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January 08, 2013

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Extraneus

Wasn't that just a drafting error?

steve

You're lost in the trees. It really doesn't matter what logic is used to justify either the trillion dollar coin or whatever other method Obama comes up with for avoiding going over the debt limit, as the whole subject is one that the public really just doesn't care about.

And that is the lesson the GOP needs to learn. Stop focusing on process, which to most people falls into the category of arguing how the sausage gets made. As we saw in November, the guy offering presents is going to beat the guy demanding we take our medicine.

narciso

I did a rough calculation, TM, and that coin would have to weigh about 200 tons, which reminds of an anecdote from the Hitchhiker's Guide where it described one form of currency,
as a triangular coin, some 200 hundred feet on each side,

Jane - Mock the Media!

Boy steve, sadly you are so right.

Extraneus

I hate to go OT so soon, but can any of our legal eagles explain how David Souter is on a 3-judge appellate panel with non-SC justices?

Whitey Bulger's lawyer seeks to have judge tossed

After a question from retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter, Carney said Bulger's immunity agreement was in place before 1984 when Stearns became criminal division chief for the U.S. attorney's office in Boston.

"That's what the evidence will show. And you're the first person to get this out of me," Carney told Souter.

Souter joined Chief Judge Sandra Lynch and Senior Judge Bruce Selya on the three-judge appellate panel.

narciso

It was much stranger than I first though;

http://www.american-buddha.com/hitchhiker.680.htm

The fact they didn't go after Whitey, for murder or racketeering, was kind of an eye opener.

Extraneus

FALLOPIAN TUPE? (From narciso's link.)

narciso

Different category, we are nearly at the point of the Giant Mutant Star Goat.

boatbuilder

Free money! So why do they need to raise our taxes?

narciso

To find something aggressively more deranged, one has to go to our 'old friend' Adam Serwer;

http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/01/tarantino-django-unchained-western-racism-violence

XBradTC

American money, whether printed notes, or coinage is only worth what the consensus of people think it is worth. Does anyone really think a $1T coin would actually be worth that value?

Banknotes and coinage are valued realistically because they are liquid. I can get a dollars worth of either local currency or goods/services anywhere in the world with a dollar. How liquid would the coin be?

boatbuilder

The position of the pointy heads is that the ignorant rubes who attempt to demand some real commitment to spending reductions in return for voting to allow the US Government to continue to spend way beyond its means are mistaken; there isn't any limit to the means available. So insisting on an arbitrary restriction--the "debt ceiling"--is "childish" and "immature."
Does anyone really buy that?
Would you sell on credit to someone who operated on that principle?
And what other leverage do those who don't agree have? Reasoning obviously has no effect.
And if the real value of money is in "our" capital assets and "potential human ingenuity and cooperation," then "our" government should stop forcibly taking and wasting so much of it, and let us keep it so we can use it productively.

Rick Ballard

"How liquid would the coin be?"

BOzo could try tendering a couple to China and Japan in exchange for their US bonds. That might provide a clue.

Danube of Thought iPad

The Judge Stearns in the Bulger case is Rick Stearns, a law school classmate. The cognoscenti (viz., Narc) will recall that he was cast as a hero in Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail" for his machinations on behalf of the McGovern campaign. Take it away, Narc.

Jim Miller

And for change for that trillion dollar coin, we could import some Rai stones from Yap. They weigh at most four metric tons.

narciso

Thanks, Danube, I recall that Clinton wanted him as his first choice for FBI Director, before he settled on Freeh, so this is the kind of motion, that succeeded with the Gitmo tribunals, where they purged anyone with any understanding of the issues from the panels,

Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

The dullard Wiesenthal is attracted like a moth to the flame of the asinine Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). Imagine my surprise.

Bing MMT for a modern rendition of Charles MacKay's main thesis.

maryrose

Two people need to be put under oath and made to testify stat!
They are Hillary Clinton on Benghazi
John Corzine on the missing money from IMF.

Jane - Mock the Media!

Interesting DOt. Carney, Bulger's lawyer was the coach of the mock trial team I was on in law school. I didn't realize that until now.

narciso
matt

Can we get back to the original argument that the concept is an unconstitutional undermining of the power of the House to draft budgets and that it would allow the executive branch to become completely unaccountable.

