Wired for Overregulation

Washington's latest regulatory power grab

Outside the Washington headquarters of the Federal Trade Commission is a sculpture of a powerfully built, shirtless man forcibly restraining an unruly horse. It's called "Man Controlling Trade," and it captures a common attitude in government: Oftentimes, capitalist firms need to be saddled and broken.

That assumption underlies an antitrust suit filed Wednesday by the Justice Department to block a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. They want to join forces for mutual advantage in their competition with Verizon and other wireless carriers. The Obama administration claims that fewer providers will mean higher rates and worse service.

But the regulators overlook the obvious benefits of the deal. AT&T, unlike the Justice Department, seems to grasp that it will have to compete against the market leader, Verizon, regardless.

It wants T-Mobile for the cellphone towers and wireless spectrum that AT&T needs to overcome the lousy reputation of its network. Besides upgrading performance, it says the merger will allow a $40 billion reduction in costs—which in a functioning market is bound to be passed on sooner or later to consumers.

"Many analysts agree with AT&T's argument that the combination could improve the quality of voice calls as well as data service," reports The Wall Street Journal. That need has become more pressing since the carrier lost its exclusive right to the iPhone.

The lawsuit argues that losing T-Mobile would be a devastating blow to competition. But there are plenty of other, lesser-known cellphone companies, including U.S. Cellular, MetroPCS, and Leap. In fact, 90 percent of Americans can choose from five or more cellphone companies.

The Justice Department scoffs at the importance of these smaller operators because they don't compete nationally as the larger carriers do. It's a strange position that misunderstands the nature of the wireless marketplace.

Joe's Burger Shack doesn't compete with McDonald's nationally, but McDonald's still has to compete with it and thousands of other single-site restaurants across the country. If prices go up under the Golden Arches, patrons have plenty of options besides Burger King.

AT&T faces a similar landscape of small and large rivals. If it loses customers who resent being gouged, it's cold comfort to see them sign up with rivals that don't buy Super Bowl ads.

Just because a small carrier doesn't operate coast-to-coast today doesn't mean it won't tomorrow. If big companies boost their rates, they give upstarts the chance to build their business with alluring discounts. They also encourage the entry of new rivals. The market has its own ways of deterring rip-offs, and those methods are typically faster and surer than federal intervention.

Justice says it particularly wants to keep T-Mobile around because it has been "a disruptive force through low pricing and innovation by competing aggressively." It sounds like a great business formula. But the virtues the government lawyers cherish seem to have less appeal with consumers.

If those are such wonderful attributes, why has T-Mobile been losing customers instead of gaining them for the past year and a half? Maybe many of them prefer the better options that go with the higher rates at Verizon and AT&T.

Besides, it's not as though keeping T-Mobile around is a long-term possibility. Its owner, Deutsche Telekom, has made it clear it wants out of the United States. "This market is going to consolidate one way or another," Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett told The New York Times.

Nor is it true that fewer carriers are bound to mean higher prices. As the Federal Communications Commission noted in its June report on the state of wireless competition, the industry has gotten significantly more concentrated in recent years—but rates for both calls and text messages have declined.

It's a development that should give pause to anyone inclined to meddle in this business. The telecommunications marketplace is a dynamic environment that has repeatedly produced surprises.

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  • ||

    All of this assumes that Regulators actually HAVE a philosophical reason for regulating. Perhaps they just like the feeling of power they get from telling a large corporation to jump through hoops. Or they may intervene simply because if they don't somebody might begin to wonder why they exist and draw salary. I don't insist on either explanation, but they are both at least as plausible.

  • NotSure||

    I always wondered why many customs officials and cops have to behave like a-holes, the most reasonable explanation is like you say, it gives them a sense of power to push around more successful people than themselves.

  • hmmm ||

    That may be true, but in this case I'm glad they are bitch slapping at&t.... I switched to T-Mobile from at&t and am now saving close to 400 a year with the same level of plan. The bonus is that my smartphone is actually able to make calls that aren't consistently dropped.

    The problem here is that the consumers are sometimes idiots who go with what ever product had the best super bowl ad. Cheaper and better service only win in a market with educated consumers.

    I'm not saying I agree with the DOJ, but in this case I'm sure as hell not complaining.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    REGULATORS BE LIKE ME. WE LIKE RAPE AND POWER. WHY YOU DON'T?

  • Realist||

    Or perhaps the hate capitalism and are trying to screw it into the ground.

  • Realist||

    should read ...they...

  • Mr. Mark||

    "Perhaps they just like the feeling of power they get from telling a large corporation to jump through hoops."

    You mean like Maxine Waters?

  • Benevolent Regulation||

    "If one believes one's right, one shouldn't wait to convince millions of fools, one might just as well force them." ~Ayn Rand

    How about just one girl? Gosh, a fellow just knows she's the right one. One might just as well force her.

    No wonder Ayn Rand loved rape scenes.

    And why her psychopathic acolytes call it the Orwellian term, "benevolent rape."

    Even Pol Pot wasn't a rapist.

    But he was quite the "regulator." "If one believes one's right" as Ayn pines.

  •  ||

    Citation? 'Cause I think you're just making shit up.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE LIKES TO RAPE BENEVOLENT REGULATION AND THEN WRAP HIM IN BACON AND SLOW ROAST HIM. YUM.

  • Destrudo||

    1. Not everyone here gives a shit about (or agrees with) ayn rand.

    2. This isn't a quote from ayn rand, this is a quote from a character in one of her books. So are you fucking stupid, or just being intentionally misleading? Die in a fire.

  • ||

    reminds me of the expression "you got your head so far up your ass, i can't understand what you're talking about"

  • ||

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    A quote from We The Living, nonetheless. Her philosophy got a lot more coherent over the years.

  • HermanLame||

    I've never heard a Randian or an Objectivist use the term 'benevolent rape.'
    Pol Pot liquidated the cities of his country and tried to move backwards into the middle ages. The fact that no sane person could defend that makes it quite obvious you're a troll.
    If not, I feel seriously sorry for you, as your post absolutely no fucking sense.

  • HermanLame||

    should read makes no fucking sense.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    White Indian trolls yet again.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    And now that your appetites have been whetted with misleading bullshit, here's the entire conversation between Kira and Andrei from "We the Living" '36 edition:

    (Andrei)“I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to say, as so many of our enemies do, that you admire our ideals, but loathe our methods.”

    (Kira)“I loath your ideals. I admire your methods. If one believes one’s right, one shouldn’t wait to convince millions of fools, one might just as well force them. Except I don’t know, however, whether I’d include blood in my methods.”

    “Why not? Anyone can sacrifice his own life for an idea. How many know the devotion that makes you capable of sacrificing other lives? Horrible, isn’t it?”

    “Admirable. If you’re right. But—are you right?”
  • ||

    The statue outside the FTC might be more accurate--and therefore absurd--if it comprised a centaur wrestling to control himself...

  • ||

    A Centaur masturbating would be appropriate outside every regulatory agency.

    And it would be a stimulus package for sculptors!

  • ||

    +10

  • Sweep the Regulators||

    Maybe R.com readers should just go Columbine and "sweep" the regulators' lice breeding stations with a shotgun.

    Sweep aside those parasites of subsidized classrooms, who live on the profits of the mind of others and proclaim that man needs no morality, no values, no code of behavior. ~Ayn "Pol Pot" Rand

    Because Pol Pot's methods of "mass killing of intellectuals and professional people" (and regulators?) just isn't as much of a drag on the economy as that nasty regulation.

  • BigT||

    Citation? I'd like to see this in context.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE LIKES TO RAPE SWEEP THE REGULATORS AND THEN WRAP HIM IN BACON AND SLOW ROAST HIM. YUM.

  • HermanLame||

    HermanLame
    I'll bet you my prize plow horse that Sweep the Regulators and Benevolent Regulation are the same person, and that person is White Indian. The style of full phrases as names and his boring, nonsensical and quite frankly flaccid writing style fits perfectly.

  • ||

    The Ayn Rand "quotes." This isn't even clever propaganda.

  • anon||

    responding to White Trash is like arguing with a retard. Mostly because he is a retard.

  • Amakudari||

    What's really spectacular is the reason why these mergers are occurring. AT&T's wanted to merge with T-Mobile for spectrum. Google bought Motorola for patents. Artificial scarcity imposed by regulations is now driving companies to defend themselves, as is a perverse view of intellectual property. How the hell is this a result anyone outside Washington and the NYT editorial pages could love?

  • tarran||

    It makes more work for government lawyers and bureaucrats, who are to us as telephone hygienists were to the good people of Golgafrincham.

  • ||

    AT&T has plenty of spectrum, that's a pretext.

    If all they needed was spectrum, they could just pay T-Mobile to use theirs.

