Comments on: Monty Brewster’s fiscal stimulus Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: wendy schaefer Tue, 16 Dec 2008 23:43:52 +0000 A lovely, labor-intensive construction project for the entire nation would be that advocated in Van Jones new book, The Green Collar Economy. He say, “We should start now, at the pace of war-time mobilization” to overhaul the aging residential and commercial infrastructure. For this effort, “the main piece of technology in the green economy, is a caulking gun”.

Since it is primarily the poor who live in crumbling homes without energy efficient windows or adequate insulation, this program would alleviate a great deal of suffering–preventable illnesses among the very young and very old, honest work for many marginalized young men and savings in energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions for generations.

By: nyongesa Fri, 12 Dec 2008 08:33:01 +0000 Paul,

You began fairly well, but by your second comment you had meandered all over the place, and your retail analogy is one dimensional. While the notion that America has peaked is quite palpable, to get a good sense of what has made America a succesfull place in the world you need to spend considerable time in other countires, and you will be less sanguine about America’s long term prospects. From an African perspective I have seen a transformational impact on the world emenating out of the U.S. through myriad mechanisms, in economics, politics and culture. Consumerism as well, is not a uniquely American phenomenon, but an extension of wealth accumualtion and liberalism.

By: paul rosa Fri, 12 Dec 2008 01:42:03 +0000 Found the book on the online books page. Gutenberg press – free editions. Almost the same starting plot line. And the restrictions on Monty Breweter were the same in both versions (just started reading it) He was to have no assets in order to qualify for the second bequest.

Very poor analogy for Obama’s works project. Isn’t that intended to improve the assets of the country? It would not be intended to waste the money of one old millionaire that an even wealthier old man hated.

Too bad the country doesn’t have a few rich relatives about to kick it. We should all be so lucky to be in their posthumus cross fire. Today’s Monty will have to fight tooth and nail for anything from many living, massively wealthy and increasingly tight rich men and women and from even more who aren’t. Few of them seem to have the moral scruples of Monty’s relatives – living or dead.

If our wealthy take to Monty’s wanderings – just a glance at the chapter headings – they may choose to live with the Sheikh.

And all those public work’s funds – whoever gets to spend them – are going to have to be borrowed, aren’t they? It’s cruel to have to read of a man (Uncle Sedgewick) whose wealth is “as sound as Government bonds”. Those weren’t just the good old days, they are almost mythic now.

By: Ken Thu, 11 Dec 2008 22:01:17 +0000 Be honest. Did you start with the 1902 book or did you start with Richard Pryor movie of the same name and work back to the book because it sounded more highbrow?

By: Paul Rosa Thu, 11 Dec 2008 19:05:47 +0000 Sorry, never heard of the book. I’ll see if I can find on in an old bookstore. But what about the rest of the comments? I hope you don’t think you’ve neutralized them?

While I’m at it – to Dan, why would you avoid wind and turbine power. You don’t have to pay for the fuel? What happens to many world wide attempts to limit CO2? Many countries aren’t listening to contrary arguments anymore. They believe in climate change. Many countries already feel it.

The Senate objection to a quick bailout of the auto industry is a reflection on the part of the Republican side to lower the country’s cost of labor. This country can do little or nothing that can’t be done elsewhere for a fraction of the cost. How long can the US continue as the high end store in the world shopping center (living on large markups of other people goods) in the midst of much cheaper “outlet stores” that sell all the same things? The US is not really at the leading edge of anything anymore and it is due only to the self-induced delusion that it can “rule the world” that keeps us trying to do things as usual.

I hope you don’t think that the rest of the “producing countries” are going to forever be happy waiting until the “Neiman Marcus” of the world regains the ability to sell their goods at the prices necessary to keep the big merchandiser in business with his very high overhead costs? Water tends to seek its own level and I am sure that standards of living have the tendency to adjust to a mean. At least for most of the population. How long can the big economies continue as the froe Gras Geese for all the stuff the developing world is producing?

The developing countries are rapidly forming economies that can bypass the big hog on the block. And many of them are in geographical areas that don’t require massive use of oil. They can use solar, wind, compact and efficient development, geo thermal and most importantly the fact that they are filled with people used to living with a lot less and seem to be a lot smarter. The hungry tend to be keen. And a little money goes a long way with them.

