Morning Reads For Monday 9/17/12

September 17, 2012 8:11 am

by Buzz Brockway · 37 comments

Local Stuff

– Georgia corporations are sitting on a ton of cash. I’m sure it has nothing to do with current economic conditions and everything to do with greed. Curse those evil, evil, corporations.
– 225 years ago yesterday members of Congress signed the U.S. Constitution. In Savannah and other spots around Georgia, they remembered.
– Walter Jones: State, local governments also face financial cliff.
– There is some good news out there: business at ports are up 13%.
Five people qualified for the Senate district 30 special election and four of them are not named Glenn Richardson.

National Stuff
– Kyle Wingfield is not a fan of QE3. No word on his opinion of Kate’s topless photos.
– Peace in the Middle East? Not so much according to this Google map.
– A Libyan official says the attack on our Embassy was premeditated and he warned the U.S. three days before it happened. Our UN Ambassador disagrees, saying there was no premeditation involved in the attack.
– The man who made the movie that allegedly started all the violence in the Middle East was arrested. I believe he was later released.
– More talk of an Isreali strike against Iran’s nuclear installations.
– The Chicago teacher strike begins it’s second week. Remember, it’s for the children.

Other Stuff
– The Falcons host Manning and the Broncos on Monday Night Football.
– The Braves swept the Nats and Jeff Schultz explains why this Braves team won’t collapse and miss the playoffs.
– A Chipper Jones corn maze in Loganville.
– Miss Gwinnett (who lives in Columbus) is your new Miss Georgia.

John Vestal September 17, 2012 at 8:18 am

Georgia makes The Times (the left-coast version….h/t to my left-coast brother).

wicker September 17, 2012 at 8:35 am

An Atlanta issue: they are nearing their goal of 2000 cops, a campaign promise of Kasim Reed (that goes back to the days of Bill Campbell) to address the crime image problem.

Now while more cops is nice, the main question is whether Atlanta changes is philosophy towards policing. If not, then the extra police officers amounts to little more than a jobs program. I despise Rudy Giuliani (for a ton of reasons) and believe that NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” program is unconstitutional (and could never be implemented in a pro-gun state such as Georgia anyway) but what New York did drastically reduced their murder rate (I believe from 2000 a year to about 800 a year) and also made Harlem safe enough to gentrify to a degree could work in Atlanta. And it wasn’t just the “broken windows” proactive policing either, but also cracking down on and running out of business a lot of seedy “establishments” that are known to attract crime, which Atlanta has plenty of.

wicker September 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

Oh yes, on that “corporations sitting on a lot of cash” article, that has been the case for several years, pretty much since Obama got elected. The excuse used to be uncertainty over the business environment created by ObamaCare kept businesses from hiring and expanding. Now that ObamaCare has been ruled legal by the Supreme Court, I don’t know what the going excuse is now. It really can’t be that these guys just spent 4 years refusing to hire anyone until Obama left office because he is a Democrat, because that didn’t keep them from hiring (and overextending themselves like mad and creating a bubble that burst later but that is another story) while Clinton was in office. But it looks like one way or another they are going to soon have to stop sitting on this cash. Either they will get an administration that is more ideologically to their liking (Romney) or they will have to face being stuck with one that they dislike for 4 more years (Obama).

DavidTC September 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I like the idea that ‘Corporations sitting on piles of cash’ somehow is proof of something. Well it is. Sadly, it’s not actually something the right wants to face.

Corporations sitting on piles of cash proves that cutting taxes and regulations on business _does not actually fix the economy_. Corporations do not spend money because they have it laying around. They spend money to make stuff to sell, and people buy stuff when _people_ have money. If people are not going to buy their stuff, then corporations are not going to hire people to make it. Duh.

But, by all means, let’s continue pretending the problem is the (entirely rational) behavior of corporations, and that we can bribe them to make stuff. Let’s ignore the fact that no one is buying anything because no one has any damn money, and simply giving the money-less people some actual money (via tax rebates, public work projects, bailing out bad mortgages at _that_ end, or hell, just handing them money.) would solve the problem. Let’s instead pretend that, if we keep giving corporations more money, they’ll suddenly start hiring people to make things they know they can’t sell.

Charlie September 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Corporations invest money (you guys sure love to mix up the word spend and invest a lot) when they have a reasonable expectation for a return on their investment that justifies the risk involved. Period. It’s that simple.

If they don’t have a reasonable investment that can provide a ROI relative to the risk required, they don’t invest. When they face a confiscatory domestic tax rate, yet are making money overseas, they have no reason to bring the money back home, pay taxes here, then reinvest it here to make a lower ROI because of continued high corporate tax rates.

