Patterico's Pontifications

2/11/2009

Another Fun Surprise in the Stimulus

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 am

The New York Post reports that the stimulus contains $300 million for green vehicles:

But the money won’t just go to buy fuel-efficient hybrids such as the Ford Escape or Chevy Volt.

The cash also can be used to purchase “neighborhood electric vehicles.”

The NEVs, which resemble streamlined golf carts, scoot at up to 25 mph, operate on battery power and can be plugged into 110-volt outlets for charging.

How cute.

Although the origins of the provision are unclear, it could be a boon to North Dakota-based NEV manufacturer Global Electric Motorcars, a division of Chrysler. . . . Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which produced the spending part of the stimulus.

Lucky thing we have Obama’s assurance that the stimulus contains no pet projects or pork. Because otherwise this might look pretty porky.

Apparently the folks who voted on this bill didn’t all read it, and are starting to say they’re surprised by some of the provisions. One guy who says they should have had more time: Arlen Specter — one of three human beings on the planet who could have actually made that happen.

They’d better pass this quick, before people find what else is hidden in there.

331 Comments

  1. Proof that this plan is the Dems victory banquet.

    Comment by Alta Bob (44f27c) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:16 am

  2. What exactly does the Nationalized Health Care Commission have to do with a stimulus plan?

    I want one of those little electric cars, without the Hillary inside, of course. I played at a golf course in northern Indiana that had those instead of carts. It was cool.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:22 am

  3. They are sometimes used at hospitals, college campuses and retirement communities, and can cost around $8,000 each. They don’t produce carbon emissions.

    That 110-volt outlet provides magical carbon free electricity produced by turbines driven with unicorn love.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:31 am

  4. I love it. How can I get one? And why would you call it pork? Is it not another great investment that can provide more jobs and reduce fuel dependency? Not to talk of cutting down on pollution.

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:33 am

  5. Pablo – Dontcha just love those claims? I bet there are far more emissions in the production of the batteries for these little cars than for the equivalent evil internal combusion engine.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:38 am

  6. If you do not see how this is pork, or an earmark for Sen. Dorgan, than you are a mental midget.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:39 am

  7. than/then … that was my tribute to Mario.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:40 am

  8. Comment by JD — 2/11/2009 @ 7:39 am
    Do you also hate midgets? They are humans like you, you know?

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:42 am

  9. Do you also hate midgets?

    Why the also? What else do you believe that I hate?

    I do not hate midgets. I think they are creepy, and they freak me out, but I do not hate them.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:44 am

  10. Comment by JD — 2/11/2009 @ 7:44 am

    I know you hate liberals. I know you hate Obama. I know you hate cats and dogs. I know you hate racists but love homophobes. I also know you fear the Emperor.

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:52 am

  11. You “know” very little, lovie. You obviously do not know your ass from a hole in the ground. I do not hate liberals, and I do not hate Baracky. I do not agree with them. Only in the Leftist little reality based community does disagreement become hate. I do not hate cats, I just do not like them. I am a dog kind of guy, have had hunting dogs all my life, Brittany Spaniels and Black Labs, until the Better Half came along. I kind of do hate racists, you got that right. I do not love homophobes. I fear the Emperor? If that makes you somehow feel better … You really are rarely right.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:58 am

  12. Most excellent for commuting in the Upper Mid West, in winter. Because we have to fight global warming.

    Get me the orange golf balls, I declare the Fargo Open Winter Golf Championship ready to begin!

    Comment by Joe (17aeff) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:59 am

  13. Is it not another great investment that can provide more jobs and reduce fuel dependency?

    Um. No. Those will work great in places where they currently use golf carts. Which currently get built by people and run on batteries. Great investments in new jobs and green powered vehicles would be things like Tesla Motors and nuke plants. You know, stuff that actually works.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:08 am

  14. Will BO and the Congressional types have these now? Do away with the big limos? Do you think?

    Comment by LYNNDH (975d26) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:09 am

  15. Who are we to judge? All “good” men when in positions of power try to scare people to death with talk of a depression so they can enact their agenda. Well at least that is what I have been told.

    Comment by Mr. Pink (eae12c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:12 am

  16. JD,

    We (my family and I) have a ten-month-old Black Lab. She’s adorable. She’s also the closest thing to a terrorist I’ve ever encountered.

    Comment by Leviticus (e87aad) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:13 am

  17. Zero to Sixteen in about 30 seconds. Peppy!

    Comment by Joe (17aeff) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:13 am

  18. If you consider this job creating stimulus then the Bridge to Nowhere was the greatest stimulus evah!!!!111!!!!!

    Comment by Mr. Pink (eae12c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:15 am

  19. Patterico and JD: in your paradigm, what’s the difference between creating jobs via boosting particular industries, and pork politics? Is it possible to create jobs within a specific industry with a specific location without it being called pork? If so, how?

    As one who works with homeless and jobless folks, I’m personally more interested in whether jobs are being created and people are going back to work than whether or not some political benefit can be construed one way or the other. But if there’s a distinction between boosting industries and creating jobs and pork barrel politics in your view, I’d love to hear it.

    Comment by Tom (ee3708) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:16 am

  20. “But if there’s a distinction between boosting industries and creating jobs and pork barrel politics in your view, I’d love to hear it.”

    Which is an argument you would never hear if Republicans were still in control of Congress. Thanks for pointing out how intellectually dishonest some people are Tom you did a great job.

    Comment by Mr. Pink (eae12c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:20 am

  21. And by people I mean you.

    Comment by Mr. Pink (eae12c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:25 am

  22. How about suspending the payroll tax for 6 months? A year? Why should we be targeting an electric vehicle that just happens to be in Sen. Dorgan’s district? Show us how this is saving or creating a job, Tom. So, far, I have not seen any evidence that this company is laying people off or going out of business through no fault of their own. Why is it the role of government to prop this company up? And why oh why do you clowns insist on calling this “stimulus” when it is nothing other than routine pork barrel spending that should be done within the context of the budget? Debate each and every project. But that is not what Baracky/SanFranNan/Harry want to do. They want to push through all of their pet projects under the umbrella of this “stimulus” bill, the bill that is so important that if it is not passed by tomorrow, the American economy will never be able to recover. Well, I call BS.

    Leviticus – My last Black Lab made it to age 14. I still miss her today. Enjoy. Wait until she starts eating your furniture. Good times.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:27 am

  23. Mr. Pink, rather than address my question that you quoted, you have invoked a straw man and smeared me on the side. Don’t do that. I’m sure you’re better than that.

    Comment by Tom (ee3708) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:27 am

  24. But if there’s a distinction between boosting industries and creating jobs and pork barrel politics in your view, I’d love to hear it.

    When government decides which industries get a “boost”, it’s indistinguishable from pork. It’s government (in other words political) direction of other people’s money.

    For the same cost as the “stimulus” bill, we could suspend payroll taxes — employee side and employer side — for over a year. The cash would immediately be in the economy, and people would be free to determine how they use it. Their spending (or saving!) would create jobs.

    Wouldn’t you prefer the tax holiday to the “stimulus” bill?

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:27 am

  25. Borrowed from Patrick Larkin:

    It’s much easier once you remember a few things:

    # Republicans double the national debt in six years = Bad. Very bad. Catastrophic.

    # Democrats double the national debt in six months = Wonderful. Fabulous. Stimulating.

    # 15 percent unemployment for agricultural and manufacturing workers = The necessary price to pay to combat global climate change.

    # 3 percent unemployment for government workers = Economic catastrophe unseen since the Great Depression and requiring doubling the national debt in six months.

    # Legislation that attracts only a handful of Democratic supporters during the Bush administration = Ruthless partisanship by the evil Bush administration.

    # Legislation that attracts only a handful of Democratic supporters during the Obama administration = Bipartisan nirvana produced by Obama’s good will.

    # Renditions of terrorist suspects during the Bush administration = Vile breach of international law and complicity in torture.

    # Renditions of terrorist suspects during the Clinton and Obama administrations = Sensible reflection of the complexities involved in these difficult cases.

    # Government-sponsored enterprises providing mortgages to unqualified borrowers during the Bush administration = cause of the financial crisis afflicting the world economy.

    # Government-sponsored enterprises providing mortgages to unqualified borrowers during the Obama administration = solution for the financial crisis afflicting the world economy.

    # Americans driving SUVs and keeping their homes heated to 72 degrees = Bad behavior that simply cannot continue and must be stopped at all costs.

    # Obama driving in an SUV and turning up the heat inside the Oval Office so high that orchids would thrive = Selfless actions by a man who will save the planet.

    Once you stop thinking and start watching the pretty colors swirling on your television screens, you’ll be so much happier…

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:29 am

  26. Tom – If this is such a wise investment, why could it not stand on its own in seperate legislation?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:30 am

  27. Thanks, SPQR. I am soooooooo stealing that one.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:32 am

  28. The sixth line has a typo, obviously.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:34 am

  29. “Do you also hate midgets?”

    Lovey – Are you a midget too?

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:34 am

  30. I meant in addition to all your other glaring faults.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:35 am

  31. [...] (H/T: Patterico) [...]

    Pingback by The 2009 Pelosimobiles are in! - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState (796605) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:35 am

  32. Tom – Explain to us how this specific example is stimulative. I will give you a hint, using Teh One’s logic that any spending is stimulative is not really an argument. Then, maybe you could explain to us how $650,000,000 for the digital TV conversion is stimulative. Then, maybe you could explain to us how the Health Care Commission is stimulative.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:37 am

  33. I guess the irony is lost in being against more nuclear plants, which would be necessary to actually run one of these things. Or are they thinking more coal, instead? No, that’s not going to work either…maybe a windmill that’s dragooned onto the back of the cart? How about a large solar – powered roof deck?

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:37 am

  34. Rob,

    It’s government (in other words political) direction of other people’s money.

    I can’t join you with the assumption that this is a bad thing. Isn’t any use of tax revenue by definition “government direction of other people’s money”? From the military to the highways and schools, taxation is necessary.

    Wouldn’t you prefer the tax holiday to the “stimulus” bill?

    I’m not so sure…I’m no economist, but these conservatives don’t seem to think that payroll tax holidays are a good idea. I’d rather create tangible jobs now than gamble on risky tax ventures designed to further stimulate the wealthiest among us.

    Comment by Tom (ee3708) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:37 am

  35. As one who works with homeless and jobless folks

    Riiiight – why do the libs always feel compelled to state right from the beginning their superior morality and expertise, all in order to deflect the oncoming criticisms of their inanity? I’m calling BS on this one, just as in all of the others - “as a concerned Christian Voter,” and “as a life – long Republican,” and of course the hallowed “as a veteran.”

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:42 am

  36. “than gamble on risky tax ventures designed to further stimulate the wealthiest among us.”

    You know, Tom, silly sloganeering like that does not substitute for actual economics.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:42 am

  37. [...] (H/T: Patterico) [...]

    Pingback by Moe Lane » The 2009 Pelosimobiles are in! (da2344) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:43 am

  38. GEM donated a 75-100 of these things to the ’04 Democratic convention, and then let the party donate them to various favorite municipalities and non-profits. I work with one non-profit that is still very thankful to the Dems for their free $8k golf-cart.

    Comment by Douglas2 (62fec6) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:44 am

  39. Dmac – I think this one is legit.

    Tom – You did not answer any of the questions I asked you.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:44 am

  40. Tom just proved he knows not one little thing about the payroll tax freeze proposals. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:46 am

  41. reduce fuel dependency? Not to talk of cutting down on pollution.

    Comment by Emperor7

    And the electricity that comes out of that cord comes from where ?

    God, the stupidity is stimulating !

    Toim, I work with homeless and don’t get paid for it. Does that make me more virtuous than you ?

    If Obama advocates 100 new nuclear power plants, I’ll agree that he is worried about energy. Until then, he is one more Chicago pol.

    Comment by Mike K (2cf494) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:50 am

  42. Primitive little cars using primitive technology (battery driven cars have been around since at least 1910) to be piloted by a pant-suited poltroon.

    Looks and smells like pork to me.

    Seriously there is probably a place for these jumped up golf carts. People are already buying and using them in senior citizen retirement communities where they don’t have to worry too much about getting run over by a blue haired lady in a Cadillac–because Mrs. Blue Hair doesn’t get the Cadillac out of the garage that often.

    Since these vehicles are already being purchased by private people, using private funds–why does the government have to buy a bunch of them? Ask yourself this question–Would Rod Blagojevich drive one of these down Michigan Avenue in the dead of winter?

    Smart cars–i.e. cars that make economic sense–are already being purchased with private funds–and for some folks these jumped up golf carts made in North Dakota are the smart choice. Let’s leave it at that–and take the pork off the legislative menu.

    Comment by Mike Myers (674050) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:51 am

  43. JD – I can’t determine from this article how the govt’s purchase of a bunch of these cars will help this company create jobs. However, it also cannot be determined whether the government actually will buy any of these cars – it simply states they “might.”

    Generally though, I see your point: if the gov’t buying green cars does not necessarily create jobs, why does this belong in the “stimulus bill”? (I suppose because it is, by definition, “stimulating the economy” – putting money back out there, but still – not the most efficient way to do it.)

    Comment by Tom (ee3708) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:53 am

  44. I see. So these small, clean, energy efficient vehicles that can be used not only on golf courses, but as an effective and fuel-saving short distance transport on college campuses, or corporate parks (inside or out) or national parks or housing developments or shopping centers and malls (inside or out) or hospital campuses (inside or out)or even perhaps to make short hops in enclosed neighborhoods or nursing homes, or to get to supermarkets that are manufactured in the good ole USA, using good ole USA workers in North Dakota and parts and battery technology, that can also act as a first tier development for high tech cutting edge batteries and testing ground for an electric fueling grid prototype is all
    pork. Uh huh. Why?

    Cos those “geniuses” at the NY Post and Drudge (and Patterico’s Pontifications) say it’s pork. What qualifications do these esteemed media moguls (ahem) have to make such a scandalous declaration? Oh, that’s right. NONE. What kind of vision or even, economic prowess or empathy do they show the nation’s manufacturing workers (you know the folks who actually know how to make stuff and not run government sponsored ruinous slimy ponzi schemes, like the last 8 years) in a time of economic crisis in order to spur the creation of alternative vehicles and energies? Oh that’s right. NONE.

