Economics

The Great Automaker Bailout: A Question of When, Not If

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So the folks behind the Big 2.5 Amerian automakers—GM, Ford, and Chrysler—are angling for $34 billion from the feds to keep 'em going for some period of time into the future.

Much drama in Congress this past week centered on this shameful spectacle (as with the financial sector bailout, the American people seem less giving with their tax dollars than Congress. About 61 percent are against the idea.)

Here's Rep. Barney Frank (good on Internet gambling, medical marijuana, one or two other things, and pretty awful on everything else) sizing up the situation, according to Reuters:

Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, said the economy would be devastated if an automaker were forced into bankruptcy or shut down.

"In the midst of the worst economic situation since the Great Depression it would be an unmitigated disaster," he told a hearing with the CEOs.

Frank said there was a "pretty broad consensus" among committee members to assist Detroit, which he called a step forward. But that sentiment alone "doesn't quite get us there," and said he would be talking with other lawmakers about the form of a bailout bill.

For those of us who oppose bailouts (of the financial sector, the auto industry, the corporate dry cleaning mafia, home mortgage owners, you name it), that sounds pretty heartening, doesn't it? Frank doesn't have the votes, despite a "pretty broad consensus" in a Democratically controlled Congress.

But it's not like the Bush administration and, one assumes, most of the weak-spined Republicans in Congress who ended voting for the Paulson plan, are really against a bailout. They just want it to come from a different pile of money:

The White House refuses to carve out for Detroit some of the $700 billion bailout it is already showering on Wall Street and the banks, saying that money is intended only to help stabilize the financial sector.

Bush said he was concerned about taxpayer money going to companies that may not survive but said modification of the fuel-efficiency loans could help worthy auto companies.

"It is important that Congress act next week on this plan," he told reporters.

In other words, Bush wants to pull the auto bailout dough from an existing $25 billion Department of Energy program to help U.S. automakers create more fuel-efficient cars.

And here's a preview of a plan that will almost certainly carry the day, a Washington-style compromise, meaning everybody gets something, and the taxpayers are stuck with a bill about as good-looking as a Pontiac Aztek:

Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter proposed a $25 billion automaker bridge loan drawn half from the TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program, a.k.a. the Paulson-pushed bailout] and half from the Energy Department program.

Asked about such a compromise on Thursday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, called it "a reasonable idea," although just one of many.

More here.

And a special note for those of you who plan on living into 2009: Remember, the odds have got to be at least 50/50 that whatever gets done now will get redone once President Obama actually takes office and starts to worry about the bottom falling out on the collectible plate market.

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  1. “Broad consensus”? Yet he still doesn’t have the votes? Please, please, gridlock! Gridlock where art thou?

  2. So, how’s that Reason-supported Hope ‘n’ Change workin’ out for the “libertarians”?

    change.gov/newsroom/entry/the_key_parts_of_the_jobs_plan/

    I’m currently trying to figure out how to personally profit from some of those, especially the last.

    As an Ethnic-American, can I get a set-aside?

    P.S. Did Weigel leave yet? Before he goes, he lied about Obama’s having proved he was born in HI.

  3. A $5 billion bail-out is just what I need to get my cotton gin business back up and running.

  4. LONEWACKO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    *shakes fist in air*

  5. I started typing this comment in another thread before this thread appeared.
    I’m a crappy typist.

    One thing I neglected to mention in that lengthy meandering post is that lots of folks around her, both pro and anti bailout, have noticed the stark difference between the way politicians of both parties treated Wall Street (minimum $1 trillion bailout) and the way politicians are treating the auto industry asking for less than 10% of that.

    I’m against both of course, but I’m kinda pissed myself.

  6. Ballon Maker,

    The hell with your “cotton gin” idea. I need a bailout to keep my buggy whip business going.

    I AM THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE!!!

  7. So, it’s going to be just like the bank bailout, eh? It will fail in the house the first time, then they’ll load it up with another hundred billion or so of pork, and then it’s off to the Fed for another round of freshly-inflated monopoly money.

    -jcr

  8. solar taint guards for everyone!!!

  9. VM,

    Holy shit! I never thought of the safety issues surrounding my taint!!! Yikes! Here sir, is a signed check. Fill in any number you want, and I will pay it!

  10. “Holy shit! I never thought of the safety issues surrounding my taint!!! Yikes! Here sir, is a signed check. Fill in any number you want, and I will pay it!”

    Now THAT’S economic coercion…A man with a threatened taint will sign anything in front of him…

  11. if you do a really huge thing, its a game changer. Therefore it makes sense that the bailout is go because it fits the theme. The illusion that it would possibly be rejected is a solid play. It’s really hard to makes sense of the previous bailout if this one is rejected. It’s like some jackass thinks he’s playing a card game with the economy.

  12. The Democrats have to deliver the goods to the UAW and Detroit if they want to win another election. So, yes, a bailout was never in question.

    But people must remember, this isn’t really a “bailout”. The U.S. auto industry has been de-facto nationalized for a long time now. This isn’t a bailout any more than taxpayers are “bailing out” the U.S. Postal Service.

  13. Some part of me thinks I’d rather see them just vote yes now, given the way the $700B turned into $850B when that was voted down.

  14. Let’s restore america to her glory days and become the leading producer of cathode ray tubes again.

  15. One thing I neglected to mention in that lengthy meandering post is that lots of folks around her, both pro and anti bailout, have noticed the stark difference between the way politicians of both parties treated Wall Street (minimum $1 trillion bailout) and the way politicians are treating the auto industry asking for less than 10% of that.

    U.S. car makers are declasse, like Kraft Dinner and Walmart… Everyone with taste and sophistication hates the American car makers. Hating the American car makers is a social cue that lets people know you aren’t working class.

    Where as, you are in no danger of appearing working class if you want to spend the hard-earned money of the working class bailing out a bunch of rich bankers.

  16. SIV,

    Awesome story to tell. When I was growing up we had an old, middle aged, and new TV. Old tv was huge and was practically a mantle piece: no longer worked. Middle aged tv was smaller but had terrible reception. New TV was 28 inches and was of course tiny. We created a wall with one on top of the other. Guests were always thrilled till they found out the bottom two didn’t work.

  17. So Obama wants to borrow money from the Japanese in order to help American car companies that are unable to compete with Japanese manufacturers. F*ck me sideways.

  18. Nick, Gotta agree with you about the Pnntiac Azteck, and this comes from a guy who thought the Edsel was handsome.

    But here are the two problems with any bailing out:
    1. You can’t play the game if you keep changing the rules in the middle of it. The government wants to change the rules.
    2. Anticipation of new rules causes activity to freeze. I wish I could get an amen to my theory of Alphonse and Gaston. That was the comedy sketch where they went through this long rigamarole about who would hold the door for whom. Intentions, whether good or evil, if they are broadcast, will always cause a traffic jam at the doorway of prosperity.

  19. The $25b energy bill rider will have to be re-written. It specifically restricted the loans to “financially viable” companies. Maybe BMW would like some loot for their new electric mini.

