USPTO Patent Grant Forecast for 2011

In early 2011, the USPTO appeared to be on pace to issue a record number of patents for the year. That changed when Congress cut $100 million from USPTO’s remaining fiscal year budget.  That budget cut led directly to a reduction in examiner hours — the key USPTO input.

The new forecasted outlook for 2010 suggests that the number of issued patents for 2011 will be slightly less than that of 2010.  

174 thoughts on “USPTO Patent Grant Forecast for 2011

  1. Hey, Malcolm, Congress promised Reagan to cut spending. They didn’t. This forced Reagan’s hand.

    In 1991, Congress promised Bush ’41 to cut spending if he would raise taxes. Congress lied.

    Bush ’43 didn’t care about spending. I will agree with you on this. Still, by 2008, even with the massive increases in spending we were headed quickly to a balanced budget. Then the fiasco with the mortgages exploded, bringing down the economy. Spending thereafter was not cut, but increased. What does one expect? The deficits to shrink?

    Malcolm, you and I will agree here that Republicans under Bush were full of it — spending wildly while cutting taxes at the same time. However, the tax cuts were necessary for reasons previously stated. The spending was not. That was remarkably irresponsible.

    Regarding TARP, we should line up everyone involved in THAT and prosecute them. That’s how I feel about TARP. It was a criminal bailout of Wall Street and other organization to protect the firm owners in the one case, and the unions in others.

  2. We do know, however, that Harding, Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush all lowered tax rates and the economy in every case responded with a boom. Kennedy, Reagan and Bush also increased spending. Even so, tax revenues increased as result of strong economic expansion to keep the resulting deficits in check.

    Meanwhile back on planet Earth:

    link to crooksandliars.com

    Reagan’s massive $749 billion supply-side tax cuts in 1981 quickly produced even more massive annual budget deficits. Combined with his rapid increase in defense spending, Reagan delivered not the balanced budgets he promised, but record-settings deficits.

    Ultimately, Reagan was forced to repeatedly raised taxes to avert financial catastrophe, including the last major bipartisan tax code overhaul in 1986. By the time he left office in 1989, Ronald Reagan nonetheless more than equaled the entire debt burden produced by the previous 200 years of American history. It’s no wonder the Gipper cited the skyrocketing deficits he bequeathed to America as perhaps his greatest regret.

    Of course, President George H.W. Bush would come to lament them even more. Despite his legendary 1988 campaign pledge of “read my lips – no new taxes,” Bush the Elder just two years later was forced to break his promise….

    Then came George W. Bush …. President Bush produced red ink as far as the eye can see. After inheriting a federal budget in the black and CBO forecast of a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years, President George W. Bush quickly set about dismantling the progress made under Bill Clinton. Even with two unfunded wars and the similarly unpaid Medicare prescription drug benefit, Bush’s $1.4 trillion tax cut in 2001, followed by a $550 billion second round in 2003, accounted for half of the yawning budget deficits he produced. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, if made permanent those Bush tax cuts … would add more to the national debt over the next decade than the impact of Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, the stimulus and TARP – combined.

    During his presidency, Republicans in Congress voted seven times to raise the debt ceiling, the last to $11.3 trillion. By the time George W. Bush ambled out of the White House, he left his successor a $1.2 trillion budget deficit for 2009.

    Are there any other scripts on Conservapedia besides the one you keep reciting, Nedler?

  3. Let me propose the following for your consideration: Let’s keep tax rates the same on everyone whose net worth is under a certain number, let’s say, $10million.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

    Why not $25 million?

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

  4. Malcolm, people up-thread think that bank offering low interest home loans to people with no income with no down-payment were something that banks would normally do without some sort of government interference in the system.

    I documented who, what where and why on this. It was Federal Policy for a long time to loosen loan requirements primarily to end discrimination in home loans, but Bush and Barney Frank took it to the next level.

  5. Malcolm, the surpluses vanished with the economy, not by design.

    Regarding a BB, I have already agreed that Bush failed because he and the other Republicans did literally nothing to control spending as did Clinton and Gore in cooperation with Congress. The Bush tax decreases were needed, however, to spur the economy as monetary policy could no longer provide enough stimulus to get us out of a steep decline. The Fed rates were at 1%, but real rates were still high due to deflation.

  6. Passing, if you want first hand evidence of whether high tax rates influence behavior even for low income folks, just look to Europe. They do.

    But in the short term, they mostly influence choices — tax exempt investments vs. profit making investments. This of course affects mostly the high income brackets.

    For the small businessman, having more money affects not just how much money one has to take home, but how much one has to invest in the business to expand, to buy capital equipment, or the like. There is a real and immediate trade-off.

    So, it really depends on the income level one is at whether the tax rate change will have an immediate or long term effect on the economy. In every case, putting more money into the economy will spur growth. The question is whether it will offset the fall in tax revenues. It all depends, and there is no simple answer that generally applies. It should not be assumed one way or the other.

    We do know, however, that Harding, Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush all lowered tax rates and the economy in every case responded with a boom. Kennedy, Reagan and Bush also increased spending. Even so, tax revenues increased as result of strong economic expansion to keep the resulting deficits in check.

    Let me propose the following for your consideration: Let’s keep tax rates the same on everyone whose net worth is under a certain number, let’s say, $10million. That way, we limit the tax increases to the rich, but allow everyone else to become rich before higher taxes set in.

    But make these tax increases temporary just in case they do have a demonstrable effect on reducing tax revenues from this group.

  7. Malcolm, I take this to mean that you too are against corruption whereever it is found.

    LOL.

    Show me an unambiguous, equivalent case of “corruption” (i.e., a tax loophole designed to benefit 25 individuals at a cost of $4 billion/yr) that is being publically defended by most Democratic politicians.

  8. mqueen@tbpr.??? Wow and here I get a letter from Beverly, and I am told to email mqueen. Thank GOD I phoned someone and left a detailed message. LOLOLOL
    This is about the 4th or 5th day I can’t get into my mail which occurs regularly.
    I would complain to them again Lets hope they read this Blog. Must have something to do with where I live? All the services seem to be lacking.

  9. The result was that the budget deficit steadily decreased the following years until 1998 when the Federal Government ran a surplus, and we were actually paying off the debt.

    Yup. And then the country Supreme Court elected a Republican and suddenly budget surpluses were The Worst Thing Ever. Oh wait. Budget surpluses were actually the Third Worst Thing Ever. The worst thing ever was Social Security (or any other so-called “entitlement”) and the Second Worst Thing Ever was criticizing the President. Funny how the only thing that hasn’t dramatically changed since then is the GOP fixation on Social Security, another manufactured “crisis” whose solution inevitably involves funneling more of the average workers’ money to the banksters and stock brokers who, we are told, can manage the funds “more efficiently.”

  10. Ned,

    You may have better luck in giving suggestions if you showed the abiity to take that same advice.

    Just a thought.

  11. Careful IPB, you are setting yourself up to be accused of being a sockpuppet by not toting the proper belief system here (because everyone knows that if you are not a true believer, you must be a single crazed “gunman”)

  12. They would only be sued for discrimination if they, well, discriminated. There are no discrimination laws – especially for banks – that say that key critical financial characteristics can NOT determine appropriate business decisions.

    Exactly. There’s never been any problem with discriminating against people on the basis that they can’t afford to pay.

    The problem has never been whether the banks were socialized, but rather whether they were capitalized.

  13. I listened and understood.

    You are still wrong.

    There are laws against discrimination that are enforced against banks. If they impose too stringent rules for credit qualification, they could be sued for defacto discrimination

    No. They would only be sued for discrimination if they, well, discriminated. There are no discrimination laws – especially for banks – that say that key critical financial characteristics can NOT determine appropriate business decisions.

    IN FACT – had you listened to your own propaganda, you would have caught the point that Sowell slides through that the Banks FLIPPED their own (non-legally-forced decisions) as fast as they could to get them off their own books (in yet another PROFIT driven move) to Fannie and Freddie.

    You are simply throwing out blind conjecture with your “if..too stringent…could be…de facto line of crrp that no one is buying.

    Once again, as is often the case on these threads, your position comes down to a rather unconvincing “because I say so.”

    Your so called “pressured to comply or else” had the oh-so-hard-pressure of making money and quick flipping of the later risks off of their own books.

    If you think that was “arm-twisting” you are a fool.

    “Providing an out” is no excuse for the Bank’s purposeful and chosen behavior. No one forced the Banks to do anything – much less make it a legal requirement to do so which was your original (and baseless), position.

  14. Ned –

    Basic economics still continue to elude you.

    A person making $45K/year on a government salary pays the same taxes as a person making $45K/year in private company. They both spend the money on goods/services, which fuel the economy. As such, economically, both provide the same amount of monetary value to the economy.

    However, let’s suppose that one is a meat inspector and the other one is on the line that makes plastic-injected molded pink flamingoes, as lawn ornaments. Also, let’s suppose that this one person could choose either job and the other job would go unfilled. What job should that person fill? and why? FYI, I already know your answer, but I’m more curious to see your attempt at the “why?”

    “The answer to THAT question depends on whether increasing the tax rate will actually bring in more tax revenue.”
    Ahh … the trickle-down economic theory – only referred to inferentially. I was told by an economics professor of mine once (and no, he wasn’t a socialist) that the St. Louis Federal Reserve did a study and found that the trickle-down theory is a bunch of hogwash. Basically, study concluded that the additional tax revenue generated by the tax cuts weren’t enough to pay for the tax cuts themselves. As such, increasing the tax rate will bring in more tax revenue.

    The theory that tax cuts help small business is, IMHO, a crock. I’ve been a small businessman for awhile, and varying tax rates have not changed how hard I work in the slightest. They will only change my take home pay. I didn’t work extra hard after the Bush tax cut, and I won’t work less if taxes are raised. Moreover, I don’t personally know of anybody (in a similar position) that would say differently. Finally, whether I hire/fire anybody has much more to do with whether I have the demand for my service to justify their hiring than the amount of money I take home after taxes. If it is good business decision to hire them, I will – regardless of whether or not I’m at a 33% tax rate or a 40% tax rate. You see, whether or not I create a job doesn’t depend on the tax rate.

    “If we were to raise taxes now, we would lose 1 million jobs.”
    First mistake – believing anything any politician says. Second mistake, mistaking a politician for an economist.

    “So, what are we to do when we need to balance the budget?”
    Let’s see, the budget was balanced in 1998-2000. What were the tax rates then?

    Before you answer that question, let’s think about how we got to a balanced budget at that time. The US president COMPROMISED with Congress and instituted a combination of tax increases and spending cuts – during a recession. The result was that the budget deficit steadily decreased the following years until 1998 when the Federal Government ran a surplus, and we were actually paying off the debt.

  15. Why would I get a Letter from the State Bar asking me to say what this Atty. did. It is a copy his was the original. I can’t say it any plainer. He was the only one that could have done this to me. They needed him. he was the one that had the License!
    Now I get a letter back after I answer it with some evidence. Emails i sent were never responded to. And phone calls were never returned. It is not a copy. It is telling me why did you complain. Did you go to the Police? Did you file a court case? Did you complain to the PTO? ALL OF THE ABOVE!
    Now I look at the signatures of this person… They are absolutely NOT signed by the same person!
    MY MY MY Same MO!

  16. Your analogy is ridiculous and you have no credibility given your comments upthread which several commenters have pointed out were completely false and easily demonstrated as such.

    he argued that we needed to extend the Bush tax rate cuts. I assume he was right

    He wasn’t right. Those tax cuts are in effect right now, by the way. How’s that working out?

    we need to balance the budget

    Really? Since when?

  17. Bank, you listened but did not understand. There are laws against discrimination that are enforced against banks. If they impose too stringent rules for credit qualification, they could be sued for defacto discrimination. Bush and Barney Frank, for example, openly advocated reduced lending standards to allow minorities to buy their own homes. I don’t know how many SOTU speeches by Bush that I heard where he bragged about his administration’s ability to spread home ownership among minorities.

    Banks were pressured to comply or else. So they lowered standards because they had to.

    Barney Frank in particular was loud in his urging that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae help minority ownership by lowering lending standards. He continues this refrain even today. He has not learned any lesson from what happened.

    Since the crisis, banks have become much more conservative in their lending practices. While Bush is gone, Obama has not continued the Bush policy in this regard. Obama appears to have gone in the opposite direction — to his credit.

    We got into the crisis because of government intervention in the market. Had the banks been left to their own resources without the aid of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae who assumed (correctly) that they would not be allowed to fail, there would have been no housing crisis.

  18. “It was the LAW that banks could not refuse folks because of extreme risk.”

    Care to cite a statute?

  19. Let’s assume the economy is like a car that produces profit depending on speed, but consumes money for fuel. Taxes represent how much of the profit we take for government leaving the rest for fuel. If we want more profit available for taxes we need to have the car go faster. To do that, we need to give it more fuel.

    For example, assume the car stops when completely starved of fuel, and produces no taxes at all if all the profit is used for fuel.

    No let us suppose we have a budget deficit that needs to be addressed. Do we increase tax rates or do we reduce spending? The answer to THAT question depends on whether increasing the tax rate will actually bring in more tax revenue.