    Alrighty, then. I think my work here is done. Thanks for another psuedo-scandalous bit of sour grapes political tripe to keep on gumming up the works. The workers of America (and ND especially) salute you and will show their “appreciation” towards the right in 2010. Yes, the GOP is determined to lose every red state it can.

    Next….

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:53 am

  45. I can’t join you with the assumption that this is a bad thing. Isn’t any use of tax revenue by definition “government direction of other people’s money”? From the military to the highways and schools, taxation is necessary.

    What is the moral case for confiscating part of my labor to subsidize that of someone else? Given that the bill contains things like drapes for a senior center, dog parks, frisbee golf courses, and so on, how can you place a moral claim on my labor to pay for these things?

    I’m not so sure…I’m no economist, but these conservatives don’t seem to think that payroll tax holidays are a good idea.

    That link says a one-month tax holiday wouldn’t do much. It doesn’t say anything about a fifteen month tax holiday. That’s how long you could stop collecting payroll taxes for the same cost to government as the “stimulus” bill.

    Do you think fifteen months of not paying those taxes would give you more money to spend? Isn’t the moral case for not confiscating people’s labor stronger than that for the “stimulus” bill?

    I’d rather create tangible jobs now than gamble on risky tax ventures designed to further stimulate the wealthiest among us.

    In other words, you’d rather give government the power to force people to work for the benefit of others than “risk” letting those people be more free. Apparently because you have some beef against working people, particularly successful working people.

    OK. I understand.

    How much of the “stimulus” will end up in the “homeless and jobless” program you work at?

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:53 am

  46. PS – JD, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but please try and understand if one of your posts goes unanswered for 10 minutes. There’s only one of me and oh so many of you.

    Comment by Tom (ee3708) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:57 am

  47. Its pork Peter, because they don’t make economic sense without taking tax money from working families to give to rich, speculators who have created the companies to get rich by building such vehicles ( see I can write stupid bumper sticker slogans in your and Tom’s style too ).

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:57 am

  48. (I suppose because it is, by definition, “stimulating the economy” – putting money back out there, but still – not the most efficient way to do it.)

    It is NOT “putting money back out there”. It’s printing up a whole bunch of new money out of nothing. It’s all borrowed money!

    That means that money has to be paid back (from taxes collected later) and that it reduces the value of the dollars already in the economy. The effect is to reduce the value of (for example) my salary, my savings, and my retirement investments, plus they’ll come along later and take even more of what I earn.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:58 am

  49. Bring John Shadegg’s ‘Enumerated Powers Act‘ to a Vote
    It’s time for Congress to, “Cite it, chapter and verse.” Where do they derive their authority? When they pass new laws or spend taxpayer money, they should be required to point to specific language in the Constitution. The Enumerated Powers Act would require them to do precisely that.

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:00 am

  50. Once they destroy the economy, the Dems will declare the NEV “affordable housing.”

    Comment by Patricia (89cb84) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:01 am

  51. Rob,

    How much of the “stimulus” will end up in the “homeless and jobless” program you work at?

    This is indeed the question. At my household’s income level, we’d stand to get a fair amount of relief under a tax holiday. But for those who are not presently employed (1.6 million more in the last 3 months), what good will a tax holiday be for helping them go out and find a job?

    Comment by Tom (ee3708) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:01 am

  52. Once they destroy the economy for good, the Dems will declare the NEV “affordable housing.”

    Comment by Patricia (89cb84) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:02 am

  53. Cos those “geniuses” at the NY Post and Drudge (and Patterico’s Pontifications) say it’s pork. What qualifications do these esteemed media moguls (ahem) have to make such a scandalous declaration?

    Because government direction of money to specific projects or people is, by definition, pork.

    What kind of vision or even, economic prowess or empathy do they show the nation’s manufacturing workers in a time of economic crisis in order to spur the creation of alternative vehicles and energies? Oh that’s right. NONE.

    WTF are you talking about? Did you notice how the market for hybrids started taking off the last few years? Hell, I think the AGW scare is crap and I bought a car that qualifies as a super-low emissions vehicle because I thought it was an interesting vehicle and it made as much economic sense as the alternatives.

    If you want to support this company, go buy one yourself. What gives you the right to steal my money do help pay for it?

    As for your parenthetical:

    (you know the folks who actually know how to make stuff and not run government sponsored ruinous slimy ponzi schemes, like the last 8 years Social Security)

    Fixed that for you.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:05 am

  54. Peter thinks that by highlighting his slogans and memes he makes up for in enthusiasm what he lacks in brains.

    Next….

    Translation: I work here is done.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:05 am

  55. Peter thinks that by highlighting his slogans and memes he makes up for in enthusiasm what he lacks in brains.

    Next….

    Translation: I work here is done.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:08 am

  56. When government decides which industries get a “boost”, it’s indistinguishable from pork.

    Look it’s easy to figure out folks. When the industries and people that get a boost are middle or working class it is PORK. When the industries and people that get a “boost” in the form of lax oversight and deregulation and tax cuts for the rich it is called STIMULUS or good for the economic health of the country.

    I say from now on tax cuts for the wealthy should be referred to as the ULTIMATE REAL PORK. OINK OINK!! And the GOP congressmen (or ex-president) who whole-heartedly support(ed) it SWINE.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:08 am

  57. I see. So these small, clean, energy efficient vehicles that can be used not only on golf courses, but as an effective and fuel-saving short distance transport on college campuses, or corporate parks (inside or out) or national parks or housing developments or shopping centers and malls (inside or out) or hospital campuses (inside or out)or even perhaps to make short hops in enclosed neighborhoods or nursing homes, or to get to supermarkets that are manufactured in the good ole USA, using good ole USA workers in North Dakota and parts and battery technology, that can also act as a first tier development for high tech cutting edge batteries and testing ground for an electric fueling grid prototype is all
    pork. Uh huh. Why?

    Because it’s a frigging golf cart, Peter. From the piece:

    But neither Capitol Hill aides nor the Energy Department was able to say specifically what the carts would be used for, nor does the stimulus bill.

    I can tell you. They’ll be used where people currently use golf carts.

    What kind of vision or even, economic prowess or empathy do they show the nation’s manufacturing workers (you know the folks who actually know how to make stuff and not run government sponsored ruinous slimy ponzi schemes, like the last 8 years) in a time of economic crisis in order to spur the creation of alternative vehicles and energies? Oh that’s right. NONE.

    You have a strange definition of NONE, Peter.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:10 am

  58. PETER IS AN IDIOT

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:22 am

  59. Destroying the Free Market

    One memorable moment in “Atlas Shrugged” occurs near the very end, when the economy has been rendered comatose by all the great economic minds in Washington. Finally, and out of desperation, the politicians come to the heroic businessman John Galt (who has resisted their assault on capitalism) and beg him to help them get the economy back on track. The discussion sounds much like what would happen today:

    Galt: “You want me to be Economic Dictator?”

    Mr. Thompson: “Yes!”

    “And you’ll obey any order I give?”

    “Implicitly!”

    “Then start by abolishing all income taxes.”

    “Oh no!” screamed Mr. Thompson, leaping to his feet. “We couldn’t do that . . . How would we pay government employees?”

    “Fire your government employees.”

    “Oh, no!”

    Abolishing the income tax. Now that really would be a genuine economic stimulus. But Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Washington want to do the opposite: to raise the income tax “for purposes of fairness” as Barack Obama puts it.

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:24 am

  60. Look it’s easy to figure out folks. When the industries and people that get a boost are middle or working class it is PORK. When the industries and people that get a “boost” in the form of lax oversight and deregulation and tax cuts for the rich it is called STIMULUS or good for the economic health of the country.

    When government directs money based on political access and favoritism, without regard to utility, it’s pork.

    That “lax oversight” you’re railing about was caused by Democrats, who refused to even consider subjecting the GSEs to the same accounting standards as other businesses.

    And will the people supporting the “stimulus” bill drop the idiotic class warfare rhetoric? Is “sticking it to the man” the organizing principle of government? I’ve searched in this and this and even here, and I can’t find anything that makes me think that’s the basis for our government.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:26 am

  61. The economic ignorance ( often willful ) of the Democrats is most troubling.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:27 am

  62. The economic ignorance ( often willful ) of the Democrats is most troubling

    And many Republicans are not far behind them.

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:28 am

  63. Often true, Horatio, but the damage we are seeing now is an order of magnitude worse than the Republicans did before 2006.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:31 am

  64. At my household’s income level, we’d stand to get a fair amount of relief under a tax holiday. But for those who are not presently employed (1.6 million more in the last 3 months), what good will a tax holiday be for helping them go out and find a job?

    What would you do with the money you save on taxes? Would you stuff it into your mattress? Would you spend it on things you’ve put off? Would you invest it towards retirement? Would you just put it in the bank? Would you pay off your debts?

    Excepting the miserly stuffing it into your mattress, that money would indirectly generate jobs. And you wouldn’t be imposing on the liberties of others in order to do it!

    Breath-taking, I know.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:31 am

  65. Such negativity. Tsk tsk tsk.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:34 am

  66. Well, except that the economic ignorance of the Democrat Party is pretty easy to prove. The Republicans you speak of number precisely three: Snowe, Collins, and Specter.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:34 am

  67. Again I reiterate under this logic the Bridge to Nowhere was the greatest piece of stimulus ever created. Ted Stevens should be given a freakin medal of honor.

    Comment by Mr. Pink (eae12c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:35 am

  68. You have a strange definition of NONE, Peter.

    Funny thing — I bought a car last year because it appealed to me. It’s packed full of curious new technical gadgets, and I’m a gadget freak.

    It rivals the Prius for economy (beats it on the highway), it’s actually lower in some emission categories than the Prius, and even before the engine was completely worn in I’ve gotten 45mpg from it. I suspect that on my next vacation I’ll get close to 50mpg. I’ve even read reports from people who have run similar cars on straight vegetable oil!

    But because I don’t support forcing US taxpayers to pay for novelty cars, I’m somehow against fuel economy and alternative fuels!

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:38 am

  69. Horatio — did you perchance take your name from Horatio Bunce? Or some other inspiration?

    I ask because Bunce and his inspiration for Crockett’s “Not Yours to Give” speech is particularly apropos.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:40 am

  70. The government makes lousy choices and is a lousy entity to pick the Next Best Thing. The market is much more efficient. Billions for golf carts (and a tidy campaign boost for Dorgan) is what the government chooses with the “free” money it prints. I imagine that people who actually live in places like ND would find these go-carts unbelievably useless, winter or summer. It’s a feel-good choice for the elite in power.

    Heck of a job there, Bambi!

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:41 am

  71. Perhaps someone can locate the link. It seems that when you compare a Prius to a Hummer, the Hummer actually is less polluting over its lifetime than the “clean green” machine. One should take into account the amount of pollution involved in deriving the materials to make those batteries. Someone did the math on the amount of nickel mining and subsequent energy use and pollution it entails. And of course those electric outlets come with totally AGW-free energy source. heh. Gotta love the assclown limo libtards who adulate the whole green scene BS apologists. And how much money are they making crying wolf?? The ‘tards on this board who continue to rationalize Obama’s lies perhaps should spend less time with those noses up his rectum breathing the hopey/changey corrosive fumes. And I can understand women fantasizing about sex with the mendacious mandingo as I well recall the same twats getting their panties wet over Bill Clinton.

    Comment by aoibhneas (0c6cfc) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:42 am

  72. Perhaps someone can locate the link. It seems that when you compare a Prius to a Hummer, the Hummer actually is less polluting over its lifetime than the “clean green” machine. One should take into account the amount of pollution involved in deriving the materials to make those batteries. Someone did the math on the amount of nickel mining and subsequent energy use and pollution it entails. And of course those electric outlets come with totally AGW-free energy source. heh. Gotta love the assclown limo libtards who adulate the whole green scene BS apologists. And how much money are they making crying wolf?? The ‘tards on this board who continue to rationalize Obama’s lies perhaps should spend less time with those noses up his rectum breathing the hopey/changey corrosive fumes. And I can understand women fantasizing about sex with the mendacious mandingo as I well recall the same twats getting their panties wet over Bill Clinton.

    Comment by aoibhneas (0c6cfc) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:42 am

  73. Well, except that the economic ignorance of the Democrat Party is pretty easy to prove. The Republicans you speak of number precisely three: Snowe, Collins, and Specter.

    I suspect had McCain won the election, the number would be higher. Or had the bill been more favorable to Republican pet projects

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:48 am

  74. Had McCain won, we’d have a much different bill. You realize that he has never earmarked a dime, right?

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:51 am

  75. Horatio — did you perchance take your name from Horatio Bunce? Or some other inspiration?

    I ask because Bunce and his inspiration for Crockett’s “Not Yours to Give” speech is particularly apropos.

    No, although that is a great speech found here, however, there is some confusion as to whether he actually delivered it

    It’s a joke between me and an old friend

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:52 am

  76. Sadly, I suspect the Republicans only found their spines because with so few of them left, it was harder to hide.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:54 am

  77. Had McCain won, we’d have a much different bill. You realize that he has never earmarked a dime, right?

    I do know that – hell he’s one of my Senators…but…I doubt he’d remain “pure”. He’d be “bipartisan”, Demospeak for “Vote our way”

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:55 am

  78. this is off topic, but then that doesn’t seem to be a problem on this board. ;-) And I couldn’t find Patterico’s email address so I figured I’d just post it here.

    T.J. Sullivan, an “independent journalist” in the LA area according to his website, has posted a YouTube appeal for all newspapers to shut down their web content for one week, beginning on the 4th of July. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kjM9jwra5U

    I figured that concept might generate some interest here.

    Comment by Gesundheit (47b0b8) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:56 am

  79. I do know that – hell he’s one of my Senators…but…I doubt he’d remain “pure”.

    I don’t think he’d be ready to sign a bill containing the complete Democrat wish list. That’s not saying I’d love that hypothetical bill, but I doubt it would be this ridiculous.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:59 am

  80. I can tell you. They’ll be used where people currently use golf carts.

    Wrong. You guys have really stepped in it with this one. This is from Wikipedia:

    GEM has produced more than 35,000 vehicles and currently offers six different models primarily suited to intra-city use. GEM vehicles have found use in fleet service, hospitals, military bases, airports, golf courses, parks, and seniors communities.

