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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:50 am 
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Bucfan wrote:
Ralphie wrote:
The older I get, the more socially liberal I get. I support gay marriage, right to abortion, and am opposed to the death penalty.

The United States Supreme Court and most state courts vigilently defend social rights, such as the right to travel, associate, engage in political discourse, undertake medical care, etc.

That has been the case for the past 40+ years.

Ralphie wrote:
But I became a fiscal conservative many years ago and that is unwavering.

However, courts are not NEARLY as protective of property rights. The rule for a legislature passing a bill involving money is the "rational basis" test. That is, "Can it be argued that the legislation can rationally be seen as advancing the government interest?"

The answer to that question for economic and tax legislation is always - repeat, ALWAYS - yes.

For example, California passed an anti-global warming statute in 2006. The statute will tax CO2 emissions, and put a lot of businesses (cement manufacturing, trucking) out of the state due to the taxes and regulations.

The problem is that the CO2 reductions will have NO RELEVANT EFFECT, AT ALL, on worldwide totals for CO2 emissions. It seeks to reduce California's emissions greenhous gas emissions overall by 25% (or to 1990 levels) by 2025.

However, that means that emissions remain at 75% of their current levels. Emissions in the other 49 (or 56, depending on whom you ask) states remain unaffected. Emissions from India and China, the two growing economies producing more increased CO2 emissions than anywhere else, will continue unabated.

Scientists agree that reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions (mainly CO2) by 25% will have no measurable effect where the other nations do not follow that approach, and where India and China have made it clear that they will produce energy for their growing economies.

In other words, the statute fails completely in its goal. Is the statute therefore unconstitutional?

No. It passes the "rational basis" test.

So the rights that are being eroded are not personal liberties, or social rights, or anything of the sort. The rights that are being eroded are economic protection from government.

And erosion of economic freedom has as dire consequences as erosion of personal liberties. That is why the Constitution sought to protect both. (For example, the only specified remedy in the U.S. Constitution is for the taking of private land, which is to be done only with "just compensation.") When governments take away economic liberties, I am as hostile to such efforts as their work to take away my individual liberties.

I find that not very many share my view about the importance of protecting economic liberties.

So you would prefer a return to the Lochner era? (I presume you know what I'm talking about.)

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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Willton wrote:
So you would prefer a return to the Lochner era? (I presume you know what I'm talking about.)

No, Willton, Lochner was still under consideration when I attended law school. What happened? :D

States regulate business activities as well or better than the Federal government. The benefit of giving states freedom to determine the extent of regulation of the labor force, working conditions, wages, etc. is that citizens can leave a state if the regulations are onerous.

No such choice where the Fed imposes national regulations.

Further, the states then operate as a comparison of the effect of regulation on private industry.

If a state decides that child labor up to 60 hours per week is permissible, then I suspect the citizens would take that into consideration when deciding where to live.

Further, the reality is that Federal regulation inevitably leads to a waste of resources where those engaged in commerce (all of us, in other words) spend time and money complying with the regulations, documenting compliance, avoiding the regulations, documenting our avoidance, etc.

It is expensive to comply with or avoid government regulation. Businesses don't eat those costs. We wind up paying as part of the price.

Currently, our states give some indication as to what economic policies are better. Look at the states that are bankrupt, and those that are booming. (Pssst .... don't blame population. California was the 2nd most populous state in the 1960's when it exploded economically, and Texas is now the 2nd most populous state.)

You need to get over your nanny frame of mind on economic activities, Willton. Treat economic activities like social activities - the government has NO ROLE in either, unless needed to protect citizens.


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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
You need to get over your nanny frame of mind on economic activities, Willton. Treat economic activities like social activities - the government has NO ROLE in either, unless needed to protect citizens.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the primary reason why most economic regulations are proposed and imposed -- to protect citizens? That strikes me as the purpose behind the Securities Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, and various other acts and amendments that regulate the economy.

By the way, to use an example more toward my wheelhouse, do you support intellectual property rights such as patents and copyrights? Because the Patent Act and the Copyright Act regulate the economy in profound ways, and one would be hard-pressed to argue that they were designed to protect citizens.

