Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Former South Vietnamese Prime Minister Dies, Krugman Makes It So Simple Even a Caveman Would Get It, Ritholtz Warns Investors . . .

And News and Commentary That Surprisingly, Still Needs Comment

Forty five years or so ago the United States was embroiled in a controversy even bigger than the current one and now we learn that one of the key players has died.  Nguyen Cao Ky was a Vietnamese Air Force leader and for several years head of the government. 

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2004 file photo, former South Vietnamese premier Nguyen Cao Ky, talks during an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam. Nguyen Cao Ky, the flamboyant former air force general who ruled South Vietnam with an iron fist for two years during the Vietnam War, died Saturday, July 23, 2011. He was 80.  (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

In his book, Mr. Ky quotes an assessment of him by the State Department official William Bundy that he was “the bottom of the barrel” and the last choice for the job.

which certainly explains a lot about that conflict
Paul Krugman weighs in on means testing for Medicare as a way to decrease the deficit, and comes up with this observation.

But there’s a further point I haven’t seen emphasized: if you want the well-off to pay more, it’s just better to raise their taxes.

Could it be that simple?  Yes it could.

Barry Ritholtz reprises an earlier commentary on the investment outlook, and writes

Even with the Fed out of the picture, investors should not expect any relief from Congress: The legislative body in charge of taxing and spending seems incapable of accomplishing much these days. We are more likely to see counterproductive austerity measures than anything else.

Investors, it looks like you are on your own this time.

Do investors think austerity means the government will not bail them out, again?  No, ok, then they really don’t care.

The Sarah Palin Documentary Film is not doing all the great at the box office.  In its second week it took in $24,000 in 14 theaters, an average of about $1,700 per theater.  That’s about 40 to 50 people per day (do the math).  Let’s hope they bought a lot of popcorn, the economy needs a boost.

Mitt Romney continues to be relatively silent on the critical issue of the day, and in this case no news is news.  Mr. Romney seems to be following the advice of President Calvin Coolidge, “I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm”

The great quantitative political analyst Nate Silver reports on a CNN poll that found

55 percent of voters have a negative view of the Republican Party, tied for their second-highest unfavorable score since CNN began asking this question in 1992


The news for Democrats is not any better. Some 49 percent of voters now hold a negative view of the party, according to the poll.

Can anyone think of why these ratings would be so low, Anyone?

Some commentators have said that Republican Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is sinking in the polls.  This is not true.  Mr. Pawlenty was never high enough in the polls to sink.  Now campaigning on CNN Mr. Pawlenty said about Mr. Obama

"if you're the leader of the free world, would you please come to microphone and quit hiding in the basement about your proposals, and come on up and address the American people? Is he chicken?"

Pawlenty calls Obama 'chicken'
Tim Pawlenty says the president
 needs to lead the nation to a debt deal. AP Photo

Mr. Pawlenty was apparently out of the country during the past week or so when Mr. Obama  had three news conferences on the deficit/debt ceiling subject and last night, a national address.

As for the “chicken” thing, Mr. Pawlenty said he was more than qualified to describe Mr. Obama in that manner since he himself had been afraid to call out Mitt Romney of his health care plan in Massachusetts during a face to face debate after he (Mr. Pawlenty) had attacked Mr. Romney from afar.

In his defense Mr. Pawlenty noted that Mr. Romney was much bigger in person than he appears on TV.

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