  20. Funny how those who are quickest to condemn big business are the first to offer handouts to big businesses for the purposes of keeping them from becoming small businesses.

  21. Being a fellow Detroiter I’ll second J sub D’s concern about what this will do to our city. And an article in today’s Free Press argued that the collapse of these companies would probably seriously damage Honda and Toyota since the collapse would cause collateral damage to suppliers who also supply the ‘import’ brands.
    And, of course, I oppose any and all bailouts, and have all along.
    But I worry about the future of the Detroit Symphony, the Detroit Institute of the Arts and similar institutions that depend on sponsorships from the big 2.5. Not to mention the restaurants that make this city great… Some of my favorites are already in trouble.

  22. The very fact that most of the people are in charge of it should make it impossible for the leftist illuminati to give $15b, like they decided to do yesterday

  23. keeping them from becoming small businesses.

    Which is exactly the problem; even now, there are people actively advocating a merger between GM and Chrysler. As if making GM bigger would in any way be an improvement.

    GM needs to be be broken up. Smaller, independent companies might have a better chance of reacting to the market. GM has been “restructuring” itself for as long as I can remember, and they’re still hopeless.

    And, of course, government meddling in the automobile market needs to be radically reduced, to eliminate some of the perverse incentives which have contributed to the present disaster. But Barney Frank is not likely to get up in front of the teevee cameras and pontificate about that.

  24. the taxpayers are stuck with a bill about as good-looking as a Pontiac Aztek

    Say what you will about the styling of the Aztek, it was an immensely practical car. After finishing a school in Connecticut a few years ago a classmate loaded the wife, two kids, and a dog into his Aztek for a cross country move to Puget Sound. I don’t think he could have done that trip with a Prius.

    Now, I concede that the Azteks were practical for the same reason fat girls are nice; they have to be.

  25. “But Barney Frank is not likely to get up in front of the teevee cameras and pontificate about that.”

    Don’t you know, according to a certain poster on this website, that Barney Frank is the great libertarian Democrat hope? Along with Barack and Russ Feingold?

  26. With regards to my last comment:

    Geotpf was the one who argued that Barney Frank was the great libertarian Democrat hope. Along with Russ Feingold.


  27. Don’t you know, according to a certain poster on this website, that Barney Frank is the great libertarian Democrat hope? Along with Barack and Russ Feingold?

    Don’t forget Bill Richardson!I started commenting here somewhat regularly and with the SIV handle when(and in part because) he was touted as the Great Libertarian Democrat Presidential Hope. Now he is the future Commerce secretary. I tells ya, it is going to be a regular libertarian-Democratopia for the next four years!

  28. Kolohe, your anectode about the practicality of the Aztek is applicable to any small SUV. That thing blew, and that’s an indisputable fact.

  29. I did like the fat girl line though.

  30. economist,

    a little searchin’ will bring you back to the good ol’ days when all sorts of “libertarian-democrats” and their cosmotarian fellow travelers were shillin’ for Richardson. They were even falsely crediting him with the views of former NM governor Gary Johnson who actually is a “libertarian HYPHEN Major Party” politician.

  31. SIV,
    I didn’t know your handle stood for “single-issue voter”. What is your single issue? I have multiple issues. I drink too much, I binge eat, and I’ve been known to curl up under my desk at work and ask why everyone’s out to get me.

  32. I particularly liked the Barney Frank, Russ Feingold, and Obama shilling. BTW, is OLS right about Weigel’s imminent departure? Or is he full of it?

  33. I also sometimes think I see little pink Christina Aguilera monsters.

  34. I believe joe was the one who commented “right-libertarians are shit”.

    I will respond by this: Cosmotarians are shit. Leftists aren’t necessarily shit, but leftists who pretend to be something they’re not (libertarians) are shit. Which is why Mike Gravel sucks.

  35. My “single issue” is legal cockfighting. Bill Richardson had just arm-twisted the NM legislature into outlawing it and signed the bill after campaigning as being neutral/agnostic on the issue.

    Opposing cockfighting prohibition is an excellent “libertarian purity” test which many commenters here failed.It was an easy troll.

  36. You’re all a bunch of marginal wingnuts!

  37. SIV,
    Did you just get spoofed?

  38. The next four years will be a cosmotarian’s wet dream.

  39. “The Democrats have to deliver the goods to the UAW and Detroit if they want to win another election.”

    It’s clearly the other way around, the Republicans who went along with a much bigger bailout earlier are balking now because they hope to drive businesses with significant union membership out of business.

    “Did you just get spoofed?”

    Oh lord did he, mostly because he’s a GOP shill as many here have noted. Ask “libertarian” SIV his position on Iraq for example.

    I once challenged SIV to state one, now ONE area in which Democrats were better than Republicans and he would not. No honest libertarian would have that position.

    Like any good “libertarian” he’s a fan of Michelle Malkin. You know, pro-internment Michelle Malkin.

    But hey, I’m not the best of this, search out some of joe’s classic exposes of SIV.

  40. “I will respond by this: Cosmotarians are shit.”

    In my experience “cosmotarians” are libertarians who don’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the worst infringement on liberty in the past century, who are well read and tolerant of alternative lifestyles and prefer urban settings. They seem happier than paleos too. And they tend to defend libertarianism with utilitarian arguments (that government won’t work as well as the market).

    Paleo’s tend to be Neo-Confederates who hope the market will preserve traditional inequalities and institutions. And they seem culturally retarded. And they are usually very angry. They tend to defend libertarianism with quick and constant reference to “rights” to own hand grenades and racially discriminate in employment.

    Those are generalizations of course and there are certainly exceptions, but its remarkable how confirmed by my experience these are.

  41. In my experience “cosmotarians” are libertarians who don’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the worst infringement on liberty in the past century, who are well read and tolerant of alternative lifestyles and prefer urban settings. They seem happier than paleos too. And they tend to defend libertarianism with utilitarian arguments (that government won’t work as well as the market).

    Paleo’s tend to be Neo-Confederates who hope the market will preserve traditional inequalities and institutions. And they seem culturally retarded. And they are usually very angry. They tend to defend libertarianism with quick and constant reference to “rights” to own hand grenades and racially discriminate in employment.

    Those are generalizations of course and there are certainly exceptions, but its remarkable how confirmed by my experience these are.

    Oh jeez. True libertarians are those who agree with me, J sub D, on every goddam issue, even the ones where I don’t take the libertarian position. All true libertarians also reason similarly which makes libertarian discussions interesting, cacophonous and ultimately fruitless.

  42. Oh yeah, that means –
    DRINK!

  43. Where should old peaceful anarchists hang out in cyberspace?
    I’m sick and tired of you whippersnappers continuing to hold out hope for that unicorn, the Libertarian Party.

