Budget Deficit

Cavanaugh, Gasparino Go Full Contact Over Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy


I enjoyed speaking with Charles Gasparino on Fox Business today. 

Gasparino will, I hope, work through his Meredith Whitney trouble, a relationship in which I can't even score a gay best friend supporting role. (This was my first encounter with Gasparino and I've never met Whitney.) Because prophecy was given to fools, I do not and never have put any bet on Whitney's claim of 50 to 100 large municipal bankruptcies in the near future, nor for that matter have I weighed in on former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's estimate that 90 percent of municipalities will default. To be sporting I'll say: I think The Big Dick's figure seems high. 

As for Gasparino's broader claim that Reason and the rest of the "political right" want to use bankruptcy as a tool to break government employee unions, I can't speak for the political right because I'm a libertarian. But I believe Gasparino's repeated use of phrases like "imminent municipal Armageddon," "doomsday" and "cataclysmic proportions" is silly and hysterical. Bankruptcy – including and maybe in particular government bankruptcy – is not the end of the world. If it were, Orange County would not be one of the most pleasant places to live on this or any other known planet. Bankruptcy is the legal tool the Magna Carta nations have devised to allow the insolvent to get out of their ruinous contractual agreements. I do not believe all government employee pensions could be torn up even in a bankruptcy process. (Coming attractions: I will soon be rattling the teeth of readers everywhere with a detailed look at the legal framework for getting out of pension obligations.) In fact, I am aware (I don't know whether Gasparino knows this) that government employee organizing may not even be a primary cause of the state fiscal crisis. I know that because I read it – sorry: wrote it – in Reason. 

In fact, I am puzzled why Gasparino refers to the "progress" made by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when Walker does not have a budget passed and the Badger State's non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says his proposed budget will increase spending. Does he mean that Walker achieved quorumless passage of his court-enjoined abolition of public sector bargaining rights? If that's the progress, then which of us, Charlie, is a tool of the right? 

I join Gasparino in applauding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's apparent consensus on a balanced budget that cuts spending, though I'm not sure why Gasparino writes three lines expressing his surprise that a Democrat pulled that off. Party affiliation, like skin color, is something I don't even notice. I think Gasparino has the problem here. 

I also applaud Gasparino on having achieved a successful career as a financial journalist. It seemed to me he was unduly defensive about this and resented my wandering onto his turf – but please watch the video and make up your own mind. As Quincy told the punk rockers in the beloved punk rock episode of Quincy, M.E., I don't care what kind of names you call me. But if Gasparino says I "couldn't care less about investors losing money amid a panic," I say proudly guilty as charged. It's not my business – nor should it be any journalist's business – to make anybody feel better. In my previous post I listed many reasons why bond buyers are right to be losing their appetite for municipal debt. If you'd like another reason, check out Randall Jensen's fine reporting on Victorville, California's strenuous and possibly extra-legal efforts to avoid bankruptcy in The Bond Buyer. And if you'd like a good argument against municipal bankruptcy, you may enjoy Chicago attorney James E. Spiotto's testimony [pdf] to the House Judiciary Committee. 

I wish Gasparino, and for that matter Whitney, the best of luck, so long as their interests do not conflict with mine. 

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  1. “Gasparino will, I hope, work through his Meredith Whitney trouble, a relationship in which I can’t even score a gay best friend supporting role.”

    Timmy is Gay? (NTTAWWT)

    1. He always dresses up for appearances on Unavision.

  2. Any reference to the Quincy Punk Episode requires an obligatory link to the Spoon song of the same name.

  3. Is Meredith Whitney carrying Tim Cavanaugh’s illegitimate love child? Tune in tonight on Fox Baby Bump Watch for all the details!

  4. “As for Gasparino’s broader claim that Reason and the rest of the “political right” want to use bankruptcy as a tool to break government employee unions, I can’t speak for the political right because I’m a libertarian.”

    That’s a perfect 10!

    1. Tim,

      Learn these phrases:

      ? Please let me finish my sentence.
      ? Even pre-schoolers know it’s rude to interrupt.
      ? Stop being a jackass and let me speak my piece.

