Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pulling the Pin: The Stimulus Bill

It is big, it is ugly, but even uglier is what is going on with the economy.

Time slips away from me too quickly nowadays and I seem to be left with long posts collecting articles from out there. Here is another.

I do keep having one recurring thought: there is such a thing as a civil society, the government exists to regulate that society, that the economy exists to service that society and is not separate from civil society, and a properly functioning economy exists within a framework established by the government and benefits the civil society represented by government. Those who think that the "market" and other economic ideas exist in and for themselves need to put up their Ayn Rand books and their Dungeon Dragon games and read something else. I suggest starting with David Hume, John Locke, and then moving to Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. I would suggest the same to those who are worshiping at the feet of Marx but I think they are as rare as hen's teeth.

Meanwhile, let us see what is going on in the wider world:
  1. Muncie needs stimulus money. If nothing else, rad this. Bloody good points throughout.
  2. More middle-class families are seeking payday loans as financial turmoil mounts. From The Indianapolis Star:
    "Payday loans, typically a way working-class people get cash in a pinch, are increasingly being sought by middle-income families living without a cash cushion.
  3. GM to offer all hourly workers buyouts from The Indianapolis Business Journal:
    GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said the buyouts will mainly target GM's 22,000 retirement-eligible hourly employees, though any union employee can take the offer.
  4. The Death of 'Rational Man' by David Ignatius in The Washington Post:
    "The rational man theory of economics has not worked," Roubini said last month at a session of the World Economic Forum at Davos. That's why he and other prominent economists are paying more attention to behavioral economics, which starts from the premise that economic decisions, like other aspects of human behavior, are influenced by irrational psychological factors.
  5. The reckless stupidity of "Buy America" from The Atlantic's Business Channel:
    "The Buy America provisions in the House stimulus bill were bad enough. The Senate version threatens to make them even worse, extending them from government purchases of steel to government purchases of all manufactures. These measures are possibly illegal in international law, flatly contradict a commitment that the US made at the G20 summit in November, and (most important) are likely to hurt the economy more than help it. Is this the new spirit of US multilateralism? Smoot Hawley, anyone?"
  6. From the Muncie Star-Press' Brevini still coming -- but a year later:
    But a Brevini official told The Star Press recently that the nation's economy is among the reasons the plant's construction and start of operations are more likely to be longer in coming.
  7. Indiana GM operations likely on closure list:
    In addition to its Indianapolis stamping operations on White River Parkway, GM has a 1,100-employee metal-stamping facility in Marion, a 525-worker powertrain plant in Bedford that makes engine blocks, transmission casings and pistons, and a 2,700-employee truck-assembly plant south of Fort Wayne.
  8. Sifting Through Details of the Deal from The Washington Post.
  9. Retail boss: Zero debt huge plus Lyon takes Finish Line helm as shoppers cut spending
  10. The Kokomo Tribune has been keeping an eye on GM and Chrysler (and why not? Kokomo remains the last redoubt for the Indiana automaking industry). See Auto bankruptcy changes offered, Chrysler says GM tie-up 'best option', Changes to UAW trust debated and Billions in aid is better deal: Chrysler and UAW deal cuts bonuses, some raises.
  11. And please read and think about this post from Blue Indiana: Federal stimulus package passes without Indiana Republicans
  12. Just for kicks - Political economy: Journal of Political Economy (all right, that looks like a solution to a bad case of insomnia), the Political Economic Research Institute (terrible name but looks like it is more than academics talking to one another in code), and Rousseau's A DISCOURSE ON POLITICAL ECONOMY (never been much impressed by Rousseau but decided might as well give it a go).

Follow up: Pulling the Pin: Part 2

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