Powered by TypePad

« When Elephants Dance... | Main | The NY Times Versus Paul Krugman »

December 08, 2009



David Brooks is a cancer.


I guess "the Won" has been too busy on his Nobel Speech and such to go through the budget line-by-line as he promised during the campaign


Reading Brooks is a sure way to rot your mind.

Here's some cool news:

Global trade declined last month, with total shipments dropping 9% from October.

This bad news could undermine the notion that we are in the midst of an economic recovery.

In fact, the number is higher than it was at the depth of the crisis last year—when shipments to the US dropped 7% from October to November.

The news jibes with data from JPMorgan, released last week, that global economic activity stalled out again in November.

Oh, and speaking of JPMorgan:

J.P. Morgan Chase said Tuesday that it sees more mortgage-related losses in coming quarters. Losses on home equity loans could reach $1.4 billion over the next several quarters, the bank said in a presentation posted on its Web site. Prime mortgage losses may reach $600 million and subprime mortgage losses could hit $500 million in coming quarters, J.P. Morgan added in the presentation.

Half a billion here, half a billion there, pretty soon...you're up to $1.4 billion.


Sixth, loosen the so-called H-1B visa quotas to attract skilled immigrants.

We have lots of unemployed, so hey .. bring in more foreigners.

This makes as much sense as spending our way to prosperity


Couldn't agree more ,bgates, but I'm biased after all.


I'm back on the desktop, hallelujAK


Congrats narciso. Sorry I wasn't able to help more, but that sort of thing is hard to do from a distance.


Ninth, don’t be stupid.

I think the EPA did a shirtload of that yesterday.


Sixth, loosen the so-called H-1B visa quotas to attract skilled immigrants.

Article Two of the Neocon Creed. Or somewhere way high up there.


Has David Brooks been watching the same govt that I've been watching? I wanna know, because, rather than encouraging anything, they pretty much seem to be stifling everything. Big Govt Republicans. Ay, yea, yea.


Ninth, don’t be stupid.

Words Brooks might be unable to live by.


Don’t make labor markets rigid.

Not sure how that squares with this:

Solis Pushes Agenda to Bolster Labor

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said her agency will seek to enact an array of 90 rules and regulations next year aimed at giving more power to workers and unions.

Yeah, that'll work.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Don't be stupid! Well let's see how many at the jobs summit took that advice:

Robert Reich Professor, UC-Berkeley; former U.S. Secretary of Labor

I urged that the Administration and Congress put first priority on helping states and cities, which are now undertaking, in effect, an anti-stimulus program totaling $350 billion over this year and next.

Well, state and local government jobs cost about 35% more than private sector jobs to fund, so that would seem to be pretty inefficient. Of course, Reich's paycheck comes from the state of California....

James P. Hoffa General President, Teamsters

Think “America first” when it comes to trade policy. If this government wants to do something, enforce the trade laws if we have them.

Thereby violating Say's Law (i.e. supply is implicit demand) and restricting foreign demand for American produce.

Robert Kuttner Co-founder of the American Prospect

Because we’re stuck in this very high unemployment trap where the banks are nominally back to health but they’re not extending credit to the people who need it and the mortgage situation isn’t being solved and jobs aren’t being created you need more public spending in the short run that gets us out of debt. To try to reduce the deficit now would be crazy. The general feeling in the room was certainly we need to do more and I think he personally gets the fact that you have to go deeper into deficit spending.

Uh huh. Tell ya what, Bob, get back to us when you've made up your mind which it is.

Dean Baker Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

....I think we could use some sort of work share task credit like Germany. Germany has been able to keep unemployment from rising during the recession by essentially giving tax credits to shorten work time rather than lay workers off. I think that’s a great model for us to try here.

Of course, Germany's unemployment rate didn't have all that far to go to reach 10% did it, Dean? Sorta like a pre-payment unemployment strategy.

Anna Burger Chair, Change to Win

Expand the safety net for the unemployed with increased unemployment insurance and more work sharing programs.

Pay people to not work. Brilliant.


Brooks should stick to his forte', creases in pant loads.


Has David Brooks been watching the same govt that I've been watching?

He's mesmerized by the crease of the pant leg, so his observational skills are a bit off.


Ah, daddy beat me to it.


