Friday, September 17, 2010

Dear Elizabeth Warren, get out of the way! has a story this morning about Obama's latest ploy to circumvent the Constitutional authority of Congress: rather than submit Elizabeth Warreen as a nominee to be confirmed by Congress, Obama has created a special position outside their scrutiny:
Oklahoma native Elizabeth Warren accepts job to launch consumer watchdog bureau

EXCERPT: "WASHINGTON — Oklahoma native Elizabeth Warren said this morning that she has agreed to get a new consumer agency overseeing financial products up and running.

In a White House blog post, the Harvard professor, who was raised in Norman and Oklahoma City, said President Barack Obama had asked her to serve as his assistant and as a special adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner while establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Obama is expected to make an official announcement today.

The president and other Democrats feared a tough Senate confirmation battle if Warren, an outspoken advocate of more consumer protection from lenders, were nominated as the first director of the bureau, which was her idea and was part of the financial regulatory reform legislation approved by Congress this year.

After several meetings with Warren, Obama decided to create a position for her that didn't require Senate confirmation."
Warren describes the approach she will take to her new job:
EXCERPT: "The new consumer bureau is based on a pretty simple idea: People ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal.

"They shouldn't learn about an unfair rule or practice only when it bites them... The new law creates a chance to put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market. The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over."
Hmm . . . "They shouldn't learn about an unfair rule or practice only when it bites them. . . . The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over." What about the "traps and tricks" Congress hides in 1000 page bills, which they expect us to learn about only after they've been passed? Oh, sorry, wrong branch of government, you're in the executive branch, not the legislative, so I suppose that doesn't apply to you, now, does it?

And then there's this:
EXCERPT: And she told a story about her Oklahoma roots.

"When she was 16, my grandmother, Hannie Reed, drove a wagon in the Oklahoma land rush. Her mother had died, so she was up front with her little brothers and sisters bouncing around in the back.

"When I was growing up, she talked about life on the prairie, about marrying my grandfather and making a living building one-room schoolhouses, about getting wiped out in the Great Depression. She was hit with hard challenges throughout her life, but the moral of her stories was always the same: She would solve her problems one at a time by pulling up her socks and getting to work.

"It's time for all of us to pull up our socks and get to work."
Say, Elizabeth, do you want us all to pull up our socks individually, by our own efforts, or do you want the government to do it for us?

Because, if you want the government to do it for us - well, if I was your grandmother, I know how I would feel: I would definitely not approve.

If you really want us to pull up our socks, Elizabeth, get out of the way and let us do it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


On the anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001, I remember that the United States of America stands for one thing above all else:


Sunday, September 5, 2010

"The Objectivist Ethics" online

Ayn Rand's seminal essay, in which she explains the philosophical foundations of her code of rational selfishness - and, by contrast, exposes the fallacy of the ethical code of altruism, is now online at the website of the Ayn Rand Institute.

The essay, originally delivered by Rand as a paper at the University of Wisconsin Symposium on “Ethics in Our Time” in Madison, Wisconsin, on February 9, 1961, is also included in her collection, "The Virtue of Selfishness".

Via DianaHsieh, Paul Hsieh, TOSjournal, et al., on Twitter.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Free markets and monopolies

Here are some real-life observations from a story about Indy racing that seem to give the lie to the notion that every capitalist is eager to eliminate as much competition as he can get away with:
You would think Honda's guys would be happy being the only game in town, but that's not necessarily the case.

When you're the only one supplying the engines, the lack of competition reduces the brand value.

"How do you get people excited about Honda products when you win every week?" asked Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance and Development. . . .

But the most telling comments came from Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard, who said, "We compete with all types of entertainment. The biggest movie out there tomorrow will compete with us on ticket sales." Bernard understands motorsports must compete for attention in a world obsessed with gadgets and technology.

Which is why the future looks bright for IndyCar.