Friday, September 30, 2011

The Short List - September 30, 2011

We don't believe in filler baby, even on a Friday.


International
  • Anwar al-Aulaqi, the U.S. citizen and radical cleric responsible for inspiring the Fort Hood shooting and for planning the attempted Christmas underwear bombing has reportedly been killed in an airstrike.  At this time, it is uncertain if al-Aulaqi was killed by a drone or ceonventional airstrike.  In April 2010, the Obama administration authorized the killing of this U.S. citizen.  DCExile editor, Ben, has written about the legality of the continuous targeting of a U.S. citizen by his government.  Rep. Peter King had a rare word of praise for President Obama following the announcement of al-Aulaqi's death.  While your editor believes that al-Aulaqi was a consistent threat to U.S. security, I am unsure if the man was an immediate threat and I'm concerned about the legal precedent set by the targeted killing of a U.S. citizen.

  • The Pakistani street seems to think the U.S. is gearing up to attack the country in light of Admiral Mullen's comments about Pakistani government support for the Huqqani network.  The Pakistani government has passed a resolution calles Adm. Mullen's statements "baseless."  Admiral Mullen will step down from his position as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs today.

  • Afghan ethnic groups are jockeying for position in what they see as the coming civil war once U.S and NATO ground forces withdraw.

  • In Libya, the NTC is investigating reports of the capture of Qaddafi spokesman, Mussa Ibrahim.  News outlets claim to have video of him detained, dressed as a woman.

  • Friend of DCExile, @kangnick, was on CNBC talking the DOJ investigation of Chinese firms.
Domestic

5 comments:

Colin said...

The new fees being charged by the Bank of America are a graphic illustration of statist idiocy. Politicians, led by President Obama, thought they knew more about the banking sector than those who actually work in it, and have mandated that interchange fees be cut. As anyone with half a brain realizes, banks have an obligation to maintain a profit margin and had to make up the extra money someplace else. Well, that someplace else is the new $5 fees, which I am now liable for as a BofA customer. Thanks guys, great job of helping out consumers.

More irritantingly, this is just the latest unintended consequence from recent government interventions in the financial sector.

Just further evidence that statists have no idea what they are doing, and are playing with forces they obviously do not understand. Their arrogance knows no bounds, and we pay the costs.

Jason said...

Or is this evidence of a company sticking it to its customers to influence their policy preference? You'll notice the fees are in place before the true impact of the new legislation takes hold.

Colin said...

Or is this evidence of a company sticking it to its customers to influence their policy preference?

If that was the goal, why weren't these fees announced a long time ago shortly after the legislation was passed? And why are other banks making similar moves at around the same time?

You'll notice the fees are in place before the true impact of the new legislation takes hold.

According to the WashPost article the legislation takes hold this Saturday, so the timing of the fees makes perfect sense.

Lastly, let me note that libertarians predicted this exact outcome way back in January 2010.

Consumers are getting screwed while businesses benefit from government-mandated lower fees. And yet the left purports to stand for the little guy? Hilarious.

Jason said...

So it's completely beyond comprehension that financial institutions would all enact these changes around the same time to influence policy? At this point any projected losses are simply that, projections. The fees are in response to the anticipated loss of revenue, not the actual.

Are consumer getting screwed or are they having to chip in to cover the cost of the service they have enjoyed for free for so long? This situation seems fairly analogous to your thoughts on healthcare, where insurance should be abolished and people should pay directly the cost of care. Consumer enjoy the convenience of debit cards, as do business, and so now they both pay for that convenience. I would think you'd enjoy the unintended consequence that removes the consumer illusion that using a debit card is free.

Colin said...

So it's completely beyond comprehension that financial institutions would all enact these changes around the same time to influence policy?

So you think the most logical explanation -- without any evidence -- is a conspiracy among the various banks? Even though the exact same thing happened when Australia pulled the same move? Really?

At this point any projected losses are simply that, projections. The fees are in response to the anticipated loss of revenue, not the actual.

Well yes, businesses try to head off losses before they begin rather than waiting to start losing money. Or do you think your business sense is better than the people who actually run them?

Are consumer getting screwed or are they having to chip in to cover the cost of the service they have enjoyed for free for so long?

Previously banks had a choice: either consumers could pay the fee or businesses. They chose businesses, in order to attract as many consumers as possible. As a consumer, I am glad they made this move. Why do you want me to pay it? Why should this be a decision made by politicians instead of the market?

This situation seems fairly analogous to your thoughts on healthcare, where insurance should be abolished and people should pay directly the cost of care. Consumer enjoy the convenience of debit cards, as do business, and so now they both pay for that convenience. I would think you'd enjoy the unintended consequence that removes the consumer illusion that using a debit card is free.

I have never been under the illusion that my card is free -- I have always been aware of the cost borne by businesses. But as a consumer I like having fewer costs. And if businesses don't like the arrangement they have a simple choice: go along with it or stop accepting debit and credit card transactions (and indeed some have made this choice, operating on a cash only business or with minimum purchase amounts).

This is what a free society looks like. People making choices that work best for them without outside interference. I like choice and I like freedom. In this instance the government (read: politicians) have stepped in and tried to dictate outcomes, with predictably terrible outcomes.

I am amazed that rather than cop to this obvious error you are now both trying to deny it is due to the legislation (an apparent conspiracy among banks to sway public opinion) and alternatively trying to defend it as a needed market correction, as though we are all somehow better off by being forced to pay higher fees.