It is an economic and political Reichstag Fire.

narciso

I was illustrating, the absurdity of the thing, 'we're grinding metal,' and they are still trying to be roll on to more rubble,

Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

--That the state creates the money we use is actually known to just about everyone, but people have a hard time making the key leap, which is that once the state is in the business of creating money, then the old gold standard notions of monetary scarcity don't apply in the same way.--

Not only is this the childish yapping of an impish troll it is technically incorrect in the USA.
The currency itself is created by the Treasury but the amount of it in circulation, the amount of money "created" is controlled and determined by the Federal Reserve which has both public and private aspects and makes its decisions theoretically independent of either the legislative or executive branches.

Moreover gold standards do not depend on a notion of the natural scarcity of money. Quite the opposite, they recognize the natural tendency of money and effing idiots like Weisenthal and Geithner and Krugman to expand it beyond all reason, especially when they want to reward political constituencies and bankrupt the national treasury.
Gold standards recognize exactly the insanity of trillion dollar coins as inevitable and attempts not to artificially and punitively restrict a commodity which should be unlimited but attempts to apply discipline so that supply and demand are in some rough balance.

Is there anything a welfare state leftist detests more than fiscal sanity and discipline?

narciso

Keynes would be tempted to react like Marshall Mcluhan in 'Annie Hall'; '

'you teach a class in this, you know nothing of my work;

Ignatz Ratzkiwatzki

The ONLY value Business Insider possesses is to read the comments of the guys gutting Joe W and Henry B when they write utter crap like this.
And even that isn't as sharp as it used to be; a result no doubt of the joint losing whatever puny credibility it ever possessed.

Captain Hate

Is there anything a welfare state leftist detests more than fiscal sanity and discipline?

A well informed citizenry?

gad-fly

The trillion dollar platinum coin will go nicely with the $2.5 trillion dollars in interest bearing bonds stored in 3-ring binders at the Bureau of Public Debt in downtown Parkerburg, WV issued to account for the Social Security funds borrowed for use for other spending by the government. Like the platinum coin, the bonds are all backed by the "full faith and credit of the U.S. government". But don't bother trying to steal them; they're nonnegotiable, which means they are worthless on the open market.

narciso

Well that was one nasty Sarlacc pit of stupidity
over there, they are so far off target, they are bound to smack into Apophis, which isn't supposed to be here for 25 years.

matt

The critical flaw in the TPC (Trillion Dollar Platinum Coin) theory is that there is no faith nor credit to back it up. It is by nature a highly inflationary tool that would be a monkey wrench in the global monetary system.

If we can do it, any other country could do the same. We are already in currency wars.Ask Japan and Brazil. Hell, Argentina would love to pull this kind of stunt. Voila', no deficit.

And the "groundswell" for Krugman at Treasury is growing. The statists are in full flower. And they are looking batshit crazier by the day.

I laughed when I saw McChrystal's comments. He is the ultimate secret operator, breaking the laws of probably 100 countries and lectures us on our Constitutional rights. I guess now that his oath to protect the Constitution is no longer effective he can take foolish positions.

God help us from the East Coast corridor's conventional wisdom.

narciso

What is about a Kennedy School sheepskin, that makes then loose their mind, he was musing on Hannity about humiliation and some such being the impetus to jihadism, madrassas and Al Jazeera were left out of the equation,

fdcol63

"And they are looking batshit crazier by the day."

Yes, they do.

narciso

Cook, of Gawker fame, is learning that transparency runs both ways/

Clarice

Willing retired SCOTUS justices or appellate judges are regularly placed on sitting appellate panels ., Ext

egd

An important question:

Does debt (seignorage) created by the treasury under this method constitute debt authorized by law (i.e. by Congress)?

I think a good case can be made that this debt is not Congressionally authorized debt, and therefore does NOT enjoy the protection of the 14th Amendment.

In other words: Congress can, consistent with the Constitution, refuse to recognize the $1T dollar debt.

narciso

It's like a new bumper crop of new SCAM marks, I mean customers,

Melinda Romanoff

egd-

Aside from the numismatic intrigue, there is NO debt that may enjoy non-Congressional existence. However, as any good Chicagoan would know, that fact doesn't matter until someone has the nerve to run it up the Appellate system for a good and hearty test. Up and until then, they will issue at will, as they did today with the 3yr.

