27
Jan
12

Very Good Paragraphs

A couple things I came across on my morning blog run that need sharing mike fox papa.

First we have Karl Smith talking sense on debt:

I know I have views on debt that are hard for people to square with, but I hope it makes sense when I say the burden of debt is related to how large you actual debt payments are as a fraction of your income.

So, if you owe 100K at 20% this is going to be more burdensome than 1000K at 1%.

This is not as true for individuals who care what happens to their estates when they die as it is to countries, but I think it’s a more sensible way to look at debt than raw outstanding totals.  Generally speaking people look at static values when they should be looking at rates of change, or we look at first derivatives when we should be looking at second derivatives.

Next, E.D. Kain busts Stephen Colbert’s bubble on Citizens United and the SuperPAC:

Despite the Court’s decision having been made on First Amendment grounds, many liberals, upset by disproportionate corporate influence over the political process, worried that the decision would further entrench the power of corporations in American democracy.

Colbert’s satirical super PAC, however, far from effectively satirizing Citizens United, illustrates why this concern is misguided.

Prior to the 2010 decision, one industry already had the ability to dip into its bottomless war chest to influence electioneering. The big media companies, and their parent corporations like GE, have been historically excluded from campaign finance laws like McCain-Feingold. This exclusion was understandable: restricting the freedom of the press is obviously unconstitutional on free speech grounds.

But the media has enormous power over the political process. Colbert’s nightly fake news show, for instance, has done a great deal more to influence American politics than anything his super PAC has achieved. Indeed, the only reason we know about the super PAC — the only reason it exists in the first place — is thanks to Colbert’s media celebrity.

I’m not a fan of “Big <Whatever>” blame-the-oligopoly conspiracy theories, but I wouldn’t be shocked to discover that the hysteria against Citizens United was substantially encouraged by the media companies reporting on the decision and subsequent protests.  The cui bono? is just a bit too strong.

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