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July 07, 2015

Comments

Actually, I think something like a Sanders vs Cruz election would see far less debate than normal. It would be two candidates who live in totally different universes. Nothing in common among their basic assumptions, let alone anything else.

And the difference in the election would be which one could connect with the moderates and independents. Bush or Rubio, maybe even Walker, might stand a chance. But if Sanders were up against Cruz or Jindal or Huckabee? Walk in the park.

Sanders just doesn't seem like a charismatic crowd pleaser. right now he's preaching the gospel to a very receptive choir, but i'm not sure his gruff and tuff demeanor would attract casual voters. IMO.

which isn't to say i don't wish things were otherwise.

Sanders vs Christe. There's a possibility for no-pandering, take it or leave it, debates!

Sanders is middle of the road on guns because he comes from Vermont. Vermont is very rural, not that wealthy, and in Vermont "guns" means "meat".

Howard Dean, IIRC, got a 100% approval from the NRA on his positions re guns. If not 100%, it was well up there. Same reason.

Vermont is a funny place, it somehow mashes rednecks, hippies, libertarians, and socialism into a pretty seamless blend. If it wasn't so freaking cold, I'd try to talk my wife into moving there.

Freedom and Unity, the Vermont state motto. Orthogonal, even opposing, impulses, held in balance. Daniel Webster's Liberty and Union.

It's a commonwealth tradition that goes back not just to the founding of the nation, but before. We'd do well to revive it.

I'd be delighted to have Sanders as the (D) candidate. The only downside is that it would almost insure a (R) President.

But the choir that Sanders is preaching his gospel to is a fairly large one. Lots of folks seem surprised by this, I'm not.

Sanders vrs Christie?

An Eisenhower Republican against Benito Mussolini.

How the Overton Window has shifted.

And if anyone thinks I'm calling Christie the Eisenhower R, put up the blinds and look around.

While no national poll has yet to test Sanders in a trial heat against the Republican field, a June 2015 Gallup poll found that being a self-described socialist -- as Sanders is -- is more unpopular for a presidential candidate than being an evangelical Christian, Muslim or atheist.

According to the poll, 50 percent said they wouldn't vote for a socialist, compared with 40 percent who wouldn't vote for an atheist, 38 percent for a Muslim and 25 percent for an evangelical Christian.

wow.

that's some good work there, GOP Noise Machine.

cleek, do you really think that NBC News (or Gallup) counts as part of the "GOP News Machine"? Now if it had been reported on Fox, I wouldn't argue. But that isn't the case here.

I'd also suggest that unwillingness to vote for a "socialist" candidate in the abstract might not accurately reflect willingness to vote for a specific candidate. Especially since Sanders' views are a fair distance from what anyone (outside the GOP base, of course) would expect from a socialist.

cleek, do you really think that NBC News (or Gallup) counts as part of the "GOP News Machine"?

That confused me at first, too. I think he means the results reflect the effects of the GOP noise machine, not that conducting the poll or publishing the results of it are the work of the GOP noise machine.

Or maybe I'm still confused, but don't know it.

cleek, do you really think that NBC News (or Gallup) counts as part of the "GOP News Machine"?

nope.

HSH, OK that parse of the statement makes sense. Although I suspect that we are actually seeing is a remnant of half a century ago when "communist" and "socialist" were used interchangable by most of the country -- and both were Bad Things. Note that this was long before there was a GOP Noise Machine.

And I would bet that only a tiny minority of the population even know what socialism actually is. Which is why I think exposure to Sanders' actual positions (many of which look nothing like socialism, regardless of his personal use of the label) might make a difference.

I hope he ends up being the D candidate

Just as Democrats hope that Trump will be the R candidate?

See, I think that Bernie Sanders' prior cheerleading for socialism and quack medicine is going to sneak up and clobber him, as far as the regard of the Reality Community is concerned.

Quack science and quack politics should be, IMO, regarded askance, irrespective of whether the person espousing said quackery has an R or a D after their name.

Quack science.... ??? Is Sanders associated with some quack science? I hadn't heard.

.... and quack politics ...a reference to supply side economics?

Just asking. Thx.

The socialism of Bernie Sanders

"Quack science and quack politics should be, IMO, regarded askance, irrespective of whether the person espousing said quackery has an R or a D after their name."

as far as I can tell, it's ducks all the way down.

if I can get a duck more or less to my liking on the menu, I'm happy to call it a win.

the Clintons have a bit of woowoo in their inner circle.

i haven't been able to find anything about Sanders, though.

Actually, I think something like a Sanders vs Cruz election would see far less debate than normal.

I think both would stay on message, and their messages have 0 overlap...so yeah.

But I think Sanders/Rubio, or even Sanders/Bush, would actually have some legitimate debate. I fully expect Sanders to reliably try to engage in debate, regardless of what his opponent does. I think to some extent that's needed.