boatbuilder

Matt--I think the argument of the trillion dollar coin folks is that it is a clever gimmick to counter the leverage that those crazy rube Republicans are getting from the "gimmick" of the debt ceiling; they only plan to use it for a little while to keep those yokels at bay until the Keynesian multiplier kicks in and the problem goes away. They would never think of using such an obviously unsound and highly inflationary tool for the long run. Never. If you can't trust the brilliant people, who can you trust?

narciso

THey are shaking up nitro as if it were soda pop, that never ends well,

cathyf

Here is your ND Band mom check-in:

pregame
halftime

cathyf
in 3-ring binders at the Bureau of Public Debt in downtown Parkerburg, WV
And why, do you wonder, is the Bureau of Public Debt in downtown Parkerburg, WV? Why, of course, the late Dem Kleagle Byrd...
daddy

In all these pronouncements to ban guns I keep listening for mention of Amending the Constitution to effect their desired gun ban, but I never hear it. It strikes me that if these folks seriously respected the Constitution and its Amendments which enshrine their Rights, and the Constitution's Amendment process by which Rights can be changed, that they would be pushing for an Amendment to the Constitution to alter or reverse the meaning if the 2nd Amendment.

That would seem to me to be the legitimate way to go about banning guns in America; it would comply with the Constitution and it would respect the Constitution. Perhaps that is why it is never mentioned.

jimmyk

In order to have a "serious" debate about fiscal policy, as so many pundits claim to want, we must first understand what money is, and how governments get it.

The answer is that they have always created it, and any notion of the government "running out" are illogical.

Oy, sometimes people are too "smart" for their own good. Governments have not "always created" money. Money has been created privately whenever governments have not monopolized it.

And I think the government of Zimbabwe discovered the hard way that seignorage is not unlimited. Inflation is a tax on money, and it has a Laffer curve just like any other tax.

Remember, money is a fiction. Real wealth is capital assets, our infrastructure, our cars, our houses, and most importantly the potential human ingenuity and cooperation. Money is just something that the government creates to facilitate the trade in all of those things.

Money is no more a fiction than are property rights, rule of law, and any number of other creations of civilized society that help us live better. It is not "something that the government creates." It's value is just as real, notwithstanding the fact that it is more vulnerable to being destroyed by the government.

Danube of Thought iPad

Notice how remote the Weisenthal/Krugman discussion is from the question of why and how people create wealth--and why they don't.

XBradTC

DoT, do lawyers ever create wealth, or just protect it?

jimmyk

I would say some lawyers create wealth, some destroy it, and some protect it. The distinction between creating and protecting wealth is arguably one without a difference.

As examples, lawyers that help businesses write contracts create wealth. Tax lawyers both create and protect wealth (again, the distinction isn't so clear). Ambulance chasing scumbags mostly destroy wealth.

AL

Its 20 000 ton coin, Narciso…

And no, in Capitalist economic system government does not create money. Private banks do. Read, for example, “money creation” article in Wiki.

rse

On creating wealth, a new CEO was going to get rid of the in-house legal department I headed. We had a lightning strike on corporate offices with a 6 figure repair bill. I used the language of the contract to make the repair bill go away. The CEO quickly discovered that my salary helped him keep far more of his revenue than he spent on me. Literally hitting the bottom line.

Plus as jimmy said good contracts based on accurate info on what drives a business drive revenue and aid pricing considerations because they produce info. They can also limit expenses because you do not become an inadvertant insurer by taking financial responsibility for someone else's errors when you have no control over their behavior.

Lawyers can create wealth but most legal expenses are parasitical. The regulatory state is expensive and wealth destroying and much litigation arises from poor language in contracts or failure to ask the right due diligence questions.

And none of what I wrote on how to use the law to create wealth gets taught in law or business school. Some partners know it. Some personal lives generate it. But not enough of either for the long term sake of the economy.

narciso

No mind you, Tyler makes the same ultimate category error, but otherwise is accurate;

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/ben-bernanke-second-coming-rudolf-von-havenstein-central-banker-responsible-germanys-hyperin

It was massive deflation, which helped usher in Hitler

I am not a shyster.

A social purpose of lawyers is to settle conflicts. They most certainly add value when that settling is done in a more cost effective manner than otherwise. Some lawyers, however, create conflict.
==============

narciso

There was a foolish piece in the Times, yes what's new there, where the author admitted the problem of marginal job growth, but then they
steered into category error, saying the problem
was not enough government jobs.

rse

Ah, Kim, but you are a wordster.