    A GEM vehicle recharging via an outdoor wall socket at Duke University
    GEM battery-electric vehicles are classified as low-speed vehicles, or neighborhood electric vehicles[citation needed], and are street legal in nearly[vague] all 50 states on public roads posted at 35 mph (56 km/h) or less[citation needed]. With a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), GEM cars have a range of up to 30 miles (48 km) on a charge. They are battery-electric, operate on a 72-volt battery system and plug into a standard 110-volt outlet for recharging. They can be recharged anytime, anywhere a 110-volt outlet is available and fully recharge in approximately six to eight hours.

    The 1000 employees of a healthy company, making a good product that uses green technology and produces much less pollution than a regular gas vehicle salute you. 2010, baby, 2010!!

    But you guys would rather, we kept using gas cars for everything and give more billions and trillions to the big oil co.’s and a backwards, extremist supporting country like Saudi Arabia or IRAN.

    Like I said. You guys have stepped in it big time here. It is a perfect example of the ass-backwards insensitive obstructionist stupidity of the GOP. I can’t wait for some idiot GOP Rep. to pick this up and make it an issue, because this one will come back to haunt you guys.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:01 am

  81. “The 1000 employees of a healthy company, making a good product that uses green technology and produces much less pollution than a regular gas vehicle salute you. 2010, baby, 2010!!”

    Peter – Green? Can’t you read? Where does the electricity come from to charge them?

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:04 am

  82. It might be good. It might be bad. But the thing is, the market isn’t given a chance to work here. The market is being distorted by pork – pure, 100% ham shoveled directly into the greedy mouths of the bottomfeeders.

    If this is such a good deal, why isn’t the market already responding to it?

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:04 am

  83. Peter, if its a healthy company then it should not need any govt pork money.

    Do try to work on your logic.

    Oh, and using Wikipedia as a source only shows your gullibility.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:05 am

  84. I don’t think he’d be ready to sign a bill containing the complete Democrat wish list. That’s not saying I’d love that hypothetical bill, but I doubt it would be this ridiculous.

    Perhaps not, but if he had to deal with a Democrat controlled Congress, combined with a “do something now” mindset, the bill would still be ridiculous.

    Comment by Horatio (55069c) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:06 am

  85. But hey, if the government prints money and shovels it out without regard to long-term effects, well, let’s just celebrate! It’s stimulus!

    Might just as stimulating to bury money in the ground and then pay people to dig it up.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:07 am

  86. How about a large solar – powered roof deck?

    I’ll take an ’89 Red Tercel with a wind sail for 100 Alex

    Comment by voiceofreason2 (10af7e) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:07 am

  87. By the way, Peter, don’t you usually declare yourself too irritated to continue at some point & then leave in a huff? Can we do anything to speed up that timeline?

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:08 am

  88. Let’s hear it for bipartisanship!!!!111!!eleventy!!!

    From the CongressDaily:

    House and Senate leaders have struck a tentative deal on a stimulus package with a top-line figure of $789.5 billion, Democratic aides said this morning. The overall mix of funding and tax provisions remains to be hashed out. One disappointment for President Obama is likely to be a scaled-back “Making Work Pay” tax credit of $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples, which falls short of his goal of $500 and $1,000. But those figures would still meet Obama’s goal of providing a tax credit to 95 percent of working families. Conferees are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. today, although that will largely be a formality. Democratic aides said House Speaker Pelosi intends to bring the bill to the floor Thursday, followed by Sente passage Friday.

    (snip)

    It appears that Pelosi and Reid staff met all through the night in secret with Democratic conferees’ staff to cobble together the “stimulus” conference report. Republican conferees were frozen out.

    The objective appears to be to produce a final conference report on the trillion-dollar spending bill by this afternoon so that floor action can take place in both chambers by Thursday.

    They intend to ram this trillion-dollar spending bill through with as little debate and scrutiny as possible.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:08 am

  89. By the way, Peter, don’t you usually declare yourself too irritated to continue at some point & then leave in a huff? Can we do anything to speed up that timeline?

    Yeah, it’s sorta becoming my tagline, but it’s not just cos I get so frustrated with you guys, it’s also because I have crucial work I should be doing instead, but this here site is like procrastinators crack.

    Okay..I’m leaving. I’m really leaving.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:11 am

  90. :) You are so funny!

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:13 am

  91. it’s also because I have crucial work I should be doing instead.

    I probably should not have written that. But, whatever. Have a field day…

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:15 am

  92. “it’s also because I have crucial work I should be doing instead,”

    Sharpen those pencils and clean your cup!

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:16 am

  93. That was fast. Maybe you should suggest earlier next time, Steve.

    Comment by Gesundheit (47b0b8) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:18 am

  94. GEM has produced more than 35,000 vehicles and currently offers six different models primarily suited to intra-city use. GEM vehicles have found use in fleet service, hospitals, military bases, airports, golf courses, parks, and seniors communities.

    Yes. Places that currently use golf carts or are already buying these enclosed golf carts.

    But you guys would rather, we kept using gas cars for everything and give more billions and trillions to the big oil co.’s and a backwards, extremist supporting country like Saudi Arabia or IRAN.

    Ah, so you can’t frigging read is what you’re saying, Peter. Thanks for pointing that out, again.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:19 am

  95. “Currently attempts are being made to develop alternatives to the lead-acid battery (particularly for automotive use) because of concerns about the environmental consequences of improper disposal of old batteries and of lead smelting operations.”

    Peter – The flooded-lead acid batteries those suckers use are also sooper green as well.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:26 am

  96. Wrong. You have really stepped in it with this one Peter.

    Peter – Fixed that for you.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:28 am

  97. It is nice to see Peter acknowledging that Iran is extremist. Change you can believe in!

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:29 am

  98. GEM donated a 75-100 of these things to the ‘04 Democratic convention, and then let the party donate them to various favorite municipalities and non-profits. I work with one non-profit that is still very thankful to the Dems for their free $8k golf-cart.

    Comment by Douglas2 — 2/11/2009 @ 8:44 am

    GEM donated between $600,000 and $800,000 of vehicles for use at the Democratic convention, and four years later they are getting a $300,000,000 “stimulus” package. That’s a pretty good return on investment!

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:29 am

  99. These people do realize that when you ‘plug in’ your electric car, it is quite likely drawing down power from a coal-fueled power plant, right?

    Sources of electric power are about 50% coal, slightly less than a quarter each nuclear and natural gas, with the rest petroleum and renewable, mostly hydroelectric. link

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:36 am

  100. Gesundheit,
    At the risk of threadjacking, I’ll reply. I saw that idiotic post about the idiotic idea of newspapers shutting down their Web sites for a week.

    Newspapers no longer own the news. Dead-tree journosaurs can turn off their Web sites, but TV stations, bloggers and Web-only news organizations like the Voice of San Diego will get more readers. An antitrust exemption to allow a newspaper cartel would only drive readers to free alternatives more quickly.

    Luddites like Sullivan also notably fail to address the credibility problem newspapers have with much of the public, such as the readers of this blog. Just because *they* can’t imagine life without newspapers doesn’t mean everyone else thinks the same way.

    I’m a newspaper reporter myself, and I’d like to keep working in journalism. But proposals like Sullivan’s are just an ill-informed, Web-stupid refusal to face reality.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., who implores DRJ to remain at Patterico! (2871ba) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:38 am

  101. …so this might be a bad time to kill the coal-mining industry.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:38 am

  102. Peter – The flooded-lead acid batteries those suckers use are also sooper green as well.

    Yeah, daley.

    …that can also act as a first tier development for high tech cutting edge batteries…

    I had no idea that was cutting edge technology. I was thinking more along the lines of maybe recyclable lithium-ion cells that allow for 220 miles per charge, but apparently you’re supposed to ignore that I mentioned that.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:39 am

  103. Bradley,

    Plus, when you take your blackberry into the crapper, you don’t have to roll it up under your arm so everyone knows what you’re doing.

    Sorry, probably better to emphasis the environmental benefits of printing all that paper.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:40 am

  104. I love how he “reasons” from “you don’t want your money taken from you and given to this company” to “YOU GUYS WANT TO FUND SAUDI ARABIAQ!!!!!”

    Um, no. I want to be treated like a free man, not like a servant. I want a government that doesn’t view me as a source of cheap labor, to be milked for the benefit of others.

    And does it strike anyone else as odd that the Obamatons have no problem with government giving money to companies for no clear purpose, yet object to government allowing companies and people to keep their own money?

    It’s as if filtering it through government bureaucrats purifies the money, removing all taint of “greed”. Or maybe the whole purpose is to filter it through the government bureaucrats…

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:45 am

  105. It actually doesn’t matter at all to Obamatrons what’s being done – the fact that The Big O! is the one doing it is enough.

    I swear, he is the Light-Bearer to these people.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:49 am

  106. carlitos,
    I’ve been getting nearly all of my news online since at least 1997, when I got a cable modem. So it would be awfully hypocritical for me to sing the praises of print. There are still many journosaurs who think of print as the “real” paper. That’s a big part of what’s making the Web transition so difficult. They’re still in denial.

    The only times I prefer a newspaper is during meal times or on a train, when it’s more convenient than going online.

    Referencing your point above, I don’t take a newspaper in there – I do take my cell phone and text message, however.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., who implores DRJ to remain at Patterico! (2871ba) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:54 am

  107. Pablo – It’s a Chrysler company. You always expect them to be on the bleeding edge.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 10:56 am

  108. found this link via snappedshot.

    The following is one sentence from the stimulus bill. Good lord.

    “For transit capital assistance grants, $6,000,000,000 (increased by $1,500,000,000), of which $5,400,000,000 (increased by $1,350,000,000) shall be for grants under 5 section 5307 of title 49, United States Code and shall be apportioned in accordance with section 5336 of such title (other than subsections (i)(1) and (j)) but may not be combined or commingled with any other funds apportioned under such section 5336, and of which $600,000,000 (increased by $150,000,000) shall be for grants under section 5311 of such title and shall be apportioned in accordance with such section 5311 but may not be combined or commingled with any other funds apportioned under that section: Provided, That of the funds provided for section 5311 under this heading, 3 percent shall be made available for section 5311(c)(1): Provided further, That applicable chapter 53 requirements shall apply except that the Federal share of the costs for which a grant is made under this heading shall be, at the option of the recipient, up to 100 percent: Provided further, In lieu of the requirements of section 1103 of this Act, funds made available under this heading shall be apportioned not later than 7 days after the date of enactment of this Act: Provided further, That for purposes of applying section 1104 of this 25 253 Act to this appropriation, the deadline for grantees to enter into obligations to make use of not less than 50 percent of the funds awarded shall be 90 days after apportionment: Provided further, That the provisions of section 1101(b) of Public Law 109–59 shall apply to funds made available under this heading: Provided further, That not-withstanding any other provision of law, of the funds apportioned in accordance with section 5336, up to three-quarters of 1 percent shall be available for administrative expenses and program management oversight and of the funds apportioned in accordance with section 5311, up to one-half of 1 percent shall be available for administrative expenses and program management oversight and both amounts shall remain available for obligation until September 30, 2012: Provided further, That the preceding proviso shall apply in lieu of the provisions in section 1106 of this Act.”

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 11:04 am

  109. Tinkle-Down Economics…

    President Obama, if his recent comments are to be credited, would have us believe that any government spending at all can be called “stimulus” providing only that it is sufficiently large.NYT Transcript of Obama Press ConferenceAnd so when I hear……

    Trackback by Everything I Know Is Wrong (95cfaf) — 2/11/2009 @ 11:05 am

  110. I’ve owned a GEM since January of 2003. Costco carried the vehicle for a while and caused the price to be deeply discounted during 02-03. I have a four seater and live in a “golf cart” community.

    The GEM is not too popular here as it doesn’t come close to the advertised range of 30 miles per charge. I doubt I’ve ever gotten more than 12 miles per charge. Most people prefer the typical golf cart and have it modified to allow faster speeds—cheaper purchase price and much better performance per charge and it can operate efficiently on less expensive brand batteries.

    I am now on my third set of batteries at areplacement cost of $1200 per set. I am going to sell it and get a “golf cart.”

    California no longer allows gas golf carts but whenever a used one comes on the market it sells quickly because the range is much better than any electric cart. They are a little noisy though.

    Comment by PC14 (82e46c) — 2/11/2009 @ 11:12 am

  111. it’s also because I have crucial work I should be doing instead, but this here site is like procrastinators crack.

    Okay..I’m leaving. I’m really leaving.

    Comment by Peter

    No doubt that grass is getting long.

    Do these people understand where electricity comes from ? Bill Cosby used to have a hilarious routine about that. I suspect it’s true of Peter and his lefty colleagues.

    Comment by Mike K (8df289) — 2/11/2009 @ 11:31 am

  112. Can we give one of these coffin with wheels to everyone who votes for this crap?

    Mike-K — Yes they do, electricity comes out of the wall.

    It’s like the costs of building, installing and servicing windmills, not to say anything about the collection of the generated electricity, ya Know the distribution wires. If any of the crap green stuff was worth while why would companies waste billions on building giant mega-dollar power stations. And think of the view of the pristine wilderness how it’s enhanced with all these monster windmills, well at least there are no oil wells.

    Comment by tarpon (26027c) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:23 pm

  113. Horatio, When they pass new laws or spend taxpayer money, they should be required to point to specific language in the Constitution.

    While I don’t object to the notion, I also don’t see who would have standing to sue when they failed, and it wouldn’t help in this case. Article I Section 8′s grant of Congressional power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States” is broad enough to encompass just about anything which can plausibly be described as providing for the general welfare.

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:42 pm

  114. Don’t think so, aphrael. “General welfare” does not cover robbing one citizen to give his money to another.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:45 pm

  115. Is that Miss Piggy driving the pork-mobile?

    Comment by Wesson (3ab0b8) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:47 pm

  116. Pablo: “Great investments in new jobs and green powered vehicles would be things like Tesla Motors”

    Amen to that

    That is the most irksome thing about this bill. The public is told “new green economy” but probably only the parts of the “new green economy” that have a patron in congress are going to see a dime of the money. Technology with patrons isn’t necessarily the best tech. I suppose that is the name of the lobbying game.
    It would be really great if a lot of the technology money only went to startups that were not some subsidiary of some existing megacorp that already has an R and D department. If we are going to spend the money isn’t that the “funding for new ideas” part of the Fed. Government’s mandate?

