More Financial Market Regulations

Both candidates have been railing against the financial market crisis. Both have been calling for more regulations. Really? We are going to let the spendthrift jackanapes who have saddled us with $36 trillion to $63 trillion (or more, it really depends on how you count it) in unfunded future liabilities? No problems there.

And of course, past increases in regulations have worked oh so well. I mean we havne’t had a tech bubble? Nor have there been previous real estate bubbles? And because of government policies we don’t have massive price increases in agricultural products neither…oh wait. Uhhmmm, nevermind.

FILED UNDER: Bureaucracy, Campaign 2008, Economics and Business, Government, US Politics
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    I’d like to hear the specifics. For one thing do they think that Gramm-Leach-Bliley was good or bad? If it’s bad, do they plan on reinstating the prior prohibitions? And why didn’t they say that when Bill Clinton signed it into law?

    If it’s good, what else do they have in mind?

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    I don’t think that is sufficient. We’ve been down this road many, many, many times. They always promise us a rose garden and…I guess we get it…in the rear with the rose stems. Again and again and again.

    Tax payers: the ultimate deep pockets!

    And what a coinkydink…most politicians are lawyers.

  3. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    I think it’s pretty obvious that the credit default swap market is/was a massive, unregulated, unauthorized end-run around insurance industry regulations. It led to the acceptance of CDOs, and therefore it led to the explosion in subprime mortgage lending, and therefore led to the housing asset bubble and subsequent collapse. With proper regulation of CDS as insurance, this would not have happened because the writers would have needed realistic capital reserve ratios and reinsurance.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    For god’s sake I hope new regulation comes out of this, seeing as how once *again* deregulation created a crisis (I couldn’t help but notice you left that out Steve, why pray tell?).

    And of course, past increases in regulations have worked oh so well.

    Yeah, I long for the days before FDIC insurance of banks. Those wonder years when small children could be put to work in dangerous mills for slave wages. That was so swell.And remember the pollutions? Loved it! That famed “london fog” which was actually the smoke from the factories? So rich in character even if, you know, people died of emphysema.

    Steve, you aren’t this dumb. There’s a damn good reason we regulate companies and why we should regulate them a hell of a lot more- because left to their own devices capitalists are the most misanthropic suicidal short sighted little shits on the planet. We have to treat them like children because that’s exactly what they are. Now the kids haven’t played nice, it’s time for us adults to step in and set the new rules.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    But Steve, politicians get elected by promising to do something. I’m waiting for the politician who will run on a platform of repealing laws and regulations. Even one that promises to do nothing would be better than those who promise to do everything.

    I should ask, has anyone thought to hold the “Flip this House” people responsible for the housing bubble? I thought everyone would get rich like they all were getting rich.

  6. Bithead says:

    As I was about to say over in the AIG thread, the issue here s not regulation, but governmental mismanagement. as regards Fannie and Freddie. Regulations are what government uses, suppsoedly to protect us.

    Who protects us from government?

  7. Tlaloc says:

    Who protects us from government?

    I’ll worry about the terrier on my ankle once I get the pitbull off my neck.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Tlaloc,

    I didn’t say get rid of all regulations. You aren’t this moronic. Try responding to what I wrote.

    Bithead,

    As I was about to say over in the AIG thread, the issue here s not regulation, but governmental mismanagement.

    I don’t buy this bullcrap. This is the same thing we get from the Democrats, but now from Republicans as well.

    “If we get it just right, why things will be fine.”

    Yet, after decades of trying it never seems to be just right. In fact, each side screams about how the other side is so totally wrong.

    Tlaloc,

    I’ll worry about the terrier on my ankle once I get the pitbull off my neck.

    Yes, and the pit bull isn’t biting you (pit bulls, as a general rule are not human aggressive by the way–try another breed). Or maybe you didn’t note the OP. $36 trillion is a damn site larger than what we’ve seen so far. And that number is probably a tad too low. Even if we split the difference we are talking $40 to $50 trillion.

  9. Tlaloc says:

    I didn’t say get rid of all regulations.

    You made a blanket statement that regulation was bad. There were no “ifs, ands, or buts” as the saying goes. If you meant to give some exceptions you should have done so. We aren’t psychic.

    There are a *lot* of Capitalism Uber Alles types out there. If you don’t want to be lumped in with them then don’t hum along.

    A good start would be for you to delineate exactly what makes one regulation good and another bad (you know, since now you’re a fan of some).

