Friday, November 06, 2009

Quotes of the day

The United States economy shed 190,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate reached a 26-year high of 10.2 percent, up from 9.8 percent in September, the Department of Labor said Friday in its monthly economic appraisal.--Javier Hernandez

This [unemployment] figure is likely to get worse before it gets better. Corporations tend to want some evidence of sustainable recovery before they start hiring workers who will have expensive startup costs and will be traumatic to fire if there's another downturn.--Megan McArdle

Workers mostly build organizational capital, not final output. This explains high productivity per 'worker' during recessions.--Garrett Jones

This highlights a problem with much of what the stimulus targeted: what Congress wanted instead of what the economy needed. Green wind and solar projects are great causes that will have dividends for decades to come. But they're ineffective at creating lots of jobs immediately -- what stimulus is supposed to do. Such projects are capital intensive, take a significant amount of time to get off the ground and create too few jobs at too great a cost.--Daniel Indiviglio

Corruption thrives where there is a tension between institutional and interpersonal ethics.--Steve Randy Waldman

Very few in government know how much anything costs. They just pass the law, and look at the marginal expenditure. Like the Social Security Trust fund, they operate using rules that would be illegal if done in the private sector.--Eric Falkenstein

It appears evident that [Fannie Mae] will remain under conservatorship indefinitely.--Rajiv Setia

... thirty years of empirical evidence... suggests that the welfare cost of government failure may be considerably greater than that of market failure.--Cliff Winston

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. ... Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.--Senator Barack Obama, in 2006

No wonder modern Democrats are embarrassed by Cleveland—he took seriously his oath to uphold the Constitution.--Scott Sumner

I'd rather the government get out of the prevention business and get better at unwinding complex and systemically important financial institutions. It was really cool that I got the chance to tell Treasury just that.--Accrued Interest

I suspect MBA rule is less catastrophic than PhD or Mensa rule, if only because they aren't as certain of themselves. This all gets back to the idea there is an optimal IQ, and it's not 180, but rather, say, 125 (probably the modal IQ for any large group leader, such as Presidents and CEOs).--Eric Falkenstein

ENVIRONMENTALISTS who are worried about global warming should pay attention to the congressional debate about extending the home buyers tax credit. Federal tax policies toward housing have long encouraged Americans to emit more carbon. President Obama could do the country, and the planet, a service by either refusing to sign the extension of the $8,000 credit or by insisting that it be accompanied by offsetting reductions in the home mortgage interest deduction. According to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, per person energy use in owner-occupied housing is 39 percent higher than in rental units. ... But the real problem with the credit is that it continues the long-standing federal push toward far-flung McMansions and away from dense, apartment living.--Edward Glaeser

It's like Wimbledon. When you win one year, you don't quit; you want to win again.--John Paulson

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