World economic freedom has reached record levels, according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by the Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. But after seven straight years of decline, the U.S. has dropped out of the top 10 most economically free countries.
President Obama on Tuesday said he’s “not just going to be waiting for legislation” from Congress to move forward his agenda in 2014, further stoking a clash between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue over the reach of executive power.
“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said before a Cabinet meeting at the White House, issuing a challenge to GOP lawmakers who have blocked most of his second-term agenda.
Obama is hailing 2014 as a “year of action” after enduring the roughest 12-month stretch of his presidency.
If everything goes according to plan, Laurie Pickard will earn her MBA in three years for less than $1,000. She’ll take classes from Harvard, Wharton, and Yale, among other top-tier schools. And she’ll tackle it all while keeping her full-time job as a rural enterprise development and entrepreneurship specialist at USAID. She’ll accomplish all of this from Kigali, Rwanda.
It sounds too good to be true. But Pickard, 32, is determined to pull it off. If successful, she’ll arguably be the first person in the world to cobble together an MBA program from massive open online courses (MOOCs), free or low-cost classes accessible to anyone with Internet access.
Pickard didn’t plan to pave the way for earning a dirt-cheap business education. In fact, she initially had her sights set on a more conventional path — and she has the background to get into an elite program. Pickard’s resume includes a B.A. in politics from Oberlin College, an M.A. in geography and urban studies from Temple University, and stints with the Peace Corps and the International Finance Corporation in Nicaragua.
A pioneering climate scientist with decades at Harvard and MIT, Lindzen sees his discipline as being deeply compromised by political pressure, data fudging, out-and-out guesswork, and wholly unwarranted alarmism. In a shot across the bow of what many insist is indisputable scientific truth, Lindzen characterizes global warming as “small and . . . nothing to be alarmed about.” In the climate debate—on which hinge far-reaching questions of public policy—them’s fightin’ words.
The survey, conducted this past week, found that 40 percent of Americans now work more than 40 hours per week, including nine percent who work more than 50 hours per week.
Last May, Rasmussen found that 33 percent of Americans worked more than 40 hours per week, including 11 percent who worked more than 50 hours weekly. The most recent survey suggests that, in just seven months, the number of Americans working more than 40 hours per week has increased.
According to the survey published Friday, 28 percent of Americans now work less than 40 hours per week, which is a drop of six points from 34 percent in the May survey.
The survey of 623 employed adults had a margin of sampling error of +/- three percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
In a Rasmussen survey released in November, Americans were found to be more pessimistic about the U.S. job market than they have been in nearly two years.
Of the 1,000 adults surveyed, just 19 percent believed the job market is better than it was one year ago, a decline of six points from September and the lowest finding since December of 2011.
As thousands of state residents enroll in Washington’s expanded Medicaid program, many will be surprised at fine print: After you’re dead, your estate can be billed for ordinary health-care expenses. State officials are scrambling to change the rule.
As the investigation into the shooting at Arapahoe High School continues, law enforcement officials stress that the presence of an armed guard in the school “was the key factor in preventing more deaths and injuries.”
A new report released from the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) has found that the Obama Administration delayed enacting regulations that could adversely affect the 2012 presidential election. The ACUS is an independent agency that advises the government on regulatory matters.
Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question. The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time.
Obama’s tough speech on income inequality earlier this month was delivered at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta. As chief of staff to Bill Clinton, Podesta helped lead the charge to deregulate Wall Street, which resulted in the banking bubble that wiped out the savings of tens of millions of Americans.
But instead of chastising Podesta for the errors of his ways, Obama in 2008 appointed him to oversee his presidential transition team. That led to the appointment of Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, two former Clinton officials responsible for the banking meltdown, to repair it. Just this past week, it was announced that John Podesta would be reappointed as a senior adviser to the Obama White House.
John Podesta should not be confused with his brother Tony, although both were founding partners of the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm that has represented Walmart, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America and BP along with dozens of other multinational corporations.
Tony still heads the lobbying firm, but John left when he joined the Clinton administration and subsequently founded the Center for American Progress, a think tank that attracts major funding from defense, energy and pharmaceutical companies. Sometimes the Podesta brothers work on opposite sides of the policy street, but both are big contributors to the Democratic Party, and it doesn’t hurt for lobbyist Tony to have the same last name as brother John, an Obama insider.
The housing market appears to be in better shape than it really is and investors should be wary regarding investing in Housing stocks, investing in property not as a primary residence, and should conduct a thorough analysis of their own financial obligations with regards to their primary residence.
In many parts of the world real estate prices have risen quite substantially due to several factors, one is foreign buyers trying to move money out of their home countries for security purposes. Another is institutional investors hoping to buy low and sell high in an investment strategy, and then there are the small to medium size professional flippers who buy properties, make some cosmetic changes, and hope to sell these properties into an improving market because supply is artificially tighter, and the broader economy is better than when they originally purchased the properties.
