The Team Obama Con Game Gets Official Notice

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Readers have been sending various Pangloss/Orwell sightings on a daily basis, with one’s take on whether they fall in the absurdist or merely creeping authoritarian camp depending on one’s degree of cynicism. I have only posed about 1/10th of them simply because it often takes a fair bit of parsing (headline v. meaningful comment close to the end that undercuts it). plus in many cases guest bloggers have already taken a cut at the topic (overly optimistic reports on employment data, for instance) so a piece on a paricular new item looked to be overkill.

Nevertheless. it has been noteworthy that some formerly more balanced outlets have swung to at least a high proportion of cheerleading headlines, in particular Bloomberg and the Financial Times (although with the FT, one might argue that it is attempting to cater to a US market).

But if one was paying only a teeny bit of attention, it would be hard to miss the persistent, nay insistent efforts of the officialdom to put the best possible spin on matters economic. The very fact that Geithner said not more than once that the stress tests were about restoring confidence was such a brazen admission as to be breathtaking. But on another level, it was spin within spin, since the idea that the authorities would openly talk of the tests as a ruse to restore confidence (which is what predetermining the answers, as Geithner also did) is tantamount to saying the skeptics are all wrong, and all we need to do is drown them out for saner heads to prevail.

While the “nary a bad word will be said”, or to the extent it is, it is countermanded by an even more positive take, has gotten some notice in the MSM. But I cannot recall anyone taking issue with it frontally. So an article today in the New York Times, “The Economy Is Still at the Brink” by Sandy Lewis and William Cohan, is a badly needed contirbution:

President Obama is conducting an all-out campaign to try to make us feel a whole lot better about the economy as quickly as possible…

Mr. Obama thinks that the way to revive the economy is to restore confidence in it. If the mood is right, the capital will flow. But this belief is dangerously misguided. We are sympathetic to the extraordinary challenge the president faces, but if we’ve learned anything at all two years into the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, it is that a capital-markets system this dependent on public confidence is a shockingly inadequate foundation upon which to rest our economy.

Yves here. Put more simply, confidence is a necessary but not sufficient condition for recovery. Indeed, many readers have argued that boosterism will backfire when the policy measures come up short. This is, as we have said repeatedly, an effort to restore status quo ante rather than deal with serious, deeply rooted problems. Back to the article:

We have both spent large chunks of our lives working on Wall Street, absorbing its ethic and mores. We’re concerned that nothing has really been fixed. We’re doubly concerned that people appear to feel the worst of the storm is over — and in this, they are aided and abetted by a hugely popular and charismatic president and by the fact that the Dow has increased by 35 percent or so since Mr. Obama started to lay out his economic plans in March. But wishing for improvement and managing by the Dow’s swings are a fool’s game. (Disclosure: One of us, Mr. Lewis, was convicted on federal charges of stock manipulation in 1989, pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001 and had his lifetime trading ban overturned by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2006; documents relating to the case can be found at

The storm is not over, not by a long shot. Huge structural flaws remain in the architecture of our financial system, and many of the fixes that the Obama administration has proposed will do little to address them and may make them worse. At another fund-raising event, for Senator Harry Reid, President Obama said: “We didn’t ask for the challenges that we face. But we are determined to answer the call to meet those challenges, to cast aside the old arguments and overcome the stubborn divisions and move forward as one people and one nation …. It will take time but I promise you, I promise you, I’ll always tell you the truth about the challenges we face.”

Keeping that statement in mind — as well as an abiding faith in the importance of properly functioning capital markets — we have come up with a set of questions meant to challenge a popular president, with vast majorities in Congress, to find the flaws in the system, to figure out what’s being done to fix them and to get to the truth about the difficulties we face as we set out to restore the proper functioning of our markets and our standing in the world.

Six months ago, nobody believed that our banking system was well designed, functioning smoothly or properly regulated — so why then are we so desperately anxious to restore that model as the status quo? Nearly every new program emanating these days from the Treasury Department — the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, the Public Private Investment Program, the “stress tests” of major banks — appears to have been designed to either paper over or to prop up a system that has clearly failed.

