When firms compete for government subsidies and regulatory advantages, economists call it “rent-seeking.” As Washington considers how to replace Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in the mortgage market, we can expect the policy process to be dominated by rent-seekers. That is how it has been for generations. Who will win the battle to get the most favorable subsidies and regulations? At this point, all signs point to victory by two of the biggest culprits in the mortgage crisis — the mortgage bankers (firms that originate loans to distribute, not to hold) and the Wall Street investment banks
At the same time this is happening on Wall Street, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were requiring mortgage lenders to make more loans to "disadvantaged" borrowers and for Freddie and Fannie hold at least 20% of their portfolios in "disadvantaged borrower" mortgages. They did this despite all the warnings of the impending mortgage collapse.
I think there is something in the Constitution about regulating commerce. The leftists take it to mean channeling commerce to competition fearing cronies. I think this should be referred to as the taxpayer bendover clause of the Constitution.
According to an old saying, when the winds are strong even turkeys fly. If ever there was a case to which this would adage apply, it would be that of the market’s present favor for Greek government bonds. Over the past year, as the market has stretched for yield in a low interest rate global environment, the Greek government’s long-term borrowing cost has declined from over 18 percent to 8.5 percent currently. And it has done so despite increased signs that Greece lacks the political willingness to resolve the many deep-seated problems that still characterize the Greek economy.
The Obama administration’s ongoing delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline – which would transport Canadian oil to U.S. refiners on the Gulf of Mexico – is ostensibly based on concerns over the safety and reliability of oil pipelines, as well as concerns over climate change. At first, concerns focused on the protection of the Ogallala aquifer, but once the pipeline was re-routed to minimize such risks, climate concerns came to the fore. Discussing the pipeline last summer, President Obama focused on carbon, insisting that Keystone would not be approved if it will “significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere.”
Did President Obama lie to Americans when he said that those who liked their current health insurance policies could keep them? Or was he simply out of the loop when it came down to the details of his health care reform, as he has claimed in his own defense — a defense that comes suspiciously close to Bart Simpson’s “I didn’t do it” denials. How could a man of Obama’s obvious intelligence fail to know something so critical to the success of his most significant piece of legislation? Since Obama is not a fool, he must be a liar.
As the old saying goes, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — or doesn’t blow nearly as much as in earlier years, as the data show for tornado activity in the United States, and for tornadoes and cyclone activity more generally. The global warming/climate change industrial complex, confronted with growing bodies of scientific analysis and data both inconsistent with climate change orthodoxy and difficult to dismiss, slowly is coming unglued, producing analyses that conflict and ancillary effects — in particular, the collapse of “carbon trading” programs — not helpful to the cause.
In May of 1541, Spanish explorers under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado camped on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon and joined together in a celebration of thanksgiving. Nearly a quarter-century later, French Huguenot colonists at Fort Caroline, Florida, set aside a day for solemn praise and thanksgiving in June 1564. In the summer of 1607, English settlers in Maine united with Abnaki Indians for a harvest feast. Three years later, English colonists in Jamestown held a jubilant day of thanksgiving when fresh supply ships arrived, providing the surviving colonists with much-needed food after a severe winter and disastrous drought.
As Paul Krugman details in a recent column, many mainstream economists are concerned that a depressed economy may be the new norm. The case “was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the IMF’s big annual research conference,” he writes. Robert J. Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor at Northwestern University, has dismissed the job-creating potential of technological optimists’ favorite projects like biotechnology and self-driving cars, and concluded: “The future of American economic growth is dismal, and policy solutions are elusive.” Among others, the economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps has deplored the decline of America’s innovative spirit.
For everyone then alive, it remains a moment frozen in time. I was a 19-year-old Vanderbilt University sophomore having lunch in the Gold Room, Vanderbilt’s snack bar. I was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair and in the act of inserting a hot dog into my mouth when one of the ladies who worked the counter came in from another room where there was a television. In a voice as devoid of emotion as if she were announcing, “They say it’s going to rain this weekend,” she said, to no one in particular, “They say the president’s been shot.”
Whether it’s a second shooter on the grassy knoll, inconsistencies in the Warren Commission investigation, or the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, Americans are still drawn to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. But what contributes to the durability of these conspiracy theories? Certainly their plausibility has something to do with it. But like a good conspiracy theory itself, there’s more to it than the immediate explanation. In the days following President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the National Opinion Research Center was in the field polling a stunned nation.
Anyone with a modicum of knowledge regarding public health will agree that the most important, devastating, and preventable issue facing America is the human toll of cigarettes. Yet our nation’s main health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will issue regulations within the next few weeks that could harm our nation’s 45 million smokers. Smokers trying to quit have an extremely difficult time, yet a new technology which might ease their path — electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes — is facing relentless opposition from public health agencies like the FDA and CDC, and their antipathy is certainly not based on science.
“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” This, I trust everyone knows, is the inscription on the back wall of the Lincoln Memorial in DC, visible above the awe-inspiring statue of our greatest president, greeting us and inducing reverence as we enter what is, in my opinion, the finest public building anywhere. On facing walls, to left and right, are carved in stone Lincoln’s two greatest speeches, the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln’s personal contributions to his enduring memory.
In the aftermath of last week´s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, much has been said about what the results portend for Republicans in the next election cycle. But let´s not lose sight of the lessons learned only last year. After the shellshock of the 2012 election abated, the Republican National Committee released their “Growth and Opportunity Project” report, which observed that “the perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.”
