Monday, October 27, 2008

Fed To Cut Rates... And??

The Fed is planning to cut rates by another 50 bp (0.50%) this week, bringing their target for Fed Funds down to 1%.

Wonderful.. and how is that going to help, exactly? I mean, help the so-called "real" economy and not the panicky, tormented souls of financial regulators who are grasping at any blow-by straw to make them look like they are "doing something".


Official rates are already so low that another half of a percent will do absolutely nothing to ease the huge debt burden crushing the US economy. An economy that in recent years willingly (or was it, in fact, forcibly?) abdicated its position as a premier manufacturer and heavy duty productive user of capital. Lowering the cost of borrowing would be great - if there were thousands of healthy businesses eager to borrow and apply the funds to new plant and equipment, to hire new workers and to fund research and development. But, there aren't - that was last century's economic model.

Today we are captives of the Asset Economy, the FIRE Economy, the On-Margin Economy, the Capital Gains Economy, the Debt-Above-The-Eyeballs Economy. What productive use of capital are we talking about now, for heaven's sake?

So what are lower rates supposed to do? Hope that millions of low income Americans will suddenly rush to buy new houses, putting themselves into more hock than they are already? Charge more Christmas trinkets to already maxed-out credit cards and hope the devil doesn't care? Induce hedge fund managers, who are staring hundreds of billions of liquidations in the face, to rush out and buy more stocks on fresh margin? Make insurance companies underwrite more disastrous credit default swaps?

None of the above, of course. The upcoming cut, which will very likely be coordinated with other central banks around the world, is a shameless political move designed to palliate the voting, but unfortunately clueless, public. Nothing more - and nothing less, in this political season that is threatening to deal a crushing blow to the (clearly outgoing) Republican party.

One more time, then: what we need is LESS debt and not more, or cheaper, debt. Cancel it, destroy it, bankrupt it, wind it down, liquidate it - call it what you may, but the end result must be the same. A saner ratio of debt to earned income.

How to do it? Rational , thinking people may come up with a variety of ways; mine have been stated over and over again:
  • The Greenback.
  • Direct government support of alternative energy and economic sustainability efforts ($700 billion is a lot of money to waste on bailing out bad debt).
I'll borrow a line from Thomas Friedman's new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded. He's quoting John Hennessy, the president of Stanford University: "Today's energy-climate challenge is a series of great opportunities disguised as insoluble problems."

What a great way to view our world and its challenges. Instead of silly, worthless rate cuts..

39 comments:

Jon said...

Much of today's focus is on preserving the status quo. These decisions are again, made by people who have benefited most from the status quo.

For Eight Years, the line between Government and Business interests have been marred to the extent that what is good for Business, is interpreted as good for Government, which in turn is good for the People, aka Trickle Down Economics.

Still, extraordinary disjoints create extraordinary opportunities for extraordinary leaders to rise to the occasion.

Winter is here,
it brings some cheer,
as with the onset of winter,
means that Spring is near.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, but this strikes me as a straw man argument. Debt is being destroyed rapidly (frighteningly so) and the securitization engine that helped create the debt is also incapacitated. The gov't is trying to soften the blow. Your prescriptions are not mutually exclusive of the current attempts at policies.

marcus said...

Anon: Maybe you could expand on your statements? "Debt is being destroyed rapidly ..." Where? I thought that was Paulson plan, to buy bad assets from investment banks and insurance companies to increase (expand) the debt with public money.

"The gov't is trying to soften the blow." For whom? The investment bank executives and investors?

If instead the government announced massive infrastructure projects to soften the blow to salaried workers I might agree with your statement.

Debra said...

Yep, Hell, agree with you completely.
That's what hallucinated me so much when I saw all those cheapy trash shopping centers, replete with Targets for low paid grunts all over the country this summer (and more being built every minute..).

Cut to the following :European auto makers (and American while we're at it) are dismally disappointed to discover that the high class, shiny, berlines that are sold on television by scantily clad, luscious young women, ARE NOT BEING BOUGHT !!
My God, after all that money spent on ideologically based marketing that GUARANTEED that the consumer was an idiot just waiting for his button to be pushed !
And now they all want the government to step in and soften the blow, because the European public wants cars that consume less gas, and nobody wants those shiny cars !!
My God, these people have had their heads up their asses for SO long that the light of day is extremely painful.
I HAVE TO READ TOQUEVILLE !!
You too, everybody else.
If we can just eke out the time to do it...

marcus said...

