The Far Center PAC

The NY Times has a good post up today about Mike Bloomberg and his new Independence USA PAC. Frequent readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Mike Bloomberg and his politics. I do not think there is a major issue before this country that I don't agree with him on. There is nothing more that I would wish for than a centrist like him in the White House.

In the post, the Mayor has tough words for both Obama and Romney, as he should. But one wonders whether both men are hostage to their party orthodoxy and therefore can't and won't speak honestly and candidly the way the Mayor can and does.

Maybe the millions that the Mayor will dole out this year and in coming years will help give elected officials the courage to do what is right instead of what is expected of them. I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful.


Comments (Archived):

  1. takingpitches

    I love Bloomberg as a mayor, although I have had a problem with some of the recent nannyish-state things such as the soda size issue. The way he came into office and the degree to which he has eclipsed Rudy in competence makes me very happy.That said, fwiw, I think the right is the problem. I don’t think Obama is in the grip of orthodoxy in the same way as Romney is to the tea party elements. Many will disagree.On the PAC issue, I don’t think it will make much of a difference. The money will be nice, but very few of those candidates left. And at the end of the day for the few left, money is not going to make the difference, it’s the on-the-ground determination that plays out in GOTV efforts and the like that will ensure that the few left will be extinct very soon.Also important to remember that Bloomberg is a candidate for NYC and urban areas. Unfortunately, on the social issues, particularly gun control, he would get destroyed on a national level.

    1. fredwilson

      And gun control seems to be one of the issues he is most passionate about

      1. PhilipSugar

        Yes, and for those of us that live in the rural areas with hunting season coming up, it is a non-starter. Bought four beautiful decoys yesterday, and got the boat ready for some casting and blasting (striper fishing and duck hunting).I wish somebody would run on the if it doesn’t affect me I don’t care platform. Gay marriage? Not me, don’t care. Soda? Don’t like it don’t care. Abortion, I’m against it but you are not me don’t care.Taking Fed money as a big bank…affects me. I care.

        1. ShanaC

          I never knew you hunt duck….

      2. takingpitches

        It’s amazing how much of a culture gap lies between us in the cities and those everywhere else. I wrote for a liberal mag when younger and also worked a little on the Clinton 92 campaign and I remember how much passion there was among dems about gun control and how much debate there was about policy and what the 2nd Amendment means in public life.Now Dems won’t touch the issue.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. takingpitches


          2. fredwilson

            yup. when a gun comes out in NYC, you are fucked.

          3. Wavelengths

            Twelve-yo girl in OK shoots intruder. If you’ve ever lived 35 minutes from the nearest sheriff’s office, you think about having a gun.

    2. ShanaC

      there is something wrong with the way we set up the state system now. Rural areas are proportionally overrepresented. I often feel like because I live in an urban area, my voice matters less.Which is a problem because more and more people live in urban areas.

  2. Cam MacRae

    I like Mike, but I don’t think the injection of even more money, however principled, into politics is a good thing.

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      I struggle with this question. My gut agrees with you but how do you change things without money?

      1. Cam MacRae

        How do you reform a system by perpetuating it?Either question makes a great koan.

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          I’m going to meditate on this for the rest of the afternoon.

          1. Wavelengths

            And your conclusion is … ?

          2. Luke Chamberlin

            Now I’m just hungry.



        1. panterosa,

          Capital is either in use, or not in use. Many “things” you can do are not equal to progress.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. Mark Essel

          Hell yeah FG.Doing things > $$.

        3. ShanaC

          Actually, this is one of the primary definitions in economics about money. And among the reasons why I get so meh about bitcoins.

  3. andyswan

    I’m not sure what his Federal positions are, but it would be tough for me to pull the lever for a guy that thinks so little of his citizens that HE must restrict their access to a 17th ounce of Dr. Pepper.That said, I respect the man a great deal….and I’m happy that NY is happy with its mayor.

    1. Luke Chamberlin

      The soda ban was a shame because it’s so distracting from real issues. The Mayor knows how to balance a budget. Let’s talk about that.

      1. andyswan

        I’m with you. I think it shows a complete disrespect for liberty and I’d always wonder what he’d ban or force next

        1. takingpitches

          Yep. I did like the calorie transparency initiative beforehand. Give people the info and if they make the “wrong” decision anyway, so be it…

        2. William Mougayar

          Actually I wished he went further and banned all junk food outlets. Junk food is slow poison.

          1. andyswan

            Then don’t eat it… Why do you want to control what I eat??

          2. Rohan

            I always find this to be an interesting debate, Andy.Would you, as an extension, be against gun control as well then?

          3. William Mougayar

            You know that because you’re smart and educated. But many others don’t, and they could use a bit of help. We’re talking about raising the standards of food production, not controlling it.

          4. thinkdisruptive

            Everyone chooses their poisons and pleasures. It’s extremely arrogant and off-putting for anyone to tell another person how they should live.

          5. Jim Ritchie

            Exactly, I am somewhat shocked by the number of folks here that expect to tell others how to live their lives.

          6. thinkdisruptive

            I’ve been thinking how ironic it is, especially for someone like Fred whose business is based on taking risky bets hoping for big payoffs.What if society said that we can’t afford to take such high financial risks? It’s bad when people lose their jobs. It’s bad when investors lose their money. It’s bad when businesses fail. It’s even worse when a little start-up comes along and disrupts a big established company and costs them tens of thousands of good paying jobs.Therefore, we aren’t going to allow VCs to build businesses that fund risky ventures. They might hurt themselves and others in the process, and we certainly can’t allow that.It is the exact same argument.

          7. Jim Ritchie

            I react viscerally when someone wants to implement yet another ridiculous law that further erodes my personal freedom. I live in San Francisco, the archetype for just this type of misguided politician.Getting back to the issue of healthy food, I’m all for it. In fact I am so passionate about the idea I started and am running an ecommerce business for real foods made with all natural ingredients, Delicious Karma. However, I certainly don’t think we should legislate or tax folks to force them to buy and eat our food.

          8. thinkdisruptive

            Why not? You could reduce the cost of healthcare!

          9. ShanaC

            he has domain expertise though.

          10. thinkdisruptive

            It doesn’t get him off the hook when he kills jobs at big companies. We aren’t so far from this sort of regulation with the government we have today.

          11. LE

            Because it has an effect on the rest of us what “you” eat. “You” is not specific to your personal responsibility and whether you maintain an otherwise healthy lifestyle so as not to become a burden on society. As I’m sure you do as I do. “You” is the collective people that aren’t able to do that. And they need to be restricted. Unfortunately it will impact you. Like I said, same reason I can’t drive 100 miles per hour in my car and there are speed limits. The only question is the amount of the limit, not that there will be one.As with any health issue there is no “stick”. The government isn’t going to deny health care to people who follow an unhealthy path, they will just treat them and keep them alive at a great cost to everyone. It becomes a burden on us all.And that’s why.

          12. William Mougayar

            Yup. Well said LE.

          13. ShanaC

            thank you….

          14. PhilipSugar

            Disagree fully. Health Insurance is not the right term for what we have. Overweight and have hypertension or type II diabetes??? No different than not changing oil in your car. You pay not me. Don’t try and fix the underlying problem by prescribing a solution that is what got us here. I.e. the lack of personal responsibility.

          15. ShanaC

            Overweight, have hypertension/type 2 diabetes and you should up at the hospital claiming chest pains means I’m belatedly treating you.Personal responsibility isn’t the only thing going on here.

          16. thinkdisruptive

            If someone else loses control of their car at 100mph, there’s a good chance that a lot of other people die. Another person choosing a larger soft drink or super-sized fries has no impact on me, and isn’t any of my (or your) business.Even your notion of “burden on society” is questionable. If I spend 2 hours a day working out, and finish it off with a 42oz Coke, then the person restricting me from doing what I need to replenish my spent calories is the one who is a burden on society. There’s a lot to be said for personal responsibility.

          17. LE

            “Another person choosing a larger soft drink or super-sized fries has no impact on me”It does have an impact. Just because the result is not immediate does not mean there is not an impact on society. What about recycling?”If I spend 2 hours a day working out, and finish it off with a 42oz Coke, then the person restricting me from doing what I need to replenish my spent calories is the one who is a burden on society.”I’m guessing you don’t drink a 42oz coke after exercising for 2 hours. And of course nothing is preventing you from buying 42 oz of coke in allowable sizes. So what we are really talking about here is an increase in cost not whether you can do this or not.To be fair though I haven’t seen any data on the amount of people that are actually purchasing these drinks I take it on faith that the majority of them fall into the wrong category.

