Ted Kennedy’s Appetities

by Don Boudreaux on August 27, 2009

in Politics

Here’s Jeff Jacoby’s take, in today’s Boston Globe, on Ted Kennedy.

I almost always agree with Jeff on domestic issues (not so much, though, on American foreign policy).  But here’s a domestic issue on which we disagree: the moral merits of the late Sen. Kennedy.  I disagree in particular with this point that Jeff makes:

Born into riches and influence, he [Kennedy] could have lived a life of ease, indulging his appetites and paying scant attention to those less fortunate. He chose a different life, and became a towering advocate for the deprived, the disabled, and the dispossessed. I didn’t always like his answers, but I honor him for caring so greatly about the questions.

Jeff is too kind to Kennedy.

While Kennedy didn’t choose a life of ease, he did something much worse: he chose a life of power.  That choice satisfied an appetite that is far grosser, baser, and more anti-social than are any of the more private appetites that many rich people often choose to satisfy.

Americans would have been much better off had Ted Kennedy spent his wealth exclusively, say, on the pursuit of sexual experiences and the building of palatial private homes in which to cavort, or to take drugs, or to engage in whatever private dissipations his wealth afforded him.

Instead, Mr. Kennedy spent much of his wealth and time pursuing power over others (and of the garish ‘glory’ that accompanies such power).  He did waste his life satisfying unsavory appetites; unfortunately, the appetites he satisfied were satisfied not only at his expense, but at the expense of the rest of us.  Mr. Kennedy’s constant feeding of his appetite for power wasted away other people’s prosperity and liberties.

UPDATE: Alan Bock makes a similar point.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

comments

176 comments    Share Share    Print    Email

{ 176 comments }

speedmaster August 27, 2009 at 12:25 pm

VERY well-stated, Dr. Boudreaux.

Joshua Herring August 27, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Hear, hear.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Disparage the Lion of the Senate. What will you be called, Lion of Economics?

Ike Pigott August 27, 2009 at 1:06 pm

We need fewer Lions in Congress, and more lion-tamers in the electorate.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Well said, Mr. Pigott! I’m personally pushing garden gnomes for Senate and wondering… other than (rarely) repealing previous errors, did these guys ever doing anything useful. Ever?!

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Fantastic post.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

I think it is interesting to note that all of the glowing references to Ted Kennedy’s great magnimity fail to note that he was only so generous with other people’s money. I fail to understand why his supporters think he was such a great humanitarian when there was so little he did to help mankind with his own resources. Using the force of government to compel people to act in a way that you want is not being humane. It is simply a totalitarian act disguised as “doing good”. In my mind a person such as Bill Gates is far more worthy of these accollades than Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Gates is using his own money and the power of his actions to advance causes he believes in. Unfortunately in the world of the left – Mr. Gates is viewed as an evil man. Go figure!

JohnK August 27, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Yup. Gates supporting causes he believes in with his own money is selfish and evil, while Kennedy forcing people to contribute to charities in which they do not believe makes him a wonderful man.
The liberal mind is not worth attempting to understand.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:16 am

On a similar note: I remember a few years back when Buffet committed to give his fortune to the Gates foundation as a charitable donation. There was uproar from many statistics that he was evading taxes. Difficult to imagine how the act of death justifies any taxation at all in the minds of these people, but evading taxes on money that has had taxes paid over the man’s lifetime?.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:36 am

I love it when people here say something positive about Bill Gates! Yasafi gets apoplectic at the mere mention of the man, and watching someone with the IQ of a stump try and make sense of their apoplexy is morbidly funny!

Come to think of it, Yasafi is a lot like the dogs in the cartoon movie, Up Their reaction to the word, “squirrel” is the same as Yasafi’s reaction to, “Gates” or, “Wal-Mart”. :-D

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I fully understand your concerns, but I think Jacoby struck the more appropriate balance. Whatever you think of the merits of what he did, Kennedy didn’t exercise power on his own behalf. You can still argue that the mere exercise of that power was illegitimate… taxes=stealing, etc. etc.. But I don’t think you can defensibly challenge the fact that for all the power that Kennedy amassed over the years, it was not self-agrandizing, it was for the good of others, and even if you still want to criticize the fact that that came at the expense of “other people’s prosperity and liberty”, at least it wasn’t for the sake of his own prosperity and liberty or the prosperity and liberty of his rich buddies. Kennedy wasn’t one of those guys that Public Choicers talk about as being predatory or rent-seeking. To the extent that he was “rent-seeking”, he was rent-seeking for some very vulnerable populations. This wasn’t a Chris Dodd doing favors for the insurance industry or a Ted Stevens getting payoffs for God knows how many people. Despite a slew of flaws that haven’t exactly been kept quiet in the media coverage, we can at least admit that Kennedy was somewhat different from the Doddses and the Stevenses of Washington.

I understand the libertarian “redistribution helps certain groups by ‘wasting away other people’s prosperity and liberties’” argument, and it’s perfectly fine to make that case. But let’s at least do Kennedy the credit of being a little more specific. Yes, he did waste away some other people’s prosperity and liberties when he made sure that discrimination on the basis of physical and mental disabilities in employment and education was made illegal. There are clear costs and economic losses associated with these sorts of anti-discrimination measures – and he trampled over a certain degree of our prosperity and liberty to do that. Same with SCHIP, another signature Kennedy achievement. You’re right – he burdened the rest of us with higher health care bills and cut into rightfully earned profits by expanding coverage for children of relatively modest means but who couldn’t qualify for Medicaid. That may have even reduced the health care available to comparable children of somewhat better means. It was a challenge to my liberty, I’ll admit – but when I admit that I’ll also be explicit about what exactly my liberty was challenged for. He struck a huge blow against states rights too. Usually I try to err in favor of states rights – it’s very important to me. But Kennedy unequivocally called for the reduction of states rights when he (unsuccessfully) challenged a president of his own party in trying to outlaw poll taxes that made it harder for blacks to vote. And yes, he really satisfied his “unsavory appetite” for power when he fought against the draft and for deregulation of the airlines and trucking, or when he worked to end nationality quotas that dictated who could pursue the American dream. He also definitely “wasted away other people’s prosperity and liberties” when the tax-dollars he directed away from enterprising individuals was directed towards the National Cancer Institute (his National Cancer Act of 1971). It’s true – it’s very possible there was some dead-weight loss and crowding out associated with putting that money into cancer research.

Look, there’s also a list of more objectionable policies he’s pursued. I’m hardly denying that. And his personal character flaws are almost too long to list. But without refraining from making the “wasted away other people’s prosperity and liberties” argument (I’m not asking you to refrain from that), it’s at least worth getting EXPLICIT about what he did with that “stolen” prosperity and liberty. So he’s a Robin Hood, and maybe that’s no way at all to run a government. I’ve got sympathies for that line of reasoning – that’s why I regularly read Cafe Hayek. But if you’re going to challenge his means, at least acknowledge his ends.

There are people in the country that would indeed have been better off if Kennedy “spent his wealth exclusively, say, on the pursuit of sexual experiences and the building of palatial private homes in which to cavort”. I probably would have been better off if he stayed in his palatial private home, and you probably would be better off for it too. But if you’re gonna make that case at least acknowledge the people who are better off for the fact that he didn’t stay in his palatial home in pursuit of sexual experiencces, and acknowledge that the people with down syndrome, or children whose parents are living paycheck to paycheck, or African Americans that had the chance to vote for Barack Obama (or John McCain) benefited from the “wasting away of prosperity and liberty” that Kennedy is guilty of. This guy saw his brothers shot dead in the streets of Dallas and L.A. for pursuing the exact same ends that he was pursuing. I can’t imagine what that experience would be like. And despite that constant threat, he kept on working towards those ends. Even if some of us can’t accept his plethora of flaws and the “wasting away of prosperity and liberty” that he pursued to achieve his ends, at least give him credit for (or at the very least recognition of) the fact that his ends were SOMEWHAT nobler than a lot of other political hacks we deal with from day to day. You don’t have to accept Machiavelli’s “ends justify the means” hook line and sinker to give him at least some credit for his ends. I think that’s all Jacoby was acknowledging, and I think he did a decent job at it.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm

DK wants us to “This guy saw his brothers shot dead in the streets of Dallas and L.A. for pursuing the exact same ends that he was pursuing.. . . at least give him credit for (or at the very least recognition of) the fact that his ends were SOMEWHAT nobler than a lot of other political hacks we deal with from day to day.”

