They always are.
They always are.
In response to the news today that the economy contracted -.1 percent in the final quarter of last year, Democrats are touting the claim that this is “the best-looking contraction in U.S. GDP you’ll ever see.” The claim was originally made by chief U.S. economist for Capital Economics Paul Ashworth.
Yup. We are double-dipping, ladies and germs, and the smart boys are loving it. Because apart from the contraction of the economy part, everything else was really “encouraging”. Yeah, that’s the word.
In Der Spiegel, a Kenyan economist named James Shikwati attempts the Herculean task of explaining economics to a journalist.
Shikwati: … for God’s sake, please just stop.
SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.
Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.
SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?
Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa’s problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn’t even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.
Via Protein Wisdom.
Read the Whole Thing, because it’s kind of bracing to realize just how well and truly screwed we are.
Via Other McCain.
Via Protein Wisdom.
I seem to recall a saying that “the poor need nothing but the spur of their poverty.” That’s not precisely true, but the poor know what they need better than anyone else trying to help them. Collective responses to poverty create massive instituions but do not give the poor what they truly need, which is a chance to unleash what they can do.
Now, true, not all of the poor will be entrepreneurs. Some will be willing to serve entrepreneurs for a paycheck. All the same, empowering the entrepreneurs among the poor will create opportunities for the rest.
And so it’s official: Pop goes the student loan bubble, as just confirmed by the Fed.
Luckily student debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. Oh wait. It isn’t.
Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy decade.
You know it’s the silly season when campaign insiders and journalists (there’s a difference. I just know there is) start whispering about positive jobs reports. Even hardened old cynics like myself took pause. Why, maybe there’s a chance after all. Maybe the economy has finally found its headwind.
And true to form, the numbers weren’t bad. Actually up. Still north of 8%, but maybe enough, just enough, for Obama to make his essential case, his statesmanlike I-Didn’t-Burn-the-Whole-House-Down that emerged from the convention. Romney may have to worry.
Yeah, no. The unemployment rate is a blip above 8% instead of three blips because 368,000 people have left the work force since last we measured. That means more people than could fit into the DNC’s stadium in Charlotte (and way more than actually showed up) have been out of work so long that they have given up and started selling crack or collecting unemployment, sitting in a pit of despair trying to determine whether smoking crack or watching The View every day better expresses what is meant by “Rock Bottom.” If we had the same workforce participation rate as we did when this “recovery” began, the unemployment rate would be at 10%. Nothing’s changed. The economy is still in the ditch, and all the wheel-spinning in the world doesn’t make the damn thing move.
Sorry, proggies, but it’s starting to look like the eleventh-hour salvation isn’t coming. The Riders of Rohan are not en route. Obama’s got nothing to run on from now till November but paranoid fantasies about Mitt Romney raping Medicare after denying it birth control, and then dressing the unholy spawn in Magic Underwear spun from Lying Paul “The Liar” Ryan’s Lies.
Which might work. But if Obama clears this hurdle, his second term is going to make Bush’s look like George Washington’s. Everything will remain exactly where it is. No one will compromise, no budget will be passed, nothing will happen. 23% approval is going to look like the top floor of the Sears Tower from where Obama will be looking in January of 2017. And the rest of us will be boiling our socks for soup.
Hope is dead. Enjoy the autopsy.
Over at A Checquerboard of Nights and Days, one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard about the man Proggies love to pretend they can refute:
As I have written before, former Secretary of State George Shultz liked to say that “everyone likes to debate Milton . . . when he leaves the room.”
I always knew I liked George Schultz for a reason.
And in from the article linked, this excellent summation of the man’s work:
Milton Friedman combined soaring academic credentials with a remarkable virtuosity at explaining to the public why free markets are economically and ethically superior to even well-intentioned government plans and regulations. He was throughout his long life and career a special target of those who would preserve what he and his wife, Rose, called “the tyranny of the status quo.” This status quo consists of interest groups, bureaucrats and politicians who—with help from cheerleaders in the media and the academy—use government to enlarge their own pocketbooks and to stroke their own egos, all at the expense of the general public.
…and the Panic of 1907, too.
And there’s no end in sight.
But Romney’s all Rich and stuff!
You can demagoge about corporate fatcats until Demosthenes himself says “Dude, we get it,” and people play right along. But when you ask the question: “So what’s the government going to do that’s any better?” You won’t get an answer that makes any sense. We have an opportunity to ask that question over and over and over again this year, and it’s refreshing to the the Republican candidate aware of it.