Someone needs to be the (principled) adult in the room, stick to an actual discussion rather then empty politicking. Otherwise it ends up in a race-to-the-bottom/well-they-started-the-negative-ads soundbite fest.

I think Sanders might be that principled.

I also view it as *not impossible( that Sanders would welcome 3rd party candidates to debates. So, there's that.

Slarti:

Just as Democrats hope that Trump will be the R candidate?

I don't know...that wasn't my intent, at least. I think Sanders wouldn't have as little chance as Trump in the general election. Socialist, sure, but an honest one. Among conservatives I know, Sanders is generally referred to in 'positive' terms. Where 'positive' means he's honestly wrong, not evil. I think he'd be relatively hard to lampoon, while I think Trump lampoons himself.

sorry, lost my link.

http://www.science20.com/alan_levinovitz/when_the_clintons_doctor_embraces_pseudoscience-152951

thompson,

I think Sanders would be pretty lampoonable,if not as deserved as Trump. He represents the step too far that McGovern represented a few decades ago.

The most effective two candidates for a Republican victory so far have been Sanders and Trump. Each makes the Republican field look centrist.

I think Sanders would be pretty lampoonable,if not as deserved as Trump.

Perhaps. I think lampooning sincere people generally ends up with a little more blowback.

Or to put it another way, it would be more politically effective to engage with Sanders on policy (which is to the left of a lot of centrist voters), than to try to score cheap political points.

But, considering the amount of pushback to the concept of a Sanders candidacy on this thread...maybe I'm just out of touch.

From BP's link:

When push comes to shove, he is a supporter of a social democratic Scandinavian-style welfare state in the form of better education, healthcare and social service provisions for the general population (Leibovich 2007) rather than the confiscation of companies from the private sector.

Good to know Sanders, when you get right down to it, doesn't favor government confiscation of private businesses.

Comforting.

Can someone link me to his payment plan?

to pay for his college program, Sanders proposes a tax on Wall St transactions.

for other things: increase top marginal tax rates, raise estate tax rates, close tax shelter loopholes, etc..

to pay for his college program, Sanders proposes a tax on Wall St transactions.

for other things: increase top marginal tax rates, raise estate tax rates, close tax shelter loopholes, etc..

Has anyone done the math? How many stock trades X tax rate = college for all?

For the rest of it, what marginal rate = paid for health care and child care for all?

Or to put it another way, it would be more politically effective to engage with Sanders on policy (which is to the left of a lot of centrist voters), than to try to score cheap political points.

I'd like to think so (well, sort of), but I'm generally surprised how well cheap shots play with the general public and how brazenly politicians are willing to use them in place of earnest discussion.

(By "well, sort of" I mean I'm not happy that Sanders' positions are not more popular, but I'd be happier if people at least engaged those positions rather coming up with "clever" zingers.)

Has anyone done the math?

Does "anyone" include you?

Has anyone done the math?

not sure.

some his proposals have estimates in them. ex, the Wall St -> college paper says:

My legislation would impose a Wall Street speculation fee of 0.5 percent on stock trades (that’s 50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives.

It has been estimated that this legislation would raise up to $300 billion a year.

i'm sure that if they started to think he was viable, the press would get someone to run some numbers.

I think Sanders would be pretty lampoonable

A Jewish Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn by way of hippie paradise Vermont. The only guy whose hair just might be weirder than Trump's.

The jokes write themselves, I would think.

The discussion of Sanders' candidacy in most venues will basically be at just about that level.

He's able to draw multiple thousands of people to his events, and it ain't because of his natural charm and charisma. He has a constituency that is very rarely represented at any level in national politics, let alone as a Presidential candidate.

So, it ain't all a joke.

My guess is that, somewhere along the line, Sanders will basically implode. Somebody will find something embarrassing, or he'll have a "Yeeeaarrgh!" moment. Or, the experience of being taken even slightly seriously as a Presidential candidate will go to his head and he'll self-immolate in one way or another.

Or, maybe I'll be wrong, and he'll keep it between the lines right up to the primaries. And, he'll probably lose them, because Jewish Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn by way of hippie paradise Vermont is just a step too far for most folks.

I'm just happy that his point of view is getting a hearing. It doesn't happen very often.

It ain't just Tea Party folks that want their country back.

My legislation would impose a Wall Street speculation fee of 0.5 percent on stock trades (that’s 50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a 0.005 percent fee on derivatives.

It has been estimated that this legislation would raise up to $300 billion a year.

Wow. A privately employed individual puts 20K a year in a 401K, and invests in stock. Immediately, the value of that employee's investment declines 5%. No actual gain is realized unless the stock then appreciates by 10%, because, apparently, there is a back-end tax of 5% too.

It gets worse if the stock declines in value and the employee attempts to cut losses.

I'm guessing no one has scored this proposal.

Do we have a consensus: it's awful on its face.

Shouldn't we expect more rigorous policy analyses from people who claim to be capable of running our country?