His brothers were shot as President of the US, and as candidate to become President. I don’t believe that their goals were identical, aside from the general pension for power over others that characterized Kenedys. Were they all, for example, advocates for publically financed abortions? No, I don’t think so.

If you keep going like this DK, I’ll be right in applying vidyos’s descriptor “Disingenuous”. Your broad sweeping statements are like much of Macroeconomics in suffering from loss of meaning as a result of problems of aggregation.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I’m specifically trying not to be broad and sweeping. I’m trying to just point out that perhaps we can find something about Ted that distinguished him from the rest. It seems to me to be broad and sweeping to take such an uncomplicated approach to the guy. Either way, I realized a long time ago that vidyohs wasn’t really interested in what I had to say. He found an alliterative adjective and decided to stick with it because it was easier to call caveats, speculations, and reservations disingenuous than to actually engage them. Whatever – if that’s how you feel too that’s fine.

Methinks August 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Killing Mary Jo Kopechne distinguished him from the rest. Just not in a good way.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm

You are the one saying he sought the same ends as his brother. Maybe you think the example I raised of publicly paid for abortions is undeserving of mention (I don’t know why you don’t), but it then strikes me as inconsistent for you to claim to want a nuanced and careful discussion of the Cowardly Lion of Chappaquiddick.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I concede that you’ve found the gaping hole in my argument. They obviously didn’t support exactly the same ends. Ted didn’t run on a platform of getting nukes out of Cuba either. Huge oversight on my part – my apologies.

Joshua Herring August 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Fine – I acknowledge that some people were helped by Senator Kennedy. I do not acknowledge that his motives for helping them were good (I agree with Dr. Boudreaux’s characterization of “garish ‘glory’” as the motive), and I believe that the net harm done vastly outweighs the good he did achieve. All told, then, it should be OK for people like me to say it would be better had he chosen to spend his inheritance on parties.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Daniel,

I’ve never found, and nor do I find now, anything remotely noble about the ends Ted Kennedy pursued. He wanted to centralize power in Washington. He — like nearly every other elected official — was and enemy of individual liberty. The fact that he said, and perhaps even believed, that suppressing liberties and transferring power to DC would make people’s lives better does not make him or his ends “noble.”

Many of the Bolsheviks no doubt believed that Soviet centralized-and-massive power would make the lives of ordinary Soviet citizens better. That fact doesn’t make them respectable or noble.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I know -and I’m not saying that’s not a legitimate position to take. I’ve just never personally found the “put them all in the same box” approach helpful and figured Ted was a big enough figure (for good or bad) to put those two cents in. I did appreciate reading your thoughts, and am convinced by your approach to him – just not completely convinced :)

BoscoH August 27, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Well, in the 70s, Teddy was on the side of trucking and airline deregulation. And his daddy was a bootlegger. That should count for something.

My problem with Jacoby’s column is that he’s plain disingenuous. Perhaps he has to suck up to his media bosses on this one, but there is a strong undercurrent of Kennedy (and specifically Ted Kennedy) hatred in this country that has not been allowed to gel on the surface because as DK said, poor Ted saw his brothers gunned down in the streets. It’s allowed now. No discussion of the man longer than 2 paragraphs (save DK’s above) can fail to mention Mary Jo Kopechne not taking a shower that night and washing up on shore in the morning. Did you happen to catch Anderson Vanderbilt dancing around the issue on his AC360 show last night?

Anyone with any sense of honor or shame would just leave the public stage after an incident like that. Not Teddy, though. Obama is going to deliver the eulogy at Kennedy’s funeral. With luck, they’ll go Paul Wellstone at the event and turn it into a giant left wing pep rally. There is talk of naming the upcoming health care bill after him. Please do! It will give the opposition the perfect abstraction to direct its anger. Let me be the first to crack a bloated and fat joke about it.

simon... August 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

If a politician’s goal is to be a champion of poor and oppressed then his primary incentive is to preserve and widen his base.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Don said far more, much better, and with many fewer words.

Ted Kennedy deserves no accolades or kind words – he was a scumbag of the highest order and should be remembered as such. Very few people in this country would have avoided serious jail time for what he did. Even fewer could get elected to public office after, and yet he sat on the senate ETHICS committee!!!!!!!!!

Good riddance!

Methinks August 27, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Yes, the very same ethics committee that just cleared that great friend of Angelo Mozillo and fellow “waitress sandwich” player, Chris Dodd of any wrong doing int he Countrywide scandal.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Daniel – those “vulnerable populations” can vote themselves other people’s wealth. I don’t consider that “vulnerable”, but rapacious.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm

Ya I can’t stand those kids with down syndrome. Vultures, aren’t they arrowsmith!

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Every day in America thousands of people die. The vast majority of these people are known only to their families, friends, and (often former) co-workers. These people aren’t mourned by presidents, newspaper editors, television-news anchors, or the public at large.

Yet almost every one of these unheralded persons has been more productive than has the likes of Ted Kennedy or the Georges Bush or Henry Waxman or Chuck Grassley or…. and on and on and on and on.

Who installed the windows in my house? I have no idea. Yet he (or, perhaps, she) provided value to me and never tried to stick his hand into my wallet or his nose into my eating habits.

Who will fly the plane that I’m about to board for Detroit? I have no idea. Yet he will render unto me a valuable service in exchange for funds that I voluntarily paid to his employer for this service. He doesn’t tell me that I must fly. He doesn’t presume to know better than me what is best for me and my family.

Yet the power-exercisers, hailed as great and glorious during their lifetimes, are often canonized in death as indispensable saints. They’re not. Their destructive.

I_am_a_lead_pencil August 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm

This can be generalized to any and all politicians.

It’s the fault of the institutions which we have created and, most importantly, the misplaced faith we put in them.

Joshua Herring August 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm

This comment is even better than the original post.

BoscoH August 27, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Who will fly the plane that I’m about to board for Detroit? I have no idea.

I bet if it’s Chesley Sullenberger III, you’ll find out.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 10:26 am

Exactly, Don.

America is what it is, not because of government, but in spite of it.

The American people are what they are, not because of pretentious scum, but in spite of them.

Justin P August 30, 2009 at 2:12 am

Don’t forget to say, that they don’t know you as well. They probably don’t care to know you and may even no like you even if they did know you. Yet they still do service to you and give you value no matter what. They can hate you and still give you value. That’s the wonderful thing about capitalism.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Dr. B, you are a god in my pantheon. Thank you for that post.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Here is a radical notion, maybe Ted Kennedy was a Lion of Economics also. In 1978 he led the fight to deregulate the airline and trucking industry in the U.S. It is possible that there could be essentially no competition in airline travel or truck hauling today without him — imagine that. 8-26-09 openmarket.org article

JohnK August 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Even a broken clock…

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm

So he did one thing right 30 years ago.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I suspect, were we able to dig into Ted’s psyche, that we would find not a little sibling rivalry behind his seeking office.

One brother became president, another an AG. How could Ted not?

Certainly he wanted to be thought of as a beneficent pol, but then, who wants to be thought of as a bad guy?

It’s not the man, but the power of the office that must be critiqued.

The power creates a significant moral hazard.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Critically analyzing Kennedy’s life this week is a little unseemly, but I’ll add my two cents worth anyway.

