Morning Report – What happens if China hits the wall? 4/3/14

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1883.4 0.5 0.03%
Eurostoxx Index 3198.1 10.6 0.33%
Oil (WTI) 99.33 -0.3 -0.29%
LIBOR 0.23 0.000 0.11%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 80.24 0.022 0.03%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.80% -0.01%
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104.8 0.0
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103.6 0.0
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 200.7 -0.2
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.45

 

Markets are flattish after initial jobless claims jumped to 326k. Bonds and MBS are up small.
Challenger and Gray reported that announced jobs cuts are down 30% from a year ago. Most businesses seem to be picking up, and the financial industry has already downsized for the brave new no refi world.
The consensus seems to be that the Fed starts hiking rates in late 2015. What could delay it? Well, another recession here, which doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Or, a China implosion, and it looks like the smart money (Soros, Chanos etc) are betting on one. China has been growing so fast for so long, that it pretty much seems inevitable. It seems like periods of rapid growth foment real estate bubbles and a mountain of debt, which seem to culminate in a violent crash (called the Minsky Moment). We had one in the 1930s after a period of rapid growth post WWI, Japan had theirs in 1989 after a great two-decade run in the 70s and 80s, and China has had an incredible run since Mao Zedong’s death.
If China has their Minsky moment, what will be the fallout? The biggest one, IMO, will be a collapse of commodity prices. Second, China will try and export their way out of the collapse. Finally, they may end up dumping their properties in the US and Canada. We could see some pricing pressures at the high end of the market (remember in crises, you sell what you can, not necessarily what you want to). None of this would be inflationary, in fact China will be exporting deflation. This will give the Fed conniptions as they hope the US economy strengthens enough to reach escape velocity from a global deflationary spiral. In other words, if China hits the wall, the Fed will be very reticent to raise rates.
There were 43,000 completed foreclosures in Feb 2014, down 15% year over year, according to CoreLogic. The foreclosure inventory is down to 752k homes down 35% from a year ago. The judicial states (primarily FL, NY, and NJ) still have the biggest foreclosure percentages.

131 Responses

  1. Charles Koch fights back: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303978304579475860515021286

    Money quote: “The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.”

    Calling out obama as a collectivist. Since he is already a target, might as well go big or go home.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That Koch op-ed is making the rounds. Dad sent it to the whole family this morning with the subject “About fucking time!”

    Like

  3. The Koch op ed is tame, imo. He should have hit harder, naming names, calling out Obama and Reid as unamerican, authoritarian, etc., and explaining why they are. He should have called them out as rampant, inveterate, prodigious liars and destroyers of American ideals. He should have called on Americans to unite against attacks by these rogue officials on the very citizens they are to serve. His gloves are still on. Time for everyone to take them off an don the brass knuckles. Criminals like Obama and Reid understand nothing else.

    Like

  4. [hears QB speech, smacks sword on shield]

    Like

  5. The freedom that Charles Koch is pushing for the most is the freedom to pollute by rolling back the EPA regulations he is so proud of complying with. Externalities need to be either priced into the product of regulated by fiat.

    Like

    • yello:

      The freedom that Charles Koch is pushing for the most is the freedom to pollute by rolling back the EPA regulations he is so proud of complying with. Externalities need to be either priced into the product of regulated by fiat.

      Opposing current EPA regulations does not imply opposition to pricing in externalities. And personally the thing that I object to much more strongly than the regulations themselves (although I certainly object to many of them) is public officials using their office, or political parties using propaganda, to personally demonize as “unamerican” specific individuals simply because they disagree with them over, for example, which EPA regulations are appropriate.

      Like

  6. Arrgghh!! … they’ll never take arh fddrrrreeedommmm!

    Like

  7. The freedom that Charles Koch is pushing for the most is the freedom to pollute by rolling back the EPA regulations he is so proud of complying with. Externalities need to be either priced into the product of regulated by fiat

    It’s so special how masses of liberals have memorized these talking points. It used to be on the level of “polluters bad!” Now everyone goes around spouting about externalities. What a trip.

    Like

  8. Q: does anyone really believe the EPA works for the public interest?

    besides, you prevent pollution by protecting property rights. there’s a reason nobody really cared about the BP oil spilled.

    Like

    • besides, you prevent pollution by protecting property rights. there’s a reason nobody really cared about the BP oil spilled.

      Who does own the Gulf of Mexico? Who speaks for the grouper, the Fish Lorax?
      BP runs full page ads in the WaPo nearly every day about how they are getting suckered by ridiculous claims. But without this sort of punitive treatment, they would have no incentive whatsoever to modify their behavior. The Problem of The Commons is not a new phenomenon.

      Like

      • yello:

        The Problem of The Commons is not a new phenomenon.

        And yet one that seems lost on the left as it continually tries to increase, rather than decrease, the realm of “the common”. See, eg, their thinking on health care.

        Like

  9. “He should have hit harder, naming names, calling out Obama and Reid as unamerican, authoritarian, etc.,”

    I think that would have been counterproductive. Surrogates can do that. Better to let his example show the contrast.