5%?

...because Jewish Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn by way of hippie paradise Vermont is just a step too far for most folks.

Hey, we elected a formerly pot-smoking black guy named Barack Hussein Obama in post-9/11 America. His name sounds like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And he's black (did I already mention that?). I hear he even attended a madrasa.

And, he'll probably lose them, because Jewish Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn by way of hippie paradise Vermont is just a step too far for most folks.

Maybe. A lot of it depends on how long the more centrist contenders stay in the race. If Hillary has to defend the center from the likes of Webb, and defend the left from Sanders, I think Sanders has a real shot.

Like you say, he represents people that have gone unrepresented.

To me, I believe (probably imagine), voters are getting tired of scorched earth politics where the winner is the one who most successfully made their opponent out as the devil incarnate. I think someone honest and sincere could get some traction.

Again, to be clear, this is from someone that doesn't agree with Sanders on much. I just think he talks about real things, and is additionally willing to listen to the other side and compromise.

hippie paradise Vermont

Some damn fine beers from there. Dunno if that's due to or in spite of the hippies.

What's a factor of 10 between friends, especially 401k speed-traders?

the value of that employee's investment declines 5%

Mind where the dot goes.

I just think he talks about real things, and is additionally willing to listen to the other side and compromise.

That's pretty much my take as well.

Dunno if that's due to or in spite of the hippies.

Beer and ice cream appear to be where all demographics in Vermont converge.

5%

F'ing decimal points. That's why I'm a lawyer and not an engineer or anything else that requires numerical literacy.

In a sudden and dramatic reversal of position, I agree that a transactional tax at this level is not oppressive. I actually favor new use/consumption taxes; however, I would use them to retire debt and cap spending at prior year levels. That is, there would not be any new spending if I were king. Congress would be allowed, subject to my kingly approval, to reallocate spending, but it would still be capped.

Also, I have real questions about whether 300 billion would pay for *all* college (Harvard or Harris County Community College?), and, once the entitlement to free college became entrenched, the tax would rise to meet costs. So, I'd fuss vigorously with this proposal but I fully retract my initial calculations.

I think that, if you are going to guarantee free college for all, you can't be guaranteeing to pay the entire cost for whatever college the individual student wants to attend. Guarantee a place in a state college or university, possibly requiring community college first. But if the student wants to go to Harvard, they can pay the extra on their own.

That is, essentially, what California's Master Plan for Higher Education (circa 1960) did. And, until legislative cost cutting trashed it (thanks, in part, to tax restraints enacted a decade later) by running up the costs of the state universities, it worked damn well. So it can be done

F'ing decimal points. That's why I'm a lawyer and not an engineer or anything else that requires numerical literacy.

No worries. I am an engineer of sorts, and they bite me on the @ss on a regular basis.

As always, kudos for your graceful reply.

not an engineer or anything else that requires numerical literacy.

Eh. Just use bigger factors of safety.

Also, I have real questions about whether 300 billion would pay for *all* college (Harvard or Harris County Community College?)

he says (and i don't have the data to check him):

Under the legislation, $70 billion a year in assistance – two-thirds from the federal government and one-third from states – would replace what public colleges and universities now charge in tuition and fees. The federal share of the cost would be offset by imposing a tax on Wall Street transactions by investment houses, hedge funds and other speculators.

he doesn't say how the states come up with their portion.

Under the legislation, $70 billion a year in assistance – two-thirds from the federal government and one-third from states – would replace what public colleges and universities now charge in tuition and fees. The federal share of the cost would be offset by imposing a tax on Wall Street transactions by investment houses, hedge funds and other speculators.

If the numbers checked out, this would be hard to argue with. Heavy emphasis on the *if* part.

If this could be objectively scored and vetted, I'd probably be on board.

Dean Baker runs the numbers.

This tax would also tend to curb computer driven program trading aka techno-geek front running.

Baker treats the tax as .25% on each end of the trade--which I like.

He also hypothesizes a serious reduction in trade volume for argument's sake. I think he is right to do so but I don't think a $25 dollar tax is going to affect trading in any material way.

So, as a revenue raiser and a debt reducer--I'm on board. Up to 70 Billion out of the 358 billion a year to underwrite college education, fine by me. The rest goes to deficit reduction. And, we cap spending. So says King Andrew I.

Is Harvard a public university?

No. Harvard, like all of the Ivy League, is a private university.

a transactional tax at this level is not oppressive

It's far better than "not oppressive" -- it will dramatically reduce high-speed trading, and return some sort of sanity to our financial markets. That effect is far more important than the revenues it would raise.

Actually, I'm pretty lefty, and I think that half a percent is still too high by at least an order of magnitude. The "kill high-speed trading" transaction taxes I've seen proposed are more on the order of 0.01%.

note to self: to avoid redundancy, finish reading the thread before commenting

The "kill high-speed trading" transaction taxes I've seen proposed are more on the order of 0.01%.

