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No-Fault Banking

We now have a financial system that is completely based on moral hazard.

Quoted from: Simon Johnson

Via: Naked Capitalism

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Either Way, You Get Your Dog Back

An item from last May:

Thousands of Americans are receiving federal stimulus checks in the mail, this week. Only problem: many of them are deceased.

The Social Security Administration, which sent out 52 million checks, said some of those checks mistakenly went to dead people because the agency had no record of their death. That amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 checks for millions of dollars.

If Unicorn Care screws up your medical history and you die, at least you might still get your handout. A win-win, I guess.

Subject line reference.

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Policy by Playskool

Good craftsmanship depends on good tools. The orthodox conception of economics holds that government can craft better outcomes than we would have if the rabble were left to their own devices.

Tools can be divided into two broad classes: working tools and measuring tools. First (and second, if you follow the maxim) the craftsman must measure. Then he cuts. Without good measurements, the quality of the working tools and the skill of the craftsman are moot.

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Who Will Pray for Gary?

Governments at all levels are in financial trouble. Colonel Obama says the Federal government is facing a wall. The Governator has been zig-zagging California toward a cliff. Visits to Detroit’s decay are a regular feature on NRR. But the City of the Century may beat them all in the race to failure:

Abandoned Church in Gary, Indiana

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To Arms!

It is no longer a fringe view, I think, to say that Congress prefers to ignore both the Constitution and the will of the people. And if executive over-reach is a fringe view, it is found on every edge of the political cloth, dependent on which team occupies the Oval Office.

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City-Funded Development a Necessary Failure

Minneapolis City Hall has recieved a partial repayment of loans made to a failed developer for a failed downtown retail project. The $29.4 million was:

a far cry from the more than $66 million the city once expected to collect in principal and interest on the three loans. Brookfield defaulted in 2002 on two loans involving the first phase of Gaviidae that included Saks, and the city took over the Saks property.

"This is an example where the public-private partnership has created something positive," said David Sternberg, who heads Brookfield's Minneapolis office.

“Positive” must have a different meaning in the subsidized development world:

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Pay No Attention to What’s Behind the TARP

Keeping in form, the Failed Obama Administration™ touts benefits while ignoring costs:

Both Obama and the Treasury Department keep talking up the TARP as if it is a money maker for taxpayers, when nothing could be further from the truth. Obama tried this stunt in his anniversary of Lehman speech, and the Treasury continues with the theme, of implying that results for the firms that paid back are representative of what the final results would be.

If this logic were generally true, that would mean subprime bonds were a good investment too. After all, most borrowers did make good on their mortgages. A late September Moodys mortgage survey that a reader sent me estimated that total losses on subprime RMBS will be about 26%, which means that 74% were money good.

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Next Float in the Parade of Lies: Government Motors

Recall that the FOA™ promised it wasn’t going to interfere with GM’s operations. More lies:

The WSJ reports:

Starting Jan. 4, General Motors Co. plans to do something unprecedented in the U.S. car industry: It will run its assembly line here around the clock on a permanent basis.

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One of Us Must Be Crazy

Most Leftists of my acquaintance, or whose words I have read, seem to live in a world entirely made of emotional images, not facts, not reality, not reason, and whatever the loudest or most alluring emotional images is that persists in their brains, that is how they deem reality (to them, a flexible and plaint substance, like clay) can be molded.

The act is symbolic: none of them have read the bill, not even the people who voted for it. I suspect each part was written by a lobbyist in the pay of the Insurance company concerned with whatever particular advantaged them--and even they did not read the entirety. Passing this bill is merely voodoo, like sticking a pin in a wax doll, an action done to satisfy an emotional image, nor a reasoned response to an alleged political economic inequity.

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Unicorn Care

Senate lefties have passed their first major hurdle toward enacting a health bill. It is 2,733 pages, including 383 pages of last-minute payoffs amendments. There is simply no way anyone who is voting knows what the bill dictates.

