Facing Mass Layoffs, Taliban Protest US Sequester Mullah Omar took to the media to offer harsh bipartisan criticism. QUETTA, PAKISTAN – As the United States rapidly approaches the deadline for sequestration, President Obama is getting support from an unlikely quarter: Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. In a video released today, Taliban spokesman Zabibullah Mujahid read a statement from the group’s supreme leader: “I, Mullah Muhammad Omar, Emir of the Taliban, Commander of the Boy Brigades, Custodian of the Holy Poppy Fields, Rocker of the Casbah, Sultan of Swing …” After several minutes Zabibullah was able to read the actual contents of the statement, where the Taliban leader addressed what he referred to as the “dire consequences” if Congress fails to resolve the sequestration issue: “Peace be upon you, American infidels. “Half our budget comes from skimming off your operations in Afghanistan. When asked about the Taliban’s statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney was blunt. “These are false choices.
Detroit Sinks With Belle Isle WITH the fourth anniversary of the Obama administration’s auto bailout approaching, the Detroit comeback narrative has settled into accepted history. Just last week, Chrysler, once the wobbliest of the Big Three, announced a ninefold increase in profits since 2011. In its Sunday Super Bowl ad, the company exuded such confidence, it no longer felt the need to defensively celebrate Rust Belt grittiness with the help of Eminem or Clint Eastwood, going instead with a syrupy paean to the Farm Belt called “God Made a Farmer.” It wasn’t immediately clear if God also made second-tier assembly line workers starting at 14 bucks an hour, but no matter. Three recent proposals on ways to patch holes in Detroit’s budget illustrate just how desperate things have become. The first, and by far the most serious, came from Gov. Belle Isle was recently at the center of a different moneymaking scheme. The third revenue-generating idea, in fact, came via Mr.
Big Mac Prices Show Where Europe's Economic Reforms Are Working: Study BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Forget about statistics for employment and industrial production, it is being claimed that the price of a hamburger is showing where Europe's economic reforms are working - and where they are not. By studying the different prices for McDonald's Big Mac burger throughout the euro zone between July 2011 and January 2013, Guntram Wolff, an economist at think-tank Bruegel, found evidence that struggling countries like Ireland had tightened their belts and others had not. The price of a Big Mac has been used by The Economist for decades as a partially tongue-in-cheek way of judging global currency valuations - the gist being that it costs the same to make but is charged at different prices around the world. Wolff took the data and found that the price rise in Greece, Portugal and Spain has been less than the euro zone average, while in Ireland the price actually fell. This contrasts with price rises above the euro zone burger average in Germany. Also on HuffPost:
The Democratization of Banking: Why Is Socialism Doing So Darn Well in Deep-Red North Dakota? By Les Leopold North Dakota is the very definition of a red state. It voted 58 percent to 39 percent for Romney over Obama, and its statehouse and senate have a total of 104 Republicans and only 47 Democrats. The Republican super-majority is so conservative it recently passed the nation’s most severe anti-abortion resolution – a measure that declares a fertilized human egg has the same right to life as a fully formed person. But North Dakota is also red in another sense: it fully supports its state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND), a socialist relic that exists nowhere else in America. Because it works. In 1919, the Non-Partisan League, a vibrant populist organization, won a majority in the legislature and voted the bank into existence. One of America’s Best Kept Secrets Each time we pay our state and local taxes — and all manner of fees — the state deposits those revenues in a bank. How the State Bank Creates Jobs No Bailouts for the BND Banking doesn’t have to be a casino.
Paul Ryan Asked for Tax Math, Offers Gibberish -- Daily Intelligencer This last weekend, Paul Ryan repeatedly dodged questions about the mathematical impossibility of the tax plan he and Mitt Romney are running on, and then, having burned through seven repeated questions and two minutes of dodging, insisted he couldn’t answer because the math would take too long. Today Bloomberg News spoke to Ryan and promised he could have all the time he wanted to get into the math. Guess what? He still didn’t. Rather than try to reconcile his irreconcilable promises, Ryan dissembled his way through another interview. Ryan insisted the study has been discredited, which it hasn’t. Nevertheless, even if one were to use the model from Mankiw and Weinzierl (2006) and assume that after five years 15 percent of the $360 billion tax cut is paid for through higher economic growth, the available tax expenditures would still need to be cut by 56 percent; on net lower- and middle-income taxpayers would still need to pay higher taxes. But you haven’t shown it!
What might a world without work look like? | Nina Power A few months before the financial crash hit, the National Lottery issued a new kind of scratchcard. At £5 a go – the more expensive end of the range – it offered the chance to win £40,000 a year, every year, for the rest of your life. Howard Groves, the director of game development, described the idea in the following way: "It's about not having to put up with life's everyday irritants." The card proved successful, despite its cost, and a new version in 2009 is still selling well. Everything that is carried in the hope of the card – life (how long might I live for?) As with all major institutional entities – law, prison, education – to question work is to tamper with reality itself. The Tories, as ever, seek to exploit these complex social, moral and economic factors in the crassest way possible. Campaigns against unpaid work as a condition of receiving benefits – workfare – and cuts affecting disabled people have drawn out the truth behind government schemes.
