Anyone who can remember the heating and air conditioning capability of an old air-cooled VW might wonder what heat or even defrost capability you will have in your all-electric car. I also wonder how the already short range might be affected by running the AC at full blast. Don't get me wrong. I love electric vehicles, just not when I need to go fast, go far, carry a load, pull a boat or travel in foul weather.
While our progressive-in-chief and his entourage are jetting the globe, hard core liberals here in the north country are wishing they had put chains on their bicycle tires and sand and salt on their bake trails last night before the seasons changed so quickly and so drastically:
http://www.startribune.com/ (Minneapolis paper, current lead story) SNOW EMERGENCIES DECLARED Foot of snow; thousands without power The largest November snowfall in two decades stormed across Minnesota on Saturday, dumping a foot of snow in parts of the Twin Cities. | Statewide warnings.
"private property which extends further than the human eye can see...Do I have [a right of] privacy?"
We will see what GM and others say. I say yes. Of course you have that right, up and until it conflicts with some other more compelling right of someone else. Let's say that law enforcement has a reason to believe armed bank robbers may be hiding out there or that forest fire officials have reason to believe a fire may may spread from there. People also have the right to have bank robberies pursued and forest fires prevented. That does not eliminate your right, it just may in rare cases supersede it.
I recall county officials used to write to my uncle regarding a little used family lake cabin that we needed to update an old septic system to newer standards. My uncle, a 9-term county attorney of a nearby county, would answer them with two questions. He wanted to know why he hadn't seen any report showing that the property was polluting in any way, and secondly he wanted them to refresh his memory with a copy of a letter signed by him giving them the permission they need to go on the property to conduct such a study, because he certainly didn't recall granting that permission. It never went any further than that except that after he passed away the septic system suddenly needed upgrading. If they had pressed on with legal action, I doubt he could have stopped them, but I think the question goes to Crafty's point, what right do they have to enter (observe, run tests) and what right does the property owner have to prevent them?
"there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in the public sphere if there is no one in sight"
I think so. GM sees this I think from a different perspective. If you are a suspect in a recent armed robbery, other competing rights come into play. But under ordinary circumstances, in a wilderness area or park, others have the same right to be there and enjoy nature and privacy, but not a right to follow or snoop on you. Stalking laws are based on that exact unenumerated right of privacy, everywhere you go. Federal employees in a national forest likewise have a right to be there, to go about their business protecting trees, enforcing rules, doing their specific job, but don't otherwise have any right to mess with your privacy, follow you or observe you without official reason. There might be an expectation that forest officials could stop by your campsite briefly to see if camping and fire rules are complied with, for example, but not to pull up a chair and observe continuously. That would be an obvious violation of an unemumerated right as you correctly suggest, IMHO.
In a slightly different context, 5rings wrote: "he who treats the site of pain is lost".
Under that philosophy or similar, I did not approve of a doc treating the consequences of what was happening before we attacked the likely causes.
My suspicion was exactly what GM posted, the over-weighted backpack. Add to that study habits that include lying sideways and contorted on a bed or on the floor leaning unsupported against something - for hours. Not exactly on ergonomic design. Never using the chair and drafting table I measured, built, adjusted to fit her.
A lot of it goes back to the textbook racket. There is no reason these kids couldn't be just carrying the pages or chapter they need for each class or just access it all online, instead of carrying 6-8 full textbooks everyday, every where they go. Second idea would be something with wheels pulled like a flight attendant's carry on bag. There was no way she was going to be first to change book carrying habits.
As an aside, same was true with hockey gear. People think hockey is dangerous but I like to joke that 80% of the injuries really come just from lugging the gear in and out of the arena. Athletes too proud to use wheels. A couple of years ago I started noticing all the new expensive hockey bags have wheels.
"China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2012, or within two years."
Put me down as ... not buying it. US GDP is 3 1/2 times that of China. I don't think the currency under-valuation is off by 3 1/2 fold.
Strong dollar or weak dollar? Please think about it - which is better? No country ever devalued its way to prosperity. A well known adage. Yes a weak currency helps the exporter to win the business but only in the same way that lowering your price does. Lowering your price means you make less. Then you invest back in that economy and it costs you more. Right? Undervaluation doesn't lead to prosperity according to (all?) economists. Why would massive undervaluation be a good thing from anyone's point of view? In business, why would anyone want to be more than a hair in price under their nearest competitor? --- From one of the comments at the link: "Best thing in this article is the photo - look closely." - (Obama is bowing to a totalitarian dictator.)
I always wonder what is the correct category for Ronald Reagan speeches. He deserves founding fathers status or a place of his own. With Marco Rubio, he fits just fine under 'the way forward' but it looks to me like at this point in his career deserves a category of his own or could share easily share one with the Gipper.
Anyone who remembers Nov-Dec 2000 with the Florida recount bouncing from the Sec. of State to the candidates' attorneys to the Florida Supreme Court to the hanging chads and mistaken Buchanan votes in Palm Beach County to the absentee military vote controversy to the uneven recounts from Miami Dade and Broward unlike the rest of the state and then up to the Supreme Court where two different questions are settled with two different votes and the recount ends with Bush (rightly)awarded the President in total anger and disbelief by the other side... anyone who remembers all of that should appreciate that within one decade a 39 year old son of an exiled maid and a bartender is elected U.S. Senator from Florida - by a margin of a MILLION VOTES - over a second place Republican sitting Governor and third place sitting Democratic Congressman. In his victory speech he asked his supporters to pray that he never lets Washington change him and with this speech introduces himself to the nation along with the serious challenge the new congress faces.
My first criteria for leadership of the movement is the ability to articulate freedom. This is what I mean by that!
"1. Secure the border. 2. Prosecute the employers of illegal aliens 3. Empower local level law enforcement to enforce the laws against illegal immigration. 4. Cut off all welfare, medical benefits to illegals. Make these stick and the vast majority will self deport."
- I am confident that we can get you, me and everyone to the right of you and me, (not exactly a controlling majority) to support this. Point 4 is not going to happen, therefore mass self-deportation is not going to happen. Only the people who wanted to work would leave. During the heated debates for point 4, we will drop our percentages to single digits, lose all branches and return to my plan b: lose the country, buy gold and go underground ourselves.
"I will clarify that I do not fail to distinguish the difference between marijuana and hard drugs."
Making that distinction and moving toward decriminalization over legalization, maintaining some stigma, maybe we could come to some kind of cease fire here.
Couple that with a recognition that very small personal amounts in your home, growing on your property or even in your personal vehicle if not connected with another driving error or crime would be out of the jurisdiction of an officer or prosecutor of a limited government.
"Rewarding illegal immigration is corrosive to the rule of law."
