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MORE GREEK TRAGEDIES TO COME?

From To The Point News and Richard W. Rahn comes this article that says what I believe very well:

Greece and too many other countries have been trying to defy gravity by living the good life on borrowed money. In 2001, the Greeks entered the eurozone, which gave them access to low-rate loans under the pretense that Greece was richer than it was.

The seeds of the destruction that resulted in the closure of the banks this week were planted the day the Greeks adopted the euro. None of this should have been a surprise to anyone. The only thing for certain is that the Greeks will now suffer another major drop in their real incomes.

The open question is will the Europeans, the Americans, the Japanese and others who also have been living on borrowed money, growing at unsustainable rates, learn the lessons from the latest Greek tragedy, or will they too march off the cliff?

The United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Brazil and a majority of smaller countries again this year will have lower rates of economic growth than the size of their current deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) — causing a continued growth in the real debt burden.

At some point these countries will have no choice but to cut expenditures or increase their real rates of economic growth to avoid becoming a future Greece. It is sad and striking how few countries, including the United States and most of the European countries, have real plans to reignite growth. Japan is in its third decade of little growth. Europe has stagnated for almost a decade, and the United States is only doing marginally better.

Many on the left and so-called establishment economists, including many who work for the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and politicians (plus, of course, the media) argue that the way to avoid a Greek-style debt crisis is to increase tax rates — while ignoring the basic fact that most tax rates on labor and capital in the major countries are well above the growth-maximizing rate.

They argue, because of demographics and politics, that it is not possible to cut government spending despite it also being above the growth-maximizing level in most countries. Or in National Public Radio parlance, spending cannot be cut because there are “too many unmet needs” — which, by definition, are infinite.

Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and other places demonstrate how fallacious the argument that more government spending is needed because they have shown that it is possible to have a higher per capita income than the United States while having lower taxes and less government. And they manage to accomplish this without oil and other natural resources that the United States has in abundance.

It is widely and correctly acknowledged that growth in regulations, particularly financial and environmental regulations, is serving as a major impediment to increasing economic growth. Yet, the Obama administration and its administrative agencies continue to crank out costly regulations at a record rate, without bothering in most cases to do serious cost-benefit analysis. The Republicans tend to decry the number and cost of the torrent of regulations, while doing little to stop them.

Note that the folks who turn out and enforce all of the regulations are salaried government employees. If the Republicans, who now control Congress, would cut or even eliminate many of the regulatory agencies in government, they could bring a meaningful slowdown or even a halt to these destructive regulations. No employees = no bad regulations.

Question: How many new regulations do we need? Almost all new regulations impose a cost on individuals, the economy and individual liberty. The Greeks and their fellow Europeans do not lack for regulations — so why are the folks in Hong Kong who have the greatest amount of economic freedom in the world so much better off?

There are plenty of examples from around the world of what policies promote economic growth and opportunity. Unfortunately, the ignorance of the voters in most of the major democracies makes them too receptive to politicians who promise a free lunch. More goodies for you to be paid for by someone else — or as Margaret Thatcher put it, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money to spend.”

She could have substituted the “welfare state” for socialism to better describe today’s Greece, Europe and the United States. Total government spending as a percentage of GDP is 52 percent in Greece, 35 percent in the U.S., 33 percent in Switzerland, and only 18 percent in Hong Kong.

Electing politicians who deliver (not just promise) less but more careful government spending, lower tax rates on labor and capital, fewer regulations whose benefits are unambiguously greater than the costs, and freer trade — along with a strong adherence to the rule of law and protection of private property — is the only way to guarantee not becoming a future Greek-like tragedy.

Richard W. Rahn is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth.