Didn’t choose a life of ease? Sitting in a Senate committee and pontificating on the Big Picture, jet setting to hob knob with other statesmen, standing at the Senate podium and publicly feeling the people’s pain while advocating “solutions” with other people’s money … that’s a difficult life? Since when?

Let’s face it. Kennedy didn’t dedicate the income stream from his trust to private medical research and spend his life cleaning the bedpans of aging homeless people in a Mumbai hospice. That would have been a difficult life. Short of living on a beach in the Bahamas, Kennedy’s life is the easiest I can imagine, and he probably spent his share of time on the beach as well. A life on the beach seems painfully boring anyway, not to mention the sunburn.

Yesterday, I heard an NPR story featuring a young Ted Kennedy on the campaign trail discussing health care with an elderly woman. He asked the woman if the cost of health care burdened her. The woman answered that her $400 bill for ten days in the hospital weighed heavily on her. [I'm not making this up, and the irony apparently never occurred to the story's reporter at all.]

Decades later, Kennedy’s initiatives have certainly done something about this woman’s $40/day bill for a hospital stay. The increasing cost of equivalent care probably exceeds the CPI by an order of magnitude in the meantime.

Methinks August 27, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Excellent post, Martin.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Here‘s the NPR story with the campaign ad audio featured prominently on the page. I heard it on the ATC broadcast yesterday. Maybe someone at NPR does appreciate the irony, but you wouldn’t know it from the story.

I read online that a day in the hospital costs upwards of $4000 these days. Even $2000 is a 5000% increase over $40, while the CPI-U is up only 700% over the same period.

I was born in ’62, so prices have risen 700% since I was born. Really makes you stop and think.

And let’s not kid ourselves. The vast increase in the price of healthcare in recent decades has lined the pockets of incredibly wealthy corporatists in the health care, insurance and banking businesses, while an equivalent woman today could easily pay the same $40 for a day’s hospitalization, even adjusted for inflation, as an insurance copay.

Methinks August 27, 2009 at 11:59 pm

According to the CBO, roughly 50% of the increase in the cost of health care since you were born is due to changes in treatment made possible by advances in medical technology.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:34 am

Interesting how medical care is the only industry that gets more expensive as technology improves. My first DVD player cost me $300… now I can get much better players for $100. I can say the same of cell phones, air travel, computers, and laser eye surgery. The interesting thing is that schools and medicine have heavy government regulation and subsidies… the costs associated with these services invariably exceeds CPI (whatever CPI is worth).

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 2:03 am

Martin,”The vast increase in the price of healthcare in recent decades has lined the pockets of incredibly wealthy corporatists in the health care, insurance and banking businesses…”This really says it all. I remember watching CSPAN some years ago when Bill and Hillary were president. Hillary was presiding over the announcement of a new small business minority loan program. The people receiving loans were trotted out while the politicians patted themselves on the back. I remember thinking: There is a reason no one will loan these people money. They are starting businesses 90% doomed to failure. These poor suckers are going to get in over their heads, be unable to pay the loans, go into bankruptcy, have their lives ruined while the bankers get free money from the government which guarantees the loans. Who benefits? The banks of course. But the politicians like Hillary (and Kennedy) can pat themselves on the back and talk about how they are looking out for the little guy.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Here’s another, similar anecdote:

In 1962 I was in the hospital for 1 month.
Had abdominal surgery.

The total bill was about $1,700!

Seth August 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I hear that there’s this wonderful product called sunscreen that prevents sunburn. I wonder if that was another product of capitalism?

louh August 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm

The man sold his soul, at a time when he should of been repentive he chose to step further into the limelight. He chose to please “man” to be the champion of the intellectual elite. We would all have been better served if he had humbled himself and performed “true” work below the radar of the Hollywood Stars, as much as Jimmy Carter did in working with Habitat for Humanities.
Unfortunately for us Sen. Kennedy has spawned other parasites, Andrew Cuomo being at the head of the class, who will continue his altruism via the public coffers all for the roar of the crowd.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm

It seems to me DK has a point here: this Kennedy was perhaps not as corrupt or self-serving as others with great power, in some ways, especially with respect to wealth. But that may partly be because he already had enough of that already.

Instead, as Don’s basic point is quite right about, his preference was for power over other people’s lives. And I know of no instance in which he did not act to either preserve or aggrandize that power. Perhaps his contributions to some deregulation are the exception; his general profile is striking enough, and these are exceptional enough for him, that I’d be interested in the explanation for his contribution to those advances. In any event, this is perhaps the worst of preferences people can have, he had it in spades, and he fed it. There’s nothing here to applaud that I can see; just the opposite.

I don’t know that Kennedy ever worked a day providing a service for somebody who chose to pay him for his work. He began with wealth and then fed at the public trough for the rest of his life. He will be lauded for his “service” to the American public, but most of us had little choice about either the “services” he rendered or the costs we took on to pay for them.

Name August 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

“Americans would have been much better off had Ted Kennedy spent his wealth exclusively, say, on the pursuit of sexual experiences and the building of palatial private homes in which to cavort, or to take drugs, or to engage in whatever private dissipations his wealth afforded him.”

I disagree. Someone else would have pushed for more government anyway. If every single member of Congress was shipped to a tropical island tomorrow, the people that replace them would be just as bad.

Seth August 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm

They may have been just as bad, but they wouldn’t have had the Kennedy name to break through the ice and enact all the bad unintended consequences.

JohnK August 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Sometimes I wonder if the consequences are unintended. Day after day we see examples of how bad legislation does more harm than good, and the response is always more legislation. Are they really that blind?
Perhaps they see consequences as a positive thing, as opportunity to increase their power.

louh August 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Are all unintended consequences of the left unintended? Absolutely not, sometimes if they quack like a duck…By todays standards would we have judged Hitler, Stalin, or Mao as being well meaning politicians who may not of thought through the unintended consequences? The liberals will open the door and welcome the next Hitler into power. Like Sen. Kennedy he will propose a little tough medicine for the good of the Country. He will attempt to divide the classes to further his agenda. He will ask us to give up a little liberty in order to attain financial security for all. We are an aging society in search of a panacea for our ills, “beware of liberals bearing gifts”.

JohnK August 27, 2009 at 6:59 pm

I don’t think it is limited to the left. The Drug War is rife with unintended consequences begetting more laws and government intrusion, and it’s not just the left that supports it.
I can’t decide if it’s sheer arrogance that makes these people unable to admit to mistakes, if it’s some religious like faith in the power of law and government to make things better, if it’s contempt for their fellow man, or perhaps all of the above.
Unless these people are conniving and they know that the consequences of bad policy will give them an excuse to create more bad policy, and since policy gives them power, the more there is the better it is.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I wonder the same thing. After all, the worst thing that could happen to the Democratic Party is for most of the poor to lower middle class people in the USA to become wealthy! Fortunately for them, most (all?) economic policies forwarded by Democrats prevent that. Next, God forbid that people become well enough educated to see through the charade; good thing for Dems that government schools keep people ignorant.

Of course, it all could be just a coincidence…

louh August 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm

The Democrats are the best friend the KKK or any other rascist group could ask for. As long as this country embraces their policies you can be sure that poor minorities will remain poor.

I_am_a_lead_pencil August 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm

The very phrase “most effective legislator”, which the media is using, tells you what distinguishes him from other politicians who might “replace them” if they were shipped to your tropical island; i.e. His best trait (“effective legislator”) is also his most damaging.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

We need to rework that idea. For example, Harrison might be considered the most effective president in history because he died after holding the office only a month. I think a month long tenure for all government employees (maximum 2 terms) is the ideal (or most effective) way to run the government.

dg lesvic August 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Ike Pigott wrote,

“We need fewer Lions in Congress, and more lion-tamers in the electorate.”

