Learned watching cable news, #5

Week of February 13, 2012

Larry Kudlow believes we should listen to Stanford Economics professor Edward Lazear, whose “Street Creds” were displayed as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, 2006 -2009.  Why did Kudlow have a guest whose “Street Creds” say, “You would be a fool to listen to this person!”

It’s a funny thing about economists.  Their predictions are valuable, if they are right.  If they are wrong, their predictions have no value (or worse); and only by looking back can we determine which predictions were right, which were wrong.

Lazear did not mention his advice between 2006 and 2009, so I assume he failed to insist on paying for two wars and a huge drug benefit.  He failed to successfully argue for the need to control the deficit.  And he failed to insist on financial regulations that might have prevented the housing meltdown.

I should listen to Professor Lazear?  Does Kudlow take me for a fool? 

Learned watching cable news, #3

Week of January 30, 2012

#1.  Mitt Romney and I have another thing in common.  Neither of us can argue the greatness of free-market capitalism.  According to Joe Scarborough (CNBC, Kudlow Report, 2/2/2012), Romney doesn’t understand “free market conservatism in a way that I think a Republican nominee for a president in 2012 should understand it.”

#2.  Mitt Romney and I have one more thing in common. (Learned from the National Review Online — Kudlow)  Neither of us likes crony capitalism when it doesn’t benefit us, personally.  (Kudlow praised Romney’s debate attack on Obama administration crony capitalism.)  Both Kudlow and Romney are silent, however, on the crony capitalism that benefited Romney before 2008.  At the end of the column, Kudlow asked, “Is anyone listening?”

Dear Larry,

I don’t listen to people whose self-interest dulls their memories.  I know Republicans/conservatives believe people are naturally self-interested, which is true.  But that does not mean you should make it your highest value.

#3.  Laura Ingraham says, when Mitt Romney makes a gaffe, we all know what he really meant.   (O’Reilly, 2/2/2012)

#4.  The differences between Bill O’Reilly and me were evident in his February 2, 2012 Talking Points.  He said  the reasons for poverty in America are “poor education, addiction, irresponsible behavior and laziness.”

Then he said:

There is usually a reason people are poor in a country that has more opportunity than any other place on earth. It almost always comes back to personal circumstances. And all the government in the world is not going to change that.

Dear Bill:

Yes — It comes down to personal circumstances.  Some Americans are born into circumstances that provide less opportunity than others.  You forgot that fact — a fact that always has been and always will be true. And you are right — government can’t change that fact.

So, what is your point?  Is it that government has no role in addressing unequal opportunity?  Is it that government should have a smaller role than now?  Or is it something else?  You say you are an idea guy. You are supposed to have ideas — right?  The segment is called “Talking Points” — right?  What is your point?

You stated your belief about opportunity in America, but you are silent on a self-evident fact about opportunity everywhere.  I guess you can spin things any way you want — it’s your show.  BTW — There is no such thing as a “no-spin zone” — learned watching cable news.