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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Willton wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the primary reason why most economic regulations are proposed and imposed -- to protect citizens?

Legislation regulating commerce is done to benefit somebody who has paid the politician for votes, and to generate revenues for the government. Ultimately, these costs - direct and indirect - are paid by us.

Willton wrote:
That strikes me as the purpose behind the Securities Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, and various other acts and amendments that regulate the economy.

The Sherman Act is outdated in a worldwide economy with transportation and communication in its present state, but hey, it still employs a lot of government workers.

The Securities and Exchange Act gave rise to the SEC, which now employs thousands, a lot of whom are free to view porn on their work computers.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/sec-pornograp ... d=10452544

But hey, at least that bloated agency has done away with improper stock and securities transactions ... well, I mean, those that are not favorites of the SEC, like Bernie Madoff. Or companies with whom the SEC inspectors later hope to get million dollar jobs.

For nearly a decade, Julie Preuitt told her colleagues at the Securities and Exchange Commission's Fort Worth office that she had found problems at a fabulously successful investment firm in Houston, saying its unmatched returns were probably the result of fraud.

But officials in the agency's enforcement division weren't interested in complex cases, just quick-hit lawsuits that would make the regional office look active, according to a review by the SEC inspector general. They brushed off her warnings about the Houston enterprise run by R. Allen Stanford -- only much later exposing it as one of the largest scams ever: an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 06206.html

http://www.pogo.org/pogo-files/alerts/f ... 00614.html

SOX was the Fed's answer to accounting deficiencies. Great. So what unintended consequences has it had, and at what cost (both actual and opportunity)?

Easy to feel good about "protecting" citizens by implementing a complex series of regulations, and then just ignore the fact that the requirements come at a cost.

I run my business. I spend a lot of money - A LOT - paying my accountant to help me fill out tax information, social security information, etc. And I am a tiny, puny, insignificant business. If I did not have to spend that time and money on filling out forms, I would spend it on retirement, or hiring a new employee. I can't, so I don't.

SOX has led to expenditure of untold billions of dollars in compliance. And a reduction in IPO's.

The law firm of Foley & Lardner conducted studies in 2003 and 2004 on the impact of SOX. The survey found that the average annual cost of being a public (registered) company had nearly doubled following the enactment of SOX, from $1.3 million to almost $2.9 million for companies with revenues under $1 billion. These costs represent continuing annual costs, exclusive of first-year costs to comply with the assessment of internal control systems. A significant portion of the increase was related to insurance for directors and officers (D&O). The study indicated that D&O insurance increased from an average of $329,000 a year pre-SOX to an average of $639,000 a year for 2002 fiscal years, and $850,000 annually for 2003 fiscal years.

As a consequence, there have been reports of companies that have delisted their securities or have elected to delay or cancel their IPOs. Of the 115 public company respondents to Foley & Lardner’s 2004 survey, 21% indicated that they were considering going private, 6% indicated they were considering selling the company, and 7% indicated they were considering merging with another company as a result of SOX requirements.


http://www.nysscpa.org/cpajournal/2006/ ... us/p14.htm

Dodd-Frank is still fairly new, but has some serious and costly side-effects. How expensive? Turns out nobody yet knows:

Dodd-Frank is the largest regulatory overhaul in generations and yet businesses and consumers know little about the actual costs of the law. The federal government, notably the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), hasn’t helped by politicizing the implementation of the law to hide its costs.

Lost in the uproar over the Continuing Resolution and the debt-limit hike are the forgotten budgetary (roughly $27 billion over ten years) and supposedly incalculable economic costs of financial reform.

The best guesses range from $1.8 billion for commodities traders to more than $1 trillion (according to the International Swaps Dealers Association) in broader economic costs.


http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/ ... -dont-know

Look, I can pass a law that would save tens of thousands of lives per year, and save billions, if not trillions, of dollars in lost productivity, medical costs, property damage, etc.

I simply outlaw motor vehicles.

I proudly trumpet the benefits (which nobody can deny will occur, by the way). But the costs are so massive and obvious that public outcry would not let me get away with the law.

The public generally does not know nearly as much about the costs of Sarbanes-Oxley, or Dodd-Frank, or the rest. So the meme continues that the laws advance the "public interest."