    Yes, and the pit bull isn’t biting you

    You’re taking a narrow view. I’m talking about corporate america as the pit bull. And, yes, it sure is biting us, in a thousand different ways.

    Time to get the stick.

  10. Steve Plunk says:

    I don’t want to presume Tlaloc is talking about the same corporate structure that gives us food at reasonable costs, consumer goods that cost less each year, and a standard of living envied around the world. I don’t want to presume anything for someone else but I think it’s one in the same.

    Steve V. didn’t make a statement that all regulations were bad. The entire post was implicitly tied to the financial markets only. The average (and above average) reader would see clearly he is advising caution before rushing out new regulations with their unintended consequences. By pointing out the failures of past attempts to regulate markets he offers evidence of such folly.

    Caution and measured responses should be the theme of the day. Too many people talk in panicked tones and doomsday scenarios for the financial system. In the end I expect some of the private sector villains to pay a price while the public sector enablers escape without so much as a mention (Gorelick?). I have to agree with Bit and say the F&F debacle started a lot of this.

  11. Bithead says:

    I don’t buy this bullcrap. This is the same thing we get from the Democrats, but now from Republicans as well.

    “If we get it just right, why things will be fine.”

    It’s apparent to me you don’t understand just what it is I’m saying. From the other thread:

    The problem is governmental involvement in the loan industry in the form of Fannie and Freddie, A holdover from the socialist meanderings of FDR and an expansion of same, the failure of which was accelerated by serious governmental mismanagement, to the point of malfeasance.

    Government caused this problem. They should be the ones to pay to fix it. The people involved should be in jail, and then going forward, government should keep it’s hands off home loans.

    Figuring out how to not allow it to happen again doesn’t involve more government but less.

    A little clearer, now?

  12. Eric says:

    Really? We are going to let the spendthrift jackanapes who have saddled us with $36 trillion to $63 trillion (or more, it really depends on how you count it) in unfunded future liabilities? No problems there.

    OK, maybe I missed something, but the first link takes us to a web page with the title “TRUSTEES REPORTS SHOW SOCIAL SECURITY SHORTFALL MANAGEABLE, MEDICARE’S PROBLEMS MORE DAUNTING.” When looking for the red meat, I come across this:

    The trustees report reaffirms that Social Security is in excellent financial shape over the near term… Social Security is structurally sound and does not require drastic changes.

    and this:

    “Medicare’s long-term financing problems stem primarily from the continuing sharp rise in both public and private health care costs, not from structural problems with the program.”

    Where’s the red meat here, Steve? It sure sounds like government actually did a fairly adequate job. I’m not saying either of these programs are in perfect health, but rather–what’s the point of your argument? I’m with Tlaloc on this one. Why don’t you explain further what your plan is if government regulation doesn’t work, rather than spout your tired old conservative exaggerations about how government programs are saddling us with trillions of dollars in debt. (Of course, all those billions of dollars we’re spending in Iraq could have helped fix Medicare, but we won’t bring that up).

    The second link takes us to one of Steve’s old posts, which references a Time article by Kotlikoff, who predicts doom and gloom but doesn’t exactly explain how or why, but cautions us to do “very careful financial planning” with “[e]very financial decision… to be taken with a wary eye toward the future”. Geez, no kidding, huh? I should be careful about investing? Who woulda thunk?

    And of course, past increases in regulations have worked oh so well. I mean we havne’t had a tech bubble? Nor have there been previous real estate bubbles? And because of government policies we don’t have massive price increases in agricultural products neither…oh wait. Uhhmmm, nevermind.

    How’d those boys in the private sector do today? They’re so much better than the government, right? Oh, wait. Uhhmmm, nevermind.

    [Steve V.] is advising caution before rushing out new regulations with their unintended consequences. By pointing out the failures of past attempts to regulate markets he offers evidence of such folly.

    Look, I’m all for caution, but what is Steve V.’s big solution if we shouldn’t rush to regulate? Is it the classic conservative argument that industry failures that cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars is the argument for *more* deregulation? Or maybe the government just didn’t crack down hard enough last year on all those middle-class scofflaws who were declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying devastating medical bills?

    …and say the F&F debacle started a lot of this.

    Yes, yes, we know–it’s the government’s fault. The private sector was just walking along, minding their own business, when they got slammed with this mess. Poor Wall Street. They only had our best interests at heart, and look what happened. Tsk, tsk.