This post comes under the category of a bumper sticker I once saw, "Jesus is coming, look busy"

Anonymous said...

Marcus: Bids on hundreds of billions of debt issued by securitization vehicles are now pennies on the dollar. That is debt disappearing. And there is no engine to replace the creation of credit other than commercial banks. Thus, for now, as I see it, the gov't has no choice but to try to help re-capitalize the banks best positioned to survive.

I agree with you about infrastructure as well as with your implication that bank execs and investors disproportionately benefit from the bailout.

Anonymous said...

When a house with a mortgage of 500k is foreclosed, and resold with a mortgage for 250k, it seems an unavoidable result that household indebtedness, for that address anyway, has dropped by 250k. This is happening many thousands of times a day, and has been for the better part of a year. Aggregate household mortgage debt must have dropped by roughly the amount of mortgage debt written off, yet I fail to see this reflected in data from BLS, the Treasury, or anywhere else. Am I missing something?

BTW, I live in San Diego, so I am not pulling these numbers out of the air.

Spyware said...

Yeah, and: "Jesus loves you, but I'm his favourite

Anonymous said...

Alternative Energy??? You have to be kidding??? Lets stop all subsidies and regulation on our energy sector and let them figure it out. We have all kinds of energy solutions that we are refusing to utilize in the hopes of some magic bullet. Well Virginia, there ain't no magic bullet. Keeping energy prices artificially high through govenrment reduces the amount of money businesses invest in R&D. I have faith that the answer to our energy "crisis" will be found in the free market and not some government directed or subsidized program. Government distorts the market and prevents legitimate solutions from being developed. The answer to our energy needs will probably come from the most unlikely of places. Could anyone imagine today's current technologies 100 years ago? What makes you think that the Government can see the future? What is your model? The Soviet Union.

Edwardo said...

Whenever someone like Tom Friedman is invoked, I have to resist the gag reflex.

From John Robb.

"In my book, Brave New War, I made the case that we would face a series of global systemic shocks of increasing scope, frequency and amplitude. However, unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to anticipate (at a societal level) with any certainty what these shocks will be (they will be Black Swans). Further, I believed that the decline(not collapse, since there isn't an alternative system that will replace it) of the nation-state as an organization, would mean that the will, means, and flexibility necessary to respond to these challenges would be increasingly insufficient. In other words, the big "Manhattan" projects or "Marshall" plans to respond to these challenges not only won't be launched, they are unlikely to work (they only seem to exist in the reality distortion fields generated by writers like Tom Friedman). What is in the realm of possibility and will work is to invent, construct, and implement solutions that provide resilience at the community level. These solutions must be:

Fast.
Cheap.
Sustainable."

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/

Greenie said...

"Direct government support of alternative energy"

Still promoting the same crap? Oil is now 50% of the high and everyone knows that it was a speculative bubble, not peak oil BS that you were promoting then.

Some people never learn.

Greenie said...

Tom Friedman is the biggest idiot I have ever seen. Like Hell, he was a big supporter of Iraq war.

OkieLawyer said...

So what are lower rates supposed to do? Hope that millions of low income Americans will suddenly rush to buy new houses, putting themselves into more hock than they are already? Charge more Christmas trinkets to already maxed-out credit cards and hope the devil doesn't care?

From the consumer debt side of things, I can tell you that if consumers are allowed to refinance their debt on their houses at a better rate, it will save them thousands in interest payments. Thousands more will be saved if they are able to refinance them at the current market value of their homes. Obviously, the banks will have to take the loss.

We should combine this with the rule on "thinly capitalized corporations" (aka piercing the corporate veil) in regards to issuers of Credit Default Swaps who default on their obligations to backstop the losses by the banks.

Greenie:

The petroleum industry has always been a "boom and bust" cyclical market. I still think we are living in a time of peak oil, but demand destruction and the dollar unexpectedly rising in value is mitigating the worst effects of it. Production has still been flat for the past four years, so that problem is still there; it's just been delayed.

Thai said...

Marcus said "Jesus is coming, look busy"

LOL!!! Top comment of the day to Marcus! :-)

Greenie, you're being a putz again, play nice (or I will send you one of those links from Science daily on borderline personality disorder... by the way, did I accurately convey your position on the last post?
And IMHO Friedman is anything but an idiot ( I really enjoyed his World is Flat- I haven't read the latest Hell is promoting). You may disagree with Friedman, you may criticize his shameless self promotion, but whatever he is, he is not an idiot (FYI he lives down the road from me, though I have never met him- his house is one of those "masters of the universe" fortresses completely separated from the neighborhood).

