Brief post on the stimulus [updated]

pic-9.jpgTo put $800 billion in perspective, I like to think in terms of households. In the US, there are around 115 million households with a little under three persons per household. Simple division gives us $7,000 per household. The median household income of Patently-O readers is at least two to three times greater than the national median of $50,000. The income-correlated cost will be at least proportional — pushing $20,000 for Patently-O households.

A weak economy has little demand for patent attorneys. Patent attorneys make less money, clients disappear, and law firms close. Although patents can be countercyclic, on average they are not – especially in a sustained downturn.

In the 1990′s, I taught high-school level math and physics as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa. Many of my students were smarter and certainly harder working than their American counterparts. Yet, the Ghanaians have an expected per capita income of just under $1,000 per year. Those kids are a victim of circumstance. In the US, we reap the windfall of circumstance. Our individual income levels are within our control only to a certain extent.

The bottom line here is that this additional $20,000 cost is worth while … if it works. I guess that we’ll find out.

131 thoughts on “Brief post on the stimulus [updated]

  1. Mooney:

    “it’s equally true that no serious person can maintain that deregulation of the financial system such that banking institutions were allowed to trade risks of risking the risk of risking the risk of not being repaid was a good idea for anyone except for the bankers and brokers and related scumbags who “innovated” the bogus paperwork.”

    This is not quite correct. Plenty of serious people have the view that the state is the problem, as is the mainstream paternalist view that people need the permission of the state to do things–so when you say they should not be “allowed” to engage in certain trades, you are presuming you and your state has teh right to stop them. This is wrong. No one has the right to NOT “allow” anyone to do anyting, except initiate violence against others. That is, you may outlaw only aggression–theft, rape, murder–and that is all. Everything else is “allowed” precisely because you do not have the right to stop it. When you stop something, you use force–and this is justifiable only in response to force–if you use force to stop otherwise peaceful activity, you are the one committing a crime by initiating force.

    To be clear, it does not matter whether it’s a “good idea” for banks to be “allowed” to do these things–all that matters is whether they are committing aggression when they “trade risks” etc.

    “The Big Lie, still being repeated by the big liars, is that “nobody could have predicted this.” That is false. Lots of intelligent, honest people predicted this for years, and explained their reasoning.”

    Actually, the only people who predicted it with coherent reasoning were Austrian economists. Everyone else is either incoherent, was wrong, or buys into the mainstream Keynsian or monetarist understanding of economics, both of which misapprehend the nature of the Great Depression and thus their policies are doomed to repeat it.

    Lionel Hutz:

    “And Stephan, I certainly agree that the lowering if interest rates by the reserve over the last decade was a huge mistake and one I did not like at the time as reinforced the increased value placed upon investment rather than work in this country. High interest rates mean high savings rates.”

    It is more than this. The problem is in having a central bank, and fractional reserves at all. In essence, the central bank should not exist, there shoudl be a gold standard (honest money), with private banks each having 100% reserves. There shoudl be no artificial lowering of interest rates ever, whatsoever; there shoudl be no fractional reserves at all which lead to financial instability and the business cycle that we are seeing now.

  2. Just sayin’,

    Allow me to educate you.

    The trading of securities based upon risky mortgages (as I stated earlier – perhaps you missed it and are not simply ignoring it) was a major factor in this financial meltdown. A bad housing market would not be good, but we would not have failing financial companies if not for the mortgage-backed securities.

    The (bad) mortgage-backed securities are a primary factor in the collapse of the financial sector.

    Would the housing market be doing well in the absence of these securities? No. Would we have the world-wide economic crisis we have now without them? No.

    Further, the CRA is not responsible for bad mortgages. It did not force anyone to issue subprime mortgages to anyone that asked, even if you ignore the fact that the majority of bad mortgages came from institutions not covered by the CRA. Please retire that canard as it only flies with true believers like yourself.

    Have I penetrated the wall of ideology you surround yourself with?

  3. justbrayin: BTW, i should point out that your argument seems contradictory. that is, you say that the CRA allowed lenders to “push subprime loans down the throats of the unqualified.” thus, in essence, you’re saying the CRA (genearally speaking, a “regulation”) allowed the big lenders too much unregulated authority “push subprime loans down the throats of the unqualified.”

    assuming that’s true, what would have been a better solution: (1) regulating these lenders more to prevent their bad lending practices, or (2) de-regulating them more to give them more unchecked authority?

    it’s illogical to say that the regulation caused these lenders to make bad loans which were not regulated –> therefore, we need less regulation. what sense does that make?

    the bottom line is, as i pointed out and cited authority for previously, the majority of the subprime loans were not made pursuant to CRA. as such, your position is untenable.

  4. To Hutz(et al.) “specious”

    did you learn a new word from me?

    “failing mortgages is not what has devastated this economy. An unregulated financial sector has.”

    What kind of ignoranus are you? Excuse me, I meant ignoramus. Besides you, I don’t know anyone not saying that the subprime crisis and corresponding credit crunch has devestated not just “this” economy but the entire global economy.

    And, pray, just what was “unregulated” about the financial sector?

  5. justbraying: your comments are wholly conclusory and unsupported. why don’t you provide some evidence to support your claim that “Most real analysts have concluded that the CRA, which was brought to you by big government liberals, allowed lenders such as Countywide to push subprime loans down the throats of the unqualified and package those loans to sell to Freddie and Fannie who gobbled them up and to the secondary market at large who packaged them as CDOs”?

    specifically, which portion of the CRA allowed (unregulated) lenders to “push subprime loans down the throats of the unqualified”?

    other than the WSJ, heritage foundation or cato institute, can you cite some of these so-called “real” analysts?

    i suppose you’d say also too much SEC regulation caused the madoff and stanford scandals.

    FYI: i’m neither mooney nor DC — yes, believe it or not there are other people that share his/their views.

  6. To Hutz/Mooney/Amazed/Trolling your own blog.

    You clearly have a knee-jerk liberal bias probably forged in the crucible of the Peace Corps. Most real analysts have concluded that the CRA, which was brought to you by big government liberals, allowed lenders such as Countywide to push subprime loans down the throats of the unqualified and package those loans to sell to Freddie and Fannie who gobbled them up and to the secondary market at large who packaged them as CDOs.

    Most real analysts have concluded that it was too much regulation that is to blame. Mr. Kinsella will probably agree.

    Unfortunately Mr. Kinsella, you have landed in the middle of a liberal snakepit. Many of the posters here are actually the same person and some suspect it may even be the blog sponsor trolling his own blog.

  7. And Stephan, I certainly agree that the lowering if interest rates by the reserve over the last decade was a huge mistake and one I did not like at the time as reinforced the increased value placed upon investment rather than work in this country. High interest rates mean high savings rates.

  8. Just sayin’,

    Just to be clear, I am not stating that the financial sector has been completely unregulated. To be more precise, I should probably say under-regulated or improperly regulated to the extent that financial institutions have been able to get away with actions that should not have been allowed.

  9. SKinsella “No serious person can maintain that what we’ve had in this country is unregulated free markets.”

    Agreed. I’ve said it myself here dozens of times.

    But it’s equally true that no serious person can maintain that deregulation of the financial system such that banking institutions were allowed to trade risks of risking the risk of risking the risk of not being repaid was a good idea for anyone except for the bankers and brokers and related scumbags who “innovated” the bogus paperwork.