  • tarran||

    Dilorenzo's lecture is quite apropos:

    The Case Against All Antitrust Legislation

  • Mal Enthusian||

    How's this idea?

    (1) We have too many philosophically undesirable people in the world. Parasites. Lice. Subhuman Regulators.

    (2) So, we'll just withdraw the energy supplies (e.g., Galt's motor, Ellis Wyatt's shale oil, Ken Dannager's coal) that sustain them.

    (3) The resulting die off will restore Earth to its Objectivist carrying capacity.

  •  ||

    Yaaaawn.

  • Destrudo||

    If productive people want to just stop trying, and other people die off because of it, well...meh, I'm just fine with that, morally speaking.

  • Ferengi||

    Now, for the case against Tom Woods.

    The Austrian Version of the English Enclosures III
    Christopher A. Ferrara | August 21, 2011
    http://distributistreview.com/.....sures-iii/

  •  ||

    Yaaaaaaaaaawn.

  • Vulgar Fibertarianism||

    Vulgar libertarian apologists for capitalism use the term “free market” in an equivocal sense: they seem to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles. So we get the standard boilerplate article arguing that the rich can’t get rich at the expense of the poor, because “that’s not how the free market works”—implicitly assuming that this is a free market. When prodded, they’ll grudgingly admit that the present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich. But as soon as they think they can get away with it, they go right back to defending the wealth of existing corporations on the basis of “free market principles.” ~Kevin Carson

    But of course, Kevin. They're the useful idiots for the Koch Bros. who pay for these economic priestcraft think tanks, ostensibly for "freedom," but actually just a vast apologist network for the established order.

  • Libertarian Billionaire||

    You think it's easy stealing a billion dollars from people that only have tens?

    Let's see you do it.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Ayn would like to have a few choice words with *you*, looter.

  • Tony||

    Oh but when confronted with this accusations, libertarians claim to be against government favoritism toward the established elite. Like, in theory. But since the poor obviously have it too good and the rich and corporate status quo obviously are oppressed, this doesn't need to come up. Because the poor have all the political power in this country. You can tell because they are not starving yet, and evil vicious poor people are simply the kind of people who are incapable of not stealing from producers. The assumptions follow nicely from there.

  • MNG||

    I've always thought that anybody focuses more on the rent-seeking of ACORN or some like group more than the rent-seeking of Archer Daniels Midland is suspect from the get-go...

  • ||

    Libertarians don't "focus" more on one. We are against both corporate welfare and social welfare. But you know that already.

  • Tony||

    hahahahaha

  • ||

    False dichotomy, dumbass.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That's all he's good at, heller.

  • ||

    Unless you own a ballfield with the goalposts in the wrong spot.

  • some guy||

    Aw look. Tony found a friend. Now they can paint themselves into logical corners together!

  • HermanLame||

    So because the market is already heavily chained, we shouldn't argue against putting more chains on it?

  • anon||

    rich people get rich precisely from poor people. they make products that werent available to the poor cheap. this is a mutually beneficial agreement that only a fucking moron would argue against.

  • So Tired||

    Can't...keep...my eyes...open....

  • MNG||

    I think the idea behind the lawsuit is that ATT is simply trying to buy out an aggressive and innovative competitor and that consumers benefit from the existence of that competitor.

  • Contrarian P||

    Guess the customers don't know that, because they're leaving T-mobile in droves.

  • ||

    That is the idea behind the lawsuit. And in typical fashion, our government is using the wrong data. They look at price and say AT&T are buying a low cost competitor. What the don't look at is the # of users on T-Mobile is declining.

    In the world of business, companies buy failing competitors all of the time to boost their infrastructure. For some reason, the FedGov wants to force T-Mobile's owners to sell their assets to AT&T in a bankruptcy sale as opposed to current market value.

  • ||

    The cellphone service business isn't like the restaurant business. Someone can convert the old barber shop into a restaurant if existing restaurants are providing cruddy service for high prices. That's not plausible for the mature cellphone business.

    Once the competition is gone, it's gone for good.

  • prolefeed||

    Because no one -- NO ONE -- could possibly come up with a competitive alternative to a large company with a currently huge market share that is complacent and resting on its laurels.

    And from this logic we can deduce that GM has over half of the worldwide auto market, and Apple computers do not exist.

    Really?

  • ||

    You can make cars and computers on a small scale before going big. Sure, you're going to be at a disadvantage due to economies of scale, but people are still going to be willing to buy your product even though you're a small company, so long as it's for the right price.

    Then, as time goes on and people see you make good products, you can expand your production.

    How would that work for a cell phone company? Well, you'd have to sell people on paying for a mobile phone that only has coverage on 10 square miles or something. Seeing as how people can get much wider coverage for not much money, the right price for that is going to get you waaaaaaay less revenue than what it costs you to build those first few towers. You see what I'm saying? A new cellphone company is going to be strangled in its crib in 2011. Put your ideology aside for a minute and recognize that fact.

  • prolefeed||

    If you googled the startup dates for this looooong list of cell phone companies, you'd find that there are new entrants in the field all the time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._providers

    If the list got whittled down to just one or two companies in a local market, and they started price gouging, someone with only moderately deep pockets could lease the use of some cell tower network and start their own.

    Someone with deep pockets, like, say Bill Gates, could build his own network. And if the existing carriers are price gouging enough, it would be profitable enough to make that big investment.

  • ||

    If the list got whittled down to just one or two companies in a local market, and they started price gouging, someone with only moderately deep pockets could lease the use of some cell tower network and start their own.

    I see you're assuming a spherical cow.

    Can I make it any more plain? T-Mobile's old cell towers will *NOT* be available to potential startup competitors. ATT will own them. It's not like there are cell towers just sitting around waiting to be leased.

    Someone with deep pockets, like, say Bill Gates, could build his own network. And if the existing carriers are price gouging enough, it would be profitable enough to make that big investment.

    That would be a helluva lot of risk to take on. Yes, I know the standard economic argument about the futility of market power in most industries, but mobile phone service isn't one of them due to the combination of high barriers to entry and unscalability (ie, you can't start out small).

  • BigT||

    "...present system is not a free market, and that it includes a lot of state intervention on behalf of the rich."

    Few here would disagree. And most would wish for all intervention to be removed, ie a truly free market. But both Dems and Reps have their puppetmasters, and some, like you, mindlessly attack all successful people on the assumption that all wealth is ill-gotten.

  • BigT||

    for Vulgar F

  • Vulgar Fibertarianism||

    Privation property Land title -- big government's primary entitlement program -- is all based on ill-gotten wealth.

    Unless you think a Trail of Tears genocide isn't illin so much.

  • ponchy||

    Why do you hate fibers so much? Oh yeah, the only moral piece of clothing is a buckskin loin cloth.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    You seem to assume that all property was taken from someone else. My claiming 1 hectare on Mars (and using it) is far different from someone forcing a Native American off his or her land.

  • FORCE Them!||

    Rand believed the Bolshevik lie that they represented the people, so she wanted to strike back at them—through theft and murder. In a nasty irony, she was copying their tactics. She started to write her first novel, We the Living (1936), and in the early drafts her central character — a crude proxy for Rand herself — says to a Bolshevik:

    "I loathe your ideals. I admire your methods. If one believes one's right, one shouldn't wait to convince millions of fools, one might just as well force them."

    How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon
    The perverse allure of a damaged woman.
    By Johann Hari | Nov. 2, 2009
    Slate
    http://www.slate.com/id/2233966/

    There's your citation, randroid skeptic.

    If one believes one's right...might just as well force them. ~Ayn Rand

  • STEVE SMITH||

    WHEN CAN I COME OVER AND RAPE? I AM FREE ANYTIME, THEN I WILL LET YOU WRAP MY UNIT WITH CHEESE AND LICK IT OFF.

  • The Internet||

    "There's your citation, randroid skeptic."

    To be clear, because you're apparently retarded, citations only count if they contain the actual text you're quoting.

  • BigT||

    The 'quote' is from 'early drafts' not published and not accessible. As such, it is not a quote at all.

    Is this the best you have WI? You are rather pathetic.

  • ||

    http://books.google.com/books?.....lieves+one

    It's a character in the first addition of "We the Living", removed from the second addition.

  • Realist||

    As was cited earlier the quote is from a Rand character...NOT Ayn.
    You really are a stupid fuck.

  • White Laplander||

    By White Injun's logic here, we should attribute all the positions he makes fun of to him instead of his opponents and we can quote them free of context with a few ellipses to make sure they say what we want. E.g.,

    White Indian writes:
    We have too many philosophically undesirable people in the world. Parasites. Lice. Subhuman… So, we'll just withdraw the energy supplies… that sustain them.

    See, proof that White Indian is a Nazi!

    He’ll no doubt protest that he doesn’t believe that, but he wrote it and that proves it, right?

