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Daily Digest - Dec 8

Monday, December 8, 2008, 12:11 PM

 

Fred Thompson on the economy (video), Time & Co. to borrow against flagship building, Hard Numbers by Kevin Phillips, Paul Volker is back, Nassim Talib on bystanders....

Economy 

Fred Thompson: Common Sense On The Government Bailout (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! - Chris M)

This video below from Fred Thompson sheds light on the absurdity of the current 8 trillion dollars in bailouts that the government is giving away. He also notes the total crap that the constant stimulus packages are. 

Hard Numbers (Kevin Phillips) (hat tip mRed)

Ever since the 1960s, Washington has gulled its citizens and creditors by debasing official statistics, the vital instruments with which the vigor and muscle of the American economy are measured.

The effect has been to create a false sense of economic achievement and rectitude, allowing us to maintain artificially low interest rates, massive government borrowing, and a dangerous reliance on mortgage and financial debt even as real economic growth has been slower than claimed.

The corruption has tainted the very measures that most shape public perception of the economy:

• The monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI), which serves as the chief bellwether of inflation;

Times Co. to borrow against building

The New York Times Company plans to borrow up to $225 million against its mid-Manhattan headquarters building, to ease a potential cash flow squeeze as the company grapples with tighter credit and shrinking profits.

The company has retained Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm, to act as its agent to secure financing, either in the form of a mortgage or a sale-leaseback arrangement, said James Follo, the Times Company's chief financial officer.

Paul Volcker is back, and he warns of tough times ahead

is concerns go to the very core of how America lives and how Wall Street operates. A child of the Great Depression and a man of legendary personal thrift, Volcker thinks Americans have been living above their means for too long.

"It is the United States as a whole that became addicted to spending and consuming beyond its capacity to produce," Volcker lectured the Economic Club of New York in April. "It all seemed so comfortable."

Bringing consumption back in line with income would not only crimp individuals and families, but also require major readjustments in the global economy, which has relied on the U.S. as consumer of last resort.

Bystanders to this financial crime were many

On March 13 1964, Catherine Genovese was murdered in the Queens borough of New York City. She was about to enter her apartment building at about 3am when she was stabbed and later raped by Winston Moseley. Moseley stole $50 from Genovese's wallet and left her to die in the hallway.

Shocking as these details surely are, the lasting impact of the story may lie elsewhere. For plenty of people reportedly witnessed the attack, yet no one did much about it. Not one of the almost 40 neighbours who were said to have been aware of the incident left their apartments to go to Genovese's rescue.

Not surprisingly, the Genovese case earned the interest of social psychologists, who developed the theory of the "bystander effect". This claimed to show how the apathy of the masses can prevent the salvation of a victim. Psychologists concluded that, for a variety of reasons, the larger the number of observing bystanders, the lower the chances that the crime may be averted.

We have just witnessed a similar phenomenon in the financial markets. A crime has been committed. Yes, we insist, a crime. There is a victim (the helpless retirees, taxpayers funding losses, perhaps even capitalism and free society). There were plenty of bystanders. And there was a robbery (overcompensated bankers who got fat bonuses hiding risks; overpaid quantitative risk managers selling patently bogus methods).

 

 

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14 Comments

wdstk46's picture
wdstk46
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 59
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

I'm not a big Fred Thompson fan but that video was priceless.  Thanks!

RJE's picture
RJE
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Posts: 1369
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Fred Thompson was hilarious until I cried allowed...Sobering...Peace

joemanc's picture
joemanc
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Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

That clip was Hilarious! Ask not what your government can spend for you, ask what you can spend for your government! I'm going to be re-using that line!!

This is a good, but not so funny interview with Jim Rogers...

http://www.lewrockwell.com/podcast/?p=episode&name=2008-12-07_079_jim_rogers_on_the_crash_of_08.mp3 

kemosavvy's picture
kemosavvy
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Posts: 254
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Davos,

I come to this website to avoid such videos like fred thompsons, maybe this was posted on the basis that it's humorous, because the last minute is hilarious! but it's very partisan and the statements are overly generalized. fred leads you down the road that politicians (mainly democrats, ie. 'liberals', president-elect) created this mess, hmmm, no mention that bush's administration is socializing the banking system. if we are gonna truly 'tell it like it is' like fred thinks he is doing then we must disgrace both parties evenly because this is the reality. i could give examples like the repealing of the glass-steagall act that allowed citibank to underwrite it's own cdo's and move them off balance sheet by way of SIV's that led to the meltdown of the worlds largest bank. both parties are to blame for that piece of legislation.

none the less, this is the type of video that will find it's way passed along on email chains to people without the knowledge of the informed citizens of this site and they will consider his view informative and of having substance. it lacks of both but doubles-down on funny, pity them this christmas, and pity me because i'm 32 and my generations idea of retirement is being a wal-mart greeter 'til the day we die.

 

 

the navigator's picture
the navigator
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Posts: 30
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

I did not find anything about Fred Thompson's video to be humerous.

I see it as a partisan attempt by the Republicans to shift blame to the Democrats.  He embedded code words aimed at accomplishing this goal, such as "reputable liberal economists" and "yes we can."

There is plenty of blame to go around for the situation in which we find ourselves.  Mr. Thompson served as a U.S. Senator until 2003, he is not blameless.  I could go into a rant about how sick to death I am of politicians trying to point the finger of blame, but it just injects negativity into my day so I'll pass.

I agree with kemosavvy, I come to this website to avoid such videos like fred thompson's.

wtrbfflo's picture
wtrbfflo
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Posts: 3
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Hi all and thank you for this site!

