Economic Notes

– After killing a tiny Mexican trucker program (my guess is because they weren’t illegal immigrants, the governing folks don’t want them in the US…), the Mexican government responded by levying tariffs against the United States.  I’m not sure how that’s allowed under NAFTA, but it’s one more bit of proof that people never learn.  What’s the worst thing that can happen when you get into trade wars during a recession?

– There may be a way for city governments to get out of bad union contracts, if this legal ruling holds up.  I’m guessing that it won’t, though.

– Jonah Goldberg has a good column on the dangers of political manipulation of firms.  Once the government starts trying to pick winners and losers, we’re all losers.

– Larry Summers says we need “more greed” to get out of our recession.  I disagree.  Instead, the problem, as Ilya Somin points out, is that all of the incentives are geared toward manipulating the political game rather than competing for market share.  Who would bust their butts to gain a few fickle buyers when the Congressional Clearinghouse Sweepstakes could come to your door?

Jay Leno either doesn’t understand opportunity costs or wants to capture re-seller surplus.

– Want to stop AIG’s bonuses?  Well, a lot of Democrats do and they’re all pointing their fingers at each other.  After (according to Chris Dodd) Obama had Dodd insert a clause into one of the many spending bills crammed down our throats, Obama’s now acting sanctimonious and pretending that he knew nothing.  They’re trying to blame the guy they brought in to fix AIG.  They’re pretending to be shocked—shocked!—that this could happen, despite it being their legislation (actually, I’ll take their word on that—nobody could possibly have read the entire bill, which is another reason it never should have passed).  David Harsanyi has the right answer:  if you don’t want this kind of stuff, don’t try to take over the companies.

A typical day at Tim Geithner’s office.  And now Darryl Issa wants him to resign.  I suppose it’s not entirely Geithner’s fault that he’s pushing terrible policies—after all, the dreck that Congress and the President are coming up with is bad enough on its own—and his resigning over the AIG flapdoodle would be absurd.  I’d much rather see Chris Dodd and Barney Frank resign; that’d actually help things.

– The SEIU is engaged in unfair labor practices against the Union of Union Representatives.  Why?  Because they want to spend more money on lobbying Obama and Democrats in Congress.  Call me old-fashioned, but isn’t the idea of a union to represent and protect its members against egregious behavior on the part of owners?  If the major unions weren’t so corrupt, this would be a good opportunity for a non-political movement in unions, like not firing people in order to spend more union dues on padding Congressional bank funds.