Patterico's Pontifications

4/4/2009

When in Doubt, Reach for the Friedmans

Filed under: Economics — Jack Dunphy @ 12:44 pm



[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

In case you haven’t seen the recent lively exchange between Fox News’s Neil Cavuto and Congressman Alan Grayson (D, Fla.), I present it here, courtesy of YouTube.

Recent events have many times inspired a reach for the top of the bookshelf to pull down some old favorites, chief among them Milton and Rose Friedman’s Free to Choose: a Personal Statement. The Friedmans warned against the concentration of economic power so cavalierly endorsed by Rep. Grayson. Indeed, in the very opening pages of the book we find this paragraph:

Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised. In addition, by dispersing power, the free market provides an offset to whatever concentration of political power may arise. The combination of economic and political power in the same hands is a recipe for tyranny. (emphasis mine)

I suspect we wouldn’t find the Friedmans’ book on Rep. Grayson’s shelves. More’s the pity.

–Jack Dunphy

171 Responses to “When in Doubt, Reach for the Friedmans”

  1. Jack – Everybody trusts Turbo Tax Tim. What could go wrong?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  2. The problem is that, absent the occasional state intervention, the free market leads to the concentration of economic power. That’s simply an empirical fact — but being an empirical fact you wouldn’t expect a libertarian like Friedman to recognize it.

    The market is good for a lot of stuff, but let’s face it, slavish devotion to the concept got us in the mess we are in now.

    horace (332c37)

  3. Horace – the choice seems to be do you want power concentrated in a state that can bring to bear the power of guns and troops against you, or private entities who, at least, don’t have such authority to compel you to act in a certain manner.

    Also….is it better to have a single entity dictating terms of life, or to have competing elements, however few, doing so?

    Now, please name me the system yet devised that can completely overcome man’s innate greed and inability to say, “I have enough.”

    Ed from SFV (61ceee)

  4. Wow. Let’s see. Our economy has been so libertarian that we are in the “mess” we are in currently?

    Huh?

    Oh well. People love their chains. I don’t understand it, but it seems to be true.

    The ironic part is that the statists who like government control over every aspect our lives do not consider that “their” party will not always be in power.

    So for my progressive friends: do you REALLY want to give that kind of power–say, to fire heads of companies—to Republicans?

    Again, you have to imagine the powers you approve of in the hands of your worst enemy.

    To quote Larry Niven: freedom times security equals a constant. The more of one, the less of the other.

    No amount of unicorns riding over rainbows of hopeychanginess will alter that fact.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  5. horace, your “fact” simply isn’t. Concentration of economic power does not come from free markets, it comes almost exclusively from government coercion. Usually purchased coercion. Indeed the original monopolies were exclusive privileges purchased from the monarchy. The idea that without government coercion one could form a monopoly is really an illusion. For without barriers to entry in a market, no cartel can really exploit their monopoly.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. There have been no free markets since the beginning of market intervention whether by royal decree, governmental [capitalist, republican, socialist, communist, etc.] decree, dictatorship decree, or military decree. Or a combination of any of these. The current turbulence in the so-called ‘free markets’ are directly attributable to interventions mostly of the governmental variety. In particular, the collusion and collaborations between government overseers and the entities within their oversight. Perhaps the only ostensible ‘free’ markets in existence in modern times are what can be loosely labeled black markets. Within a black market supply and demand are largely allowed to play out naturally without interventions other than the cost of doing business…bribes and payoffs, for example. I would not include the drug trade here since that is a charcoal gray market long since corrupted horribly by governmental interventions everywhere…

    The current power play will only take an unfree market to an even greater degree of unfree-ness. The only consolation to those that understand the true nature of free markets is that this too shall pass. You can fool Mother Nature only so long. The bad part is that these machinations generally have only been resolved through big, messy collapses, and worse sometimes war.

    allan (541f9d)

  7. That’s simply an empirical fact

    Really? Your sweeping statement must be quite easily backed up with actual objective sources, yes? Let’s see that proof – now.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  8. The problem is that, absent the occasional state intervention, the free market leads to the concentration of economic power. That’s simply an empirical fact

    This argument is based on two premises–one, the mistaken notion that the free market should be “fair” and competition mandated by the state rather than individual choice, and two, that the government will make the “correct” choices on market regulation once in power. Both premises are grounded in the Marxist notion that “the rich” are inherently evil and are looking to exploit “the poor” to the benefit of only themselves.

    The argument deliberately ignores the “empirical fact” that even when Rockefeller was at the height of his economic power, his innovations in business management led to cheaper heating oil and transportation costs, which benefitted many more than just himself; that the railroad barons were allied with other interests to make money, but also to develop a nationwide transportation network that became increasingly affordable over time.

    The “concentration of economic power argument” displayed here is also grounded in the simple presumption that it should be the state rather than individual companies that are able to concentrate their ecnomonic power. They never bother to confront the contradiction in the thesis that if the principle of a concentration of ecnomonic power for private companies is wrong, then logically speaking it is just as wrong for that power to be in the hands of the state.

    The left has no problem with “a concentration of economic power,” per se, they just believe that the state should be the one dictating that power, based off of the Marxist belief that “the workers” are too simple and weak to run their lives without the statist philosopher-kings guiding them towards the proper way.

    Another Chris (a3bb8f)

  9. got us in the mess we are in now.

    No, you went out there in that pasture all by your lonesome and not only rolled in it but swallowed too much of it, because you are not only full of it, but covered in it as well.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  10. It just comes down to the left’s belief that concentration of economic power, for example unequal distributions of income, is not “fair”, and that’s as valid an empirical observation as horace’s comment above.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  11. Oh yeah, and corporations are bad, but big government is good because everybody knows the government will always make the right choices for the people and accomplish its tasks in the most efficient manner.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  12. Congress would never pass a bad law. Everyone knows that we needed to remove all children’s books printed before 1986 because they may contain lead as required by the Consumer Product Safety Act which Congress recently passed.

    ROA (41c1c1)

  13. The market is good for a lot of stuff, but let’s face it, slavish devotion to the concept got us in the mess we are in now“…

    Hmmm, sadly horace‘s ability to differentiate between the ‘free‘ market and the socialist enigma we’ve seen evolve in the US since at least FDR (the real first mega hosing as Ponzi schemes go) seems to be seriously flawed…

    How about a dose of Milton Friedman to clear up that little problem?

    juandos (775747)

  14. Please tell me how Microsoft’s market power — a virtual monopoly — resulted from the ‘guvment’. Oh and then please tell me, absent a government, what is to prevent someone with money from simply hiring a private army and imposing their will. Indeed, history (that bundle of empirical facts that libertarians ignore) has plenty of examples exactly that happening. See Renaissance Italy for copies examples. Whenever you bring up historical facts, libertarians stutter and spout, ‘well, uh, uh, that’s not really a free market’. Get a clue then guys, if every single case is somehow not a free market, then maybe you are chasing unicorns.

    Look, Machiavelli and Hobbs wrote long before Smith, and they established the correct order of things, markets are impossible without government.

    And yes, the mess we are in was caused several largely unregulated markets, including mortgage lending, CDO and CDS markets. Sure Freddie and Fannie played a part, but Country Wide, City, Lehman etc were not government entities and were left largely alone in the neoliberal atmosphere of the 1990s and most of the 00s.

    As a wise man once said

    Libertarianism = Applied Autism

    horace (332c37)

  15. Please tell me how Microsoft’s market power — a virtual monopoly — resulted from the ‘guvment’

    Nice strawman, but no matter; let’s look at your other “examples” –

    See Renaissance Italy for copies examples

    Yet another strawman – try again:

    the mess we are in was caused several largely unregulated markets, including mortgage lending

    This is incorrect on several levels:

    – the failure of the mortgage market was not the result of ineffective regulation; rather, it was the lack of enforcement of current regulations, coupled with congressional rejiggering of the loan requirements of Fannie and Freddy. Barney Frank and Franklin Raines pushed mightily to ease the standard deposit requirement for 1st – time home buyers, which subsequently led to private firms such as Countrywide to lend to consumers via undocumented loans, knowing full well that those loans had the backing of Fannie/Freddy.

    EPIC FAIL, Horace. But hey, thanks for playing.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  16. I’m a libertarian
    Hear me out:
    Free markets and minds
    Are what I’m ’bout!

    “Empirical” “facts” just
    Wear me out.
    And that is why I sputter and shout.

    fat tony (83f355)

  17. But Dmac…don’t you understand?

    Daddy knows best.

    That is how progressives appear to think. The problem is that they conceive only of one kind of Daddy. If Daddy is Republican, then such control is always fascistic and unfeeling. IF Daddy is a Democrat, why, it’s all unicorns pooting starbursts.

    But it is amusing to hear how corporations are bad because they make decisions that benefit themselves, but government is good because they actually look out for other people—instead of just themselves.

    Hmmm. Doesn’t seem to fit the news very well, does it?

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  18. As usual the libertarian meets evidence counter to his worldview by simply ignoring it (which is what shouting ‘strawman’ over and over and over again amounts to).

    I am quite sure Countrywide et all were as more than happy to generate crap mortgages and then pass them on to investors with or without ‘pressure’ from various government sources. Heck, 3-4 years ago you couldn’t listen to the radio for 20 minutes without DiTech or some other outfit offering you a second mortgage or a refi, ‘get your equity out of your house’! No Barney Frank or Harold Raines was pushing that.

    Moreover the packaging of mortgages into CDOs was one of those great ‘freemarket’ innovations we are all supposed to bow down and worship. As were CDS’s, improving ‘market’ efficiency by letting those willing to bear risk get paid for the service. Too bad no governments were looking to ensure they had the capital to back up the underwriting.