    The Big Lie, still being repeated by the big liars, is that “nobody could have predicted this.” That is false. Lots of intelligent, honest people predicted this for years, and explained their reasoning. But a certain arrogent, privileged few were confident that the government would ride to their rescue no matter what happened. No doubt some of those arrogant jerks will be proved correct but a great many of them are going to find themselves substantially choked, along with the rest of the country. And they will be whining and crying very very very loudly. You can turn on CNBC and see this happening in real time. It’s quite pathetic.

  10. Just sayin’,
    You might want to consider another name change. If you ever had any credibility, I think it’s likely gone now, given your assertions that the current economic situation is the fault of Jimmy Carter and minorities. That’s really weak.

  11. Just sayin’,

    All your other inaccuracies and specious reasoning aside, failing mortgages is not what has devastated this economy. An unregulated financial sector has. Specifically, for example, the people who turned risky mortgages into low risk securities through financial slight-of-hand are the people who f___ed this country.

    However, this current situation is really the result of Reagan’s eceonomic policies (which were continued by ALL of his successors), and in particular the mantra of deregulation.

  12. “You may say that, but you would be incorrect. The immediate post-war years were not so good. “It wasn’t until a few years after the war that things began to turn around.”

    I’m sorry, I am correct Professor Mooney. Once again, you don’t know what you’re talking about and are throwing around half baked unsupported conclusions.

    link to ucmp.berkeley.edu

    Just sayin’ can you explain how this article suggests that the post-war years had a good economy? Did you post the wrong link? Or do you believe that because a University department blossomed at a time when a significant amount of Military money was coming in is reflective of the economy as a whole?

    Do you ever think for yourself or reflect on your opinions? Or is everything you right knee-jerk?

  13. Mooney: “And please let’s not to forget that it was a LACK of government regulation of the banking and real estate sectors, much applauded by libertarians Repukes, that led to the mess.”

    No serious person can maintain that what we’ve had in this country is unregulated free markets. We’ve had significant and growing regulation, interference, manipulation, state corporatism and nascent fascism for over a century. This is the game: your state creates a crisis, or takes advantage of an exogenous one, to seize more power and impose more regulations. If the economy recovers despite this, they state takes credit; if it doesn’t, the state uses this as an excuse to seize more power.

    In any event, when the state’s policies end up making things worse, then people like Mooney blame it on “unregulated capitalism” and use this as an excuse to seize more power.

    The bulk of this problem is caused by the business cycle, which as Austrian economists (Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Huelsmann) have shown is caused primarily by the Federal-reserve dominated fiat-money banking system. By printing money/lowering interest rates, they cause a huge artificial boom replete with malinvestment which must eventually be liquidated; when the inevitable crash comes that the state has set in motion, the state injects even more money into the system to stave it off, but in the process making the inevitable correction even worse–like a drug addict who keeps taking another hit instead of crashing and suffering the pains of withdrawal symptoms, which are a sign of a return to health not a bad thing.

    We see at work here a phenomenon similar to what Sowell described in The Vision of the Anointed: Self-congratulation as the basis of social policy (which derides liberals for continuing to advocate welfarism and redistribution of wealth even after its failure have become manifest, revealing their disingenuous goals and motives)–the statists and their sycophant propagandized sheep citizen supporters are either too economically ignorant to realize that the state has long severely interfered with the free market (that is, they are really stupid enough to believe that we have had free markets here), or they are dishonest and don’t really care that the state has caused the problems and will likely just cause more in seizing more power, they just want more power, period.

  14. justbrayin: “‘Marky Mark’ whines, ‘to say that the subprime mortgage crisis was caused by the CRA is simply not true’ Well, when you put it that way, it makes sooo much more sense.”

    since i don’t you understand the structure of a logical argument i’ll enlighten you — my above comment was made after i presented you with evidence refuting your argument. thus, it was a conclusion following a presentation of facts. as such, it was not the conclusory statement you seem to imply it was. but nice try…

    here’s some more proof for you which i’m sure you’ll ignore the truth of:

    Federal Reserve Governor Randall Kroszner, says the CRA isn’t to blame for the subprime mess:

    “First, only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations are related to the CRA. Second, CRA-related loans appear to perform comparably to other types of subprime loans. Taken together… we believe that the available evidence runs counter to the contention that the CRA contributed in any substantive way to the current mortgage crisis…. Only 6% of all the higher-priced loans were extended by CRA-covered lenders to lower-income borrowers or neighborhoods in their CRA assessment areas, the local geographies that are the primary focus for CRA evaluation purposes.”

    so justbraying, what exactly is it about “only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations are related to the CRA” don’t you understand?

    justbraying: “Thanks CRA and misguided liberal policies of all kinds for ruining the world economy. I guess with enough government brought to your by Harvard “elites” (read big-government leftists) we can nudge all the wealth right into the hands of the state and the state only.”

    ok, first of all the pubs have been in charge for what most of the last decade? need i say more? second, when you say “nudge all the wealth right into the hands of the state and the state only” are you including haliburton as part of the state? how exactly are no-bid contracts good examples of the fiscal responsibility of your party?

  15. “Marky Mark” whines, “to say that the subprime mortgage crisis was caused by the CRA is simply not true”

    Well, when you put it that way, it makes sooo much more sense.

    The fact is, the CRA allowed so-called NINJA loans to minority applicants, e.g. No Job, No Income, Applicants.

    It wasn’t the CRA alone, it was the CRA enabling mortage lenders who were confident in the willingness of agencies like Freddie and Fannie under the unscrupulous leadership of Jim Johnson to underwrite and package their bogus paper.

    But hey, I’m just sayin’

  16. The point is not whether CRA “required” certain loans (defined rather thinly and self-servingly as loans “outside the CRA area”), its that BECAUSE of CRA, banks COULD make subprime loans. QED.

    Thanks CRA and misguided liberal policies of all kinds for ruining the world economy. I guess with enough government brought to your by Harvard “elites” (read big-government leftists) we can nudge all the wealth right into the hands of the state and the state only.

  17. JustBrayin “Actually it most certainly has Professor Mooney. Do they teach this kind of class warfare baiting in the Peace Corps?”

    Again, I did not write the comment to which you are responding. Also, I was never in the Peace Corps although I believe Dennis was.

    Also, it appears that the wingnut talking points you recited to those other commenters were soundly refuted. That should surprise nobody. As absurd as it seems, I’m sure there must be a wingnut patent blog out there where “Government Sucks!” wankers like yourself can whine about how the government isn’t doing enough to secure government-created intellectual property rights for people like you who can’t distinguish basic facts from talk radio fantasies.

  18. JustBrayin’ “Sorry Mooney, I’d say a statement from a Clinton official during a House hearing hardly constitutes objective analysis.”

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. You must be addressing another commenter?

  19. JustBrayin’ “Actually it most certainly has Professor Mooney. Do they teach this kind of class warfare baiting in the Peace Corps?”

    I did not write the statement you quoted.

  20. Just sayin’: how about the Nov. 2008 report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University: link to jchs.harvard.edu

    I don’t know why I’m wasting my time. I’m sure you’ll dismiss that just as easily. We all know how much Republicans trust academia and objective science.

  21. After all, we know how truthful Clinton and his cronies were/are. Sorry Mooney, I’d say a statement from a Clinton official during a House hearing hardly constitutes objective analysis.

    But then neither does a series of hand picked data that lead to a bogus conclusion that “electronic companies on average file fewer references.”

  22. Just Saying said “it was really the uber-liberal let’s all spread the wealth Community Reinvestment Act, link to en.wikipedia.org … that are largely to blame for the current crisis, fomented by government mandated bad housing loans.”

