The Bank of England’s Flawed Approach to Monetary Policy

Central banks lack both the power and the knowledge needed to deliver stable growth.

Canadian central bank chief Mark Carney, who will become governor of the Bank of England in June, caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic when he appeared to endorse a monetary policy based on nominal gross domestic product (NGDP) targeting—a new monetary policy framework. A fresh approach to the current policy, which has manifestly failed to guarantee macroeconomic stability, is certainly long overdue. But could NGDP targeting have really prevented the financial meltdown and the ensuing recession as its advocates claim?

NGDP targeting does have advantages over a regime that requires central banks to adjust policy in response to consumer price inflation—the model currently used by many central banks world over, including the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada. If inflation is high, banks tighten monetary policy and if low, they loosen it. But the consumer price indices that are used to measure inflation are easily swayed by factors beyond monetary policy like tax changes, exchange rates, or the availability of cheap imported goods. Moreover, they frequently blind central bankers to the formation of dangerous and destabilizing housing and asset bubbles—both of which were major players in the recent crisis. And just as inflation targets may obscure a coming crisis, they may not be a good guide to action once trouble arrives given that significant monetary disruptions can occur without immediate changes in the price level.

The idea behind the proposed alternative is relatively simple: central banks should use the tools at their disposal—interest rates, quantitative easing and the like—to deliver a stable NGDP growth rate, not simply target inflation. The most commonly cited target is 5 percent, equivalent to the sum of real growth (which is expected to run at 3 percent a year in normal times) and inflation (which is expected to run at 2 percent). It is a more inclusive target and a more forward-looking one: rather than reacting to the last measurable quarter's inflation statistics, central banks should target expectations of future growth.

If NGDP growth falls or is expected to fall below 5 percent, the central bank would loosen monetary policy. If NGDP grows too fast, the central bank would tighten monetary policy. Notice that this implies a higher tolerance of price rises during a slump (when the real growth component of NGDP will be lower), coupled with a harder line on inflation during a boom (when the real growth component of NGDP will be higher). That suggests that NGDP targeting would produce a counter-cyclical monetary policy, making it a more effective economic stabilizer than inflation targeting. Or so its advocates suggest.

They also tend to propose level targeting, which requires central banks to make up for past NGDP under- or overshoots in subsequent years. That means that if NGDP growth is below 5 percent in Year 1, monetary policy should aim to bring it above 5 percent until the lost ground is made up, and vice-versa. Traditional targeting regimes are too content to let bygones be bygones, NGDP targeters say, and that allows significant slippage over time—another deficiency that shifting to a new monetary framework could rectify.

The irony of this is that some say the Bank of England—Mark Carney's future home—is already pursuing an NGDP target. The Financial Times reported over a year ago that "[some Bank of England insiders] are open that the Bank is really targeting nominal gross domestic product growth of about 5 per cent a year." Others have pointed out that the Bank of England's policy decisions only make sense if you assume they're doing something other than targeting 2 percent inflation—the primary objective legislation obliges them to pursue. After all, Britain's rate of inflation has been consistently above that 2 percent target since December 2009. The Bank of England even announced £75 billion of additional quantitative easing when inflation stood at 5 percent—hardly the act of a central bank trying to rein in above-target inflation.

But just because the Bank of England opened the monetary spigots doesn't mean it could make the money flow into the broader economy. Why? Because many banks seem to have used the money to recapitalize themselves, rather than offer more loans. Indeed, M4, the broad money aggregate, has remained sluggish even as the Bank of England has slashed interest rates and printed money.

Even if the Bank could overcome this problem, there's no guarantee the added money would help rather than hurt the economy. The boom years have left Britain with a structural over-reliance on the financial industry, housing, and government spending—none of which are likely to be engines of growth any time soon. Thus a looser monetary policy might well prop up an unsustainable status quo in three credit-reliant sectors, preventing the rebalancing that is needed for robust growth. The big problem with NGDP targeting is that it assumes the central bank has power over something that it doesn't.

Moreover, even if one accepts that a central bank is capable of hitting its growth target, that leaves open the question as to what target it should aim for. And it is not possible to know in advance what the "correct" rate of NGDP growth should be. The central bank can base its target on past growth, but even educated guesses can't ultimately overcome this "knowledge problem."

As London-based economist Anthony J. Evans has pointed out, if you consider 1997, the year that Bank of England began targeting inflation as your base year, and assume a 5 percent annual NGDP growth target, then you would believe that British monetary policy in the run up to the crash was more-or-less fine: NGDP growth stayed close to 5 percent throughout the "great moderation." You would also believe that we are now significantly below the "correct" level of NGDP, and should fire up the printing presses to bring things up to scratch. If, on the other hand, you assume a 4.5 percent target since 1997, you would think that monetary policy was too expansionary in the run up to the crash, and that NGDP growth has already returned to trend—hence, time for monetary policy to "normalize". The point here is not that 5 percent is the wrong target, or that 4.5 percent is the right one. The point is that even a small targeting error can have massive policy implications.

None of this is to deny that NGDP targeting could be an improvement over inflation targeting. But it is doubtful that it would work as effectively as its advocates suggest. Central banks lack both the power and the knowledge needed to deliver stable growth instead of distorting the economy. In fact, it's not clear that any policy tool can overcome these problems.