    Ruthless

  44. MNG,
    We might be using different definitions of “cosmotarian” then, although they overlap. I personally do not consider the 1964 Civil Rights Act a particularly infringement .On the list of things the government does that I would eliminate if I were the libertarian king, the ’64 Act falls somewhere between public education (higher on the list, but sort of an end-stage thing) and public infrastructure (which, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I would privatize even if I had the chance). I’m not the best-read guy on earth (to be perfectly honest, I’m not even that well-acquainted with Hayek, Friedman, von Mises, et al.) As for the “happier” part, I haven’t met many of the self-professed cosmotarians in person (they are a rare subset of an endangered species), but in general I wouldn’t say that the “Paleos”, some of whom I have met, are unhappy, and only 1 of the 10 or so that I’ve met is a neo-confederate (and he can take good-natured ribbing over it.) One big difference is that the “Paleos” are generally religious.

    The reason I dislike “cosmotarians” is that there “tolerance” for alternative lifestyles and preferance for urban environments translates usually into an obnoxious disdain for people who don’t share their cultural proclivities, even if they tend to agree, in principle, on political issues. They try too hard to be “hip”, and are too eager (as I see it) to gain the approval of leftwing friends.

    Also, cosmotarians piss me off for having a leftist-style swoonfest over Barack Obama. To be fair, I also don’t particularly like libertarian support for McCain, but I’ve observed that it was generally more measured than cosmotarian support for Barack Obama. Personally, I think all principled libertarians should have voted for Barr (despite his own inconsistencies), to send the message that some people don’t actually support either of two styles of statism.
    For those libertarians who felt the need to vote for one of the two major-party candidates, I would have implored them to avoid anything other than the “lesser of two evils” argument. Instead we heard different variations of the “hope, change, unity” message from the likes of Chapman and “Obama’s not really an economic leftist, that’s just for the ignorant proles. He’s really a sophisticated fellow who’s been exposed to Chicago-school economics” line from the likes of Dave Weigel.

    The bottom line: I’m pissed off at cosmotarians, because when it comes right down to it, they’d rather be hip and please there liberal friends than be principled.

  45. The *true* libertarian position is to favor all forms of animal fighting, whether with knives, razor-equipped claws, or whatever form of weapons the animals can operate. Let them use cannons or hand grenades if they want: it’s their choice.

    But, this shouldn’t even be an issue at all, because the true libertarian would not, could not, and should not live in the U.S. and thus have to be subjected to the violence of the state. The only true libertarian place on Earth is Somalia, and if anyone here were real libertarians that’s where they’d move. (I heard a rumor that Badnarik is moving there next year).

    P.S. Here’s the true libertarian position on baby seal hunts

  46. Crap, I just went off on quite a rant.

  47. OLS spoof,
    SIV’s the one with a boner for animal fighting.

  48. A note on cosmotarians: I have a strong suspicion that for most of them, there “libertarianism” stems from some sort of desire for radical chic. But when the chips are down, they’re happy to go with the statist flow.

    They also tend to have an incapacity for independent thought. Take the resident Cosmotarian at Reason, Dave Weigel. He admitted that in the runup to the Iraq War, he was one of the “prowar” crowd, in part because he didn’t stop to question whether the evidence indicated Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat. So, having been burned by his uncritical association with the conservatives, he turns around and forms a similarly uncritical association with the left. If he has any libertarian principles, he will find himself sorely disappointed by Obama, and then who the hell knows what he’ll do.

    Oh, yeah, and then you have the clinically insane cosmotarians like Chapman. I don’t think I need to say more on that subject.

  49. “They tend to defend libertarianism with quick and constant reference to ‘rights’ to own hand grenades and racially discriminate in employment.”

    Being one of the “extremists” with respect to the right to keep and bear arms (I think it’s a better way than elections to keep the government in check), I tend to agree with Paleos there. Cosmos are happy to knuckle and under and say “that’s just what you have to do in a democracy”. Of course, I’m not a revolutionary. Just a bitter middle-aged guy who gains a perverse enjoyment from watching large-scale train wrecks.

  50. Last rant tonight on the Cosmo vs. Paleo issue:

    Ahh, forget it. I don’t give a crap. Good night, all.

  51. “I personally do not consider the 1964 Civil Rights Act a particularly infringement”

    This was from a previous post. It should have read “a particularly egregious infringement of individual rights”.

  52. Although I guess I count as a ‘cosmotarian’, in that I like opera, symphony and old-fashioned folk music, I certainly don’t yield on gun-rights (although I don’t personally own one, because my wife’s a more standard leftist and wouldn’t let me back in the house). What scares me is the large-scale train wreck that I fear is coming in the next six months if Obama, who I generally thought was probably the lesser of the two evils, does the Roosevelt thing. Which I suspect he will.
    I had always thought things would generally get better, or, at least, not deteriorate. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think I’ll end up on a bread line, but I’m no longer optimistic that the future will be as good as the present. Bush sure fucked things up, between the stupid response to 0/11 and the nationalization of banks, and soon-to-be auto companies. Certainly explains why I don’t think libertarians should reflexively vote Republican.
    Grrrr

  53. Ask “libertarian” SIV his position on Iraq for example.

    Opposed the initiation of war in 1991.
    Opposed not finishing what we started by stopping at Iraq border and leaving Saddam in power.

    1964 Civil Rights Act?
    Right as it applied to public institutions and places.Egregious violation of property rights and freedom of association in regard to private property and enterprises.

  54. Good for you, Geoff. But you don’t count as “cosmotarian” just for an appreciation of high culture. Nor even necessarily for voting for Obama (it only counts if you splooge over him). Though I have to ask: what changed between the election and now that made you go from thinking that things wouldn’t deteriorate and might get better to thinking it might be a complete train wreck.

  55. “Public accomodation” is still a legal fiction.

  56. I believe the whole cosmotarian vs. paleotarian thing arose out of Ron Paul’s mixed reception among libertarians, did it not? IOW, it wasn’t so much a matter of actual political positons as whether or not you supported the Doctor. Ask ten libertarians on the street what a cosmotarian is, and you’ll get five different definitions, and the other five will say “huh?”

  57. Hey ! I’m a legal fiction too!

  58. I should add that my original understanding of the cosmo vs. paleo divide was that cosmos tend to advocate a more libertine culture than paleos. For example, while paleotarians support legalizing marijuana, most of them don’t think it’s a good idea to actually use it.

  59. “Pubic accommodation” is sadly also a legal fiction, tonight at least. :\

  60. In my experience “cosmotarians” are libertarians who don’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the worst infringement on liberty in the past century, who are well read and tolerant of alternative lifestyles and prefer urban settings. They seem happier than paleos too. And they tend to defend libertarianism with utilitarian arguments (that government won’t work as well as the market).

    Well said.

  61. The bottom line: I’m pissed off at cosmotarians, because when it comes right down to it, they’d rather be hip and please there liberal friends than be principled.

    Is there some particular cosmotarian you have in mind when you make all these statements about what cosmos are like? I mean the word barely has a definition. It’s kind of a vague slur that started being thrown around here about a year ago.

