Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quotes of the day

Although we didn’t do a clean experiment in changing Zach [the Cat's] behavior, that doesn’t mean we can’t make up for it now by undoing the changes one by one. I think I’ll start today by taking Zach off Prozac. I’ve always wanted to try Prozac myself, and I really have had a strong urge to pee on rugs lately.--Steve Levitt

Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.--Duke of Wellington

The Federal Reserve System was founded by Congress in 1913 "to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system." In short, it controls the supply of money. Now it is suddenly supposed to regulate the largest financial institutions in the country? How? By giving them more money? Putting the Federal Reserve in charge of financial regulation is like putting arms manufacturers in charge of military policy. You're asking for trouble, in other words. Or at the very least a hairbrained approach. Then again, who knows? Maybe that's what we need.--Nathaniel Baker

We still have by and large academics and lawyers who are trying to regulate an industry in which they've never run a fund, they've never bought and sold stocks professionally, they've never cold-called a client.--Jim Chanos

Obama needs support of Congressional and Senate Democrats to pass not only the financial regulatory reform, but also his climate and health care proposals. He most likely decided he couldn't risk angering the members of the agricultural committees by proposing taking away their authority. And so one of the most basic pieces of regulatory change was dropped for political considerations. --John Carney

If you can afford a cell phone or cable TV, you can afford basic health insurance. In Michigan, you can get basic health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield starting at $47.14 per month for those 18-30 years old (about the cost of a basic cell phone plan), and starting at $168.13 per month for another plan for individuals under 65 and families (not too much more than a cable TV plan with premium channels, and about the same as two cells phones at the monthly average of $77).--Mark Perry

Barney Frank, Meet Irony.--Andrew Samwick

In many cases I think he goes a bit over the top. But here it is just the opposite. I am outraged over Krugman’s lack of outrage over current monetary policy.--Scott Sumner

Hyuk hyuk hyuk, that's just so funny, [Milton Friedman's desire] to wanna certify surgeon capability some way other than imprisoning folks who won't join a government cartel! What a side-splitter! Next he's going to say we shouldn't use slaves in the army! Oh, what a riot.--Silas Barta

Let me elaborate on that. The young interviewer, Conor Clarke, owes a huge debt to Milton Friedman, who did more for him and for every healthy American male under age 54 than Samuelson ever did. I'm referring, of course, to Friedman's "nutty libertarian" crusade against the draft. The draft ended in 1973 and among the leaders who pushed to end it were Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, W. Allen Wallis, William Meckling, and Walter Oi, all of whom were or are strong believers in the free market. Meanwhile where was Samuelson? He was AWOL. He was represented by a Senator, Ted Kennedy, who was one of the staunchest proponents of the draft and, if Samuelson ever wrote against the draft or ever tried to talk Kennedy out of it, I can find no record of it. In 1980, when Senator Sam Nunn was trying to bring back the draft and I circulated an economists' statement against the draft, Samuelson refused to sign. Friedman, by contrast, not only served on President Nixon's Commission on the All-Volunteer Force but also lobbied Congressmen personally against the draft.--David Henderson

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