Wednesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. I think the recent “downtick” on his graph is the predicted recovery/rise? ’cause it looks like to me his prediction is just all washed up, If the up/down swings are noise, then there has been no appreciable change since summer of ’11. If it is noise the “rise” predicted is the dive downward.
  2. Death camps in Poland does not equal Polish Death camps. So, is our President grammar challenged or just trying to offer the worst insults he can imagine to the Polish people?
  3. “Limiting principles”, which on examination aren’t limiting, alas.
  4. God thinks batman is gay.
  5. More calls for Mr Romney to disavow the birthers. What’s missing of course are calls to disavow any number of wacko notions on the left by Mr Obama. Newsflash people, politicians are loath to turn away any votes.
  6. For example, Mr Frank thinks having a hoodie was the reason Mr Martin was shot, not because Mr Martin chose to attack a guy sit on him, break his nose, and slam his head repeatedly into the ground … and this a guy who was armed. But … it was the hoodie thing that was the problem. When will Mr Obama disavow that sort of talk?
  7. I didn’t make it past point 1, which is so categorically backwards and upside down that … well, why bother going further. If you’ve got the basics backwards you’re not going to get much else right either.
  8. On Bain, somebody doesn’t get the point of the Obama/Bain line of attack. To be honest, I don’t either.
  9. Discrimination.

19 Responses to Wednesday Highlights

  1. Re #1.

    You have a bottom of nearly 100,000 units in 2010 and now less than two full years later we are over 250,000 units with the ‘noise’ representing up and down ticks between 250-300K units. That is pretty strong growth, esp. when you consider it represents *new* units as opposed to units that were previously vacant or simply being sold from one investor/owner to another. His prediction was one of ‘parabolic’ growth which would require growth to accelerate, not just continue at 50% year over year (which is no mean growth rate by itself).

    One factor at play here may be the ‘shovel ready’ element. There’s only so many places where you can legally build 5 or more family houses/apartment buildings. This would mean that its very likely demand would spill into the single unit market where it’s much easier to build or buy pre-existing structures.

  2. 2.Death camps in Poland does not equal Polish Death camps. So, is our President grammar challenged or just trying to offer the worst insults he can imagine to the Polish people?

    Actually grammatically both are acceptable. For example see this page about the North Russian Expeditionary Force (http://www.naval-history.net/WW1z05NorthRussia.htm). this wasn’t a force of Russian soldiers or sailors from North Russia but British soldiers sent to Russia in WWI. The adjective ‘Russian’ is perfectly acceptable to describe military forces whose mission was in Russia even though they themselves were not Russian.

    Likewise its gramattically acceptable to talk of Polish Death camps meaning German camps operating in Poland. Of course someone really ignorant of history might hear that as meaning death camps operated by Poland rather than Germany. If Poland had such a thing, you could grammatically describe them as ‘Polish death camps’ as well. Ambiguity is part of using language sometimes.

  3. Boonton,
    Re-re #1 … the blogger in question “predicted” in the summer of ’11 that in (or by) April of ’12 there would be strong growth. That graph does not show that. In fact, in the last months according to his graph there has been a downturn (unless the wiggles are noise in which case smoothing out the graph means that there has been no change at all between then and no in the slope.) Either way he’s wrong.

  4. Boonton,
    Alas, it’s even worse. The camp in question was’t a “death” camp … it was a relocation transit camp, a midpoint terminal.

    Ambiguity is part of using language sometimes.

    Which is why it is good to have intelligent people speak carefully when there are sensitive issues about. So, is Mr Obama unintelligent or insensitive?

  5. Unfortunately the Polish foreign minister called it a German operated death camp so it would seem either it’s actually a death camp after all…or Poland is not very sensitive about the distinction between a death camp and a ‘midpoint terminal’…… And since you raised the issue of grammer and language a ‘midpoint terminal’ is nonesense. A terminal is a final destination.

    So the linguistic question is whether the adjective ‘Polish’ is wrongly applied and the answer is that it wasn’t. As for being ‘sensitive’, Obama was speaking in honor of a Polish war hero who had fought the Nazis so it’s kind of odd to complain about not being ‘sensitive’. Seems like a case of very minor intellects demonstrating their minor status by trying to make a minor issue into a big one.