But if I search government web sites or the Congressional Record for an actual accounting of the costs vs. the benefits, I find Simon & Garfunkle ... the Sounds of Silence.

So no, I don't believe that most economic regulation advances the public interest. I believe that government action benefits, in order, (1) government and (2) those who are paying the politicians to implement such laws.

And I wind up paying the price.

Willton wrote:
By the way, to use an example more toward my wheelhouse, do you support intellectual property rights such as patents and copyrights? Because the Patent Act and the Copyright Act regulate the economy in profound ways, and one would be hard-pressed to argue that they were designed to protect citizens.

The United States Constitution, U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, clause 8 specifically empowers the Federal government "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

I can discuss with you the wisdom of particular statutes, Willton, but clearly the Federal government is the body empowered to enact regulation of patent and copyright.

That is not the case with the vast majority of economic regulation. And yes, for crying out loud, I understand the Supreme Court's incredibly broad reading of Article I, Section 8, clause 3 (the commerce clause), but you and I both know that such overarching interpretations were done due to social need (economic changes to address the Depression).

No statute would list in such detail the limits on Federal congressional authority, as is done in Article I, and then simply give the Fed a blank check on their power under the guise of the commerce clause. (In fact, under most courts reject interpreting a "catch all" provision after a list of specifics as granting plenary authority under the doctrine "ejusdem generis," which is "a rule of statutory construction, generally accepted by both state and federal courts, 'that where general words follow enumerations of particular classes or persons or things, the general words shall be construed as applicable only to persons or things of the same general nature or kind as those enumerated.'"

In short, where the words "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes" appear, reading the authority to regulate commerce "among the several states" as giving Congress the right to regulate all economic activity is simply disingenuious.


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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:01 am 
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So I suppose you would prefer that businesses regulate themselves without government oversight. No SEC to oversee and investigate things such as Bernie Madoff's or R. Allen Stamford's ponzi schemes, or the Galleon Group and Raj Rajaratnam's insider trading. No FTC or DOJ to investigate and stop price-fixing schemes such as the lysine cartel that involved Archer Daniels Midland and a number of Japanese companies in the mid-90's, or the one Apple is currently embroiled in with various publishing houses over the cost of e-books. Paradise would be a return to the way things were in the 20's, with soaring highs and devastating lows.

Sorry, not buying it. If you think that the SEC, FTC, and other such agencies could be run better than they currently are, then we can have that conversation. But to say that they should be abolished because of the current state of affairs is teetering on the precipice of ludicrous. There is a very big difference between the conception of an idea and its execution. Pointing out flaws in the latter does not that the former is flawed.

If you think self-regulation is the answer, then I would encourage you to revisit what happened in the finance industry in 2008 that helped cause the current economic mess we are in. Then have a look at the cartel of doctors known as the American Medical Association and its control over the medical profession. Then get back to me with your findings.

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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:16 am 
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Willton wrote:
So I suppose you would prefer that businesses regulate themselves without government oversight.

The absolute minimum necessary to insure that commerce takes place, and insuring that citizens have access to courts to address breach of contract, warranty, or fraud.

Willton wrote:
Paradise would be a return to the way things were in the 20's, with soaring highs and devastating lows.

I'm not looking for paradise on earth, chief. Just to be left alone.

Further, the 1920's were a time of extraordinary economic expansion in this country. Very likely the greatest contributor to the economic implosion in the 1930's was Smoot-Hawley, a 1930 tariff that set off a trade war.

I.e., more legislation.

Willton wrote:
No SEC to oversee and investigate things such as Bernie Madoff's or R. Allen Stamford's ponzi schemes, or the Galleon Group and Raj Rajaratnam's insider trading. No FTC or DOJ to investigate and stop price-fixing schemes such as the lysine cartel that involved Archer Daniels Midland and a number of Japanese companies in the mid-90's, or the one Apple is currently embroiled in with various publishing houses over the cost of e-books.

If you think self-regulation is the answer, then I would encourage you to revisit what happened in the finance industry in 2008 that helped cause the current economic mess we are in. Then have a look at the cartel of doctors known as the American Medical Association and its control over the medical profession. Then get back to me with your findings.

