Friday afternoon questions…

1.Where’s the annual Social Security Report?

“Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May. Now it’s July, and there’s no sign of this year’s report. What is the Obama administration hiding?”

Discussed here.

2. Why does the lack of jobs make it seem like 1932?

As Verizon Communications chief executive Ivan Seidenberg noted recently in a Business Roundtable speech: “By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.”

This analysis echoes those of Depression-era entrepreneurs. In 1938 Lammot du Pont, head of the eponymous chemical concern, spoke of a “fog of uncertainty” slowing business and noted in the company’s annual report that arbitrary government always slowed business down: “by land and sea the universal practice under conditions of fog is to slacken speed.”

Discussed here.

3. Is Obama “post partisan?” Is he fulfilling his promise of a new tone in Washington?

“President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 to unite the country, transform Washington and inspire Republicans and Democrats to work together. Now he looks more like a typical partisan pol, battering the opposite party with the kind of vitriol almost never displayed by the man he was sent to replace, former President George W. Bush.

Obama may put some short-term points on the board by reverting to classic political meanness. But by repudiating the mantle of change he was given, he is undermining his own raison d’etre.”

Read more here.

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One Response

  1. Compare Ivan Seidenberg’s Business Roundtable comments—i.e., “By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.”—with this passage from “The End of an Idea: Progressive constitutionalism is a dead end,” by Alan Meese and Nate Oman (at http://article.nationalreview.com/437548/the-end-of-an-idea/alan-j-meese-and-nate-b-oman?page=1):

    “Progressive hero John Maynard Keynes even warned FDR that the NIRA [National Industrial Recovery Act] would slow recovery by mandating inflexible wages and prices, and thus interfering with the process of macroeconomic adjustment. Indeed, FDR’s policy of ‘bold experimentation now, get permission later,’ which [Harvard law professor Noah] Feldman holds up as an example of what we need today, created so much legal uncertainty that businesses held back on investment. Keynes made this point at the time, declaring in exasperation that FDR should either nationalize the utilities or leave them alone, but in any event should stop chasing them in a different direction every week.”

    Ah, I’m trying to imagine how Keynes would have responded to the Obama administration’s upping the ante by including foreign companies among those to be chased hither and yon.

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