He filled the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. Wish he were still with us. Grateful that he was here.
Prof. Peter Morici
Professor of Economics
University of Maryland
According to your essay today at FoxNews.com, “Jobs creation remains weak, because the U.S. economy suffers from inadequate demand for what Americans can make” (“Our Economy Is Teetering On the Brink of Recession“). Without here questioning the correctness of your mercantilist/Keynesian theory that employment is chiefly and straightforwardly a function of aggregate demand, I doquestion your identifying America’s trade deficit as one of the alleged causes of inadequate aggregate demand in the U.S.
You claim that the trade deficit “is a tax on domestic demand that erases the benefits of tax cuts and stimulus spending…. Simply, dollars sent abroad to purchase oil and consumer goods from China, that do not return to purchase U.S. exports, are lost purchasing power and cannot be spent on U.S. made goods and service.”
Simply, this claim is wrong.
As former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, you must know that another name for a trade (or, more accurately, a “current-account”) deficit is “capital-account surplus.” Except for the tiny number of dollars that foreigners literally hoard, dollars in America’s capital-account surplus (aka “trade deficit”) return to America as demand for assets – that is, as investment demand in America.
Therefore, the dollars so invested – to create, or purchase equity in, U.S.-based firms; to lend money to the government and private parties; to buy real estate in America – do not disappear from the U.S. economy. They return to the U.S. no less certainly than do dollars spent buying U.S. exports. The only difference is that dollars that return as export demand are recorded on the current-account while dollars that return as investment demand are recorded on the capital-account.
You seem to be misled by a mere accounting convention into supposing that dollars that foreigners invest in the U.S., rather than spend on American exports, are somehow castrated of their capacity to serve as demand for American-made outputs. But in fact these invested dollars are not only often used by foreigners to directly demand goods and services in America (as when, say, Ikea spends dollars building stores in New Jersey), but are spent on outputs also by Americans who receive them as loans or in exchange for assets sold to foreigners.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
The real trouble with bureaucracies is not that they are rash, but the opposite. When not actually rotten with dishonesty and corruption, they universally show a tendency to “play safe” and become hopelessly conservative. The great danger to be feared from a political control of economic life under ordinary conditions is not a reckless dissipation of the social resources so much as the arrest of progress and the vegetation of life.
This failure [of government of late to supply reliable infrastructure in the U.S.] isn’t the consequence of inadequate funding. According to a 2010 Congressional Budget Office report, inflation-adjusted annual spending by all levels of government on transportation and water infrastructure (which includes, among other items, roads, airports and harbors) increased steadily from 1982 through 2003. In 2003, that spending was 88 percent higher than it was 21 years earlier.
Between 2003 and 2007 this spending did decrease, but only by 6 percent.
Are we to conclude that such a puny decrease in annual infrastructure spending — coming after a steady 21-year rise in such spending — is responsible for all the crumbling going on? If so, what does this fact reveal about how well government spends taxpayers’ dollars?
Words should mean something. They often do. But not always. This report out of the UK purports to show stagnating living standards there. But the numbers tell a very different story:
Many people in middle and low income jobs have barely seen any improvement in their incomes over the past 30 years, a report from the TUC says.
FYI: the TUC is the Trades Union Congress. According to their website: “The TUC is the voice of Britain at work. With 58 affiliated unions representing 6.2 million working people from all walks of life, we campaign for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad.”
Low income workers have seen their pay rise by 27% in real terms over the past 30 years but rises for the top 10% of earners have been four times higher.
Hmm. One percent a year, corrected for inflation isn’t exactly “barely any improvement.” And that may understate the gains if British inflation measures are overstated as they are here in the US.
Its report found a “sharp divide” in earnings growth between professions.
While medical practitioners saw a 153% rise since the late 1970s, bakers’ wages fell by 1%.
Wages grew by over 100% for judges, barristers and solicitors, while they fell by 5% for forklift truck drivers and 3% for packers and bottlers in the same period.