    If you actually read the page you cite, you’ll see that your argument has been resoundly refuted. Here’s just one example: “In the February 2008 House hearing, law professor Michael S. Barr, a Treasury Department official under President Clinton,[67][34] stated that a Federal Reserve survey showed that affected institutions considered CRA loans profitable and not overly risky. He noted that approximately 50% of the subprime loans were made by independent mortgage companies that were not regulated by the CRA, and another 25% to 30% came from only partially CRA regulated bank subsidiaries and affiliates. Barr noted that institutions fully regulated by CRA made ‘perhaps one in four’ sub-prime loans, and that ‘the worst and most widespread abuses occurred in the institutions with the least federal oversight’”

    To say that the subprime mortgage crisis was caused by the CRA is simply not true.

  23. Dear Just sayin’

    Re: “… have you never heard of shareholder derivative actions based on breach of fiduciary duty? Corporate officers have a fiduciary duty to the shareholders. I’m not saying whether its right or wrong, but its the law.”

    Yes, I understand that. But I’m Just saying IT IS WRONG.
    That’s what got us into the financial quagmire we are in today.

    Our forefathers who owned businesses did not live by greed alone:
    They served their Country First;
    their Customers Second;
    their Employees Third;
    their Shareholders Fourth; and, lastly,
    served themselves and their Officers.

    At least that’s the way it should be in our democracy. I read that into our Constitution’s preamble, and I believe our Congress is guilty of nonfeasance for not making it so.

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  24. Go back to your BigGulp “bro” and be sure to watch carefully for those atoms to fall out of the wires into your bucket. You don’t know what the fck you’re talking about.

  25. Just you could at least poast a page that backs up what you’re saying. Just because Paleontology prospered after WWII doesn’t mean the economy was a boomin’.

    I guess this is why attorneys shy away from actually citing references to support their assertations of “facts”. You blow at it. Hard. It’s a good thing you know how to split hairs and pick nits otherwise you might be destitute. Don’t let my sarcasm diminish the import that I assign to the picking of nits and the splitting of hairs.

  26. JAOI, have you never heard of shareholder derivative actions based on breach of fiduciary duty? Corporate officers have a fiduciary duty to the shareholders. I’m not saying whether its right or wrong, but its the law.

  27. “Yes, because putting more money in the pockets of those who don’t need it has worked so well over the last three decades. ”

    Actually it most certainly has Professor Mooney. Do they teach this kind of class warfare baiting in the Peace Corps?

  28. “You may say that, but you would be incorrect. The immediate post-war years were not so good. It wasn’t until a few years after the war that things began to turn around.”

    I’m sorry, I am correct Professor Mooney. Once again, you don’t know what you’re talking about and are throwing around half baked unsupported conclusions.

    link to ucmp.berkeley.edu

  29. Hi Lionel,

    I posted this in January:

    American Companies and Corporations should be required to adjust their priorities as follows:
    Serve their Country First;
    Serve their Customers Second;
    Serve their Employees Third;
    Serve their Shareholders Fourth; and, lastly,
    Serve their Officers.
    All American Officials should be made to take their Oath’s of Office annually in private while hooked up to a lie detector, and the results published.
    Posted by: Proposed Solution from Jaoi(TM) | Jan 23, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    And WindyCity commented:
    JAOI, corporate altruism is all well and good, but the shareholders aren’t always on board. See Dodge v. Ford Motor Company, 204 Mich. 459, 170 N.W. 668 (Mich. 1919).
    Posted by: WindyCity | Jan 23, 2009 at 11:21 AM

    It seems to me that the Dodge v. Ford precedent must be overturned.

    link to en.wikipedia.org
    Excerpt:
    “This case is frequently cited as support for the idea that ‘corporate law requires boards of directors to maximize shareholder wealth.’”

  30. “I’m not surprised that you seem to forget capital gains taxes.”

    Yes, because putting more money in the pockets of those who don’t need it has worked so well over the last three decades.

    Wages have been stagnant for the last three decades and most of our increase in GDP has gone directly into the pockets of the top 1%. Now, if you are in the top 1%, I could understand your narrow-minded self-interest. If you are not, then you are a fool, because it is precisely a lack of regulation that has caused this mess.

    Although, I have to say, I do agree with the (is it Austrian school?) thinking that says we should provide no money for banks at all and let them all fail. We should also however, force the people who ran the banks over the last decade into bankruptcy and take all their personal assets as well.

  31. “I’d say the correct answer is that it was the economic expansion associated with the war itself Hutz”

    You may say that, but you would be incorrect. The immediate post-war years were not so good. It wasn’t until a few years after the war that things began to turn around.

  32. “You mean the ones that aren’t dead or who haven’t left the country?”

    If you mean the terrorists or other fighters then, well, yes.

  33. “And I love that you failed to address the actual fact I laid out – with a maximum tax bracket of 36% on income and payroll taxes that disappear out after $100k, why do you think tax cuts will help?”

    I’m not surprised that you seem to forget capital gains taxes.

  34. “post-war entitlements”

    Um, only marginally and, at best, accidentally, correct. I’d say the correct answer is that it was the economic expansion associated with the war itself Hutz.

  35. Summary: it was regulation courtesy of Big Government social engineering that got us into this mess in the first place.

  36. “And please let’s not to forget that it was a LACK of government regulation of the banking and real estate sectors, much applauded by libertarians Repukes, that led to the mess.”

    No Mooney, if you take off your Birkenstocks for a moment and pull the Peace Corps tee-shirt from over your head (Cornholio style), you should be but probably will not be willing to acknowledge that it was really the uber-liberal let’s all spread the wealth Community Reinvestment Act, link to en.wikipedia.org first brought to you by paragon of statesmanship Jimmy Carter and breathed back to life by Bill “I-spent-a-lot-of-time-visting-the-Kremlin-when-I-was-in-Oxford” Clinton, plus complicity by the aiders and abettors in HUD and Freddie and Fannie that are largely to blame for the current crisis, fomented by government mandated bad housing loans.

  37. It was the Followers of Friedman (who actually only take the aspects they like and ignore the rest like the people who quote Smith) who led us into this mess.

    Keynesian economics has a better chance of getting us out of our mess than the economists who precipitated this melt down.

    Further one of the reasons the 50s and 60s were so successful was because of the post-war entitlements, particularly the GI Bill and Social Security. Those led to our great prosperity in that period.

  38. Just sayin’,

    Rather than be glib, what in that article makes you believe that tax cuts stimulated the economy? The author appears to tie tax cuts to periods of prosperity, but where is the causal link?

    There are people who erroneously say that if he did not else Bush kept us safe the last 7 years because another 9/11 did not happen. In fact, the Bush administration has left us less safe, but people often confuse correlation with causality.

    And I love that you failed to address the actual fact I laid out – with a maximum tax bracket of 36% on income and payroll taxes that disappear out after $100k, why do you think tax cuts will help?

  39. “We are naively continuing to follow the advice, policies, and Keynesian economic theories of the “experts” who got us into this mess.”

    Who is “we”? I think Obama and his staff are paying far more attention to Roubini and Krugman who **predicted** this mess then they are to “experts” who got us into it.

    And please let’s not to forget that it was a LACK of government regulation of the banking and real estate sectors, much applauded by libertarians Repukes, that led to the mess.

    “Every single thing the state has done since this crisis becamse visible last Fall has made things worse than they otherwise would have been”

    That’s just a lie. Close the door behind you.

