Sunday, April 12, 2009



We are not an economist, but apparently it is clear that despite the best efforts of rational economist and republican conservatives, economies move in cycles. 

Now with the prospect of millions of americans losing their jobs, the democrats have stepped into the fray with their hand wringing over the human cost of this latest debacle. And make no mistake- this debacle happened on the watch of conservative republicans.  These "conservatives" were nothing of the sort. No free enterprise capitalists they,  Bush and Cheney and their party were just the same statists as their democratic counter parts, the difference only being in which statist goals they sought. 

The democratic response is our current crisis is  to impose strict government controls over free markets and business.  Two articles in the NY Times today highlight the problems with this approach. 

The first article, entitled Where is Sanjay? deals with the difficulties a 28 year old Indian (India) has with working in the US. He has a work visa, but his wife does not, so he resides in Canada and flies into the US when needed. 

Sanjay happens to be Sanjay Mavinkurve, who as a 28 year old student at Harvard laid the technical  foundation for Facebook.  Now Sanjay works for Google, and flies into Silicon Valley as needed.  Sanjay cannot live in the US because despite his enormous talent, his wife cannot get a visa. So they live in Canada, which has accepted them with open arms. 

This problem actually is a result of the republican conservative statists, who in an attempt to win the votes of the vast uneducated and unwashed masses of religious conservatives, pander to the "americans won world war two so we can do anything" blabbering of high school drop out convenience store clerks  and their fast food server spouses, who go to church on Sundays and tremble at the first sight of immigrant brown skin. ***

Query: What if Bill Gates was, in 1970, named Sanjay, and was from India, and couldn't get a visa? Where would Silicon Valley be today?

When we start rewarding and valuing  intellect and accomplishments, and not nazi-ethnic based valuations of a person, perhaps we will have more jobs and industries. Just how many other Bill Gates or Sanjays can't get visas to live in the US?

The second article in the Times, entitled in part, Big Banks Lose Talent,  deals with the loss of talent at  banking firms, as start up small firms, and foreign banks,  neither of which are constrained on issues of pay because they took taxpayer bailout money, recruit the very best minds on Wall Street. 

Now to the extent small firms move to take up the space left by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the capitalist system is working. One company failed because of mis-management, and new competitors are vying to win the business and fill the gap. But to the extent our talent is being syphoned off by foreign competitors, who do not answer to outraged congressmen and senators on the issue of pay,  this is bad. 

When we wake up from this malaise in a decade or so, and see half our financial industry in Berlin and London,  just don't start wondering why the unemployment rate in New York can't get below 15%. 

And on the issue of pay, just why should any private company ever answer to anyone on what they pay their employees? (And by private we don't mean some Frankenstein hybrid of a dead company sewn together by public money.)

To put the issue of pay into our legal context- do you think David Markus's client was correct to pay Markus and his legal team over a million dollars to defend him against a coven of vindictive prosecutors?

 Can you imagine if before he was allowed to defend his client, Markus had to justify his fees before some soviet style citizens board, who purported to speak for the conscience of the community in legal matters?

Just look at what is going on around you. 
Doctors, lawyers, engineers, venture capitalists; we're all under attack from the statists for one reason or another. And in a few more years when you need one of us, and cannot privately hire the person of your choice, at least you'll understand why. 

See You In Court with our  well thumbed copy of Atlas Shrugged. 

***I do not mean to denigrate convenience store clerks, or people who work in McDonalds. My point is that if we don't change our way of thinking, and fast, the only job opportunities for people who are less educated will be those types of jobs.  But if we value and encourage entrepreneurs, we might just have more job choices for people. Wouldn't they want the choice of building laptops, or green cars, or IPods, or wind turbines, or solar panels, as well as working in a convenience store or fast food restaurant?


Anonymous said...

wall street people arent real entrepeneurs. they are gamblers plain and simple. they make money betting on the price of stocks and other assets not creating companies that create jobs for workers. yeah yeah i know investment bankers help companies go public but most of wall street is a bunch of degenerate gamblers who are always playing with the house's money. when they win they get big prizes when they lose the rest of us eat a shit taco.

fuck them and fuck you and your stupid worship of ayn rand

Rumpole said...

What I really like about the first comment is the extraordinary way the writer makes his or her point using sound logic and unimpeachable reason. You must be one hell of a trial attorney, because if you speak half as well as you write, how could anyone win?

