When Lakshman Achuthan, co-founder of Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) appeared on CNBC to defend his prediction last September of an “imminent” recession, challenges came from many observers, including Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt of Bloomberg and Jon Stewart of The Bonddad Blog. Each pointed to an array of economic indicators that appeared to make Achuthan’s prediction appear almost silly: jobs data improving, auto sales increasing, homebuilders stock prices bouncing, consumer sentiment positive, and others.
White House announcements celebrating the jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) were optimistic: “Private sector employers added 233,000 jobs to their payrolls in February [which] means the economy has added jobs for 24 consecutive months…” This illustrates “the progress of the last two years and the importance of doing everything we can to continue strengthening our economy and creating jobs for the months and years ahead,” wrote Megan Slack on the White House blog. Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, was equally enthusiastic:
In yet another sign that the looming American debt crisis is close to spiraling out of control, February’s monthly federal deficit was the highest ever recorded — $229 billion, according to a report released last Wednesday by the Congressional Budget Office.
The Aborigines of Frago-Mungo Land beat the ground with a Kooji-bird feather for three days in early spring. They are celebrating a tradition that says berries appear on bushes only if the earth is tickled. One may smirk at those in Frago-Mungo, but at least they enjoy their cultural tradition. Critics say that Americans are forced to suffer many delusions for their ridiculous ritual. There is an “earth tickling ceremony” here too. It’s called Daylight Saving Time. Those who object to the practice say that like feather-dusting the earth, it doesn’t do much good, but it still continues year after year. A growing number of people think it’s an insane practice and argue for its abolition.
The best thing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn had to say in his State of the State address on February 1 was that the legislature needs to face its “rendezvous with reality.” Under a newly enacted state law the budget process must now begin with estimated revenues rather than just a list of “needs and wants” and then craft a budget around that number.
Washington, D.C. raked in more than $885 million from President Obama’s economic stimulus package, but the D.C. government cannot report how many jobs it actually generated for its residents. A large majority of the money has been spent, but according to an analysis by the Washington Times, data released by government officials reveal that the city doled out hundreds of millions of federal dollars while effecting no favorable change in the city’s unemployment rate, which ranks among the worst in the country.
Allen Stanford, former chairman of the Stanford Financial Group of Companies, was convicted on Tuesday on 13 counts of fraud, conspiracy, obstructing justice, violating U.S. securities laws — for operating a Ponzi scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for June, which could result in Stanford remaining behind bars for at least another 20 years.
Thursday afternoon, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) tweeted a very important message to advocates of limited government. @SenRand Paul: Today, I unveiled my FY2013 budget proposal. My plan dramatically reduces spending and balances the budget in 5 years.
To purportedly tame the progressive rise in gas prices, President Obama visited a North Carolina truck manufacturer on Wednesday to unveil a new $1 billion plan to advocate electric and alternative vehicles through consumer incentives and federal grants for states.
Sometimes secularism sounds legitimate. One of the more thoughtful arguments used by proponents of a secular state, or of a state that mandates the removal of all religious and moral speech and symbols from public life, is Frenchman Frederic Bastiat's 1840 classic treatise, The Law.