Great line, Ike.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 6:11 pm

The denial of the need for government and the denial of the liberty and relative diffusion of power via democracy is the constant most glaring failure of the libertarian mind set. You guys choose to ignore or must not care of the miserable existence experienced by the vast majority of humanity through the vast majority of human history. As Thomas Hobbes stated, “…“ the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short ” . THAT is the natural state for most humans under a minimalist government that ultimately puts all the power back into the hands of the few, the wealthy and the connected.

Now we have a system where those wealthy elitist bastards can lobby there representatives to get even more untold dollars off the backs of the working man and Professor Boudreaux thinks no one should do the same for the common man or that anyone who does so does so for personal power or glory. If that’s the case there’s not a single decent person amongst us all and humanity is an abhorrent waste of a species. I refuse to have such a vile view of our species and my fellow man.

“Mr. Kennedy’s constant feeding of his appetite for power wasted away other people’s prosperity and liberties.”

Don Boudreaux

That’s nothing but an opinion and it’s contrary to all the progress this most wealthy of nations has had during his tenure as a politician. And if anything that progress has been squandered by following every recommendation made by people like Dr. Boudreaux. We cut taxes , deregulated industry, signed on to free trade agreements, ignored the environment, destroyed unions ect.. We’ve done everything the Professor advocates and it appears to me that those policies have been the ones that have sunk this nation far more then anything Ted Kennedy did or proposed to do.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Now we have a system where those wealthy elitist bastards can lobby

You speak as though that has not always been the case.

sandre August 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Muir keeps saying – small government will lead to tyrannical big government – so let’s have the tyrannical big government now.

sandre August 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm

“That’s nothing but an opinion and it’s contrary to all the progress this most wealthy of nations has had during his tenure as a politician.” -Imbecile.

How does that stack up against his claim that last 30 years has regressed the progress of the previous 30?

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Sure it’s always been the case but now people like Kennedy can speak for the average guy. America discovered the “strong middle class”. It wasn’t always so. YOU and I and Don benefit from a strong middle class… we ARE the middle class. In my opinion you and the professor take it for granted …. I don’t.

It seems to me that you guys feel the average guy shouldn’t get representation in his government. I don’t get it.

sandre August 27, 2009 at 8:18 pm

“That’s nothing but an opinion and it’s contrary to all the progress this most wealthy of nations has had during his tenure as a politician.” -Imbecile.

How does that stack up against his claim that last 30 years has regressed the progress of the previous 30?

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm

He may at time “speak” for the lower classes, but he did not speak for the “average” guy, an individual.

For someone who claimed to not be Marxist, you sure are into the collectivist dialog.

But I’m not represented in government. If I were, we wouldn’t have all these corporate subsidies and bailouts.

louh August 28, 2009 at 3:00 am

Literature is replete with stories of the “little man”. Romanticized hogwash for the most part, endearing the common man with much more credit than he ever deserved. The strong middle class is the result of those individuals who dared to risk and work toward their dreams. And it’s their accomplishments which trickled down and created a strong middle class. The middle class is the construct of a strong capitalist economy. Someone has to do the heavy lifting so that the masses can be lifted into a middle class existence.
Let’s look at Detroit, once the mecca for the middle class. The constituents there lacked the capital , education, and certainly the imagination to build the automobile industry. It was created by men of great courage, who built an industry that was applauded around the world. It was the gold standard. It took the middle class, with the help of their Union leaders, to destroy it. Their greed and the over inflated value of their contributions killed the industry and Detroit.

Ike Pigott August 29, 2009 at 3:07 am

The “average guy” doesn’t have the political wherewithal to:

A) Tell everyone else to get with renewable energy or “suck it.”

B) Tell the ocean-based windmills off the Martha’s Vineyard coastline to “suck it.”

An elitist can talk all the Common-Man garbage they like, but they don’t live it.

This Lion’s Diet was far louder than His Roar.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm

liberty and relative diffusion of power via democracy

Why not take that to its logical conclusion?

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

That’s the concern isn’t it. But there are social democracies all over the world and I don’t see that happening. They seem to be quite stable.

Reagans dopey slippery slope argument addressed below.

http://www.movieweb.com/video/VICQIKEKB4uZGL

Take libertarianism to it’s logical ends and tell me what THAT is.
It’s serfdom and indentured servitude as has been most of human history when wealth is accumulated amongst a few and the rest live in oppression working for multi-national corporations who make the rules you must follow.

You guys seem to not give a crap that this supposedly superior syastem you want exist NO WHERES in the world. That should be taken as a significant hint thagt it has fatal flaws that wash it out when pen and paper are put to practice. It’s fairyland lalalala BS!!!

sandre August 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

“We cut taxes, deregulated industry, signed on to free trade agreements, ignored the environment, destroyed unions ect.. ”

Show me the numbers imbecile! How much the government has shrunk as a % of GDP, How many pages of regulation has been eliminated, How is government managed trade becomes “free trade”, net loss of environmental laws, departments, etc, who destroyed unions and how?

Prove it, you jackass.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm

The foul interpretation of the collectivist mind.

Methinks August 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm

“mind”? You’re generous beyond belief, Sam.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:55 am

You are ignoring facts. Government ins serfdom and indentured servitude. People pay 50% or more of the income they earn on taxes. Once one accounts for higher consumer costs associated from hidden taxes (excise, tarrifs, corporate taxes) it can be higher. If one does not pay property taxes on a “fully paid for house” they will be tossed onto the street by men with guns. Government is feudalism. The bigger the government… the more feudalistic. Government does not create wealth. Government make society less productive and poorer.

sandre August 27, 2009 at 6:35 pm

“We cut taxes, deregulated industry, signed on to free trade agreements, ignored the environment, destroyed unions ect.. ”

Show me the numbers imbecile! How much the government has shrunk as a % of GDP, How many pages of regulation has been eliminated, How is government managed trade becomes “free trade”, net loss of environmental laws, departments, etc, who destroyed unions and how?

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Here you go.

http://zfacts.com/p/318print.html

And here you go $10,000 invested in the stock market during Democratic presidency versus a Republican one yields very different results.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/10/14/opinion/20081014_OPCHART.html

sandre August 27, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Since you have a reading comprehension issue, try again.

“We cut taxes, deregulated industry, signed on to free trade agreements, ignored the environment, destroyed unions ect.. ”

Show me the numbers imbecile! How much the government has shrunk as a % of GDP, How many pages of regulation has been eliminated, How is government managed trade becomes “free trade”, net loss of environmental laws, departments, etc, who destroyed unions and how?

sandre August 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

HAHA! Look at that chart! Top 3 performances of S&P500(presidential terms) in that chart was during the last 30 years of gutting regulations! LOL

MWG August 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Priceless.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 5:28 am

That was long ago debunked. Insignificant changes in parameters flip winners between Republicans and Democrats.

http://blog.wolfram.com/2008/10/16/stock-market-returns-by-presidential-party/

You can play with it yourself even:

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/StockMarketReturnsByParty/

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Pretty much he data mines until he finds the right combination.
Notice still even giving the 1 year lag it’s greater for Democrats. The he completely takes out the depression and says “see.. no difference”.

Then when he puts in inflation he leaves out the year lag time.

Bottom line for those who question the big picture… Who dominated politics before the Great Depression and before this Great Recession? I’t's pretty obvious.

I_am_a_lead_pencil August 27, 2009 at 8:42 pm

sandre,

Your trying to administer medicine to a patient who is already dead.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm

We cut taxes , deregulated industry, signed on to free trade agreements, ignored the environment, destroyed unions ect..

Hello? Tell us when the Federal Gov’t budget ever shrank (aside from post war military reductions as in WWII) before you speak of taxes being cut.”

You might specify what you mean by “deregulated” industry.
That word does not mean what you think it means.

Also, you assume that the so-called “progress” you speak of under TK had nothing to do with the sinking you speak of later.

