Magazine October 29, 2018, Issue

Letters

Attendees at the New Jersey State Fair in Augusta, N.J., August 12, 2018. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Still Rethinking the Recession

While I do agree with Ramesh Ponnuru’s article “Rethinking the Recession” (September 10) that the Fed’s monetary policy prolonged the damage done in the 2008 recession, I would add the view from Brian Wesbury’s book It’s Not as Bad as You Think: Why Capital Trumps Fear and the Economy Will Survive that the financial markets dropped significantly after a change in the way companies reported their income and assets: In November 2007, the government allowed the Financial Accounting Standards Board to start enforcing a very strict mark-to-market rule (Rule 157).

Wesbury states: “When we add up all the potentially bad loans and losses experienced by financial institutions in the early 1980s, it appears that our problems were much worse then. The crisis that began mid-2007 was much smaller.” Wesbury makes a solid case that the catalyst making things spin out of control so rapidly was mark-to-market accounting, which forced financial firms and auditors to use “exit” prices to value securities rather than the price at which a willing buyer and seller would trade.  

Within a year, the U.S. was in the middle of the worst pure financial panic in 100 years. Coincidence? Absolutely not. The government should have never let this happen. And once it did, the negative effects were seen so clearly in 2008 that it should have suspended the rule immediately. The congressional hearing that changed everything took place on March 12, 2009, but was announced about a week before. This, as it turns out, coincides perfectly with the bottom of the stock-market decline. 

Both authors make compelling cases about the dreadful recession in ’08, and both shed light on what can be done to avoid recessions in the future.

Jeff Daniels
Medina, Ohio

 

From the Fairgrounds

I was interested in Jay Nordlinger’s article “State Fair” (October 1). He accurately covered a good portion of our state fair.

No, the managers of the Birthing Center are not able to schedule a calf to be born every “owah.” However, I do believe there is at least one every day. This feature is very popular, and educates non-farm people about life (and, sometimes, death) on the farm.

I would like to point out a feature Jay did not mention. (I do realize it wouldn’t be possible to cover everything!) In the Horticulture Building is the New York State Maple Center, which, if Jay had seen (and tasted samples from) it, I’m sure he would have raved about! The NYS Maple Producers Association has had an educational booth in the Horticulture Building since the early 1950s. As a maple-producing family, we have been involved most of that time. I was assistant manager of the volunteer-staffed booth from 1986 to 2015.

It became the Maple Center around 2008, when the booth was greatly expanded. Besides many sizes of containers of maple syrup, candies, and maple cream, there is now maple cotton candy, maple kettle corn, maple ice cream, maple milkshakes and slushies, and maple Hofmann sausage.

Jay, come back to the fair soon, and be sure to stop by the Maple Center and enjoy!

Dean Delavan
Cincinnatus, N.Y.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue

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U.S.

The Lockdowns Are Now a Scandal

A boy in my neighborhood committed suicide a few weeks ago. It’s possible that the teen’s preexisting problems were exacerbated by the seclusion, tediousness, and helplessness of a national lockdown. Maybe not. I didn’t really know him. I do know that locals were forced to pay respects by sitting parked ... Read More
U.S.

The Lockdowns Are Now a Scandal

A boy in my neighborhood committed suicide a few weeks ago. It’s possible that the teen’s preexisting problems were exacerbated by the seclusion, tediousness, and helplessness of a national lockdown. Maybe not. I didn’t really know him. I do know that locals were forced to pay respects by sitting parked ... Read More
Elections

Good Riddance, Valerie Plame

In a week full of bad news, the defeat of Valerie Plame in a New Mexico Democratic congressional primary is easily overlooked. Had Plame won, she would have had a good chance of winning the seat, as the 3rd District is pretty heavily Democratic-leaning, scoring a D+8 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index. In ... Read More
Elections

Good Riddance, Valerie Plame

In a week full of bad news, the defeat of Valerie Plame in a New Mexico Democratic congressional primary is easily overlooked. Had Plame won, she would have had a good chance of winning the seat, as the 3rd District is pretty heavily Democratic-leaning, scoring a D+8 in the Cook Partisan Voting Index. In ... Read More
Science & Tech

About That Scary Hydroxychloroquine Study

Remember that scary hydroxychloroquine study in The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine that everyone in the media was writing about a few weeks ago? It turns out that the underlying data were likely fake: A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees ... Read More
Science & Tech

About That Scary Hydroxychloroquine Study

Remember that scary hydroxychloroquine study in The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine that everyone in the media was writing about a few weeks ago? It turns out that the underlying data were likely fake: A Guardian investigation can reveal the US-based company Surgisphere, whose handful of employees ... Read More

Biden as Paradox

It is now conventional punditry that should Joe Biden win in November, his vice president, in 1944-style, will sooner rather than later become president. Biden, to reboot and secure the identity-politics base, thought he had to discriminate by sex and race in advance by selecting his vice president. But given ... Read More

Biden as Paradox

It is now conventional punditry that should Joe Biden win in November, his vice president, in 1944-style, will sooner rather than later become president. Biden, to reboot and secure the identity-politics base, thought he had to discriminate by sex and race in advance by selecting his vice president. But given ... Read More
World

Welcome Home, Hong Kong

London doesn’t have the power to push the corrupt little junta in Beijing into being halfway decent to the people of Hong Kong, but Boris Johnson has a bold solution for almost half of those people: Come to the United Kingdom. Hong Kong is a former British territory, and about 3 million of its 7.5 million ... Read More
World

Welcome Home, Hong Kong

London doesn’t have the power to push the corrupt little junta in Beijing into being halfway decent to the people of Hong Kong, but Boris Johnson has a bold solution for almost half of those people: Come to the United Kingdom. Hong Kong is a former British territory, and about 3 million of its 7.5 million ... Read More