“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Fed and Treasury Need to Start Buying Stocks

I have suggested this before. It is more urgent that it be done now. Pension funds, hedge funds, mutual funds, endowments all are watching stock values and their investments plummet. There is an irrational behavior in much of the selling as many of the companies who find their common shares under pressure are well capitalized, strong and vital corporations.

However when panic sets in, calmer heads need to do something. All equities are priced at the margin of the last sale. Targeted buying by the Treasury would be supportive and cost the US taxpayer nothing.

Th US purchasing these shares would be buying low to sell later at much greater prices. If this is not done soon, we may very well find that the US Government is no longer capable of preventing a financial catastrophe.

Buy shares and put them in the Social Security Trust Fund.


  1. If the Fed were to buy the common stocks they would not go to the SS trust Fund, as the Fed is a privately held company, not a branch of the Federal Government.

    So that part of the plan would not materialize, but the Treasury could buy common stock, instead of the preferred issues that are being created now.

    The purchasing of common stock would make the Federals an active participant in the management of the businesses, the appearance of which they are trying to avoid, now.

    In regards the banks, the preferred shares are the quickest way to increase the capitialization of the banks.

    Should the Federals be buying GM common?
    Or Ford?
    Maybe some Studebaker stock should be included in the portfolio.

    Who gets the Board seats and who votes the shares?

    Barney Frank on the Board of Consolidated Edison, that does not seem like the best idea I've ever heard. Fannie and Fraudie, writ larger, seems to me.

    Should President Obama also have control of major equity positions in the major companies in the United States?

    Doesn't he already have enough influence, as it is?

  2. The Fed would buy shares from funds that need to liquidate for cash and keep the shares off the market. This would slow or stop a downward spiral.

    There is nothing to prevent the Fed from doing so.

    The Fed is not controlled by either Congress or the President.

    Common share holders are not active participants in the management of businesses.

    The object of the exercise is stop the irrational decline in equity value and mitigate the consequences of the fall.

    The point is not to exercise control, it is to prevent falling value, which only causes further economic declines, and greater governmental liabilities.

    Perhaps you have an alternate suggestion, or are content to let the free market settle it all out, such as letting the mortgage market sort itself out, or the banks, or hedge funds, or the state and municipal governments when they collapse, or the individual countries as they withe r down under financial duress.

    How has that been working?

  3. Common share holders can vote those shares and can, if they can gain a large enough block, control the compay.

    You are right, the Fed ccould start this type program and hold those shares. They could print the money to do it with.

    The point of the excercise, today, will not eliminate the unintended consequences, tomorrow.
    Control would become a MAJOR issue.
    We could count on that.

    For the Treasury to buy the common stock, beyond the question of control, is the question of financing. How much of an infusion would be required, do you think, to turn things around.

    The Federals and their AIG partners seriously under estimated the amount of money needed, by AIG, to keep it afloat.

    How much should the taxpayer invest in GM, Ford, Studebaker and Stanley Steamer?

    One alternative would be for the Fed to act as a clearing house for interbank lending, there by guarenteeing repayment, between the banks. One would think that would free up some credit.

    We should start with Health Care, that is seven percent of the economy and socializing that is a matter of National Security, according to John McCain, it is also a priority of Team Obama.

    Buying up hospitals, insurance and drug companies, is that where we'd start?

  4. Now we'll see what the Bush Booster Club has to say about my latest post there:
    Confirmed It Looks Like Obama Just Got Away With Largest Election Donations Fraud in History

    Bush "Justice" (lawlessness) has been a disaster for this country, along with his refusal (except for token efforts of late) to enforce any aspect of immigration law.

    Change for America...
    The Politico reported that Obama will not have to worry about his election donations scandal.
    There will be no investigation:

    The Federal Election Commission is unlikely to conduct a potentially embarrassing audit of how Barack Obama raised and spent his presidential campaign’s record-shattering windfall, despite allegations of questionable donations and accounting that had the McCain campaign crying foul.
    However, John McCain will be audited since he took federal funding as he and Obama both agreed to back in the spring.

  5. Nationalizing two birds, with one stone, so to speak?

  6. Anyone here STILL want to defend the SOB?

  7. Ain't that just the shits, doug.

  8. habu may come back around, he'd be up for it. He may not be on 21JAN09, in seventy one days, though.

    Time will tell, let's not write the review of the final chapter, before it is finished.

  9. sure to check out the Pundit:
    He's got some screen shots that are just SICK.

  10. Ya gotta be deaf and/or dumb to not admit he has been the most destructive President in modern times.

  11. K-Mart is in need of cash and new management, should the Federals buy that, but not Walmart?

    Would we buy into weakness and leave the strong to compete with the government, later?

    Or buy a set percentage of companies in selected industries, across the board?

  12. Buy into the oil industry, just as Maxine Waters has been advocating for.

    Guarenteed, if the Federals held major shares of the oil companies, control would become a major point of contention.