I agree, but what then? The status quo IS an acceptance of illegality. Mass deportation is not going to happen. If Republicans write the bill, new border enforcement could actually come ahead of other provisions. I'm suggesting some sort of documentation agreement tough enough to be hated by extreme groups but to put some kind of offer on the table to bring an underworld out of the shadows within 10 years, I would say, before the next census. The last census was a missed opportunity. For security alone, we should know who is here.
Perhaps renewable work papers with some enforceable criteria, some deportation, and never citizenship or voting for anyone who entered illegally and won't go back to re-apply.
The other path I see is to ignore the problem, let Dems win in 2012 - all branches, buy gold, allow the collapse, and go underground ourselves.
Stupid needs to hurt instantly. If a 2-year old puts a hand on a hot stove, the kid screams and pulls the hand off the stove. He doesn't leave his hand on the stove until it is charred and smoldering. These housing market mistakes didn't need to go into the tens of trillions of dollars of damage. We constantly insulate economic errors from correction or consequence, and that only makes everything much much worse.
Everybody makes mistakes. Instant correction makes them stay small. In prosperous times we wanted a wider cross-section of America to become home owners. But a home owner doesn't become a home owner by government decree unless you eliminate the meaning of the term. First you build up your education and then your income. Then you build up your credit while you live beneath your means (imagine that!) and save up your down payment. By then you have developed the level of commitment, maturity and responsibility to pursue a 30 year plus life decision and stick with it. Shortcut that and you haven't. Borrow 100% or more and you aren't a homeowner. If we artificially drive up the price of homes, we aren't helping people get in. If we make the interest rate on savings 0% we aren't helping them save. Take away the right to foreclose and we don't have mortgages. Policy error, policy error, policy error.
Forrest Gump could have figured this out better than the current class of clowns.
"While I place great importance on demographics (indeed, we have a thread here on exactly that) and recognize the role baby boomers in the US economy, I would ascribe the over-supply of large lot family homes to government intervention into the market place. We may not yet fully realize just how heavy the misallocation of resources due to this intervention has been."
- I will buy that, though I would say people were building and living further out because they wanted to (distance from decaying core became a good thing), but they borrowing and spending absurd amounts for those homes because of artificially and temporarily low rates. Then of course the over-construction due to failed monetary policy is necessarily followed by total unemployment of that sector for both labor and capital, while the Fed chief claims that full employment is half of his dual mission. What else did they think would follow artificial stimulation?
Booms and busts are NOT the natural business cycle. They are the direct result of governments trying to avoid and delay the effects of constant and ongoing natural corrections. -----
Palin and Zoellick (President of World Bank) may be ahead of the curve on this, but we were all over it 3 days ahead of them. Again, nice to see famous people are reading and paying attention to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
Put me with Crafty here, it was the tampering (to put it lightly) with the market to create defective underlying assets, not the packaging of the product that caused failure.
I recall a Dem friend blaming gas prices (under Bush) on greed. Oil companies are doing this and oil companies are doing that, as if that inspiration came on suddenly. Excuse me but greed (self interest / profit motive) was the only thing that remained constant during that market turmoil.
Competition is what squeezes out excess profits (in housing, healthcare, investment banking, manufacturing, energy, anything) and it is usually excessive government regulations that prevent a price-competitive environment from forming.
A well articulated, optimistic economic message gets you up to mid-30s percent of Hispanic vote on a good year. Those numbers and Crafty's earlier post confirm what I suspected about Cuban Americans. They are not politically connected to other Hispanics.
"Texas Governor Rick Perry won 38% of the Hispanic vote"
"Marco Rubio won 40% of the non-Cuban Hispanic vote in Florida"
As I suspected, Marco Rubio's ethnic and culture advantage with Hispanics is worth about 2 points outside of Florida though his across the board appeal is very high.
Republicans need to consider (again) getting out ahead of their opponents with a passable 'documentation' solution that improves the status quo. There isn't going to be mass deportation and Republicans can't simultaneously play to the resentment of illegals and hope for increasing their Hispanic support.
We need a settlement framework that will give us a shot at winning more than 40% of the national Hispanic vote without tearing apart the coalition and losing people with the concerns that CCP has very well expressed here. I know Rove and McCain types already tried. It needs to be a much tougher, longer term agreement (IMHO).
I'm sure about all of those specifics, but in general I agree - ten times. ---- "7. The deflationary tendency in the US, such as it is, is mainly demographic: as the Boomers retire, they sell real assets (the US may have a 40% oversupply of large-lot family homes by 2020)"
This one in particular scares me. I don't know about the percentage, but the concept is true and 2020 is right around the corner. ---- "unless the price of gold were to go to $10,000 an ounce"
There you have it. It didn't occur to me that there is enough gold in world the to back up the dollar - once the dollar falls to nothing.
BBG, Enjoying the discussion and very much appreciate you correctly pointing out failure and challenging the status quo.
We are today so far away from living in a free society. I would like to examine all the laws that make it illegal to open a lemonade stand first before tackling more difficult areas. You didn't address my point (I don't think) that in this government-centric world, the cost of drugs if legalized would not decrease, and thus not remove the underworld profit structure. I'm sure you oppose the excessive sin taxes but they would most certainly accompany or follow legalization.
"I think decriminalization could occur without explicit sanctioning": This I think is more do-able. More simply would be to allow certain organic products, the ones no more dangerous than beer, to be home cultivated on a hobby scale and shared narrowly with no large transactions or cross border movement. Give the responsible user some outlet for safe recreation or relaxation, more decentralized and at zero cost to weaken the incentive and control of the underworld industry that seems to be concentrating into a very sophisticated organized crime structure.
I know there is truth in it, but I don't like the logic that the man robbed or stabbed because of the high cost of drugs. Seems to me (intuitively) that the blacksmiths migrated into other legal trades and the drug gang profiteers will move into armed robbery, kidnapping and hostage taking, or crimes I haven't thought of yet.
I don't know what to make of our high incarceration rates. So often certain incarcerations seem too minor in terms of horrible offenders freed and re-offending. I shouldn't digress here, but I personally like Singapore-style caning as an option for effective deterrence (for thuggery not usage) with less time serviced.
"Spreading the wealth - The gap between rich and poor"
JDN, Following rant not aimed at you. From what I can see your post agrees with my view. Historic efforts to spread wealth just made everything worse.
We have now found 2 ways to worsen the gap. Income inequality, we know, widens in a freely growing economy. And now we know income inequality also grows when we throw the brakes on and try to even things up.
My theory in the fall of 2008 was that inequality would drop during a crash because the invested class was losing wealth while the lower income/wealth groups just kept plugging away at their paycheck to paycheck struggles, with constant income. Not true.