  40. Dennis, saying the $20k per family is “worthwhile” is to me incredibly flawed from moral, political, and economic perspectives. First, the state cannot create wealth; $20k is taken from A where it could be spent on investment 1,, and given to B where it is spent on investment 2 instead. It just shifts things, and steals from A, and the state takes it handling charge. And the shift is necessarily economically inefficient as Rothbard shows in his utility and welfare economics article (link to mises.org).

    Second, the state has caused this crisis, by the Fed-dominated fractional-reserve banking system. Until we understand this crisis, we cannot respond to it appropriately. We are naively continuing to follow the advice, policies, and Keynesian economic theories of the “experts” who got us into this mess. Their theories are wrong. They caused and exacerbated the Great Depression. They caused this one. They are making this one worse. Every single thing the state has done since this crisis becamse visible last Fall has made things worse than they otherwise would have been, and this will continue to be the case. The only hope is the parts of the economy not propped up by the state–the airlines, car companies, financial system, banking system, etc.–will be able to liquidate state boom-cycle caused malinvestment despite the state’s efforts to stop it and return to economic health before too long. Without the state’s desperate attempts to prevent the needed recession from happening we’d have a year or so long recession followed by a return to health, just as happened with the Great Depression of 1920–whcih was not a depression b/c the state left it alone (which is why you never hear about it).

    Third: neither you, nor any group of yous, have the right to take money from A to give it to B. In common parlance this is called theft.

  41. Sorry Lionel,Mooney, or “whoever”

    Yes, anything that refutes your propaganda must be a specious partisan connection that someone swallowed. I think you swallowed a little too much white wine.

  42. Just sayin’,

    Max was saying that Obama will actually consider the consequences of his actions, unlike Bush.

  43. More specifically,

    The stock market is NOT the primary indicator of a country’s economic health. In the 1920s, there was a huge disparity between the wealthy and the poor.

    Further, Today the richest have a maximum tax bracket of 36%. Do you really think a tax cut will help. Or can you think for yourself and provide a logical response rather than link to a partisan editorial?

  44. Class Warrior,

    Did you really swallow the specious connections in that article. Suffice it to say that tax cuts had very little to do with the growths and downturns discussed in that article? Clearly, critical thinking is not your forte.

  45. I can’t understand why so many pubs are screaming about how wasteful this law is when, 1) the same ones that voted against it are now out there singing its praises, trying to score some points with their constituencies, 2) the administration they supported (read Bush admin.) wasted records amount of cash (e.g., senseless war in Iraq), and 3) we’ve been under Republican rule (all three branches of govt!) for the majority of the last decade, and look where that’s gotten us.

    Moreover, I seem to recall that the Bush admin. had no problem handing out no-bid contracts to Haliburton/KBR, etc. Was it any surprise when all that money went missing and all the fraud came out? And what about the now infamous prescription drug law that prohibited the fed. govt. from negotiating bulk discount prices with the drug companies? How exactly are those model examples of free market capitalism?

    Such hypocrisy…

  46. I can’t understand why so many pubs are screaming about how wasteful this law is when, 1) the same ones that voted against it are now out there singing its praises, trying to score some points with their constituencies, 2) the administration they supported (read Bush admin.) wasted records amount of cash (e.g., senseless war in Iraq), and 3) we’ve been under Republican rule (all three branches of govt!) for the majority of the last decade, and look where that’s gotten us.

    Moreover, I seem to recall that the Bush admin. had no problem handing out no-bid contracts to Haliburton/KBR, etc. Was it any surprise when all that money went missing and all the fraud came out? And what about the now infamous prescription drug law that prohibited the fed. govt. from negotiating bulk discount prices with the drug companies? How exactly are those model examples of free market capitalism?

    Such hypocrisy…

  47. “the voters in Iraq seem to think so”

    You mean the ones that aren’t dead or who haven’t left the country? Seriously, better trolls please. Maybe you need to consult your sergeant in the RedState Army.

  48. “Bush’s tiny brain”

    And I know tiny brains, have one myself.

    “Iraq has been a smashing success for years.”

    On second thought, the voters in Iraq seem to think so…

  49. MD ” Fingers crossed; Bush/Blair may yet see success in Iraq.”

    Sorry, Max. That bird has flown. Any “success” the world finds in Iraq will have little or nothing to do with the actions of the Chimp or his sidekick, Tony. Besides, in Bush’s tiny brain at least, Iraq has been a smashing success for years.

  50. This post really misses the point. While there is some argument about whether the Government can really do anything to end the recession, it seems inevitable that they will do something.

    Here’s a thought experiment: My poor cousin tells me he needs a new lawnmower. He mows lawns for a living and his current one is in bad shape. Asking me to pitch in and help him buy a new lawnmower is probably well within the scope of your “windfall of circumstance.”

    But what this “stimulus” bill is doing is asking me to buy him a diamond-encrusted riding tree-trimmer, that doesn’t also cut lawns, with a frozen margarita attachment and a GPS navigation system, at a substantial mark-up because we’re buying it from his friend who needs to make a profit, and then asking us to pay the gas for years. By using this equipment, the grass on which it travels will get trampled, giving the illusion that it has been cut. In three days, the grass will spring back, still needing to be cut.

    This stimulus bill is very, very bad. But it’s people like you who are supposed to be clear-eyed about this stuff. You shouldn’t fall for this kind of high-school ethics mistake. If you’ve fallen, and you’re not just shilling for your guy, we’re all doomed.

  51. But Just, how can one dream, when one is up all night, on this blog?

    And Sayin’, what part of my sentence, pray, is too hard for you to understand? But, otherwise, I grant you, having to deal with unintended consequences is nothing new. It is the inevitable consequence of not being able to see through the fog of the future. Nobody could have seen through that fog the precise point in time when the financial world crashed. Nobody can see when we we get out of it. Meanwhile, POTUS has to gather all the available advice and data, and then do what makes most sense, out of a range of (all deeply unpalatable) alternatives. Can we agree on that, perhaps? I myself don’t see how “socialism” comes into all these “Too Big to Fail” deliberations about how to save the economy from crashing completely.

  52. Carrots, & feeling thankful and projecting prayers of thankfulness into our incredible Universe is good for the body and spirit.

    And furthermore, I endorse strength of all sorts, honor and principled Biblical behavior whether or not you subscribe to a religion.

    Why?, you ask; because it feels specially good, & you dream wonderfully.

  53. “I can’t think of a better way than Obama’s, to get to the point of a decision on the economy that is “optimal” having regard to all that we know.”

    What is this supposed to mean?

    “From now on, we have to reckon with the deadly Law of Unintended Consequences.”

    Since when have we ever NOT had to reckon with the deadly “Law of Unintended Consequences”???

    Sure Max (if that is your real name) or puppet number 2, or whatever, Europeans love socialism…

  54. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We debate its pernicious effect on obviousness determinations but this thread shows how pernicious it is everywhere else. Decision makers do what they think is “right”. Fingers crossed; Bush/Blair may yet see success in Iraq. It will be even longer before we know whether the Obama stimulus package was the “right” thing to do. But I take comfort in the cold-bloodedly rational way he got to his decision. At least it wasn’t a call from the almighty that delivered his decision to him. I can’t think of a better way than Obama’s, to get to the point of a decision on the economy that is “optimal” having regard to all that we know. From now on, we have to reckon with the deadly Law of Unintended Consequences.

    Once again, Dennis, a thread that’s educational, despite the several deranged intermissions.

  55. Its statements like those above,

    e.g. “a weak economy has little demand for patent attorneys”

    that will doom the sayer to the C.H.Duell memorial dustbin of patent history.

