Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Short List

International

Domestic

19 comments:

Colin said...

I wonder if the editor would care to elaborate on what worthy things he thinks are being said at occupywallstreet, which has attracted considerable attention from this blog.

I'm also curious if he thinks that, like Eric Cantor, Harry Reid is also an obstructionist.

Jason said...

I think at lot of the stories of people who got sick and how it derailed their lives are important stories to be told.

I think the crippling debt from student loans, which has accompanied the drying up of public funds and the spiraling of education costs, are important stories to be told.

I think the reality that in the past few decades the economic gains the country has seen as been concentrated into the hands of an extreme minority and this wealth concentration make the prospect of the American Dream seem at best remote and at worst an out and out lie is a story worth being told.

I don't consider a parliamentary procedure to be on the same level as the wholesale rejection of plan, no.

Colin said...

Fair enough about Reid.

As for these grievances, I am highly sympathetic to complaints about education and health care costs, but what on earth do they have to do with Wall Street? How is Goldman Sachs the reason that your hospital bill was outrageous or your grad school tuition so high?

As for gains by the wealthy, I am not sure how that matters. Is anyone poor because Warren Buffet is rich? If given the opportunity, how many people would take a time machine back 30, 40, or 50 years back when the wealthy had less?

Anyway, it's notable that two of the three sectors people are complaining about -- health care and finance -- are highly regulated while the third is mostly run by the non-profit sector rather than for profit businesses.

Lastly, while the protests did not make it on the cover of today's WP or NYT (and really, why would they?), yesterday's WP did have both a photo and story on the front page while Sunday's NYT had a photo. How much coverage do these guys deserve exactly?

Jason said...

Wall Street is the symbol for greed and Wall Street is the locale that benefited the most from government largesse, both in the form of reduced regulation and in the form of a bailout when they made bad bets. Do all issues begin and end in Wall Street, no. But a protest needs a locus. For those in favor of removing all barriers to gun ownership, does the whole issue revolve around the Capitol building? No, but that's often where they'll go to protest.

And I think the folks that are protesting believe the system is tilted in such a way that the rich get richer and the poor can't get rich. Quite honestly, that's what those stories sound like to me. They sound like stories of the end of upward economic mobility.

I think many in the protests would go back to a time when the wealthy were a bit less wealthy and the average worker had a decent wage and a pension plan that wasn't under threat.

Colin, you seem to suggest that these stories aren't worth hearing, that these grievances aren't worth airing, and that this anger is entirely misplaced. Am I incorrect in that inference? Do you believe upward economic mobility is as strong today as it was 30 years ago?

Colin said...

For those in favor of removing all barriers to gun ownership, does the whole issue revolve around the Capitol building??

Pretty much, yes. Efforts to restrict gun ownership can usually be traced to either the US Capitol building or state legislatures.

I think many in the protests would go back to a time when the wealthy were a bit less wealthy and the average worker had a decent wage and a pension plan that wasn't under threat.

I'm genuinely curious about this. I wonder how many people would be willing to give up all of the modern conveniences we have accumulated in exchange for a pension (38% of workers in 1980 vs 20% today -- most of which are government workers). The concept of a decent wage, meanwhile, is subjective and therefore difficult to evaluate.

Colin, you seem to suggest that these stories aren't worth hearing, that these grievances aren't worth airing, and that this anger is entirely misplaced. Am I incorrect in that inference? Do you believe upward economic mobility is as strong today as it was 30 years ago?

No, you are not correct -- as I previously noted I am very sympathetic to anger over rising tuition and health care costs. I find both absurd, and think that reform of both these areas (read: the introduction of market forces) would provide a huge de facto tax cut to the American people. However, I do find the anger misplaced and incoherent. It is alleged that government is bought and paid for by corporations -- and the answer is bigger government? You think an institution is corrupt and yet demand more of it? That's nonsensical.

If you are angry that your government pension is under threat, you should be upset with the politicians who made promises they were in no position to keep (this Vanity Fair article about California is illuminating in that regard). Upset that your home is under water? Be angry with a government that actively encouraged the housing bubble. Angry about health care? Blame a government that continues to pile on new regulations that distort this sector and drive up costs. Wall Street is at best a symptom of a larger problem, one that originates in Washington DC.