          18. thinkdisruptive

            What about recycling? Buying two smaller containers has a higher percentage of waste/drink than one larger one. Not that it matters, because you have nothing to say about what I choose to drink.After exercising, you’re correct, i don’t consume a 42oz Coke. If anything, I consume water. And, I never drink a 42oz Coke. Actually, I don’t drink Coke. But, none of that is anyone else’s business. And, as you failed to point out above, there is a cost in increased waste by forcing consumption of 2 smaller sizes if I want that much to who purchases the large drinks. Data shows it is more often work crews — the guys busting a gut on physical labor. i.e. not the ones we need to worry about. Fat people fool themselves by consuming more small sizes, and not recognizing that 2 or 3 small ones is more than one big one. Not that it matters, because regulation of this sort is misplaced and always misguided.Always remember the law of unintended consequences.

          19. Jim Ritchie

            Your health has no direct impact on me. Only if I am taxed and expected to pay for your bad choices does your health effect me in any direct way. Take some personal responsibility and don’t expect me to pay for your bad choices is the answer. Allowing some bureaucrat to tell me what I can or can’t eat is fighting words. Same logic was used to control personal use of drugs that has lead to our completely wasteful so called “war on drugs”.

          20. fredwilson

            because we pay for your health care when you end up in a hospital bed

          21. andyswan

            Well I’d love to opt out of that too.What next… Government can force me to eat kale and run 3 miles every morning because “the collective” would benefit?Every liberal policy is justified by a prior liberal policy. The slippery slope to tyranny.

          22. fredwilson

            you can if you pay for your own health care insurance. you can’t self insure, because sadly in our society that means we insure you

          23. panterosa,

            @fredwilson:disqus I totally agree.My BF works in the ER, most recently, Patterson NJ, Newark, and Bronx. The amount of overweight and disease related to diet people he sees who’ve never been to a doctor, utter crap diet, diabetic-bound youth, has his head spin each day. They cost a fortune, and half the time have no idea their diet is killing them.I am a huge fan of Mike’s. And no, I don’t have an issue with him restricting sugary drink size if if it helps people move, grumbling, to better choices.

          24. thinkdisruptive

            Judgemental, moralizing nonsense. I guarantee that you wouldn’t like living the way I’d dictate you should.

          25. panterosa,

            Wow, strong reaction. I don’t feel I have prescribed, let alone dictated, any way of living in my comment.@andyswan:disqus commented on not wanting to have anyone’s eating controlled. @fredwilson:disqus countered that we pay for healthcare of those who may eat badly and get sick from it, ending in hospitalizations. I simply agreed with first hand info from an ER doc.I am not very judgmental, nor a moralizer, so I am taken aback by your comment. What makes you think I judge and moralize?

          26. thinkdisruptive

            I am probably reacting to the cumulative effect of so many who believe it is their right to tell others how to live their personal lives. The phrasing of your 3rd party doctor’s report indicates either that you’ve paraphrased to make it sound worse than it is, or that you’re using an appeal to authority to justify your own position that it’s OK to restrict freedoms so that “people make better choices”.You may not perceive this as judgemental or moralizing (most of those who believe in restricting others’ freedoms don’t see it that way), but you, in fact, are judging (“people” are making bad choices, according to you), and moralizing (if they can’t control themselves, you know what’s right so you’ll do it for them).Soft drink size choice seems like a trivial thing to those who would restrict it — so trivial, why would anyone object? But, that’s exactly the point. If you’re willing to use the power of government to legislate and the power of police to enforce something so trivial as buying a larger sized soda, then how much more willing are you to use the same power on things that matter a lot more? On anything that the two of us disagree on? It’s a place that government absolutely doesn’t belong under any circumstances (even if I agreed with the premise that large Cokes cause obesity). And no matter what other “good governance” people believe they’re getting from Bloomberg, it makes me distrust him in the extreme.In your response, you actually excuse your own position by saying it’s really the ER doctor’s position, and you’re just agreeing. You can’t have it both ways though. You either agree that it’s OK to restrict freedom for such a questionable cause (without considering either the total reality of soda consumption, or the unintended consequences — see my notes elsewhere), or you don’t. If you do, your justification (via 3rd party) is based on judging and moralizing. I’m just drawing attention to it.All that said, my remark probably comes across as overly strong in its brevity, but it’s no less true based on what you’ve said.

          27. ShanaC

            As a paternalistic libertarian (http://uchicagolaw.typepad…. ) I am totally fine with restricting freedom in such ways that it doesn’t restrict your functional liberty. The goal is to always be improving the process!

          28. thinkdisruptive

            Then you should be careful of those who feel the same way about your liberties, and which liberties they feel like restricting. I don’t think you’ll like the result that such a society ends in.In any case, despite their headline protest, there is no such thing as paternalistic libertarianism. It’s an attempt to hijack a term and twist what it means. No libertarian would agree to be bound by someone else’s paternal rules, nor would any libertarian self-describe as paternalistic. You may be a paternalist, but you aren’t a libertarian if you support regulating the size of soft drinks.In my experience, dumb attempts to legislatively “improve the process” are almost always found out to be wrong anyway. The original prohibitionists thought they were doing a good thing for society, getting the alcoholics off the streets, stopping bar fights, eliminating absenteeism from work due to hangovers, and supporting religious and family life. The law of unintended consequences proved them to be quite wrong, and the end product was the beginnings of single-issue politics, organized crime, federal abrogation of state legislative rights, massive loss of tax revenues, unsafe and unregulated (bootlegged moonshine) liquor killing and poisoning people. We’ve done much the same thing in our lifetime with the “war on drugs”.

          29. ShanaC

            but banning smoking from public places + taxes on smoking really did bring smoking down.There is a difference between hyper regulation and paternalistic libertarianism. I don’t believe in total bans on anything. (maybe heroin, but that is an exception). I do believe in making things difficult to pursue in a legal way.

          30. thinkdisruptive

            There’s a key difference with smoking. As a non-smoker, I have to breathe it, and I have some serious health issues that you’d rather not have to pay for when I’m forced to breathe someone else’s smoke. A libertarian believes that your rights end where mine begin. If someone else drinks a big drink, it doesn’t impact me, or any other person. You seem to believe in a total ban on big drinks — one of the most ridiculous forms of regulation possible. If you don’t think that is hyper-regulation, then what is?

          31. ShanaC

            easy: Banning soda altogether.I’m also force to bear the costs of the fact that you (in the general sense) can’t work from your obesity, so I get more stressed.. So I lose money. Then I pay for your healthcare when you show up in the hospital. And I am a paternalistic libertarian.libertarian paternalism is paternalism<http:”” wiki=”” paternalism=””> inthe sense that “it tries to influence choices in a way that will make choosers better off, as judged by themselves” (p. 5). It is libertarian<http:”” wiki=”” libertarianism=””> inthe sense that it aims to ensure that “people should be free to opt out of specified arrangements if they choose to do so.” (p. 1161) I’m going to continue to defend freedom of choice, as per the normative definition of libertarianism :

          32. thinkdisruptive

            No libertarian would agree with a paternalistic government. This wikipedia article seems to have been written by a bunch of political scientists (academics) who don’t really understand the concept of liberty. You’ll grow out of it too, if you really believe in freedom. It’s a fundamental contradiction.

          33. Jim Ritchie

            The more a government “bans” the more evil and totalitarian it will become. Our government was never envisioned to protect us from ourselves, it was created to protect our “god given rights” from being transgressed by others. Our Founding Fathers wisely understood that the entity most likely to violate those rights was in fact the government they formed to secure those rights.

          34. panterosa,

            The serious conversation is about affordable quality food, widely available. The people in question don’t even know what healthy is which is a form of poverty itself, alongside poverty. My ER witness is simply a witness of this.I’m not for paternalism, I’m for availability of better choices. It seems Bloomberg is for less availability of bad choices. Is that paternalistic? In your view yes. Should government do that? In your view no. Should I have a say in how expensive my healthcare is due to obesity, or what my city spends money on? You tell me.

