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 [Read More...]

There’s absurd, then obscene, then Paul Ryan


“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 [Read More...]

Another way the rich are different

Here is another big difference between the 1 percenters and everyone else. They get paid to co-sign loans. Ever co-sign a loan? Maybe your kid is in college and you needed to co-sign for the student loans from Sallie Mae. Or maybe a friend or a relative’s car broke down and the only way they [Read More...]

Unemployed in ‘The Affluent Society’

I read John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society more than 15 years ago in an edition, the fourth, that was then already 10 years old. I don’t know how the argument of that book has held up over time or whether it is still well-regarded within the discipline of economics. But yesterday I found myself [Read More...]

Idea of a debt Jubilee takes shape, gains a little steam


And you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you. … – Leviticus 25:10-11 E.D. Kain of Forbes (!) likes the idea of Jubilee to end or mitigate oppressive debt, noting that the principle has support not just from the Bible, but also from South Park. [Read More...]

Herman Cain vs. G.K. Chesterton


Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is winning cheers on the campaign trail for telling the poor and the unemployed that they have only themselves to blame: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks — if you don’t have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!” G.K. Chesterton offered a different perspective: [Read More...]

Why are those OWS protesters so upset?


Wall Streeter Joshua Brown (a “Reformed Broker“) offers one answer in a post candidly titled “This Is Why They Hate You and Want You to Die“: You want to know why everyone in this country hates you and wants you dead, you big stupid [frakking] bank? Here’s why, pay attention: Bank of America Corp will [Read More...]

‘Yes, they have very legitimate gripes’

Henry Blodget says “Here’s What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About …” The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation’s history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. [Read More...]