A Clear Illustration

…of why we need to have our Federal government stop funding colleges and universities.

Play the tape. The ignorance is appalling, but it’s what we’re paying for. We aren’t getting our money’s worth.

Economics and the AP

The backdrop is this: last spring, Japan enacted a tax hike in an effort to start covering its public debt and bring that under control for the benefit of the Japanese economy and the Japanese citizen. The country promptly fell into recession as even more money was taken out of the citizens’ hands, removed from the private sector of the economy. As a result of this, Prime Minister “Shinzo Abe called a snap election for December and put off a sales tax hike planned for next year until 2017.”

Here’s the AP’s lack of understanding of basic economics, as demonstrated on the other side of the link above.

Obamacare, Take Two

…aspirin, and call your doctor in the morning. If you can find one.

Actually, this Take Two is an Obamacare second year look. I went to healthcare.gov to see what was what, after I’d done a couple of comparisons last year.

The good news is that the Web site works much more smoothly now. The bad news is that the Web site works much more smoothly now.

What’s next for ObamaCare?

That’s the title of a Jim Angle article on Fox News.com. RTWT, but what interests me are a couple of comments he quoted in his piece.

The first comment is this one, by John Goodman, a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute:

[I]if you repeal it, you’re going to have to replace it with something. And repeal and replace is just another way of saying we’re going to change ObamaCare into something different and better.

Democratic Party Principle

A couple days ago, one of Obamacare’s primary architects, Jonathan Gruber, said this about the need for the tactics used in order to get the thing passed.

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in—you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed…. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass…. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

Heads Up

Politico is reporting

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has canceled its advertising reservations for Sen Mary Landrieu ahead of the December runoff in Louisiana.

The committee canceled all broadcast buys planned from Monday through Dec 6 in the state’s five major media markets, three sources tracking the air war told POLITICO. That’s about $1.6 million worth of time. The DSCC is in the process of canceling an additional $275,000 in cable placements….

This race is not a done deal. That’s a lot of money for running out a ground game, something at which the Democrats are very good, last week’s election results notwithstanding.

Another Assault on Privacy

This time by a major cellular telephone company: Verizon.

…it has emerged that Verizon Wireless has been silently tracking around 100 million mobile customers using a supercookie that can’t be opted out of.

This is an especially nefarious invasion: the “cookie” lets Verizon track your movements on the Web—every page. And they then peddle that information to any advertiser willing to pay up.

Trade

I wrote earlier about our GDP number, including the impact on it of our trade gap—specifically our import numbers. Now the other side of that coin has been exposed.

The US trade gap widened in September as exports fell to a five-month low, a sign of weaker demand for US-made goods that underscores concerns about a global economic slowdown.

The trade deficit rose 7.6%…. Exports decreased 1.5% from August while imports were almost unchanged.

Two reports don’t make a trend, but they are suggestive.

In A Separate Report….

Overall household spending [Note: household spending is different from the consumer spending I referenced in yesterday’s article, and this is a different report from the one I referenced yesterday] fell 0.2% from August, the first decline since January and only the third since the recession ended in mid-2009, the Commerce Department said Friday. The drop reflected a big decline in purchases of big-ticket items such as cars.

Economic Improvement?

Our GDP grew at 3.5% last quarter compared to the prior year’s 3rd quarter, against economists’ expectations of a 3.0% growth rate. That’s good, right?

Why did it grow?

Part of the growth came from trade: imports fell sharply. Net trade is a definitional component of our GDP, and net trade consists of Exports less Imports. A reduction in imports, then, by definition elevates GDP.

This particular reduction, though, reflects a reduction in buying goods and services from overseas, which is entirely consistent with another trend: Americans aren’t buying stuff at any high rate, still.