Americans have traditionally believed that the invisible hand of the market means that capitalism will benefit all of us without requiring any oversight. However, Adam Smith never said that there would be, nor did he believe in, a magically benevolent market that operated for the benefit of all without any checks and balances.
Let it be said that some economists now think Japan could break from this dismal pattern. Here is John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute in a recent commentary: "After many years of false starts, the Japanese economy may finally be set to boom -- or at least to enter a period of sustained growth with a sharply rising stock market." At about 9,900, Japan's Nikkei stock index is about a quarter of its historical high of 39,915.87 in 1989.
No one should write off the Golden State. But it will take massive reforms to reverse its economic decline.
By MICHAEL J. BOSKIN and JOHN F. COGANLong a harbinger of national trends and an incubator of innovation, cash-strapped California eagerly awaits a temporary revenue surge from Facebook IPO stock options and capital gains. Meanwhile, Stockton may soon become the state's largest city to go bust. Call it the agony and ecstasy of contemporary California.
California's rising standards of living and outstanding public schools and universities once attracted millions seeking upward economic mobility. But then something went radically wrong as California legislatures and governors built a welfare state on high tax rates, liberal entitlement benefits, and excessive regulation. The results, though predictable, are nonetheless striking. From the mid-1980s to 2005, California's population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.
At various times throughout the presidential campaign, Rick Santorum has shown himself to be impressive: articulate, forceful, passionate, and a fine, and at times an outstanding, debater. But there are other times when he’s simply off-key. One example is his silly statement that “I’ve always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter, because all you’re doing is reading someone else’s words to people.” My former White House colleague Michael Gerson systematically blows apart Santorum’s argument in his Washington Post column today.
By eriyIt may be that the biggest single problem confronting the liberty-minded is the existence of a large (and growing) American proletariat. There have always been poor people, of course. But the proletariat is distinct from people who are merely lower down on the economic totem pole – or down on their luck.
I am just now finishing up a book about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s by Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time (see here). In it, you read of people who endured real poverty – as in, starvation poverty, living in a sod-walled, dirt-floored “dugout” in Oklahoma. No electricity – much less TeeVee (let alone a flat-screen TeeVee with Netflix streaming set up in front of a Rent-a-Center sofa in an air-conditioned Section 8 apartment with a refrigerator full of EBT-acquired food ). And of how reluctant – how ashamed – these people (most of them) were to even ask for government assistance. And when they did ask, in their utter desperation, all they wanted was enough help to keep them from literally dying – and to help them get back to work.
The unprovoked murder of 16 civilians may derail recent moves towards peace negotiations with the Taliban
Outraged Afghans have vowed vengeance after an American soldier murdered at least 16 civilians, including nine children, in a killing spree over the weekend that President Hamid Karzai said “cannot be forgiven.”
Nazim Shah was traveling to Kandahar when the massacre happened, but returned to find his entire family killed. Crying into the phone, he told The Independent: “All my family is dead … We will get revenge on those who killed my family. We won’t let this rest easily.”
U.S. and Afghan officials have braced themselves for revenge attacks from insurgents and possibly another breakout of widespread protests after those that erupted in response to the burning of Muslim holy books last month.
News stories about satellite photographs suggesting efforts by Iran to “sanitize” a military site that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said may have been used to test nuclear weapons have added yet another layer to widely held suspicion that Iran must indeed be hiding a covert nuclear weapons program.
But the story is suspect, in part because it is based on evidence that could only be ambiguous, at best. The claim does not reflect U.S. intelligence, and a prominent think tank that has published satellite photography related to past controversies surrounding Iran’s nuclear program has not found any photographs supporting it.
Egypt Predicts Ceasefire in Two Days
Egypt’s envoy to the Palestinian Authority downplayed the continued violence, saying he believed that a ceasefire would be finalized within the next 48 hours. Israeli officials, however, seem to dispute that.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is openly talking of a full-scale ground invasion, and the Israeli military says it is “ready” to launch such an operation, the first of its kind since 2009′s Cast Lead, which killed about 1,400 people.
Meanwhile Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that rockets fired in retaliation to Israel’s attacks meant the Palestinians no longer would be allowed to have a territorially contiguous state. The Palestinians “have condemned themselves to a separation that looks like it will continue for generations,” he said.
A tech-savvy participant had found a map of Iran showing it surrounded on all sides by U.S. military bases, with a U.S. flag representing each base (here’s a similar map). He asked me if I wanted that shown, and I said, “Yes, thank you.”