Lastly, I think that many of these people are simply engaged in a bit of a street theater and a chance to draw attention to themselves. Why did people feel the need to block traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and get arrested? Why is it that the Tea Party manages to get their message out without mass arrests while these protesters simply can't resist a trip in the paddy wagon?

Jason said...

By definition, the Hill and state legislatures are 51 different places people COULD protest gun control laws. It's just a location. If you're unhappy with the way capitalism is working out, stand to reason you'd go to the epicenter of U.S. capitalism.

That currently most of those that can look forward to a pension are government workers (though for how long is unknown)is more a sign of the gradual decline of pension in the private sector and the decline of unions which undermined the ability for collective bargaining.

Why does having a pension mean "giving up all the modern conveniences we have accumulated?" I don't understand that statement. Are you suggesting that private pensions would have stifled technological advancement?

I don't think the protesters have explicitly been asking for more government or have excluded the government from culpability. I know none of my comments suggested that was the case. I think that's your own bias creeping in.

I personally wonder what mechanism will redistribute the wealth gained from capitalism except the government, because as a system capitalism intrinsically increases a wealth divide. That's my personal opinion but I won't transpose that on the protesters in New York.

Now that you mention the Tea Party, I wonder if you see some of the same populist outrage that is at the grassroots of the Tea Party evident in the Occupy Wall Street protests?

Colin said...

By definition, the Hill and state legislatures are 51 different places people COULD protest gun control laws. It's just a location.

Yes, but at least they are relevant locations. I would protest politicians for interfering with my gun rights. Protesting on Wall Street about tuition hikes (and colleges aren't exactly capitalism or the free market at work) makes no sense.

That currently most of those that can look forward to a pension are government workers (though for how long is unknown)is more a sign of the gradual decline of pension in the private sector and the decline of unions which undermined the ability for collective bargaining.

Yes, and thank goodness too. Imagine if we all worked for union driven entities like GM (a pension fund that happened to sell cars as the joke goes) -- every company out there would be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Why does having a pension mean "giving up all the modern conveniences we have accumulated?" I don't understand that statement. Are you suggesting that private pensions would have stifled technological advancement?

If we entered into the hypothetical time machine and went back to a time when pensions were more prevalent there is a tradeoff. Those pensions declined for a reason -- they were no longer affordable in an era of heightened competition, which in turn has spawned so many of the technological/productivity enhancements we enjoy.

I don't think the protesters have explicitly been asking for more government or have excluded the government from culpability. I know none of my comments suggested that was the case. I think that's your own bias creeping in.

The protesters I have seen interviewed on video and in articles have certainly advocated for bigger governemnt. Does anyone think that any less than 90% of those protesting will vote for Obama next year?

I personally wonder what mechanism will redistribute the wealth gained from capitalism except the government, because as a system capitalism intrinsically increases a wealth divide.

Why does the wealth need to be redistributed? Why is the disparity a problem? Who is supposed to decide how much wealth each person has? You? Why the obsession with well-being from a relative rather than absolute standpoint?

I wonder if you see some of the same populist outrage that is at the grassroots of the Tea Party evident in the Occupy Wall Street protests?

Thus far, no. I see the same people who led anti-IMF/World Bank protests in the late 90s/early 2000s and the same people who protested the wars that have simply seized on a new issue.

Jason said...

The broader arc the complaints are about economic inequality. Wall Street seems a fitting venue for such complaints.

Your claim about GM is another counter factual that can't be proven. One could look at Germany, where unions remain strong and which weathered the recession relatively well. One could speculate this is because the existence of unions is not considered illegitimate by management in Germany, which makes contract negotiation a more collaborative process.

Again, you claim pensions were un-affordable, but we don't really know that. If wealth is not a zero sum game, which you imply when you say "Is anyone poor because Warren Buffet is rich?" then it seems a stretch for you to defend that progress is zero sum, between pensions and innovations.

I haven't seen any poll of those people at these protests, so I have no idea who they'll vote for. I could just as absurdly ask if 90% of the tea party will vote for the Republican candidate simply because they're the tea party.

A thriving middle class is essential for the growth of an economy and for the stability of a government that isn't stable primarily through use of force. Capitalism has no such mechanism to encourage a thriving middle class, which is why we need a re-distributive mechanism which is most often facilitated through a government.

Colin said...

The broader arc the complaints are about economic inequality. Wall Street seems a fitting venue for such complaints.

