Brownanomics

Assuming that state Sen. Scott Brown wins the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate on Dec. 8 (first he has to get by perennial candidate Jack E. Robinson), he’s going to have to show greater economic literacy than he has to date.

On Saturday, the New York Times quoted Mark Zandi — an economic adviser to Republican president candidate John McCain in 2008 — as saying that the $787 billion stimulus has created or saved 1.1 million jobs. If anything, Zandi added, the stimulus should have been bigger.

And Martin Feldstein, a top economic adviser to President Ronald Reagan — who, you may have heard, was also a Republican — told the Times that the main problem with the stimulus was that it relied too much on tax cuts and too little on federal spending. Feldstein said:

There should have been more direct federal spending that would have added to aggregate demand. Temporary tax cuts and one-time transfers to seniors were largely saved and didn’t stimulate spending.

Now here’s what Brown told the Boston Globe when asked if he would support a second stimulus (he would not): “It hasn’t created one job that I’m aware of.”

It gets worse: “It created government jobs certainly, and government is doing well.” Brown does not explain what government jobs were created, but perhaps he’s referring to government jobs that were saved — those of teachers, police officers and firefighters. Would he rather they be unemployed?

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56 thoughts on “Brownanomics

  1. mike_b1

    Unfortunately, Brown was not the only nitwit on display over the weekend. The others — Coakley excepted — also showed frightful pandering, echoing cries of “the stimulus didn’t work” in the face of strong evidence to the contrary.

    If they had simply considered 1) the goal of the stimulus and 2) the rapid return to GDP growth, they would realize that not only has the stimulus worked, it’s worked better than most economists or politicians could have hoped.

    But yes, Brown is a financial dummy. But really, did you expect anything more from him?

  2. Michael Pahre

    I’m amazed at how few people think back to the tax cut stimulus package that was approved early on in the current recession — in February 2008 during the George W. Bush administration.

    The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 was mostly comprised of tax cuts (in the form of $300-$600 tax rebates). A broad range of economists have concluded that these 2008 tax cuts failed miserably, producing consumer/business spending as little as 15% of the value of the tax cuts. 15% return is an awful stimulus by anyone’s measure.

    Has the government required those receiving these 2008 tax cuts to fill out paperwork describing how many jobs were created and/or saved? No way. The Obama administration is doing something completely novel (and messy) in trying to document what jobs were created or saved by the 2009 ARRA stimulus bill.

    State Senator Brown has no government record he can point to as to specific jobs that were saved or created from the 2008 tax cut stimulus package, but the Obama administration has at least some jobs that they can point to (both private section and local/state government) that were created or saved from the 2009 ARRA government spending programs — even though the accounting for them looks like sausage-making at its worst.

  3. O-FISH-L

    Dan, in politics, perception is reality and I’d say most people believe that the stimulus, like the rest of Obama’s presidency, is a bad joke thus far.

    Your quoting of the two unknown Republicans who endorsed the package called to mind Shania Twain’s 1998 hit, “That Don’t Impress Me Much.”

    Brown would do well to continue to bash the stimulus, nine pairs of shoes equaling nine saved jobs, etc.

  4. Rite

    Zandi and Feldstein are “two of the best-known” from a list of hundreds, many of which reach the conclusion that tax cut trumps spending for stimulative effect.

    You know that right?

  5. O-FISH-L

    Dan, I’d say the average voter has never heard of, and couldn’t care less, about Zandi and Fieldstein. Brown has his own recognition problem, but I think he is beating the right drum.

    As for jobs for cops, I’ve never advocated having more police than we need. During the Clinton years, we were tripping over each other. Nothing worse than getting a hot call and having three or four rookies beating you to it. The State Police haven’t hired since ’05 or ’06 I think, and the proverbial sky hasn’t fallen. MSP is now running one trooper on the desk and two on the road from most barracks. I like cops, but I like reasonable tax bills even more.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: I’m worried about you. I hope you didn’t dislocate anything writing that. I’m picturing you in a corner, all tied up in knots, after writing that you’d rather bash Obama (and Clinton!) than defend saving police officers’ jobs.

      I find Advil works really well.

  6. Mr Punch

    Republican politicians and many, many Republican economists are on very different wavelengths just now. Another example is the carbon tax, supported by economists and opposed by pols.