Sure, but 0.5% will work 50 times better!

Today, the NYSE trading floor was shut down for over 3 hours due to some sort of computer problem. No doubt millions upon millions of stock shares went untraded as a result.

Question: how much real value was lost?

Surely, some large-scale traders would have been up a few million dollars apiece at the end of the day, without the glitch, but equally surely some other large-scale traders (the ones on the opposite side of the forgone trades) would have been down by the same amount. Meanwhile, I doubt the nation's chickens suspended laying eggs for 3 hours, or the nation's cows giving milk. No auto production lines got shut down, no immigrant landscapers turned off their backpack leafblowers to wait for the NYSE to re-open.

Every basis point (0.01%) of a transaction tax would probably cause a decrease in trading volume equivalent to N seconds of NYSE shutdown per day. I don't know what N is, but I suspect the nation would survive.

--TP

These days (thanks to government regulations/requirements), the NYSE only handles a quarter of all stock trades. Down from over 80% in 2007, before the National Market System rule went into effect. As a result of that rule, most stocks are traded on multiple markets around the country.

So trading of stocks wasn't impacted nearly as much as you might think. In fact, while the number of trades on the NYSE was, of course, way down yesterday, the total number of trades overall was actually up a little over the average volume. (All the brokers have put systems in place to route trades to whichever exchange is taking them. Not without a lot of complaining about government interference in the markets, of course.)

Not that I don't agree that a per-transaction tax which cut down on the milli-second, computer based, trading would be a good thing. But you can't make a case for it based on what happened yesterday.

But you can't make a case for it based on what happened yesterday.

Can you negate a case against it? The point being that the creation of real value, which is what counts economically, was not affected (or so the argument goes, at least) by whatever trading didn't occur, but otherwise would have (assuming there had to be some, if not as much as there would have been in the past when the NYSE was more of a factor).

So you can't say the relative reduction in trading volume resulting from a per-transaction tax would be harmful economically. It might reduce the zero-sum portion of trading that has nothing to do with actual investment, but there's no value in that, anyway. (Again, as the argument goes, at least.)

But you can't make a case for it based on what happened yesterday.

I would agree, but ask, "who has made this case" on this thread?

Brokers always have and always will complain about government regulations. They brought it on themselves. Sucks to be them.

It never ceases to amaze me that when an industry routinely screws over its customers and the customers get the government to do something about it, that is "unwarranted intervention in free markets", but when they (business interests) whine and snivel for tax breaks, subsidies, etc., somehow it's just making everybody magically better off.

Amazing coincidence, don't you think?

Is Sanders associated with some quack science? I hadn't heard.

Google "Bernie Sanders orgasm", sans quotes.

Sorry, I had neglected to check here for responses.

...a reference to supply side economics?

Just for starters, his proposal to break up big banks because...reasons is quackery.

Ma Bell was broken up using antitrust as a basis. There's no basis for this.

Don't like what the banking industry is doing? Try rewriting regulation. Breaking the big ones up is wishful thinking, just as (thank you) trickle-down economics was wishful thinking.

Of course, JFK's "a rising tide lifts all boats" was not that far away from trickle-down economics in its notional & intended effect, but he had a D after his name. But: neither here nor there.

But you can't make a case for it based on what happened yesterday.

I would agree, but ask, "who has made this case" on this thread?

I thought that's what Tony was doing. But I may have misunderstood his post.

his proposal to break up big banks because...reasons is quackery.

Personally, I find the idea of "pick one, but only one, from either investment or retail banking" to be a pretty reasonable plan.

We all have our druthers.

Of course, JFK's "a rising tide lifts all boats" was not that far away from trickle-down economics

The most commonly cited occasion on which Kennedy employed that aphorism was at the dedication of a dam in Arkansas. The feds had apparently provided some funds for it, and that was criticized as "pork".

Kennedy's response, including the "rising tides" quote, was an argument in favor of public investment in public works.

I.e., public investment of federal money in the dam wouldn't just benefit some town in Arkansas, but also folks all across the country.

Public efforts to help some of us, ultimately helps all of us.

Not really a trickle-down argument.

Kennedy did support reduction of both personal and corporate taxes, which did, in fact, seem to improve economic growth, without significantly hurting revenues (I think).

So, the Laffer curve in action.

But the reduction of the top personal rate was from 91% to 65%, and the corporate rate from 52% to 47%.

Context matters.

Google "Bernie Sanders orgasm", sans quotes.

On this issue, I'll just take your word for it. :)

his proposal to break up big banks because...reasons is quackery.

Personally, I find the idea of "pick one, but only one, from either investment or retail banking" to be a pretty reasonable plan.

We all have our druthers.

Of course, JFK's "a rising tide lifts all boats" was not that far away from trickle-down economics

The most commonly cited occasion on which Kennedy employed that aphorism was at the dedication of a dam in Arkansas. The feds had apparently provided some funds for it, and that was criticized as "pork".