Yes, some occupations are in high demand and some in low demand.
Its report, called “The Livelihood Crisis” by Stewart Lansley, says there has been a steady growth in “bad jobs”, offering poor wages and job security.
It says there are almost twice as many people now earning a third less than the median compared with 1977.
Hmm. That’s a bit confusing and hard to believe. The population is larger. Did Lansley correct for that? I’ll check out the report. Meanwhile, here is some seemingly horrible news:
It added that a significant proportion of workers have received little if any financial benefit from the doubling in size of the British economy in the last 30 years.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “People often cite the recession as the source of this income squeeze but a livelihood crisis has been brewing in Britain for decades.
“The financial crash has exposed decades of limp wage growth offset by soaring household debt.”
Mr Barber says the nation’s entire economy needs to be radically transformed.
“The financial crisis should have led to a fundamental economic rethink but instead our discredited model of market capitalism has somehow emerged unscathed.
“Far from making the changes that we need, the coalition is instead introducing more punitive measures against those on low and middle incomes.
“Unless we radically transform our economy – from recasting the role of the state to prioritising a fairer distribution of new wealth and jobs – we will simply be storing up more problems for the future.”
And the bottom line? It’s in the data at the end of the article. Check it out:
Rise in real earnings % 1978-2008 (male full-time)
BRITAIN’S LIVELIHOOD CRISIS, TUC Medical practitioners 153 Judges, barristers, solicitors 114 Secondary school teachers 67 Quantity surveyors 65 Accountants 60 Welfare/social workers 60 Median (mid-point of sample) 57 Electrical and electronic engineers 55 Bricklayers 37 Architects; town planners 36 Mechanical engineers 34 Skilled motor mechanics 34 Carpenters and joiners 30 Plasterers 30 Toolmakers/toolfitters 21 Heavy goods vehicle drivers 19 Bus and coach drivers 11 Sheet metal workers 8 Bakers -1 Packers, bottlers, fillers, canners -3 Fork lift truck drivers -5
So the median (worker? occupation?) grew a measly 57 percent in real terms over 30 years. That’s 2% per year. That’s a crisis? That requires radically transforming society? They’re even crazier across the pond than we are here.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (12:39 pm)
Sarah Palin pledged to stay an active part of the political discussion as she announced she wouldn’t be making a 2012 White House run.
On Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show Wednesday night, Palin told supporters that she’s sorry if they are disappointed that she passed on the race.
“I apologize to those who are disappointed in this decision,” she said. “I’ve been hearing from them in the last couple of hours but I believe that they, when they take a step back, will understand why the decision was made and understand that, really, you don’t need a title to make a difference in this country. I think that I’m proof of that.”
So when do the Republicans get their winning candidate? Time is running out.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (12:37 pm)
Richo keeps stirring the pot, but burns two of the plotters:
“Richo” used his self-titled Sky TV show tonight to “out” them as Victorian MP and former veterans affairs minister Alan Griffin and West Australian senator Mark Bishop.
Mr Richardson said Mr Griffin, the member for Bruce in suburban Melbourne, was “leading the push”.
“He’s doing a lot of the telephoning, a lot of the ringing around. He’s a very clever operator this bloke, no fool,” he said.
I think Richo just wants Gillard gone, gone, gone. But if he’s right, Rudd has two capable allies.
But as the battlefield shifts so do your tactics. Rudd will not come back to the leadership and simply rehearse well-worn Labor positions. He will try to neutralise Labor’s negatives and move on to fresh and sunnier terrain.
(Thanks to reader Mark.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (12:24 pm)
Peter Coleman gets a very worrying insight into the totalitarian instincts of today’s Left - and many in the media who cater to it:
Few issues have provoked upholders of free speech more than the Bolt case. Everyone knows the judge was judicially applying the statute to the words Andrew Bolt wrote in his newspaper columns a couple of years ago. But that only adds to the sense of shock or outrage. It means not just that the law is an ass but that we have been living under an asinine law ever since the Keating government introduced it in 1995. ...
