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Random Friday Evening Thought

So Barney Frank wants to be appointed Senator for Massachusetts if/when John Kerry is relieved of duty confirmed as Secretary of State.

Now, I know it’s not as simple as one person bearing total responsibility, but there is no person in America who is more responsible for the 2008 financial collapse than thankfully former Congressman Barney Frank.

My first thought: Well, Massachusetts deserves him, so why not?

My second thought: Wait, a second, never has there been a better personification (well, maybe not never) of the sort of corruption and simple wrongness of Washington, DC than the undistinguished gentleman from the Fourth District. If Massachusetts deserves him, he should be governor!

So what about it, Deval? How about stepping aside for someone your constituents can really be proud of?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

Government Spending Cuts Help the Economy

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:12 pm - January 4, 2013.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Economy,Freedom,Real Reform

A few weeks ago, a piece on Bloomberg looked at the question of whether government spending cuts hurt the economy. (Hat tip: Hot Air) First, the authors remind us that a large public debt saps economic growth:

In a paper released this year, economists Carmen M. Reinhart, Vincent R. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff said that periods of debt overhang — when accumulated gross [ed: public] debt exceeds 90 percent of a country’s total economic activity for five or more consecutive years — reduce annual economic growth by more than one percentage point for decades.

Over 20 years, the authors write, there can be a “massive cumulative output loss” that reduces gains by 25 percent or more. The U.S. went over the 90 percent threshold after the 2008 financial crisis…

To grow robustly, the U.S. must reduce that debt overhang. But that would mean genuine spending cuts: large enough to give us a budget surplus. And that would cause a recession, right? Maybe not:

In the 1990s, Canada, for instance, reduced debt-to-GDP ratios through an aggressive combination of actual, year-over- year spending cuts and higher taxes. The result wasn’t malaise but a burst in activity.

The same happened in the U.S. right after World War II. In 1944 and 1945, annual government spending (in 2005 dollars) averaged about $1 trillion and represented more than 40 percent of GDP. By 1947, it had plummeted to $345 billion in 2005 dollars and 14 percent of GDP. Even facing the demobilization of millions of soldiers, the economy soared and unemployment fell despite almost universal fears that the opposite would happen.

Such outcomes are not flukes. Research by economists Alberto F. Alesina and Silvia Ardagna underscored that fiscal adjustments achieved through spending cuts rather than tax increases are less likely to cause recessions, and, if they do, the slowdowns are mild and short-lived.

…[especially] when spending reductions are accompanied by policies such as the liberalization of trade and labor markets…

Read the whole thing; they cite more examples of countries who achieved growth through government-cutting measures, like Sweden, or the UK in the 1990s. There are still more examples, which they didn’t cite: the UK in the 1980s (where Thatcher’s spending cuts enabled an economic boom), the U.S. in the early 1920s (where Harding’s spending cuts did likewise), and more. (more…)

Are my computers telling me to take time away from the Internets?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - January 4, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Technology

I sit now in a Starbucks where I have found a slow Internet connection; I had retreated here precisely to access the Internet as I have issues with wireless connections at home.

Sometime last night, the mouse on my iMac (my primary computer and the one only which appears able to regularly to connect to the Internets from my home) just decided to start working erratically, sometimes not functioning at all, other times choosing to work only in certain segments of the screen. I did call AppleCare and a very nice woman named Chimika (sp?) very patiently helped me track down the serial number (since, at that point in the conversation, the mouse wasn’t working on the left side of the screen where is located the Apple icon–I had to climb up on a chair to read the number of the box which, packrat that I am, I had kept*).

Since I had been able to use the Wireless keyboard, she determined it had to be the (wireless) mouse (and not the port on the computer itself), so we set up an appointment (for Sunday) when I could take it in to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. Fortunately, I have AppleCare so a replacement mouse will be free.

The long and short of this is that I do not have Internet a home. And the internet I found at this here Starbucks is slow. So maybe it’s a sign.

And with my fantasy epic backed up on a thumb drive, I can work on that (even on this laptop) at home. Or even here — because Starbucks’s slow internet shouldn’t impact the speed of Word.

I may try to post when I make an excursion to a neighborhood coffee shop. Or not. Next project now is to cut and paste a post that ILoveCapitalism has written for us.

* (more…)

Watcher of Weasels — First Winners of 2013

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:52 am - January 4, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging

I am honored to have done so well in a contest in which I barely participated. Due to all the craziness surrounding my return from my family vacation, I didn’t even get to vote nor to check out any of the entries.

Please note that while I generally like the submissions from my fellow “council” members, I don’t always agree with what they have to say — or the way they say it. Each blogger (or blogress) what he (or she) believes to be his (or her) best piece of that week.

Council Winners