Capital employs labor. 9.6% unemployment isn't the half of it. Real unemployment in some areas is closer to 20%. You can't have an all-out frontal assault on key groups that you share an economy with including employers, investors, potential employers and your largest customers and suppliers and then scratch your head wondering what happened to your own income.
The whole point of measuring inequality is a chase down the wrong street. IT IS NONE OF OUR BUSINESS WHAT SOMEONE ELSE MAKES legally and pays proper taxes on (IMHO). What the hell ever happened to a right of privacy.
"When we asked respondents to tell us what their ideal distribution of wealth was, things got even more interesting: Americans wanted the top 20% to own just over 30% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% to own about 25%. They still wanted the rich to be richer than the poor, but they wanted the disparity to be much less extreme."
This sounds like a Jaywalking question or from that Canadian video explaining that Canadian hours and and minutes need to be converted into American time.
Income disparity is a fact, and it is irrelevant because you can join in or climb to any level that you want or deserve. The questions that should be asked are things like: Are their unfair barriers to entry in investment banking and other lucrative professions? Are there public infusions of money going into colleges, medicine or other industries that skew the costs artificially upward beyond what their customers can afford to pay? Are public servants paid on a scale and structure equal and competitive to a private free market? Are people discriminated in employment or investment for wrongful reasons? Are there laws and taxes that unreasonably keep people from unleashing their entrepreneurial potential?
This is a land of opportunity, not outcome. When we focus on outcomes, we end up screwing up opportunity, and outcomes, IMHO.
The more people that are rich around you, the better your opportunities to advance as well, but it doesn't all move together in lock-step. Focus on economic opportunity and tear down the barriers.
To do that we probably need to start hundreds of thousands of other businesses that don't go quite as far but provide a good living and market value for the services of the people who work there.
People can play any role in this that they want. Inventor, banker, human resources, customer service, front desk, warehouse, sales, marketing, supplier, customer, you name it. But the jobs won't all pay the same; each needs to be competitive, and if you are taking shares instead of pay in a start up you might be measured as poor today when in fact you are not.
In a market, your services are worth what the second highest bidder is willing to pay.
Crafty's post elsewhere of the top 10% of Cubans coming to Florida in the 1950s brought a flashback to me of a Cuban American I knew in business past who had been a founder of the Intel memory systems division in the late 1960s. I will bet that few people in or outside of their group knew then the future impact of what they were doing or what wealth and jobs it would create. They just needed to believe in their own ideas and their own capbilities - in an environment with the freedom to unleash it. What is the proper worth of his contribution? I have no idea. Let a free market decide. What were the odds of any of that happening if he had stayed in a government enforced, equal society? Zero.
Hey BBG, Going back to your link regarding incarceration rates. I get the concept - that the profits from illegality support the criminal industry which supports the violence, burglary, territory wars, etc. I don't see politically how you get to full legalization. The failure of legalization of just marijuana in just California means that we aren't headed toward full legalization of everything everywhere even if that was the best solution. I also don't quite get what happens to the former drug gang underworld if we did. Do they go to trade schools and become welders and programmers and raise families in the suburbs or do they continue in crime. At the borders, it sounds like human trade is a big part of it too, so that would continue without the drugs or maybe escalate.
There are exceptions pointed out in the incarceration figures. Countries with laws far stricter than ours also have lower incarceration rates, so our incarceration rates are partly a part of some other dynamic.
There is a third world country within American inner cities that people outside these areas don't see. It is based mostly I think on the long term effects of welfare dependency but everyone has their own theory of why it exists. Girls/women have babies before they grow up and get a free pass for it. Men are unneeded and available for whatever the temptation is that comes their way. What we call juvenile crime includes 13-17 1/2 year olds that haven't reported to a parent authority for years, if ever.
I know a lot of drug money comes from executives and rich kids in rich suburbs, people in any walk of life, but a whole lot of it also comes from free money that we pass around. If women with children did not get a free pass, men would have to shape up and get a job, a car, a home and maybe a marriage in order to knock up women. Not so much hit and run. George Gilder among others wrote books on this subject. If you hold people more personally accountable for productive behavior, they have less time and inclination for the rest of it.
One thing I don't like about legalization is the sanctioning aspect. What might be a sweet or pleasant smell to me in one situation is not something I want to run across out with my daughter or advertised on prime time television. Another thing I don't like about it is government control. Why do you think the price would go down? The authorities we have now will not allow that to happen. They argue for higher sin taxes on beer supported by studies that as we keep raising the price, the quantity that gets to underage drinkers goes down. That would only widen and deepen under 'legalization'. That is not legalization (IMO). Tax laws alone would be enough drug deals to stay underworld. http://www.ehow.com/list_7289139_minnesota-marijuana-laws.html "States such as Minnesota, failure to comply with the state’s drug tax law may result in a defendant facing an additional fine of up to $14,000 and seven years in jail."
I favor limited decriminalization and the lowering or rightsizing of prison sentences to match the damage or cost to society. I could see how full legalization might fit acceptably into a lower taxed, personally accountable, otherwise free society, but I don't see how it would work in ours.
I agree with your definition. Drug use becomes abuse as soon as it starts to screw up other important aspects of your life.
"China produces more than just trinkets. A very large percentage of our consumer goods come from China."
GM has this right. It isn't the happy meal toys it is the things that fill people's shopping carts at Walmart, Home Depot etc. that people consider household essentials.
But it doesn't make any sense that China would stop selling to us short of war because that means to closing their cash register to our willing customers. The REE situation is different, but they appear to already be tightening the screws there, and it is OUR fault for shutting down our own supplies.
The US Government could slap a 20% duty for example on these imports, but that is a highly regressive tax on American consumers, not a direct penalty on China. Also I'm sure a violation of WTO trade agreements.
Maybe they attack Taiwan in a trade war but I don't see it unless they were planning to attack anyway. I think instead they will be busy at home with millions of layoffs.
A shorter answer I think is that a trade war right now would bring down the global economy - so neither side will do it. And I still think the economy and the regime in China is more fragile than ours.
I never understood why Republicans couldn't get a group of very persuasive black conservatives into predominantly black neighborhoods and at least expose people to a different message and win maybe a few votes.
Republicans today should use the historic and impressive new class of newly elected Hispanic Republicans to take a very optimistic, pro-growth economic message to the Hispanic community.
Second is to somehow get ahead of the curve on getting the undocumented documented and out of the shadows, without true amnesty and without ripping apart the conservative base. But I really don't see how that can be done.
One question I have regarding Marco Rubio is what connection Cuban-Americans have with Mexican-Americans and people here from South America. It often seems that politically they do not. Does anyone out there have any insight on that?
"Doug, anyone: Any thing else at the federal level? And what about at the state level?"