  • beowulf||

    I'm a doctrinaire free markets guy, but when you get a market controlled by four players, I have no problem with DOJ telling them they can't merge. Particularly a market like telecom, with huge barriers to entry that a monopoly can make bigger. If ATT wants to get bigger, let them do it the old fashioned way, by building not buying. If there is a problem with the way spectrum is auctioned or assigned, solve that problem, don't use it as an excuse. Monopolies are anti-consumer and anti-market, duopolies are closer to a monopoly than free competition.

    Anyone who remembers the old ATT's egregiously anti-competitive practices before it was broken up, and the flowering of innovation that happened immediately subsequent, will think very carefully about whether this isn't one of the core responsibilities of a market regulator. There is a huge difference between creating a monopoly by building a better mousetrap e.g. Google or Microsoft, and attempting to create a monopoly by cornering the market and bolstering barriers to entry like the case at hand. Most government interference is unjustified and counterproductive, but if this case isn't grounds for anti-trust regulation, I don't know what is. (and I would challenge the response of "nothing")

  • Busta Nutt||

    You're serious? Really? I remember the old AT&T and don't remember having any problems with them. Or the inventions that came from Bell Labs before the "break-up."

  • toddb||

    Yeah, I miss $2 per minute long distance calls and those new phone models rolling out every 20 years...

  • Contrarian P||

    There are far more than four companies that provide cellular service. The ones you're talking about are national companies, but there are plenty of regional carriers. Cricket, Cincinnati Bell, US Cellular, and others are available in my immediate area. That's hardly a noncompetitive market.

  • ||

    That's a separate market from the tier-1 market. Those networks either have limited coverage areas or piggyback on one of the Big Four networks and are subject to their whim.

  • Contrarian P||

    Yes, the literature is replete with examples of the big four suppressing the little guys who are piggybacking off their networks. Your harm has never been shown to exist.

  • Bobarian||

    Here in KY, we have Bluegrass Cellular, which owns the towers and suppresses the big guys.

  • sevo||

    "I'm a doctrinaire free markets guy, but when you get a market controlled by four players," /= " I have no problem with DOJ telling them they can't merge."
    Internal contradiction fail.

  • ||

    You realize that it's regulatory agencies like the FCC that KEEP the telecommunications market a shitty oligopoly, right? You might want to rethink that.

  • ||

    I know, right? They dole out market access under some sort of patronage scheme and wonder why rates are manipulated within a narrow range.

    And don't even get me started on the other public utilities or the PUC's that act in concert with them to create barriers to entry, thus stifling overall competition.

  • ||

    Yep, and you have consumers screaming "monopoly! Government, do something!" when gov't is responsible for the $80/month phone bills and shitty reception.
    Oh, they'll do something alright.

  • ||

    Most of the barriers to entry in the telecom market have nothing to do with the FCC.

    Building the infrastructure to cover even a small metropolitan area with wireless service is incredibly expensive. Forget about trying to compete with the national carriers.

  • ||

    If the FCC didn't block shit like this, most networks would have no problems leasing out their own to competitors. See: roaming agreements.

  • ||

    Funny how you used Microsoft and Google as "build a better mousetrap" models, and that being ok as opposed to "corner the market" models. For some reason, both companies have been sued by federal regulators under...antitrust laws..

    Looks like our government only wants innovation from those companies not already on top of their market.

  • ||

    I wouldn't categorize MS as building a better mousetrap. While Win7 is a huge improvement, it's still probably the 8th best desktop/laptop OS in existence after OSX and a few Linux distributions.

    The OS industry lends itself to consolidation just like the cell industry does.

  • anon||

    Bullshit. the only os nearly as good as win7 would be mac osx. Don't even try pulling that nerd linux bullshit, it blowsdonkeynuts.

  • Metazoan||

    the BSD OSes are pretty awesome. And the OS industry has much, much smaller barriers to entry. Anyone arguing that the government needs to break up an OS monopoly seriously needs to have his/her/its head checked.

  • anon||

    Agree withthe anti-trust sentiment.then again, im still waiting for an actual monopoly to appear that wasnt the direct result of government sancion.

  • anon||

    please excuse the typo ridden response, typing on a laggy touchscreen sucks.

  • beowulf||

    I believe my point was some anti-trust regulation is good, not that every anti-trust case was meritorious

  • ||

  • Patooey||

    Listening to libertarians talk about Ayn Rand is like listening to a Christians talk about Jesus.

    Yawn.

  • ||

    Listening to Platonists talk about Plato is like listening to Libertarians talk about Ayn Rand. Litening to Budhists talk about the Buhda is just like....

    Sorry you are too stupid to follow religious and philosophical conversations. What a depressing world that must be.

  • Patooey||

    No. It's actually refreshing not having a God to worry about.

    Must suck having to refer to that long dead bitch every time you need an opinion.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE RAPED YOUR MAMA LAST WEEK, SPEAKING OF LONG DEAD BITCHES. NOT SO GREAT.

  • ||

    Then this is for you STEVE. Now, go out there and kill a baby, for fuck's sake

  • ||

    Most underrated band ever

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE DID. THANK YOU.

  • The Internet||

    "Must suck having to refer to that long dead bitch every time you need an opinion."

    You mean like you do?

  • ||

    If you can't understand and appreciate the whole of religious and philosophical writing that doesn't involve hard core atheist thought, you are a pathetic idiot. And we all, theist and atheist alike, should feel sorry for you.

  • ||

    amen.

  • ||

    Deist!!111

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Must suck having to refer to that long dead bitch every time you need an opinion.

    A bitch who's been dead a lot longer.

  • BigT||

    Did Jesus publish anything? I must have missed that.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Sure, back in the thirties Jesus was a successful recording artist. That was until the opium dens got the better of him.

  • ||

    http://www.theagitator.com/201.....ad-people/

    Another great example of naming laws after dead people.

  • SIV||

    In addition to the state law, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) announced his support of a bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to ban MDVP on the federal level.

    Damn those "right wing SoCon" drug warriors!

  • ||

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....l?ITO=1490

    Parents of seven told their kids are too fat so they will never see them again. I would love to have some lover of government come explain this and these people as anything but evil. And government in general gets more evil every day.

  • Xenocles||

    It's okay because fat people have no soul. They're like the prostitutes in my basement in that regard.

  • White Injun||

    I'll be right over...

  • Realist||

    They are all dead!

  • Aqua Buddha||

    It doesn't get the food unless it puts on the lotion.

  • ||

    What? You still pay them?

  • ||

    People like those social workers and the lawmakers that empowered them should, if there's a Hell, burn at the feet of Satan for all eternity. It makes me sick to my stomach.

  • Xenocles||

    "Man Controlling Trade..."

    Obviously?

  • Aqua Buddha||

    Since we're talking about regulation, and not the statue of STEVE SMITH about to rape a horse:

    WaPo: Fannie's Perilous Pursuit of Subprime Loans

    ...Discussing the company's successes, Mudd said one of Fannie Mae's achievements in 2006 was expanding its involvement in the market for subprime and other nontraditional mortgages. He called it a step "toward optimizing our business." ...

    ...Fannie Mae aimed to benefit from subprime loans and expand the market for them -- and hoped to pass much of the risk on to others, documents show. Along with subprime loans, which were typically issued to borrowers with blemished credit, the company targeted so-called Alt-A loans, which were often made with no verification of the borrower's income.

    "By entering new markets -- especially Alt-A and subprime -- and guaranteeing more of our customers' products at market prices, we met our goal of increasing market share from 22 to 25 percent," Mudd wrote in a 2006 year-end report to the Fannie Mae board dated Jan. 3, 2007.

    In other internal documents, there was a common refrain: One of Fannie Mae's objectives for 2006 was to "increase our penetration into subprime."...

    ...In 2006 and 2007, Fannie Mae "carefully broadened our entry into the subprime market," Faith said in a statement. At the time, it wasn't clear how severe the problems in the housing market would become, he said....

    ...Fannie Mae sought to reap the rewards and protect itself from the downside of the investments through a feat of financial engineering it called its "Risk Transformation Facility," which was meant to transfer the riskiest elements to other investors.... (Emphasis mine)

  • Xenocles||

    I don't think that statue is furry enough to be STEVE SMITH.

  • Amakudari||

    Everyone knows STEVE SMITH is a shaved ape.

  • Aqua Buddha||

    What the hell, I'm on the topic:

    The Community Reinvestment Act’s Harmful Legacy (PDF)

    While both CRA- and non-CRA lenders have increased the number of loans to low-income borrowers, the financial soundness of CRA covered institutions decreases the better they conform to the CRA. Gunther compares certain institutions’ CRA ratings to their CAMELS rating—a formula used by bank regulators to assign safety and soundness ratings that takes into account capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, and sensitivity to market risks. He found that the better a lender was rated by CRA standards, the worse was its CAMELS rating.