First question(s):

Can I interpret the Volcker pick by Obama a good thing?  Is Obama trying to appease all parties by working with both Geithner and Volcker?

cannotaffordit's picture
cannotaffordit
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Posts: 273
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

C'mon you guys.  The Fred Thompson video is satire.  Get it?  One of the best ways to make a point.  And, I liked it.  I thought he did a great job. Thanks, Chris, for posting it.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
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Posts: 453
Boy, what total crap those stimulus packages are!
Davos wrote:

He also notes the total crap that the constant stimulus packages are. 

Dear Davos, I like your compilation of news stories, and I read it regularly.  Because I enjoy and respect your work, and the work of this website, I invite you to ponder that if vulgar language (even if it is not profane) appears in a context which suggests that it is a reference which the website stands behind, then the words might as well be your own.  It creates an inescapable suggestion of intellectual bias, and can inhibit this website from circulating among academics and others with professional images to protect. 

Nobody is going to refer a professional colleague who is not a close friend to a website that throws around terms like those above.

I have personally referred professors and government officials to this website and promised them that it is a source of erudite and unbiased analysis, and when I saw the quote above, I admit I was more than a bit perturbed.  I'd like to look forward to this website continuing to project an aura of unbiased professionalism that is equal to the professionalism of the people who may visit this website in the future.

Instead of quoting a person who is less professional than you are, why not just link to the video directly on youtube? 

Just a thought.

 

P.S.  The video itself is fantastic, however!  Oddly enough, I am going to have to disagree with kemosavvy, in that I didn't think it was partisan (I think the term "liberal economist" was used in a more classical sense).  Besides, it is hilarious.  Perhaps kemosavvy has a pre-existing opinion of Fred Thompson. But of course, that is why it is always difficult to quote a partisan political leader in a non-partisan context.

kemosavvy's picture
kemosavvy
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
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Posts: 254
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

jrf29,

in my post i did mention that i thought the video was hilarious. because the kids at christmas comment is the payoff for 8 minutes of washington bashing. my complaint is that there is no substance, no information, just finger-pointing. it's not the type of stuff i would like to see from this site going forward. i get plenty of  one-sided junk like fred thompsons video filling my email box everyday.

 

by the way i voted third party in the last election, i don't favor one party or another.

 

if you are like me, i crave interviews like the hedge fund interview davos posted about two weeks ago. absolutely perfect for this website.

 

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 453
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Hi kemosavvy.  Yes, I agree that the extent of the video's analytical value ends at its humor factor. No in-depth analysis there.  I also like to see intelligent analysis and commentary, and hope to continue to see that on the site.  I certainly agree that it would be a shame if material like the video were all this website began to focus on (although I don't see any indication that is happening). 

 My point was that I felt that the video itself could be viewed for what it is (a light farce) without damage of any kind being done to the reputation of the site, as contrasted with the quote which appeared directly above it in the blog, which I felt was very damaging.  My point is that such quotes must be excluded if the site is to protect its reputation, while I didn't think the video (while not strictly educational) was a harm by itself.

I, for one, enjoyed laughing for the first time on the subject of the economic crisis.

Davos's picture
Davos
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Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Hello All:

I really don't like any political slants, I voted Nader, I'm of the personal opinion that like Dr. Bartlett says, our solutions are our problems. Nader may have made more problems. BUT I don't want to shove my politics down anyones throat so I don't post political videos.

I listened to this one sent to me by a friend of mine who leans right. I was multitasking as I was parsing the 50 sites I go to each morning. I really didn't see the "crap" word, though I use worse sometimes. Sorry, didn't want to offend, and I see your point.

I just put the video up becuase I fell off my chair when I heard the dig a hole and then bury a hole and hit stuck a chord as I personally believe that printing money is what got us here and here we are printing more money to get us out. To me that tells me that we are in an insane asylum and the people in charge should be in straight jackets and if we don't put them in straight jackets we all are going to wind up in straight jackets.

To those I offended my sincere apologies, I will try to filter the news better for you next time.

Take care! 

rmurfster's picture
rmurfster
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Posts: 84
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Davos,

Please don't apologize!!!  I didn't vote for either of the major candidates either and I loved this video!

I didn't find this partisan in the least.  Thompson blamed both parties when he said that the same people who got us into this mess were the ones trying to bail us out.  Both parties are responsible.  President Bush is pushing a social agenda as well as everyone who is voting for this bailout, Democrat, Republican, Independent, etal.

Be yourself.  If anyone can't live with that, well then grow up.

Richard

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 929
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

Davos: I'm with murfster. The slight offense anyone might have taken by the 'c' word was more than offset by the excellent satire of the video. Thanks for sharing.

I think both parties are very much at fault for this crisis. Some of the differences between the two parties are getting very blurred these days. Both seem to stand for Bigger, Badder government at our expense. They just reach this end by (slightly) different means. But it's all just politics and I think the greatest amount of greed and immorality is not in Wall Street, it's actually in our own political system. Sadly, We The People, are most at fault for allowing ourselves to be duped by unscrupulous power mongers that don't behave in the country's best interests.

I think we can all agree that the fundamental issues we face are not left or right or partisan. They are American issues. And I believe it's time we started acting like true Americans and embracing our Constitution, liberty, and tradition of rugged individualism, morality, and hard work. The Founders are spinning in their graves at the very notion of a 'bailout'. They certainly didn't get a bailout from the British.

Might not be a surprise...I wrote in Ron Paul. Maybe I'm too political for this blog, but inevtiably, politics and laws will play a huge role in changing our system. But I believe the most effective changes will come when people become educated and accept individual responsibility. And that's why I'm on this site.

Thanks,

Mike

Davos's picture
Davos
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Posts: 3620
Re: Daily Digest - Dec 8

THANKS Laughing

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