This article originally appeared at RealClearMarkets.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • sloopyinca||

    Why did the Bank Of England's mascot steal Professor Xavier's wheelchair? And does his magic spear keep the X-Men at bay?

  • sloopyinca||

    You know, this was my best alt-text comment in a while and not a single one of you bastards got it. Well, fuck you all.

  • John||

    http://www.theblaze.com/storie.....nge-group/

    Senator Moobies calls NRA extreme fringe group. If only they were as extreme as they should be in his moobs' dreams is it fringe.

  • Rich||

    "A universal background check means anyone who shouldn't have a gun won't get one."

    Fringe, baby!

    He had me screaming at the TV again during Meet The Press today. He truly is a weasel. However, Ted Cruz came across as fairly decent.

  • John||

    There is nothing decent about Schumer.

  • ||

    MEWBS!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Schumer is actually a very good speaker and extremely clever politician. He's everything that the progs claim Obama is, other than black.

    You wish we had a Schumer on our side. When the face and brains of your movement are the Pauls and Justin Amash you're not going to make it on the big stage.

  • sloopyinca||

    What's this "our" shit? You got a turd in your pocket, Mr. "Law And Order Libertarian" Romney supporter.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Fine, replace we with you. Same thing.

  • sloopyinca||

    Who has a larger national following, Tulpa: Ron Paul or Chuck Schumer?

    Thanks for playing.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I'm not into impotent cults of personality. Who has more political influence?

  • sloopyinca||

    Well the Ron Paul delegates have completely taken over the GOP in Nevada and Colorado and have marginally taken control of large swaths of the GOP platforms of many states. Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer could be replaced by virtually any Team Blue pol from NY without missing a beat.

    As a matter of fact, I'd say Ron Paul still has more political influence than any member of Team Blue short of Obama, Biden and Harry Reid.

  • Teenage Girl||

    Also, FWIW, I'll wager that Ron Paul has greater name recognition than Chuck Schumer.

  • sloopyinca||

    When you've lost the Teenage Girl, Tulpa, you've lost the argument.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Fuck the Teenage Girl.

  • Teenage Girl||

    Eewww!!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    RP has zero political influence.

  • sloopyinca||

    RP has zero political influence.

    If you really believe this then you've reached Tony and Shrike levels of retardation. Seriously.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Name a policy that Ron Paul has influenced.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It's very telling that you can't think of influence beyond immediate policy. Your tunnel vision is borderline pinhole vision.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Rather, I don't count hypothesized future political influence, because most of that winds up not actually happening.

  • sloopyinca||

    Name a policy that Ron Paul has influenced.

    Um, hasn't the "Audit the Fed" legislation passed the House and is gaining traction in the Senate?

    He authored the "Sunlight Rule" that says legislation in the House has to have 10 days before it can be voted on.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What makes you think senator mewbs has any influence?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Let me know where you can buy that Four Loko with caffiene.

  • sloopyinca||

    I saw a person order a Red Bull & Vodka the other night.

    So much for Chuck Schumer's influence.

  • SweatingGin||

    I don't. Sems like sooner or later, he'll go down in a massive scandal. His whole schtick is to go on Sunday morning talk shows and say that some product might need to be regulated (energy drinks, four loko, guns, etc.), then wait for the donations to roll in.

    He's running a pretty substantial revolving door operation with staffers getting hired by banks, too.

    Meh, probably too hopeful that anything will take him down.

  • Brandybuck||

    He's everything that the progs claim Obama is, other than black.


    He absolves you of your sin?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Loughner, Cho, and Holmes all passed background checks...

  • ||

    Responding to interviewer Alicia Menendez’s question about whether Schumer’s colleagues are “willing to admit” that the NRA is a “fringe group,” the senator responded: “Well they sure are a fringe group, but whether enough of my colleagues are ready to admit that, I’m not sure.”

    Page 1 of the progressive playbook. Portray anything not in line with their agenda, despite being completely mainstream, as radical.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    The central goal of democracy is to crush those uppity minorities.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The other part of the playbook is the unspoken assumption that they are "fringe", with the only question up for debate being whether people will admit this fact.

    I don't know of any other fringe groups that cause politicians to lose elections without using violence or fraud.

  • ||

    My favorite is:

    Those radical Constitutionalists.

  • Specail Sauce||

    "But think of the difference between the gardener and his trees, between the inventor and his machine, between the chemist and his substances, between the agriculturist and his seed! The Socialist thinks, in all sincerity, that there is the same difference between himself and mankind."

    Mr. Bastiat, meet Senator Schumer.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Then NRA has a higher approval rating than Obama.

    Does that mean that he's a fringe politician?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Rough 1/2 the NRA voted for Obama. The gun grabbers are the fringe of the Dem party but the Aborto-Freaks are mainstream GOP.

  • Xenocles||

    So that would be... yes?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    yeah 54% for the NRA vs 52% for Obama according to some talking head on ABC this am.

  • Xenocles||

    You said gun grabbers = fringe. Since Obama = gun grabber, it's only reasonable to conclude that Obama = fringe.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    There won't be any gun bans. Period. Don't be a fucking bed-wetting paranoid Beckerhead.

  • sloopyinca||

    There won't be any gun bans.