Okie, forgive me but I do not follow your point. Are you saying banks should refinance AND we should go after the personal assets of those who default on their CDS? If so, why are you linking them?

dink said...

Thai:
"Greenie, you're being a putz again, play nice (or I will send you one of those links from Science daily on borderline personality disorder"

Thank you Thank you Thank you. He is completely feral.

"Jesus saves....Gretzky rebounds...He shoots...HE SCORES!!!"

Greenie said...

Thai, No, that is not my position. I believe peak oil is nonsense just like any other Malthusian theories. Oil fields take 8-10 years to develop, and the current flatlining in oil supply we are seeing is an artifact of oil price drop to $7 in the late 90s. On the other hand, the results of thousands of exploration/development projects of last 2-3 years will show up in the future. It is no different from housing development. Right after the peak is past, you see thousands of houses being built making the downturn worse.

Demand, on the other hand, is a function of oil price, plus employment/salary/etc. So, the fiction of boundless Chinese and Indian demand is just that - fiction. Hell has no clue about Asian countries and probably never been there based on his description of world history. So, I think he got really surprised to learn that not every Asian is not going to buy a car in the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever visted a public school in Amerika? driven on a pulic road? taken public transit?

There is a massive need for capital in this country that is not stolen by Wall-Street and Washington.

A massive need of capital to rebuild Amerika that was destory by Ronald Regan's debtor nation.

Debra said...

Lots of fun these comments today.
Really bouncy.
I love "Jesus is coming, look busy", even if I'm not really sure what it means...

Take it from a former psychoanalyst with a degree in clinical psychology : DSM diagnostics are crap because...we are all borderline personalties these days.
Probably because we are all living on the edge...

Of the second coming ? lol

I read a review of Friedman's flat world in the Nation a couple of years ago. Sounds like one smart man. Too bad he really doesn't get the GLOBAL picture though.

I would like to see his house, though. A fortress ?
Why does he need a fortress ? Hmmm
To protect himself from the crowds when people start rioting against Reagan economics ? Maybe ?

Cheers, everyone. I love you all today.

OkieLawyer said...

Thai:

Are you saying banks should refinance AND we should go after the personal assets of those who default on their CDS? If so, why are you linking them?

Two separate policies, but they are related in this way: outrageous housing prices were related to excessive lending because banks thought they had bought default insurance (that wasn't called insurance because of the law in 1999 that allowed them to not call it insurance). Therefore, because banks did not think there was any real risk in lending to anyone, they loaned to anyone at any price. (I am not convinced that they were not in on it; but that is another discussion.) All the while, the same bankers received large fees from making the loans, which got paid up front.

However, many of those selling CDS "insurance" knew full well that they did not have enough money to cover any default. In that sense it amounted to a kind of confidence scheme. They sold a "pig in a poke."

Furthermore, I saw many, many consumers who were sold on mortgages they couldn't pay based on an initial payment (that they could afford in the short term) while the reset was glossed over or ignored altogether. When it was discussed, they were told that they would be able to refinance before the reset (nevermind that the contract would have them pay a penalty -- all arguably wrapped into the new loan).

That's the way a lot of white collar crimes are accomplished. By the time the con is discovered, the perpetrator is long gone. This is compounded by the fact that oftentimes, the victim gets blamed; as in: "How could you have been so stupid."

There is a reason why we call such financial schemes "Predatory Lending." Because the perpetrator truly is predatory. The "mark" (in this case a vulnerable consumer due to their limited knowledge or experience) has insufficient knowledge or skills to protect themselves. That is why we need powerful regulatory agencies and courts to protect the weakest members of society. And yes, that includes consumers who lack the understanding on how to protect themselves.

I hope this helps.

Black Star Ranch said...

....I'm pretty much an economical idiot. A short while ago, I was getting a feeling of deja vu from 1991. A year or two after the S&L bailout (you remermber the one that was only supposed to cost us 20-billion instead of the realistic 150-billion?) and scared to death it might happen again, I cashed out all my stock while the DJI was passing 9500 (on the way down). I was told this was stupid - it was time to BUY. Instead I bought and paid for a shack, barn, land and water in the desert with the proceeds. I was told that was stupid as well - you should NEVER pay in full for a home for tax reasons. Seven years later, we are now 95% self-sufficient (giant vegetable garden, orchard, cow, & chickens), I make NO money, file NO taxes, live in a "cash friendly" state with no state income tax, haven't had to pay $1104 a month in house payments, nor water/trash bills, nor association dues, nor extreme utility bills for seven + years. The good Lord's been kind to me.