Japan Steps Out But now it seems that one major nation is breaking ranks — and that nation is, of all places, Japan. This isn’t the maverick we were looking for. In Japan governments come and governments go, but nothing ever seems to change — indeed, Shinzo Abe, the new prime minister, has had the job before, and his party’s victory was widely seen as the return of the “dinosaurs” who misruled the country for decades. Furthermore, Japan, with its huge government debt and aging population, was supposed to have even less room for maneuver than other advanced countries. But Mr. Some background: Long before the 2008 financial crisis plunged America and Europe into a deep and prolonged economic slump, Japan held a dress rehearsal in the economics of stagnation. To be sure, there was a lot of spending on public works, but the government, worried about debt, always pulled back before a solid recovery could get established, and by the late 1990s persistent deflation was already entrenched. Enter Mr.
Equity crowdfunding waits on the SEC Crowdfunding mechanisms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have revolutionized how artists and creative ventures raise money. By enabling users to pitch an idea online and then hype it relentlessly through social media, the average fundraiser can reach far beyond his personal network. Filmmakers, musicians and even technology companies have used crowdfunding to raise impressive sums, sometimes into six and seven figures. The process has been criticized for being inefficient and for appealing to a limited demographic of young urbanites with twee taste and too much time. One thing that has prevented crowdfunding from entering the mainstream business community, however, is that as of now the average user can’t invest in companies through crowdfunding. In April, President Barack Obama signed the bipartisan (really!) President Obama set a January deadline for the SEC to work through the logistics of how it’s going to work, and it’s not clear that the deadline will be met. From Fortune:
Cruise tourists spend less The cruise ship industry has seen a ten-fold increase in business in the last 30 years. But a Norwegian study shows that cruise tourists hardly leave money behind in the countries they visit. Foto: Colourbox Over the past few years, the overall number of tourists to Western Norway has declined slightly. "The average camping tourist leaves behind twice as much as the average cruise ship tourist. Larsen has conducted a comprehensive survey of tourism in Western Norway, and recently published his results in the article Belly full, purse closed in the journal Tourism Management Perspectives. Hey small spender Larsen has been pioneering studies into how much revenue cruise tourism actually contributes to the local economies visited by cruise ships. "The result is clear", says Larsen. Larsen’s research shows that the average cruise tourist on average spends about NOK 300 a day onshore. In comparison, the average camping or hostel tourist spends twice this amount. The new mass tourism
Psychopathy, Politics and The New World Order When attempting to analyse what is happening in the world, it is important to appreciate past economic, social and political processes that led us to where we are today. Understanding the tectonic plates of history that led certain countries towards fascism, communism or capitalist liberal democracy, for example, is essential (1) (2). At the same time, however, it can become easy for us to push aside the individual as we focus on theoretical perspectives that refer to the ‘underlying logic of capitalism’ or some other notion that draws heavily on theory. It can get to the point where individual motive or intent (agency) is airbrushed from the narrative because human action is deemed to have been shaped by the dead weight of history or forces beyond our control. What leads him to conclude this? Based on these terrible deeds, it becomes easy to argue that the people ultimately responsible for them do not adhere to the same values as ordinary people. Notes 4) Polaschek, D.
A Federal Reserve That Is Focused on the Value of Clarity The ’s decision on Wednesday to announce specific economic objectives for its policies would have stunned and dismayed earlier generations of central bankers, who regarded secrecy as a virtue and obfuscation as a prized technique for manipulating financial markets. “Since I’ve become a central banker, I’ve learned to mumble with great coherence,” Alan Greenspan, a former Fed chairman, told reporters in 1987. “If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said.” But a greater appreciation for the virtues of transparency has been one of the most important shifts in central banking in recent decades. It is a response to public demands for increased accountability and an embrace of economic research on monetary policy that finds speaking clearly is more effective than mumbling. The Fed’s vice chairwoman, Janet Yellen, last month described the result as a “revolution.” Until recently, the Fed under Mr. It now appears that he was simply busy dealing with a financial crisis.
Can a Test Tell If You're a Good Entrepreneur? - Bankers around the world know there are profits to be reaped by making loans to promising small businesses that fall just short of traditional definitions of “creditworthy.” Ever since Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank pioneered "microfinance" by making tiny loans to single mothers in Bangladesh, development policymakers also have believed that getting credit to small businesses—those too large for Grameen-style microloans but still lacking collateral or credit history—is not only possible, but the key to helping a nation’s economic growth. So how to figure out who’s a good risk for a loan—and who isn’t? Now, some banks think a simple, 40-minute questionnaire for entrepreneurs can tell them a lot about whether a company is worth the risk. Psychometric evaluations typically include brief, open-ended questions related to ethics, attitudes, skills, and intelligence. “These business owners might be poor, but not poorest of poor. “We walk a very careful line,” he says.