    Same in auto, steel, broadcasting and a multitude of other industries.

    Having the Federals buy common shares of Clear Channel, that is a dangerous way forward, seems to me.

  13. 15. Charles:
    A helpful thing to remember here is that banks have considerably scaled back their loans and not too many trash loans are being handed out any more. The banks themselves are slimming down their debts to assets ratios from +30 to 1 to the traditional 12 to 1.

    It cannot be be emphasized enough. This is Massively deflationary.

    At the same time the federal government as well as countries around the world are injecting massive amounts of money into the system.

    It cannot be emphasized enough. This is massively inflationary.

    So what happens when you have a massively inflationary rock come up against a massively inflationary hard place?

    Beats me. Time will tell.

    But I think it was vision of the deflationary spiral caused by the banks credit contraction that motivated the central bankers to inject money into the system.

    The great power of the US is a function of private return on capital–which far exceeds the rest of the world. However, government return on capital likely is in line with the rest of the world’s governments return on capital–which is to say–not much.

    Nov 11, 2008 - 7:12 am
    16. Charles:
    My WAG as to why the reason the fed is not telling where they are spending their money is that part of it is going to compensate foreign banks who bought junk US mortgages that were marked GRADE A.

    Nov 11, 2008 - 7:14 am
    17. Charles:
    People don’t want to buy chinese vegetables with pesticides in them or chinese anything that have pollutants in them, or chinese toys that are going to harm kids because they are shoddily made…

    Its not likely that the USA will be held to another standard vs a vis financial products.

    Junk means Junk. Grade A Means Grade A.

    Truth in labeling.

    So the fed is likely paying off a lot of foreign banks that got the democratic trash mortgages when they thought they were buying Grade A.

  14. He ranks right there with Jimmy Carter, doug.

  15. Have you tried to figure out how much buying they'd need to do to influence the market - start with the average volume of trading and try to come up with a dollar figure from there. I'd guess you'd be up in the trillions mighty fast. Heck, why not go whole hog and become like China and have the gov. own it all?

  16. I don't know about this. I'd ask though, why should the millions and millions of Amercians who don't have any stocks at all, yet pay big taxes, be in the business of having their tax money buy stocks?

    The greater good, I quess is the argument. Maybe it is right. But when did the money ever flow the other way?

  17. 29. Karen:

    Doug, re your “all the most malicious actors are returned to serve our country” is reason enough to wonder how anyone can hope for a Jindal (or other sane actors) to come to the rescue in just 4 years when a Jamie Gorelick and her kind has been allowed to wreak destruction scot-free for a decade or more. The coming Obama administration, plus Congress, plus millions more voters for them, will not only make things worse, they will centralize everything so densely, it will become a massive black hole impossible to escape. We know the mindset, the beliefs, the worldview of those coming to power and character is destiny. I fear a future of famine and freezing in the dark. Tell me (anybody) some good reasons why I’m just getting hysterical.

    30. Doug:

    It'll be Paradise!
    (of a sort)
    Dystopian Paradise

  18. Albob,
    You still defending the righteous Mr Bush?
    (Check my Gateway Pundit link, I dare ya!)

  19. Because, bob, the Federals would borrow the money, from the Fed, to do the buyouts.

    The "tax" would be inflation.

    It is a macro economic challenge that is beyond my understanding of all the details. Beyond almost anyones understanding, which is the real problem, seems to me.

    All the unforeseen unintended consequences.

  20. You already explained it:
    The Shits.

  21. FOX News is about to report on Federal plans for the auto industry, buying into it, according to the talking head.

    Coming up, soon, he says.

  22. I quess that I think that if you buy stocks you are kind of 'on your own.'

    In the stuff left over from Grandfather's days, there are 7 or 8 stock certificates, all worthless. One, 'Clearwater Milling Company' has a really neat stock certificate. Long ago into bankruptcy.

    Companies come into existence, and go out of existence, like people, like stars.

    I don't know what the best thing to do is.

    For an empire, we don't do too well. We have let the Japanese 'out car' us.

  23. Maybe the folks in the sixties that didn't have kids to spare them being condemned to living in Hell were right all along.

  24. Didja check out Gateway yet, LaBob?

  25. Maybe we were better off without cars.

  26. TVs, The NEA, The Commies got their way w/us.

  27. Orson Bean says before there was a Black List, the Commies in Hollywood had their own list of Patriots they would not hire.

  28. Yeah, I looked at it Doug.

    Nothing will be done.

    But since my wife has committed voter fraud according to
    Rat, I think I'll let the subject drop.

    I'm tired of arguing.

    The election is over.

    If my wife had voted here, Rat would say she should have voted there, with a park bench as her address, like the Federal Judge said.

    Here, you can live in a lean/to out in the National Forests, they got to get a search warrant to shine a flashlight in there.