Captain Hate

That would seem to me to be the legitimate way to go about banning guns in America; it would comply with the Constitution and it would respect the Constitution. Perhaps that is why it is never mentioned.

That and amending the Constitution is a long and arduous process; deliberately so when you really reflect on what you're doing. Even something as relatively uncontroversial, but still stupid, as the Equal Rights Amendment was DOA when the actual hard work began. The people that are pushing this garbage are ultimately unserious people, ill suited for any position of responsibility and a sad reflection of the people who elected them.

Captain Hate

Dick Armey was so shocked that anybody wanted to hear him talk about himself that all deflector shields, coated in rust, were creakily lowered.

jimmyk

A social purpose of lawyers is to settle conflicts.

Or, better still, avoid conflicts in the first place (by, for example, drafting well-written agreements).

Jane:  Mock the Media

Lawyers have a "social purpose"? WHo knew?

NK

"The only money is gold-- everything else is credit." J.P. Morgan. TomM gives this schmuck Wiesanthal and Krugman the correct amount of deference by ending with Turbo Tim and Barry I in clown suits. Stamp your coin Wiesanthal-- then the US becomes Argentina and Zimbabwe. Fine people in those countries-- but moronic political elites-- they are no different from us. What happened there when the politicians pretended their debts didn't count and they tried to inflate them away with gimmicks and currency magic tricks? Economic collapse and social disintegration. You can put as much lipstick and mascara as you want on the debt pig-- it's still ugly civilization destroying debt. Some of the sane Left realize the danger of this debt insanity-- Richmond Fed pres Lacker profihttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/business/a-bold-dissenter-at-the-fed-hoping-his-doubts-are-wrong.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&smid=tw-nytimes&partner=rss&emc=rssled respectfully in the NY Times:

NK

TomM poses a question: "Obviously, the key unresolved questions are whether Federal Reserve lawyers would ever embrace the Fed's role in buying the Trillion Dollar Platinum coin, and whether a judge would ultimately uphold such a sale." I don't think it ever comes to that-- IMO, Barry I keeps issuing Bonds despite the debt limit breach, and Ben B keeps buying "in the national interest." Constitutional crisis follows-- they will be impeached. Very ugly.

NK

"Lawyers create wealth"? I've been a practicing lawyer for 30 years-- never, ever seen a lawyer "create" wealth. Lawyers provide "value" for their clients-- for which they are compensated. That "value" is at the expense of some counter-party--- no new net wealthis ever created by the lawyer.

Melinda Romanoff

James Pierpont never Crossed his Rubicon, but he did fund a bunch of book depositories. He did, however, send Henry Davison to the Georgia meeting that ended in creating the Fed.

The gold standard is a constraint on capital formation, not a basis for it.

NK

"Gold is money" was more of a quip than a monetary philosophy. But Morgan (perhaps the last american banker who actually understood-- 'money') understood that money must have some intrinsic, tangible value that is generally accepted and transactable. If you call a pig money and trade it, it may have value in the trade, but it's not money, it's still a pig. American 'money' is the Full Faith and Credit of the American people-- that's it-- that's all. If the American people don't back it -- it ain't money. So Barry I stamp you coin, or issue Bonds in violation of the debt ceiling, make Ben B buy them using printed 'money', use the proceeds from the Bond sales 'money' to pay immigrant doctors Medicaid fees, or buy soda and nachos at the 7-11 with Food Stamps, no 'money' has been created from this activity, because the value of the Dollar will be diminished in kind, and everything else the Dollar can buy will be equally -- or more-- diminished. We will be Zimbabwe.

Captain Hate

Morgan (perhaps the last american banker who actually understood-- 'money')

I doubt that because it's not a difficult concept unless somebody's trying to twist it to be something it isn't to advance a non-economic agenda.

hit and run

Heh. Hadn't seen that Instapundit quoted me yesterday 'til just now.

Janet

Hey Mel - there are a few more new pictures up at that link I sent ya...& they show some of the records.

Janet

hit's shout out at Instapundit.

rse

NK-if wealth is increased productivity and inhouse lawyers working with management increase productivity because of what they know to ask and how they structure day to day operations, I think they do create wealth.

Management and investment bankers certainly thought so as well.

Threadkiller

"...It is these followers who are the epitome of the “go along to get along” crowd who foolishly believe they are more special or smarter than those who don’t lick the boots of their masters leaders, and they are mighty useful when carrying out the Establishment’s agenda no matter the cause or consequence.

