Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category
“The problem is, this is not a recovery at all,” he said on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.” “We haven’t made up for the lost ground, and that’s unprecedented.”
Lazear, who also chaired President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006 to 2009, authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece this week, titled, “The Worst Economic Recovery in History,” in which he used historical data to argue that the current period of growth is anemic at best.
In the article, Lazear writes: “The Great Depression started with major economic contractions in 1930, ’31, ‘32 and ‘33. In the three following years, the economy rebounded strongly with growth rates of 11 percent, 9 percent and 13 percent, respectively.”
Lazear noted that the Dow was near 14,000 pre-recession and now struggles to maintain 13,000.
“It’s four years later,” he said. “We should be is approximately 12 percent better, and we’re not.”
Lazear laid blame for the economic sluggishness with the Obama administration’s policies on trade, taxes, regulation and health care, all of which “have not been conducive to business growth.”
So who is right: the lone voice warning that the miracle growth is over, or others who claim this shows a deep misunderstanding of the country?
Diana Choyleva is the bear in the China shop. The analyst from Lombard Street Research says last week’s China GDP figures – which revealed growth slowing to a three-year low – are an early warning signal of the hard landing to come.
Dig deep into the data, she says, and you’ll find that Chinese exports are falling. All that is propping up the economy is gargantuan investment in infrastructure financed by state- directed banks that look more and more like Western banks just before the collapse of 2008. Except they are bigger and badder.
Choyleva radiates a pessimism that is almost unique among Hong Kong’s investment professionals. Westerners, she says, are so awed by the China dream they can’t see the coming China-geddon. The excesses that drove the West into a financial crisis and, in Europe, an economic depression, are gripping the Chinese economy, too. “It’s just that they have become bigger,” she says. The country’s vast pool of savings is being squandered on dead-end infrastructure projects that make Japan’s roads to nowhere look like prudent planning.
“China’s miracle growth is over,” she proclaims, saying that if Chinese policy makers get it right they might, just, see the country’s growth halve to 5% or below. Get it wrong, and the consequences could be devastating not just for China but for the rest of the world, too. “Building those roads to nowhere can go on for a long time, but ultimately financing it will become unbearable,” warns Choyleva.
As long as US and European consumers were accumulating colossal amounts of debt, much of it to pay for goods made in China, the merry-go-round worked just fine. But as western economies deleverage, the driver for growth has been extinguished.
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’
- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.
Humpty was a Statist, calling on all the King’s horses and all the King’s men — taxpayer-funded, of course — to repair his fecklessness.
It’s difficult to discuss policy, or even listen to Statists (or Progressives or Democrats — your choice of terms) like Humpty with any understanding, because their words and phrases don’t mean what we in the real world understand them to mean — only what they choose them to mean. Therefore, with election season upon us (as if it ever left), here’s a little help. Readers should feel free to add additional terms this short review has missed.
Civility in Discourse. No one may speak harshly of a Statist. Statists may, however, call their critics terrorists, racists, homophobes, sexists, Islamophobes, hostage-takers, or “son of a bitches” who must be “taken out.” Since Statists are, by definition, morally superior to you, they may say any nasty thing about you without being uncivil. You may not reply.
Code Word. Any disagreement with a Statist policy, position, or person is a Code Word for something evil like racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, or bitter-God-and-gun-clinger.
Corporate Jets. Evil symbol of corporate greed — never mind that subsidies for them were in the Obama stimulus bill. If you build, service, or fly Corporate Jets, your job is in the Statists’ class-envy crosshairs.
Democrat. A person who opposes those foundations of democracy such as the secret ballot or measures to eliminate fraudulent voting.
Dissent. The highest form of patriotism, when a Statist speaks out against fiscal responsibility or limited government. See Terrorist for when someone speaks out against Statist positions.
Economic Stimulus. Money borrowed from your grandkids to reward public employees and other interest groups for supporting Statists.
Everyone must chip in. In this case, Everyone means the 5% of the people who already pay 60% of the federal income taxes, who must chip in even more to allow the Statists to buy more votes from the 47% of the public who pay no federal income taxes. Be glad if you are not included in Everyone, as they will be a target for pocket-picking, class warfare, envy, and scapegoating throughout the campaign.
Hate Crime. Any act of violence, intimidation, or criticism against a member of a Statist-designated PC group, such as Muslims, gays, women, Hispanics, or blacks. Violent crimes against whites, Asians, or Jews, based on their ethnic background, are just crimes. Maybe.
Hate Speech. Any criticism of a group favored by Statists. Note there is an ever-changing pecking order of politically correct favored groups. Currently Muslims trump gays, who trump blacks, who trump Hispanics, who trump women, who were once the favored group, but now are given nary a whimper of support on FGM or honor killings. Jews used to be favored, but now are not because of Israel. Of course, you may say any vile thing about Christians, country folk (rednecks), mountaineers (hillbillies), hunters, gun owners, or white males, and it is not Hate Speech, as they are not PC groups. (You can only sneer at veterans among your Statist elite friends, because “supporting the troops” is PC. Being one, of course, is unthinkable.) You can use expressions like calling New York “Hymietown” and still be a revered leader, as Jews are no longer favored. Basically, Hate Speechmeans shut up because the First Amendment doesn’t apply to cretins like you.
Intellectual. Someone who produces nothing but great thoughts, supports Statist causes, and lives off the wealth created by the productive. You may have a Ph.D. in economics and have produced dozens of bestselling books printed in many languages, as has Thomas Sowell, but you are not anIntellectual unless you support Statist causes.
Investment. Spending borrowed money to buy votes from groups who support Statist candidates.