    Modern times.

  29. Not Right that this is the World our kids inherit.

  30. I've got to get a notebook.

    There was a great poem by an English writer back when machinery came of age.

    We are messing up the ancient relationship between the human and the animal, he said. The old relationship between the man and the horse, and the ox.

    But, I'll never find it now.

  31. When was the last time you actually saw an ox?

    But I think companies like Deere and Cat are great, and we have no choice now, we can't go back.

  32. Deere and Cat will save us from Socialist Hell?

  33. Great American companies--





  34. Impressive Machines, LaBob, but still just machines!

    ...are you saying at least the kids will still have enuf bread?

  35. 31. Karen:

    Maybe I should add: I agree that, when a governmental system is designed in such a way that whichever particular personalities occupy whatever particular slots of power, the system can stay on-course even in bumpy waters. The problem is, that system has been so successfully chipped away at by the bad actors for so long now… Maybe we are the ones who are simply living in the past, acting as if the past is still present.

    Nov 11, 2008 - 4:57 pm
    32. Doug:

  36. No, I'm not saying that.

    I think our churches and synagogues have a chance. And our voluntary organizations.

    Get local, get vocal, I quess.

    Meet your neighbor. Get active.

  37. The fact is though, that with 300 million and growing, we got to have the machines.

    If we don't, if the machines fail, like James Dicky said, in that deep book, we'll have hell to pay, for a while at least.

    And since I don't like the thought of that, I'm for the machines.

  38. I don't know what relevance machines have here, maybe you could explain?

    "The coming Obama administration, plus Congress, plus millions more voters for them, will not only make things worse, they will centralize everything so densely, it will become a massive black hole impossible to escape.
    We know the mindset, the beliefs, the worldview of those coming to power and character is destiny.

  39. Deliverance

    "The machines are gonna fail."

    It's the rise of consciousness.

    Through the body.

    Just like in the old ice ages.

    A biological pump.

    But, Dicky has it wrong. The mind and the spirit are two different things.

  40. Only a whackjob would argue against tractors.
    Not worthy of attention.
    Socialism, otoh...

  41. Dueling Banjos

    If it goes to hell, we might as well make some music out of it.

  42. The mind and the spirit are two different things.

    Bob insists.

    But, he's uneducated, he's a fraud, doesn't pay his taxes, and his wife votes illegally.

  43. Maybe if you took up the banjo, you could forget.

  44. ...just don't take it out on the wife.
    Or farm animals.

  45. I think consciousness rises with the body.

    But the body rises with goodness.

    Goodness is from the spirit.

    It is the recognition of the other in oneself that leads the way forward.

    Bob has spoken...:)

  46. Ok, but you do know what I am saying.

  47. 33. slade:
    Moody’s issued a warning in January of this year:

    In its report on the country’s so-called “sovereign debt rating,” Moody’s says the world’s largest creditor risks losing its triple-A rating within the decade, if it doesn’t get control of its entitlement programs.

    Those would be the same agencies that rated the repackaged mortgaged-backed securities that became a household name in September of this year.

    The difference with a distinction is getting serious versus hysterical.

    Nov 11, 2008 - 6:31 pm
    34. Doug:
    Shitty Moody

    (edited for the tender sensibilies @ the Bar)

  48. I'm gonna stay self-focused to see how long I can last before serious suicidal impulses kick in, LaBob:
    It's a free country!
    ...or it was, at least.

  49. Nah, no suicidal impluses Doug. Not for us. We be better than that.

    Remember when you talked me out of it, with old "Flares
    Endtimes" or whatever his name was, over there at BC. I can't remember his name.

    Guy always thought that if the world would just end, things would be great.

    I was about ready to shoot myself, and you came to my rescue.

  50. Jeeze, I caint remember.
    Used to have a good memory.
    All lost.
    All IS Lost.

  51. 75% Believe Obama will do a good job.
    It's all good.

  52. May well be.

    May not

    Kind of an unknowable.

    Thought things would work out well, with GW large and in charge.
    Was wrong about that, weren't we, ALL.

  53. Kunstler writes:

    The current low-ish price of oil is a total fake-out, having to do much more with asset-dumping in the paper markets than the true resource supply-demand equation. Most of the world (the media for sure) has ignored preliminary leaks from the International Energy Agency's (IEA) forthcoming report which forecasts global oil depletion to be 9.1 percent in 2009. This is a staggering figure, very likely to offset whatever slack we see in global demand from the worldwide economic crisis..

  54. ALL are not yet accounted for, as you know, damn well.
    We could speculate on the inevitable defense of The One.
    (w, in this case)

  55. Bob says we can farm on good feelings alone, Mat.
    No Problem.

  56. You getting older, too?

    He was the white guy with a Bible under his arm little understood, that kept saying, the times are at hand, repent, which is always a good idea of course, and insisting that the world would be a lot better off if it didn't exist.

