Monday, December 21, 2009

Quotes of the day

Trees grow.--Allan Meltzer

In other words, growth is the natural state of economies, so optimism usually is rewarded.--Gregory Zuckerman

The 1990's had its best return decade ever, averaging 17.6% returns, and the equity return premium was often estimated around 6%. Now, it's generally thought to be around 2-3%. --Eric Falkenstein

Goldman Sachs has threatened the UK Treasury with plans to move up to 20 per cent of its London-based staff to Spain in a standoff over tax and bonuses.--Simon Evans

Indeed, in extremis, liquidity can sometimes be a bad thing, insofar as excess liquidity in one area of the markets (most likely Treasuries) can act as a super-magnet, unhelpfully pulling risk capital from everywhere else.--Felix Salmon

Sometime in the next several weeks, Tishman Speyer Properties, the global real-estate empire run by father-son duo Jerry and Rob Speyer, along with their investment partner BlackRock, will default on the mortgage at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. And just as the transaction was the biggest real-estate deal in American history, the collapse is liable to be similarly epic.--Gabriel Sherman

If hot means being able to burn other people's money, I guess [Donald Trump]'s correct.--Carl Icahn

Tae Kwon Do is a massive money-making venture posing as a martial art.--Tony Woodlief

... we had crises before there was moral hazard--really, really dreadful crises, crises far worse than the one we're having now. I just don't see how you can look at the 1930s and name the FDIC as the decade's biggest financial problem. Or this decade's biggest financial problem. The closest our era came to a really devastating financial crash along the lines of the 1929-1933 period was in the total unguaranteed institutional money market funds. Nor do I find the central story of how the FDIC induced this moral hazard very compelling. Supposedly, ordinary depositors don't bother to check the soundness of their banks because they don't actually have skin in the game. --Megan McArdle

Now, what do all of these cities have in common beyond their egregious poverty level rates? They all have had since 1989 and continue to have, Democrat Party mayors… with Cleveland having had the Democrat mayor incumbent for the shortest period, since 1989, while Newark and Milwaukee now go back for nearly one hundred years of Democrat “rule.” Detroit, with the highest poverty rate has had a Democrat running the city government since 1961. We’re not casting aspersions here; we are simply drawing correlations.--Dennis Gartman

I may be a dining room table, but Krugman doesn't have a leg to stand on.--Bryan Caplan

Maybe we should try some other path of change besides the Big International Summit?--William Easterly

If we're not careful, we could let our institutions, things like tenure and hierarchical structures and peer review, slowly morph over time so that old guys control more and more of what's going on and the young people have a harder and harder time doing something really different, and that would be would be a bad thing for these processes of growth and change. I'd like to see us keep thinking about how we could tweak our institutions to give power and control and opportunity to young people.--Paul Romer

What did Padme say?: "So this is how liberty dies, to thunderous applause." By the way, did I mention that the Jedi are genetically superior supermen with "enhanced blood"? That the rebels' victory party in Episode IV borrows liberally from Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will"? And that the much-maligned ewoks make perfect sense as an antidote to Jedi fascism?--Tyler Cowen

There is no excuse for trying to hide the medieval warming period statistically, or diminish the credibility of critics. It isn't simple talk, and more than a white guy can say they use the N-word casually but that means nothing: everyone knows that someone who talks that way isn't credible on racial issues. Talking about coalitions, and hiding conspicuous trends, is pure slanting data to one's predisposition. If someone shaded beta-return data from the 1970s because they were not relevant to the CAPM ,that would be conscious fraud. Luckily in economics we are all looking at the same data, so no one would even try to do that, but if they did, it would be a big, black stain. There is no good excuse for what they said in those emails.--Eric Falkenstein

... it's undeniable that the film [Avatar] ... is emphatically a fantasy about race. Specifically, it's a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people. Avatar and scifi films like it give us the opportunity to answer the question: What do white people fantasize about when they fantasize about racial identity?--Annalee Newitz

The question is whether Nature actually deserves a religious response. Traditional theism has to wrestle with the problem of evil: if God is good, why does he allow suffering and death? But Nature is suffering and death. Its harmonies require violence. Its “circle of life” is really a cycle of mortality. And the human societies that hew closest to the natural order aren’t the shining Edens of James Cameron’s fond imaginings. They’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short. Religion exists, in part, precisely because humans aren’t at home amid these cruel rhythms. We stand half inside the natural world and half outside it. We’re beasts with self-consciousness, predators with ethics, mortal creatures who yearn for immortality. This is an agonized position, and if there’s no escape upward — or no God to take on flesh and come among us, as the Christmas story has it — a deeply tragic one.--Ross Douthat

What are you doing talking about sodomy? You shouldn’t even know what that is! Why do people have to know your views about that?--Robert George's mom

People have lost their grip on the true reasons for marrying, so they are unwilling to make all the sacrifices real marriage requires. --Robert George

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