Friday link clearing

Since these have been piling up in Firefox, here’s what I’ve been reading

  • Obama and the Born-Alive issue – ghoulish stuff. The controversy of abortion is where one draws the line on person vs potential person. Even the most ardent pro-choicers seem to draw it at birth, but it seems not everyone does.
  • Via Will Wilkerson

    Obama terrifies me: an intelligent, thoughtful, well-prepared, capably extemporaneous man ascribing a future holocaust to some sort of non-existent, fantastical, steroidal Iran; talking about unsanctioned cross-border incursions into Pakistan because we found bin Laden, or some such, and must “take him out”; warbling around about “main street” while, in a lawerly, circumlocutory way signaling that he’s ultimately going to get behind hundred-billion-dollar cash bailouts to institutions that ought to be dismantled, destroyed, scattered to the wind. He wants GM to make electric cars. He wants the American people to know that he will appear before them to make extravagant xenophobic declarations in order to assuage their insecurity about the rise of other competing economies. He does this all in a calm, perfectly reasonable manner, with a convincing boardroom demeanor, and judging by the reactions of my liberal friends, with whom I listened, this was basically pleasing to them.

    McCain is of course out of his mind: forgetful, vicious, reactionary. And his ideas are even crazier than BO’s, but there’s a certain comfort in the fact that their insanity is laid so plainly and mercilessly bare by the grinning psychopath’s delivery. He provides no quarter for those who want to convince themselves that by Killing People for Their Own Good we are not actually killing them, or that by suborning corporate malfeasance we are combating it, or that by desperately seeking to maintain the geography of radial sprawl and the automobile we are seeking “energy independence.”

    I’ve had the thought lately regarding McCain, Bush, and bailouts – if we’re going to have corporate socialism shouldn’t we have a Democrat do it? At least they don’t have the supposed association with the free market that Republicans do.

  • David Friedman on the bailout

    The failure of a firm doesn’t wipe out wealth, except to the extent that the firm itself—its firm culture, web of relationships and such—has some value. When a firm fails, that is at least some evidence that that value was negative, which is why nobody chose to buy out the firm and keep it going. The ordinary assets of the firm—its buildings, land, stocks, bonds, mortgages, and whatever it owns—don’t vanish when the firm fails, they get sold to someone else.

    The bailout is not a way of preventing the loss of value. The loss (or transfer) of value occurred when people made bad mortgage loans. What happened more recently was the recognition of that loss. All the bailout can do is to shift the loss from some people to others, from the stockholders and creditors of firms that are now effectively bankrupt to the taxpayers.

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