    Notice that the question that has to be asked and answered here has nothing to do with “fairness.” It simply is one of which tax rate raises the most revenue.

    Now, it wasn’t that long ago that Mr. Obama made this statement:

    “If we were to raise taxes now, we would lose 1 million jobs.”

    He said that last December, IIRC, when he argued that we needed to extend the Bush tax rate cuts. I assume he was right, and that the tax rates are such that raising them would slow the economy, costing millions their jobs and producing even less revenue.

    So, what are we to do when we need to balance the budget?

  20. Did you even listen to your own propaganda?

    “Permission” (for other activities) does not equal “LAW.”

    You seek to excuse the PROFIT driver and make the Bank behavior a legal requirement.

    You could not be more wrong.

    Do you even understand such simple concepts as “legal” and “choice”?

  21. There is a missing link in the logic chain here.

    Rest assured, there is a bit more missing than that.

  22. MM–

    I’ll tell you what motivates them: precisely the same values, attitudes, and beliefs that motivate the “other side”.

    Of course! How could I not have seen that coming?

    You’re an liar and an idji0t, IBP. I can’t be bothered with dissmeblers who would rather argue that “freedom equals slavery” than admit that there are truly horrible rotten people in the world. Have a nice life.

    Moving right along, here’s another question for the libertards and GOP water-carriers: imagine you’re a typical small business. Consider the following:

    1) A “grand bargain” between the two parties that doesn’t raise taxes and reduces the deficit to zero in 10 years (assuming later Congresses don’t overturn it — LOLOLOLO!!) or

    2) A Bernanke “helicopter drop” of money effectively wiping out all debt held by the lower and middle classes except for, say, 50% of remaining mortgage payments. All foreclosure actions are halted.

    Which of the above will be more helpful to your small business?

    This is a really really difficult question, by the way.

    LOL!

  23. Passing through–

    I was characterizing “trust” as essentially “predictability”, which characterization provides a good basis for understanding the things you declared that you “trust”.

    One of the things I was talking about was a “negative trust”–the belief that the government will essentially screw up. That of course was a very value-laden description, not worth getting into too deeply–but it fairly describes your remaining trust. Negative trust is an ineffective basis for positive action, because it describes only what WON’T happen, but not what WILL happen, and thus although there remains some degree of predictability, it is a degree far lower than that which exists in a situation of positive trust.

    i.e. what is predictable is that government will screw up. Surely you don’t believe that working to get re-elected is the best way to govern? That marginally competent people are the best people to have? That the shortest vision is the best vision?

    I agree with essentially everything you said, although I would add some things like mandatory term limits, etc.

  24. MM–

    I’ll tell you what motivates them: precisely the same values, attitudes, and beliefs that motivate the “other side”.

    The whole idea behind accountability is that of equity, if not equality. WHY do people want and expect accountability of anyone? Because of a basic sense of “fair play”, so that one does not see one’s own perceived self-worth or self-construct relatively eroded or diminished by someone or some agent other than themselves.

    I say “relatively” because the actual manifestation of self-worth or self-construct varies tremendously with the individual and the society in which they exist, and the culture to which they see themselves as belonging. The bottom line is that everyone, no matter where or when, has some idea of the “self”. Because humans are social, everybody has contact with other people, and the “self” is often in part created, understood, and maintained in terms of the relations we have with and among those other people.

    In calling others to account, we are not only expressing that self, but also reinforcing, changing, or shaping it as the case may be, which is one of the most basic of our human needs.

    This is not temporally, geographically, socially, or culturally-limited. Even when a person finds him- or herself in a situation where the “self” is subordinated to some other locus of control, the “self” persists, and control over it is manifested by the person in other situations, such as when that person is among perceived peers, or is entirely alone.

    Like many things, it becomes a question of degree–to what degree are people comfortable, and in which situations, with a relinquishment of control over self-determination? The answer of course varies, but one very particular scenario in which there is a perception of control is that involving the relationship, either as individuals or as individuals identifying with a group, of people to their “representatives”.

    Without getting too deeply into this, it is the individual need for a perceived acceptable degree of control over self-determination that motivates not only “those” politicians, but ALL politicians who exist within a system in which they are individually subject to external controlling influences. With our federal politicians, those include re-election influences, post-term economic incentives, committee structures, etc..

    The expression of “a vote” is a complex thing–2 different individuals can vote differently on a particular question, yet articulate precisely the same reason for having cast those opposing votes. When that happens, it quickly becomes apparent that an insufficient inquiry has been made into the basis for the vote.

    THAT is why “the Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling”, as you put it.

    It’s the same reason that you are advocating the raising of the debt ceiling, by making the statements and arguments that you do. I suppose you personally have conducted an exhaustive audit of the stimulus program? Not only that, but that you can foretell the future with precision and accuracy? (2 things that are essential to determine if the stimulus “worked”).

    Of course not, nor are you expected to. You have, in part, identified yourself with a group that is advocating to raise the debt ceiling, and which has afforded to you a toolkit appropriate for a utilitarian sort of advocacy. You eagerly reach into the bag, and work on the medium with the tools you select, arranged as you choose–just as do “the Republicans”.

    MM, you seem to have enough brains to be dissatisfied with the sufficiency and nature of your advocacy. Don’t be just another dupe. Regardless of the saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”, there are many things which have never before been implemented, or even attempted, on a social scale.

    You have the ability to step outside the box, and you know it. What you must now do is to understand at what new rates the return on your advocacy will obtain once you do step out of the box, and to manage those rates successfully for the short-, medium-, and long-term.

    For now, your writings amount to no more than a naked expression of self, and a shaping of the self through the reflective nature of writing and editing. You have ceded too much control–you have allowed external influences to decide your criteria for the success and failure of this endeavor, and your writing takes on the tone of an incantation or mantra, with no real object outside your self.

    What is “obvious” is that you are writing not for others, but for your self, as a measure of self-determination best characterized as self-preservation.

    It is this knowledge that permits people to externalize your communication, and that externalization is why your writing is ineffective at producing change in others.

    So it is with most political rhetoric in this country, and although I have high hopes for you, my expectations are more realistic. You have precisely the same motivations as do “the Republicans”. Unsurprisingly, your motivations are unfortunately manifested in a commonly vulgar and unsophisticated manner.

    Sorry Malcolm, but you put yourself out there, and made yourself fair game.

  25. Which LAW exactly was it that made any particular bank make a loan? Are you saying that the bank had absolutely no authority to refuse to make loans? None? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to the Government being the bank?

    There is a missing link in the logic chain here.

  26. Passing: “We got here by forcing banks to let people into homes without a sufficient margin on their ability to pay their mortgages as interests rose.”
    Banks weren’t forced to do anything — bank’s are private entities — you know, your holy grail.
    The bank’s fault was that they were chasing after your other holy grail — profit. Brokers profited by giving risky loans because they thought the risk of default was low (given the steadily increase in home values).

    But this is where you are flatly wrong. It was the LAW that banks could not refuse folks because of extreme risk. The law was specifically designed to get the “poor” and especially minorities into homes. The expectation was that real estate values would always rise and, for this reason, the lenders and REITs were protected.

    The problem was magnified by the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who bought the mortgages and resold them with high grades to REITs. That allowed the loans to be made in the first place.

    All in all, it WAS a government induced and caused problem. It was SOLELY and EXCLUSIVELY a government caused and induced problem.

    Banks left to their own devised have historically only lent 80% of a home’s value. This is they way they protected themselves. Lending 100% or close to it, is insane, but it was the LAW.

  27. Let me remind you of a point that I previous made but you happened to overlook. The government doesn’t set either the mortgage rates or the rates to which ARMs are tied. The market does that.

    “We got here by forcing banks to let people into homes without a sufficient margin on their ability to pay their mortgages as interests rose.”
    Banks weren’t forced to do anything — bank’s are private entities — you know, your holy grail.
    The bank’s fault was that they were chasing after your other holy grail — profit. Brokers profited by giving risky loans because they thought the risk of default was low (given the steadily increase in home values).

    In such a situation, the banks couldn’t help themselves. Everybody was making money giving mortgages to anybody and everybody, so do satisfy their shareholders (who want profits) they had to get into the game. The only entity capable of putting the brakes on this was the government.

    Unfortunately, a combination of lack of political willpower and the administration, at the time, being of the “less regulation is best” variety meant that nobody from the government was there to put on the breaks.

    The housing market is a great example why the “drive for profit” is not the “end all be all” that you think it is. Although profit drives greater efficiency, it all drives cutting corners and taking higher risks. During any normal market cycle, at the bottom, there are low risk, high reward opportunities that are easy to profit from. However, as the market gets better, those opportunities dwindle, and to obtain the same profits, people start getting into riskier and riskier ventures. Eventually, as the market is flush with money, a feeding frenzy begins and people start throwing money at any project in the hope that is will turn a profit. However, at the top, most of the ventures that are left are dogs and the money invested in them disappears. This is when the cycle turns, the bubble pops, or whatever name you want to use, and the economy tumbles.

    At the very end of the housing boom, the banks were lending to anybody and everybody because they were addicted to the profits generated by the loans. Well, when those people couldn’t pay (because they were terrible credit risks), their foreclosures hit the market, when drove prices down, which meant a lot of people started going underwater on the mortgages – which led to more foreclosures and worse prices.

    Whatever you may think of the interest rate environment between, say, 2006-2009, it was not bad by any historical measure. In fact, by historical measures, the rates in the last decade haven’t been this good since before most of us were born.

  28. Passing, the initial rates themselves are not the real issue. The variability is the issue. The defaulters were put into the homes at a rate they could barely afford. The rates are pegged to the Feds interest rates + some fixed number.

    After the .dot com crash, the economy went South and the Fed lowered the interest rates to 1% in 2002. They held them there through 2004. link to upload.wikimedia.org

    The rates began to rise, and were rapidly raised to 5+% in 2007. This is when the fun began.

    The rates on the variable rate mortgages are adjusted every six months. There is a cap on how much it can be raised, usually 1%. But with rates rising in 2006-2007, one can expect that the rates being charges begin to rise significantly by the end of 2007 and continued to rise through 2008.

    Now what happened. A lot of people defaulted. They could no longer pay. This forced properties back on to the market through foreclosures and short sales. This depressed housing prices. The real estate market collapsed.

    In short order, REITs collapsed as well. Insurers of REITs such as AIG began to collapse. The collapse snowballed and the whole economy went into the tank.

    So how did we get into a situation where normal interest rate rises collapsed the economy?

    We got here by forcing banks to let people into homes without a sufficient margin on their ability to pay their mortgages as interests rose.

    Now who did that?

    The US Government, that is who.

    And in particular, who in that government? Who did it and who tried to stop it?

    I’ll leave those questions on the table for your consideration.

  29. Correction, I meant to say that “the rates, on average, for 2000-2008 are considerable LOWER than for 1992-2000.”

  30. “Passing grade? We are talking about variable rate mortgates and you bring to our attention fixed mortgage rates? You lack of knowledge about the difference between the two is an impediment to further discussions.”

    The one year treasury was an attempt to capture that data. Perhaps I should have used this chart:
    link to moneycafe.com

    As you can tell, rates were never incresed during the term of the current president. Oh, in case you didn’t realize, the Fed doesn’t set mortagage rates or the benchmarks off of which ARMs are tied — the market does that.

    If you are looking for historical ARM rates, you can find there here:
    link to mortgage-x.com

    FYI … the rates, on average, for 2000-2008 are considerable higher than for 1992-2000. However, the rates for 2008-2011 have been historically low.

    Again, next time, try to work with some facts because you don’t know s h i t.

  31. Passing grade?  We are talking about variable rate mortgates and you bring to our attention fixed mortgage rates?   You lack of knowledge about the difference between the two is an impediment to further discussions. 

  32. “Low interest rates from 2001-2008, followed by the Feds (predictably) jacking them up quickly in 2008 more than five years in to a strong expansion caused by the lower tax rates, that suddenly (but predictably) increased the cost of variable mortages?”

    I see you are hitting the cra-ck pipe again. You have no f”ing idea what the interest rates were. If you did, you would have cut off your fingers before writing the cr-ap-o-la you just did.

    Historical 30 year mortage rates can be found here:
    link to freddiemac.com
    The 1 year treasury rate can be found here:
    link to moneycafe.com

    The rates in 2008 were almost exactly inline with what rates were during the prior 8 years. In fact, rates in 2009-2011 have been even better.

    I see you are inventing facts to support your hypothesis. Are you a Patent Examiner?

  33. “The secret to the quick recovery was that the government generally stood aside and let the market recover by itself.”

    Funny that …. the first thing we ever hear from the Tea Party-ites when there is a dip in the economy is that “we’ve gotta cut taxes.”

    Its funny because the Tea Party-ites like to claim that the government should stay out of the way of business but when things go bad, they are the first ones out on the streets asking for government help (i.e., in the form of tax cuts/breaks). You cannot have it both ways … you can try, but that just exposes your hypocrasy.

  34. Malcolm, I take this to mean that you too are against corruption whereever it is found.

    Crony capitalism is a huge problem. The best way for a politician to get money to his “friends” (in exchange for cash) is to rig the system.

