Friday, October 12, 2012

A World without Income Taxes. by Richard W. Rahn

Why should the federal government bother to impose taxes when it can use the Federal Reserve to "print" all the money it needs to pay its bills? Last year, the Fed bought 77 percent of all of the government's new debt, which is the equivalent of printing money. The government borrowed almost 40 cents for each dollar it spent, with the Fed printing 30 cents of each dollar spent through its bond purchases (creating new money) — an amount equal to about 7 percent of gross domestic product.

The Best and Worst Governors on Growth. by Chris Edwards

Federal lawmakers have created an economic mess with their chronic overspending and inability to deliver stable, pro-growth tax policies. Perhaps the elections will break the Washington gridlock and knock loose some solutions. Until then, state capitols are the only place where there is real fiscal progress.
Two governors—Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey—have gained national attention for their changes to government pension and union rules. But other state leaders are making breakthroughs on taxes, and they are the focus of Cato's new "Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors."
Four governors received an "A" grade: Sam Brownback of Kansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Paul LePage of Maine and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. Messrs. Scott and Corbett have been the most tightfisted on spending, but all four "A" governors are outstanding tax reformers.

China Bashing: A U.S. Political Tradition. by Ted Galen Carpenter

In every U.S. presidential election, the major party candidates vie to see who can appear tougher on China. Once the election is over, however, the substance of U.S. policy toward China usually changes little and is far more pragmatic than the campaign rhetoric. There are ominous signs, though, that things could be different this time.
The accusations have been among the most caustic ever. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has denounced the Obama administration for being "a near-supplicant to Beijing" on trade matters, human rights and security issues. An Obama ad accuses Romney of shipping U.S. jobs to China through his activities at the Bain Capital financier group, and Democrats charge that Romney as president would not protect U.S. firms from China's depredations.

Colonialism of the Mind – Part I

Colonialism of the Mind – Part I

By Dady Chery
News Junkie Post

“Les intellectuels ont toujours été des courtisans. Ils ont toujours vécu dans le palais.” Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975)
Western journalists increasingly assume the voices of subjugated countries’ natives while muzzling them by denying them access to the press. In the United States, the more visible venues of the alternative press, such as online news sites Truthout, Common Dreams, and Huffington Post are essentially closed to native writers. This colonialism of the mind is rampant when it comes to Haiti.
Inspect the U.S. alternative press for news of Haiti. You will find articles there by Beverly Bell, Mark Weisbrot, Robert Naiman, Jane Regan, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Lendman, and others, but you will be hard put to find a Haitian name. Westerners, whatever their political leaning, do reserve their right to rule the world, and the right to pontificate to the ignorant natives is very much a part of it.

Muslim Rage: “Clash of Civilizations” as Imperialism Key Narrative

Muslim Rage: “Clash of Civilizations” as Imperialism Key Narrative

It is hard to contest that 9/11 was the opening salvo of  the notion of “clash of civilization”, a simple yet effective concept to justify a state of permanent war. Permanent wars against some elusive “enemies” generate a constant state of fear which in return allows governments to curtail some of the most basic liberties.   What is better than a concept such as the endless war on terror to justify any actions against any countries? If the narrative of “clash of civilizations” started 11 years ago, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11/2001, the recent events in the Middle-East show that we are still living in this nightmarish engineered reality. The notion of conflict of civilizations has a lot more in common with crusades or clash between religions than clash between actual cultures or people. It is concocted and fueled by the rulers of the global system to create conflicts between people who are intrinsically on the same side. It is the ultimate tool of repression invented by the global 1 percent to keep the 99 percent divided.

Global War Economy: The Empire of the US Military Industrial Complex

Global War Economy: The Empire of the US Military Industrial Complex

Arguably, ever since entering World War II, the United States of America’s economy has been a war economy. Starting or fostering wars became essentially, independently of geopolitical reasons, a “good” business proposition. The early 1940s marked the start of the era of  systematic wars for profit. War defined as the ultimate capitalist enterprise. The extraordinary war efforts of World War II turned the United States  into a giant global arms factory for the war in Europe and in the Pacific. It was even, cynically, credited as the main factor in ending the Great Depression of 1929.

