American Elephants

It Just Isn’t Working. Maybe It’s Time To Consider Some Alternatives? by The Elephant's Child
August 6, 2010, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Taxes | Tags: ,

The July jobs report from the Department of Labor briskly slaps down all that “Recovery Summer” talk.  The economy shed another 131,000 jobs in July, and the number of  jobs created in May and June were revised downward to 221,000 lost jobs.  The unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.5 percent. The number of discouraged workers  is up 389,000 from a year ago.

There are ,of course, modifying details.  President Obama bragged on 71,000 jobs gained in the private sector — with an increase of 36,000 jobs in manufacturing, but most of those jobs are in the auto industry which has a direct line to the federal treasury.

In July’s jobs report, small-business household employment dropped by 159,000 jobs — a very bad sign, says economist Larry Kudlow.  In the three months to April, this survey produced 417,000 new jobs.  In the three months to July, it fell by 151,000.

About 70 percent of those lost jobs were census jobs, which only means lost temporary government jobs for people who would prefer full-time work.

All that stimulusing — $862 billion worth— and TARPing and jobs programs and union money, and green initiatives and promises have not worked.  As the Wall Street Journal remarked:

So far the Obama team has thrown the entire Keynesian playbook at the economy. We have paid people to buy cars, purchase homes, pay off their mortgages, weatherize their homes and put solar paneling on their roofs. And of course there was the original stimulus package of $862 billion, though some of that remains unspent. None of it has put America back to work.

Nancy Pelosi is calling the House back to Washington from their vacation to vote on a $26 billion stimulus that seems to be largely directed at the teachers’ unions.  Government spending does not create new jobs.  The White House insists, as Democrats always do, that if something isn’t working, it’s because you didn’t spend enough money.

Republicans will correctly continue to push for extending the Bush tax cuts, but Democrats are now trapped by Treasury secretary Tim Geithner’s improbable claims that extending low tax rates for small businesses, investors and successful earners would actually imperil economic recovery.  A silly war against investment and capital formation.

A Glimpse of the Cyber-future. by The Elephant's Child

Remember Minority Report? Here John Underkoffler demonstrates the real-life version of the movie’s special effects.  Is this how tomorrow’s computers will be controlled?  I can imagine— sorta— the application of this spatial operating system to complex problems of management — say the National Parks, or management of the Deepwater Horizon spill, but after the entry of a heck-of-a-lot of data.  As with all things cyber-, it’s easy to imagine miraculous things, and a little more complicated to make them an actuality. But, goodness, this is really fascinating. If you are interested, here is an interview with Mr. Underkoffler by Contagious magazine

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