When there’s something to invest in to justify the higher ROI required to repatriate the money, produce goods/services, pay new taxes on that, and have enough left over to justify the risks they will take to do so, they’ll deploy the money. Until then, the cash will pile up.

Scott65 September 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Not quite that simple Charlie. ROI can be achieved via higher sales, investing in better equipment, as well as business environment. Off-shoring is a way to avoid taxation, but the problem is you also dont pay much in taxes if you aren’t selling stuff. Thats more relevant to the position we are in now. The most puzzling thing to me is that as income disparity grows, fewer people have money to spend, so business has to cut back on labor, reducing the amount of money people have to spend thus they sell less. Any rational person would see that reducing income inequality translates to more more for business. The Fed has been adding additional currency to the market, which in turn is sitting in banks and big business (parked). Whereas money supply is going higher…monetary velocity is still very low (why we dont have inflation right now). I think the Feds implicit message to the markets is that they will continue to add currency until there is an uptick in inflation and with the expectation of inflation on the horizon companies wont be quite so happy to sit on cash (that inflation would erode the value of)

Charlie September 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

“Any rational person would see that reducing income inequality translates to more more for business.”

Provably untrue. You can reduce the income of the top 50% (or any numbers in the top half) and you have reduced “inequality”. That’s less money for spending, not more. And, btw, that’s exactly the policies our president is advocating.

Scott65 September 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm

why is it untrue…how about raising the incomes of the lower 50% instead. You seem to think of it as stealing from the top rather than building from the bottom. The bottom 50% are much more likely to spend more as a percentage of their income than the top. Get more disposable income in the lower half and the upper half gains…whats not true about that?

Scott65 September 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

fyi…I’m not advocating for any specific way to do that…just arguing the principal.

Charlie September 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

The belief that government can do that is what separates the ideologies of the two major parties.

Note – from a technical definition – that transfer payments are not an increase in GDP. Thus, taking from the top half to give to the bottom half doesn’t increase income/output.

It does, however, increase the ROI required for that top half to make an investment. They’re getting a smaller return for their risk, so the threshold is higher. Fewer investments are made, and their income decreases.

Thus, with this strategy, everyone loses, even those who got a temporary benefit from transfer payments only to find there were fewer jobs, fewer ways to earn income. The economy shrinks more, more need for transfer payments, more is taken from the upper income earners….wash, rinse, repeat.

Ken September 18, 2012 at 4:40 am

Scott65,

. . . how about raising the incomes of the lower 50% instead.

If the government does that, where does the money come from? From the other 50%, of course. So you’re taking money from those who produce and giving it to the government which is relatively inefficient and does not produce. It takes away more jobs than it produces.

You seem to think of it as stealing from the top rather than building from the bottom.

It’s legalized plunder by a government, so yes it is stealing by those who will “give” something they have not earned in order to increase their own power and prestige.

In actual economic terms – not government gibberish – individuals either consume or invest all resources, including income. To invest it is to defer consumption to gain a greater reward later or lessen a pending loss. To consume is to get immediate gratification.

Get more disposable income in the lower half and the upper half gains…whats not true about that?

Since the ‘upper half’ pays for the increased disposable income of the ‘lower half’ and receives no return on the money taken from it by government, there is no way that statement is correct.

Ken September 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

Businesses are not monolithic but the generally recognized goal is to increase the net present value of the company. The net present value is the sum of all anticipated future income adjusted for the time-value of money minus all anticipated future expenditures adjusted for the time-value of money plus the value of capital.

There is a reason businesses are not spending money. It is because they are so uncertain of the future that they choose to lose money at the rate of inflation rather than risk it in the current markets. One of the markets in which they are afraid to risk investment is in the labor market.

You do realize that when the FED prints money, it devalues savings and investments in terms of dollars? It is not possible to print one’s way out of a recession.

Andre September 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

Two Georgians –William Few and Abraham Baldwin– signed the Constitution of the United States on this day in 1787.

Both gentlemen served as Senators, representing Georgia in the United States Congress.

I wonder what Baldwin and Few would have to say about the state of the country today; especially given that they both signed a superb document that limited the power of the federal government.

Stefan September 17, 2012 at 11:34 am

They would say “what is this thing you call electricity? why I am amazed by this devilish device, but also scared for it challenges my very assumptions of the world. Also, why are your women walking around by themselves, what do you mean they can vote! oh my your , ahem, servants, seem to have a great deal of liberty…ARE THESE YOUR HORSES?”