    Actually, rumor has it that Duell said no such thing. In fact, Duell apparently was not a dim-witted official.

    His 1899 report, Duell quotes McKinley as saying

    “Our future progress and prosperity depend upon our ability, to equal, if not surpass, other nations in the enlargement and advance of science, industry and commerce. To invention we must turn as one of the most powerful aids to the
    accomplishment of such a result.”

    Duell added,

    “May not our inventors hopefully look to the Fifty-sixth Congress for aid and effectual encouragement in improving the American patent system?”

    The number of patents from 435 in 1837 to 25,527 in 1899. In the one year between 1898 and 1899 there was an increase of about 3,000.

    Its interesting to note that during those periods there were no less than three major economic downturns. (see recession.org)

  56. “A weak economy has little demand for patent attorneys. Patent attorneys make less money, clients disappear, and law firms close. Although patents can be countercyclic, on average they are not – especially in a sustained downturn.”

    This is unsupported hogwash. And according to more sophisticated studies as linked below is exactly wrong.

    link to innography.com

    During a weak economy, killer product development supported by private investment and secure patent rights will separate the winners from the, well, from the parasites.

    Is it me, or is Dennis sounding more and more like Mooney every day, or is it that Mooney sounding more and more like Dennis.

    Hmmmmm.

  57. “In the 1990′s, I taught high-school level math and physics as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa.”

    Now I’m beginning to understand a lot more about the character of the puppets on this board including the vehement partisan liberal puppet Mooney.

    Sure, sure, everyone is a “wingnut.”

  58. “Tax cuts do little to nothing to stimulate the economy. We need to be spending much more money on infrastructure like roads and bridges, as food stamps and unemployment benefits. Those are the time-proven likeliest methods of improving the economy. Also, single-payer healthcare will remove the burden from our overtaxed businesses. ”

    Sorry Mooney, er, I mean Lionel Hutz, er I mean Puppet number 3. It is well known that tax cuts stimulate economic growth. What tax cuts don’t do, at least not immediately, is generate revenue for the government. The government figures if they are going to print some more money they want a piece of the action.

    In case you didn’t or can’t read the article linked below, tax cuts are notoriously famous for economic stimulus – even JFK knew that.

    link to ibdeditorials.com

    Never underestimate the power of a liberal to completely ignore reality and facts.

  59. Bad Parody Ahead: “why did Obama do everything he could during the campaign to assure people that that was NOT what he represented”

    Because McStain and Failin’ Palin were relying on the fact that stoopit American wingnuts equate “socialist” policies (such as any of the dozens of government-run programs that nearly all Americans have taken advantage of at one point or another) with “communism” and National Socialism. When I say ‘stoopit American wingnuts’ I’m thinking of people like the clowns pictured here:

    link to mediamatters.org

  60. MM, if you think that 300,000,000 people voted for socialism (and not the cult like following of Obama), why did Obama do everything he could during the campaign to assure people that that was NOT what he represented? Why wouldn’t he have just shouted it from the rooftops?

  61. Australian Interloper,

    Misrepresenting the teachings of the Bible is wrong on many levels, even to those who don’t believe it. When someone is trying to misinterpret something, it’s nearly impossible to give them the correct interpretation. Please proceed with your cynacism.

  62. Mr. Mooney,

    I see that you remain as obnoxious and condescending as ever. You must take much comfort going to bed each night secure in the knowledge that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

  63. Mr. Mooney,

    I see that you remain as obnoxious and condescending as ever. It must provide you with much comfort going to bed each night secure in the knowledge that you are right and everyone else is wrong.

  64. Sadly; whether it works or not (and I hope it does as well); we’ve just slapped $1,000′s more debt on the backs of millions of US children yet unborn … to be paid off … how? when? by who?

  65. Some dude on the Internets: “Personally, I will default in every such situation to the collective wisdom of 300,000,000 making this decision based upon what is most important to meet their individual needs.”

    Guess what, bro’: the collective wisdom of 300,000,000 voted for Barack Obama and thoroughly repudiated your clownish libertarian fantasy world.

    “is this ridiculously large sum of money best dispensed by a select few or by consumers? I am quite confident I know the answer”

    Right. Because you read the comments at the Orlando Sentinel blog.

  66. “The mechanical engineer is here to set us biologists straight.”

    And Mooney is here to set the electronics guys and everyone else straight…

    You’ve been sniffing too many file jackets Mooney. Or is it glue?

  67. From a recent post commenting on an article concerning the “stimulus” that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel:

    “Between these various stimulus packages Congress is legislating the spending of about $2,000,000,000,000 of taxpayer money, apparently in the belief that those bureaucrats residing within the Beltway are best positioned to determine how the tax monies should be spent. They appear to harbor a deep-seated political belief that only government has the wisdom to “spend” the tax monies effectively.

    Merely as a point of reference, the sum total of the bailout bills is in the order of about $7,000 for every man, woman and child in the US. I do have to ask what I believe is the most important question of all. Is the government deciding how the money should be spent or each US citizen with $7,000 it their wallets better determined to make these decisions? Personally, I will default in every such situation to the collective wisdom of 300,000,000 making this decision based upon what is most important to meet their individual needs. This is how our economic system is supposed to work, i.e., actual consumers voting with their wallets whether to buy a car, pay school tuition, save for a rainy day, fix their home, donate to a charity, etc.”

    This comment was solely to note two points, and not to suggest any specific solution. First, it was to note just how large the stimulus plans really are on an admittedly simplistic per capita basis. Second, and most important of all, is this ridiculously large sum of money best dispensed by a select few or by consumers? I am quite confident I know the answer, but apparently my answer has not found any traction within the Beltway. I wonder why?

  68. Sorry, I can’t resist.

    It seems like only in America can one safely assume the moral and religious beliefs of a person based on their economic views. I find that quite disturbing.
    The irony is that the most explicit discussion of economic structure in the Bible (Acts II) clearly promotes extreme solicalism. Free market individualism is the antithesis of Christianity.

  69. Bad Joke Ahead:
    If morality and religiousness are correlated, you would have a point, but so far as I know, there is no such correlation. All the statistics I’ve seen show that there is no particular decrease in criminal behavior in groups with higher incidence of religious belief. Religious people tend to contribute more to charity, but incidence of divorce and teen pregnancy are lower among the less religious. Whether or not people do bad things seems to have a lot more to do with how they were raised than with their religious beliefs. Are you implying that my morals are withered because I’m not a Christian?

    Aside from that, please don’t associate all non-Christians with those out to “silence” you. I, for one, am not trying to silence you. I’d certainly like to convince you that I’m right, and I’m going to object if I think you’re saying something that isn’t true, but I’m not going to say you don’t have a right to say it.

  70. “Fully half of Americans aren’t federal taxpayers. Those making in excess of $100k pay more than half the federal taxes.”

    Then what the phuck are payroll taxes if not taxes??? Mandatory “gifts” to the government???

  71. EG “I wish the likes of MM and company would be tolerant of other points of view”

    I’m tolerant of other points of view, provided those points of view are not used as justifications in and of themselves for policy decisions that favor the rich at the expense of poor people and/or that are expressly prejudiced against the rights of women or minority groups.

    Truly crazy, I know. I blame my 9th grade public school health teacher.

  72. BJA: “MM and the others must silence people like me”

    Dude, on the contrary. Please keep talking about your eleven inch long worldview.