    Only because your Team won't get its way. And you can thank the NRA in part for that, Shrike.

  • Xenocles||

    I agree that it won't happen, but a gun ban was part of the President's proposals. Not a blanket one, but a significant one. One of the larger states also effectively banned semi-automatic weapons recently, too.

  • ||

    I'd bet the entire commentariat my shiniest dime there will be an "assault weapon" ban by year's end with no sunset provision and that, while not as wacked out as Feinstein's proposed legislation, will include magazine capacity limits (10 round) and prohibitions on retarded shit like pistol grips and accessory rails that sound super scary to the morons who walk into a building every day surrounding by guards carrying them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    the 10 round capacity limit is actually the worst part of the proposal, and the part that affects the most gun owners. I don't see how that's passing unless everything else passes.

  • Clano'6||

    I love the way the magazine that comes standard on most handguns is considered high capacity. Outside of revolvers, most handguns are semiautomatic with magazines higher than 10 and under Feinstein are specifically classified as assault weapons. It's right there in the PDF.

  • Redmanfms||

    There won't be any gun bans. Period. Don't be a fucking bed-wetting paranoid Beckerhead.

    I'm still amused that you finally let slip and admitted that Obama is fringe even for the Democratic Party.

  • tarran||

    Shrike is the Internet equivalent of the insane homeless guy who has pissed himself and is arguing with a wall.

    It baffles me why anybody discusses anything with him as if he's a person.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's kinda funny that Obama and the dems stabbing those voters in the back (or at least trying to) after spending 5 years reassuring them that they're not gun grabbers. The dumb fucking socialists just can't control themselves.

  • Redmanfms||

    The gun grabbers are the fringe of the Dem party but the Aborto-Freaks are mainstream GOP.

    So you're admitting that Obama is fringe, even for the Democratic Party?

  • ||

    Does it smell like urine in here? Like an imbecile covered in his own piss just came in?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I see a bunch of blank spaces where comments should be.

  • ||

    Yeah, but does Reasonable block the smell of piss?

  • John||

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....-2013.html

    Hispanic population California to exceed whites by end of 2013. Now that Hispanics are going to have a majority, and since Reason has a assured me that Hispanics are nothing but hard working small government loving entrepreneurs who only vote D because of immigration, I would expect that 2013 will be the year California finally turns the corner and starts to go Libertarian, small government. Right?

  • sloopyinca||

    2014, John. That's when the financial cost of the policies of Moonbeam and the Supermajority Legislature finally become reality. 2013 will be a good year for Team Blue, as their bookkeeping shenanigans and Prop 30 cause a balanced budget, but the tax receipts will plummet in a year once more business leaves the Golden State.

  • John||

    And when that happens, they will blame the Republicans and demand more power.

  • ||

    Agreed. The Politics of Vindictiveness will rear its ugly head. Never, ever discount "get-even-ism" in any supposedly downtrodden, aggrieved group.

    Think of this as analogous to Union mindset, where most Union folks think that "The Rich" and "The Company" can pay a little bit more, and eventually, that turnip can no longer bleed.

    Then probably racism will be blamed for the rest of the USA not too eager to bail out wholesale America's Greece(tm).

    Yes, I am cynical.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Precisely. If the Dems haven't been blamed for CA's woes already, they never will.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You're not counting the White Hispanics.

  • John||

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs.....-York.html

    Wow does Jennifer Connoly look old and rough. For not being a party girl and being the dedicated mom instead, wow has she aged poorly.

  • amelia||

    I think she has been severely underweight for decades. Just last night caught a bit of some film in which she was quite young, and she looked starved. It does a number on the skin, eventually.

  • John||

    I think you are right. Women who are too thin never age well and it is primarily because it affects their skin.

  • Redmanfms||

    She's been underweight for about a decade, during her teens and twenties she had a perfectly normal body (except to the Jezzies, who thinks any woman thinner than Lena Dunham is underweight). Her weight seems to be fluctuating quite a bit over the last 13-14 years, but always on the low side. Given that she appears to have started making some fairly radical changes to her appearance for no discernible reason in her late 20's (like having a nose job and her teeth straightened and capped and possibly a breast reduction) coupled with astonishing weight loss around the same time, I've believed for a few years that she has some sort of body dysmorphia disorder.

    She is still a really beautiful woman, but the years haven't been kind.

    Anecdote: I met her on the AT in 1998. Her group of three and my group of four hiked more or less together for most of the day. She is really more beautiful in person than on film, the only celebrity I've met of whom that is true. Her eyes, damn, her eyes. They're hazel that is heavy on the green, but they seemed to color shift depending on how the sunlight hit them going from dark green to almost gold.

    I'll be in my bunk.....

  • sloopyinca||

    It sounds like you were in your bunk when you wrote that. :-O

  • John||

    I have always thought she was beautiful. That is why those pictures are so disappointing.

  • ||

    I think she looks great. She's 42 for god's sake.

    And perhaps the way she looks has to do with the fact she's filming. It's her character.

  • SIV||

    Jennifer Connelly looks fine. Not Phenomena Jennifer Corvino-fine but that is to be expected after 28 years.

  • Slithery D||

    She's 42 and she looks mid-to-late-30s in those pictures, about the same as my contemporaries. I don't see the problem.

