January 21, 2008

Couldn’t Help But Notice (012108)

Another one bites the dust at the LA Times. That is, another editor who refused to make budget cuts demanded by management. James O’Shea knew what happened to Dean Baquet in late 2006, but followed him over the cliff anyway.

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Bruce Barlett at the Wall Street Journal onFeel-Good Economics“:

A new rebate probably won’t do much harm. But anyone who thinks it will prevent a recession — if one is actually in the pipeline, which is not at all certain — is dreaming. It’s an insult to Keynes even to call a tax rebate Keynesian economics. It should be called “feel good economics” because its only real effect is to make politicians feel good about themselves and buy re-election with the public purse.

An equally important point made by Bartlett hearkens back to the late, great Milton Friedman and his permanent-income conclusion (note: this paragraph preceded the one above in Bartlett’s original):

His research had led him to conclude that consumer spending was less a function of liquidity than something he called “permanent income.” Friedman observed that when workers lost their jobs, they didn’t immediately cut back on spending. They borrowed or drew down savings to maintain spending, in the expectation of finding a new job shortly. Conversely, consumers didn’t immediately spend windfalls. They kept spending on an even keel until they achieved a promotion at work, or other increase in their long-term income expectations.

So the best way to juice consumer spending is to increase “permanent income.” Translation: Make the Bush tax regime that has been in place since 2003, well, “permanent.” Then cut tax rates across the board — again, “permanently.”

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MSNBC Hosts “Chris (Matthews) and Keith (Olbermann) Continue to Laugh at GOP Speeches.” That’s okay; ratings results like these are absolutely hysterical, and show who’s having the last laugh.

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Definitely couldn’t help but notice, having looked at these results — The guy who finished third in South Carolina’s GOP Primary is supposed to drop out of the race because he has no chance (apparently, he’s not listening to the “conventional wisdom”). But the guy who finished fourth (behind the guy who’s suppposed to quit), campaigned in the Palmetto State for nearly a year, and spent millions in the process, before going dark 10 days before the election in self-defense, is still considered a front-runner. Uh-huh.

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1 Comment

  1. Speaking of that guy who finished third – the web-based tool that shows what filing taxes might be like under his proposal for a much simpler income tax option is now up and running!

    Comment by Ironman — January 21, 2008 @ 9:37 am

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