    Then I moaned and groaned, and threatened suicide, and you said, "don't do that, bob".

  57. Hell, he could plow the lower forty on his flatus, alone.
    Rufus will be proud.

  58. Bob says we can farm on good feelings alone, Mat.
    No Problem.

    Absolutely not.

    Bob says "without Deere and Cat, we are shit out of luck."

    You have read me wrong.

    But, who was that guy, calling for the end of the world, and all?

  59. 34. Doug:
    Difficult not to feel a bit Moody.

    Nov 11, 2008 - 6:53 pm

    35. slade:
    Or a bit Standard and Poor.

  60. Just what rufus has been saying for years, mat.

    That clock keeps on ticking, does it not.

    Seventyone days and we will be beyond inauguration day.

    Peak oil, exporters using their resources domesticly or selling it to China, outside the market, but rather by political treaty.

    Obama has promised 5 million jobs, greening the US's energy needs. The B Team will do something decisive, soon, it that regard.

  61. Yeah, I remember him, he came and went, but since I don't really WANT to remember him, I'll let it go.

  62. Cap and Trade will be decisive, for sure.

  63. Dang, it's driving met nuts, Doug.

    Can't you think of his name?

    Kind of had an 'end times' ring to it.

  64. We'd all be better off if we were just dead, which didn't make any sense to me.

  65. Bravo Team
    Team Bravo


    An entire generation has been born, grown up, and had families of its own since Ronald Reagan was elected. And where is the world we promised these children of the Conservative Age? Where is this land of freedom and responsibility, knowledge, opportunity, accomplishment, honor, truth, trust, and one boring hour each week spent in itchy clothes at church, synagogue, or mosque? It lies in ruins at our feet, as well it might, since we ourselves kicked the shining city upon a hill into dust and rubble. The progeny of the Reagan Revolution will live instead in the universe that revolves around Hyde Park.

    We Blew It
    A look back in remorse on the conservative opportunity that was squandered.

    by P.J. O'Rourke

  66. Cap and Trade was McCain, doug

    Obama was carbon tax.

  67. That clock keeps on ticking, does it not.

    Yes. It's very serious.

    I already advised to leave EVERYTHING to the Kurds and get out. Pack up, while the packing can still be done. Close all the bases abroad and bring everything home, before you're forced to abandon it.

  68. I do believe, but then no one spoke of policy, much, prior to the election.

    It was all about personality.
    Now, even Mrs Palin has quit saying Obamasan pals around with terrorists.

  69. I've been saying that for years, now, mat.

    Even habu agrees with that. Said so, just yesterday.

    Not a small "r" republican, habu.

  70. Which makes me a "racist" for calling a white fool a white fool.

    Goodnight all.

  71. None of this is the fault of the left. After the events of the 20th century--national socialism, international socialism, inter-species socialism from Earth First--anyone who is still on the left is obviously insane and not responsible for his or her actions. No, we on the right did it. The financial crisis that is hoisting us on our own petard is only the latest (if the last) of the petard hoistings that have issued from the hindquarters of our movement. We've had nearly three decades to educate the electorate about freedom, responsibility, and the evils of collectivism, and we responded by creating a big-city-public-school-system of a learning environment.

    No, habu is a big "R" Republican, just like the ones P.J. is talking about, the ones that failed, catastrophicly, over a 28 year run.

  72. Some military leaders remain wary of Obama's pledge to order a steady withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, to be completed within 16 months -- an order advisers say Obama is likely to give in his first weeks in office. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called a withdrawal timeline "dangerous." Others are distrustful of a new administration they see as unschooled in the counterinsurgency wars that have consumed the military for the past seven years.

    But conversations with several Obama advisers and a number of senior military strategists both before and since last Tuesday's election reveal a shared sense that the Afghan effort under the Bush administration has been hampered by ideological and diplomatic constraints and an unrealistic commitment to the goal of building a modern democracy -- rather than a stable nation that rejects al-Qaeda and Islamist extremism and does not threaten U.S. interests.

  73. bobal said...
    I don't know about this. I'd ask though, why should the millions and millions of Amercians who don't have any stocks at all, yet pay big taxes, be in the business of having their tax money buy stocks?

    bobal said...
    I quess that I think that if you buy stocks you are kind of 'on your own.'

    Bobal, I agree with you!! I think it is a pretty good thing we have FDIC to insure the money we've deposited in the bank but to 'insure' stock portfolio's - hell no. There is a whole host of reasons for this ranging from 'creative destruction' to 'caveat emptor'. All this bailing out....errrr, rescuing, seems to me to be a desparate attempt to paper over past mistakes. I can't see much other option then to reflate and try to kick the can down the road enabling us to hope we can grow our way out of the problems we've allowed grow. The other option is to let the dominos tumble which would increase the speed of getting past it but many innocents would suffer. So, we stick our fingers in the holes hoping for the best but to go to the extreme as Deuce suggests might as well lead us to the Chinese option (or Soviet if you will). Not a good one in my opinion. Heck, I'm still a free trader.

    p.s. bobal, I think you deserve the roughing up you've had over the past few days. Throw mat under the bus, think hard on the 'rule of law', ferfit the racist bull (yeppers, I've called you one) and go forth and prosper and be happy.