  62. Dead on at 11:23 Cunnivore.

    There is that difference of opinion on liberty as utilitarian social policy rather than individual rights.

  63. Take the resident Cosmotarian at Reason, Dave Weigel.

    Guess that kinda answers my question. When you think “cosmotarian” a picture of Dave Weigel pops into your mind.

  64. Rep. Barney Frank (good on Internet gambling, medical marijuana, one or two other things, and pretty awful on everything else

    Barney Frank: Cocksucker, Patriot.

  65. J sub D

    One thing I neglected to mention in that lengthy meandering post is that lots of folks around her, both pro and anti bailout, have noticed the stark difference between the way politicians of both parties treated Wall Street (minimum $1 trillion bailout) and the way politicians are treating the auto industry asking for less than 10% of that.

    I have a lot of the same sentiments. If congress hadn’t opened the door to begin with with the Wall Street bailout the Big 3 wouldn’t have much of a leg to stand on asking for billions. Now they do though, and they are asking for a fraction of what Wall Street got. Not to mention the audacity of congress to hold hearings about their companies. At least their private jets, fancy cars, and fine living came from private money and not tax payers dollars *cough* congressman.

    OTOH, you don’t point to one wrong to justify another, and the bailouts have got to stop somewhere. Which is why overall I am completely opposed to the Big 3 bailout and any others in the future.

  66. Did someone say Cosmo

  67. Actually, “cosmotarian” was coined in response to blog entry by Virginia Postrel, wherein she used the term “cosmopolitan tolerance” as a definition for libertarianism. That is a very different foundation than the traditional non-aggression principle. Hence the new word to describe those who think Barack Obama to be more libertarian than Ron Paul.

  68. Brandybuck, you were pretty much sticking to documented history of the word “cosmotarian” until your last sentence, where you went off into unwarranted generalization.

  69. oh my dick

  70. I don’t personally own one, because my wife’s a more standard leftist and wouldn’t let me back in the house

    Mixed marriages can be challenging, that’s for sure. Maybe she’ll change her mind if she gets mugged.

    -jcr

  71. libertarians who don’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the worst infringement on liberty in the past century,

    I’d give that distinction to FDR’s concentration camps, myself.

    -jcr

  72. What about the post-bankruptcy cost of supporting the workers of a collapsed auto industry within the existing US social safety net? Isn’t that the doomsday scenario Frank is trying to avoid here?

  73. In my experience “cosmotarians” are libertarians who don’t think the 1964 Civil Rights Act was the worst infringement on liberty in the past century, who are well read and tolerant of alternative lifestyles and prefer urban settings.

    Anyone who doesn’t realize the truly pernicious effect the CRA had on our “litigation society”, on the growth of the nanny state, on extending state control of property and enterprise into scores of “micro” areas, and on inspiring and by precedent enabling further outrages like the ADA, is either no libertarian or has not been paying attention.

    I’m plenty tolerant of “alternative lifestyles”, whether it’s gays, polygamists, or Rick Santorum and the rest of the surrendered wife crowd, and I prefer what I consider organic development settings, which I personally think would trend much more to the urban and the rural than to suburbia or exurbia – but I hate the CRA and am not so afraid of the clucking of liberals that I will hide it or refuse to say it. So am I a cosmo or a paleo?

    I think a much better way to make the split would be: a cosmo is a libertarian who can’t understand why anyone would go to church, and a paleo is a libertarian who can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t.

  74. About the bailout discussion:

    I’m not even going to be willing to listen to Frank’s argument until he stops dishonestly lumping together a bankruptcy of the Big 3 and a liquidation of the Big 3 as if they were the same thing.

    They are much different scenarios.

    He, like everyone else taking Pelosi’s lead, is trumpeting estimates of economic damage that would result if every last Big 3 plant was immediately shut down, and if every last Big 3 supplier and creditor went completely unpaid and shut down in turn, and acting as if this would be the result in either a bankruptcy or a complete failure. And that’s just dishonest. Want me to give your plan a hearing? Stop being dishonest.

    They don’t want to honestly talk about the different costs associated with a straight bailout and with a prepackaged bankruptcy with the Feds as the DIP financing provider. I suspect this is because a prepack would void the UAW’s contracts.

  75. I’ve said this before on here & I’ll say it again. Can we PLEASE stop using the Cosmotarian & Paleotarian terms, they sound so fucking stupid. No one has any idea what they truly mean. We’ve had numerous definitions just on this thread.

  76. OK so what happens in a few months when the billion dollar handout runs out and they are STILL not selling cars? More free money at Main Street Americas expense?

    jess
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  77. No one has any idea what they truly mean.

    True. The terms are a total Rorshach test.

  78. If there was ever any question whether Congress actually wants to “save” Detroit, this week dispelled it. This is not a bailout that Congress is debating. It is a federal takeover. We don’t mean that in the sense that the feds will own the companies on paper, although that can’t be ruled out. What Congress wants to own is their business plan, and Detroit seems prepared to oblige.

    Yet amid all the hopeful talk about the brave, new green car world, the men from Detroit were studiously silent on whether they can sell these new cars at a profit any better than they can their current lineup. Yes, the restructuring plans, especially GM’s, have some stark numbers about downsizing — 30,000 blue collar jobs are on the chopping block at GM alone. And this is accompanied by gauzy predictions of matching Toyota’s labor costs by 2012. But it’s hard to see how that gets done without a bankruptcy judge to tear up the contracts and start over. Once the auto makers agree to let Barney Frank run their businesses, does anyone really believe organized labor will roll over and let them gut the United Auto Workers?

    WSJ

    We hear a lot of blather about hybrids, and electrics, but nobody talks about profitability. The Volt won’t save GM. It’s a publicity stunt.

  79. Fluffy,

    The bankruptcy consequences are potentially disastrous to the supplier chain, as their thin margins would be devastated by the giant receivables hole that would accompany a big-3 bankruptcy.

    Yes, there is a bit of dishonesty in predicting a total collapse of the big-3 and their associated supply chains. But I still suspect that the consequences of either a liquidation or a bankruptcy would dwarf any bailout.

    And as long as I’m on the hook (as a taxpayer involuntarily supporting our social safety net) for the consequences of a failure of the big 3, I’ll only vote against a bailout if the alternative is found to be not many multiples more expensive.

  80. fluffy
    That’s not a bad definition, but really if you read a “cosmotarian” mag like reason you’ll see very few articles railing against the Civil Rights Act and if you read Rockwell you’ll see more of that thing as well as railing against Lincoln and weepy sentimentality about the CSA. To some extent don’t you think this is practical: those who take strong stands against the CRA will not be a part of the national discussion (kiss those AEI-Brookings-Reason Foundation events goodbye).