    Like

  10. If you cede the field on the mandate for employers, not only are you scrapping the coverage requirement, but the essential health benefits. It would get ugly. or uglier.

    Like

    • It would get ugly. or uglier.

      It would be an odd disincentive if employer based coverage didn’t have to meet the provisions of the individual mandate. A race to the bottom would result.

      Like

  11. I wonder if rumored pederast and child murder Harry Reid will be rejected by his fellow Democratic Senators. Their silence on his alleged horrific sex crimes is deafening.

    Yello, your belief in your ability to read minds and discern motives is a wonderment.

    Kudos my good man!

    Like

  12. If it does, that’s an actual improvement. Then employers all dump their plans and everyone goes into the individual markets.

    Add a new bare bones catastrophic only plan for anyone, adjust the subsidies downward, and it may actually become tolerable.

    Like

  13. And thus yello demonstrates why government ownership of things is disastrous and why they are always the worst polluters.

    Again, kudos!

    Like

  14. Fuck, corked by a Syracuse fan!

    Like

  15. Re: the SCOTUS decision yesterday. After thinking about it, I’d argue that any opinion short of Justice Thomas full repeal of all limits is activist “legislating” from the bench.

    “What the plurality does not recognize is that the same logic also defeats the reasoning from Buckley on which the
    plurality purports to rely. Under the plurality’s analysis, limiting the amount of money a person may give to a candidate does impose a direct restraint on his political communication; if it did not, the aggregate limits at issue here would not create “a special burden on broader participation in the democratic process.”

    Ibid. I am wholly in agreement with the plurality’s conclusion on this point:“[T]he Government may not penalize an individual for ‘robustly exercis[ing]’ his First Amendment rights.” Ibid. (quoting Davis v. Federal Election Comm’n, 554 U. S. 724, 739 (2008)). I regret only that the plurality does not acknowledge that today’s decision, although purporting not to overrule Buckley, continues to chip away at its footings.

    In sum, what remains of Buckley is a rule without a rationale.”

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-536_e1pf.pdf

    He’s exactly right. The plurality isn’t standing up for the First Amendment, but simply drawing the line differently than Congress did. It’s still an exercise in line drawing which is fundamentally a legislative prerogative.

    Thomas, not Scalia, is the intellectual leader on the right side of the Supreme Court.

    Like

    • jnc:

      After thinking about it, I’d argue that any opinion short of Justice Thomas full repeal of all limits is activist “legislating” from the bench.

      Maybe that is correct, but doesn’t the court need to actually see a case challenging Buckley before we can judge for sure? Is a justice obligated to, as Thomas did, extrapolate in his opinion from the case at hand to other issues that are, indeed, logically implicated but not necessarily pertinent to the specific case under question? That is to say, can we really assume that the plurality would not follow its own logic should a Buckley challenge come before it?

      Like

  16. rumored pederast and child murder Harry Reid

    Does that have anything to do with the questions about if Glen Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990? I don’t believe he did but he never bothers to deny it.

    Like

  17. Agree with JNC and Thomas. He’s reasoning jumped out at me too.

    Regarding the commons — full privatization is obviously — extreme. but governmental watchdogs just aren’t up to the task.

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  18. The plurality isn’t standing up for the First Amendment, but simply drawing the line differently than Congress did.

    As a First Amendment Absolutist, I am sympathetic to the argument that money is speech. Let the free market determine the fair value of politicians. Campaign regulations are keeping the price artificially low.

    Like

  19. Also, regarding the campaign stuff. i view it similar to the FCC and setting standards for broadcast. Maybe — maybe — restrictions made sense when there were 3 channels and that as effectively the only way to communicate. That’s hopelessly obsolete now.

    Like

  20. From Charles Koch:

    Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced.

    It borders on self-parody. Most of the right-wing trolls on the Plum Line are more coherent.

    Like

    • yello:

      Most of the right-wing trolls on the Plum Line are more coherent.

      Which part can’t you understand?

      Like

      • Which part can’t you understand?

        The part where in a rant on character assassination he invokes the boogeyman of Saul Alinsky. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

        Like

  21. yello, I can honestly say i agree with him. I don’t see the self-parody. I think what he says there is a truism.

    I have no doubt that given the opportunity, my viewpoint would be banned as hate speech.

    Like

  22. Yello, is it your position politicians aren’t already bought?

    Like

    • Yello, is it your position politicians aren’t already bought?

      Why would you infer that? I’m implying that they are selling themselves too cheaply.

      Like

  23. Self parody? I think it is spot-on.

    Like

  24. @yellojkt: “It borders on self-parody. Most of the right-wing trolls on the Plum Line are more coherent.”

    All the right wing trolls are always coherent! Just ask Troll McWingnut!

    That being said, it’s perfectly coherent, and I think it is true of any group for whom their ideology becomes a religious motivator, something that trumps all other things. Everyone (irrespective of their beliefs) is capable of character assassination, and they tend to feel justified when doing it. Because the folks they are attacking are so politically wrong.

    “the boogeyman of Saul Alinsky”

    Am I wrong? Didn’t Alinsky advocate character assassination in the service of the greater good of advancing a (morally superior) agenda?

