses and reduce Fed regulations on business and you significantly reduce the need for business to participate in politics. 

    I shall carry your title of Genius with pride. 

    Like

  69. “lmsinca, on May 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm said:

    Doesn’t the right say the same re MSNBC?”

    Conservative criticism of MSNBC tends to take the form of arguing that they are biased, not calling for some sort of government response to address it.

    Like

    • jnc

      I’m not calling for a government response either……………I didn’t read the links you posted yet, are they?

      Like

    • jnc:

      Conservative criticism of MSNBC tends to take the form of arguing that they are biased, not calling for some sort of government response to address it.

      And definitely not characterizing it as “illegitimate”, I don’t think.

      Like

  70. “lmsinca, on May 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm said: Edit Comment

    jnc

    I’m not calling for a government response either……………I didn’t read the links you posted yet, are they?”

    I was referring to the Fairness Doctrine.

    Like

    • jnc

      I was referring to the Fairness Doctrine.

      Yeah, I’ve read the links now and none of them mentioned government intervention or the Fairness Doctrine either. I realize it comes up now and again, as Scott proved earlier, but I just don’t see a lot of interest in it right now. I don’t think criticizing a “news organization” for their lack of “fairness” is necessarily an endorsement of the Fairness Doctrine.

      Like

  71. Non-related: Private for profit companies should never be able to exercise eminent domain to seize someone else’s property.

    “An Old Texas Tale Retold: the Farmer vs. the Oil Company”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/us/old-texas-tale-retold-farmer-vs-transcanada.html?hp

    Like

  72. Troll,
    They call that libertarian paradise ‘Somolia.’

    jnc,
    So what do conservatives feel should be done about MSNBC other than whine?

    lms,
    I agree with the observations that just because the left thinks that Fox News is a right wing propaganda organ doesn’t mean that it’s not.

    Like

    • yello

      I agree with the observations that just because the left thinks that Fox News is a right wing propaganda organ doesn’t mean that it’s not.

      lol, who could argue with that.

      Like

    • yello:

      So what do conservatives feel should be done about MSNBC other than whine?

      Done by who? I think the only thing Cons want “done” regarding MSNBC is that it be exposed by Cons themselves.

      Like

  73. So, in your view Libertarians equal genocidal warlords who don’t believe in the rule of law and civil liberties. How very tolerant of you.

    Like

  74. “yellojkt, on May 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm said:

    jnc,
    So what do conservatives feel should be done about MSNBC other than whine?.”

    Nothing, other than not watch it, or perhaps buy it out. Certainly it’s not a problem that requires a government solution.

    Like

    • jnc, can you clarify the point you are making? Are you arguing that a majority of “the left” favors a “government solution” to truth in media? [Definition of such terms as “the left” probably deserves its own post.]

      Like

  75. “Troll McWingnut or George, whichever, on May 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm said:

    So, in your view Libertarians equal genocidal warlords who don’t believe in the rule of law and civil liberties. How very tolerant of you.”

    Clearly Gary Johnson is running on the “Somalia Here & Now” platform. The Somalia argument caricature is always the response trotted out when the points can’t be rebutted directly. And a rather weak response at that.

    Like

  76. If the Somalia retort is a touch hyperbolic, is there a better example, outside textbooks, of what kind of country the libertarians are trying to achieve?

    It seems to me that, despite the flaws in what we have, there aren’t a whole lot of examples of places doing it better.

    Like

    • bsimon:

      If the Somalia retort is a touch hyperbolic, is there a better example, outside textbooks, of what kind of country the libertarians are trying to achieve?

      Given that Somalia isn’t even remotely an example of the kind of country libertarians would like to achieve, I’d say you could almost pick a country at random and have it be a better example.

      It seems to me that, despite the flaws in what we have, there aren’t a whole lot of examples of places doing it better.

      On the whole, I largely agree. Unfortunately the left seems intent on moving us further away from what we have and closer to a lot of examples that are not doing it better.

      Like

  77. I’ll have to gently dissent, Kevin. It is true that Meg Whitman (as well as Carly Fiorina) didn’t win their general elections. Also true of Linda McMahon. None of them would have been in the running without the millions they invested in the primary elections.

