Thursday, July 31, 2008


ECON 101

Time to put on your thinkin' caps, boys and girls, 'cause it's time for Joltin' Django's latest ECON 101 lesson ...

I was watching the CBS Evening News earlier this week - yes, I'm a masochist - when I heard Katie Couric talk about the United States' "current recession." Ms. Couric ain't the only pundit who uses the R-word whenever the economy becomes a topic du jour. Read a paper, listen to a radio news report, or watch a national network newscast and all you'll hear is recession, recession, recession.

I've come to the learned and astute conclusion that practically no one in the mainstream media has the slightest idea about what "recession" means. If they did, they wouldn't bandy the term about in such a reckless fashion.

For the record, the economy is officially in a recession when it suffers two consecutive quarters of negative growth in GDP. I hate to break it to the Katie Couric and her unlearned ilk - and I'll but it in a language that she and they can easily understand (apologies to Malcolm X) - but we ain't in no recession. To wit:

"Increased exports, a slightly less grim housing picture and higher consumer spending all caused the U.S. economy to pick up speed in the second quarter ... the Commerce Department said today.

"The economy grew at a 1.9% annualized pace in the second quarter after rising at a downwardly revised 0.9% pace in the first three months of the year. ... Growth the second quarter is at the fastest pace since the third quarter of last year."

So, I've told you that the United States is not in a recession. Does that mean that I believe all is peachy-keen in the corps politique? Not by a damn sight.

There are a lot of things that need to be done to bring the United States out of its economic funk ... and that's just what's it's been, a funk. Making President Bush's tax cuts, which've resulted in record revenues pouring into the U.S. Treasury, permanent is a good start. Indexing capital-gains taxes for inflation, or eliminating them entirely (like in Commie-controlled Hong Kong), is an even better idea. I could go on and on with tried and true free-market ideas that could get the U.S. economy humming. What I can't do, sadly, is get the statists who're currently in control in the U.S. Congress to hitch-on to my ride.

You know, if we lived in a perfect country, any individual who wished to serve at the federal level would be forced to read - nay, read and fully comprehend - Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Jean Baptiste Say's A Treatise on Political Economy, Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, Milton Friedman's A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, and Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics and Applied Economics.

If politicians had to read the above-mentioned books, and apply what they'd read whilst governing, the United States would have to change the definition of recession from two quarters of negative growth to two quarters of sub-3 percent annualized growth. Think about that ...

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