    Oh and Tesla’s car is insanely more stylish than the clown car above. “Green” is OK but there really isn’t a law that says it has to look stupid. I hope they get their grant.

    Comment by EdWood (c2268a) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:51 pm

  117. Rob: you may not agree that that is a good use of Congressional power, but the Supreme Court has always taken an extremely deferential view of how “general welfare” is defined. Unless Congressional spending is a disguised regulation, or is contingent upon compliance with conditions that themselves violate the Constitution, Congress can spend on anything which it believes to be promoting the General Welfare.

    Were the courts not this deferential, what you’d end up with is a Supreme Court which is a board of review, and the definition of ‘general welfare’ preferred by five unelected justices would be the law of the land, rather than the definition of ‘general welfare’ preferred by sixty-seven Senators and 291 Representatives.

    I understand that you don’t like the policy. But by arguing that the policy is unconstitutional, you are in essence advocating that the decision of how to spend the public treasury should be made by judges, rather than legislators. Are you sure that’s the distribution of political power which you want?

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:51 pm

  118. Do these people understand where electricity comes from ? Bill Cosby used to have a hilarious routine about that. I suspect it’s true of Peter and his lefty colleagues.

    Similarly, anyone who has swam or surfed in the ocean knows that oil is ‘natural’ just like anything else. I wonder where the environmental extremists think oil and coal come from.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:54 pm

  119. I understand that you don’t like the policy. But by arguing that the policy is unconstitutional, you are in essence advocating that the decision of how to spend the public treasury should be made by judges, rather than legislators. Are you sure that’s the distribution of political power which you want?

    No, I’m saying the government hasn’t the right to spend the treasury on anything that doesn’t equally benefit all citizens. Transfer payments are clearly unconstitutional.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 12:56 pm

  120. Oh, and if you do think transfer payments are constitutional, explain to me how taking money from me and giving it to someone else doesn’t violate equality under the law.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:00 pm

  121. Gentlemen and Ladies:

    It is pork because it directly benefits ONE individual/company. Once you start micromanaging which companies thrive and which ones struggle to survive, it is pork, pure and simple.

    Next, when you target industries or sectors of industries, central planners and now directing which parts of the economy they want to succeed (and indirectly, which one will fail due to unfair competition).

    I would like to see the full disclosure on which companies/individuals/industry groups got special treatment in this massive waste of money. Whatever happened to the adage “Follow the money”?

    A true stimulus would show none of the favoritism that the current bill is full of. In addition, it would have sunset provisions. And absolutely no continuing programs.

    Comment by Dr. K (24b8da) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:01 pm

  122. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

    “End the Practice of Writing Legislation Behind Closed Doors: As president, Barack Obama will restore the American people’s trust in their government by making government more open and transparent. Obama will work to reform congressional rules to require all legislative sessions, including committee mark-ups and conference committees, to be conducted in public. By making these practices public, the American people will be able to hold their leaders accountable for wasteful spending and lawmakers won’t be able to slip favors for lobbyists into bills at the last minute.” Obama Ethics

    Republicans, public shut out of final bill

    Looks like he didn’t work that hard. Maybe he just needed to get away from the White House for a while?

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:07 pm

  123. One guy who says they should have had more time: Arlen Specter — one of three human beings on the planet who could have actually made that happen.

    Is profanity allowed on this blog? I can’t respond without it.

    Comment by Subotai (61dd3c) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:13 pm

  124. It’s adorable! I want one!

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:13 pm

  125. Rob: that’s an interesting theory. I would note, however, that I think you’re changing theories in the middle of the conversation; at first you claimed that transfer payments are not “general welfare”, now I think you’re sidestepping that question and claiming that, even if they are, they deny certain citizens the equal protection of the laws.

    I think you’ll find that there is virtually no spending whatsoever which benefits all citizens equally: the construction of I-95 does not benefit me the same way that the construction of I-5 does.

    My understanding, though, is that there is no requirement that spending benefit all citizens equally … or at least no court has ever held that there is. And I think it would be a difficult doctrine to draw borders around, for reasons I expressed above.

    That said, in general, equal protection challenges require an allegation that the government is discriminating between citizens for improper reasons; that the classification being used for the discrimination is invalid. I think you’d have an extremely hard time making the case that transfer payments per se are based upon an invalid classification.

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:17 pm

  126. Steve Miller – The list of campaign promises that he has not aggressively broken would be much shorter. He is just giving the finger to them, flipping us the bird as he goes along, because um huh uh umm huh uh he won.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:18 pm

  127. True, that. He did win by an impressive number of votes – 52:48 vs 51:49 for Bush.

    The Obamatrons, of course, simply hail Dear Leader when he shreds his promises left and lefter.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:20 pm

  128. I’m no economist, but these conservatives don’t seem to think that payroll tax holidays are a good idea. I’d rather create tangible jobs now than gamble on risky tax ventures designed to further stimulate the wealthiest among us.

    One of the things in this bill is an AMT “patch” with s price tag of 90 billion or so. In other words, a tax cut for the rich. But they’re Democratic rich for the most part so that’s OK.

    Comment by Subotai (61dd3c) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:21 pm

  129. You know what that sentence of the bill reminds me of, carlito? Inauguration day for Andrew Jackson, when his “people” drunkenly rioted through the White House, destroying everything in their path, all in the name of the “people.”

    This is a frenzy of drunken spending, with no plan for solvency or oversight or meaning.

    Comment by Patricia (89cb84) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:22 pm

  130. “But for those who are not presently employed (1.6 million more in the last 3 months), what good will a tax holiday be for helping them go out and find a job?”

    Tom
    I noticed that although you got sneered at for actually putting an idea into this thread (instead of the usual quippy agreement that all things not con are bad), that nobody managed to answer your question.

    In fairness to Rob Crawford I think he was responding to a different part of your question.

    Rob Crawford makes a pretty strong ideological case but I’m not sure how practical a close adherence to that ideology is at this juncture. Although a payroll tax holiday seems like a great idea for those of us with jobs, you point out the immediate problem with it above.

    Comment by EdWood (c2268a) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:24 pm

  131. I think you’d have an extremely hard time making the case that transfer payments per se are based upon an invalid classification.

    I’ve noticed that when the courts are so inclined, they can be mighty creative in their interpetation of valid classifications.

    There’s nothing in the law authorizing them to do any sort of classification defining, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

    Comment by Subotai (61dd3c) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:27 pm

  132. I don’t think a tax holiday will immediately help those out of work – true.

    But that’s not to say a tax holiday is bad. Perhaps combine it with a stimulus debit card. We did it for Katrina. (We certainly aren’t doing it for Kentucky, though. I guess they deserve it, since they didn’t vote for Bambi.)

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:27 pm

  133. Although a payroll tax holiday seems like a great idea for those of us with jobs, you point out the immediate problem with it above.

    Yes, I agree with that. Tom’s objection seems valid.

    Comment by Subotai (61dd3c) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:28 pm

  134. Sending hundred of millions of dollars to a company in North Dakota that makes a niche market fancy golf cart does nothing to help those that have lost their jobs. Spending $650,000,000 on condoms or whatever nonsense that was does nothing to help those that have lost their jobs. Creating the Universal Health Care Commission does nothing to help those that have lost their jobs.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:34 pm

  135. I wonder where the environmental extremists think oil and coal come from.

    Just ask Granny McBotox, who still thinks natural gas isn’t a fossil fuel.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:38 pm

  136. I had no idea that was cutting edge technology. I was thinking more along the lines of maybe recyclable lithium-ion cells that allow for 220 miles per charge, but apparently you’re supposed to ignore that I mentioned that.
    Comment by Pablo — 2/11/2009 @ 10:39 am

    Of course, we would just be trading dependency from one set of autocrats for another.
    Did you not hear that Bolivia is the Saudi of Lithium, and the country is being run by a Hugo Chavez-lite Socialist?

    Comment by AD (b41cc2) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:42 pm

  137. Comment by JD — 2/11/2009 @ 1:34 pm

    Perhaps they’ll put a condom-dispenser in the golf-carts?

    Comment by AD (b41cc2) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:44 pm

  138. I think you’ll find that there is virtually no spending whatsoever which benefits all citizens equally: the construction of I-95 does not benefit me the same way that the construction of I-5 does.

    You’re as free to use I-95 as to use I-5. When my money is siphoned from my paycheck into Joe Blow’s pocket, any attempt by me to make use of that money would be treated as a crime. Any attempt by me to keep my money out of Joe Blow’s pocket would also be treated as a crime (unless I’m a high-ranking Democrat, in which case it’s an “oversight”).

    Joe Blow is benefiting from the threat of government force applied to me. Is that moral? Isn’t it extortion? What qualifies Joe Blow to receive wealth I’ve worked for? If there’s a law that says Joe Blow is eligible and I’m not, how are we equal before the law?

    In any case, you have to convince me of the morality of the spending. I have no objection to highway construction — improved transportation is a net benefit, and so long as it makes sense (no bridge to nowhere, no bizarre highway interchanges that turn out to be payback to developers from their friendly Senator) I have no objection.

    But when government confiscates my labor (in the form of taxing my paycheck) for clearly frivolous purposes — dog parks, frisbee golf courses — the morality is clearly on my side.

    The argument that building those things creates jobs and is thus “stimulus” is bunk — if there is a market for them, then the people interested could use their own money to build them, which would also generate jobs. If government force is required to make a project profitable — whether it’s a frisbee golf course, a car company, or whatever — then there’s no market for sustaining that project; the jobs will not be sustainable short of more government force.

    A case that comes to mind is a privately-owned golf course near to where I live. Actually, that golf course is no longer there. You see, the city government confiscated other people’s money, built another golf course next door, and undercut the privately-owned course, running it out of business. The city used taxpayer money to run a taxpayer out of business; is that moral? Sure, there are a handful of jobs at that course, but there were an equal number of jobs next door, and no force was required to sustain them!

    Similarly, the government is confiscating money in order to subsidize GEM. This hurts Tesla motors and everyone else who might be trying to get into that market. Is that moral?

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:49 pm

  139. Although a payroll tax holiday seems like a great idea for those of us with jobs, you point out the immediate problem with it above.

    So all the money you wouldn’t be paying in taxes would go nowhere?

    Where do jobs come from? The job fairy? The Federal Department of Job Creation? A job mine in South Dakota?

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:51 pm

  140. Subotai: surely a conservative would prefer less inventive declaration of new classifications, rather than more? :)

    My snarking aside, there’s a real problem with interpreting “equal protection”. Clearly the fourteenth amendment was not intended to require that every state act treat all citizens equally in all circumstances; not only would the literal reading of that prohibit things which are clearly not intended to be covered (age of consent laws, for example), attempting to interpret it that way would result in the federal courts being a super-legislature, empowered to check every act of state government to see if it treated all citizens equally. And yet the argument that the fourteenth amendment only requires that states not discriminate on the basis of race also doesn’t work; the writers of the civil war amendments clearly knew how to limit something to discriminating on the basis of race when it chooses to do so, and they didn’t restrict “equal protection” that way (while restricting the protection of voting rights that way).

    I’m not saying that I agree completely with the rules that have grown up around suspect classifications, or which classifications are suspect and which aren’t; but I do think there’s a real problem with defining “equal protection” in a way which is both (a) clear and consistent and (b) not so strong as to strangle all government action in the cradle … and the suspect classification system, while it might be wrong, is nevertheless a reasonable attempt to deal with the problem.

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:52 pm

  141. As a long-time Conservative Christian/veteran/Bush supporter frisbee golf player, I am against the stimulus. Frisbee golf courses get built all the time without government interference.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:54 pm

  142. In any case, you have to convince me of the morality of the spending

    Only if i’m trying to convince you that it’s the correct policy. I’m not. I’m trying to convince you that the Constitution doesn’t prohibit the policy. :)

    You’re as free to use I-95 as to use I-5.

    Sure. But because I live three thousand miles away from I-95, its construction and maintenance does not benefit me as much as it benefits a resident of Florida. So if you are arguing that the Constitution requires that all citizens receive equal benefit from federal spending, then ISTM that you are arguing that the Constitution prohibits this kind of spending.

    I think that’s clearly not the result intended by the drafters of the 14th amendment.

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:55 pm

  143. I mean, I thought Obama said that all spending was stimulus. Since the left likes to count tax cuts as a cost to government — as spending in other words — then even Obama admits that a tax holiday would be a stimulus! So clearly it would create jobs for all those jobless people, just as well as government spending.

    And it wouldn’t infringe on the freedom of the people who are still employed!

    Sounds like a win-win to me!

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 1:57 pm

  144. So if you are arguing that the Constitution requires that all citizens receive equal benefit from federal spending, then ISTM that you are arguing that the Constitution prohibits this kind of spending.

    Not necessarily equally benefit as not be barred from equally benefiting. I can’t use the money in Joe Blow’s pocket, even though government has taken it from mine and put it there. If I happen to be in the area, I could use I-5 or I-95 just the same as if I lived next door to them.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:03 pm

  145. aphrael – I wish your Leftist brethren would learn from you. Sadly, they do not.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:04 pm

  146. Whoa! Was that a compliment from JD???

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:05 pm

  147. Tlove – I am a kind and gentle soul, especially towards those that deserve it. I have never been anything but nice to you, albeit at times a bit of a misanthrope. But, I am who I am. aphrael is good people. You too. The mendoucheous twatwaffles like Peter, timmah, mario, EfP, not so much.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:23 pm

  148. Fellow up above writes: The GEM is not too popular here as it doesn’t come close to the advertised range of 30 miles per charge. I doubt I’ve ever gotten more than 12 miles per charge. Most people prefer the typical golf cart and have it modified to allow faster speeds—cheaper purchase price and much better performance per charge and it can operate efficiently on less expensive brand batteries.

    Well shucks, remember the ancient Buick advertising slogan “Ask the man who owns one?”

    The electric car acolytes just never accept that limited range is a real problem for a very significant portion of the population. The GM EV-1 was a very nice looking electric car. In the real world, it had about a 45 mile range on a charge. GM leased one of those cars to Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) one of the oil company’s pioneering “clean gasoline” in the late 80′s-early 90′s for a year. ARCO employees were supposed to drive the vehicle for some “real world” testing. In practice that meant that individual employees could take the vehicle home overnight, drive it for a day or two etc–all in Southern California. I had a shot at using the car–but my home was 38 miles from where we kept the car. In practice, we loaned it out to employees with a less than 20 mile one way commute. It was a nice car–but wildly impractical for many in Southern California. It also took 8 hours to recharge.