    Go ahead, Bit, take the next step: blame the Democrats for the whole mess. Come on, you know you want to. Oh, wait, you already did:

    As is your wont, you neglect the liberals constantly pushing on the idea of how certain groups were not getting home ownership… and that graham, and everyone else was signing onto taht pile of slude so as not to be seen as ‘against the poor’, ‘racist’ or whatever the mantra is that’s being chanted at the moment..

  13. Bithead says:

    Anyone responsible for the actions of establishing and maintaining this monster is to be blamed.

    Now,if the Republicans had been in charge over the vast majority of time since FDR, I’d say they were to blame, in majority. As it is, it’s the Democrats who are the ones in the driver’s seat, just now, and in reality the ones who have been feeding both F&F for decades, now with ever increasing funding to buy votes with. Who, after all, has been in majority for the last century?

    And given the Gorelick involvement, it might be rather interesting to see who’s been running the place since FDR, and what their political philosophy was.

  14. Rick Almeida says:

    I’m waiting for the politician who will run on a platform of repealing laws and regulations.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Republican candidates do this pretty often. If memory serves, Gov. Palin spoke on exactly this today.

  15. Eric says:

    As it is, it’s the Democrats who are the ones in the driver’s seat, just now, and in reality the ones who have been feeding both F&F for decades, now with ever increasing funding to buy votes with.

    There, there, Bit. Don’t you feel relieved now that you got that off your chest for today?

    Sleep well tonight. Tomorrow you’ll need all the energy you can muster to once again declare Democrats the scourge of society and liberals the bane of civilization!

  16. anjin-san says:

    This just in!! Democrats responsible for sack of Carthage. Stay tuned to Bit’s Blog for more details!!

    Now,if the Republicans had been in charge over the vast majority of time since FDR, I’d say they were to blame,

    Depends on what you mean by “in charge” off the top of my head, I figure the GOP has held the White House 36 years since FDR, Democrats 27. And Bush has been in the White House the 8 leading up to the crisis, with the GOP holding the hill for six.

  17. DL says:

    Reason number 4633 for having a “none of the above” choice on the ballot in November.

  18. Bithead says:

    Investors Business Daily:

    Obama in a statement yesterday blamed the shocking new round of subprime-related bankruptcies on the free-market system, and specifically the “trickle-down” economics of the Bush administration, which he tried to gig opponent John McCain for wanting to extend.

    But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street’s most revered institutions.

    Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.

    The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans that he and Democrats now decry as not only greedy but “predatory.”

    Yes, the market was fueled by greed and overleveraging in the secondary market for subprimes, vis-a-vis mortgaged-backed securities traded on Wall Street. But the seed was planted in the ’90s by Clinton and his social engineers. They were the political catalyst behind this slow-motion financial train wreck.

    And it was the Clinton administration that mismanaged the quasi-governmental agencies that over the decades have come to manage the real estate market in America.

    As soon as Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines took the helm in 1999 at Fannie Mae, for example, he used it as his personal piggy bank, looting it for a total of almost $100 million in compensation by the time he left in early 2005 under an ethical cloud.

    Other Clinton cronies, including Janet Reno aide Jamie Gorelick, padded their pockets to the tune of another $75 million.

    Raines was accused of overstating earnings and shifting losses so he and other senior executives could earn big bonuses.

    In the end, Fannie had to pay a record $400 million civil fine for SEC and other violations, while also agreeing as part of a settlement to make changes in its accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.

    But it was too little, too late. Raines had reportedly steered Fannie Mae business to subprime giant Countrywide Financial, which was saved from bankruptcy by Bank of America.

    At the same time, the Clinton administration was pushing Fannie and her brother Freddie Mac to buy more mortgages from low-income households.

    The Clinton-era corruption, combined with unprecedented catering to affordable-housing lobbyists, resulted in today’s nationalization of both Fannie and Freddie, a move that is expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

    Again, I say, this is not a free market failure. this failure is has government written all over it.

    Any questions, class?

  19. Bithead says:

    IBD goes on with one more para I think pertinant to this discussion:

    But the government-can-do-no-wrong crowd just doesn’t get it. They won’t acknowledge the law of unintended consequences from well-meaning, if misguided, acts.

  20. Steve Plunk says:

    I notice more Bit bashing without any response to his arguments. That my friends is a clue his points are valid.

