Ludwig von Mises smacks down latest religious-right talking point

Right-wing hero Ludwig von Mises approaches the Jesus of the Bible the same way that Chuck Colson does -- which is to say that he's primarily interested in whether or not it will rile up the peasants or keep them sedate. But where Colson invokes Jesus as a helpful moralist who can keep the peasants in line, von Mises sees Jesus as a dangerous class warrior seething with resentment toward his betters. They're both full of it. Colson hears a call for justice and calls it envy. Von Mises … [Read more...]

Banks behaving badly

Matt Stoller: "Mortgage Servicers: Getting Away with the Perfect Crime?" The bad behavior is so rampant that banks think nothing of a contractor programming fraud into the software. This is shocking behavior and has led to untold numbers of foreclosures, as well as the theft of huge sums of money from mortgage-backed securities investors. Here’s how the fraud works: Mortgage loan notes are very clear on the schedule of how payments are to be applied. First, the money goes to interest, then … [Read more...]

An index for the 99%: 12 items of Christmas with the family will cost you $79.81

The Consumerist reports on an annual holiday tradition from PNC Financial: According to the folks at PNC Financial, who have spent decades tracking the ups and downs of the gifts rattled off in the seemingly endless tune, the total cost of realizing the full "12 Days of Christmas" has crossed the $100,000 mark for the first time, coming in at a total of $101,119.84. ... The single most expensive item on the list is the seven swans a-swimming at $6,300, followed very closely by the … [Read more...]

The search for new ways to take our money

Banks used to take more than $36 billion a year from their customers. They just took it. They did this by reaching into those customers' accounts and removing the money $30 at a time. This was called "overdraft protection," and the banks pretended it was a service for those customers. That practice has been reined in somewhat with new rules requiring banks to describe these "overdraft protection" charges more accurately and to convince their customers to allow them to take this money from … [Read more...]

Looking beyond their needs to determine fault

It's been several days and I'm still a bit gobsmacked by the perverse audacity of Herman Cain's oddly lovely rendition of "He Looked Beyond My Faults." Cain is the frontrunner in a Republican presidential primary characterized above all by the opposite impulse from what that song is about. Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise, for it was grace that brought me liberty; I do not know just why He came to love me so, He looked beyond my fault and saw my need. I shall forever life … [Read more...]

#OccupyTheTrailerParks

Doug Curlee of The Santee (Calif.) Patch brings us the story of what every manufactured-home owner fears: a sudden increase in the rent they pay on the land beneath their homes. Happily, for now, the City of Santee has a Manufactured Home Fair Practices Commission, and that commission voted to enforce fair practices. But as Curlee notes, this victory for residents is no guarantee of their future security: "Santee Mobile Home Owners Win the Rent-Control Battle — But Not the War." The … [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things

John Quiggin: "Keeping the state out of your bedroom" If you really want personal freedom, you can achieve it only by constraining property rights. Dahlia Lithwick: "Occupy the No-Spin Zone" I spent time this weekend at Occupy Wall Street and my husband spent much of last week adding his voice to the protesters there. I saw an incredible array of people that defy any simple demographic characterization and a broad range of signs that made — imagine! — more than a single point. But if I … [Read more...]

There’s absurd, then obscene, then Paul Ryan

ryan-letter

"Chutzpah" is classically exemplified by the man who murders his parents and then pleads for mercy on account of being an orphan. A step beyond such chutzpah is laughable absurdity. A step beyond that is self-contradiction and hypocrisy so astonishing it becomes obscene. And a step beyond that is this Republican Party fundraiser, casting the Apostle of Austerity himself, Ayn-Rand disciple Rep. Paul Ryan, as the defender of "the safety net for the poor."   That's from Matt … [Read more...]


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