Last Wednesday, I did a 23:00 minute interview on MCAM TV23 in New Hampshire. I can't tell the ideology of these two interviewers, which I find refreshing because at the same time they do have strong views. We talked about AIG, the "stimulus" package, the U.S. government's abrogation of its trade treaty with Mexico, the problems with central planning, the ex post facto tax on income for employees of AIG, the price of housing, and California's economy being in bad shape
1:30: Nothing is too big to fail.
3:00: The bailout of AIG is really a bailout of AIG's customers, including Goldman Sachs.
4:15: The AIG bonuses are rounding error on the cost of the AIG bailout.
5:20: The AIG bailout was probably not due to campaign contributions to various politicians, given that Paulsen had a huge role in the decision. Also people misuse language when they say that corporations give money to politicians because at the federal level, that has been illegal since the early 1900s.
8:00: Geithner is a lousy central planner, but everybody is, as Hayek pointed out.
9:20: The AIG bonuses should be paid because it's a matter of contract. The right move was not to bail out AIG.
10:40: Ex post facto taxes on bonuses are a bad idea.
11:30: Part of the AIG bailout is a wealth loss to foreigners. It's not like sending money abroad and getting a car back.
12:30: It's upsetting to see Congress violate a treaty with Mexico and to see Obama not have the courage to do what he can to stop this violation.
16:30: There are tremendous forces in a free economy, or even a somewhat-free economy like ours, getting us out of a bad spot; Obama's "stimulus" package, although it will probably slow the adjustment, will probably not prevent it.
19:00: What's unseen in the housing market, to use Frederic Bastiat's language, is the millions of people on the sidelines who've saved their money and waited until prices fall.
21:30: California's economy sucks. Whereas the U.S. government can raise taxes and not lose a lot of productive people to other countries, that's not true of a state government. My best line: "Nevada's government is saying, 'Give me your rich, your huddled masses yearning to make tax-free income.'"
22:40: The California state government could have been balanced without tax increases if it had reversed the last two years of nominal budget growth.