  74. Nick: I am not a current follower of major league baseball, but the last guy I remember named "Matthews" who played "hardball" the way it should be played, was a third basement for the Milwaukee Braves named Eddie Matthews. The present make-believe media player of hardball - Chris Matthews - has just announced his conversion to the game of "puffball."

    After Obama's recent ordination, Matthews declared "I'm going to do everything I can to make this thing work - this new presidency." There is nothing so startling in this revelation - drum-beating for the state is, after all, what the mainstream media have long been doing (as witness its post-9/11 "roll-over-and-play-dead" behavior concerning the Iraq war, the "war on terror," and trillion-dollar bailouts of major corporate interests).

    It is remarkable, however, that Matthews would feel inspired to openly admit to this kind of institutionalized bias. It is equally telling that his employer - MSNBC - did not immediately fire the man out of some distant respect for the dying art of journalistic truth-telling.

    Matthews and Hardball

  75. Some military leaders remain wary

    There's only one military leader.

  76. "Clearly this guy is going to bring a sense of family to the White House"


  77. An interesting reader's comment on Kunstler's blog:

    I often wonder, when I read your blog, just how pervasive this other, NASCAR inebriated culture is, and how entrenched it would be to change. Is the happy motoring, McDonald's chomping, vision of America simply a media image that the American public would drop like a hot potato once it became clear that it did not fulfill anyone's needs and was not sustainable?

    This brings me to your earlier observation, dRat. All the MSM hoopla, and only a 1% increase in voter turnout from the previous election.

  78. Reidsville Mayor James Festerman does not believe any changes will occur right away at the state level. He said the newly elected officials and those returning would face many challenges, especially with North Carolina’s rate of growth.

    “They’ll have their hands full with the economy,” Festerman said. “I’m optimistic things will work out for us.”

    Festerman said he has done some traveling recently and believes Obama has gotten a good reception throughout the world.

    Responding to Elections

  79. Different parts of the electorate stayed home, this time.

    More blacks and youth voted, while more of the white males and seniors, stayed home.

    Only way I can rationalize McCain only getting 51% of the Senior vote, to O's 49%, is a decrease in participation in what always has been McCain's core constituent base.

  80. Nothing much has changed,
    with regard these numbers

    Behind Ford's scary $12.7 billion loss
    The Big Three are hemorrhaging money, and struggling to stay competitive with foreign rivals.
    Fortune's Alex Taylor crunches the numbers.
    By Alex Taylor III, Fortune senior editor
    January 26 2007:

    According to the latest calculations, the gap between Japanese and American carmakers' profits average out to about $2900 per vehicle, and the home team does not have the advantage.

    Cost issues
    A big reason is the cost of labor. As analyzed by Harbour-Felax, labor costs the Detroit Three substantially more per vehicle than it does the Japanese.

    Health care is the biggest chunk. GM (Charts), for instance spends $1,635 per vehicle on health care for active and retired workers in the U.S. Toyota (Charts) pays nothing for retired workers - it has very few - and only $215 for active ones.

    Other labor costs add to the bill. Contract issues like work rules, line relief and holiday pay amount to $630 per vehicle - costs that the Japanese don't have. And paying UAW members for not working when plants are shut costs another $350 per vehicle.

    Here's one example of how knotty Detroit's labor problem can be:

    If an assembly plant with 3,000 workers has no dealer orders, it has two options. One is to close the plant for a week and not build any cars. Then the company still has to give the idled workers 95 percent of their take-home pay plus all benefits for not working. So a one-week shutdown costs $7.7 million or $1,545 for each vehicle it didn't make.

    GM execs put brakes on labor-savings hopes
    If the company decides to go ahead and run the plant for a week without any dealer orders, it will have distressed merchandise on its hands. Then it has to sell the vehicles to daily rental companies like Hertz or Avis at discounts of $3,000 to $5,000 per vehicle, which creates a flood of used cars in three to six months and damages resale value. Or it can put the vehicles into storage and pay dealers up to $1,250 apiece to take them off its hands.

  81. Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Clinton said the United States has decided it's more important to let "the health-care-financing tail wag the health-care dog than it is to maintain a competitive auto industry or insure all Americans or improve the quality of health care."

    Democratic Sen. Barack Obama recently introduced legislation in Congress that would help address soaring health care costs for automakers by defraying industry's costs of investment in more fuel-efficient cars.

    Obama's proposal calls for the federal government to pick up a portion of the costs automakers pay for retiree health care, so long as companies use some of the savings to retool their factories.