          35. thinkdisruptive

            Actually, it doesn’t matter what the quality of the food is (and quality is highly subjective — too much of anything is bad for you.) The problem is too much food. Period. We have a surplus of cheap food, which is a supply-side problem. You supply more of something at a lower price, and more of it gets consumed. Well known economic theory of supply/demand equilibrium. And, the imbalance was actually created by government subsidies to help farmers and poor people.… . Any regulation of choice is bad, because much as you think it restricts bad choices, it also restricts good choices, and has unintended consequences.And, as I’ve also pointed out elsewhere, diet soda performs worse than sugar soda. Significantly. Your healthcare is only more expensive because the government has something to say about your healthcare. And, of course you should have something to say about what the city spends money on, erring on the side of spending less.We have lots of good choices available. But you know what? Sometimes I don’t want the healthiest menu option. Sometimes, I just want an order of McDonalds fries. Sometimes I want the triple creme brie. And, it won’t hurt me, because other times I want the fruit and veggies. Everything in moderation and balance. But, it’s my choice, not yours.

          36. panterosa,

            I agree we should have unregulated choice in some aspects of life.I do believe that the safety and well being of the community is important. I am fiercely against guns being available. At the end of the day I am willing to give some things up for the “greater good”, which I realize others may not be.I don’t moralize about food, I am a cooks’ daughter. That said, I don’t see the legitimacy of having to have a separate set of rules for the nation’s increasingly obese population.If you think I am a hypocrite for walking this fine line, especially since I have only so much interest in debating such a point, then I will live with that.

          37. thinkdisruptive

            Not a hypocrite, necessarily, but we can agree to disagree about whether it is legitimate to decide for others when they are “too fat”.As many have noted elsewhere, this misguided law doesn’t even accomplish anything. You can still buy two. Many restaurants give free refills. And, if I don’t have the extra soda with lunch, I’ll have it when I get back to the office. All this does is restrict restaurants from legitimate competition and providing consumers with choices. Moreover, people that regularly drink sodas aren’t the problem — diet soda drinkers gain 70% more weight than regular soda drinkers, which suggests pretty strongly it has nothing to do with the excessive sugar/carbs (i.e. banning larger drinks doesn’t do anything positive).I agree about guns in cities. Many who know me would consider that an anomaly. In the country, they are needed. But, with guns, we’re talking about danger to other people, and that’s where I draw the line, unless there is a compelling need. But I wouldn’t get as worked up about it as I would about telling me I can’t buy a large size of something. Government has much better things to do than this.

          38. ShanaC

            I’ve lived a life that was dictated to me in part. I agree that dictating lives suck. But I also think that dictating certain aspects of your life is important. It helps make us things like american. it helps make sure that the vast majority of us have basic literacy skills.Food should be in that category as well.

          39. Jim Ritchie

            Have we really become so weak minded and willed that we expect government to dictate what is good for us? This thought makes me very sad.

          40. ShanaC

            No. More like we dictate to the government to understand that we are human and can be weak willed from lack of knowledge, decision fatigue (… ) and ego-depletion. (… ).Therefore, for really important things that affect everyone together (such as me paying for obesity, or making sure we all can retire) choices should be framed in such a way that it becomes more likely that we choose the one we want anyway.…I want people to make decisions and concetrate on making decisions on what they are good at. Making decisions suddenly about healthcare, retirement, what have you when you don’t have domain expertise is very risky. The US asks us to do this at irregular periods throughout all of our lives. The least they can do is frame choices for us the way a domain expert would.

          41. Jim Ritchie

            I personally don’t want any government bureaucrat, especially once sitting in WA DC 3k miles away, making decisions for me about my healthcare, retirement and certainly not telling me if I can drink a Big Gulp or not (I don’t drink soda, but certainly suport the rights of those that wish to do so). Better to focus on education and let each citizen make their own decisions.

          42. thinkdisruptive

            Couldn’t disagree more. For one thing, what’s good for you isn’t good for me. You can no more enforce what I should eat than what I shouldn’t eat. Both could kill me, and so could your prohibitions.And, when do you stop dictating? When someone doesn’t appreciate that I like to wear the color red? When I don’t cut my grass as often as my neighbor? When one race is presumed to be superior to another, so let’s just eliminate the lesser one? It’s a very slippery slope, and when one form of dictatorship is deemed acceptable, it gets progressively harder to stop any form of it.

          43. ShanaC

            I never said I was enforcing. Enforcing is boring, and doesn’t really shape behavior. I’m setting up choices for you so that you do the right thing.EG: I think you and I should eat more vegetables in general, plus I want to lose weight. We both go to one of the same two lunch counters every day together in MysteryCity. They are run by the same company and have the same food from the same canteen far far away from the lunchcounters. The food is equally delicious.The only difference is lunch counter a has the salad section as the first thing you see when passing by the lunch counter, and lunchcounter b has the salad bar last.We also know that because we are very hungry at lunchtime, we have a habit of pulling out at least one item from the first counter we see.Which one should we go to if the goal is to eat more vegetables?Lunch counter A.Will going to Lunch Counter A stop me from eating a meal of just desserts? No. Will it make it less likely? Yes.There is nothing wrong with what I am offering. I’m not making all the choices for you. I’m assuming you have natural behavior that you will follow (like most people) and that you want specific results even if the face of your worse nature. So I am for government framing choices for you so you are more likely to do the thing you want to do anyway.…The government has a place in framing choices. And it doesn’t impinge on your liberty.

          44. thinkdisruptive

            It impinges on the business that has to constrain its behavior for supposed social engineering benefit rather than profit and customer service benefit. It impinges on me, because I might want to open one of those businesses, and it might raise the cost to me of going to one of those restaurants if the government engineered choice lowers profitability. It also raises the cost of government and compliance. This is so low on the totem pole of things we need done, and we can’t afford what government does today.Government has no place in framing choices. What if two paternalists disagree? Or what if the best available science changes? Are businesses forced to switch back and forth? Who pays for that? Capitalism has a natural way of arriving at the best choices. If you are so motivated and passionate about this issue, you are free (in a free society, but maybe not in the one you envision) to Influence consumers to make the right choices, and businesses will do the right thing. Just as they adapted to the green movement, reducing waste, using more recycleds, etc.Like many progressives, you’ve only thought about the first step, but not about the implications, costs, slowing down of positive evolutionary change, or the power of real choice. I don’t want to live in a society like that, and the more you force it on people, the more you’ll have to deal with the negative consequences from those who rebel against it, and the weight of the system itself.Big Brother is us. Yech.

          45. thinkdisruptive

            That’s a good reason for you not to pay for my healthcare, not to restrict how I live.

          46. fredwilson

            society will pay for your healthcare whether you like it or not. read this.… society paid $550,000 for his deathbed health care, whether you like it or not

          47. thinkdisruptive

            There is no such thing as healthcare that costs $550,000 — that’s the immoral thing. Inelastic demand creating outrageous charges that hospitals know the state will pay.But here’s the thing. That bill is the worst possible exaggeration of the real cost that one could imagine. I’m sure you’ve seen an EOB from your insurer. How much of any health bill is simply disallowed by the agreement with the insurer? 90%? More? If that was a real cost, it couldn’t be disallowed by agreement. It’s only there to try to force people to buy insurance, and to ensure that the doctor and hospital fees are still ridiculously high after the insurer beats them down and takes their cut. Which means that the only people who “pay” those costs are the uninsured.So, we could fix this easily by saying that if no insurance company has to pay it, neither does any uninsured person. It’s a bogus, inflated charge. If we did that, we wouldn’t need health insurance as we now know it. We’d all be able to afford routine care, and take personal responsibility. We could focus on insuring against extraordinary loss or catatrophic illness or injury, which is what insurance is best at protecting us against. Insurance is not intended for regular doctor’s visits and contraceptives, any more than it is suited to paying for my weekly groceries.I’m not moved by this article, though I feel compassion for the guy with cancer. People make choices. People are entitled to make choices. Others are not obliged to pay for those choices. But, I really feel no sympathy for the hospital “eating” those costs. What on earth could possibly have a real cost of $25K/day?

          48. JLM

            .Civilization has advanced more from the glorious scent of the hamburger (cheeseburger, really) than it ever will with the taste of tofu.Crinkle cut fries took America to the moon..

          49. Cam MacRae

            I have it on good authority that the shuttle engines burned a 2% blend of coca-cola.

          50. William Mougayar

            Fried tofu is as bad as fried potatoes :)We’re talking about more wholesome foods, less processed foods. I’m sure you would agree with that.

          51. JamesHRH

            I don’t think so.@JLM:disqus is arguing that the mechanism of food supply (emblemized by say, McDonald’s fries) is part of what out America on the moon.Maybe growing meat in a lab will put Earth into the next galaxy!!!