      You may think it’s not worth being aggro on TV but you’d be wrong. Producers love conflict. You’ll get many more requests for your time. And you get to argue for civility!

      1. I can’t speak for the political right because I’m a libertarian.

        What color is your team, Tim?

        1. What color is the Reason logo?

  5. “You can see the reaction after she made those remarks”


    I see a huge drop in the graph…then I see she made her prediction…then I see the graph, with some up and down noise, is flat….

    Hell based on that graph they showed her remarks appear to have stabilized the markets after a long fall.

  6. Tim….time for a new suit! The camouflage has worn off the one your wearing….for a moment I could almost see you.

  7. But, on serious note… how badly was that hobo hurt when you stole his sport jacket, Tim? You didn’t smack him around or anything, did you?

    1. In the words a musical genius stole from H.L. Mencken:

      “The difference between a hobo, a tramp and a bum is; a hobo goes from town to town looking for work, a tramp goes from town to town and doesn’t look for work, and a bum doesn’t go from town to town and doesnt look for work. I’ve been all three.”

      1. So you are suggesting that the coat was stolen from a bum.

        1. Hobos’ sport jackets tend to have holes in the elbows since they’re always being thrown off trains by crazed engineers, right? The same must go for tramps.

          1. Sounds like we’ve got a coffee table book in the works.

            1. Well that’s good because I’ve reconsidered and think I can see his severed head resting comfortably on a beige couch.

  8. What a dick.

    Protip: Wearing a nice suit on FOX is winning half the battle.

    1. The other half, I assume, is not appearing on FOX in the first place.

    2. It looks like it was made from the untanned asshole-hide of a dozen retarded steers.

      1. Just like your skin tight leather pants?

        1. Mine are tanned, shitdick.

          1. All I wanted was an admission of possession, and you fell right into my trap.

            1. Or is my trap so I can beat you for breaking into my house to give my leather pants a rimjob while they are hanging the closet?

              1. Well, now I know you’re waiting for me, so I suppose I’ll have to change my plan.

                  1. Can’t you guys express your love for each other in a less annoying way, like recordings of nails on a chalkboard or something like that?

                    1. Jealousy is a really ugly emotion, heller.

                    2. I wouldn’t know.

                    3. He’s almost rectal-like in his desperation for attention.

                    4. rectal-like? heller’s not that bad. Jeez.

  9. Any investor that buys municipal bonds because of what Gasparino (or anybody else ) says on TV is a fool.

    And if we see some major municipal defaults in the near future, I’d love to see Cavanaugh feed Gasparino some crow.

    Lashing out at Cavanaugh like that was especially pathetic too. A vast right-wing conspiracy out there trying to trick America into thinking that their overpaid public employee unions are bankrupting their local governments?!

    How do you trick people into seeing the truth?

    1. Tangental:

      Seeing Suze nn Orman on PBS telling the fools that everything she told them over the last several years is no longer applicable. Oh well.

      She then goes on to give them her current pile of bullshit.

  10. Does he mean that Walker achieved quorumless passage of his court-enjoined abolition of public sector bargaining rights?

    Snark should never override accuracy.

    (1) There was an adequate quorum for the passage of the stand-alone bill.

    (2) The trial court botched its attempt to enjoin the bill, failing to either rule it invalid or to enjoin its publication by the government, choosing instead to give cover to the Democratic Secretary of State’s refusal to publish it.

    (3) Pubsec bargaining rights were not abolished; they were constrained, limited, subject to ratification by voters in certain cases.

    1. Snark should never override accuracy.

      Only the Sith deal in absolutes. Sufficient snark is worth it, but it’s gotta be funny too. This case doesn’t make it.

      1. I don’t care. I want to see more pics of scantily-clad chicks!

        1. Seconded.

          1. The motion has been seconded. All in favor?

            1. Aye.

              1. Aye.

            2. Nay

    2. As usual, R C Dean is right on all points. I do think this law will remain under a cloud because of the circumstances of its passing ? though I realize that’s just a fancy way of saying, Damn the law; it’s the will of the people that matters.