At the state level, hard to answer with 50 different states. Mine just made the biggest flip in the legislature since parties have been designated on ballots. Yours, ... Seriously, the states have some role in this mainly by keeping their competitiveness up and lessening the burden they place on enterprise and investment. I would like to see states implement preferential long term capital gains rates. (Does your state have that now?) It make no sense to tax inflationary gains as ordinary income. If nothing else it violates cruel and unusual punishment. I like what states have done to join together and fight PelosiCare.
At the federal level, we face two tasks: a) rescue the republic, and b) keep the political momentum moving forward because point a. will take more than one election cycle.
Here is a 6-legged stool, taxes, healthcare, spending, energy, monetary reform and the border, to set the foundation for sustained growth.
Taxes: The House should vote to make tax cuts permanent immediately upon taking office. The Senate will probably agree to extend them all for one year, but that only leaves us in the same lousy situation we were in the past year with investors still not knowing what future rates will be. I think this will need to settle at two years which rightfully passes it to the next congress (and next President) which means letting the people decide again.
Health care defund needs to be accompanied with 'repeal and replace'. Don't let the critics say it is going back to the way it was. Republicans had bills that did most of the popular parts of this bill without the total takeover of government. Go back to the best of those ideas and pass it in the House. Then defund the PelosiCare while the 'greatest deliberative body bloviates and dithers on the new proposals.
Spending. End earmarks for two years - really - and roll back discretionary spending to 2008 levels. That is a pretty good compromise; I would rather roll them back to 1956 levels.
Cap / Trade / Energy Tax: I would take each serious proposal in this arena and conduct an up or down vote on each. In other words reject these political limits on energy and get Dems on record for their votes. Again I would do it right away so manufacturers know those caps and taxes are not coming. Then approve ANWR, some offshore drilling, more clean coal and more nuclear. Also a major new effort toward expanding clean natural gas into more areas of production and usage from north American sources.
The Fed: I would put the Fed on notice that we aren't going to tolerate another failed attempt at wealth through inflation and devaluation. That isn't where the jobs are. Let the Fed know they will be getting their congressional charter re-written if they can't stay focused on their primary mission, a strong stable dollar.
Border: Link some of the human talent returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and resources freeing up with the need to secure the border.
Total US trade with China is about $400 Billion a year (330 in imports, 70 in exports, 2008). Only in a full scale war would that go to zero. Let's say we have have a trade interruption of half that - $200 Billion in lost business between the countries. Our economy is 3 1/2 times larger than theirs. Just from a numeric standpoint we are 3 1/2 times more able to absorb that loss.
Now let's say that loss causes economic contraction and social disorder on both sides. Our system is designed for revolution - to throw the bums out. We did it last week. Their system is not. They have a new generation entering leadership at the PRC politburo but really the same regime since 1949. A lot has changed in Chinese society since Tiananmen 1989. If they had a new uprising, I don't think anyone has any clear idea how it would play out. The leadership must carry a substantial fear of that, IMHO.
"but THEN we must be able to specifically name the leashes that hold them back and what we are going to do to cut them"
Okay, here's one. Besides lowering and simplifying tax rates, how about a 90 day delay for all government compliance requirements for all private sector new-hires, including no tax withholding for 90 days, and a delay to file all paperwork, forms, IRS/OSHA/workman's comp/healthcare etc. requirements.
What I meant by hoping Obama does an about face is that the center of the Democrat party needs to move right. Obviously Obama won't but someone needs to. If he says or does one or two things right, it is a head fake - like expanded offshore drilling, deficit concern etc.
The blamed Rahm for leaving, not for giving bad advice while he was there. Amazing.
Thanks for the Bernardine Dohrn video, my first experience seeing and hearing her. Outrageous that someone would accuse him of 'palling around with terrorists', lol. Easy to see Obama enjoying a talk about strategy or economics with her, agreeing privately with everything she says. He should hide Valerie Jarrett too if he wants his inner political thoughts concealed.
You know they are left wing when they think the media is right wing controlled.
Wealth and Poverty How's that inequality thing working out?
If there is a single unifying principle behind the Democratic agenda of the last two years, it is this: Reduce income inequality. So yesterday's annual Census Bureau review of American incomes is a kind of progress report on how this agenda is working out. In a word, our wealth isn't spread any more equitably, though more of us are poor.
The Current Population Survey shows that in 2009 the poverty rate climbed to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008—the highest since 1994. That figure translates into 43.6 million Americans living below the poverty line, the largest absolute number in the half-century for which comparable data are available. At $49,777, the real median household income fell slightly, though not in a statistically significant way. It declined 1.8% among families and rose 1.6% for individuals.
In a statement yesterday, President Obama attributed these results to the financial panic and recession, and that's true in part. The Census data also overstate the true level of poverty because they don't include noncash government payments like housing subsidies, food stamps, the earned income tax credit or entitlements like Medicaid.
But then Mr. Obama couldn't resist adding that "Even before the recession hit, middle class incomes had been stagnant and the number of people living in poverty in America was unacceptably high, and today's numbers make it clear that our work is just beginning." So to address the rising poverty on his watch, the President wants to plow ahead with the same policies that aren't reducing poverty.
We draw a different lesson, which is the continuing imperative of rapid economic growth. Census Bureau figures over the last 50 years show that poverty falls most rapidly during times of the most sustained growth—the 1960s, 1980s and second half of the 1990s. The poverty rate also fell in the mid-2000s before heading up again when the recession hit. The most important goal of economic policy should be to increase society's overall wealth. This helps the poor and everybody else.
Yet starting with his first budget proposal, Mr. Obama has made clear that his main policy purpose is reducing inequality. As the White House budget scribes put it, "There's nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few. . . . It's a legacy of irresponsibility, and it is our duty to change it."
Thus the 2009 stimulus was assembled around social programs and redistribution, defying even Keynesian precepts about immediate job creation. Among its many other goals, ObamaCare is intended to produce "a leveling" of the "maldistribution of income in America," as Senate Finance Chairman and chief author Max Baucus put it. Even now, amid a mediocre recovery and 9.6% unemployment, the inequality imperative is driving Democrats to insist on a huge tax increase—no matter the impact on growth.
The irony is that, while there has been a modest widening of the income gap in recent decades, the Census (as measured by the "Gini index") shows that inequality has remained mostly unchanged since the early 1990s—regardless of which party is in power. The reasons are many and rooted in larger economic and social forces that can't be fixed with higher taxes and White House social engineering.
More important, this preoccupation with inequality is actively harmful because it leads to economic policies that inhibit growth. That's the real warning in the new Census data. Democrats are succeeding in their goal of punishing business and the wealthy, but to the extent that this has produced anemic growth it is also punishing the poor and middle class.
The moral claim of Obamanomics is that it ensures that everyone pays his "fair share," but its early returns show this agenda is producing more poverty. In their obsession with income shares and how many people have how much wealth, the Obama Democrats are imposing policies that ensure only that there will be less wealth for everyone to spread around.
