But now I'm awake and I've got some stuff to link and comment on, so I'll do that.
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First up, Karl Denninger: "StuporCommittee FAIL (Big Surprise -- NOT!)" goes the headline. He raises, here, the same issue I raised a few days ago: that even if the SC manages to hit its deficit reduction targets, the cuts don't amount to even 10% of the total annual deficit.
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I guess Warren Buffett's company NetJets already pays as much tax as his secretary does.
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Some Occupati are more equal than others. $700 a night? No problem! "Tents are not for me."
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Alan Caruba cuts to the chase on "gay marriage". Pretty sure this new Massachusetts law can be struck down as a serious violation of First Amendment rights.
A case in point. In 2010, Capone’s Restaurant in Peabody, Massachusetts tossed out a group of men dressed as women who were upsetting its customers and even using the woman’s restrooms. When the new law goes into effect, the restaurant will be subject to fines, as would be its customers if found guilty of trying to “intimidate” them with their reaction to their presence.Look, I'm going to say it again: sex is not a social construct. It is a biological fact.
If you're a man dressed as a woman, it does not entitle you to use the womens' bathroom. Even if you've got a surgically-created penis, if you can gestate and deliver healthy babies, you're female, not male.
Whatever the "transgendered" community does in private is not the issue here. The issue is the attempt to normalize abnormal behavior by force.
I suppose it really doesn't matter what the Constitution says about freedom of association and freedom of expression. We're already way past "rule of law", as the banking and financial frauds perpetrated with a willing government's aquiescence demonstrate.
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This is why the housing crisis is happening: government interference.
I do believe the Community Reinvestment Act (Carter, broadened by Clinton) is the main cause of the bubble and its attendant collapse. More dollars chasing a fixed supply will always raise prices.
...though the lenders are also not entirely blameless, either. There has been plenty of fraud and abuse on the lending side of the equation; loan officers eager to make quotas for "new business" may have not cared much about the quality of the paper they were writing because the risk could be fobbed off on other institutions--the notes were bundled and sold--before the bad risk became apparent.
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I think the biggest argument supporting Denninger's assertion that the prosperity of the past 30 years came entirely from borrowing money comes from the fact that the Fed is keeping interest rates on the floor.
If the success of your economy depends on cheap-to-free credit, there is something seriously wrong. But every time I have heard about the Fed adjusting interest rates in the past decade it has always been down, never up.
When I look at the Great Depression, one thing jumps out at me: the Great Depression started about fourteen years after the Constitution was amended to allow the taxation of income. The sixteenth amendment was ratified in 1913; the great crash happened in 1927.
"That's fourteen years! How can you say that?" Well: understand that the current snarl of crappy tax law did not spring into being on that black day in 1913. Congress had to start passing the laws and the President had to sign them before they could start being enforced.
Tax revenue was over $1 billion in 1918, out of a GDP of roughly $80 billion.
If you want to think that those guys in the early 20th century weren't playing politics with the tax code, go right ahead. I think that the "roaring '20s" were a period of economic success in spite of the new income tax; the economic successes were hiding the deleterious effects of taxation.
As soon as the cycle started heading for "bust", though, it cratered GDP. GDP in the mid-1930s was $50 billion, down from a high somewhere near $100 billion in 1931.
...which, I might add, is roughly analagous to 2010 in the current economic situation. The big market crash in 1927 was the beginning, but things didn't get bad until about five years later.
I don't think the income tax was the sole cause of the Great Depression, but I do believe that out of the various factors that made it happen, the income tax was one of the earliest.
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Now I think I'll do anime and WoW.