    We even have a whole thread on this problem from Judge Michel. I wonder how much money Congressman made from Wall Street for Section 18 of HR 1249?

    I also think the whole Wall Street bailout a few years ago was not about saving the system, but about saving the investors in certain banking firms.

    Follow the money.

  35. Right, because large negligent companies would only use a single brand…

    How many shell companies did Enron have…?

  36. if a producer did not inspect, they would soon go out of business because their brand would be shunned.

    Right, because large negligent companies would only use a single brand to make sure everybody associated their tainted meat with its source. They would never, for example, try to cover up their ties to the whole thing and sell meat under one of their other brands instead. Certainly not if there was any profit in it.

    Most meat probably comes out fine without too much effort, anyway. I wonder how bad the conditions would have to be before meat became statistically more dangerous than cigarettes. Incidentally, the big cigarette companies have been sued plenty, and are still in business and showing a tidy quarterly profit.

    The free market isn’t always the answer. Even when you add in civil liability. Ounce of prevention, and all that.

  37. Just for example, if I were to tell you that the department of buggy whip quality was now 15,000 members strong and had a budget of $5billion per year, I would hope that even you would be shocked.

    Would you be shocked if I were to tell you that despite all that quality control, they would still be buggy whips?

  38. Correct, the whole point is supposedly the savings in software licenses (which will likely be substantial given the discarding of the VMs and desktops). However, I really don’t think they took into consideration the loss in revenue that will be caused from the lower productivity.

    “How much of a deterrent is it to “lug” a laptop home for the voluntary overtime to earn the production bonuses?”

    Umm…It is a pretty BIG deterrent to the average examiner. If paid overtime becomes available again then it will be a HUGE loss to the PTO. It’s incredibly common for examiners to do a few hours of paid overtime here and there while at home. This will not happen because it’s not normally preplanned apart from the die hard full overtimers. These few hours multiplied over the examining corps accounts for a large number of cases that will not be examined and will not generate RCE and all the post-issue fees.

    Mark my words, the lost revenue from those cases that would have been examined but will not be because the computers are left at work will far out weight the savings from the software licenses.

    This is classic shortsighted thinking on the part of management.

  39. JJ I’m not sure if you’re familiar with how the PTO works.

    “Examiners that don’t want to take the laptop home to work may be offset by the ones that don’t have a laptop now but will.”

    Examiners have to be approved for telework in order to take the laptop home. Otherwise it is locked down to the desk, so no it won’t be offset. Those that have been approved for the PELP or other telework program already have the equipment, but now they’ll have to take it home every night to use it. I’d put money on production going down because they lacked the foresight to see that people won’t want to deal with taking it home and back.

    Also, to my knowledge the building owner is responsible for the power bill, not the PTO, so the power savings won’t have a positive affect on the PTO budget.

  40. Sounds just like Money laundering to me.
    Got me going in Circles.. whoo round and round I go. got me going in Circles, whooo round and round I go.
    Don’t want to ruin the Song.
    Dropped me in a Corn Field. HEHEHEEHHHH. Sweet Corn

  41. One of the tax breaks upon which President Obama has focused is a provision that allows hedge fund managers — who make billions annually — to receive a substantial tax break. This particular tax break, known as the carried-interest loophole, allows hedge fund managers to treat the money they receive from investors as capital gains, subject to a 15 percent tax rate. Though this money is a paycheck received for services, just like a movie star receiving a bonus if her movie does well, it’s treated as investment income.

    Since hedge fund managers are some of the richest people in the country, this tax break actually causes a significant loss of revenue. In fact, according to calculation by RJ Eskow, closing this loophole would raise more than $4 billion per year just from the 25 richest hedge fund managers…

    That may seem like a lot of revenue to raise from just a few people, but it’s simply what would happen if the income hedge fund managers receive to manage other people’s money was treated the same as income earned by other workers. It would take the combined income of 441,000 middle-class families to equal the income made by just the 25 richest hedge fund managers. The top hedge fund manager at the moment, John Paulson, makes more hourly than most Americans will earn in a lifetime, while paying a lower tax rate. This is an egregious loophole, but the GOP refuses to consider it as part of a deal to avoid default and an economic catastrophe.

    Tell me more about “the system” and where the corruption lies, Ned. I need a good laugh.

  42. Not one of you scholar’s recitations of history go back to the crucial juncture.

    The Sixteenth amenmdent. Screw the 16th. Repeal that sht today!

    In two measely years taxes went from under a billion dollars to 5 billion dollars!

    “In fiscal year 1918, annual internal revenue collections for the first time passed the billion-dollar mark, rising to $5.4 billion by 1920″

    Republicans want a bogey man to slay? Call that man the 16th.

    If anyone had the balls to run on that platform today I’d sure as f vote for him.

    “http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c0/Punch-_Income_Tax_1907.jpg”

    By the by, this image of MM survives from 1907.

  43. IANAE, if a producer did not inspect, they would soon go out of business because their brand would be shunned. If they did not inspect, they could be sued not only for damage they caused, but for punitive damages.

    I have no objection that the law provide for “audits” of the private meat inspectors. But the whole premise that only the government can provide meat inspectors is faulty.

    Take air travel for example. Pilots inspect their planes before takeoff. They do a good job. If they didn’t do a good job, their own lives would be at stake.

    But if you assume that the only reliable inspection is from a government inspector, I am sure you could get Congress to pass such a regulation and create a whole new bureaucracy. However, I hope most of us would agree that that is not only not necessary, it probably will result in lower quality inspections than that already provided by the pilots.

  44. AAA JJ, I do not disagree that some government is necessary and other goverment that is not necessary may have benefits that outweigh the burdens, but you do have to acknowledge that government is a also burdern. There is no free lunch.

    One cannot assume that governments has no burden, or that its benefits always outweigh it burdens. The assumption should be the other way around so that government and, in particular, bureaucracies should always have to justify their continued existence. Just for example, if I were to tell you that the department of buggy whip quality was now 15,000 members strong and had a budget of $5billion per year, I would hope that even you would be shocked. (Of course, this is just a made up case. But there are real examples everywhere in government where the reason for continued existence of the bureaucracy is de minimis.)

  45. Why of course we should inspect meat — to the extent necessary. The Law could require it.

    Sorry, Ned. I must have misunderstood. I thought your position was that the free market ought to decide whether meat is worth inspecting, and that only a dunce would “believe that there would be no meat inspections if there was no government“, because meat companies would value brand recognition and brand loyalty.

    Now we appear to be assuming that meat inspection is necessary, and only discussing whether the inspectors should be employed by the government or by the individual company. Of course, we could ask essentially the same question of whether there’s net money in it for the private inspectors to do a proper inspection rather than just a rubber-stamping, and whether that’s the sort of free-market influence we want in that situation. Maybe we could have the government inspect the inspectors.

    But that’s a far less interesting discussion than trying to sort out where exactly you think government regulation of for-profit industry should begin and end.

  46. No I don’t. What I am doing is responding to your assertion that “government is a burden, plain and simple.” Government is what allows the 300+M of us here in the U.S. to live together in relative peace and tranquility. Do I want government “burdening” meat packing companies and coal mining companies and banks and drug companies and auto manufacturers and oil drilling and refining companies, et. with regulations and inspections? Most definitely I do.

    I love this nonsense I hear from the tea party wankers that they “want their country back.” What does that even mean? Back from what? And don’t we want our country forward, not back?

    I also love this crxp that Obama is “taking away our freedoms.” Orly? Please tell me one thing you were free to do on January 19, 2009 that you’re now not free to do. Just one.

  47. IBP,

    You said “And as for the USA being the “greatest country ever”, well, that is a joke. While the US is perhaps among the most powerful ever, “greatness” is measured in many ways in which the US fails dismally.”

    You can not just throw that out there without completing the idea. If you do not consider the USA being one of the greatest & that it is a joke to think that, then what countries DO you consider to be the greatest.

    Either current or from history, but I would appreciate you explaining what other countries are better in the current world?

  48. AAA JJ, you conflate law with the performance of government services. They are not the same thing, not at all. For more, see my response to IANAE below.

  49. Which laws: why of course, laws that are necessary and proper and do not violate the constitution.

    But see the meat inspector below regarding who performs the services.

    Why of course we should inspect meat — to the extent necessary. The Law could require it. But that does not mean that the goverment itself must do the inspecting. The law could provide only that it be done, and could allow periodic inspections as is now done by health code or fire code inspectors across the nation who inspect restaurants and the like.

  50. Ned: A corollary is that goverments should only do that which only governments can do, such as provide a military, a court system, law enforcement, prisons and the like. If a function could be performed by private industry, it should.

    If you’re providing “law enforcement”, do we get to discuss which laws are appropriate for a government to pass? Because that could wind up being pretty pervasive if we’re not careful.

    See Terry Pratchett’s Discworld for an example of a private industry solution to law enforcement. Maybe we don’t need police or prisons after all.

    Ned: We could go through a list, item by item, to see if goverment’s provision of the particular service is required. I don’t think providing meat inspectors is one of them.

    It’s not “required”, exactly. Sure, each company could theoretically hire or train its own squad of meat inspectors.

    The reason we discuss whether government should get involved is because not everybody is convinced that hiring meat inspectors should be a business decision left up to the individual company based on whether or not meat inspectors are profitable to employ. By and large, those of us who consume meat would rather know that whatever meat we buy from whatever source, some basic level of quality and hygiene is required by law and (we trust) adhered to.

    If companies decide they’d rather privately inspect at a higher level, and market the improved quality to consumers to realize a net profit, then long live free market capitalism.

  51. “The way Jefferson put it, IIRC, was that the government that governs least is the best government.”

    So should government be telling businesses, e.g. coal mining companies, that they can’t employ 8 year old kids and make them work 12 hour days? Or should the almighty concern for profit (hey, kids work cheaper than adults, and longer too!!!!) override the government’s interest? Hey, let’s not burden these altruistic coal mining companies with pesky regulations. And let’s not burden them with inspections to make sure they’re meeting some minimum safety standards. Heck, who cares that 29 coal miners died awhile back. Let’s just replace them with some 8 year olds.

    “We could go through a list, item by item, to see if goverment’s provision of the particular service is required. I don’t think providing meat inspectors is one of them.”

    If your kid died from eating e.coli infested meat, or salmonella infested peanut butter, you might think a little different. The idea that private corporations are going to police themselves is a fantasy that never seems to die amongst the “free market” crowd. There’s a reason the government regulates certain industries. It provides a tremendous societal benefit. Of course, you can’t put a dollar figure on what it’s worth, and there’s no “profit” in it, but it’s real. And a lot of people value it, even if they don’t know they do.

  52. Regarding unions, unions are meant to balance power. Government sets the appropriate balance. If it tilts too much one way or the other, the system becomes dysfunctional.

    Regarding union-induced inefficiency, this can be negotiated out. If management cannot for some reason negotiate proper controls its workforce, then perhaps the power balance is too much in the favor of union power.

    It generally is a mistake to be totally pro-union or totally anti-union. But it should be observed that there appears to be systematic corruption in the US involving one political party and union leadership. We can all figure out what party that is and how the corruption works.

  53. AAA JJ, you oversimplify by suggesting that I or anyone who recognizes that government is a burden favor some form of anarchy. I already said I favor the rule of law, for example.

    The way Jefferson put it, IIRC, was that the government that governs least is the best government. A corollary is that goverments should only do that which only governments can do, such as provide a military, a court system, law enforcement, prisons and the like. If a function could be performed by private industry, it should.

    We could go through a list, item by item, to see if goverment’s provision of the particular service is required. I don’t think providing meat inspectors is one of them.

    Regarding patents, I think they are necessary. But I do not think the government has to do everything involved in procuring a patent. Once, not that long ago, the government printed patents. That has been farmed out to private industry.

    And this goes on and on and on. Each case has to be considered and the pros and cons weighed.

    Regarding the “Rights of Man” I refer to the Declaration that has become a founding document of France. From the linked article: “The above document was written by The Marquis de Lafayette, with help from his friend and neighbor, American envoy to France, Thomas Jefferson.”

    link to constitution.org

    It reads

    Articles:

    Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.
    The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.
    The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.
    Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.
    Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.
    Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents.
    No person shall be accused, arrested, or imprisoned except in the cases and according to the forms prescribed by law. Any one soliciting, transmitting, executing, or causing to be executed, any arbitrary order, shall be punished. But any citizen summoned or arrested in virtue of the law shall submit without delay, as resistance constitutes an offense.
    The law shall provide for such punishments only as are strictly and obviously necessary, and no one shall suffer punishment except it be legally inflicted in virtue of a law passed and promulgated before the commission of the offense.
    As all persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty, if arrest shall be deemed indispensable, all harshness not essential to the securing of the prisoner’s person shall be severely repressed by law.
    No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.
    The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.
    The security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces. These forces are, therefore, established for the good of all and not for the personal advantage of those to whom they shall be intrusted.
    A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means.
    All the citizens have a right to decide, either personally or by their representatives, as to the necessity of the public contribution; to grant this freely; to know to what uses it is put; and to fix the proportion, the mode of assessment and of collection and the duration of the taxes.
    Society has the right to require of every public agent an account of his administration.
    A society in which the observance of the law is not assured, nor the separation of powers defined, has no constitution at all.
    Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified.”

