I’m still experimenting with doing these tab dump type things at the beginning or end of the day. Don’t get used to them, vultures, but if people enjoy them I’ll try to continue posting a few extra thoughts when time allows. Here are a few things from today that I found interesting.
— The Volcker Rule has stalled in the Senate. Immediately after Scott Brown won the Ted Kennedy King For Life prize in Massachusetts, the White House brought Paul Volcker back to the forefront of their economic policy to try to push through more extensive regulation of Wall Street — or at least look like that’s what they were doing. The Volcker Rule:
would have essentially prevented any commercial bank with federally insured deposits from owning a division that makes speculative bets with its own capital.
So, essentially, a financial institution can’t go to the casino and bet with money that the government will cover even if that institution loses. IT’S A FUCKING CRAZY RULE, RIGHT?
— Glenn Beck is worth analyzing in the same way that the most drunk family member at Thanksgiving is: He’s the one saying what everyone in the room is thinking, but no one else is crazy enough to say. That’s why this passage from his stand-up comedy speech at CPAC is worth noting. Literally dripping with Patriotic Sweat, he squealed (about halfway down on that link above):
As I read the Constitution – as I read the Constitution – as I read the words of the founders, really, the only job of the United States government is to save us from bad guys. Protect us from bad guys.
If you want a clear explanation as to why The Odd War Couple of Bush/Cheney were exalted as Gods on Earth, as Saviors of America, you simply can’t find a better distillation of that mindset than what Beck said. It’s paranoid, it’s tribalistic, it’s totalitarian, and it’s historically and textually inaccurate. Bush was a living embodiment of all those traits, and Beck is the perfect Harold Hill to make a buck on those fears.
— Federal Reserve Chairman Ben “What Me Worry” Bernanke was questioned by Congress today, his first questioning since being appointed to a second term as Fed Chair. I don’t know much about the Fed, but I do know what I like, and I like this exchange between Ron “Get Off My Lawn” Paul and Benny B, as reported by the New York Times:
Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican and persistent libertarian critic of the Fed — he favors something like a return to the gold standard — said the Fed continued to create “moral hazard” by allowing companies to take risks because they believe they will be bailed out if they fail. “
‘Too big to fail’ creates a tremendous moral hazard,” he said, “but of course the real moral hazard over the many decades has been the deception put into the markets by the Federal Reserve.”
After Mr. Paul suggested that money used in the 1972 Watergate break-in came from the Federal Reserve, and that the Fed had loaned $5.5 billion to the regime of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Mr. Bernanke replied, “The specific allegations you have made are absolutely bizarre. I have no knowledge of anything remotely like what you’ve described.” [emphasis added.]
Paul retorted, “You know exactly what the fuck I’m talking about! Don’t treat me like I’m crazy, Ben. You want to see crazy, well, then, you keep calling me fucking crazy and we’ll see what happens.”
If a reader can explain to me what Ron Paul is talking about, and if he is indeed correct (which is certainly possible!), I’ll send you a nice … I don’t have anything for you. But if I get a good explanation of this I’ll post it and we’ll all be smarter, how’s that sound?