  7. Dunque

    Dan – You are one to accuse one of your posters as tying oneself in knots. In this election we have, respectively;
    * A sitting attorney general who went way out of her way to keep in jail the unjustly convicted Amirault family members. This same AG stated in a recent debate that she has framed her views of U.S. foreign policy by talking to her sister in Europe. Paging Sarah Palin!
    * A congressman from the ethically adventurous city of Somerville who seems to think he is running against George Bush and Dick Cheney
    * A venture capital dilletante who, having made his millions, wants to make it tougher for others to do so and
    * A person who has accomplished much but basically seems to be involved in a vanity campaign.

    And you use your podium to blog about the guy who questions the effectiveness of a “stimulus” package which has seen the national unemployment rate by 3%.

    Pretzels anyone?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Dunque: Do not twist my words. In fact, as mike_b1 pointed out, all of the Senate candidates questioned the effectiveness of the stimulus package. So does Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who writes today, as he has in the past, that the stimulus package was not nearly large enough.

      My specific observaton was that Brown said the stimulus hasn’t created a single job — a laughable observation on his part.

  8. MeTheSheeple

    For the record, Brown didn’t say it didn’t create a single job — just that he didn’t know if it. This may be disingenious or ignorant, or perhaps he has higher standards, such as actually seeing first-hand each job creation.

    That kind of thinking is not unknown at the federal level, even when it’s appalling.

  9. Newshound

    Created a single job, or saved a single job? Some of the stimulus prevented layoffs, or returned some who were laid off back to work. In some cases, it is semantics.

    Economically, though, some public jobs can be viewed more from a perspective of consumption and not contributing to productivity or Gross Domestic Product.

    I think the stimulus has helped. Just how much good and harm it has done is best viewed more objectively many years from now and by people without a political bias.

    What is disappointing and expected, and otherwise almost completely preventable, are the branches of stimulus money that goes awry, thus actually doing harm to national debt without the most needed immediate reward.

    But 100% efficiency is rare.

    Is there anyone running for U. S. Senate who is fulfils all the ideals of being qualified, dignified, honest and not doing it for a self-serving purpose? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had difficulty deciding because all the candidates were just so darn good?

    It is a little frightening, too, because I think many of us fear that whoever is elected could be there a long, long time. And, over time they’ll just get slicker and more talented at not putting their foot in their mouth.

    Except for maybe Mr. Brown.

  10. mike_b1

    Brown (rhymes with “drown”) should read the WickedLocal sites for his own district.

    For example:
    “Framingham State College has benefited from funding for education, including money to retain faculty, spokesman Peter Chisholm said.

    “About $470,000 will help the college cover the cost of benefits for staff, while $300,000 went toward utility upgrades, $550,000 to student financial aid and $538,000 to technology, he said.

    ” ‘It was a great help to the college,’ Chisholm said. ‘The. availability of the state stabilization funds allowed the administration to plug gaps in the budget and to do some previously planned projects.’ ”

    I can see his next promo now:

    Hi, I’m Scott Brown and I’m out of touch with my constituents. Please help me get to Washington, where I can misrepresent even more voters!”

  11. Harrybosch

    Not sure what it’s like where you live, but you can’t drive down the road down here in southeastern Massachusetts, or over a bridge, or down Route 24 (which it appears they are FINALLY widening) without seeing large groups of men working.

    Seems to me one needs only to open ones eyes to see the stimulus in action.

  12. andrew quigley

    Scott Browns wife, WCVB-TV reporter Gail Huff is not doing a bangup job training Scott for media interviews.

  13. Steve Stein

    Fish: “I’d say most people believe that the stimulus, like the rest of Obama’s presidency, is a bad joke thus far.

    I am genuinely curious why you say this. Do you have any polling on it, or are you just going by what you hear in the sources you choose to listen to?

  14. Newshound

    Scott Brown is well compensated as a Massachusetts senator, and as a Lt.Colonel in the Guards.

    This is a rhetorical question that could be asked of many politicians, but just what good has he contributed to us to warrant his compensation? Or, the same applies to the other candidates, too.

  15. Dunque

    Harrybosch – Were road construction projects non-existent prior to the stimulus package?

    And how exactly do these road construction projects in Massachusetts help the unemployed in the financial services sector, which has been devastated in this state. Are all those unemployed programmers going to get jobs running jackhammers?

    Steve Stein re: your curiosity. Saturday Night Live certainly seems to feel that the stimulus has been a joke. Also, more empirically, for all the success of the stimulus why has unemployment climbed 3 percentage points since January of 2009?