    But yes when I think cosmo I think Jesse Walker, someone who probably likes to live in cities because they like the diverse cultural scene (jazz clubs beside gay bar beside store front fundie church) while hating the nannyism of those urban politicians while when I think paleo I think of someone like Ron Paul living in TX where most neighbors think and act alike. Speaking of Paul while the Postrel thing may have originated the term cosmo it was certainly Paul’s mixed reception among libertarians that brought the term to my attention so much. Interestingly paleos tend to characterize cosmo’s as sellouts when what Paul drew the most fire about were his sometimes questionable (from LP standards) stances on things like immigration, gays and seperation of church and state. Paul deviated from libertarianism im many areas which would make him more popular to Texan conservatives, more so than any Reason writer does to please liberals…

  81. fluffy
    Not to threadjack to a discussion of the CRA but:
    1. I never damn the granting of a right because people then try to exercise it (your “litigous” claim). Similar claims are made about Sec. 1983 claims to enforce constitutional rights. There is a great deal of litigation there, or over habeas corpus. Do you think those are bad laws?

    2. Of course the CRA expanded government, but so did the actively segregationist laws which preceded it for decades fostering the racism and resulting discrimination which the CRA opposes. The segregationist laws fostered private sentiments which working through private institutions and employers harmed and continue to harm minorities so I’m OK with an equal governmental effort to right the wrong it started. The libertarian alternative, to just repeal the bad laws and then do nothing affirmative to combat the evils they had created and fostered is to simply put the onus on the victims (the minorities) to overcome the effects of hundreds of years of active government malfeasance.

    That’s all I’ll say on that for this thread which is about the bailout and not the CRA or cosmos.

  82. Here is my understanding of the definitions:

    COSMOTARIAN:
    Someone who holds a mix of Hillary and Kucinich’s beliefs, but argues them for ‘libertarian’ reasons.

    Somone who understands that things like public school, and state definition of marriage are not going away so they support further state intrusion into the matter to make things more ‘equal’. But only more equal to the set of friends they hang out with.

    Someone who thinks that a corporations power to fire you is the same as the states power to inprison or kill you.

    PALAOTARIAN
    Someone who might think that we have lost liberties because there is a cabal of Bankers plotting for it to be so. Or a cabal of Joos.

    Someone who is completey radical in the ways of freedom or anarchy exept where it may empower foreigners, joos or bankers.

    I guess the Paleo thing might be extreme. I was getting that from my readings of Lew Rockwell, and the sort of emails I get from that directions.

    If paleo meens “freedom, let the chips fall where they may”. Then count me in that category.

  83. The U.S. auto industry has been de-facto nationalized for a long time now.

    How so?

  84. I’m probably HnR’s biggest cosmotarian (urban-living, urban-employed, falafel-eating hipster) and work with a few others. You guys are completely wrong about the political ideals especially the Obama/Kucinich support.

  85. Paleotarians are the true supporters of freedom this nation. We stand up against the PC Police, the Multi-Cult, and the polluting of our cultural values from leftists and neocons.

    Everyone knows this nation was more free in 1850 than it was now!

  86. Does anyone know what the difference is between a Paleotarian and a Paleoconservative? They seem like the same thing to me.

  87. Ex., read The American Conservative (Pat Buchanan’s mag). It sounds like Lew Rockwell, minus the Lincoln bashing. But in every other respect, it holds about the same views (albiet much better written).

  88. BDB – Paleocons aren’t as free-market-oriented as paleotarians. I think the divide between cosmo/paleotarians is mostly cultural.

  89. Bingo–which is why I think the divide is so small and rather over-blown. We should leave the incessant sectarianism and mutual excommunications to the Marxists.

    If SIV wants to set up an Ultimate Cock Fighting Ring in his backyard, I don’t really care. I’ll think he’s a weird dude, and a lot of other people will too. But I’m not gonna get the state to shut him down. Ditto if he wants to hang up a Confederate flag and talk about the “glory days” of the Old South or whatever.

  90. Not as much for the free market? Paleotarians aren’t very free market sometimes either. See: trade deals, immigration. And they share those blind spots with their Buchananite counterparts.

  91. I think it’s important to recognize and appreciate the differences. It’s pretty cool that the same philosophy that lets people who want to drink beer and shoot automatic weapons from an emissions-spewing vehicle on their ranch in the middle of nowhere also attracts people who want to snort a line of coke and have a threesome after a cocktail party at an art gallery.

    Freedom should be a big tent.

  92. Bingo,

    I like the way you think.

  93. Also I think immigration is important to paleotarians for utilitarian reasons but it’s important to paleocons for cultural reasons. Paleotarians mostly seem to be concerned about their tax dollars going to fund another welfare family and paleocons are concerned about American culture and traditions being diluted.

    Take the federal government out of doling out money to people that don’t work and paleotarians really wouldn’t give a shit if the family down the street eats tacquitos for dinner. Paleocons will still continue to shit a brick that they might be celebrating Cinco De Mayo.

  94. That’s a good point, re: the differences in the root of their immigration restrictionism. I think the Paleotarian argument is in good faith and a legitimate point, even if mistaken, while the Paleocon argument with the screaming about “reconquest” is batshit insane.

  95. Who the hell identifies himself as a cosmotarian, anyway?!

  96. BDB: The problem is that both the paleocons and -tarians will often use arguments from each other, so its easy to get them mixed up. Take the federal government out of the equation and they agree on very little. As soon as paleocons start regulating gambling, blowjobs, violent videogames, and implementing further alcohol and tobacco restrictions that alliance falls apart very fast.

    The litmus test between a paleocon and paleotarian is pretty much the no-knock SWAT raid. Paleocons don’t see anything wrong with it as long as the victim was doing something they didn’t like. A paleotarian will be absolutely livid that someone would even think of violating their property and privacy.

  97. Found the original coining of the word “cosmotarian” here. Yes, Ron Paul was involved.

    Then again, political labels seem to change wildly over even short periods of time. Look at how “liberal” meant basically the opposite of what it means now less than a century ago.

  98. Also, I think it’s important to point out that paleos and cosmos agree on basically every domestic political issue, with the possible exceptions of abortion and gay marriage, which are respectively a dead issue and a silly argument over words, so who cares.

    It’s a cultural difference, not a political one.

  99. Who the hell identifies himself as a cosmotarian, anyway?!

    I would never walk up to someone and introduce myself as a cosmotarian, but the label does fit me. With the big caveat that the word doesn’t seem to have a precise meaning. Not sure how it has gotten the pro-Democrat/pseudo-Democrat associations it has for some commenters on this thread.

  100. Tulpa–

    Sadly, a lot of people don’t quite get it that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned and will just be used as a political football.

  101. Paleotarians aren’t very free market sometimes either. See: trade deals, immigration.

    You do realize the free market position on trade deals is that you shouldn’t need a trade deal to trade. This happens to be Dr. Paul’s position and why he opposed NAFTA etc.

    If you think 200 pages of trade regulations represents “free trade”, you’re a funny, funny guy.

  102. Going deeper into the link I just posted, the “cosmo-paleo divide” is mentioned in this article in The Nation (of all places!). They seem to place it as a CATO/Reason vs. Mises.org/AntiWar.com dispute.

