Monday, September 29, 2008

Welfare for Wall Street Denied!

Victory may be temporary, but the House finally did something right by rejecting the awful bailout proposal backed by President Bush. Hooray for common sense!

The government counts on the average citizen not understanding the particulars of these stupid deals, but it's not that complicated. The article really clarifies what this is all about:

The legislation would have given Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson broad authority to buy troubled assets from financial companies to help ease a lending crunch triggered by the decline of the housing market.

The assets are "troubled" because they're worthless! Why should taxpayer money be used to buy up worthless debt? The government should not be in the business of propping up and subsidizing failure - that's a surefire way to guarantee more of it. Any why ease a "lending crunch?" Lending is the same thing as credit, which of course is someone else's debt. Since when is debt considered a good thing? This nation needs to learn how to save money and live within its means.

Here's another consideration. This $700 BILLION proposed for Wall Street's bailout: where do you think this money comes from? The government doesn't produce anything, so it has to raise the cash somehow. Well, the thieves have three options: steal it from taxpayers, borrow it from foreign banks, or - the option they nearly always choose - print up new currency via the Federal Reserve. It doesn't take an economist to see these options are really, really shitty. This financial mess was spurred, in fact, by printing money and flooding the markets with cheap credit. But this is what creates the bubble, that illusion of prosperity. Congress should repudiate the "bailout" once and for all, which will just postpone the inevitable day of reckoning. They can try to pass a bailout package but they cannot repeal the laws of economics.

For a solid understanding of these issues - which are not so esoteric as the establishment would have you believe - the LRC Recession Reader is indispensable reading. Check it out, and let's savor the bailout's defeat!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

GA Governor Ensures Gas Shortage to Continue

Mark Anderson does a wonderful job explaining how Georgia's moronic anti-gouging regulations - stubbornly enforced by cracker asshole Governor Perdue - are a major cause of the ridiculous 1970's-esque gas shortages that are plaguing Atlanta motorists.

I quite agree. And I know this will be outrageously pretentious, but I called it on this very blog, three years ago:

Sonny Perdue's grandstanding will only harm Georgia consumers in the long run. It's hard to believe that gas retailers are "gouging" consumers when people lose their minds and willingly pay high prices. Caveat emptor and all. Just yesterday at work, several people literally ran out of the building to go fill up their tanks. By falling for rumors about dry pumps and skyrocketing gas prices, people helped to ensure that these dire predictions came true. The smart thing to do was stick with normal fueling habits, maybe conserve a little, and just wait it out.

Personally, I don't understand what's "moral" about punishing voluntary exchange. Ask yourself which is worse: having to pay $4.00+ per gallon for gas, or not being able to buy any at all? This is no false choice: Perdue's punitive measures will reward poor consumption habits and cause shortages in the future. This is political opportunism masquerading as consumer protection. And that's way more immoral to me than so-called gouging. [9/1/05]
That was pretty spot-on, no? Especially since it's painfully clear that Sonny Perdue knows fuck-all about basic economics, and learned NOTHING from the episodes of 2005. If that ruddy-faced goober would just step aside and let the market correct the problem, we might all be able to get gas, instead of jamming Atlanta's busy streets and wasting hours in line.

Next time can we please listen to the economists instead of the politicians? PLEASE?

***UPDATE 9/29/08***
Check out Aaron Bilger's incredibly lucid article about this on LRC today. Well worth a read.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong."

The passage below, from Philip Roth's "American Pastoral," is too beautiful not to share:

You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another's interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words and then proposing that these word people are closer to the real thing than the real people that we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that - well, lucky you. (p. 35)

I love that. Isn't it beautiful? And so mind-bendingly true?

Paulson and Bernanke: FAIL


h/t to reddit