Islamophobia. This means you fear jihadist terrorism, or oppose special, state-sanctioned treatment for Islamic religious practices, or think the 91% of honor killings done by Muslims are evil, or oppose the second-class treatment of women under Shari’a religious law. All this is wrong.
Journalist. A person paid to spread Statist dogma, while pretending to be objective. Thus the criticism from the left that employees of Fox News are not real Journalists.
Justice. As used by Statists, Justice describes a desire to take something from someone else. For example, Environmental Justice means average people should pay more to drive, feed their families, or heat and light their homes so the Statists will have money to spend on green initiatives like making Al Gore a multimillionaire to fight global warming, or to invest in subsidies for supporters in the ethanol, solar, wind, or light-rail business, which can’t make it in a free market. Social Justice means that companies can be held up for financial support for the groups claiming they are working forJustice, thus driving up costs for customers or driving down the company’s stock value in pension plans. Racial Justice means Jesse Jackson can blackmail Budweiser into giving his son a distributorship so Bud is declared okay for black folks to drink.
Millionaires and Billionaires. Anyone making more than about $200,000 a year. Go to medical school, internship, residency, and a fellowship for 14 years, or start a small business that employs people, at great risk and with lots of sweat, and in the end you may make over $200,000 — and thus be used as a target for class warfare.
The Poor. People who in America usually have more living space and amenities, including cars, electronics, and AC, than the average middle-class European, but whose votes can be obtained by inciting class envy of those who have done better in life, through hard work, talent, or the luck of birth. Poor is comparative. I’m poor compared to Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, and thus they should have to share their wealth with me, despite the fact that they have contributed far more to the advancement of the economic well-being of the country than I ever could.
Progressive. A Statist who opposes all economic progress except the growth of more government, more taxes, more spending, and more regulations, and who would rather your family be murdered than support any non-PC position.
Racist. Archaic: a person who holds an animus towards a group based on that group’s race. Current Statist usage: someone who disagrees with Statist positions, from ObamaCare to global warming.
Scientist. A person in any field who believes in anthropogenic global warming. A person who is not convinced of this is not a scientist, regardless of his credentials. He is a kook. And in the pay of the big oil companies.
Shared Sacrifice. This phrase needs to be divided into two parts to be understood. The sacrificepart applies to anyone earning a good living in the private sector, especially if he or she is a job-creating small-businessperson. If the Statists have their way, such earners will have to sacrifice an increased portion of their income and family’s standard of living, not to mention the private-sector jobs they could have created, so the Statists can share that money with supporter groups, government unions, and non-earners.
Socialist. A politically incorrect name for someone who supports the Statist goals of more government, more taxes, more spending, and more regulations. Calling Statists this is uncivil. Comparing George Bush to Hitler, Nazis, or monkeys is not.
_______ Studies. Indicates a university course where little actual scholarship is required (Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, Environmental Studies), which prepares students for careers as Walmart greeters, burger-flippers, and government employees. If your child is majoring in a field that ends in Studies, you may expect to have your basement occupied until the first property tax bill arrives after your death.
Stupid. Objective media designation for any candidate who might defeat a Statist, thus taking away the journalist‘s leg-tingles. See Reagan, Ronald.
Taxes. Funds to support the government, required for most people, but optional for Obama administration cabinet members and rich, powerful legislators like Rep. Charlie Rangel or Sen. John Kerry.
Tax Expenditure. If your earn $1,000, and the Statist is able to tax only $300 of that from you for the government to spend, the other $700 of your earnings that you are allowed to keep is viewed as aTax Expenditure, meaning they could have taken it as well. And wish they had.
Terrorist. Archaic: a person who seeks to advance a political cause through murder, violence, and intimidation. Current Statist usage: a person who opposes huge government deficits and the growth of big government. A person who takes the time to express his or her opinions at a Tea Party rally. A religious person. A veteran of service in the U.S. military.
Undocumented. Illegal. An Undocumented Worker is an illegal immigrant. An Undocumented Pharmacist is a drug dealer. An Undocumented President is…just kidding. I don’t really want to go there.
Working People. Members of unions, especially government employees, who can be counted on to vote for and contribute money or time to Statist political campaigns, if suitably rewarded from the public purse. You may put in 80 hours a week or hold down two jobs, but you are not a “working person” unless you belong to a union and support Statists. In some constructions, you can also be included as a “working person” if you are on welfare but support Statist candidates.
Robert A. Hall is the author of The Coming Collapse of the American Republic: And what you can do to prevent it. A former Massachusetts state senator and a Marine Vietnam veteran, he blogs at www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com.
At the Davos World Economic Forum, the insider’s insider’s insider’s secret backdoor path to power, Robert Rubin, talks crazy scary talk that nutcase goldbugs have been warning for years, but never mind them, mind him. Quoted from the Economic Policy Watch blog, liberated from behind Financial Times‘s paywall. (All the bolding is thanks to Econ Policy Watch):
The risks of our fiscal position are serious and multiple. And while these risks become more severe over time as our debt position worsens, all of these either have begun to materialise or could do so in the near term….
To be specific about the risks, deficits could crowd out private investment, which could choke off a private investment recovery. Moreover, the capacity for public investment is already diminishing, and could be exacerbated by growing entitlement costs and mounting interest payments…
Most dangerously, there is a risk of disruption to our bond and currency markets from the fear of much higher interest rates due to future imbalances or from fear of inflation because of efforts to monetise our debt. The result could be significant deficit premiums on bond market interest rates, seriously impeding private investment and growth or, worse, acute bond market declines that cause an economic crisis. This could also start in the currency markets.