    And now the Anointed One wants to spend $300 million to buy golf carts with a 12 mile range?

    Comment by Mike Myers (674050) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:24 pm

  149. Yes he does. From a company that donated golf carts to the 2004 DNC. Odd, that.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:30 pm

  150. Rob Crawford. i meant that a tax holiday would do nothing for people who didnt have payroll taxes (coz they have no jobs, Tom’s point)to get back from the govt so it’s not a solution for them. Presumably govt spending on things like bridge repair etc would keep people working until the effects of a tax holiday are felt in the economy.

    Comment by EdWood (c2268a) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:33 pm

  151. Any spending is stimulus you partisan divisive political afterthoughts.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:34 pm

  152. As a long-time Conservative Christian/veteran/Bush supporter frisbee golf player,

    You left out the veteran part.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:36 pm

  153. Presumably govt spending on things like bridge repair etc

    There’s that little word again, so problematic. I don’t know of anyone currently out of work that’s going to get a job out of all of this pork – o – rama; it’s going to be ladeled out at the local gov’t level, which will favor entrenched contractors who are already on the taxpayer’s dime. If anyone on Obama’s staff or the congress could actually point to something, anything that would prevent that from happening, then I’m all ears. But they’re all hiding the details, which tells you all you need to know about how many of the unemployed will actually see their current status improve from this bill.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:42 pm

  154. It’s easier to sit in the sidelines and criticize a team doing their best in the field. But it is a different story when that spectator gets into the field and plays the game. Some of this spectators used to be in the field and while there cost the team a lot of goals. Now on the bench they act as though they were better. My message to these former players is, STFU!

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:47 pm

  155. There are so many billions going into general funds, there is no way this crap is going to be spent in ’09 on anything stimulative.

    Not to mention, the measurable goal “to save or create 4 million jobs” is a hoot. Try that, business people. Tell your boss – I want to spend a few million on advertising to stimulate sales, and it will keep us from losing sales on or sell 4 million units. (Current sales are 100 million units) No matter how many you sell, you are right! Massive declines in sales would have been worse. Impossible to prove. In the real world, you’d have to prove the ROI was above the hurdle rate for your cash, and test your advertising to make sure it works.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:48 pm

  156. Lovey, I’m going to have to pay the team that’s going on the field fumbling with (now) $2 TRILLION dollars.

    I think I have a voice in this debate, no matter what the Light-Bearer thinks.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:51 pm

  157. “My message to these former players is, STFU!”

    Heh!

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:53 pm

  158. Well shucks, remember the ancient Buick advertising slogan “Ask the man who owns one?”

    ANCIENT ???

    That was a Packard.

    Comment by MIke K (f89cb3) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:53 pm

  159. I just need a job. Soon.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:55 pm

  160. “which will favor entrenched contractors who are already on the taxpayer’s dime”

    Or if not on the taxpayer’s dime at least have a buddy in local government who has already given them the nod for getting the money.

    There might me more jobs in terms of hiring more workers but yeah, you’re right about who’s gonna get the contracts.

    There were a few stories in at least local news after Katrina about people who invested their money in construction equipment etc. and came in a made their bids for cleanup or rebuilding contracts and got the runaround or etc. until some connected company with either a friend in congress or the state leg. got the contract. It didn’t always happen but it happened plenty.

    Comment by EdWood (c2268a) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:56 pm

  161. “My message to these former players is, STFU!”

    No need to get snippy. Everyone is just trying to help. My message to you is if you can’t improve on silence, don’t say anything at all.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:56 pm

  162. You know, for someone who professes Christianity, Emp sure does have a lot of hate and ad hominem. For someone who professes to believe democracy cannot work if dissenters are shouted down, Emp sure does try to shout down dissenters.

    Physician, heal thyself.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 2:57 pm

  163. What?! This conference committee press conference just mentioned that the final bill will include $450 million for Amtrak that did not appear in either house’s version of the bill. Also, the percentage going to infrastructure is reduced. Text of the final bill will not come out until immediately before the final vote. Total scum, complete disaster.

    Comment by Wesson (3ab0b8) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:00 pm

  164. I think I just got a job – woo hoo!

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:03 pm

  165. There’s nothing Christian at all about it – pious people often use that ruse as a mask that hides their true natures.

    My message to these former players is, STFU!

    And my message to those in severe need of medication is – SHOOT UP!

    It didn’t always happen but it happened plenty.

    My own experience (having grown up and still living in Chicago) has perhaps jaundiced my view on this – but the fact that Mayor Daley will not allow the press (or anyone else) to view the goodies scheduled to come from the gov’t doesn’t pass the smell test. More billions for corruption and crony – capitalism; it won’t help anyone here who’s not already connected. My fine city just made the TOP of Forbe’s Misery Index, which takes into account the amount of taxation that local citizens must suffer – pretty much says it all.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:05 pm

  166. Congrats, Carlitos!

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:06 pm

  167. Yeah, Dmac, that 10 pc sales tax has got to hurt.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:08 pm

  168. How is that possible? Obama co-authored the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. He’s all for transparency!

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:09 pm

  169. Congrats carlitos! – Just shows what clean living and appropriate attitude can do – hopefully job is not with our thin-skinned jug-eared dirty little socialist’s administration. You wouldn’t want to show up all those progressive faux intellectuals and make them feel bad about themselves.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:16 pm

  170. “He’s all for transparency!”

    His background is an open book!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:17 pm

  171. that 10 pc sales tax has got to hurt.

    It hurts the poorest among us the most, of course – couple that with the city’s idiotic intransigence regarding Wal – Mart’s entry into the marketplace here, and you’ve got a double helping of regressive tax and business policies.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:20 pm

  172. Comment by John Hitchcock — 2/11/2009 @ 2:57 pm

    The Bible also says you should not call someone a fool, John.

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:20 pm

  173. The Bible also says you should not call someone a fool, John.

    Comment by Emperor7 — 2/11/2009 @ 3:20 pm

    Alright, you quit spewing hate and ad hominem attacks and quit trying to shout down dissenters and I will quit calling you a fool. (I think I only called you a fool once, but that is beside the point.)

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:27 pm

  174. Oh, Wal-Mart, that store that turned my downtown into a ghost town. I’m not certain what windy is doing with Wal-Mart, but my hometown lost lots of mom-and-pop stores and a couple big-box stores due to Wal-Mart.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:31 pm

  175. thanks guys – no, this is a start up, more details when i can.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:32 pm

  176. Are you a dissenter, John?

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:42 pm

  177. The Bible also says you should not call someone a fool, John.

    But isn’t the commandment against barring false witness more important?

    Just sayin’…

    Comment by Rob Crawford (b5d1c2) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:44 pm

  178. “By this ye shall know them, by their love for one another.”

    I’m not feeling that love, you know.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:46 pm

  179. I love this country and the foundation our forefathers, who were for the most part Christian, set. I hate socialism. Socialism has failed everywhere and every tried. Socialism and big government steal God-given rights from the populace. I am one hundred percent opposed to the massive government socialist state the liberals, including the terrorist-befriending racist-loving POTUS is trying to foist on this country. You tell me, emp, am I a dissenter?

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:46 pm

  180. *everywhere and every time tried.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:48 pm

  181. Oh, Wal-Mart, that store that turned my downtown into a ghost town.

    I don’t like them either, John – but the city’s losing their shirts by not allowing them here. They just set up shot right across from the city’s borders, and siphoned the customers off. The city also acted similarly when Target wanted to build here, and even though everyone agrees that those stores have become an unqualified success, Target won’t build any more stores within the city limits, due to the onerous sales tax. The law of the marketplace is lost in a world of ignorance and dogmatism here.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:48 pm

  182. You tell me, emp, am I a dissenter?

    You can’t argue with a nutcase.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:50 pm

  183. The idea of the government buying underwater mortgages of primary residences is a good one.

    Let the government buy these out, then rent the property out to the previous owner, who then has first dibs to buy the property back at a later date at the sale price plus inflation, provided he or she can qualify for a “real” mortgage from a private lender.

    This helps the real estate market reach a clearing price and doesn’t directly reward excessive risk taking by homebuyers. Another good idea comes from Andy Kessler, who writes in WSJ:

    Mr. Geithner should instead use his “stress test” and nationalize the dead banks via the FDIC — but only for a day or so.

    First, strip out all the toxic assets and put them into a holding tank inside the Treasury. Then inject $300 billion in fresh equity for both Citi and Bank of America. Create 10 billion new shares of each of the companies to replace the old ones. The book value of each share could be $30. Very quickly, a new board of directors should be created and a new management team hired. Here’s the tricky part: Who owns the shares? Politics will kill a nationalized bank. So spin them out immediately.

    Some $6 trillion in income taxes were paid by individuals in 2006, 2007 and 2008. On a pro-forma basis, send out those 10 billion shares of each bank to taxpayers. They paid for the recapitalization.

    Each taxpayer would get about $100 worth of stock for each $1,000 of taxes paid. Of course, each taxpayer has the ability to sell these shares on the open market, maybe at $40, maybe $20, maybe $80. It depends on management, their vision, how much additional capital they are willing to raise, the dividend they declare, etc. Meanwhile, the toxic assets sitting inside the Treasury will have residual value and the proceeds from their eventual sale, I believe, will more than offset the capital injected. That would benefit all citizens, not the managements and shareholders who blew up the banking system in the first place.”

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:50 pm

  184. The bill is a hard turn to the political left, as expected from Obama. He is trying to elicit some token GOP support for his agenda, then call it “bipartisan”, so he can try to pass some of the blame to the GOP if the “stimulus” fails. Since he appears to be making many of the same types of mistakes that Bill Clinton did in his first 2 years in office, I can predict the outcome in 2010 (voter backlash!), unless he really does something brilliant or the GOP somehow totally destroys themselves.

    Comment by Mark Turner (05cc69) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:53 pm

  185. I get a free house that I no longer have to maintain? Woopee!

    I wonder, will I be allowed to do as I please in a government-controlled house? Because with that many houses, there will be an itch in Congress to set behavior standards (such as no smoking).

    Will I be allowed to put religious decorations on my government house at Christmas? It is now government property, so I suspect not.

    Will I be allowed to hold religious services in my house if it’s government-owned? I mean, doesn’t the First Amendment forbid the government from allowing sectarian use?

    It’s a win-win for liberals – a whole new generation of people who see the government as savior and controller of behavior. More sheep for the shearing.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:56 pm

  186. I just wonder if the man of steele will pump money into Specter’s re-election primary or into a Republican’s election primary. I want to see what Steele does about that Democrat masquerading as a Republican.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 3:58 pm

  187. John Hitchcock, the neighborhoods that would benefit most from Wal Marts are already economic ghost towns. Residents are forced to use their food stamps and WIC at ‘food & liquors’ stores, paying onerous prices for the daily bread. Or, they can travel 10 miles to a decent store. Sorry about your downtown. Maybe they should have seen Wal Mart coming and had a plan?

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:01 pm

  188. Rob, pardon me for going slow; i’m trying to figure out what the boundaries on your theory is; I can’t possibly respond to it before i understand it, and right now I don’t understand it.

    It seems as though you are saying that any government spending on some good or service which is available to the public is OK, notwithstanding that some members of the public will benefit more than others. So a twelve-lane freeway running from Nome to Fairbanks would be fine, because anyone could use it if they happened to be in the area? Is that a correct restatement of that part of your views?

    It also seems that you are drawing a distinction between situations where the government buys a good or service, and a situation where the government just gives someone money; the latter would seem to trigger your “I can’t use the money in Joe Blow’s pocket” rule while the former would not.

    But how do you feel about categorical entitlements? That is to say, a situation where any citizen who meets certain criteria can get the money? On the one hand, it seems like that’s treating everyone who meets the given criteria equally; on the other hand, it treats one class of citizens differently based on whether it meets a particular set of criteria, so depending on how you are drawing the borders around your rule, it could be prohibited by your theory. Is it?

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:04 pm

  189. “The idea of the government buying underwater mortgages of primary residences is a good one.

    Let the government buy these out, then rent the property out to the previous owner, who then has first dibs to buy the property back at a later date at the sale price plus inflation, provided he or she can qualify for a “real” mortgage from a private lender.”

    Hax – I’m confused by your terminology because you potentially have two conflicting ideas ideas going on here.

    Mortgages can be underwater but not in default or in foreclosure. The government is cramming down mortgage restructuring on lenders in certain instances without going through bankruptcy or foreclosure of the borrowers.

    I presume those are not the cases you are talking about since you are talking about a change of ownership. Can you clarify?

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:07 pm

  190. yes, the government should not be “cramming down mortgage restructuring” unless the mortgage was written illegally.

    By “underwater” I mean that the outstanding portion of the mortgage is more than the value of the home.

    Once foreclosure has begun, it’s a lot messier for the government to step in.

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:15 pm

  191. Aphrael, a 12-lane freeway? I didn’t realize such a wide freeway was built over that great a distance for such a small population.

    Other than that issue, your discussion seems fair but misguided to an extent. My big question to you is what definition you assign to “entitlements.” Because what the government currently calls “entitlements” isn’t found in the Constitution as per my reading of it. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to just cut people loose to suffer and starve to death.

    Charitable organizations were far stronger when government didn’t have these “entitlement” programs. And charitable organizations make much greater use of each dollar than government. When most of the charitable organizations were faith-based and placed small requirements on people at times, the government stepped in and said “no requirements, do what you want, don’t do what you don’t want, here’s some money.” Many of the charities dried up and much of the sense of individual responsibility of those receiving aid dried up along with them.

    If government phased out these “entitlements,” charities would grow to replace the government and those on “entitlement” money would regain a sense of personal responsibility, and with it, self-worth.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:17 pm

  192. “This bill does not have pork/earmarks” – BObama

    Oh yeah
    Save the harvester mouse in Pelosi’s district!

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:18 pm

  193. The idea of the government buying underwater mortgages of primary residences is a good one.

    Not really, but a similar idea was proposed and enacted during Volcker’s reign, when the S & L crisis was at it’s peak. The government agreed to take the bad loans off the bank’s books (which were primarily real estate) and eventually sold them off at a slight profit, years later. And what is Volcker doing now? He was appointed to a “special advisory position,” where he’s had no contact with Obama or Lindsay during these discussions, and his counsel has not been solicited. Quite a neat job of window dressing.