  73. Ad, I disagree; our discussion is relevant to the problem at hand. There are LOADS of lessons in the bible about taxes, debts, charity, community, and responsiblity. That’s the crisis we’re facing now, a morality/values crisis, not a limited, pin-pointed “financial” crisis. We have moved away from those values, and it is causing us problems: board members betraying their trustee obligations to give their friends more money, CEO friends taking that money and returning the favor, political corruption, dishonesty in financial dealings, etc.

    Here comes a theory: When you cut off morality (i.e., “good” values) from its source, it withers. As MM and others have so generously demonstrated, we have rejected and demeaned God. Our society and its values have thus been disconnected from their ultimate source and are therefore withering away.

    EG: Thanks for the support; I know I’m part of the silent majority. MM and the others must silence people like me because their worldview is inadequate and mine is not. It is the M.O. of every worldview that falls short of answering the questions of the origin of matter, the origin of life, and the origin of morality (not to mention the unblemished truthfulness of the Bible; you can deny the truth therein but not disprove it).

  74. As a Christian I find your assertion that the Bible is a scientific text absurd.

    I don’t look to my physics book to tell me about my soul and I don’t look to the Bible to learn about biology.

    That said, this quote takes the cake: “[The Bible] is internally consistent (stories line up).”

    Really? Wow. One question: who were the people Cain visited when he left home?

  75. Neither the TARP nor the “Stimulus” Bill will prevent the severe economic downturn. Even if these were acceptable, constitutional means, the simple fact is the U.S. government does not have the money to finance any of this. Either they’ll have to borrow from the Chinese, the Arabs, the Japanese, etc., who were burned badly with U.S. agency debt (e.g., Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac), and besides need the money for their own purposes, or else the U.S. will have to borrow it domestically, which would mean rapidly increasing interest rates (because available domestic savings aren’t nearly large enough), or–and this is what appears almost certain to happen–the Fed will monetize the multi-trillion dollar debt by direct purchases of U.S. bonds. The result is going to be inflation like we haven’t experienced in our lifetimes. This is crony capitalism at its worst.

  76. Bad Joke Ahead,

    Thanks for bravely speaking up, even in the face of the likes of MM. I’m a Christian (BTW, no one put a gun to my head on this, I accepted it for what it was), a chemist (undergraduate degree), and a patent attorney (over 30 years), and I see no conflict between all of these. I’m perfectly happy for the likes of MM (and others) to debate what I believe. But this is a “free country” (including freedom of speech and thought), so I wish the likes of MM and company would be tolerant of other points of view, and not simply belittle those “different points of view.”

  77. Mr. Friedman,

    This is a patent law blog.

    You may not understand it, but that means that attacks on Israel are off-topic.

    If you nonetheless insist on discussing Israel, let me assure you that Israelis do not want your money. Please, do Israelis a favor and pressure President Obama and Congress to stop what you call “aid” as soon as possible.

  78. Bad Joke Ahead:
    I have no particular objection to the Bible, any more so than I have objections to any of the various other religious texts out there, but I don’t think that’s a good reason for believing it it. On the first level, I see no reason for trusting the Bible above the Bhagavad Gita or the Koran, other than the Bible being what most of us were brought up with by virtue of where and when we were born; on the second level, it seems to me that trusting the claims of any religious text is foolish where such claims cannot, often by definition, be independently verified. People have made all sorts of strange claims throughout history, often to their material harm, and yet they continued to make them. They can’t all be right.

    Frankly, though, this discussion isn’t really relevant to the topic at hand, and has way too much potential for being flamebait. You’re right that neither of us is likely to convince the other in this forum, and I’m glad that you’ve put forward reasons, even if they’re reasons I don’t agree with. Let’s go back to yelling at each other about politics, instead. :-)

  79. Maybe we should ask Japan how big the spending bill (or bills) needs to be to avert a lost decade.

    Greenspan was a huge problem. I knew people were buying stuff they couldn’t afford. This guy was paid to know that and he couldn’t see it? Talk about a bad joke.

  80. NAB “I think this is fair and that our politicans (and private instutions) should be willing to be scrutinized.”

    No reasonable person could disagree. What about the states whose representatives and Senators in Congress voted overwhelmingly against the bill because of its spending provisions? Would it be too much “scrutiny” to ask those States to politely donate their share of the money to the Federal government to help reduce its debts?

    I think in that case the citizens of those states might be more inclined to “scrutinize” the policy decisions of their own representatives.

  81. Bad Joke “I’m not against improving our communications infrastructure, power grid, or a high speed cross country rail road. Maybe that will come in the next spending bill.”

    Credit where credit is due: BJA at least recognizes that there is going to be another spending bill. The reason there is going to be another spending bill is because the current one isn’t big enough to get the US out of the gigantic hole that Alan Greenspan told everyone was a mountain right up until the moment that he didn’t.

  82. Ad astra,

    I respect your right to believe what you want.

    Everyone has a worldview that answers the questions I asked. How does your’s answer those questions?

    I believe the Bible because it has a historical basis that has never been disproved. It is internally consistent (stories line up). The players in the stories often took actions in direct conflict with what they would have done had the miracles therein not been true (e.g., saying a miracle happened would have been blasphemy punishable by death, so why declare a miracle). I’m sure my reasons don’t persuade you one way or the other, so I encourage you to try and disprove the Bible.

  83. So far as I’m aware the best theory is that everything present at the big bang was always present. This being especially because time began with the big bang, thus anything there before time began had “always been there” at least from our perspective.

    As to the first cells, the latest and greatest:

    link to discovermagazine.com

    If they can make reproducing RNA with no template then they basically have life. They’re about 1/2 a step away from that and the course looks clear. The cell membrane and other stuff inside of the cell going along with the RNA is a mickey mouse limitation at best.

    In relevant part:
    “All these processes would occur in microscopic pockets of liquid within the ice. “You have billions and billions of different possibilities,” Trinks says, “because you have billions of these small channels,” each like a microscopic test tube containing a unique RNA experiment. On the young Earth, pockets of liquid could have expanded into a network of channels that mixed their contents during freeze-thaw cycles, like day-night temperature changes in summer. In winter, the liquid pores would have contracted and become isolated again, returning to their separate experiments. With all the mixing, something special might eventually have formed: an RNA molecule that made rough copies of itself. And as Earth warmed, these molecules might have found a home in newly thawed seas or ponds, where something even more complex might have emerged—such as a cell-like membrane. “You have something that is multiplying itself, and you have variation that is inherited,” says Antonio Lazcano, a biology researcher and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Mexico City?. “There you have the onset of Darwinian evolution. I’m willing to call that living.””

  84. MM,

    Actually, I think one look at the bill and ask what is a better use of money than other items.

    I would argue that spending money on expanding unemployment benefits for people is better for the economy than expanding the funding for NASA. Or, fixing bridges over a major interstates will have a better effect for the economy than retrofitting schools with better windows.

    Also, you are right about giving money to the private sector (TARP) and seeing how things would be spent (TARP). The problem is that the government did not lay down any rules for how such money was to be used.

    The argument put forth by the banks and the government was that our economy would dissolve immediately if banks and AIG did not get the TARP money.

    I guess I am ok with government spending money, I just want the government to be smart with the way it spends such money. I think this is fair and that our politicans (and private instutions) should be willing to be scrutinized.

  85. For those of you who are yet to be persuaded/impressed by this wonderful stimulus bill, let me point out one apparently magical statistic:

    2/3 of each taxpayer’s contribution to the “stimulus” will go into the pockets of persons richer than the taxpayer, regardless of how large or small the contribution is. This means, of course, that no Ghanaians will be a beneficiary of this package because none are richer than any US taxpayer.