    I like markets, I like limited government. But lets get real folks.

    horace (332c37)

  19. That’s great, fat Tony!

    horace (332c37)

  20. This was my favorite part:

    “..Sure Freddie and Fannie played a part, but Country Wide, City, Lehman etc were not government entities and were left largely alone in the neoliberal atmosphere of the 1990s and most of the 00s….”

    You might ask Barney Frank and Chris Dodd about that. If you are serious, that is, instead of trolling about some performance art. Government intervention to induce the industry into taking “bad loans” because of the progressive idea that everyone should own a home—regardless of monetary resources—was hardly a libertarian strategy. Again, there are some nice YouTubes of Frank and Dodd out there on this subject.

    But nice use of the term “autism” to smear your political opponents. It’s sort of like “Special Olympics.”

    It’s not a big deal, but remember this when you start shrieking how Republicans and Conservatives are so unfeeling and hurtful.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  21. Please tell me how Microsoft’s market power — a virtual monopoly — resulted from the ‘guvment’. [sic]

    I don’t recall anyone here saying that Microsoft’s current market position was a result of government policy…as Dmac, notes, a nice strawman. But I’ll address it anyway~since I have long thought that Microsoft products are crap, and haven’t bought one in about twenty years. IIRC, at the time Microsoft entered the market, IBM was such a dominant force in the market that the government was actively attempting to pursue legal remedy against them for being a de facto “monopoly.” The case kind of fell apart when IBM lost a huge market share to the upstart Microsoft. And Microsoft has never achieved anything like the dominance that IBM had.

    IBM did not, of course, spring full blown as a computer manufacturer. They started in scales and clocks…which is why all clocks and scales have an IBM logo on them.

    then please tell me, absent a government

    and they established the correct order of things, markets are impossible without government.

    I also don’t remember anyone here advocating anarchy. Another strawman burning in the wind. Markets, happen with or without governments. Free markets occur only when there is a rule of law that recognizes private property as an essential component of human rights.

    Something the current Administration does not.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  22. Please tell me how Microsoft’s market power — a virtual monopoly — resulted from the ‘guvment’.

    This is a strawman, and given the strength of Apple in the market, completely wrong. The type of power you imply would have resulted in Apple going under a long time ago.

    And yes, the mess we are in was caused several largely unregulated markets, including mortgage lending, CDO and CDS markets. Sure Freddie and Fannie played a part

    If Fannie and Freddie “played a part,”(a weak assertion to begin with, given their role in acting as a buffer for banks giving these bad loans) then it was not an unregulated market. In fact, it shows that the government was engaged in the exact same practices as your “unregulated markets.” Must be why Barney Frank stonewalled oversight of those institutions and claimed there was “nothing wrong” (I can post the YouTube video if you wish).

    Look, Machiavelli and Hobbs wrote long before Smith, and they established the correct order of things, markets are impossible without government.

    This argument is based on the statist strawman that libertarians believe in no government whatsoever. The statists realize the absurdity of arguing in this day and age that having the government involved in our lives from cradle to grave is a positive good (particularly given the totalitarian results of such theories in the 20th century) so they must imply that libertarians are in fact anarchists.

    “Empirical” “facts” just
    Wear me out.
    And that is why I sputter and shout.

    Try presenting less kindergarten-level poetry and more empirical facts and your arguments won’t be addressed in the manner of virtual toilet paper.

    Another Chris (a3bb8f)

  23. As usual the libertarian meets evidence counter to his worldview by simply ignoring it (which is what shouting ’strawman’ over and over and over again amounts to).

    You’ve presented very little in the way of actual evidence (and your examples even then have been shown to not support the position you take) and argued from a falsely constructed position that your opponents never adopted. If you wish to debate dishonestly, by all means do so, but until you can actually present a counter-argument to the libertarian position and not the anarchist one, then keep expecting us to point this out and bust your chops about it.

    Another Chris (a3bb8f)

  24. Heck, 3-4 years ago you couldn’t listen to the radio for 20 minutes without DiTech or some other outfit offering you a second mortgage or a refi, ‘get your equity out of your house’! No Barney Frank or Harold Raines was pushing that.

    Since you are going to stubbornly argue that these idiots weren’t allowing it to happen, here’s the Youtube video:

    http://tinyurl.com/4c89v9

    The video evidence is right there showing our Congresscritters interfering in these markets. Watch the whole thing, if you have the intellectual integrity.

    Another Chris (a3bb8f)

  25. horace – Your cites of Countrywide, Citi and Lehman in conjunction with mortgage lending, CDO’s etc., do not bolster tour original argument about the concentration of economic power. I’ll refresh your memory and repeat it here for you:

    “The problem is that, absent the occasional state intervention, the free market leads to the concentration of economic power.”

    Now if you could show how economic power was concentrated in the hands of those firms, which you have so far failed to do, you might bew able to tie it together with your argument. Fannie and Freddie, on the other hand, own more than 50% of the mortgages originated in this country. I’d call that a massive concentration of economic power that is a direct result of government intervention in the mortgage lending market, wouldn’t you?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  26. “Please tell me how Microsoft’s market power — a virtual monopoly — resulted from the ‘guvment’. [sic]”

    horace – If you had only taken a moment to think it through you would have realized that government protection of Microsoft’s intellectual property, e.g. it’s operating systems and other software, is the only thing which gives them their economic power.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  27. horace, you really need to learn the definition of words you use – so that you will use them properly. Start with “evidence”, which you will find in the dictionary.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  28. General Motors, a result of market driven consolidation of automakers, hence the ‘General’. Microsoft, huge concentration of economic power, also a result of the market’s tendency to consolidate (ever here of economies of scale?) ADM, DuPont, Google, the list of oligopolists and near monopolists goes on and on. Citybank, it wasn’t ‘guvment’ that made it too big to fail. It is simply wrong to say that markets distribute economic power. In fact, the tendency is to concentration.

    I’ll grant that there was a push, including by ‘conservative’ and Republican George Bush to extend mortgage lending, but as I said, look at DiTech etc pushing ‘home improvement loans’. And of course CDOs and CDS were the purest of the pure of free markets.

    Since you are going to stubbornly argue that these idiots weren’t allowing it to happen, here’s the Youtube video:

    Uh, you are presupposing something called ‘goverment intervention’ here.

    My problem with libertarians is that their philosophy isn’t reality based. Outside of the most primitive societies, there has never been a market without some sort of political arrangement. Producers, you know, they guys that sell at markets, need protection. Hence the state. They key is to develop institutions that keep the state under control, and then let the state keep the market under control.

    The ideological suppositions behind the Friedmans’ work, the downplaying (to the point of denial) of the necessity of the political in a civilized society, are a good deal of the reason why we are were we are.

    horace (332c37)

  29. There once was a commenter named Chris
    Who misread my work, then took a swing and a miss.
    Sorry, juvenile humor is all that I do,
    Whether goofing on Horace or now tweaking you.

    I’m oh so sorry if I came off sardonic.
    The quoted words–They’re meant as ironic.
    Listen closely, before they give me the gong:
    When reading for content you’ll rarely go wrong.

    Hope Chris and Horace realize this is all in fun.
    (BTW, I know I misused “ironic.” )

    fat tony (83f355)

  30. “And of course CDOs and CDS were the purest of the pure of free markets.”

    hoeace – What concentration of economic power can you point to in those markets to prove your thesis?

    What economies of scale (your second sentence above) do you think Microsoft experienced?

    Your knowledge of business is as bad as your knowledge of spelling.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  31. I can’t seem to get away from the idea that the argument from Horace, etal, boils down to this:

    Totalitarianism under the GOP, and Bush in particular, is bad because they are mean, evil people out to make a buck at the expense of poor working folk.

    Totalitarianism under the Democrats, and President Obama in particular, is good because, well, hey, he’s cool and all the people that work for him are real smart and you should listen to your betters.

    Ag80 (d205da)

  32. “look at DiTech etc pushing ‘home improvement loans’”

    horace – What was Daitech’s market share of home improvement loans? What kind of massive concentration of economic power do you imagine they wielded?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  33. #2, Actually Horace, Peter Drucker made a very good argument that market power for evena monopolist goes away over time so long as the Gov.t does not protect it.

    You see, individuals seek alternatives and many times technology tends render the initial monopolist in a poor position.

    IBM and Microsoft are two to remember.

    Jimminy'cricket (637168)

  34. You gentlemen are talking past each other, seems to me.

    Sure, Microsoft would not be so successful if it had not enjoyed patent and trademark protection for its products. But its competitors enjoyed the same protection.

    And the Merchants of Venice would not have been as successful if the Doge had not entered into a treaty with Istanbul to suppress piracy (and Vlad Tepes had not lined the roads of Transylvania with impaled bandits).

    And who, here, will say that Madoff should not be in prison?

    There’s a role for government both in protecting a free market and protecting people from its potential predations. I don’t know that I would be as absolute about it as Friedman, but I would choose his way over Obama’s way, any day.

    nk (fb48f8)

  35. a result of market driven consolidation of automakers, hence the ‘General’

    Good Heavens! WWII is now “market driven consolidation?” LOL!

    In spite of the huge economic advantage to GM as a corporate entity fueled by high priority defense contracts, GM has fallen on hard times in the free market…just in case you hadn’t noticed.

    In fact, the tendency is to concentration.

    You know sumpin’? Not a single example that you have cited supports your thesis. Not a one.

    the downplaying (to the point of denial)

    of reality in your statements to date is absolutely astounding. You are a real piece of work.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  36. I am astonished that no matter ow many times Horace is told he is using a strawman, he does it again. In his last post, he points out the state is required to provide protection and property rights. Of course that is true. In fact, Horace has been specifically told that no one is advocating anarchy.

