Friday, June 12, 2009

Letterman must go?

Time to fight back?

This is our line in the sand. Letterman MUST BE FIRED NOW!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Live long -- but not too long


As a Boomer, I must say I find it hard to believe we will stand for it--aren't we the vainest generation in history that wants to live forever, etc.? Don't we want the full might of the American medical-industrial complex dedicated to devising expensive breakthrough treatments that will prolong the lives of our friends and us? I know I do

Of course the young have always wanted the old to shuffle off to Buffalo as soon as possible.

But I disagree that we Boomers (I'm 58) want to live forever. Our narcissism, vanity and hedonism work against our infantile desire to rule the cosmos -- and live forever.

That is, we want to live -- but as we always said, really live. Sitting in poopy diapers as we drool on our bingo cards in some nursing home that smells of disinfectant -- that's not our thing.

We want to live, but only as long as we can live well -- sky-diving, hitchhiking to Katmandu, etc., to the very end.

But that could work with the Obama vision.

Instead of cash for clunkers, the government could sponsor "Harleys for the Gray-Haired." Give everyone over 55 a motorcycle. We boomers could continue our pursuit of kicks. And it would reduce gas usage. And after awhile, it would reduce the number of people alive and qualified for Medicare.

A similar effect could be obtained by giving Boomers free skydiving and bungee-jumping lessons, etc.

For those continuing their spiritual quests, the government could give away free trips to far away lands where there's great religious ferment. The Swat Valley of Afghanistan, for instance.

Or Woodstock parties. Only now three days of sitting in the mud and rain and ingesting powerful chemicals would again reduce the Medicare rolls.

And didn't Aldous Huxley, before he got into LSD, see this very clearly?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bad moon rising

Worse than the '70s? I remember the '70s. Yoiks.

We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Health care

Thus guy provides a really excellent look at what's looming.

For instance,

  1. People in high cost areas (e.g., New York City, Boston, South Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles) would get much bigger subsidies than those in low cost areas (e.g., much of the rest of the country, especially in rural areas). The subsidies are calculated as a percentage of the “reference premium,” which is determined based on the cost of plans sold in that particular geographic area.

    The House bill outline is not specific on this point. I would not expect it to be – this is something you can tell only from legislative language.


In other words, Utahns would subsidize people on the Upper East Side of New York, Beacon Hill in Boston, or the Gold Coast of Chicago.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Also, government just can't be business.

It's like when Michael Jordan tried to be a baseball player -- they're just two different things.

Or, for those who detest sports metaphors, like when Pierce Brosnan "sang" in Mama Mia.

Every time you hear how the government is going to make a unionized automaker a success, try (if you dare) picturing Pierce Brosnan singing.

GM's Achilles heel

Kaus has the best "what's wrong with this picture" insights:

Maybe all these words have meaning to insiders that's not apparent to outsiders. But it sure looks like 1) Some union locals are holdouts in GM's campaign to get rid of inefficient work rules. (The power of union locals, even in the face of the UAW national leadership, has always been a problem when it comes to streamlining work practices); 2) Under the new agreement, the work rules haven't "been removed." Rather, the parties have pledged to complete the tooth-pulling process of negotiating their demise by the end of the year. It's a target, not a fait accompli. And what happens if that target isn't reached (as, apparently, the earlier targets weren't reached)? The deal doesn't say.

ONE more point:

When, oh when, with management have more leverage? Are these autoworkers going to quit en masse and go work somewhere else?

If management can't put the hammer down now, it never will. So GM (and Chrysler) will fail.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

more on cars

The General Motors bailout only delays an inevitable crash

Details, details

Very informative post on GM. Writer is pessimistic, but sees ways deal could work.

Productivity is still lower in U.S. plants of U.S. firms that it is in U.S. plants of foreign-based firms. As a result of high compensation costs per worker and low productivity, it appears that labor cost per vehicle produced will still be uncompetitive with the transplants.