  • ||

    You have to remember Aqua the only reason banks didn't lend money to poor people is because all bankers are monocle wearing robber barons who hate the poor. The fact that the poor don't have the money or the means to pay it back is just a myth.

  • Libertarian Billionaire||

    Of course it's a myth.

    I got rich by stealing from the poor, you dolt.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Libertarian:

    You keep using this word. I don't think you know what it means.

  • White Injun||

    Up is down, down is up...whoops, I shit my pants!

  • cw||

    I guess people freely buying your product means you're stealing from them.

  • anon||

    yeah just have to ignore the fact you're supplying them with food ipads, tvs, etc... those consumers get no benefit from those products!

  • ||

    And Aqua that is from a rightwing think tank. So it must be untrue. Be prepared for MNG to scream "meme" and "Shirley Sherrod" in minute now.

  • Amakudari||

    I'll hate on the CRA as much as the next guy, but isn't this kind of the point? It demands lending to the poor, which means taking on more credit risk. Several parts of CAMELS (the capital adequacy, asset quality, liquidity and risk sensitivity parts) are negatively impacted by such lending.

    If a bank made a conscious decision to do more subprime lending, they would receive both a lower CAMELS rating and a more favorable CRA one, even if they made the decision without regard to either.

  • ||

    in other news, the justice dept. announced it was taking certain major banks to court over their corruption of the mortgage backed securities market with sub-prime mortgages, (that various administrations forced them to create).
    chicken...egg...

  • MNG||

    Are you misrepresenting the allegations? Iirc the case is based on the claim that the banks misrepresented the riskiness of securities that they were selling to Fannie and Freddie?

  • Amakudari||

    I haven't looked at details of the case, but I have dealt with FHLMC and FNMA before from a major bank (which is not being sued). They buy and insure a ton of mortgages, and they should be the most knowledgeable people in the industry regarding everything about conforming loans (and others, as they got their hands dirty with subprime too).

    They determine the parameters for their investment, and if they feel like the credit quality is deteriorating they can tighten standards. And they should be continuously monitoring and verifying mortgages they're on the hook for. I'll buy that some particular bank may have scammed them, but the idea that almost every bank that sold them a loan (the 17 account for a huge amount of agency securities) scammed them seems extremely implausible.

    And to a large extent they encouraged it. GSEs and banks alike were trying to lower credit quality, to interpret the rules as liberally as possible to get in on the bonanza that was subprime.

    The GSEs are not mom-and-pop investors and thus the amount of blame that belongs to them -- as sole stewards of the conforming loan securitization market with a very clear duty of due diligence -- should be pretty high. They may prevail on technical details, but they knew what they were doing as much or more than anyone else in the mortgage business.

  • MNG||

    I can see that. I'm just saying the argument is often "the banks only made these bad investments because they were a. forced to by the man ol' CRA and/or b. they knew the feds would buy it from them." If the banks were misrepresenting the securities to induce the feds into buying them that undercuts the force of b a bit.

  • MNG||

    My take on the whole thing is this: the CRA had been around for decades. It and other factors (ACORN influence? the GSE's buying them up?) may have had some effect on getting banks to get into these bad loans and then buy them bundled but a much better reason imo is that the banks, along with most people at the time, thought there was nothing but money to be made here and they rushed over themselves to get into it. People thought housing would keep going up and therefore people would be able to repay some of these ludicrous loans. In remembering the times without the benefit of hindsight I certainly remember everyone thinking this and banks running over each other to get in on this. This would explain why this all boomed many years after CRA and such took effect, it was the rush to get into what seemed like an enternally booming market that struck me as the motivator.

    Never understimate the allure of quick profits to motivate risky behavior, more complex theories rarely add much...

  • Amakudari||

    I'd say there's a good reason for banks not to like the CRA. And it was probably a contributing factor to the crisis, but it wasn't much of one. Most of the banks making the bad loans had gone far beyond the obligations the CRA imposed.

  • Amakudari||

    That may be a common meme -- and it would be a convenient one -- but the fact is that bankers wanted to make those loans. And they wouldn't have held onto as many as they did if they didn't believe in it. I think maybe Goldman, JPMorgan and Wells knew they didn't like the market and tried to hold their exposure down.

    But I've had guys explain to me at the height of the bubble that even the most subprime loans were good: you get someone into a house, collect the origination and servicing fee, give them time to build their credit scores, and when the time comes for a reset they're either capable of paying or can sell it because the price has risen. Questioning a conforming loan was beyond the pale.

    I'd argue that easy money being forced into the industry post-tech bubble heavily exacerbated the housing bubble, and I'd say an argument for regulation and restraint in the face of such consensus is a fool's errand, and that the bailouts were profoundly awful, but there is plenty of blame on the private sector side.

    Heck, even securitization units tried to hold onto a piece for themselves for the extra yield and got caught with their pants down early on. They tended to like the riskiest tranches and took early writedowns. A good ways into 2008 almost all of the realized losses on Wachovia books, for example, were from structured products and related units, not from the legacy Golden West portfolios (whose unrealized losses did ultimately sink the ship).

  • MNG||

    JT, what do you think of the lawsuit by the FHA against private lenders for allegedly misrepresenting the risk of housing based securities sold to Fannie/Freddie?

  • Aqua Buddha||

    Govt ass covering. Fannie didn't care at the time; they had earnings targets to make so the Dems who ran it could get millions in bonuses.

  • MNG||

    I dunno, if proven I think it will be very interesting to find these big private lenders frauding Fannie and Freddie. More evidence that there was plenty of blame to go around, govt. actors and non-govt. actors.

  • Aqua Buddha||

    More evidence that there was plenty of blame to go around, govt. actors and non-govt. actors.

    Oh, God.....I'm agreeing with MNG.....

    The driver behind my obsessive posting of housing crash stuff isn't to argue for a saintly private sector, but to point out govt guilt (and Fannie/Freddie/CRA/HUD/etc are big enough to make the govt the major player due to sheer size) to counter the "this was all caused by deregulation which left morally pure, saintly liberal Dems lacking the power needed to stop evil GOPers in the amoral private sector" BS.

  • MNG||

    Well, then as often happens we agree. I think the meme that the government did not play a big part in this is as silly as the meme that it played a nearly exclusive part in this.

    This might be hard for people here to buy, but I don't truck in silly unnuanced liberal ideas any more than in conservative or libertarian ones.

  • ||

    I think any sane person can see that the govt and non-govt players were equally culpable for the implosion of the mortgage securities market.

    Unfortunately, the govt players are forcing the non-govt players to take the heat, under threat of imprisonment, and will come out on the other side with both more regulation and control of the marketplace.

  • ||

    AND THAT is the injustice. The banks will take the perp-walk while the EQUALLY guilty get to make more economy strangling regulation.

  • ||

    I love this, the government does something stupid, puts free money into the air... And the private sector gets blamed for "fraud." Of course, the government will never be blamed for using misusing taxpayer money and government power. More regulation! More stimulus!

  • Ben||

    Was that statue funded by the National Endowment of the Arts because it certainly has homoerotic, bestiality anti-capitalist themes that the NEA would find very compelling?

  • Destrudo||

    White Injun is just trolling the fuck out of us this morning. Must...resist...urge to respond...

  • tarran||

    One theory I am toying with is that rectal got a new ISP. In that case, her obsession is now all of hit and run rather than merely Episiarch

  • ||

    Heller ain't gonna like it that you left him out of that.

  • ||

    Fuck all yall

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    He really should starve for responses. It's one thing to actually engage in constructive argument (i.e. Dunphy, MNG) and another entirely just to crap all over the comments section (i.e. W.I., other trolls).

  • Contrarian P||

    That's why I stopped replying. At least he's not saying "typology" every other word anymore.

  • MNG||

    I'm 90% sure WI is someone having some fun, he gave it away for me when he slipped this Ted Kennedy joke into one of his monologues on the superiority of hunter-gatherer economies. I think as performance art it's quite fun, I mean, hell, just scroll down if you don't like it is my philosophy.

  • ||

    I miss Herc

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    1. This could be him in disguise.

    2. He does have a blog, if you're jonesing that bad.

  • Amakudari||

    It's one thing to actually engage in constructive argument (i.e. Dunphy, MNG)

    I do love how just a few posts below MNG makes his appearance with an ad hominem.

  • MNG||

    Yeah, Amaduki never would post simply an ad hominen, it's all treatises on political philosophy from him!

  • Amakudari||

    I truly am the hero Gotham deserves.

  • MNG||

    Eh, WI is silly but I'd say there are as many zealotic posters here as him that get a pass because people just happen to agree with what they say.

  • Amakudari||

    You must be kidding. By my count White Indian posted around 120 times in this thread. (I'm just doing a quick jQuery sum of all posts marked as trolls, which AFAICT doesn't include anyone else there. Probably a few spoofs got mixed in but not many.) Second place went to Fluffy with 25.