    ZZ

    Like

  78. Did anyone else read the Bloomberg piece that Greg linked to in Happy Hour?

    The BGOV Barometer shows that since Democrat John F. Kennedy took office in January 1961, non-government payrolls in the U.S. swelled by almost 42 million jobs under Democrats, compared with 24 million for Republican presidents, according to Labor Department figures.

    Democrats hold the edge though they occupied the Oval Office for 23 years since Kennedy’s inauguration, compared with 28 for the Republicans. Through April, Democratic presidents accounted for an average of 150,000 additional private-sector paychecks per month over that period, more than double the 71,000 average for Republicans.

    Through April, private employers have added an average of about 900 jobs per month since Obama’s inauguration. During the two terms of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, private payrolls shrank by an average of 6,700 jobs per month.

    And, am I reading this correctly?

    Republicans, campaigning on pledges to cut government spending and programs, had a relatively better record at creating public-sector jobs. Since January 1961, federal, state and local government employment grew by 7.1 million under Republican presidents and 6.3 million when Democrats were in the White House.

    Like

    • lms, great link. I don’t know if our right leaning folks have a rebuttal. I suspect the fall-back position is who controlled Congress.

      Like

    • lms:

      And, am I reading this correctly?

      What are the policy differences that supposedly account for this? A standard statistical truism is that correlation does not equal causation. What is the causation? A Dem gets elected and businesses therefore decide to hire more people? Surely not. So what common policies were put in place by Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama while being rejected by Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II that explain it?

      edit: I forgot Ford! How could have forgotten Ford?

      Like

  79. Regarding the fairness doctrine, why isn’t it a fair exchange that broadcasters using the public airwaves perform a public service in return?

    Like

  80. Scott, thanks for the reminder that dialogue is pointless with assholes like you.

    Like

  81. And the right appears to be intent on moving us towards the Lord of Flies.

    ZZ

    Like

    • FB:

      And the right appears to be intent on moving us towards the Lord of Flies.

      This is not a whole lot different from, and about as strong a point as, the previously mentioned Somalia caricature.

      Like

      • scott, I think you are just being argumentative here.

        Is there a country you can point to that is embodies Libertarian ideals? Anything close?

        Like

        • okie:

          scott, I think you are just being argumentative here.

          Can you be more specific? (BTW…more “argumentative” than calling someone an asshole? Just curious.)

          Is there a country you can point to that is embodies Libertarian ideals?

          Hong Kong comes pretty close.

          Like

        • scott, Hong Kong is an independent country?

          Like

        • okie:

          scott, Hong Kong is an independent country?

          For the most part. I suppose it was moreso when it was part of the British Commonwealth than now as part of China, but even now it operates largely independently of China. Different entry and exit laws, different immigration laws, different tax laws, different business regulations. So in most practical senses, yes it is.

          But does that really matter? Was the purpose of your inquiry to discover a society that operated under largely libertarian premises, or were you seriously interested only in such a place if it was a “country” in the strictest sense of the word? If the latter, why?

          Like

        • Thanks, scott, you still cannot offer a country that successfully embodies your libertarian ideals.

          Like

        • okie:

          Thanks, scott, you still cannot offer a country that successfully embodies your libertarian ideals.

          Weak, okie. Very weak.

          Like

        • Weak because you do not have a response? If you do, let’s hear it.

          Nite,
          oie

          Like

        • okie:

          If you do, let’s hear it.

          You’ve heard it. And you responded by….ignoring it. Hence, weak.

          Like

  82. Scott

    I think CNN and CNBC are a little more “news” oriented that the other two, but like I said it doesn’t really bother me either way…………………….I tend to not get my news from cable unless there’s a big breaking story of national importance then I will usually watch CNN for awhile.

    Like

  83. “Scott, thanks for the reminder that dialogue is pointless with assholes like you.”

    “Shut up!” He argued.

    Like

  84. lms, I was just reading (and reading about) the Bloomberg piece of Steve Benen’s blog. . . great minds!

