Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Thomas Woods, Jr., author of Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, spoke recently with InsideCatholic's Brian Saint-Paul.

The whole interview is well worth the read, but I found this bit particularly interesting:

So you're saying that the "breakneck deregulation" we've heard so much about is largely a myth?

Most of the alleged deregulation people complain about is completely phony. Suppose you have a government monopoly like the post office and say, "Ok, we're going to deregulate the Post Office. From now on, the Post Office can charge $100 for a stamp." That's not really deregulation. Full deregulation would say, "We're going to deregulate the mail business so that no-one is prevented from entering it by regulatory barriers." Now that would be real deregulation. Try selling $100 stamps in that arrangement and see how that goes for you.

What we've had in recent years is phony deregulation. Banks are allowed to engage in riskier behavior than they were before, but the government will continue to guarantee their deposits with deposit insurance. How is that deregulation? In effect, you can do riskier things but the public is still on the hook for your errors. Real deregulation would say that you can do risky things, but you're on your own. We haven't had that. We've had the worst of all possible worlds.

It's been my experience in looking at issues like abortion and global warming that you're on the right track when your reasoning leads to conclusions that neither side is particularly happy about--and based on this interview, I'm getting a feeling that Woods is on the right track. (The "phony deregulation" he describes above is, by and large, a product of the Bush administration--and elsewhere in the interview, he systematically dismembers the popular right-wing claim that the Community Reinvestment Act is primarily to blame for the collapse.)

I wasn't aware of Woods' book before, but it's definitely on my reading list now.


Thursday, March 05, 2009


I haven't posted much here recently.

There have been things that I think should be said, but other people have already done a pretty good job of saying those things (see my blogroll for a few of them).

More than that, though, I'm just tired--especially when it comes to the actions of the Obama administration.

The people who didn't vote for him are appalled. They see that his actions are leading to disaster.

The people who DID vote for him are thrilled--they think that his actions are just what the country needs, and it's quite clear that nothing anyone says will convince them otherwise.

So the ballooning deficit is going to happen. The economically crippling carbon cap-and-trade is going to happen. FOCA is going to happen (if not all at once, then piecemeal, under the radar--the same way the Fairness Doctrine is going to happen). A re-empowering of the unions--whose achievement of the "middle class lifestyle" in the '50s and '60s owed a heck of a lot more to the rest of the world being in ruins from WW II, leaving the American economy predominant, than to anything they did--and subsequent hamstringing of US businesses in the global market is going to happen. Double-digit inflation is going to happen. And much, much more.

It's all going to happen, and the naive fools who voted for Barack Obama are not going to be convinced we're headed for a disaster until that disaster has already come to pass.

Given that, when I see something I might comment on, my first impulse is to ask why I should bother playing Cassandra.

It's going to be a long four years.