You do not see very far in tying consequences to actions.

Name August 27, 2009 at 8:10 pm

“We’ve done everything the Professor advocates”

Yes… clearly, Americans live under a Boudreauxocracy.

If you think that current US policy reflects Cafe Hayek’s set of policy prescriptions, you’re either not paying attention or you’re delusional.

MWG August 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

…or both.

sandre August 27, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Don’t give him too much credit. It is a lack of faculty.

Methinks August 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Hey, Muirdiot. Teddy strongly supported and helped to pass deregulation of trucking and the airlines in the 1970′s. Just think of all that deregulation turning airplanes into flying Grey Hounds and ruining the peace for the rich! Terrible! Go get Ted! GO GET ‘EM, boy! Go!

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:38 am

Muirgeo, I do not post much but I have been reading Cafe Hayek for some time and your posts have lately become laughable caricatures.

I hope Dr Boudreaux got as much of a laugh as I did reading that the country has been “following every recommendation made by people like Dr. Boudreaux.” Are you out of your mind? Or are you trying to write comedy?

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:37 am

My posts are laughable caricatures??? I’m not the one who believes in ordering human society in a fashion that never has existed in the past, exist no where now and shows no evidence of possibly being applicable to real world societies. History shows attempts to even approach it in any significant way always devolve into Great Depressions or serfdom or worse. YOU believe in a Fairy Tale Ideology that has no practical application to human societies. NONE!

No one can point to any real world societies as examples of a failure of your ideology because none of the real world examples were “pure”. What a convenient cop-out. But some how you’ve drunk the Kool Aide and you have an abiding faith that yours is the right way. Even if you have no evidence to support the claim you stand by it. Even if untried and unproved. That’s nothing but faith buddy. You have a religion and nothing else.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 5:13 am

I’m not the one who believes in ordering human society in a fashion that never has existed in the past.

No, you’ve made it quite plain that you want to order society in the fascist fashion that has all-too-often existed in the past and in the present.

It’s no secret that many humans prefer the comfort of felt-lined shackles, and you’re a shining example af someone who wants and needs to be told what to do (only government can determine how much liberty a man needs in order to be free).

We recognize that we are a minority, and I recognize that I’ll probably never see a system of government that doesn’t include the State, but it doesn’t mean I’ll stop fighting for it, and it doesn’t mean that I’m not right, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not a fascist little tinpot for thinking that you know better than I do how I should live my life, and whom I should spend my money on.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm

You think America is a fascist country? Canada? Belgium? Germany?

Obviously they are not but you are required by your biblical faith in the Invisible Hand God to make such a stupid argument and to think you’ve made a good point.

I don’t believe in fascism I believe in equal democracy. YOU are the one who believes in something which is closer to fascism because it always results in a concentration of wealth and power.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I suspect, were we able to dig into Ted’s psyche, that we would find that there was more than a little sibling rivalry behind his devotion to “public service”.

One brother a president, another an AG, how could Ted not follow suit?

Besides, “public service” under the Kennedy name is an assurance of fame.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 6:35 pm

I agree that if he weren’t there, somebody as bad would have been in his place. I think what we need is to change the entire system. Perhaps even follow Thomas Jefferson’s advice and have a revolution.

RL August 27, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Your “elegy” is masterful, Don, but it IS expecting a lot of Jeff Jacoby to denounce Ted Kennedy to your satisfaction in a Boston paper…

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Hows about we rebrand Teddy as:

The Cowardly Lion of Chappaquiddick?

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 11:19 pm

When I heard about Ted Kennedy’s death I so wanted to express my heartfelt condolences to him and his family. For his family I still feel these feelings (I did not want to lower myself to that of those base individuals who rejoiced at the death of Milton Friedman). However, I could not shake the thought of, “well, what did he think of me?” I grew up working in refineries. Based upon his statements while alive, he hated me and what I did, while driving his cars and his yachts. I still bear the scars on my back of refinery work (scars which were my own fault). Yet he shrilled against evil oil companies full of people who risked their lives to provide for him. Sorry that you hated me Teddy, but I did not care; and I will say goodbye to a very good customer (whether you liked it or not).

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 12:30 am

Milton Friedman never cheated in college, stole from anyone or killed anyone. Kennedy was a miscreant.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:00 am

He did institute the withholding for income taxes…

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm

During the second world war. He never really forgave himself for that, but he said he couldn’t think of any other way to raise enough money to pay for the war. If memory serves, he was hoping it would be temporary. LOL.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:55 am

No he just supported a military junta and dictatorship in Chile to FORCE economic liberty on the people in Chile.

Apparently he actually wrote, “A military regime has supported reforms that reduce sharply the role of the state and replace control from the top with control from the bottom.” His hands were drenched in the blood of the Chilean masses. In 1975, the New York Times accurately labeled him “the guiding light of the junta’s economic policy”.

Pinochet and libertarian philosophy…. yeah that worked out well.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 5:46 am

“FORCE economic liberty”

Freedom is slavery, eh Murg?

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I know. It’s hilarious. It would be funnier if Muirdiot weren’t allowed to vote.

Say what you want about Pinochet, but he’s the only vicious dictator I can think of who didn’t leave his post feet first and Chile has a strong (the strongest?) economy in South America.

MWG August 28, 2009 at 6:28 am

“Apparently he actually wrote, “A military regime has supported reforms that reduce sharply the role of the state and replace control from the top with control from the bottom.”"
-muirdog

…and every bit of what Friedman said was true.

You’re an idiot and obviously know very little about the history of Chile under Allende and then Pinochet. Have you ever talked to someone from Chile (I have a number of Chilean friends who I’ve talked to AT LENGTH about the history of Chile) or are you just regurgitating what you’ve been spoon fed by other idiots like Naomi Klein.

Without wasting my time giving you a history lesson, you should know that Chile today is the most economically stable, LEAST corrupt and WEALTHIEST country in all of S. America… so yeah, I think liberal reforms enacted under Pinochet have worked out quite well for the “Chilean masses”.

If free market ideas have been so harmful to Chile, then why are “socialists” like Michelle Bachelet (Whose father was tortured under Pinochet) so pro free market?

http://www.freetheworld.com/2008/EconomicFreedomoftheWorld2008.pdf

http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2008

MWG August 28, 2009 at 6:35 am

Let me also add this link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Chile

“Chile’s annual growth in per capita real income from 1985 to 1996 averaged 7%, far above the rest of Latin America.”

“Developments were very positive with regards to infant mortality and life expectancy – infant mortality rate fell so much that Chile achieved the lowest level of infant mortality in Latin America in the 1980s.[15] Infant mortality rate in Chile fell from 82.2 per 1000 to 19.5 per 1000 from 1970-85. Life expectancy at birth increased from 64.8 years to 68.3 years in the same period and life expectancy at age 1 remained about constant at 68.6 years in the same period.”

“Friedman has wondered why some have attacked him for giving a lecture in Chile: “I must say, it’s such a wonderful example of a double standard, because I had spent time in Yugoslavia, which was a communist country. I later gave a series of lectures in China. When I came back from communist China, I wrote a letter to the Stanford Daily newspaper in which I said, ‘”It’s curious. I gave exactly the same lectures in China that I gave in Chile. I have had many demonstrations against me for what I said in Chile. Nobody has made any objections to what I said in China. How come?”. He points out that his visit was unrelated to the political side of the regime and that during his visit to Chile he even stated that following his economic liberalization advice would help bring political freedom and the downfall of the regime.[6]“

Gil August 28, 2009 at 6:53 am

Yeah, murigeo, Pinochet and his army liberated the honest people by massacring the big thieves and driving the many more little thieves into poverty thus allowing the honest people to rebuild that which was rightfully theirs (jerk!;).