Funny there was a speech out of HK some months back that focused on many of these points


To try to reduce the deficit now would be crazy.

Recessions, surpluses -- it's quite a coincidence that Dem economic theory is to spend no matter what, isn't it?

Obama said the U.S. has had to "spend our way out of this recession."

An amazing coincidence, really.


No, Dr. J, you did everything but an exorcism, and the virus would block the signal


what is left unsaid is that shipments always peak in October for the combination Christmas rush/end of year budget blowout. Now they are panicking again.

I wonder if Obama saw the SNL parody with Chairman Hu. "What is crunker, Mr. Obama?". Now it's cash for microwaves, big screen TV's etc....all of it made offshore. These people are incredible morons.

Melinda Romanoff


They already codified the "no work=pay" when they repealed the "Clinton" welfare reforms. Only have to show up for their kob once a year, in November, on a Tuesday, the first one, or sign off on the absentee form and some helpful soul will do it for them.


TM reads David Brooks so the rest of us don't have to... or purely to antagonize us.

Tell me again... why does anyone read David Brooks. Just out of sheer audacity I read the Wikipedia entry on Brooks. Nothing stands out except that nothing stands out as reason to pay any attention to him.

Hey, here's an idea for Brooks to munch on: Why doesn't government just get out of the way.


Jennifer Rubin beat me to it:
"But the list of stupid things that are likely to retard innovation, growth, hiring, and investment and act as a drag on a robust recovery is longer than that. Honestly, it includes the key priorities in Obama’s domestic agenda.

What could stifle hiring more than a bevy of new taxes and cap-and-trade regulations (coming from either Congress or the EPA)? What’s likely to stifle medical innovation and new drug development more than federal panels of “experts” dictating treatment options and taking a whack out of pharmaceutical companies? Really, the entire point of the Obama agenda is to drain resources from the private sector, where jobs, innovation, creative destruction, and growth come from, and dump them into the public sector, where the wealth can be mushed around and spread to favored constituencies. It’s hard to be supportive of the Obama agenda and a dynamic free-market economy. After all, the former is at odds with the latter."

Frau Nebenan

"Has David Brooks been watching the same govt that I've been watching?"
Not since he got called to the WH woodshed.

Good news, narciso. We've been holding our collective breath for you.

We heard it here first from clarice. He's a Dummkopf! Obama has no clue about how things really work. Alinsky never had to meet a pay roll.


Oh, yes, congratulations, narciso.


everything but an exorcism

i have some good contacts...


And then Barack told Pharaoh, "Let My People Spend!"



"there’s widespread agreement that decisions should be made by a National Infrastructure Bank, not pork-seeking politicians."

This is hysterically funny!

Who would run this magic bank? People who don't look after their own interests? Where do we find these people?!!!


Wonder of wonders, Wesbury and Stein seem to be getting it, finally...

Here they are re the Government Bubble:

In other words, loose money has created a temporary mirage in which a massive increase in government spending appears to be an easy burden to carry. In particular, the mirage of low rates colors the public's view of legislative efforts to fully nationalize the U.S. health care system, making it seem more affordable than it is in reality.

How is this any different than the housing market from a few years back? Homeowners thought they could afford a larger home as long as they assumed interest rates would stay low forever.

Just like homeowners who relied too much on short-term adjustable rate mortgages, the federal government's average debt maturity remains less than 4.5 years, which means net interest costs will soar over the next several years as the government rolls over its debt at higher interest rates.

But here's what makes a government bubble even worse. When private sector bubbles burst, investors flee that sector. Home building went from 6.3% of GDP back in 2005 to a recent low of 2.4%. Does anyone think a government bubble is going to bring about smaller government anytime soon? Of course not. Government will try to keep its bubble alive by taxing and borrowing even more. But it can't last forever. Every bubble pops. Eventually.


I wasn't kidding long ago when i said I think the NYT has a machine they keep in the office of the resident "conservative" columnist that sucks his brains out. This article by Brooks proves his have been vacuumed up and discarded.


Was there a time, Clarice, when he exhibited the presence of brains? I am not being as facetious as I may sound, since I have never, ever read the NY Times, I have no point of comparison.

