Assorted links

by on October 7, 2013 at 11:32 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Is HBS a copyright troll?

2. MIE: upscale potty for $5000 a night, that is Canadian dollars perhaps.

3. “They told us giving a talk after that was a federal crime…

4. Is Greece considering a confiscation of private assets?

5. How are they reorganizing the World Bank?

6. Michael Barone reviews Average is Over.

Andrew' October 7, 2013 at 11:43 am

3. … says one NIH immunologist who asked that her name not be used, as she is not authorized to speak to the press.

Govco October 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

#3, This is just one of many episodes that illustrates how ham-fisted shutdown-theater is. This administration’s having a petulant tantrum, not governing. (I’ll admit to error when the president’ golf course at Andrew’s AFB shuts down instead of forbidding Mass on military bases.)

Barkley Rosser October 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Govco (what a ludicrous moniker),

So, just how do you think admin should have handled it? Defunded Obamacare or had a different set of agencies to shut down? Heck, cancelling Social Security payments would solve the problem. Want to do that? How about lay off the air traffic controllers? Or better yet, we just keep every government agency open that anybody wants to have open, while callng what is going on a “government shutdown”? I am sure, “Govco,” you are wise enough to come up with an answer that would not be describabel by any conceivable observer as a “petulant tantrum” (something that not a single member of Congress is exhibiting at all, of course).

Cliff October 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

The solution is easy, anything you have to pay more to shut down than to keep open stays open. Anything that costs zero to stay open, stays open. The whole point is that they don’t have funding, right? That’s why they have to shut down? So why is an army of federal employees goose-stepping through America and shutting down private businesses?

breakthosecuffs October 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I am continually amazed at people that confuse a government shutdown with an initiative to save money. It’s not about saving money. The government shutdown will definitely cost money. What is happening is that parts of the government are not allowed to *spend* money, whether that costs them in the long run or not. Sorry if that ruins your day.

TallDave October 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm

breakthosecuffs gets it right: the fact that the government is out of money has nothing to do with any decisions made re the shutdown process. the point is to extort money from Americans, not save money for Americans.

In other words, 17% Shutdown Theater will continue, with the Senate passing zero resolutions to the House’s 26, until you jerks and your elected representatives stop acting like it’s your money and not the government’s.

breakthosecuffs October 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Perhaps we don’t agree quite as much as you suggest.

Isn’t it so that the senate can only vote on resolutions proposed and passed by the House due to the constitutional requirement that all budgets originate in the lower chamber? If so, the first resolution the senate will pass in this whole debacle will be the only one. That number is misleading.

TallDave October 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

No, the Senate has its own budget processes, the differences are worked out in committee. They do not merely take up House bills.

TMC October 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm

No, breakthosecuffs is wrong. Much of the theatre is about making it more painful for everyone. These scientists were already at the conference and it was most likely more expensive to have them change their plans than to just continue. The trips were paid for already anyways. Then to forbid them to speak no matter what is the ludicrous part of this post. Just like barricades around open air sites, the administration prefers to spend more money to create pain than to have a legtimate conversation with the Republicans.

mulp October 8, 2013 at 4:54 pm

But the House has voted to not go to conference on House spending bills amended by the Senate because that implies compromise, and the House Republicans refuse to compromise.

The Senate passed a budget as demanded by the House, but the Republicans in the House refuse to go to conference to reconcile the House and Senate budget bills (budget bills authorize no spending) because that would require compromise.

The problem for Boehner and McConnell is every time they negotiated with Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, they compromised, which the Tea Party considers caving, losing, defeat.

December 31, 2012 hour 50, McConnell caved to Biden and Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Biden won and the Tea Party lost, in the eyes of the Tea Party.

On the other hand, the progressives have been betrayed by Democrats since at least 1965 if not longer. I keep telling progressives they need to join the Tea Party and the Republicans because you have so much in common: hate the Democrats, hate Obama, hate Clinton, hate Republicans, hate corporations, hate banks, hate CIA and NSA, hate insurers, but most in common, hate compromise,…

Careless October 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

For starters, not threatening to arrest people for doing something that won’t cost anything or harm anything or anyone?

Horhe October 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

It is not a threat, it’s the law. A particularly obscure law from the 19th century, called the Antideficiency Act, which forbids the government from spending money that has not been appropriated by Congress. It came about because various US officials, especially in the military, rather than wait and cajole for more money, would contract directly for what they needed, and Congress would routinely pay for fear of being in breach of its Constitutional requirement of maintaining the full faith and credit of the US. What this means is that if Congress doesn’t allow the budget, the various government authorities have to shut down, because, unless for a legally defined exception such as protection of human life, they cannot spend any money. An interesting consequence is that even volunteer work is prohibited, because this would, potentially, create an obligation for Congress via subsequent litigation. However, even if you send your people home and only allow critical personnel to man their stations without pay, the historic standard has been that EVERYONE gets their back pay.

mike October 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

It doesn’t cost money to give a speech at a conference if you’re already there. The government’s position seems to be “if you give a speech/check your e-mail, we’re obligated to pay you or something, and we’re not allowed to do that by law, therefore you can’t give that speech or check your e-mail, even if you are willing to do so without being paid.” Same with closing down open-air monuments – “if you were to go there and get hurt somehow, we would theoretically provide emergency services, and we can’t provide emergency services by law, therefore we have to keep you from going there”.

It’s a policy that makes absolutely zero sense from a practical perspective, unless the motivation is spite and the goal is to make the “shutdown” as painful as possible for the public.