    GM seems a strange example to be giving. Yes, it had its good times, but now it is teetering on edge of bankruptcy. Who put GM there? Certainly not government. The market did ad GM mismanaged its advantages. Will Microsoft be able to control its defined marketplace? Again, who knows, but the stock market is not at all convinced. Microsoft is being attacked from all sides.

    The idea that the libertarian philosophy is not “reality based” is absurd. The real absurdity is the idea that government can do a better job than markets. I would simply ask Horace if he thinks we would have had this subprime and alt A problem if the government hadn’t pushed the markets into that direction. Absent government and the CRA, bankers would be making mortgage loans pretty much as they always had.

    Rick

    Rick Caird (7959ef)

  37. My problem with libertarians is that their philosophy isn’t reality based.

    Translation – I’ve got nothing in the way of actual evidence to support my argument, save for heresay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence, aren’t they?

    Dmac (49b16c)

  38. GM would’ve been far better off had it pulled up stakes in Detroit and moved to SC or TX 20 years ago. It’s that government interference thing. I’ll leave it to Horace to figure out what government interference I am talking about. 😉

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  39. #34 nk:

    I don’t know that I would be as absolute about it as Friedman,

    Oh, I dunno. You strike me that you could be an absolutist about some things.

    /I’d stick a smiley here, but I can’t stand the yellow gif thingies…and the HTML that does a semi-colon-right-paren gets stuck in the spam filter…

    Anyway, Friedman was quite adamant about not advocating anarchy (and there was a sale on “a”‘s at the bazaar). And the examples that you mention are part and parcel of the recognition that equal protection before the law is the mechanism that allows markets to operate freely…in the free market sense that both the smallest and largest players enjoy the same privileges and protections.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  40. This is a test ; )
    This is only a test : )
    If this were a real emergency }:8)
    Yada yada yada (:

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  41. EW1 – I’d pretty much agree that horace has got nothing, which is why he doesn’t respond to the specifics of any comments.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  42. No need to complexify things with HTML code when the largest key on the kb does the job quite nicely.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  43. You need to leave a space. 😉

    nk (fb48f8)

  44. If you don’t leave a space.;)

    nk (fb48f8)

  45. Thanks, Dmac, daleyrocks and others, for puncturing the anti-Libertarian nonsense of the usual trolls. I was busy installing a DVD drive and am almost finished.

    Oh, back to the DVD drive . . .

    Bradley J. Fikes (cf1265)

  46. #41 daleyrocks:

    I’d pretty much agree that horace has got nothing

    I think Ag80 has got his number up there someplace.

    #42 & 3, John Hitchcock and nk: Jeepers. Advice on doing it WRONG! from the guy who really does know how to close his parentheticals, and a guy who promptly doesn’t do it!

    Oy. I think I’ll go watch some more of the videos Juandos uncovered.

    Or maybe not. The moonbats back then sounded just the same. : (

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  47. Anyway, I have four words for the fact-averse Horace:

    Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  48. #48 nk: Thanks…I had forgotten the animes. Nice linky too!

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  49. GM would’ve been far better off had it pulled up stakes in Detroit and moved to SC or TX 20 years ago.

    GM would have been far better off moving out of Detroit, period. That city has been a dead man walking for about 25 years now, and it’s just waiting for someone to come along and put it out of its misery.

    I mentioned to a friend a couple years ago that I wouldn’t be surprised if Detroit becomes America’s first major urban ghost town, and anyone who has seen pictures of its increasing areas of wilderness and burned out and decaying structures would be hard pressed to say that it is capable of making a comeback. Particularly when you look at the people in charge of running the city, who are a real-life Chappelle’s show skit of “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong”.

    Detroit is “Atlas Shrugged” on a microcosmic scale, except the flight was due to the stoking of racial grievances that have now become political dogma in this decade, rather than the relavtively simple “war on ideas” that Rand described. The end result has pretty much been the same, though.

    Another Chris (a3bb8f)

  50. Another Chris, you are right that Detroit is dying and you are right the racism a huge sector of blacks have against whites is a deadly religion. But, even with that, GM could’ve survived Detroit. There is a much more political-economic factor.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  51. And my states of choice for relocation provide a large clue.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  52. I can’t help but wonder whether Detroit came about as a result of Pittsburg’s steel mills and the then best transportation method of the steel in barges over the lake. Could we partially blame Detroit’s demise on the national highway/railway systems that make transporting Chinese steel to Tennessee just as economical?

    nk (fb48f8)

  53. I think Detroit was simply a victim of the riots during the late 60’s, which resulted in the loss of their central business district and main tax base, then moved inexorably downward by the disasterous actions of Urban Renewal in that era. I still remember the riots in Chicago during that time, and how bad the West Side and Loop were after dark – for decades. If Lincoln Park and the rest of the North side would’ve succumbed then, it might have ended up in similar dire straits.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  54. I agree with the statement above that economic power concentrated into too few hands leads to tyranny. What better example than the fact that a few “too big to fail” institutions are being catered to by “conservative” and “liberal” governments?
    Where are the politicos or anyone really calling for a re-definition of “monopoly” as “too big to fail”? Is there ANY politician out there doing that?
    What the libertarians have right is that the problem with the government is that the “rules” always depend on who is in charge, and if some group of people can concentrate economic power then they can buy government collusion to what they want which is more economic power.

    But assuming that some pure, unfettered, untrammeled “free market” just like in all the economic models (they are models guys)is going to come into existance and usher in an age of freedom is just as nutty as all the hopey hopey joy joy unicorns and rainbows age of aquarius hype surrounding the coronation of our president.

    Companies that are really really huge need to be watched and regulated no matter how cheap their products are.

    “is it better to have a single entity dictating terms of life, or to have competing elements, however few, doing so”

    Neither.

    You are just asking, “Would you rather be the serf to a king or the serf to a duke?” I’m not interested in either.

    I would rather live with no kings and no dukes. It’s irrelevant whether those kings and dukes exist in the political or economic realm.

    No “permanent majority” for any political party
    No “too big to fail” corporations

    EdWood (fa8bbb)

  55. Dmac, you might ask Patterico about the city where he works, Compton (I grew up in Long Beach, right next door). It has been horrific for decades. And there are efforts to bring industry and business back to Compton.

    I don’t know how that is going.

    Eric Blair (4d78ef)

  56. Having been in the sheet metal industry (that’s an offshoot of the steel industry), I know for a fact Chinese steel has long been easily cheaper than US steel. But we received lots of steel that was easily sub-standard that we used nonetheless. Dealing with wildly varying thicknesses, flutey steel and water damage was par for the course.

    But Pittsburgh isn’t tied to the lakes so much.

    Permanent MFN status for China was a mistake, and I said so when it happened. It killed an already dying US steel industry and many more US industries. Even so, that’s not the poison that is killing/has killed the Detroit auto industry.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  57. EdWood, contrary to popular liberal tales, the US hasn’t had a Conservative federal government in ages.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  58. “I agree with the statement above that economic power concentrated into too few hands leads to tyranny.”

    EdWood – Good. You should agree with me then that putting the government in charge of our health care system is tyrannical and just a disaster waiting to happen. I appreciate your support Ed.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  59. I am quite sure Countrywide et all were as more than happy to generate crap mortgages and then pass them on to investors with or without ‘pressure’ from various government sources.

    Horace, who were those “investors”? How did Countrywide “pass them on” to investors ? Do you know what the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were ? Do you know what happened back in the 60s before the CRA ? Do you know that banks and S&Ls loaned money on houses and then collected the payments for the next 30 years ? Do you know that, if the borrower defaulted the bank or S&L lost their investment ?

    Why did that change ?

    Do you know what a “conforming loan” is ?

    I don’t think you do.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  60. Daleyrocks- If the Congress had gone along with the will of the people (the first vote on the Paulson bailout)and allowed even the “distorted” market to adjust itself in this latest financial fiasco I would be agreeing with a lot more commenters on this site about a lot more things instead of the cynical tack that I tend to take.

    EdWood (48d3df)

  61. Government bailouts of private industry are unconstitutional. Government requirements forcing banking institutions to provide mortgages to people who cannot afford them are unconstitutional.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  62. John Hitchcock #59
    Not being a smartypants; Is there an administration that you would consider conservative? Which one would that be? I’m genuienly curious because you are one of the more hard core (at least in rhetoric) libertarians that I have encountered on or off the web.

    EdWood (48d3df)

  63. Is there an administration that you would consider conservative?

    That is a very good question, but not for the reasons you asked it. The Executive branch isn’t the federal government. Just ignoring the Judicial branch and only examining the Executive and Legislative branches, if you name a Conservative (to you) Executive branch, you will find a liberal or moderate-liberal Legislative branch.

    GWB is not a Conservative. He’s a moderate. GHWB is moderate or moderate-right. Even if GHWB were deemed Conservative, the Legislature was Liberal.

    Reagan, who I consider the most Conservative President we’ve had in 100 years, was not Conservative enough. But that may have been the result of having to deal with a Liberal Legislature.

    You’d have to go back prior to FDR.

    And I don’t think the Libertarians around here would consider me one.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  64. Wow, that clip was awesome.

    carlitos (c7b990)

  65. First, capitalism works.

    Second, do you suppose we could use this to repeal the massive expansions of public employee pension benefits? I mean, if we are going after benefits of bailed-out corporations, why not bailed-out local governments? Or is a contract suddenly sacrosanct again?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  66. “If the Congress had gone along with the will of the people (the first vote on the Paulson bailout)and allowed even the “distorted” market to adjust itself in this latest financial fiasco”

    EdWood – You are going to have to tell me what your recollection of the will of the people was back then because I don’t recall them knowing enough to have one other than conservatives being opposed to bailing out businesses in general and tacking on liberal wish lists of loan forgiveness and community disorganizer funding. If you are actually in favor of letting the market work things out you are in agreement with a lot of the commenters here and should figure out why you can’t see that.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  67. John Hancock- Your answer is why I don’t believe in conservatives and liberals. I have friends and relatives who consider me to be pretty conservative based on whatever (death penalty, right to bear arms, drug legalization etc. etc.), people here think I am liberal, I have a suspicion that your definition of a conservative or a liberal is something else entirely and probably much more formal.