Rarick, I think you nailed this one: "That is why Reid won. The thinking independants of nevada would mostly dislike Schumer, and if there is going to be a democratic majority in the senate- better to have OUR guy there rather than someone else's."
R's were projected to fall short in the Senate so Reid would still be the powerful majority leader for Nevada. If this were to be a sweep and he would lose power anyway then they may have swung the other way to the inexperienced challenger. It is hard for me to think like centrists absent of core principles. --------------
“Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.”
"we were too stupid to know he is right." - Yes, he is saying he needs to work on his talk-down-to-us skills. We aren't all Ivy Leaguers. -------------- Interest insight into Barack Obama from my radio, James Lilacs on the Hugh Hewitt show, goes something like this:
All the great men who rose to be President all faced great setbacks along the way... and he named a few. Obama however is the first President to ever have the first setback in his life be while he was President. ---------- Think about it, all that early family turmoil and he ends up in the best school in Hawaii living with loving grandparents. Looks a little different than others so he gets into Columbia. Ordinary grades and blows coke, gets into Harvard law School. Can't write a lick without a script, is chosen Editor of the Law Review. Runs for State Senate, gets his opponent removed. Runs for a US Senate in a hard blue state, gets Alan Keyes from elsewhere as an opponent. Speaks at the convention, brings down the house. "Harry, I have a gift", he said afterward to the majority leader. Enters the Presidential fray before authoring a bill or casting a vote, beats Hillary Clinton, Gov/Ambassador Bill Richardson and all the others. Starts to get close in the general election and the world financial system falls down on his opponents, beats the former media darling McCain. Needs a 60th vote in the senate to pass health care, ACORN compatriots come through raising Al Franken from second place to first in a recount. Loses his 60th vote with Scott Brown, but deems it passed after the fact. No problem. ... Then they promise and declare that the healthcare in spite of the steamroller tactics will be loved and its supporters will be loved. As far as we knew then, he was right, but he wasn't.
Lifting the veil. Now he had two wars lingering too long. Promised negotiations on CSPAN became cornhusker kickbacks hidden in private. Unemployment will be 8% if we don't pass the stimulus became 10% with it. All the political opportunism against Bush over Katrina started to become Obama's oil spill. His own daughter couldn't understand why he wouldn't command the resources of the greatest country on earth and plug the hole. Instead he sat powerless while private engineers at a big-oil firm eventually did it.
Alinsky-economics is false. Krugman and Keynes are wrong. No amount of gift of gab can change that but it didn't matter because his gift of gab was still aimed at destroying the pillars of our economy, not building them back up.
I honestly hope he does an about face, but there is nothing whatsoever in view to believe that.
I think it sounded bad but Obama was put on notice when Mitch McConnell said defeating this President is a top priority. A change of direction is going to come out of the House in the form of legislation, and then presumably die in the senate. Republicans will need just 3 or 4 Dem Senators from red states up for re-election to sign on to make legislation popular and bipartisan while it dies of the filibuster obstruction or the veto pen.
Obama has never been in this situation before. He can veto to stop a Republican agenda, but he cannot lead or win.
"It's like being in a slow motion car wreck, waiting for the final impact. Tell me I'm wrong and these people know what they are doing."
- I've been a pretty big defender of the Fed compared to others here, but reading Bernanke in his own words today he makes about as much sense to me as Krugman and I think we are exactly as you described, headed into a wreck.
It's just nuts to think the lack of jobs today comes from a lack of money considering already easy money along with everything else we know that is wrong, such as new taxes coming on capital movement scaring away new investment and locking in old investment, the new health monstrosity scaring away hiring, looming new energy taxes and regs scaring away production or factory expansion, $3 trillion in new debt hovering over the dollar and the future budgets, new individual tax rates aimed at small business owners along with the highest corporate tax in western civilization while are biggest competitor's was lower already and lowered it twice more since 2008. No, this slump isn't caused by lack of money or solved by throwing money at it, and what slump ever was?
At the center of this, the Fed's mission is not a "dual mandate" and that needs to be re-set by the new Congress. The Fed has a singular mandate, a stable dollar, and then some secondary objectives come in to play that are not at all equal to the Fed mission of protecting the value of our currency IMHO.
Seems to me this goes to Murkowski. Margin of victory matters. Total write-ins lead Miller by 41 to 34%. Of those 41%, how many are not Murkowski or no good? Who knows but this was a hotly contested, 3-way race. I don't see why people would bother to go vote if they didn't have a clear preference.
81,876 write in votes 68,288 votes, Joe Miller 47,414 Scott McAdams, Dem. in 3rd place
13,589 Number needed to disallow for Miller to win.
Seems to me that maybe several hundred will be wrong or not Lisa with maybe several hundred others to argue over, but not 13-14,000 to be disqualified. The rules were clear and well-publicized. The name is familiar. The list is available, long but not that hard to read through. Seems to me that maybe several hundred will be wrong or not Lisa and several hundred others to argue over, but not 13 or14,000 to be disqualified.
I think Lisa, when she gets to Washington, will make us appreciate why people were taking such a big chance supporting inexperienced tea party candidates.
"The Federal Reserve's objectives - its dual mandate, set by Congress - are to promote a high level of employment and low, stable inflation."
"there is scope for monetary policy to support further gains in employment" - Ben Bernanke, below.
- monetary policy is not the only or the correct lever to expand employment!
" lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance"
- mortagage rates are artificially low already, and generally not available to buy foreclosures that need buying. It is the principal that is too high on these loans, not the interest.
" Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending."
- Other factors outside of the Fed's jurisdiction are destroying investment, and get the hell out of artificially stimulating stock prices and spending! ------------------ Perhaps Ron Paul's job will be to simply the Fed's double assignment. This is a policy subcommittee Ron Paul is to head, if the report is accurate. Bernanke appears before the full committee.
Ron Paul did a nice job of staying out of the spotlight during Rand Paul's senate election; I forgot he was still in the congress. We might not need a monetary policy (IMO) if we followed Ron Paul's foreign policy. I hope he will use this role to steer, expose, oversee and influence the Fed, not as a podium to try to end the Fed.
My view of monetary policy is that there isn't a policy possible to compensate for a federal government that incurs $3 trillion in deficits in 21 months and that taxes and regulates itself out of production and into an unbalanced, import economy. The current administration and congress want a Keynesian injection of trillions without correcting structural and competitive problems. An independent Fed chair is not obligated to oblige if that destroys the purchasing power of the dollar and if the real answers to the problem lie outside of Fed policy. Strong questioning along these lines could draw the Fed Chair into revealing how these other excesses create imbalance and complicate the monetary challenge.