You can spot these enablers miles away simply by watching their actions or by the variety of names they've earned over the millennial such as “useful idiots,” “propagandists,” “agents of influence,” “nitwits,” and my all time favorite “politicians.” It is these followers of the political Washington Establishment who have busied themselves over the last four years to lie, cheat, threaten and ridicule any non-political Washington Establishment American citizen from gaining a fair and impartial hearing of any kind into Mr. Obama’s inability to meet one of the three most basic of qualifications detailed under Article II of the U.S. Constitution—natural born citizen.

By now you have learned that not once in four years has a court of law taken up this matter whether it was raised by an elector, citizen, lawyer, state legislator, presidential candidate, salesman or military-active or retired. None. Zilch. Zero. Zip. All remedies filed in court have been dismissed by the political class’s use of the made up pretend legal term they employ to avoid dealing with real life legal issues—standing.

Why is that? Seriously, why use such legalese if all is on the up and up?

The answer is unequivocal – those serving the political Washington Establishment have circled the wagons and any who wish to keep their establishment jobs will shun, obfuscate, outright lie, ridicule, minimize and use terms of art like “standing” to maintain the farce that one of their own did not then nor now meet one of the three most rudimentary requirements enumerated under Article II.

Hundreds of non-Establishment types aka American citizens have filed Memorandums of Complaint, lawsuits or ballot challenges seeking the courts remedy only to be dismissed on lack of “standing” but none have faced MORE THAN $12,000 in sanctions. None, that is, until an elector in Washington State, named Linda Jordan, dared to file a ballot challenge in August 2012 clearly enunciating the unequivocal fact that the fraudulent long-form birth certificate, sitting on the White House web server, cannot be used as evidence that Mr. Obama meets “any” of the three Article II qualifications in order to be a presidential candidate. The case was dismissed by a department of the Washington State Supreme Court on December 4th as “Frivolous” and sanctions were awarded. The Attorney General is asking for over $12,000 and the Commissioner of the Court was due to make the final determination on January 3rd. So far no word.

More than $12,000 in sanctions for daring to think that ordinary citizens had the right to access the legal system. Let that sink in for a minute. For four years citizens from all walks of life have simply asked the courts to settle the most basic of citizenship questions – who is a natural born citizen and can forged documents be used to prove citizenship status—only to be met with either dismissal after dismissal or silence. In Jordan’s case the courts in Washington State, after acknowledging that she had standing, decided to escalate their own role in their “play along to get along” obfuscation by sanctioning an innocent citizen who had the audacity to file a complaint that nails the issue in its entirety and who had every legal right in the world to do so..."

http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2013/01/obama-ballot-challenger-12k-sanctions.html

Threadkiller

That post was longer than I hoped it would be. The entire article is at the link.

cathyf

I would claim that the Rule of Law does in fact create wealth -- enormous wealth. So, as codifiers and enforcers of the Rule of Law, government surely creates wealth. And lawyers, as the clerks of the Rule of Law, should get to claim that they create wealth.

The way you can tell is that the amount of wealth created is incredibly dependent upon the honesty and competence of government and lawyers in codifying and enforcing a rule of law and not men.

There is lots of discussion of "multipliers" in government spending, and most of it is unadulterated bullshit. But the return on investment of just and fair courts enforcing contracts and punishing thieves and fraudsters is very very high. Likewise, the evils of cronyism/fascism are orders of magnitude larger than the actual money directly spent -- when a Solyndra causes people to leave legitimate economic activity and clamor for a place at the government teat, it costs many times more than the piddly little half a billion in taxpayer dollars.

Clarice

The Peruvian economist Hernando Desoto has argued persuasively that the lack of a property title system is what keeps Latam poor, cathy.

NK

CathyF-- the Rule of Law and legally protected property rights absolutely create wealth-- indeed, they are bedrock foundations of wealth creation. No question. Lawyers as the "clerks of the Rule of Law"... ah?.. no.

RSE@9:45: true enough on the micro firm level-- not true on a macro societal level.

NK

HIT!! congrats on the insta-shoutout.

rse

NK-agreed but it is rather cool to get business people to begin to recognize how useful to what they need day to day good contracts are.

And how few outside counsels know what questions really need asking.

Lucky me. Need to listen to a TED talk. Gag.

jimmyk

Heh. Hadn't seen that Instapundit quoted me yesterday 'til just now.

