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November 15, 2011

DOOM: A series of unfortunate events

DOOOOM

Why Americans won't do dirty jobs. That attitude may change if the economy doesn't turn around soon.

A wee bit of good news this morning: the NYPD has cleared the hippie infestation from Zucotti Park in lower Manhattan. I expect that the stench will linger for a few days but will dissipate in time.

Monetary and fiscal policy have failed us. All that leaves is...Thunderdome! Who run Barter Town?

Simply graduating more STEM majors won’t magically fix the jobs situation, at least in the short term. And there is something to be said for the liberal arts (as classically-taught, anyway); art and poetry are achievements of civilization just as much as buildings and bridges. The problem at base is that we have a vast mismatch between the skills our economy needs right now and the people in the workplace right now. When people in college decide on a course of study, they’re making a bet on what the world is going to look like in 10 or 20 years, not on what it looks like at the present moment.

You want some horrifying chart-fu? Here’s your horrifying chart-fu.


The myths and realities of Social Security. This is required reading. There will be a test tomorrow in class, so take good notes.

The crisis in the developed world has many facets, but the most important one is the slow-motion collapse of the welfare state model (what Walter Russell Mead calls “the blue model”). You can argue the merits all you want; come end of day, the welfare state will bankrupt even the richest civilization in the history of the world if changes are not made pretty soon.

America is very vulnerable to the EU financial crisis. Everything is connected. Talk of a "firewall" is probably wishful thinking.

China to America: It’s all your fault, you lazy fat-asses!

Angela Merkel: This is Europe’s worst hour since WWII.

The European Monetary Union (EMU): Destroying the weak to protect the strong? The weak were free riders on the strong for many years, but in lean times it’s a simple game of survival. (But do note this article is by J. K. Galbraith, whose grasp of economic reality has never been particularly strong.)

The eurozone’s architecture makes things worse in two major ways. While the EU has long paid some compensation to its poorer regions, these structural funds were never adequate and are now blocked by unmeetable co-pay requirements. And the zone lacks the inter-regional redistribution channels to households that the U.S. has developed in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal government payrolls and military contracting among other things. Nor do German retirees settle in Greece or Portugal in large numbers as New Yorkers do in Florida or Michiganders in Texas.
Apparently Galbraith didn’t get the news: Social Security and Medicare are bankrupting us. And I love that “inter-regional redistribution channels” line: what an orotund way to say “wealth transfer”! And it’s not working here either.

Crony capitalism is undermining America’s space program.

California needs some strong economic medicine, and here comes Dr. Brown with just what the patient needs: high-speed rail!

Yet another thing to blame on the Euroweenies. Thanks, guys.

The “Super Committee” budget impasse and the fight over ObamaCare are inextricably linked. It all boils down to a fight over the size and scope of the Federal Government. The Supreme Court has decided to hear the case on the constitutionality of the American Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), which will mean that the case will be heard in the thick of the 2012 Presidential campaign. Forecast: lightning and thunder, whichever way the case goes.

California: not just boned, but toxic as well.


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posted by Monty at 08:47 AM

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