Here is what Bernanke says, including his meddling with private investment and target of keeping inflation ABOVE 2%. ----------
What the Fed did and why: supporting the recovery and sustaining price stability
By Ben S. Bernanke Thursday, November 4, 2010
Two years have passed since the worst financial crisis since the 1930s dealt a body blow to the world economy. Working with policymakers at home and abroad, the Federal Reserve responded with strong and creative measures to help stabilize the financial system and the economy. Among the Fed's responses was a dramatic easing of monetary policy - reducing short-term interest rates nearly to zero. The Fed also purchased more than a trillion dollars' worth of Treasury securities and U.S.-backed mortgage-related securities, which helped reduce longer-term interest rates, such as those for mortgages and corporate bonds. These steps helped end the economic free fall and set the stage for a resumption of economic growth in mid-2009.
Notwithstanding the progress that has been made, when the Fed's monetary policymaking committee - the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) - met this week to review the economic situation, we could hardly be satisfied. The Federal Reserve's objectives - its dual mandate, set by Congress - are to promote a high level of employment and low, stable inflation. Unfortunately, the job market remains quite weak; the national unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent, a large number of people can find only part-time work, and a substantial fraction of the unemployed have been out of work six months or longer. The heavy costs of unemployment include intense strains on family finances, more foreclosures and the loss of job skills.
Today, most measures of underlying inflation are running somewhat below 2 percent, or a bit lower than the rate most Fed policymakers see as being most consistent with healthy economic growth in the long run. Although low inflation is generally good, inflation that is too low can pose risks to the economy - especially when the economy is struggling. In the most extreme case, very low inflation can morph into deflation (falling prices and wages), which can contribute to long periods of economic stagnation.
Even absent such risks, low and falling inflation indicate that the economy has considerable spare capacity, implying that there is scope for monetary policy to support further gains in employment without risking economic overheating. The FOMC decided this week that, with unemployment high and inflation very low, further support to the economy is needed. With short-term interest rates already about as low as they can go, the FOMC agreed to deliver that support by purchasing additional longer-term securities, as it did in 2008 and 2009. The FOMC intends to buy an additional $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by mid-2011 and will continue to reinvest repayments of principal on its holdings of securities, as it has been doing since August.
This approach eased financial conditions in the past and, so far, looks to be effective again. Stock prices rose and long-term interest rates fell when investors began to anticipate the most recent action. Easier financial conditions will promote economic growth. For example, lower mortgage rates will make housing more affordable and allow more homeowners to refinance. Lower corporate bond rates will encourage investment. And higher stock prices will boost consumer wealth and help increase confidence, which can also spur spending. Increased spending will lead to higher incomes and profits that, in a virtuous circle, will further support economic expansion.
While they have been used successfully in the United States and elsewhere, purchases of longer-term securities are a less familiar monetary policy tool than cutting short-term interest rates. That is one reason the FOMC has been cautious, balancing the costs and benefits before acting. We will review the purchase program regularly to ensure it is working as intended and to assess whether adjustments are needed as economic conditions change.
Although asset purchases are relatively unfamiliar as a tool of monetary policy, some concerns about this approach are overstated. Critics have, for example, worried that it will lead to excessive increases in the money supply and ultimately to significant increases in inflation.
Our earlier use of this policy approach had little effect on the amount of currency in circulation or on other broad measures of the money supply, such as bank deposits. Nor did it result in higher inflation. We have made all necessary preparations, and we are confident that we have the tools to unwind these policies at the appropriate time. The Fed is committed to both parts of its dual mandate and will take all measures necessary to keep inflation low and stable.
The Federal Reserve cannot solve all the economy's problems on its own. That will take time and the combined efforts of many parties, including the central bank, Congress, the administration, regulators and the private sector. But the Federal Reserve has a particular obligation to help promote increased employment and sustain price stability. Steps taken this week should help us fulfill that obligation.
The writer is chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
Republicans just took back a majority of Governorships. Interesting political point by Paul Mirengoff at Powerline regarding the Senate:
"Republicans have a natural majority in the Senate. In a "50-50" election, the presidential race goes to a recount while the House splits down the middle and ultimately goes to the party who has won the redistricting battles. But in the three cycles necessary to populate the Senate, "50-50" elections go to the Republicans due to the equal representation of small, mostly Red, states.
Yet, (red states) Arkansas and North Dakota have two Democratic Senators (until January), Montana has two, South Dakota has one, Nebraska has one, and Indiana has one (until January). Over the next two cycles, assuming Republicans can maintain something close to 50 percent status or better, the Senate should come to reflect its natural Republican majority." ----- (A simple majority in the Senate however is not enough to get business done.)
BBG, Okay I will stay focused (for the coalition) and lay off for 2 years of the rights of liberal women to slaughter their young. You will note however that my posts on the subject were aimed more at changing minds than changing laws. It was the arguments back that presumed I was advocating criminalization in spite of my denials.
Back to the war on drugs, statistics and claims of high levels of incarcerations don't match my property management experience of doing criminal lookups on inner city tenants. I see arrests and convictions but not large amounts of time served for minor amounts of possession. Maybe our state laws are different than elsewhere?
You moved on to costs of incarceration that are true without accepting my point that, aside from incarceration, an addicts right to freely screw up his life should be linked to my right to not pay for it. We are a million political miles away from the latter.
I am curious about prescription drugs. Outside of proper prescription they are illicit drugs too as you see it? So legalization (if we were to discuss it later) would have some loosening on the pharmacy industry? I knew of a woman able to get prescriptions of strong mental health type drugs and trade them directly with a dealer for pot and cocaine which I assume means they have a high street value and that is a widespread practice(?) Open it all up? ----- GM, I don't favor legalization especially of meth but you probably could get the meth addicts kids over to child protection based on other outward signs of neglect.
AGW is not smog. Smog has a direct link to the tailpipe. You can see it, you can follow it, you can measure it. Human caused global warming is closer to the establishment of religion than it is to smog. Crafty, your economic externality point is exactly right if this were smog and the link was established. Since the link between this law and global temperature is not established, the wish to do something good or right in your mind should start with individual free will. We are talking about carbon dioxide, what plants (and oceans) breathe and what animals exhale. And we are talking about 1990s levels. If the link was established, why wouldn't we go back to 1840s levels? Economic curtailment is not an indirect effect of the law, it is what is being directly curtailed, by a thin majority, based on faith.
Will of the collective free people? Good grief. If 51% don't need more than a Prius, is it okay to mandate the Prius - by 'collective free will'? No, it would tyranny of the majority, not collective free will. If 51% are Christian, is it ok to mandate Christianity? No. That would be establishment of religion; we wouldn't allow a 98% majority to do that. But why not? If a majority support it and believe it, why isn't that good enough? Ask a fundamental Christian, they know what is best for you - just like a prop 23 voter. Let's vote. If 51% live within 5 or 10 miles of work, is it okay to limit daily driving to 20 miles for all? No.