I am out here in Cahleeforneea land, where Pelosi, and Boxer, and Waxman, and the Sanchez sisters et al, rule because of stupid district maps that are designed for the purpose of re-electing them, over and over again.

Jim Miller

Why 1991?

I started reading the column after seeing Tom's post, and ran into this cheerful paragraph:

"The American model remains an impressive growth engine, even allowing for the debt-fueled bubble. The U.S. economy grew by 63 percent between 1991 and 2009, compared with 35 percent for France, 22 percent for Germany and 16 percent for Japan over the same period. In 1975, the U.S. accounted for 26.3 percent of world G.D.P. Today, after the rise of the Asian tigers, the U.S. actually accounts for a slightly higher share of world output: 26.7 percent."

Most of this I had known before, but it is still fun to see it in a New York Times column.

But his choice of a starting date puzzles me. I could understand round numbers or numbers tied to a presidential term, but why 1991? Because it was a recession year? But there were others before and have been others since.

(Oh, and for his overall argument, here's my tentative conclusion: Almost everything he advocates is impossible as long as Pelosi and Reid are running Congress. And there are significant implementation problems with most parts of his plan, even if we can get a Republican majority next year or in 2012.)

Danube of Thought

We have enough damn fools in our lives. Won't David Brooks just go away? Good God...


Except Saffire was fairly immune to that syndrome, except when he got the fever over
Poindexter and TIA. Then again he started in public relations with Tex McCrary so he wasn't subject to the same ideological straightjacket

Melinda Romanoff


They keep payin' him...


Someone please read this interview w/Al Gore about the climate emails.

Q: What's your view on the medieval warm period and the charge that the East Anglia e-mails suggest data was manipulated to "contain" that anomaly?

A: I haven't read those e-mails in detail but the larger point is that there are cyclical changes in the climate and they are fairly well understood and all of them are included in the scientific consensus. When you look at what has happened over the last few decades the natural fluctuations point in the opposite direction of what has actually occurred. When they run the models and plug in the man-made pollution, the correspondence is exact. Beyond that, the scale of natural fluctuations has now been far exceeded by the impact of man-made global warming.


I am sorry, but I am getting really pissed off. Our country is going down the drain and all the media can salivate over is Tiger fng Woods.

omg. We are in bad straights.


When you look at what has happened over the last few decades the natural fluctuations point in the opposite direction of what has actually occurred. When they run the models and plug in the man-made pollution, the correspondence is exact. Beyond that, the scale of natural fluctuations has now been far exceeded by the impact of man-made global warming.

Well, I don't have to really read the article, considering that all that is, well, pretty much wrong.

Frau Nebenan

centralcal - if we can toss Boxer under the Bay bridge in 2010, "Cahleeforneea land" may stand a chance. I can look past any number of political and personal warts to insure that she will go back where she came from. IMO it means taking Horowitz's The Art of Political War to heart.


Maybee, you really must check out Thayer Watkins

There is a TON of info there, smartly derived.


Gret post by Lindgren at Volokh:



Who would the Times pay 300K to otherwise, DOT, I know that is a number that suggests
nothing good, except the sound of burning
cash, you can put Redstone's reorganizing
the 'chairs on the Titanic, in order to keep
perky Couric as a similar vanity project, as
their audience keeps getting 'more and more

If the truth are no object Po, (where did I
ever come to that conclusion) than of course
the science makes sense, not, Hence an agitprop piece by Emerich, like Day after Tomorrow, seems as totally ludicrous as we originally suspected

JM Hanes

I'm trying to remember the last time I disagreed with Jennifer Rubin. It hasn't happened very often. The only Brooks column worth reading in years was the one he did on iPods.


I agree. So why is Jennifer working herself to death trying to make a living online when Brooks is sitting in a big office being grossly overpaid?

Come to think of it, I do not think there's a single big paper columnist who I do not think is almost completely or at best largely ridiculous.


She was naive about Obama in the early part of the year, from the looks of some of her Pajama Media and even Contentions posts, but that is understandable,up to a point. "Hope over experience' was really catching like the bird flu around that time.

Rob Crawford

Sixth, loosen the so-called H-1B visa quotas to attract skilled immigrants.

AKA the "let's undercut the skilled workers, too" plan.


Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said her agency will seek to enact an array of 90 rules and regulations next year aimed at giving more power to workers and unions.

