Category Archives: Economy watch: Democracy, Economics and Trudy Rubin Create More Confusion

It’s been a bit since Trudy Rubin has been a subject of my analysis. But her column today is a dandy. It is clear that Rubin doesn’t understand Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

Today she tackles democracy, economics and the debt ceiling, blaming Republicans for causing the potential downfall of the United States as a world leader. Huh?

Following is an excerpt from her column:

Few Americans grasp the dangers of the congressional battle over the debt ceiling. Somewhere between 33 percent and 40 percent of every dollar the U.S. government spends is financed by borrowing. Under Republican and Democratic administrations alike we have been able to finance this debt because U.S. Treasury bills are considered the world’s safest investment. Countries such as China and Saudi Arabia keep their excess funds in T-bills because of their unqualified faith in U.S. institutions.

That could change.

The debt ceiling needs to be raised at the latest by early August – not to spend more, but to cover current obligations. Republican and Democratic leaders have been locked in talks to find $2 trillion in federal savings to offset a rise in the debt limit.”

This column simply adds to the confusion by those, including me, who studied and reported on economics for years.

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Filed under Economy, Journalism, watch: China Sells Our Computer Trash Back to Us

The American Thinker has a fascinating article about China takes our computer trash, particularly circuit boards, and sells them back to us. Following is an excerpt:

“The [Chinese] peasant sits in a dusty clearing and starts a small fire.  He holds a circuit board over the flame until the solder starts to melt.  Quickly rapping the board against a rock, he watches as the precious harvest of integrated circuit (IC) components fall to the ground.  The peasant gathers the ICs and takes them to a small ramshackle factory where he can sell them for a few pennies per dozen.

Within this makeshift workshop, the ICs are cleaned, and painted with a black epoxy to cover up the original markings.”

These components and others are then sold to electronics companies, which place them in computers and other systems. The total value of this counterfeiting operation is $1.2 trillion, according to the article, and an estimated 2 percent of electronic components in airplanes are suspected to be counterfeit.

It’s a fascinating and rather scary read at

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Filed under Economy watch: Ethanol is a Classic Story of Government Waste and Journalistic Disinterest

Ethanol. Remember that magical fuel that was supposed to cut prices and help the environment? Well, it has done neither. In fact, the government subsidies to corn producers have so skewed the agricultural economy in the Midwest that 40 percent of all corn goes to ethanol.

For the past 30 years the federal government has given a 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit that costs roughly $6 billion a year. But the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 73-27, voted yesterday to end the subsidy. It is unclear what will happen in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Government subsidies have skewed production away from food for animals, increasing the cost of groceries, too.

But you won’t read about this story in much of the media unless you live in flyover country like South Dakota, which has the largest ethanol plant in the world, and Iowa, which produces huge amounts of corn.

I remember covering this debate when I worked for Newsweek in Washington. It was front-page news. Now, as usual, the journalists move on to the next government pie-in-the-sky solution. Fortunately, there are a few scribes still out there who understand the problem. See

It is almost a certainly that when government gets deeply involved in a problem, the worse the problem gets.

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Filed under Economy, Flyover Country, Journalism, South Dakota watch: The Most Amazing Website Ever

This is the most amazing website I have ever seen. It shows why our economy is such a mess. The site shows the country’s debt, our individual debt and all other kinds of debts that mess up our economy.

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Filed under Economy watch: Journalism Tops Daily Beast’s List of Useless Majors

The Daily Beast, that rather useless piece of journalistic tripe, has come out with a list of useless college majors. The list is based on beginning salary, median salary, and job availability. Are these really the criteria upon which to judge learning and what one does with a college degree?

According to the Beast, a journalism major is the most useless. Gee, I think that most journalism students can write, which is something few other people in society today can do properly.

Nos.2 and 3: Horticulture and agriculture. I guess we don’t need to grow things anymore. We will just import them?

No. 4: Advertising. I guess the Beast plans on running its operation for free without pay!

No. 5: Fashion design. I guess we don’t need clothes because we won’t have enough to eat and no one will be trained in advertising.

No. 6: Child and family studies. F*** the kids and families. No problems there.

No. 7: Music. Don’t need culture.

No. 8: Mechanical engineering. We can just get an app for that.

No. 9: Chemistry. No one needs chemists to develop drugs to cure diseases.

No. 10: Nutrition. Nobody will be fat anymore because we won’t have people trained in producing food.

No. 11: Human resources. Everyone is happy at work!

No. 12: Theater. See No. 7. If we don’t need music, we don’t need plays.

No. 13: Art History. See Nos. 7 and 12. If we don’t need music and theater, we certainly don’t need people who know about art.

No. 14: Photography. Everyone can take good photos with an iPhone.

No. 15: Literature. Since we don’t need music, theater, and art, why do we need to read?

No. 16: Art. Since we won’t have anyone to talk about art, why have art?

No. 17: Fine Arts. And who needs this one after we crossed out every other endeavor known to the Greeks.

No. 18: Psychology. No one is having any problems these days. We all feel good!

No. 19: English. We don’t need to talk either.

No. 20: Animal science. We won’t need any future vets because we will have to eat our dogs and cats because no one will be producing food.

So what are the good majors? The Beast’s list might include accounting, business, finance, marketing. Maybe app creation, Facebook future, and any other way to make money rather than learn stuff. I look forward to the list.

You get to find the URL since I am too disgusted to link it. I really am happy to see who’s running the magazine I use to work for. Blather below:

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Filed under Economy, Education, Journalism watch: Now Here is a Really Dumb Idea from the New York Times–Raise Gas Prices

This column is an amazing assortment of poor logic, poor economics, poor policy and just dumb. It’s the old standby of raising gasoline prices so we can make alternatives competitive. This one goes back so far it’s nice to see that these guys are trying to prop it up again. At least there are a few of us old folks around who remember this shoddy argument and a lot of us who are not willing to pay more money for gas.

See dumb and dumber at

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Filed under Economy, New York Times