Yves here. Finally, someone besides folks like Willem Buiter, who is well respected but not widely read, is saying the obvious. Back to the story:

Instead of hauling out the new drywall to cover up the existing studs, let’s seriously consider ripping down the entire structure, dynamiting the foundation and building a new system that rewards taking prudent risks, allocates capital where it is needed, allows all investors to get accurate and timely financial information and increases value to shareholders and creditors.

As a start, the best-compensated executives at the top of these big banks, hedge funds and private-equity firms should be treated like general partners of yore. If a firm takes prudent risks that pay off, this top layer of management should be well compensated. But if the risks these people take are imprudent and the losses grave, they should expect to lose their jobs. Instead of getting guaranteed salaries or huge bonuses, they should have the bulk of their net worth completely at risk for a long stretch of time — 10 years come to mind — for the decisions they make while in charge. This would go a long way toward re-aligning the interests of these firms with those of their shareholders and clients and the American people, who have been saddled with their risks and mistakes.

Why is so much effort being put into propping up those at the top of the economic pyramid — the money-center banks, the insurance companies, the hedge funds and so forth — when during a period of deflation like the one we are in, any recovery will come only by restoring the confidence of the people down at the bottom of the pyramid?

Confidence will return only when jobs can be found and mortgage payments are made. Even if Mr. Obama’s claim is true that his $780 billion stimulus package “saved or created” some 150,000 jobs, we seem a long way away from the point where those struggling to get by will feel like spending again. What happens when people buy a car once every 10 years instead of once every two or three, especially now that we taxpayers own such a big percentage of the American auto industry?

The story continues here.

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  1. Bennett

    Who is saying that the status quo "restoration" will be permanent?

    This is analogous to Krugman's mistaken fearmongering that Obama and reformers will only get "one chance" to fix things.

    Yves, I believe that you fundamentally do not understand the political process, and the long term strategic view that political actors take.

    I think Obama and company are keeping their powder dry; it's as simple as that. They know as much as you and Bueler and the commenters here do….they are waiting. "Gambling" if you will.

    But any smart student of politics knows that you can only really execute reform when *all options have been exhausted." I am sure Geithner and Obama will cheer the day, believe it or not, when the current course proves unsustainable – only then can the reform that you desire become possible. IT's not possible now. That's why "nothing has changed."

    Look at how big bankers now are squealing about the tiny burdens placed on them by the stress tests, or other regulations. You simply cannot revolutionize things at once; it historically is an incremental process. This is NOT 1932, it is not as dire as that. We cannot have the changes on that scale so quickly.

    So one should not think that Geithner and Obama are idiots, or have their heads in the sand. That is simply ignorant and naive. Their strategy may or may not be proved wrong – but that cannot be determined now.

    Finally, the guy in the above article is a damn felon! End of discussion.

  2. Bennett

    Let me add that people will have more confidence when they get health care reform with a real public option, which will create true pressure on health insurance companies and lower costs, at least somewhat.

    Obama is spending political capital on this now.

    Yves, I know you love animals. That little colossal problem called global warming… and the US's energy future….that is the other Obama priority. Waxman Markey is a good first step. Read

    Good priority hierarchy, if you ask me. I hope he does the right thing when it comes time to rewrite the financial rules.

  3. Glen

    Quick look around Australias MSMs (The Australian, SMH & Fin Rev) nothing of any significance that actually analyses the issues at hand and questions what changes have been made to a failed system. Just more 'good news, all is wonderful again' stories. They're still running with the "improvement" in the US unemployment figures god forbid even though they've been totally discredited!

    Bennett – so what if the guys a crook – but one of many on Wall St except he got caught. I'd rather listen to him than most other commentators; inside experience. If your going to make your house safe, who would you listen to – the salesman or the thief?