  • PapayaSF||

    Indeed. And very few women look great with outdoor lighting and no makeup.

  • ||

    Anecdote: I met her on the AT in 1998. Her group of three and my group of four hiked more or less together for most of the day. She is really more beautiful in person than on film, the only celebrity I've met of whom that is true. Her eyes, damn, her eyes. They're hazel that is heavy on the green, but they seemed to color shift depending on how the sunlight hit them going from dark green to almost gold.

    I'll be in my bunk.....

    FEh! I have much better.-))))

    In fact, she should be finishing up delivering that baby, and I expect a call sometime soon.-D

  • Redmanfms||

    In fact, she should be finishing up delivering that baby, and I expect a call sometime soon.-D

    Meh. Dr. Groovuvla does little for me, I'm sure she's a great chick though.

  • sloopyinca||

    You do realize she was in makeup for her character, don't you? Perhaps that's had some impact on her appearance.

    It's like saying, "Boy, Eric Stoltz had really let himself go in the mid 80's".

  • John||

    She wasn't wearing makeup and was dressed perfectly appropriate. She just looks old and worn.

  • sloopyinca||

    FTA: Jennifer fortunately was wearing a cosy fleece-lined blue suede coat, which was part of her costume that also included a dotted dark grey skirt and opaque stockings.

    -and-

    Jennifer did a wardrobe change into a blue wraparound coat and grey knit cap along with black top, black opaque stockings and black oxfords.
    In one particular scene, Jennifer carried a green sack filled with groceries including brussels sprouts.

    Every photo fits these paragraphs. And yes, actresses wear make-up even when they don't look like they're wearing make-up. It's part of the whole "acting" thing.

  • John||

    Was she in costume at the bottom with her husband and kids?

    A beautiful family: Jennifer is devoted to her to husband of 10 years, Paul Bettany, and their children; here they are seen enjoying a walk in the Big Apple with daughter Agnes and son Stellan in April 2012

    She looks just as old and rough in that picture as she does in the others. And you would have a point about the other pics if she were playing a medival serving winch. But she isn't. She wasn't made up to look rough. That isn't part of the costume. Yes, she was in costume, but looking ten years older than she is, is not part of the costume.

  • sloopyinca||

    You mean the pic where she is wearing sunglasses and half her face is covered in shadows?

    Here's her out of makeup from 8 months ago. She looks just fine for 41 to me.

  • Ted S.||

    You do realize you're arguing with the chubby chaser?

  • amelia||

    Eh. I think she looks approximately her age. Just not as good for her age as other natural beauties who have a lot of money and incentive to keep themselves looking as good as possible.

  • Copernicus||

    She's 42 and looks great. No doubt a less than perfect photo but also no doubt she is a knockout.
    A better question: why post this here?

  • sloopyinca||

    A better question: why post this here?

    My guess is because Sarcasmic took the day off.

  • John||

    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....e_war.html

    Go big Daddy Go. You stick to them Republicans.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Bare assertions abounds at Slate. Aqua Buddha forbid Dickerson actually offer any supports for these statements he makes ("Its[NRA] Web video mentioning the president's children crossed a line"). Dickerson then links to a CSM article with this fine butt nugget of "wisdom"

    It’s true that the Secret Service protects the president’s family. That’s US law, due to the fact that first families are the subject of constant, specific, credible death threats.

    Because the law says so. Naked appeal to authority. If Barack can afford to "pay a little bit more", as he so often likes to claim, he can afford to buy protection for his own family. And as the kiddies at Newtown aptly demonstrated, one must first receive "threats" of death before they are actually killed.

    Dickerson says the video is wrong, which then links to an article by The Atlantic which has some weaselly dissemination about how "special police officers" may be authorized to carry a firearm, but it isn't a requirement. As the hoopla in New York and Cuomo's latest gun folly should amply demonstrate, the cops aren't going to be parted from their guns. Second piece of evidence trotted out is that the parents claim they have never seen a guard with a gun. Because ankle holsters and shoulder holsters (assuming they are in a uniform that doesn't include a jacket) don't exist, these parents couldn't possibly miss a person with a firearm concealed on their person.

  • Redmanfms||

    Not to mention the fact that the school those girls attend had armed security before the Obamas decided to send their children there, which is precisely what the NRA video was on about.

  • John||

    Slate exists and that guy is paid to tell brain dead liberal readers what they want to hear. And I think Dem Senators from Red states who are up for re-election in 2014 would probably disagree with him that Obama aggressively pushing unpopular hard left measures trying to "destroy the Republicans" is the best way forward.

    Are resident sock puppets make better arguments than this clown.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Jesus, the comments are bad over there.

    It's like shrike split asexually, and multiplied like a fucking bacterium. "BOOOSH"

    The conservative posters aren't making great points, but the only argument they get is "BOOOSH!" and assorted stoopid Bush quotes.

    I like how they actually think that the reason Obama won is because 99% of the population is to the left of him and not because of Romney's flaccid, failure of a campaign. Not only that, they think that there would be no republican congressmen if it weren't for "gerrymandering".

  • sloopyinca||

    Romney's flaccid, failure of a campaign.

    Hey watch it!