  16. Harrybosch

    “Were road construction projects non-existent prior to the stimulus package?”

    The ones I’m seeing were. The widening of Route 24 is directly linked to the stimulus.

    “And how exactly do these road construction projects in Massachusetts help the unemployed in the financial services sector?”

    The financial services sector was built on a pillar of salt, apparently. But the stimulus was not meant to help any one industry, it was to get money to working folks quickly so they could spend it in their community.

    All of those folks working on the roads are spending money in their communities, keeping other folks afloat.

    Fortunately, a good programmer can find a job in any industry. Or, they’ll have to retrain themselves. I’ve done it myself three times.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      I’m listening to a really interesting book on CD, Charles Mann’s “1491.” The Incas oversaw some amazing construction projects centuries ago, and believe it or not, they didn’t need a government stimulus program to carry them out.

      Give me a break. As Harry says, road construction has increased exponentially since the stimulus went into effect. You can’t drive anywhere right now without running into road crews, oftentimes accompanied by a sign saying that it’s being paid for with stimulus money.

      These are real jobs at good wages going to people who would otherwise be unemployed. The reason the private sector hasn’t started growing yet is that people are scared and don’t dare spend their money. Government is the only player capable of creating demand in a crisis like this.

      As for the financial-services sector, it was saved through hundreds of billions of dollars in necessary but undeserved bailout money approved both by the Bush and the Obama administrations. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

  17. Harrybosch

    Amen, Dan.

    I took the opportunity to review Brite’s link to the Harvard study about tax cuts being more stimulative than spending.

    But do tax cuts widen Route 24, a road where tens of thousands of man hours are lost EVERY DAY as stopped cars fight their way up to 128?

    Do tax cuts rebuild our horribly neglected infrastructure? Have we forgotten about the horrific bridge collapse in Minnesota? Who will fix our roads and bridges if we don’t?

    I know it’s not perfect, and I suspect there is lots of fraud and abuse within the stimulus program. But the new and repaired roads and bridges might just last us a while.

  18. Dunque

    Using one of your favorite tactics, Dan, give us empirical evidence of this statement “…road construction has increased exponentially since the stimulus went into effect.”

    The financial services sector impacted by this recession in Boston is not the Goldman Sachs or AIG’s you would like to see burned at the stake. Fidelity Investments has been a responsible money manager for years and has suffered huge cuts in their workforce. Throwing money at infrastructure projects, in the absence of evidence they were being underfunded previously, is solving a problem that didn’t exist.

    Clearly Harrybosch, from your last throwaway sentence/sentiment, you are not currently unemployed.

  19. mike_b1

    Dunque, the financial services sector is tied at the hip to construction projects of all kinds. For roads, for example, it would involve at a minimum one and likely more companies to underwrite the bonds, a risk manager (e.g., Aon), a host of banks to sell the bonds, even more institutions to handle the purchase of said bonds by investors, etc. The list goes on and on.

    You’re really not very good at this, are you?

  20. lkcape

    To Mr. Bosch: What you see are large numbers of men…

    Working? Well a few of them may be.

    Many of the projects that you are seeing are continuations of projects that had started a year or two ago or that have been known about/scheduled/funded for some time (like the Sagamore Bridge repairs.)

    The self-serving signs (wonder what the cost effectiveness of these might be) hide the fact that these not newly embraced and implemented. Including them in the stimulus package has been nothing more or less than slight-of-hand cost shifting for political points.

    I find the economists projections, and Dan’s loving embrace thereof, as suspect as the Administration’s glowing (and decidedly contrived) score on on the number of jobs created or saved.

    When the Government pumps $2,000,000,000,000 into the economy in a 12 month period, there is bound to be some effect.

    But the lovers of the stimulus need to be reminded that the economy is STILL shedding 1/2 million jobs a month and that the actual unemployed/underemployed/no-long-looking number is running near 18%.

    That’s what really counts, isn’t it?

    The political promise before the cash infusion was for a kumbya economic picture and mercurial recovery “if only” the stimulus was passed.

    Welcome to the realities of serious recession. It’s effects will be with us for some time to come.

    Phony assessments of success do not add to any discussion or measure of its progress.

  21. Harrybosch

    “Fidelity Investments has been a responsible money manager for years and has suffered huge cuts in their workforce.”