    Trust me, I’ve worked this out. The calculations are too complex for me to summarize here but they are based on the “tickle-up” effect and the square root of the cosine of the angle subtended by the median tangents of the inverse Laffer Curve.

    Believe me, Halburton, KRB, and the great state of Israel all thank you for your contributions, past. present, and future, especially future.

  86. Lionel,

    In order to be the most benefical stimulus for the economy, you need to encourage people to spend money on things quickly. Hence, your statements about food stamps and unemployement benefits are correct in that such things help stimulate the economony in the short term because such things are spent on consumable items.

    You are however incorrect about tax cuts, in that one can structure a tax cut (like reducing payroll taxes) or arguably encouraging a type of behaviour (buy a car/house) which would also encourage a person to spend money. This appraoch can have a beneifical effect on the economy.

    The problem with either approach however is how are you going to finance such an activity. If you are assuming massive amounts of debt which will eventually need to be paid back, you are taking a gamble that a short term bump in economy out ways the future problems you will have paying back your debt.

    Additionally, one needs to consider what will happen if you expand unemployment benefits and food stamps. Although the expansion of such programs can have a benefit in the short term, are you encouraging a certain type of behaviour which can hurt people in the long run?

  87. “Fully half of Americans aren’t federal taxpayers. Those making in excess of $100k pay more than half the federal taxes.”

    Shouldn’t they be paying more than half? What about the fact that they pay no more social security or medicaid taxes on their income in excess of $100k

    A big problem is that those who make in excess of $750k pay about the same percentage of their income as those who make $100k

  88. Nobody asked but: [numerous Republican talking points omitted]

    Look, you can take any provision in the bill and point to it and say “Is this really the way to stimulate the economy”. It’s a bogus argument. The bill contains numerous different provisions, including historic levels of tax cuts.

    “vanity projects such as the high speed train from CA to Nevada (why not build such a train in the NE cooridor)”

    Again: this is an attempt at misdirection on your part.

    “the states that are receiving a large sum of money in this bill, are not really concerned about the consequences of how to use the money efficently.”

    Right. We should just hand money out to private institutions and let the “free market” decide how it gets spent. I seem to recall some character named Paulson handed out a few hundred billion dollars to some bankers recently. How well did that attempt at stimulus work? Or have you forgotten already?

  89. Bad Joke Ahead:
    It does no good to say that your religion has more answers than anyone else’s if I don’t recognize the way you got those answers as valid. I can make up a religion right now that answers even more questions about life, the universe, and everything than Christianity, but since I’m not basing it on a source you respect, you won’t be interested. I don’t respect the Bible as a good source of factual information, so until you can give me a good reason to do so, there’s no point in asserting your religion’s greater question-answering abilities.

  90. Tax cuts do little to nothing to stimulate the economy. We need to be spending much more money on infrastructure like roads and bridges, as food stamps and unemployment benefits. Those are the time-proven likeliest methods of improving the economy. Also, single-payer healthcare will remove the burden from our overtaxed businesses.

  91. The thing I am fearful about with this bill is that our politicans who passed this bill, and by extension the states that are receiving a large sum of money in this bill, are not really concerned about the consequences of how to use the money efficently.

    I was listening to NPR yesterday where they were speaking to who I think is the comptroller of California. He spoke about the stimulus money as being essentially a windfall for the government, where they want to build carpool lanes on the 405.

    Now, such a program is a desirable thing, but is it really the type of project (if you are using money which we are borrowing from China) that will rebuild the economy? Probably not.

    I would hope that the infrastrcture projects selected are on the scale as building a new Hoover Dam or Golden Gate Bridge or useful as really fixing problematic roads/bridges.

    I am afraid however that this money will be built on vanity projects such as the high speed train from CA to Nevada (why not build such a train in the NE cooridor) or glass ceilings in muncipal buildings.

    Additionally, tt seems that the stimulus bill is more geared towards building up government institutions than helping build up private business.

    It could be argued that this is a good thing, if you believe that the government is a better user of capital (more efficent and smarter) than private businesses, and perhaps it is more desirable to expand the employment of people working for the government than to have people work in private industry.

  92. question:

    Your welcome to personally attack me all you want; it gives me a chance to explain Christianity to you. I understand that your worldview doesn’t answer the questions I asked. I encourage you to try to answer those questions honestly.

    My clients are happy with my work. That’s as good of an engineer/attorney as I need to be. Thanks for your concern.

  93. question,

    I didn’t say whether I believed in evolution or not. I do tend to think that species adapt over time. However, your idol, Charles Darwin didn’t write “Small Changes in Species Over Time” or even “Evolution”. He wrote “The Origin of Species.” Besides, even “The Origin of Species” does not address the questions I raised.

    You can personally attack me and my Christianity all you like; it gives me a chance to explain it to you. I understand that you cannot answer my questions because your worldview has no answers to my questions. Ask these questions honestly, and you’ll soon find that only one worldview has the answers.

    My clients are happy with my work. That’s as good an engineer/attorney as I need to be.

  94. MM,

    basement: So you asume that the only way to get out of your parents’ basement is to make corrupt deals with socialists? From the derogatory nature of your comment, we must assume then that you have made those deals and are part of the problem we’re currently facing.

    spending bill: I would say read the law, but I don’t think it has been declassified yet. Almost none of the money goes to REAL infrastructure projects. There are lots of cities stradling water ways that could use new bridges. Let’s just see how many of those projects get started. I’m not against improving our communications infrastructure, power grid, or a high speed cross country rail road. Maybe that will come in the next spending bill.

    Origin of life: I understand that your false Gods have provided no answers to these qeustions, and it is unsettling to have your worldview crumble in the face of truth. Don’t fear truth. It does exist, and he will set you free.

  95. Bad Joke Ahead: “Politicians and leftists just fear losing control over the indoctrination of our children.”

    I love the smell of libertarian losers wanking on the Internets from the comfort of their parent’s basement.

    “I don’t see why increasing Bush’s deficit spending several times over is a good thing”

    Again, it’s sad and frightening that our resident mouth-breathers can’t see the difference between spending billions of dollars to create jobs in the United States that will directly improve the US infrastructure, versus: spending money to kill thousands of our own young men and women, plus hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in a foreign country, destroying that country’s infrastructure, then rebuilding that country’s infrastructure.

    “Where did the material for the big bang come from, why did the big bang happen, and how did that first cell come into existance”

    Oooh, watch out! The mechanical engineer is here to set us biologists straight.

  96. “Patent and Trademark Office Society Annual Meeting

    When: February 18, 2009, 10:00 a.m.
    Where: USPTO Auditorium, Madison Building

    This year’s speaker is:

    The Honorable Richard Linn
    - Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    - Patent Examiner, 1965-1968

    One hour of other time may be charged to:
    Patent employees: PNCSPA-0000-090241
    Non-Patent employees: AVEORG-0065-A00151 with supervisor’s approval.

    RICHARD LINN, Circuit Judge

    RICHARD LINN was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by President William J. Clinton in 1999. Prior to his appointment, Judge Linn was a Partner and Practice Group Leader at the Washington, DC law firm of Foley and Lardner from 1997 to 1999. He was a Partner and head of the intellectual property department at Marks and Murase, L.L.P. from 1977 to 1997. Judge Linn served as Patent Advisor, United States Naval Air Systems Command from 1971 to 1972, was a Patent Agent at the United States Naval Research Laboratory from 1968 to 1969, and served as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent Office from
    1965 to 1968. He was a member of the founding Board of Governors of the Virginia Bar Section on Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law and served as Chairman in 1975. Judge Linn was a recipient in 2000 of the Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award. He served as an Adjunct Professor and Professional Lecturer in Law at George Washington University Law School from 2001 to 2004. Judge Linn is a past president of the Giles Sutherland Rich Inn of Court and an honorary member of the Richard Linn American Inn of Court. He received a B.E.E. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1965, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1969.”