  4. Tortoise

    It is important to keep in mind that the economy is like a complicated clockwork with lots of moving parts, some going up while others are going down. House prices may be dropping and unemployment rates may be going up and yet the overall economy may be improving or about to turn the corner and head up. One thing I have learned is that cycles follow their own internal logic and recoveries start exactly when it seems that things are horrible and many logical and analytical people are overcome by despair.

    I am sure you have heard the expression "It is darkest before the dawn". It is a truism and yet …

    Though nobody can PREDICT the economy with certainty, the best predictions (in terms of track record) come from leading indicators. They seem to indicate that the worst is over and the economy is about to turn up. Everything else may be just subjective evaluations shaped by our emotions.

  5. NOTaREALmerica

    Have to agree with the first comment. Liberals and Conservatives (the Faux News kind) have the same utopian view of "political possibilities". Politics is just the smart insiders attempting to accumulate more power. NOTHING else. If, as all the liberals wanted, Obama (and company) actually tried to "reform wall-street" the (Faux News) Conservatives would have a field day, the next election would surely be lost. These morons are already scoring points with the Libertarians (the fantasy conservatives), btw. Especially with the Libertarian peasants who don’t like OTHER peasants getting bailout money.

    Beside, what IS this magic "reform of wall-street" supposed to look like? What would the end-game look like (assume this was a gaming simulation, what would the final result look like)? If it's truth, justice, and the `merican way, you're gonna have to wait a long time for THAT (or until "A Wonderful Life" comes-round this xmas).

    Obama and company are doing EXACTLY what they are supposed to be doing. Making deals with the insider scum in order to win the next election. The deals involve huge amounts of money in exchange for payoffs (or huge amounts of money) and deals on “regulations”. What ELSE would you expect ANY political organization to do? (I hope you didn’t think to yourself: represent the people. If you did, gaaaawwwwwddd!!!!!!)

  6. Jay

    Global Warming, what a fucking joke. North Dakota is snowing in June. Last year the Middle East has it first snow storm in centuries. I can't believe so many people fall for this hoax. It is a testimonial to the US piss poor education system.

    How can you expect confidence in the general public when obama’s team has no confidence in what they are doing? How the fuck are we going to pay manage heath care when we are broke? Is Obama shitting gold out of his ass? I bet most libtards would believe that.

    Liberals should start using the brain that God gave them. I know it’s hard but at least try.

  7. Thomas

    Non-scientists like using the term "Global Warming" because it allows any abnormal cold weather to be used for denial of it's scientific validity.

    The science about human instigated climate change predicts more volatile weather not simplistic warming everywhere.

    Personally I don't give much value to household recycling or the peer pressure to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, but I am not ignorant enough to deny the real science behind human caused climate change or what I like to call, "Climitia".

  8. kackermann

    North Dakota is snowing in June. Last year the Middle East has it first snow storm in centuries. I can't believe so many people fall for this hoax. It is a testimonial to the US piss poor education system

    Another one-step-and-rest thinker.

    Sure, we all know trends are easy to spot with one datapoint.

    As long as I don't think about it, I can easily see that cooler temps in certain locations would refute science and overturn the laws of physics.

    Shoot! I forgot to stop thinking and now I am wondering if reaching equallibrium at a higher temperature might not involve rotating more air over the poles due to the higher energy level.

    Well that's good! We can just exchange hot air with the cold air from the poles. Or better yet, we can just dump the hot air at the poles, and let it snow on it and cool it off.

    Crap! I just thought about the absorption spectrum of CO2, and the fact that it doesn't precipitate. I keep forgetting to stop thinking.

    Jay, how do you do it?

  9. AMS

    Bennett said: “I think Obama and company are keeping their powder dry; it's as simple as that.”

    Why would Obama keep his powder dry? Firstly, he’s used an awful lot of powder restoring the “status quo” and there is little powder left for powerful and significant reform. Secondly, why not get in early, feel the pain and then benefit from the structural reform towards the end of his term? Is this is more likely to result in re-election???