    /Law And Order Libertarians Everywhere

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Right, if the GOP had just pushed for open borders and eliminating social security they would have beaten Obama. ::rolleyes::

    The reasons people chose BO over Romney were anti-libertarian ones. You would not have liked a candidate that won over those people.

  • Xenocles||

    You mean "a Republican?" You forget that even though they would have grumbled about it, Romney voters would have voted for the R nominee just to stick it to Obama. The same could not be said for Paul or Johnson voters as a whole.

    Thus either of them really would have been a better nominee, since they would keep the TEAM vote and bring in the libertarian wing.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The moderate independents, who Romney won, would not have voted for Paul or Johnson. And they're a much bigger group than libertarians.

  • sloopyinca||

    Lighten up, Francis.

  • playa manhattan||

    "I will fly around the world doing good for the environment" Leonardo DiCaprio 1/19/13

  • sloopyinca||

    Another Fresno Police Officer testifies under oath that he witnessed excessive force during trial of four officers.

    I wonder why he didn't arrest him for excessive force or step in and intervene while it was occurring? Perhaps because he's a coward? Or maybe because protecting fellow officers is more important than protecting the public from out of control, armed goons? Either way, at least he's stepping up once placed under oath.

  • John||

    He didn't step in because he had been acculturated not to do such things. Doesn't excuse it. But I guarantee you that if he had been the kind of person who would have stepped in, he would have never been in that position. The police force would have long since weeded him out. What was left was a weak willed person who had been trained and steeped in a culture of never interfering with something another cop is doing.

  • sloopyinca||

    Well put.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Curious, if you witnessed a cop using excessive force, would you forcibly intervene? Or are you a coward too.

  • sloopyinca||

    It depends if I had video being recorded remotely and was armed equally with the policeman. It would also depend on the severity of the crime. For instance, if he was about to pull the trigger on someone I knew wasn't resisting and I had it on video, I'd have no problem intervening with the necessary force to stop him, if I had it available to me.

  • Redmanfms||

    So barring an impossibly constructed scenario, no, you wouldn't.

  • Xenocles||

    I can't blame him; if you're going to kill a cop you better have a demonstrable and exceptionally good reason to do so or else you will be in a world of shit. Cowardly? Sure, but I'll cop to that too.

  • sloopyinca||

    It's such a tough hypothetical to answer because I hope I'd do the right thing, but I'm afraid a cop would just shoot another person unless he knew he was being filmed.

    I guess I'll reword my answer to this: I hope I would have the courage to do so.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You saw what happened to that she-cop who pulled off the other cop who was beating a suspect up for no reason.

  • sloopyinca||

    Like I said, I hope I'd have the courage to intervene. I have no idea what I'd do unless put in that situation.

    All of my personal interactions with the police have fallen short of them using excessive force.* That's not to say they have always been rational or in the right, but they have never used excessive force while they were denying my rights.

    *I will not count two "false arrests" as excessive force since the officers handled me with care.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    You saw what happened to that she-cop who pulled off the other cop who was beating a suspect up for no reason.

    Yeah, she was shot by the cop, and the shooting was ruled as justified self-defense. No, wait. She was taken down and arrested, and is now in prison for assaulting a police officer. Oh, right. That didn't happen, either.

    Neither of those things happened, even though they are the most likely result for a "citizen" who would dare to take the same action.

    As repercussions go, being harassed at work or fired is not exactly on the same level as being shot or going to jail.

  • Redmanfms||

    I hope I would have the courage to do so.

    That's a pretty good answer.

    For my part, I'm terribly unlikely to intercede for anyone unless I have witnessed the entire exchange and know who the actual aggressor is for certain (whether or not a cop is involved).


    And in all honesty, there is no plausible scenario in which I'd interrupt a police officer as a not-a-police-officer.

  • Ted S.||

    I really, really wish The Incident were available on DVD.

    Martin Sheen and Tony Musante play a pair of punks who take over a subway car and proceed to show everybody their talk about having the courage to stand up to such thugs is just talk.

  • ||

    That isn't, however, an "impossibly constructed scenario" for the other cop, with the same gubment-issue weapons, equipment, uniform and badge with the dash cam rolling, is it?

  • Whahappan?||

    He's not a cop, so it's not really a valid question.

  • Rich||

    the consumer price indices that are used to measure inflation ... frequently blind central bankers to the formation of dangerous and destabilizing housing and asset bubbles

    Alrighty then, why do these Top. Men. allow themselves to be "frequently blinded"? Seems an Iron Law is in operation.

  • John||

    Clinton said that passing the 1994 federal assault weapons ban “devastated” more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers in the 1994 midterms — and cost then-Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-Wash.) his job and his seat in Congress.

    “I’ve had many sleepless nights in the many years since,” Clinton said. One reason? “I never had any sessions with the House members who were vulnerable,” he explained — saying that he had assumed they already knew how to explain their vote for the ban to their constituents. . . .

    He said that he understands the culture that permeates a state like Arkansas — where guns are a longstanding part of local culture.

    “A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing,” he told the Democratic financiers. “Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.”

    Clinton closed his remarks with a warning to big Democratic donors that ultimately many Democratic lawmakers will be defeated if they choose to stand with the president.

    “Do not be self-congratulatory about how brave you for being for this” gun control push, he said. “The only brave people are the people who are going to lose their jobs if they vote with you.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/.....z2ITk2JQR8

  • Cytotoxic||

    Do you taste that? That is the taste of victory.

