The recently deceased economist Milton Friedman firmly believed that Governments should do little more than enforce contracts, promote competition, “provide a monetary framework” and protect the “irresponsible, whether madman or child”.
Just like the current occupant of the People’s Palace at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Friedman failed at almost everything he espoused: school vouchers, legalization of drugs and prostitution, protecting Big Business from environmental protection, and directly targeting the rate of growth of the money supply to limit inflation.
In fact, the only real success he had was in the creation of payroll tax withholding.
Yes, that’s correct! That 30% or so the government takes away from your gross pay every week/biweek/month was Milton Friedman’s crowning achievement way back in 1942.
At least he had the decency to express regret over his error in judgment.
There is a great deal of concern over the recent fall in the value of a dollar relative to other currencies. The indications are the expanding weaknesses in the US economy – a housing slump, leading to declines in manufacturing employment (especially in the automotive sector), etc. – coupled with continued “stubborn” inflation, make the dollar a poor investment relative to other currencies such as the euro and the British pound sterling.
Even relatively weak currencies as the Japanese yen, the Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht, are doing better versus the dollar.
This has the French very concerned, while their compatriots in Luxembourg aren’t too concerned at this point. They were more worried when the euro was where the dollar currently is.
There is even celebration in Israel, where the Israeli shekel has improved against the dollar to the point where the Israeli government has amassed “an enormous and little publicized budget surplus of more than $2 billion”.
Maybe they can spare us an equal amount out of the $3 billion the US taxpayers have sent over to Jerusalem every year since 1973. We could use it to rebuild New Orleans.
This detail is from a report prepared by economist Thomas Stauffer, which was commissioned by the US Army War College. But I digress.
According to the latest Anholt Nations Brand Index, the US (and Israel) have received low marks in each of 36 separate categories of the opinions of 25,903 individuals polled around the world.
Simon Anholt explains that the US and Israel share a common delusion: “to know us is to love us.” Anholt has found the opposite to be the case with those polled: the more they know about the US, the less they like it, and the same may well be true for Israel.
I expect now that I have stuck a pin in the balloon beliefs of Israelis and Americans, I will now be pilloried, hung, quartered and drawn in the comments. Sic Semper Cursor Indicium Pessimus. Or something like that.
Another piece of bad news that won’t make me the toast of the posters is the fact that foreign nations hold 52% of the $4 trillion in US debt and has been increasing that debt to the tune of amounts equal to 7% of our GDP. This puts our economy in a position subject to the tender mercies of our economic competition.
But Wait! That’s Not All!
In his latest book, Mind Set!, author John Naisbett holds that national currencies should be displaced by “virtual currencies”, which include such things as frequent flyer miles and those points one racks up using one’s credit card.
But this neo-liberal utopian concept is already proving to be a problem in China:
“Nowadays, “virtual” currency and “real” currency are nearing equivalence, in the sense that both will soon be able to circulate freely [online and offline]. In such a case, inflation is likely to spread from the world of “real” currency to the virtual world, which may in turn influence real-world currency stability.
“According to reports, in the city of Wenzhou alone there are seven or eight ‘virtual mints’ that employ up to 4,500 employees. Because these ‘mints’ operate independently, gaming operators are unable to control the issuance of virtual currency, leading ultimately to unchecked inflation.
“Recently, [China] Central Bank officials have said that although no plan has yet been formulated, official monitoring of virtual currency is in the works. It seems that in the new era, the government is obligated to regulate not only real-world currency, but virtual currencies as well.”
Milton Friedman did believe in the government “providing a monetary framework”, but he never saw virtual money coming.
Maybe that’s why the Bush Administration isn’t concerned about their deficit spending! They think it’s all “virtual” anyway.