Month: April 2009

Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises | Video on TED.com

Alex Tabarrok: How ideas trump economic crises — a surprising lesson from 1929 via Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises | Video on TED.com. About this talk The “dismal science” truly shines in this optimistic talk, as economist Alex Tabarrok argues free trade and globalization are shaping our once-divided world into a community of idea-sharing more healthy, happy and prosperous than anyone’s predictions. Almost as good as the talk, which is embedded below, are the comments. At the moment my mind is open to his premise, but I worry that his economic globalization parallels the troubling “one world order” that is a continuing undercurrent in America’s national and international policy. Like this:Like...

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From a Republic to Oligarchy

Are we there? Note some definitions of an oligarchy: ol·i·gar·chy (ŏl’ĭ-gär’kē, ō’lĭ-) n. pl. ol·i·gar·chies Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families. “oligarchy.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 27 Apr. 2009. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/oligarchy>. OR Oligarchy (Greek Ὀλιγαρχία, Oligarkhía) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family, military powers or occult spiritual hegemony. … en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligarchy There is a very interesting article in the May 2009 edition of “The Atlantic” which is introduced with the following premise The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. America was founded as a representative republic (not a pure democracy, although most people unfortunately blur this most important distinction). Citizens were to go to the seat of a limited government and, especially in the House of Representatives, serve a short while and return home. The notion was they were close to the people, would represent the people’s best interest, and return to their communities. Accountability was automatic. Now we...

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Understanding terms: deficit and debt

Talk about federal budgets can be confusing. Most states (including Texas, thankfully) have constitutional requirements for balanced budgets each year. Therefore, states don’t go into debt like the federal government does. The feds can run deficit budgets and therefore increase debt, and that is what happens year after year. A budget, and the resulting deficit, is a one-year-at-a-time proposition, yet we often hear people use the term deficit and national debt interchangeably — which they are not. The national debt is a cumulative figure and, sadly, often ignored in the discussion. The debt figure is important for the fact that it accrues interest — increasingly payble to the Chinese and other foreign governments — and is an ever-increasing burden building into the future. Here are two charts that demonstrate (a) the medium term effect of current deficit budget proposals and (b) the effect on the resulting debt from the deficits. Frame those for your children and grandchildren. Like this:Like...

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50% off Sale — First Raise the Prices — Your Fiscal Policy at Work

The problem is not just the spending supposedly needed for the current economic emergency. Obama claims that he will cut the deficit in half, to $533 billion, by the end of his first term. Two problems: 1) The Congressional Budget Office says the more likely number is $672 billion, and 2) that is 46 percent more than the deficit in 2008. Worse yet, the CBO says the deficit will then resume its upward trajectory, reaching $1 trillion by 2018 and nearly doubling the national debt over the next decade. via Steve Chapman : The Truths Behind the Tea Parties – Townhall.com. Scary thoughts indeed. The writer first makes a point that is encouraging about the real meaning of the ‘tax day tea parties’ which I hope is true. So why did people rally across the country when they should have been planning how to spend their tax refunds? Because their true dismay is about the mushrooming of federal outlays, which the demonstrators regard as a future tax increase in the making. Which, of course, it is. Like this:Like...

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Marxism at it’s best?

Marx envisioned the “withering away” of the state under mature communism. Instead, Eberstadt writes, the world may be witnessing the withering away of Russia, where Marxism was supposed to be the future that works. Russia, he writes, “has pioneered a unique new profile of mass debilitation and foreshortened life previously unknown in all of human history.” via George Will : The Incredible Shrinking Russia – Townhall.com. This is an amazing article by George Will. It describes Russia in a rapid downward spiral in its population and productivityas the result of Marxism. The article starts off as a criticism of President Obama’s arms control approach to Russia but it’s far more interesting as a view of that country that as a pre-teen in the 1950’s I learned to fear as the state devil incarnate. Like this:Like...

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