    Like

  85. “Is there a country you can point to that is embodies Libertarian ideals? Anything close?”

    Texas.

    Like

    • LMAO, troll. You don’t recognize the difference between a state and a country?

      Of course you do. No comparison. Don’t try again.

      Like

  86. Actually, it would be declaimed, not argued.

    ZZ

    Like

  87. Texas

    Not really. Heavily subsidized by the United States federal government and Big Oil.

    Like

    • Mich:

      Heavily subsidized by the United States federal government and Big Oil.

      What does that mean, to be heavily subsidized by “Big Oil”?

      Like

  88. Scott

    So what common policies were put in place by Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama while being rejected by Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II that explain it?

    Hey, all I did was ask if anyone read the piece, I didn’t ask for homework.

    Like

    • lms:

      I didn’t ask for homework.

      Why did you find the article worth noting?

      Like

      • Scott, it is an intriguing article. Why would you think it should not be noted?

        Like

        • okie:

          Why would you think it should not be noted?

          I didn’t say it should not be noted. But apart from its political appeal to simple-minded thinking, I think it is interesting only if policy causation can be identified. Otherwise is it is little more than trivia, akin to pointing out that the stock market always rises in November if the Yankees win the World Series in October.

          Like

        • Scott, IMHO, terms like “simple-minded” do not assist discourse.

          That said, I will return to this comment later. For now, it’s bedtime for this oldster.

          Like

        • okie:

          Scott, IMHO, terms like “simple-minded” do not assist discourse.

          How about terms like “asshole”?

          Like

        • scott, I did not call you an asshole. You do not have license to label [whatever your list] with that. And you have been extended an apology, will you do the same?

          Never mind.

          Like

        • okie:

          scott, I did not call you an asshole.

          I didn’t say you did.

          You do not have license to label [whatever your list] with that.

          I don’t know what this means.

          And you have been extended an apology

          Have I?

          …will you do the same?

          To whom should I apologize, and for what?

          Like

  89. Scott

    Why did you find the article worth noting?

    Gee, I don’t know, maybe because it shows higher private sector job growth under Dem presidents. I’m sure there are a million factors that go into that but the trend is real IMO…………………so yay.

    Like

  90. “Shut up!” He argued.

    I’d call it more of a rhetorical “why do I bother?” For which I owe the group an apology. Sorry to lower the discourse with a private thought that should not have been posted publicly.

    Like

  91. But apart from its political appeal to simple-minded thinking

    I know it’s difficult to resist insulting people but I wish you’d try. We can’t all be economic geniuses such as yourself. No wonder people wonder why I bother talking to you at all…………………………so much for trying to bury the hatchet. Back to the drawing board I guess.

    Like

    • lms:

      I know it’s difficult to resist insulting people…

      Give me a break. I’m not insulting anyone. I calmly and objectively pointed out what was wrong with the conclusion you and okie were obviously drawing from the article. But instead of an admission that perhaps the article did not actually demonstrate what you wanted it to, I got a disingenuous and smartass response from you, and okie presses me to explain further while completely ignoring what I said in my original. So I made the point again, more plainly.

      I think you guys ought to toughen up a bit. If I can be explicitly called an asshole without making a fuss, I think whatever minor insults you read as being implicit in my comment ought not present such a big deal.

      BTW, it doesn’t take an economic genius to grasp the problem, especially after I pointed it out the first time.

      Like

  92. And you have been extended an apology

    Have I?

    You have been if you consider yourself part of the group. I’d be interested in hearing why not if you don’t consider yourself as such.

    Like

    • Mich:

      You have been if you consider yourself part of the group.

      Surely you understand there is a difference between apologizing to “the group” for “lower[ing] the discourse” by slinging insults and apologizing to the object of the insult for the insult.

      This is not, BTW, a solicitation for an apology. I don’t want or need one. I just wish you and okie wouldn’t pretend that one was actually offered to me.

      Like

  93. See y’all manana. Maybe I’ll link to the first federal budget surplus in years tomorrow. Pretty sure all the simple-minded among us will get a kick out of it.