  • John||

    It reminds me of the scene in Little Big Man were Dustin Hoffman is warning Custer not to go over the hill at Little Big Horn.

    This ain't the Washita River general election, Mr. President,...


    ...and them ain't helpless women voting with their vaginas waiting for you


    They're bitter clingers.

    You go down there

    if you got the nerve.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is the power of culture John. When politics and culture collide, culture wins. And in this case that means we win.

  • robc||

    “Right there in the lobby,” Clinton said. “They thought they could talk to governors that way.

    Damn straight, that is exactly how you talk to governors. And presidents.

  • ||

    “They thought they could talk to governors that way.

    Mask slippage. What an arrogant fuck. Who, does he think, is working for whom here?

  • John||

    The comments are some amazing stupid. Get this

    Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton said.

    You're right, Bill. Most are good hearted people, but others are idiots who wouldn't know a FACT if it landed on their nose.

    No one is going to take away people's guns. Repeat after me, "No one is going to take away your guns!"

    If someone is telling you that, then they are STUPID! If you believe them, then you are STUPID too!

    Your Second Amendment right is safe. You can have your guns. But there are some guns that don't belong in a civil society.

    "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." - Justice Antonin Scalia

    We are not going to take your guns. But we are going to take your guns because some guns are not fit for civil society.

  • Cytotoxic||

    This is doublethink John. Seriously these people are from 1984.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's not doublethink. They're saying that no one is going to take away the Arkansas Fudds' over-unders and bolt-action rifles. They're only going to take away those evil dangerous guns with the flash suppressors.

  • General Butt Naked||

    They're only going to take away those evil dangerous guns with the flash suppressors.

    It's still taking away someone's guns. Just because these freedom hating fucks claim to wanna take away only the evil guns, it doesn't allow them to say that no one's coming to take away anybody's guns.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yes, of course. My point is that when they say "your" they're addressing the Fudds, not every gun owner.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    “A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing,” he told the Democratic financiers. “Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.”

    Translation: anyone who disagrees with gun control must be an ignorant, deluded hick who's been deprived of the good life that people like Bill Clinton and rich Democrats lead. Hey, I wonder how the analogous argument for why people are pro-abortion and pro-contraception would play in the media.

  • ||

    Radicals.

  • Cytotoxic||

    George Will says the ACA received a small mortal wound from the scrotus decision regarding it.

    As Lambert says, the penalty for refusing to purchase insurance counts as a tax only if it remains so small as to be largely ineffective.

    Unable to increase penalties substantially, Congress, in the context of “guaranteed issue” and “community rating,” has only one way to induce healthy people to purchase insurance. This is by the hugely expensive process of increasing premium subsidies enough to make negligible the difference between the cost of insurance to purchasers and the penalty for not purchasing. Republicans will ferociously resist exacerbating the nation’s financial crisis in order to rescue the ACA.

    The bolded part is the weak point.

    http://fullcomment.nationalpos.....eath-star/

  • John||

    I read that. Makes me wonder if Roberts really is some kind of evil genius.

  • ||

    Makes me wonder if Roberts really is some kind of evil genius.

    Hardly. Fuck that man with a broken broom handle.

  • Cytotoxic||

    We'll see. For now, he's presumed guilty.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You don't like Heller, McDonald, and Citizens United?

    3 out of 4 ain't bad. And the least important one is the one he got wrong.

  • sloopyinca||

    I wonder what he would have done on Kelo?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I don't know, but I think he would have voted with the good guys. Not that it matters since both Rehnquist and O'Connor (who he and Alito replaced) were on the losing side too. Kennedy was the traitor there.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The lest important was actually the MOST important.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Change one word in PPACA, which has no effect on it in practice, and there's no question it's constitutional under SCOTUS precedent. Stupid, but constitutional. So I can live with Roberts retroactively changing that word.

    Restricting gun rights and speech rights is a whole other matter.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Your argument is good except for the part that's retarded: it's constitutional under SCOTUS precedent.

    scrotus precedent =/= constitutional. The Negligience of the Nazgul does not make unconstitutional constitutional.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    If we start worrying about whether things are really constitutional, we'd have to overturn like 75% of the US code.

  • ||

    If we start worrying about whether things are really constitutional, we'd have to overturn like 75% of the US code.


    And, I put it to you, that would be the principled thing to do.

  • RBS||

    FdA, you know that Mr. Law and Order Libertarian would never allow that.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Perhaps, but it would be chaos. You think there's uncertainty in the marketplace now, wait until SCOTUS is overturning an established law or govt program every day.

  • sloopyinca||

    So what. Not having chaos isn't an excuse to throw away the Constitution.

    And I'm pretty sure the markets would stabilize almost immediately. They have a way of doing what is required of them to meet customers needs.

  • ||

    So ensuring laws aren't passed that are unconstitutional is easier than stuffing the genie back in the bottle? No shit!

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

    /Joshua

  • robc||

    Perhaps, but it would be chaos.

    Chaos is a good thing.

    Hail Eris!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Maybe you should move to someplace that has chaos. I won't tell you where.

  • ||

    Maybe you should move to someplace that has chaos. I won't tell you where.