  6. Speaking of making minor points:

    Not that you can easily tell from

    I suggest you go to the St. Louis Fed and redraw the graph yourself. Here it is http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.png?g=7AH

    This is drawn w/monthly numbers from 2009 to present. The slope of the line is clearly pretty steep and recent dip is just about equal to the previous peak. More importantly the slope of the trend line clearly changed right before 2011 from nearly flat to pretty steep.

    The author did predict not ‘strong growth’ but parabolic growth starting in the summer of 2011. That would require not a steep constant positive slope but an increasing slope. But then the point of the post you cited was the author ‘rethinking’ his prediction….which is what you’d do if your prediction didn’t play out. It wouldn’t make much sense to rethink a prediction that was turning out to be 100% on the mark would it?

  7. 8.On Bain, somebody doesn’t get the point of the Obama/Bain line of attack. To be honest, I don’t either.

    It’s to refute the argument made by Romney and his supporters, namely:

    Echoing President Obama’s remarks from earlier in the week, the left’s argument du jour was consistently some variation on this: Romney’s time at Bain doesn’t prove anything about his ability to boost employment because his responsibility was to maximize profits, not to create new jobs. This line of reasoning is staggering in its economic illiteracy.

    How does this show economic illiteracy?

    The truth is that almost all for-profit businesses have as their primary focus a return on investment rather than a maximization of employment. Grocery stores don’t open up to provide the maximum available number of positions for checkers and bag boys; they open up to make a profit. Department stores don’t exist to create a market for sales associate positions; they exist to make money off of the goods they offer. The jobs they create are an effect, not a cause, of the success of their business model.

    But that’s Obama’s point. It’s not that Romney wasn’t maximizing employment when he ran Bain capital, it’s that the point of being a successful businessman is NOT to try to maximize employment but profits. The right has tried to ignore this and morph it into maximizing employment (see, for example, the previous pro-Cain arguments that he was a ‘job creator’). But this is revealed to be a lie by any serious examination of Bain which just as often ended up ‘destroying jobs’ rather than ‘creating them’.

    The right’s argument for Romney is essentially voodoo. Romney ‘created jobs’ in two major activities. The first was managing the Summer Olympics, essentially a socialist ‘public-private’ type enterprise fueled with taxpayer guaranteed borrowing. The second was a handful of deals at Bain where some of the companies they brought ended up hiring more people when all the dust settled.

    This is easily refuted by Obama’s point that in plenty of deals Bain was destroying jobs demonstrating no magic ability of Romney as a ‘job creator’. The illiteracy is on the part of the right here. Obama wasn’t saying that department stores, bag boys, grocery stores, etc. are trying to maximize employment rather than profits. His argument is that all of those enterprises seek to maximize profits and that’s great in their context but being good at maximizing profits does not make one great at being a president anymore than being a good chef would mean someone would make a good President.

  8. Boonton,
    I see, the Obama argument is that broken windows create jobs while maximizing productivity does not. You might not want to tout “economic illiteracy” at the same time you promote the 100% employment of subsistence farming as a good thing.

  9. I see, the Obama argument is that broken windows create jobs …

    Nothing I wrote nor anything Obama said would lead to that conclusion. Before worrying about economic illiteracy in others you should address your own literacy.

  10. Boonton,
    Hiring people to not produce is the essence of broken windows. Creating jobs without regard to productivity or corporate viability … unions might like that … but there is a reason why union bound companies aren’t competitive unless in a heavily (government) protected market.

    Literacy smitteracy … you need to think about what you’re writing.

  11. Hiring people to not produce is the essence of broken windows. Creating jobs without regard to productivity or corporate viability…

    See this might be relevant in a universe where Obama or I said that a corporation or venture capitalist should be hiring people without regard to productivity or viability. No such assertion has been made and you’re wasting time arguing with imaginary straw men.

    Well actually the GOP has made that argument, implying that Romney’s and earlier Cain’s purpose in business was ‘creating jobs’. As you point out, that was not their purpose and you’re in agreement with Obama there. Creating jobs is sometimes done by a good corporate leader or venture capitalist, but sometimes such a person will have to be in the position of destroying jobs. It’s very easy to hire lots of pizza makers when people buy more pizza than they did before. It’s not so easy, though, to be the one to have to fire half of the car dealerships and close 1/4th of your plants when you have too much capacity relative to your sales. The GOP narrative, sadly, is to make a fetish of business leaders who were in the right place at the right time to be able to hire (or be around someone who was able to hire). If this is the standard t hey want to hawk their nominee on then its more than fair to point out that Romney’s record of ‘creating jobs’ is at best mixed. In the larger culture it’s good that Obama has challenged this absurdity as it would be a shame if a highly talented business leader felt he could not run for office because he was ‘unlucky’ enough to have to run his company through lean times with more downsizing than upsizing.