I recently wrote a brief summary critique of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “analysis” of the “social cost of carbon.” In a nutshell, I argued: (1) the EPA analysis fails to recognize that U.S. policies would have virtually no effect on temperatures or “climate” regardless of which climate model is assumed to be the most useful; and (2) the analysis is poor methodologically and inconsistent with analytic guidelines that have been imposed on executive agencies by the Office of Management and Budget. My observations elicited several comments, varying substantially in analytic quality, to which I respond below in this article.
The question all week long was this: Who are you going to believe, an illegal alien or the president of the United States of America? Obviously, if it’s a president who once went by an alias, Barry Soetoro, you go with Uncle Omar, 100 percent, no questions asked. And so it was that the White House finally admitted to another, uh, misstatement — despite previous denials, Barack/Barry did sleep on his beloved Uncle Omar’s couch in Cambridge when he first moved here to attend Harvard Law School (speaking of which, we’re still waiting to see the president’s grades and his LSAT scores). But the
How do you get your arms around the catastrophe known as Obamacare? Is it even possible? At this point, I’m not sure it is. The list of individual disasters which threaten to ruin one-sixth of the U.S. economy and what has been, up until now, the best healthcare system in the world is exhaustive, and exhausting. The examples I will identify here barely scratch the surface. First but by no means foremost, we have the supposedly new and improved HealthCare.gov. Except it’s not, even the visible part. Stories still abound of people still failing to get in or to get through the enrollment
More young men in California rise in pitch at the end of their sentences when talking, new research shows. This process is known as "uptalk" or "valleygirl speak" and has in the past been associated with young females, typically from California or Australia.But now a team says that this way of speaking is becoming more frequent among men.The findings were presented at the Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in California. "We found use of uptalk in all of our speakers, despite their diverse backgrounds in socioeconomic status, ethnicity, bilingualism and gender," said Amanda Ritchart, a linguist at the University of
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a new five-year strategic plan to improve safety for elderly drivers and passengers. Although they are statistically among the safest on the road, the number of older drivers is increasing dramatically — and with it, that group´s numbers of injuries and deaths. Since 2003, the population of older adults, defined as age 65 and older, has increased by 20% and the number of licensed older drivers increased by 21% to 35 million in 2012, according to NHTSA. Last year, NHTSA reported that 5,560 people older than 65 died and 214,000 were injured
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack,
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the hapless, goalpost-shifting so-called "architect" of Obamacare, told Fox News´ Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that President Barack Obama´s promise "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" was absolutely true--with one important caveat: if you like your doctor, "you can pay for it." Wallace grilled Dr. Emanuel, challenging his false claims that California´s enrollment was keeping pace with the percentage of the young population necessary to keep the system afloat, and pointing out that the president´s promise on doctors would collapse once people lost their insurance or their
President Barack Obama’s Facebook page on Saturday posted a message honoring the dead from Pearl Harbor—accompanied by a picture of Obama descending the stairs next to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The picture barely fits the name of the Arizona Memorial so it can frame Obama in the foreground. The post´s statement reads: Today, with solemn pride and reverence, let us remember those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, acknowledge everyone who carried their legacy forward, and reaffirm our commitment to upholding the ideals for which they served. President Obama The Obama Administration´s current shipbuilding plan shrinks the size of
The U.S. isn´t called "America the Beautiful" for nothing. Each year, millions of tourists come from home and abroad to see the country´s majestic landscape and iconic sites, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty. But there are also cool, quirky attractions, like Vermont´s Ben & Jerry´s Factory and Tennessee´s Graceland, the former home of Rock and Roll King Elvis Presley. From California to New York and everywhere in between, the country is chock-full of incredible attractions that keep luring in visitors. Here are the best tourist attractions in every state.
Although the jobless rate in November fell to its lowest level since he took office, President Obama called on Republican lawmakers Saturday to spend tens of billions on unemployment benefits that are set to expire this month. “It shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. But he said the “economic lifeline” is in jeopardy. “All because Republicans in this Congress — which is on track to be the most unproductive in history — have so far refused to extend it” Mr. Obama said. If Congress doesn’t act before lawmakers leave on their holiday break, about
Many people could die as extreme weather becomes common. There will be more freak winds like the October storm, which killed four people. Heatwaves will be lethal and the sea level will rise, leaving coastal towns at risk of being swamped by storm surges. Sir Brian Heap, president of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, said he felt “obliged” to issue the warning after a new study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It comes on the back of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which has killed more than 5,000 people. Sir Brian said: “Given the tragic events this
Call me Grinch, call me Scrooge. Call me Lord Voldemort of the Yuletide. None could be worse than sending me a holiday card with glossy photographs of your lovely, smiling family. My wife, Emily, and I place your cards like trophies on our shelves, continuing an old-school practice that began about 175 years ago as a way of maintaining relationships as families and friends moved far and wide. Today’s cards may appear more personalized — with photos of spouses, kids and pets, and distribution lists much smaller than a sprawling collection of Facebook friends. But when I flip over the photo
Chris Matthews is crazy. Nevertheless, when left-wingers talk openly with one another, their craziness can be revealing. That is the case, I think, with this remarkable MSNBC clip. Matthews, fresh from his kneepad interview with President Obama, praises what he terms a uniquely brilliant insight by Al Sharpton: South Africa’s white politicians of the apartheid era were more patriotic than today’s Republicans: I haven’t heard anything as smart as what I heard Reverend Sharpton say a moment go in five years. The difference between the way F.W. de Klerk handled the need for change and the election – democratic election