And guess what - I'm still pretty much an idiot, but being out of debt sure makes it taste sweeter.

Thai said...

Greenie- except for the 'nuance' of suggesting there is A LOT more oil than people think, that it was collapsing oil prices which let to a discontinuation of exploration and therefore led to shrinking oil finds which peak oilers are interpreting as the eventual end of oil, how is this different than what I said?

As for demand anywhere, including Asia: all wage growth always and for all time is ultimately a function of productivity improvements.

Brian Woods said...

Re: Oil Production.

As I understand it, most of the 'easy' discoveries have already been made. Is this factually accurate, or not?

Does anyone reading this blog dispute the fact that there is a finite limit on the amount of liquid fossil fuel that can be recovered for use? If this IS correct, then logically we will reach a mid-point of supply, yes?

I understand 'peak oil' to refer to
a production level, not half of what is actually in the ground.

Please do not mix up the MONEY cost of producing fossil fuels with the ENERGY cost of producing same. We can print any amount of fiat money, whereas the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics puts an absolute limit on the NETT amount of energy that is FREE to be used in whatever manner we choose!!

Brian P

Camabron said...

Ain't this a beauty "An impatient White House served notice Tuesday on banks and other financial companies receiving billions of dollars in federal help to quit hoarding the money and start making more loans." http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081028/ap_on_bi_ge/financial_meltdown I don't know weather to laugh or cry.

Debra said...

Okie, I think that the reason why more regulatory agencies will not work is that the whole system has become so complicated, so SPECIALIZED that no one person has all the answers, and that, given this, NO ONE IS COMPETENT TO REGULATE.
And one does not have to be an elderly or immigrant person to not understand all these complicated little Ponzi schemes. One can also be a college graduate.
My current income tax form adds up to over 52 pages.
My French friends are absolutely amazed when I tell them this, as the French revenue declaration form is much more readable.
No way in hell could I prepare that form on my little old lonesome.
That's why I have to pay through my nose to have a competent accountant do it.
Sigh !! Specialisation. It will be the end of us all...

Thai said...

@Okie- thanks, it does.

@Brian Woods- they are not mutually exclusive things. Sure oil is finite, it does not invalidate his point.

@Debra- indeed specialization will be the death of us. What do you think evolution is doing?

Anonymous said...

Thai, the fractal man

The evolutionary time scale is grand enough, that for all practical purposes, humanity needn't worry about biologic specialization affecting us in any meaningful way. That being said, there are some interesting arguments about whether human evolution is speeding up or slowing down. Managing specialization may be onerous for us, but the fruits of specialization have served humankind well on the whole.

Okie, defender of the weakest

I think as foreclosures pile up a multipronged solution will be forced. Loan modification should be one prong. Naturally banks are resisting for many reasons. There are logistical hurdles with the large numbers of foreclosures, dealing with second liens, dealing with securitization issue and all the contract laws involved, plus they need to save some capital for executive bonuses. All in all, what a mess!

greenie, the feral putz

I was thinking, if Jesus comes and raptures (takes away) his loyal followers, that might solve the resource depletion problem, for awhile anyways.

Greenie said...

"Does anyone reading this blog dispute the fact that there is a finite limit on the amount of liquid fossil fuel that can be recovered for use? If this IS correct, then logically we will reach a mid-point of supply, yes?"

Geeziz !! There are finite number of plants and trees and we should reach mid-point in food supply from agriculture someday, right? From that time onward, world population cannot grow, right? Have you heard of Malthus?

Have you heard of peak coal being argued as end of civilization around 1865? Idiots promoting peak something come in every century. My problem with them is that they talk very intelligently (although wrong) and therefore get government attention. Their wrong theories get promoted into government action, eventually leading to death of many people in the world. Check the biography of Malthus.

Thai, I am sorry. I took the post from okie just above my previous one as yours, and responded to it.

Thai said...

Anon 3:05- I actually wasn't referring to genetic evolution in this case (where the same trend toward specialization and cooperation is occurring but on a much longer time scale). I was thinking much shorter term than that. Remember, evolution applies to just about everything: memes, businesses, social structures, economic systems, etc...

Greenie said...