    It's pretty sad, really.

  • MNG||

    I dunno, JT (Aqua) and John post a lot too, so do I sometimes. WI and rectal pour it on, sure, but others do to and don't get the same vehement responses. Whether people agree with their posts seems to be the main factor, and that imo is much sadder...

  • ||

    So, you're saying that the content of your posts is equivalent in coherence, intelligence, and philosophical depth as White Indian's?

  • MNG||

    Wow, I'm just going to ask you to flesh out that "logic" rather than attack it because I'm busy downthread. Please, show.

  • ||

    You can't seem to understand why you, who posts a lot, don't receive the same scorn as WI, but don't consider that WI's posts are essentially content less copy 'n paste jobs whose sole purpose is to annoy. In a roundabout way, I'm trying to say that your posts are generally on topic and add something to the debate, while WI's don't.

    It's a backhanded complement, to be sure, but if you wish to be WI's equal I'll not stand in your way.

  • MNG||

    Well, sure, WI posts are goofily obsessive: he constantly posts these bizarrely simplistic tirades about the superiority of hunter-gathere groups and, when people were not surprisingly in agreement with him, he's started these flaming posts attacking Rand and libertarianism (stupidly equating the two). So I get what you are saying. But there are other folks who obsess over a certain topic and post about it a lot who get much less scorn imo.

    Anyway, I'm pretty certain WI is a fake so I won't argue with you about it any further...

  • ||

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/a.....-again.php

    Peer review only matters when it tells us what we want to hear.

  • ||

  • ||

    John, The mao shows the united states at war with the injuns in the 1720's. WTF!

    The idea is cool. The execution: Epic Fail

  • ||

    *pap, not moa

  • ||

    Joe'z law?

  • MNG||

    John's out in full force with the dubious net articles again. Sigh, some abused persons just cannot quit their abuser.

  • ||

    I know, that horrible right wing rag the Daily Mail. And of course if it doesn't tell you what you want to hear, it must be untrue. If you think any of those things are untrue, tell us why. Sorry, but whining that you don't like the source, many of whom link to other sources, is called ad homonym and brings nothing to the discussion. But hey, that is how you roll isn't it? Now be sure to complete wasting everyone's time and scream "Shirley Sherard". I wouldn't want you to give up your performance art.

  • Destrudo||

    Well, in all fairness the mail HAS historically been a tory paper, but that's part of the reason I love it. They are willing to cover stuff that the left leaning brit papers don't touch. Plus boobies.

  • MNG||

    It's not about telling me what I want to hear (I am a liberal who has been reading and commenting on Reason for longer than you John), it's about guillibly reading something on the net and thinking you have something close to the whole story.

  • MNG||

    I mean, who could possibly think "sayuncle.com" or "powerlineblog.com" would not be paragons of journalistic excellence? Never a better foundation for a soapbox has been built, eh?

    So what's the story today that will be shown incorrect tomorrow? Shirley Sherrod raped by DSK with help from Oslo-bombing muslims prosecuted under the exception-less ESA?

  • Pantless Deviant||

    "I mean, who could possibly think "sayuncle.com" or "powerlineblog.com" would not be paragons of journalistic excellence?"

    Have you got evidence to suggest that what they write about is untrue? Hell, the National Enquirer broke the John Edwards baby scandal story.

  • MNG||

    What a terrible argument, the village idiot and the broken clock are correct a couple times a day too, that doesn't make them reliable sources overall.

  • MNG||

    If you want to make the argument that in general the National Inquirer is a paragon of journalistic integrity, be my guest!

  • Pantless Deviant||

    Again, have you got evidence that what those blogs write about is untrue?

    Facts exist as true regardless of the source presenting it. If Hitler had said, "The Earth revolves around the sun," would you question the veracity of the statement because it came from a despicable source?

  • MNG||

    I'm not sure it you got it, but the whole "Shirley Sherrod raped by DSK with help from Oslo-bombing muslims prosecuted under the exception-less ESA?" line was a reference to four different times John's dubious sources have blown up in his face.

    "have you got evidence that what those blogs write about is untrue?"

    Look, life is too short to confirm the veracity of every article from every site. Humans use heuristic devices all the time to save time on that, these sites are less reputable for reasons, because they have histories of letting enthusiastic ideology trump journalistic integrity. Therefore I doubt them until proved true, not the other way around. Only a fool would assume whatever the National Enquirer prints is true unless it was proved false to them, any sane person would put that burden in reverse.

  • Aqua Buddha||

    In other words, you don't like the names of the blogs that have the links to other articles.

    I'm going to rename my blog "MNG is a God", which will prove to MNG that every word of it is true.

  • MNG||

    I think as a heuristic device I find such silly, less-reputable sites less trustworthy in general. But to be honest it's more from people like John posting misinformed article after misinformed article from such sites and later having it blow up in their faces that I find them dubious.

    Some people can learn from experiences...

  • Pantless Deviant||

    "I think as a heuristic device I find such silly, less-reputable sites less trustworthy in general."

    Silly, less-reputable sites certainly exist because the Internet if brimming with horseshit stories.

    However, you have yet to provide evidence that either of the two sites mentioned in John's comment belong in the silly, less-reputable category; it's merely your reflexive opinion based on the fact that they are "right-wing," and therefore not to be trusted due to your disagreement with their ideological framework.

  • ||

    No you are just an asshole who refuses to believe anything that doesn't fit your preconceived biases. Below I gave other sources for those stories and you pretend they don't exist.

    The fact is that there is a lot of shit that goes against your biases that you would prefer to ignore and only rightwing blogs pay much attention to. So rather than reconsider your biases or the facts, you just engage in ad homonym attacks.

    No one is buying it MNG.

  • MNG||

    "The fact is that there is a lot of shit that goes against your biases that you would prefer to ignore"

    This is like the Mt. Everest of irony coming form you John.

  • ||

    Then prove me wrong and respond to the stories MNG. Do something besides attack the source and maybe someone will listen to you.

    As things have gotten more and more undeniably bad for liberals, you have gotten more and more nasty and personal. Look up and down this thread, you don't make a single substantive point. All you do is insult the other side. I realize you are a liberal and in your circles that may count as argument. But it doesn't here and you know it.

  • MNG||

    "you have gotten more and more nasty and personal."

    Again hilariously ironic. Nobody is nastier quicker than you John. Whether its fluffy, me, epi, etc., people that disagree with you get quickly cursed at, rage filled posts filled with curses and spelling errors, people accused of being dishonest, soldiers for the other side of the Kulture War you are fighting. In the past you've accused the Reason staff of being closet leftists, the Independent Institute as a "lefty org" etc. Everyone's dishonest and working for the liberal boogeyman when you get upset.

  • MNG||

    "Then prove me wrong and respond to the stories MNG."

    I have. On the Oslo bombing. DSK. Sherrod. The ESA. The TX prayer injunction.

    The list goes on and on. At some point you just get a reputation for posting and buying less than credible posts John and now the burden is on you, the presumption is your posts are bad.

  • MNG||

    If ANY source told me that a man was being convicted of simply protecting his children from a bear and only gave his side of the story I would think "hmm, there is likely more to this." It's you that take such a story and run onto the internet screaming RAGE, RAGE, Obama administration persecuting man almost eaten by bear, evil exceptionless ESA to blame!!! based on that story. It fit what you wanted and you ran with it, it blew up in your face as have som any others...If you want this to happen less you should try to nurture a more critical spirit of both sites you agree with and don't agree with.

  • ||

    I will take that response to mean that you have lost the ability to make anything but ad homonym attacks. Sorry "look who is saying it" is exactly what I am talking about. Doesn't it get boring just constantly attacking the source rather than considering the point?

    I am the only one on here who will ever argue with you and even my patience is running thin.

  • A fan||

    ad homonym

    Cars for sail
    Mail enhancement

  • White Laplander||

    Nice...

  • ||

    And of course every one of those stories linked to other sources for them. And you just pretend those don't exist. I feel sorry for you MNG. God it must suck to be as narrow minded and terrified of anything that doesn't fit the narrative like you are.

  • MNG||

    You calling me narrow minded? Keep climbing that mountain John!

  • ||

    Yeah, you are not narrow minded MNG. You just don't believe anything anyone tells you unless that person agrees with your world view. Nothing narrowminded about that.

    Part of having a problem MNG is not understanding that it exists.

  • MNG||

    Yeah, I'm an avowed liberal that you know only from my interaction with a libertarian website, one I've been coming to for longer than you have, and I don't seek out views I don't believe in.

    Hooo-kay.

  • Destrudo||

    This applies to just about every source of information. I'd be willing to wager cold hard cash that the frequency of errors at the NYT is just as high as among the major blogs.

  • Aqua Buddha||

    Which is why MNG keeps coming back here.

