Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"blum flink, edstoog wuck scrailty blongerfeddingtall"

That title is just a bunch of random words I made up.

Similarly, John McCain -- who will very possibly take the oath of office in a few months as President of the United States -- was speaking on teevee this morning. While McCain did utter combinations of sounds that can be recognized as real, actual words, the order in which he uttered them left those paying attention with little more in the way of any idea actually being expressed.


1) On the Today show he said: "Of course I don’t like excessive and unnecessary regu — uh, government regulation."

2) A few minutes later on The Early Show he said: "Do I believe in excess government regulation? Yes. But this patchwork quilt of regulating bodies was designed for the 1930s when they were invented."

(Watch the compilation video. Seriously, watch it.)

Adding to the confusion, a few months ago he told the Wall Street Journal

I'm always for less regulation. But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. … But I am a fundamentally a deregulator. I'd like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated.

I don't listen to John McCain much. It is painful. But in those instances when I do, I invariably end up asking aloud what in the world kind of idea is this guy trying to convey to me. Does he believe in regulating financial markets? Who can tell? Does John McCain himself even know? If he does know, is the answer today the same as it was last year? last month? last week?

My best guess is that he has only a very vague idea what financial markets are. This view is supported by another McCain quote from today. Claiming that he has special insight into the recent troubles on Wall Street, McCain stated: "I understand the economy. I was chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversights every part of our economy." Yes, this committee oversights every part of our economy, except of course "credit, financial services, and housing".

(Purely as an aside, given the news of the last few days (and weeks and months) does he actually want to take credit for these last several years of government oversighting? Really?)

He does, on the other hand, have access to solid advice on the somewhat significant aspects of our economy falling under the classification of "credit, financial services, and housing". After all, McCain has pronounced his advisor, Phil Gramm, "one of the smartest people in the world on economics". After all, this is the same Phil Gramm who pushed through two rounds of deregulation on the financial services sector that teed up what is now known as "Big Shitpile" (i.e., the cause of the failure of Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and the impending failure of WaMu and AIG).

John McCain spews gibberish on these issues because, in a very fundamental way, he has a complete lack of interest in them. Oh, sure, he's read some brief memos on summaries of digests that touch on them, but all he gleaned therefrom were a few buzzwords and the idea that, when speaking to the Wall Street Journal, you should be sure to mention that you are "against excessive governmental regulation".

But still, I can see why he thinks Phil Gramm is the smartest person in the world on economics. If I were -- against my inclination -- speaking regularly with a numismatist about the vagaries of coin-collecting, I might very well come away with the impression that that particular numismatist, be he the dumbest, most bungling and incompetent numismatist in an 800 mile radius, was in fact a genius in his field.

Thankfully, I don't have to do that. Even more thankfully, no one is considering me for a position in which I am tasked with fixing a historic crisis in the mysterious and uninteresting world of "the scientific study of currency and its history in all its varied forms".

1 comment:

Gleemonex said...

I honestly, sincerely wish you WERE in charge of it -- installed this very afternoon as Czar of Shoveling Out the Shitpile -- because you are an intelligent person who can read and you know the advisability of seeking GOOD advice from ACTUAL EXPERTS. We'd be so much better off ...