So what are they voting on? Wishes and platitudes:

"Today we are closer than we've ever been to making Senator Ted Kennedy's dream of universal health insurance coverage a reality," Sen. Tom Harkin said ahead of the vote, alluding to the late Massachusetts senator who died of brain cancer in August. 

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Barry Sidesteps Constitution

The U.S. Constitution empowers and limits the government to protect and defend rights. The particular rights, powers, and limits depend on whether a person is a citizen or just a person.

According to Article One, only Citizens can be elected to Congress. But the 6th Amendment dictates that all persons—not just citizens—are owed a speedy trial with an impartial jury.

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Working the System

Betsy Newmark identifies the essential lawlessness of the health bill now before the Senate:

What amazes me is how this bill was crafted to treat some states, in perpetuity, differently from other states simply because those states had senators who were more powerful or more canny when it came to bargaining for their support. Politico has some of these details. Of course, we know about Ben Nelson's price for his vote. It is now being called the "Cornhusker kickback."

Nelson’s might be the most blatant – a deal carved out for a single state, a permanent exemption from the state share of Medicaid expansion for Nebraska, meaning federal taxpayers have to kick in an additional $45 million in the first decade.

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City Council Deliberates on Cops vs. Carrots

The Minneapolis City Council is hashing out a 2010 budget that will include both tax increases and cuts to core services. The latest compromise includes laying off 25 cops, but keeping 27 civilian Crime Prevention Specialists (CPS):

The budget writers dipped into funding for some of [Mayor] Rybak's favored programs to keep civilian crime prevention specialists working in neighborhoods. Money was taken away from such programs as high school career centers, micro grants to encourage homegrown food, and foreclosure prevention efforts.

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Add an Epithet

I have been accused of being a birther. My accusers never seem to understand the established fact that the current President has a long-form birth certificate which he has never revealed to the public. I don’t agree with their high opinion of Barry, so they apparently feel a need to call me bad names.

Funny thing is, I’m not insulted. Others who challenge the facts of Barry’s birth seem more concerned with the conclusions and fallout should we eventually discover that Barack is exactly as African as he seems. I’m not jumping to those conclusions. I want better facts first.

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They’re Nuts

A primary justification for new health care legislation has been the alleged high cost of care in the US. So, why is Congress considering a new tax on insurance premiums?

The House Democratic plan calls for raising income taxes on upper-income people to pay for covering the uninsured. Baucus has instead proposed a tax on high-cost insurance plans worth more than $8,000 for an individual policy and $21,000 for family coverage.

Proponents of the insurance tax, which Obama has endorsed, say it would help to lower health care costs by encouraging people to become more cost-conscious health care consumers.

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9/17

Should this week-long observance become part of NRR Standard Procedures, day six will always be Constitution Day:

The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in each U.S. state in the name of "The People". The Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times; the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.

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Judge Sends Petulant Park Board to Time-Out Bench

Earlier this year, the City councilmember for the 55418 proposed a few changes to the Minneapolis City Charter. Among the ideas for consideration was folding the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board into the City Council. The claimed benefits would be cost savings from eliminating duplicate administrations, and greater accountability due to the concentration fo authority in the Council. Opponnents claimed the cost would be lesser accountability, as the MPRB would no longer be an independent body focused on the City’s highly-acclaimed parks.

The initial proposal was not to eliminate the Park Board outright, but to put the question on the ballot, allowing voters to decide if a semi-independent Park Board was still the best arrangement for Minneapolis.

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You Are Evil Thieving Bastards

A Bank of America customer fires the first shot in a debtors’ revolt:

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Rick Steves’ Guide to Government Cheese

Thinking up this introduction, I was amazed to find that PBS is not on the list of Stuff White People Like. Public Radio, however, is #44.

Now, on to the point. Art Carden starts from common ground and has a suggestion to shave a wisp off the Federal budget:

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“Government” is the Antonym of “Choice”

Legislators make laws, but seem fond of disregarding laws of nature. I mock their hubristic disregard by calling such silliness Anti-Gravity Legislation. Imagine how many unicorns we could have if gravity were cut by 20%. Let’s propose a law!

Sheldon Richman takes the proposers to task:

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