  • Aqua Buddha||

    Intended to be a reply to "Sigh, some abused persons just cannot quit their abuser."

  • ||

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....1315004492

    Wow. The HuggPO is a right wing meme factory. Who would have known?

  • ||

    http://www.wjla.com/articles/2.....65982.html

    WJLA Washington, another right wing meme factory.

  • A fan||

    Not bad for fiffy - i'd do her

  • Destrudo||

    I believe you mean "fitty".

  • ||

    And she looks like such a criminal that would have a killer dog.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Say what now?

    /sarcasm

  • MNG||

    "AT&T faces a similar landscape of small and large rivals. If it loses customers who resent being gouged, it's cold comfort to see them sign up with rivals that don't buy Super Bowl ads."

    I think there is something to this, but I think in some capital intensive fields where certain capital intensive infrastructures are part of what the provider offers it is a bit simplistic, one doesn't just create such infrastructures over night and so often consumers are stuck with the ones that have it to offer even if the service they offer is not the best. Investors are not stupid, it has to be well worth the trouble and risk for them to jump in there, and this allows a wider field of crappy providing than libertarian theory in the most abstract might allow for...

  • sevo||

    "this allows a wider field of crappy providing than libertarian theory in the most abstract might allow for..."

    Please tell us of this 'theory'.

  • MNG||

    Er, Chapman tells you of it Sherlock.

  • sevo||

    "Er, Chapman tells you of it Sherlock."
    Between line what and line what? Sorry, not a word of a 'theory' in the entire article.
    Now, again, please tell us of this 'theory'.

  • ||

    That is nice. But guess what, you don't know shit about the telecom industry and are talking out of your ass. And of course neither do the hacks at the justice department. But both you and DOJ assume you know what you are doing despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I love how you are normally such a credentialist. Unless of course it involves government lawyers who were hired for their political leanings, then their lack of knowledge and credentials means nothing.

  • MNG||

    The DOJ lawyers will get a day in court where they will be judged by whether they seem to know the telecom industry John, especially since as part of an anti-trust suit they will have to show that this will actually decrease competition. I'm sure both sides will have plenty of experts. My point is I don't dismiss one side out of hand like some folks (who are oddly lecturing me about being narrow minded upthread)

  • ||

    They will get their day in court after wasting billions of dollars and who knows how much time. This is the same DOJ that spent ten years hunting microsoft like a white whale because they were convinced that web browsers were the key to dominating the computer industry. Looks a little comical now doesn't? It wasn't comical back when they were destroying share holder value and forcing an otherwise productive company to waste billions defending an irrelevant and frivolous suit.

    They didn't know anything about the software industry then and they don't know anything about the telecom industry now. They are lawyers not businessmen.

    And the fact that you think that it is okay for a bunch of political hacks with dubious motives can drag a company through years of litigation to get a decision from a judge who knows even less, says everything we need to know about you and your complete understand of both government and the real world.

  • MNG||

    A lot of people in the computer industry thought likewise John.

    I don't dismiss people who work in a field because they are lawyers and not businesspersons in that field; it's possible for businesspersons in a field to not really understand every facet of the field and possible for non-businesspersons who work in that field (lawyers, economists, etc) to know a great deal about it.

    Libertarians and many conservatives don't buy the basic premises which underlie anti-trust laws, I get that. But it's hardly a done debate for other people. To those people it is at least possible that government action to protect consumers in this area may be beneficial. I'm in that category I confess.

  • ||

    Sure it is possible. And we will waste billions of dollars on that possibility. That seems like a pretty bad bet to me.

  • sevo||

    "A lot of people in the computer industry thought likewise John."
    Yea, and they didn't waste taxpayer money proving themselves wrong.

  • MNG||

    What can I say? The job of government is to act in ways that cost taxpayer money in ways that are thought to ultimately benefit taxpayers. A lot of people think anti-trust laws work to benefit consumers and that they are worth the price of making them work. I get that libertarians have an a priori, abstract theory that they are not needed, and so for you it is a horrible waste and a violation of cherished values. My point is that for many people this is less than self-evident. For those people whether this is a good suit or not is still open.

  • sevo||

    "What can I say? The job of government is to act in ways that cost taxpayer money in ways that are thought to ultimately benefit taxpayers. A lot of people think anti-trust laws work to benefit consumers and that they are worth the price of making them work."
    Yeah, and some people think unicorns poop gold. There's a concept called 'evidence', and there is zero evidence that anti-trust ever helped anyone but a rent-seeking company.

    "I get that libertarians have an a priori, abstract theory that they are not needed,"
    I'm still waiting to hear your 'interpretation' of libertarian 'theory'. I'm sure it's a laugh riot.

  • ||

    MNG is actually correct here.

    If you travel a lot and need cell service on the go (and this is a gigantic swath of the cell phone market, indeed probably the majority of it), the rinky dink carriers like US Cellular and MetroPCS aren't an option because they simply don't have the coverage you need. Virgin, Cricket, and Boost have somewhat better coverage but that's only because they use the Sprint network.

    So if this merger goes through, all the people I describe are basically stuck with ATT, Verizon, Sprint, and dependents of Sprint. And I doubt Sprint can survive long in that situation either.

  • sevo||

    "they simply don't have the coverage you need."
    Fail.

  • anon||

    lol, nevermind the fact you'd have zero coverage if it werent for these companies you rail against. serious reasoning failure here on your part.

  • Realist||

    Where did all the fucking idiot trolls come from???

  • sevo||

    Pretty sure it's one. My guess is that it gets tossed off of most sites pretty quickly from its obvious effort to simply toss water balloons.
    It's found a site where it's hard to get tossed. But trolls are best served starved.

  • Destrudo||

    I think it's a couple of them. You can always tell when it's Rather from the "I'm actually mentally ill in real life" vibe and her obsession with individual commenters. White Indian on the other hand seems to have his own unique flavor of crazy, and is much more persistent.

  • Mr. Universe||

    Can't stop the signal, Mal.

  • sevo||

    BTW, the famous 'we aren't supported by the government' USPS is in trouble, and asking for more government support:
    "Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09.....talservice

  • A fan||

    Why not sell the rights to deliver mail to the highest bidder. Could even cut it up into zones or somesuch to make it more manageable for potential buyers

  • sevo||

    Well, from the cite:
    "The agency’s labor contracts have long guaranteed no layoffs to the vast majority of its workers, and management agreed to a new no layoff-clause in a major union contract last May."
    If the government sold the rights (which is not the government's to sell to begin with) certain politicos would lose a certain number of votes.
    And aren't you glad, that you as a taxpayer agreed to a no-layoff clause

  • A fan||

    Congress could change the law and sell rights to a competitor if I understand this correctly:

    "Under federal law, only the Postal Service can handle or charge postage for handling letters. Despite this virtual monopoly worth some $45 billion a year, the law does not require that the Postal Service make a profit -- only break even."

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/.....sabout.htm

  • ||

    That's odd, I got a Fedex letter the other day.

    They mean first-class-mail, which is being used less and less every year. The USPS is essentially becoming a magazine and advertisement delivery service that you can't cancel.

  • Year Zero||

    Lets:

    (1) "restart civilization"

    (b) by cleansing civilization of liberal influences
    (c)and "sweep away" all parasites and lices
    (d) we'll call it Year Zero.

    John_Pilger - Cambodia (Year Zero)
    http://video.google.com/videop.....9238659487

    And for heaven sake, screw Eddie Willers. He didn't try hard enough, wasn't ideologically pure enough, as evidenced by his not being a superman billionaire, but a mere wage slave bootlicker.

  • A fan||

    Are you suggesting the US should NOT have stopped bombing the Khmer Rouge in the countryside?

    "Eddie Willers is not necessarily destined to die; in a free society, he will live happily and productively; in a collectivist society he will be the first to perish. He does not have the ability to create a new society of his own, but he is much too able and too honest ever to adjust himself to collectivism." (Letters of Ayn Rand, p. 564)

  • ||

    Enjoy this bullshit, people. I'm checking out until this WI is banished. I can't stand it anymore.

    When I actually seek out a MiNGe/John fuckfest of mudslinging because the rest of the thread is worse, it's time to move on until the squirrels get this taken care of.

    Too bad actually, because this is an interesting topic that the real posters on here* would probably have a spirited debate about.

    *real posters does include MiNGe and John, btw. I just wish they'd spend less time together measuring their dicks.

  • A fan||

    We could loan them a micrometer.

  • ||

  • Dunbar's Number||

    Failed Political Experiments:

    • Sumerian Civiliation
    • Egyptian Civilization
    • Roman Empire
    • Communism
    • Khmer Rouge
    • Nazism
    • Social Democracy
    • Constitutional Republic.

    Successful human society:
    • Non-State sociopolitical typology.

    Key difference is Dunbar's Number, a neurobiological cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.