Kennedy's response, including the "rising tides" quote, was an argument in favor of public investment in public works.

I.e., public investment of federal money in the dam wouldn't just benefit some town in Arkansas, but also folks all across the country.

Public efforts to help some of us, ultimately helps all of us.

Not really a trickle-down argument.

Kennedy did support reduction of both personal and corporate taxes, which did, in fact, seem to improve economic growth, without significantly hurting revenues (I think).

So, the Laffer curve in action.

But the reduction of the top personal rate was from 91% to 65%, and the corporate rate from 52% to 47%.

Context matters.

Google "Bernie Sanders orgasm", sans quotes.

On this issue, I'll just take your word for it. :)

slarti: Ma Bell was broken up using antitrust as a basis. There's no basis for this.

Certainly breaking up AT&T on a regional basis, which is how it was done, made no sense as anti-trust. If they had forced it to split into competing organizations, that might have been a different story.

As for breaking up the big banks, ask yourself this: If you have banks which are "too big to fail," they are, in effect, backstopped by the government. And "too big to fail" seems like as good a definition of a trust as any. So an anti-trust case could reasonably be pursued.

Not that rewriting the regulations might not be a good idea. In particular, the change which allowed banks to do both retail banking and investment banking could be backed out. That would, in fact, represent "breaking up the big banks," would it not?

And "too big to fail" seems like as good a definition of a trust as any.

Sherman Antitrust Act, excerpted:

Section 1: "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal."

Section 2: "Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony [. . . ]"

I don't see how your interpretation and the above text match up. My reading of this is: businesses are prohibited from monopoly, and also prohibited from restraint of trade. I don't see a match, really.

Public efforts to help some of us, ultimately helps all of us.

I'd put that more as: hiring of private business, to their profit, to help some of us, ultimately helps all of us.

But this was not the only time Kennedy used this phrase. From the JFK Library:

The president finally decided that only a bold domestic program, including tax cuts, would restore his political momentum. Declaring that the absence of recession is not tantamount to economic growth, the president proposed in 1963 to cut income taxes from a range of 20-91% to 14-65% He also proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate from 52% to 47%. Ironically, economic growth expanded in 1963, and Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress insisted that reducing taxes without corresponding spending cuts was unacceptable. Kennedy disagreed, arguing that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that strong economic growth would not continue without lower taxes.

Sounds remarkably like arguments posed by another President (or two) we have had in recent times.

break them up because they pose a threat to our national security.

Sounds remarkably like arguments posed by another President (or two) we have had in recent times.

I guess the whole context thing didn't really take.

break them up because they pose a threat to our national security

I think this opens a can of worms that may best be left unopened, but obviously my opinion in this matter is not shared by at least two people in this country.

We could have an entire thread discussing what perceived threats to national security may justify government intervention, and why that might not be such a good idea in general.

Well, it's a good idea if it's someone else's ox being gored, I guess.

I guess it was okay when all those oxen were gored back around 2007. Breaking banks up doesn't mean destroying them, and I'm not seeing where it would cause the sort of turmoil and actual suffering the "too big to fail" banks caused with their sketchy investment and accounting practices.

Is one of your close family members a very large bank or something, Slart? This seems like a weird tack you're taking on this topic.

Keep in mind that Lehman wasn't a bank, AIG wasn't a bank, Countrywide wasn't a bank, Fannie and Freddie weren't banks. The oxes that dud most of the hiring weren't even banks.

So I'm not sure how break up the banks addresses the problem people think it is fixing.

Hiring? No goring. My phone is often overzealous. Did and dud I just type poorly.

Maybe you're using some narrow definition of what a bank is, Marty.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (former NYSE ticker symbol LEH) /ˈliːmən/ was a global financial services firm. Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, Lehman was the fourth-largest investment bank in the US (behind Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch), doing business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales and trading (especially U.S. Treasury securities), research, investment management, private equity, and private banking.

and

Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC) has been in the mortgage business since its founding in 1969. In 2006, Countrywide raked in $4.3 billion in pretax earnings, funding $463 billion in home loans, a 7% year-on-year decline. Countrywide’s mortgage servicing portfolio, however, grew to $1.4 trillion, a 17% increase over 2005. Notably, Countrywide served the United States as the leading home lending bank and the second leading mortgage service provider.

My reading of this is: businesses are prohibited from monopoly, and also prohibited from restraint of trade.

Alas, I am stealing time from my boss, so brevity rules, but here goes:

1. I would say that Sanders approach to "breaking up the banks" is based more on systemic risk than it is on anti-trust grounds. Insofar as the failure of a few large banks could conceivably take down the economy, I would agree with him. Insofar as these firms are essentially backstopped by the fed ("too big to fail"), there should be arrangements in place to insure we do not have another failure like 2008. This would imply smaller banks or more regulation (Glass-Steagall). Pick 'em.
2. There are numerous examples of recent bank collusion (FOREX rate rigging, ATM fees, etc.). The big banks are notorious scoufflaws ($170b paid out in fines in recent years). A return to mom and pop banking is not realistic, but the huge concentration of financial and market power we see in banking is not healthy, and calling for a "breakup" of the big banks is a far cry from policy "quackery" (your term).
3. Barrier to entry. Concentration of bank assets, like concentration in any other industry will lead to abuse and restraint of trade.