    Like

  94. Okie, you got your answer; apparently the libertarian ideal is a city-pseudo-state protected by communist china with some of the most polluted air in the world. I’d say its a pretty good example of the shortcomings of libertarianism.

    Like

  95. So, Scott asks what is relevant about the Bloomberg article if causality can’t be proven, is called an asshole by Bsimon, wrote earlier that no country in existence represents a Libertarian ideal and then names a possible example, with caveats in an attempt to provide an example he early wrote doesn’t exist and is somehow the one at fault for writing “simple minded.”

    Yeah, he’s being overly sensitive.

    And defensive.

    Like

  96. “I’d say its a pretty good example of the shortcomings of libertarianism.”

    A better term than shortcomings would be trade-offs.

    Like

  97. All of you should read this and be prepared for the quiz.

    http://www.welfareasia.org/5thconference/papers/Wong%20L_Hong%20Kong%20Welfare%20Model.pdf

    Like

  98. Actually McWing what he wanted was for me to prove causality and because I didn’t bite, I’m simple-minded. It was just a Bloomberg article for God’s sake. If you don’t see causality fine. If you don’t see anything there at all, fine…………………as a non-economist I thought it was interesting. Jesus, it’s not a contest about who’s the smartest libertarian or conservative in the room.

    Like

    • lms:

      Actually McWing what he wanted was for me to prove causality…

      I didn’t want you to prove anything. I simply pointed out that without demonstrating such causality, the point of the article wasn’t much of a point.

      …and because I didn’t bite, I’m simple-minded.

      Not at all what I said.

      Like

  99. From the Hong Kong Welfare paper (Mark’s link)
    “Hong Kong is really not that small. In mid-year 2007, the population stood at 6.98 million, exactly the same as that of Israel (6.99 million), similar to Laos (6.52 million), and bigger than Norway (4.63 million), Denmark (5.47 million) and Finland (5.24 million) (US Census Bureau, 2008)”

    From BaseLine Scenario
    http://baselinescenario.com/2012/05/08/who-pays-for-facts/

    “The Internet has made possible a golden age of commentary. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can create a blog and comment to her heart’s content. … I would just like to second what Menzie Chinn said about the importance of government statistical organizations, which are (along with most of the rest of the government) under attack from Paul Ryan and his troops. Even if you don’t agree with what I say, if you like reading economics blogs, you should realize that they couldn’t really exist without the BEA, BLS, Census Bureau, etc.

    Of course, if your economic policy prescriptions are based entirely on pure theory, then I guess you can do without data.”

    Indeed.

    (bolding is mine)

    Like

  100. Fascinating article, mark. It is always good to get real information on a country or region rather than rely on stereotypes and generalizations. For example, when I was in China I was surprised to learn that their health care system is largely privatized.

    Like

  101. I think whatever minor insults you read as being implicit in my comment ought not present such a big deal.

    Actually, it’s not a big deal to me at all.

    Like

  102. “okiegirl, on May 8, 2012 at 8:46 pm said:

    Thanks, scott, you still cannot offer a country that successfully embodies your libertarian ideals.”

    Scott – Would you consider Singapore a good example?

    For myself, I’d argue that an earlier America (Pre Great Society, Pre New Deal) was a better example of libertarian ideals and I’d argue for a return to a more vigorous federalism with more domestic policy being determined at the state level instead of the Federal.

    Like

    • jnc:

      Scott – Would you consider Singapore a good example?

      I actually considered naming Singapore as well as HK, but I do know that there is somewhat of a streak of authoritarianism in Singapore, and ultimately I decided I wasn’t familiar enough with it to know how deep or significant that streak is.

      Like

  103. “okiegirl, on May 8, 2012 at 7:02 pm said:

    jnc, can you clarify the point you are making? Are you arguing that a majority of “the left” favors a “government solution” to truth in media? [Definition of such terms as “the left” probably deserves its own post.]”

