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I have always enjoyed reading The Economist (magazine) and

by Ziks511 / August 3, 2012 2:32 AM PDT

have learned a great deal from it, particularly in how they skew their cleverly, and occasionally elegantly written articles, and because it usually introduces ideas that re-emerge two or three years later in clumsier fashion among Conservatives and Republicans, and now Libertarians in the US.
It appears however that the curtain has been pulled back and the medicine show impresario is visible for all to see.

"Now, how you could draw a contrast between two men [Romney and Obama] who passed structurally identical health care plans—in which government regulation is used to incent (sic) people to buy insurance from private companies—baffled me. The caption, if anything, should have been "Small government or tiny?" So I peeked inside, where things get worse.

"The premise of the article is that President Obama has made government bigger. But there's no intelligent way to make this case, because it just isn't true by any meaningful measure. [Got that, Toni?] There's a chart in the print edition (which I can't find online) showing government employment as a percentage of total employment and as a percentage of the potential labor force (correcting for the overall business cycle). The former line went up from 2007 to 2010 (hey! big government!), but the latter line has only gone down since 2002. In other words, government employment is declining as a share of the working-age population, a point also made by Catherine Rampell earlier. And this isn't a recent phenomenon: the government's civilian workforce, which was around 1 percent of the population from the 1950s until the early 1990s, is now down around 0.7 percent (see the BLS, Current Employment Statistics)."

I hope that you understand that 0.7% in 2011, while being a larger absolute number because of the increase of the US population since 1950 is in fact smaller by nearly 1/3 than 1.0% was then. i.e. smaller government.

And what inelegant idiot could possibly choose to concoct the ugly and awkward non-word incent (sic) when the words: encourage, or draw, or adduce, or even seduce exist. And what blind, or purblind editor could let it slide by without throwing a heavy sharp edged object at the culprit.

So, and again I am speaking to Toni, who tends to be told the wrong things by her handlers, don't start talking about swollen government in connection with Health Care, because it hasn't happened.

Item the second. Britain under the intellectually impaired governance of David Cameron and friends is attempting to impose austerity on Britain in order to help the economy grow. Now I trust that everyone here knows that if you wrap a belt around your neck and pull it tight, funny things happen to your breathing, your powers of thinking and even to your heartbeat and circulation, more than about 3 minutes and you may become a permanent door stop.

If you wrap that belt around your thigh and fasten it good and tight, the odds are you will be called Stumpy in a matter of hours. No part of you will grow, though the leg may swell prior to amputation, but over all there will not be a net increase, there will be a net decrease.

Economies are the same. They run on money, just the way engines run on fuel. Cut off the fuel, engine slows and stops. Increase the fuel carefully, and engine speeds up and vehicle moves along more quickly. To continue this analogy: Ronald Reagan, and George W Bush, and David Cameron are or were all convinced that increasing the amount of fuel in the top fuel tank while restricting the amount of fuel to the engine would make the economy go faster. Clearly none of them played with model planes or understand the principles of the motor bike. Indeed the slowing of the motor bike makes it less stable, and the more fuel at the top makes it less stable. Both elements are present in the British economy, and are threatening the US economy.

If the US, as Elizabeth Warren pointed out (for which she was called a Communist) the Chinese economy spends about 5% of GDP on infrastructure, just the way the US did in the 50's and 60's, while subsequent (Republican) Administrations have cut back on "public expenditures" as though they were fireworks over the Potomac (those they haven't cut back). But infrastructure is like owning a house. It involves continuous maintenance carefully apportioned each year. The amount spent decreases, the quality of the infrastructure decreases, the trains derail, the bridges drop concrete on passing motorists and eventually everything goes to hell in a Republican't basket.

The US used to be the Can Do nation, now it's a nation of cowards and greedy fat cats who pay other people minimum wage or less to do the work. It's a travesty.


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Man, you Canucks hard to please!
by drpruner / August 6, 2012 7:18 AM PDT

I read it often in the local library because IMyankO it is very well written. As to, "particularly in how they skew their cleverly, and occasionally elegantly written articles"! Did you read the mag's title and pay attention?!?!
They cover a wide range of topics, but always from a capitalistic, economic point of view. Very useful, for some topics.

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Jeez, Doug, what did I say at the beginning? Very well
by Ziks511 / August 6, 2012 11:46 AM PDT

written, generally, but can you find the verb "to incent" in any dictionary? It's an example of sthe barbarians at the gates that it appears in The Economist. "To incentivize" is an ugly neologism for "to promote" or "to encourage". And the Economist is a very conservative business oriented magazine. Please note, neither an Economist, nor all Economists, nor even a majority of Economists are Conservatives. The 3 best known ones in the US certainly aren't. The magazine is usually palatable because of it's good writing, and funny because of its selection of photos and their captions, but they're very sparing of what, coming from them, is the yogurt of human kindness (spoiled milk made palatable).

Since I've been reading the Economist since about 1970 I'm tolerably familiar with its point of view, I just don't happen to agree with it more than about 20% of the time. It's not Holy Writ, it's opinion. Clever, well phrased, usually well written opinion, but neither inerrant nor necessarily the truth, nor even an unbiased assessment of the facts. It is a conservative organ for the dissemination of conservative economic thought, and I used to have a subscription. It is perhaps the best magazine of that ilk, but it's still a right wing magazine.

And you, more than anyone here, knows I was born and raised and educated in the US. I still haven't spent as much time in Canada as I did in the US, and that includes the 4 years in England as time in Canada. Deducting the time in the UK gives me another 4 years. 34 and a half years plus another 5 with only an American Passport (not included in the preceding calculations) versus 31 since we moved here, less 4 years in England. I'll have to be almost 73 before I've spent as much time here as I did in the US, and with a US Passport. In other words another 13 years, or 8 if you want to deduct residency without Canadian Citizenship.

I learned my politics in Maryland and Michigan. I may have sharpened them a bit in Canada's more salubrious climate for political divergence from the American Lock Step, but the groundwork and the education was entirely American, both familial, and my own. I grant you I have learned a lot about the quiet Canadians, whose valour in 2 World Wars passes entirely unremarked outside, except for Britain, whose chestnuts we saved in WW1, and the Dutch whom we liberated and fed after the starvation winter of 1944-45. Wear a Canadian flag pin, or a small Canadian flag on your back pack, and the Dutch will treat you as one of their own. Canadians are altogether too reticent, too modest, insufficiently prideful of their achievements.

If you saw the opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, you saw Britain celebrate among other things, the National Health Service. Or did NBC edit that out? Canadians are equally proud of their Health System, but much quieter about it. They only say nice things (or complain about it) to one another.

Oh, and Sir Kenneth Branagh at the Olympic Ceremonies? He was dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the great Victorian Engineer of the Great Western Railway, and the Great Eastern and Great Western ships (the largest ships of their day) and about a dozen famous bridges, including the wonderful chain link suspension bridge over the River Severn. The Great Eastern was abandoned down in the Falklands but has been brought home to Bristol (on the Severn Estuary) which was the port from which it was launched and is being restored there.

Sorry, my middle initial (actually my second initial) is T which apparently stands for Tangent. I can't keep from going on them.

Nonetheless, best wishes Doug, I hope things are well,

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