This trend continued at a slower pace, but without any real interruption, with the Korean war in the early 1950s, the Vietnam war in the 1960s until the early 1970s, and various proxy wars worldwide- including Afghanistan in the 1980s- against the Soviet Union. The event of 9/11/ 2001 gave American politicians the unique opportunity to start the perfect war on behalf of their friends and patrons of the military industrial complex. It is the endless war: the “war on terror” without any geographic boundaries, time frame or even the necessity to have a well defined enemy.

DNC and RNC: Same Circus Different Clowns

DNC and RNC: Same Circus Different Clowns

The Republican National Convention and the Democrat National Convention are the political equivalent of “America’s Got Talent”. The two conventions should be about serious discussions concerning  issues and policies amongst the rank and file of both parties. They are not supposed to be about showmanship and performances, but in a country where politics have become spectacle, they are. Both Conventions are circus masquerading as democracy. It is all about giving a sense to the American people that they have a real choice, real options, and that their voice matters. But as matter of fact, the politicians/celebrities  who are in the limelight do the talking while the “little people”- the delegates- do the listening, and mostly the cheering, as if they were given laughing or clapping cue cards. Meanwhile, the “Big Guns” of the political theater are just figureheads working on behalf of transnational interests. Barack Obama is currently auditioning for an extension of his tenure as CEO of America Empire Inc., while Mitt Romney- already member of the board- is trying to move up the corporate ladder.

The blood on Che’s shirt

The blood on Che’s shirt – by Caroline Carlson

The first time I saw a Che Guevara T-shirt was in the eleventh grade. I didn’t know who Che Guevara was, but was instantly able to recognize him whenever I saw kids walk through the halls wearing T-shirts and carrying backpacks or lighters with his face on them. The image – a young Argentinian man with long hair and a beret – became almost universally known and sparked a global marketing campaign.
Unbeknownst to many young people, Che Guevara was an international terrorist who aided Fidel Castro in the overthrow of the Cuban government in the late 1950s. After leading a two-year guerrilla campaign against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, he led firing squads against alleged war criminals, created a “labor camp” system in Cuba that imprisoned and killed Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals and oversaw the deaths of more than 1,000 people.

US: A Modest Proposal For Our President

US: A Modest Proposal For Our President –

Subsidies: With the economy faltering and Middle East unrest rising, President Obama acts as though the biggest issue facing the country is Mitt Romney’s alleged threat to “Sesame Street.” We have an idea for him.
According to a recent tally, Obama brought up either Big Bird or Elmo 13 times in speeches since last week’s debate, in which Romney promised to end federal support for PBS and NPR.
That compares with zero mentions of how he plans to revive the economy, and no references to Libya. And he’s now running an ad featuring Big Bird.

US: Mexican Zeta Kingpin’s Demise Is Good News For America, Too

US: Mexican Zeta Kingpin’s Demise Is Good News For America, Too –

Americas: Knocking off the kingpin of a monstrous drug cartel won’t end the war in Mexico. But the Mexican navy’s killing of Zeta boss Heriberto Lazcano is nevertheless a big victory — and not just south of our border.
Lazcano, who was gunned down just 80 miles south of Laredo, Texas, ran the most powerful, treacherous and violent drug cartel in Mexico.
A military deserter turned trafficker, Lazcano pioneered the most horrific spectacles of the drug war: beheadings; bodies dangling from bridges; heads posted on pikes, strewn across highways, thrown in front of schools, burned in cars and unearthed from mass graves.
Mass murder was another speciality. The Zetas directed a terrorist-style attack on a casino in Monterrey that killed 52, and slaughtered 72 mostly Central American illegal immigrants near the U.S. border. They are also assassins, targeting dozens of mayors, governors and editors in an obvious strike at Mexico’s democracy.

US: A Modest Proposal To Ensure California’s Rich Don’t Leave

US: A Modest Proposal To Ensure California’s Rich Don’t Leave – by Walter Williams

California was once the land of opportunity, but it is going down the tubes.
Several of California’s prominent cities have declared bankruptcy, such as Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino. Others are on the precipice, and that includes Los Angeles, California’s largest city.
California’s 2012 budget deficit is expected to top $28 billion, and its state debt is $618 billion. That’s more than twice the size of New York’s state debt, which itself is the second-highest in the nation.

