Monday, December 06, 2010

Quotes of the day

I've never been involved in a trade that has such unlimited upside with a very limited downside.--John Paulson

Ask yourself what you would do if someone came in and sold all of your investments overnight. The next morning you wake up and you’re left with 100% cash in your account. You can repurchase the same investments at no cost. Would you build the same portfolio? Does that portfolio fit your unique financial goals?--Carl Richards

[Mark] Zuckerberg’s transformation over the years from awkward dweeb to telegenic smoothie is really extraordinary. Whoever is coaching him should be handsomely rewarded. It’s almost too dramatic a change, as if he’s had a chip implanted in his brain or replaced himself with a more TV-friendly clone.--Andrew Wallenstein

As you rise in the ranks, people stop telling you what they should tell you.--Richard A. Davis

I argue that if we rush into low-carbon technologies too soon, because we think the problem is more urgent than it is, we risk doing real harm to ecosystems as well as human living standards—as the biofuel fiasco all too graphically illustrates. The rush to turn American corn into ethanol instead of food has contributed to spikes in world food prices and real hunger, while the rush to grow biodiesel for Europe has encouraged the destruction of orangutan habitat in Borneo. ... Mr. Gates thinks I underplay the role of education, government, patents and science in the innovation that drives economic improvement. Maybe, but I make a carefully argued case that most of the existing commentary overplays the role of these institutions and that innovation is sometimes hindered by these institutions, too, especially by patents and government monopolies. Am I saying that we should cease worrying about trends that might cause problems? Of course not. I am arguing that we should worry about real problems, including Africa's plight, but that we should do so in the knowledge that we have solved many such problems before and can do so again. I am certainly not saying, "Don't worry, be happy." Rather, I'm saying, "Don't despair, be ambitious"—though I admit it's not nearly as snappy a song lyric.--Matt Ridley

What I suggest is that, without any prejudice, look at the instances over the past 50 years in which countries tried countercylical fiscal policy. What were the successes? What were the failures? My impression is that there were many more of the latter than the former. Look, I take second place to no one in my dislike for representative-agent, rational-expectations macroeconomics. But I think that the failure of M70 was not just that it lost favor with people who were obsessed with microfoundations and fascinated by math. Much of the failure of M70 was and remains empirical.--Arnold Kling

In 2008, for the typical household in the top one-percent of income-earning households in America, the percent of its adjusted gross income that it paid in federal income taxes was 23.27. Middle-income households paid less. For households whose earnings put them in the top 50 percent, but below the top 25 percent, of income earners, the percent of their adjusted gross income paid in income taxes was, on average, 6.75. For households in the bottom 50 percent of income-earners, the percent of their adjusted gross income paid in income taxes was, on average, 2.59.--Don Boudreaux

In a forty-five-minute speech on the economy on September 8th, Obama called out Boehner, by name, eight times. The President seemed almost to be wishing for the gift that voters had handed Bill Clinton with the Republican sweep of 1994—a polarizing opposition figure. Clinton needed to regain the middle in order to save his Presidency, and Newt Gingrich, from the start of his Speakership, proved an obliging foil.--Peter Boyer

You have to measure Boehner against other Boehners—you can’t measure him against me. Boehner would tell you up front that he’s not attempting to be the defining figure of this moment. He’s trying to be the organizer of the team that may define the moment. Clinton was able to pivot with me because I was a large enough figure that Clinton could say to the left, ‘You really want Gingrich?’ And they’d go, ‘O.K., even though we’re really mad at you, we’re not that mad at you.’ This may be an argument for the Boehner model.--Newt Gingrich

I am so sick of playing small ball. That’s why I stepped out there with the Roadmap in the first place. The country doesn’t deserve small ball. The country deserves real answers to the enormous problems facing us. And we owe it to our employers, the people who elected us, to give them a choice of two futures. Look, we know where the left wants to go, we know the path that we are on. We owe it to the country to show them an alternative path, based upon our principles. And if, after getting a second chance, we blow that opportunity, then shame on us.--Paul Ryan

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