Category Archives: Quote Of The Day

Quote of the Day

“In a few years we might actually find that we are hungry for more capitalism, not less. An economic crisis slows growth, and when countries need growth, they turn to markets. After the Mexican and East Asian currency crises — which were far more painful in those countries than the current downturn has been here — the pace of market-oriented reform speeded up. If, in the years ahead, the American consumer remains reluctant to spend, if federal and state governments groan under their debt loads, if government-owned companies remain expensive burdens, then private-sector activity will become the only path to creating jobs. With all its flaws, capitalism remains the most productive economic engine we have yet invented.”

— Fareed Zakaria, June 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

“Instead of more delectable disputations about the exact size of the state, we need to change the focus of the argument. Of course there are important choices to be made and it is vital, in my view, that we spend on infrastructure investment (notably in London) rather than on consumption. But we are not dedicating anything like enough political energy and interest to the real issue: who the hell is now speaking up for the wealth creators of this country?”

— London mayor Boris Johnson, June 15, 2009

(hat tip: Neil Pickett)

Quote of the Day

“The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others, so I will confine myself to reporting about how all this looks from the receiving end of the taxes, restrictions and mandates Congress is now proposing.

“Quite simply, it looks like imperialism. This bill would impose enormous taxes and restrictions on free commerce by wealthy but faltering powers — California, Massachusetts and New York — seeking to exploit politically weaker colonies in order to prop up their own decaying economies. Because proceeds from their new taxes, levied mostly on us, will be spent on their social programs while negatively impacting our economy, we Hoosiers decline to submit meekly.”

— Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, on the cap-and-trade tax, May 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

“Even when you make [a tax form] out on the level, you don’t know when it’s through if you are a crook or a martyr.”

— Will Rogers, as relayed by Tom Herman, the excellent long-time tax writer for The Wall Street Journal, in his last column today, April 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

“I made a decision a long time ago not to make my career a bet on bad things happening. I think that approach simply corrodes your strategic thought capacity. Human history is progress, so if you’re constantly having to screen out the good to spot the bad, your vision will unduly narrow. If you bet on progress, you can easily contextualize the bad, because progress is never linear. But if you bet on retreat, you must consistently discount advances as ‘illusions’ and ‘buying time’ and so on, and after a while, you’re just this broken clock who’s dead-on twice a day.”

— Thomas P.M. Barnett, April 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

“Beginning in 2003, the Fed filled the liquidity punch bowl. Low rates and the weakening dollar created a monumental carry trade (borrow dollars, buy anything). This transmitted the Fed’s monetary excess abroad and into commodities. As the punch bowl overflowed, even global bonds bubbled (prices rose, yields fell), contributing to the global housing boom.”

— David Malpass, March 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

Thanks to Steve Forbes for reprinting an excerpt of a 2008 article of mine in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

Dollar Defense

The value of money is not like any other product, whose value is set in the marketplace. The value of money in a floating-rate environment where fine-tuning central banks print money cannot be ”set by the market.” This is an illusion. Money is not a product or commodity. Money is an abstract concept — a measuring rod, a standard of value, a unit of account that must remain constant over time. Only then can workers and businesses, entrepreneurs and investors engage in meaningful trade, risk new money in forward-looking ventures, and lend and borrow money on reasonable terms. Movement in the value of money is not a helpful ”adjustment” but harmful noise that impairs the transmission of all-important information. How can one determine the price of a house or a complex mortgage security, for example, when the value of money itself is under suspicion?

To achieve a dynamic and growing economy, you need an utterly undynamic, stone-cold unit of money. It is the information-rich creative spikes of entrepreneurship and profit — or economic entropy — that comprise all economic growth. A high-entropy message requires a low-entropy carrier.

The great events of the globe increasingly are governed by the movements of world currencies. We need a return to currency stability. But that requires a return to dollar stability. And the dollar is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve.

— Bret Swanson, in the Far Eastern Economic Review

Quote of the Day

“If our brains were simple enough to understand, we would be too dumb to understand them.”

John Rutledge

Quote of the Day

“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans. We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”

—  Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper, speaking to Tom Friedman

Quote of the Day

“This is the killer quote from Geithner’s speech: ‘We are exploring a range of different structures for this program, and will seek input from market participants and the public as we design it.’ In other words, we have a plan to have a plan. Ouch.”

— James Pethokoukis, February 10, 2009

Quote of the Day

“There is something desperate about the way economists are clinging to their dogeared copies of Keynes’ ‘General Theory.’ Uneasily aware that their discipline almost entirely failed to anticipate the current crisis, they seem to be regressing to macroeconomic childhood, clutching the Keynesian ‘multiplier effect’ — which holds that a dollar spent by the government begets more than a dollar’s worth of additional economic output — like an old teddy bear.”

— Niall Ferguson, February 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

“it is hard to imagine unemployed investment bankers driving bulldozers on highway projects.”

— Arnold Kling, January 27, 2009, debating the size (or existence) of the Keynesian “multiplier” effect

Quote of the Day

Environmentalists love the idea of milking Mother Nature for power, but they hate the hardware needed to make it work: huge windmills, acres of solar panels, high-voltage transmission lines to connect them to the places where people live. Of course, they still totally, absolutely, wholeheartedly support green energy — as long as it gets built where someone else goes yachting.

— editorial, The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2009

Quote of the Day

we may be approaching a tipping point for democratic capitalism.

— Peter Wehner and Paul Ryan, January 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

Better yet, Washington might spend its time profitably examining its own role in the recent housing blowout, which has destroyed more wealth than a hundred Madoffs, and about which Mr. Frank himself is an expert.

— Holman Jenkins, January 7, 2009

Quote(s) of the Day

So nice, we quote him twice:

“. . . [Madoff] is a genius who should immediately be put in charge of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.”

— Holman Jenkins, December 17, 2008

“Congress, now in the process of convincing itself it should run the auto industry, no doubt will see in Mr. Madoff proof that Congress is needed to manage rich people’s money and ordinary people’s too. Then we’ll all be in the same position as Mr. Madoff’s clients.”

— Holman Jenkins, again!

Quote of the Day

“Rarely has there been such a case in which the sin is perfectly represented by the physical presence of the sinner. I had never seen him until the news this week, and there he was, a lipless, dull-featured, wig-wearing moron with a foul-mouthed harridan of a wife.”

— Peggy Noonan, commenting on the instantly infamous governor of Illinois, Blago.

Quote of the Day

“We’ve found that decentralized decision-making, in which millions of independent economic actors make judgments using their own money, results in the wisest allocation of scarce resources across our complex society. And we’ve found the market to be more reliable in heeding price signals and meting out discipline to failing enterprises than government could ever be.”

— Chris Cox, SEC chairman, December 11, 2008, attempting some much needed self-regulation of the public sector.

Quote of the Day

“What we ended up with is a failure of government, which we have erroneously termed a failure of capitalism.”

— Harvey Golub, December 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

“Does the government really know whether a company should be saved?”

— Oliver Hart & Luigi Zingales, December 3, 2008

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