    Without the mandatory financial sector reform, there will be little powder left to implement his other meritorious social reforms.

    The problem with Yves is not that she does not “fundamentally do not understand the political process” but that Yves understands it too well.

    “Gambling” on doing nothing is dangerous. Gambling is for gamblers, not first class leaders. First class leaders, lead and reform.
    After the Panic of 1907 and the Great Crash of 1929 it took some fearless individuals to insist on reform. This reform served the industry well for 70 years and todays problems can be attributed to the removal of those reforms.

    Yves, keep up the quality of the blog! Hopefully the great contributors to comments of 6-12 months ago will return.

  10. juan


    Per Gar Lipow, others, Waxman Markey is loaded with problems [Grist]. Cap and trade is not the way to go.

    OK, on topic, 'repairing' capital markets depends on the not-certain resuscitation of a more than national real economy. Along w/capture, what we've been seeing is confusion over which depends on which.

  11. Stevie b.

    Yves – great post – the article is terrific – we need a fresh start now, not politics as usual. I'm depressed that I seem to be the only commentator who thinks so.

  12. Brick

    The following from the article says alot about our current situation.Can we afford to wait while another bubble bursts?

    As a result, there is little flow of information, and small investors are paying the price. The beneficiaries, no surprise, are the remains of the old Wall Street broker-dealers — now bank-holding companies like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — that can see in advance what their clients are interested in buying, and might trade the same stocks for their own accounts. Incredibly, despite the events of last fall, nearly every one of Wall Street’s proprietary trading desks can still take huge risks and then, if they get into trouble, head to the Federal Reserve for short-term rescue financing.
    We can no longer pretend that our collective behavior as a nation for the past 25 years has been worthy of us as a people.

  13. scepticus

    " any recovery will come only by restoring the confidence of the people down at the bottom of the pyramid?"

    Stripped of all punditry, sophistry and obfuscation, the snippet above makes for a nice summary of the problems, except I'd change the word 'confidence' to 'wealth'.

    The bottom of the pyramid has had its wealth stolen by the top (which could have been avoided) and has also seen it leak overseas due to an unsustainable imbalance in global wealth (which could not have been avoided, but might have been mitigated).

    There will be no recovery in either the economy or the health of society until the wealth pyramid is restored to a healthy and sustainable shape. Having a healthy shape to the pyramid is more critical than the size of the pyramid.

    Achieving this requires some form of wealth re-distribution based upon a political and cultural recognition of the chronic pressures which lead and will continue to lead, to these imbalances.

    Since this is something that most americans in politics, finance and the general public can hardly bring themselves to speak about let alone act upon, dynamiting and rebuilding the financial system won't help unless the underlying cultural, social and structural issues are also dealt with.

  14. LIL

    Bennett's comments are almost hysterically naive. Um, okay so Obama is spending err. wasting trillions, but we shouldn't worry because he'll get "the powder out"?

    When asked what Plan B was during a hearing with Geither about TARP, he fell completely silent.

    So any liberal moron that thinks Obama is just waiting to save the world…well they are an imbecile.

    In fact, the health care "reform" is a sad attempt to "never waste a crisis" as an opportunity to pass some more garbage that has little to do with directly fixing our country's main problem, which is the economy, stupid.

    I am certain, that in spite of the Orwellian media, most people see the truth. If Obama minions are reading this, don't bother trying to force socialized health cars down our throats, or sending wide-eyed innocents like Bennett to preach the pulpit of Obama.

    It ain't happening!

  15. Ray

    Doesn't matter. Its only a matter of time before we have an inflationary blowout. No way the fed will be able to pull back all the money sloshing around the system. Bets on the next asset bubble anyone?

  16. DownSouth

    @The theory of propaganda.

    Hannah Arendt wrote extensively about propaganda, and given what is going on in America today, a review of her work is timely.