    It may sound a little thin-skinned (it does to me, like saying: I went out on the court to play basketball, and the other plays tried to take the ball and throw it through my basket! What the hell is that about?) but I’m not seeing the cognitive dissonance.

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    • Kevin:

      Am I wrong? Didn’t Alinsky advocate character assassination in the service of the greater good of advancing a (morally superior) agenda?

      You are not wrong, and yes he did. And that is exactly what the left is doing to Koch. But part of the whole leftist schtick is to accuse others of the very tactics they have adopted.

      It may sound a little thin-skinned (it does to me, like saying: I went out on the court to play basketball, and the other plays tried to take the ball and throw it through my basket! What the hell is that about?)…

      Really? You really think objecting to an opposing political party personally targeting private citizens as “unamerican”, on the floor of the Senate no less, is akin to objecting to having an opposing team on the court during a basketball game? Seriously?

      Like

  25. The part where in a rant on character assassination he invokes the boogeyman of Saul Alinsky. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

    If the shoe fits… that is how your president and his troops operate.

    Like

  26. @Whitaker: Not that I’m complaining, but your name irritates the Net Nanny at work, so every time I hit a page with comments by you on it, no matter how clean the content otherwise, it starts blocking that page. So I have to keep entering “https” to get to it (a cute workaround for net nannys). If you could changing it to “Whitaker Mother Loving Chambers”, I’d appreciate it.

    Like

  27. Here’s my problem with the bit Yello quoted: “Instead of encouraging free and open debate”

    Generally, free and open debate is not encouraged. It’s very rare. Unless the debate is in the fashion of: “Are my ideas the best ever or merely superb”, people don’t encourage free and open debate that involves a lot of people expressing ideas they disagree with, and frankly, aren’t open to listening to ideas that are in any way opposed to what they have already decided is right. And this isn’t a political thing, human beings are wired for our brains to work like that (and go ahead, just try and talk me out of that and see how far you get).

    It’s an accusation always thrown at “the other side”, but it’s rare than any one with a strong ideological point of view wants or encourages free and open debate. There’s no need for it, because they already have the answers. Why challenge beliefs that are self-evidently true?

    The only people who talk about free and open debate are the people who feel they aren’t being heard in a given context, or as a way to discredit critics who are in the process of trying to discredit you. IMHO.

    If you disagree, you are obviously wrong, but I hope to encourage a free and open debate about this topic, which I am right about, so no debate is actually necessary.

    Like

  28. @yellojkt: “Why would you infer that? I’m implying that they are selling themselves too cheaply.”

    I agree 100% with this statement. They could get a lot more bang for their buck. Shit, we could pay off the national debt if politicians would just start selling favors at the highest price the market could bear.

    Like

  29. “ScottC, on April 3, 2014 at 10:55 am said:

    jnc:

    After thinking about it, I’d argue that any opinion short of Justice Thomas full repeal of all limits is activist “legislating” from the bench.

    Maybe that is correct, but doesn’t the court need to actually see a case challenging Buckley before we can judge for sure?”

    They just had one, i.e. the case in question. The entire basis for the plurality’s reasoning is citing Buckley. They are just picking out one provision from another.

    Like

    • jnc:

      Sorry…I guess I should have read the opinion. From the news accounts I read I got the impression that the individual Buckley limits were not at issue, but rather it was just the aggregate limit being challenged. If the challenge was also to Buckley, and they rejected that challenge, then I totally agree with you.

      Like

  30. @yellojkt: “Does that have anything to do with the questions about if Glen Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990? I don’t believe he did but he never bothers to deny it.”

    I think that’s the point. That, in certain cases, it’s the seriousness of the charges that require an immediate investigation. Indeed, the very lack of evidence demands that we investigate! If the accused is a member of the opposing political party . . . if not, then, well, there’s no evidence, why look into it? That was such a long time ago, anyway. This is just a distraction from the real issues of the American people!

    Frankly, I don’t believe Harry Reid and Glenn Beck have worked together for 20 years as serial rapist-murders all up and down the northeastern corridor, but you can never be sure, so it’s best to go ahead and make a TV movie about it.

    Like

  31. Kevin, I hope your happy.

    Like

  32. I’ll take RWNJ’s in the Tea Party over the LWNJ’s at Salon any day. They at least have a coherent world view and the organizational skill to act on it.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/04/03/cancelcolbert_activist_suey_park_this_is_not_reform_this_is_revolution/

    Like

  33. “ScottC, on April 3, 2014 at 11:26 am said:

    Kevin:

    Am I wrong? Didn’t Alinsky advocate character assassination in the service of the greater good of advancing a (morally superior) agenda?

    You are not wrong, and yes he did. And that is exactly what the left is doing to Koch. But part of the whole leftist schtick is to accuse others of the very tactics they have adopted.”

    Koch assumes that his target audience is actually aware of the content of Alinsky’s writings as opposed to just throwing the word out there as a left wing dog whistle.

    Like

  34. @ScottC: “Really? You really think objecting to an opposing political party personally targeting private citizens as “unamerican”, on the floor of the Senate no less, is akin to objecting to having an opposing team on the court during a basketball game? Seriously?”

