Saturday, June 22, 2013
During a news break on a jazz station I sometimes listen to when I'm driving, I heard about a contentious debate between President Obama and congressional Republicans. Too bad that when I checked the news later on, I found no such thing:
Differences between the two sides involve when the rate on a loan gets locked in, with Obama calling for it to happen right away while the House measure would allow it to rise until a student graduates.In other words, both sides agree that the goverment should be in the business of dictating how some banks and college students do business with each other. They're just quibbling over details.
Another difference concerns maximum rates.
The House measure would cap interest rates at 8.5% for student loans while the Obama proposal would contain no such cap but would include a program to limit a former student's annual expenditures on the loan to no more than 10% of discretionary income.
"Question: How many other businesses in Fortune's top ten have been recently subjected to some kind of antitrust enforcement? Answer: all of them." -- Tom Bowden, in "Why Is Apple Inc. On Trial? For Good Behavior, It Turns Out" at Forbes
"Her pleasure makes him feel so good that it's clearly in his self-interest to ensure her happiness every chance he gets." [links dropped] -- Michael Hurd, in "Can 'Single-Think' Become 'Couple-Think?'" at The Delaware Coast Press
"If someone is your friend, doesn't it make sense to try and stop her from making a mistake?" -- Michael Hurd, in "Care Enough to Have an Opinion" at The Delaware Wave
"By not seriously considering what the minimum wage demands from such business people, we are treating them not as human beings with rights, but as pack animals that must obediently carry whatever additional weight is piled on their back." -- Doug Altner, in "The Forgotten Man of the Minimum-Wage Debate" at The Daily Caller
My Two Cents
As one can see from the Bowden piece, many antitrust actions against technology companies have been, at least in part, attempts to legislate against vendor lock-in.
I hate vendor lock-in, but oppose such efforts. First of all, I think more people should look before they leap, and either find alternatives that permit them to avoid lock-in -- or at least recognize that they gain something (e.g., convenience) in return for accepting it. Second, the government has no business re-writing contracts (e.g., by forcing companies like Apple to "unlock" their phones) just because some people don't like some of the terms that they agreed to.
I can't see how this idea could work profitably, but I like the idea of a "Get Rid of Crap Every Month Club".