Thursday, November 05, 2009

Quotes of the day

We taxpayer/investors demand a set of risk-sensitive compensation guidelines that will mandate pay and wealth-management rules for all federal government top executives starting with the president of the United States and all cabinet members and their deputies. While we’re at it let’s include all members of Congress and every member of the commissions and boards that manage the nation’s independent agencies, including, of course, the board of governors and chairman of the Federal Reserve System. To properly align incentives of these elected and appointed executives (and others), we demand that each and every one be paid a base pay — some 75 percent of the current salary — plus incentive pay — the remaining 25 percent — based on improvements in real GDP growth over a five-year period that begins the day of their appointment or election.--Bruce Yandle

You should knock on our door before we knock on yours.--US Attorney Preet Bharara, to those involved in insider trading

... once the average maturity has been conveniently extended, the Fed will eventually start increasing interest rates. Trading bonds must be easy when you're the one who sets interest rates. No need for all the Fed-guessing, since well, you are the Fed. Yet we can't blame them on this one issue. Technically they're getting lower cost debt for the U.S. taxpayer. If anyone is to be ashamed, it's whoever is actually buying 30-year bonds from the U.S. right now for just a 4.43% yield, or even 10-year treasuries at 3.55%.--Vincent Fernando

What I found interesting is no one bad mouthed the FDA: the true culprit in this "crime." I was hoping (yes it was a slight hope but still a hope) that the cops would have discussed the fact that the FDA is keeping the miracle drug off the shelves in the United States thru its arcane regulations and testing requirements.--David Henderson

Education is another thing that, like healthcare, keeps spiraling higher every year, despite the fact that the government tries like crazy to make it equitable. Gee, we wonder if there's a connection there. --Joe Weisenthal

There is an acute dollar shortage on the market.--Chinese currency dealer

Being a European, I consider all posts praising american-style lawsuits satire.--Mathias Kierkegaard

Being an American, I consider all posts praising american-style lawsuits to be satire.--Tim Ogden

How are pretzels a distinct market? Does the FTC really not think that pretzel makers don't also compete with potato chip makers, nacho chip makers, frito makers, and pretty much everything snack food?--Vince Veneziani

The government's manipulation of the food supply is extremely insidious, because in this case, we actually have the illusion of cheaper food. We subsidize corn and soy out the wazoo. The upshot is that the least healthy foods (sugary sodas, bread, rice, candy, fast food, etc.) are the cheapest things around. It's the reason we're all so damn fat, and the only folks who benefit are big agribusinesses and farmers. Goods that are actually healthy: Green vegetables, high-quality meats, etc. don't get the same kind of support, so while they're healthier for you, you're discouraged to consume them.--Joe Weisenthal

How is it that Americans, so solicitous of the animals they keep as pets, are so indifferent toward the ones they cook for dinner? The answer cannot lie in the beasts themselves. Pigs, after all, are quite companionable, and dogs are said to be delicious. ... According to [Michael] Pollan, it is na├»ve to see domesticated animals as victims. Some ten thousand years ago, “a handful of especially opportunistic species discovered . . . that they were more likely to survive and prosper in an alliance with humans than on their own,” he writes. The results speak for themselves. Domesticated chickens have never been more numerous, even as the Red Burmese jungle fowl from which they descended is disappearing. ... Although he never explicitly equates “concentrated animal feeding operations” with the Final Solution, the German model of at once seeing and not seeing clearly informs [Jonathan Safran] Foer’s thinking. ... Meanwhile, it could be argued that even a vegetarian diet falls short. ... Foer never says anything about forgoing eggs or dairy, which seems to imply that he consumes them. ... The cost that consumer society imposes on the planet’s fifteen or so million non-human species goes way beyond either meat or eggs. Bananas, bluejeans, soy lattes, the paper used to print this magazine, the computer screen you may be reading it on—death and destruction are embedded in them all. ... We are, [Foer] suggests, defined not just by what we do; we are defined by what we are willing to do without.--Elizabeth Kolbert

The United States has the highest homicide rate of any affluent democracy, nearly four times that of France and the United Kingdom, and six times that of Germany. Why? ... A vastly disproportionate number of murderers and murder victims are young adult men. When baby boomers reached that age bracket, the homicide rate soared. Now that they’ve aged out of their most lethal years, the rate has fallen. ... The homicide rate appears to correlate with Presidential approval ratings. If Roth is right, electing a bad President is dangerous and inciting people to hate any President, good or bad, could be deadly. But which is the cart, and which the horse? ... [Mark] Kleiman blames big cases and bad laws for another distinctive feature of American life: 2.3 million people are currently behind bars in the United States. That works out to nearly one in every hundred adults, the highest rate anywhere in the world, and four times the world average. ... Murder has a history, but it isn’t always edifying, and sometimes the history of crime and punishment has a chilling sameness.--Jill Lepore

The year before the H-bomb was successfully created [in the 1950s], we in the economics division at RAND were curious as to what the essential metal was—lithium, beryllium, thorium, or some other. The engineers and physicists wouldn't tell us economists, quite properly, given the security restrictions. So I told them I would find out. I read the U.S. Department of Commerce Year Book to see which firms made which of the possible ingredients. For the last six months of the year prior to the successful test of the bomb, I traced the stock prices of those firms. I used no inside information. Lo and behold! One firm's stock prices rose, as best I can recall, from about $2 or $3 per share in August to about $13 per share in December.--Armen Alchian

He was so vain. He had not one, but two painted portraits of himself as a centaur. You know, the half man, half horse figure? It was ridiculous.--Alex Rodriguez's ex-girlfriend or boyfriend

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