Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Things I am tired of...

- People that seem (to me at least) to be positively giddy about using the debt ceiling - easily one of the most absurd species of legislation we have in the United States today - as a way of throwing a monkey wrench into the federal machinery because they don't have the consensus to cut spending, who then (as if that first part weren't bad enough) have the audacity to turn around and accuse others of abandoning the rule of law.

- People who say that this is a made up problem because we can totally honor our debts because we don't have to honor promises to citizens, who then (as if that first part weren't bad enough) have the audacity to turn around and accuse others of abandoning the rule of law.

14 comments:

  1. Daniel,

    My best for the New Year.

    Seems you are struggling and having difficulty coming to understand that a great number of your fell Americans are just downright evil.

    They are traitors, pure and simple, giving aid and comfort to our enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Learn to write and say it.

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    1. And I thought you had officially given up on me! Very sweet of you to offer the advice - thanks.

      They're aggravating sometimes, but I think they're alright.

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    2. Daniel,

      I really debated posting but you seem to have a great deal of difficulty in learning to judge people.

      Let us put it in historical perspective. During the 1790s Washington, Hamilton, and the other Federalists very quickly took the full measure of Madison and Jefferson and stopped even talking with the people.

      What makes you think you are smarter than Washington and Hamilton?

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    3. re: "I really debated posting but you seem to have a great deal of difficulty in learning to judge people."

      No, I think I've got you pegged pretty well.

      Oh wait - were you talking about something else?

      I was not aware that Washington stopped talking to Jefferson. In fact I swear I've read lots of letters between the two men.

      Maybe you're thinking of Adams! Maybe Adams was the federalist that did not have an extended exchange with Jefferson until the end of his life!

      Oh wait...

      Well certainly Hamilton and Madison never worked on anything together. I'm sure that one is right.

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    4. Washington was a pretty paranoid fellow by the 1790s and the other Federalists created the "Alien and Sedition" Acts. Furthermore, there were deep divisions between Hamilton and Adams from the time of Washington's second term onward, so presenting the Federalists as some sort of united camp is a bit silly. Indeed, Hamilton can be accused of attempting to set up a shadow Presidency (on the way to a coup d'etat?) by his efforts to influence and control the cabinet members in Adams' administration (which Adams had held over from the Washington administration). Thankfully Adams was able to curtail these efforts as well as Hamilton's designs to invade Louisiana and the Spanish Empire proper with the army raised in the event of something more of a naval war with France.

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    5. Just to clarify I am not arguing that Hamilton was "evil" or anything along those lines. He had his good and bad points (like everyone else in leadership in the 1780s and 1790s). Not a paragon of virtue though.

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    6. Daniel

      Having read your reply I would suggest that you Chernow's biography of Hamilton, paying especial attention to the events in the first Congress when Madison and Jefferson repudiated their promise to Washington and Hamilton to support the plan for the new Federal Government to take over the debts of the Revolutionary War, including state debts, and how Washington and Hamilton reacted to this treachery.

      This caused Washington to have transcripts of the Constitutional Convention released to expose Madison.

      It got worse. By the end of 1793 Jefferson quite the Cabinet, lying to Washington about his intentions. The breach was so total that there was no correspondence between Washington and Jefferson during the last 3 1/2 years of Washington's life.

      Among the lies Jefferson told Washington was that he would never re-enter politics.

      You might also want to read and learn about Tobias Lear and his role in destroying Washington's papers at the behest of Jefferson.

      We have crossed this point before, but Madison and Jefferson are not the people you thought they were. This Country was made by Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, Morris and the other Federalists.

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    7. BTW, Daniel, you don't have me pegged at all.

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  2. OK I am sure one of these must be Don Boudreaux, but I can't tell which. Both?

    :)

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  3. You might want to clean up that second point a bit.

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  4. The U.S. government can never be so forced [into default], because it has an unlimited capacity to monetize its own debt.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-14/economics-is-platinum-what-the-trillion-dollar-coin-teaches-us.html

    Paying one's debt with diluted funny money is surely an example of the "Rule of Law" and honorable behavior.

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    1. Well, more to the point, many of these promises have been determined not to have a binding nature by various federal courts - which is frankly the only possible way that you can run a welfare state in the first place. Otherwise you'd have some sort of "property right" and that would lead down a pretty strange (and probably untenable) path. So not honoring the promise would be allowed under the "rule of law," at least such is currently understood or as I understand this at least. I write while admitting that I am not in anyway a constitutional scholar, etc.

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    2. The first point is admittedly somewhat more defensible; however, this is politics which means I get to quote "The Hunt for Red October" on politicians:

      "Listen, I'm a politician which means I'm a cheat and a liar, and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops. But it also means I keep my options open."

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  5. John Cochrane did a blog post where he accused Paul Krugman of being misleading because Krugman had said that non-payment by the government on debts other than Treasuries would be a "default of obligations." To a lawyer if the government does not pay for past goods and services - that is a "default." If the government does not pay vested Federal pensions - that is a "default."

    The Republicans are talking about passing legislation to say what has to be paid first. Better they should man up and pass legislation saying what is going to be paid last. My top candidates for last payment would be farm supports and Congressional salaries (including staff salaries).

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