    “And I don’t think the Libertarians around here would consider me one.”
    Wow.

    EdWood (48d3df)

  68. Reagan, who I consider the most Conservative President we’ve had in 100 years, was not Conservative enough.

    Calvin Coolidge’s ghost would like to have a word with you.

    But that’s all–just a word.

    Another Chris (a3bb8f)

  69. Calvin Coolidge’s ghost would like to have a word with you.

    But that’s all–just a word.

    Comment by Another Chris — 4/4/2009 @ 11:32 pm

    LOL

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  70. Milton Friedman held a series of lectures and debates at the University of Chicago and I listened to many of them in the eighties. I think that he realized that he was fighting a lost cause when it came to the minimum wage and most of labor relations. I appreciated his points more when the ADA was passed. Not so much because of the nuisance suits, although that’s what see on TV, but on the disproportion of the burden placed on small businesses. For a big company, making a building ADA compliant could come out of petty cash. For a small business, it would be a big expenditure of capital or going into debt. Similarly, a reader/scribe for a blind lawyer, etc..

    nk (fb48f8)

  71. In addition, by dispersing power, the free market provides an offset to whatever concentration of political power may arise.

    That’s totally ridiculous. We have people moving between the financial industry and government and back again, making the same stupid mistakes, looking out for the same, narrow interests, and screwing over the same taxpayers. We’re more free market than we’ve been since the Depression, and all that has meant for us that our government has been effectively captured by banks running Ponzi schemes.

    Milton Friedman is pretty much dead wrong about everything he ever said. His ideas were terrible when no one wanted to listen to him, and they’ve produced disastrous results around the world when he finally got people to. From Chile to Russia to Iraq and now here stateside, his free market fundamentalism has concentrated economic and political power in the hands of a very small group of elites.

    I know talking about Friedman in this way is like besmirching Jesus or Ronald Reagan, but the guy was a moron that spent his entire life trying to justify an incredibly greedy, slash-and-burn style of economics devoid of any morality or ethics.

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  72. trying to justify an incredibly greedy, slash-and-burn style of economics devoid of any morality or ethics.

    That certainly seems an apropos description of any centrally planned economic model that we’ve seen arise in the last century.

    Of course, you have a viable alternative to capitalism to propose?

    (Actually, I can save a little time here by filling in my next response here: “I thought not.”)

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  73. Russia was a free-market fundamentalist country? Who knew???

    Steverino (b12c49)

  74. So, when I read this:

    “..I know talking about Friedman in this way is like besmirching Jesus or Ronald Reagan, but the guy was a moron that spent his entire life trying to justify an incredibly greedy, slash-and-burn style of economics devoid of any morality or ethics….”

    I am reminded of Inigo Montoya: I don’t think “moron” means what you think it does.

    You are just a troll, based on this kind of nonsense.

    On one side, Milton Friedman’s prominence. On the other: who are you? Besides Mr. Peepers on the Internet? I would love to have seen you debate Friedman. Since you are so smart and everything.

    Please, let’s see your record of accomplishment. Since you think it is fine to call one of the best known economists of the 20th Century a moron. Disagree is one thing, provided you have higher degrees in economics, a professorship, and decades of scholarship (and a best selling book). Again, since you call the man a “moron.”

    Why, that is almost as great as talking about the Special Olympics, isn’t it?

    Oh, and once again: I thought it was those awful Republicans who are all personal and nasty.

    Eric Blair (4d78ef)

  75. Just to be clear: it’s fine to disagree even with famous and accomplished people. I think Paul Krugman writes hypocritical and self-serving things.

    But I’m not an economist. He is. So me calling Krugman a “moron” would be the act of a troll.

    Eric Blair (4d78ef)

  76. Russia was the commerce capitol of the world. More shares of stock were sold in the St Petersburg market than anywhere else. But that was prior to the Tsars being elected into office.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  77. From Chile to Russia to Iraq and now here stateside, his free market fundamentalism has concentrated economic and political power in the hands of a very small group of elites.

    As with Horace’s inane statements and lack of any facts to support them, just another windbag talking out of his blowhole.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  78. What part of free markets is so hard to comprehend? Here’s a starter list…prices freely established by supply and demand, i.e., willing sellers and willing buyers. Free to succeed, free to fail. Free access, free exit. Free to risk, free to not risk. If you don’t know how all this works, feel free to stay away and work for someone who does know, and is free to risk their capital and that of those who choose to invest their savings in a business that provides that job you have.

    allan (9bc030)

  79. That certainly seems an apropos description of any centrally planned economic model that we’ve seen arise in the last century.

    Of course, you have a viable alternative to capitalism to propose?

    (Actually, I can save a little time here by filling in my next response here: “I thought not.”)

    Capitalism with regulation – is that such a crazy proposition?

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  80. There he goes again, accusing people of being anarchists.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  81. Winston Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest.

    I think we could paraphrase that. Free markets are the worst form of economy, except for all the rest.

    I also liked David Mamet from his essay. Conservatives see life as a marketplace. It’s messy, it’s chaotic, and everyone is out for their own self-interest. But mostly it works. Liberals see life as a school. Everyday the government can deliver some new lesson.

    Mark_0454 (48edfc)

  82. On one side, Milton Friedman’s prominence. On the other: who are you? Besides Mr. Peepers on the Internet? I would love to have seen you debate Friedman. Since you are so smart and everything.

    Please, let’s see your record of accomplishment. Since you think it is fine to call one of the best known economists of the 20th Century a moron. Disagree is one thing, provided you have higher degrees in economics, a professorship, and decades of scholarship (and a best selling book). Again, since you call the man a “moron.”

    Why, that is almost as great as talking about the Special Olympics, isn’t it?

    This is going to be a pointless conversation since most Republicans I’ve dealt with have completely misdiagnosed the current economic crisis as stemming from too much regulation and too much government intervention.

    Anyway, here it goes. The United States and countries around the world have been following Milton Friedman’s advice of deregulation and privatization for more than three decades at this point, and that’s what’s brought the economic ruin we currently find ourselves in. Friedman wasn’t peddling economics buttressed by real world experimentation or scientific evidence, he was selling a religion. According to that moron, any economic problems only meant that there were too many distortions, that the market wasn’t free enough. So as a crisis unfolds, all his acolytes can say is that we’ve been doing too much, that we’re interfering and stifling and picking on the poor, defenseless business sector, even though it’s readily apparent that in every regard, the exact opposite is true.

    We had a good long run after World War II and that was because of the regulations and oversight that were implemented after the stock market crash in 1929. Republicans and Democrats have been stripping away those protections, one by one, since the 1980s, and now we’re back to bankers ripping us off again. There have to be rules. It’s pretty obvious.

    It’s true that Friedman’s policies created tremendous amounts of wealth, and for that reason his ideas have been embraced across the political spectrum and in economic circles, but that wealth has been extremely concentrated and entirely unsustainable. The current global financial system that is in flames right now has Milton Friedman’s fingerprints all over it. So it’s funny to hear you invoking his prominence and asking about where my economics degrees are. If you’re a student of Friedman, it’s not incorrect to say that everything you know is wrong. Again, the ruin we’re currently experiencing is all the evidence you’d need of that, but you’re too busy blaming everything, anything else. Just like a religion.

    Oh, and once again: I thought it was those awful Republicans who are all personal and nasty.

    Jeez man, you need to toughen up. Did I call you a name? Have I ever said two words to you? Grow testicles, please. This is the internet, not Sunday school.

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  83. What the trolls don’t understand is that the free market always wins and is always there. The Soviet Union in its final years was fed by the small plots that were established in defiance of the collectivized system. In communist countries they are called the “black market.” In some cases, like Cuba, enough coercion is imposed to suppress most of the free market. The result is abject poverty and attempts to escape.

    One troll says Capitalism with regulation – is that such a crazy proposition? as if that was some sort of insight. Capitalism was Marx’s term for the free market. The use of the term suggests that the troll doesn’t understand what is going on.

    You can have “regulation” to enforce contracts and punish law breaking. Or you can have “regulation” in a attempt to impose authoritarian government. What we are seeing right now is the latter. What else would you call it when trillions of dollars are taken from generations unborn so that baby boomers can have their cake and eat it too? I’ve seen an interesting analysis that, when baby boomers were at their peak earning years, there was great support for lower taxes. Now that they are approaching retirement, the safety net requires repairs. In all cases, it is all about them.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  84. I am still waiting for that honest discussions about Bush’s secret plan to cancel the 1st Amendment.

    JD (0088ab)

  85. have been following Milton Friedman’s advice of deregulation and privatization for more than three decades at this point

    On the contrary. They’ve been following Michael Harrington’s advice for more regulation and attempting to “make the playing field fair,” all the while propagating the Soviet method of redefining the centerline of American politics.

    The only thing that is readily apparent from your posts is that you have an extremely tenuous grasp on reality.

    What a loser.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  86. #84: Again, just another troll. And not answering the question. Tiresome. Probably one of the regulars who have been banned repeatedly.

    Who are you to call anyone a “moron,” again? Disagree, to be sure. But it’s typical to see the personal insult.

    Your immature attempts to try to spray testosterone (“…grow a pair..”) kind of show that you are only interested in acting tough electronically. So you can say whatever you like without any kind of responsibility. And I mean that in both senses of the terms.