    We should make no mistake that the fog of public/private partnerships or quasi-governmental agencies obscures good business decisions. These half and half companies don’t have clearly defined goals and the executives lack proper accountability. It’s obvious that is what we have on our hands.

    I recall the time when outrage over lenders “redlining” areas for risky mortgages created the political climate that led to the subprime revolution. Knowing they were being forced into these loans lenders felt little responsibility if they failed, especially if Fannie and Freddie bought the paper. That push for loans spilled over into all areas of housing, fueling the bubble we all saw and knew would burst.

    This crisis has plenty of blame to go around but government is as guilty as anyone.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Who protects us from government?

    Thats an excellent question. I am just surprised to hear it coming from someone who has been cheering for years as Bush has expanded the power of the government…

  22. Bithead says:

    Thats an excellent question. I am just surprised to hear it coming from someone who has been cheering for years as Bush has expanded the power of the government…

    The number of rather simple things that I’m able to surprise you with is truely staggering, and suggestive, along with your general attitude, that you have never had a clue what Ive been talking about.

    This surprises me not at all.

  23. Bithead says:

    I notice more Bit bashing without any response to his arguments

    Thanks, but frankly, you get used to it. The Blogs, inclduing my own, USEnet before the blogs and GT and FIDO before that… I’ve been doing this since the White House smelled like peanuts, now, and it never bloody changes.

    This crisis has plenty of blame to go around but government is as guilty as anyone

    .

    Mmmmphff.
    However that may be… and as it happens I think you to be not far off the center of the thing… the bottom line here is that absent the power of government being used in an effort to boost ‘Minority housing’, none of this would have occurred. It would have been totally impossible.

    For all the blame the big government left would like to put on the priavte sector, the bottom line is the private sector couldn’t have pulled this bad a meltdown on it’s own power, had they put all their collective efforts and coordiation into it. Once the government acted, the remainder of what occurred was totally and tragically predictable, to people who really understand how economies work. Or, perhaps more correctly in the case of the Clintonistas, those who actually CARE how economies continue to work. (They demonstrably did not)

    Clinton’s was an experiment in a command and control economy, with the stated purpose of ‘helping the poor’ and the ‘racially downtrodden’..

    It failed for two reasons; the people he chose to run the thing were not trustworthy… and that kind of responsibility by definition requires the trustworthyness of Christ himself. And two, command and control economies fail as a matter of design, anyway.

    Something the big government types would rather, I suppose, that I didn’t say, but there it is.

  24. anjin-san says:

    This crisis has plenty of blame to go around but government is as guilty as anyone.

    No doubt. Business and government were both involved. Government once again proved the law of unintended consequences, and business practiced good old fashioned greed.

    that you have never had a clue what Ive been talking about.

    Actually, what you have been talking about can be pretty much distilled down into a single sentence.
    All problems are the fault of government and liberals/Democrats.

    Most folks over the age of 25 have a somewhat more complex view of the world.

    The interesting thing is that you chide me for lack of balance (despite my fairly frequent praise for Reagan and the GOP congress of the 90s) but don’t seem to be able to practice it yourself.

  25. Bithead says:

    Actually, what you have been talking about can be pretty much distilled down into a single sentence.
    All problems are the fault of government and liberals/Democrats.

    Like I said… NFC. Thanks for so aptly demonstrating my point.

    Meanwhile, isn’t it interesting how you can be depended on like tommorow’s sunrise to stand up and defend the Democrats?

  26. anjin-san says:

    Meanwhile, isn’t it interesting how you can be depended on like tommorow’s sunrise to stand up and defend the Democrats?

    Please Bit, try harder…

    The Democrats in congress have been pretty much spineless since taking control on the hill.
    Posted by anjin-san | March 24, 2008 | 10:18 am |

    why are the Democrats in Congress having such problems with him, then?

    As I have said before, they are kind of spineless.

    Posted by anjin-san | August 27, 2008 | 11:30 pm

    Sounds a bit like Reagan, who people tended to think, with no foundation, was not very bright. He was often portrayed as nothing more than an actor who did well with the strong material Peggy Noonan provided him with.

    And if you read his writings, he was obviously quite intelligent, and on many levels a man of admirable character.

    Posted by anjin-san | August 27, 2008 | 08:00 pm

    Tell ya what bit, why don’t you show an example of you saying something positive about Bill Clinton. Or Jimmy Carter. Or FDR. Or is your position that there is not one good thing to say about any of them? How about any post by you saying that democrats or liberals were right about anything at any time…

    Let’s see. Yesterday you did a cut and run when I showed that I have, in fact, agreed with you on occasion. Will history repeat itself? Signs point to yes.