During 2013, America continued to steadily march down a self-destructive path toward oblivion. As a society, our debt levels are completely and totally out of control. Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet and our big banks are behaving even more recklessly than they did just before the last financial crisis. We continue to see thousands of businesses and millions of jobs get shipped out of the United States, and the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated. Due to the lack of decent jobs, poverty is absolutely exploding. Government dependence is at an all-time high and crime is rising. Evidence of social and moral decay is seemingly everywhere, and our government appears to be going insane. If we are going to have any hope of solving these problems, the American people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and finally admit how bad things have actually become. If we all just blindly have faith that “everything is going to be okay”, the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions are going to absolutely blindside us and we will be absolutely devastated by the great crisis that is rapidly approaching. The United States is in a massive amount of trouble, and it is time that we all started facing the truth. The following are 83 numbers from 2013 that are almost too crazy to believe…
Over 50 Sailors who served on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) are Suffering from Thyroid Cancer, Leukemia, and Brain Tumors after participating in Humanitarian assistance during the Japanese earthquake of 2011.
During the Fukushima Nuclear rescue efforts, sailors onboard the USS Ronald Reagan and apart of the battle group that responded to the disaster, were exposed to high levels of radioactive material while afloat off the East coast of Japan.
According to Jim McElhatton of The Washington Times,the embassy in Moscow splurged on $15,900 in bourbon and whiskey; the Tokyo embassy, partial to wine, placed an order for $22,416. The embassy in Rio de Janeiro spent $5,625 on gratuity wine on September 29 and, on the day of the shutdown, opted for stronger gratuity whisky at $5,925.
The booze buying binge ran up a tab of $180,000 for the month of September. Alcohol is a fixture at diplomatic functions, and it is appropriate to have a stock on hand, but the State Department’s booze budget has ballooned since 2009—tripling in cost during President Obama’s tenure.
The Washington Times reported that the annual budget for 2008 was $118,000 and jumped to nearly $300,000 in 2011. It peaked at $415,000 in 2012, with the total for 2013 coming in at $400,000.
All this liquor and wine requires proper drinkware, of course. Thus, the State Department raced to fill an order of $5 million just hours before the shutdown, buying 12,000 pieces of hand-blown crystal glassware—retailing up to $85 per glass.
When academics use the word “smarts,” they usually mean general intelligence, or “g” for short. This is the ability to learn, think and apply. For decades scientists have sought to measure gby using IQ and similar cognitive tests.
But smarts is something different in the real world. It isn’t defined by 800 math SATs. It’s more about the importance of hard work, perseverance and resilience. Call it grit. Call it courage. Call it tenacity. Because these are old-fashioned concepts, they’re easy to miss.
The young and poor who rent their homes have been crunched both by rising housing costs and falling incomes.
During the tech boom, rents and incomes rose together. After the tech bust, they came apart, with the median cost of rent (in orange) continuing its upward trajectory, even as the incomes of renters (in purple) tumbled. As a rule, renters skew young and poor. The runaway cost of housing has made them feel poorer still, as this graph shows, from a new report by Harvard’s Joint Center On Housing Studies….
The American economy is highly dependent on consumption. Household consumption accounts for about 35% of developing economies’ activity–roughly half of America’s 70% consumption economy.
As noted yesterday, with the earned income of the lower 90% of wage earners stagnant for four decades, America has enabled consumption by leveraging income and collateral into ever-rising mountains of debt.
The problem with debt, of course, is that it accrues interest, and that paying interest reduces the amount of income left to spend on consumption.
In this way, depending on debt to finance consumption is akin to the snake eating its own tail: at some point, the cost of servicing the debt reduces the income available to be spent on additional consumption to zero. Additional consumption becomes impossible without asset bubbles to temporarily enrich the households that own assets or “helicopter drops” of interest-free cash into household checking accounts.
“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.” Sadly, that appears to be the approach that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are taking with the U.S. economy. They seem to believe that if they just keep telling the American people over and over that things are getting better, eventually the American people will believe that it is actually true. On Friday, it was announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to “7 percent”, and the mainstream media responded with a mix of euphoria and jubilation. For example, one USA Today article declared that “with today’s jobs report, one really can say that our long national post-financial crisis nightmare is over.” But is that actually the truth? As you will see below, if you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent. There has been absolutely no employment recovery. The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row. But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth.
And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now. Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers. The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics. All of that “stimulus” should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy.
For two decades, the U.S. military has been unable to submit to an audit, flouting federal law and concealing waste and fraud totaling billions of dollars
Linda Woodford spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts.
Every month until she retired in 2011, she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s – a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies.
And every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from. “A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate,” Woodford says. “We didn’t have the detail … for a lot of it.”