    And I think that most people would agree that that is a telling characteristic of your posts.

    Again: since you feel free to call Friedman a “moron,” who the heck are you? Your degrees? Your experience? Your background?

    And it isn’t about “argument from authority.” It’s your own misplaced sense of self-authority that suggests to me that you don’t work in any kind of field where you run anything other than your mouth.

    Typical troll nonsense. Too much Howard Zinn, not enough Thomas Sowell.

    But I’m sure you think he is a “moron,” too.

    Funny how that works.

    Eric Blair (4d78ef)

  87. #88 Eric Blair:

    Too much Howard Zinn, not enough Thomas Sowell.

    I suggest we start him out with Walter Williams, as I fear Thomas Sowell may be a little too much for it to handle at this stage.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  88. JD, don’t hold your breath. Apparently, the plan was so secret that even Bush didn’t know about it.

    Steverino (69d941)

  89. According to that moron
    along with
    The United States and countries around the world have been following Milton Friedman’s advice of deregulation and privatization for more than three decades
    makes for a pretty funny juxtaposition.

    So essentially, Friedman was a moron who got the entire western world to follow his advice, and would seem to indicate that the choice of the word moron is a poor one.

    Seems like the troll didn’t really think this through.

    What is it about Friedman that scares the crap out of these losers?

    Apogee (f4320c)

  90. #91 Apogee:

    What is it about Friedman that scares the crap out of these losers?

    Willingness on the part of parties to a transaction. With that element present, there is no need for intervention by a wiser, more just, more fair entity like a government.

    It just goes against all Lefteousness.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  91. What is it about Friedman that scares the crap out of these losers?

    Individual rights and responsibility. Without big government, these losers would have to succeed or fail on their own. The losers want to parasitize off the successful.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (092234)

  92. EW1(SG) & BBJFCOR – Agreed. My question is more rhetorical in that the left is full speed ahead in their attempts to attack Friedman’s ideas.

    That they could not (and never dared) while he was still alive to answer their stupidities should make everyone want to read his work.

    Apogee (f4320c)

  93. Again, just another troll. And not answering the question. Tiresome. Probably one of the regulars who have been banned repeatedly.

    Who are you to call anyone a “moron,” again? Disagree, to be sure. But it’s typical to see the personal insult.

    Your immature attempts to try to spray testosterone (”…grow a pair..”) kind of show that you are only interested in acting tough electronically. So you can say whatever you like without any kind of responsibility. And I mean that in both senses of the terms.

    And I think that most people would agree that that is a telling characteristic of your posts.

    Again: since you feel free to call Friedman a “moron,” who the heck are you? Your degrees? Your experience? Your background?

    And it isn’t about “argument from authority.” It’s your own misplaced sense of self-authority that suggests to me that you don’t work in any kind of field where you run anything other than your mouth.

    Typical troll nonsense. Too much Howard Zinn, not enough Thomas Sowell.

    But I’m sure you think he is a “moron,” too.

    Funny how that works.

    Get over yourself. Who made you the Grand Poobah of Internet Discourse? Why do I have to talk the way that you do? If I feel qualified to call someone a moron, I’m going to do it. What do you want me to tell you? That I went to college? That I have a job? What do those things have to do with Friedman’s economic models being abject failures wherever they’ve been implemented?

    I work two jobs, at a retail store and as an in-home technician, and I also have a college degree. Are you impressed? Do you need to know what kind of car I drive and whether or not I have a hot girlfriend to gauge my worth as a political entity? Should we compare SAT scores? How does one become qualified to talk about Milton Friedman, according to you, O random internet stranger?

    I’ll take responsibility for what I say. You’re not in charge of how people communicate on the internet. This is the great equalizer. I probably can’t do what you do for a living, and you probably can’t do what I do. I don’t need your resume and I won’t ask for one, because I can judge your intelligence for myself, based on what you say. Isn’t that a conservative concept? So far, all I’ve seen you do is obsess about a single, five letter non-profane insult that I threw into a couple of paragraphs as an afterthought that had nothing to do with you. Am I supposed to be impressed by that?

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  94. You will take responsibility for the fact that you are making stuff up wholesale again? Great.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  95. You know, it always amazes me when trolls post insults about people they have never met, get called on it, and then respond angrily. The ironic part is how poorly they react to any criticism of their own comments…and then respond precisely in the way they did not care applied to them. They usually puff up with all their macho nonsense, as well.

    Typical troll.

    And the interesting part is how this type will say that they have a right to say what they want…but strangely don’t want anyone else to call them on their own comments.

    It’s really kind of funny.

    And this is the funniest part:

    “.. If I feel qualified to call someone a moron, I’m going to do it. ..”

    That term “qualified” is the tough bit. But that phrase applies in lots of ways. In fact, that comment ranks right up there with “I work here is done.”

    Speaking of “get over yourself.”

    Eric Blair (4d78ef)

  96. “..I’ll take responsibility for what I say. …”

    Pure. Comedy. Gold.

    Eric Blair (4d78ef)

  97. If I feel qualified to call someone a moron, I’m going to do it.

    I feel qualified to call TEH NARRATIVE a moron. TEH NARRATIVE is a moron. He has proven such in each and every one of his comments.

    And if TEH NARRATIVE utters a single word against my proclamation, it will, by definition, prove its duplicitous hypocrisy.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  98. This is going to be a pointless conversation since most Republicans I’ve dealt with have completely misdiagnosed the current economic crisis as stemming from too much regulation and too much government intervention.

    When it comes to the specifics and details (per below), I don’t know of any Republican who’s making that claim. However, the one claim they often express or intuitively understand is that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” (And on a few rare occasions even a liberal like Paul Krugman can figure that one out, too.)

    One example is the notion that the so-called working-class stiffs (or those on public assistance too!) throughout America deserve the heartfelt, do-gooder, milk-and-honey benefits of both the private and public sectors. So the roof over their head should be something they’re entitled to — something they can call their own — mortgages and monthly expenses be damned (or greatly subsidized).

    http://www.villagevoice.com, August 2008:

    There are as many starting points for the mortgage meltdown as there are fears about how far it has yet to go, but one decisive point of departure is the final years of the Clinton administration, when a kid from Queens without any real banking or real-estate experience was the only man in Washington with the power to regulate the giants of home finance, the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), better known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country’s current crisis. He took actions that — in combination with many other factors — helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded “kickbacks” to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.

    What he did is important — not just because of what it tells us about how we got in this hole, but because of what it says about New York’s attorney general, who has been trying for months to don a white hat in the subprime scandal, pursuing cases against banks, appraisers, brokers, rating agencies, and multitrillion-dollar, quasi-public Fannie and Freddie.

    …as Paul Krugman noted in the Times recently, “homeownership isn’t for everyone,” adding that as many as 10 million of the new buyers are stuck now with negative home equity—meaning that with falling house prices, their mortgages exceed the value of their homes.

    Mark (411533)

  99. You know, it always amazes me when trolls post insults about people they have never met, get called on it, and then respond angrily. The ironic part is how poorly they react to any criticism of their own comments…and then respond precisely in the way they did not care applied to them. They usually puff up with all their macho nonsense, as well.

    I’m still waiting for you or anyone else to give me something to respond to. Once again, the discussion that you and I are having has centered exclusively on my use of a single word.

    You’ve called me a troll now at least 4 or 5 times over a number of posts, but do you even know what that word means? A troll is someone that derails threads. Now by my count, I at least started off here by talking about Friedman. On the other hand, all of your posts are devoted entirely to questions about my personal life and word choice criticisms. So who’s the troll? Does calling a stranger a troll over and over again constitute the kind of insults you’ve been chiding me for?

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  100. One example is the notion that the so-called working-class stiffs (or those on public assistance too!) throughout America deserve the heartfelt, do-gooder, milk-and-honey benefits of both the private and public sectors. So the roof over their head should be something they’re entitled to — something they can call their own — mortgages and monthly expenses be damned (or greatly subsidized).

    First, your ability to respond is appreciated.

    Second, I know that people got in over their hands. But you have to follow the money, there were people getting insanely wealthy by allowing people to get in over their heads. You can’t just assume that people are going to be responsible when presented with mortgages with no down payment, but on the other end, you can’t assume that people aren’t going to offer those mortgages if they’ve figured out how to net enormous short-term profits off of them. This is where the government is supposed to come in.

    I know the tendency in conservative circles is to paint the government as the bad guy in this situation, as if they were holding a gun to the heads of bank CEOs to get crackheads into houses so they’d vote Democrat. While that makes for an entertaining conspiracy theory, it omits the fairly significant detail that these CEOs were themselves raking in billions of dollars for their companies. It also neglects to mention that people people move freely between the government and the financial sector; Henry Paulson was the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Larry Summers was paid millions of dollars by the financial industry before becoming Obama’s go-to economics guy, and Timothy Geithner is similarly tainted. If a bad policy comes down that is widely exploited to the point of global economic collapse, that’s not a fable about the role of government in the economy, it’s a fable about allowing a wealthy elite to control the government.

    Government regulation in general is a good thing, you just need the right kind of people doing the regulating.

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  101. A troll is someone that derails threads. Now by my count, I at least started off here by talking about Friedman.

    This is a rarity for you. On another thread, which was about members of the press applauding Obama, you went off about how Bush had drawn up plans to scuttle the 1st Amendment.

    Yeah, that’s not trollish at all, is it?

    Steverino (69d941)

  102. Government regulation in general is a good thing, you just need the right kind of people doing the regulating.

    I posted the following in the “Glenn Greenwald” thread, but I think it also applies here, so I’m going to lazily copy and paste it:

    The crux of so much of this issue is how people respond to irresponsibility and irresponsible members of society. Simply put, one side of the political aisle is far more accomodating of — far more the enabler to — a do-your-own-thang ethos, of if-it-feels-good-do-it behavior. Devoted followers of the belief that just as long as a person’s heart (or political slant) is in the right place, he or she can do no wrong (Hi, Mr & Mrs Clinton! You two are such caring and compassionate people!).

