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Archive for July, 2008

Last Lecture

Can’t believe I missed this when it came out; if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo

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Curiously, this is being trotted out as a positive sign:
http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=5896

I am not surprised there are morons in SF and NY and Santa Monica and Berkeley who don’t understand that rent-control is not “pro-tenant” or “anti-landlord”; it is “pro-tenants who arrived a long time ago” and “anti-people who recently arrived or cannot afford to arrive given the artificially reduced supply of housing”.  It is certainly not progressive or defending some mythic little guy – I benefit from it despite probably have a better financial position than most San Francisco landlords, and capping my rent reduces the taxes my landlords pay, taxes that would fund social programs all over the state for people who actually need the help.

I would have hoped, however, that Barry would know better.  Chicago miraculously has much lower rental property costs than, say, any place with rent control, and it is precisely the absence of rent control that makes such a situation possible (it is one of the ironies of NY’s rent control law that it lapses if vacancy rates rise above a threshold – rent control is the reason there are no vacancies).

Funny thing about this election is that the rest of the pool is so loony – Hillz with the gas tax holiday, McLovin with the whole war thing – that a pretty classical big government guy is the best candidate we have seen in a decade.

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Worldwide Taxation

Carl Levin is all worked up about UBS’ role in letting Americans park money in Switzerland without telling anyone:
http://abcnews.go.com/images/Blotter/REPORT-Tax%20Haven%20Banks%20(July%2017%2008).pdf

I would turn it around – why does the US still have worldwide taxation in the first place?  We are pretty much the only country that taxes its citizens’ activities outside its borders.  In this case, accounts owned by Americans are sitting in Switzerland and invested in non-US securities.  How is that any worse than an account of a Swiss citizen invested in non-US securities?  There is no income in the US, no use of US resources, why should the IRS be involved in the first place?

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At least this view is starting to trickle out:
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/idiots-fiddle-w.html

If the Bushies were actual Goldwater conservatives, we would have a screwed-up society, but at least we would have the means to fix it if we ever so chose.  But the real model of Dubya/Cheney is more Suharto – just loot absolutely everything by nationalizing risk and privatizing reward.  It is to Bernake’s shame that he has not stepped in, either by refusing to bail out failed organizations or by just doing his job and defending the dollar.  George and Dick are dumb (Dick disguises his dumbness by being a jerk, but I don’t think he wanted to screw up Iraq or New Orleans, he just couldn’t help himself); Ben should know better.

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Rudy?

Good to see the Republicans state their case so directly.  Because we know we never want the party that let our country be attacked to sit in the White House…

http://gawker.com/tag/no-words/?i=5025578&t=great-moments-in-political-advertising

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Lucky Cindy said this; if Michelle Obama said this it would prove she doesn’t understand America:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/07/14/cindy-mccain-in-arizona-t_n_112695.html

Weird thing is, Arizona actually has roads, and very nice roads at that.  It is dry, never freezes, was recently developed, virtually the entire population lives in two metro areas that have just about sprawled into each other, and oh, yeah, they get $1.19 for every dollar they send to the Treasury, courtesy of the good people of Connecticut and New Jersey.

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http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2008/07/krugman-on-gses.html

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