2.5 Quake Near Moro, Oregon

M 2.5 – 7km SSW of Moro, Oregon

Time
Location
45.424°N 120.782°W
Depth
0.0 km


3.4 Quake Near Waldport, OR

M 3.4 – 20km WSW of Waldport, Oregon

Time
Location
44.333°N 124.285°W
Depth
19.6 km


Britain Headed Back to a Mini Ice Age

Siberian winter en.paperblog.com

Siberian winter en.paperblog.com

Martin Armstrong has this to say today:

“We have been warning that the danger is by no means global warming, but global cooling. The energy output of the sun has turned down. Now scientists are warning that what we have reported is crashing rapidly. The collapse in the energy output of the sun is so intense that climate experts are now warning that the amount of light energy released by the sun is dropping to levels “not seen for centuries”.

“The collapse in the energy output of the sun functions on about a 300-year cycle or roughly six waves of the ECM 51.6 year frequency creating the 309.6-year wave. The 1400s saw the Black Death and the start of Capitalism as serfdom came to an end and wages reappeared for the first time on any major widespread level since the fall of Rome in 476 AD.  Roughly, three 309.6-year waves brings us to the Black Death. The next wave takes us into the 1700s and the fall of Monarchy with the American and French Revolutions.

“It was time for the peak in global warming and turning this down sharply once again. The problem is that this seems to correlate with plagues and disease as well. So those looking for global warming, you better move south.

I was early moving south!

3.2 Quake in Yamhill, Oregon

M 3.2 – 26km NW of Yamhill, Oregon

Time
Location
45.483°N 123.453°W
Depth
52.5 km


2.8 Quake Offshore Oregon

M 2.8 – 168km WNW of Barview, Oregon

Time
Location
43.992°N 126.206°W
Depth
10.0 km

Mavis Davis Breaks Into the Detective Business

My First Murder: A Mavis Davis Mystery (Mavis Davis Mysteries Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

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From a former Judge, a Texan and a part-time resident of San Miguel comes a writer who has invented a new detective named Mavis Davis, a likable character, who was a probation officer and now a process server and detective waiting for her first client. In walks Carl. Carl owns a diner and had fallen in love with a new, mysterious waitress, Doris Jones who was just murdered. The police think she was killed by a serial killer, but Carl thinks otherwise and hires Mavis to find out the truth. There are clues throughout and red herrings. Mavis, is the focus, and this reader wanted to know more about her and why she hangs out with her boyfriend and cop, Ben. The office staff promise lots of mischief for future books. I want to read more about Mavis. She has guts.


Interest Rate Hike

Fed holds off on interest rate hike, downgrades economic forecast, Says the LA Times

“The economy still isn’t strong enough to handle it.

“Fed officials sharply downgraded their economic forecast for this year. They projected the economy would grow between 1.8% and 2% this year, well below the range of 2.3% to 2.7% in its last forecast in March.

“If they’re correct, annual growth would be the worst since 2011 and would be far from the breakout performance some economists had hoped for this year.”

The economy is stagnating, the middle class hasn’t seen any wage increases adjusted for inflation for at least 10 years. He is priced out of the housing market, over loaded with debt, lives paycheck to paycheck, and doesn’t have the extra money to get the economy moving. I think the people in charge ought to be fired for incompetence; 92 million people out of work or looking for work; almost 50 million people on EBT.

AMERICAN DARK AGES

AMERICAN DARK AGES

In a piece for To The Point News, Victor Davis Hanson argues that American perverse logic has stepped back into the dark ages:

The California drought is the locus classicus of 21st-century know-nothingism.

In a nutshell, periodic three- to four-year droughts are not abnormal in California. They can be predicated on little-understood changing oceanic temperatures, mostly known as “El Nino,” that involve the heating and cooling of central Pacific Ocean currents, which in turn adjudicate the number and nature of productive storms heading down the western coast of North America.

Such droughts and the role of El Nino predated man-made concerns over global warming.

No matter. The president of the United States not long ago flew into Fresno, declared the dry spell the wages of global warming, and flew out to the environs of Palm Springs to golf on well-watered fairways in a desert.

The drought problem is not just that the state cancelled the later phases of the massive California Water Project, but that it also diverted precious stored water from reservoirs out to sea, in service to unproven theories about fish restoration.