TMC October 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Ever been to a conference Horhe? Do they bill you later, or is it paid for up front?

AADL October 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Air traffic controllers should be outsourced to the private sector (ie, the economy, not the crookentity). Privatize them.
Ditto for some other functions usurped by the ce@Washington. Many things the ce does (e.g. what drug enforcement agents do) shouldn’t be done by anyone.
New class parasites do stuff that would be done by the private sector.
Pure public parasites do stuff that only a crookopoly does. This stuff wouldn’t be done in a free society.

AADL October 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

Taxation is confiscation of private assets that have been earned by net tax payers. Greece (i.e. the criminal entity at Athens) does it, as does every other ce. Net tax consumers (e.g. most pols) don’t pay taxes; they consume them.

Alexei October 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Indeed. In what conceivable way is all income, corp, land tax not confiscation?

Ray Lopez October 7, 2013 at 2:37 pm

A tactic by Greece, when I lived there just last year, was to condemn property as “blighted” even though there was nothing wrong with it (even vacant land), or for some minor alleged tax violation, and then quickly sell the land to favored developers. Especially targeted were the diaspora Greeks who were not keeping an eagle’s eye on their property–some of them came back and found their land already sold and built on by others. The Sup. Ct. Kelo decision does the same thing in the USA. Such land grabs are also common in southeast Asia.

So Much For Subtlety October 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm

A case can be made for taxation being theft, but this is an alternative to inflation and devaluation. If Greece was not in the EU it would have resorted to both by now. As is its wont in good times and bad.

Inflation and devaluation are openly theft, but theft distributed more or less randomly across the entire population so it is much harder to work out who suffers and how much.

But yes, the Greek government is a criminal entity.

prior_approval October 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

‘As Kathimerini reports, the Greek Labor and Social Insurance Ministry is “seriously considering drastic measures in order to obtain the social security contributions owed by enterprises and to avoid having to slash pensions and benefits.” What drastic measures? “The ministry is planning to force companies to pay up or face having their assets seized, so that the 14 billion euros of contributions due can be recouped.”‘

Wow – somebody had better not tell the IRS that when they do this, it is ‘confiscation of private assets’ as compared to collecting taxes, and will lead to the inevitable downfall of the American economy.

TallDave October 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

They can’t afford them. Most of them are one or two person businesses (Greece has an unusually large number of these, precisely because they’re small enough to evade taxation) so the cost of attempting to collect is going to be large relative to what they could collect (which, again, is the point).

You might as well spend billions trying to collect pots of gold from rainbows, those businesses will evaporate like the morning dew.

Andrew' October 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Tell me more about the rainbows idea.

TallDave October 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

First, we round up the unicorns…

Z October 7, 2013 at 12:38 pm

It is ZH so you have to account for that, but this sounds like an effort to collect back taxes that businesses can not pay and remain in business. That’s not the same as threatening a lien in order to compel payment. It’s also different from willy-nilly confiscation to make ends meet. Basically Greece is a country on the verge of liquidation in order to meet its basic obligations. That’s the signal for the exits by anyone with a clue. It is no wonder they are cracking down on Golden Dawn.

Ray Lopez October 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

“How are they reorganizing the World Bank?” – what a joke this bank is. Any project worthy of being built, in this day and age of mobile capital, will be built. Any World Bank project in corrupt countries like Africa or the Philippines will be overcharged and somebody will be ripped off, somebody being the funders of said World Bank. I just visited the World Bank FAQ and their answer is opaque, meaning they don’t really make any profit.

Abolish the World Bank, it’s a dinosaur.

Does the Bank make a profit and, if so, what is done with it?
We often do have a surplus at the end of the fiscal year, which is earned from the interest rates charged on some loans and from fees charged for some of our services.

Carlospln October 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm
Ray Lopez October 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

This guy Bill Black is monothematic. It’s like in chess if you play a patzer who keeps trying a king side attack even if the position is closed on the K-side. Frankly he’s a bore. TC is much more dynamic. And I bet TC plays better chess than “Professor Bill Bl(h)ack”

beth(beth(omega)) October 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

#2) We’ve had these at the University of Mississippi for a few years, mostly for football games but also for other campus/town events. They are known as “Hotty Toddy Potties.”

JosieB October 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Okay, Cyprus has confiscated assets, and now, just maybe, Greece is sorta considering the same thing. Meanwhile the Fed keeps expanding the amount of money in circulation, and nobody is mentioning that devaluation of the currency will make it much easier to pay off our foreign-held debt and domestic pension obligations. The stock market is up, but there is only so much more to be gained by cutting costs while revenues are flat and so jobs are getting harder to find.The commodities market is over. The government is going after Silk Road and, by extension, Bitcoin. Where are we proles supposed to put our savings if we don’t want to find ourselves living in freeway underpasses and eating cat food in our senior years?

David Cushman October 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm

#2: “upscale potty for $5000 a night, that is Canadian dollars perhaps.”

“Canadian dollars perhaps”? It’s in Maclean’s, a Canadian magazine, so, yeah, it’s Canadian $. And C$5000 equals 4850 US$. Not much numerical difference. ( I assume the “Canadian dollar” phrase was meant to somehow put the value into perspective for U.S. readers).

Someone from the other side October 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I am all for HBS increasing price for their publications – that might mean fewer MBAs will have to wade through 30 pages of the history of Company X since the 15th century until today (not that anyone actually reads that stuff but think of the trees – and people’s backs).

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