Saturday, July 23, 2011
"Get out of the Way."
Via HBL comes a link to an opinion piece by Caroline Baum in the popular press that names a problem I noticed in an otherwise good piece the other day -- and suggests the right antidote:
There. He said it. Get out of the way, which is what Ayn Rand's hero, John Galt, tells the desperate bureaucrats in Atlas Shrugged as they struggle to find someone with a plan to avert a national economic collapse.The rest of the column lives up this very encouraging excerpt, and is a very good lead-in to John Allison's outstanding piece, linked next, below.
This medicine is very hard for Americans to swallow, but the truth is, we can't have it both ways. We want an arms-length relationship with the government in good times. In bad times, the cries go out to "do something," even if it's pay us to do nothing. We want a free-market economy during expansions, a nanny state in periods of recession. Privatized profits during the boom, socialized losses during the bust. [format edits, bold added]
"As a longtime banking CEO, I know first-hand and with certainty how jobs are created -- and it's not by government bureaucrats waving magic wands. " -- John Allison, in "Unshackle the Job Creators" at Investor's Business Daily
"Only ex-Senator Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) has offered a truly accurate public appraisal of Bernanke, when he once directly told him: 'You are the very definition of a moral hazard.' More people should be saying this -- armed first with knowledge of the facts." -- Richard Salsman, in "How Bernanke's Fed Triggered the Great Recession" at Forbes
"Because markets are never wrong, but opinions often are, I hold fast to the philosophy that one must acquiesce to the market -- not argue with it." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "Italian Debt: Now Worth a Look?" at SmartMoney
"[O]perating on the unspoken premise that 'it can't happen to me' is a surefire recipe for depression or any number of unhappy consequences that can come to pass." -- Michael Hurd, in "Stuff Happens" at DrHurd.com
My Two Cents
To say that Richard Salsman writes a damning indictment of Ben Bernanke would be half-understatement and half-wrong, the latter only because Salsman uses the conflict between Bernanke's own actions and past statements. In other words, Bernanke damns himself, and Salsman is, in that sense, just the messenger.
This article focuses on a security problem for Apple laptops, but I don't see how the problem, as described, couldn't also exist generally in mobile computing devices, including those made by other manufacturers:
When [Charlie] Miller examined those batteries in several Macbooks, Macbook Pros and Macbook Airs, however, he found a disturbing vulnerability. The batteries' chips are shipped with default passwords, such that anyone who discovers that password and learns to control the chips' firmware can potentially hijack them to do anything the hacker wants. That includes permanently ruining batteries at will, and may enable nastier tricks like implanting them with hidden malware that infects the computer no matter how many times software is reinstalled or even potentially causing the batteries to heat up, catch fire or explode. "These batteries just aren’t designed with the idea that people will mess with them," Miller says. "What I'm showing is that it's possible to use them to do something really bad."Fortunately, Miller is one of the good guys, and has designed a fix for the problem.
7-24-11: Corrected spelling of "Bernanke."