      1. Tim, that tie..it’s gotta go

    3. Snark should never override accuracy.

      But we know you will be around to correct it.

      Can’t we have the best of both worlds?

      Inaccurate snark followed by your spot-on corrections?

    4. Can we please stop referencing collective bargaining RIGHTS, as if such a thing exists? There are rights to freedom of association and freedom of contract (regardless of what the SCOTUS says). There is no right to have a simple majority of workers impose a government-sanctioned labor monopoly on an unwilling employer.

  11. Very childish argument really.

  12. It seemed to me he was unduly defensive about this and resented my wandering onto his turf…

    You think?

  13. “We already have one CNBC, we don’t need another one.”

    Wonderful. Hopefully this can lead to recurring appearances paired with the oddly Dice Clay-esque Gasparino – if not exactly the gay best friend, then at least the plucky cub reporter from the local alt-weekly.

  14. Well I think it is pretty obvious that the business part of Fox business is not to report news but to make investors feel all gooy inside.

    I am impressed Tim. I may not agree with you on everything but Jesus looking at this small part of how others report on this stuff you are miles ahead of the curve.

    1. Also what is this bullshit about “knowing about it for 2 years”.

      Most of what I know about it comes from reporting by Tim. Gasparino apparently lives in a universe where poeple like me don’t, who get their news from Fox, do not exist.

      If Tim did not discuss this stuff I would have no fucking idea about it.

      Why is Tim a bad guy for informing an audience that would, without him, have remained uninformed?

      1. Jefferson County AL’s problems have been widely disseminated for more than 2 years, fuckwad.

  15. Is everyone else seeing the Flash dialog box above Tim’s face? I’m clicking “Deny” like crazy and nothing’s happening.

  16. “I can’t speak for the political right because I’m a libertarian.”

    Why is this the cause of such stress here? Libertarians are to the right of Republicans–they support more individual liberty, more individual freedom, and more individual responsibility. Republicans support too many statist ideas.

    And the ‘socially liberal’ ideas that libertarians support? Well, unless you support them as ‘state sanctioned’ or ‘state enforced’, you’re supporting them from a totally different direction than the left–who supports them only as a distraction from things they consider important–the ‘opiate’ for their masses(consider that, when the left actually gets control, those ‘social liberties’ suddenly become verboten).

    He treated you as if you were on the right because you ARE on the right, Tim….unless you’re not a libertarian.

    1. Why is this the cause of such stress here?

      Because a one-dimensional scale is an inherently stupid way of categorizing something as varied as political opinion.

    2. Yeah I don’t get it either. Libertarianism is a branch of the Right that is far and away superior to the supra-strain of Conservatism, which is dying.

    3. I don’t see myself as being to the right of Republicans.

      And I would take offense at being lumped in with the traitors to the constitution and the cause of freedom too.

      When I see a Republican run on abolishing the income tax? Then I’ll be a lot less offended–until then, they’re just Socialism Lite.

      I don’t give a crap about whether their brand of socialism is kinder and gentler than Obama’s. No one in the Republican Party speaks for me.

    4. Even if “right” simply means “not left” that still doesn’t make sense.

      The “far right” is inevitably linked with “unlefty” things like fascism, corporatism, theocracy, social conservatism, ect. All things Libertarians aren’t too groovy on.

      1. That’s because the Left uses Stalin’s definition of “right” to mean “socialists I don’t like”. When you convince voters their only options are socialism and socialism, they tend to vote for socialism.

        1. but on a simple sliding scale from left to right, that’s inevitable.

          The point is to escape the trap altogether and avoid repeating 200+ years of stupid European history.

          1. Despite what they are teaching these days, the left is the state and the right is the individual.

            1. Despite what they are teaching these days, the left is the state and the right is the individual.

              Except that has never historically been true.

            2. The communist ideal, as stupid and impossible as it is, is stateless.

              And “the right” has almost always stood for the Church, the Army, and corporatism.