    Arendt first became interested in ideology, lies and propaganda in trying to explain how the two totalitarian ideologies–national socialism and communism–became the most successful theoretical orders in the modern age. In the 1960s and 70s she supplemented this with two essays about lying in democratic societies: "Truth and Politics" and "Lying and Politics."

    In her earlier work, Antonia Grunenberg concludes that:

    Arendt's reflections on the fictitious world emerging from ideology in the Origins of Totalitarianism demonstrate how totalitarianism creates a parallel world without a connection to reality, a world constructed by totalitarian leaders to dominate the real world. It can be put in the place of the real world because it contains elements of experience as well as elements of reality. And its most successful effect is that it makes people unable to differentiate between ideology and reality. It puts obedience and obligation in the place of judging and responsibility.

    Grunenberg goes on to point out that, in her later essays, Arendt argued that "systematic lying itself is not constrained to totalitarian regimes. It is present as well in democratic societies."

    Arendt develops the theory of the "modern lie:"

    If traditional lies are told, relevant information is withheld from the public. However, the peculiarity about modern lying is that it destroys reality and replaces it with an image of reality. Modern lying replaces truth with an image of it.

    Arendt asserts that "the systematic creation of 'image reality' (in democratic societies) is in no sense harmless:"

    A modern lie is not an obvious lie because it no longer relates to an individual action but to the entire political sphere. Its purpose is to confuse citizens to such a degree that they no longer feel capable of making judgments. Even more, image-reality tempts citizens by asking for their confidence and belief (for example, in democratic elections citizens trust their representatives and give them executive powers). Those pursuing the strategy of an image-reality have the intention of convincing people that unreserved confidence must be placed in the executive authorities and in the so-called experts.

    To use a term coined by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, a "counter-truth" is spread, created to mislead the public. A prerequisite for the creation of a "counter-truth" seems to be that the common sense distinction between right and wrong is confused, not only within individuals but also in the political sphere. Thus, truth becomes a "performative act."

    The goal is to suspend the ability of citizens to judge. Arendt describes this modern type of lying as "destroying" and she gives two reasons for this: first, because it damages people's confidence in the political body, and second, because it attacks the fundamentals of the polity: the citizen's ability to judge and to act.

    The counterpart of the lie is the "internal self-delusion" of the liars: that is, presenting something as true although they know that it is untrue. The liars know that they tell lies, but they give the impression that they believe their lies are true. Arendt calls this "organized lying dominating the public realm" typical for modernity. It means that an outside matter is transformed into an inside issue. As a result, truth becomes a matter of opinion.

    There are similar mechanisms in the world of lies and in the world of ideology. However, the main difference is that totalitarian ideology is linked to systematic terror whereas lying in democracies belongs to acting. A totalitarian regime leads to a regime of evil; a democracy is able to unveil the network of lies in order to bring the executive power under control and restore the body politic.

  17. DownSouth

    (theory of propaganda continued)

    Arendt, however, places the final responsibility for the maintenance and functioning of a democracy upon its rank and file citiizens:

    [P]olitics is always linked to power; hence the tension between truth and the inclination of those who take political action to present truth as an insignificant opinion will always exist… Only those who can or will no longer draw the line between truth and lies, only those who are taken in by their own lies (self-deception) help to create the image-reality described earlier…

    [R]esponsibility (which could be seen as a kind of veracity) must not be suspended at any time–even when living under extreme conditions of totalitarian rule. It can be assumed that man has the capacity to distinguish between good and evil even under extreme conditions. Hence human beings are also responsible for their actions. For this reason not only mass murderers had to be called to account for their actions but also the public liars working in the national security offices, because the fictitious constructs of reality they present, these "counter-truths," undermine the citizen's ability to judge and to act…

    Arendt considers the task of caring for the public sphere–the common world–as the only option to resist the (self-) destructive potential of the Modern Age. The evil in the world can be opposed only if people make their common world fit to live in and only if this livability is constantly renewed…

    Arendt wanted to draw a "sharper dividing line between political (collective) responsibility, on one side, and moral and/or legal (personal) guilt, on the other." What was really at stake was to differentiate between criminal guilt that could only lie with individuals (or with identifiable groups of culprits) and political responsibility: What was needed was a reformulation of political responsibility as a civic virtue. To this end two conditions had to be met: "I must be held responsible for something I have not done, and the reason for my responsibility must be my membership in a group (a collective), which no voluntary act of mine can dissolve, that is, a membership which is utterly unlike a business partnership which I can dissolve at will."

