Friday, September 16, 2011

Good morning to you all at the beginning of another chilly day.  All I did yesterday in the gardens was dead head one of the marigolds.  The wind was gusty and very cold even through the sweater.   I may not do anything today.  Right now we have clouds with a possibility of a shower or two.  I noticed that the peppers and the very few tomatoes are ripening much more slowly with the cooler temps.

We just watched a segment on CNN's American Morning dealing with the notion that small business is being smothered under bureaucratic regulations.  Boehner has made this claim often demanding that the 'job-killing' regulations be cut back.  The report focused on a California body shop and its dance through regulatory paperwork and inspections.  What we noticed was that most of the agencies regulating that business were state or local.  Changing the Federal regulations would not do much to alleviate the business owner's problems.  And Mom wondered when the reporter noted that the business was fined $800 because of a minor problem with the paperwork not for an actual violation whether the fine was more to raise revenue than to enforce the law.  We have seen this frequently with increases in parking fines, traffic fines and other such measures.  But I think the hosts for the show had a very good question that was in no way answered in the segment:  is there is any evidence that easing regulations and paperwork will actually lead to new jobs?  This is the same argument trotted out in the tax debate: reduce taxes on businesses and they will hire more people.  "Jobs" (in the abstract) occupies the same position in our national economic debate that terrorism does in our security debates.  It is brought out to justify any position and once it is introduced no one examines the position any further.  Certainly no one questions the fundamental assumptions that less tax or regulation leads to more jobs or that more spending on any and all security measures result in more security.

Krugman has a good op-ed piece in the NYT today.  It occurred to me as I read it that the 'Free to Die' society so enthusiastically proposed by the fringe Repthuglicans who control so much of the debate on that end of the political spectrum is the companion to the '(On Your) Ownership Society' espoused by GW Bush.  Robert Reich has another take on the problem.

Found Matt Taibbi's comments on that so-called rogue trader who has just cost UBS some $2 billion by way of Jesse's Cafe Americain.  I can't say it any better.  Our financial system is simply one big casino.

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