    It is the arena he chose to play in. He did not have to. If I was doing what Koch is doing, I’d fully expect death threats and political activists going through my garbage and personal attacks on my family and the whole nine yards.

    Just as I’d expect, if I won $40 million in the lottery, to have someone I knew attempt to kidnap and murder me.

    Political activism has always invited a great deal of hostility. I’m not saying it’s right, but if he’s surprised then he hasn’t been paying attention. Which I don’t believe.

    Like

    • Kevin:

      I’d fully expect death threats and political activists going through my garbage and personal attacks on my family and the whole nine yards.

      From sitting Senators? From the New York Times? Sorry, but even if one can “expect” it, the political attacks on Koch are neither ordinary nor justified. Harry Reid is a slimebag, and any honorable person on the left would condemn what he did.

      Like

  35. @Troll: “Kevin, I hope your happy.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I always wanted one of those. And I never knew you had such a cute little bottom.

    🙂

    Like

  36. @markinaustin: BTW, I’d love to get rid of employer paid health insurance. But I don’t ever see that happening.

    Like

  37. Cass Sunstein weeps at my betrayal.

    My point is that politicians won’t stay bought.

    Yello’s implication re the SCOTUS decision is that it further weakens something something about them being potentially bought off, even though they already are.

    Or something.

    Like

  38. ” From the news accounts I read I got the impression that the individual Buckley limits were not at issue, but rather it was just the aggregate limit being challenged.”

    That’s correct, but remember Buckley is a case cited as precedent. The individual limits and the aggregate limits are part of the same statute.

    From the first page of the opinion:

    “The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA), as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), imposes two types of limits on campaign contributions. Base limits restrict how much money a donor may contribute to a particular candidate or committee while aggregate limits restrict how much money a donor may contribute in total to all candidates or committees. 2 U. S. C. §441a.”

    Like

  39. @ScottC: “From sitting Senators? From the New York Times?”

    You gotta be kidding me. I’m not saying that I *support* it but, great googley moogley, especially from sitting senators and the New York Times. You expect moral behavior from those who have no souls? It’s like not expecting the enemy to shoot at you on a battlefield!

    Like

    • Kevin:

      You gotta be kidding me. I’m not saying that I *support* it but, great googley moogley, especially from sitting senators and the New York Times.

      When was the last time a sitting Senator took to the floor and attacked a private citizen as “unamerican”? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I thought this sort of thing disappeared along with HUAC.

      Like

  40. “Kevin S. Willis, on April 3, 2014 at 11:33 am said:

    @markinaustin: BTW, I’d love to get rid of employer paid health insurance. But I don’t ever see that happening.”

    If Gibbs is right and the employer mandate is repealed, then employer based insurance is on the way out. The impact will be felt in the budget deficit from the subsidies as costs are transferred to the government.

    Like

  41. Re: JNC’s Salon link: Uh, you want what exactly?

    Like

  42. @Troll: “Yello’s implication re the SCOTUS decision is that it further weakens something something about them being potentially bought off, even though they already are.”

    Man, I’m loving your new handle. I gotta say.

    That being said, my feeling about CFR is that it ultimately makes no difference where or not spending is capped outrageously, or left completely unobstructed. Money only buys so much, and lack of direct funding only makes politicians and activists more inventive. And there’s this thing called the Internet now that keeps most of the folks who are actually going to go vote on election day all connected and up-to-date and shit, so . . . I don’t know, they idea they are going to legislate who gets elected (which is what this is about) is silly. They can do that through gerrymandering, sure. But not reducing the amount of commercials played from 100 to 75.

    Like

  43. @jnc4p: “he impact will be felt in the budget deficit from the subsidies as costs are transferred to the government.”

    Being, I’d like to see insurance made national (same plans available in all 50 states, and portable) and purchased by individual with a tax deduction for the expense, rather than tax deferred dollars at the employer level. Thus, we buy our own coverage, and benefit from being in a nation wide risk pool. Also, I’d support plans that provide better coverage for pharmaceuticals and emergency or catastrophic care, but no coverage for well-patient visits or GP visits or Little Clinic visits. A Healthcare Savings Account could pay for those.

    Like

  44. ^^ that’s Wyden-Bennet. Aka, NoVa-JNC. we couldn’t get in on the floor.

    Like

    • that’s Wyden-Bennet. Aka, NoVa-JNC. we couldn’t get in on the floor.

      It’s always been a stalking horse/red herring to the RomnebamaCare Abomination. Health care (and insurance if you are inclined to think of them as separate things) should be individual and portable. I’m just trying to figure out the structure that makes it profitable (if it’s non-profit or government subsidized all bets are off) without a mandate of any kind.

      Like

  45. Yellow, that’s easy once you concede that you won’t get universal coverage.

    Like

  46. “novahockey, on April 3, 2014 at 11:41 am said:

    Re: JNC’s Salon link: Uh, you want what exactly?”

    “You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world”

    – John Lennon

    Edit: However, I foresee a fine future for her as a lecturer in the next conference on whiteness in Madison.

