Friday, October 01, 2010

Quotes of the day

I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. No, I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatamalan, and then served Venzuelan in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.--Stephen Colbert

The difference between communism and socialism: Under communism, politics begins with a gun in your face; under socialism, politics ends with a gun in your face.--Kevin Williamson

... what is the source of Keynesians' self-confidence? Every Keynesian I've ever known has a stock answer: The empirics are on our side. But when probed, they rarely deliver any details about these empirics. It's been three decades since Keynesians could merely point at the Phillips Curve and say, "See? See?!" And in terms of merely "fitting the data points," Prescott infamously showed that a simple [real business cycle] model works rather well. At this point, it's tempting to dismiss Keynesianism as a dogmatic cult. But in fact, there are key issues where their self-confidence is well-deserved. The only problem: They're too scared to admit why. So let me answer for them: The source of Keynesian confidence is not "empirics," but introspection.--Bryan Caplan

I think Keynesians' self-confidence springs from the fact that the illusion of control is on their side. And they are right, it is. But it is still an illusion... Throughout history, human societies the world over have had different versions of the rain dance. I think Keynsian policy is just the contemporary version of that, on a national level.--N.

... I testified before the same Senate Budget Committee two years ago in November 2008 and recommended a specific four part fiscal policy response to the crisis. The response was based on certain established economic principles, which I summarized by saying that policy should be predictable, permanent and pervasive affecting incentives throughout the economy. But this is not the policy we got. Rather than predictable, the policy has created uncertainty about the debt, growing federal spending, future tax rate increases, new regulations, and the exit from the unorthodox monetary policy. Rather than permanent, it has been temporary and thereby has not created a lasting economic recovery. And rather than pervasive, it has targeted certain sectors or groups such as automobiles, first time home buyers, large financial firms and not others. It is not surprising, therefore, that the policy response has left us with high unemployment and low growth. Given these facts, the best that one can say about the policy response is that things could have been even worse, a claim that I disagree with and see no evidence to support.--John Taylor

Operations can be moved globally and capital can be accessed globally.--Lloyd Blankfein

As of December 17 Yelp was in the final stages of negotiations to sell to Google for $550 million. But just three days later the deal was off. So what happened during those three days? Yahoo came in with an offer to buy Yelp for $750 million – $200 million more than Google had offered. Yelp, via their investment bank, asked Google if they wanted to match it. Google declined, and one source says they didn’t actually believe that there actually was a competing offer. Here’s where things got interesting. The Yelp management team apparently refused to work for Yahoo and wanted to take the Google offer. The Yelp board of directors, faced with a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests all stockholders, couldn’t approve a Google deal when a competing deal was available at a $200 million higher price. So with the Yelp management team refusing to take the Yahoo offer, and the Yelp board of directors unable to accept the Google offer, everything froze and a deal never happened.--Michael Arrington

Walk into any business and a cloud of three-lettered titles surrounds you. The one who used to be just the boss, or the managing director, now styles himself the CEO, for chief executive officer. This alone would be one thing, but it turned into a viral infection: CIO, CTO, CFO, COO, CLO, and so on, for what used to be the heads of technology, finance and operations, and the company lawyer. The so-called C-suite is an allegedly prestigious club, but whither prestige as its ranks swell? Throw in the VPs and SVPs who swarm all over American offices—not just vice-presidents, but senior ones—and everyone is a manager. A study of Linked-In, the networking site, found the number of C- and VP-level members growing three to four times faster than the membership overall. Who, then, is managed any more?--Robert Lane Greene

[Mayor Michael Bloomberg] owns only two pairs of work shoes. One day he'll wear one, the next the other -- and when they get worn down, he has them resoled.--Stu Loeser, Bloomberg's spokesman

So which is it? Will market pricing of water affect consumer demand or will it not? In fact, neither of your scenarios is remotely plausible. If your first scenario were realistic, then bottled-water suppliers such as Evian could double, triple, or even quintuple their prices without reducing the demand for their products. If your second scenario were realistic, low-income consumers would prefer to lose all access to water in their homes rather than spend even moderately less on clothing, cell phones, and even pets.--Don Boudreaux

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