    Referring to the historical circumstances, political responsibility holds all citizens responsible for crimes that were committed in their name. That means, political responsibility extends to people (individuals or groups) who did not commit any crime. The individual (or the group) is responsible because they are members of a political community…

    Making a new beginning after the end of totalitarian rule means that citizens start building that sphere in which responsibility can be taken. We are, retrospectively, told that citizens can fail, their communities can be destroyed, they can be subjugated under totalitarian rule, but we do not have anything but ourselves to start from anew.

  18. scepticus

    The creeping totalitarian/oligarchical propaganda -'optics' if you will, has been a fact of life – in ever increasing amounts since at least 1900 in the US – as can be seen from the excellent BBC videos on this subject Yves posted back at xmas time.

    It therefore never ceases to amaze me how partisan hacks can attribute it entirely to one adminstration and/or political agenda over another.

    The lying has been present in spades for decades and will continue to be so as long as the public are keep divided (in their own minds only) into two arbitrary ideological camps. So divided, they will always be conquored.

    Its idiotic.

  19. Anon1

    Ray: Bets on the next asset bubble anyone?

    I hope it isn't gold (as I read the other day…that gold may be on a bubble that is about to burst). I don't have huge wealth but I do have ~25-30% of my liquid wealth in physical gold. I'd hate for half of THAT to go POOF.

    While I intend to hold the gold for a good long time, it is still nicer when it either holds its value or gains, even if only a little.

  20. attempter

    I was pleasantly surprised to read this piece, which I think is the farthest anything in the NYT has gone towrd cutting through the crap and getting to basic truths.

    (And if I may say so, the piece tallies all the questions and prescriptions I've had since early on. Except for the advocacy against using anti-racketeering law – while that might not be my first choice, under 8 years of Bush I learned that if the proper chains of authority refuse to function, you're left with a vacuum into which anyone is entitled to step with any means at his disposal. So given the fact that Obama has abdicated, enterprising prosecutors who want to do some good for once can and should use whatever tools they have vs. these gangsters.)

    Regarding the above-mentioned claim that Obama has some kind of Master Plan, and that he's been virtuosically spinning the threads toward a perfect trap which will in the end dazzle us all, I've been hearing that from Obama cultists since days after the election, which is when things started to go wrong with "Change".

    While I was willing to keep an open mind at first, it became clear to me a long time ago that Obama is all about the continuity of the Clinton/Bush corporatist looting of the country, the Bush bailouts, and the Bush Global War on Terror.

    All three of these are now fully Obama's personal property.

    And now he's showing every sign of punting on health care. He is definitely NOT intent on serious reform.

  21. Jay

    All you morons thinks that the data shows warming never actually look at the data.

    The long term trends has pointed to cooler weather. It's not my opinion it is a fact.

    You guys needs to get off your ass and start you know researching and using your brain for once.

  22. autodidact

    @ kackerman

    There is theory — i.e. mathematical model. And there is fact — properly conducted measurement.

    Current climate change theory is build on models that must take into account greenhouse gases, surface albedo, relative humidity, cloud cover, aerosols, global dimming of solar radiation, plus interactions between these factors and positive/negative feedbacks. Unfortunately we don't necessarily have a good understanding of all the above important components. In addition, there are likely other "forcings" that affect the final output (global temperature) that we cannot accurately model.

    One thing we can do is compare measurements of global temperature at various heights in the atmosphere and depths in the ocean, and compare these to predictions made with climate models.

