Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quotes of the day

The body is a temple, not an amusement park.--Dwight Pryor

... there is nowhere we are more honest than the search box.--unattributed

The public wants big criminals to take the fall. But the bankers, while stupid--in many cases irresponsibly so--didn't necessarily break any laws. The clear-cut fraud was at the mortgage broker level, but those are regulated by the individual states, and also, pulling some guy out of his office in a strip mall and putting him on the dock isn't nearly as impressive as sticking the princes of Wall Street at the defense table.--Megan McArdle

There were no jobs created. It was just shuffling around of the funds. It’s hard to figure out if you did the paperwork right. We never asked for this.--Susan Kelly, on creating jobs with stimulus package funds

My proposal is this: cut state and local salaries by 10 percent. That will save as much money as cutting 900,000 jobs. It won't require any Federal aid. And, given the weak labor market, it won't result in governments losing many workers.--Arnold Kling

Yes, but the problem with your idea, Arnold, is that it would work!--Bryan Caplan

I wonder if you could make money by investing in whatever companies make you angriest. For example, when oil prices were climbing to the sky, it was popular to hate oil companies. It also would have been a good time to buy their stock. Before any war, a lot of people start hating defense companies more than usual. And that's the best time to own defense stocks. During Microsoft's long run to dominance, the company was widely hated. It also would have been a good stock to own for most of that time. Now it feels as if the white hot hatred of Microsoft has reached some sort of plateau, and so has the stock.--Scott Adams

It has been abundantly clear since the campaign that Barack Obama has little interest in tax reform. Not to begrudge him, he does have more than enough on his plate without it. And I understand that not everyone shares my fascination with the tax code. On the other hand, there is that matter of a $1.4 trillion deficit and an income tax that is crumbling under its own weight. Obama is surrounded by economic advisors who understand better than I that reforming the way government collects revenue is both necessary and inevitable. Apparently, their views have been drowned out by his political advisers who, I assume, see the whole issue as a swamp.--Howard Gleckman

[Banking authorities] may well say "never again [to bailouts]". But the ex-post costs of crisis mean such a statement lacks credibility. Knowing this, the rational response by market participants is to double their bets. This adds to the cost of future crises. And the larger these costs, the lower the credibility of "never again" announcements. This is a doom loop.--Piergiorgio Alessandri and Andrew G. Haldane

A poker player can figure out the odds of success when holding a pair of kings. But when dealing with macroeconomic events or forecasting stockmarket movements, you do not know the potential distribution of outcomes. There are an awful lot of jokers in the pack.--The Economist

All in all, the single biggest beneficiary of the Goldman Sachs Foundation would seem to be Goldman Sachs itself, while the amount of money which trickles down from it to genuinely needy charitable cases is minuscule.--Felix Salmon

Chrysler has disbanded the engineering team that was trying to bring three electric models to market as a rush job, Automotive News reports today. Chrysler cited its devotion to electric vehicles as one of the key reasons why the Obama administration and Congress needed to give it $12.5 billion in bailout money, the News points out.--Chris Woodyard

I was almost expecting to see the reporter ... quote Justice Louis Brandeis's famous line that the states are "laboratories of democracy." Unfortunately, very few people seem to learn from the lab experiments.--David Henderson

Congressional health reformers believe that most households shouldn't pay [24% of monetary income on health care]. They propose something closer to tithing. That way, no more than a tenth or an eighth of household income would go to purchase health insurance. This has a nice political ring to it, but here's the reality: the 24% burden is rising and can't drop without lower cost growth.--Gene Steuerle

I suspect, however, that children resent parents who are painfully honest at the outset about the Tooth Fairy and Santa, who teach their young ones the clinical names for their sex organs, who assert theological opinions about the doubtfulness of a favorite pet making it to Heaven. These things suggest to me not so much a commitment to honesty as a failure of compassion and imagination.--Tony Woodlief

In what other area of life is it okay to pat the little lady on the head and tell her that she doesn't really want what she says she wants, because she might regret it later?--Megan McArdle

Many people are priced out of the medical and insurance markets for one reason: the politicians' refusal to give up power. Allowing them to seize another 16 percent of the economy won't solve our problems. Freedom will.--John Stossel

The chaos unleashed by the Great War spawned more and greater wars, revolutions and genocides that continued through most of the 20th century and still continue, in places, even to this day. --John Quiggin

Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.--Theodore Roosevelt

If there are any of you out there with any connection at all to the Bushes, we implore you to give them our thanks…you tell them that a bunch of gay Hillary guys in Boystown, Chicago were wrong about the Bushes…and are deeply, deeply sorry for any jokes we told about them in the past, any bad thoughts we had about these good, good people. You may be as surprised by this as we are ourselves, but from this day forward George W. and Laura Bush are now on the same list for us as the Clintons, Geraldine Ferraro, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and the other political figures we keep in our hearts and never allow anyone to badmouth.--hillbuzz

Only two presidents have picked up seats in both houses of Congress for their party in their first midterm elections. One was FDR in 1934. The other was George W. Bush in 2002, whose party gained House seats and won back control of the Senate.--Karl Rove

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