    Comment by Dmac (49b16c) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:31 pm

  194. John, building such a wide freeway in that location would be a terrible policy decision. But what i’m trying to do is discover if my understanding of Rob’s equal protection-doesn’t-allow-transfer-payments theory is correct, and so I was deliberately picking an obviously bad policy decision to be provocative; if my understanding of his theory is correct, such a bad decision would be constitutional under Rob’s theory, even though it would be dumb.

    My discussion of entitlements serves a similar purpose: I can see internally cohesive arguments under which entitlements based on clearly defined criteria can be consistent with Rob’s theory and I can also see internally cohesive arguments under which they aren’t.

    For what it’s worth, my theory is that state spending is basically unconstrained by the constitution except for where specific constitutional provisions are violated, and that equal protection can’t be used in the way that Rob is trying to use it. But I can’t use the underpinnings of my theory to refute his unless I understand his first, and it’s possible this conversation will go on so long that I get called off on something else anyway. :)

    The efficacy of phazing out entitlements and replacing them with public charity remains an issue of some dispute between liberals and conservatives; but I would note that as far back as the Tudor era, English municipal corporations provided support to members of the community who were unable to do so themselves. (By picking the Tudor era I do not mean to imply that such support started then; I intend to imply merely that I am unfamiliar with the state of such policies before the Tudor era). Given that this is so, I find it extremely unlikely that such people could be supported today without state support; and I think the burden of proof lies with those who claim they can be.

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 4:35 pm

  195. Hacks – I believe you are skipping a fairly important step in all of this. Please explain WHY the government should be buying these upside down or underwater loans. Why should the government get involved in a voluntary consumer transaction like this? Why should the government intervene on the contract between the buyer and the lender?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 5:00 pm

  196. In 2005, bankruptcy law reform made it harder to reform mortgages in bankruptcy to cram them down to the value of the house. Democrats were major sponsors of that reform. Especially Joe Biden, the senator from MBNA.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 2/11/2009 @ 5:02 pm

  197. Aphrael, the reason I said to phase out “entitlements” instead of outright killing them is due to the fact the charitable organizations would not be able to handle the resultant surge as they are now constituted. A phase-out would allow the organizations to grow and would also allow many who are receiving government funds to learn to be self-sustaining. The result would be far fewer people on the dole and a stronger charity foundation. There would be more results, as I enumerated in my previous comment.

    And I’m certain you and I will disagree with what the Constitution allows in regard to governmental spending, even after long-winded debates. But that’s what debate is for, to some extent.

    And, yes, I will join the other conservative commenters in praising your honest debating.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 5:11 pm

  198. You tell me, Emperor, am I a dissenter?

    Comment by John Hitchcock — 2/11/2009 @ 3:46 pm
    You are a rebel. An enemy of the state. And a darned good one. :)

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 5:50 pm

  199. Emp,
    WHEREAS you choose to act like jell-o that everyone is trying to nail to the wall instead of involving yourself in an honest intellectual debate;
    WHEREAS others here have given honest answers to your probing questions, knowing full well you do not intend to ever reciprocate;
    WHEREAS you never give honest answers to others’ questions, probing or not;
    THEREFORE I find you wholly lacking in any value in any intellectual debate here or anywhere else.

    You have been measured and found wanting. I will no longer try to involve you in anything serious. I wash my hands of you.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 5:58 pm

  200. A pox on your house!

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:01 pm

  201. Comment by SPQR — 2/11/2009 @ 5:02 pm

    IIRC, the favored status of home mortgages re Bankruptcy has existed since The Great Depression, and was another government tool to encourage home ownership by granting lenders a special privilege which encouraged them to maintain reduced interest rates.
    If mortgages could be reset by a Bankruptcy Court, the rates would have to be increased to reflect the increased risk to capital.

    Comment by AD (6a3912) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:05 pm

  202. John Hitchcock

    You have been weighed, measured, and found wanting.

    Didn’t Chauacer’s sidekick in A Knight’s Tale say that?

    lovie

    Can I be a rebel and an enemy of the state too?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:10 pm

  203. Comment by John Hitchcock — 2/11/2009 @ 5:58 pm
    You may wash your hands off my life but my blood is still going to stick to your conscience, oh Pilate!

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:11 pm

  204. hehehe.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:11 pm

  205. JD, it depends. would you like a cause to go with your rebellion, or are you more of a james dean fan?

    Comment by aphrael (e0cdc9) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:13 pm

  206. JD, one of the greatest difficulties I have is remembering names. I remember a lot of things, usually paraphrases, but cannot tie those things to names.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:14 pm

  207. We wants to live in a tree on a logging route…

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:15 pm

  208. Can I be a rebel and an enemy of the state too?

    Comment by JD — 2/11/2009 @ 6:10 pm
    You are beyond redemption, JD. Your case is hopeless. The Emperor has handed you over to the guards.
    Emperor (To guards): Take him away and throw him in the worst dungeon. Where he will eat dry bread without water! Till he stops using “Teh” when talking about authority.

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:20 pm

  209. *he

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:21 pm

  210. aphrael – I am more of a Doc Holliday/James Dean kind of rebel.

    Mr. Hitchcock – It was Adhemar in A Knight’s Tale. Actually, I think the quote originated with the Book of Daniel, you godbotherer, though I suspect the original quote was in a different form.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:23 pm

  211. Teh Emperor has no clothes. Ewwwwww

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:24 pm

  212. That’s true, AD, but BAPCPA expanded such to property not covered before. Also prevented people from cramming down automobile loans.

    The credit industry got its money’s worth from Slow Joe.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:26 pm

  213. The quote is a mixture of Daniel and Pilate. JD, you will not be missed. By the time you come out, you will have the letter “B” carved on your face-by you. As a mark of total subjugation. The Emperor has spoken. (“Teh”. Hehe.) All dissenters will be eaten by alligators.

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:30 pm

  214. lovie – Can I just skip the cutting and the subjugation and just jump in with the gators?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:33 pm

  215. Hehehe. I was imagining more of Northwestern scene. Big tall trees in a forest.

    I’ve actually been on a logging truck up in northeastern Washington State. Interesting.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:35 pm

  216. Kind of like this, Tlove?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:43 pm

  217. Exactly, except they go logging at like 2am.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:47 pm

  218. Comment by JD — 2/11/2009 @ 6:33 pm
    Aaaarrghh! He is insufferable! Take him away! No, let the alligators have him! I will not miss such annoying words like “Racist”, “Douche-bag” “Mendacious” and “Teh”. Never again.

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:48 pm

  219. Don’t forget asshat, you mendoucheous twatwaffle.

    Tlove – Nothing quite like late-night hogging. I mean, logging. Never mind.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 6:53 pm

  220. Comment by JD — 2/11/2009 @ 6:53 pm
    Yeah. That too. It got to a point that once i read a comment and see words like “twatwaffle”, “asshat”, “Mendoucheous”, without looking at the “comment by” part, I would immediately know who it was. It’s becoming a trademark, JD.

    Tlove – Nothing quite like late-night hogging. I mean, logging. Never mind.
    You were right the first time. ;)

    Comment by Emperor7 (1b037c) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:05 pm

  221. The government already is in the mortgage business as a regulator.

    Buying them or, as JD styles it “interfering” in the contract, is an extension of that, warranted by the collapse of the market.

    There is indeed moral hazard, just as there is in paying a policeman to do his job or a soldier to do his…

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (8cb4c3) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:08 pm

  222. That’s not what is meant by “moral hazard”, Hack. Yet another concept in economics that goes over your head completely.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:09 pm

  223. By “underwater” I mean that the outstanding portion of the mortgage is more than the value of the home.

    No, the owner should keep paying until prices rise again and he can then sell or whatever. Now you want the government to guarantee market price?! No way–unless the taxpayers get a lien on the property when the value exceeds the balance of the mortgage.

    Comment by Patricia (89cb84) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:14 pm

  224. sorry SPQR, you don’t get to say what I mean, I do.

    There is moral hazard in police work, just as there is in government guarantees of credit.

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (f3bcff) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:28 pm

  225. “Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk.”

    Police are shielded from the risk of prosecution for using violence. We allow that because there’s no other way to effectively enforce laws. Some cops fall into the hazards and abuse their power, just as some financial actors use their protection from risk to engage in risky behavior.

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (f3bcff) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:32 pm

  226. Police also create moral hazard.

    If I know police will help apprehend a thief, I won’t take as much care to secure my belongings. If I’m somewhere where I know the cops won’t help me, I take much less risk with my person and my property.

    That’s moral hazard in action.

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:34 pm

  227. sorry SPQR, you don’t get to say what I mean, I do.

    That’s very true, but saying what you mean would work a lot better if you were to get your facts straight on occasion.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:37 pm

  228. “just as some financial actors use their protection from risk to engage in risky behavior.”

    Hax – Such as home buyers with low down payment loans.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:38 pm

  229. #193 aphrael:

    such a bad decision would be constitutional under Rob’s theory, even though it would be dumb.

    Indeed, which is why the make up of the House (who has the power to levy the taxes required) is of “Representatives,” who were presumed to be more in touch with their relatively fewer number of constituents they were to be accountable to. (Their terms are also structured to make them more responsive to their constituency as well.)

    It may be that Congress has grown too large to be accountable in the manner foreseen by the drafters of the Constitution~a committee of 535 isn’t exactly responsive to anything, let alone the loss of a single seat now and then.

    my theory is that state spending is basically unconstrained by the constitution except for where specific constitutional provisions are violated, and that equal protection can’t be used in the way that Rob is trying to use it.

    I think that you are misreading the General Welfare clause, which like several other clauses is a term of art: And I think Rob Crawford’s reading is more correct. Spending for the general welfare is constitutional only in the specific instance where there is a good for the general population, of which transfer payments are a good example of what not to do.

    I’ll also note that this is an area of differing opinion, and that the interpretation has changed over time.

    Comment by EW1(SG) (e27928) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:40 pm

  230. exactly, daleyrocks.

    the moral hazard question is always one of balance.

    what powers are we willing to give police?

    Torture? Probably not. But we don’t want cops going into drug busts with pocket knives either. We want them well-armed adn we don’t want them to worry that they’ll be hauled up for murder if they have to shoot someone.

    These are the compromises we make for civilization.

    Same goes with government intervention in the economy.

    The focus needs to be on how much is effective. If the discussion is stuck on whether the govt has a moral right to collect taxes, it goes nowhere…

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:42 pm

  231. #216 Tlove:

    Exactly, except they go logging at like 2am.

    Nightowling.

    The fire danger is lower at that time of day in the summer.

    Comment by EW1(SG) (e27928) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:44 pm

  232. Sorry, aphrael, been away:

    But how do you feel about categorical entitlements? That is to say, a situation where any citizen who meets certain criteria can get the money?

    It’s not the government’s role to move money from person A to person B for the benefit of person B, no matter what the circumstances. It’s corrupting, it’s immoral. It’s confiscation of person A’s labor — the limited time he has to live — for the benefit of someone else.

    You want to help someone in need? Give to charity. Don’t steal from my pocket, pass it to someone else, and act as if you’re doing a good deed.

    And even when the government spending is for infrastructure, the government has a responsibility to spend effectively. Your mega-highway example is a waste, and is immoral.

    Now understand I’m arguing from the ideals; I understand it’ll never come to pass. But I don’t see how anyone can justify the massively corrupt theft from people who live their lives honestly for the benefit of politicians and their hangers-on that’s masquerading as a “stimulus” bill.

    Toss in bits of information like the medical rationing board that will allow federal bureaucrats to decide who gets medical treatment and who doesn’t, and I can’t see how anyone can support this thing.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (b5d1c2) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:44 pm

  233. Hacks – I know it comes as aboslutely no surprise to anyone, but you continue to completely avoid the question of why the government should be doing what you suggest. If I took out a loan and did not bother to factor in future market swings, or the cost of the ARM when it comes due, why should actual taxpayers money protect me from my poor decision?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:45 pm

  234. “exactly, daleyrocks.”

    Hax – Which is one reason banks would get a capital hit for low down payment loans unless they carried mortgage insurance or some other form of credit enhancement, or they could offload them to suckers in the secondary markets.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:54 pm

  235. JD, i clearly answered your question once. The government regulates the mortgage business and as an extension of that it must maintain a minimum level of stability in the real estate market.

    We can have a useful debate about what that minimum level is and an even more useful one about the best way of achieving that. But it’s really a waste of time to debate over why the government has an interest in preventing an economic collapse.

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:55 pm

  236. The efficacy of phazing out entitlements and replacing them with public charity remains an issue of some dispute between liberals and conservatives; but I would note that as far back as the Tudor era, English municipal corporations provided support to members of the community who were unable to do so themselves. (By picking the Tudor era I do not mean to imply that such support started then; I intend to imply merely that I am unfamiliar with the state of such policies before the Tudor era).

    Rome had the policy of distributing free grain to essentially everyone who lived in the city of Rome. It was a vote-buying scheme at its root, but in a generation or two the population was so dependent on it it was impossible for anyone — even the emperors — to touch the grain subsidy.

    The Romans “needed” charity because the government supported the massive importation of cheaper unskilled labor that forced the Roman citizens — who expected a certain standard of living and certain rights — out of their jobs.

    I have no objections to state and local governments providing a safety net — they can better determine what’s needed, are more responsive to the voters, and can compete with one another for the right balance between services and burden on taxpayers.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (b5d1c2) — 2/11/2009 @ 7:58 pm

  237. The government regulates the mortgage business…

    Yep — and does things like requiring lenders to lend to people who can’t afford to repay at rates too low to cover the risk of forfeiture.

    Comment by Rob Crawford (b5d1c2) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:02 pm

  238. And refusing to allow states to enact laws to stop predatory lending.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:04 pm

  239. By that logic, Hax, the government should not let anyone anywhere fail at anything, because government regulates everything. I guess it does make it inconvenient for you to have to explain why the government should save people from their own voluntary and free decisions. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Let’s bend over backwards and spend trillions of dollars to save the people that made bad decisions. All of those people that made good decisions can help pay for the bad ones. The people that were responsible, did not live beyond their means, and did not take outridiculous mortgages are the ones that are really getting waxed in all this.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:06 pm

  240. JD – We could make new Gerry Ford “WIN” type buttons.

    Whip Insanity Now

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:09 pm

  241. “There is indeed moral hazard, just as there is in paying a policeman to do his job or a soldier to do his…”

    Hax,

    Not sure that is exactly moral hazard. I don’t think Cops or Soldiers are taking bad risks in order to collect their life insurance policies.