The law reeks of unequal protection. Will Californians be restricted from fossil fuel based air-travel, a.k.a. criminal activity that often crosses state lines? Let's end out of state flights and flights to Asia, ban airlines from flying over California too. What about from buying a products made in China while you close your factory in California - and 'decrease California emissions'? End foreign trade, then check in again on unemployment levels. And CO2 levels.
No honest scientist on earth can say AB 32 will change CO2 levels or global warming beyond any margin of measurement error. It is all about faith in a link and a majority favor government placing limits on productive economic activity - and trips to visit Grandma, youth soccer tournaments, boy scout camps, etc. I oppose it.
Closing down 90% of state and federal government operations in California would have a larger effect on emissions without tromping on the freedoms of your fellow citizens. If that was what mattered.
BBG, Fair enough, but small steps might be less controversial and more do-able.
My theory is that prisons need a class rank based on crime done, time served and threat posed. Then we boot out the least dangerous guy each time we convict a new murdering rapist or bomb-building Islamist. Small-time drug offenders should walk quickly.
"Amongst the many of our stupidities yesterday was to reject the postponement of our unilateral global warming law."
Once again, more trust in government than in people. People can choose more efficient cars. Companies can choose to build more efficient factories. Families can make older homes more energy efficient. Anybody can buy a solar panel or a wind turbine on eBay any day of the year. None of these voluntary steps cost you more than living under oppressive government. I don't even know the details of the law, but I can tell from what is described that the people of California put their trust in a big, failed government over the free will of the people to do the right thing. Not exactly what the colonists fought for.
BBG, thanks for posting. I prefer decriminalization (portugal) over legalization(that failed in Calif), but I don't like that they include all illicit drugs. I am thinking of meth but other illicit drugs or prescription drugs are dangerous or highly addictive and don't need more sanctioning, encouragement or tolerance. If penalties are absurd or disproportional, get them down to where the system can plea bargain an addict into treatment instead of wasting our limited space in jail.
Even if legalization is right, it isn't the focus we should have right now in terms of divisive social issues. I personally would not like to see full libertarian legalization with consequences for the addicts before I receive full libertarian freedom to not pay a damn penny for any of the choices that they make including drugs, food, shelter or healthcare.
OTOH, (I've posted this before but) whenever the Court determined that growing one pot plant on your own property for your own consumption is a form of interstate commerce started a constitutional problem much larger than drug use.
CCP, From the thread 'California' I thought I would move my reply over to 'The Way Forward' as I wander with my answer.
"Doug, What is your take with California? The state that gave us Reagan in the 70's? Rush was saying Fiorina and Whitman lost because they are "RINOS". He actually believes a stricter conservative would have won."
No. Some things aren't winnable, but in general a more consistent pro-freedom message is more persuasive than the we are just like them but not as bad message, with no mention or commitment to core governing principles. The next Presidential race needs to be won without California unfortunately, just like Obama was able to win his Presidency without getting my vote. Some people you need to persuade - some people you need to defeat. Rand Paul wouldn't win in Calif. but he can play a role in this. No bailouts for failed states. Bailouts prevent error corrections. I have no idea what it would take to make California look like the land of opportunity again, but right when political turnarounds seem impossible is when they can happen suddenly.
"Who do you think all these maids, grass cutters, nail hammerers, housekeepers, apple pickers are going to vote for?" - They sound like very dedicated, principled, hard working people in a country where people can jump classes and quintiles in less than a generation. I would think they would support economic freedoms but one good leader or candidate can not always cut through the rest of the noise they are hearing, and no one is really trying.
"Savage lays out a proposal for repubs in his book though I haven't read it. He says the new "contract" or whatever you want to call it is lame. I think he may be right."
- I disagree. The 'Pledge' is a governing philosophy that would have prevented most of this economic carnage if those basic fundamentals had been adhered to a few years back. http://pledge.gop.gov/
"the pocketbook issue" - Yes. There are hundreds of issues out there. My opposition to abortion and yours to immigration are not starting points - they follow things like giving responsibilities back to the states and having a federal government provide for our security. The focus needs to be on what rescues the republic right now and that requires a focus on what unites the coalition, what unleashes the economy, what balances the books, and what policies will get the government back to governing, not running the economy. A maid may be on the free-ride side of current federal taxation, but does she really believe that her beautiful and smart children in school and her grandchildren not yet born will never amount to anything and will never be burdened by the debt and bureaucracy that we are now growing? I don't think so. Someone needs to make that case with every bill, every vote and every issue that we face. This relates to what I posted about the tea party alienating young voters, and blacks, Hispanics, gays thinking they have more economic opportunity and freedom under Dem rule. At double digit unemployment, the facts indicate otherwise. Right now the focus needs to be (IMHO) control spending first, stop the expansion and pull the government back out of private industries other than to provide reasonable and necessary regulation.
No time now but I would like to come back to this thread and post answers Marco Rubio gave to basic liberal questions (how can government create more jobs etc.) in his debates in a very key swing state. He sounded more like Reagan than like Keynes or Krugman or a typical Dem-lite RINO. He won a swing state by a million votes over a (formerly) popular sitting governor.
This was an amazing year. Historic wins but also some key losses and a sitting President not likely to change much. Maybe 65 seat gain in the House (which I see as a 130 vote swing). Huge wins in swing states Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida. Disappointing losses in Colo and left coast.
One reason R's did better in house seats than senate was a shortage of qualified and experienced conservative candidates due to the big losses the last 2 cycles and that the House is better suited for entry level candidates. Crafty posed the question a few days ago regarding the fight between tea party and establishment GOP. That will certainly play out strongly in the upcoming Presidential contest as well as with policy positions and votes in the meantime.
A few of the tea party surprises turned out to be disappointments, but some of those were no-win situations. O'Donnell was the focus, but putting a RINO in for 6 years who votes with your opponents half the time has its own drawbacks, would not have won the senate and gives permanent bipartisan cover to those votes taken by Dems, whatever the issue. It was worth a couple losses to send a message to BOTH parties. Delaware is frankly not a red state and Nevada Hispanics I guess will have to live with 15% unemployment while they negotiate their border and amnesty differences with the party that supports their legal, economic freedoms.
Next time, in most of these cases, there will be better candidates available for senate races due to all these wins in the House, the Governorships and the state houses, though I fear we face a similar lack of readiness for a qualified Presidential candidate this cycle through most of the field. (Very interesting development regarding Mike Pence!)
