Economics Headlines for the Week: 2/14/2011
Economics headlines from this week’s news, blogs, and op-eds.
We’ll keep it a little short this time. After all, there’s more to life than money (or love).
To see the week’s economics headlines click here:
An article discussing how the billionaire libertarian Koch Brothers are shaping the direction and rhetoric of the Republican party. The Kochs have become increasingly politically powerful since they first bankrolled the tea party. The irony of the whole situation is that the Koch family fortune was built by when their father helped Soviet Russia tap its vast oil reserves. This means of course that the Koch brothers themselves owe their riches not to hard work and the justice of the free market, but to their father’s business partnership with Communists who monopolized and dictated the distribution of natural resources. Further fueling this irony is that the oil industry is vastly subsidized in the U.S. to the tune of at least $4.5 billion a year (In Barak Obama’s state of the union address he actually mentioned cutting some of these oil subsidies to help pay for green energy) , and that the Kochs’ business has been helped by very un-libertarian laws such as eminent domain when building oil pipelines. Something tells me they’re token libertarians who mostly care about the tax-cuts they will likely to receive when ideologues destroy Social Security and Medicare.
Here is another nice example of the United States’ upstanding billionaires. Pete Peterson one of the founders of the private investment firm Blackstone Group is spending money to force high-school children to learn that Social Security and Medicare are a threat to the solvency of the United States. This comes after his attempts to bank-roll “America Debates” fake town hall/public forums were perceived as obvious propaganda. Peterson now is distributing teaching materials to newly minted teachers through Columbia University. According to the materials, trying to pay for Social Security with taxes (as its historically been done) is a wrong answer:
Currently, these materials are being used as part of lesson plans for students in four states. The plan is ultimately to distribute 100,000 copies of the curriculum, while also making it available for free downloading by any school, public or private, that wants it.
The Washington Post: Ron Paul’s economic Rx: a Southern secessionist
Sometimes with politicians taking crazy advice from crazy Southern secessionists on economic matters I wonder whether the problems due to government intervention in the economy are due to the flaws of government or democracy? I mean, should we really let any nut-job source his information from another nut-job when making policy decisions? I mean, I guess with a dictatorship it’s just one-nut job running the show. Maybe we need some sort of benevolent despotism run by machines?
This whole gold-based currency thing is just kinda absurd. It makes my head hurt to try to argue with these people because I don’t think they use logic, it’s all regurgitating whatever they heard spewed out by gold-line or some talking head. I’ll have to do a blog post on it some time I guess.
At least Pete Peterson and the Koch’s can rest easy knowing that their marginal tax rate won’t go up 4% from 35% to 39%. I don’t think they’ve got a drop of warm blood between the three of em.
Market Watch: Four banks fail, costing fund $145 million
The crisis isn’t over yet. On a side note, this has exposed me to how little I know about how the FDIC fund actually works. Here are two links that I haven’t had time to make sense of if your curious… another blog post perhaps? Charles Schwab and Seeking Alpha