Worst Decade Evah? Nick Gillespie on NPR Discussing Same


Yesterday I was on NPR's Talk of the Nation to discuss "The Worst Ideas of the Decade," a Washington Post forum to which I contributed a piece about Sarbanes-Oxley. Also appearing: Dahlia Lithwick of Slate and Clive Thompson of Wired. The host was Rebecca Roberts.

Some snippets from the transcript:

Mr. GILLESPIE:…[Sarbanes-Oxley] has made it much more difficult for smaller companies, with now with much harsher accounting requirements, to compete with bigger companies that can absorb those costs. It has not, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, done anything to minimize fraud or fooling around with financial statements. They've actually said that they've seen more mismanaged accounting statements and fraud going on after Sarbanes-Oxley was passed, and it also hurts companies that have to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley versus ones who don't; keeps companies private, which deprives them not only of capital but of investors possibly investing in publicly traded companies.

So overhaul, just a bad, hysterical piece of legislation that doesn't accomplish its basic goal….

The Patriot Act is probably the most serious bit of legislation in this vein, and also one of the most telling—where it's a bill that everybody knows, and you know, if you listen to people who were there—like Congressman, or former Congressman, Bob Barr—nobody but nobody had any time to read that legislation before they passed it—something which, again, is replaying, right now, in health care reform.

Whatever you think of health care reform, there is something deeply, deeply troubling with the notion that it is becoming increasingly common that legislators pass massively long transformational pieces of legislation without even taking the time to actually parse through them. Very disturbing….

Lighter topics discussed include the BCS system for college football and what I call the "tyranny of hardwood floors." Whole transcript and audio here.

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  1. All he asset groups and indexes hit their all time highs this last decade. Of course most came crashing down.

  2. Interesting that you can get intelligent discussion–although God knows what Nick Gllespie was doing in it–on public radio. Comercial media, like Fox News–where Gillespie belongs–offer only banal shit and histeriscal screaming. Doesn’t fit the libertoid paradigm, does it?

    1. Fits perfectly with the paradigm. Markets deliver what people want, which is apparently banal shit and hysterical screaming, not intelligent discussion.

    2. Edward, your anger is so yummy and sweet.

    3. Yes, Morris, “pass massively long transformational pieces of legislation” without bothering to read them and passing laws that intrude into private life is such a good thing.

      Note that it is only people like Gillespie that ever question these things and, yes, it’s a good thing NPR has them on.

      It provides a good contrast to the police-state loving house liberals they usually carry.

    4. Nineteen minutes without feeding. I think 22 is the record.

  3. I see one potential benefit from SarBox; the likelihood that many privately owned businesses will decline to go public.

    The ’80’s boom in IPOs (followed by an even larger effect in the ’90’s) was not, in my opinion an unmitigated “good”.

    1. Booms and busts are natural, with non-linear economic growth. The size of the fluctuations and speed of recovery tends to be impacted to the negative by the gov’t. Arguing that SBox is good because it keeps borderline companies from access to capital in an up cycle seems like a bit of a stretch, especially because the same logic implies it will be at least an equal negative in a downcycle. SBox sucks. get with it.

      1. I don’t mean to imply SarBox is in any way beneficial.

        I merely want to point out that the stampede onto the stock exchanges which occurred in the ’80’s and ’90’s was not necessarily an unmitigated benefit to the economy. It’s entirely possible to create and run a highly successful private company.

        There are ways to raise capital besides IPOs, despite what the minions of a certain evil bloodsucking squid might tell you.

  4. If you were in studio, please tell me you punched Dahlia Lithwick in the snatch hardwood floor.

  5. Edward, get your bell and red suit, you’re gonna miss the lunch crowd.

  6. So overhaul, just a bad, hysterical piece of legislation that doesn’t accomplish its basic goal….

    I think you mean overall

  7. “tyranny of hardwood floors.”

    As opposed to the “despotism of carpet”?

    Rugs, fine. Carpeting can goto hell.

  8. Wow, this is truly amazing. Very good stuff indeed!


  9. Worst decade? The one about to start may take the cake in the first year.

  10. When Did Restaurant Regulation Creep into the Health-Care Bill? [Jim Prevor]

    Like the gift that just keeps giving, both the House and Senate versions of the health-care bill are filled with unexpected treasures. One might suppose that taking over almost a fifth of the national economy would be enough for one bill, but now it turns out that both bills also extend the nanny state into restaurants and supermarket-deli operations.

    The relevant section is titled “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items at Chain Restaurants,” and the gist is that restaurants and retailers that serve prepared foods will have to display on the menu a “nutrient content disclosure statement,” which will list the calories of each item and a “succinct statement concerning suggested daily caloric intake” designed “to enable the public to understand, in the context of a total daily diet, the significance of the caloric information that is provided on the menu.” The information must also be available in writing and there must be signage advising that it is available.

  11. OK. That was weird. My response was to a very tasteless comment by Paulie Carbone, which is now gone.

  12. Hardwood floors are easier to clean and harder to stain with spilled drinks. Therefore, hardwood floors are superior. However, one has to wear fuzzy slippers in the winter because hardwood floors are cold.

    1. Not at my house. I keep the thermostat at 77 degrees and when I’m cold, 81 degrees.

      I do it to help the gas company hit its revenue targets.

      1. God bless you and your family.

  13. I’m curious, I thought NPR was part of the Leftist/Democrat/SocialistMainstreamMedia Cabal, so why have the editor of Reason magazine on?

    Is it because actually NPR works pretty hard to have top notch right wing and libertarian voices on?

  14. Cuz, you know, they’re just the Fox of the left, or some such absurd nonsense…

  15. Is it because actually NPR works pretty hard to have top notch right wing and libertarian voices on?

    (1) Err, no? Compare the airtime given to libertarians (broadly defined) on, say, Fox News and on NPR, and I think you’ll find that NPR isn’t really working all that hard.

    (2) Does the word “token” mean anything, MNG?

    1. It pains me to say this but I agree with MNG. NPR is definitely the most balanced of the major media outlets. Does it have a slant? Definitely. But one thing it does pretty well is show a good breadth of the views and presents them relatively fairly and at a more intellectual level than the cable news screamfests on MSNBC and FOX.

      Gillespie isn’t really a token. There are often dudes from Cato on NPR.

  16. I hear major, and thoughtful, voices from the right on NPR all the time. Cato, AEI, Heritage, they are all regulars there.

    1. Alright, point taken. NPR does do a better job of getting token libertarians than they get credit for.


      (1) they’re still tokens; NPR is the ne plus ultra of squishy lefty lib programming.

      (2) token appearances are better than no appearances.

  17. Nick’s no Alan Colmes RC…

  18. It appears Paulie got disappeared.

    Thanks, guys.

  19. Nick,
    You came out swinging in the first round but you went out lame. And I can’t believe you let all that SUV hate pass without so much as a bitch slap. You should have opened up a can of whoopass, but you only squeezed a tube of nunruler

  20. Dear Mr. Gillespie,

    Please let me know who you spoke to at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners regarding the information you attributed to the ACFE about Sarbanes-Oxley. The comments you made on the show about Sarbanes-Oxley certainly do not reflect the position of the ACFE, and I feel your article is inaccurate and misleading concerning the ACFE’s position. As president of the ACFE, I’m concerned about the tone of your article. I would be happy to discuss this matter further if you would like to contact me.

    Best regards,
    James D. Ratley, CFE, President
    Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

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