    Obama said the Big Three automakers spent $6.7 billion on retiree health care costs in 2004.

  82. The New Republic

    Surgical Prep
    by Jonathan Cohn
    The Democrats' secret health care plan.
    Post Date Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Since June, staff members from three key Senate committees--Budget, Finance, and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions--have been meeting regularly to map out a health care strategy for the coming year. They've formed three working groups: one focused on expanding insurance coverage, one focused on improving the system's functioning, and one focused on financing a new initiative. They've also been meeting with officials representing almost every key stakeholder involved in the health care debate, from doctors to insurers to consumer advocates to employers. The goal of these meetings has been to develop a common vision among Senate Democrats for what universal health care should look like--and how to pass it. Although the discussions still have a ways to go, a rough consensus is starting to take shape.

    According to multiple participants in the process, the final proposal will probably resemble the initiative Obama touted on the campaign trail. People who like their insurance could keep it; others could buy coverage through a cooperative, like the one federal employees use, in which insurers couldn't exclude people with pre-existing conditions. There would be subsidies, so that everybody could afford a plan, plus serious efforts to restrain future growth in health spending so that the actual price of insurance would start to come down.

    Agreement is also emerging over a roll-out strategy. It would kick off as early as this month, when Max Baucus--whose reputation for bipartisan compromise makes him an unlikely vessel for liberal ambition--introduces a white paper outlining reform options for universal coverage. Afterward, if all goes well, he and Ted Kennedy--who helped drive the process from Massachusetts, where he is receiving treatment for brain cancer--will craft a full-fledged bill. The idea, according to a senior staffer, would be to introduce the measure early next year, after the inauguration: "We intend to push for health care out of the box," the staffer says.

  83. 33. slade:
    Moody’s issued a warning in January of this year:

    In its report on the country’s so-called “sovereign debt rating,” Moody’s says the world’s largest creditor risks losing its triple-A rating within the decade, if it doesn’t get control of its entitlement programs.

    Those would be the same agencies that rated the repackaged mortgaged-backed securities that became a household name in September of this year.

    The difference with a distinction is getting serious versus hysterical.

  84. Getting back to Basics cause I had to get up and take a pee (God, getting older is a pain in ass) we live in a mysterious universe.


    For more than 20 years, the non-college-educated white voters in Macomb County have been considered a “national political barometer,” as Ronald Brownstein of National Journal described them during the Democratic convention in August. After Ronald Reagan won the county by a 2-to-1 margin in 1984, Mr. Brownstein noted, I conducted focus groups that “found that these working-class whites interpreted Democratic calls for economic fairness as code for transfer payments to African-Americans.” So what do we think when Barack Obama, an African-American Democrat, wins Macomb County by eight points?

    I conducted a survey of 750 Macomb County residents who voted Tuesday, and their responses put their votes in context. Before the Democratic convention, barely 40 percent of Macomb County voters were “comfortable” with the idea of Mr. Obama as president, far below the number who were comfortable with a nameless Democrat. But on Election Day, nearly 60 percent said they were “comfortable” with Mr. Obama. About the same number said Mr. Obama “shares your values” and “has what it takes to be president.”


    Oakland County has formed part of the Republican heartland in Michigan and the country. From 1972 to 1988, Democratic presidential candidates in their best years lost the county by 20 points. From Bill Clinton to John Kerry, however, Democrats began to settle for a draw. Over the past two decades, Oakland County began to change, as an influx of teachers, lawyers and high-tech professionals began to outnumber the county’s business owners and managers. Macomb has been slow to welcome racial diversity, but almost a quarter of Oakland’s residents are members of various racial minorities.

    These changes have produced a more tolerant and culturally liberal population, uncomfortable with today’s Republican Party. When we conducted our poll of 600 voters in Oakland County on election night, they were a lot more open than voters in Macomb to gay marriage and affirmative action. We asked those who voted for Mr. Obama why they made that choice. At the top of the list was his promise to withdraw troops from Iraq, followed by his support for tax cuts for the middle class and affordable health care for all, and the idea that he will bring people together, end the old politics and get things done.

    On Tuesday, Oakland County voters gave Mr. Obama a 57 percent to 42 percent victory over John McCain — those 15 points translated into an astonishing 96,000-vote margin. That helped form one of the most important new national changes in the electorate: Mr. Obama built up striking dominance in the country’s growing, more diverse and well-educated suburbs.

  86. According to the latest calculations, the gap between Japanese and American carmakers' profits average out to about $2900 per vehicle, and the home team does not have the advantage.


    All that number represents is creative accounting.

  87. Mr. Biden's swearing-in as vice president makes room for either Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts or Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to step up to the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Neither approaches Mr. Biden's 94.2 percent liberal voting record, but they both register solidly on the left.

    Mr. Kerry scored a 79.5 percent liberal rating and Mr. Feingold garnered a 85.5 percent liberal grade in National Journal's 2007 rankings.

    Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, who is next in order of seniority to Mr. Biden on the committee, said he will not give up his chairmanship of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which has been at the forefront of addressing the meltdown of housing and financial markets.

    Key Committees

  88. 838,156
    = GM's lowest yearly car sales

    $2900 loss/car x 1,000,000 cars/yr
    = 2,900,000,000 loss/yr

    2,900,000,000 loss/yr /72,000 workforce
    = $40,000 loss per worker per year on health insurance?


  89. And the need for reform may not be immediate. Under the law, many companies won't have to start putting cash into their plans to raise funding levels until at least September, giving the market and pension plan values time to recover from the recent big drops.

    However, pension plans facing deeper losses must start kicking in money beginning in April.

    That means swift action is needed, according to those behind the lobbying push.

    Pension Relief

  90. Where's Rat, to check on this election?

  91. With ACORN filing more than 43,000 registration forms this year, 75 percent of all new registrations in the state, Minnesota was facing vote fraud problems even before the election.

    Where's Rat?

  92. Where o where is Desert Rat, the perfect human being?

    He of many complaints?

  93. He who knows to ryhme whine moan and groan?

  94. He who finally pissed off Rufus, and Trish, and even Bob finally, with his





  95. Let's chip in and buy a bus ticket for Rat, so he can check it out.

  96. It might be worth it, we wouldn't have to listen to his non knowledge for a couple of days.

  97. Bob, why the bus? He's got horses.

  98. Mat, you're right there. But, I have got to get back to sleep.

  99. GM needs $40,000 per worker per year just to break even with Japanese. GM is a hopeless cause.

  100. It is not a loss per car, mat, but a cost per car.

    Where is the Bush Justice Department, bob?

    If there is large scale voter fraud, and there well could be, in MN, why are the agents of the Bush Justice Department not on it?

    When Jesse Ventura won the Governor race, there in MN, they had register and vote, at the polling place, on election day.

    It was one of the keys to his winning. No purple fingers, we're to sophisticated, for that, in the US.

    That is why, it seems, all the politicos laywer up, right from the start now a days. To do battle over the legality of the votes.

    So much power is at stake.

  101. Georgia Voter Fraud Tops 100,000

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008 7:20 PM

    By: David Patten

    Election officials in Georgia are launching an all-out investigation into allegations of voter fraud that could involve over 100,000 people.

    “This is extraordinarily disturbing,” declared Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel on Tuesday, according to

    The investigation follows a report by TV news stations in Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, and Cincinnati who compared voter roles in Georgia with those in Florida and Ohio. The investigative journalists found more than 100,000 names that appear to be registered in more than one state.

    Georgia’s master record of voters has 42,000 people on it who are also apparently registered in Florida, according to At least four instances of double voting have been uncovered already – which is a felony.

    “Does our system just trust that people won’t vote twice?” Handel asks. “From the federal level, yes pretty much.”

    Handel, a Republican, says the lack of a federal database to track voter registration leaves “an extremely high potential” for voter fraud.

    2008 Newsmax.

  102. This one hots a tad close to home, bobal. Check the bolded type

    Investigation: Thousands Registered In More Than One State
    Computer Cross Match Reveals Systematic Problems
    Jim Otte, Reporter
    Monday, November 3, 2008 – updated: 9:42 pm EST November 4, 2008

    DAYTON, Ohio
    -- A News Center 7 investigation found a loophole in the voter registration system that allows people to obtain more than one ballot with ease.

    The problem begins with the voter registration system that is operated by local county boards across the country.

    Voters who move from one county to another within the same state have their old voter registration eliminated when county boards update registration lists.

    But that does not happen for people who move from one state to another or own property in more than one state.

    Gina Thompson of Kettering was one of thousands of people who flocked to the Montgomery County Board of Elections office to vote early. She marveled at the turnout and the simplicity of the system.

    "One person, one vote. That's the way it should be," Thompson said.

    But Thompson was concerned when she learned how simple it might be for someone to obtain more than one ballot.

    A cross-match of computerized voter registration lists from Ohio, Florida and Georgia found 112,148 people are registered in more than one state.

    Aaron Bashore of Middletown said he voted locally and received an absentee ballot by mail from Georgia, where he also owns property. Bashore said he threw the absentee ballot away.

    "You could have potentially, if we had worked it, we could have voted in many places, many times, probably," Bashore said.

    Lauren Arnone of Cincinnati received an absentee ballot from her home state of Georgia but had not opened it. She voted in Ohio after an elections official in Georgia told her by telephone that if she registered here, her registration there would be canceled. That advice was inaccurate.

    The computer cross match of the three states turned up evidence of at least three people in Georgia and Florida voting twice. Authorities there pledged to investigate.

    Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said voter fraud is rare but the system does present problems when registration lists are not cross matched between states.