A Depression redux in full manifestation.


Sixth, loosen the so-called H-1B visa quotas to attract skilled immigrants.

Don't get me work here, I work with some folks who have H-1B visas, so there is a purpose to them, but only a person living in the rarefied air of the Boston-NYC-DC cocktail set would think that opening this up in the middle of a recession is a good idea.

H-1B is really designed for conditions of full employment. Right now, loosening H-1B visas would be salt on the wounds of many unemployed tech workers.


Well Ignatius is not totally useless on the foreign policy front, at the Post. Applebaum despite two big blindspots, that would side swipe an eighteen wheeler, does some interesting work. Tierney in some aspects of the times. Samuelson is good on economics,Garvin who does mostly TV commentary for the Herald, although he has done good pieces on the misalocated stimulus, and the insanity of civilian trials for 'unlawful enemy combatants'. But it's kind of a 'wasteland' to cite Newton Minow in another context.


Does anybody else find it incredibly sad that the best way we have to solve intractable problems is to farm them out to the commission du jour? I suppose that there are lots of things that are less democratic than an up/down vote on a reasonably well-selected commission recommendation, but isn't this what we pay our representatives for?

I know, I know--hopelessly utopian. But don't you ever get the feeling that maybe the only reason they act like boobs is because, deep down, we want them to act like boobs?


Well they have eventually chosen not to actually be part of the actual role of the legislature, to actually debate the bills, come up with appropriations on time.so the czars cut them out of the responsibility to do so, The Apollo Alliance and SEIU, seems to have cut them out of actually writing or apparently reading the bills. The EPA, don't get me started on them


This ought to induce a round of wrist-slitting on the Left ...

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Obama administration has asked an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit accusing former Bush administration attorney John Yoo of authorizing the torture of a terrorism suspect, saying federal law does not allow damage claims against lawyers who advise the president on national security issues.

The Unbeliever

Let's try the Opposite Day game:

Sixth, loosen the so-called H-1B visa quotas to attract skilled immigrants.

The unwritten assumption is that skilled immigrants==more innovators. A shaky assumption, but let's grant it for the sake of argument.

We have a need for innovation and high general unemployment. Doesn't that suggest we should increase skilled worker visas, at the same time we decrease the number of unskilled workers coming in? Surely, in the middle of recession and double digit unemployment, even Congress can't scrape together a reason to allow excess workers to hit the labor pool!

Brooks is making a qualitative claim here. If he sees value in having more innovation, he is assigning higher social value to a certain kind of work by instituting a national policy to encourage it. But doesn't that mean we can also assign lower value to other kinds of work, and make a decision that encouraging more of the same is not worth the national cost?

How about we poke some Congresscritters and get them to put together a simple package with exactly three parts:

(1) Ironclad border security
(1.5) Strictly enforce expired visas and visitors who overstay their alloted time.
(2) Increae the H1-B quotas.

I know, I know, it's unreasonable for me to expect something simple out of Congress. But a voter can dream...

JM Hanes

"But don't you ever get the feeling that maybe the only reason they act like boobs is because, deep down, we want them to act like boobs?"



There are so many links now to AGW fraud story's that its hard to keep up, but">http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/"> this one from Watts Up With That, titled "The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero", is good in showing very specifically how they lied about the data in Australia.

The actual honest temperatures taken showed an actual decrease of .7 C over the last century, whereas the manipulated untrue data showed a decrease over the last century of 1.2 C.

Very straight forward evidence to the eye of intentional lying.


Excuse my typo in the above.

The date was manipulated to show an Increase of 1.2C over the last century as opposed to the actual .7C decrease.

Very easily evident when you look at figure 7.


Just heading up to bed when I heard a top of the hour radio news report on CBS that scared me.

The reporter said that a handbook of how the Airport Screening Process is done has been leaked and posted on the Internet.

Then he said "The leaked information is still available on some websites that the Government doesn't control."

That second bit is the part that scared the carp out of me.


Thomas Collins

TheRadicalModerate and JMH, whether or not we want them to act as boobs, we generally tolerate them acting that way.


From MayBee's link to the Gore interview with Slate:

I haven't read all the e-mails, but the most recent one is more than 10 years old.
He says this twice, allowing him to portray anyone citing the emails as a crank.