    So whether it’s a matter of too much government or too little, or the right amount of legality or the lack of such, or too much regulation or too little, ultimately quite a few people and the circumstances they find themselves in — or encourage to exist all around them — are most impacted by their sense of responsibility, of what’s right or wrong.

    The ultimate extreme example of that is evident in the city of Detroit or Washington DC, where most voters in such communities — virtually all of them big backers of the Democrat Party and the guy now in the White House — have a track record of voting (and re-voting) for people who’ve compiled a record of felonies and misdemeanors.

    Then, of course, there are all the folks appointed by the current White House administration who are known to have had, uh, certain issues with paying their taxes.

    April 4 (Bloomberg) — Bernard Madoff used a simple tactic to deceive even the most sophisticated of clients, such as Fairfield Greenwich Group: He refused to answer or he lied whenever he was asked probing questions.

    Madoff, who prosecutors say lied to all his clients, dodged questions about how he delivered steady returns on money raised by Fairfield Greenwich, his largest feeder fund, according to a complaint filed April 1 by Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin.

    Johnrlott.blogspot.com:

    In writing my book Freedomnomics, I started keeping track of the political affiliation of prominent criminals. Needless to say, Madoff is not unusual. John Fund has this over at the WSJ’s Political Diary:

    Bernard Madoff, who appears to be the perpetrator of the largest financial fraud ever, was a politically active player in Washington.

    The Madoff clan were also large donors to political candidates. They donated over $380,000 to individual politicians and political action committees since 1993, most of it going to Democrats but with a few prominent Republicans thrown in, such as scandal-tarred Rep. Vito Fossella of Staten Island.

    As late as September of this year, Mr. Madoff was still giving generously to his favorite political cause: the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee headed by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer. Mr. Madoff contributed $25,000 in September, bringing his total donations to the DSCC to $100,000 over the last three years.

    Mark (411533)

  103. You know, in another thread, I denoted something “TEH NARRATIVE” had written as the most stupid thing he had written.

    I was wrong or at least premature. Because this line is really even more stupid:

    “Government regulation in general is a good thing, you just need the right kind of people doing the regulating.

    Nothing could better illustrate just how divorced from reality “TEH NARRATIVE” actually is.

    Nothing.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  104. This is a rarity for you. On another thread, which was about members of the press applauding Obama, you went off about how Bush had drawn up plans to scuttle the 1st Amendment.

    Yeah, that’s not trollish at all, is it?

    That thread and original post also featured a lot of hyperventilating about Obama being authoritarian, which was what my comment was in reference to. I recognize your point, and when someone goes off topic is somewhat subjective, but at least I was still talking politics. That can’t be said about Eric Blair’s recent contributions in this thread.

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  105. Nothing could better illustrate just how divorced from reality “TEH NARRATIVE” actually is.

    Leftists like “TEH NARRATIVE” envision people like themselves doing the regulating (paid for by parasitizing wealth producers).

    Rand had its type pegged long ago:

    It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (ce8b48)

  106. I recognize your point, and when someone goes off topic is somewhat subjective, but at least I was still talking politics.

    Shorter TEH NARRATIVE: “When I do it, it’s not trolling.”

    Steverino (69d941)

  107. Yep. You sure showed me. Wow. What expert argumentation.

    You are fooling no one.

    Me, I was just responding to your so-tough dismissal of people whose work I very much doubt you have read. There are people on this site who have attended Friedman’s lectures. You?

    Of course you will say you have read his work, or attended his lectures. We have had lots of trolls like that here.

    So, please—since you are concerned with topicality. please go into detail, with references, where Friedman was wrong?

    And by references, do stay away from DK and DU.

    To be sure, people who have spent decades in economics and written many books are sure to have good days and bad days. So I think that just sticking to all that is wrong—in detail, again—with “Free to Choose” is a good place to begin.

    I called you a troll for the same reason you felt free to call Friedman names: my expertise tells me so.

    John Hitchcock has the right idea.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  108. Government regulation in general is a good thing, you just need the right kind of people doing the regulating.

    Absolutely. F*ckn’. Classic.

    Nevermind what’s gone on before. Nevermind that those others have been responsible for the worst that human kind has suffered throughout its entire history.

    This time, this time, no, really! We’re gonna get it right, and everything is going to pop up fluffy pink bunnehs and sky blue unicorns and cotton candy for everybody!

    I miscredited you earlier when remarking that your grasp on reality is tenuous. It isn’t even that.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  109. “Government regulation in general is a good thing, you just need the right kind of people doing the regulating.”

    Wow. Just wow. Apparently, John Freaking Adams was a moron, too. With the exception of “TEH NARRATIVE”‘s ham-handed insults to his betters, I was going to agree with a bit of his schtick. But that passage above makes it difficult.

    Just to summarize where I’m coming from, I’ll paraphrase Thomas P.M. Barnett, who was recently asked about this: For 30 years or so, we sailed in one direction in terms of regulation. Now, for 4 or 8 years, we are going to tack back the other way. Respectfully, it’s isn’t going to end the word or the American republic. Do I like the direction? No. Will we be OK in the long run? Yeah, probably.

    carlitos (c7b990)

  110. Umm, end the world, that is.

    carlitos (c7b990)

  111. The idea that we’ve had decades of deregulation is just wrong, carlitos. We’ve seen a small amount of deregulation in a handful of very narrow areas and advancing regulation in the other 99.9% of economic activity in the US.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  112. Yeah. The problem is which are the “right people.” And it always seems to be tied to the idea that only the “right people” are in power (that is, people with whom you happen to agree). That is the danger, I think, in statism.

    The statists never seem comfortable with, say, GW Bush at the reins. Okay. They like “their” guy or gal to be in charge. But it won’t always be that way, despite ACORN’s efforts.

    Then what?

    That statement, above all, shows why “Free to Choose” is such an important book. Is it always right? Nope. But it is sure a heck of a lot better than the creepy creeping statism taking place now.

    Daddy doesn’t know best.

    The SF writer Jerry Pournelle put it best. He formulated what he calls “Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy”:

    “In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.”

    And that, friends in neighbors, is 100% independent of partisan identification.

    Pournelle goes on to state:

    “…in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.”

    It sure seems to be true in my experience.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  113. Hmm. Well, I’m no fan of regulation, but just off the top of my head:
    – Airlines
    – Telecom
    – Utilities
    – Financial Sector (Banking vs. Brokerages vs. Insurance)
    – Pharmaceuticals (advertising, competition, generics)

    On the other hand:
    – Americans with Disabilities Act
    – Sarbanes-Oxley
    – Environmental insanity (endangered species, etc.)
    – Ongoing tort abuse
    – 1st Amendment abuse

    If we were having this conversation 30 years ago, you would have had to either fly at very high cost, type me a letter and mail it via USPS or call me on my leased AT&T phone and talk long-distance, at a rate proscribed by the monopoly provided. Today, you could fly for $99 via Southwest, FedEx me, call on cell, email, text, chat, etc. In general, I think it’s safe to say that we are less regulated, despite government’s best intentions to regulate us. Those tens of thousands of pages added to the US Code certainly make our lives poorer for the most part. Return to a part-time Congress made up of real people with life skills would be a good start.

    carlitos (c7b990)

  114. I also have a college degree.

    Dude, you need to get your money back. I mean, if you didn’t pay for it with cereal boxtops or something. Srsly.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  115. carlitos, the airlines and telecom saw some deregulation but only in degree. In airlines, the CAB’s price fixing is gone but the airlines themselves are increasingly regulated in every other aspect. In telecom, the only part that was “deregulated” was actually just an end to the monopoly of AT&T to subsidize local service with long distance rates and its monopoly on data services. Telecom is still heavily regulated both at state and federal levels.

    There was no significant “deregulation” of utilities. The “deregulation” of the financial sector is greatly exaggerated especially in comparison to the increasing regulation of everything except the relaxation of Glass-Steagall.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  116. “Here today, gone today.”– Neil Cavuto, live on Faux News, commenting on mass shootings in Binghampton, NY.

    In a sea of change, this dink’s a dinghy.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  117. #114 Eric Blair:

    The SF writer Jerry Pournelle put it best.

    Hmmph. Tend to be partial to Parkinson in this area, but hey, I understand you’re originally from Long Beach.

    And that, friends in neighbors, is 100% independent of partisan identification.

    Among his other observations, Parkinson noted that bureaucracies grow at a compound rate of approximately 5.85%, irrespective of the amount of work actually produced (or, in fact, whether there is any work to be done at all!). His explanation of the why dovetails nicely with Pournelle’s Iron Law observation of the ‘how.’

    #115 carlitos:

    I think it’s safe to say that we are less regulated, despite government’s best intentions to regulate us.

    carlitos, do not mistake innovation for deregulation. Several of your examples are exactly that: innovation outpacing the ability of government to regulate, forcing the government to play “catch up.”

    A game they never tire of, apparently.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  118. Second, I know that people got in over their hands. But you have to follow the money, there were people getting insanely wealthy by allowing people to get in over their heads. You can’t just assume that people are going to be responsible when presented with mortgages with no down payment, but on the other end, you can’t assume that people aren’t going to offer those mortgages if they’ve figured out how to net enormous short-term profits off of them. This is where the government is supposed to come in.

    Answer this question: did these so-called “insanely wealthy profiteers” make these loans because they could, or because the government forced them to?

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (5c06a9)

  119. I’m stuck on the concept here….

    I have a pile of money to lend.