      2. Brandon Burns

        the obesity epidemic is a real issue, and yes it really is an epidemic, and our super size me culture is the biggest factor causing it.i think he possibly went about it in the wrong way, but i applaude bloomberg’s effort to do something.

        1. fredwilson

          i’m with you Brandon. i think taxing the stuff, like we do booze and cigarettes is probably a better path. we have to pay for the cost of treating all these obese folks some way

          1. Brandon Burns


          2. Wavelengths

            On the other hand, if people die off early …Ooops. Colorado Governor Dick Lamm got into a lot of trouble by suggesting that at some point people had a “duty to die.”To be fair, his statement was in the context of the medical system delivering extreme measures to keep people alive who, at best, could only live a few more days/weeks. Yes, at some point we should be prepared to say goodbye.Regarding “sin tax,” though, I don’t know if the health community really has the “sins” completely dialed in. Is this an updated Prohibition? Used to be margarine was better than butter. Now butter is better. Red wine is good. Several drinks a week seems to prolong quality life.In my own experience, I did everything that was supposed to minimize my health risk for a certain ailment, and I’m 2 years down the road in treatment. I hear public service ads telling people to cut their risk by doing exactly what I did, for my whole life.I’m leery of creating regulations to enforce something that is still fuzzy science.

          3. thinkdisruptive

            Why do you have to pay for anyone other than yourself? Who are you to judge who is too fat? You also don’t know when you look at someone whether they have a health condition that causes them to be overweight, which has nothing to do with excess consumption.It’s interesting to me that the people who most want to restrict what people eat are the same ones who most strongly correlate to advocacy of “medical marijuana”. Last I recall, marijuana makes you want (need) to eat more. We have peculiar sets of things that we believe should be free vs restricted, and it seems to have more to do with moral values than concern for health.

          4. fredwilson

            because our society won’t tolerate someone lying dying on the street in front of our office building

          5. thinkdisruptive

            So, it comes down to the mess.

          6. Jim Ritchie

            This is a very slippery slope. Let them eat cake I say. The entire idea that WE have to pay for THEIR healthcare is ridiculous. Taxing or legislating sins against one’s self is the antithesis of freedom and liberty. Bloomberg wants a police controlled nanny state.

        2. thinkdisruptive

          Actually, excess supply of food and its low cost is what causes the epidemic.… In less obese countries (such as Canada, for example), the biggest difference is that food is significantly more expensive relative to income.btw, another factor that is often overlooked in the country’s weight gain is that the median age has increased 5 years in the past 20, with 7 states now having a median age above 40. As well, the segment of the population that is growing the fastest is that which is that aged between 45 and 64 (grew by 31.5% in last census). We naturally gain weight as we age, all things being equal, and the biggest gains in weight are exactly when you are in this age bracket. Without controlling for demographic changes, knowing how much fatter we are, relatively speaking, is very difficult.So, the moral question is, should we make food more expensive so that poor, stupid people can’t afford to eat too much?

      3. kidmercury

        he doesn’t know how to balance a budget! that’s the thing. bloomberg is the same as the rest. behold! new york city debt chart:

        1. Luke Chamberlin

          That chart only shows total debt, which is still increasing because of interest on past debt. But over the past few years the Mayor has indeed balanced the annual budget.

          1. kidmercury

            debt should not be increasing if service payments are being met; at most it should be remain is still relying on federal and state grants AND increasing taxes for the 2013 budget relative to the 2012 budget:

          2. Luke Chamberlin

            The 2013 budget was touted as having no tax increases:…Where do you see tax increases?

          3. kidmercury

            if you compare the 2013 budget on the city’s web site —… — versus that of 2012 —… — you can see higher property taxes, higher miscellaneous taxes, and higher miscellaneous revenue. you can also see that government is spending more. all government spending is a tax, as someone has to pay for it — if it is paid with debt that means the future pays for it, if it is the federal government printing (and nyc grants from the federal government are up) that means currency debasement and higher prices pay for it.perhaps the nytimes article you referenced is implying that there is not a percentage increase in taxes, but the nyc government is still spending more and taking more in.

          4. kidmercury

            here’s a good article illustrating nyc is still running budget deficits — ironically on!

          5. Luke Chamberlin

            The article you linked to is about *projected* deficits over the course of the next 18 months. The Mayor has asked agencies to cut spending now to avoid those deficits.PS I got my numbers from here:

          6. kidmercury

            right, bloomberg has asked departments to cut $2 billion in spending. the deficit is $3 billion so there is still a gap of that $1 billion, as the article notes.

          7. Luke Chamberlin

            What you are looking at is a forecast increase in tax revenue, which is very different from an increase in tax rates. Tax revenue goes when the economy gets better, salaries go up, property values go up, or any number of positive signs.To my original point thought, NYC is in a much better financial state than the federal government in terms of operating budget deficits.NYC (2012)Revenue: $67.6BExpense: $65BNet surplus: $1.6B (2%)Federal (2012)Revenue: $2.47TExpense: $3.8TNet deficit: $1.33T (54%)(!!!)They are not even close. That was the point I was trying to make.

          8. kidmercury

            higher prices are not a positive sign. is it better that computer prices are falling or should they be rising? wouldn’t falling prices enable greater consumption? isn’t that part of why smartphones are becoming so pervasive? moreover, if rising prices really are indicative of a strong economy, why not cut the percentage so as to keep government spending the same?i’m not sure where you’re getting the surplus number, although bloomberg’s own site is reporting a budget deficit:

          9. thinkdisruptive

            It doesn’t matter what the cause of debt increase is. Interest has to be factored into any “balancing” of a budget, or it isn’t balanced. Not any different than a mortgage or your credit card — if you only budget for the principle, your debt will increase, and your budget is not balanced.

        2. Guest

          So Bloomberg is a permissive liberal on some issues (gay marriage, abortion), an authoritarian liberal on others (guns, soda), and a fiscal liberal to boot?What, then, makes him a centrist? Maybe @fredwilson:disqus can explain. Bloomberg was a phenomenal entrepreneur and is a competent technocrat, but I feel like I am missing the aspects of his politics that, on balance, make him a centrist.

          1. fredwilson

            i don’t think he’s a fiscal liberal. i think he balances budgets and makes hard choices

          2. thinkdisruptive

            Except for paying the interest, apparently, which is part of balancing a budget.

    2. Cam MacRae

      Policy like that often has unintended consequences; the cure typically being worse than the disease.My staunch Republican father in law visited a couple of years back and listened incredulously over dinner as 4 federal senators (Labor) described their intention to tax alcopops out of existence. (Binge drinking, teen pregnancy, teen violence, etc. — all admirable causes.)They went on to implement the policy, and lo, the clever kiddies took to mixing their own in even greater quantities. The result was a net increase in teen binge drinking etc., etc.Oops.

      1. Wavelengths

        The law of unintended consequences.

        1. ShanaC

          behavior shifting is hard.

    3. kidmercury

      he’s just another guy on a power trip. refers to the nyc police force as his own personal army:…the way nyc handled the occupy protests illustrate the nypd as an army. this type of stuff coupled with the soda rules illustrates a police state mentality.

      1. gorbachev

        Additionally the NYPD stop and frisk policy is just wholesale violation of civil rights because of “law and order”. Teenagers are getting stopped for absolutely no reason whatsoever several times a day, because Big Mike figured he’d get more votes from the white folks if he pretended he was doing something about the “crime” in minority neighborhoods.Kid Mercury is absolutely right about Mike Bloomberg. Not that this para-militarization of police forces is something Mike Bloomberg can take sole credit for, as it seems to be happening pretty much everywhere.

    4. ShanaC

      Why? Sin taxes are legal, and I am in favor of the government shaping behavior.

    5. fredwilson

      i believe his position on sugar filled soft drinks is based on the massive amounts of money NYC, NYS, and the federal government are paying for obesity care. if society foots the bill for the consequences of drinking the stuff, i think its not really off limits to have a conversation about how to deal with this stuff. i think we should probably tax it as a vice like we do alcohol and cigarettes

      1. JamesHRH

        Bingo.Processed sugar has, at least, the same trailing health care costs as tobacco or alcohol.

        1. Wavelengths

          Darn. There goes the sugar-plum fairy.

      2. andyswan

        I notice that during the Obamacare debate, we never heard about all of the future rights it would give government to control our bodies and lives…. All benefits until we invariably get the “well we are all paying for your______, (whether you like it or not), therefore we are entitled to access to your kitchen.Also notice that we never hear this applied in other areas… If WE are paying for your subsequent abortions (as you are paying for my healthcare) , do we not have the same right to limit your sexual activity in the same way you can control my food intake???