As a buyer or seller the state has to conform to the conditions of the market. If it wishes to alter any of the exchange ratios established in the market, it can only do this through the market's own mechanism. As a rule it will be able to act more effectively than anyone else, thanks to the resources at its command outside the market. It is responsible for the most pronounced disturbances of the market because it is able to exercise the strongest influence on demand and supply. But it is none the less subject to the rules of the market and cannot set aside the laws of the pricing process. In an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production, no government regulation can alter the terms of exchange except by altering the factors that determine them.
Soldiers caught under the pressures of war sometimes engage in acts of stunning brutality against enemy soldiers and civilians. As anyone with a cursory knowledge of the history of war knows, some soldiers commit crimes against the very civilians they are fighting for.
SummaryTwenty-five EU leaders (all but those from the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic) signed a treaty March 2 committing eurozone members to increased fiscal responsibility. The "fiscal compact," as it is known, requires signatory eurozone members to enact constitutional amendments or equally binding national legislation enforcing EU-mandated budget constraints and stipulates corrective mechanisms to be automatically enacted at a national level if a country deviates significantly from these constraints. The treaty will go into force when at least 12 of the 17 eurozone member states ratify it, after which participating countries have one year to implement mechanisms to sufficiently enforce budgetary discipline.
By George Friedman
The idea of Germany having an independent national strategy runs counter to everything that Germany has wanted to be since World War II and everything the world has wanted from Germany. In a way, the entire structure of modern Europe was created to take advantage of Germany's economic dynamism while avoiding the threat of German domination. In writing about German strategy, I am raising the possibility that the basic structure of Western Europe since World War II and of Europe as a whole since 1991 is coming to a close.
By PETE YOST
A photo ID requirement for voters in Texas could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered Hispanics, the Justice Department declared Monday in its latest move against Republican-led voting changes in many states that have drawn protests from minorities, poor people and students.
by Sarah Palin
Exhibit A in these diversionary tactics is an absurd new attack ad President Obama has released taking my comments out of context. I’m not running for any office, but I’m more than happy to accept the dubious honor of being Barack Obama’s “enemy of the week” if that includes the opportunity to debate him on the issues Americans are actually concerned about. (Remember when I said you don’t need a title to make a difference?)
James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has released a new video exposing just how easy it is to commit voter fraud in Vermont.
By CHRIS KAHN
AP Energy Writer
The price of gasoline jumped by nearly a nickel over the weekend and is now $3.80 per gallon.
That's the highest ever for this time of year. Pump prices have risen an average 52 cents this year as refineries and wholesalers pass along the higher cost of crude oil. And this month they're getting an additional boost as investors bet that supplies will shrink ahead of the summer driving season.
Monday, March 12, 2012
The article observes that “Voters in Super Tuesday contests say gas prices were the most critical factor in their vote.”
Will that have implications for the 2012 presidential election? You betcha:
On Wednesday in Washington D.C., there was a hearing where Republicans and Democrats offered very different views of how to deal with this issue from a policy perspective: Democrats are urging conservation and tax breaks for electric vehicles with Republicans urging a dramatic expansion of drilling. So, according to the exit polls, that division will be a key factor in elections this fall.Watch for more disingenuous claims by the Obama administration about recent increases in domestic oil and gas production, which happened despite their best efforts, not because of them. And, watch for Democrats to crank up the Bueller mode, claiming credit for inventing the technology that led to the shale gas boom.
But none of the candidates have made education a priority issue, and the debate questions reflect that. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools who now heads the advocacy group StudentsFirst, called the lack of focus on education “ridiculous,” adding: “What people are failing to recognize is that we are not going to be able to ensure that our economy recovers in the long term and that this country regains its position in the global marketplace until we fix our education system.”
Earlier this month, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper told Congress that “Iranian officials” at the highest levels “are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States….” The next logical question is, “What is that hostile regime doing with the support of its trusted allies very close to our borders?”
By James Pethokoukis
A group of four former members of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP – Elizabeth Warren, Damon Silvers, Mark McWatters, and Kenneth Troske – today will condemn what they say is an estimated $17.7 billion in special tax breaks given to bailed out insurer AIG: “Congress should not allow … AIG to avoid paying taxes for years into the future in addition to the $182 billion bailout the company has already received … When a company changes ownership, long-standing tax laws limit the extent to which it can offset future taxes with past losses. “Beginning in late 2008, however, the Treasury Department quietly issued a series of notices that exempted AIG from those limits. … ‘AIG gambled recklessly on mortgage-backed securities and lost,’ said Warren, former chair of the Panel. ‘When the government bailed out AIG, it should not have allowed the failed insurance giant to duck taxes for years to come.”