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Comment Re:NB4 too much regulation (Score 1) 470

GS did nothing illegal, and there was no embezzlement or fraud


Recommend to your customers they buy an instrument YOU OWN, that you know is going to fail, to offload the risk from your own portfolio? Not revealing a conflict-of-interest to people who pay you for investment advice is fraud.

Of course, the US government is too chicken (or too in bed with GS) to prosecute this. But it happened.

Comment Re:NB4 too much regulation (Score 2) 470

but there are ways that the markets could be fixing these problems themselves but many financial products used today have not matured enough to be "market monitored".

Mature markets mean little profit, so there will always be the incentive to create new products and profit off them before the market matures. The more complex the products, the better -- this way, it is more likely you can fleece your victims due to their own ignorance.

but newer instruments like mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps do not have such standards or openness to allow the broader market (through research or statistical/heuristic analysis) to judge the products.

Another problem here is that all the people valuating these instruments were using a bad risk estimate. This was a mistake that propagated through the financial industry because (1) as you say, the products weren't mature enough for informed analysis, (2) There was financial incentive to keep the calculated risk low, in order to be able to sell the product and remove the risk from your portfolio, and (3) there was a systemic risk that was missed, in additional to the risk of an individual instrument would fail (if one goes bad, they all go bad).

The other problem, and one that Greenspan has copped to, is that we assume entities like banks will self-regulate due to self-interest. However, the decision-makers are individuals, not entire banks. For the housing meltdown that Greenspan talked about this, individuals made decisions that profited them personally... but were risky to the banks and to the economy as a whole. Self-regulation (and/or market regulation) fails when (1) the decision-makers are not the same as the entities whose behavior we wish to regulate and/or (2) the entities in question are so large that punishment for bad behavior threatens the economy as a whole.

If you want markets to self-regulate, you need to at least tie individual compensation to long-term profitability, and you need to lower compensation to the point that loss of compensation would actually hurt the decision-makers. Someone who has already banked $200 million isn't badly impacted by loss of new income.

Comment Re:Limited Government and Unlimited Companies. (Score 1) 470

I agree with your premise to a certain extent... but not wholly.

Think for a moment how peaceful the world could be if America was giving Israel tractors and farm equipment to build up Palestine with, instead of guns and missiles to enslave it.

It would be peaceful, because Israel would have been eliminated in the 1950s or 1960s.

The US simply doesn't have the wealth to buy the friendship of every nation on the planet,especially when there is competition (look what China is doing in Pakistan and in Africa). And even if we did, we could never eliminate hostilities between all of our friends. So instead we strategically pick and choose who our allies are, and make sure they can defend themselves... unfortunately sometimes not in the most preferable way.

Comment Re:Fundamentally... (Score 1) 470

I know why the banks lied – they had an incentive to make themselves look better by low balling their LIBOR numbers

That's a very small reason they lied, IMO. Above that reason, I'd put direct profits to their friends/associates/contacts. Currency traders made fortunes by using their influence to manipulate the LIBOR rate.

I also recall reading, although I'm too lazy to find it right now, that there was pressure from bigwigs to manipulate LIBOR to alter public perception of the health of the banking industry as a whole. I don't know if this is true, I just recall reading it from a source I have no reason to distrust.

Comment Re:Fundamentally... (Score 1) 470

Reinstate most of Glass-Steagal and force investment banks apart from retail banks.

Investment banks do serve a useful purpose.. but if they stand alone from retail banking, they wouldn't be "too big to fail", and they would in fact self-regulate to a certain degree if ownership was at risk.

Comment Re:Fundamentally... (Score 1) 470

still keep almost everything they have in bonds, equities, and real-estate.

Bonds are a *horrible* hedge against inflation. Investing in bonds is equivalent to betting on low inflation.

So the only thing I think is telling is that those people value having diversified investment portfolios.

Comment Re:time for a outsouring tax? (Score 2) 427

I know of nobody that voted for National Health Care Law, it was decided after an election, which it wasn't a campaign platform for anyone.

Bullshit. Here is the section of the 2008 Democratic Party Platform relevant to Obamacare (source: NYT):

Health Care

All Americans should have coverage they can afford. Families and individuals should have the option of keeping the coverage they have or choosing from a wide array of health insurance plans, including many private health insurance options and a public plan. Coverage should be made affordable for all Americans with subsidies provided through tax credits and other means. Insurance should be portable from job to job.