Actually, I'm guessing you work at 7-11, not, as I have written, that there is anything wrong with that. I'll have the supersize slurpee please.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole -
Can't we get back to subjects in our legal community here?! I've been dying for you to do a post dedicated to the best and the brightest attorneys the PD's and State have to offer who have been practicing for less than five years. I think it's quite beneficial to get to know some of the (quality) new players in time that will, hopefully, some day make big splashes (in a good way) of their own. I think you should have your readers nominate some of their favorite 5 year or less attorneys. I know that when I'm in a courtroom and I see a particularly young PD or ASA making coherent arguments, representing their clients zealously, and acting ethically, among other things, I make sure to get that person's name.
I will nominate some of the ones that I have recently come to meet (and this list isn't exclusive, it is only because I'm getting older and can't remember names like I used to):

R.J. McCaffry
Tristia Baumann
Nicole Noel
Karen O'Connor
Jennifer Workman

Ana Maria Hernandez
Anthony Hevia

Anonymous said...

If you want to pontificate about the glories of unregulated,unfettered,and often unethical captitalism wherein the creation of capital is an end in itself and not a method whereby the means of production are facilitated, so be it.
But don't rely on the simpletons like Ayn Rand; you might as well be quoting Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.
Look to real economists and avoid simplistic analysis. Then we can have a real debate. To throw rocks at the new bete noire "statists" with facile bromides about the wonders of some mythical, American Adam, who was somehow morally superior to organization men, doesn't really advance anything but the arguments of those who are too lazy to test their own theories.

Anonymous said...

Rump actually i am one hell of a trial attorney and could kick you and your fat ass all over a courtroom.

funny you just attack me and apply none of your so called logic in countering what i have written.

today the nyt had an article about how are best and brightest are no longer running to wall street and that is a good thing as they are going to teaching and government and other things that arent as lucaratve. this is long overdue. wall street is made up of a bunch of overpaid self important idiots who really dont do anything to justify the millions they make.

hopefully our best and brightest will start actually working in other fields like engineering or alternative energy which will at the end will produce a valauble social good as opposed to houses in the hamptons, 2500 a game yankee tickets and endless lap dances at scores (though that sure sounds like alot of fun)

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter

Anonymous said...

1:36 PM, let's include a category for hot PD's and ASA's in your nominations.

Anonymous said...

11:33 am makes a valid point.

Rumpole said...

Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are altruist collectivist statists. They have nothing- not one bloody thing in common with an objectivist. They are Clinton and Mao- they just don't realize it.

Rumpole said...

That must be some great closing argument you give- "and ladies gentlemen, let me close by saying this- fuck the prosecution and fuck the judge while you're at it. Thank you."

Gee, you must win a lot of cases.

Anonymous said...

Like other empires that have fallen, the USA will too. I believe one of the main reasons is we are rewarding failure and punishing success. We bailout the failing companies not the smaller more efficient which would have taken over the slack. Same with individuals. Rather than let the saver finally buy a house at a decent price we let the overextender stay. We are fat and lazy. Asia is thinner and more motivated. Asians work harder and save more than they spend. Asia will be the next empire. The US dollar will no longer be the world currency.

Anonymous said...

This link of Milton Friedman says it all for me:


Anonymous said...

It seems like everybody is beating up on greed these days. In the wake of the AIG bonus scandal, pompous members of Congress, the Obama administration and the media are disparaging the very concept. It's time someone stands up for greed because without it, there would be no United States of America.

Greed – the desire to make a profit – is the engine that runs a free-market democracy, and that is precisely what President Barack Obama is trying to change. He wants to spread the wealth around so that people who are not greedy can have the same things in life as those who are. But here's the rub: Why should someone work hard to get an education, develop a skill and become successful, only to have government take away part of that success and hand it to someone with no initiative?

That's what the late economist Milton Friedman tried to get through to Phil Donahue in an amazing clip from 1979 posted on YouTube. Donahue was a big-time TV talk host at the time, and he brought Friedman on to confront him about capitalism:

"When you see around the globe, maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few 'haves' and so many 'have-nots,' when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism and whether greed is a good thing to run on?"

Friedman did not hesitate with his answer: "Tell me, is there some society you know that doesn't run on greed? Do you think Russia doesn't run on greed? You think China doesn't run on greed?" And then Friedman whacked Donahue with this statement that should be in every economics text: "The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests."

Exactly. The difference is that here in America, the people are free to pursue their interests while in many societies around the globe, only government is. Many of those governments are corrupt. The more power they have to redistribute wealth, the more corrupt they are. Sometimes, as in the case of the Soviet Union, they collapse under the weight of the socialist system.

As Friedman told Donahue, "The record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system."

Look around at the amazing wonder that is America. Our great achievements came through the entrepreneurship of individuals who knew they could keep most of what they earned.

But what about the AIG bonuses? They're hard to defend, but not nearly as bad as bonuses for political hacks and government insiders at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Chief among those is former Fannie CEO Franklin Raines who stepped down Dec. 21, 2004, during an investigation that accused Fannie Mae of cooking the books so its officers could earn huge bonuses. Raines got as much as $90 million.

Raines profited from a corrupt government spoils system devoid of honesty and ethics while AIG's bonuses were negotiated in advance and then enabled by the Dodd Amendment. It is a fact that the current crisis is artificial – wholly created by government.

Milton Friedman would most likely be puzzled at the outrage over a few million dollars in bonuses while the administration is busy destroying our precious free-enterprise system.

My Cousin Vinnie said...

Actually Rumpole, I just say that everything the prosecutor says is bullshit. Worked for me wit those two youtz.

No, I am not 11:33 A.M. But after reading this post, two things are evident. One, there is more than one Rumpole. Two, the Rumpole who posted today hates just about every American politician. Rare that one finds explicit criticism of Clinton, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and very implicit harping on Bush II and Obama, in one post.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen from the fucking jury:

The fucking evidence presented by the fucking prosecutor shows that my fucking client is clearly fucking not guilty and that the fucking cop and the fucking witnesses are fucking lying out of their fucking mouth.

Therefore, I fucking urge to fucking take a fucking hard look at the fucking evidence and the fucking instructions from the fucking judge and tell the fucking prosecutor to fuck off with a fucking fast verdict of not fucking guilty.

Anonymous said...

Rump, if you want to rant about everything BUT the Justice Building you should start another blog and let someone else take this one over.

the trialmaster said...

Sounds like a Vinny Flynn closing arguement.

Anonymous said...

To respond to your post:

1. The economy--just like everything else--moves in cycles. Boom, cooling off, stagnation, recession, maybe depression, tepid recovery, strong recovery and so forth. But this current recession is a bad, deep one. 16+ months with the light only a faint glimmer at the end of a very long tunnel from which we are far from the end.

Normally the Fed makes a few moves to jolt the economy while in a recession, makes a few moves in a boom time to cool inflation. But right now the Fed has played every card in their deck, and no recovery in clear sight. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

2. Immigration--interesting I did immigration work after leaving my government employment in the REGJB. Immigration law and policy is messed up. Conservatives ostensibly want to bar the door to everyone, but certain business interests like immigration, particularly of illegal and/or unskilled workers, because they can screw them over big time. Liberals supposedly want to open the door to everyone who wants to come here, but organized labor, a key Democratic constituency, oppose this view. We need a moderate, rational immigration policy. The USA is a nation of immigrants--both white and nonwhite--yet at the same time, we cannot open the door to everyone that wants in. This will ultimately piss everyone off, but it is necessary.

3. The bailout. While I agree that some banks needed funds to avoid bank runs, massive bank failures and a true depression, the bailout went overboard. I agree with your statement that the public should have little interest in how a private company pays its execs. But if that company takes a bailout including my tax money (I just cut the IRS a nice check today), then I damn sure don't want some asshole pocketing mucho millions while I hold off a long-planned move and drive a car with over 125,000 miles on it largely due to economic uncertainty, a relatively small but significant downturn in my practice, and the fact that my wife's job is less than secure.

If my practice goes belly up, Uncle Sam ain't gonna do a damn thing for me. I can: cut back even more, tap my savings, sell my possessions, try to play legal games with my creditors, or file for bankruptcy. The end result--I lose, and may lose my house, my car, my wife's car, etc., etc. Not exactly fair while a nice chunk of my earnings go to support Mr. Wall Street Big Bucks.

Anonymous said...

1:36 PM--while I can't speak for the PDs, at least 75% of the ASAs have been there 5 years or less. Not including County Court and Juvenile, where everyone (except the Chief of County Court and about 4 of the Juvenile Chiefs) has less than five years experience, your proposal includes every C and B, nearly every A, a good number of the prosecutors in many of the specialized units (except Senior Trial Counsel and Organized Crime/Public Corruption) and even a few DCs.

If you want to look at the "up and comers," focus on those with 18 months to about 3 years experience. These folks may seem like rookies now, but in four or five years those that remain will be the new crop of movers and shakers in the SAO.

Anonymous said...

In response to the Up and Coming PD/ASA comment. I work in the PD's office and I have to agree with the comment that Anthony Hevia is an "up and comer" for the State. A fine, young, professional, advocate who is a pleasure to argue against.