    It's good to see you've finally devolved to the ROOOOOOOADZ! level of discourse in your pursuit of gubmint cock for your face.

  • ||

    If we start worrying about whether things are really constitutional, we'd have to overturn like 75% of the US code.

    Shouldn't that be your first clue that something is fucked up, you state worshipping prick?

  • ||

    scrotus precedent =/= constitutional. The Negligience of the Nazgul does not make unconstitutional constitutional.

    While I agree with you, who then, is final authority? Just curious to see your answer. I was having this very argument the other day.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I'd just like to point out that Reason's commenting system is shit. It just wouldn't work yesterday and even when it is working it's shit. Not a red penny until it's fixed on CHROME.

  • sloopyinca||

    We should murderdrone the webmaster. Or better yet, drone the children of the webmaster. That'll get him thinking our way, right?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Best go for all of the above. Then he's not thinking at all-cuz he's dead!

  • General Butt Naked||

    Mine's working fine on Chrome.

    Did you look at your Chrome user's manual's "troubleshooting" section?

    Try turning your computer off and shaking it. Works with babies.

  • Redmanfms||

    Mine's working fine on Chrome.

    Same here.

    You're just tarded Cytotoxic, that's ok though dude, plenty of tarded people have awesome lives.

  • sloopyinca||

    My first wife was 'tarded. She's a (murderdrone) pilot now.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Good for her! She's an hero. IS SHE AVAILABLE?

  • Xenocles||

    Air Force or Agency?

  • sloopyinca||

    Air Force. Agency. They're just words when you're on the side of God Obama.

  • tarran||

    My first wife was 'tarded. She's a (murderdrone) pilot now.

    Man, that sucks. At least you married well the second time round.

  • General Butt Naked||

    IS THE COMPUTER PLUGGED IN?

    YOU HAVE TO PLUG IT IN TO TALK TO YOUR LITTLE REASON FRIENDS!

    *slowly*

  • Xenocles||

    Check to see if your "internet" light is blinky.

  • Cytotoxic||

    On Friday I kept trying to log in and it wouldn't work. There was no reply button. Even when it's working right, I still get logged out if I spend too much time typing or if I hit the refresh button.

  • sloopyinca||

    That's a you problem, not a Chrome problem. I hear people saying this from time to time and it's usually because they didn't check the "keep me logged in" box when they signed in.

    I've never had those problems unless I did something wrong.

  • C. Anacreon||

    This happened to me in the past. You need to upgrade Flash.

  • Free America||

  • General Butt Naked||

    No not free. Everyone knows it's a buck 'o five.

  • sloopyinca||

    49ers quickly getting back into this game.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Are there more commercials this week? I'm getting stabby

  • sloopyinca||

    You're just stabby because the Jets got beat by the Senators yesterday.*

    *I thought I remembered hearing you say you were going to become a Jets fan after the relocation. If you're still an Oilers fan, I apologize.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I was never an Oilers fan!

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh. Well, now you have an excuse to really be stabby.

  • Ted S.||

    On the bright side, it looks as though the team that plays in The Most Overrated Arena on Earth is going to start the season 0-2.

  • sloopyinca||

    That trailer for New Girl they just showed makes me want to bitchslap Zooey. And I don't want to bitchslap Zooey.

  • sloopyinca||

    17-14. The ATL is collectively shitting its pants.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They've blown leads before, their bowels are adjusted.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Aaaaand...the Dirty Birds score again.

  • sloopyinca||

    This is gonna be a wild 2nd half.

    I picked (on an earlier thread) SF to win 38-34. It's still not a bad looking pick if the Niners can come out of the gate and score right away.

  • RBS||

    There you go. Now for SF to actually play some defense.

  • sloopyinca||

    The David Akers experiment continues to fail miserably.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Do they call him Matty Ice because his hands are slippery?

  • sloopyinca||

    It would make sense.

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure he's called "fired" in not too long.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    49er defense was vastly overrated.

    No more.

    O/U was 49 and is pretty much cash now.

  • Sevo||

    sloopyinca| 1.20.13 @ 4:16PM |#
    "49ers quickly getting back into this game."

    It's a shame they didn't get on the plane for the ride to ATL.

  • sloopyinca||

    Thoughts on the Australian Open so far?

    Djoker is gonna be wiped out after his marathon. I still think Federer is vulnerable to Tsonga if they both win tomorrow (technically today).

    I'm sticking with my finals pick of Djoker-Murray.

    In the women's draw, I'm thinking S. Williams-Sharapova in the finals.

  • RBS||

    Meh, tennis is one of those sports that I think is a lot of fun to play but boring as hell to watch.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    I'm still rooting for Raonic, but I don't think he'll beat Roger.

    I'd like to Berdych make the leap to the final four.

  • ||

    You continue in your delusion that Tsonga (who I like a lot, by the way) can beat Federer. He can't.

    Now let's see if the 49ers can bring this back. I hope not.

  • sloopyinca||

    You well may be right. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

    He has beaten Federer before. And at Wimbledon of all places.

  • ||

    Grass is grass. It sure as fuck isn't hard court.

  • sloopyinca||

    Jesus, man. You're probably right, but I am picking an upset.