  54. Wish I had time today to respond to all this (MM’s also) but I’ve got to get an agreement done by the end of the day.

    I will leave with just this today, which is my own original work of authorship, FWIW:

    There are only 2 things in this world that are easy–screwing up, and spending money.

  55. Just because I’m nit picking now …

    “What matters here is that TRUST in the government has broken down.”

    Ehh … there have always been variable degrees of trust in the society. There will always be some that will never trust the government – any government. Other times, there will be a tremendous amount of trust in the government – its all variable. Ultimately, as your missive on “trust” recognizes, it all comes down to the people we trust (or don’t).

    I trust that the politicians will only do what they think is necessary to get elected for another term.
    I trust that most people in the private and public sector are marginally competent.
    I trust that that the private sector has the shortest vision of the all – typically measured in fiscal quarters.
    I trust that true professionals (not just those who society has designated as “professionals”) will do what is best for their country (if in the public sector) or their company/clients (if in the private sector).

    Your take on accountability is easy to address when it comes to the public sector. Get rid of the unions and let the clients (i.e., the electorate) have a say in who stays and who goes. However, this “solution” generates a whole host of different problems. First, the electorate only gets a say on those at the top. The vast majority of government employees are not elected. Also, the lack of unions means that the workers are now exposed to be unfairly treated based upon the whims of their managers. Finding that happy medium between accountability (for government employees) yet providing protection from nepotism, arbitrary and capricious behavior, etc. has proved elusive (so far). Ultimately, the people at the top of the agencies (i.e., those that are elected) are politicians, which means I don’t trust them to do what is right for the country. However, they are the ones that “manage the managers” and thus provide guidance to how government should be run. IMHO, there is no simple answer to this.

    Also, we can privatize much of government. However, privatization could lead to preferable treatment for some (i.e., the people) but not others. Also, there are some services for which I don’t want to pay expenses + profit for. Finally, there are also some services that need to provided regardless of the expense. It is these roles that are made for government.

  56. So yes, “government inefficiency” IS responsible for the sad state of “the economy”, IF one truly believes that “the economy” IS currently in a sad state–and I might point out that there are many who disagree with that conclusion

    If what you’re saying is that “governement inefficiency” explains the inability of the government to regulate bad actors (e.g., banks) than I agree. Otherwise, your argument stxnks.

    As to whether there are “many who disagree”, I don’t doubt that’s true. It’s also true that it’s a minority opinion and a difficult one to defend.

  57. And “easy” varies, depending on your perspective. It can be very easy to decide some things, but very difficult to implement or manage them. Unfortunately, we are currently at the point, federally, where neither decision nor implementation and management are proving easy.

    Well, the stimulus was actually pretty easy and it worked. The economy is growing, it’s just growing very slowly, exactly as many of the wiser economists predicted.

    Given the obvious benefits (and cost savings over the long term) of providing more stimulus (as I’ve noted, focused on infrastructure development), I can’t see any reason not to do it *unless* you favor maximizing human suffering over “increased government size”.

    Can you explain to me why the Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling? Why are the Republicans refusing increased taxes on millionaires?

    I know at least *some* Democratic politicians are interesting in expanding social programs because they want to help people and minimize the pain of the recession. I know this because I know them personally and helping the less fortunate and providing people opportunities to succeed is why these people got into politics.

    What exactly motivates politicians who refuse to aid the least fortunate in our society because “we can’t afford it” and at the same time refuse to increase taxes on people who are sitting on ten or hundreds of billions of dollars?

    I ask you because, at least when you skim the surface of your comments, you seem possessed of some incredibly deep philosophical insights about our culture. Please let me know if you have any ideas about the above.

  58. That’s high praise, but here I go, about to screw it up:

    “Economics”, at its base, is a theory of human behavior, which relies on some constructs that enable various qualities of human life to be characterized, explored, and perhaps even manipulated.

    One such construct is trust. The broadest and most reasonable definition I can divine for trust is that trust is a belief in the predictability of future outcomes, events, attitudes, or actions. It is not specifically related to the furtherance of one’s own interests–for instance, I can trust that somebody I believe to be reliable will do a good job paving my driveway, and I can trust that a paver who screwed up on his 2 other jobs on the street will also screw up on mine (a “negative trust”).

    “I trust he’ll do a good job”, and “I trust he’ll do a bad job” are identical as far as the concept of trust is concerned–it is a belief, held rightly or wrongly, that future outcomes, events, attitudes, or actions can be predicted today.

    The degree of trust goes to the perceived reliability of the prediction.

    For any government to function effectively–even a brutal totalitarian regime–it requires data, information, and intelligence. In a “free” country like the USA, data are needed about the private sector–about individuals, organizations, and businesses.

    The provision of this data is largely up to the private-sector actor. The provision of some of it is coerced on threat of penalty (census, tax and regulatory filings), the provision of some of it is a necessary condition of the otherwise voluntary use of government services (grants, UI), and the provision of some of it is made voluntarily, usually for the perceived benefit of the individual or group making the disclosure (professional and trade organizations, special-interest groups).

    Trust in the government is required to achieve each of these 3 types of disclosure from the private sector. Plenty of people cheat on their taxes, or do cash deals, because they trust the government doesn’t have time to come after the little guy, and they trust that they would be able to successfully thwart an investigation or challenge findings. Plenty of people specifically avoid availing themselves of voluntarily-engaged government services for the specific purpose of maintaining data privacy from the government, because they trust that once they become involved with the government, the government will provide them with incorrect information, and then come later looking for a payback, or they trust that the service will come with unacceptable strings attached, like many research grants. And finally, plenty of people and organizations either do not provide information to the government anymore because they trust either that the government will misuse and/or mischaracterize it, or that the government will make its provision cost more to the individual or organization than it is worth, for example GSA qualified vendors.

    What matters here is that TRUST in the government has broken down. Private sector actors either trust that the government will screw up, or they don’t trust the government at all–that is, they don’t believe in any reasonable acceptable degree of predictability of government outcomes, attitudes, events, or actions.

    When trust disappears, honest communication disappears. Much communication just isn’t made at all to the government, and communication that is made is either falsified, or designed to obfuscate. That is precisely where we are at now in the USA.

    When the communication disappears, the data, information, and intelligence required for the effective functioning of any government disappears, and the government cannot function effectively. That is also precisely where we are at now in the USA.

    Why this failure of trust, or belief in a negative trust, and how can it be remedied?

    Why? In a small nutshell, no accountability.

    How? In a small nutshell, accountability.

    How to get accountability? There are many ways, and they are all well-known. Anything that blocks their articulation, implementation, and management should be the FIRST order of business.

    So, economics as a theory of human behavior, or economic indicators as representations of aggregate human behavior, rely on certain constructs, one of which is trust. When there is no trust, or negative trust, one of the pillars required by economics, or the constellation of certain economic indicators commonly known as “the economy”, is absent and “the economy”, as a concept, fails.

    Failure as a concept means that it is pretty much useless, not amenable to worthwhile analysis, not longitudinally consistent, not internally consistent, and so on.

    We thus have a failure of “the economy” resulting from a governmental lack of accurate and reliable data, information, and intelligence.

    The governmental lack of accurate and reliable data, information, and intelligence is the direct result of a lack of trust and a negative trust in the government.

    The lack of trust and a negative trust in the government is the direct result of an actual lack of accountability, or a grossly inefficient management of accountability measures, of all levels of government, from the individual “employee” right up to the Congress and the President.

    And that is precisely how government inefficiency, or ineffectiveness, as manifested by either inefficient accountability or a total lack of accountability, respectively, is responsible for “the sad state of the economy”.

  59. “Have you ever heard of the concept of trademarks? They are marks of quality. Trademarks were in use long, long before government inspectors trod the stinking pens of the packers yard. Somehow, trademarks did in fact work their magic as people associated certain brands with quality products.”

    Right. And when a shady meat packer infringed on the trademark of a clean meat packer, where did the clean meat packer go for relief? Oh, to the government maybe?

    “One can argue, that government inspection has done positive harm to the meat packing industry by eliminating the need to compete.”

    You could argue that. You’d be wrong, but I noticed that’s not an impediment for you.

    “When government intervenes as they have with meat packers, we no longer have a need for trademarks.”

    We don’t need trademarks? Then why is the U.S. government issuing them and providing the mechanisms for trademark owners to enforce them?

    “Back to Jefferson, he was a savage idealist, more at home in the French Revolution than in that of the US. He was among the co-authors of the Rights of Man, a singularly inspired work. Go read it and then report back on your views of Jefferson.”

    I’ve read Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man.” I own a very nice copy. I was’t aware that Mr. Jefferson deserved co-author status.

    Although Paine and Jefferson were certainly friends, I’m not sure their world views were all that simpatico. I wonder what the slave owning Jefferson thought of Mr. Paine’s proposals in “Agrarian Justice”.

    I find it odd that you as a patent attorney find government so burdensome. Maybe we should just do away with all of it, including patents, and see how we like it. Somehow I think we’d find that the burden of dealing with anarchy much less enjoyable than the burden of having the government tell us we can’t make 8 year old children work 12 hour days in a coal mine. But hey, one could argue that there’s nothing wrong with that.

  60. Kudos to Inviting Body Punches and Passing through – these are some of the most lucid and thoughtful posts I have ever seen on this blog.

  61. Passing through–

    Essentially, I agree with basically everything you said! (See my response to MM above).

    The one thing I question, though, is your suggestion that “If there were easy solutions, they would have been implemented years/decades/centuries ago.”

    What is “easy” for a state to do always has to be related to the particular state in question, and the type of state that it is. What was difficult yesterday can be easy today, and vice-versa, as governments change. This is especially evident with rapid and violent government change.

    And “easy” varies, depending on your perspective. It can be very easy to decide some things, but very difficult to implement or manage them. Unfortunately, we are currently at the point, federally, where neither decision nor implementation and management are proving easy.

    THAT is a precise symptom of either current governmental failure or success, again depending on your perspective–but it is a fact.

    Given some historical context, I see the current situation as a failure, although with a very few small tweaks it could become a success again and, I think, relatively quickly.

  62. MM–

    First of all, repeating your myth about “foaming about unions and weeping about uniforms” does not make it true.

    I, for one, do not weep about uniforms, nor do I foam about unions.

    My problem is with the power relationships among the various factions, including, but not limited to, the public-sector unions.

    And as for the USA being the “greatest country ever”, well, that is a joke. While the US is perhaps among the most powerful ever, “greatness” is measured in many ways in which the US fails dismally. And, it can be argued convincingly that the US isn’t, and never was, really all that powerful compared to other historic powers.

    Back to the main issue, as you put it: “the economy in general”.

    By that, I can only guess that you mean the aggregate national economy, as measured by standardized economic indicators.

    First thing: economics is notorious for externalities, and any discussion using econometrics is after-the-fact. It is another of those huge, unquestioned assumptions. Nations can try, in time, to internalize externalities–for instance, post-industrial environmental clean-up–but in the near term, externalities remain.

    Take the case of repayment of the debt, capital and interest payments. Does economics internalize this? Well, the federal budget does currently include debt servicing costs, so at first glance it looks like it does–but how are these costs financed? Through debt financing! It’s an economic sleight-of-hand that is getting old. It only appears that it is internalized, when in reality it remains a temporal externality.

    OK, at this point you ask “so what?” Externalities are impermanent economic tools, which can be internalized through domestic policy, international policy, or both, and that internalization is not necessarily within the sovereign control of the nation. “The economy”, as you put it (in the aggregate) is DIRECTLY determined by governmental management of the phasing-in and phasing-out of these externalities.

    For instance, the government can decide to start paying off the debt, today. There will be a dramatic effect on “the economy”.

    Or, it can decide to debt finance unfunded future liabilities, like pensions and social security, thereby leaving them as externalities and making the current biennial “economy” look better.

    Either way, “the government”, through policy and management, has a DIRECT effect on “the economy”.

    Now we come to the confluence of the public and private economies, because as externalities are internalized, the costs are passed on from the public economy to private economies. Private economies are smaller, more fragile, have much less stability and inertia than do aggregate economies, but on the other hand, can be more flexible if the prevailing climate allows, both regulatory climate and emotional climate.

    It is one of the purposes of government to create private economy conditions which strike a balance between permitted or encouraged flexibility and stability to permit the consistent execution of rightful public purpose.

    It really is anybody’s guess as to whether the balance is well-struck. One big difficulty is the vast range of “private economies” encountered, from somebody struggling on $15k/yr to somebody raking in hundreds of millions.

    What I can say, definitively, is that consolidation is, and has been, the operative word in US business for quite some time now, and continues unabated. Small businesses are disappearing, replaced by larger conglomerates, from retail to financial services to dentistry. That does not represent flexibility, innovation, or enterprise–that represents a consolidation of gains into a more secure structure, and the homogenization of formerly independent entities into a conformal grouping of corporate components.

    Government has encouraged this shift. Is it more “efficient” on average? It depends on what is externalized. In the short term, yes, it is more efficient–in the longer term, as currently externalized costs become internalized, it is likely less efficient.