    Above Dunbar's number, "other" humans are viewed as parasites, lice, untermenschen, jerks, morons, subhumans, whiggers, kikes, barbarians, savages, etc.

    "Here we see the essential problem with any large-scale society: we cannot conceive of so many people. It speaks to the very heart of Stalin’s cold truism: “One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths are a statistic.” Thus, for any society much larger than 150 people, we become neurologically incapable of maintaining an egalitarian society. Hierarchy becomes necessary, yet the human animal is very much adapted to egalitarianism–and in no way adapted to hierarchy."

    Thesis #7: Humans are best adapted to band life.
    by Jason Godesky | 22 September 2005
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/thirty/index.html

  • Shocked||

    So can anyone help me understand why the merger of these two companies is bad for the consumer, but a collapsing, or even single payer health industry is better for the consumer?

    Or is it better for my sanity to try not to understand.

  • dr kill||

    Hey, I have a great idea. Why not have the local cops deliver the USPS mail while they're making their no-knock SWAT raids?
    I don't have a dog, do they shoot cats or finches?

  • dr kill||

    Anyone know if Chapman is on or off his meds today?

  • ||

    Trade is people!

  • Gerholdt||

    The problem is that spectrum is a commons in the sense of Garret Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" http://dieoff.org/page95.htm - there is only so much of it to go around. Once carrying capacity has been reached, if there is no agreed means of allocating usage - a traffic cop - it becomes useless to everyone - gridlock. And the secondary problem is that government agencies, just like corporations, have no conscience or other feedback mechanism to prevent unrestrained growth.

  • Conan||

    Crom laughs at your debunked malthusian theories. Laughs from his mountain!

  • tarran||

    Back before the FCC was created, courts were using common law principles to allocate spectrum rights using first use of a particular frequency at a particular time slot at a particular location as a unit of property.

    When Herbert "I luv big government" Hoover heard this, he rushed through the legislation to have the FCC created on the grounds that an unmanaged sector of the economy might grow in unsightly ways.

    Our parents and grandparents had to live in a sterile world with only a few broadcasters as a result.

    We get urkobold.

    They lost and we won.

    But, your original point about spectrum is off in that a court system applying Lockean principles could have handles the thing much more simply.

  • ||

    So you're saying that Lockean principles, and private property in general are little more than useful fictions that can be implemented on a whim?

    HERETIC!!!

  • ||

    Nope. There is no more need for the courts to hand out "slots" as there is a need for them to mandate ownership of phone numbers. No one owns a phone number, yet somehow things work out so that no two people are using the same one.

  • ||

    The FCC allots phone numbers to telephone service providers, that's how no one has the same phone number. It's not a market process.

    Not the best example to make your point.

  • ||

    Actually it's NANPA, a relic of the old Bell monopoly, not the FCC, but still not a market process.

  • sevo||

    And if there were no FCC, why airplanes would fall out of the sky, and farmers would poison the population and....

  • ||

    Oh, and to a certain extent Hoover was right. If every bit of spectrum in every area was now owned by a different person in every town, attempting to build a nationwide wireless network would be a flerking disaster.

    It would be even worse than trying to build a long-distance highway without eminent domain. At least if you want to buy someone's land you might be able to just go there to find out who you have to deal with.

  • sevo||

    "The problem is that spectrum is a commons in the sense of Garret Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" http://dieoff.org/page95.htm - there is only so much of it to go around."
    And are we anywhere close to using the available space?
    I'm talking about what's actually, technically, available, *not* what the government chooses to allow.

  • ||

    Depends on how much interference you're willing to put up with.

    And of course, if we gobble up all the spectrum now, there won't be free space for future technologies to use it.

  • sevo||

    "And of course, if we gobble up all the spectrum now, there won't be free space for future technologies to use it."

    Ya know, when we stopped using horses, a lot of fields were available for growing people-food.

  • ||

    Not if the fields are owned by someone who doesn't want you growing food. AT&T would control most of the available spectrum in America with this deal.

    It is sitting on massive blocs of unused spectrum today -- with NO plans to use it for buildouts.

  • sevo||

    "It is sitting on massive blocs of unused spectrum today -- with NO plans to use it for buildouts."

    And how did they come to own that spectrum?

  • ||

    It was allocated to them in a government auction where bidding parties were restricted to existing players.

  • ||

    We're not anywhere near having a non-electromagnetic-spectrum communication technology at this point nor for the foreseeable future.

  • sevo||

    I made no assumption we were. I was referring to this comment:
    "And of course, if we gobble up all the spectrum now, there won't be free space for future technologies to use it."

  • A Serious Man||

    The Federal regulators don't give a damn if this helps the consumer. All they care about is looking like they're trust busting so their boss with the big ears can give us his shit-grin and claim he is fighting the corporations on behalf of the people.

  • sevona||

    Tulpa: So you're saying that Lockean principles, and private property in general are little more than useful fictions

    Correct on privation property. It's all based on Genesis 1:26-28 -- some magical sky-gOD divinely giving "dominion" to a single species.

    Locke’s property rights are already relying on circular logic: human property rights are dependent on divine property rights, so that we have a right to property because there is a right to property.

    The Right to Property
    by Jason Godesky | 18 July 2005
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/2.....index.html

  • sevona||

    sevo: are we anywhere close to using the available space

    Not enough already.

    Across Alabama, emergency communications systems fell silent this week when tornadoes knocked down antennas and cell phone towers. Amateur radio operators are helping to restore emergency communication in some of the areas hardest hit by the storms. But those volunteers say their ability to provide that help is threatened by a new bill in Congress.

    Ham Radio Volunteers Worry About Radio Spectrum Plan
    http://ehamstore.net/ham-radio.....trum-plan/

  • Privation Rights = Flat Earth||

    And since Lockean

  • Privation Rights = Flat Earth||

    Since Lockean privation property rights are based upon religious principles of God owning the earth, and then granting ownership to a single species, this article is revealing:

    I personally doubt that disastrous ecologic backlash can be avoided simply by applying to our: problems more science and more technology. Our science and technology have grown out of Christian attitudes toward man's relation to nature which are almost universally held not only by Christians and neo-Christians but also by those who fondly regard themselves as post- Christians. Despite Copernicus, all the cosmos rotates around our little globe. Despite Darwin, we are not, in our hearts, part of the natural process. We are superior to nature, contemptuous of it, willing to use it for our slightest whim.

    The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis
    Author(s): Lynn White, Jr.
    Source: Science, New Series, Vol. 155, No. 3767 (Mar. 10, 1967), pp. 1203-1207
    Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science

  • broken record||

    Stewart Brand would disagree.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shit. White Imbecile is posting again.

  • sevo||

    Trolls, starving, etc.

  • Aimeng||

  • coffee cup||

    shut the hell up, sevo, you're obsessing

    wi or whoever the fuck is posting here has some genuinely interesting views and articles; if anything, he's a copernicus to a bunch of howling cardinals at the vatican

    and you'll never spank somebody with statist without remembering you got paddled with it yourself, you goddam agricultural-city-statist

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Now WI is posting not only under yet another name... he's referring to himself in the third person.

    Yikes.

  • ||

    I'm a libertarian who has NO PROBLEM with the government stepping in here.

    This is not some free-market free-for-all where any old player can come along and set up a new wireless carrier -- it's a managed spectrum bloc with the government allocating monopolies over frequency bands to preferred competitors.

    AT&T's network is already using less than half the government-allocated spectrum -- which it sits on to prevent other competitors from coming in and offering service.

    If this merger goes through, wireless service will be a government-licensed and government-managed duopoly with allocated market share and price fixing. Any effort to try and claim that's a "capitalist free market" is downright laughable.

  • sevo||

    "AT&T's network is already using less than half the government-allocated spectrum -"

    So the obvious solution is (wait for it)..............................
    MORE GOVERNMENT!
    Right? Right? Do we have a winner?

  • ||

    The solution is to auction off more spectrum, obviously.

    Until that happens, put your ideology aside for a moment and see that allowing this merger would make matters worse. Big business is no more of a friend to liberty than big government.

  • sevo||

    "Until that happens, put your ideology aside for a moment and see that allowing this merger would make matters worse."
    I see an assertion.

    "Big business is no more of a friend to liberty than big government."
    Big business has no ability to affect liberty.

  • ||

    "Big business has no ability to affect liberty."

    Are you really that clueless?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/tech.....vacy-fears

    http://apple.slashdot.org/stor.....t-iPhone-5

  • anon||

    big business has no power of coercion, you simple fucking moron. govt does.

  • uh oh||

    I didn't realize Apple has a bunch of guys with guns and a judicial system to back them up to force people to buy their products.

  • ||

    Doesn't look like you put your ideology aside, friend.

  • ||

    This is where doctrinaire libertarianism fails the "real world test."