    Self-identified libertarians may be a tiny portion of the electorate, but small numbers have never stood in the way of bitter intramural sectarian disputes. When Lindsey says that Paul “comes from a different part of the libertarian universe than I do,” he’s referring to the libertarian version of the Trotsky/Lenin split, which opened up in the early 1980s and continues to echo through libertarianism today.

  103. The Volt won’t save GM. It’s a publicity stunt.

    Even more pathetic, the CEO didn’t even think to try to get some green cred p.r. until after being scolded for showing up at the first round of hearings on a private jet.

  104. Tulpa–

    That makes the perfect the enemy of the good.

  105. BDB, right on about abortion. As a pro-lifer myself, I’ve come to the realization that our place in the GOP is analogous to that of blacks (who for example support school vouchers in large majorities) in the Dem party — always fawned over when it comes to rhetoric, and always sold out when the chips are down and independent votes/teachers union money is on the line.

  106. I have some sympathy for Ford because they’re actually starting to do better, and even more sympathy for Chrysler because they got screwed over by Mercedes for ten years, but none for GM. GM has been behind on EVERYTHING since the 1970s.

    Behind on compacts. Behind on the minivan. Behind on the SUV. Behind on hybrids. It goes on, and on, and on. They’re the worst car company in the universe.

  107. And now blacks are excited to have one of their own in the White House. Too bad he loves public schools* hates school vouchers, loves abortion, and loves the Drug War, in opposition to large majorities in the black community.

    I remember the feeling back in 2000 when we finally got one of our own in the White House, a real pro-lifer, not lukewarm like Bush I and Reagan had been. Those labels don’t offer much comfort for long.

    * Momentarily forgot he doesn’t love them enough to send his kids there.

  108. “I remember the feeling back in 2000 when we finally got one of our own in the White House, a real pro-lifer, not lukewarm like Bush I and Reagan had been.”

    Remember how he was going to have a “humble foreign policy” and stop “nation building”? Yeah. So do I. The guy is such a mental midget he can’t stand up to the people in his administration that order him on what to do.

  109. Yeah, I suppose Bush’s record on pro-life turned out better than his record on humble foreign policy and fiscal restraint. Of course, he would have had to eat embryos for breakfast every day to do worse than he did on those issues…

  110. Mike, if you take the definition of “toleraant cosmopolitan” as the definition of libertarianism, then you need to ask which presidential candidate was most tolerant and cosmopolitan. The answer is clear. It wasn’t Nader, wasn’t Barr, wasn’t McCain, wasn’t Paul and wasn’t McKinney. It was in fact Obama.

    The huge problem with Postrel’s definition is that it completely ignores the evils of the state, and completely ignores free markets.

    p.s. Of course, paleo- and cosmo- are only minorities in the broader libertarian movement. You also have objectivists, agorists, voluntaryists, neo-libertarians, classic liberals, and just plain vanilla libertarians.

  111. Brandybuck – don’t forget the “dope-smoking Republican” libertarian faction 😉

  112. Cosmotarians are the ones who support libertarian ideas on utilitarian grounds.

    With some individual exceptions:
    They see a ban on Govt funded stem-cell research as a bad thing. They favor “market based ” solutions for global warming.They support enforcing race and gender anti-discrimination laws.They favor marijuana taxes while being troubled,if not outright opposed, to legalizing the rest of the pharmacopoeia. .They ridicule Govt enforced professional licensure for hair-braiders and interior designers but strongly support it for doctors and lawyers.

  113. SIV – making good the enemy of perfect already? I almost think you’re trolling here, because you have a lot of half-truths in that paragraph.

    1) They see a ban on Govt funded stem-cell research as a bad thing.
    The issue was whether the government should subsidize it or ban it completely (on Right-to-Life grounds). An outright ban is a bad thing, subsidization is also bad.

    2) They favor “market based ” solutions for global warming.
    Any solution to global warming, if there is one to be found, must be sustainable in the market, otherwise it will fail. The solution is going to be market based just because EVERYTHING is market based, even when the government interferes in the market.

    3) They support enforcing race and gender anti-discrimination laws.
    I’ll give you that.

    4) They favor marijuana taxes while being troubled,if not outright opposed, to legalizing the rest of the pharmacopoeia.
    I think you’re going to find that most of the libertarian community is colored in different shades of gray over drug legalization. However, the status quo of the Drug War is unacceptable for any proponent of liberty.

    5) They ridicule Govt enforced professional licensure for hair-braiders and interior designers but strongly support it for doctors and lawyers.
    You’re getting industry-enforced and government-enforced licensing mixed up.

  114. Bingo, I think you’re wrong about #5. There are state-enforced licensing schemes for doctors and lawyers.

  115. “4) They favor marijuana taxes while being troubled,if not outright opposed, to legalizing the rest of the pharmacopoeia.”

    I’m for making everything over-the-counter at the local 7-11. I don’t think meth or crack will be any more popular than bathtub gin or pure grain alcohol is at that point.

  116. Oh yes, they definitely exist. However, as a cosmotarian, the industry enforcing a standard is a much better solution than the State enforcing one.

  117. What about the post-bankruptcy cost of supporting the workers of a collapsed auto industry within the existing US social safety net? Isn’t that the doomsday scenario Frank is trying to avoid here?

    Too big to fail, huh?
    Kiss my royal libertarian, libertine posterior.

  118. Mike, if you take the definition of “toleraant cosmopolitan” as the definition of libertarianism, …

    Sorry, I think I have to stop following your train of thought right there. I don’t think that’s the definition of libertarianism.

  119. Mike, that’s the definition Virginia Postrel attributed to libertarianism (see above).

  120. I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t point out that today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  121. Libertarianism –

    I own my own body.
    I own my own property.
    Fraud and force are verboten.
    This all applies to my adult neighbors, regardless of peripheral shit.*

    * “Race”, gender, religion, who you’re banging, etc.

  122. J sub D,

    Does that boil down to “Ain’t nobody’s business if you do”? That kinda sums up my approach.

  123. I hate to defend SIV here, but he’s right that govt funded stem cell research is the issue, even Bush did not take action to ban private research (though he probably would support such a ban).

    And on doctor/lawyer liscensure private industry liscensing is government backed, which is what I gather he’s referring to.

    The global warming thing always cracks me up. Whether global warming exists, can be traced to mankind and is a threat to mankind’s well being is a factual issue, where one falls on that issue should have no more bearing on whether someone is a libertarian or unitarian for that matter. Now, for those libertarians who think that the overwhelming consensus among experts in the relative fields is correct then of course they should be for market based solutions rather than command solutions.

  124. Saying it’s “unlibertarian” or “cosmotarian” to believe that global warming is occurring, is a threat to mankind’s wellbeing and can be addressed by our efforts is no like saying its “unlibertarian” or “cosmotarian” to believe in plate tectonics.

  125. Bingo,

    With #1 you characterize the REASON line of thought perfectly–false dichotomies.

    There was no ban on stem cell research.
    The proposed comprehensive immigration reform was not “the good” yet any opposition was decried as nativism for another example.

