On June 10, I turned 40 years old.  Much has changed since 1972, both in my own life as well as in the world.  Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon presided over America.  We were still engaged in the Vietnam War.  The median price of a home was $27,600. The average car cost $3,853, and the average income was $11,859.

When the New York Times reported that the losses resulting from the failed trade made by JP Morgan Chase (JPM) earlier this year could reach $9 billion instead of the $2 billion initially reported, some said it didn’t matter while others called for more regulations. Few considered that such trades, and consequent losses, were inevitable and would likely continue because of the implied taxpayer backstop.

 

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is underwater by $26 billion. But a small premium increase will fix things up just fine. When the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)’s president, Josh Gotbaum, announced that the bankruptcy of AMR (the parent company of American Airlines) wouldn’t impose additional demands on PBGC’s already flimsy financial statement, his relief was nearly audible:

 American taxpayers dole out $80 billion every year to subsidize food stamps for the poor, but are unsure of where and how their hard-earned dollars are being spent. Ranging from candy to potato chips to steak dinners, food stamps can be used to purchase a variety of foods, and are accepted at gas stations, fast-food restaurants, retail stores, and in some areas, even high-scale restaurants.

Fifteen trillion dollars: That’s how much American taxpayers have forked over in the name of helping the poor since 1964. And what do we have to show for it? A poverty rate that has barely budged, an entrenched bureaucracy, and a population — like that of Greece and Portugal, two welfare-state basket cases — increasingly dependent on government handouts.

Outright lies and half-truths are the stock in trade of many politicians and political publications, and such deception is on display in the National Review's coverage of a Romney campaign appearance.

Beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program can expect to see their checks cut to 79 percent by 2016, according to the program's trustees.

Best known as the co-author, along with Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Freidman, of A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, Anna Jacobson Schwartz died on Thursday, June 21, in New York City at age 96.  A brilliant economist in her own right, she provided the background, the research and so much of the thinking behind the 859-page A Monetary History that Friedman claimed that “Anna did all the work, and I got most of the recognition.”

 

JBS CEO Art Thompson's video news update for June 25 - July 1, 2012.

Many people may have voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of his charisma. But anyone familiar with the disastrous track record of charismatic political leaders around the world in the 20th century should have run for the hills when they encountered a politician with charisma.

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