But the hundreds of liberals who endorsed the statement of principles published this week in the Australian by the Institute of Public Affairs would be foolish to blind themselves to the reactionary passions of the many who welcome any restrictions on free speech and want more of them. Take the IQ2 debate last weekend in the Sydney Opera House, broadcast, we were told, to 80 million people in 25 countries. The proposition debated was ‘The media have no morals’. (Decoded this meant ‘Conservative journalists have no morals’.) Leading for the proposition Stephen Mayne was applauded whenever he named a conservative or independent journalist or broadcaster he wanted sacked for lèse majesté: Miranda Devine, Piers Akerman, Col Allan, Glen Milne, Alan Jones, not to mention the unspeakable Andrew Bolt. Mayne had no problem with the idea of licensing journalists. He was not distracted by the suggestion that this is the technique used by dictators from Hitler to Mugabe to enforce a servile press....
Compared with Mayne, Senator Bob Brown who supported him was almost moderate.... Senator Brown also had no problem with licensing journalists. ‘They licence brothels, don’t they?’
For the rest, with the results of the audience vote, read the latest Spectator.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (05:54 am)
Kevin Rudd markets himself nicely on the 7pm Project.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (05:48 am)
We seemed increasingly ruled by people who live in worlds of paper:
A 14-year-old boy who confessed to his teacher that he robbed a service station and stabbed the attendant with a knife, has been acquitted after the District Court refused to allow the teacher’s statement into evidence because he had not “cautioned” the boy.
It could change the way teachers and students relate to each other, NSW Teachers Federation President Bob Lips- combe said yesterday. “This is potentially very serious for teachers,” Mr Lipscombe said.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (05:39 am)
Communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull speaks outside his portfolio, wildly exaggerates China’s green “revolution” and undermines the Liberals:
MALCOLM TURNBULL has issued a fresh call for leadership on climate change only a week before the Parliament is due to vote on the Gillard government’s controversial carbon tax.
In a speech in London overnight the opposition spokesman on communications urged “long-term thinking and leadership” to compete with China in fields such as climate change.
“While politicians in the West argue about whether or not climate change is real, in China, the world’s largest emitter, billions are being invested in wind, solar and electric vehicles,” he said in a speech at the London School of Economics.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (05:06 am)
A person I offended, according to a judge last week, is given yet more reason to feel offended:
FORMER Aboriginal leader Geoff Clark has lost one of his last bastions of support after he was suspended by a new board of the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust, which also moved to seize the trust’s financial records.
Last week, Mr Clark had a court victory as one of the nine “pale-skinned” Aboriginal people who brought a successful racial discrimination action against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. Mr Clark, the last chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission before it was disbanded by the Howard government, wore a possum skin coat to the Federal Court for the decision.
But in a community coup on Monday, Mr Clark was suspended from his long-held position as chief executive of the Framlingham Aboriginal Trust.... It is understood the decision to oust Mr Clark came after trust shareholders were presented with a confidential forensic audit ordered by Aboriginal Affairs Victoria last year.
The Victorian government confirmed last night the findings of the audit had been referred to Victoria Police…
A civil jury found in 2007 that Mr Clark had taken part in two pack rapes of Carol Stingel in 1971.
As Ms Stingel pursued him for the $20,000 she was awarded for the rapes, and lawyers sought costs of more than $300,000, Mr Clark declared himself bankrupt in July 2009.
(No comments for legal reasons.)
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (12:04 am)
THE Gillard government has committed to lifting the tax-free threshold to at least $21,000 in a bid to improve work incentives.
The Treasurer said the government would announce a timetable for the reform when it was satisfied it was affordable but “we think it is important to declare in advance our intention to move in that direction”.
Summed up: gunna one day. Maybe. If we can afford it.