    Anyway, government nowadays sacrifices long-term health for short-term good looks, and they have for some time now. It doesn’t take long for the silicone implants to migrate, however.

    Government is “inefficient” because it doesn’t recognize the basic long-term social landscape in which it exists, and because it’s short-term planning timeframes have been becoming progressively shorter and shorter. It is “inefficient” because it uses time and resources, but comes no closer to a sustainable management of the various elements of society. This is evidenced through decreasing levels of service, concentrations of wealth within progressively smaller classes, increasing levels of taxation, and maintenance of governmental structures embodying power relationships that further exacerbate these undesirable outcomes.

    So yes, “government inefficiency” IS responsible for the sad state of “the economy”, IF one truly believes that “the economy” IS currently in a sad state–and I might point out that there are many who disagree with that conclusion.

  63. five different opinions?

  64. Roosevelt’sObama’s strategies of handouts, federal jobs, subsidized loans, demonizing businesses, and public works projects in swing states worked well politically. But economically, Roosevelt and his “brains trust” had no idea what they were doing. They attempted one failed intervention after another. The Great Depression was a disaster, and sadly an avoidable one.

    Mooney’s world in a nutshell – an avoidable disaster.

  65. it’s America’s “big government” that made it great.

    I don’t even know where to start with this load of crxp. But here are a few nuggets to rattle Mooney’s cage.

    During the uniquely severe Great Depression real gross domestic product fell for four years before
    finally beginning to recover. Real output only regained its 1929 level in 1936, but then output plunged again in 1938. The unemployment rate stayed persistently high at more than 14 percent for 10 years (1931 to 1940) (sounds Obamaesque).

    By contrast, the economy recovered rapidly after a
    sharp contraction in 1921. Real output fell 9 percent in 1921 and unemployment rose to 11.7 percent. But the economy bounced back with output recovering all its lost ground in 1922. Unemployment fell to 6.7 percent in 1922 and 2.4 percent in 1923. The secret to the quick recovery was that the government generally stood aside and let the market recover by itself—wages and prices adjusted, resources shifted to new areas of growth, profits recovered, business optimism returned, and investment rose.

    In the early 1920s, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon ushered in an economic boom by championing income tax cuts that reduced the top individual rate from 73 to 25 percent. But the lessons of these successful tax cuts were forgotten as the economy headed downwards after 1929. President Hoover signed into law the Revenue Act of 1932, which was the largest peacetime tax increase in U.S. history. The act increased the top individual tax rate from 25 to 63 percent. After his election in 1932, Roosevelt imposed further individual and corporate tax increases. The highest individual rate was increased to 79 percent. State and local governments also increased taxes during the 1930s, with many imposing individual income taxes for the first time. All these tax increases killed incentives for work, investment, and entrepreneurship at a time when they were sorely needed.

    Here endeth the lesson – once again Mooney, you are pretty much on the wrong side of reality, and everything else. Big government intermeddling contributes nothing but pain.

  66. IBP –

    I never advocated anarchy — that is the province of those that don’t want any government, e.g., Ned et al.

    However, you did touch upon an important point, which is unions. What I see as an important factor in all these discussions is the balance of power between unions (either in the government or private sector) and management. If management has too much power, then Ned’s “profit is king” maxim rules, and people are exploited in the name of profit. However, if unions have too much power, then you cannot get rid of the dead wood – and having dead wood in an office/shop is a poison that spreads.

    The problem is that the system isn’t perfect and will likely never be perfect. Management would destroy $100 of societal value to gain $1 of profit, whereas unions would rather protect a cancer in the workplace than to work for a stronger company. Finding that perfect balance between the two is nigh impossible since how a particular individual uses their respective power changes the balance.

    Generally, unions are stronger in the public sector than in the private sector. This means that dead wood is more prevalent in the public sector. However, you can find dead wood everywhere. It is called “work” for a reason, and most people don’t like to do work. Some are professionals and do their job properly regardless of pay, but that is the exception rather than the rule. As such, I maintain that that government isn’t always necessarily worse than the private sector – like some have suggested.

    If there were easy solutions, they would have been implemented years/decades/centuries ago. However, things are as cut and dry as Ned makes them out to be. Today’s economy is so intricate and so intertwined with factors totally out of our hands (e.g., foreign markets) that only someone with a very shallow understanding would say that “all we need to do is X and then the economy will improve”

  67. Now everybody who disagrees with Mooney is “grandpa”… if it’s not class warfare vis a vis “the rich” its generational warefare vis a vis H i t l e r youth.

    Lighten up buttercup, you’re getting older every day too. Too bad you’re not getting wiser.

    Now get back on your steam grate.

  68. Ron, OK. Good observation.

    One more thing to observe, in the 1990s, spending was restrained. The largest knock on the Republican rule in the 2000s was that spending was way out of control and Bush did nothing to slow it down.

    In other words, government under the Republicans in the 2000s grew way too fast. In contrast, I recall Clinton/Gore trying to restrain government growth and I further recall their cooperation with Congress on spending control.

  69. Ned, are you seriously comparing growth using absolute terms, rather than growth rates?

    Incidentally, assuming your 2003 and 2007 figures are correct, your math is wrong – the total change is $1718 and the “average” change is $344, which is 5% lower than the average change for for 1993 to 2000. I’m not sure where that takes you. The real difference, however, shows up when you compute that growth in relative terms. The earlier period has a 3.8% annual growth, in real terms, while the later has a 2.7% annual growth. I know which rate I would choose…

  70. Malcolm, you are replying to a comment made by Passing through. I did not discuss paying back the debt. I think the only rationale course of action is to slow the growth of the debt while at the same time getting our economy to grow faster. That way, the size of the debt vs. the size of the economy will be reduced.

    We need to keep taxes low in order to spur economic growth. We need to cut spending in order to get the deficit under control. The way forward is clear, but politically difficult as both political parties seem unable to tackle the difficult issues of where to cut.

  71. BTW – if your hypothesis was correct and increased taxes yields lower economic growth, why did the last decade of the old millennia have a better average economic growth than the first decade of the new millennia, which had lower taxes?

    Compare, then, 1993-2000 (the year the .dot com bubble burst) with 2003-2008 (the year the real estate bubble burst). Let’s see:

    Real GDP

    1993 Q1: $8,432
    2000 Q4: $11,334.5
    Total $2,902.5
    Avg. $362.75

    2003 Q1: $11,645.8
    2007 Q4: $13,363.5
    Total $1,171.7
    Avg. $361.62

    Hmm….

    Data from link to data360.org

    The two are virtually identical. I can only guess that the US can only grow at a certain rate on average, and this depends upon other factors such as population growth, etc. But I don’t really know at this time.

    Interesting.

  72. Wow … for all that I’ve written, you want to nit pick a minor point? FYI — the willingness to pay does belong in the definition of profit.

    Sorry – it just seemed to me that if you’re going to (rightfully) trash someone else’s misunderstanding of a term, you probably shouldn’t start by defining it incorrectly. (Besides, I’m an economist – nitpicking is what we do.) The rest of what you wrote was awesome, by the way.

    Put simply, “willingness to pay” affects the supply component of the supply/demand curve, which determines price.

    I think you mean that “willingess to pay” affects the demand component of the supply/demand curve, which indeed determines the market clearing price. But so do the weather, marginal income tax rates, and a host of other things; I don’t recommend including those in the definition of “profit,” either. The fact is that unless you’re able to practice perfect discriminatory pricing, which is the holy grail of sales professionals, you never fully exploit the consumer’s willingness to pay.

    The real point, which I completely failed to make in my earlier post, is that value creation is closely related to the creation of economic surplus which can be, but is not necessarily, divided between the consumer and the producer. The relationship between value creation and profit, as you correctly pointed out, is less clear. Non-profits, for example, create tremendous consumer surplus (as you again pointed out) without creating any profit (or producer surplus).

    Governments are essential to provide certain services that are impossible to address with market-based solutions (such as highways and military services) because of problems like the free-rider problem. Governments should also step in where market imperfections (high transaction costs, information assymetries, etc.) are such that the government can produce a higher total surplus than a market-based solution can. (Primary education, perhaps.) The debate should be (a) about whether the government is efficiently providing those services and (b) precisely which services fall into that second category. It’s completely silly and unproductive to spout nonsense like “government produces no value” and “government is a burden on society.”

  73. I see: it’s the unions fault! Those darn unions. They just ruin everything.

    To the extent that they ever “try” to implement measures aimed at improving efficiency, the proposed solutions and mechanisms come overwhelmingly often from within the government itself, are implemented by the government itself, are reviewed and audited by the government itself, and ultimately, the success and future course of action is determined by the government itself, as judged within its own institutional value system, which is driven by many things which do not have institutional efficiency as a value.

    Ironically, this is probably most true of the military. And yet those same folks who are out there foaming at the mouth about unions are typically the first to get on their knees and weep like babies when “our boys in uniform” are paraded out for everyone to gawk at.

    Bottom line, IBP, is that everyone agrees that the government could be made more efficient. We were talking about the economy, generally, however. The idea that “government inefficiency” is responsible for the sad state of the economy or renders the government incapable of addressing, say, the unemployment rate (and problems arising therefrom) is what makes no sense. The argument simply can not be made at the same time we brag about “bringing democracy” to vast regions on the other side of the world. I mean, we sacrifice the lives of innocent people (as well as our own citizens) as part of that process. We must know what we’re doing, right? Again, it’s amusing (in a sad, sick way) that the wingnuts think they can have it both ways. America is the universe’s greatest country ever … and yet we can’t repair our highways until our millionaires are safe from a 1% tax increase.

  74. Malcolm Mooney said “The wealthiest 10% of the citizens is a fair estimate.”

    You DO know that even if you took 100% of their money it still wouldn’t close the deficit. The budget deficit is around 1.3-1.4 trillion (IIRC). The debt is around 14.4 trillion. How will more taxes do much on that?

    We need to create an environment where more non-govt jobs are created.

    And while I am not generally against reducing/removing oil subsidies, why should so many other industries be subsidized? Let them live or die on their own. Create a good product/service & it will grow without govt. aid. Just create a good enshrinement for businesses to start & grow. More taxes does just the opposite.

  75. As to your questions (rhetorical, obviously, but I’ll answer anyhow).
    No one, except those that are trying to create a class of people dependent upon the state to take care of them.

    No one. And no one is saying to take it away, from those that really need it. Lets see the citations & facts not hyperbole.

    No one. And who is saying not to fix roads/bridges? Lets see the citations and facts not hyperbole.

    No one. And who is saying to close schools? Lets see the citations and facts not hyperbole. Now, personally, closing some poorly functioning schools is probably a good idea. And getting rid of the many bad teachers is a good idea. Unions won’t let that happen.

    Most do not “deserves to suffer”. And who is saying people should suffer? Lets see the citations and facts not hyperbole. Personally, I thin that there are those that should suffer. We treat those hardcore types that are in prison too well, as one example. They are there for a reason & should not be better treated than those that really can not take care of themselves.

    Now, questions for you (which you will never answer, like usual):

    Why do so many people not find any work until after their unemployment runs out? I’ll answer for you. Because they are better off getting unemployment than working for lesser pay. We need to change the system & not penalize people for taking a lower paying job. If they take such a job they should have their unemployment reduced by a similar (maybe only 90%) of their pay so that they are better off working than not. Anyone suggesting this? NO! They just want to increase how long people can collect & create more of a dependency on the govt.

    Why should people get handouts when they are not trying to help themselves? Those that are physically or mentally disabled & can not care for themselves, or young children need society’s help & should (& do) get it. More should be from charities than govt as they normally appear to be more efficient.

    Adults that are not doing things to improve their own life may be less deserving. At least it’s an discussion worth having.

    The real thing that needs to be done is NOT to give more $$$ to those in need. What needs to be done is use that same $$$ to get them into a better situation & prevent the cycle from continuing. By doing that we not only help the current generation but help prevent future ones from having the same fate. The Dems appear to want this cycle to continue since the people that are dependent upon the govt for assistance most often vote Dem (though the Rep are much better in addressing the root causes of the problems).

    Bread & circuses is what it all is & it is taking us down if we do not stop the excesses.

  76. AAA JJ, and do you suppose meat packers would not adopt an inspection system on their own?

    Have you ever heard of the concept of trademarks? They are marks of quality. Trademarks were in use long, long before government inspectors trod the stinking pens of the packers yard. Somehow, trademarks did in fact work their magic as people associated certain brands with quality products.

    When government intervenes as they have with meat packers, we no longer have a need for trademarks. We get indifferences and the status quo. One can argue, that government inspection has done positive harm to the meat packing industry by eliminating the need to compete.

    Next you talk of civil justice. That requires a government of laws, a principle I wholly endorse. If you had started here, instead of with meat inspectors, I would have agreed with you quickly. Law is necessary for rights and courts are necessary for law.

    This is one function of government that is required.

    Next?

    Back to Jefferson, he was a savage idealist, more at home in the French Revolution than in that of the US. He was among the co-authors of the Rights of Man, a singularly inspired work. Go read it and then report back on your views of Jefferson.

