Thursday, August 11, 2011

The unintended consequences of hyphens

The political economy of the Dodd-Frank bill (against conflict minerals, but actually destroying livelihoods and preventing good local governance):
What's even more frustrating is that members of Congress like Jim McDermott and their staffs seem to have taken Enough's word at face value, going so far as to let the advocacy organization choose most of the witnesses at hearings on the Dodd-Frank measure, which meant that any dissenting voices - Congolese or American - went mostly unheard. 
That's a terrible way to develop legislation. I realize that members of Congressional staffs are extremely busy dealing with hundreds of issues every day and that it saves time to let an advocacy organization plan most of the details of a hearing on one obscure topic, but there need to be a wider variety of voices on questions involving Africa - or any topic, for that matter. At the very least, I think it's reasonable to expect that people testifying before Congress on DRC actually speak French and spend regular, extended periods of time there. 
It is beyond frustrating to have watched this completely avoidable catastrophe unfold when it was so evident that Enough has misread the situation in DRC and that the legislators who listened to them were going to unintentionally create the disaster Aronson describes. 
Modigliani-Miller as done in the Ukraine:
people who import cars to Ukraine sometimes cut the car in two separate pieces and carry it through the customs this way. By doing this, they save a fortune on import tax. A car carried in two pieces is seen as spare parts and therefore is taxed at a much lower rate than a normal car.

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