Congrats, hit. Guess I ought to check there more often so I don't miss all the times I get quoted. :)

Bruce
On creating wealth, a new CEO was going to get rid of the in-house legal department I headed. We had a lightning strike on corporate offices with a 6 figure repair bill. I used the language of the contract to make the repair bill go away. The CEO quickly discovered that my salary helped him keep far more of his revenue than he spent on me. Literally hitting the bottom line.
I was an in-house patent attorney at a high tech company that made a lot of money through cross-licensing their patent portfolio, which was, in turn, a result of spending a lot of money on R&D, and then having a lot of patent attorneys to patent it. Ratio was well over a million dollars of positive cash flow per patent attorney from the patent portfolio they created. Right after I left, the much smaller general legal department acquired the patent department in a hostile takeover, and a decision was made to replace all those pretend attorneys in the patent office with real attorneys. Fine, except, they were a cost center, and we were a profit center. Upwards of half the patent attorneys were dumped, but then many of them replaced a year or so later when the fallacy was discovered. Unfortunately, this move had adverse impact on the patent portfolio, as well as on institutional memory.

I don't think that it is accurate to say that no attorneys create wealth, but merely redistribute it, while skimming off their take. I would argue that patent attorneys can, and sometimes do, create wealth through monetizing R&D expenses. At that company, probably more than 80% of the revenues from cross-licensing (and ignoring our own sales revenues) went right back into R&D, dividends, etc. Other companies that would use our technology were paying for it, allowing us to do more R&D. And, yes, I can pretty well guarantee that everyone reading this blog has benefited from that patented technology generating the cross-licensing (or infringement) revenues.

Taking this a bit further, I would suggest that other attorneys also create wealth, in facilitating commerce or creation of wealth production facilities and organizations. A decent part of why we have gotten so rich, in comparison to our ancestors, is that commerce and industry is much more efficient, and lawyers were instrumental in making that happen.

Janet

Cashill has a new post up on questioning Brennan on the passport breach.

this is interesting - "Unlike Stanley Inc., a huge government contractor listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Analysis Corp. had fewer than 100 employees, and its one culpable employee apparently escaped discipline. The Post article told us only that “his or her employment status is under review.”

Reminds me of the State Dept. people getting sacked...ummm....errr....but not sacked...moved.
Let's get that employee's name (or ex-employee, or promoted employee) & ask them some questions.

rse

Bruce-great post. Lawyers can be but too rarely are.

NK

Bruce-- i'd be glad to amke an exception for patent lawyers-- they are a special class of lawyer IMO. More engineer and marketing excecutive.

Bruce
I hate to go OT so soon, but can any of our legal eagles explain how David Souter is on a 3-judge appellate panel with non-SC justices?
Sitting Justices do this on occasion. It is a remnant of when circuit court judges still rode circuit, and Justices rode too when the Supreme Court was not in session. Each of the federal circuits apparently has a Justice assigned to it (which means that a couple are multiply assigned), and they perform some emergency functions for emergency appeals to the Supreme Court (or something like that). You may see this most with executions, where, for example, the Justice assigned to the 5th Circuit will review last minute appeals of an imminent Texas execution. That said, sitting Justices still do sit on circuit court panels on rare occasion for normal cases, and I think that is what is going on here - Justice Souter gave up his Supreme Court seat, but is essentially sitting as a senior status circuit court judge (which allows retired judges to pick and choose how much they want to continue working). I am pretty sure that I remember retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor doing the same thing on occasion. In previous years, I think that this sort of thing was more common, but most Justices any more seem to either die in office or retire right before their deaths. Kudos to those few, like these two, who retire while still healthy enough to do this.
cathyf
it is rather cool to get business people to begin to recognize how useful to what they need day to day good contracts are
My dad is a retired oil company economist, and he claims that he learned all sorts of really interesting economics by asking the company's law department about "strange" clauses in the company's contracts. If the lawyer(s) who had negotiated the contract were still around and still remembered the details, there would be a fascinating story of why the parties wanted various things and what they were willing to give up in order to get it.
Melinda Romanoff

SEC to come up with regulations regarding corporate political spending.

Wouldn't they save time if they just used an EO?

rse

Most of the business people started off thinking I was a nuisance and then they discovered how much easier I made the jobs.

My contracts that I had sweated over and changed language in as situations arose were extremely popular with the acquiring company and the rest of the healthcare companies those lawyers went on to.

