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Gherald filed this under:  

Oy, will the fun ever start?  I’m still sick!

I’m so sick that I permanently decided to quit smoking.

I haven’t had a cig for four days!   Argh!

I am really starting to feel like a horse’s ass for naively believing that most anyone in the Democratic Party wasn’t lying about having a spine:
With the economy rapidly weakening, some senior Democrats are having second thoughts about raising taxes on the nation’s wealthiest families and are pressing party leaders to consider extending the full array of Bush administration tax cuts, at least through next year. This rethinking comes barely a month after Democrats trumpeted plans to stage a high-stakes battle over taxes in the final weeks before the November congressional elections.

The Bush tax cuts are set to expire in December. Republicans are pushing to extend them all, while President Obama has forcefully argued that the country cannot afford to keep tax breaks on income over $250,000 a year for families and $200,000 a year for individuals.

But a growing cadre of Democrats – alarmed by evidence that the recovery is losing steam and fearful of wounding conservative Democrats in a tough election year – are advocating a plan that would permanently extend tax cuts benefiting the middle class while renewing breaks for the wealthy through 2011, senior Democratic aides said.

Awesome strategery, Democrats. Extend tax cuts that do nothing to stimulate the economy and de facto cede the argument about tax cuts helping the economy, get blamed for the deficit costs of those tax cuts as more evidence of the free-spending liberals, continue the growth in income inequality and the distribution of wealth concentrated at the top of the tiers, leave less money available to engage in worthy projects, and demoralize your base while throwing a bone to people who are NEVER EVER EVER going to vote for you.

I hate being a Democrat.

Me too. It’s very emasculating.

I’ve been laid low by a weird bug since Thursday.  Sorry for my absence. 

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Metavirus filed this under:  

Obama’s approval among independent voters:

(sans Rasmussen)

Gherald filed this under: ,  
Felix Salmon writes:
the main message from the big conference on Fannie and Freddie is that there’s a broad-based consensus, Rick Santelli rants notwithstanding, that large-scale government participation in the housing market is necessary to prevent further house-price declines.
Arnold Kling objects:
Old consensus: we need Freddie and Fannie in order to make housing “affordable.”

New consensus: we need them in order to “prevent further house price declines,” in other words, to make housing less affordable.

I have to question this consensus. It reminds me of the consensus that “We should someday deregulate oil prices, but not now” that prevailed in the late 1970’s. President Reagan rejected that consensus, ripped off the Band-aid of oil price controls as soon as he took office, and the consensus now is that he was right to do so. I have been arguing since early in this crisis that we need a similar approach in housing.

Markets achieve a spontaneous order. The opposite of order is disorder. Price controls in the oil market created disorder, to the point where fights broke out in lines at gas stations.
Government interference in housing markets, which helped produce the disorder known as the financial crisis, is still producing disorder. When houses are “owned” only because the government is supplying lenient, subsidized credit, that is disorder. Given this disorder, rational people do not wish to buy. The rational person wants to buy low, sell high, not buy when the market is rigged to try to keep prices higher than they should be.

The effort to prop up home prices does the following:

1. Diverts capital from other uses.
2. Uses up taxpayer money that could be spent on other things.
3. Increases the wealth of people who find suckers to buy their houses at too-high prices.
4. Decreases the wealth of the suckers who buy now.
5. Decreases the liquidity and mobility of people who cannot find rational buyers for their houses because rational buyers do not buy into a rigged market.
6. Decreases the investment opportunities for rational buyers, who are unable to buy homes in an un-rigged market.

The only thing on this list that even looks like a benefit is (3). The consensus that this policy is necessary has to be questioned and challenged until somebody like Reagan comes along and stops it.

Indeed. Tyler Cowen adds:

[These old and new consensuses are] the Goldilocks theory of home mortgage intervention.  Most of all, I am curious what is the underlying theory why few private investors would not, without the mortgage agencies, fund mortgages at the right price.  I would gladly write a series of blog posts examining those theories, as many of those same investors buy riskier assets, such as some equities.  Or is it simply an attempt to hold a finger in the dike?

Our either real or supposed inability to do away with the mortgage agencies over a five-year time horizon is one of the major reasons to be a pessimist about the American economy today.  None of the underlying theories about these agencies, and why they are needed, are very good news for any of us.  And that is perhaps why those theories are not articulated very often.

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Gherald filed this under:  

Methinks this statement from Ron Paul on the Muslim community center foofaraw ain’t gonna make for pleasant dinnertime conversation with principle-free wingnut son Rand Paul: 

Many fellow conservatives [like my dipshit son] say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction. 

This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible. […]

It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty. […] 

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

Metavirus filed this under: , , ,