Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Miscellaneous Musings

I missed the Republican debate tonight, by all accounts, that now seems like a wise choice. Gary Johnson was excluded and CNN moderated, what were we to expect? Sarah Palin said that the winner on substance was Newt Gingrich? Maybe that's true, but that's a sad night indeed.

Douglas Schoen polls the OWS crowd and finds some interesting statistics. The one I found most perplexing was "And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%)." I thought this was a protest against the greed of the financial sector.

Fire Dog Lake takes exception with Schoen's characterization of the protesters as leftist radicals.

Here’s one of the key questions in Schoen’s poll:

What frustrates you the most about the political process in the United States? {Open Ended}

30% Influence of corporate/moneyed/special interests
3% Our democratic/capitalist system
3% Stagnant middle class wages
21% Partisanship
15% Joblessness
6% Income inequality
7% Corruption
2% Entrenched bureaucracy
2% Bush tax cuts
2% Obama abandoned left
2% Military spending
2% Federal Reserve
5% Everything

Out of this, which is mostly a pro-jobs, anti-special interest message, Schoen sees left-wing radicalism.
Hard to know who is more accurate both sides have some reasons to exaggerate their point.

Meanwhile, the #OWS crowd discovers a certain love, for well, private property.

Greece is probably going to default on its debt, with massive strikes being called as the Greek parliament prepares to vote on austerity measures.
Greece is expected to grind to a halt, with a general strike that could ground flights, halt most public services and shut offices and shops.

The 48-hour strike comes as parliament prepares to vote on the latest round of austerity measures, including more tax hikes, pay cuts and job losses.
The irony of further damaging the economy and making their own situation even worse seems lost on the Greek unions. The dysfunction in the Greek political system is such that no amount of good news (Germans and French agreeing on new terms) on the next bailout will change my opinion that the Greeks will default. David Skeel in the WSJ argues that the Europeans have failed to learn the lessons of the Bear Stearns bailout.
Europe can't afford to bail out Italy, so it might as well send the right message now by forcing Greece to restructure its debt. Greece is Europe's Bear Stearns.
. . .
If the European Union continues to treat rescue as the principal option for Greece, and to treat "default" like a dirty word, it is headed down the same path the U.S. took in 2008. As bad as that sounds, the consequences of going the bailout route will be far worse than they were in the U.S.
. . .
The U.S. isn't setting the best of examples in this regard, of course. By continuing to inject the government into the economy and failing to allow the markets—especially the housing markets—to return to normal, we almost certainly have prolonged our own period of low growth.
With more economic turmoil in store, I can't see an improved economy saving Obama from being a one-term President, that can now only be achieved by Republican ineptitude, of which they appear eminently capable.


  1. I actually liked the debate. It was great to see Paul at his best. I can see why folks like him so much. Mitt did a reasonable job against Perry. Michelle didn't embarrass herself. And Cain got piled on by everyone else.

  2. Kelly, thanks for the independent review. I was just going by the news reports, and conservative blogosphere, which were mostly negative.