Friday, March 16, 2012

Afghanistan--go slow or get out

Karzai has asked us to go slow, how about real slow as in Get Out?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

British Colonial Failures

The Brits “retained significant control (over Iraq) … until the late 1950s. Yet by repeatedly putting its faith in unpopular rulers who could be depended upon to ensure a steady supply of oil, London inadvertently set off several nationalist explosions. A string of army coups, starting in 1958, eventually led to Saddam Hussein.”

In Nigeria, Britain distrusted educated natives “and decided to grant resources and autonomy to more traditional tribal chieftains, who were intent on pursuing local, not national interests. Britain’s decision to join the Islamic north of the country with non-Muslim settlements in the south fed tribal conflicts and insurgencies that have lasted to this day.”

In the Sudan, “British authorities ruled the north and south separately, ultimately to calamitous effect. Southern Sudan has recently become a separate country after decades of bloodshed, and the last 10 years have seen unconscionable war and genocide in the Darfur region, which was mindlessly tacked on to Sudan during World War I.”

Quotes from Isaac Chotiner’s review of Kwasi Kurateng, Ghosts of Empire in the New York Times, March 4, 2012.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oil subsidies

Obama proposes an end to government subsidies of oil companies. It's about time.

Going to the dogs

Consumer spending for pets was $51 billion last year. Economists are fond of saying that non disputum de gustabus, or in matters of tasted there can be no dispute. But, surely some critique of spending is as important as improving the efficiency of production of questionable value. The content of GNP is important as well as the quantity.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Romney on Taxes

Romney proposes more tax breaks for the rich. He would eliminate taxation of investment income, reduce corporate taxes, and eliminate estate taxes. After seeing the steadily increasing share of national income going to the top one percent, Romney wants to make it worse.
Reducing corporate taxes as a stimulus for investment is a myth. Corporations have a record amount of accumulated savings that they don't want to invest now. The problem is inadequate consumer demand, not corporate profits.