Not sure what health care and tuition costs have to do with inequality, but OK.

One could look at Germany, where unions remain strong and which weathered the recession relatively well. One could speculate this is because the existence of unions is not considered illegitimate by management in Germany, which makes contract negotiation a more collaborative process.

Union membership in Germany in fact has declined appreciably over the last 20 years (see page 3). Also note that, unlike in the US, closed shop regulation (one must join the union to work) are forbidden by Germany's constitution. Furthermore, median household income is $10K less in German than the US ($31K vs $21K) so I am not sure why Germany is a great model to follow.

If wealth is not a zero sum game, which you imply when you say "Is anyone poor because Warren Buffet is rich?" then it seems a stretch for you to defend that progress is zero sum, between pensions and innovations.

There is no contradiction. Money spent on pensions is less money for investment, which then makes everyone better off later through increased wealth creation. Every dollar spent on employee costs is a dollar less to be spent on innovation. Furthermore, in an era in which people switch jobs more readily, defined contribution plans make far more sense than pensions.

I could just as absurdly ask if 90% of the tea party will vote for the Republican candidate simply because they're the tea party.

And you'd probably be right. I'd be shocked if the overwhelmingly majority of Tea Party protesters don't end up voting GOP.

A thriving middle class is essential for the growth of an economy and for the stability of a government that isn't stable primarily through use of force.

How do you figure? What if we have a society in which 33% of people make less than $30K, 33% make less than $100K and the rest make over $100K. Then let us imagine that all of those in the middle class receive wages so that they are above $100k. Is that a bad outcome, with the middle class having been eliminated? Should we impoverish them in order to recreate the middle class?

You are making assertions without any evidence to support them.

Capitalism has no such mechanism to encourage a thriving middle class, which is why we need a re-distributive mechanism which is most often facilitated through a government.

Has no mechanism to promote a middle class? Then why do capitalist countries thrive more than any other? Why do people seek to immigrate to them?

Furthermore, who are you to demand the use of force (government) to take money from certain people and redistribute them to others? Money that you did not earn and have no legitimate claim to. That is incredibly arrogant of you. What gives you the right to make such decisions?

Jason said...

First, I think you go to far to paint me as arrogant. I didn't campaign to be redistributor-in-chief and I don't think that's a role any one person should hold. Redistribution of wealth is something a society needs to come to terms with.

Society needs to come to terms with it because as Elizabeth Warren so clearly stated, no one gets rich on their own.

Those that make money don't hold an exclusive right to that money. The society that enables commerce through roads, through a police force, through education, through a legal framework is a society that has a legitimate claim to some of the money you make because that society helped you make it.

Amazon makes millions, maybe billions of dollars a year selling products on a technology created by the government. It was a great innovation to make an online store, but if not for DARPA there wouldn't be any "online." We all helped pay to invent the internet, don't have then have some claim to the profits that come from it?

Colin said...

You are advocating the confiscation of wealth from some to redistribute to others simply because you don't like the current wealth allocation. It's rather arrogant to think you know best who should have a certain amount of money and advocate the use of government force to carry out that vision.

Warren's rant, which I have previously addressed, takes aim at a giant strawman. Does anyone disagree with the notion that taxes should be used to fund services (e.g. military, police, most roads) that the private sector cannot provide? Who out there is advocating zero taxation that she is boldly standing up against? (Although personally I favor the use of user fees, such as tolls, to the greatest practical extent)

The argument of taxes in exchange for services is FAR different from simply taking money from one person and handing it to another in the name of some arbitrary notion of fairness.

Amazon has an obligation to pay for the services that it uses, and I don't think anyone will argue to the contrary. But I don't think that the government has a claim on Amazon revenue ad infinitum simply because it funded a defense program that served as a basis for the modern internet.

Jason said...

I'm advocating for the redistribution of wealth, which is taxes are often used to do. Taxes are the mode, and you observe them to be legitimate in some cases. I don't think it's arrogant of me to find them legitimate in more cases then you do.

No one is advocating for zero taxes, but the government has lived outside its means for some time. If we, as a society, deem the services the government provides to be worthy, then we as a society need to come to terms we how we pay for them. Medicare and Social Security are wildly popular programs, so we have to figure out how to pay for them collectively.