Marty: Google "shadow banking". Thx.

Sherman Antitrust Act, excerpted

At the risk of repeating myself, it's worth noting that when many people talk about "breaking up the banks", they are referring more to Glass-Steagall, or perhaps aspects of the Bank Holding Company Act, and less to Sherman Antitrust.

The goal being to reduce systemic and structural risk, rather than prevent monopoly.

Well, it's a good idea if it's someone else's ox being gored.

I dare say there are very few policy proposals that do not gore somebody's ox.* In any scenario where you have limited resources, this is a feature, not a bug.

*where is the oxen revolt?

If the oxen revolt, the position of major draft animal devolves on asses. So the expression probably then becomes "whose ass is grass" ;-)

Is one of your close family members a very large bank or something, Slart? This seems like a weird tack you're taking on this topic.

People are not corporations ;).

More responsively: no. If I were that well-connected, I would not be working at a senior staff engineer's pay out of necessity. I'd be working doing what I do because I like it.

As it is, necessity and personal preference intersect.

Make no mistake: I am not claiming that there isn't anything to do about the banking situation in this country. I am, however, doubtful that breaking banks into smaller banks is going to solve the problem.

I have absolutely no problem with new banking rules that in effect divide banks into smaller pieces. I just think the smashing the ugly stuff into smaller bits is going to address the root of the problem.

Countrywide Financial

Oh. Friends of Angelo?

Again, maybe we have more problems than "too big to fail". Maybe we have some corruption issues to address.

Which brings us all the way around to campaign finance, maybe, after we get to more overt (and less legal, strictly speaking) corruption.

Is one of your close family members a very large bank or something, Slart? This seems like a weird tack you're taking on this topic.

I suspect not. It could the term 'quackery' was selected based on economic (big banks and financial concentration does no harm), practical (not likely to ever happen), or legal (not an Anti-trust issue) considerations....but it is not clear to me.

Could you expound a bit on that, Slarti?

I'd put that more as: hiring of private business, to their profit, to help some of us, ultimately helps all of us.

That's all good, but Kennedy's point was much broader than that.

Here is the speech.

Your friendly stock broker during a buoyant market: "A rising tide lifts all boats."

Aftermath: "Where are all the customers' yachts?"

Etymology of the phrase.

Some other instances of Kennedy's use of the phrase.

I think that Bernie Sanders' prior cheerleading for....quack medicine is going to sneak up and clobber him.

For something he wrote back in his hippy youth? Seriously? We elected an ex-cokehead alcoholic deserter from the National Guard not once, but twice.

We forgive mightily it would seem. Or, voters, as a group, find the issues (or interests) more important than the man.

I'll go with the latter.

Since this is an open thread, here's something a little different. Although, at that, it might impact the election as well, if it gets going.

It appears that the latest draft House bill to fund the Interior Department and the EPA included language bannng the display of Confederate symbols (e.g. the flag) of Federal land (including cmemtaries). In response to which, Republican Congressmen (from the South, of course) introduced an amendment which would have reversed that ban. http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/house-gop-may-not-have-votes-to-undo-confederate-flag-amendments-20150709

The Speaker has since pulled the underlying bill, saying "I think it's time for some adults here in Congress to sit down and have conversation about how to address this issue. I do not want this to become a political football." (Emphasis added.) As if it hasn't already.

We elected an ex-cokehead alcoholic deserter from the National Guard not once, but twice.

No.

We probably elected W in 2004.
In 2000, his path to power cannot be accurately described as "being elected".

For something he wrote back in his hippy youth? Seriously?

Romney's placing his dog in a kennel on his car roof was of pivotal importance, I seem to recall. 32 years ago.

Also, binders full of women was also of crucial importance, even though he was attempting some kind of organized affirmative action.

It's just amazing how seemingly trivial bullshit can sneak up and ruin your entire presidential campaign. Don't like it? Then stop participating in it.

We elected an ex-cokehead alcoholic deserter from the National Guard not once, but twice.

If those were the worst of Bush's sins, we'd have not done so badly.

Because they're fiction. But they sound true; therefore must be true.

Frankly, I expected less credulousness.

I am, however, doubtful that breaking banks into smaller banks is going to solve the problem.

If the problem is "too big to fail" (i.e. systemic risk), I'm pretty sure it will. It won't end stupid or corrupt practices all by itself, but it will keep that sort of thing from occurring in individual institutions large enough to have major effects on financial markets and the overall economy.