    Like

  47. Thomas isn’t so much the intellectual leader of the right, since the namby-pambies at his shoulder fiddle at the margins instead of following him in taking principles to their conclusions. But I’ve long, long said he is the most independent, original, and truest thinker. He is right more often than anyone else, as he is here. The Court bogs itself down in these issues whenever it fails to follow the Constitution as written and begins implanting into it its own qualifiers, exceptions, and rules. No law is no law. A law that seeks to regulate speech by regulating money is that.

    Like

  48. “concede that you won’t get universal coverage.”

    which i’m fine with. provided we are talking about those who can afford, but opt not to purchase coverage. This isn’t about safety net stuff. Instead, you roll the dice and live with the results.

    http://www.despair.com/mistakes.html

    Like

  49. When was the last time a sitting Senator took to the floor and attacked a private citizen as “unamerican”? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I thought this sort of thing disappeared along with HUAC.

    It’s an oddly specific and thin-skinned whine. The analogy to the HUAC breaks down pretty quickly. Are the Kochs being blackballed or having their livelihood destroyed in some way?

    It’s clearly an intemperate remark on the part of Reid as it’s been used to raise so much hay by who it was directed at. But conservatives are the sole guardians of what practices are and aren’t un-American. I think torturing prisoners and domestic spying are pretty un-American activities.

    Like

    • yello:

      It’s an oddly specific and thin-skinned whine.

      Whether or not it is thin-skinned is debatable, but “oddly specific”? What a weird charge. If one objects to being called un-American, why complain about something less specific?

      The analogy to the HUAC…

      There was no analogy to HUAC.

      But conservatives are the sole guardians of what practices are and aren’t un-American.

      In all sincerity, do you really believe this standard D talking point, that it is R’s, not D’s who routinely question the partiotism of their political opponents?

      Like

  50. Yellow, that’s easy once you concede that you won’t get universal coverage.

    Universal coverage will never be obtainable under this rubric. It’s just guarding against free riders that needs to be done to keep the cost structure on a level playing field.

    Like

  51. Democrat strategy per Greg Sargent’s current headline: once again buying the election with other people’s money. That’s a good thing if you are a D.

    Inside the Dems’ minimum wage strategy for 2014
    It’s all about giving core Dem groups something to vote for.

    Brazen and disgusting.

    Like

  52. don’t forget “effective,” QB

    Like

    • Democrat strategy per Greg Sargent’s current headline: once again buying the election with other people’s money. That’s a good thing if you are a D.

      Buying votes with employers’ money is better than buying them with taxpayer funds.

      Like

      • yello:

        Buying votes with employers’ money is better than buying them with taxpayer funds.

        Buying votes with taxpayer funds is pretty much what progressive politics is all about.

        Like

  53. Helps to have core groups that don’t understand the concept of supply and demand either…

    Like

  54. I still think the correct response to “how much do you earn?” is “may i see your warrant? otherwise, get off my lawn”

    Like

  55. NYT is treating the Reihan Salam piece in Slate as a serious policy proposal, so it looks like it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/04/02/tax-the-childless-to-help-parents

    Edit: I don’t see an entry for “GFY”. Perhaps I should submit one.

    Edit2: His defense in NRO

    http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/374985/mini-symposium-taxing-childless-reihan-salam

    Like

  56. “quarterback, on April 3, 2014 at 11:59 am said:

    Thomas isn’t so much the intellectual leader of the right, since the namby-pambies at his shoulder fiddle at the margins instead of following him in taking principles to their conclusions.”

    I think a case can be made that over time he has gotten others to shift to his position.

    “These tempests obscure a larger truth about Thomas: that this year has also been, for him, a moment of triumph. In several of the most important areas of constitutional law, Thomas has emerged as an intellectual leader of the Supreme Court. Since the arrival of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., in 2005, and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in 2006, the Court has moved to the right when it comes to the free-speech rights of corporations, the rights of gun owners, and, potentially, the powers of the federal government; in each of these areas, the majority has followed where Thomas has been leading for a decade or more. Rarely has a Supreme Court Justice enjoyed such broad or significant vindication.

    “Of the nine Justices presently on the Court, he is the one whose opinions I enjoy reading the most,” Steve Calabresi, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law and a co-founder of the Federalist Society, said. “They are very scholarly, with lots of historical sources, and his views are the most principled, even among the conservatives. He has staked out some bold positions, and then the Court has set out and moved in his direction.””

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/29/110829fa_fact_toobin?currentPage=all

    Like

  57. I thought Thomas was the stupid one.

    Did I miss a memo or something?

    Like

  58. Buying votes with employers’ money is better than buying them with taxpayer funds.

    If anything, it is worse because it is insidious.

    Like

  59. Funny Dave Barry interview @ The Federalist?

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/04/03/five-questions-for-dave-barry/

    I heard from a VERY reliable source that Democratic Senate Majority Leader HARRY REID molested another infant today. How long will this monster continue being defended by his obviously complicit fellow Democratic Senators?

    Like

  60. “I’m Now Kevin’s Biatch, on April 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm said:

    I thought Thomas was the stupid one.

    Did I miss a memo or something?”