Yet you would think a man is entitled to all he earns and has no obligation back to the society in which he operates. In your vision there is a capitalist utopia, but I see in your vision a Hobbesian nightmare.

Because there is not capitalist utopia. There are no truly free markets and there never has been. And while you may want to imprint "In the markets we trust" on our currency, those markets, because they are human contrivances, get bastardized. And that's the issue. You want market forces to reign, but they never truly will. There will always be a thumb on the scale. Accepting that, I'd like to see that thumb press down on the side of shared wealth and of equal opportunity.

Bret said...

I really only skimmed most of this, but let me add a couple things.

1) yeah the wall street focus is misplaced, but it's symbolic. they're the most visible "winners" in a shitty situation, but thats really just a selection effect, because we only observe whoever was good enough in a crisis to stick around. wall street isn't unitary, and plenty of people were punished for bad decisions. i doubt very many protesters can even articulate what wall street does. and despite alot of the populist pandering you read out there, it does serve a social purpose.

but directing your anger at the winners doesn't get to the root of the problem. if you don't like the outcome of the game, change the rules, but don't blame the players for being good at it. blaming the referees doesn't make sense either, especially when the rules are written in a way that makes it impossible for them to have any knowledge of what the players are doing. unless you want to start paying the regulators millions of dollars a year, they just are not going to be able to attract the talent that can keep up with financial innovation.

i guess my point is that the "enemies" here are just people that are really good at making money by allocating capital in any regulatory environment. there is no piecemeal set of reforms that will stop that, and i dont see why that is even desirable. yeah they did some shitty things, either out of incompetence or deviousness, but im not sure you cant point to them as creating the spillover effects that hurt everyone else. they weren't the ones out there originating subprime loans, for example. the question isn't more regulation or less regulation, but how to structure the rules of the game in a way that limits the systemic effects of failure at the firm level. im thinking here about the rules that allow firms to capture parts of the states regulatory apparatus.

as an aside, since i think its fundamentally impossible for the state to regulate things like financial derivatives, i tend to side with colin in thinking that the market is a better mechanism. the problem is that capital itself likes regulations, because it can structure them to its own advantage. and even a basic and widely accepted state function of breaking monopolies is regulation that can be captured and molded in the interests of people with money. so that's really the deeper issue here, and one that can drive the debate forward from placing blame, wall street is bad regulators are good, etc.


2) all that said, blame wall street is exactly what i would do if i were in the business of promoting this sort of social movement. its really a custom made symbolic focal point for this kind of collective action. there are a handful of evil CEOs, all concentrated on one street corner. so its fine to use wall street as a coordination point, as long as its accompanied with some coherent message. and they dont have one right now. stories of economic difficulties are important, but grievances do not a social movement make. and neither do these sorts of grievances need this movement to be publicized. the protesters need a concerete, achievable goal that resides in the same universe as the rest of us. universal debt forgiveness and the elimination of (sic) "Freetrade" do not qualify. but i think you'll see some moderation and coherence as the more professional social movement organizations get involved.

and for god's sake i wish this guy that msnbc seems to have identified as some kind of leader would stop calling himself a professional sociologist. we social scientists have a hard enough time being taken seriously.

Ben said...

I disagree with the coherent message point -- there are a lot of voices in Liberty Square, and many more still who take part in the marches. But the anger and dissatisfaction really coalesce around the issues of rising (and stark) income inequality, wealth inequality, and a general sense that banks (and their CEOs) get to play by different rules than the rest of the population--this differentiation encompasses, inter alia, bailouts for banks and economic rewards that have apparently become decoupled from productivity.

As to Colin's point about direct action and arrests: 1. there's been some reporting to indicate that NYPD directed protesters onto the Brooklyn Bridge and then arrested them. This is not too surprising, though I cannot verify it, as the NYPD has used "trap and detain" tactics in the past. 2. Lots of Tea Party energy came out of direct actions--shouting at Congresspersons and disrupting town halls, for example. Additionally, the Tea Party benefited both from early traditional right wing funding sources for astroturfing and a cable news network that focused on it almost immediately (likely not coincidentally) at a time when the other two cable networks' coverage was still generally reactive.

Just my $0.02.

Colin said...

I'm advocating for the redistribution of wealth, which is taxes are often used to do. Taxes are the mode, and you observe them to be legitimate in some cases. I don't think it's arrogant of me to find them legitimate in more cases then you do.