  77. So cut it out with your pathetic ramblings of an undereducated boob.

    …Because the pathetic ramblings of an overeducated boob are so much more proper.

  78. MM–

    There are people who believe that ANY government is UNNECESSARY government. My first comment was directed at differentiating my view from theirs. I do believe that there are areas of legitimate government concern which should not be concerned primarily with efficiency.

    Regarding efficiency, the government has a funny way of going about it. To the extent that they ever “try” to implement measures aimed at improving efficiency, the proposed solutions and mechanisms come overwhelmingly often from within the government itself, are implemented by the government itself, are reviewed and audited by the government itself, and ultimately, the success and future course of action is determined by the government itself, as judged within its own institutional value system, which is driven by many things which do not have institutional efficiency as a value.

    That is where the problem lies. In any government agency, the actual primary duty, from an operational perspective, is not to the abstract “citizen”, but to the public-sector employee. It is the employees who come first, the citizens second. And not only that, but not all employees are equal–there is an entirely disproportionate deference paid to the needs of long-term, or senior, employees.

    You see this everywhere, reflected in what the Humason poster described as increasing costs and decreasing service. I could pick any agency–they are all decreasing service levels, while their budgets are all rising. Not only that, they contemplate layoff of junior employees while simultaneously giving mandatory increases to senior employees.

    The debate is never one of service levels and value, but one of fair treatment of “workers”. Nowhere is efficiency ever mentioned.

    In any appropriation request you are ever likely to come across, the implicit assumption is that the agency is currently operating at 100% efficiency, and that increases to match inflation are the minimum acceptable increase in funding required to “keep the agency where it is at”.

    Rubbish. It is this huge, hidden, unwarranted, and unexamined assumption that drives everything.

    And why is this assumption maintained? To placate and satisfy (i.e. to not offend) the public sector unions. How many times have you heard it said of the public sector employees that they are “fine hard-working folk”, “strongly committed to delivery high quality service”, and the other requisite platitudes?

    This tactic is unfortunately necessary, given the negotiating power held by the unions. Management therefore has its hands tied from the outset, and is unable to unwrap and examine the big assumption, and those deciding on appropriations are totally unable to begin to address it through policy.

    That is what I meant by the management problem necessarily deriving from the policy problem.

    Hopefully that was sufficiently specific!

  79. Why do people not understand simple facts??

    In a govt. job the govt pays the salary, benefits, etc. from tax money (for now, don’t quibble about PTO $). So they 100% of the cost of the job & recoup the various taxes on that job, which clearly pays for substantially less than the cost of the job.

    For a non-govt. job, their is NO cost to the govt (essentially). Plus they get the tax revenue from the employees salary.

    For both govt & non-govt jobs they would also recoup the various taxes on good & services that the employee uses their salary for, but this is a wash (for similar paying jobs) and is a not a factor in the cost of the job to the govt.

    So, the govt. can pay someone for a job or let a business do the job. One way the govt spends more to get it done & the other they gain. Real simple.

    Now, I agree that there are certain functions that the govt must perform such as defense, security (both of things like ports as well as food & such). But a lot of things they have no business in.

  80. “Did you realize that a primary cause of the fall of the Western Roman Empire was too much government?”

    Mr. Gibbon might disagree with you on that theory.

  81. “Meat inspectors? Do you actually believe that there would be no meat inspections if there was no government? Do you really, really, really believe that? You are a complete dunce.”

    How much Fox News Kool Aid did you drink?

    You think meat packers would voluntarily inspect their product without any government regulations? Why would they do that?

    Because if there product was bad and killed somebody they’d get sued?

    Well, that would require a civil justice system that would provide victims with compensation. Civil justice is a government function, Ned. No government, no civil justice system. Do you really not understand that?

    “I know he did not intend these words to apply to slaves, but to the nobles, but they, in the end, provided justification for freeing the slaves.”

    So the guy was a complete and total hypocrite. But his views on government are still valid, right?

    Sheesh.

  82. And who drove it to the 9-10% range? With a “stimulus” program that was designed to “prevent the underemployment rate from getting over 8%”. Bottom-line, Obama & his advisories are Keynesians. And are wrecking a financial situation that became precarious when they took office largely because of the housing bubble. And THAT was a large result of people that couldn’t afford mortgages getting them & defaulting on them. And that was largely due to people like Barney Frank who argued that people that couldn’t afford a mortgage were being discriminated against since they were not able to get loans that they couldn’t afford. Regulations were relaxed by Fannie & Freddie & it all eventually collapsed. All Obama has done is make things even worse.

  83. Of course government has a role to play, and I don’t even think that it should always strive to be efficient–but I do think that those things that can be made efficient SHOULD be made efficient.

    Wow, brilliant insights here.

    Passing Through was partly right when he or she said it was a management problem–it is also a policy problem, from which the management necessarily derives.

    Maybe you could be more specific, IBD.

  84. If you want to quibble about the difference between sole and essence, we can have that debate. However, governments cannot exist without taxes, and taxes cannot tax anything but profits. Advocate of government need profit or else.

    As to profit: there are three trade-offs: quality, price and speed. One can choose only two. But if an organization does not produce, its profits will vanish. It will then have to fix its problems or it will vanish.

    More later if necessary. The boss calls.

  85. AAA JJ, government keeping slaves in bondage? Government?

    Did you not know that the US was a compromise between free and slave states. In point of fact, the Dred Scot decision, where the rights of slave owners were extended into free states, lead to the civil war.

    Just because Jefferson was a typical slave holder does not render his views on the role of government completely invalid. It was he who wrote, after all, that “all men were created equal” and were “endowed by their creator with inalienable rights.” I know he did not intend these words to apply to slaves, but to the nobles, but they, in the end, provided justification for freeing the slaves.

    Meat inspectors? Do you actually believe that there would be no meat inspections if there was no government? Do you really, really, really believe that? You are a complete dunce.

    I suggest you begin reading a little history. You sound like an ingorarmus. Did you realize that a primary cause of the fall of the Western Roman Empire was too much government? At the end, the number of people supported by the government far outnumbered the number of people paying taxes. People fled the empire to avoid taxes, or sold themselves into serfdom to the local Lord (Senator) so they could stay on their land while avoiding taxes.

    The founding fathers knew well their classical history, as well as history from the fall of the Empire ’til their times. They knew well how government bureaucracies always grew and continued to grow and grow and grow and grow, their reason for existing long forgotten. They just exist, and burden society adding nothing to it.

    So cut it out with your pathetic ramblings of an undereducated boob. Learn some history. Learn some economics; and, most of all, learns some common sense.

  86. I’ve just GOT to jump into this discussion.

    I agree with Humason to some extent, and with Passing Through to some extent.

    Inefficiencies are everywhere, but especially in large organizations and the government (a bunch of large organizations).

    I personally know bums in both the private and the public sectors.

    Of course government has a role to play, and I don’t even think that it should always strive to be efficient–but I do think that those things that can be made efficient SHOULD be made efficient.

    In the private sector, demand can drop as a result of inefficiency and competitive environment, and changes can occur in response to a drop in demand.

    How to make things efficient in the government, considering “demand” stays roughly the same, with no competition, in the face of inefficiency?

    Passing Through was partly right when he or she said it was a management problem–it is also a policy problem, from which the management necessarily derives.

    I’ve got to tell you, though, I have seen both private and public sectors, in large and small organizations–and the public sector takes the cake for sloth and waste. OMG, you wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it. I am forever changed and biased against any suggestion of even marginal efficiency in the various levels of government in the USA.

    And again, that would be fine, if the value of the services was intangible or not easily quantified, such as in a space program, for instance.

    But that’s not what I’m talking about, not at all.

    While I don’t advocate anarchy like Passing Through suggested, there will have to be serious structural changes as Humason mentioned.

    We can see the beginnings of it already. It will only get worse, or better, depending on your perspective.

  87. “Does anybody seriously contemplate paying back the debt?”

    Dude … you haven’t been around that long.

    Seriously, Ned. You talk like you were born five months ago and spent all your time watching FOX News.

  88. Oh … and another thing about profits.

    The desire for increased profits can cause great harm to society. Let’s take the incident over in Japan as an example. Because “profits are king,” safety issues were ignored. Under you mindset, that is a good thing.

    However, what is the cost to society because the power plant put profits over safety?

    In the end, the drive “more profits” will end up destroying the economy of one region of Japan. How does your world view reconcile that data point?

  89. That is a failure of management. The private system works better in that regard because they can afford better managers. However, the likes of Ned would throw a fit if forced to pay higher taxes to fund higher pay.

    “Some of them might even be big enough to carry on nonetheless.”
    Trust, they are out there. I’ve worked for them, and they still make money. The problem with huge profits in one area is that it can hide a lot of inefficiency in other areas.

    “because government is terribly inefficient, and its inefficiency increases daily”
    Go work in any private company of any substantial size (i.e., more than 100 people), and you’ll also find terrible inefficiencies. Hard workers get rewarded better in private industry (some of the time), but that maybe accounts for 10-20% of all workers – the rest of them clog up the works (if not poison) whatever organization they happen to be in – government or private. There is nothing magical that transforms a person when they take a private sector job versus a government job.

    If you are looking for full employment, that means you are employing a lot of chaff (as opposed to wheat) out there is both the private and public sectors. No real way to get around it – human nature.

    “Does anybody seriously contemplate paying back the debt?”
    Dude … you haven’t been around that long. I remember the massive amounts of debt that Reagan was running up. People then never thought there was even a chance of paying it off. However, we had a chance to do that this millennia except a decision was made to give people like myself a very healthy tax break. Granted, I didn’t need it with the money I was (am) making, but it wasn’t my call.

    “We will have to fold up the tent and try something else shortly.”
    Another anarchist … lovely. That or perhaps another chicken little. This country has seen far worse.

  90. “Profits come from producing quality goods and services that benefit all.”

    I’ll repeat the response that Hardworking made to you, profits can be achieved from producing inferior goods and services. Additionally, the greatest goods and services in the world can be produced with zero profit. Your understanding of economics is woeful.

    “It produces tax revenues to fund government. It funds charities and your precious non profits.”
    Yes, and so do expenses, which reduce profits. You see, and “expense” is the cost of goods/services and includes the salaries of the people creating the goods and services. The salaries of these people are also used to fund charities and non profits (FYI – I never called them “previous,” but your use of the phrase certainly reveals your ideological slant).

    “Without profit we have nothing. It is the most essential economic requirement of all.”
    No … not really. I can names lots of things that are just as important, if not more important: the rule of law, access to good resources, access to quality labor, minimal transaction costs, a well-developed commercial infrastructure. The desire for increased profits is a motivation. However, it isn’t the only motivation. Moreover, this desire alone is going to transform some third-world backwater into an economic powerhouse. Again, your overreliance upon “profits” reflects a very undeveloped knowledge of economics.

    “So must for leftist economics.”
    Stop sucking on the teat of RL, GB, and RP, and try to learn how come up with your own observations and ideas. This country is VASTLY different in terms of its economic dynamics than in the 20s and 30s. To formulate economic policy based upon vastly different circumstances is likely trying to cite admiralty case law to an Examiner – it just isn’t going to work.

    BTW – if your hypothesis was correct and increased taxes yields lower economic growth, why did the last decade of the old millennia have a better average economic growth than the first decade of the new millennia, which had lower taxes?

  91. in the private sector, there is a cost for failure–where is Enron now?

    The reason Enron doesn’t exist has little to do with the invisible hand of the free market and everything to do with our criminal and civil justice system.

    And there is certainly a cost for failure in the public sector as well. You would know this if you pulled your head out of your axx. Keep struggling.

  92. Passing–

    The essential difference evidenced by your analogy is that in the private sector, there is a cost for failure–where is Enron now?

    Unless, of course, the government passes its “no price to be paid for failure” status on to the private businesses in the form of bailouts, in which case such businesses are no longer “private”.

    This cost of failure model works at the individual level, too. There is essentially no accountability in the public sector, on the individual level–and to the extent there is, reassignment rather than termination is the response.

    I’m not saying that there are NOT private sector businesses that are woefully inefficient and ineffective. Some of them might even be big enough to carry on nonetheless.

    But unless they are monopolistic, they exist in a competitive environment, unlike the government.

    Government obviously has a role, but that role should be minimized to what is absolutely necessary, because government is terribly inefficient, and its inefficiency increases daily.

    Costs go up, service levels go down. Amazing. Not really. Will all the accumulated public-sector debt ever be paid? Does anybody seriously contemplate paying back the debt? What about in the future when pension obligations are due?

    The “problem” is not government, per se–it is structural, according to the recent historical governmental model in the USA.

    It was a nice try, unfortunately it’s not working. We will have to fold up the tent and try something else shortly.

    And again, I know plenty of bums in the private sector–but then again, they usually work on government contracts.

  93. nobody who is not a lefty is smart.

    I know plenty of smart conservatives, Ned.

    But they would never argue that George W. Bush’s policies reduced unemployment. They would have to be prxtty fxcking stoopxt to do that because all you have to do is look at what happened to the unemployment rate during his Presidency, particularly towards the end of his Presidency.