Mom & pop banks may well be largely a thing of the past, but regional banks aren't. On top of that, Glass Steagall.

We elected an ex-cokehead alcoholic deserter from the National Guard not once, but twice.

If those were the worst of Bush's sins, we'd have not done so badly.

Because they're fiction. But they sound true; therefore must be true.

Please elucidate. Obviously these are incidents put in the worst possible light - as one expects of political rhetoric - but are they actually untrue?

Did GWB not use coke?
Did GWB not drink heavily?
Did GWB not depart the NG without leave, in circumstances which might have been called "desertion" if they had happened to someone whose superiors did not favor him (or actively disliked him)?

It may be that all of these are complete "fiction," in which case doubtless you can set the rest of us right. Otherwise . . .

Romney's placing his dog in a kennel on his car roof was of pivotal importance, I seem to recall. 32 years ago.

It may have gotten a good deal of press, but no, it was not "pivotal". Now the treatment of Al Gore by the national press could arguably have been "pivotal". Bob Somersby has done a lot of work on that one.

Or the swift-boating of John Kerry. Disparaging, certainly did not help...but "pivotal"? Against a sitting president in war time? I do not believe so.

Trivial bs can have unintended effects, but there needs to be a wider context to make it "pivotal".

Because they're fiction.

They are not, but I defer to Dr. Ngo above.

Don't like it? Then stop participating in it.

Hey, who started this?

Romney's "47% comment" caught on tape might have been 'pivotal', also his Benghazi 'you didn't call them terrorists!' F-up in the 2nd debate. But probably not, at least not directly.

IMO if Romney had a 'pivotal' failure, it was that he told so many lies that even the usually-supine MSM started calling him on it. In the end, the Romney campaign was lying to itself about polling, so probably misdirecting their efforts.

Or it just could have been demographics and incumbency.

Comment on the banks: tiny local banks have great customer service, but not enough branches to be convenient.

Somewhat larger regional banks are my preference, but they tend to get eated by mega-banks, and which point they'll start getting obnoxious with service charges and other BS, and soon I'd say "screw you, I'm moving my account".

This has happened multiple times. Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times...?

I opened an account at United Jersey however many years ago. United Jersey had already bought Lenape Bank, a small local bank, by then. United Jersey then bought New Jersey rival Summit, taking the Summit name thereafter. Then Fleet bought them. Everything thing remained fine to that point. Then came Bank of America, buying Fleet. That's when the bullsh1t with the fees started.

I didn't leave, but I'm very careful about how I manage my account now that I've inadvertently become a mega-bank account-holder.

our accounts went from NCB -> CCB -> SunTrust, thanks to buyouts. luckily, SunTrust has been OK so far.

Did GWB not use coke?

Did he? You have some kind of reliable source for this information? If he did use cocaine, did he do so on enough occasions to be labeled a "cokehead"?

These things matter, or don't matter, to the extent that they're real.

As far as "deserter", there are various & conflicting stories to the effect that he fulfilled all of his obligations (or not) to the TANG. TANG thought he had.

Hey, who started this?

I had good reasons for doing so. These very ones, in fact, that we're discussing.

I have no particular use for Bernie Sanders. He isn't the worst guy to ever run for President, nor is he one of the best. He just has some handy baggage of the sort that gets dug up by, well, people like yourself.

And, to be honest, by people like me.

It'd be nice to have elections free of irrelevant bullshit, but the irrelevant stuff sometimes is too shiny for us to resist.

Did he? You have some kind of reliable source for this information?

Bush himself.

many, many times he non-denied doing pot and coke saying he didn't want his past 'mistakes' to be used by today's kids as an excuse for them to use drugs.

I like Bernie Sanders a lot, but I see him as a single-issue (or single-sector-of-issues) candidate, focused on economic inequality and bad finance, who was in the right place at the right time to pick up the Draft Warren contingent when it became sufficiently clear she wasn't running.

This is important stuff. But it's not the only stuff. In particular, his liberal supporters run white, and Sanders' intuition tends to reduce problems of racial prejudice and inequality to economic unfairness, a reduction that black and Latino voters generally do not buy. This may actually not be such a big problem in Iowa and New Hampshire, but it will hurt him in Democratic primaries and caucuses after that, especially in the South and West.

Hillary Clinton seems to be doing well with these constituencies so far, in the absence of a Barack Obama for this cycle. Minority turnout will also be critically important in the general election, and a candidate who doesn't excite them will be a problem for the Democrats.

I may vote for him in the primary just to keep a spotlight on economic redistribution. But it will depend on what the strategic situation looks like by the time of the primary.

For our household banking, we use a medium-sized regional bank. It has lots and lots of branch offices - probably 5 or 6 within a couple of miles of my home and work.

They hold my car loan, also.

They're great.

I also have a rainy-day savings account and a credit card from a local credit union.

They held my last car loan.