The US way of life has dubious appeal and I am not the only person who can see that many people in the world are more happy to maintain their present social and cultural systems with some human rights improvements (The US has no copyright to those you know) rather than take on debt to pursue the American consumer way of life.

Actually it’s too bad Mr. Kemp isn’t citing the remake, isn’t that what the bailout is supposed to encourage – big spending without worrying about the asset value? We geese need a big gulp and the remake Monty would be a joy to meet right now. The older one would have probably been more like John D. Rockefeller. Want a shiny dime little boys and girls?

By: Mitch T Thu, 11 Dec 2008 17:43:42 +0000 Paul Rosa,

Now that you have actually read the article, you should admit that your first comment was wrong about the “movie”. The writer of this article, John Kemp, referred to the 1902 novel. You’re referring to a movie (probably the 1985 version with Richard Pryor).

By: Paul Rosa Thu, 11 Dec 2008 17:38:27 +0000 Now that I read the article – you are no doubt right about the long delay of project development and the lag before any real stimulus to the economy is felt. But shouldn’t you be saying – to hold off a “depression”? It is alreay acceoted that the country has been in a recession for more than a year.

The depression is the bottomless hole. Only WWII managed to create the national quasi totalitarian system that was able to kill off surplus males and force the government to take on enormous debt. But it did it at the cost of sacrificing most civil liberties and keeping the civilian population under the constant and heavy hand of government. There was forced conscription into military servive, an active domestic spy network especially around industries with military contracts and a general war mentatlity that cursed anyone with any contradictory opinions. Wasn’t that also the period that gave J Edgar Hoover his greatest boost?

The current wars, and Afghanistan could well scuttle any plans the president elect may have, have been fought with the idea that they are almost automatic, involve only those that choose miltary careers – no draft – the Bush people would have been dead in their tracks if the word draft had been invoked for ether Iraq or Afghanistan, were not supposed to require any sacrifice from the “homeland” other than to spend on consumer goods. It was and is a very perverse sort of war mentatlity. The two wars are almost “war lite”. Not enough people were being killed to really traumatize anyone. Some fluffy and boosterish war coverage was supposed to be enough for a generation – I’m included – that never felt the real horror and distress of war.

We should not forget that the economic slump will be makig millions of potential followers of Al Qaeda or the Taliban and no doubt hundreds of new groups of the disaffected. The US presence in the Middle East is not and never will be welcomed with wide open arms. The regimes of the ME very likely say one thing publicly but will be doing everything they can privately to see to it that we do not suceed in making them all Iraq like protectorates.

You could almsot say the war has finally come home even if the troops haven’t

By: Don Thu, 11 Dec 2008 17:26:53 +0000 I’m all for spending money on roads and highways. Don’t spend money on wind-turbines, residential fuel cell technology, natural gas microturbines, landfill methane extraction systems or anything interesting like that. We wouldn’t want to create jobs in new industries and help America get over its dependence on foreign fuel. Better yet, forget about infrastructure. Give the money to union assembly line works – the frontline of innovation and technological development. Putting on nuts and bolts, stripping wire and turning machines on and off are skills we must have to get us through this crisis.

By: Paul Rosa Thu, 11 Dec 2008 17:12:10 +0000 You might want to watch that movie again. The challenge his uncle set him was to spend 30 million and not to derive any value from it. He was not supposed to have one cent of “asset” value when he had completed the task. His uncle thought it would be aversion therapy. If Monty had succeeded in completely squandering 30 million dollars, his uncle thought Monty would be so sick of spending money that the 300 million dollar fortune would be secure. He would have cured Monty of the desire to “live large” and spend lavishly. Monty’s most expensive endeavor and the one that produced no residual value was the run for Office as the Mayor of New York City. That burned through most of the 30 million. A seat he resigned.

Your anaalogy has nothing to do with the rest of the article and absolutly nothing to do with the future administrations problems. The Federal Governemnt is more than able to spend 300 billion for nothing. Hume Cronin would be very disappointed in them all. They can burn the thirty million and go right on burning the rest.