        1. fredwilson

          limiting sexual activity is not necessarywe should just provide safe and free contraceptives, for both before and after sex, and we will be in much better shapeof course the church opposes that and as a result we deny women that option

          1. andyswan

            Limiting soda quantity is not necessary.We should just provide free and safe water, before and after meals.Do you see the logical parallel? The danger in saying “if gov’t pays for the result, it has a right to control all prior behavior”???

          2. fredwilson

            i am not arguing for control. i am arguing for taxation to change behavior, like we do with other vices.

          3. andyswan

            So can we tax

          4. andyswan

            Doubt we’ll resolve this tonight….Will say the fat people I know drink diet all day long. It’s the wirey roofer that buys the big gulp of Mountain Dew lol.

          5. Mark Essel

            I’m jealous of those ultra lean folks :). We’re killing ourselves with aspartame etc just to avoid calories.

          6. ShanaC

            no I don’t see the parallels. One is positive reinforcement, one is negative.

          7. andyswan

            “You cannot do ___ because we have decided that we all have to pay for the result of you doing _____”

          8. thinkdisruptive

            How are you going to force kids to use them? Or, do you plan on forcing abortions when they don’t use the contraceptives?This reflects a moral view (sex should not be restricted), rather than applying the same logic you do to food choices. In a previous era, we penalized sex and let people eat what they please. The problem with morality-based restrictions is that the behaviors we approve of change over time. Not so long ago, society would have banned being gay before it would have sought a cure/treatment for HIV.

          9. pointsnfigures

            I think we should tax you if you are having too much sex. heh. : )

          10. thinkdisruptive

            Yes. We might have a chance of retiring the debt. Let’s play with that idea….It would take an awful lot of excessive sex. 16 trillion (our current national debt if we stopped adding to it effective today) is a really hard number to understand, which is why I don’t think people take it seriously.But, let’s see if we can get our minds around all this idea of taxing too much sex. Start by converting seconds to years, so we can see how big our debt is in terms we can grasp. 16T seconds = 507,020 years, give or take a few seconds — that’s still a bit hard to grasp. That’s 2.5 times as long as the 200,000 years that homo sapiens has been around (boy, we’re big spenders). Or, in excessive sex terms, if every person on the planet had to put $1 in the pot every time they had sex, and everyone had sex once a day, it would take 6.3 years to pay off the US debt. Of course, if we were only allowed to apply the tax to US citizens, it would take nearly 141 years. That seems a bit long, but at least instead of penalizing everyone from our children to our great, great, great, great grandchildren, they’ll be having some fun paying off the debt. (As JLM would say, we didn’t invent sex, but we did invent the “daily sex to pay off the debt” plan.)Oh, but approximately 75M of us are too young or too old to participate in this excessive sex orgy. So, if we exclude them from the daily sex tax, it’s now going to take 178 years. Now, if we want to get serious about paying down the debt, we may have a solution. Everyone who is sexually active must have sex at least once per day. We levee a tax of $30 every time they have sex (30×365= approx $11k/yr in extra taxes per sexually active individual). Now we pay down the debt (without interest) in just about 6 years. If we factor in interest, it’s probably closer to 15 years.And, that is exactly how onerous and ridiculous our national debt has become, because that amount of sex is simply impossible, especially if you consider how much harder we’ll all have to work to pay all that extra tax. Which means the only real solution is hyperinflation — make the debt holders eat it. That’s if the sex doesn’t kill them first.

          11. fredwilson

            kids will use contraceptives if we make them widely available and free

          12. thinkdisruptive

            No doubt, some will. Many will use them as water balloons too.Without getting too personal, condoms deaden much of the pleasure. And, that’s enough to stop them from being used a high percentage of the time.So, the argument remains the same. Unless you force their use, you are faced with the exact same issue, except for one thing. Making babies is a heck of lot more expensive than an obese person’s outsized healthcare expenses. And, neither are anyone else’s business.

          13. ShanaC

            Actually, no, babies are cheaper. The entire cost of having a baby is like 5-10g. And we need babies, they are our link to the future. Meanwhile, cancer, which is linked to obesity(… ) costs about 30k. (http://usatoday30.usatoday…. And that is before other diseases. Babies seem really cheap compared to obesity.And as for condoms: Switch to ultra thin ones from japan, buy good lube and use both on the inside and outside of the condom. Should not only help with heat transfer (which is most of what people complain about when they talk about feeling) but also if you have had any breakage issues.

          14. thinkdisruptive

            You obviously haven’t had a baby. They cost several hundred thousand before they make their own way in the world.

          15. ShanaC

            True. I’ve never had a baby. I’ve also never had cancer. (meanwhile, two of the big reasons I work out so excessively and when I cook on my own people keep thinking I am a health nut is because I want to be able to easily have babies and I want to not get cancer)I’m only counting medical costs for both, so I can compare apples to apples. Cancer and obesity have other costs for individuals (My mom lost a ton of money through not working when she went through chemo. Or her company did. It also made her much harder to hire later because of semi-permanent side effects from chemo, plus risk) So does having babies (music lessons? tutoring? clothing?)Comparatively, fighting cancer for the most part is a negative. It is a loss. You’re just trying to stave off the damage. It is a hell of a lot harder to stave off damage if you have chronic conditions because of obesity. Rebuilding and getting above cancer is difficult if you are not young (and even if you are young) and extremely expensive. (this includes discounts, btw, which you do get for things like egg and sperm storage if you are a cancer patient or a previvor)Having babies is a positive: It creates people who join the labor force, invent things, make grandparents happy (or so I assume from the glare I get from my grandfather). It is a net investment to society, especially if we spend money on keeping kids curious and giving them knowledge.I’m for investing in general. Fighting obesity would be an investment.

          16. thinkdisruptive

            You can’t count just the medical cost. You have to count the whole social cost, or it isn’t an apples to apples comparison, especially when you invite government into the middle of the equation. Big sodas make people happy too. You can’t count it for babies, but not for sodas.Also, we are at a point where the planet really can’t support a lot more people, so making too many babies has a much higher cost than letting those babies drink soda.You are welcome to fight obesity. Make it a personal cause. All for it. That doesn’t include legislating drink size, or telling anyone else how they must behave.

          17. thinkdisruptive

            re: condoms. Thanks, but I’m past the point of needing them, and it’s highly unlikely that the freebies given to kids will be expensive Japanese ones.

      3. Mark Essel

        where do dietary restrictions stop? why not outline a rigid diet and enforced exercise regimen with tax penalties if regular doctor visits don’t prove health?slippery slope.

        1. fredwilson

          sounds like a good idea

          1. Mark Essel

            If you like it, the concept can be taken further than diet and exercise (environment). Why not base health care premiums on genetic disposition for expensive health treatments?

          2. thinkdisruptive

            Now there’s an idea. Let’s tax people at birth for all the things that might go wrong with them.

          3. Mark Essel

            It’s the logical conclusion of risk based premiums.

          4. ShanaC

            that is sort of priced in already. Even though it is technically illegal.

          5. Jim Ritchie

            I hope you are kidding.

          6. fredwilson

            every joke has some truth to it

          7. Jim Ritchie

            Agreed. There are many things that sound like good ideas at first blush, and they generally are conceived with the best of intentions, but the unintended consequences are almost always worse than the original issue. I’ll repeat, our government should not, and was not conceived to, protect us from ourselves.

      4. thinkdisruptive

        Except that diet drinks lead to even greater weight gain (study shows 70% greater gain about diet soda drinkers than regular soda drinkers – http://www.huffingtonpost.c…. All of which is beside that fact that it isn’t really any of his business. I’m sure if you look hard enough, you can find a reason to tax almost everything as a vice.

