Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Quotes of the day

For his early work, we owe Mr. Volcker a debt of gratitude. As a person, Paul Volcker has the right to his opinion, and a citizen of the United States, Paul Volcker has the right to free speech, as all citizens do. If he wants to contribute to the discussion his vision of economic Utopia, no matter how far behind the times it may be, we are richer for hearing it — just as we are richer for having read Hobbes, or Marx, or Keynes. We are fortunate to have the benefit of Paul Volcker’s thinking. Even as a person of influence, a friend of the President, an intellectual among Democrats, a member and a leader of prominent groups whose domain is the study of economics, Mr. Volcker, despite his decrepitude, unquestionably has a lot to offer the current generation, who lack the benefit of his personal experience in surviving and addressing economically difficult times. But if breaking up the banks is the best advice he has to offer, then Mr. Volcker has no place advising the President. The arguments have been made, without any real counterargument, that the so-called “Volcker rule” is irrelevant, that if anything, it would increase rather than decrease systemic risk, that it would be non-economic overall; and yet the Volcker rule will not quite die. The real danger, much greater in my mind but largely undiscussed, is that the Volcker rule undermines the fundamental principles of liberal democracy.--Infinite Guest

The health effects of low-frequency noise on humans are not well understood. The noise in question often occurs at, or below, decibel levels that are commonly considered a public nuisance. And detecting low-frequency noise requires sophisticated acoustic gear. For all of these reasons, this issue should be investigated. If policy makers are serious about considering all of the impacts of "green" energy, then an impartial, international study of the effects of wind turbine noise should be undertaken without delay.--Robert Bryce

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