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Economics Headlines for the Week: 2/21/2011

February 23, 2011

Economics headlines from this week’s news, blogs, and op-eds.

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Dylan Ratigan msnbc news 2/23/2011, posted with vodpod
To see the week’s economics headlines click here: Why Nobody Can Match the iPad’s Price
Here is a nice article which relates to another conversation I have been having with a blogger on Wal-Mart. The article basically makes the case that Apple functions as a highly vertically integrated company, which it does. However it fails to mention that much like Wal-Mart, Apple engages in strong-arm tactics to keep its prices low and its competitors prices high.  Both companies are well run and highly vertically integrated, but unfortunately on top of this both companies engage in corporate practices which seek to undermine competitive pricing of their inputs through the use of market-power.
Talking Points Memo: Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights
There have been a lot of claims this last week about how the budget situation in Wisconsin is not as dire as the Governor has made it out to be. While I haven’t looked at the budget myself, the article argues that in typical libertarian fashion the Governor enacted budget cuts in order to create a spending deficit that would crash the state budget. All this so he can give tax cuts to his buddies:

(T)his broadside comes less than a month after the state’s fiscal bureau — the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — concluded that Wisconsin isn’t even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.”Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control,” says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future — a public interest think tank. “He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts… so he could rush through these other changes.”

What I do know is that irregardless of the state of Wisconsin’s finances, the Governor’s emphasis on stripping workers’ collective bargaining rights while refusing to negotiate on true fiscal issues related to these wages and benefits constitutes union busting. The Heritage Foundation – Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group

GreenPeace explores the connections between a notorious conservative climate denying think tank and Koch Industries, the United States largest private oil and drilling company. I’m always a fan of the saying: follow the money, but in this case Koch Industries’ annual contributions only accounts for 1% of The Heritage Foundation’s annual expenditures… but it should give you an idea of the type of people and corporations contributing to the foundation. Here is more information on The Heritage Foundation and its backers.



Blog: True Crime Report: Hospital Refused To Help Employee Dying of Heart Attack; Blame the Insurance Company

The title really says it all. A tragic example of why the current approach to Health-care and Insurance in the United States needs true reform.



Blog: The Consumerist: How this Philly Homeowner Foreclosed on Wells-Fargo

One man fighting what he saw the unfair doubling of his premiums and demands that he ensure his house for more than its market worth. It’s bizarre that banks are taking all these steps to raise the burden on mortgage holders, you’d think at this point they’d just be happy to have people paying the original contract.

LA Times: ‘Raw Deal’: Historian makes waves with scathing look at Franklin D. Roosevelt

Leave it to the Libertarians to rewrite history when it doesn’t fit with their ideological view, that is after all what they do with reality. However, I would like to state that while FDR may not have actually “solved” the depression in its entirety… he did a lot to alleviate the general suffering of the people. However, this isn’t something that tends to concern most libertarians I’ve talked to (in all seriousness).

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