  4. Brandon Burns

    i took the quiz that tells you how the candidates rank according to your beliefs, from most like to least like. and then includes the parties results for candidates: (1) green 89%, (2) libertarian 79%, (3) democrat 75%, (4) republican results for party: (1) democrat 88%, (2) green 81%, (3) libertarian 66%, (4) republican 34%.other than republican being last both times, nothing matches. according to this, candidate and party ideology don’t match up.i actually don’t think any of them are good at staying with party orthodoxy, which is a good thing. but they do stick to whatever they think they need to say at the time. obama was a complete pussy in the 2nd debate when he didn’t tell the truth about his negative feels towards romney’s coal and oil centric energy policy. and romney doubling down on caring about women and the middle class has nothing to do with his policies, but with getting browning points.everyone has to appeal to their audience. saying “what’s right instead of what’s expected” rarely gets you anywhere; a pain i’ve felt for the past 30 years. :o)

  5. Dan Lewis

    I like Mayor Mike. But his ideology is very specific, issue-focused. He does whatever he thinks is right, period. It doesn’t really suit most politicians well because of a billion reasons not worth mentioning, but Bloomberg can avoid those issues because he has a billion ways to buy past them.In most elections, especially the Presidential one, we don’t vote for candidates. We vote against the candidate who is most likely to win otherwise, and therefore, cast our vote for the candidate most likely to beat him or her. If you’re voting Romney, it’s because you don’t like Obama, and vice versa. There are very few people who identify with either major party candidate enough to warrant voting for that person.And it doesn’t take a lot for that anti-vote to happen. NPR recently ran a piece called “Six Policies Economists Love (And Politicians Hate)” (see… and you’ll see a pattern:All of them have a sizable group which would vote against any politician who proposed them.

    1. ShanaC

      I love that series on Planet Money. And I wish there was a way to get that nonexistent guy from the series into politics. Meh

  6. kidmercury

    the romney and obama economic plans are obviously not real, as bloomberg noted. but is bloomberg’s economic plan any better? he’s just another debt junkie, like everyone else. nyc debt chart:…the top track on kid mercury’s broken record is that you can only fix the debt issue through (1) cancellation (because it can never be repaid) and (2) monetary policy reform. candidates who address these issues are exceedingly rare, and when they do come along they invariably dont support big government policies like the army that is the nypd, soda ban, gun control, etc because a debt-free balanced budget is impossible with that type of tyranny.

    1. JLM

      .Every junkie — politicians being the ultimate debt junkies — thinks they can handle their own form of addictive poison.We simply need to take our medicine and get to routinely balanced budgets at all levels and get off the crack that is debt.Debt will ultimately be repaid by inflation. And it is right around the corner.You are absolutely correct. In penance, I think I shall lobby for you to become the Sec Treas..

      1. fredwilson

        i am with you JLM

      2. panterosa,

        JLM, I am curious as to how debt became a crack type addiction.Can you elucidate? I would be interested to hear it in your words.

        1. JLM

          .I think that debt is the result of the insatiable appetite for spending in all of its forms — pork being the biggest culprit.The first thing that should be done is to certify the amount of revenue — many states do this routinely.Then non-discretionary spending should be subtracted and only then should any discretionary spending be considered.Once the certified revenue number is reached, everyone should go home and spend their own money..

          1. panterosa,

            That makes a lot of sense. Balanced spending.I suppose my question is a bit more towards how the addiction starts, more than what the addiction is to. For example, I see there can almost be an equal addiction in cutting expenses. How or what one cuts is not my point of interest. Mainly cuts are good right? keeping costs down is the goal. However, cuts can swing to excessive as much as spending can swing towards excessive.So my follow up question is about what starts that pendulum swinging? How does one move from center, balanced budget for example, to excessive spending to put us in debt, or excessive cuts, say of regimes which bleed their people and take more than they return in services?What is the tipping point where one gets out of balance with the available resources shared among the community/state/country? And why is that tipping point reached and exceeded?

    2. Matt Zagaja

      If you’re interesting in policy options for tackling the debt and what we need to do about it I recommend reading White House Burning:



    1. LE

      Kickstarter is a move in the direction of having a system where people vote on every issue. And therefore the majority would rule in the decision making. To me that is like allowing children to decide what is best for their future. Ever wonder why Bloomberg goes down the road of limiting soda sizes? Because people don’t do what is in their best interest let alone have the common sense to see forward the consequences of their actions. While not everybody buying those drinks has a consumption problem a large portion of people do. Take a walk around Walmart. See what people are ordering at Starbucks loaded with sugar. Same reason I can’t legally drive my car 100 miles per hour on the road. It’s not about my skill or rights it’s about what is good for people who aren’t good drivers or have crap cars. You have to have somewhat of a nanny state in order to protect people from their folly. The only question is one of how much and balance.I think most wealthy people, or people in control (in this country not in the third world) certainly realize that they have to provide somewhat for the poorer members it’s only a matter of degree of how much. On the other hand I get the feeling that the poorer people would be quite happy redistributing and taking the wealth of the 1% for themselves and expecting everything to just work out. After all they are quite willing as history has shown to riot and destroy in their own neighborhoods as if that makes any sense at all in your self interest (interject any psychological principle you want about crowd effect that causes that behavior it doesn’t matter. There are still people that won’t ever cut their nose to spite their face to achieve what they want. And people who will.)



        1. LE

          About as much chance of happening as anything else lawyers are in control of and make their living off of. A large entrenched system is in place with players, money and power. Most importantly behaviorally can’t happen “all at once” and it would need to. Chicken and egg. Just like email isn’t going to be redesigned from the ground up.It’s also hard to offer any rebuttal (or for that matter even agree) with things that you say without knowing specifics on how this would roll out or be implemented. Saying few words as you do puts us in the position of being mind readers on the details.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. LE

            If grimlockian so important state, why nobody grab the .com of it yet?

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. LE

  …Wouldn’t say there is a big chasm of trademark issue between and fakegrimlock.comFwiw, here is hasbros history with UDRP and tm’s…Otherwise:http://www.hollywoodreporte…In this case of course you could leverage registering that name and getting hit with a udrp to your advantage at nominal cost.

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          6. LE

            Love the fact that politicians and non-profits can use this in addition to the local pizza shop owner and filmmakers! That’s quite a wide net. I guess they won’t take the money of large companies. They are letting the marketplace decide what they should be (ala kickstarter started as one thing morphed into another).Nice business idea, but it will never ejaculate at those pricing levels though. Surprised that once they got some funny money they didn’t offer a free version.

          7. Matt Zagaja

            Nation Builder seems to be a good equalizer As someone who has worked in campaigns one of the biggest barriers for independent candidates is use and access of the voter file that is used to contact voters. As an experienced political operative I know how to FOIA the voter databases and then using some basic programming create a little web app that would serve the functions that are needed but most people cannot do that. NationBuilder fills that gap at a good price.

        2. Luke Chamberlin

          Pick any candidate. You can already donate $25 on their website. What does Kickstarter really change here?

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. Rudyc

        Here’s what pisses me off about the soda tax, fast food tax and any other obesity tax…instead of taxing things that CAN make you obese, why don’t just grows some balls and actually tax the obese..

        1. LE

          Christie could take the lead on that one I guess.What would happen though in reality is that there would be all sorts of loopholes that would allow people to get out of paying the tax (sickness, disability). All they would need is a doctors note. You see what happened with handicap parking decals? Or with dispensing adhd drugs? Not to mention the fact that this doesn’t follow the “little bit at a time” strategy that worked with cigarettes (took 30 years?). Any large initiative will be immediately blocked by vested interests who stand to loose big. Any small attempt that isn’t seen as a big slippery slope will tend to be ignored. (Look at how out of whack IP law has become).

        2. ShanaC

          Taxing the obese doesn’t change behavior. Sin taxes do.

    2. ShanaC

      I doubt that – too much effort on my part. There is a reason why republics are awesome (albeit messed up as they scale)

    3. fredwilson

      i know of quite a few projects trying this general approach. none has broken out.



  8. William Mougayar

    Bloomberg is an incredible Role Model as a politician and businessman. He speaks the truth, does what is right and enjoys great political freedom.Maybe he should be the Moderator at the next debate, and that would really cut through all the bullshit and he would bring back a dose of reality to it.May he live a long life so he can continue his work because this won’t get solved in 3 weeks or even 3 years. But it’s a great start and i think he will get increasing support for his ideas.What do you think of having him take a position in the next Administration as treasury secretary for e.g.?

  9. Rohan

    From a purely selfish standpoint, I hope the next president sorts out immigration.Bad times generally require counter intuitive measures. The normal instinct is to go with the flow and claw back. However, great companies hire great people during bad times and great stock traders invest heavily. Politician’s use bad times to revert to populist sentiment “no more immigrants” etc as a way of gaining votes.At least that’s what happening in the UK and the economist had a nice article this week about how it’s among the worst things they could do..