What is the combined cost - actual adminstrative cost, lost opportunity cost, loss of business cost, lost tax revenue from lost business and lost opportunity and investment - for these laws?

A specific number, please (likely in the trillions over a decade).

And what are the economic benefits of the legislation?

Please post data in support.

Until you provide the data, you are just making up stuff. And I submit that since you are a proponent of the legislation, you should be able to justify the laws.


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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Willton wrote:
Paradise would be a return to the way things were in the 20's, with soaring highs and devastating lows.

I'm not looking for paradise on earth, chief. Just to be left alone.

Further, the 1920's were a time of extraordinary economic expansion in this country. Very likely the greatest contributor to the economic implosion in the 1930's was Smoot-Hawley, a 1930 tariff that set off a trade war.

I.e., more legislation.

You are going to have to provide some evidence to prove your theory, sir. Even your boy Milton Friedman disagrees with you.

Bucfan wrote:
Willton wrote:
No SEC to oversee and investigate things such as Bernie Madoff's or R. Allen Stamford's ponzi schemes, or the Galleon Group and Raj Rajaratnam's insider trading. No FTC or DOJ to investigate and stop price-fixing schemes such as the lysine cartel that involved Archer Daniels Midland and a number of Japanese companies in the mid-90's, or the one Apple is currently embroiled in with various publishing houses over the cost of e-books.

If you think self-regulation is the answer, then I would encourage you to revisit what happened in the finance industry in 2008 that helped cause the current economic mess we are in. Then have a look at the cartel of doctors known as the American Medical Association and its control over the medical profession. Then get back to me with your findings.

What is the combined cost - actual adminstrative cost, lost opportunity cost, loss of business cost, lost tax revenue from lost business and lost opportunity and investment - for these laws?

A specific number, please (likely in the trillions over a decade).

And what are the economic benefits of the legislation?

Please post data in support.

Until you provide the data, you are just making up stuff. And I submit that since you are a proponent of the legislation, you should be able to justify the laws.

I'm not making anything up. Those events I mentioned happened. The onus of proving that the costs of such agencies outweigh their benefit lies with you, not me. I have legislative and judicial history backing my position.

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~H. L. Mencken


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 Post subject: Re: Shootings
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Willton wrote:
You are going to have to provide some evidence to prove your theory, sir. Even your boy Milton Friedman disagrees with you.

The depression was due to failure of the Federal Reserve, NOT due to a lack of regulation or the lack of an SEC. I call as my first witness, Milton Friedman:



As to Smoot-Hawley:

"Rustici argues that this Keynesian approach that looks at aggregate spending misses a crucial mechanism for understanding the impact of Smoot-Hawley. Rustici focuses on the impact of Smoot Hawley on bank closings and the money supply. Smoot-Hawley launched an international trade war that reduced world trade dramatically. This had large concentrated regional effects in the United States and around the world in areas that depended on trade. Those were the areas where the first banks collapsed, contracting the money supply via the fractional reserve banking system. Rustici argues that the Keynesian indictment of the price system ignores the policy failures that destroyed the institutions that make the price system work."

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2010/0 ... _smoo.html

Willton wrote:
I'm not making anything up. Those events I mentioned happened. The onus of proving that the costs of such agencies outweigh their benefit lies with you, not me. I have legislative and judicial history backing my position.

So you have not a clue as to the cost of Dodd-Frank, or the Sherman Act, or SOX, or any of the other statutes.

Until you can credibly answer as to how much these statutes actually COST - direct, opportunity, loss or gain of tax revenue, loss or gain of employment, loss or gain of industry in the United States vs. competing nations - then your argument about the "public good" is poppycock.

And you are the one using "public good" as a basis for the laws, not me, counselor.

So can you show me that the laws actually advance the public interest by saving more than they cost? I mean for crying out loud, my earlier analogy about outlawing motor vehicle transportation is spot-on at this point, and you would simply point out the benefits (fewer transportation related deaths, loss of property, loss of work time from accidents) and then blow off showing the cost.

If you can't offer a genuine estimate of the cost, then you can simply admit so. But that that point, please don't offer "public good" as a rationale for the laws, since you admit you don't actually know if the laws benefit the public.


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