    And yes there quite a few people who predicted all of this. George’s beloved pal Alan Greenspan wasn’t one of them.

  94. “Yes, but it was said by Thomas Jefferson as well and has been a fundamental belief in much of America since its founding.”

    What were Jefferson’s thoughts on the role of government in maintaining all of his slaves in bondage? Something tells me he didn’t find government too much of a burden on that front. If one of his slaves ran away I’m sure he wouldn’t have made any appeals to his government to recapture and bring him/her back. I mean, who needs government, right?

    “The fact that you find it unusual at all is, in some respects, horrifying.”

    I don’t find government all that burdensome. What I find burdensome is knuckleheads who claim that government is burdensome. I like that the government is at least trying to look out for me. You know, like those inspectors they send into slaughterhouses and meat packing plants to make sure that they’re at least somewhat clean so that me and my kids aren’t eating e. coli riddled meat.

    But I guess what we could do is just let the free market reign, right? I mean, if some company is poisoning people with their e. coli and salmonella infested food, people who buy and eat that food will just die, and then everybody will know not to buy food from that company, and eventually that company will just go out of business. And all of the other companies will figure out not to poison their customers and will keep their plants clean out of the goodness of their hearts and love for their customers. The all mighty free market will operate for all of our benefit.

    Problem solved. Right?

  95. Ned,

    You do realize that “sole” is not a synonym for “most essential“, do you not?

    You do realize that Profits can also come from producing inferior goods and services, do you not?

  96. Yes, but it was said by Thomas Jefferson as well and has been a fundamental belief in much of America since its founding.

    The fact that you find it unusual at all is, in some respects, horrifying.

  97. Passing, I’ll repeat what I said to hard.

    Profits come from producing quality goods and services that benefit all. It produces tax revenues to fund government. It funds charities and your precious non profits. Without profit we have nothing. It is the most essential economic requirement of all.

    Why did we stay in the depression so long while other quickly recovered and went on long sustained economic booms? Simple: TAXES. Both Hoover and FDR raised taxes. FDR raised them again, and again and again, and again, and again, and again… every two years. He trumpeted to the unemployed masses that he was “soaking the rich” and the unemployed danced and sang and shouted FDR’s praises. “Soak the rich,” they sang. “Soak the rich.”

    And so it was that FDR, like a vampire mad with bloodrage, sucked the life out of the private economy, keeping his iron boot on the necks of the capitalists, while they sang in the camps and in the food lines, “Soak the rich. Soak the rich.”

    There is not an economist today who does not agree that Hoover and FDR had it all wrong on taxes in the depression. They needed to cut taxes and pump money into the private economy.

    Hoover and FDR also keep wage rates high at a time of massive deflation. What did this do? It increased unemployment as well. FDR even started the minimum wage and went out of his way to increase union power. Double whammies to the guts of the economy.

    Little wonder FDR did it all, and has to go down in history as one of the single most deluded president of all time on economics. So must for leftist economics.

  98. Nice hard. Profits come from producing quality goods and services. It produces tax revenues to fund government. It funds charities. Without profit we have nothing. It is the most essential requirement of all.

  99. I think the figures dont tell the story 225000 issued but only 10 primaty or parent marketable patents thats down from 200 marketable in 1954-2004. This will likley slip further without significant reversal patent reform. Ive offered to straighten the whole thing out but Oboma and congress have def ears.

  100. “Hmmm… I don’t think “willingness to pay” belongs in a definition of profit.”

    Wow … for all that I’ve written, you want to nit pick a minor point? FYI — the willingness to pay does belong in the definition of profit. If someone isn’t willing to pay an amount, then demand shrinks, and the price is lowered (or supply is reduced). If the price is lowered because of an unwillingness to pay a higher price, then “willingness to pay” directly affects profits (however you want to define them — the hard part is the allocation of indirect costs).

    Put simply, “willingness to pay” affects the supply component of the supply/demand curve, which determines price.

  101. Profit is the difference between the cost of producing a product/service and price one is willing to pay for said product/service.

    Hmmm… I don’t think “willingness to pay” belongs in a definition of profit. The actual price paid is more relevant, but then “profit” is a pretty fuzzy concept anyway, especially if you don’t distinguish between accounting profits and economic profits. In any case, you’ve defined something more like the maximum producer surplus available from a given consumer, i.e., the producer surplus obtained if the consumer surplus is zero.

  102. What you lack is the ability to critically analyze

    Happens a lot when you are only interested in shilling.

  103. “Government is a burden on society, plain and simple.”

    This is easily the stoopidest statement EVER posted on this site.

  104. “Profit is the sole criteria of value.”

    Wrong – grossly wrong. Are you saying that all the work done by non-profits is of no value?

    Profit is the difference between the cost of producing a product/service and price one is willing to pay for said product/service.

    “It creates jobs and it pays taxes.”

    A very simplistic approach. A person working at a non-profit or government job still pays taxes. The piece of property that goes up in value because a new road (i.e., a government project) is put in generates additional property taxes because of its higher value.

    “Government does not produce profit. Because of this, everything it does is of lower quality, higher priced and slower than if the service was performed by the private sector.”

    Wrong again. Government generally pays much lower salaries than the private sector. Also, as I mentioned in my prior post, which you conveniently overlooked, the government doesn’t extract profit above the cost of the service, which means that government is more cost efficient in that respect. Where government falls down is that it is big and big always means less efficient. However, the problem of being “big” applies to both the government and the private sector.

    Regardless, for you to assert that “everything it does is of lower quality” reflects that your opinions are not fact-based but based upon some political ideology generated by politicians looking to appeal to the masses who abhor taxes. IMHO, I would not trust the average politician to properly manage my local 7-11, so I’m certainly not going to trust them to understand economics.

    “Government is a burden on society, plain and simple.”
    Always looking at one side of the equation without looking at the other side, which is ‘government is a benefit to society.’ What you lack is the ability to critically analyze whether the benefits outweigh the burdens and whether or not shifting money from the government to the private sector will make things better. It certain instances it will, but in other instances it will not.

    The dollars spent by government do not go into some black hole. They are given out to people in need or used to buy products/services or pay for salaries. In almost all instances, a dollar received by the government is quickly put back into commerce.

    It is perfectly acceptable to have a conversation about the right size of government and what is the proper role of government. However, to have a productive conversation you need to start with the premise that government does benefit society in some ways. This is a conversation that has been ongoing in this country for the last couple hundred years and will continue until this country ceases to be. However, when you and your ilk (e.g., the Tea Party) start with the premise that no government is the best, then YOU cannot be relied upon to provide any meaningful dialogue to the conversation. Personally, I think most people are against anarchy, which is the ultimate result of your desires.

    “Clearly, today, the burden is more than we ca afford.”
    Hardly. This country is rolling in riches with the richest living the lifestyle of kings. As someone who has been in the top tax bracket for some time, from my perspective, the rich aren’t hurting in the least. Granted, it has been harder for me to get that second home I want, but to say that our country is overburdened reflects a view of the situation that doesn’t line up with the facts.

  105. The more we cut, the better it will be for all.

    So…

    Anarchy = utopia ?

  106. Profit is the sole criteria of value.

    I would greatly beg to differ.

  107. Anon,

    If we cut out all the posts not pertaining to actual patent issues, we would have far less then 20% of the current volume.

    How then would all of the Office legalists, academics, and semi-retired attorneys amuse themselves?

  108. We can agree that the housing bubble burst. That is the cause of the recession.

    Since all bubbles burst, the REAL question, as you suggest, is why the bubble in the first place.

    Was it

    Lower tax rates for all that caused a strong expansion and greatly increased tax revenues?

    Low interest rates from 2001-2008, followed by the Feds (predictably) jacking them up quickly in 2008 more than five years in to a strong expansion caused by the lower tax rates, that suddenly (but predictably) increased the cost of variable mortages?

    and/or

    Reduced or no qualifications home loans that allowed people who could barely pay their mortgages to buy a home but who were suddenly (but predictably) unable to pay as the Feds hikes interest rates and greatly (but predictably) increased the cost of ownership?

    Now, of course, all of us can see instantly, as you clearly point out, Malcolm, that the REAL cause of the bubble was lower tax rates and that caused the strong economic expansion and increased government tax revenue. It had nothing to do with reducing the qualifications for home loans at all. Nothing. Nada.

    And who would ever think that? Can’t be anybody with an education. For, as we all know, nobody who is not a lefty is smart. Nobody. Just not possible — by definition, as we all know, and of course, that is not bigotry.

  109. With all of the political nonsense from the right and the left, maybe we should rebrand this site as Propaganda-O.

  110. Hey,
    If they didn’t allow the constant lowering of the Mortgage rates back in the 90′s we wouldn’t be in this mess.
    Also people that couldn’t afford a House with a 10% or a floating balloon from 9 to 12% becoming a conventional after the third year mortgage, that should never have been allowed. Maybe Congress ought to look at the rules and not just the players in the Real Estate game. If there were rules and no loop holes we wouldn’t have people being allowed to buy what they could never afford in the first place, or bailing out the Banks that thought of the idea so they could get rich, only to have the government bail them out. And then Congress complaining when they are asked to cut spending.. Maybe just maybe we should say…, if a Company or a Bank etc. is allowed to make loads of money for their services, they ought to be following rules that protect the people not just the Companies.
    Was that idea to make false positive business methods in the Real Estate Market patented? Probably not.

  111. Profit is the sole criteria of value. It creates jobs and it pays taxes. Profit comes from quality goods and services that benefit all.

    Government does not produce profit. Because of this, everything it does is of lower quality, higher priced and slower than if the service was performed by the private sector. Government is a burden on society, plain and simple.

    Clearly, today, the burden is more than we ca afford. The more we cut, the better it will be for all.

    So where do we cut? That is the question.

  112. Aside from all the other glaring faults with your “argument”

    None of which you are able to articulate, evidently …

    can you please tell me exactly who “the rich” are?

    The wealthiest 10% of the citizens is a fair estimate.

    Why are taxes always the anwer to nut-jobs like you Mooney?

    Taxes aren’t always the answer. Sometimes the answer is: “Let’s create a Federal agency with the power to monitor and regulate contaminants in drinking water” or “If we have a shortage of soldiers, maybe we should stop discriminating against gay people.”

    I would love to live in a country with no taxes

    Then leave. Somalia would love to have you.

    But nut-jobs like you actually say you like taxes, and I guess by definition big government.

    When did I say “I like taxes”, grandpa? Or “big government”? There’s a difference between wanting to prevent suffering on a massive scale when the solution is relatively painless to people like me (i.e., rich people) and “liking taxes”. As for “big government”, it’s America’s “big government” that made it great. If the lizard brains had their way we’d still be publicly whipping slaves and women for talking too much.

  113. Completely ignored the facts…

    LOL.

    The earth is a sphere, it’s billions of years old, and George W. Bush’s “business/banker friendly” policies (including tax reductions) helped turn a gigantic surplus into a gigantic deficit, inflated the housing bubble, and facilitated the Great Recession.

    Those are the facts. Unemployment was at 8% and rising when Obama took office.

    So much for “tax reductions” and their magical effects.

    I’m perfectly happy to criticize Obama’s policies, by the way, as not going far enough in the direction of increased government stimulus (about two fold what was actually implemented, and directed at infrastructure repair and development) and increased regulation of banks. Mortgage cramdown would have helped. It would still help, in fact.

  114. “…everyone knows exactly how to fix it: cut military spending in half, fix the US healthcare system, and raise taxes on the rich.”

    What a hackneyed old piece of leftist propaganda crxp. Aside from all the other glaring faults with your “argument” can you please tell me exactly who “the rich” are? Why are taxes always the anwer to nut-jobs like you Mooney? I would love to live in a country with no taxes or very minimal taxes as the scope and size of taxation more or less defines the scope and size of goverment, and I prefer mine to be lean and mean. But nut-jobs like you actually say you like taxes, and I guess by definition big government. But the main question is WHY?

  115. “The whole reason we are in a slump and cannot seem to get out of it is the over-emphasis on retaining government sector jobs and under-emphasis on expanding private sector employment.”

    So, what makes a private sector job more valuable than a public sector job?

    Presumably, a person doing a public sector job is doing something for the benefit of the public (i.e., the good ol’ US of A). Looked at broadly enough, I assume that a private sector job is also doing something for the benefit of the public in that the public would not pay for the service/product produced by the private sector job if it wasn’t valuable. As such, I’m not sure I can see the difference in the value between the two.

    My guess is that a public sector job is more likely to be doing something that benefits society, as a whole, more than a private sector job, which is more likely to be directed to a subset of society. Again, the difference between the value of the two eludes me.

    What I think IS the big difference is that government is like a non-profit in that it doesn’t keep a “profit” for performing the service. However, a private sector job is most likely associated with a for-profit company and, thus, a profit is added on to the service provided. Just imagine, for example, what the cost of a driver’s license would be if it was run by a for-profit company? The need for driver’s licenses is immense, and most people could not function without them. Given the great demand, a for-profit company could charge 10x what the government charges and still get LOTS of takers. The “profit,” which is taken from the public, is redistributed to the shareholders of the company. Great for a few people, not the public.