    Brunner had discussed cross-matching for the past year with states surrounding Ohio, but had not been able to come to an agreement with those states.

    It leaves open the possibility that, whether on purpose or by accident, some people could obtain two ballots.

    "There are some people who own properties in both states who think they are entitled to vote in both states because they own property in both states. The law does not work that way in any state in the country. It is where you reside," Brunner said.

    Brunner said she plans to pursue cross-matching voter registration lists on a regional basis after the current election.

    Doubt that Idaho is going to one pf the States she cross checks with, bob. And as you said, your missus only voted once.

    No harm - no foul
    All will be well.

  103. The max for voting twice, it's ten years.

    So if there is a conspiracy, beyond the donald duck piece work payment registrations, but registrations that involve real voter fraud. That'd be RICO'd. or could be.

    Serious business.
    You betcha.

    And trish has not "liked me", for years now.

  104. In that MN deal, there are only three precincts to investigate.

    The where, what, why, when & how ought to be easy for the guys who prosecuted Martha Stewart or Scooter Libbey to ascertain.

    Post Haste

  105. Betcha they could even figure out Who!

  106. westhaek describes one of Obamasan's first challenges, abroad.

    For Poland, the Czech Republic, and others in the East, the best part of the U.S. missile defense plan is not the missile defense installations. The best part is the ancillary American requirement to defend the missile defense installations. That means Patriot and THAAD air and missile defense systems, and enough ground force protection to provide a “trip-wire” deterrence against a hypothetical Russian incursion, as happened to Georgia. But if President Obama pulls up the stakes on the main missile defense project, all of these other deployments will get scratched, too.

    Mr. Medvedev is asking Mr. Obama to choose between standing up for “New Europe” or risk a quick blow-up in U.S.-Russian relations during the first months of his presidency. Needless to say, politicians and electorates across “Old Europe” have great expectations for some kind of a new era regarding America’s relationship with Europe and the rest of the world. A messy squabble with Russia is not what they have in mind for the Obama presidency.

  107. The deal in MN, again, reads more like voting official fraud, than voter fraud, if it is fraudlent and not an error of incompetence by those officials

  108. Coulda been some voter fraud hiding in the original results, TOO.

  109. Isn't "Obamasan" racist code-talk?

  110. You haven't snitched on Bob's wife, yet, have you 'Rat?
    (Other than on the Public Record here @ the Bar)
    Be a shame to have a convicted felon in our extended family.

  111. Could be, doug, could be.

    Obamasan, that a title of respect, doug, amongst the Nipponese.
    I figure that Obama could benefit from that title, as he negotiates with the Chinese.

    His Malaysian experiences should serve him well.

  112. No, doug, not a word to anyone, outside the six of us.

    Amazing that 100,000 viters are dual registered, but only onesies and twosies prosecuted for voting twice.

  113. I am afraid that too many people are convinced that a so-called free market can stop an accelerating deflationary spiral. We do not have a free market. It is a manipulated, gamed and regulated system.

    I envy your optimism.

  114. How great an investment are we really talking about, do you think, in how wide a range of industries and companies?

  115. Over or under a trillion USD?

    Would that even make a real impact, a trillion?

  116. How did Alan Greenspan, the free market cheerleader put it? Something about being in “shocked disbelief.”

  117. AIG, alone sucked up $150 Billion, so far. To what effect on the overall crisis, is an unknowable, to me, at this point. May be unknowable forever.

  118. The O'Rouke piece in gentle, if we look to the old manufacturers and how the center-right Federals of the last 28 years dealt with the challenges of the industrial and economic well being of the US.

  119. Exchanging US held securities for equities is not spending. You are simply trading assets. If you do not believe that the value of US equities will recover, you lose nothing in the exchange, as you will have a system collapse and the currency will go down with it.

    Markets are like herds of animals. Herd leaders are market makers. There are trillions of dollars on the sidelines that will follow a leader, maker, trend line.

    The trend is your friend.

    An alternative plan is to do nothing, like the Forest Service when they decided to let Yellowstone burn itself out. That is a fine philosophy but a lot of perfectly good timber goes down for the count. Macro solutions in a micro world can destroy an infinite amount of micro units.

  120. Jeeze, I caint remember.
    Used to have a good memory.
    All lost.
    All IS Lost.

    Welcome, Doug...
 my world...

    ...You'll enjoy reliving those exciting times of your youth, though...

    ...As you try to find your way home from that last place you went to...what was it now?

  121. I refuse to accept any hint of a suggestion that I might be one of an infinite number of Micro Units.

  122. Yeah, some of them early experiences just keep getting vivider and vivider, Linear! the recent past fades quietly away.

  123. ...maybe one of the few gifts from G_d to go with all the stolen stuff:
    We get to re-live our youth in a virtual sort of way.

  124. Rockford was in the news about something today, Linear.
    (but of course I forgot what for)