Actually, the most recent email was dated 12 Nov 2009, and there are 209 email files from 2009. Here, AL Ron.


“So what is all this going to cost?”

“The short answer is trillions of dollars over the next few decades.”

“It is a significant sum but a relatively small fraction of the world’s total economic output.”

“‘People often ask about the costs,’ said Kevin Parker, the global head of Deutsche Bank Asset Management, who tracks climate policy for the bank. ‘But the figures people tend to cite don’t take into account conservation and efficiency measures that are easily available. And they don’t look at the cost of inaction, which is the extinction of the human race. Period.’”
Really, it's a small price to pay to save the human race.

(Have we ever needed a new president more than we do now?)

Hunger is spreading while the number of homeless families is increasing as a result of the recession and other factors, according to a report on Tuesday. The U.S. Conference of Mayors said cities reported a 26 percent jump in demand for hunger assistance over the past year, the largest average increase since 1991. Middle-class families as well as the uninsured, elderly, working poor and homeless increasingly looked for help with hunger, which was mainly fueled by unemployment, high housing costs and low wages. The 2009 report is based on a survey of 27 cities, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and San Francisco, that comprise the group’s task force on hunger and homelessness.
The MSM is now in revolt against "The Won."

Federal funding of research is NOT productive. In fact it crowds out innovation and as we see with climate change, breeds politically correct awarding of largess.

The DNA sequencing example is a good one for the opposite of Brooks allegation. Private sequencing kicked the ever loving stuffing out of the federal grant effort.


Davis Brooks is a man baby!!


I just saw some guy (I think an elected democrat) on Fox saying neither Cap and Trade or Healthcare will cost one job!

Michael Steele's rebuttal:

DO they think we are stupid?

That's going to be my next tea party sign.

Oh and I'm delightfully snowed in.


Collapse In Tax Withholdings Refutes Improvements In Either Unemployment Or Corporate Profitability

By Tyler Durden

Created 12/08/2009 - 12:40

Even as the BLS and the administration are trying to cover up the real state of unemployment affairs using assorted semantic gimmicks of just what it means to be unemployed, and as companies provide adjusted EPS numbers, while actual earnings continue to collapse, the true barometer of spending, provided by the Financial Management Service, tax withholdings (net of refunds), continues to paint the truest picture of just what is really happening with both America's consumer and the corporate world. And it ain't pretty. On a rolling 12 month basis, individual tax withheld has dropped by nearly 8% YoY, from $1.42 trillion to $1.31 trillion, while company witholdings are down a whalloping 64%, from $274 billion to just under $100 billion! This is money that will never be used to pay down the skyrocketing US deficit, because both the US consumer and average US company are simply not collecting the required cash to line the Treasury's pockets with the one traditional way to pad the deficit: taxes. Expect much, much, much more debt issuance in America's short, medium and long-term future.

Thomas Collins

Jane, it's wind swept icy rain turning to wind swept cold rain in the Financial District, but it was sticking snow in the southwest 128 'burbs.


If you agree that a picture can be worth a thousand words, follow this link: What Recovery? Behold The Amazing Ghost Shipping Fleet Of Singapore. What the picture shows, if you scan the horizon, is simply a vast armada of empty container ships off the coast of Singapore.


The actual honest temperatures taken showed an actual decrease of .7 C over the last century, whereas the manipulated untrue data showed a decrease over the last century of 1.2 C.


I've spent some time going through the MO records. If you go through the records individually, you can't find a trend in any of it from the turn of the last century. University of MO shows the same thing. It's only after the "adjustments" are applied, that the trends show up. Convenient that. BTW, you can look up temperature stations from anywhere in the world via Nasa GISS


Hey TC - I just read that one of the places Scott Brown did the best is your home town.

WE have about a foot of snow it looks like. That is probably an exaggeration.


Hillary's pollster, Mark Penn got $6 m in Stimulus funds..(Her debt to him was over $5--maybe the extra was interest.). At most a couple of jobs were saved there for this dough.


3 jobs according to Rush. So each apparently makes $2m.


Yes, I re-read the piece in The Hill and three jobs were involved..And what did these three do for the money--public service announcments telling people tvs were going from analog to digital.


We should sue.

The comments to this entry are closed.