    I lend it to someone who can’t pay it back.

    I have even more piles of money afterward.

    ….I must be missing something.

    Steverino (69d941)

  120. Paul, you think that perhaps “TEH NARRATIVE” has no clue that the FHA actually establishes mortgage standards through its programs and that subsidizing all of those marginal loans was in fact a specific regulatory program?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  121. #121 Steverino:

    ….I must be missing something.

    Well, to be fair…

    I have a pile of money to lend.

    I lend it to someone who can’t pay it back.

    Now, intentionally or not, I shuffle the loan into a multi deck of cards Monte game and sell the game.

    I have even more piles of money afterward.

    Which, as I noted in Liberal Fascism thread,is why most of us should keep in mind that someplace, somehow, sometime, the tangible asset that props up a particular financial instrument should be remembered. IOW, the instrument should be evaluated for its viability.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  122. #122 SPQR:

    you think that perhaps

    SPQR, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty certain.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  123. Now, intentionally or not, I shuffle the loan into a multi deck of cards Monte game and sell the game

    The problem with that is you can’t sell the loans at face value. You’re probably selling them at about 90% of face value, maybe less. So, you’ve got to make up the 10% (and then some) somewhere else in order to siphon off the billions of dollars as claimed.

    Steverino (69d941)

  124. EW1(SG), ah well, I’m rapidly reaching that conclusion too …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  125. Steverino, what do you mean by “face value” ? If you mean the principal amount, you can indeed sell them for more than that, because of the present value of the future interest payment stream, discounted by the odds of early payoff and the rate of default as predicted when you are selling them and upgraded by the expected value of the collateral that can be obtained upon default.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  126. EW1(SG):

    Not only am I from Long Beach, but I was born in Compton.

    Word.

    Thanks for the pointer. I would never claim Dr. Pournelle is an authority.

    But I sure hate red tape.

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  127. Paul, you think that perhaps “TEH NARRATIVE” has no clue

    To me, SPQR, there’s no “think” about it. It’s an obvious matter of fact.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (5c06a9)

  128. Steverino #121: once again, well played.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (5c06a9)

  129. #125 Steverino:

    somewhere else

    In this case, I think the volume of undercapitalized loans was also considered to be a factor…and my allusion to the three card monte was meant to point out that I don’t think a lot of the buyers really had a firm grasp on what it was that they were purchasing.

    But hey, my understanding of the subject is limited by my not really being terribly interested in it. So do, please, take my outside, not particularly well informed observations for about what some of the loans were worth…ie, not much. 😉

    #128 Eric Blair:

    Word.

    LOL!

    I was stationed on a ship homeported at NAVSTA Long Beach for four years and 16 days. My first thought as I drove over the bridge coming from Long Beach onto Terminal Island (as a boy from the Emerald Empire in the PNW) was “Hey, this might not be so bad…there’s grass down there in the median!”

    Wasn’t until I got down to the light (the street that leads north into the refineries and that you always see in car chases & stuff in the movies) that I realized the green I had seen from the apex of the bridge was paint.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  130. I’ll just throw this out in response to some points observed above:
    1-Milton Friedman advocated completely open immigration policies; but, only if the Welfare State was dismantled;
    2-Government has been interjecting itself in Detroit from the early years.
    First there was the break-up (under Sherman, I believe) of the monopoly on the internal Combustion engine with patents on the “Otto-Cycle” system;
    Then, there was the Wagner Act that forced the auto companies to recognize the UAW;
    Followed by the Clean-Air Act which started the imposition of emission and safety standards; then the Franchise Acts which prevented Detroit from downsizing their dealer network.
    I’m sure that there are more, but those are just off the top of my head.

    So, the World has not been slavishly following the dictates of Friedman, and Government has been involved (mightily) in the inner workings of Detroit for at least 70-years.

    And, Yes, the last truly Conservative Government in DC was the Coolidge period (Executive and Legislative and Judicial).

    AD - RtR/OS (dbf3b6)

  131. EW1(SG): I well remember when I was looking for houses here in the Northwest, coming from Southern California.

    The radio was chattering about a “drought” in the NW. And I was looking at standing water on people’s lawns, and moss growing everywhere.

    And I thought: folks have a different dictionary up here!

    Eric Blair (57b266)

  132. #133 Eric Blair:

    And I thought: folks have a different dictionary up here!

    Ah well. People in the Northwest don’t tan in the summer.

    They rust.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  133. Not only am I from Long Beach, but I was born in Compton.

    From Seal Beach, myself; hello, neighbor!

    Steverino (b12c49)

  134. Steverino, what do you mean by “face value” ? If you mean the principal amount, you can indeed sell them for more than that, because of the present value of the future interest payment stream, discounted by the odds of early payoff and the rate of default as predicted when you are selling them and upgraded by the expected value of the collateral that can be obtained upon default.

    I’d say the present value of the loan itself is roughly the original principal, maybe a little higher. (I’d have to do some calculation on this, and I am feeling too laconic right now.)

    The collateral that is obtained on default can be sold to satisfy the debt, plus the cost of recovering the collateral (which can be substantial), but I think anything above that has to be returned to the debtor (that may not be true in all states).

    You’re probably right that a bank can sometimes make a little money on selling a loan. (I wonder whether that would be more than the loan origination fees and hefty document fees.) But if the banks really were making all kinds of cash on these loans, why are so many in trouble? If the banks really were making boatloads of money, the only ones losing would be the trust deed investors.

    Steverino (b12c49)

  135. Steverino, if the value of a loan was the original principal, no one would loan money ever. That simply cannot be true.

    The amount that can be made on selling a mortgage is the difference in present value between the interest rate paid by the borrower and the interest rate promised to the investor.

    The reason banks are in trouble is that the drop in value of real estate and rise in default rates among the packaged loans changed over a short period of time and blew out the previous models on the quality of the derivative securities sold on the packaged loans.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  136. The problem is that, absent the occasional state intervention, the free market leads to the concentration of economic power.

    horace, you might want to read the transcript or watch the video provided in this site’s next post. St. Bill of Moyers presents a credible guest who says that the state and the free market are inseparable. No need to intervene; they are one under The One.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  137. “But if the banks really were making all kinds of cash on these loans, why are so many in trouble?”

    Steverino – I can’t speak for all banks, but with respect to some of the big ones involved in mortgage syndications, they got left holding the bag. After slicing and dicing a pool of mortgages into different tranches with different seniority with respect to claims of payments from borrowers, and hence potentially different ratings, my understanding is that some of the originators of the pools were often unable to find buyers for the most junior or toxic tranches, leaving them to accumulate on their balance sheets or on off balance sheet structures that they were later forced to bring on balance sheet. Those exposures grew quarter after quarter and to me signalled either that the risk management committees at the institutions were asleep, being lied to, or making so much money off the products they didn’t care, none of which are mutually exclusive. Balances in some of those retained interest accounts ballooned from $5 billion to $50 billion on the books of some institutions. If I were a manager at one of them I would have like to think I might have asked questions about what was in the damned account and why it was getting to be such a large percentage of my capital. If they sold the interests at less than carrying value they would have had to book a loss and of course they would not have wanted to do that, especially as the amounts grew.

    Hope that helps.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  138. Steverino, if the value of a loan was the original principal, no one would loan money ever. That simply cannot be true.

    I agree with that. Certainly, if a bank holds a note to its maturity and the borrower pays it back, the bank is going to make more than the present value of the loan. Figure an interest rate of roughly 7% and the cost of the capital is in the 2-3% range, the present value of the loan is more than the face value.

    The banks that sold loans would have to get less than the present value for them, but could get face value and make their money on origination fees and such.

    If every borrower pays, or the default rate is small enough that there’s enough demand for the collateral for it to hold its price, then everything’s fine.

    There might have been a few winners in this mess. But I don’t see a small number of individuals siphoning off billions and billions of dollars, as TEH NARRATIVE claimed.

    Steverino (b12c49)

  139. The argument deliberately ignores the “empirical fact” that even when Rockefeller was at the height of his economic power, his innovations in business management led to cheaper heating oil and transportation costs, which benefitted many more than just himself;

    Standard Oil is often given as the classic example of the need for govt. intervention in markets. As I understand it though, their “monopoly” was rapidly eroding already when the govt. broke it up.

    Gerald A (990d21)

  140. “The banks that sold loans would have to get less than the present value for them, but could get face value and make their money on origination fees and such.”

    Steverino – Often the fees could be bundled into the original principal of the loan and disbursed at closing. The difference between your 7% stated rate on the mortgage and say a 5% blended rate on a repackaged pool demanded by investors wgo take the mortgages off the hands of the banks is substantial in terms of present value.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  141. Congress is always cowardly like this. Give it to the President, let him worry about it. Then, when the executive enforces their vague, general laws in a particular way which they (or, more importantly, the American people) don’t like, well then it’s all shock and dismay.

    Fritz (5a310d)

  142. Steverino – Often the fees could be bundled into the original principal of the loan and disbursed at closing.

    Understood. The bank still gets the origination fee (which usually isn’t much more than 1 or 2 percent of the amount the borrower gets), the face value of the loan is a bit higher. Again, I don’t see banks in general taking billions of dollars out of the system, as was claimed. Most of the money went to builders (for mortgages on new houses, or equity loans for improvements), or into the general economy. It wasn’t sewn into mattresses.

    Steverino (b12c49)

  143. “Again, I don’t see banks in general taking billions of dollars out of the system, as was claimed.”

    Steverino – I’m not sure which claims you’re referencing. If they’re the ones from TEH NARRATIVE, no, you’re right. But was a lot of good money in those spreads if you could keep passing the trash.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  144. Steverino – I’m not sure which claims you’re referencing. If they’re the ones from TEH NARRATIVE, no, you’re right. But was a lot of good money in those spreads if you could keep passing the trash.