MWG August 28, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Gil, say whatever you want, but there were plenty of Chileans persecuted under Allende who are thankful for what Pinochet did. Outside of Chile we make “black and white” judgments about him, but inside Chile, things are a little more “gray”. Pinochet remains highly popular, yet polarizing, amongst the general population.

The undeniable fact remains, that the economic policies enacted under his regime have turned Chile into the strongest economy in S. America.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:15 pm

The Chilean economy took off in the 90′s AFTER Pinochet left and the socialist party took over.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chile_GDP.jpg

MWG August 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Once again, you’ve proved your ignorance about the history of Chile.

First of all, the liberal reforms that were enacted under Pinochet were continued after he left power.

Secondly, you clearly didn’t read my above post. I’ll cut and post it for you to make things very, very easy.

“Chile’s annual growth in per capita real income from 1985 to 1996 averaged 7%, far above the rest of Latin America.”

“Developments were very positive with regards to infant mortality and life expectancy – infant mortality rate fell so much that Chile achieved the lowest level of infant mortality in Latin America in the 1980s.[15] Infant mortality rate in Chile fell from 82.2 per 1000 to 19.5 per 1000 from 1970-85. Life expectancy at birth increased from 64.8 years to 68.3 years in the same period and life expectancy at age 1 remained about constant at 68.6 years in the same period.”

sandre August 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

That’s because you don’t know how to read the chart. Let’s see if this chart makes the trend a little clearer for you. When the change started.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chile_GDP_growth.png

Let’s see if you notice the change in trend since mid-1990s.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 11:56 pm

I should add…you were welcome Ted.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 11:59 pm

I read where the Kennedy’s kept all their money in an off shore trust to avoid taxes. Also, that Ted Kennedy sponsored legislation that benefited his businesses. He apparently operated in his own self-interest to benefit himself and keep himself in power, at the expense of taxpayers…..

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 12:06 am

Yep….much more a miscreant than a lion.

louh August 28, 2009 at 2:39 am

His father invented the naked short sale. Joe Kennedy made his fortune by shorting stocks down and triggering stop orders which he knew existed on the books, this obviously exacerbated the decline. He then took in his short and made a tidy sum. The 1929 Stock Market crash, and the ensuing Great Depression were a windfall for the Kennedys. I can’t recall did any of these Camelotians return the money?

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Why, no. Instead, Joey was made the first chairman of the SEC.

BTW, gunning for the stops never went away and I’m not sure this exacerbated the stock market decline since shorts cover those positions very quickly after the stops are hit, creating a floor. I just think it’s hypocritical to make money that way yourself and then try to prevent others from doing it.

louh August 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm

They don’t create a floor , the process goes on. New stops are entered, and the game continues. And you can be sure this exacerbated the decline, Mr. Kennedy, as SEC Chairman, quickly changed the rules to stop this activity.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 6:12 pm

The game can only continue if the price does not fall below fair value. When the price falls below fair value the number of shares people are willing to buy increases with every decrease in price. It’s easy to scapegoat shorts when prices fall, but price can’t continue to fall because of shorts. The stock just gets too cheap and the shorts realize that they have a higher probability of making money by going long.

What I’m telling you is that gunning for stops still happens every day and has happened unabated for decades. Naked shorting and gunning for stocks is not the same thing. Plus, naked shorting is not especially detrimental. It’s like a future on a stock.

The stock market fell sharply before the depression because it had become overvalued, not because of shorts.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 1:06 am

I read that in his final hours, Kennedy was inhaling ice cream and all kinds of other junk food. Went out in a blaze of gluttony. Very befitting.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 3:08 am

Call him a creep, killer, drunk, greedy, power hungry or whatever you like. Take joy in his passing if you want. But still he was a great incremental politician and I will always appreciate his work on health and civil rights legislation.

mesaeconoguy August 28, 2009 at 4:47 am

Yeah, he was a creep. And a killer. And a drunk killer. And a drunk, power-hungry killer. And a pseudo-aristocratic charlatan. And a general scumbag.

Other than that, he was awesome.

And you’re a fool for following him.

mesaeconoguy August 28, 2009 at 3:56 am

While Kennedy didn’t choose a life of ease, he did something much worse: he chose a life of power. That choice satisfied an appetite that is far grosser, baser, and more anti-social than are any of the more private appetites that many rich people often choose to satisfy.

I’m quite sure it’s a lot warmer where this bastard is right now.

He had a “coupon” for life, courtesy of daddy, one of FDRs favourites.

Despicable, petulant, obnoxious, puerile, hypocritical, lascivious, elitist, worthless liar are words that come to mind.

The “bipartisan” tributes make me sick. This family has irreparably damaged this country.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 5:02 am

“I’m quite sure it’s a lot warmer where this bastard is right now.”
mesa

Yeah because the Invisible Hand God religion tells us only the most wealthy and devote libertarians will pass the Pearly Gates. And Mesa you’re just a shoe-in for a nice Cloud with a view?

MWG August 28, 2009 at 6:36 am

“Yeah because the Invisible Hand God religion tells us only the most wealthy and devote libertarians will pass the Pearly Gates.”
-muirdog

What the hell are you talking about?

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm

If he knew, he’d stop.

mesaeconoguy August 28, 2009 at 7:59 am

only the most wealthy and devote

That’s devout, amateur doctor. Please do learn the language before opining.

Particularly in lex parsimoniae.

Thanks. ;)

Juan Carlos August 28, 2009 at 5:08 am

“Mr. Kennedy’s constant feeding of his appetite for power wasted away other people’s prosperity and liberties.”

that is a really inaccurate statement given the fact that senator kennedy supported CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION. in so doing he did not “waste away” anyone’s liberty, but rather the opposite

Juan Carlos August 28, 2009 at 5:20 am

a follow up on my previous post: you do realize that before the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act the United States had in effect second-class ‘citizens’??? In free countries, second-class citizens do not exist.

By supporting this legislation Senator Kennedy made the US a freer country

Akos Beres August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Most of the time, I do find your arguments compelling. Although I’m not intimately familiar with all of Ted Kennedy’s life and work, I agree with you that Ted Kennedy might not have been same person that we read and hear about in the media today. However the fact is, he passed away and whatever his legacy is he won’t be able to defend it anymore. Therefore, we should give him and his family the chance to mourn with respect and diggnity. I do find some of your comments very offensive and even if they are true and fair, they should have been voiced before he passed away. If they have there is no reason to reapeat them right now.

Akos Beres August 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I like the Alan Bock reaction much better.

mesaeconoguy August 28, 2009 at 5:24 pm

His mind-set was very much of a piece with a best-and-the-brightest, centralized mentality that has never served America well over the long haul.

[Ted Kennedy and the Death (Hopefully) of an Era]

It’s extremely entertaining (and ironic) that he was one of the dumbest people in the country.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Amazing. Muirbot continues to get beatdown down by facts and counter-examples every single time. Yet he continues! Does he enjoy the spectacle? I suspect if his kid knew what he does here, he’d be very ashamed of “Dear old dad”.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 11:10 pm

When I think of Ted Kennedy I think:* bloated drunken womanizer* abandoned Mary Jo to her death* uber-socialist* silver-spoon preaching to the rest of us for 40+ years* responsible for the biggest infrastructure boondoggle ever – the “Big Dig” in Boston* environmental hypocrite, opposed wind farms where HE lived yet preached to us how we have to cut our energy usage and global warming…

Please add more!

Oh he did 2 good things, he supported the deregulation of the trucking and airline industries. Somehow I don’t think muirbot thinks that was a good deed of Saint Ted..

Greg_Ransom August 29, 2009 at 2:59 am

A Newsweek reporter and Kennedy biographer says that Ted Kennedy liked nothing better than a joke about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.

Really.

You can YouTube the interview.

Patrick E McLean August 29, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I agree with the post completely. But I think we’ve overlooked something. Ted is a bright, shining example of what politicians can do for their country. If only others in Congress would have the courage to follow his example and expire for the greater good.

