If you are still recovering from all of the revelry and working on getting back to it on Monday, maybe you’ll have some time to sit down with a cup of hot something and read some of these longish pieces from recent publications.
Dave Weigel discusses the Failure of Peterson-ism. This is the Pete Peterson (plus his wealthy pals) project to eliminate Social Security and Medicare and enforce some austerity on the rest of us:
But do what, exactly? Here’s the current problem with Peterson-ism: As scary as it seems to liberals, as clear as it may be that Peterson wants to build momentum for entitlement cuts, the actual work of these groups has moved us no closer to those said cuts.
And it’s had quite some time to try. The modern era of anti-deficit pressure campaigns began in 1992. Democrats, at that time, were the party that panicked over budget deficits, warning voters that these shortfalls would bankrupt the entitlements they loved. Ross Perot’s campaign for president was predicated on “shared sacrifice” to cut the then-$4 trillion debt. When Paul Tsongas quit the Democratic primary, he joined Peterson to found the deficit-hawkish Concord Coalition, up and running when Bill Clinton won the presidency.
Last month’s Atlantic provided some detailed reporting on The Insourcing Boom. Starting with the revival of manufacturing at GE’s Louisville Appliance Park, this looks at the trend of American manufacturers bringing their manufacturing back to the US.
In the midst of this revival, Immelt made a startling assertion. Writing in Harvard Business Review in March, he declared that outsourcing is “quickly becoming mostly outdated as a business model for GE Appliances.” Just four years after he tried to sell Appliance Park, believing it to be a relic of an era GE had transcended, he’s spending some $800 million to bring the place back to life. “I don’t do that because I run a charity,” he said at a public event in September. “I do that because I think we can do it here and make more money.”
Immelt hasn’t just changed course; he’s pirouetted.
What has happened? Just five years ago, not to mention 10 or 20 years ago, the unchallenged logic of the global economy was that you couldn’t manufacture much besides a fast-food hamburger in the United States. Now the CEO of America’s leading industrial manufacturing company says it’s not Appliance Park that’s obsolete—it’s offshoring that is.
And if you dig into this, it is looking as though bringing the manufacturing of some of its appliances back to the US, GE is not only making some of them *cheaper* than they did in China, but they are able to sell them to consumers for less money. American skills also factor into this. No where can we see paying more taxes as part of this calculation, but hey. There’s plenty of stuff that will likely never be made here again, but bringing back the building of the more technologically advanced stuff makes sense, because there is still a great deal of added value in American workers.
An amazing mea culpa from the IMF’s chief economist on austerity — I don’t think that this is getting anywhere near enough press. Seriously.
Consider it a mea culpa submerged in a deep pool of calculus and regression analysis: The International Monetary Fund’s top economist today acknowledged that the fund blew its forecasts for Greece and other European economies because it did not fully understand how government austerity efforts would undermine economic growth.
This is the demand problem all over again. Withdraw the demand created by government spending, and — if private spending doesn’t race in to fill the gap — you have an economy that will contract.
If the federal government wants to get you, your basement arsenal will not be much protection.
We spend about as much on our military as the rest of the world put together. If you get to thinking another American Revolution is in order, it’s a guarantee you’ll be outgunned.
This would appear obvious. It’s apparently not. The nation’s debate on guns is forced to accommodate people who believe they are poised to stand up to an Obama-led reign of tyranny, egged on by interest groups claiming to stand for freedom but who are mostly interested in selling more guns.
What interests you today?