    Missed this earlier. I’d argue that a majority of the left is much more comfortable with government regulating speech in general. See McCain-Feingold and the reaction to Citizens United. With regards to Fox, the discussion was about what those people in PL who consider themselves progressive/liberal/left were advocating. However, I don’t consider them representative of the “left”, especially Cao. Although there was the bruhaha when the White House temporarily banned the Fox reporters which was overreach.

    More to the point, I believe “biased” media can still be considered legitimate. Case in point, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, etc. Fox is biased, but provides a useful counterbalance to the rest of the mainstream media. CNN is the one who pioneered talking head opinion shows to fill up air time.

    For myself, I’m a First Amendment absolutist. “Congress Shall Make No Law” means exactly what it says.

    Like

  104. “ScottC, on May 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm said:

    lms:

    I know it’s difficult to resist insulting people…

    Give me a break. I’m not insulting anyone.”

    I believe that on occasion Scott’s penchant for precision in posting can be perceived as pedantic.

    Like

    • jnc:

      I believe that on occasion Scott’s penchant for precision in posting can be perceived as pedantic.

      I am sure that is the case. But at least with regard to last night, pedantry would be a description more accurately aimed at posts other than mine, I think.

      And speaking of last night, upon review I suppose I would have been better to use the term “simplistic” rather than “simple-minded”. I don’t know if that would assuage anyone’s hurt feelings, but if not, then perhaps someone can advise me on a better term to characterize the notion that if events X and Y are correlated, one caused the other.

      Like

  105. “markinaustin, on May 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm said:

    All of you should read this and be prepared for the quiz.”

    Thanks Mark. Good article. Also, you avatar seems to be reset to the default one.

    Like

  106. jnc:

    “pedantic”???????

    Like

  107. The notion that if event X follows event Y, Y caused X is “false causality”.

    ZZ

    Like

    • FB:

      The notion that if event X follows event Y, Y caused X is “false causality”.

      Good choice.

      I’ll revise my remark:

      But apart from the political appeal of simple-minded thinking false causality, I think it is interesting only if policy causation can be identified. Otherwise is it is little more than trivia, akin to pointing out that the stock market always rises in November if the Yankees win the World Series in October.

      Like

  108. “Scott’s penchant for precision in posting” apparently does not extend to his own responses. I asked for an example of a country successfully embodying his libertarian ideals for a reason, a detail he unilaterally decided to disregard and reframe. IMO the effects of being part of a larger entity make an important difference, for better or for worse.

    Like

    • okie:

      IMO the effects of being part of a larger entity make an important difference, for better or for worse.

      But as I pointed out Hong Kong isn’t part of a larger entity in many if not most relevant ways. I haven’t been there in a while, but unless things have changed recently, even travel between HK and mainland China is treated like travel between 2 different countries. That’s why, when you asked “Hong Kong is an independent country?”, I answered that in most practical senses it is. Unfortunately, rather than engage my answer and my reasons for it, you chose to dismiss it out of hand.

      Like

    • okie:

      BTW, this…

      a detail he unilaterally decided to disregard and reframe.

      …is simply untrue. After explaining why I thought HK qualified as a legitimate answer to your question, I asked you to explain why you thought it didn’t, if indeed you thought it didn’t. Again, you chose to ignore the question just as you chose to ignore my answer and arguments. I am not sure what exactly your motiviation was, but it is clear that a sincere desire to discuss/debate the topic wasn’t one.

      Like

  109. Here’s Simon Johnson discussing the Ryan budget plan and what would happen if Romney wins,especially if the Senate also changes hands…………in his opinion.

    However, in a panel discussion on Tuesday, Vin Weber, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, indicated that the campaign may be moving toward positions on fiscal policy that are close to those proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and his Republican colleagues on the House Budget Committee.

    Mr. Ryan’s proposals would substantially phase out the federal government’s role in providing basic social insurance for older people by massively reducing Medicare and by eliminating almost all nonmilitary discretionary spending. The House Budget Committee is also proposing to remove the only safeguard we have against the failure of another mega-bank. Some libertarians praise these proposals. But these Republicans’ strategy is not so much to remove government in favor of abstract “markets” but to shift the balance of power away from government and toward entrenched private lobby groups, particularly in the health-care sector and on Wall Street.