    If there is such a thing as a “solution to global warming”(there’s not) it should be voluntary.

    Drugs are a property rights issue. For many it is an “I want to get high issue”.

    People should be free to choose between competing private professional licensure boards and unlicensed professionals.Lying about your credential is fraud.More professed libertarians than just the “cosmotarian faction” are appalled at the idea of this(especially doctors and lawyers).

    What Jsub says above.

  126. MNG,

    Get back to me when there is force based schemes to ban technology and confiscate wealth as a solution to the plate tectonics problem.

  127. Of course, he would have had to eat embryos for breakfast every day to do worse than he did on those issues

    He doesn’t? I must be losing my touch.

  128. SIV

    Assume for a minute that all those scientists are right and you and other ideologues are wrong and that global warming is real, man-made and a threat to all mankind’s welfare. You don’t think that would justify some coercion to combat it?

    If I dumped something into the air that was proven to make you and everybody else sick you don’t think that would justify ya’ll coercing me to stop?

  129. Oh, I’ve got something similar right here up my sleeve SIV.

    Malarial pools. Let’s go back to a time when malaria drugs were not readily available. And let’s say that science shows that letting stagnant pools of water fosters malaria carrying mosquitos.

    And my lazy ass has let several pools accumulate on my land. And the mosquitos, doing what they do, are biting people all around me and they are getting malaria.

    I can’t be coerced to clean that up?

    That’s incredible buddy.

  130. This is a great example of what I’ve seen as the paleo-cosmo debate.

    Jacob Sullum a year or two ago wrote about “public health” measures like fighting obesity and “gun violence” and how these were bullshit “public health” measures. As an example of a legit public health exercise he noted combatting malarial pools.

    Now I can just see a paleo: “Urgh, urgh, the pool is on my land I have a right to have malarial pools on my land, urgh urgh no one can tell me what to do with my land, argh.”

    Is Sullum “selling out” to appease his liberal cocktail party mates? Of course not, he just realizes that something you do on your land that does me and him direct harm falls into the same category as someone firing a bullet into me from his land.

    Which gives evidence to my working theory: paleo’s are rather inflexible and dense libertarians (this could explain the religion appeal too). I’ve seen some exceptions though (hey, I read Rockwell’s guys, some of them are ok in my book).

  131. MNG,

    I think we inflexible libertarian extremists would argue that if you are sending malarial mosquitoes into my property to bite me, it is no different than shooting randomly into my property from yours with a gun.

    If you want to keep a malarial pool on your property and put a net over it so that no mosquitoes escape, it’s not my business.

  132. If you think 200 pages of trade regulations represents “free trade”, you’re a funny, funny guy.

    OTOH, if you think the status quo of freedom of trade prior to NAFTA was better, then you’re an exceptionally funny guy.

    I like the “UGGGHHH…DR PAUL” reference you threw in there, too.

    And good dodge on immigration!

  133. hey, I read Rockwell’s guys, some of them are ok in my book

    Oh praise Jesus. Now they can hopefully sleep at night.

  134. Hi MNG –

    Assume for a minute that all those scientists are right and you and other ideologues are wrong and that global warming is real, man-made and a threat to all mankind’s welfare. You don’t think that would justify some coercion to combat it?

    To be fair, there are reputable scientists that deny anthropocentric global warming is actually occuring. The debate is not like evolution or relativity which are settled issues with only quacks denying them.

    Malarial pools. Let’s go back to a time when malaria drugs were not readily available. And let’s say that science shows that letting stagnant pools of water fosters malaria carrying mosquitos.

    And my lazy ass has let several pools accumulate on my land. And the mosquitos, doing what they do, are biting people all around me and they are getting malaria.

    I can’t be coerced to clean that up?

    Of course not. They’re now federally protected wetlands thanks to the court’s interpretations of the Clean Water Act. Essentially, they belong to the feds. 😉

  135. I can’t be coerced to clean that up?

    Of course you can — libertarians do believe in the common law court system dealing with externalities of that sort after actual harms have been demonstrated.

    What we don’t believe in is empowering a pencil-pushing bureaucrat to dictate what property owners can do with their property, in the name of vaguely defined “public health”.

  136. a $25 billion automaker bridge loan drawn half from the TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program, a.k.a. the Paulson-pushed bailout]

    Would have been a more accurate acronym if they called it “Troubled Relief Asset Program”.

  137. So now I’m a …..

    Proud Pro-Malaria Partisan

    Keep ’em coming.I need more resume builders.
    And all you cosmotarians have to brag about is being effete dope smoking Republicans who hate roads;^)

  138. “I would never walk up to someone and introduce myself as a cosmotarian, but the label does fit me”
    To be perfectly honest, I never introduce myself as a libertarian. Mostly because, at best, most people would just say “that’s nice” and slowly edge away.

  139. SIV,
    “So now I’m a …..

    Proud Pro-Malaria Partisan ”
    Now you just need to give your everlasting support to the global DDT ban, and your credentials will be perfect.

  140. “It’s kind of a vague slur that started being thrown around here about a year ago.”

    It can mean many bad things to many people. Therefore, saying “Cosmotarians are shit” is perfectly appropriate, because you probably have someone (Chapman) in mind that deserves the insult.

    And Matt, when are you going to get around to ousting Steve Chapman?

  141. “Everyone knows this nation was more free in 1850 than it was now!”

    !850? No. 1880? Yes.

  142. Nonetheless, I’ll still take compact discs and antibiotics, thanks very much.

  143. Sorry, I think I have to stop following your train of thought right there. I don’t think that’s the definition of libertarianism.

    Except that cosmotarians are the ones using that definition. Hence the name given to them.

  144. Look, I know a lot of you hate cosmotarians and have a bunch of stereotypic beliefs made up in your head, but its a matter of culture. We believe 99% of the things you paleolibs do… I can’t count the times I’ve agreed with economist while lurking.

    The point is that though we may have different priorities in life and our political struggle for freedom, it shouldn’t make us even close to ideological enemies.

    I helped coin the term with joe (of all people) last year, you’ll find that the driving-to-Whole-Foods-on-a-scooter-before-snorting-coke-and-attending-a-cocktail-party is completely farcical and completely true. It’s not derogatory, we are the cosmopolitan libertarians, and the “boots on the ground” for advocating freedom in urban areas.

    Cultural battles are completely lame and unproductive. Cosmos and paleos don’t have to be friends, we just need to realize that our philosophies are the same and take every chance we get to expand our love of liberty in government and in the collective consciousness.

  145. Except that cosmotarians are the ones using that definition.

    I don’t think there’s like an official Cosmotarian Club with a manifesto or even a PowerPoint slide with a mission statement. 🙂

  146. Mike, that’s the definition Virginia Postrel attributed to libertarianism (see above).

    Is this the Virginia Postrel post being referred to:

    http://www.dynamist.com/weblog/archives/002695.html

    The phrase she uses is “tolerant cosmopolitan” and she says nothing about it being a definition of libertarianism.