              1. Maybe the left is more commune style collective than the State. But Church, army and corporatism is just the way educators have described the right for forty years.

                1. There’s actual historic truth to it. Especially in Europe and South America, “the Right” has definitely been an authoritarian force for reaction and repression.

                  The Spanish Civil War is the ultimate culmination of the daftness of the left-right concept. A dozen or more groups who have little or nothing to do with each other have to line up on one side or another until only Utopian radicalism and pure statist authoritarianism have a voice.

                  Europe’s doomed to that nonsense, we don’t have to be. But you can see it here in most of the groups who proudly claim to be “right wing”. They’re usually nationalist war hawks who have few qualms with using government force to pander to businesses and to enforce some variety of religious social conservatism. I don’t want to be associated with that because it has nothing to do with the essential principles of Classical Liberalism to me.

            3. The left and the right don’t exist. They’re myths.

              Let’s say you throw out a representative list of 100 statements, covering a huge number of topics and viewpoints (include moderate and extreme opinions, and even offensive or racist ones). And then you got a large representative sample of people to say whether they disagree or agree.

              There will be lots of clusters of beliefs among people, and you’ll be able to identify certain axes of alignment, but there will probably be at least two, probably more (I imagine social issues will cluster much less than economic ones).

              Trying to break that down into two groups will lose a ton of useful information, and there are probably going to be a lot of clusters that could as easily go in one group as another.

    5. Libertarians are to the right of Republicans

      To the right of Republicans….like the Nazis are?

      yeah i think your idea of changing the name “libertarian” to fascist is a wonderful idea.

      1. Nazis are to the right of communists. They are to the left of socialists, Democrats, Republicans and most other center-left and leftist political stances.

        They are far to the left of libertarians who are a center right/right political stance.

  17. Cavanaugh still hasn’t experienced the joy of winning a fight. Despite being 100% correct, there is no urgency to take the gloves off and embarrass the fuck our of Gasparine.

  18. Wow, maybe Tim was right after all. Gov. Walker tried to win in Wisconsin, but now a judge has dealt him a loss. I guess Walker was wrong to even try.

  19. Libertarianism is basically the Marxism of the Right. If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function. Like Marxism, libertarianism offers the fraudulent intellectual security of a complete a priori account of the political good without the effort of empirical investigation. Like Marxism, it aspires, overtly or covertly, to reduce social life to economics. And like Marxism, it has its historical myths and a genius for making its followers feel like an elect unbound by the moral rules of their society.

    1. Okay Tony…..now you are “Frank”? Just trying to keep track of all the personas.

    2. Franks right guys. Extremism is bad. So instead of being selfish and asking our overlords to not rape us everyday, we should strive for a little altruism and ask only to be raped twice a week.

  20. I also applaud Gasparino on having achieved a successful career as a financial journalist. It seemed to me he was unduly defensive about this and resented my wandering onto his turf ? but please watch the video and make up your own mind

    Uh, watched it, and Gasperino was a total dick. Basically talked over you constantly, and dismissed you as a “non journalist” because you’re not, like, a Cable News guy.

    e.g. “I know this is kind of hard for you to get your hands around because you don’t do a lot of reporting in this area….” – “I’ve got some good books for you to read…” – “You’re just here to promote your political agenda”…

    … yeah, certified douchebag. Talking over people and laughing at them and using rhetorical ‘appeal to authority’ is so much easier than actually acknowledging facts and discussing them.

  21. Tim: get a new suit, and bring an argument to your next appearance. You knew Gasbag was all geared up to talk about Whitney’s retarded predictions, so why the hell did you take the interview? Yeah, Gasbag is a dick, this isn’t new. But he was ready to have an uncivil discourse about the issue at hand. You spoke in general hyperbole. Where are these $100 billion in defaults coming from??? No one can answer that, not even Whitney.

  22. he rest of the “political right” want to use bankruptcy as a tool to break government employee unions, I can’t speak for the political right because I’m a libertarian. But I believe Gaspar

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