    Before Medicare was created in the 1960s, there was no meaningful health-care insurance for older Americans – and there will be none after Medicare is phased out. For the private sector, this is a set of uninsurable risks.

    The federal government provides a minimum level of social insurance to all of us, in case we outlive our assets and our families’ ability to support us. Mr. Ryan – and now perhaps Mr. Romney – would end this role.

    According to the C.B.O., the net impact would be to increase what you pay for health care. The government-provided piece would decline, but your insurance premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses would increase.

    Like

  110. Here’s a pretty decent piece on PPP’s, public-private partnerships.

    Here is how the “infrastructure trust” works: the city pays for upgrades to its roads, rail or schools with dollars pooled by Emanuel’s friends from the banking and investment world. Meanwhile, the city retains “ownership” of the infrastructure, though this comes at the cost of having to ensure a revenue stream for the fund. Emanuel’s favorite example is his $225 million pet project to green-retrofit some of the city’s older buildings. The savings on energy usage stemming from the renovations are then extracted and used to pay off investors. Of course, the city could also sell municipal bonds to raise necessary funds, and then use the savings in energy costs to pay the loan back at a much lower cost to taxpayers. But then Emanuel’s friends (and campaign donors) would not be the richer for it.

    While the mayor bills his plan as “bold” and “innovative,” the reality could not be further from the truth. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been around for decades in various forms and their track record is replete with delays, cost overruns and prolonged legal battles. What’s more, the beneficiaries of these investment mechanisms are the same rapacious Morgan Stanleys and Goldman Sachs that gave us the mortgage-backed securities scandal and the ensuing recession. Using the economic malaise they created as cause, they have ratcheted up their advocacy of PPPs as a means of helping cash-starved public entities finance capital-intensive projects.

    Like

    • Lulu, I may be completely off base, but I think ppps did work and now special interests are “taking advantage of the system”, based on your link.

      In another history goes downhill or entropy moment, I think the observation that the elderly are uninsurable on a current pay-in basis is the foundation for prepaid retirement and medical plans. Rosanne and I have been paying for nursing home insurance to State Farm since 2003. If we never use it, it will help to keep premium costs down for the next codger. The public models of SS and Medicare could still be made actuarially viable. For SS it was a no brainer even five years ago. Everyone knew it. No one did it. Every year it gets tougher, at least until demographics turn around. So Ryan’s approach is to dismantle a system that will fall on its own. It has a certain logic, if the failure to fix it was logical.

      Like

      • Mark, you may be right re the PPP’s. I am pretty familiar with the 91 toll lane out here and while it hasn’t necessarily been a disaster I’d say the tax payer and the commuter have not fared very well. I think one of the points in the piece is that there is a certain desperation aspect to all of this is more than a little valid. Many cities, counties and states have infrastructure needs they simply cannot meet and will take the short cut now and worry about the consequences later.

        Regarding the Johnson piece, all I can say is that I hope neither WMR nor Johnson win the election. I may vote for Obama after all. I’m beginning to agree with jnc, gridlock is our friend. If the Senate changes hands, we’ll need Obama in there to hopefully not give the entire store away, although his inclinations are rather conservative on entitlements and the economy.

        Like

  111. Yes, Scott, you reframed the question to your own liking: “many if not most relevant ways” is not the same thing.

    Like

  112. From cia.gov

    Despite its small size and limited natural resources, Liechtenstein has developed into a prosperous, highly industrialized, free-enterprise economy with a vital financial service sector and the highest per capita income in the world. The Liechtenstein economy is widely diversified with a large number of small businesses. Low business taxes – the maximum tax rate is 20% – and easy incorporation rules have induced many holding companies to establish nominal offices in Liechtenstein, providing 30% of state revenues. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 90% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (an organization serving as a bridge between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU) since May 1995. The government is working to harmonize its economic policies with those of an integrated Europe. In 2008 Liechtenstein came under renewed international pressure – particularly from Germany – to improve transparency in its banking and tax systems.