  147. With #1 you characterize the REASON line of thought perfectly–false dichotomies.

    Can you give some citations of writers in reason magazine or posters on this blog engaging in false dichotomies?

  148. To be perfectly honest, I never introduce myself as a libertarian. Mostly because, at best, most people would just say “that’s nice” and slowly edge away.

    Yeah, sigh. Back when I was on the board of my county Libertarian Party organization, one guy was berating us because we didn’t want to put his homemade Libertarian bumper stickers on our cars. I explained that I would be willing to, if we could make a deal that our campaign chair would stop writing ballot arguments accusing the local public library boards of being lying thieves.

  149. Where as, you are in no danger of appearing working class if you want to spend the hard-earned money of the working class bailing out a bunch of rich bankers.

    And if you want to spend money on neither?

  150. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/08/world/europe/08kremlin.html?hp

    Now, the Kremlin seems to be capitalizing on the economic crisis, exploiting the opportunity to establish more control over financially weakened industries that it has long coveted, particularly those in natural resources.

    At least we’re not alone!

  151. Two words, British Leyland.

  152. “Of course you can — libertarians do believe in the common law court system dealing with externalities of that sort after actual harms have been demonstrated.”

    Uhh, so we can clean it up AFTER we all have malaria.

    See, that’s the problem people may have with libtertarians. You’d rather have malaria than regulations ;).

  153. In all earnestness MNG,

    Most of the time, the choice is between no malaria and no regulations, and no malaria and regulations.

    For example, I am pretty sure that one of my neighbors illegally owned a gun while I was growing up. Somehow we made it through adolescence without being shot by the guy.

  154. “But I worry about the future of the Detroit Symphony, the Detroit Institute of the Arts and similar institutions that depend on sponsorships from the big 2.5. Not to mention the restaurants that make this city great… Some of my favorites are already in trouble.”

    In 1987, Texas lost 175,000 oil related jobs in a year. We got no bailout. We are still here – where’s my retroactive bailout?

  155. “But I worry about the future of the Detroit Symphony, the Detroit Institute of the Arts and similar institutions that depend on sponsorships from the big 2.5.”

    Why are corporations that are losing money giving money to a symphony?

  156. This problem would never even come up in Somalia.

  157. Why are corporations that are losing money giving money to a symphony?

    Coprporate chairitable donations are a form of advertising. Some would say cost effective advertising.

    You wouldn’t stop advertising your wares if your business was running in the red, would you?

  158. close italics tag.

  159. Malarial pools. Let’s go back to a time when malaria drugs were not readily available. And let’s say that science shows that letting stagnant pools of water fosters malaria carrying mosquitos.

    And my lazy ass has let several pools accumulate on my land. And the mosquitos, doing what they do, are biting people all around me and they are getting malaria.

    I can’t be coerced to clean that up?

    I would support a state requirement to clean up a stagnant pool that might produce mosquitos – but only if that requirement was imposed equally on all property owners in the malarial zone. Each and every one.

    That would mean that I would not support it if you were only required to come up with a “malaria control plan” if you wanted to build something new, and existing property owners didn’t have to worry about mosquitos or stagnant pools or what have you.

    That also means that I would not support it if the cleanup requirement only applied to my stagnant pools, and the stagnant pools on Teddy Kennedy’s property were declared an “environmentally sensitive wetland that must be left undisturbed” or what have you.

    That also means I would not support it if I was required to clean up my stagnant pools, but large property owners with existing stagnant pools were issued free “stagnant pool permit credits”, which they could sell for a profit, while I was issued nothing.

    It’s just not enough to point to an existing problem and say, “Doesn’t this problem justify coercion to solve it?” It very well may, but the exact type of coercion and its method of application is important, too.

  160. “You wouldn’t stop advertising your wares if your business was running in the red, would you?”

    I think everybody in Detroit has heard of GM, Ford, & Chrysler by now.

  161. Uhh, so we can clean it up AFTER we all have malaria.

    When do you think your public health bureaucracy is going to have it cleaned up? AFTER people start complaining about it, ie, after people start getting malaria. (And in my experience with bureaucrats, most likely LONG after they start receiving complaints).

    You seem to be under the impression that holding a govt job suddenly makes you omniscient.

  162. J sub D,

    Sorry, if my tax dollars are supporting the Big 2.71828… then I think taxpayers should have a say in how they advertise. No more opera contributions, no more John Cougar songs, no more boats mysteriously accelerating past trucks after the trailer hitch breaks.

  163. Uhh, so we can clean it up AFTER we all have malaria.

    Excellent point. People living in close proximity do have to establish preventative rules establishing public sanitation. No reason libertarian philosophy can’t allow for such practical measures.

  164. When do you think your public health bureaucracy is going to have it cleaned up?

    I’m as anti-big government as you, I’m sure, but not every public agency if fucking up 100% of the time. For example, we have a competent mosquito vector control agency in my area; they were even commended by a grand jury for being notably conscientious about sticking to their budget.

  165. Does no one understand that even with this “bailout” they will be back in a couple of months asking for more? Are you going to go out and buy a new car? I sure as hell am not! So what are they saving?

  166. So what are they saving?

    Votes, I suppose.

    I wonder what is the least destructive thing they could do that would actually sell politically. Maybe a cash outlay for extended unemployment and job training programs. They might have to throw in a “pilot” subsidized Federal health insurance program.

  167. Mike Laursen, that was just a sideswipe, not my main point. A mosquito control agency is not going to be staffed by clairvoyant individuals, and is hopefully not searching every property every day for breeding puddles, which means they’ll only be notified of their existence when people start getting bitten.

    There’s no reason common law remedies can’t handle the situation just as well, without helping the public health statists get their foot in the door.

  168. The phrase she uses is “tolerant cosmopolitan” and she says nothing about it being a definition of libertarianism.

    Perhaps because being a tolerant cosmopolitan is perfectly consistent, in principle, with being a redistributionist nanny stater, and, indeed, people who would self-identify as tolerant cosmopolitans are probably much more likely to favor than to oppose the exercise of state power as a solution to perceived problems.

  169. A mosquito control agency is not going to be staffed by clairvoyant individuals, and is hopefully not searching every property every day for breeding puddles, which means they’ll only be notified of their existence when people start getting bitten.

    Actually, according to their website they do searches for stagnant pools of water large enough to show up on digital aerial photos.

  170. Perhaps because being a tolerant cosmopolitan is perfectly consistent, in principle, with being a redistributionist nanny stater, and, indeed, people who would self-identify as tolerant cosmopolitans are probably much more likely to favor than to oppose the exercise of state power as a solution to perceived problems.

    Huh? Seems like whether one is a tolerant cosmopolitan would be completely orthogonal to one’s views on redistribution and nanny state-ism.

  171. I also don’t particularly like libertarian support for McCain

    There’s no such thing as libertarian support for McCain.

    -jcr

  172. There’s no such thing as libertarian support for McCain.

    Who?

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