I virtually always prevailed in negotiations because I could give real life examples of how the language worked. When I could get counsel on the other side nailed down on what their real concern was, I usually wrote that language too and faxed it to them. I doubt if that is what they told their clients though as they billed them.

I am glad your dad had good stories. It is possible.

cathyf

I live in IL and I've chaperoned school field trips to the "Lincoln Sites." The pre-Civil War circuit courts were fascinating. The lawyers rode around together, and at different courthouses they would set up shop. And they took turns being the judge and attorneys for plaintiffs, the prosecution, defense, etc. Lincoln was a nationally ranked expert on railroad law (Illinois has more tracks than any other state in the US even now) and much of the most important national railroad building happened in his presidency.

But, anyway, the lawyers were intimately acquainted with the legal details that make commerce and prosperity possible.

henry

Bruce, the recent changes in patent law may cause troll related patent attorney costs to society to overwhelm the benefits of "white hat" patent attorneys like you. I know and appreciate the value of a good patent attorney, but am on the IP creation / ownership side and consider that value to be more wealth protection than wealth creation.

cathyf

henry, would you create the IP without some way to get paid for it? That's the wealth-creating aspect...

Captain Hate

SEC to come up with regulations regarding corporate political spending.

Wouldn't they save time if they just used an EO?

As JW Verret pointed out yesterday in the WSJ, the SEC wasn't set up to suppress a firm's political spending.

Rick Ballard

"be more wealth protection than wealth creation"

Henry,

If you cannot protect the surplus generated by your efforts, why make the effort? A sheep dog doesn't create sheep but the net result of his existence should be more sheep.

I have always employed only good and decent attorneys whereas those in opposition have always employed the most base degenerates extant. The difficulty is that the difference only becomes blindingly apparent in the instance. They're very crafty devils.

Melinda Romanoff

Wasn't set up for a Madoff, either, obviously.

That doesn't mean they're not going to try anyway. Besides, this is a nice work-around of Citizens United.

henry

cathyf, a patent or copyright has value relative to the cost of enforcing it. Today the costs can be very high and the results of enforcement are just another judicial lottery. A a practical matter I create IP and get paid for it with little confidence in the legal system's ability to protect IP, and somewhat greater (but still small) confidence in the legal system to protect contracts (IP license agreements) because most businesses are run by reasonable people. The legal system is there to to help deal with the very few unreasonable ones -- and seems to protect them more than me.

henry

Rick, I am not saying that a good attorney is not worth every penny, just like a good army is worth every penny. Both are there to protect what the rest of us create.

NK

Citizens United and Heller are going to get a work out in the DC Circuit and SCOTUS very soon. HRH Barry I hates both, so he'll go Chavista and issue EO ignoring or eviscerating them. If he prevails-- the USA is just another tinpot dictatorship,like Putin's gangster government or Chavez's dictatorship. Ben Franklin told the woman "A republic!-- if you can keep it."

Soylent Red

Money is no more a fiction than are property rights, rule of law, and any number of other creations of civilized society that help us live better. It is not "something that the government creates." It's value is just as real, notwithstanding the fact that it is more vulnerable to being destroyed by the government.

I'd like to point out that these "fictions" are the main distinction between a capitalist republican democracy and communism/socialism/fascism or any of the other permutations of statist collectivism. So to label these things as myths is a first step in getting people's minds right for the political change that elimination would engender. IOW, when you convince enough people that these things are simply wrong-headed mental constructs, you have changed the system under which we operate.

They're working together to get us to think like socialists, so that the political transition will be easy.

I am currently reading The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Boetie. I recommend it highly. Main point so far: All tyranny derives from general public acceptance. We enslave ourselves by refusing to resist.

It's a freebie for your Kindle or from mises.org.

Melinda Romanoff

Soylent-

Getting people to realize that value is stored in the mind can drive some to drink.

Others will try and charge that person more for the privilege.

jimmyk

"Rick, I am not saying that a good attorney is not worth every penny, just like a good army is worth every penny. Both are there to protect what the rest of us create."

As I said upthread, creation vs preservation of wealth is mainly a semantic distinction. If wealth is higher as the result of some activity, that's wealth creation in my book. The only catch is if one lawyer is protecting wealth from another, like having to defend against frivolous lawsuits. Then the net is destructive, like the old joke about the one lawyer in a small town who had no clients until a second lawyer came to town.

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