    I don’t know the extent of Liechtenstein’s welfare state. Singapore has a reputation for “don’t walk on the grass” rigidity. Taking the whole range of liberty, comparing and contrasting Australia, Canada, and the USA might be a fruitful exercise.

    Like

  113. Here is an interesting list. It ranks countries by economic freedom with the top 3 being Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. I have no qualms with Hong Kong being listed with an asterisk since it is an autonomous region only lightly controlled by the Chinese government. The mainlanders have been surprisingly adept at guarding their golden goose.

    The key word in that list is ‘economic’. I can’t see anyone defending either Hong Kong or Singapore as paragons of political freedom.

    Like

  114. Oddly, both Lichtenstein and Somalia are unranked by the Heritage Foundation.

    Like

  115. Yello, we would have to score political and economic liberty on some scale. You and I, and I think everyone here, would give political liberty primacy because we think economic liberty which is at the whim of the political system is not true liberty.

    For you and me, the Asian examples would not suffice, on political liberty grounds. Narrowing our choices in that way, I think we could compare and contrast Australia and the USA as a project. This actually has probably been done, more than once, over the last three decades. Our work might be done for us and readily available through the magic of the internet.

    Like

    • mark:

      You and I, and I think everyone here, would give political liberty primacy because we think economic liberty which is at the whim of the political system is not true liberty.

      I’m not sure I would agree with that entirely. I guess it depends on what is meant by political liberty. If by political freedom you mean the freedom to participate in the political process, I think political freedom is a means towards achieving/ensuring economic freedom, but economic freedom is the primary value. I would have less objection to a system in which economic freedom was ensured without political freedom than to a system in which political freedom was ensured but economic freedom was absent.

      BTW, doesn’t all liberty regardless of kind necessarily exist at the whim of the political system that protects it?

      Like

      • A political system that enshrines majority rule tempered by minority rights and a rule of law has proven more protection for political liberty than any of the alternatives, from utter majoritarianism to despotic dictatorship.

        Scott wrote: I would have less objection to a system in which economic freedom was ensured without political freedom than to a system in which political freedom was ensured but economic freedom was absent.

        Like NoVAH, I cannot understand the divorce suggested. I cannot comprehend how economic freedom can even be “ensured” in a system where political freedom is not a stable expectation.

        I agree with NoVAH that we have over-regulated in so many picky little ways that even medium size businesses must have access to “compliance experts”. However, the most overwhelming trivialities occur within the confines of city and county government, for every small biz. As NoVAH pointed out in just his area of expertise, there is plenty of federal regulatory tape to deal with, as well. Nevertheless, the regulatory framework could be reformed to be less formidable an obstacle and yet serve the public good, as intended [we hope].

        These are discussions that might not even be possible without political freedom – because they would be critical of the “government”.

        Like

        • mark:

          A political system that enshrines majority rule tempered by minority rights and a rule of law has proven more protection for political liberty than any of the alternatives, from utter majoritarianism to despotic dictatorship.

          Agreed, I think.

          I cannot comprehend how economic freedom can even be “ensured” in a system where political freedom is not a stable expectation.

          I don’t think it can be really be ensured regardless of the system. Even a system which enshrines majority rule tempered by minority rights and a rule of law can lead to declining economic freedom. Witness the US since at least FDR.

          But that aside, Hong Kong has enjoyed over 100 years of a large degree of economic freedom, and for many of those years (under British colonial rule) political freedom was largely non-existent, much less was it a stable expectation. That economic freedom even continues to this day despite the fact that HK is now overseen by a nation that rejects political freedom. I suppose it is not strictly “ensured”, but it sure has managed to last a long time.

          Another somewhat similar example would be the Special Economic Zones established in southern China throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Clearly there was/is no real political freedom in these zones, but a large measure of economic freedom did and does exist. Indeed, an argument can and has been made that such economic freedom, and the economic prosperity it creates, ultimately creates the very conditions that lead to increased political freedom.

          In any event, I am not arguing that economic freedom and political freedom are or should be divorced. I was simply countering your contention regarding the “primacy” of political freedom over economic freedom.