US: Ryan Scores Decisive Blows Over Biden in Veep Debate

US: Ryan Scores Decisive Blows Over Biden in Veep Debate – by Hope Hodge

Budget wonk Paul Ryan scored several decisive blows over formidable debater Joe Biden in this evening’s debate face-off, hitting the administration on its missteps and misinformation following the Benghazi murders and its failure to improve job growth. But Biden played to the crowd throughout the night, sidestepping questions while snickering and expressing exasperation with his opponent on every topic.
The Republican ticket was riding a polling bump after presidential challenger Mitt Romney scored the most decisive debate win in history over President Barack Obama last week, but Ryan had a tall task: to maintain momentum while highlighting his expertise in fiscal policy and proving competence in foreign affairs and defense, a historical weak area for the ticket.
Moderator Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, began the debate with a discussion of Libya, asking hard-hitting questions about why the administration failed to provide adequate security for the Benghazi consulate and why the White House spread wrong information about the nature of the attacks.

Sponging boomers

Sponging boomers

The economic legacy left by the baby-boomers is leading to a battle between the generations

ANOTHER economic mess looms on the horizon—one with a great wrinkled visage. The struggle to digest the swollen generation of ageing baby-boomers threatens to strangle economic growth. As the nature and scale of the problem become clear, a showdown between the generations may be inevitable.
After the end of the second world war births surged across the rich world. Britain, Germany and Japan all enjoyed a baby boom, although it peaked in different years. America’s was most pronounced. By 1964 individuals born after the war accounted for 41% of the total population, forming a generation large enough to exert its own political and economic gravity.

True Progressivism

Inequality and the world economy

True Progressivism

A new form of radical centrist politics is needed to tackle inequality without hurting economic growth

BY THE end of the 19th century, the first age of globalisation and a spate of new inventions had transformed the world economy. But the “Gilded Age” was also a famously unequal one, with America’s robber barons and Europe’s “Downton Abbey” classes amassing huge wealth: the concept of “conspicuous consumption” dates back to 1899. The rising gap between rich and poor (and the fear of socialist revolution) spawned a wave of reforms, from Theodore Roosevelt’s trust-busting to Lloyd George’s People’s Budget. Governments promoted competition, introduced progressive taxation and wove the first threads of a social safety net. The aim of this new “Progressive era”, as it was known in America, was to make society fairer without reducing its entrepreneurial vim.
Modern politics needs to undergo a similar reinvention—to come up with ways of mitigating inequality without hurting economic growth. That dilemma is already at the centre of political debate, but it mostly produces heat, not light. Thus, on America’s campaign trail, the left attacks Mitt Romney as a robber baron and the right derides Barack Obama as a class warrior. In some European countries politicians have simply given in to the mob: witness François Hollande’s proposed 75% income-tax rate. In much of the emerging world leaders would rather sweep the issue of inequality under the carpet: witness China’s nervous embarrassment about the excesses of Ferrari-driving princelings, or India’s refusal to tackle corruption.

Hope and change, four years on

Hope and change, four years on

Barack Obama reviews his tactics as the election race tightens dramatically

FOR a reminder of how unusual the 2008 election was, consider a hit video from that year, “Yes We Can”, by the hip-hop artist The black-and-white film—viewed online many millions of times—set a Barack Obama campaign speech to music. To the strumming of an acoustic guitar and the tinkling of a piano, sundry famous folk crooned along to footage of Mr Obama making a series of vows: that nothing can stand in the way of millions calling for change, that Americans are not as divided as their politics suggest and that their nation can be healed and the world repaired if they just remember a three-word creed: “Yes, we can”.
It says something about the lingering potency of Mr Obama’s victory—winning as he did on a platform of racial and political reconciliation—that the video is poignant rather than risible when re-watched today. An especially painful moment shows the fresh-faced Mr Obama of 2008 scorning advice not to offer voters false hope, retorting that in America: “There has never been anything false about hope.”

Biden meltdown burns Obama campaign

VP debate exposes Democrats’ desperation

The 2012 presidential election is one of the most momentous crossroads in U.S. history. As Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee, stated in his Thursday debate against Vice President Joe Biden, the outcome on Election Day will determine “what kind of country we are going to give our kids.” Under Obama-administration policies, out-of-control government spending has grown to such an extent that federal debt is now larger than the gross domestic product of the United States, the largest economy in the world. U.S. power and prestige in the world are in such dramatic decline that armed Islamists can overrun an American diplomatic compound, murder a U.S. ambassador and get away with it.