    That’s just drivel for the proletariat. The inner party has a grudging respect for him because they realize that:

    “The implications of Thomas’s leadership for the Court, and for the country, are profound. Thomas is probably the most conservative Justice to serve on the Court since the nineteen-thirties. More than virtually any of his colleagues, he has a fully wrought judicial philosophy that, if realized, would transform much of American government and society.”

    The inner party sorts realize that they can’t believe their own BS and that he’s dangerous to them.

    Edit: Mind you those quotes are from the same writer who said that Thomas was embarrassing himself by not asking pointless questions like the rest of the Justices, so he knows how to give the liberal masses what they want as well.

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2014/02/clarence-thomas-disgraceful-silence.html

    Like

  61. I think a case can be made that over time he has gotten others to shift to his position.

    A case something like that can probably be made, although I would like to see specific examples. I completely agree with the prof that Thomas writes scholarly and well-thought-out opinions. They are sometimes magnificent in their clarity. When you hear a liberal denounce him as dumb, unqualified, just laugh heartily in the liberal’s face and know that he is completely ignorant of the matter.

    A lot has been written in law reviews in the past about the best strategies of justices on right and left “extremes” of the spectrum. Should you compromise a little to bring others along? Should you boldly mark out the territory of what is right, even if no one follows you? Brennan was considered a master of finding ways to couch his extremist views in ways to make less extreme justices go along with him. Scalia has often been criticized as an inferior tactician in this sense, although that was generally long ago. As a rule, conservatives tend to think their job is to get the law right. Liberals tend to view the whole enterprise as politics in a different form. Tactics follow.

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  62. “quarterback, on April 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm said:

    I think a case can be made that over time he has gotten others to shift to his position.

    A case something like that can probably be made, although I would like to see specific examples.”

    District of Columbia v. Heller is probably a good one.

    Like

  63. working my why through the New Yorker piece on Thomas:

    “Like his intellectual heirs in the Tea Party, Thomas has a special hostility for government attempts to level the playing field in the political arena. For this Justice, the Constitution mandates the law of the jungle. ”

    just keeps getting better and better.

    Like

  64. “By Thomas’s reading, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act, to say nothing of Medicare and Medicaid, might all be unconstitutional. ”

    I’ll be in my bunk

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  65. I think Thomas, in the Heller case, brought up AA access to weapons to defend themselves against the KKK. The left shit themselves on that one accusing him of knowing nothing about lynchings and Jim Crow. Even though he grew up in Georgia. Under Jim Crow.

    Like

  66. Heh.

    How many more, Harry?

    Like

  67. Another knowing lie by the Obama Admin.

    It has been one of Democrats’ favorite talking points: that thanks to Obamacare’s mandate that family-based insurance coverage cover “adult children” aged 18 to 26, “an additional 3 million young adults have gained coverage.” There’s only one problem. That figure is based on a misleading and superficial study by the Obama administration. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the proportion of young adults with private health coverage was 60.5 percent in 2012—exactly the same proportion that had private coverage in 2008.

    All so that Progressives favorite constituents, health insurance companies, get borrowed money shoveled into their accounts.

    The pride on the Left is well earned.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2014/04/03/census-data-since-2008-theres-been-no-net-change-in-the-proportion-of-young-adults-with-health-coverage/

    Like

  68. You almost feel sorry for Bernie.

    Almost.

    Like

    • It amuses me how Texans think Austin is left wing. Compared to Chicago it’s a 24-7 Tea Party rally.

      It’s pretty much a job requirement to have full sleeve tattoos to work on Sixth Street in Austin. The rest of the city, not so much.

      Like

  69. If one objects to being called un-American, why complain about something less specific?

    The “oddly specific” part was about it being a sitting senator. Why is that an important component of the umbrage other than to draw the McCarthyism parallel?

    Like

    • yello:

      Why is that an important component of the umbrage other than to draw the McCarthyism parallel?

      I hold government officials to a higher standard than, say, a blogger, and I hold government officials speaking in an official capacity to an even higher standard. Call me crazy.

      Obviously, Both Sides Do It.

      Seriously, when was the last time an R pol equivalent in stature to Harry Reid called a political opponent “un-American”? How about an R pol of any stature? When was the last time the R party made it an electoral strategy to routinely attack and specifically demonize a private citizen and business owner?

      Who on the D side of the aisle is a target of Republican attacks equivalent to those the D’s have engaged in with the Kochs?

      Like

      • Who on the D side of the aisle is a target of Republican attacks equivalent to those the D’s have engaged in with the Kochs?

        Is that really a serious question? Does the name George Soros ring a bell? You can pick the ramblings of Issa and Rubio and Cruz on a random day and find something so absurdly over the top that it defies both logic and decency.

        Like

        • yello:

          Does the name George Soros ring a bell? You can pick the ramblings of Issa and Rubio and Cruz on a random day and find something so absurdly over the top that it defies both logic and decency.

          Feel free to link to any examples. I’d like to see them. Especially any that claim Soros is trying to “rig our political system”.

          Like

        • yello:

          I did a quick google search. The most recent thing I can find from Issa remarking on Soros was a sarcastic thank you note for his donation to NPR from last October.