          Like

  116. Our work might be done for us and readily available through the magic of the internet.

    It would seem we have a couple of choices available but most aren’t granular enough for the precision we are looking for.

    My weighting scale would skew heavily to rule of law issues as well as respect for property rights.

    Like

  117. I think political and economic freedom go hand-in-hand. And it’s our economic freedoms that are being crushed by an increasingly hostile (and captured) regulatory state. I’d pick up on mark’s point and say that our economic liberty is at the whim of the political system.

    This can be as simply as a dispute over minimum rates for taxi fares in an effort to ban the competition
    http://www.theagitator.com/2012/04/07/nashville-taxi-protection-fight-gets-ugly/

    Or as complex as the need to hire specialized policy experts so your medical supply company remains in compliance with needlessly complex standards that dictate everything from how much stock you must maintain, minimum business hours, and even what voice-mail system you use.

    Like

  118. I don’t see regulation to be the monster that strict libertarians see it as. There should not be a right to pollute or sell unsafe products. Rules are necessary provided they are applied impartially. Capricious enforcement is the threat to freedom, not the rules themselves.

    Like

  119. New report showing that a couple that retirees this year will need about 240k to cover health care costs in retirement

    The study is based on projections for a 65-year-old couple retiring this year with Medicare coverage. The estimate factors in the federal program’s premiums, co-payments and deductibles, as well as out-of-pocket prescription costs. The study assumes the couple does not have insurance from their former employers, and a life expectancy of 85 for women and 82 for men. The estimate doesn’t factor in most dental services, or long-term care, such as the cost of living in a nursing home.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fidelity-study-retired-couple-needs-240k-for-health-costs-up-4-percent-from-2011-estimate/2012/05/09/gIQArJAwBU_story.html

    Like

  120. lms — Johnson piece? i think i’m missing the link?

    Like

  121. nova

    Simon Johnson, in my comment at 6:00 am in this thread.

    [edit] haaaahaaaaa, two Johnsons.

    Like

  122. got it. thx

    Like

  123. I have a lot of work today……………….yikes, we’re cleaning out the warehouse again……no ladders this time though. See y’all later.

    Like

  124. Seems to me one aspect of political freedom is the ability to change the system to ensure economic freedom. We have that; I’m not so sure that Singapore or Hong Kong do.

    Like

  125. I guess it depends on what is meant by political liberty.

    Doesn’t it always? Are we already in the definition parsing stage of this conversation?

    There is a meta-freedom ranking site which uses several different indexes and you can weight the ones you find important. Here are my picks based on my priorities. The top four come out to be New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia. The US comes in at 18. I guess I should move.

    I suspect many of these variables are independent and within a range of parameters the results stay very similar.

    Like

    • Did you mean the variables were “independent” or “dependent”? I think they are dependent.

      Like

    • yello:

      Doesn’t it always?

      Yes.

      Are we already in the definition parsing stage of this conversation?

      I’m not sure why you say “already”. Agreeing upon the meaning of terms is a preliminary requirement to mutual understanding and productive discussion. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to carry on a back and forth with someone, ostensibly disagreeing about a thing when in fact you aren’t even talking about the same thing. Quite why you routinely object to me specifying how I understand something that has been said is baffling.

      Like

    • yello:

      BTW, my top 4: Hong Kong, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada.

      Like

      • Why does NZ get the highest score on “business freedom”?

        My 4 were SW and HK, tied, with Aussie and CA one point behind. But by looking over the chart I could tell I liked Aussie best.

        Like

  126. sorry about all the recent typos. trying to do too much at once.

    Like

  127. mark,
    Correct. I meant dependent, although to varying degrees. When I used my base picks and changed Gun Rights from 0.0 (not important at all) to 1.0 (critical), Switzerland jumped from #10 to #1.

    Like

    • Got it. I also thoroughly enjoyed the green, purple, pink, yellow, and orange chart of freedoms.

      Handy tool. Australia seems like a good place for my next life.

      Like

  128. Cranking the scores up to critical one by one pushed Chile up to #3. A surprise, to me.

    Like

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