    Yes, they were from TEH NARRATIVE, as I mentioned a few times.

    If the money from the spreads really were all that good, Countrywide wouldn’t have been so distressed. The gains from many loans clearly didn’t offset the losses from fewer loans.

    Steverino (b12c49)

  145. One of of the State-fellators who posted here commented equated Libertarianism to Autism. Apparently in this guy’s world, objecting to having a gun put to one’s head is a sign of defective mental health. I guess he lives on Bizarro planet.

    However, if you want to psychologize, I see the melange of neo-Marxist economics, “ressentiment,” and State-cultism that these days goes by the name of “liberalism” to be a sign of deeper psychological issues: certainly of a deep strain of sado-masochism, with the proportion of “S” (power-lust) to “M” (the desire to be ruled) varying with the psyche of the “liberal.” The “S” part being “

    Bilwick1 (798ac9)

  146. However, if you want to psychologize[sic]
    Comment by Bilwick1 — 4/6/2009 @ 6:20 am

    I don’t… and you shouldn’t. Applying amateur psycho-babble when you clearly are just ignorantly smearing political opposition (emphasis on ignorantly) is wrong when done by liberals or conservatives. Please stop.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  147. Yes, psychologize is a word… third-person singular. I should not have put [sic]. Mea culpa.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  148. To put a finer point on what I posted earlier, it just isn’t in the banks’ best interest to make bad loans. There might be some short term profit, but that’s wiped out very quickly. If you carry the loans, you’re up to your waist in bad debt. If you sell the loans, you eventually run out of buyers, and you’re back in the position of carrying the loans.

    Contrary to what TEH NARRATIVE keeps telling us, no one walked away from this mess with billions of dollars. Some lenders made a little profit, most did not.

    Steverino (69d941)

  149. #150 Steverino:

    it just isn’t in the banks’ best interest to make bad loans.

    A point lost on many who are quite certain that “business” exists solely to prey on the “little guy.”

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  150. To put a finer point on what I posted earlier, it just isn’t in the banks’ best interest to make bad loans. There might be some short term profit, but that’s wiped out very quickly. If you carry the loans, you’re up to your waist in bad debt. If you sell the loans, you eventually run out of buyers, and you’re back in the position of carrying the loans.

    Contrary to what TEH NARRATIVE keeps telling us, no one walked away from this mess with billions of dollars. Some lenders made a little profit, most did not.

    The short-term profits are the whole point. You get the money and you distribute it among your small group of crooks in the form of huge performance or retention bonuses. The company doesn’t matter, these guys are getting rich for themselves.

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  151. A point lost on many who are quite certain that “business” exists solely to prey on the “little guy.”

    It isn’t in the banks’ interest, but the people doing the stealing aren’t acting in the best interests of the banks, obviously, they’re acting for themselves.

    TEH NARRATIVE (863676)

  152. All you have done, “TEH NARRATIVE”, is continue to confirm that you really don’t have a clue about these issues.

    SPQR (72771e)

  153. Still waiting for that honest discussion of Boooooosh’ double super secret plan to cancel the 1st Amendment.

    JD (0d131e)

  154. The short-term profits are the whole point. You get the money and you distribute it among your small group of crooks in the form of huge performance or retention bonuses. The company doesn’t matter, these guys are getting rich for themselves.

    Once again, you show your idiocy. The bankers, even the crooked ones, understand this principle: you can shear a sheep 100 times, but you can eat it only once.

    Steverino (69d941)

  155. Well, of course, stashiu, I wasn’t psychologizing . . . just pointing out where it could take you. And I’m sure they don’t apply Are the terms “sadism” and “masochism” now considered “psycho-babble”? Interesting. If so, what non-babble term do we use now to describe people who get off on dominating other people, or people who want to be dominated?

    Which also leads to another interesting question: if the desire to dominate, or the desire to be dominated, isn’t part of the “liberal” (i.e., State-shtupper) psyche, what motivates them to constantly seek power over others or want others to have power over them?

    Bilwick1 (798ac9)

  156. what non-babble term do we use now to describe people who get off on dominating other people, or people who want to be dominated?

    …social democrats, established military dictatorships and those in the making (esp. South American versions), religious dictatorships, politburos in all their iterations, the vast majority of Arab nations plus the Farsi and Pashtun speaking ones…just to start you off.

    allan (ca61cc)

  157. Let’s look at this then.

    However, if you want to psychologize, I see the melange of neo-Marxist economics, “ressentiment,” and State-cultism that these days goes by the name of “liberalism” to be a sign of deeper psychological issues: certainly of a deep strain of sado-masochism, with the proportion of “S” (power-lust) to “M” (the desire to be ruled) varying with the psyche of the “liberal.”

    You were doing so and inviting others to do so as well. Denying ownership of your own words by saying you were “just pointing out where it could take you” is like saying you’re “just asking questions”. We mock when the trolls do it, we shouldn’t be doing it ourselves. And again:

    certainly of a deep strain of sado-masochism, with the proportion of “S” (power-lust) to “M” (the desire to be ruled) varying with the psyche of the “liberal.”

    Certainly? Really? Case-closed even? Applying those terms to an entire political philosophy is what I called psycho-babble. Of course the terms themselves are not psycho-babble, just your use of them. Do you honestly believe that liberals are sadists who derive pleasure (usually sexual, and you certainly implied it by using the term “get off”) through cruelty or pain to others? Even if the term meant what you thought it meant (control), liberals cannot be generalized like that. Some want to be in (social) control, some want to be controlled (taken care of), but there are conservatives who fall into these categories as well. Saying that your conclusions are “certainly” true is psycho-babble of the highest order. You can say that they’re wrong or that you disagree with them, bit if you call them mentally ill because they’re Liberals someone should call you on it.

    I’m just sick of people demonizing those who have a different political label. You attempted to provide a psychological rationale (with rather perverted connotations) for your political opponents, parroting the conservative meme that Liberalism is a mental disorder. While that meme is amusing for some conservatives (much like some liberals enjoy calling names), taking it seriously is both dishonest and ignorant.

    Good economic principles are not liberal or conservative… they’re politically neutral because they’re only “good” if they work. Some Liberal principles are good, I believe most are not and that Conservative principles are better overall. Friedman (IMO) makes a lot of sense, but disagreeing with him doesn’t necessarily make someone evil or stupid. It certainly doesn’t make them sadistic or masochistic.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  158. Yeah, I am going to have to denounce you, Stash.

    JD (fc72cc)

  159. #159 Stashiu3:

    I’m just sick of people demonizing those who have a different political label.

    Damn.

    That was one of my favorite pastimes.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  160. Stashiu3 – Friedman (IMO) makes a lot of sense, but disagreeing with him doesn’t necessarily make someone evil or stupid.

    No, but attempting to demonize Friedman personally while failing to actually make an argument that addresses his ideas is evil and stupid. It’s evil because it’s essentially a cowardly act aimed at someone who was not cowardly, and stupid because the practitioners of this behavior would be much better off personally if they embraced the ideas.

    Apogee (f4320c)

  161. In fact Stash, Friedman would be right with you on the Good economic principles are not liberal or conservative thingy.

    Friedman was the true Post Partisan.

    Apogee (f4320c)

  162. Link didn’t work.

    Here it is:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev_Uph_TLLo

    Apogee (f4320c)

  163. Sheesh – Go to 2:37 in the vid.

    Apogee (f4320c)

  164. JD, no worries bud. I know you only do it out of love (for denouncing). 😉

    EW1(SG), mocking is still okay my friend. You’ll be fine, there’s plenty of material these days.

    Apogee, I agree completely. But not all Liberals do this, and those who do are not (necessarily) mentally ill. Bilwick1 just pushed one of my many buttons.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  165. Bilwick1 just pushed one of my many buttons.

    Yes. The one marked “blend”.

    Apogee (f4320c)

  166. Apogee, I (as I said above) think Friedman makes a lot of sense and agree with almost every point he makes (the ones I understand anyway, I’m not a financial wiz like some here. I can’t say he’s right, but I believe he is.) My issue was solely with the broad-spectrum diagnosis of a political philosophy using psycho-babble. It was an ass-pull, pure and simple. There is no “certainly” about what Bilwick1 wrote and that is what I called him on. I don’t like when Liberal trolls do it and I don’t like it when someone uses it to trash Liberals. It’s dishonest demonizing.

    Sorry if I gave any impression other than that and thanks for the link.

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  167. Daleyrocks #68- The will of the people was to let the market work and to bail out nobody, at least most of the people I was talking to. The Congress didn’t pass the Paulson bailout the first time (well, the House didn’t)

    Even though a lot of people say that was just a negotiation tactic I like to at least pretend it was because all their constituents were writing/calling in pulsing vein furious. Maybe not.

    I actually was in complete agreement with many commenters on this site on that particular issue. As I recall there were a lot of mixed opinions here about it, I was with the “let them fail” crowd.

    EdWood (2bea43)

  168. Teh Narrative #102
    “If a bad policy comes down that is widely exploited to the point of global economic collapse, that’s not a fable about the role of government in the economy, it’s a fable about allowing a wealthy elite to control the government.”

    This thread looks pretty played out but- well said.

    EdWood (2bea43)

  169. Stashiu3 – You communicated correctly. I didn’t. I agree with you regarding the demonizing. I was just chiming in with the assertion that the only comments I’ve seen here or anywhere against Friedman are personally demonizing in nature or so completely general as to be useless as an argument.

    Freedom is what Friedman believed (which he says himself at 2:37 in the link), which isn’t something that can be attacked. The only choice left is to attempt to personally demonize him by misrepresenting what he actually said and believed.

    Apogee (f4320c)


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