Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quotes of the day

[Dick] Fuld apparently loved the report and has been telling people it vindicated him. He can sleep easy now, which must be nice.--Bess Levin
I’d say that reaction is not inconsistent with the way he ran his firm.--Jim Chanos

He was so young, he did not realise how much less is the sense of obligation in those who receive favours than in those who grant them.--W. Somerset Maugham

... the betting norm is so important. Moving from identity to opinions about how the world works is a lot less tempting once you commit to putting your money where your mouth is.--Bryan Caplan

Good-bye social constructs. Welcome biochemical determinism. The argument goes like this: men have too much testosterone. Because of it they take excessive risks, and are impervious to the consequences of their actions. They are aggressive, violent, competitive, and do not play by the rules. What men really need is to be run by women... because then they will be able to get in touch with their feminine sides. With more women in charge, men will be softened up.--Stuart Schneiderman

We have been put on earth to make Kafka come true.--old Soviet proverb

Reason has limited possibilities, whereas the absurd knows no limits.--Andrei Loshak

The free market, by enabling people to compete openly, is the most effective device that has ever been invented for making people pay for their prejudices, and thus for making it costly for them to exercise it. What you do when you impose equal pay for equal work law, is that you make the expression of prejudice costless, and as a result you harm the people you intend to help.--Milton Friedman

The real Scott Brown lesson, it turned out, was embraced by the Democrats maybe even more than it was by the Republicans this winter. Don’t give up. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t let the other side tell you whether you have a shot or not. Work it and believe in it.--Jules Crittenden

They love you at the beginning and they love you at the end. It’s the middle that’s tough.--Steve Grogan

The 1964 Civil Rights Act had more support from Republicans than Democrats. In the Senate 21 Democrats voted against the bill, vs. only 6 Republicans. It is true that in the late 1960s many white racists moved over to the Republicans, but the 1964 Civil Rights Bill wasn’t the key factor. LBJ won white votes by a landslide in 1964. The big problems for Democrats were busing, soaring crime rates, and affirmative action.--Scott Sumner

Thanks to a spiraling deficit, the economy is chugging merrily towards a broken bridge over a rocky canyon—a fact that almost no one from either party is willing to do anything about. America, according to the CBO, is on an "unsustainable" fiscal path, and the nation's solid-gold credit rating may be at risk. So it doesn't matter how many times blinkered legislators repeat to themselves, "I think I can, I think I can": Nothing short of significant cutbacks to entitlement spending is going to magically transform the U.S. budget into the little engine that could. Instead, politicians are paying for new entitlements by shifting money from unsustainable programs—money that ought to have gone toward getting America's fiscal house in order. Democrats made history all right—but only by sacrificing the future.--Peter Suderman

As America's teetering tower of unkeepable promises grows, so does the weight of government, in taxes and mandates that limit investments and discourage job creation. America's dynamism, and hence upward social mobility, will slow, as the economy becomes what the party of government wants it to be -- increasingly dependent on government-created demand. ... Politics in a democracy is transactional: Politicians seek votes by promising to do things for voters, who seek promises in exchange for their votes. Because logrolling is how legislative coalitions are cobbled together in a continental nation, the auction by which reluctant House Democrats were purchased has been disillusioning only to sentimentalists with illusions about society's stock of disinterestedness. Besides, some of the transactions were almost gorgeous: Government policy having helped make water scarce in California's Central Valley, the party of expanding government secured two votes by increasing rations of the scarcity. Thus did one dependency lubricate legislation that establishes others. ... Seeking a silver lining? Now, perhaps, comes Thermidor. That was the name of the month in the French Revolutionary calendar in which Robespierre fell. To historians, Thermidor denotes any era of waning political ardor. Congressional Democrats will not soon be herded into other self-wounding votes -- e.g., for a cap-and-trade carbon-rationing scheme as baroque as the health legislation. During the Democrats' health-care monomania, the nation benefited from the benign neglect of the rest of their agenda. Now the nation may benefit from the exhaustion of their appetite for more political risk.

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