  27. John425 says:

    From HotAir: http://hotair.com/archives/2008/09/16/whose-policies-led-to-the-credit-crisis/

    Whose Policies Led To The Credit Crisis?

    The credit crisis and the lack of oversight over government-subsidized lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac occurred on the watch of George Bush, and many blame his economic team for their lack of oversight in the collapse. Barack Obama has made this point one of his major campaign themes, arguing that John McCain would provide more of the same failures that Bush did.

    However, what many do not recall is that Bush wanted to tighten oversight with a new regulatory board for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government recipients for the express purpose of addressing bad loan practices — and Democrats blocked it.

    The New York Times reported this five years ago on 9-11-03:

    The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.
    Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

    The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.

    The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt — is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates.

    This should have been a no-brainer, right? With hindsight, we can see that the Bush administration had accurately diagnosed the problem in the lending market and had a plan to address it. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reluctantly supported the plan. However, Democrats objected (emphases mine):

    Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

    ”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

    Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.
    ”I don’t see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,” Mr. Watt said.

    Sounds a little like the Democratic denial of problems in Social Security, doesn’t it? Nothing to see here, no crisis on the horizon. Everybody just move along, now. The Democrats had forced lenders to assume more risk at lower interest rates in the 1990s, as IBD points out today, and they didn’t want to countenance an end to their populist policies:

    But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street’s most revered institutions.

    Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.

    The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans that he and Democrats now decry as not only greedy but “predatory.”

    Yes, the market was fueled by greed and overleveraging in the secondary market for subprimes, vis-a-vis mortgaged-backed securities traded on Wall Street. But the seed was planted in the ’90s by Clinton and his social engineers.

    They were the political catalyst behind this slow-motion financial train wreck.
    And it was the Clinton administration that mismanaged the quasi-governmental agencies that over the decades have come to manage the real estate market in America.

    It was the Bush administration that wanted to rein in the madness in the credit markets, and the Democrats who wanted to extend the Clinton policies that created the crisis we have now. After the fit hit the shan, as Michelle says, these same Democrats want to shift blame back to the administration that wanted to increase oversight and curtail risk in lending practices while reducing patronage at the giant GSEs.

    The Bush administration isn’t blameless in letting this get out of hand, but clearly the origins of the disaster and the efforts to keep bad policies in place fall on the Democrats in this case.
    Update: John Lott points me to a March column he wrote at Fox News explaining the underlying causes of the debacle. Forcing lenders to make questionable loans and blocking tougher regulation of the government-supported entities was a recipe for collapse, and Lott explained it six months before it happened.

  28. Bithead says:

    Anjin, you condem yourself with your own words in the very first quote.

    The Democrats in congress have been pretty much spineless since taking control on the hill.

    Your big complaint is that they’ve not been leaning left, strongly enough? Yeah, that vindicates you from my charge of being a reliable left-leaner, huh?

  29. Bithead says:

    Tell ya what bit, why don’t you show an example of you saying something positive about Bill Clinton.

    Oh, hell, that’s easy.

    I’ve also been repeatedly critical of Bush. Here’s one such.

    You really wanna continue with this game? You appear to be on the losing end at the moment.

  30. Steve Verdon says:

    Tlaloc,

    The title of my post is “More Financial Market Regulations”. My post contains the following passages,

    Both have been calling for more regulations.

    […]

    And of course, past increases in regulations have worked oh so well.

    It seems pretty clear I’m talking about new regulations not abandoning ALL regulations.

    You’re taking a narrow view. I’m talking about corporate america as the pit bull. And, yes, it sure is biting us, in a thousand different ways.

    No, corporations do far more good than you seem to realize. The clothes on your back, the electricity running your computer, or at least significant parts of the internet. They supply books, paper, pencils, as well as food. If anyone here is misanthropic it is you.

    Bithead,

    It’s apparent to me you don’t understand just what it is I’m saying. From the other thread:

    I understand just fine your position. Your position is not to think of government as part of the problem (unconditionally), but to think that we can fine tune government. I don’t think it can be fine tuned like that.

    Eric,

    Where’s the red meat here, Steve? It sure sounds like government actually did a fairly adequate job. I’m not saying either of these programs are in perfect health, but rather–what’s the point of your argument? I’m with Tlaloc on this one.