Just because they are used to do it doesn't make them right, and yes there is a qualitative difference between taxation in exchange for a service and taxation used to fund your particular vision of social justice. If you believe in this so badly, you should go invent a useful product, make lots of money, and then give it all away. It never ceases to amaze me how entitled the left feels to the money made by other people.

No one is advocating for zero taxes

So then you concede that Warren was engaging in a strawman argument?

but the government has lived outside its means for some time. If we, as a society, deem the services the government provides to be worthy, then we as a society need to come to terms we how we pay for them. Medicare and Social Security are wildly popular programs, so we have to figure out how to pay for them collectively.

No kidding they have, which is why we need to cut deeply. It's time to start living within our means. When trillions of dollars in tax revenue is insufficient, it's a pretty good sign you've got a spending problem.

Yet you would think a man is entitled to all he earns and has no obligation back to the society in which he operates.

Strawman. In fact, I explicitly stated that no one -- in which I include myself -- is advocating zero taxation and also stated that Amazon should pay for the services it uses.

In your vision there is a capitalist utopia, but I see in your vision a Hobbesian nightmare.

Curious how you would explain that all of those places with greater economic freedom (read: those closer to being a capitalist utopia) are all prosperous places and pretty much the opposite of a Hobbesian nightmare. In fact, we find Hobbes in those places that reject capitalism. Why does the left not recognize this rather obvious correlation between economic freedom and prosperity?

Because there is not capitalist utopia. There are no truly free markets and there never has been. And while you may want to imprint "In the markets we trust" on our currency, those markets, because they are human contrivances, get bastardized. And that's the issue. You want market forces to reign, but they never truly will. There will always be a thumb on the scale. Accepting that, I'd like to see that thumb press down on the side of shared wealth and of equal opportunity.

I recognize that the left, and those who favor using the state to carry out their utopian visions, will always exist and thus we will never have a truly free market. Pressing down that thumb, meanwhile, is an interesting euphemism for using force to confiscate wealth and restributing it on an arbitrary basis. You believe in wealth redistribution? Go make some and then redistribute it yourself to your heart's content.

Jason said...

This isn't just about individuals. This is about a society that accepts taxation as a proper way to redistribute wealth. There is no "you." In never ceases to amaze me how easily people to defend your position forget they live in a society and a system that is the collective of individual actors.

Which is why Warren's argument isn't a strawman. She suggested those that wouldn't be open to raising taxes seem to forget that the prosperity they enjoy comes from a functioning society and a social contract.

You believe we need to cut deeply. I respect your opinion, but poll after poll demonstrates Medicare and Social Security are popular programs and programs people don't want to see cut. Seems to me, if the public wants a program we need to find a way to pay for it whether paying for it passes the upper bound of a percentage of GDP that you'd like the government to aim for. That is your opinion, please go protest in support of it, but don't dismiss those protesting on the opposite side as arrogant or entitled simply because they way they see the world is different.

China has experienced incredible economic prosperity in a miraculously short period of time, but surely you don't consider China to be more economically free then the U.S.?

I have explicitly dismissed the notion of achieving a utopia of any sort. Reality has long convinced me not to chase windmills, but I tend to think the thumb is pressed on the side of the scale that benefits the haves and not the have nots.

And any distribution of wealth is only arbitrary if society deems it to be so.

As for personally redistributing my wealth, I pay my taxes in full and I am happy to do so, because I recognize that I benefit from a functioning society. I benefit from public education, I benefit from public roads, I benefit from police, from firemen, from a court system, and from a government. I also benefit if the man I pass on the street can get healthcare. I benefit if that man can make a decent wage, and doesn't feel he need steal from me to survive.

Bret said...

historically the state needed accumulated capital to fund its conquests, so it delegated things like property rights and limited democracy to capitalists in return for their surplus. the state and the market were mutually constitutive, and are still mutually dependent. it doesn't even really make sense to speak of one without the other. without a state A) labor, being more plentiful, would forcibly redistribute accumulated capital or B) capitalists would have to defend their surplus and adjudicate disputes with private armed forces, leading to tremendous transaction costs. you couldn't have capitalism (which is not just a free market, but the accumulation of capital surpluses) without the state to guarantee the security of that surplus.

arguably the state serves the interests finance and capital more than it serves the interests of labor. which might be a sort of perverse rationale for a smaller state, except if capital gets property rights in exchange for taxes, and labor is now taxed too, what's the problem with labor demanding some of its own benefits in return? anyway, thats why you see the state get involved with things like distributional conflicts in later stages of development.

sorry i had to get all marxist there for a second.