About Tom Fried Man:

"*** Something has been missing from our lives. Yes, it's been weeks since we've had a good laugh. So, we turn to the editorial pages of the International Herald Tribune to find our favorite comic, Thomas L. Friedman, a man who wants to make a better world, in the worst possible way.

We used to enjoy reading his columns. You could always count on him to come up with such a damned fool idea, on any subject, that it would have been an embarrassment to a jackass. But what intrigued us was trying to figure out how the man thought - or if he thought at all. When we explore Friedman's oeuvre we feel we are probing down clumsily, like a neurosurgeon with a kitchen knife, into the softest mush of the human brain. How does it work, we wonder?

Friedman is no idiot. He writes in complete sentences. Somehow he has gotten a gig not only as a columnist for America's most prestigious newspaper, but as a semi-serious author, and celebrity speaker at business functions.

(His success has not made us jealous; it has only made us suspicious. We wonder what the rest of the world must be thinking if it can take Friedman's ruminations seriously.)

It was Friedman, we recall, who pushed hard for the United States to invade Iraq, and who then described U.S. troops (the most lethal attack force the world had ever seen), as 'nurturers', and who, like midwives, were helping to deliver a baby democracy in the Mesopotamian desert. Then, when the war went bad, he blamed the Bush team, urging them to send yet more armed nurturers and spend even more money. It was he, too, who blamed terrorism on high oil prices; and he still urges the United States to 'go green' as a way to promote 'reform' in the Middle East.

The man has a plan for everything. That is what makes reading him so funny. He cannot seem to appreciate that the world is a product of many thousands of generations' worth of evolutionary adjustments, compromises, and innovations that he could not possibly hope to know about…nor can he imagine that there is any situation - no matter how remote or complex - that his own little mind cannot improve.

Thus does he urge America's voters to insist upon a "Green Election" in 2008. We won't bother with the inane details (such as having a college student question the candidates because "young people will be the ones most affected by global warming"); What is appalling is the desperately shallow earnestness of it. Why would a college student have any more insight into global warming than anyone else? And why, if voters are so interested in global warming, don't they ask the candidates themselves? How is it possible for an intelligent Homo Sapien to write such obvious hooey?

What we are beginning to suspect is that there is something wrong with the brain itself. In spite of all its pretensions to logical thought, the thing is barely functional. It will believe anything."

Greenie said...

"What a marvelous day to read the news. Looking for something to laugh at, we are spoiled for choice.

First, we are deeply in debt to our old friend Marc Faber for several things today. Somehow, we missed a delightful little piece by our favorite columnist, Thomas L. Friedman. Marc brought it to our attention in his "Gloom, Boom and Doom Report."

All of Friedman's pieces are little…in the sense that the ideas are so miniscule and light that they disappear almost before you can savor them. And they are all delightful too - in the sense that they make us laugh…delightedly.

Writing before the elections last fall, Friedman offered Americans some voting advice:

"Americans should let Karl [Rove] know that they are not stupid."

Already, we are giggling. Because we wondered who could still be reading Friedman now, except the stupid…or the cynical…or an economist looking for entertainment.

Friedman went on…

"They should let him know that the patriotic thing to do in this election is to vote against an administration that has - through sheer incompetence - brought us to a point in Iraq that was not inevitable but is now un-winnable."

And here our midriff muscles get a workout. For Friedman was one of the loudest advocates for the war. He urged the Bush administration into this mess. And he was so annoyed at the French for staying out of it that he practically called for war against them too.

Now that the war has gone as the frogs predicted, our columnist lays the blame on the Bush team! The war was a good idea, he maintains; the Bush boys just weren't up to the job. Imagine how much better it would have turned out if John Kerry, Al Gore or Hilary Clinton had been running the show!

Ha…ha…ha…!

What would they have done…send more troops? Or spent more money? We checked the "National Priorities Project" website and discovered that we've already spent $357,120,600,000 on the war. The numbers were spinning so fast we weren't able to get the exact figure. But that's already more than $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States…and more than $12,000 for every citizen in Iraq…or, get this, $10 million for every 'insurgent' killed by U.S. forces. What would the Democrats have done…paid even more?

"

Thai said...

@ Brian Woods - I think this states Greenie's point on supply rather well. I am agnostic on the supply issue (not really reading enough about the topic to comment), but I am an optimist when it comes to demand. I am quite confident that conservation will be embraced when it actually pays for itself. Further, when it comes to science I have learned all too well from first hand experience that necessity is the mother of all invention. I suspect there is a lot we can do to moderate demand- I see more and more of these Smart Cars or Prius'on the road daily now.