    My sympathies on the last part.

    As for Medicare, the trustees report may very well be missing certain costs. Hence the wide range in terms of the potential shortfall for Medicare. I read one report by someone at one the Federal Reserve Banks that put the number far higher than the $63 trillion.

    But to be clear here. Totting up all the shortfalls we find that the government needs to expropriate an additional 5.2% of GDP for the next 75 years, and that is the best case scenario. That is a huge expansion of government and it is likely that the actual costs will be closer to 7 or 10% of GDP. That is a huge increase. It makes the costs of this financial crisis look like chump change. Yet the financial crisis is…well a crisis, but Medicare is job well done? Your ability to judge things is seriously in doubt.

    How’d those boys in the private sector do today? They’re so much better than the government, right? Oh, wait. Uhhmmm, nevermind.

    You are missing the forest because of the trees. My contention over these last several posts is that by continually bailing failing institutions out it lays the seeds for the next bust. No need to learn from past mistakes becuase Uncle Sam will simply give you tax payers dollars. Add in that regulations may often give people a false sense security leading people to underestimate the risk.

    Look, I’m all for caution, but what is Steve V.’s big solution if we shouldn’t rush to regulate? Is it the classic conservative argument that industry failures that cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars is the argument for *more* deregulation?

    Conservative? Really? Is that why McCain is advocating more regulations? Really? Oh and read my follow up post today. I lay out two of the reasons why regulations are not needed and if there are new regulations why caution is at the very least necessary.

    Or maybe the government just didn’t crack down hard enough last year on all those middle-class scofflaws who were declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying devastating medical bills?

    WTFAYTA?

  31. anjin-san says:

    The Democrats in congress have been pretty much spineless since taking control on the hill.

    Your big complaint is that they’ve not been leaning left, strongly enough?

    No, my complaint is that they are complete wusses who have let Bush deconstruct the constitution.

    But, by all means, go ahead and declare yourself victor in our little joust Bit. What no one else will ever do for you, you must do for yourself…
    (I wonder how many self-declared victories you have in here over the years, must be quite a numeber by now 🙂

    As for your earlier comment about my not understanding your posts, let me clarify something about my political views. About 25 years ago, they were a lot like yours, we would have been arguing on the same side in almost every instance.

    Since then, I have double my life experience, and my views have grown a bit. I don’t see things in black and white anymore. In other words, my political views matured. You should try it.

    So its not that I don’t get what you are saying, it’s just that hearing you is a bit like reading a poli-sci paper I wrote in college. Ideas that I tried on as a kid before I outgrew them.

  32. Bithead says:

    Your position is not to think of government as part of the problem (unconditionally), but to think that we can fine tune government. I don’t think it can be fine tuned like that.

    Heh. You just reinforced my thought; You clearly are not understanding at all what I’m about.
    I’m saying government being guilty of causing this situation should pay to fix it, and then stay the hell out of anything of the sort in the future. How is that ‘fine tuning’ it?

  33. Bithead says:

    Since then, I have double my life experience, and my views have grown a bit. I don’t see things in black and white anymore. In other words, my political views matured. You should try it.

    Looks more like senility from here, along with too many years in the valley.

  34. anjin-san says:

    Looks more like senility from here, along with too many years in the valley

    That’s your comeback? McCain’s stall in the polls and the emerging Palin buyer remorse must be getting to you. Or perhaps you just heard her remarks when she went off script. That should have you off your game for days…

    And what the heck is the “valley” you refer to?

  35. Eric says:

    Can’t … do it…. Can’t… respond to… thread comments… any… more. Energy… sapped. Strength… gone. …. uhhhhh!

  36. Bithead says:

    That’s your comeback?

    Your attitude seems strangely familiar…

    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Hah!
    [kick]
    Come on, then.
    ARTHUR:
    What?
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Have at you!
    [kick]
    ARTHUR:
    Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Oh, had enough, eh?
    ARTHUR:
    Look, you stupid bastard. You’ve got no arms left.
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Yes, I have.
    ARTHUR:
    Look!
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Just a flesh wound.
    [kick]
    ARTHUR:
    Look, stop that.
    BLACK KNIGHT:
    Chicken!
    [kick]
    Chickennn!

    You are invincible, sir Knight.
    Now go and bleed quietly.

  37. anjin-san says:

    Now go and bleed quietly.

    Whatever you say Harold…