28 January 2010

Haiti relief and Scientology

The guardian reports that John Travolta flies Scientologists' aid to Haiti. Some people have been critical of scientology, often arguing that it is not a 'genuine' church. I would agree, but I'm not sure that's where the essence of the problem lies. Indeed, another of the guardian's article recently reported that "Pope John Paul II regularly whipped himself" and that this "claim of self-flagellation boosts case for elevating late pontiff to status of saint"...

Quotes from Obama’s Full State of the Union Address

"Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the interstate highway system, our nation has always been built to compete. There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products."

26 January 2010

Labour parties and unemployment in the 1960s

Source: Hibbs, D. A. (1977). "Political Parties and Macroeconomic Policy." American Political Science Review 71(4): 1467-1487

Samuelson on Inflation and partisan politics three decades ago

"We tend to get our recessions during Republican administrations...The difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is the difference in their constituencies. It's class difference... the Democrats constitute the people, by and large, who are around median inomes or below. These are ones whom the Republicans want to pau the price and burden of fighting inflation. The Democrats [are] willing to run with some inflation [to increase employment]; the Republicans are not"

Source: Samuelson P. A. (1977) Some Dilemmas of Econonmic Policy. Challenge 20: 30-31

25 January 2010

Taxing high income earners – putting things into perspective

These days, talks about the crisis occupy much space in media commentaries and political spheres. Following the bail out of major financial institutions, focus has now shifted towards the twin objective of recovering funds and addressing flaws in the incentives that financial agents. Various proposals have become the subject of quite significant debates, for instance concerning whether to tax bonuses. While not necessarily sound given the problems it purports to address, this could be a blessing in disguise.