Friday, January 11, 2013

SAR #13011

Money is a social artifact, not one of God's commandments.

Best Laid Plans: One proposal to save(sic) Social Security is to increase the retirement age even further, beyond the current graduated raise from 65 to 66, to 68 or even 69 for 'full' benefits. But the CBO estimates that extending the retirement age will increase the "labor force participation rate' by about 4%. What would increasing the participation rate that much to to unemployment rates? How much would this delay younger folks from moving up? Will this end up costing the country more than it saves? Is this really a 'painless' fix?

Peer Pressure II: Yesterday the US warned the UK it had best stay in the EU. Today Chancellor Merkel suggested to the UK Prime Minister that holding a referendum on remaining in the EU would "cause economic disaster for the UK and paralyze Europe." Sovereign doesn't mean what it used to.

Resourceful: The Pentagon has an oil man from Houston in charge of the contracting process for Afghanistan's oil and gas fields. Unfortunately the Taliban are not completely happy with this arrangement.

Essay Question: Why do people think economists are charlatans?

Erosion: Maybe Marx was not wrong, just a few decades ahead of his time. It seems likely that capital will continue to concentrate in fewer and fewer hands while surging unemployment will combine with sagging wages to undermine the mass consumerism that the current version of capitalism requires in order to function. The resolution of paradox will not necessarily be non-violent.

Prevention: If our health care costs were in line with costs in other countries, we would be looking at budget surpluses, not deficits. If we did not also waste trillions of dollars on an unnecessary military behemoth we could start building a country worthy of our dreams. And if our political system is too corrupt to allow these reforms, then we should reform the system without them.

Our Town:Climate change, jobs, the trade deficit (and thus the budget deficit), rotting infrastructure and rotten education – these are the real and really serious problems facing us. So what are the politicians doing? Fiddle-farting with imaginary monsters labeled Tweedledee and Tweedledum debt and deficit. And guns. But you know they're not going to do anything about any of the three. Why do they ignore the real problems? (a) Big Money, or (2) Big Money.

Finger/String: Remember, tightfisted Paul Ryan (Inconsistent-WI) was for flood relief (for Wisconsin in 2008) before he was against flood relief (for Sandy's victims, 2013).

Lollipops: Both Congress and the White House have long since demonstrated they have no interest in the suffering of the millions of unemployed Americans. Instead, they are intent on reducing government spending, which will reduce economic activity, which will reduce employment even further while Washington cuts the social safety net to shreds. Who loves ya, babe?.

If/Then: Expertise say the 'platinum coin option' is legal, so if Obama surrenders to the blackmailers it won't be because he has to, but because his self-identification as the great compromiser requires it. But the only things he's compromised so far are his principles.

Preponderance: Independent high-quality population studies, longitudinal studies, and MIR imaging studies have repeatedly found a linkage between childhood lead exposure and violent crime. After a while it becomes convincing.

Porn O'Graph: Getting to the bottom of things.

The Parting Shot:


Trenella foliaca


Anonymous said...

On "essay question:"
Noah said he has sympathy for the intuitions of "common people." Yeah he said that, didn't he? Speaking as a common person, I am blushing at the praise.
Surprises me that Noah raises the issue, even if done dishonestly. People don't think economists are charlatans. Charlatans have a job, a real occupation, in the terms of productivity and accountability that people understand. They don't get a pass. What people think of economists is that they are mostly stupid and completely useless. In my 61 years I have encountered many problems and troubles. Yet, not once did I consider contacting an economist to help me resolve one. Of course, economists know this. Underneath the thin layer of ego, wishful thinking, and group re-reinforcement that gets them through their days, lies the DNA and intuition of "common people." This civilization of ours needs a reorganization in the worst way.
By the way, I love your site. Read it every day without fail. Never comment and rarely follow the links, just enjoy your wit and style. And the snapshots ain't bad either.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

"This civilization of ours needs a reorganization in the worst way." Yep, and that's about they way it'll be, too. -ckm

Anonymous said...

Not-So-Great Britain may finally realize that like Ireland, Greece, etc. they have lost their Sovereignty. Amazing that US and Germany tag team and tell Cameron what to do.

Swim with the Sharks and you're gonna get bitten.