    On the other hand, Wellington Management, another Boston-based money manager, was one of four firms selected by the federal goverment (in a very murky selection process) to purchase and rework (for pennies on the dollar) billions upon billions in toxic assets.

    So not everyone is hurting.

    And the rich get richer.

  22. O-FISH-L

    Steve Stein, from USA Today in August:

    “A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found 57% of adults say the stimulus package is having no impact on the economy or making it worse. Even more —60% — doubt that the stimulus plan will help the economy in the years ahead, and only 18% say it has done anything to help improve their personal situation.”

    From Rasmussen today:

    “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 27% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -15. This is the lowest Approval Index rating yet measured for President Obama.”

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: Let’s run through PollingReport.com’s compilation of polls. We’ll start with Obama’s favorability ratings:

      http://www.pollingreport.com/obama_fav.htm

      Next, Obama’s job-approval ratings:

      http://www.pollingreport.com/obama_job.htm

      Now, job-approval ratings for congressional Democrats:

      http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_dem.htm

      Finally, job-approval ratings for congressional Republicans:

      http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_rep.htm

      What can we learn from this? Everyone’s popularity suffers when times are bad, but Obama is far more popular and respected than Congress. And though Congress is very unpopular as a whole, the public dislikes Republicans even more than Democrats.

      One last observation. I am no more interested in whether the public thinks the stimulus is working than I am in whether the public believes in angels. Ronald Reagan got absolutely hammered in the mid-term elections of 1982 because he was doing something very good for the economy: he was allowing Fed chairman Paul Volcker to wring out inflation, even though the cure — sky-high interest rates — had caused what up until then had been the worst recession since the 1930s. Eventually the economy came around, and we know what happened in 1984.

      Sober economic analysis today shows that the stimulus is working, and in fact prevented a 1930s-style depression. The economy is slowly coming back. No matter how many times we hear that employment is the last thing to recover when a recession ends, that still doesn’t stop people from demagoguing the issue.

  23. lkcape

    “No matter how many times we hear that employment is the last thing to recover when a recession ends, that still doesn’t stop people from demagoging the issue.”

    You need only, Dan, to look to some of your own musings to see that demagoguery is alive and well.

  24. mike_b1

    Dan, I’m sure you know this, but what lckape is serving up is nothing more than intellectual dishonesty. The GOP was all in favor of the stimulus plan when Bush was in office mailing out checks — and mortgaging the nation’s future to do so. And once Obama was overwhelming elected, they read the tea leaves and realized they few hundred voters left in the Republican Party would throw them out too if they went along with anything Obama proposed. This is the classic GOP shell game.

    Put another way, Republicans were for it before they were against it.

  25. Dunque

    So, mikeb1 what you are saying is that Dan’s statement “everyone knows road projects have increased exponentially” is false.

    Because if it were true and the financial services sector (of which I referred to mutual fund managers) were so directly tied to construction projects, why is that sector shedding jobs left and right?

    Now who’s not very good at this?

    Harrybosch, the more you say the more you reveal your lack of understanding. Wellington is one of the premier money management shops in the world, not just this area. Ask Vanguard if Wellington is any good. The #1 low cost fund shop leans heavily on Wellington for their expertise.

    What kind of firm should rework toxic assets? Phil Rizzutto’s Money Store?

  26. Steve Stein

    Fish – if people thought the Obama presidency was a “bad joke”, wouldn’t they strongly disapprove? Even in the Rassmussen poll (known to skew right relative to the other polls), “most of the people” don’t feel that way.

    So your statement fails, even under the evidence you cite.

    BTW, this “Presidential Approval Index” is something new invented by Rassmussen. Is it worth anything?

  27. Harrybosch

    “Harrybosch, the more you say the more you reveal your lack of understanding.”

    Err . . . you were whining about lost jobs in the financial industry in Boston, and I proffered Wellington as an example of a financial firm doing just fine.

    I suspect you are now just being deliberately obtuse. I can only guess at your motive.

  28. O-FISH-L

    Dan, I will take my prescription –if I ever need one — from a real doctor, not someone who plays doctor on a computer. Thank you very much.

    As for your joy over police jobs saved by Obama, weren’t you the one bellyaching over overzealous prosecutions on the federal level just recently? What do you think these extra cops are going to do? Make arrests and write citations where none would have happened before, right? Do you somehow condone this on the local level while opposing it at federal? Where is Atty. Silverglate when you need him?