    1. LE

      Let me preface this by saying I know very little about the immigration issue it’s not something that I keep on top of. At all.But I know that when my father came to this country he had to be sponsored by someone who promised to give him a place to live and to support him if he wasn’t able to do so. He lived with that person I believe for a few years until he got established. Then he was able to sponsor other family members to come to this country. And that was back when immigration was handled much much differently (my guess is that there was nowhere near the illegals problem that we have now or things like the Mariel boat lift issues.)One thing that has always been apparent to me though is the benefit of having immigrants who really want to be here in this country. And are willing to work at any job to establish themselves and work up the ladder.I was surprised to find out that my daughters, for lack of a better word, nanny (she didn’t live with us but she was always there) was a physician back in russia. And she came to this country and was willing to take care of children. I also just found out that the woman who cleans our house (the “cleaning lady”) who is brazilian, was a lawyer in Brazil before she came to this country. She schlepped her husband over here and it was the classic story of “more opportunity”. Although she speaks broken english before knowing she was an attorney I thought she seemed very intelligent and motivated to just be cleaning houses. She managed to have an entire crew of other brazilian girls doing the work, she just either helped them or supervised other crews she had.When I found this out I said “I thought things in Brazil were pretty good now”. She responded by telling me that in brazil as a lawyer she could only earn approx. $300 per week or something like that (some low amount don’t remember exact numbers.) So her plan was to work here for a few years and return to brazil.

      1. Rohan

        That’s a great story, LE. I must say I really appreciate your detailed thought out comments.On a day when I’m struggling to type with a cut finger, I’m going to refrain saying much more.(On an unrelated note – It’s amazing how asmall cut in a finger has added so much more effort to the day today. Imaginethe 1000s of moving parts that are keeping our days normal! There is so much tobe happy and thankful about! Life is good..)

        1. LE

          “small cut in a finger”That’s good. Better a small cut now (which you have learned from) then something more drastic later happens to your finger(s) that prevents you from typing or severely restricts you. As someone who has seen the benefit of typing since high school, I have always been very protective of my hands. I use them every day. And the ability to type quickly (not just type) is a key to my productivity.Think of the cut finger as a metaphor for any activity that could jolt you in coming years from achieving what you could. Take John Kennedy. Played football. Had back problems. Had to take drugs. Perhaps the drugs clouded his judgement and that is why he ended up in Dallas? Everything interconnects and has a future consequence.

        2. ShanaC

          Yup, being someone with a couple of small cuts in my fingers now…yes.

    2. ShanaC

      Why do you think bad times need counter intutive measures (and where is that economist article)

      1. Rohan

        I think hiring is an example, Shana. While you can look at bad times as a disaster, it’s also an opportunity as there are likely some very good people who go unlucky and are waiting to be hired.And I think personally as well – we all go through downs in life with activity, as an example. Most often, these downs are the most expansive, learning and growth filled times of our lives. It depends on how we choose to look at them. :-)The economist article –

        1. ShanaC

          Thank you for the article!

    3. Dave Pinsen

      The Economist has been in favor of unrestricted immigration and unrestricted free trade for as long as I can remember. Its support of those policies appears to be based more on ideology than objective, empirical analysis. The irony is that unilateral, unrestricted free trade tends to make unrestricted immigration economically untenable.

      1. Rohan

        Very true about unrestricted immigration and The Economist.I am not for unrestricted immigration. That said, I’m not for unwelcoming skilled immigrants either. I think it makes sense to look for something in the middle.@JLM:disqus Fully agree

    4. JLM

      .The immigration issue is tied to jobs in many folks’ minds. There are no real jobs for an immigrant to nab and therefore the cross border illegal immigration has slowed immeasurably.Many folks see this as a measure to preserve and protect jobs. Something the administration tries to do while simultaneously courting the Hispanic vote.Immigration is complex as it really means legal immigration, illegal immigration and the presence of illegal immigrants in the American economy and society. It also means border security for immigration, crime, drugs and terrorism.We have to make incremental steps which can become the grand bargain in their totality..

  10. RV

    I was interested when the beginning of the article starts with “supporting candidates taking leadership and standing up to do things that aren’t going to be popular.” But then very few details and examples followed as to what those issues and solutions would be. It seemed more like an opportunistic attention grab by a man trying to gain power. And is the problem really that we don’t have a ‘center’ bi-partisan candidate/party? I don’t think so. Obama/Dems have been willing to negotiate on everything to appease the Right.

  11. John Revay

    I Like Mayor Mike (although back in Nov 2011 – I wished Rudy was staying on) – I subsequently know the city was in great hands.Re: Super size sodas – I am OK w/ doing away w/ themI would be fine w/ doing away w/ cigarette and assault weapons as well.

    1. raycote

      Today’s special !2 for 1 on 16 oz sodas

  12. John Revay

    Fred,Is the Mayor asking friends to contribute as well ( to the PAC)

    1. fredwilson

      not that i am aware of

  13. Wavelengths

    Romney is touted as “the business man who can fix this.” Given all the jokes about economists that we enjoyed last Fun Friday, I know that those of us here in Fredland don’t share the exalted view of economists that some people hold. But do we, “the public,” have some notion that a “businessman” can solve things that ordinary mortals can’t.I wondered how Massachusetts was doing these days, so I went to this link.…Here are a couple of quotes from the story:”On the campaign trail in 2002, Romney promised a jobs creation program “second to none in the history of the state,” pledging to use his corporate connections to lure chief executives across America to Massachusetts.”The results fell far short of the promise. During Romney’s four years in office, the state added a net 31,000 jobs, a growth rate of less than 1 percent compared to 5 percent nationally during the same period. State unemployment fell to 4.7 percent from a peak of 6 percent, but remained above the US average, then 4.4 percent.Meanwhile, as the state recovery lagged other parts of the country, a net 233,000 people — 3.5 percent of the population — left the state, many seeking jobs elsewhere.””[Michael C.] Widmer [president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-funded research group] pointed to William Weld, another Republican governor who took office during a recession and overhauled the state’s worker compensation system. It took a decade for those reforms to take full effect, but worker compensation costs for business plunged by two-thirds and helped make the state more competitive.”Romney did not have the patience for tackling issues that might only pay off in the long-term, Widmer said.“His economic record was uninspired,” Widmer said. “They never developed an economic strategy nor implemented a coherent set of initiatives that would improve the state’s business climate.””Others chafed at Romney’s frequent out of state trips as he tested the waters for his first presidential run. Despite his pledge to be the state’s top salesman, he tried to woo Republican Party conservatives by publicly bashing the state’s liberal politics and emphasizing its generous unemployment insurance benefits — raising a red flag to firms interested in relocating here.“I was very shocked to hear our governor on the road basically saying Massachusetts is a terrible place to do business,” said David Begelfer, chief executive of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, a commercial real estate trade group. “David A. Tibbetts, a former state director of economic development under two Republican governors, Weld and A. Paul Cellucci, said Romney seemed more concerned with his presidential ambitions than the nitty gritty of local economic development.”Right now, I’m thinking JLM is onto something in his new-found support of Kid. 🙂

    1. Wavelengths

      Disqus didn’t recognize me above, so I’ll post here with my disqus-linked nom de plume, in case anyone feels like a disqussion. 😉

      1. ShanaC

        That is an ouch for his policies. Maybe we need to do presidential elections every 8 years, so that s/he can feel the brunt of policies while still in office.

        1. Wavelengths

          Or so that the elected president has a chance to carry out policies that might take longer to gain traction.I’m in favor of having a longer cycle between elections.In colonial America, average life expectancy was 25 years.… A four-year term in office was a significant portion of a person’s life. Change occurred at a slower rate. The complexity of society and national and international issues was significantly less than today.I believe the current four-year election cycle encourages short-term thinking about issues that deserve a long-range view. If Bloomberg’s efforts do anything to encourage solutions that are more than vote-getting immediate bandaids, then I’m all for it.

  14. RudyC

    First off, I want to thank everyone 4 the warm reception…I know I kind of got upset w/the Trulila guy, don’t even want to go there again…As far as $$ are concerned, $$ are the one of the chief culprits of why we have become how we’ve become. I don’t care if he is a ‘good’ rich guy or a ‘bad’ rich guy, one guy’s hero is anothers scorn. For each Bloomberg there’s a Koch Bros.This election is going to run in excess of billion 4 BOTH parties. CA senate races now run in excess of $100M with some people (Whitman) spending upwards of $150M. Only a fool would think that these pols are NOT beholden to the money. One of the main qualifications of running for office now is ‘can he raise money’. It’s called selling out people and we’ve sold out as a nation.I’m old enough to remember when broadcasters had to explain to the american people what exactly a billion dollars is. Now a billion is spoken about like spare change. Let’s put time as a unit of measurement since I think that is something EVERYONE understands.1 million seconds: 12 days. 1 billion seconds: 31 years 1 trillion seconds: 32,212 years.It is absolutely insane that trillion is now becoming the new billion. I also find it insanity that in a country filled w/so many bright individuals we have these 2 clowns to pick from…twittle dee and twittle do…God Bless America!