I'm not a gazillionaire. Big banks have no interest in me, and I have no interest in them. I can't imagine what they have to offer me that I can't get, with less (read: zero) hassle and expense from my local bank.

As far as our mortgage goes, I think we're on our 5th or 6th mortgage service company at this point.

Regarding GW Bush's life history, as best I can tell it's uncontroversial that he was an alcoholic for most of his adult life until he was 40-ish.

Then he quit.

All of which I don't really give a crap about, per se. I know more drunks - active and recovering - than I can shake a stick at. Good for him for quitting.

Likewise about the blow, given his age group and socioeconomic bracket I'd be surprised if he hadn't snorted a few lines at some point.

Above and beyond the "per se" thing, when I compare video of him speaking, say, when he ran for governor of TX, vs when we ran for POTUS or during his time in office, I quite frankly think there is evidence of some level of cognitive impairment. The man didn't used to be such a clumsy speaker, in later years (i.e., as of about 2000) he just seems addled.

Whether that's the effect of decades of alcohol abuse or some other issue, I have no idea. He wouldn't be the first, and will not be the last, person to have any of those issues while holding responsible office.

Personally, I'm happy to let GW Bush recede into the shadows of history.

It'd be nice to have elections free of irrelevant bullshit, but the irrelevant stuff sometimes is too shiny for us to resist.

Agree, especially with the "sometimes" as I believe I have taken pains to point out.

Likewise about the blow, given his age group and socioeconomic bracket I'd be surprised if he hadn't snorted a few lines at some point.

Particularly considering the uncontroversial fact of his alcohol abuse on top of all that.

I never gave a crap about either of those things, either. I didn't like the fact that he didn't seem too bright and his world view seemed to be formed largely from his having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, three up his arse, and two sticking out of each ear.

He was the poster boy of privilege - born on 3rd base, and such.

Bush himself.

Probably didn't own up to being a cokehead, I am guessing. That's more a matter of oppositional embroidery, unless I have missed something crucial after all these years.

His alcoholism is a matter of public record. Whether that makes him a drunk or not is really a matter of how you want to look at "drunk" as a potentiality or an ongoing expression. Certainly every self-aware alcoholic is cognizant that they are drunk waiting to happen.

Nixon was a drunk who hadn't quit drinking. And that may have affected his decision process, for all I know. It's almost a gimme.

He was the poster boy of privilege - born on 3rd base, and such.

I note in passing that this doesn't seem to bother the folks who voted for Ted Kennedy year in and year out. Nor did Ted's prior sins, nor (even more importantly) did his ongoing sins of drunkenness and molestation. Nor did it bother people inclined to vote for JFK or RFK. Even Joe Kennedy's encouragement of the Nazis didn't deter folks from voting for the Kennedys.

This is all just a conversation that it'd be nice for us to, individually, look into. That our documented waitress sandwich is more forgivable than the other guy's purported and thinly documented AWOL. Or that our binders full of women are pivotally important, while...you get the picture.

And the like. I really cannot lecture others while looking at reality through my own lens and filter, but sometimes it's useful to observe that we all have those.

Every one of us.

IMO if Romney had a 'pivotal' failure, it was that he told so many lies that even the usually-supine MSM started calling him on it.

I'd say rather that Romney's pivotal problem (not sure I would say "failure") was that he had to run so hard away from his historical positions in order to win the nomination. Which made if essentially impossible to plausibly tack back to the center for the general election.

Regarding huge vs tiny banks, I would note this. The convenience factor was a lot greater when you needed to have access to an ATM in lots of places, because most economic activity was done in cash.

But today, when most of it is done with credit cards, you don't really care that much about whether your bank has a branch and an ATM somewhere. Tiny bank or huge, they all issue Visa or Mastercards, which are accepted pretty much everywhere.

The only places that I have noticed where you still need cash are:
- toll roads and bridges
- parking meters
- some stalls in my local Farmers' Market
- donations to panhandlers
And parking meters increasingly take credit cards as well.

The only places that I have noticed where you still need cash are:

card rooms

I note in passing that this doesn't seem to bother the folks who voted for Ted Kennedy year in and year out.

I note in passing that most of the folks that hold elected office at the federal level are wealthy.

Also, that a lot of booze, and other things, seem to be consumed in DC.

Also, that young staff and interns are famously fair game for sexual harassment and exploitation in that same city.

Opportunity, as they say, attracts opportunists. Power attracts people who like power.

A lot of people who hold federal office are self-aggrandizing blowhards with serious impulse control issues. It seems to go with the territory. And, the amount of money and juice that is available to them doesn't seem to improve their natures very much.

To be honest, it would probably turn my head.

There actually is a reasonable argument to be made that a desire to hold elected office should almost automatically disqualify you from doing so. IMO.

Unfortunately, we gotta work with the sausage makers we have, rather than the ones we wish we had.

In any case, there are flaming assholes on every side of every aisle. It's actually harder to find folks who aren't jerks than the other way around.

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