Links 9/20/09


  1. jer

    Re: Jim Grant’s opingion.

    When comparing the recovery from the recession in 1981-82, he touts Reagan’s political philosophy: “Our recession, though a mere inconvenience compared to some of the cyclical snows of yesteryear, does bear comparison with the slump of 1981-82. In the worst quarter of that contraction, the first three months of 1982, real GDP shrank at an annual rate of 6.4%, matching the steepest drop of the current recession, which was registered in the first quarter of 2009. Yet the Reagan recovery, starting in the first quarter of 1983, rushed along at quarterly growth rates (expressed as annual rates of change) over the next six quarters of 5.1%, 9.3%, 8.1%, 8.5%, 8.0% and 7.1%. Not until the third quarter of 1984 did real quarterly GDP growth drop below 5%.

    One may observe that Ronald Reagan stood for enterprise, free trade and low taxes, whereas Barack Obama stands for other things. Yet President Obama’s economic policies seem almost as far removed from Roosevelt’s as they are from Reagan’s.”

    One may also observe that interest rates were at 20% in the Spring of 1981 and had been slashed in half by 1983. Does anyone else find it odd that he doesn’t acknowldge the effect of interest rates during the recession and recovery of the early 80’s?

    I wonder what kind of boom we would see if we could slash interests rates by half:) I guess we’ve done that:) What if we could slach interst rates by 10%?

  2. DoctoRx

    The BB Canadian healthcare article says:

    “Yet the Canadian “bogeyman,” as U.S. President Barack Obama called it at an Aug. 11 gathering in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, may have “all but defeated” the idea of a public option in the U.S., said Uwe Reinhardt, a health-care economist at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.”

    IMO the single worst strategy was that there was no White House plan, and there still is none. Four House plans and one Senate plan represent a “divide and be conquered” strategy.

    Then you have the getting in bed on the first date with Big Pharma tactic, the enrich Big Insurance effect whilst vilifying it tactic, ad hominem attacks on allegedly surgery-happy doctors, the old game of pretending that removing fraud, waste and abuse from Medicare will mean that cutting Medicare spending will be painless, etc.

    IMO what Reinhardt said was over-the-top and probably deserved no placement in the BB article, and certainly not a prominent place.

    What if the White House had presented to Congress a coherent, thoughtful plan to improve the delivery of health services within the U. S., including training more physicians and nurses, and in such plan appropriate reference had been made to what Canada and other countries have done well and not-so-well in the field of healthcare, and had quietly cut a deal with at least a couple of Republicans? Then Team Obama as an entirety could have engaged in a massive selling effort, and the President could have been seen as fighting for a specific plan, not a multiplicity of every-changing Congressional plans, each with some detail that would offend someone.

    And, it’s never over till it’s over.

  3. Seal

    Re Jim Grant
    Grant misses that the US has now become a slave to its military-industrial-congressional ‘contribution’ complex and our huge Department of Offense expenditure burden that did not exist before WW 2 thus making comparisons to many earlier periods invalid.

    1. Military spending and inept foreign policy have bankrupted the nation. Our military actions have failed to prevail in all three of the US’s major conflicts since WW2 – Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq&Afghanistan. The new CiC, the big 0, is running with his own playbook now in the Graveyard of Empires at about $4B/week.
    2. The average American’s will to work, save and achieve has been smothered by a crazy quilt of government taxes, rules and regulations. Try opening a gold mine or a business in California – it’s basically impossible.
    3. The current crisis was caused BY the Greenspan Fed which purposefully refused to reign in the market bubble of 2000, refused to perform its oversight functions of the banking industry and fostered Sir Alan’s ‘wealth creation’ bubble of 2005 – remember Greenspan’s suggestion to take out ARMs????. A more intelligent Alan – Abelson – called Greenspan insane even before the housing bubble.

    Saint Alan?
    WHAT DO YOU CALL A FIRE DEPARTMENT that concentrates not on putting out the fire, but on cleaning up afterward? Different, if you’re polite. Insane, if you’re us.
    For Mr. Greenspan, in the course of delivering a glowing tribute to himself before a meeting of the American Economic Association, proudly enunciated the monetary equivalent of that aberrant fire-fighting technique. More specifically, he trumpeted the great virtue of passively watching a stock bubble grow bigger and bigger and bigger until it bursts – but making sure you have enough palliatives on hand to ease the pain.
    IMO Greenspan has been too old to think straight for many years – say 1996.

    Greenspan also acted as a cheerleader for the landmark Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999, which removed Depression-era laws separating banking, insurance and brokerage activities.

    4. And finally, I resent that issues like health care are in the hands of a Congress that has one of the most luxo health care – and retirement – plans on the planet, except for maybe Putin’s, all paid for by taxpaying Americans. Let Congress be part of the health care plan they attempt to adopt for us.

    My current girlfriend has worked as a nurse for 43 years. Her IRA is worth less than her contributions valued in dollars which purchase less now due to Greenspan’s printing press. Her modest real estate is unsaleable at anything but distress prices and she’s bereft thinking she can’t afford to retire.

  4. John from Concord

    Good God, please stop quoting Panzner. His whole professional existence is tied up in the idea that the world is about to end. If that should stop looking plausible, he’s just another fiftysomething former executive with a bad attitude calling himself a “consultant” until he can start hitting the retirement accounts. How is his analysis of Grant’s argument worth anything?

  5. bob

    Cuomo just saw how easy the governor run was for spitzer. Get made AG, throw a few subpoenas around, get promoted. I bet he just cut and pasted a few that Spitzer left hanging around.

    The prospect of a replacement is the most interesting part of the story. He/she will have great political cover- “but Andrew started it…..”

    This could be a very good place to concentrate resources.

  6. miloshkransky

    Squirrel attacking bat: Could the squirrel have killed the bat to attract insects so it could eat them as they are part of a squirrels regular diet.

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