May 2009

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

And They Have A Plan? 

There was an intriguing Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal last week comparing many of the Obama administration's "plans" to that of the famous South Park underpants gnomes whose plan was:

Phase 1: Collect underpants.
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit!
It's true that if you listen to the speeches and observe the policy prescriptions, the plans (e.g., diplomacy, health care, green "investment," budgets, auto industry) do look a lot like that of the gnomes.

But, I don't think Obama or his advisers are idiots.

I think that they believe that most of us are idiots.

I think they believe that their policy agenda is enlightened, and it doesn't really matter how they get it. They think their ends justify almost any means. They have no problem lying about what causes will have what effects, or about what numbers will add up, or even about what their intentions are (net spending cut???). They're confident that enough people will be gullible, or economically illiterate, or just generally innumerate enough to let them succeed in doing what they "know" will be best.

I don't know about you, but I think it's pretty disturbing.

I'm very confident that they're wrong about what's best.

I hope they're wrong that enough of us are foolish enough to let them force it on us.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

You Tell Him! 

You must read this response by Clifford S. Asness (of AQR Capital Management) to President Obama's shameful demagoguing of the Chrysler bondholders who refused his ridiculous deal to help the UAW and Chrysler delay bankruptcy.

Some excerpts:

Let’s be clear, it is the job and obligation of all investment managers, including hedge fund managers, to get their clients the most return they can. They are allowed to be charitable with their own money, and many are spectacularly so, but if they give away their clients’ money to share in the “sacrifice,” they are stealing. [emphasis mine]
The President’s attempted diktat takes money from bondholders and gives it to a labor union that delivers money and votes for him. Why is he not calling on his party to “sacrifice” some campaign contributions, and votes, for the greater good? Shaking down lenders for the benefit of political donors is recycled corruption and abuse of power.
This is America. We have a free enterprise system that has worked spectacularly for us for two hundred-plus years. When it fails it fixes itself. Most importantly, it is not an owned lackey of the Oval Office to be scolded for disobedience by the President.
I am ready for my “personalized” tax rate now.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The World's Smallest Violin 

Schadenfreude isn't pretty. But, it's difficult for me to work up much sympathy for Senator Arlen Specter, who was a deciding vote for the disastrous stimulus bill, switched from the Republican to the Democratic party based on his better chance to win re-election in Pennsylvania as a Democrat, and now feels betrayed by what he, probably truthfully, claims was a broken promise by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he would be able to keep his seniority after the next election (something crucial for his campaign prospects).

Many politicians are lying scumbags who remain in office long after they even remember what principles they originally claimed to have had. Specter is a prime example of this, and it is only fitting that he feels treated as badly by another lying scumbag as he did the rest of us.

Now that he's been mistreated by the Democrats, I wonder how he'll figure out whom to betray with the rest of the votes in his short career as a junior Democratic senator.