    1. ShanaC

      inflation for you

  15. awaldstein

    I’m with you Fred.Bloomberg gets stuff done and the NY that I live in today is a better place for him being Mayor.Nobody’s perfect but honestly his getting stuff done attitude makes the political BS of the candidates around stuff like assault weapons seem like pure pandering.

  16. Kim


  17. jason wright

    What is the atomic unit of politics?

    1. fredwilson

      a vote

      1. jason wright

        Twitter is a tweet.Democracy is a vote.Frequency = engagement?

      2. jason wright

        twitter is the tweetdemocracy is the votefrequency & engagement?

  18. nomenot

    The fact that Gary Johnson was not allowed to participate in the debates was a shame. I bet if he had a chance to share the stage, he would be a serious contender for POTUS.

    1. pointsnfigures

      I don’t think so. Two party system is way too strong. Only way to start a third party is with a lot of money….

      1. Wavelengths

        Can the average voter count to 3?Seriously, though, the rhetoric used by the candidates delivered by the “system” seems to be full of doublespeak, intended to ensure that no average person with little discretionary time on his/her hands can distinguish the truth. I fear we’d only face “triplespeak.”

        1. pointsnfigures

          actually, it provides an opportunity. if a candidate is clear spoken, they might punch through the noise. The other problem is the spin. If I said, I am going to cut corporate taxes, but end all subsidies and loopholes for that corporation-you’d never get elected.

          1. ShanaC

            But that is a logical thing to do! It would make it easier for businesses to do business because they would know what is flying.

    2. fredwilson

      sadly he would not. 40% of our country would vote democrat if sarah palin was on the ticket. 40% would vote GOP if karl marx was on the ticket.

      1. Wavelengths

        So the populace would come out in droves to vote AGAINST what they cannot stand, but …Our process of selecting candidates seems to preclude those who we could really, enthusiastically rally into office.

      2. nomenot

        I would tend to agree, he likely wouldn’t win. But I simply said be a contender. Also, do not forget that the last third party candidate to run for President was Ross Perot. He ended up being more than a contender after participating in the debates before dropping out of the race. It was likely because of this scare, the “rules” changed who can participate in the presidential debate. A current system that is highly biased to the two-party system.Sent from my phone, be easy on me.

        1. JLM

          .Ross Perot was a vainglorious narcissistic fool.What folks forget is that he delivered the Presidency to Bill Clinton — a guy who would have been known as a second rate philanderer Gov of Arkansas but for Perot.Perot took 18% the first time and 8% the second time.No Perot and the GOP would have held the Presidency for 8 years longer.Of course, we never would have learned what the meaning of “is” is..

      3. thinkdisruptive

        And, that is the real problem with politics in the US. It’s more about belonging to the right club than about doing the right thing.

      4. JLM

        .Hahaha, truly funny and insightful.The fact that Karl Marx is arguably dead makes him more of a candidate for the Democrats.In NC today, they reported over 2,000 people over the age of 110 had voted absentee — VOTED — in the Presidential election. All Democrats.The oldest person in the world is supposedly only 114.Voter ID anyone?.

        1. ShanaC

          this is news to me, about 2,000 people over the age of 100 voting. Historically from what I have heard from those watching over elections (and something I want to do one day) is that we have a very low voter fraud problem….

      5. Jim Ritchie

        You said “I do not think there is a major issue before this country that I don’t agree with him on.” What do you think about his Stop-and-Frisk policy?Which is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment.

        1. fredwilson

          of it is unconstitutional, why hasn’t it been challenged?

          1. Jim Ritchie

            Not sure why, but as a middle aged white guy that dresses well I know I’m not going to be illegally stopped and searched. I’m no progressive and generally opposed to most of the ACLU’s causes, but there certainly have been demonstrations http://www.theneoprogressiv… and the ACLU is opposed…The crux of the issue is the police must have a “reasonable suspicion” that the subject has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime. From my understanding on how these searches are being done the police are just stopping and patting down guys that look the part of a street criminal. Here is another articlehttp://www.huffingtonpost.c…

  19. Guesty McGuesterson

    My enormous respect for Elizabeth Warren, now running for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, goes back to the time I first heard of her, well before her campaign and also well before her role in Obama’s administration. She was making a name for herself as an advocate for people who were essentially being bilked by the consumer credit industry. See for example… (2006). Whatever else she’s been talking about in her current senate run, I’m confident that the credit industry is still the issue she is most passionate about.Today’s New York Times is running an article with the headline “Bloomberg Raises ‘Socialism’ Label in Discussing Warren”http://thecaucus.blogs.nyti…“You can question, in my mind, whether she’s God’s gift to regulation, close the banks and get rid of corporate profits, and we’d all bring socialism back, or the U.S.S.R.”So I suppose this would be one matter on which I disagree with Michael Bloomberg. On the other hand, the headline of that article seems to overstate the extent to which Bloomberg talked about Warren at all. That one sentence is the only quote I saw relating to it.

  20. pointsnfigures

    I was at an event in Chicago where Bloomberg decried social media, blogs, Facebook and all the different aspects of social media. He said he longed for the days when editors made choices for us. That seems to be at odds with the style of investing at USV. I respect him as a businessman, but don’t support some of his policies as mayor. Banning Big Gulps etc. In this day and age we ought to be embracing the principles of Coase, and encouraging more individualism.

    1. fredwilson

      when was that? i’ve had a number of conversations with him recently where i did not hear that attitude from him

  21. Evan

    Bloomberg called Elizabeth Warren a socialist today, which is pretty interesting considering that most people who would support Bloomberg’s efforts are left-leaning rich guys.

  22. george

    What I greatly appreciate about Mr. Bloomberg is his sharp eye to cut through the B.S. He know’s what’s important, which factors measure and for the most part, how to set the right course of action.I would recommend reading the Election Issue this week by Bloomberg Businessweek is a must read, if you really want an unvarnished perspective…

  23. Jerome Gentolia

    Yes, the mayor is not afraid to tackle and talk about issues that will make him unpopular. He practices uncompromised honesty. This is what we are missing in the political sphere.

  24. menach26

    Can anyone please tell me what the difference between optimistic and hopeful is . . . “I am not optimistic, but I am hopeful?” Fred clearly used the distinction deliberately and not for the purposes of poetry. I’m sure there is a real important lesson to be gleaned here.

    1. fredwilson

      what i meant by that is i don’t think its going to happen but i wish it would

  25. dainik bhasker

    but I don’t think the injection of even more money, however principled, into politics is a good thing.

  26. Rental

    Remember political fighting and the hodgepodge that exists to get things done is a feature of our constitution not a bug. It prevents governance by decree. So we can decide say at the state level if politically correct sillies prohibit big gulps or petty tyrants rule by executive order.

  27. deancollins

    Interesting developments today, at the lastminute Cspan announced they WILL be carrying the Third-Party Presidentialdebate tonight at 9pm hosted by Larry King.http://www.channelguidemagb…This debate was supposed to be an online onlyevent but seems 2 tv networks have decided to carry it. I wonder how OraTV andYouTube Live feel about their thunder being stolen.Is this the beginning of TV networks fightingback against online content?What value add can TV networks provide apartfrom “broadcast efficiencies”There will be a Live Fan Chat running insimulcast at http://www.LivePoliticalCha…from 9pm edt.

  28. John Revay

    It’s Sunday Oct 28, 2012.The Northeast – is hours away from getting hit by a tropical/Nor’easter.I was watching Mayor Mike briefing last night…as the new conference was winding down – the mayor announced that he wanted to summarize the points for people who spoke spanish….He (Mike Bloomberg) then proceeded to talk for about 3-4 mins completely in Spanish was a little choppy at times…but he got through the entire summary in 100% Spanish – I was blown away. It is not every day that you hear multi-lingual elected officials.#WellDoneMayorMike

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve seen him do that in person. He usually does that at the end of press conferences

  29. ShanaC

    much like other parties of sorts

  30. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Right on, Charlie. This country doesn’t need a third party – it needs a *second* party.