    Unfortunately for the models, the real world measurements have tended not to validate the model predictions. In addition, there are respectable alternative explanations for what is driving delta-T.

    You're right, the thinking should never stop. That includes intense questioning of the assumptions and interactions between various terms of climate model formula.

    However, if we look at global sea ice area, lower troposphere temperature, and historical non-correlations (especially over the 500 million year scale) between CO2 and temperature, there is certainly sufficient cause for discretion in making claims of causation.

    Nevertheless, the plethora of extreme cold temperatures, while not statistically significant by themselves, are data points that are not contradicted by generally cooler temperatures globally.

    Keep thinking, man. Don't just stop when the consensus announces a conclusion. To a real scientist, that should be like a red flag in front of a bull — to begin scrutinizing the theory from every angle to find its weak spots.

  23. d'zoner

    "This is NOT 1932, it is not as dire as that."

    Insanely irrational initial assumption. The observable situation is far MORE dire by every measure than it was in 1932.

    But whatever, I suppose. By 2020, with oil production a third of today's and radical climate shifts ravaging agriclutual production, people around the world will be dying in their hundreds of millions and in the US the 'land of the free and home of the brave' a distant and rapidly fading memory.

  24. d'zoner

    "This is NOT 1932, it is not as dire as that."

    Insanely irrational initial assumption. The observable situation is far MORE dire by every measure than it was in 1932.

    But whatever, I suppose. By 2020, with oil production a third of today's and radical climate shifts ravaging agriclutual production, people around the world will be dying in their hundreds of millions and in the US the 'land of the free and home of the brave' a distant and rapidly fading memory.

  25. VG Chicago

    Global Warming my ass. Chicago is getting colder every year, and last weekend in London (June) was almost a blizzard.

    It's all BS meant to steal some tax funds and invest it in things like hybrid Hummers.

    Vinny GOLD
    (the formerly known contributor "Vinny GOLDberg")

  26. skippy

    Global warming does not insinuate that it gets hotter every where, at the same time, study some thermal dynamics please.

    Jeez, if the planet can not be explained by a 5th grader its garbage eh. I've spent a good portion of my life outdoors and to the 4 corners of this world. If we are to rely on anecdotal evidence try mine, the planet is being killed by humans and our activity's, plant, insect, marine all of it. Climate change due to deforestation was observed as far back as the 17th century by naturalist's. Egypt, south/central American mega society's were not wiped out by internal conflict, but by environmental changes, some of which were man made. So live in your concrete city's so far removed from direct observation (well city's do change the weather in them selves, radiated heat, wind blocks etc).

    Skippy…what is it with people, if it does not kill you stone dead upon contact its harm less. Asbestos was linked to death and illness as far back as Roman times, sure took a long time for people to get the clue eh.

  27. ballyfager

    @Bennett – You lose all credibility when you drag global warming into the discussion. My God man, take a step back and think. The idea that mankind has the ability to affect the climate on this planet is preposterous.

  28. The Political and Financial Markets Commentator

    I was sent an extremely interesting "analogy" that describes some of the smoke and mirrirs of what the Obama administration is trying to do regarding stimulating the economy.

    I am posting my lead-in here:

    The Velocity Of Money, Obama Style

    An Analogy That Helps Describe The Rotation Of Bailout Dollars

    There is no doubt that the government is printing an enormous amount of money that is "designed" to stimulate the economy, get banks lending, get consumers spending, generate employment through "shovel" ready projects (although a small percentage of these projects have gotten off of the ground)and in general pull us out of "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression".

    Has this happened? The yield curve has steepened (difference between short and long term interest rates) which is a positive for bank earnings as they borrow short-term and lend long-term. The problem is that the people that need loans to buy houses or durable consumer products like cars are not getting it. Some are, but they have credit scores above 700 and strong balance sheets.

    So in a story that puts it into language you don't need an MBA from MIT to understand, here is an analogy regarding the movement of money in the current economic environment:

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