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: The trouble Silverglate outlines in his book is that federal laws, unlike state laws, are vague and subject to abuse. If you want to argue that local police have anything to do with abuses by federal prosecutors, go ahead. I’ll go with Edwin Meese — yes, that Edwin Meese — who has joined with Silverglate and others, saying, “Our tradition has always been to construe criminal laws narrowly to protect people from the power of the state…. It’s a violation of federal law to give a false weather report. People get put in jail for importing lobsters.”

  29. mike_b1

    Dunque,

    “Because if it were true and the financial services sector (of which I referred to mutual fund managers) were so directly tied to construction projects, why is that sector shedding jobs left and right?” Oh let’s see now: Is every single financial instrument tied to road construction? No. So … (does the rest really need to be spelled out for you?)

    Moreover, banks like Goldman had opportunity to lay off a bunch of guys, blame the economy and pad its bottom line. What you want to blame on the economy/government policy actually is the private sector not living up to its end of the deal. What’s patently clear is money managers are taking advantage of the situation. The question then, is not whether Goldman should be reporting record revenues and allocating $16.7B in bonuses, but whether Goldman has a responsibility to hire more staff.

    Now who’s not very good at this? It’s still you.

    Slam dunque.

  30. Dunque

    Mike bone(head) – I refer to serious job reductions in the mutual fund area of the financial services sector and you reply with information about firms like Aon and Goldman. That’s like discussing professional football and bringing up the Celtics. Nice try but you bounced another one off the rim.

    Harrybosch – Glad you found one firm doing well. Cold comfort to ex-employees in firms from, need I repeat it, the mutual fund sector such as Fidelity, Putnam and State Street which have reduced their work forces by greater than 10% and down/re-graded jobs of many of the employees still left there.

    But, hey, let’s all hail this successful stimulus package. One, count ’em!, one of those laid off Fidelity, Putnam or State Street employees has a chance to get hired as a Beverly firefighter according to today’s Salem News. To slightly change an MGM showstopper “That’s stimulation!”

  31. Harrybosch

    “One, count ‘em!, one of those laid off Fidelity, Putnam or State Street employees has a chance to get hired as a Beverly firefighter according to today’s Salem News.”

    And according to today’s Boston Globe, the departing CEO of State Street is exiting with a $6,000,000 kiss, on top of his $29,000,000 take in 2008.

    Maybe . . . just maybe . . . some of those job losses at State Street and other financial firms are due in part to circumstances other than the economic downturn.

    Some of that lavish executive pay would have saved more than a few $50,000 programmer jobs, dontcha think?

    At any rate, it’s been fun! Moving on. But let’s do this again.

  32. O-FISH-L

    Dan, while you have the numbers, you and Silverglate should petition the overwhelmingly Democrat Congress and Obama to eliminate these ambiguous federal laws. Strike while the iron is hot. While you’re at it, you should explore some of our local laws too. You can be arrested here for driving with an expired license, even if it expired one second ago. Overdue library books can get you arrested in this state too. The feds don’t have a monopoly on dumb laws.

    Extra police aren’t really necessary and to praise this as an Obama accomplishment is dubious. Cops are down in Boston, but so is violent crime. The landmark Kansas City experiment found that traditional routine patrol in marked police cars does not appear to affect the level of crime. So what exactly are these extra cops doing?

    Obama should limit PD’s to a small, highly trained and highly paid group while eliminating all special hiring preferences. The “economy of force” has long been a principle of war and the war on crime should be no different. Obama should also demand a total privatization of municipal fire departments, since technology has made fires extremely rare. The resulting tax cuts would do far more to stimulate the economy than adding superfluous, “feel good” jobs for people in uniform.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: Silverglate’s book has nothing to do with dumb laws. You should try reading it so that you’ll know what you’re criticizing.

      And thank you for letting me goad you into telling us that fire departments should be privatized. Now we all know how out of the mainstream you really are.

  33. O-FISH-L

    Dan, if the prosecutions that you and Silverglate lament aren’t done under the color of law, how are they done? They have everything to do with dumb/vague laws.

    Rural/Metro Corporation, one of the leading providers of private municipal firefighting services in the country, already has 8000 employees and $500M in annual revenues. Municipal fire departments are going the way of the newspaper. Perhaps you are out of the mainstream, Dan.