And other things that are totally irrelevant to modern society.

Stefan September 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

They would also be relieved that Georgia beat Florida Atlantic this weekend, given that a loss would mean falling under the dominion of the Spanish crown.

Calypso September 17, 2012 at 11:57 am

They’d also say, “You mean the Falcons have still not won a SuperBowl?”

DavidTC September 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm

No, no, no. If William Few and Abraham Baldwin were alive today, any issues they had about politics or the modern world would be totally overshadowed by a major problem they had.

Specifically: WON’T SOMEONE LET ME OUT OF THIS COFFIN! HELLO?! IS ANYONE OUT THERE? HELP!

Stefan September 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

and Few would add, wasn’t I supposed to be buried in New York? Why am I in Augusta?

peachstealth September 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

After seeing the size and reach of the federal government, they would ask how long their constitution lasted before it was done away with.

mountainpass September 17, 2012 at 9:43 am
wicker September 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

Kid was a suspect because he checked out the “wrong” library books “thought police!” and was arrested because he had “weapons” ( a knife and a paintball gun!) in his car to justify the thought police arrest. Private schools anyone?

saltycracker September 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm

“Bait” books to go with the police cameras in low places and thousands of more cops……we’re gonna need a lot of fines or taxes to pay for keeping busy…..picking winners and loosers in the criminal world is not easy……but the dumb and poor ones are low hanging fruit…..

chamblee54 September 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

Those who talk the most about the founding fathers know the least about them.

wicker September 17, 2012 at 10:28 am

They do know that those who make issue of the fact that the founding fathers were slave-owning white males only do so because such people have no interest in consistently abiding by the rule of law. The folks who keep bashing the founding fathers need to write their own Constitution and get it enacted. But they won’t, because they prefer the current situation: where the Constitution can be wielded as effective device for restraining their ideological enemies on one hand while being ignored as the outdated product of antediluvian while males on the other as it suits them. So, the Constitution becomes a living and breathing document when it suits the progressive left, but is an ironclad and air tight straight jacket with no room for flexibility or creativity whatsoever when it doesn’t.

Stefan September 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

Haha, Wingfield. It is one thing to disagree with QE, it is another thing to argue something that isn’t related. Good times.

Harry September 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Understanding The Liquidity Trap
http://seekingalpha.com/article/869461-why-qe3-can-t-work-understanding-the-liquidity-trap

Some of the comments to this piece are also very interesting.

Harry September 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

The Obama administration is battling to restore a controversial provision of a new federal law that it admits could have been used to arrest and detain citizens indefinitely – even if their actions were protected by the First Amendment.
http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/obama-detention-ok-for-1st-amendment-activities/

Stefan September 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Wait a second. That’s an appeal based on whether a provision should be analyzed on an “as applied” standard or whether it should be attacked as facially invalid.

The government is saying that these particular plaintiffs don’t have standing to challenge the section and they specifically state:

“The government did not – and does not – generally agree or anywhere argue that activities protected by the First Amendment could not subject an individual to indefinite military detention under Section 1021.”

The purpose of that sentence is to clarify the argument, not to say it is “ok” to detain people for exercising free speech rights. After the whole thing last week with the Marines not being allowed to carry bullets thing from last week, I was hoping you’d be more circumspect in repeating the claims found on sites like that.

Harry September 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm
Stefan September 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I suppose it will have to do. I am not much a fan of HuffPo either, but I appreciate the variety.

Harry September 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm
Harry September 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm
Joshua Morris September 17, 2012 at 2:27 pm

“- Georgia corporations are sitting on a ton of cash. I’m sure it has nothing to do with current economic conditions and everything to do with greed. Curse those evil, evil, corporations.”

Speaking of this, are we still keeping tabs on how many billions of dollars Georgia’s ‘non-profit’ hospitals are holding in caribbean banks?

Scott65 September 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Ask Rick Scott down in FL…I bet he could tell ya…

Harry September 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm
Scott65 September 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

For all you Cobb County Crazies out there…find out how YOU yes YOU can fight the dreaded regionalism (cue scary music)…in a workshop type format. This would be laughable but for the fact that is sad that people can be this stupid
http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/09/17/former-t-splost-foes-set-sights-on-agenda-21-regionalism-because-why-not

Bridget September 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm

??

I found Agenda 21 comments laughable (and embarrassing) during the Chairman’s race, but this article was a let down. I clicked every hyperlink thinking one would have some meaty substance, but nothing really explains Sept 29 or links it to Agenda 21.

If you find a good article, by all means – I’ll push it to the front page.

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