The man who demanded the summit praises its “outcome”:
ROB OAKESHOTT: We got a couple of very real outcomes: the increasing of the tax-free threshold to 21,000 is pretty significant, the ...
TONY JONES: I’ll just interrupt you there. That’s not an outcome, is it? That’s a promise that may happen sometime in the future. There’s not even a date set on it. It could be something that probably won’t happen in the course of any Labor government in the near future.
ROB OAKESHOTT: Well, we’re better off than we were 48 hours ago....
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, October 06, 11 (12:01 am)
From Hal G.P. Colebatch in the American Spectator:
September 28 was a black day for Australia, a society in which until now freedom of thought has been as deeply entrenched as anywhere in the world. Now, however, a journalist and blogger, Andrew Bolt, has been found guilty of a crime for expressing an opinion.
Mr. Bolt’s thoughtcrime was to question the fact that certain light-skinned people were claiming benefits as Aborigines. Yes, that’s right, I’ll say it again in case you had trouble understanding or believing it the first time: Mr. Bolt was prosecuted, not for making racist or derogatory remarks about Aborigines, but for saying that some of those claiming the generous benefits paid to Aborigines had pale skin.
IF any comfort is to be found in the Andrew Bolt case it can only be that it will lead to the repeal of the law that declared his opinions illegal and not to be republished.
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is contrary to the principle of freedom of speech that underpins our democracy, and we cannot afford to allow it to stand if we wish to preserve our freedom....
The person responsible for this law, Michael Lavarch, has justified it (The Australian, April 9) on the basis that “history tells us that overblown rhetoric on race fosters damaging racial stereotyping and this in turn can contribute to societal harm well beyond any deeply felt personal offence"…
Lavarch and his ilk tell us that what people say is potentially too dangerous to be left to the uncertain processes of freedom of speech and the sanctions of public opinion. What is needed, he says, is a government tribunal to counsel and warn, to secure retractions and ban republication like the medieval church. If his view is accepted then liberal democracy becomes a historical interlude between the ruling classes that preceded it and the bureaucracies and tribunals that Lavarch would apparently like to see replace it.
This is a truly grotesque process that has no relationship to our democratic tradition and, dare I say it, one contrary to the inalienable natural rights of people to freedom of speech, on the observance of which, ultimately, the legitimacy of the democratic state depends…
The processes of this law I find obscene in the full meaning of the words: offensive, loathsome, ill-omened, disgusting.
The law that has made these events possible must be abolished as soon as possible.
Brian F McCoy, a senior research fellow, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at La Trobe University, thinks he’s criticising my (unlawful) opinion on the abilitiy of “fair-skinned Aborigines” to choose their identity when he actually seems to be agreeing that such a choice can indeed be made - an opinion which a judge has now ruled is factually inaccurate in the case of the nine fair-skinned Aborigines I wrote about.
I also know people who have not taken up their Aboriginal ancestry and that I respect their decisions. However, her story reminds me that there is still much unfinished business in relation to race in my own country. Andrew Bolt might argue that his comments are about freedom of speech. I argue that they are more about freedom of identity.
Decisions? McCoy should consider better what it means to have inadvertently uttered an opinion which could be taken as in breach of the values of the Racial Discrimination Act. Brian, this really is about free speech - as well as, yes, the freedom to identify that I thought fair-skinned Aborigines truly had.
(Apologies, but it is not safe for us to publish your comments. And thus an attack on my free speech becomes an attack on yours.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, October 05, 11 (05:14 pm)
What Cate Blanchett preaches:
What Blanchett does:
Cate Blanchett went to great lengths to hide herself from the photographers awaiting her return from James Packer’s country estate this week. Could that have something to do with her eco unfriendly mode of travel?
The controversial environmentalist – who was attacked by Tony Abbott and other opponents to a carbon tax following a polarising TV campaign in May – was without the eco-friendly hybrid vehicles that take her everywhere in Sydney, instead opting for Packer’s private helicopter.
(Thanks to reader Ana.)