Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quotes of the day

The drug that saved my life is banned in Great Britain. ... Companies actually need to hide their new drugs from Europe, because the government doesn't want to pay for them.--Representative Billy Tauzin, on CNBC

There are three big problems with attempting to control health care costs by reducing so-called "obesity." First, it's a fake problem. Second, the solutions for the problem are non-existent, even assuming the problem existed. Third, focusing on making Americans thinner diverts resources from real public health issues.--Paul Campos

Gastric bypass is surgically induced bulimia. People starve for the first few months so of course their blood sugar levels go down. At five and ten year followup the average weight loss from these procedures is about 10% to 15% of body mass (it's actually less than that since lots of people drop out of the studies) which means most of these people end up still "morbidly obese." And they can never eat normally again.Why do you think you never see the actual stats for weight loss from stomach stapling? If they were good they'd be on billboards 50 feet high.--Paul Campos

... we don't know how to lose weight. Some of the things Paul Campos is saying about obesity are controversial, but this isn't. Every single study which has attempted to make overweight people get thin without very risky surgery has failed completely and utterly. Fewer than 1% of patients ever keep the weight off.--Megan McArdle

As capitalism struggles, the parasites who feed off its wealth creation are doing pretty well. The political class is growing. Home prices in Washington D.C. are rebounding three times faster than the national average - and job loss in DC has been less severe than in any other major city.--John Stossel

If Congress can tax plastic surgery, can it tax abortion?--Glenn Reynolds

What's the definition of 'speculation'? A price move that Congress doesn't like.--Eddy Elfenbein

Specialists would emphasize the risk they took in providing liquidity, yet on big gap days like October 19 1987 they did not step in and exacerbated the situation. The risk they took on providing orderly markets was a license to steal for decades, and they now scream 'unfair!' as their order flow evaporates.--Eric Falkenstein

I do not worry about high-frequency trading. Telegraphs and telephones also brought their own, earlier versions of high-frequency trading. As did stock index futures. There are second-best arguments relating to hockey helmets and the like but that is the case with most forms of progress and greater economic speed. You don't have to think that the current profits measure the current social value of high-frequency trading to argue that the overall trend should be allowed. The correct judgment of efficiency occurs at the system-wide level, not at the level of the individual trading strategy. The short-run story is that private profits exceed social returns but in the longer run the trading activity and liquidity brings increasing social returns and better communication of information.--Tyler Cowen

... when the banks did well, their employees were paid well. When the banks did poorly, their employees were paid well. And when the banks did very poorly, they were bailed out by taxpayers and their employees were still paid well. Bonuses and overall compensation did not vary significantly as profits diminished.--Andrew Cuomo

Microsoft needed Yahoo's search business for its longer-term strategic goal of competing with Google on the Internet. That should have allowed Yahoo to force a premium price. Instead, it squandered last year's approach. It is now hard to see a sale of the reshaped Yahoo for a good price, leaving the company to slog it out in the increasingly competitive display-advertising market. Small wonder Yahoo investors lost a boatload of money Wednesday, as shares crashed 12%.--Thorold Barker

The once proud warrior of the internet space laid down its sword, knelt at the feet of Microsoft and gutted itself today. There was no honor in this death, it was one brought by the shame of losing to Google and a lack of faith in one’s ability to compete in the space they created. To be clear, Yahoo didn’t need to do this deal, Microsoft did. Ultimately Yahoo will look back at this moment as the second–and perhaps fatal–mistake in their epic history. Search is the most important business of the 21st century and owning a commanding lead in second place is not insignificant. At one time Yahoo was the number one search engine and portal. However, they didn’t see the value in search and decided to syndicate that piece of their business to a small company called Google. For a couple of years we all experienced Google in Yahoo’s wrapper. Our only indication of who made this wonderful tool was a tiny “Powered by Google” logo on the top right of the page.--Jason Calcanis

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