    Maybe I am missing some nuance.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:11 pm

  242. Hack, #223 & #224 – it was pretty hilarious to see you try to create a reinterpretation of your own incoherent remarks to try to pretend you understood the term “moral hazard” after all.

    You fooled no one but yourself.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:13 pm

  243. Moral Hazard,

    Letting some insurer a car for $50,000 when it is worth $10,000.

    Lending someone 110% value of a home with a no-doc loan.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:13 pm

  244. someone insure…. ack.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:15 pm

  245. JD: If I make the poor decision not to lock my bicycle, should it be the government’s responsibility to track down the thief?

    or…if I let my daughter walk home from school unescorted and she’s kidnapped, should I expect a SWAT team to help take out the kidnapper?

    Part of what government does is protect us from disaster.

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:22 pm

  246. Who stole from the homeowner that chose to use a no down payment loan? Who stole from the homeowner that chose and ARM? Who stole from the homeowner that paid more than their home is worth?

    By your analogy, the governmeent should not be tracking down the thief, they should be buying you a new bike, or paying the ransom.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:29 pm

  247. #244, I think the discussion is about giving people the incentive to do bad things by giving them an “upside” to their bad behavior.

    Your two examples make no sense since you present no upside.

    What is your point exactly? Government should help folks who have unfortunate conditions of chance? Sure, I think most agree it is something we want in society.

    The big problem is Gov.t does a horrible job of segregating those who have unfortunate conditions of CHANCE versus CHOICE.

    In addition, Govt frequently politicizes these decisions like helping poor blacks moreso than poor asians.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:29 pm

  248. Hey JD, are you going incognito as JB and attacking?

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:30 pm

  249. Is that really how liberals see people who took out unwise mortgages? As crime victims?

    Look, I got upset at people when they got haughty about the victims of the Enron criminals. “You’re responsible for your investments, it’s your own fault if you don’t monitor them, yada yada yada.” All of which ignores the fact that the Enron heads were criminals, and the stockholders were victims.

    People who took out unwise mortgages are not victims.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:34 pm

  250. Predatory Lending is not something made up by liberals. Many very red states tried to pass laws to outlaw what was a real problem in the 2000-2005 period. Not everyone who took out an unwise mortgage was a victim, but enough were for so many states to try to pass legislation outlawing the practice.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:37 pm

  251. Hey JD, are you going incognito as JB and attacking?

    No, he is not.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:38 pm

  252. Predatory Lending is not something made up by liberals. Many very red states tried to pass laws to outlaw what was a real problem in the 2000-2005 period. Not everyone who took out an unwise mortgage was a victim, but enough were for so many states to try to pass legislation outlawing the practice.

    TLove,

    If the lender committed crimes in the loan, then the borrower is a victim.

    If the lender didn’t, and the borrower simply made an unwise loan on the assumption that home prices would keep going up — the borrower is not a victim.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:40 pm

  253. This is true Patterico. And I was only kidding about JB. I think JD has a secret crush on me, radical liberalism and all. ;)

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:43 pm

  254. I didn’t know it was secret.

    Comment by Patterico (cc3b34) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:45 pm

  255. TLove – Why does it matter whether the state was red or blue if predatory lending was actually going on? How much was actually going on?

    It seems the emphasis from Washington is more on keeping people in their homes, which is laudable, but pointing the finger at the lender as the primary cause of payment difficulties as opposed to the borrower.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:47 pm

  256. No, Tlover, as Patterico said, that is not me.. If I attack someone, I have the stones to do it under my name. People have posted some pretty vile stuff posing as me before. I am not JB. No clue who that is.

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:49 pm

  257. TLove – You should have seen JD free balling it under a kilt outside in Chicago last month. Truly a man’s man. Grrrrr!

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:50 pm

  258. Rob, at 231: I think you’re arguing that the government should not engage in such payments.

    What i’m asking is, does a government commitment to pay every citizen $x if they meet criteria y deny citizens equal protection of the laws?

    I think you are going to say yes, so I’ll ask the next question: how does the government conferring a benefit to everyone who meets some criteria differ from the government punishing everyone who meets some criteria?

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:50 pm

  259. Because if the states which tried to pass anti-predatory lending laws were all blue, your friends here would be screaming about how the whole thing was invented by the socialist democrats in the legislature who were trying to interfere with private business.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:50 pm

  260. TLove,

    Predatory lending implies somehow the banks where targeting their prey.

    I hate to say but the prey was walking into their offices and more than happy to do no-doc loans with teaser rates at 110% of value.

    I would say some thoughts should go into states generating and advocating STANDARD credit card and mortgage contracts to eliminate some of the naughtiness the lawyers engage in on Page 65 of a mortgage document.

    These contracts have a few basic economic mechanisms which can be bilaterally negotiated while preserving the integrity of the transaction, protecting both parties and lessening the legal fees.

    Financial markets have something similar with Exchange Traded instruments versus OTC.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:51 pm

  261. JD asserts: “By your analogy, the governmeent should not be tracking down the thief, they should be buying you a new bike, or paying the ransom.”

    No, by my analogy, the government should be doing both.

    And there is a positive incentive or “upside” to not taking security precautions. If I know I can rely on police to keep my bicycle safe, I don’t have to buy, carry or use a lock.
    If I know I can rely on police to escort my daughter home from school, or keep her safe anyway, I don’t have take time off work to do it myself.

    We can discuss whether the government’s plan to help stabilize the housing market is going to work, or what’s the best way for it to work, but it’s a little silly to argue over whether the public has an interest in achieving stability.

    Wasn’t it Reagan who asked, Why do we need the Federal Reserve? (not sure he actually said that, but people say he did, and it’s a question anti-government absolutists need to ask themselves.)

    Comment by Hax Vobiscum (23258e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:51 pm

  262. Hehehe. A kilt, eh? I’d say that’s hot, except under the circumstances it was quite the opposite…

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:52 pm

  263. I’m kind of surprised you guys don’t really know much about the predatory lending issues. It was a real problem, with lenders cold-calling the elderly and the uneducated poor and lying about the types of loans and loan terms.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:54 pm

  264. EW1(SG):

    (1) I actually think the problem is that we need more representatives, not fewer; I don’t think a representative who represents 600,000 people is capable of representing them in any meaningful fashion.

    (2) Certainly the General Welfare clause is a term of art. But, as I said before, a rule like the one you put forth – that Congress must be able to demonstrate that the spending actually is for the general welfare rather than just claiming it – would render spending decisions out of the hand of the legislature and into the hand of the judiciary; it would require the Supreme Court to sit in judgement on all Congressional spending, and weigh for itself whether the spending is actually justified. The Supreme Court has declined to do so; except in certain fairly well circumscribed cases, it defers to Congress on the issue.

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:54 pm

  265. “but it’s a little silly to argue over whether the public has an interest in achieving stability”

    Actually you are wrong. Pre-crash the spike in housing pricing was devastating young people. Home ownership was becoming unaffordable and those who jumped in any way are no doing badly.

    Fact is, it is better for younger, poorer consumers that you let the market run down prices in order to make homes more affordable and …..

    …. on a macro level better allocate capital across the economy since housing investment in and of itself is a depreciating asset. Better than 100K house improvement loan go to a Venture Capital outfit funding cancer research.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:57 pm

  266. John Hitchock, at 196: I think you’re on to something; the extent of what the Constitution allows in government spending is something on which reasonable people can disagree, and I think discussing the reason for our agreements can be illuminating. :)

    I agree that if we’re going to get rid of entitlements, they should be phazed out rather than being cut off cold turkey. But in my mind that qualifies as a “less bad” option rather than a “good” option. :)

    My point in bringing up the Tudors was that we (and our English ancestors) have been providing state charity for half a millenium at least; that makes me extremely suspicious of claims that, in the absence of state charity, the private sector will provide it. (Which is a quite different claim than the claim that the private sector can absorb a reduction in state charity).

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:58 pm

  267. Rob, I have no objections to state and local governments providing a safety net

    then I take it that state and local government welfare payments do not, in your mind, deprive the citizens of the state/locality of equal protection of the laws? Or would you say they do violate equal protection but in this case it is OK to do so?

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:59 pm

  268. TLove,

    I am sure it happened but order of magnitude …. come now.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 8:59 pm

  269. Look it up dear!

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:00 pm

  270. #264 wrong in the sense you let the market figure out stable and not the gov.t My apologies.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:01 pm

  271. [...] A further note: the $150 billion being spent on infrastructure projects will supposedly, according to Federal Highway Administration estimates on job creation from infrastructure spending, create 3.5 to 5 million new jobs. I don’t know if I fully trust those estimates, but even if I do, there are some things to consider – what kind of jobs are really going to be created? Jobs that can sustain a household, or $8 an hour jobs that can be held up as progress? Or are they going to be pork barrel jobs like the $300 million slated for so-called “green vehicles” that just happen to be exclusively produced by a North Dakota plant? [...]

    Pingback by The $13 a week tax break we’re supposed to be thrilled about « Wellsy’s World (4797e5) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:03 pm

  272. TLove,

    Look up what?

    How many real predatory loans where made?

    I am sure that number does not exist but I could be wrong …..

    Is there some “guesstimate” out there maybe?

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:03 pm

  273. Patterico, at 248: I don’t think so.

    I think that most liberals will say that those – and there were some – who were enticed into bad mortgages with no understanding of what they were doing, and were led down the primrose path by corrupt mortgage brokers, etc, were victims, but that another set of people were willing fools.

    I’m sort of torn on the issue of what to do with the failing mortgages, to be honest. I mean, I have very little – surprisingly little – sympathy; I was in a position early this decade where I could have qualified for a no money down, interest only, ARM loan for housing in the bay area; and I declined to do it because it was obvious that doing it was insane. If I could see it, these people could have, too.

    And yet, I think this might be a situation where the cumulative effect of all of the failed mortgages is so bad for everyone that, despite my lack of sympathy for the fools, something ought to be done.

    And I have a great deal of sympathy for the people in the following situations:

    * their property values have collapsed because of foreclosures around them, and they need to move for some unrelated reason;
    * their HOA dues have gone through the roof due to foreclosures in their HOA and the resultant redistribution of costs;
    * their neighborhoods are deteriorating because foreclosed properties are not being properly maintained.

    Those people are victims.

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:04 pm

  274. I’m not your personal research associate. If you care to educate yourself on the issue, look it up. If not, then don’t.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:06 pm

  275. “I’m kind of surprised you guys don’t really know much about the predatory lending issues.”

    TLove – I think it’s more a healthy degree of scepticism. The horror stories about the elderly losing homes make the newspapers all the time. With all the disclosure required in loan document the question becomes for a lot of people was the contract entered into willingly and why didn’t the borrower read the terms. If the borrower didn’t understand the terms, why didn’t they have someone explain they trust explain the terms to them.

    It comes down to peotecting people against their own stupidity. It’s great if you can do it, but being stupid is not illegal on its face, otherwise we wouldn’t have so many Democrats.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:07 pm

  276. JD, at 245: I will grant you that no theft occurred.

    But it seems to me that there is an ethical requirement, when helping somebody negotiate a financial instrument, to make sure they understand it. It’s pretty clear that a lot of the people who made these moronic borrowing decisions didn’t understand what they were doing. Brokers who were allegedly working for those people instead took advantage of their ignorance to make money off of them; if it wasn’t illegal, it should have been.

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:08 pm

  277. TLove, you made a statement is was a big deal.

    I said not really.

    You then said look it up and I am not your “personal research associate” either.

    But if you care to read … advocacy piece but something ….

    http://www.selegal.org/Cost%20of%20Predatory%20Lending.pdf

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:08 pm

  278. Daleyrocks, If the borrower didn’t understand the terms, why didn’t they have someone explain they trust explain the terms to them

    At some level I think the lender has a responsibility to make sure that the person borrowing understands the terms.

    Comment by aphrael (9e8ccd) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:09 pm

  279. I have read a lot about this issue. Thanks though.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:10 pm

  280. I remember a story about a famous Tennessee woodsman-turned-congressman back in the 19th century. There was a flood in Tennessee and the congress was going to vote to spend money to help out the citizens of Tennessee. This woodsman-statesman didn’t add this vote to the ledger, someone from a different state did. He said it was unconstitutional use of federal money and the bill (or amendment to a bill) failed. Boone and Crocket come to mind but I’m terrible with names.

    I’m unaware of any “entitlement” package in federal budgets prior to the 1930s, but there may have been.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:12 pm

  281. TLove,

    Um, ya, then you know the economic cost is actually very small in comparison to the total amount of money that goes into mortgage lending.

    So to quote my frem daleyrocks, “I think it’s more a healthy degree of scepticism.”

    Frankly I prefer hypothesis, data, analysis more so than hypothesis, anecdotal evidence and PR releases.

    One predatory loan is too much IMHO but hardly a major issue in the mortgage market. Borrowers were very complicit in 2002 – 2006.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:15 pm

  282. Again, I urge you to do some research. Or else you can just accuse me of referencing anecdotal evidence and PR releases. Whatever. I don’t feel any great need to convince you of anything.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:19 pm

  283. “At some level I think the lender has a responsibility to make sure that the person borrowing understands the terms.”

    aphrael – Apart from getting the borrower to acknowledge and affirm that they have read and understood the terms of the loan and various disclosures related to it by signing the various documents, how do you propose enforcing that. I’m not disagreeing, just having trouble seeing practical solutions.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:23 pm

  284. TLove,

    I understand your position. I use banks all the time and they sure are sneaky little bastards.

    I actually have a doc on a LOC forged with my name to justify $2,000 in fees as opposed to the normal $250.

    I have also had banks up rates at Closing without notifying me.

    But it seems you would like me/us to think it a major problem but it really isn’t. It probably represent less than 0.1% of all loans made.

