SPECIAL PREVIEW Stimulus: A History of Folly

James K. Glassman

March 2009

Before he was sworn in as President, Barack Obama began to lay out his plans for reviving an American economy that, it would later be discovered, had declined 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, its worst performance in 26 years. About the first part of his project, “stimulating” businesses to invest and consumers to consume through government spending and tax remittances, he was forthcoming and enthusiastic. About the second, stabilizing the financial system, he wished to reserve judgment.

He anointed the stimulus proposal with a convenient and vivid metaphor. “We’re going to have to jump start this economy with my economic recovery plan,” he said on January 3. According to the image, one can jolt a dormant economy into action just as one can hook up polarized cables to a car battery, clamp a defibrillator to the chest, or breathe into the ear of a reluctant lover. Suddenly, the object of our attention will be back in action, aroused.

Alas, the questions raised by a proposed stimulus—whether to apply it, what sort it should be, how much it should cost, and when it should begin and end—are far trickier to answer than problems involving dead batteries. And, remarkably enough, history and economic research offer no conclusive answers. The recession that began in 2008 could turn out to be the worst slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. For three-quarters of a century, economists have been studying it diligently. And even now they cannot come to a definitive conclusion about the cause of that depression, the reasons for its severity and duration, or what cured it. In an introduction to a book of essays on the Great Depression he compiled in 2000, Ben S. Bernanke, then a Princeton professor and now chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, wrote, “Finding an explanation for the worldwide economic collapse of the 1930’s remains a fascinating intellectual challenge.”

Today, of course, the challenge is more than intellectual. Continue reading

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Babies Win Wars

Food for thought

Dying nations are usually defined as those with fertility rates of 1.5 or lower. By that measure, 30 European countries are either dying today or — like France — seeing their cultures and populations transformed by growing ethnic and religious minorities.

Europe is shrinking just as the population in Islamic, African and Asian countries is exploding. In 2020, there will be one billion “fighting-age” men (ages 15-29) world-wide; only 65 million will be Europeans. At the same time, the Muslim world will have 300 million males, often with limited opportunities at home.

Continue reading

EHarmony to offer same-sex matches after New Jersey settlement

And the pro-gay marriage crowd make the innocuous claim that if they’re are recognized to marry that they wont force Churches to perform same-sex marriages. I don’t believe them in the slightest.

EHarmony to offer same-sex matches after New Jersey settlement

Coming soon to EHarmony — Adam and Steve.

The Pasadena-based dating website, heavily promoted by Christian evangelical leaders when it was founded, has agreed in a civil rights settlement to give up its heterosexuals-only policy and offer same-sex matches. Started by psychologist Neil Clark Warren, who is known for his mild-mannered television and radio advertisements, EHarmony must not only implement the new policy by March 31, but also give the first 10,000 same-sex registrants a free six-month subscription.

“That was one of the things I asked for,” said Eric McKinley, 46, who complained to New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights after being turned down for a subscription in 2005. Continue reading

Windows 7 (M3) Running On A PC From 2000/2001

I recently downloaded a copy of Windows 7 Milestone 3 (M3). Curiosity had gotten the best of me. This is the same copy of Windows 7 that Microsoft has just passed out at its recent Professional Developers Conference, PDC. At this conference Microsoft demoed the newest update to their UI (or UX as they like to say now) but unfortunately those new features aren’t in this build as they weren’t stable enough to pass out to the public.

So after I downloaded Win7 M3 I wanted to get it installed to play around with it. I had two options.

  1. Microsoft Virtual PC
  2. My old PC I built in 2000/2001.

I figured that since I don’t use my old PC for anything any more I’d see how it would fair. The following are my notes.

Continue reading

Obama and the Politics of Crowds

The masses greeting the candidate on the trail are a sign of great unease.

There is something odd — and dare I say novel — in American politics about the crowds that have been greeting Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics. We associate them with the temper of Third World societies. We think of places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini. In these kinds of societies, the crowd comes forth to affirm its faith in a redeemer: a man who would set the world right.

[Commentary] Martin Kozlowski Continue reading

Nothing Funny About Obama?

I find it quite odd that there have been so few comedy routines about Barack Obama. As if there was nothing funny that could be said about him.

I can think of at least two skits off the top of my head that would be quite funny about Barack Obama.

1. The simple joke that he is ‘the one’ or ‘the messiah’ could lead to endless hilarity. With skits having Obama in robes healing the sick and using his scepter (looks like a teleprompter) to strike down the evil corporations.

2. Show a crowd at one of Obama’s rallies where we focus in on two people standing next to each other cheering for Obama. One a rich celebrity and one a poor college student. Amongst some of their banter you can have the college student say “I simply cannot wait until Obama gives me some of your money!” and the rich celebrity says in agreement “I simply cannot wait until Obama gives you some of my money!” 🙂

Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline

Here is an interesting article on the reason why the main-stream media has such a liberal slant and why they are actively engineering the election of Barack Obama.

Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline

Columnist Michael Malone Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why

Column By MICHAEL S. MALONE

Oct. 24, 2008 —

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer,” because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist. Continue reading