Colin said...

This isn't just about individuals. This is about a society that accepts taxation as a proper way to redistribute wealth. There is no "you." In never ceases to amaze me how easily people to defend your position forget they live in a society and a system that is the collective of individual actors.

I most certainly DO NOT accept taxation as a means of redistributing wealth. It is not yours to redistribute. Again, you are advocating the use of force to take from some to give to others to enforce your own particular vision of justice. It's really nothing more than, "they've got it and I want it." What's really interesting here is that if you robbed a rich guy at gunpoint, you'd go to jail. Vote in politicians to take money from that person and give some of it to you, and it's perfectly legitimate.

Yes, we are all individuals, something too many on the left forget, instead viewing us as some kind of borg-like collective.

Which is why Warren's argument isn't a strawman. She suggested those that wouldn't be open to raising taxes seem to forget that the prosperity they enjoy comes from a functioning society and a social contract.

She said nothing about raising taxes in her rant. She said that people should keep a "big hunk" of what they make while also paying taxes to support things like security and fire departments. Hey, I agree! In fact, who disagrees? Why is that seen as a bold statement?

You believe we need to cut deeply. I respect your opinion, but poll after poll demonstrates Medicare and Social Security are popular programs and programs people don't want to see cut. Seems to me, if the public wants a program we need to find a way to pay for it whether paying for it passes the upper bound of a percentage of GDP that you'd like the government to aim for. That is your opinion, please go protest in support of it, but don't dismiss those protesting on the opposite side as arrogant or entitled simply because they way they see the world is different.

No, it is arrogant. See, here is the key difference: I want a world in which I leave you alone. I ask nothing of you. Why can't you do the same? Why must you seek to use force to impose your vision on the rest of us? What gives you that right? If you believe in free health care, high wages, wealth redistribution and the rest of the leftist project, go start a free clinic, a company that pays high wages and give away more of your money. Believe me, I won't stop you. But why must you force me to go along with your project?

Colin said...

China has experienced incredible economic prosperity in a miraculously short period of time, but surely you don't consider China to be more economically free then the U.S.?

Well yes, as China has moved towards greater economic freedom it has experienced greater prosperity. That said, China continues to be significantly less economically free than the US and its levels of propsperity are commensurately but a fraction of the US. Again, why does the left refuse to see this rather obvious linkage between economic freedom and prosperity?

I have explicitly dismissed the notion of achieving a utopia of any sort. Reality has long convinced me not to chase windmills, but I tend to think the thumb is pressed on the side of the scale that benefits the haves and not the have nots.

Then you should adopt my position: take the thumb off entirely. Leave people alone and stop forcing your vision upon them.

And any distribution of wealth is only arbitrary if society deems it to be so.

What does this even mean? You want to take money from some and give to others in arbitrary fashion. I don't.

As for personally redistributing my wealth, I pay my taxes in full and I am happy to do so, because I recognize that I benefit from a functioning society. I benefit from public education, I benefit from public roads, I benefit from police, from firemen, from a court system, and from a government. I also benefit if the man I pass on the street can get healthcare. I benefit if that man can make a decent wage, and doesn't feel he need steal from me to survive.

Great, but you have also stated that you favor more redistribution than is currently the case. So why not give away more of your money? Why do you have to be forced by the government? If you believe in this so much, what's holding you back? And little of what you write here has to do with wealth redistribution anyway. Education, roads, police, etc. are all examples of taxes in exchange for services.

Fortunately, like all libertarians and pretty much all people, I too believe in a functioning society. I recognize that societal dysfunction increases the more activist our government becomes, as demonstrated by public housing, public schools and even public parks (compare the national mall with privately run Central Park or Bryant Park in NYC for example). I find, however, that the private sector provides lots of great things, such as the cell phone I use that only 20 years ago was restricted to the very wealthy (in fact, I just watched a think tank event streamed on my phone, a freakin' modern miracle -- thanks Steve). Given that I like things that work well to bad things, I favor more freedom and less government coercion.