Name August 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm

What a pig you are.

Dr Ralph August 30, 2009 at 4:09 am

It’s been my observation that pissing on a dead man’s grave says more about the character of person pissing than that of the deceased.

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 4:11 am

Not in the case of Ted Kennedy. He deserves to have everyone pissing on his grave. I hope he rots in hell for all the evil he committed.

Dr Ralph August 30, 2009 at 5:32 am

…Thus proving my point.

william August 30, 2009 at 8:29 am

I agree. I cringe each time i hear someone going one about Kennedy “serving” this country. Kennedy served himself, not unlike most of the people filling seats in Washington. If you want to see service look into the eyes of the young people who put their lives on the line for us for $1800 a month. Kennedy spent his entire life with his nose crammed into the tax payers slop trough all the while holding power over each of us. We need term limits!

louh August 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I don’t know of a private alternative, or for that matter would I seek one. Defense of our country , the only legitimate purpose for the government.

louh August 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I don’t know of a private alternative, or for that matter would I seek one. Defense of our country , the only legitimate purpose for the government.

MWG August 27, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Even that can be done well by the private sector. Think Blackwater.

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Are you serious about Blackwater????

If so you are either extremely ignorant, nuts or a little of both.

Kevin August 28, 2009 at 2:35 am

Blackwater provides nuclear deterrents against Soviet weapons?

Anonymous August 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm

What’s wrong with Blackwater? They do the nasty jobs no one else will do. Who is going to provide mercenaries for Iraq – surely not you.

MWG August 27, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Serious? Absolutely. They’re just as efficient and effective, if not more so, than the govt. That was my point. You (the moron) jumped to the conclusion that I was making a different one. You should stop doing that.

Sam Grove August 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Ah, the collectivist mind is a shared stupidity.

Few actually have to do any critical thinking, in fact, it is discouraged, they just refer to the dialog.

That explains why they can only see things a certain way: profit making = evil; political power (in their hands) = good.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 12:03 am

Explains why over 90% of the Soviet “elites” were functionally illiterate.

“the collectivist mind is a shared stupidity.”

Well done, Sam!

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:42 am

Defense is not a legitimate service of government. The military actions done in the name of americans are funded with stolen money. These military actions create the risk of invasion or attack. Morever, military occupation is not possible in a country that has more guns than people. Afghanistan and Vietnam demonstrate the effectiveness of unsophisticated natives against powerful military invaders. Aside from the private citezenry, contractors are nice too.

louh August 28, 2009 at 2:25 am

Stolen from where? Our security is fortified from strength, which sometimes means “offense is the best defense”. If we are going to wage an offensive action better it’s on their land than ours. This obviously gives our adversary a home field advantage, but the alternative would be unthinkable.

JohnK August 28, 2009 at 12:04 pm

The Constitution does not provide for a standing army, rather an armed population to be called upon and organized by the states in times of need.
This country was never intended to have a military with offensive capabilities.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 3:19 am

Stolen from the nation. Taxes are theft. As far as the notion for war. Offense is not the best defense. Offense is not defense. When it comes to war, offense is nation-buiilding imperialism. There is no historical example that I am aware of where war was initiated in a foreign land for defensive purposes. It has never happened. WWI and WWII are examples of nations invading others for non defense purposes. The US had no risk of invasion from another country and still does not. The US is a more difficult territory to occupy than afghanistan, russia, or east asia. The USA is full of small arms, vehicles, and resources to effectively occupy. There is not an army in the world capable of invading a rich nation of 300 million people who have access to firearms and defensive infrastructure. If not for the actions of the military and government, there would be no terrorism or potential threat from other countries. Japan, by the way bombed pearl harbor in retaliation for embargos and other restrictions imposed by FDR (who badly wanted to provoke an axis country into attacking).

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:24 am

And how did those last 30 years end up???

$300,000 vs $12,000

And on top of it Republicans deficit spent massively compared to Democratic presidents over the same time frames.

Takes a lot of denial to hold your position in the face of such monumental counterfactuals.

But those facts don’t matter to you… like water on a duck you just point out…..AND I QUOTE….”er um duhh..dayy….uduuhhh….HARHAR! Look at that chart! GOOO…OOLY Gomer….the Top 3 performances of …deer uhhmm..daaay…. in that chart was during the last 30 years ….derrr eeh emm daayy…” and think you’ve made a priceless observation. Talk about a couple of Moe Rons…Jezz…

MWG August 28, 2009 at 5:58 am

Question for the village idiot: Is it totally irrelevant to you in terms of who controlled congress during those years?

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Not totally but pretty much irrelevent. Name me a major policy change that congress passed and a president from the opposing party also supported or signed into law.

Bottom line is the democratic policies tends to decrease unemployment and increase wages. Since the working class is spending 70% of all the money when they have money the economy revs up. Even when we increase taxes on the rich.

http://lanekenworthy.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/presidentsandincomeinequality-figure1-version1.png

Why does this evidence just not matter to you MWG? Doesn’t it at least make my position plausible?

I really for the life of me can’t imagine keeping my position if the evidence were reversed. Seriously I couldn’t. But there it is and the has a plausible mechanism to explain it.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Exactly. Just look at service, technology and price in the parts of the medical industry that don’t have any insurance or government involvement – LASIK eye surgery and plastic surgery. Completely the opposite story.

Some of that may be because these types of surgeries are in high demand, whereas heart surgery is something everyone tries to avoid.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Muirdiot: “I believe in fascism. I’m just unwilling to call it that. Probably because I think “fascism” is a type salad dressing”.

Alexei August 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

From wikipedia: ”

In the economic sphere, many fascist leaders have claimed to support a “Third Way” in economic policy, which they believed superior to both the rampant individualism of unrestrained capitalism and the severe control of state communism. This was to be achieved by establishing significant government control over business and labour (Mussolini called his nation’s system “the corporate state”). No common and concise definition exists for fascism and historians and political scientists disagree on what should be in any concise definition.”

From Merriam-Webster:

“a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

Judging by those descriptions, it sure seems as though we’re a lot closer to fascism (and getting closer every day) than to your mythical equal democracy.

sandre August 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Here are some of the characteristics of fascism:

Fascism opposes class conflict, blames capitalist liberal democracies for its creation and communists for exploiting the concept.[9] In the economic sphere, many fascist leaders have claimed to support a “Third Way” in economic policy, which they believed superior to both the rampant individualism of unrestrained capitalism and the severe control of state communism.[10][11] This was to be achieved by establishing significant government control over business and labour (Mussolini called his nation’s system “the corporate state”).[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 8:04 am

You worship at the altar (among many altars) of St Franklin of Roosevelt, a man who was enamored with both Mussolini and Uncle Joe Stalin. You can change the names all you want, but virtually every policy you support fits either the communist or the fascist definition of socialism. You are a pick-and-choose socialist.

louh August 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

The Germans marched all over Europe. Didn’t they attack France, Poland and Russia. All with rather large sophisticated armies. Iraq walked into Kuwait. With today’s technology any quasi army can inflict hundreds of thousands of deaths in an instant. The Geneva Convention does not hold for terrorists. Germ warfare, and other biologics can be transported and released and cause horrific consequences. As for the government stealing our money through taxes, I won’t argue with you.

Alexei August 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Oh, it certainly does. Congress can fund the military for up to two years at a time. Madison et al, in the Federalist Papers, specifically talked about the NECESSITY of having a standing army for defense of the country, because having to call up the militia all the time wouldn’t work. The time it would take to get the militia mobilized and dispatched would render it continually late or require it to be continually called up….which would just be a standing army by another name. However, in recognizing the necessity of an army, they also recognized the dangers of it. Hence the limitation to two years of funding at a time.

