Time to face facts. In 2001, in an act of supreme hubris, Western democracies opened their door to the Chinese command economy by permitting it to join the WTO. I call it hubris because it assumed following the demise of the USSR and the taming of OPEC that capitalism is too strong to need protection. Indeed, it can beat the Communists with two hands tied behind its back. The Chinese have since proven that assumption wrong. The time has come to amend the deal and condition continued Western free trade on China letting its currency float.
I opened a bottle of Snapple today and put the lid upside down on my kitchen counter. Something was written on the inside in very small, pale print and I picked it up to read “Holland is the only country with a national dog.” At the top was written “Real Facts #140;” at the bottom it said “Get all the Real Facts at www.snapple.com.” Bemused by this extraordinary gesture to disseminate information in such an offhand manner, I logged on to the site and found the following other giveaways:
Back in 2006, when the federal-funds rate peaked at 5.25 percent, several economists writing for National Review Online argued that the Federal Reserve was too tight. We also held that the gold price, which was climbing higher at the time, was not an unerring Polaris around which all other inflation indicators (such as exchange rates, nominal interest rates, and yield curves) must revolve. We wrote that the system was running the risk of too little liquidity, not too much.
We bought almost 3 billion dollars worth of semiconductors on average over the past three months. We’ve been trending up since February. This is how the economy is managing to recover despite the hostile business environment and despite a ten percent unemployment rate. As we pointed out last week, the business community is neither hiring, nor firing. Labor markets are frozen in regulatory amber; this will be a Jurassic Park recovery. How can we grow without more people working? The answer is: Instead of more people working, we’ll get the same number of people to do more work. Rising average employment compensation per hour paints a picture that shows layoffs have been focused toward the bottom of the economic ladder. Teen unemployment, for example is running at roughly one in four—thanks to Congress’ new $7.25 minimum wage.
Today we saw the release of two piece of important employment data: the Challenger, Gray & Christmas monthly survey of lay-offsand the Monster Employment Indexwhich measures on-line want ads. The latter is an improvement over traditional want ads which were showing declines due to loss of market share to the web rather than actual job opening declines. Just because companies were not recruiting by printing their ads on dead trees doesn’t mean they were not hiring. But even in the world of friction-free job recruiting, they are indeed not hiring. The index showed only on up month out of the last eight, and even now with the economic picture improving, job recruiting is still dropping. Why?
It’s never a good sign when your Treasury Secretary announces a plan to overhaul the financial system and the market plunges 200 points that same day. But that’s what happened on Monday to President Obama.
For anyone still wondering what level of contempt our political ruling class has for the American people, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) makes it crystal clear. During a speech at a National Press Club luncheon, Rep. Conyers wondered why his fellow House members should bother to read the health care bill: “I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill.’ What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”
Last week I enjoyed watching Former Congressional Budget Office Director, Alice Rivlin, squirming when Neil Cavuto asked her whether she can point to a single instance in which a CBO estimate turned out to be correct. She could not. But we must make some prediction, she helplessly repeated. Those predictions, of course, are based on mathematical models.
Whatever you might think of the Daily Kos, one thing you have to admit is that its bloggers don’t pull any punches. One just gave a one-two punch to the famously unethical Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com.
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina man trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan has been charged along with six of his alleged recruits with conspiring to support terrorism and traveling overseas to participate in “violent jihad,” according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
I have a confession to make. I am an avid reader of personal advice columns. When I read those published generations ago, I feel that they provide a great insight what life was really like in those days–and what the prevailing norms were regarding what was considered right and wrong. Contemporary advice, by the likes of Carolyn Hax and Jeanne Phillips (”Dear Abby”), provide similar sociological fodder. In addition, they allow me to play a little game. I first read the question and ask myself what I would counsel, and only then read the advice the columnist gives. I am often stymied. The advice columnists “solve” most difficult problems by sending the reader to see a shrink.
I was recently asked in an email exchange if perhaps I was bit of an alarmist (Or perhaps the implication by the writer was that I am just dead wrong) in my persistent rants about the state of affairs in the contemporary academy. “After all”, said my pen pal, “My personal experience as well as that of my kids hasn’t been as anti-truth and as adversarial to intellectual freedom as your writing suggests.” Here is a quick response as I offered it to my questioner in case y’all (That’s conjunctive slang – an Okieism if you will - for “any of you) care to join in on the fun.
Since the FBI takedown of public officials, the national press and indeed the world press has fallen all over the story. The press reports are typically confused and confusing, with accounts talking about “the case” or even two linked “schemes.” The NY Times report is a case in point. Gail Collins’ column today takes some cheap, mildly amusing shots, much too easy for a writer of her talents..
President Obama in his haste to defend his friend and his race spoke too quickly. He is now appropriately back pedaling as well he should. I love his idea of toasting beers with Henry Lewis Gates, Jr. and the cop who arrested him at his home. That is the politically correct way to handle things. Do it like we did it in the 1950’s. Sometimes, we get way too serious about things.
About a year and a half ago I wrote about the trafficking of organs in South Asia with the warning that it could someday come here. The arrest this week of dozens of men in New Jersey including public officials and rabbis suggest that the blackest of black markets, illegal organ selling, may have made it here in the United States. Stay tuned.
Healthcare conference caller from Maine: “Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?” President Barack Obama: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about.”
I am listening to the U.S. Attorney from New Jersey press conference on the political corruption and “money laundering” arrest of 30-plus individuals including the mayor of Hoboken and the Jersey City City Council president. It smells a bit, and not for the reasons intended.
Just wanted to share this piece, which my friend Jennifer Ginsberg and I published today on MomLogic.com, defending Sarah Palin. Judging from the comments, it would appear a non-partisan audience can recognize the media’s excesses in attacking this woman and her family.
Everyone has probably seen this video on Drudge by now, but it is worth explaining that while the Ringling Brothers Circus as an institution emphasizes ethical treatment of animals, many of those who apply for the low-paying animal-handling jobs are human garbage. And so since the likelihood of hiring trash is high in a circus, it leads directly and therefore systematically to the kind of behavior you see in this video.
I was in a local supermarket where my tab came to $8.83. I handed the cashier–a 15-year-old high girl who will be in tenth grade when school re-opens–a twenty. Then reached into my pocket and pulled out eighty three cents. “I don’t know how much change to give now,” she told me. “I already got a total before you handed me the extra money.” “You can’t do $20.83 minus $8.83 without using the register as a calculator?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “We always use calculators in school…”