Medicare and Medicaid

Strengthen Medicare by cutting costs and protecting seniors from fraud. Fix Medicare’s prescription drug program: "Repeal the prohibition on negotiating prescription drug prices, ban drug companies from paying generic producers to refrain from entering drug markets, and eliminate drug company interference with generic competition." Phase-out the cap on Medicaid funding and phase-in equal participation in other federal health care assistance programs. Provide Medicaid to more low-income HIV-positive Americans.

Specifics of the health care plan were discussed at length during the 2008 election campaign, it was one of the cornerstones of Obama's campaign. Stop revising history to support your arguments.

Comment Re:time for a outsouring tax? (Score 1) 427

All taxes are regressive, because the "rich" can avoid them where the poor and middle class cannot.

That's not true. Poorly enforced and designed taxes can be regressive for this reason. The capital gains tax, for example, allows tax avoidance by the wealthy... but this does not make all income tax regressive. Just the current implementation of them.

But making taxes "voluntary" (taxing items, services not needed to survive) we could change our government funding process while decreasing activites and products we don't like (as a society), reducing the need for certain government programs.

So you're suggesting government should meddle strongly in the marketplace by using taxes punitively on undesired behavior? Who gets to decide what the undesired behavior is?

This is very much against the conservative principles you've previously espoused here. Has something changed in your outlook?

Comment Re:time for a outsouring tax? (Score 2) 427

Taxing companies SOUNDS like a tax on the rich, but it's really a tax on everyone: people that pay for the tax via sals, and then people who pay for higher income taxes due to the need to fund various benefits that tie in to unemployment

That sounds like it makes sense, but it's not true. It'd only be true when there is perfect or near-perfect competition (i.e., nowhere); in that case, any increase in cost of goods sold is passed on to the buyer. However, in the real world, there is not perfect competition (this is why there are profits!), and corporate income taxes are a tax borne by business owners.

In essence, corporate taxes are a tax on taking advantage of inefficiencies in the market. Whether this is good or not is a topic for a different discussion, but it is incorrect to assume that profits are inelastic to income tax, and that therefore corporate taxes are borne by employees.

Comment Re:Going to get modded down as sexist for this, bu (Score 1) 690

Which of your friends do you tell to swim the moat, the African-American or the Caucasian-American?

Whichever one knows how to swim... I'd ask. If they can both swim, ask which one is the better thrower, and have the other one swim. If they're both mute... throw them both in, and see which one sinks. He's the thrower.

Comment Re:Going to get modded down as sexist for this, bu (Score 1) 690

I understand your argument... I don't agree with it for various reasons, which I'm not going to go into here. But your use of Title 9 as an example is a poor choice.

More or less, Title 9 mandates that opportunities for women in athletics are equal to those of boys. For example, a public school offering 11 boys' sports programs but only 4 girls' programs would need to find a way to make those numbers equal. A public university offering 150 sports scholarships for men must also offer 150 sports scholarships for women. Furthermore, schools must strive to have participation similar for girls as for boys... since there was/is a cultural norm of women not playing sports, schools promoted girls sports to overcome the cultural gap.

I don't think this really supports your thesis at all...

Comment Re:This is a rare breed of human. (Score 4, Insightful) 758

I don't know. The way I read it, he was first an anti-GMO crusader, and now he has become a pro-GMO crusader. Neither one I'm too fond of.

Did you read his speech? Because I did, and I don't agree with you at all.

Lynas was a knee-jerk environmentalist who was an anti-GMO crusader. Then he got into climate change... and became wise in the ways of science (though, mercifully, he has not yet shared his theory on the prevention of earthquakes using sheep bladders).

In his speech, he dug into some of the specifics you bring up... and emphasized the importance of the science.

If you don't see a lot of discussion about the specifics, you're probably not looking very hard.

Comment Re:Depends on their effort (Score 1) 94

In baseball, you don't measure how well a player bunts or takes a few pitches or leads off base for a steal ... how does not matter - it is only the outcome.

That's not true at all. Have you seen the type of stats kept by sabermetricians? I think you're mistaking casual fan stats with the stats pros use to evalute and manage players.

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