Some stars were born: One is to give credit to Chris Christie (IMO) for starting this. Rubio! and may I be the first to nominate Mrs. Rubio for First Lady. Ron Johnson changed Wisconsin, first time candidate, ran like a pro and never flinched or looked back. Kristi Noem, already mentioned. Alan West! Rand Paul ran a tough race with everything thrown at him and will be quite a thorn if RINOs start talking about new entitlements or expanding federal programs.
Give credit where credit is due (from the NY Post), Democrats stubbornly built this backlash.
Among the OUT, Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN) Chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, representing an old time blue district from Duluth to the iron range cities for nearly 40 years ... OUT!
Republicans gained votes in every congressional district in the country! Unfortunately, any Dem that won this year is likely safe forever so don't look for any bipartisanship in the House.
I am wondering which of the Dem Senators from red states up in 2012 will be negotiable with the 48 R's and the House to move any legislation to Obama for key vetoes to be challenged in the next election. Here are 11 possibilities: Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, Jim Webb of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia (has to run again), and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.
I will love to see how the new Congressional Black Caucus Meetings go with the new members joining (see Alan West video). I don't see a teleprompter writing his script.
Comments written by friends of powerlineblog.com from California while awaiting the results. Interesting that while some may have favored Prop 19 from a libertarian perspective, having it on the ballot likely brought out the people, otherwise non-political, who give you 6 more years of Boxer and a state govt of fiscal madness. ------------ "I expect both Brown and Boxer to win [handily]. This is based on my experience of living here all my life. The population is radically different from what it was in the 1970s. The public employee unions are ultra-powerful, the blacks are solidly Democratic, and the millions of Hispanics are led by leftists, even though the average folks are more moderate. Then you have the Silicon Valley elitists, the Hollywood crowd, and, finally, the gays, many of whom are one-issue voters and rabid liberals. As an aside, when I dropped off my absentee ballot this morning, I realized that, judging from the appearance of the some of the people in line, the heavy turnout in my precinct was likely prompted by Proposition 19, marijuana legalization." ---------------- Same conclusion based on different reasoning:
"After watching (too much) TV, and the overwhelming number of Boxer and Brown ads, [my non-political wife] is convinced that Fiorina and Whitman have just spouted cliches without substance and that they are exploiters of the working class. Fiorina and Whitman have allowed the ads to define them negatively, the Brown ads (painting himself as a born-again Tea Partier) and Boxer ads (painting Fiorina as a ruthless, self-serving protiteer). Neither Whitman nor Fiorina have connected emotionally with the open minded voters."
No worries. The error that allowed Hennepin County (Mpls and S and W suburbs), a county larger than 8 states, to be counted twice and not noticed was due to a computer glitch. The R candidate for Gov was down 12 points while this was discovered, now losing by less than 1/2% going into automatic recount - to be overseen by re-elected MN Sec State Mark Ritchie of moveon.org roots. An overcount of 380,000 went unnoticed, but everything else is fine, we are assured. http://kstp.com/article/stories/s1820929.shtml
Prior to this election, Dems had super-majorities in both houses held in check by a somewhat moderate R Governor (Tim Pawlenty). Interestingly, all the statewide races were won by Dems, but the precincts outside of ACORN and Urban League vote count control swung so far the other way the R's took both the state House and State Senate for the first time since party designations were put on the ballot.
Marc, What your friend writes makes perfect sense to me. Very nice detail on the lead up and buildup to the collapse and right on the mark regarding the prescription from here. Foreclosures need to go forward. That is the mechanism for the correction and the correction needs to happen. Maybe some errors were made in a few foreclosures but it didn't make any sense to me that foreclosure firms don't know how to do foreclosures or that they would use robo Signatures if those weren't allowed.
I agree with GM but would like to substitute 'let it correct' for let it crash. We shouldn't need to approach zero or far over-correct in order to right-size these values. Unfortunately there are others factors causing uncertainty and over-correction in housing, same as for the lack of investment and hiring in the rest of the economy, compounded by homeowners or potential homeowneers not finding work or with depressed or stagnant incomes. In other words, if employment had recovered and incomes were growing and housing was the only problem we could have grown out of this somewhat quickly, without this prolonged death recovery.
My place went up 8-fold in 2 decades to the peak. The bulk of that came from artificial and inflated factors. I was proud of my investment when it doubled. After that it just became bizarre with pretend values with runaway taxes until property taxes exceeded food, clothing, transportation and shelter combined. Now I have paid more in real estate taxes than I paid for the house, but I digress...
I wonder when we will learn anything from the events described. Why would we want to get people into homes they can't afford? Why do we still want values to be artificially high? Why would we want markets and values to be constantly changing, unstable and out of whack, high or low? Why would we want to prevent or delay a correction? Why do we keep doing things that over inflated the market? We were still offering multiple thousand dollar home buyer credits long after the crash which is a federal stimulus spending program that Democrats are still passing off as a "middle class tax cut'". http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/feb/02/david-axelrod/axelrod-claims-democrats-passed-25-tax-cuts-last-y/
A different way to encourage home ownership might be lower property taxes and to reduce economic penalties for hiring, earning and creating and retaining wealth.
Today it seems equally bizarre to me how low some foreclosure prices have gone, down to 14 cents on the dollar of previous purchase in some cases. Buyer exhaustion, and it keeps getting worse as the inventory keeps coming. The wild fluctuations and high levels of uncertainty are still screwing up the efficiency and integrity of the market.
One observation about foreclosure owners is that they do almost nothing to make the houses ready for sale beyond emptying them. I can't understand why they won't do basic, neglected repairs and small investment to protect their asset value, bring the house up to at least their own lending standards and slow the free fall of prices.
"one might think that securing the cargo industry would have taken a higher priority. The bigger question here isn’t how we missed the plot, but whether the administration gave us the straight truth in the aftermath."
I recall that the failure to secure the cargo industry, like the oil spill, is Bush's fault.
Frankly I care more that our own security apparatus tells each other the straight scoop and takes aggressive action. Saudi is a very strange and questionable ally, but possibly more reliable than Britain, France and Germany combined.
I am amazed that there has been no change in the political fundamentals since the health care bill passage in March, against the will of the people. The gulf oil spill came and went. The opportunity for Dems to steal a couple of pro-growth economic ideas from their opponents and at least partially fix things came and went. The only thing that has changed has really just been voters becoming more and more certain that they don't like what they see.
Republicans released a governing agenda that went by largely unnoticed. Divided government will be a mess but better than most of the alternatives.
Tomorrow, everyone needs to call everyone they consider like minded with their own 'get out the vote' campaign.
I was thinking that for your liberal friends and family you might want to check in on them in person tomorrow, fairly early, buy and drop off a couple of DVDs each of maybe a season of their favorite show or favorite concert DVDs and a couple of bottles of nice wine (or Jack Daniels) to make staying at home for the day more comfortable and enjoyable.