Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thinking it Through

It seems that during the past couple of weeks that there has been a spike in comments made by pundits that are nonsensical when you think them through. Given the posturing of many our supposed journalists, I guess this is not surprising.

Recently the news broke that Goldman Sachs has been accused by the SEC of fraud. In watching some reporters discuss this story, the reporters naturally got into the role of regulation and the adverse effect regulation would have on generating new "innovative financial products". While the reporters mentioned transparency, missing from this entire discussion was any mention that those offering the innovative financial products should act in an ethical manner! So freedom from regulation means an entitlement to commit fraud?

The Tea Party movement has had a series of rallies in "celebration" of tax day. Everyone can sympathize with the goals of the movement, lower taxes and less government. But in casually watching this movement, I have yet to see what a Tea Party budget for this country would look like? So how will the Tea Party movement cut taxes and balance the budget? This little budgetary detail seems to be missing.

In my post on the Colbert Report I wrote how Morely Safer, in conducting the interview of Kevin Noonan, made the unfortunate remark that patents are necessary to provide the incentive for taking financial risk. If you are casually listening, this seems like a sensible statement. If you invest time and resources in developing a successful product you should be rewarded. The problem is that patents were never meant as a means of rewarding someone for simple development not to mention that patents should not be granted for natural products.

On the Glenn Beck program, Glenn had a guest discussing how taxation, by taking his money, deprives him from buying goods and services that help grow the economy. The untruth of the preceding statement is that tax dollars are still being transferred to other people who do spend the tax dollars that they have received to help grow the economy. Of course one can legitimately claim that the tax dollars don't enter the economy as efficiently, but to imply that tax dollars simply "disappear" into some void is simply idiotic.

Perhaps my favorite dumb utterance was made by a female reporter on CNBC concerning executive compensation: "If a shareholder does not like the executive's compensation they should sell their shares." Clearly I must be wrong on the concept that the shareholders own the corporation and that the executives work for the shareholder. Regretfully the reporter's statement is actually quite chilling, the reality seems to be that corporate executives run the companies as their own private fiefdoms, which leaves the shareholder virtually powerless.

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