          From Cruz it was almost 2 years ago in a comment condemning the UN’s Agenda 21. Cruz linked Soros to Agenda 21 (seemingly true), and said Soros supports socialism (definitely true) and “believes that global development must progress through eliminating national sovereignty and private property” (not sure if that is true).

          The most recent link in which Rubio and Soros are mentioned together came last summer when there was a rumor that Rubio’s chief of staff had previously worked with Soros. I couldn’t find any direct comments from Rubio on Soros on the first 3 pages of links that google returned.

          Like

  70. It has been one of Democrats’ favorite talking points: that thanks to Obamacare’s mandate that family-based insurance coverage cover “adult children” aged 18 to 26, “an additional 3 million young adults have gained coverage.”

    Anecdotally, my son became one of those in October. Just need to find the other 2,999,999. But he had employer provided coverage before he quit his job in August, so he might not even count against the net change.

    Like

  71. Not just a sitting Senator, but a rumored pederast who is the current Majority Leader did it on the floor of the Senate.

    When was the last time the Republican Senate Majority Leader called someone UN-American from the well o’ the Senate?

    It’s cool, I’ll wait.

    Like

  72. “By Thomas’s reading, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act, to say nothing of Medicare and Medicaid, might all be unconstitutional. ”

    Everyone knows they are; it’s just not polite to say it. But for FDR’s court-packing scheme, they would all be in the dustbin of history.

    Like

  73. When was the last time the Republican Senate Majority Leader called someone UN-American from the well o’ the Senate?

    When’s the last time a sitting Senator carried on a 21-hour non-filibuster tirade in an attempt to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States?

    Like

  74. In all sincerity, do you really believe this standard D talking point, that it is R’s, not D’s who routinely question the partiotism of their political opponents?

    Obviously, Both Sides Do It.

    Like

  75. Helps to have core groups that don’t understand the concept of supply and demand either…

    Labor is pretty inelastic near the low end of the wage scale. Keep working on that burger flipping machine. You’ll make a fortune right as the minimum wage hits double digits.

    Like

  76. When’s the last time a sitting Senator carried on a 21-hour non-filibuster tirade in an attempt to destroy the full faith and credit of the United States?

    Bizarre non-sequitur and factually incorrect to boot.

    Cruz’s wanted to defund Obamacare and had scheduled an agreed upon amount of time with rumored child Molester Harry Reid. There was, by mutual agreement, no possibility of default (unfortunately) from the talk-a-thon, ergo no risk.

    Now, what was your answer to my question or are you sticking with a factually incorrect non -sequitur?

    Like

    • Cruz’s wanted to defund Obamacare

      I stand corrected on the purpose of his tirade? But wasn’t he attempting to hold a debt ceiling bill hostage to do so?

      My point is that the lack of decorum on Reid’s part (which I do find regrettable) is pretty small beer. Wasn’t it Cheney who told someone on the Senate floor to go fuck themselves (my apologies to Kevin’s Net Nanny)?

      Like

  77. And to leave no stone unturned in your quixotic quest to torch strawmen and present non-sequiturs, I, me, George Bowden wish to destroy the full faith and credit of this once great nation.

    By the way, I love you.

    Like

  78. The progressive mindset of “there are never costs, only benefits to our edicts” demands an assumption of inelastic demand for labor.

    Like

  79. Brent, isn’t that a consequence of the left’s unquestioned acceptance if the Labor Theory of Value?

    Like

  80. Brent, that’s incomplete. There can be costs, but they don’t matter as long as the “right” people are paying them. In fact, it’s a net positive to help with inequality.

    Like

  81. Yes, Yellow, but that wasn’t on the record. It was an off the cuff remark to a Senator that was accidentally picked up.

    Reid’s comments don’t bother me because I’ve held him in complete contempt since he lied about Romney’s tax returns. I have low expectations and general contempt for the federal government and this just further confirms that it’s warranted.

    Like

  82. Cruz couldn’t do what you claim as he also had the aquiescence of McConnell as well. The point is he only had about 22 hours to talk, and that time frame was agreed upon beforehand between Reid, McConnell and Cruz. The vote occurred the next day. It was purely (magnificent) Kabuki for rubes like me.

    And he still managed to donkey punch Durbin after 20 hours.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ob6FgVz7V0

    Do you think there is a difference between a exchange of words, off mic mind you, between two people that occurred on the Senate floor versus a prepared speech given on the floor of the Senate and recorded into its official record?

    Like

    • but that wasn’t on the record.

      Do you think there is a difference between a exchange of words, off mic mind you, between two people that occurred on the Senate floor versus a prepared speech given on the floor of the Senate and recorded into its official record?

      I’m thinking that that’s a lot of disclaimers that have to be added to somehow characterize Reid’s remarks as unique and unconsciousably hostile. This is a mountain out of a molehill and Koch is mining a lot feigned umbrage out of it.

      Like

      • yello:

        Koch is mining a lot feigned umbrage out of it.

        As far as I know, Koch’s op-ed today is the first and only time he/they have addressed it. And even then he was fairly tame, only vaguely referring to it in a parenthetical. The majority of the “feigned umbrage” is deriving from the left over the Koch’s temerity in daring to disagree with the leftist litany and using their money to oppose it.

        (BTW…corked by McWing.)