    The government has restricted competition and excluded other players from entering the market -- which is facilitating higher prices and formation of an oligopoly. Having the government refuse to allow consolidation in a managed economic market isn't "more big government," it's the sensible approach in a market that isn't free.

  • ||

    Incorrect. The sensible approach in a market that isn't free is for the government to stop doing the things that make it unfree -- i.e., restricting competition and excluding other players from entering the market.

  • Mr. Mark||

    "Having the government refuse to allow consolidation in a managed economic market isn't "more big government," it's the sensible approach in a market that isn't free."

    You don't understand economics.

    Go learn about game theory and what it tells us about cartels.

  • ||

    "I'm a libertarian..."

    No, you really aren't.

  • ||

    I am not especially concerned with doctrinaire purism -- especially when the same people imposing a purity test on others rush out to support conservative Republican politicians like Ron Paul.

  • Mr. Mark||

    "I'm a libertarian who has NO PROBLEM with the government stepping in here."

    In that case, so is Hu Jintao.

  • fukumama||

    I'm a libertarian who has NO PROBLEM with the government...

    Well, well, it truly is the end of history. (Fukuyama)

    WI has established that many libertarians are not primarily interested in freedom -- societal liberty is maximized in Non-State sociopolitical typology -- but about security and materialistic comfort.

    That's ok with me, just as long as you can admit that democratic socialism has proven the best at the standard by which you were refuting WI's anarcho-primitivism.

    List of countries by inequality-adjusted human development index (HDI)
    Norway 0.876
    Australia 0.864
    Sweden 0.824
    Netherlands 0.818
    Germany 0.814
    Switzerland 0.813
    Ireland 0.813
    Canada 0.812
    Iceland 0.811
    Denmark 0.810
    Finland 0.806
    United States 0.799

    Apparently, individualistic capitalism, like black pepper, adds flavor in small doses.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Which explains why, when liberals remind us YET FUCKING AGAIN that we have a "mixed economy"... always want to add more socialism to the soup, and *never* capitalism.

  • sevo||

    "That's ok with me, just as long as you can admit that democratic socialism has proven the best at the standard...."

    Nice try; fail.
    Nobody offered a UN 'standard' as a measure.

  • sevo||

    Oops.
    Sorry Mr. FIFY. I unknowingly offered some calories to the troll.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No problem.

  • ||

    Oh look, a list of numbers of uncertain provenance.

    That settles it, I guess.

  • ||

    Nice selective grab of an out-of-context snippet of my comment to make an irrelevant point.

  • Bennie||

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase the baubles of City-State Life, deserve neither Liberty nor the baubles of City-State Life.

  • we've got your kids||

    Ten thousand years ago in Mesopotamia
    A new type of thinking was developed
    One that involved
    Totalitarian agriculture*
    And now...

    Goodbye blue sky(x2)
    Goodbye
    We've fallen asleep as people,
    As animals on this planet
    (goodbye blue sky)
    We are here to nurture our planet
    (goodbye blue sky)
    We are here to help garden this fuck’n place
    Not destroy it for godssake!

    I am sick and tired of unequal globalism
    I am sick and tired of fascism
    I am sick and tired of this type of people
    LIVE Toxicity +
    Goodbye Blue Sky (Pink Floyd Cover, starts at 4:30)
    System of a Down
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjyb3jwo_LU

    * Totalitarian Agriculture
    by Daniel Quinn

    “Many different styles of agriculture were in use all over the world ten thousand years ago, when our particular style of agriculture emerged in the Near East. This style, our style, is one I call totalitarian agriculture, in order to stress the way it subordinates all life-forms into the relentless, single-minded production of human food. It is based on the premise that all the food in the world belongs to us, thus the unyielding determination to convert every square meter on this planet to the production of human food. It was adopted because, by its very nature, it’s more productive than any other style. Fueled by the enormous food surpluses generated uniquely by this style of agriculture, a rapid population growth occurred among its practitioners, followed by an equally rapid geographical expansion that obliterated all other lifestyles in its path (including those based on other styles of agriculture). Totalitarian agriculture is the foundation of the most laborious lifestyle ever developed on this planet.”

    “The revolution worked fine so long as there was always more space to expand into, but now there just isn’t any more.” Even if space was colonized, exponential growth would quickly catch up with us: “By the year 5000, the planets of a trillion galaxies would be full—in other words, every planet in the universe.”

  • ||

    You are like the kid who screams Ice Cream over and over and over and over and over and over, again and again and again. Kids like that tend to grow up to be cellar dwelling losers. "Ma!", they cry, "I'm out of cheese doodles."

    The correct answer for 'ma' is to yell back. "get your own !@#$-ing cheese doodles and get the !@#$ out of my basement!"

    While you are at it WI, get a job and a life. Better yet, get lost.

  • ||

    You are like the kid who screams Ice Cream over and over and over and over and over and over, again and again and again. Kids like that tend to grow up to be cellar dwelling losers. "Ma!", they cry, "I'm out of cheese doodles."

    The correct answer for 'ma' is to yell back. "get your own !@#$-ing cheese doodles and get the !@#$ out of my basement!"

    While you are at it WI, get a job and a life. Better yet, get lost.

  • ||

    Can the squirrels on this website tell me why I double post about 1 in 4 comments?

  • Tony||

    Why are you so heartless and cruel, that you would kick out your own flesh and blood? He's ENTITLED to those cheese doodles!

  • anon||

    white trash never ceases to amaze me. real good argument that we should turn back the clock 10000 years... moron.

  • Personal Responsibility||

    Fibertarians are like the kid who screams Ice Cream over and over and over and over and over and over, again and again and again. Kids like that tend to grow up to be cellar dwelling losers. "Ma!", they cry, "I'm out of cheese doodles."

    The correct answer for 'ma' is to yell back. "get your own !@#$-ing cheese doodles and get the !@#$ out of my basement!"

    While you are at it Fibertarian, get a job and a life. Better yet, get lost.

    Can the squirrels on this website tell me why I double post about 1 in 4 comments?

    WHERES THE FUCKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY????

    FOUR FUCKING TIMES AND ITS FUCKING SQUIRRELS

    FIBERTARIAN GONNA BE FIBERTARIAN

  • Mr. Mark||

    Trust-busting is windmill-tilting to impress the economically ignorant.

  • Metazoan||

    So wait, is WI actually suggesting there is something wrong with fibers? Is it because cotton is evil agriculture or something?

  • ||

    One could conjure up a wee bit of support for the "anti-trust" aspect of this whole matter had the FTC, not Holder's DOJ, stepped into the mix.
    Your reference to the statue of "Man controlling Trade" leads one to believe that the FTC is somehow involved in this. Yet, during the balance of the article you make no reference at all to the FTC.
    That none of us have heard from the FTC in reference to this matter is quite telling; it suggests that DOJ, acting alone, just as they have attempted to do with the Boeing relocation, have inserted themselves inappropriately into this issue because Obama and Holder both want to protect something of proprietary interest to them.
    With Boeing, I suspect pure force-of-government-"payback" for the industry's jilting of the chaste flower in the Socialist-Progressive daisy-chain of "Blue States", the lovely Washington State. That bit of avenging emanating from the "just-because-we-can" school of Federal "untouchables" abuse-of-power-crowd is no less unacceptable than what is developing with the Obama Administration's meddlesome presence in the AT&T- T-Mobile attempted merger.
    This lawsuit has nothing whatsoever to do with "anti-trust" issues. It is a bogus attempt to protect another of the Democratic Socialists' enamourers, Google.
    Google, and the Ogilvy Group, the public relations firm hired by the Obama Admin. to "hype and sell" Obama-Care have been accused in a law suit by Judicial-Watch of re-directing folks who were searching the web for information on the many search variants of health-care reform to sites "friendly" to the Obama administration, which often did not explain the awful perils of central government control over personal health-choices. Not bad enough for you? How would you feel if I told you that Obama/Ogilvy were targeting Blacks and Hispanics in this disinformation campaign?
    So why should Holder etal come after AT&T and T-Mobile you ask?
    Because neither outfit has to date been able to challenge the very useful 800 pound Obama-gorilla status of Google as single entities; but a merger casts a whole new slant and technology into such an effort.
    Once, again the Obama administration seeks to protect its' power at all costs; even with such gall as an obvious "restraint-of trade" action by DOJ against AT&T and T-Moblie.

  • Dan||

    Do I have to buy a Netfix tv to watch Netflix? The US cell phone network is a racket to keep prices high by leveraging lock-in. In this context the merger of ATT and T-Mob would worsen the customer experience, to borrow Jobs. If the government wants to help the cell industry, it should file a lawsuit of collusion between service providers and phone makers. And I am free trader.

  • ||

    "Just because a small carrier doesn't operate coast-to-coast today doesn't mean it won't tomorrow."

    Sophistry.

  • kicksneakerboxes||

    good

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