15 February 2009

Towards a more responsible MSM

From the Independent, one of the two British papers I regularly read.

  • Britain's banks, especially those receiving public funds, should immediately adopt a policy of voluntary restraint, in pay and bonuses.
  • If taxpayers are paying, their representatives should decide on bonuses, and any earned should be given in share options, exercisable only when public funds have been repaid.
  • Failure should not be rewarded. Bonuses paid in the past year by banks bailed out by the taxpayer should be repaid now.
  • At a time of widespread job losses and sacrifice, it is vital that there is a not only a widespread perception of fairness, but the reality of it too.

Simple, direct. Krugman's op-eds in the Times have bordered on this level of prescription, but this is not opinion: it is a statement, sanctioned by the editors of the paper, of what must be done as policy.


05 February 2009


Listen, Senators and Representatives.

Take your ridiculous stimulus package and bury it. Then try again. Here's your plan:


Reverse the direction of the United States with regard to the concentration of wealth and the systematic degradation of the human capital and physical infrastructure.


  • Progressive taxation on earned income from minimal to say, 50% on income above $1,000,000.
  • Capital gains taxed as income.
  • Incentives for individual savings in insured financial vehicles.
  • Immediate reduction of Federal spending on Defense.
  • Immediate increase in Federal spending on infrastructure, including social infrastructure (education and health care).
  • Development of a regulatory framework for financial institutions to ensure that reasonable and prudent risk is rewarded fairly -- but that speculative risk can and should fail
  • Forced liquidation of assets of financial institutions, nationalization of failed banks, followed by a period of recapitalization and a privatization of the banks, allowing the United States citizens to achieve a return on investment for the risk we assumed in saving the financial classes collective asses.

Accept nothing less. This is an national, even global emergency. If we don't do this now, the consequences are dire.

Now get to work, assholes.

01 February 2009

And this is how it starts ...

From today's New York Times:

"Still, some of the island’s premier properties are for sale. Bruce McMahan, a hedge fund executive, has put his 7,300-square-foot condominium, which he used exclusively to entertain business associates, on the market, along with all its art, for $30 million.

Its walls are covered with copies of paintings from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The paintings were done by a team brought over from Russia by Mr. McMahan, who heads the Argent Funds Group. There is also a collection of FabergĂ© eggs and boxes and original correspondence from the Romanov family, which ruled imperial Russia, all housed in what is called the “Romanov bedroom.” Two Rodin sculptures adorn a terrace that fronts the ocean and is guarded by a German shepherd."

Did they really think they could repeat the model of the Russian Empire? Seriously? I likes me some icons and Fabergé eggs too, but the aristocrats lost then, and they'll loose again. Having a lot of fancy stuff does not give one moral authority (cf. the Catholic Church) nor does it mean you have a sustainable social or business model.