Biden cracks up at the vice presidential debate

By Charles Hurt

Say whatever you want about last night’s debate, there is one thing we can all agree on. Joe Biden sure was happy.
How happy was the vice president? He looked happier than Bill Clinton with a bottle of Viagra and an intern.

Biden muffs Obama’s tax plans during debate

By Stephen Dinan

Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Thursday seemed to open the door to adjusting President Obama’s tax increases to only apply to those making $1 million or more a year — a much higher threshold than the $250,000 level they had pushed previously.
But the Obama campaign said Friday that Mr. Biden was only “providing an illustration” of how the tax increase would be divided out and that the president sticks by his bigger tax-increase plan.

RNC: Biden Interrupted Ryan 82 Times

Bully Biden Proves Obama's Got Nothing

It was interesting to me when, after the vice-presidential debate, Fox News Channel interviewed Chris Wallace and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom said they had never seen a more “disrespectful” participant in a debate than Joe Biden. 

Fact Check: Top Ten Worst Lies by Joe Biden in VP Debate

Once again, Joe Biden lied his way through a Vice Presidential debate--just as he did in his contest with Sarah Palin in 2008. This time, the media caught a few of Biden's worst "malarkey" moments--as did his opponent, Paul Ryan, when he could get a word in edgewise. 

By the Numbers: Moderator Raddatz Attacked Ryan 9 Times, Biden Once

Liberals are more pleased with moderator Martha Raddatz than conservatives are disappointed. And it's easy to see why. Raddatz allowed Joe Biden to interrupt Paul Ryan repeatedly during the Vice Presidential debate, and interrupted Ryan herself, while posing questions that were radically in favor of the Obama team. Ryan overcame Raddatz's bias and won the debate regardless, leaving less for conservatives to complain about.

Still, it is worth noting the facts. While the candidates' speaking time was roughly equal--not counting crosstalk, Biden spoke for 38:25 and Ryan 37:27--Raddatz’s questions were not in any way a measure of equality. She hit the Republican no fewer than nine times with pointed questions that were either an attack on Romney/Ryan or a way to set up excuses for Obama.

White House Serial Lies About Libya Extend to VP Debate

The biggest lie Vice President Joe Biden told tonight was a whopper. And somehow it like got past moderator Martha Raddatz, who we were told knows everything about foreign policy. Biden made the patently false and outrageous claim that no one in the Obama administration knew that requests for extra security had been made by our Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and other members of our consulate in Benghazi. 

Damage Control: Obama Campaign Tries to Spin Biden's Bizarre Debate Behavior

The Obama campaign is struggling to respond to mounting criticism of Vice President Joe Biden's bizarre behavior during last night's debate with Rep. Paul Ryan. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebrity Economist Rushes to Save India

Celebrity Economist Hired to Avert a Junk Rating

Illustration by Andrew Neyer
The first time I met Raghuram Rajan, the Indian economist couldn’t sit still.
It was over coffee in Bangkok in November 2008, less than two months after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. imploded and almost took the global financial system down with it. Rajan had become a big draw by then, having warned as early as 2005 that a crash was coming. On that day in Thailand, he had a more local crisis on his hands: The hotel’s WiFi was out.

Here Are Five Things the Democrats Won’t Tell You

Election campaigns are about promises: the more grandiose, the better.
Who can forget President Barack Obama’s June 2008 speech, telling a rapt audience that future generations would look back at his victory in the Democratic primaries as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal”?

About Caroline Baum

Caroline Baum, a columnist for Bloomberg News since 1998, is the author of "Just What I Said: Bloomberg Economics Columnist Takes on Bonds, Banks, Budgets and Bubbles."
More about Caroline Baum

If only he had substituted “deficit” for “oceans.”

Candidates love to promise the moon -- at minimum, a colony on it -- and the stars. Years ago, they could avoid mentioning the cost. Nowadays, the U.S. is in such a deep fiscal hole that a candidate would appear to be out of touch if he didn’t invoke “shared sacrifice” or pay lip service to reducing the deficit.
Yet that is where they draw the line and limit the specifics. Which is why I’m here to tell you five things the 2012 Democrats don’t want you to know. (Next week, it’s the Republicans’ turn.)

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