Do the math (remember it is a non-linear system):

The US fleet mpg average is currently 20.2 mpg, the average driver drives 12,400 miles/year and there are approximately 250 million vehicles in the US in 2006.

Were the distances to work and 'play' to shorten as society is built 'smarter' by say 10% (we are seeing a trend to ward urban renewal even in cities like Houston and Dallas) AND the efficiency of the fleet to increase to 33 mpg, the total usage of oil per vehicle would drop from 614 gallons/vehicle/year to 338 gallons/vehicle/year which is a nearly 50% reduction in oil. And while the number of vehicles might increase as population increases, that is not necessarily the case either.

Conservation can make a big impact. This would DOUBLE the amount of time available to come up with alternative solutions with only a small change in 'lifestyle' (giving up my Subaru for a Prius would not be too much of an imposition).

Debra said...

Thai, your comment on evolution makes me...
want to cuddle up to Milton Friedman, on a desperately contrarian impulse.

For Greenie, and Thai, on this one :
I kind of recognize myself in Friedman's optimism, although certainly not in his economic policies, but I think we would all do better regarding him mainly as a philosopher rather than an economist.
He doesn't know he is a philosopher.
But, personnally, I would MUCH MUCH rather be a graced with the epithet "philosopher" than the epithet "economist".
But then, you will say, my liberal arts education slip is showing.

As for evolution, we have spent too much time putting all nature, and ourselves, under the microscope. Since it first started in the 18th century, it has led us to the most jackass and pompous ideas about ourselves and the surrounding world.
This summer at the zoo, I found the researchers to be much more hopelessly dumb than the animals they were investigating.

So.... I will join Friedman on this one.
What do we need to do ?
Maybe get down on the ground and start smelling flowers so that we won't end up like those brains in the Star Trek episode I loved, you know the one who had to colonize Kirk and some luscious blond in order to get something (and not just anything...) done on the corporeal side of existence.

Yeah, let's start with smelling the flowers.
From there on, things could start snowballing a little, IN MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

And to the guy who owns his own land, and is living off it, whose name I can't recall :
Kudos, you are my hero.

Debra said...

Correction, above :
Read "ones" and not "one".
Otherwise I don't sound like the English major I was in college...

Debra said...

My apologies :
I had MY head up my ass. Or I've been out of the country, and the Nation for too long.
Who is Tom Friedman ?
I think I got him mixed up with Milton...
On the other hand, maybe I don't really want to know...

fajensen said...

Aggregate household mortgage debt must have dropped by roughly the amount of mortgage debt written off, yet I fail to see this reflected in data from BLS, the Treasury,

But ... The debt is not written off - It was 'securitized' and sold as AAA bonds. Those bonds were bought by 'investors' all over the planet (and they are supposedly being scooped up by 'TARP'too).

Should the debt ever be written off those bonds would be officially worthless and lots of banks, insurance companies, pension funds e.t.c. holding the crap will get huge margin calls and probably be officially bankrupt.

So, unofficially, most *are* bankrupt which is why nobody wants to lend at the 0% interest rates needed to reflate the bubble so the FED steps in throwing money everywhere hoping it will stick.

Greenie said...

"Who is Tom Friedman ?"

He is a brain-dead NY Times columnist, who got one or two Pulitzers for journalism. How? Beats me, but then again if Paul Krugman can get Nobel prize, anything can happen.

yoyomo said...

Greenie,
You said above that, like Friedman, Hel supported the war in Iraq. Not that it would surprise me but I don't remember reading anything by him to that effect. Do you have anything specific in mind?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but quoting Thomas Friedman?

The Lexus, The Olive Tree: A Guide to Globalization" Friedman? You couldn't find someone, say, INTELLIGENT to quote from?

The one that wrote the September article in the NY Times about the shoppers from Europe finding great exchange rates and buying up goods to take back from their vacation, and labeling it "that's globalization", as if it is a good thing for New York to become another third world shopping destination? Without a mention of WHERE the goods purchased were MADE, or WHAT they were? Yes, that idiot.

Or the Thomas Friedman that had a NY Times "Rescuing The Rescue" article, stating it was a great thing to give unconditional hundreds of billions to the very banksters that led us in to this mess. Why? Because his Rabbi told a cute story about a house, a car and a parrot....excuse me while I puke.

Other than that, a great article, really.

farang

Anonymous said...

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