        Like

  83. A lot of false equivalence there. But he’ll, I’m just a dumb bagger.

    Like

  84. Heh.

    And into the Congressional Record.

    Like

  85. jnc and qb: Please check your gmails.

    Like

  86. So the new Mozilla CEO is forced out by the gay mafia. The country is heading for a crisis. It really is. Where the radicals are mistaken is in their conceit that opposition to gay marriage will shrink to effectively nothing. That will never happen. It isn’t race or interracial marriage, and the left will never persuade a large part of society that it is.

    So, we are heading for a crisis as the left seeks to impose its ideology and remake society according to its awful vision.

    Like

    • QB:

      So, we are heading for a crisis as the left seeks to impose its ideology and remake society according to its awful vision.

      How about the astonishing dissent in the recent campaign finance case. We are onE vote away from this kind if thinking ruling the nation – to the extent that it doesn’t already. It just gets worse and worse. It is hard to take anyone seriously who champions leftist judicial philosophy while also claiming to support freedom.

      Like

      • Scott, I have not yet read the dissent. But I likely have a good idea of what it says. The leftists have argued for years that they have to forbid speech in order to protect it. As I said yesterday, these people are insane. I am out of patience with being polite about it anymore. It is a twisted and sick state of mind that turns everything upside down. I think gay marriage is going to be the catalyzing issue. The two sides, the sane and the insane, can’t coexist.

        Like

  87. Hmmmm.

    Why do Progressives vote for hateful bigots?

    Like

  88. Doh!

    Like

  89. Wow did Jim Antle nail it. Even worse, 99% of the gay Nazis who clamored for Eich’s ouster undoubtedly voted for Obama in 2008, so it really won’t work to retort that Obama is cool because he evolved.

    We are living through an outbreak of mass insanity and depravity, government as organized crime, burgeoning dictatorship. I am just about to touch the gay rights third rail at my firm, undoubtedly committing thoughtcrimes against humanity. I have no illusions that I won’t be sticking my head into a buzz saw, but there are some things I won’t do for money. I didn’t start the fight; they did.

    Like

  90. Just be careful, QB. You have a family to think about too.

    Like

  91. I have to second what NoVA said, QB. Please don’t do anything rash.

    Like

  92. “Michigoose, on April 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm said:

    jnc and qb: Please check your gmails.”

    Done. Thanks Michi.

    Like

  93. NP, jnc!

    Like

  94. “quarterback, on April 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm said:


    I think gay marriage is going to be the catalyzing issue.”

    I think you are mistaken about this. For better or for worse, only a minority (25% or less) will care in ten years.

    I’m indifferent as to whether or not any two (or more) people can call themselves married. I’d prefer to change the tax structure associated with marriage and I oppose these sorts of changes being executed through judicial fiat, but I expect that gay marriage won’t have nearly the staying power as a cultural issue as abortion has had.

    Edit: On a broader note, marriage as an institution involving lifelong commitment is on the inevitable decline I believe. Gay marriage runs far behind no fault divorce as the cause of this trend and I don’t see marriage going back to the previous trends, but the decline will probably plateau and stabilize at some point.

    Like

    • jnc:

      On a broader note, marriage as an institution involving lifelong commitment is on the inevitable decline I believe.

      Yes it is, but the decline is highly correlated with income. The lower the income bracket, the steeper the decline. For the highest income levels, it has only declined marginally. I suspect that has a great deal to do with government policies that make it financially easier or even beneficial to not be married. In that sense the decline is inevitable only to the extent that those government policies are inevitable.

      Like

    • jnc:

      Scott, you are referencing this?

      Yes. It was raised by someone on that Heritage Panel that we discussed the other day.

      Like

  95. I suspect that has a great deal to do with government policies that make it financially easier or even beneficial to not be married.

    The question is not about the correlation but which way the causality works.

    From jnc’s second link:

    In inflation-adjusted terms, the median earnings for men in that age group have fallen about 28 percent since 1970. In the same period, their marriage rates have fallen to 64 percent, from 91 percent.

    More people need government assistance because not enough men (and/or women) make enough money to be reliable breadwinners for a household.

    Like

    • yello:

      More people need government assistance because not enough men (and/or women) make enough money to be reliable breadwinners for a household.

      Whether or not this is true, I would not expect the need for government assistance to be correlated with a decline in marriage unless government assistance itself encouraged one to remain unmarried. In fact, since two can always live more cheaply than one, I would expect a decline in income to actually promote marriage, all other things being equal.

      Like

  96. I think marraige isn’t particularly beneficial for either party, particularly for men. Is this because I’m a child of a divorced family? Maybe but I’ll go with J on the no-fault divorce thing.

    Sorry QB, I think partnerships are important but a official designation, be it by the State or Church , seems meaningless when it comes to familial stability. Some people just suck at relationships and/or parenting and no amount of sanctioning of the relationship, be it religious or secular or both with improve that dynamic and hence social stabity. I tend to think both overly good economic conditions and overly bad conditions decrease social stabity. A modestly expanding economy increases stability.

    I didn’t mean to sound all Marxist and shit. I don’t even think Keynes was “mostly correct.”

    Like

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