This leads to the question of how our current military budgeting system is Constitutional, since the budget routinely contains funds that can be spent over 3, 5, or 10 years, depending on the appropriation type (in excess of the 2 year limit in the Constitution). I guess since they make the budget each year, and the out-year funds can always be can-x’d that makes up for it. But then, I’m not a lawyer. :)

Alexei August 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm

No dude, you’re missing the point. Yes, this guy data mined. But the point is that the previous article that you referenced ALSO data-mined. The wolfram article’s point is that it’s possible to manipulate the data to get just about any outcome you want, so really all outcomes at all are meaningless. As a doctor, you ought to be able to recognize statistical traps like this. Don’t you read medical journals and the like? Weren’t you taught how to analyze data in school?

Heck, it’s irrelevant for other reasons too. The causes of these market fluctuations are complex enough that a pat “Dem was in office” or “Rep was in office” explanation for them is patently absurd. Other, more important, things like, oh I don’t know…..quarterly earnings statements, new product launches, IPOs, or just sheer day-trader douchebaggery effect the stock market a LOT more than what some guy in the White House happens to do. Not that the stock market is any reliable reflection of the economy anyway.

sandre August 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Who dominated politics before the Great Depression and before this Great Recession?

Ans: The progressive Era preceded the depression.

before this Great Recession?

Ans: Neocons – a.k.a progressives.

It’s very obvious.

Muir was telling us back in Feb 2009, that we should give BHO some time. Now he calls it curve fitting. LOL. Talk about silly prejudices.

Anonymous August 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm

When the powers that be can do what they want with private armies, many of the constraints on the use of force evaporate. Just ask George III – a German king with hired German armies. He had a lot of respect for British liberties didn’t he? Of course not – he didn’t need to. You never need to when you have mercenaries.

Blackwater is nothing more than modern day Hessians. If they’re cooking food and doing laundry, fine. I have no problem with the idea of privatization. But that isn’t the only thing these security forces are doing, and it’s a very dangerous precedent.

sandre August 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm

“Not totally but pretty much irrelevent. Name me a major policy change that congress passed and a president from the opposing party also supported or signed into law.

How about annual federal budgets year after year. Democrats were in power(in congress), pretty much continuously, startging from 1930s until 1994. We had presidents from both parties. Annual budgets were passed every year. I would think that is significant. Have you heard of HMO regulations? Last years Bush bailout, democrats voted for it, Bush signed it.

You often quote Gramm-Bliley often, not that I consider earth shattering, but you do. DO you know signed it, moron?

MWG August 28, 2009 at 6:20 pm

“Name me a major policy change that congress passed and a president from the opposing party also supported or signed into law.”

…ummm the EPA under Nixon… Welfare under Clinton… are you serious???

sandre August 28, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Sorry, I didn’t read your post before I posted my response.

louh August 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm

It is and was detrimental. Mr. Kenndy used naked short selling combined with no uptick rule to drive stocks down to levels that would trigger stop orders. It has nothing to do with fundamentals. It is an extremely quick and effective way to make a lot of money in a short time. Especially when the market is in a free fall. there is most ceratinly a place for short selling, i did it everyday for 28 years. What Mr. Kennedy engaged in is every crooks dream, making money with zero risk. It was tatamount to seeing into the future. He abused his fiduciary responsibility to his clients by setting off their stops and profiting greatly for it.

louh August 29, 2009 at 4:56 am

The reason why the stock market fell before the depression is open to argument. It may very well have been overvalued, but that was not the catalyst for the down turn. Over or under valuations are subjective terms not objective.
As to how Joe Kennedy triggered stop orders, you simply do not understand the mechanisms of the stock market. Fair value is useful in futures trading and has nothing to do with illegal naked short selling, or the type of trading activity initiated by Joseph Kennedy. And gunning for stocks as you insist does not go on unabated. It is against the law and would be an easy catch for any regulator. It is a form of front running and is the most obvious of trading irregularities to pick up. If you had worked on Wall St. you would understand how ludicrous your words are.
As to making scapegoats out of short sellers, I would never even imply such an absurd position. I shorted stocks all day, it’s how I made a living for 28 years.

MWG August 28, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Not Blackwater (as if your question was legit, right?). I don’t know how it currently works, but there’s no reason to believe the government couldn’t outsource the production of nuclear weapons just as they’ve done with certain aspects of the military and Blackwater.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 11:15 pm

How is it that you shorted every day of your life for 28 years and still don’t know that the risk of a short position is infinite? How can you say that entering a trade with infinite risk is “riskless”? What you describe is not “quick and effective”. It’s risky and subject to luck.

Especially when the market is in a free fall.

You only know the market is in free fall after the fact. At any time, the market can reverse its “free fall” and your “extremely effective” short position suddenly extremely effectively bankrupts you.

What Mr. Kennedy engaged in is every crooks dream, making money with zero risk.

What? How is making money with no risk crooked? Arbitrage is riskless. Are all arbitrageurs crooks? Or are they working to keep markets efficient?

Look, no offense, but you sound like a retail trader. The uptick rule you love so much was loved by us more – we were exempt, you weren’t. All it did was dictate who could short and when. We could short any time and you could short only when we allowed you to. It prevented you from effectively and cheaply hedging and increased your bid/ask spread, translating into more money for liquidity providers. Prohibitions on shorting provided some upward bias in the market during periods of low volatility and allowed stocks to become much more easily overvalued. When confidence in the market was lost, the bias didn’t help – think 1987 and 200-2001. The uptick rule and short selling prohibitions (both of which market makers must be exempt from to fulfill our obligations) are just a pack of BS sold to you by the SEC at the insistence of those of us who lobby it to skew the market in our favour. It always create rents for us and those rents are extracted from customers.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 11:23 pm

BTW, professional traders who were not market makers always got around the uptick rule in perfectly legal ways. It never inconvenienced anyone but Joe Blow Retail Guy.

Naked shorting is another red herring.

Methinks August 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm

how the heck did this post get above my previous one. It should have appeared below the longer post just beneath.

louh August 29, 2009 at 1:02 am

You could not act on breaking negative news and get a short off with the uptick rule. In a fast market you had to sit on your hands. We had bulltes for a while but they were outlawed. ETF’s aside you are at a great disadvantage with the uptick rule.

sandre August 29, 2009 at 12:13 am

What “lead_pencil” said a few comments below.

louh August 29, 2009 at 12:56 am

Wow my friend, we are on the same page. I always thought it was absurd to give the market makers a free pass and place restrictions on me. It is the market makers and specialists who can see their book and trigger stop orders. My point is that Joe Kennedy made a fortune at other peoples expense by triggering such occurrences. I am very aware of the risks inherent in short selling, my point is Mr Kennedy took no such risks, he engaged in lay up trades.

louh August 29, 2009 at 2:20 pm

I will walk you through it. Mr Kennedy the specialist in ABC Corp takes a look at his book. He sees a stop loss order to sell 10,000 shares at 9 1/2 and another to sell 10000 at 9 1/4, the stock is trading at 10. Mr Kennedy then sees that there are 20000 shares or less of buy orders beween 10 and 9 1/2. He pounds the stock down to 9 1/2 triggers a stop order which drives the stock further down to 9 1/4 where the other order is triggered. Mr. Kennedy now takes in his short. A monkey could trade and make money that way. Today the specialis would be taken away in handcuffs. Back then he was promoted to SEC Chairman.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 1:26 am

No need to demonize them though. The government obviously has a use for Blackwater. I don’t recall Obama issuing a decree outlawing their use.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I’m not demonizing the guys that actually work for Blackwater (although some of them apparently have a bizarre, Crusader, so called “Christian Supremacist” approach). Most of them I’m sure are good guys. It’s the dangers of using mercenary forces that I think is worth “demonizing”, if you will. And that’s exactly the problem – that Obama hasn’t issued a decree! If he did I’d be less concerned, wouldn’t I?

Previous post:

Next post: