URLs du Jour

2008-10-03 (AM Edition)

Generally, Pun Salad tries to stay in the attitude expressed by Mr. Elvis Costello: "I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused." Pun Salad fails on that score today, being pulled right back to disgusted.

  • John Cochrane is Myron S. Scholes Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He writes pungently on the bailout plan, including a vivid analogy:
    There is a storm out on the lake, and some of the boats are in trouble. Commodore Bernanke has been helping to bail water from some boats until they can patch themselves up, encouraging other sound boats to help, and transferring passengers on sinking boats to others. But it’s getting tough and the storm is still raging. Someone has a great idea: let’s blow up the dam and drain the lake! Ok, it might stop the boats from sinking, but there won’t be a lake left when we’re done. That’s the essence of the Treasury plan.
    And yet, the plan is on greased skids for passage. Broad bipartisan support, both McCain and Obama voting in favor. Oy vey!

  • In contention for the most futilely-named organization in Washington DC is "Taxpayers for Common Sense." They provide a list of the top 10 "sweeteners" in the bailout. Number one is "Sec. 503. Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children."
    Current law places an excise tax of 39 cents on the first sale by the manufacturer, producer, or importer of any shaft of a type used to produce certain types of arrows. This proposal would exempt from the excise tax any shaft consisting of all natural wood with no laminations or artificial means to enhance the spine of the shaft used in the manufacture of an arrow that measures 5/16 of an inch or less and is unsuited for use with a bow with a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or more. The proposal is effective for shafts first sold after the date of enactment. The estimated cost of the proposal is $2 million over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

    The Oregon senators were the initial sponsors of the provisions. According to Bloomberg News, the provision would be worth $200,000 to Rose City Archery in Myrtle Point, Oregon.

    Yes, in the flotsam and jetsam remaining after the sinking of our Titanic economy, our godlike legislators have smiled upon Rose City Archery; its heart will go on. And who is to say that our financial renaissance will not be launched via the manufacture of arrows that measure 5/16 of an inch or less and are unsuited for use with a bow with a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or more? Not me, bubba.

  • Of course, you don't actually have to pass legislation to screw things up. Not if you are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
    "We don't have a lot of leeway on time. One of the individuals in the caucus today talked about a major insurance company. A major insurance company -- one with a name that everyone knows that's on the verge of going bankrupt. That's what this is all about," Reid said prior to the Senate's approval of the $700 billion bailout bill.
    Stocks of insurance companies plunged in response. But the next day:
    A spokesman for Sen. Reid backtracked a bit Thursday and said that the senator was not aware of any company being in danger of bankruptcy.

    "Senator Reid is not personally aware of any particular company being on the verge of bankruptcy. He has no special knowledge about [a bankruptcy] nor has he talked to any insurance company officials," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Sen. Reid, in an email to CNNMoney.com.

    "Rather, his comments were meant to refer to the conditions in the financial sector generally. He regrets any confusion his comments may have caused," Manley added.

    Backtracked … a bit?

  • Prof Bainbridge comments appropriately:
    It would be laughable, if it were not so tragic. After 16 years of watching Clinton and Bush screw up in the White House and decades of watching both Republican and Democratc [sic] Congresses, I did not think it was possible for me to hold the political class in greater contempt that I already did. The bailout bills have left me with an even loathing of the hacks of both parties than ever.

  • Pun Salad is struggling with the most accurate analogy to apply to the Federal Government trying to "fix" the economy.
    • Irritable chimpanzees set loose in the control room of a nuclear reactor.

    • Children in a fireworks factory with an ample supply of matches.

    • Swan Lake, as reimagined and performed by the offensive linemen of the New England Patriots.

    • Madonna coaching the New England Patriots, whose offensive line has been replaced by the Bolshoi Ballet.

    We'll work on this over the weekend.

Last Modified 2012-10-10 1:42 PM EST