    Niiiice.

  97. “Dennis,

    Nice play for Director of USPTO.”

    Ah, but the $64 question is… Did Dennis pay his taxes?

    If so, I’m sorry Dennis, but you have no place in this new administration.

  98. (1) Schools: Our state-run universities are arguably the best in the world. Why? Because state-run universities compete with private universities for students (and therefore faculty). A voucher-like system (student aid, grants, etc.) ensures access. Provide vouchers for high school students, redeemable at the accredited private/public school of your choice and stand back.

    (2) DDC said: “DDC: These are good points. However, the “tax cut” portion is a bit misleading because those taxes are currently funding government spending that is continuing to be spent.”

    According to the theory, that’s the way the stimulus works — massive deficit spending to kickstart the economy & pay it off when you recover. Real-life examples?
    –Japan in the 1990s. Final result: overwhelming government debt, “lost decade” (now decade and a half) of no growth. And a 13% annualized contraction rate last quarter.
    –US in 1930s — a decade of massive stimulus gave us a decade of ~20% unemployment. Economy only “kickstarted” when WWII began and monetary policy loosened.

    Personally, I don’t see why increasing Bush’s deficit spending several times over is a good thing, but that is only my opinion.

  99. question,

    No. I’m referring to misinforming them about US and world history (e.g., socialism isn’t all bad, just mismanaged, but we’ll get it right when no one else has) and teaching them that Christianity and the values it espouses is bad for our society.

    As for the mockery in your question, where do YOU believe that life came from, seriously? We know that it came from a central point (the big bang). You obviously think that evolution and thus Darwin’s “Origin of Species” is proven beyond any doubt, so we must have evolved from a single simple cell. Where did the material for the big bang come from, why did the big bang happen, and how did that first cell come into existance?

  100. “Those Ghanaians aren’t subject to the tyranny of the American cost of living.”

    Yup, those lucky Ghanaians are free from the tyranny of greens fees, country club memberships, cable TV bills, boat payments, …

  101. by “indoctrination of our children” do you mean teaching them evolution — and the fact that dinosaurs were not on Noah’s ark

  102. MM, I think you’d be happier in Venezuala. I hear it’s paradise for people like you. I think we’d all be happier if you did.

    On the subject of schools, have you ever seen a charter school or a voucher based school that wasn’t better than every government run school? Vouchers are the way to fix education in this country once and for all. Politicians and leftists just fear losing control over the indoctrination of our children. After all, that is the stated reason of the founder of our public school system.

  103. Tax cuts?

    If they’ve released the new law, take a look.

    tax credit to students
    tax credit to low income
    increase earned income credit
    eliminate taxes on unemployment money

    These ARE NOT TAX CUTS. How do you cut taxes on people WHO ARE NOT PAYING ANY TAXES? These are handouts and should be marked as spending, not tax cuts.

    There was nothing in the revealed version of the bill last week that would stimulate private investment. I very seriously doubt that Pelosi and Reid changed that in the as yet secret version that was just passed and signed.

  104. “… the Ghanaians have an expected per capita income of just under $1,000 per year. Those kids are a victim of circumstance.”

    It’s not what you make compared to what your pen pals are making that determines your access to resources available in your vicinity. It’s what you make compared to what your next door neighbors are making. Those Ghanaians aren’t subject to the tyranny of the American cost of living. Moreover, if you are heavily in debt, it does not benefit you much if the cost of living in your area falls to match the fall in your level of income. Kind of makes me envy the Ganaians, at least a little.

  105. If we could spend our way to prosperity and the last Congress and administration increased spending by some ridiculous amount, then why are we in a recession?

    We are in a recession because we attempted social engineering by requiring banks to make risky loans. Why would anyone think that more social engineering will solve the problem that social engineering created?

    If you want to increase jobs, cut the payroll tax.

    If you want more businesses located in the US, cut the US corporate tax rate.

    If you want to have a future, stop spending your children’s.

    For a bunch of patent attorneys, some people seem to struggle with cause and effect here.

  106. Dennis wrote: “In the US, we reap the windfall of circumstance.”

    Then Scott wrote: “the “circumstance” you’re talking about is better known as freedom, mainly economic freedom (a.k.a., free market capitalism).”

    LOL. Free market capitalism? In the United States? If you’ve ever wondered which people belong that to that rarified 1/4 of the country who approve of the Bush Administration’s policies and believe every lie served up by the GOP, the answer is that it’s folks like Scott. Yes, it’s frightening and sad but something we have to deal with in a representative democracy. Of course, Scott probably also believes that the public school system should be dismantled. The “free market” for education would undoubtedly lead to more “thinkers” like Scott and, as far as Scott is capable of understanding, that must be a good thing.

  107. “a” said: Fully half of Americans aren’t federal taxpayers. Those making in excess of $100k pay more than half the federal taxes. The cost per typical Patently-O reader household will be more like $50k. This stimulus contains some tax cuts, so there is a possibility of some positive effect.

    DDC: These are good points. However, the “tax cut” portion is a bit misleading because those taxes are currently funding government spending that is continuing to be spent.

  108. Fully half of Americans aren’t federal taxpayers. Those making in excess of $100k pay more than half the federal taxes. The cost per typical Patently-O reader household will be more like $50k.

    This stimulus contains some tax cuts, so there is a possibility of some positive effect.

  109. My major client for the past ten years — about 60% of my business — pulled all of its work inhouse a month ago for financial reasons. Tough to cover my overhead (and new marketing expenses) now

  110. “My position is that I’m in favor of it if it is going to work, but against it if it is not going to work.”

    Cool. And if it works, you will have always been for it, and if it doesn’t, you will always have been against it. Right?

  111. “A weak economy has little demand for patent attorneys. Patent attorneys make less money, clients disappear, and law firms close. Although patents can be countercyclic, on average they are not – especially in a sustained downturn.”

    I am just curious, is any firm hiring anyone from the class of 2009? I worry about these poor folks.

  112. if someone of your background and intelligence speaks positive about printing money to save the economy, then the US WILL become the new Ghana.

  113. “By the way, the ‘circumstance’ you’re talking about is better known as freedom, mainly economic freedom (a.k.a., free market capitalism).”

    Right. So Dennis should have said: “Many of my Ghanian students were smarter and certainly harder working than their American counterparts, and yet the Ghanaians have an expected per capita income of just under $1,000 per year. Those kids are a victim of economic freedom, a.k.a. free market capitalism.” That might be correct, but is that what you (Scott) meant?

  114. The comments are interesting to me that assume I’m in favor of the stimulus.

    My position is that I’m in favor of it if it is going to work, but against it if it is not going to work. Unfortunately, I don’t enough to even predict whether it will be even remotely helpful.

  115. This makes a lot of sense. And I will be happy to pay even more in taxes in return for my income going back to where it was before this recession hit!

  116. And if the Congressional Budget Office is right and it’s a net drag on the economy? Will it be worth it then.

    By the way, the “circumstance” you’re talking about is better known as freedom, mainly economic freedom (a.k.a., free market capitalism).

  117. Max — it may well have been a nagging subconscious, although I think it was poor spelling. I have updated the title to be “stimulus.”

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