Archive for November 10th, 2009
It’s been absurd for a long while, but the apparent self-destruction of the Republican Party is reaching new depths. Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina is being censured by the state G.O.P. organization for working with Democrats on a climate bill.
Here is the Fox News report.
For contrast, here is the Huffington Report.
All one can do is stare and ask “What is wrong with those people?”
Despite party leader calls for bipartisanship, we see repeated motions by the grassroots elements of the embattled party to circle the wagons and harden their resolve to do nothing to aid and abet what they perceive as The Enemy.
Which is what, exactly?
Anything, it seems, which suggests that people cannot manage their own affairs, no matter how much they might affect other people, is disallowed. If legislation is proposed to control behavior of individuals, it is anathema to the Republicans.
Unless we’re discussing abortion. Then the full weight of the state must be brought to bear to prevent individual choice.
If the Democrats are smart, all they need do is continue to discuss issues in rational, thoughtful ways, and let the Republican Rabid Dog Wing continue to vociferate mindlessly, and in 2010 there will be another bloodletting of Republican presence in Congress. All the Republicans seem able to do anymore is bang their shoes on the desk and repeat “No! No! No!”
At some point, surely, there will be a schism (much like the one we saw in upstate New York) and the sane and rational Republicans will split away from the hydrophobic microcephalics that have been destroying them for so long. That cannot but be a good thing in the long run.
Remember the case of Kelo vs. New London? Briefly, it was a case in which homeowners including Susette Kelo sued their municipality to stop it from taking their homes using the power of eminent domain. The city wanted to raze the homes and redevelop the area, making it shiny and new to complement the anticipated Pfizer pharmaceutical research facility. After all, one musn’t allow the shabby dwellings of the peasantry to mar the image of success and corporate uniformity that one is trying to project:
So, the politicians picked a 24-acre lot and sold it Pfizer for $10, adding on special tax breaks. Also, state and local governments promised $26 million to clean up contamination on the lot and a nearby junkyard.
But Pfizer executive David Burnett thought New London needed to do some more cleaning. “Pfizer wants a nice place to operate,” the Hartford Courant quoted Burnett in 2001. “We don’t want to be surrounded by tenements.” The old Victorian houses in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood next door did not match Pfizer’s vision – a high-rise hotel or luxury condominiums would be more fitting.
Dan Solin at Huffpo has repeatedly pointed out the folly of paying an investment “expert” to manage a securities fund. His advice goes against the grain; innumerable books, magazines and websites pretend that if you want to grow your investments, you need to pay someone to actively manage them. As Dan Points out in this post, the great majority of fund managers hyperactively stir your investments (which costs you money for all these transactions) and the fund typically does less well than passively managed index funds that cost a fraction of the cost of actively managed funds to maintain. Vanguard, for example, is a prominent company offering many passively managed funds that cost less than 1/10 as much to maintain as actively managed funds.
After pointing out new statistics showing the follow of active management, Dan offers this hypothetical conversation that you should have with the next investment professional who offers to help your funds “grow,” for a fee, by wheeling and dealing securities for you:
Broker: I recommend this [hyperactively managed] stock [or bond] fund.
You: You get a commission if I follow your recommendation, right?
Broker: Of course.
You: Based on data from both Morningstar and S&P, your recommended fund is likely to underperform a low cost index fund of comparable risk, right?
You: Is this a farce or a con?
Then hang up.