    Of course, the classic counter-argument is that the private sector is “more efficient” than the public sector. I’m sure there are instances in which that happens. However, one merely needs to look at the Enrons, Worldcoms, Tycos, and major financial institutions over this decade to realize that the private sector can f”’ things up as well as any government.

    Sure, the drive for “profit” can lead to better efficiencies. However, once a company gets to be big enough (I’ve heard the magic numbers lies anywhere between 100 to 1000), the individual workers become disconnected with the profitability of the company and efficiency suffers. As such, the “efficiency” argument is overblown.

    There is another important issue to consider, most of the “public sector jobs” are what I can “mission critical” jobs. If a company making plastic beach toys fails due to lack of profitability – not a big problem. However, if 1,000,000 pounds of contaminated beef gets out into the stream of commerce (because the FDA was underfunded) or during the next disaster, police and fireman radios cannot operate with another (for lack of FCC oversight) or a high-tech company never gets financing (because lack of funding due to a huge patent backlog), then the country as a whole suffers. In these instances, making sure the job gets done (regardless of the profitability of doing the job) is most important.

    Anybody who thinks that a private sector job is worth more than a public sector job hasn’t thought the issues through.

  116. You say “If the deficit was really such a huge problem, everyone knows exactly how to fix it: cut military spending in half, fix the US healthcare system, and raise taxes on the rich.” Of course, that wouldn’t close the deficit.

    Right. Because in your world math and facts don’t get in the way of ideology. Of course doing such things will “close the deficit.”

    You need more people working (not govt jobs)

    There you go again. Next you’ll tell me that the US government “can’t afford” to hire any people.

    Of course, a better question to ask is: who benefits when 10% of a country’s workers are unemployed for years? Who benefits when financial assistance to those millions of workers and their families is taken away? Who benefits when bridges and roads go unrepaired? Who benefits when schools are closed? Who benefits and … who suffers? And why exactly do those people deserve to suffer?

  117. We had around 5% unemployment not between 9-10% as under the current administration

    Nice try.

    When did the Great Recession start on your planet? Who was President?

  118. We had around 5% unemployment not between 9-10% as under the current administration. Sounds pretty good. Or at least a lot better than what we have now.

  119. Good G0d what a left-wing nut case argument you make. You can NOT be serious in your “analysis, can you??

    You say “If the deficit was really such a huge problem, everyone knows exactly how to fix it: cut military spending in half, fix the US healthcare system, and raise taxes on the rich.” Of course, that wouldn’t close the deficit. And wasn’t Obamacare supposed to take care of the health care costs, anyhow?

    The budget is for around 40-50% more than the money taken in by the govt. You can take ALL the money from the “rich” (a 100% tax) and cut the military completely & STILL not close the gap. You need more people working (not govt jobs) & spending money to grow the economy.

    And can you explain why the left insist on calling tax deductions as “expenditures”? The govt doesn’t spend the $!

  120. Harworking at Keeping Upbeat When People Just Refuse to Read the Actual Words in the Typed Comments says:

    bad joke ahead,

    Perhaps you need to pay just a little more attention, as you are almost on the right page.

    Here – in this instance – these types of jobs are a good thing – the government providing these types of jobs are not an actual tax on taxpayers. I thought by putting “tax” in quotes you would have picked up the nuanced point that this is not an actual tax – if (and that’s a big Billion dollar if) the money was spent appropriately. You seem to edge towards understnading when you acknowledge the USPTO aspect – and in truth, that is the only aspect I was speaking of – not as you think that ALL government jobs are private-sector cost-free. As this sistuation, the one that I speak about is free and clear of a “broke government,” the only thing accomplished by you bringing up that point is to show that you were not paying enough attention.

    As for Ned and his (continued) either-or syndrome, we will just have to agree to disagree. You too fall to the fallacy of “increased government spending” whereas the only increased spedning I alluded to was to spend the actual moneies already paid into the system by applicants, and only to spend that money for the appropriate reasons.

    I guess it just may be too much to ask for people to actually read the comments as they appear when it comes to politics.

  121. tax reductions increases private sector jobs

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

    How’d that theory work out during George W. Bush’s tenure?

  122. Increasing the number of and pay of high income jobs in a government is a good thing for a broke government?

    Gosh, it sure seemed like a great idea when Shrub was President. I don’t remember anyone on TV complaining about it. The cheap oil we were going to get from Iraq was supposed to pay for all these wars, wasn’t it?

    By the way, in case you haven’t noticed: the US is presently running a deficit but has fantastic credit around the world. Nobody is worried about the US going bankrupt anytime soon, and that includes (mostly) Republican politicians. Unfortunately, the country is filled with m0r0ns who don’t “get it.”

    If the deficit was really such a huge problem, everyone knows exactly how to fix it: cut military spending in half, fix the US healthcare system, and raise taxes on the rich. But of course it’s not a real problem. For Republicans and other representatives of the already rich and powerful, the deficit is nothing more than a golden opportunity to fxck the country up even more and then blame the fxcked up country on the usual suspects: minorities, immigrants, etc. The key thing is to make sure that there are always a lot of poor people struggling to get by. That way if there’s any hard work to be done, you can get it done cheaply by desperate people (firing all the lazy people who think they are entitled to $35,000/yr for a 40/hr week job with two weeks vacation) and, at the end of the year, you get your $2 million executive bonus.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

  123. Hard, I will second the motion of bad joke, one simply cannot ignore the trade-off between government jobs and private sector jobs. Any stimulus program designed to hire and retain government worker jobs in the name of expanding the economy has its objectives screwed on backwards. The whole reason we are in a slump and cannot seem to get out of it is the over-emphasis on retaining government sector jobs and under-emphasis on expanding private sector employment.

    Increased government spending increases government workers and reduces private sector jobs, while tax reductions increases private sector jobs which increase the tax base providing more revenue and the ability to support more government.

  124. Increasing the number of and pay of high income jobs in a government is a good thing for a broke government?

    You’re serious too, aren’t you?

    Regardless, because the USPTO should be user funded (assuming they kept their fees), the whole tax discussion is a non-starter. It’s just comical that you think government jobs don’t have a cost born by the private sector.

  125. I predicted that Chord Overstreet would be leaving Glee.

  126. Ned,

    It is only a “tax” when the moneys are not used for their intended purpose (which would be making the US Patent system the best in the world by timely and thorough examination by proficient and well-trained examiners).

    No one is complaining when the money is used appropriately.

    In that manner, your comment gets off on the wrong foot.

    You then trip on your next comment of “Every government job costs numbers of private sector jobs. The more government workers we have, the fewer private sectors workers. We need to cut government, or else.

    With unemployment (and under-employment) still a major concern, your view here of an either-or dilemma is rather mysterious. This is actually one area (employing highly technical people) that we want to promote both in government and in the private sector – the more jobs here the better. Creating a demand for these jobs will induce higher pay which will induce more people wanting to pursue these types of jobs (in a rare upward spiral).

    This would be a good thing – not the bad thing you seem to indicate.

    I think your reaction of “prioritizing” by way of fees, which I think fairly translates to simply “charging more” is also a misstep.

    We already have more than enough of a mindset of patents only being a Sport of Kings – charging more only invites more of this pernicious mindset. The Sport of Kings mindset simply does not jibe with the concepts of promotion and the facts that it is the little guys that make the US economy run than anybody else.

    This post of yours is all left feet.

  127. Paul, I think it was you who said that the PTO fees were a tax. If we want to cut taxes and spending, at least temporarily to get the economy going again, why should the PTO be immune?

    Every government job costs numbers of private sector jobs. The more government workers we have, the fewer private sectors workers. We need to cut government, or else.

    Now, I will agree, the PTO does provide a valuable service to the economy. To extent it could prioritize its work, by changing the fees schedules, that is the way to go.

  128. Except that you will still have to be part of one of the telecommuting programs to be able to take the laptop home.

    An examiner might have a laptop but it will be chained to their desk. Unless they qualify and have been accepted into the laptop program, the telework program, etc. they won’t have the combination to remove it.

  129. Saving money is the whole point. In addition to physically powering and maintaining multiple machines, the PTO has to pay licensing fees for software on each machine. Cutting the raw number of computers will save them a ton of money on software licenses as well.

  130. I wonder if it is possible to show an annual percentage of first-office-actions-as-rejections-(and/or)-restrictions?

  131. I don’t think saving money was the point, but rather, it was reducing the backlog.

    Otherwise I agree with you. How much of a deterrent is it to “lug” a laptop home for the voluntary overtime to earn the production bonuses? Are bonuses into the future even available?

  132. I don’t think the new laptops will have any effect on the backlog. Examiners that don’t want to take the laptop home to work may be offset by the ones that don’t have a laptop now but will. Plus cost-wise, it’s a no-brainer for the PTO. Whereas now every examiner has a desktop and maybe half also have a laptop at home, now everyone will just have a laptop. The desktops are ancient and need to be replaced anyway (Windows XP, Word 2003?). Also, instead of having every desktop in the building left on at all times so examiners can remote in, now when the examiner isn’t at work, the laptop is either going to be off or gone. The power savings alone will save the PTO a ton of money.

  133. Today’s my independence,
    from those that trashed me so.
    Kill her for the Key’s
    Is all i need to know.

    They used the information,
    and tried to bury me.
    But now the truth is out,
    and I’m the one that’s free.

  134. Kill Her for the Key’s,
    because the House belonged to thee.
    Kill her for the Key’s,
    figured She’d be gone and He,
    would surely get what’s Hers,
    because She would be gone.
    And He could live there then,
    Till the Devil took Him on.

  135. Any projection when #8,000,000 will be issued?

    My prediction is immediately after 7,999,999…

  136. “I wouldn’t attribute a high level of accuracy to the 2011 prediction, because it is based Quarter 1 stats multiplied by 4. We should all know that motivations change constantly throughout a fiscal year, and the numbers at the end of FY11 will probably be fairly different than the prediction.”

    link to patentlyo.com

    Mar 29, 2011 at 05:46 PM

  137. Now that makes even less sense:

    that will not be directly impacted by this Sup. Ct. decision

    So you are talking about other applications not involved in the immedaite case and not directly impacted – how exactly then is this “now at least partially at the Sup. Ct.“?

    This isnt even to first base, much less “just a little bit pregnant.”

  138. Because, given his prior patenting activities, it seems likely that he may have other very old applications pending that will not be directly impacted by this Sup. Ct. decision, which, in any case, will be proceedural rather than substantive.

  139. “I wonder if the current Kappos project to finally do something about old pending applications might also have some effect on 2011 issuances?”

    Not really. The lower projected issuance rate is likely completely attributable to the new no overtime policy.

    The new laptop program is also likely to contribute the lower production numbers for the rest of the year because examiner that had workstations at work and laptops at home will now only have a laptop and are not likely to take the laptop home every day. Even if there was overtime, the new “universal laptop” program would result in lowering the number of overtime hours worked.

    No paid overtime and no convenient way to do voluntary overtime to earn the production bonuses because of the universal laptop program likely means a big reversal in what looked to be a lowering of the backlog.

  140. How does one be “now at least partially at the Sup. Ct.“?

    Isn’t like being “just a little bit pregnant”?

  141. Thanks.
    Furthermore, one merely has to look at the total PTO pendency of some of the “submarine” patents that still continue to issue.
    Also check out for example the claimed original filing dates of the still-pending applications of Mr. Gilbert Hyatt now at least partially at the Sup. Ct.
    What were examiners and their management doing with those ancient applications in the many years since? Relying on their re-filing dates to falsely treat them as “new” applications, or just ignoring them?

  142. “When I worked at the PTO, taking newer and easier applications was called “raping your docket.” I did it once and my SPE read me the riot act.”

    Meh, whenever I do it things work out just fine. You never really know which cases will be easier until you’re halfway through the examination.

    Except of course in the instance of applications that have a huge IDS, huge claim no.’s and when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a huge amount of art that should be considered.

  143. “When I worked at the PTO, taking newer and easier applications was called “raping your docket.” I did it once and my SPE read me the riot act.”

    Things have changed. You’re allowed to work on any new case that is within 6 months of your oldest new case. For most examiners that means any case on their new docket.

  144. ” Old applications [including "submarine" serial continuations and divisionals] that had been left sitting unprocessed in favor of working out-of-order on newer and easier applications, may take more time to dispose of.”

    When I worked at the PTO, taking newer and easier applications was called “raping your docket.” I did it once and my SPE read me the riot act.

    Dems could hit the Repubs in control of the House hard if they harped on the Republican fee diversion as a “tax on inventors”. They are stealing money from inventors.

  145. Besides the completely illogical Congressional cut in the PTO’s budget even though the PTO does not affect the budget, since it does not use tax revenues, so that a PTO budget cut is just an increased “fee diversion tax” increase, I wonder if the current Kappos project to finally do something about old pending applications might also have some effect on 2011 issuances? Old applications [including "submarine" serial continuations and divisionals] that had been left sitting unprocessed in favor of working out-of-order on newer and easier applications, may take more time to dispose of.

  146. In anticipation of the “outcry” against an Office going wild and issuing patents to excess, Dennis, please provide an accompanying historical graph of USPTO Utility Application Rejections on an annual basis.

Comments are closed.