The numbers posted at Investors Business Daily over the weekend by John Merline were impressive: U.S. manufacturing profits last year exceeded $600 billion, almost tripling since the bottom of the recession, while jobs in manufacturing have increased by 400,000 in the past two years. Unemployment in manufacturing has been below the national average for eight straight months, and the industry itself has been growing at three times the rate of the overall economy.
 
 

For weeks now politicians in New York have debated ad nauseum Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s proposal to increase the minimum wage in New York State by $1.25. The argument — whether to maintain the status quo or strive for $8.50 per hour — is wasteful political rhetoric in itself, for the determination of the wage scale is best left to the free markets.

The debt chickens are coming home to roost in Greece, and the hen house is collapsing. As the hard-pressed Greek parliament convened to vote on an enormously unpopular austerity measure insisted upon by international bankers with the power to prolong Greece’s agony with another bailout, furious mobs set Athens ablaze and fought pitched battles with police. On Monday morning, Greeks surveyed with horror the smoldering rubble of more than 90 buildings across the capital. The popular consensus:  this is just the beginning.

 

“The time for austerity is not today,” White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew declared on the February 12 Meet the Press, providing an apt motto for President Barack Obama’s latest budget proposal, which foresees trillions of dollars in deficit spending, phony spending cuts, genuine tax hikes, and a refusal to address budget-busting entitlements. In other words, it’s a typical Washington budget proposal.
 

“If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes,” asserted President Obama in his State of the Union speech.  For those with predominantly investment income, that would effectively double their capital gains tax rate from the current 15 percent rate, producing a triple negative impact on U.S. economic growth and job creation by reducing the incentive for domestic investment, increasing the incentive to move more jobs and capital overseas, and directly reducing the amount of capital available in the private sector by way of greater transfers of income to the government.
 
 

The report from The New York Times on Wednesday about the foreclosure settlement reached between five big banks and 49 states’ attorneys general made it appear that justice was being served. The $26 billion to be paid out to some 2 million homeowners (former and current) “could provide relief” to them under the terms of the settlement. It would also remove a cloud of uncertainty from the banks’ liability and might help in “halting the housing market’s downward slide.”


 

A new report published by the World Bank has come to a spellbinding conclusion: High government spending and large public sectors substantially diminish economic growth. In fact, a slew of establishment economists and organizations have come to a similar conclusion. Daniel J. Mitchell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explained in a recent article that the era of socialism is over, and the field of economics is migrating toward a more laissez-faire ideology, where governmental authority is weakened and economies become more privatized.

 

Well, he didn’t make Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” But Warren Buffett did make the cover of the magazine last month. The picture showed him smiling an impish grin. The article inside explained why.

American dependence on government has soared to an all-time high under the Obama administration, spiking 23 percent in just two years, according to a new study by the Heritage Foundation. The conservative research group’s 2012 "Index of Dependence on Government" revealed that 67 million Americans are now banking on some federal program, including programs related to healthcare, housing, welfare, education subsidies, and other government programs that were "traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families."
 
 

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told lawmakers this week that the government’s borrowing was at “clearly unsustainable” levels, warning that its wild budget deficits increase the possibility of a sudden fiscal crisis which is creeping “ever closer.” The central bank chief also said Washington’s exploding debts would crowd out private-sector investment with damaging consequences for the economy.

 

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