  34. mike_b1

    Dunque, you can’t win on points, so you call me names. You are sounding a lot like lckape. Cue the black insults…

    You seem to want to cherry-pick mutual fund companies in Boston as somehow representative of the larger financial industry picture. They are just a segment. Aon and Goldman are far more influential in the global markets than are Fidelity and Putnam. If Fidelity goes under, it’s a shame. If Goldman goes under, the world banking industry collapses.

    But Boston magnifies everything it has beyond recognition, so why should this be different? *eye roll*

  35. Dunque

    Black insults?

    I didn’t “cherry pick” mutual fund companies as representative of the larger financial services industry. I pointed to them as a segment in our region highly impacted by the current recession that the “stimulus” package has not benefited.

    Lastly, unnamed, you are one to all of a sudden adopt a thin skin. Kitchen door is behind you if you need to leave.

  36. O-FISH-L

    Dan, you’re right, I haven’t read the book. Meanwhile, forgive me for relying on that highly questionable source, harveysilverglate.com.

    “Harvey’s forthcoming book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, (September 2009, Encounter Books) focuses on the way in which federal criminal statutes and regulations, since the mid-1980s, have become so vague that the Department of Justice and FBI can all too easily target, prosecute, and even convict people – ordinary professionals – who have no way of knowing that their conduct might be seen as criminal.”

    Silverglate’s very own website uses the term “vague” in describing these laws, but you attack me as ignorant for doing the same? Hello?

    Funny, I agree with Silverglate’s premise. No longer sure where you stand though.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: Silverglate draws a careful distinction between state and federal laws, arguing that state laws — and their enforcement — have largely not deviated from the common-law principle that there can be no crime without criminal intent. Federal law has moved in the opposite direction over the past 50 years. Again, because you have not read the book, you keep posting comments that obliterate that distinction. But if the promotional material on Harvey’s website is good enough for you, I guess you can say you’ve read the book. Congratulations!

  37. O-FISH-L

    Dan, having enforced state law and local ordinances for years –and having had a case or two picked up by the US Attorney’s Office–, I don’t think there is as much of a distinction between federal and local laws, and how they are enforced, as you and HS think. Where is the “criminal intent” if you begin driving at 11:59 PM with a valid license and become an arrestable criminal one minute later when that license expires? How about the Abington motorist who felt he was regularly harassed by the local police and decided to tape them, only to be charged with felony wiretapping when he brought the tape to the Chief?

    Granted, most state laws and prosecutions are higher profile, but the feds have no monopoly on the absurd.

    Your strict reliance on what is printed in a book called to mind the military recruitment advertising theme of the 70’s and 80’s.

    “Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, we don’t ask for experience, we give it. You won’t read it in a book, you’ll live it.” The police service being a para-military organization, you don’t read it in Silverglate’s book. Officers live it.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: This will be my last comment on the subject. The kinds of laws you are referring to have nothing to do with what SIlverglate analyzes in his book. Your continued attempts to try to offer comments on a book you have not read are bizarre.

      And by the way, my journalism students certainly know that, in Massachusetts, you can’t tape someone without his consent.

  38. O-FISH-L

    CORRECTION: Second paragraph should have read:

    Granted, most FEDERAL laws and prosecutions are higher profile, but the feds have no monopoly on the absurd.

  39. O-FISH-L

    Dan, you can legally videotape them but not audiotape them. I hope you know the distinction and I hope that is what you teach your students. I hope you ask the Husky pups to ponder whether or not that audio/video distinction is quite bizzare as well. One a felony, one not a crime.

    Even more bizzare is that you cherrypick only federal laws as “(T)he kinds of laws” that you feel are enforced when the violator had no criminal intent.

    Funny, almost every federal lawmaker from MA had a role in local lawmaking before going to DC. Did these solons suddenly go crazy upon landing near the Potomac, or are they just continuing to pool the game they started here? You can’t have it both ways.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      Fish: Wrong again, or at least confusing. Non-consensual video recording is allowed only if there is no sound.

  40. O-FISH-L

    Isn’t that what I wrote Dan? Videotape is legal. Audiotape is a felony.

    Videotape, in its purest form, doesn’t have “sound”. Not sure why you are inserting sound into the conversation about video. Also not sure why you are calling me wrong and confusing.

    What’s confusing is not me, but the state law that makes one surreptitious recording a felony and one no crime at all.

    You should aim your derision at the legislature, Dan. Not at me.

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