    And frankly at the end of the day, I/US/WE took the money and “enriched ourselves” through its use so ………………

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:26 pm

  285. Whatever.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:27 pm

  286. Daleyrocks,

    To your point, forcing an individual to “understand” the loan terms when they want the keys to the house or the car is ridiculous. Too late.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:28 pm

  287. #284, Great. A tour de force of thought and reason.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:30 pm

  288. I just don’t care enough about whether or not you know the facts or believe me. I realize that’s rare around here, since everyone crams their views down everyone else’s throats, but I’m not like that. Sorry if that is frustrating you and making you want to attack me. =)

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:32 pm

  289. #287, I do believe you that it happens. It is a problem.

    I just don’t think it is a big problem however and the numbers on mortgage volumes support that.

    If that passes for attacking you and being frustrated ….. good dear god.

    Take good care of yourself.

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:39 pm

  290. Ah, much like that was not an attack.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:41 pm

  291. #289, if by attack you mean condescending then refer to #268 which began this tit-for-tat dialogue.

    But attack? Hmmm attack …..

    transitive verb
    1 : to set upon or work against forcefully
    2 : to assail with unfriendly or bitter words
    3 : to begin to affect or to act on injuriously
    4 : to set to work on
    5 : to threaten (a piece in chess) with immediate capture

    ** this reminds me of the meaning of grow dialogue

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:51 pm

  292. Hehehehe.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:53 pm

  293. he he indeed.

    l
    i
    g
    h
    t
    w
    e
    i
    g
    h
    t
    t
    w
    o

    Comment by Obama über alles!!!!! (48dd5e) — 2/11/2009 @ 9:56 pm

  294. Please ask President Obama to end homelessness in the U.S. period (like President Lincoln ended slavery), at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    Comment by Ruben (12d5b9) — 2/12/2009 @ 3:56 am

  295. At some level I think the lender has a responsibility to make sure that the person borrowing understands the terms.

    Have you ever taken out a mortgage? I swear, three quarters of the documents you sign are intended to make sure you’re aware of the terms of the loan, that the terms were described to you to your satisfaction, that you understood that signing this document means you understood what was said in those documents that made sure you read that document…

    You’re allowed — encouraged — to take a lawyer to a closing.

    The fact is, lenders are required to jump through hoops to make sure the borrower understands what they’re getting into. But everything they do doesn’t guarantee it. I have no doubt that the people screeching about “I DIDN’T KNOW” signed a form saying they understood what an “adjustable rate” meant, and how it applied to their mortgage.

    As for transfer payments — they’re wrong. They’re corrupting. They’re the root of what goes wrong with every government, ever. Idiot voters realize they can give power to politicians who promise them endless golden times, and then keep putting those people back into power when the politicians “deliver” by robbing the productive. Eventually either the burden becomes too great and the productive simply cannot handle the demand, or the parasitic costs of entitlements prevent the society from weathering an event that would have been bad, but survivable, otherwise.

    The moral case against transfer payments is impeccable. There is a marginal practical case for them, but I think we’re seeing the joyous results of believing that everyone’s entitled to comfort and luxury without requiring any effort. Fer crissake, we have politicians referring to access to television as a “lifeline”!

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/12/2009 @ 7:52 am

  296. Patterico nails it. 90% of people who complain to me that they got “taken” by a mortgage lender or mortgage broker knew that they were lying on the application.

    Of those who claim that they got a variable rate loan when they thought they were getting a fixed, each and every one of them will fax me the mortgage docs, and the first page will have in bold large type “VARIABLE RATE” with their signature on the bottom.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/12/2009 @ 7:57 am

  297. Rob and SPQR – Being stupid is not against the law. There are a lot of financial products out there that are not the best deals in the world for consumers, loans, investments, insurance. One school of thought was that disclosure was the best way to make sure consumers entered the transactions with their eyes wide open. Others, such our patchouli-smelling socialist friend TLove, would prefer to regulate certain products out of existence and deprive consumers of freedom of choice.

    I’m a sceptic. If you don’t understand something, don’t sign it. Am I going too fast for you liberals?

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:05 am

  298. You are going waaaaay too fast for almost all of my clients, daleyrocks.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:07 am

  299. SPQR – Hopefully you make sure your clients can sign checks before you accept them, or is that against the canons?

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:10 am

  300. Don’t say anything negative toward TLove. She’ll automatically accuse you of being mean. And don’t bother showing her facts, either. She doesn’t want to play those silly games. She told me so.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:15 am

  301. Predatory lending was a huge problem in Chicago’s South side and South suburbs. In many cases, it was out-and-out fraud, where people had their homes sold without even knowing it. That is different from variable-rate, 0% down, interest-only, and all of of the other stuff, in which case the borrowers were complicit, but still largely ignorant of what they were doing. If you aren’t financially literate, you don’t know what ‘variable rate’ means, just that the mortgage guy who’s getting you into a shiny new house says to sign all this stuff.

    There is one case I can think of, “Beck’s Corner” in Ford Heights, IL, the town had a street full of new homes built, helped people get into ownership, and all but one of them lost their homes (maybe even the one at this point). Such is the problem with borderline home buyers – they didn’t know to pay property taxes, they couldn’t quite make mortage payments, they weren’t ready when rates adjusted, etc. The confluence of mortgage brokers, builders, and city government eager to build a tax base put all of these people into homes that they couldn’t afford to own, let alone maintain and pay taxes. So a street full of homes sits vacant, or worse, criminal squatters move in.

    There are also unscrupulous buyers – Many more homes are about to go belly up in the South Suburbs, where towns got new buyers in with incentives like 6 or 12 months “no payments” – many people moved in, never paid a dime, and then took another 6 or 12 months “free” before eviction, trashing the homes along the way. Defaulting on property taxes as well, naturally.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:21 am

  302. It’s pretty clear that a lot of the people who made these moronic borrowing decisions didn’t understand what they were doing.

    A lot of people in America lack the intellect to understand what they are doing. The people you mention are, logically, morons.

    Comment by Subotai (940564) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:25 am

  303. “Such is the problem with borderline home buyers – they didn’t know to pay property taxes, they couldn’t quite make mortage payments, they weren’t ready when rates adjusted, etc.”

    carlitos – Would you call these situations predatory lending? I thought a lot of effort went into trying to educate home buyers such as these. Escrow accounts are also typically part of deal for property taxes if you put less than 20% down, eliminating that problem.

    The scam you mentioned in your first paragraph is an entirely different animal.

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:28 am

  304. Clayton nails it with his piece.

    He describes the stimulus plan as an animal sacrifice designed to ensure that the sun rises.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/12/2009 @ 8:47 am

  305. Pablo: (Paraphrasing here) “Tesla, Tesla, Tesla! Etc..”

    I love the Tesla Roadster. It is a thing of beauty. So expensive though, but it is the high performance cars that really make the first tech breakthroughs and this is no different. I really do hope they get a big fat chunk of change from the stimulus to make their advanced battery technology more affordable. But it’s the everyday practical cars that make the advancements in, everyday practical situations. Imagine a real partnership, between Tesla and GEM or GM or Ford. I think what we need is to not get lulled back into the charm of gas vehicles and for someone to make the aughts or twenty-teens version of the K car. Something compact sensible, well made, durable, w/ good trunk space and room to seat 5 comfortably leveraging a Tesla Roadster technology derived engine and people who buy those sort of cars should get a nice big fat tax break and even maybe an outright grant. Say what you will about the K-car. It wasn’t beautiful and it wasn’t luxurious, but it got Chrysler out of debt. They were able to pay off their $2 Billion dollar loan to the govt w/interest and profit (!) and it saved a lot of American jobs and prestige. My family bought a used k-car in the early 80′s, when I was a kid, it wasn’t the sexiest thing on the road, but as a hard-working, working class union family we wanted to support other working class union people and being Italian, Lee Iacocca was a hero to us and obviously a very shrewd and competent person who inspired trust. Where are the Lee Iacocca’s when you need them? Obama should make him automobile czar or something.

    Anyhow, yeah, let’s see some intelligent alternative energy stuff begin to happen with people willing to put their ass on the line for a product like Iacocca, did.

    But, this is the age of pathetic men who hide behind lawyers and spin who confuse the issues all they can to hide their incompetence and duplicity.

    That’s all for today. C ya.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:36 am

  306. carlitos – Would you call these situations predatory lending? I thought a lot of effort went into trying to educate home buyers such as these. Escrow accounts are also typically part of deal for property taxes if you put less than 20% down, eliminating that problem.

    No, I wouldn’t call it predatory lending, just what happens when you push the envelope to get home ownership to record levels. Bush is as much to blame as anyone taking credit for the ‘ownership society’ as much as he did, while not solving Fannie / Freddie’s problems. In Cook County, in certain ZIP codes where lots of problems occurred, they mandated a freaking finance seminar before they allowed folks to re-finance. Talk about government handholding.

    There really is nothing you can do; some people just don’t have their shit together. They will have financial problems, no matter what the situation.

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:41 am

  307. Comment by Peter — 2/12/2009 @ 9:36 am

    One of the few intelligent, common-sense comments uttered by Peter.

    Comment by AD (a9d46b) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:43 am

  308. That was a different Peter.

    Comment by JD (3d2fbd) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:46 am

  309. John Hitchcock, don’t be an idiot. If you read this thread at all you would see that I actually have the facts, whereas OUA simply references one PR piece. He has not done any research on the topic, whereas I have. I simply said that I would not provide him with the research, and that if he wanted to learn about it to go ahead.

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:47 am

  310. You are going waaaaay too fast for almost all of my clients, daleyrocks.

    Comment by SPQR — 2/12/2009 @ 8:07 am

    Hey SPQR, could you be anymore of a condescending pri*k to your own clients? Maybe if you think they’re so stupid and beneath you, you shouldn’t take their money and pretend to sympathize or help with their situation like a two-faced jerk. But money is money isn’t it? and that makes you the textbook definition of sleazy whore.

    It’s okay though, your on the Right or a libertarian and all the objective realist literature and Right wing free-market agitprop makes it okay for you to feel so high and mighty. Truly a man who rides above the herd, I’m sure.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:49 am

  311. *yawn*

    Comment by TLove (012115) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:49 am

  312. JD: That was a different Peter.

    STFU. Same Peter. Dork.

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:49 am

  313. There is the Peter we know and love.

    Comment by JD (3d2fbd) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:50 am

  314. Comment by JD — 2/12/2009 @ 9:46 am

    Well, the “moronic” Peter should send a Valentine’s Day card to the “astute” Peter for bringing credit to him in a way that his own writings never could.

    Comment by AD (a9d46b) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:51 am

  315. I can’t think of anything funnier than being called names by someone with the reputation for classlessness, general incompetence and cluelessness of Peter.

    Comment by SPQR (72771e) — 2/12/2009 @ 9:59 am

  316. I love the Tesla Roadster. It is a thing of beauty. So expensive though, but it is the high performance cars that really make the first tech breakthroughs and this is no different.

    They’ve got plans on the board to build a more modest sedan with an approximately $30K price tag. And as you mention, new technology is usually prohibitively expensive. The early cell phones, DVD players, flat screen TV’s and countless other examples were all priced way out of range for the average Joe. I drove by a place yesterday advertising a DVD player for $19.99. The market works.

    But $30k for a car that runs 200 miles on a $4 charge, and drives like a real car? Sign me up.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/12/2009 @ 10:03 am

  317. “But, this is the age of pathetic men who hide behind lawyers and spin who confuse the issues all they can to hide their incompetence and duplicity.”

    Peter – Sounds exactly like ACORN!

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/12/2009 @ 10:12 am

  318. That’s all for today. C ya.
    Comment by Peter — 2/12/2009 @ 9:36 am

    blah blah blah something
    Comment by Peter — 2/12/2009 @ 9:49 am

    Off to the crucial work!

    Comment by carlitos (599c37) — 2/12/2009 @ 10:15 am

  319. “Off to the crucial work!”

    Gotta stake out my street corner!

    Comment by daleyrocks (5d22c0) — 2/12/2009 @ 10:25 am

  320. They’ve got plans on the board to build a more modest sedan with an approximately $30K price tag.

    Wow. Pretty cool. But I hope the license the technology out as well, especially to the American auto makers (or the foreign Co.s manufacturing here).

    Comment by Peter (e70d1c) — 2/12/2009 @ 10:34 am

  321. They’ve got a lot going on. They’ve got a partnership with Daimler on an electric version of the Smart Car. They expect to hit profitability this year, which is pretty amazing in this automotive climate. They also seem to be expecting some loans from the ATVM program for production facilities. That will be a responsible use of public funds. $300MM worth of golf carts? Not so much.

    Comment by Pablo (99243e) — 2/12/2009 @ 11:20 am

  322. But, this is the age of pathetic men who hide behind lawyers and spin who confuse the issues all they can to hide their incompetence and duplicity.

    But enough about the Obama administration…

    Comment by Rob Crawford (04f50f) — 2/12/2009 @ 12:49 pm

  323. Judd Gregg withdraws!

    Fox News just reported Gregg withdrew from SecCom! (my blog, some info, no links)

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:27 pm

  324. But enough about the Obama administration…

    …which current news reports say that Judd Gregg has decided NOT to join.

    Comment by AD (d5182a) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:28 pm

  325. Yay for Gregg.

    He sees through the empty suit.

    Why are Snowe, Collins, and Specter still enamored?

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:29 pm

  326. You think Sen. Gregg figured it out when Barackay yanked the Census Bureau from the Dept. of Commerce?

    Comment by JD (c6800b) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:32 pm

  327. I think he realized he’d be the Hillary Clinton of the right – shuffled off to a non-entity position. We’d never hear from him again, and losing the census to the White House meant that his job would be just a figurehead of political comity.

    Comment by steve miller (3381bc) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:39 pm

  328. Why are Snowe, Collins, and Specter still enamored?

    Could it have something to do with a collective IQ approaching room-temp?

    Comment by AD (d5182a) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:40 pm

  329. Gregg listed irreconcilable differences with “stimulus” and census as his major reasons for withdrawing.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:48 pm

  330. Judd Gregg can go to New Hampshire in 2010 and let everyone know that, while he stood fully against the “stimulus” bill and the census subversion, he was respected enough by Barack Obama that he was nominated to serve in Obama’s cabinet. That should give him some firepower during his re-election.

    Comment by John Hitchcock (fb941d) — 2/12/2009 @ 1:58 pm

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    Pingback by Gem Electric Cars For Sale Electric Cars For Commercial Use R C Electric Cars | Confederateweaponry (09e1e2) — 2/19/2009 @ 4:47 am

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