I’m a card-carrying computer programmer with a full time job in the field. For better or worse, I have an interest in economics, and I recently bought Paul Krugman’s introductory economics textbook in an attempt to broaden my breadth of knowledge beyond my professional trade. In the first chapter, “First Principles”, I came across the following sentence:
The economy, as a whole, can produce more when each person specializes in a task and trades with others.
Well, that fucking sucks. Way to shit on my plan, Krugman.
Romney clearly won. He was assertive without being angry or overly domineering, and Obama seemed lethargic and missed every opportunity to counter Romney’s attacks. Romney will likely see the polls tighten in his favor over the coming days.
But the story of catastrophe coming from woeful liberal pundits may be a bit overstated. For starters, debates don’t affect the polls as much as people think. Second, there were no major gaffes by Obama that can be tireless mocked and rehashed over the remainder of the campaign. No “$10000 bet”, no “I can’t remember the third thing”, nothing of that nature. Can you remember any damning quote by Obama? I sure can’t.
Romney, on the other hand, clearly contradicted his previous positions on several occasions tonight, most notably his pledge not to cut taxes by $5 trillion. The Obama campaign will hammer him on these inconsistencies and may be able to shape voters’ long term perception of this debate.
Never mind the fact that the U.S. embassy in Cairo issued their statement before protestors breached the embassy’s walls and attacked the consulate in Benghazi. Never mind that Romney’s statement that the Obama administration chose to “sympathize with those who waged the attacks” is, therefore, a complete lie. Never mind that the U.S. embassy may have acted independently from the Obama administration. Never mind that the embassy may have been acting in fear of a growing mob and issued their statements and tweets out of concern for their own safety. Never mind that the Obama administration disavowed the embassy’s statement, despite Romney’s implication to the contrary. And never mind that it may have been inappropriate and premature for Romney to issue his statement while a crisis was still unfolding.
I simply do not understand how the U.S. embassy’s statement could in any way be mistaken for an apology.
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.
The embassy defended the “universal right of free speech” and in no way calls for the silencing or arrest of the makers of the incendiary film. Sure, the embassy condemns inflammatory and offensive rhetoric. But this is pretty standard stuff for an institution primarily concerned with diplomacy and hardly qualifies as an attack on the first amendment.
So this, Governor Romney, is what you call, “an apology for America’s values”? Nobody apologized for our Constitution or freedom of speech. I suppose the U.S. embassy apologized for the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims”. Are efforts to hurt the religious feeling of Muslims what you consider to be American values?
A common defense for landmark buildings and historic districts is that when developers are given permission to build to market conditions, they tend to build new luxury buildings that are unaffordable to all but the very wealthy. This is true as far as it goes. But even if new housing units are pricey, adding to the supply side of housing will have a chaining effect that should make housing more affordable elsewhere within the city.
Consider Major League Baseball, where there are 30 teams, each with a 25 man roster. The 750th best baseball player makes it into the majors, while the 751st best player is priced out. Suppose the Yankees are granted a 26th roster spot. The Yankees being the Yankees will add a high profile player to their roster, either through trade or free agency. This player will come from another team, let’s say the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers now have a vacancy on their roster and will subsequently replace this player with a lesser player from another team. This cascade of player moves will continue until the lowest market team, perhaps the Oakland A’s, are left with an opening that can only be filled by signing the 751st best baseball player.
The housing market in a city isn’t quite as fluid, since luxury housing tends to maintain its own market conditions, separate from that of more affordable housing. Additionally people can buy second homes, whereas baseball players can only fill one roster spot. But the addition of housing units to a city with low vacancy, such as New York or San Francisco, should have a positive downstream effect on the price of housing. Adding units should allow families who were previously priced out of an area to now move in. Maintaining the look and feel of a historic district full of four story buildings like the East Village may be aesthetically pleasing, but it tends to limit the supply of housing and keep the price unnecessarily high.
A primary in New York State Senate District 27 (my district) will be held this Thursday where Brad Hoylman is expected to win handily. Hoylman’s issues page on his website highlights a number of progressive causes, topped by his intent to fight for affordable housing.
Unfortunately, Hoylman’s website also proudly lists “advanced landmarking and rezoning efforts that preserved historic buildings and neighborhoods” as one of his signature accomplishments as chair of a Manhattan community board. While seemingly well-intentioned, the preservation of historic buildings generally serves to limit the supply of available housing and keep the price of housing higher than market conditions would otherwise set. It would be nice if progressive politicians, especially on the local level, understood that most zoning regulations tend to be exclusionary. Perhaps they should pick up a copy of “The Rent Is Too Damn High”.
This week, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Councilunanimously approved Governor Cuomo’s plan to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge, a bridge connecting two New York counties, Rockland and Westchester, which I hope to never find myself in the first place.
All Scarsdale jokes aside, it should be pointed out the Tappan Zee bridge is an engineering nightmare, built at a less than ideal location so that New York State, rather than the NY/NJ Port Authority, could collect the toll revenue.
Far be it from me to criticize infrastructure spending. But repeating this mistake seems ill conceived, especially when the $5B could be spent on more densely populated counties, affecting more people per dollar spent.
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine gives Paul Ryan the Scott Tenorman treatment:
Paul Ryan’s love of Rage Against the Machineis amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades … Don’t mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta “rage” in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he’s not raging against is the privileged elite he’s groveling in front of for campaign contributions.