  • ||

    Don't mistake me: I want a change in the top 5. But Roger is just too fucking good. He is widely considered the greatest tennis player of all time, and damn if he hasn't earned that reputation.

    FUCK YOU NINERS

  • Ted S.||

    I wouldn't mind seeing Nadal knocked out of the Top 5. He's a pussy who basically breaks the rules to try to intimidate his opponents, and then bitches and bitches if he gets called on it.

    It's also too bad Madrid won't be on blue clay this year.

  • John||

    I hope so. An Atlanta New England Super Bowl would be awful. it would be a four hour coronation of Belichek and Brady. The score would be like 45-7 by the middle of the third quarter. No way would Atlanta stand a chance. It would be like the Super Bowls in the 1990s when the NFC team ran over the AFC every year. I think the 9ers could at least make it competitive. But Atlanta sucks. That defense would give up 200 yards a quarter to New England.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I prefer a brother-vs-brother Super Bowl.

  • Xenocles||

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

  • sloopyinca||

    The best scenario would be for the Ravens to make the game, regardless of who they play. It's just safer to have Ray Lewis in the locker room as opposed to roaming the streets that night.

  • ||

    The problem is that all the teams that can beat the Patriots are out. The Seahawks had already done it and could do it again, but they're out. The Patriots are going to walk all over whoever wins this game. That is of course assuming they beat the Ravens, but I think that's a reasonable assumption. Ideal situation? Ravens against the Falcons.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    Ideal situation?

    Influenza epidemic cancels the superbowl

  • sloopyinca||

    Oh, there'll be a viral outbreak at a Super Bowl held in New Orleans. But it'll start with "H" and end with "erpes".

  • sloopyinca||

    Ravens-Falcons just got a lot less likely.

    And the Falcons getting there would really be a nut-kick to New Orleans, wouldn't it?

  • ||

    We're gonna find out on this drive, aren't we? Uh...first down.

  • Xenocles||

    Two of the teams that beat the Pats are still in.

  • Sevo||

    Episiarch| 1.20.13 @ 5:33PM |#
    "The problem is that all the teams that can beat the Patriots are out."

    Not quite.

  • Ted S.||

    I wish both Serena and Sharapova would get their asses kicked, but I doubt that either of them is losing before the final.

    Murray's draw really opened up with del Potro's loss. :-( I'd be thrilled if Djokovic's long match caused him to be tired in the semis against Ferrer. Ferrer in the final would be great, if only for all those commentators whose heads it would make explode.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Ohhhhhhh that's gotta hurt, Crablouse.

  • sloopyinca||

    If Michael Crabtree had held onto that ball like it was a woman trying to get out of a hotel room, they'd have 1st and Goal at the 1.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You've got a dig at every player in these games, don't you?

  • sloopyinca||

    Not Ted Ginn.

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't care if you're at your own 5. When you need 6 yards for a 1st down you don't throw for 4.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Maybe he was counting on the spry elusiveness of Tony Gonzalez.

  • sloopyinca||

    Then he wouldn't have thrown an out pattern where his chance to get extra yardage is limited.

  • sloopyinca||

    Can the Niners win if it comes down to Akers? It's looking like it may.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Are they playing flag football this year at the Pro Bowl?

  • sloopyinca||

    What the fuck is a "Pro Bowl"?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They should. That would actually be a fun game to watch. No helmets, no pads, just like in the back yard.

  • sloopyinca||

    When I was a kid and we played backyard football, there were no flags to pull off. If you wanted someone down, you had to tackle them.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And you had to run uphill both ways, right?

  • sloopyinca||

    Shit, I was all-time quarterback.

  • Whahappan?||

    No shit, we played pick-up tackle football from grade school through high school.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

  • sloopyinca||

    Harbaugh goes berzerker on a bad call.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Perreira bootlicks the officials again.

    I didn't know the rule was that you had to be touching the ball while it was sliding on the ground, I thought it was possession.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The receiver's right knee was down before the ball hit the ground.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But you have to complete the catch as Calvin J. found out a couple of years ago.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Also, why do the replay officials have to have indisputable evidence when the on-field officials can just guess? The replay officials have more information, so their guess is a better one, no?

  • Xenocles||

    Because they only want to interrupt the game for obvious mistakes. This is a good idea IMO.

  • sloopyinca||

    I want an ATL touchdown with 2 minutes left. Put it on Akers foot to tie it for the lulz.

  • ||

    We want the same things, Ken.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    As Cris Collinsworth memorably said, there's no "doink" at infinity.

  • sloopyinca||

    They have to have a quick stop here. Jesus, that receiver was being mugged.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It was within five yards so that was legit. There didn't appear to be severe contact while the pass was in the air and the linebacker was facing the ball.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    How huge is that delay of game penalty?

  • ||

    Not huge enough. Fuck the Niners. I will enjoy watching the Patriots rape the shit out of them in the Superbowl.

  • Generic Stranger||

    So much for that.

  • Sevo||

    When will the QB learn to read a clock?

  • sloopyinca||

    That was a pretty enjoyable game to watch.

    Too bad it's the Michigan Harbaugh that made it to the SB.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'm still pissed none of you comic fanbois noted my alt-text at the top of the thread.

  • waaminn||

    So, who comes up with all that crazy stufgf? Wow.

    www.AnoTimes.tk

  • Training Semarang||

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