The Enlightenment idea would have been to make prior arrangements for the periodic absence of El Nino currents, by building more reservoirs, curbing releases of stored water for green experimentation, and matching population growth with new infrastructure.

The un-Enlightenment preference is to freeze reservoir construction, to damn farmers as water-wasters, to claim that immigrants are being scapegoated for the drought, and to ignore El Nino facts in preference to global warming theories.

HILLARY’S MULLIGAN

Jack Kelly nails it at To The Point News

“I’ll restore faith in the country we all love,” Hillary Clinton pledged at a fund-raiser in Manhattan June 1.

To find out which country that is, we’ll have to check the list of donors to the Clinton Foundation, tweeted actor and former GOP Sen. Fred Thompson.

The Clinton campaign was awful eight years ago. Ready for Hillary 2016 hasn’t been an improvement. Things have gone so poorly since Ms. Clinton announced her candidacy April 12 she plans to take a mulligan.

Hillary will relaunch her campaign with a rally on Roosevelt Island this Saturday (6/13). By choosing that day without consulting the locals, Team Clinton forced cancellation of a long scheduled event for children, which generated bad press and irritated community leaders.

Better staff work can minimize such bungles. But not much can be done about the candidate. The more Hillary campaigned 8 years ago, the less people liked her. This year Ms. Clinton has spoken only to pre-screened audiences, said nothing of substance, refused to answer questions from journalists.

She’s dodged questions about scandals, but acting like a queen on the way to her coronation reinforces impressions she’s arrogant and out of touch. And even her toadies in the news media are irritated by her refusal to answer their questions. Hence the mulligan.

The Clintons deflected scandals in the past by stonewalling until the news media declared them “old news.” But this time, the “old news” keeps being refreshed by new, ever more seamy revelations.

Despite them, Hillary leads all GOP candidates — but probably not for much longer. She has narrow leadschiefly because voters don’t know enough yet about the Republicans to form an opinion about them.

It takes a lot — and a long time — to make much of an impression on a dumbed-down lo-of electorate heavily influenced by news media spin. But eventually, the drip drip drip of scandal permeates public consciousness.

“Eventually” may be now. More had an unfavorable than a favorable opinion of Ms. Clinton in CNN and ABC News polls last week. Responses to two questions CNN asked were devastating: Does Hillary care about people like you? (52 percent said no). Is she honest and trustworthy? (57 percent said no.)

Ms. Clinton can’t compensate for doubts about her character by stressing her experience, because her record as secretary of state is dreadful. She can’t talk much about issues either, because swing voters don’t like most of the policies she’s embraced.

Nor can Hillary count on enthusiastic support from the “progressives” she lurched left to court, because many suspect her views shift whenever her palm is crossed with enough silver.

To win, Ms. Clinton must attract the casual voters who turned out for Barack Obama, but not for John Kerry or Al Gore. So she must be alarmed by the response to the fund-raiser mentioned above.

What was to have been a $2,700 a plate lunch for 125 women only was thrown open to men because so few women bought tickets. Still, only 90 tickets were sold.

Aging Socialist Bernie Sanders drew more than 3 times that in tiny Kensett, Iowa (pop. 266) a few days earlier. (There was no charge for his event.)

The drip drip drip of scandal figures to go on for months, but isn’t likely to be enough for a longshot to upset Hillary in the primaries. But by yapping at her heels, they’ll reinforce doubts about her character.

Barring a killer revelation, Democrats will nominate for president a poor campaigner most voters don’t like or trust, with unpopular stances on hot button issues, who can’t talk about her record.

Hillary’s prospects won’t improve when millions get socked with huge Obamacare premium hikes next year. If the economy stalls out, or there’s a big terror attack here, election night 2016 could be the worst for Democrats in nearly 100 years.

Which is why it’s mostly Democrats who hope a smoking gun turns up soon. Republicans are content with drip drip drip.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan Administration.  He is the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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