  12. Boonton,

    See this might be relevant in a universe where Obama or I said that a corporation or venture capitalist should be hiring people without regard to productivity or viability.

    How else does one interpret the rejoinder that “my job isn’t to make profits, but to create jobs” … the only reasonable interpretation is that job creation does not have productivity/profit as its primary goal. Which leads us to broken windows. And yes, Solyndra is not an example of venture capital with regard to profit or viability. That was kickbacks for campaign contributors. I get that.

    Let’s see, Mr Romney/Bain restructure and reduce labor forces … that’s bad. Mr Obama does the same thing … that’s good. I see the basis of your desire for inconsistency and the removal of the rule of law in the financial markets and corporate bankruptcy laws … you don’t like consistency between one sentence and another. Probably why you can’t notice that Mr Obama in so incredible dishonest. Inconsistency from one moment to the other is your modus operandi.

    I guess I’m still not getting the point that Mr Obama is trying to make attacking Romney’s tenure at Bain.

  13. How else does one interpret the rejoinder that “my job isn’t to make profits, but to create jobs” …the only reasonable interpretation …

    This is a reasonable interpretation if Obama was challenging Romney in an election for running a corporation or company. Since he isn’t it is not reasonable to read Obama’s criticism as a demand that good corporate managers do nothing other than ‘create jobs’ regardless of their viability.

    And yes, Solyndra is not an example of venture capital with regard to profit or viability. That was kickbacks for campaign contributors. I get that.

    How exactly? Was it common knowledge that panel prices would drop 60%? It wasn’t and there’s still a healthy debate about whether solar panel prices really dropped that much or if the price drop has been artifically created by Chinese gov’t policy.

    Let’s see, Mr Romney/Bain restructure and reduce labor forces … that’s bad. Mr Obama does the same thing … that’s good. I see the basis of your desire for inconsistency and the removal of the rule of law in the financial markets and corporate bankruptcy laws

    yawn, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Or have you forgotten your man has campaigned on letting GM go bankrupt AND at the same time doing a ‘managed bankruptcy’ (i.e. modified bankruptcy law) for GM?

  14. Boonton,

    Was it common knowledge that panel prices would drop 60%? It wasn’t and there’s still a healthy debate about whether solar panel prices really dropped that much or if the price drop has been artifically created by Chinese gov’t policy.

    Seems to me this is an “its OK if I do it, bad if you do it.” How can we complain (rationally speaking) about the Chinese subsidizing their solar panel prices while we do the same thing?

  15. Seems to me this is an “its OK if I do it, bad if you do it.” How can we complain (rationally speaking) about the Chinese subsidizing their solar panel prices while we do the same thing?

    Actually a loan gurantee isn’t the same thing. The company still has to pay back the loan, still has to sell the panels for more than it cost to make them. All a loan gurantee would assist with is financing.

    Fair point in that this may be a less direct form of subsidy that China might complain about. But you raised it not because you wanted to demand for fair trade treatment of China but because you asserted it was a ‘kickback’, a charge which you seem to have failed to understand, let alone support.

  16. Boonton,
    Your two responses on interest indicate you have a very different notion of what borrowing and interest amount to. Apparently low interest rates aren’t an indication of a low opportunity cost for money, and money lent with no strings at virtually zero interest and few strings is not a subsidy.

    Your distinction is one of syntax and language but content free. College loans are apparently not a subsidy for students. I never knew that. But then again, I suspect you realize it is indeed a subsidy. It’s just not rhetorically convenient right now.

  17. And your point again is?

  18. Boonton,
    My point is that the loan to Solyndra was a subsidy. You complain about them subsidizing while on the other hand supporting local subsidies. That is hypocritical.

  19. I didn’t complain about subsidies, I pointed out that Solyndra’s bankruptcy was hardly a foregone conclusion as the 60% price drop in solar panels was neither easily predictable nor necessarily a ‘market’ based action. In fact in terms of economic policy China’s subsidizing panel builders is a positive for the US. We are esssentially getting China’s taxpayers to foot the bill for building up our electrical infrastructure. Not too bad and if Solyndra’s loan caused China to increase that subsidy from 40% to 60%, well so much the better.

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