Monday, April 8, 2013

Defect to this week's quizzes

Wednesday, April 10, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.

Thursday, April 11, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore
Temple University Campus

Last week I asked a couple of questions about US history and government in the last round.  Very few teams were correct on either and I'm not sure anyone got both correct.  I wasn't joking when as a result I said that I should ask people citizenship test questions to see how well people stack up against immigrants just now learning English.

I'd be OK with making such a test a requirement for native born citizens remaining in the country after the age of, say, 25.   I'm willing to make exceptions for people with severe learning disabilities; we'll need a note from a doctor.  Not sure where everyone else gets deported.  Most countries aren't eager to accept morbidly obese blank slates with video game-oriented skill sets.

One question I won't be asking I did see on a sample test is "What kind of economy does the USA have?"  They were fishing for "free market capitalist."

Is that really what we have?  We actually have a sort of backasswards nega-socialism with pretty tight controls on pricing and an absolute refusal to allow some actors to lose money when they screw up.

Anyone familiar with the columns of Paul Craig Roberts (a Reagan era Treasury conservative in the true sense of the term, so not exactly Karl Marx) knows the detail of how the Fed manipulates the bond and precious metals markets (downward) and as a result the value of the dollar itself (inflated), and therefore any payment instruments issued in dollars.  That's a huge part of the economy right there neither free market nor capitalist.

Add in price basements on everything from milk to cigarettes, the minimum wage (not that I'm against it mind you), massive subsidies on agricultural, mineral and timber products, tax rebates to businesses posting losses, the closure of Wall Street before 4pm when the DJIA dips (but not rises!) too much, the S&L bailout a generation ago, the bank and auto bailouts still occurring now, federal no-bid contracts for a large portion of stuff actually manufactured in the USA, the illegality of voluntary collective wage bargaining in half of the states... all of this the tip of the iceberg... and we appear to have a more managed economy in patchwork fashion than Yugoslavia pulled off on purpose.  The very last thing in the world most corporate managers would want would be to have to deal with an actual market, one in which they'd be allowed to fail.

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