Stealth Bananas!!!

…Mr. Obama has not radically expanded the safety net. Rather, the dire state of the economy has reduced incomes and made more people eligible for benefits, especially unemployment benefits. Basically, the safety net is the same, but more people are falling into it….

…44 percent of Social Security recipients, 43 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits, and 40 percent of those on Medicare say that they “have not used a government program.”…

…the vast bulk of entitlement spending goes to the elderly, the disabled, and working families, so any significant cuts would have to fall largely on people who believe that they don’t use any government program….

…Yes, voters sent some severe conservatives to Washington. But those voters would be both shocked and angry if such politicians actually imposed their small-government agenda.

…we could put well over a million people to work directly, and probably around 3 million once you take other effects into account, without any need to come up with new projects; just transfer enough money to state and local governments to let them return to doing the essential business of government, like educating our children….

From the comments:

"…It used to be that gov’t workers were considered to be low paid, relative to private sector workers. The idea was that working for the public involved some sacrifice, that gov’t workers were willing to make. What has happened since then is not that gov’t workers have gotten better pay and benefits, but that private sector workers have gotten worse pay and benefits. They are poorly paid. That is the problem.

"And if anything, better pay for gov’t workers serves to bolster pay for private sector workers, by giving them the alternative of working for the gov’t. Lowering gov’t workers’ pay would be more likely to lower private sector pay, instead of equalizing it…."

…Keynesian analysis should be part of the mainstream, and does not need to be embodied in a school of thought. However, for those that like schools of thought, I will replace it with a new one: the anti-Keynesian school of thought. It covers all those who attempt to dismiss Keynesian ideas like fiscal stimulus at the zero bound, or countercyclical fiscal policy in a monetary union, not through reasoned analysis, but by just labeling it Keynesian.

Hmmmm. I’m all for raw milk _if_ its production is more stringently hygienic than the pasteurized stuff. This, however, is pretty horrific:

…Sanitary deficiencies were noted in the dairy’s milk bottling room, milk storage rooms, bottle labeler room, “kefir” room and common areas, according to the letter. Among those cited:
- Failure to maintain equipment in good repair and in sanitary conditions so as to protect products from potential contamination;
- Failure to effectively exclude pests from the facility so as to protect products from potential contamination;
- Failure to maintain milk storage areas in good repair and in a sanitary condition so as to protect products from potential contamination.
Some of the specific observations made by the Food and Drug Branch inspectors:
- Rodent droppings in the Milk Storage Room 2;
- Chipping paint and an accumulation of mold/mildew in the “kefir” room; 
- Buckets used to handle/store colostrum inverted on cardboard lying directly on the floor;
- Milk storage area infested with large number of flies;
- A main drain uncovered with an accumulation of standing sewage water….
…Organic Pastures Dairy Company has been the subject of other recalls and outbreaks. Most notably, the dairy was quarantined in 2006 after six children became ill with E. coli O157:H7 infections from consumer raw dairy products, according to the CDC report from 2006.
In 2007, 50 strains of Campylobacter jejuni plus Campylobacter coli, Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter hyointetinalis, and Campylobacter lari were cultured from OPDC dairy cow feces.
Also in 2007, Listeria monocytogenes was cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream. In 2008, Campylobacter was cultured from Organic Pastures Grade A raw cream….
…Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas….Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares….

Coooool . … . :)

Pretty self-explanatory.
I’m not sure why charging higher taxes on those who benefit more from shared social expenses (education, physical infrastructure, etc) is such a hard concept to grasp. Or why it’s not obvious how problematic it is to let the ‘winners’ in the system get a cheap ride on everyone else’s backs . …

Pretty self-explanatory.

I’m not sure why charging higher taxes on those who benefit more from shared social expenses (education, physical infrastructure, etc) is such a hard concept to grasp. Or why it’s not obvious how problematic it is to let the ‘winners’ in the system get a cheap ride on everyone else’s backs . …

…crony capitalists hate free markets, with all the fairness and transparency that they imply. Competition is a serious drag on enormous profits and introduces significant uncertainty and risk.

As soon as the game is underway, successful capitalists are constantly pushing the envelope of the rules, seeking to establish rents, monopolies, unfair advantages, and debt traps to snare the bulk of the players and stifle the profit-eroding tendency of real competition….

…Good government takes hard work and constant renewal and reform. Human systems do not maintain themselves, and are almost never self-improving, but rather given to entropy, manipulation, and deterioration….

Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, 07/1972 (by The U.S. National Archives)
[Back before we had ‘smothering’ levels of environmental regulation.]

Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries, 07/1972 (by The U.S. National Archives)

[Back before we had ‘smothering’ levels of environmental regulation.]

…If the subsidies are as large as they are claimed to be — $1.5 billion — they should be spread over 60 million cars produced over the next 25 or so years, which means they would be $25 per car — not $250,000 as claimed. At $25 per car, there are bigger fish to fry in terms of turning America around.

The Chevrolet Volt was essentially fully baked before the government got heavily involved in GM, exiting 2008. It was a free-market creation, with government incentives happening basically after the car had already been developed…..

…Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.

In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.

In fact, since academic excellence wasn’t a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland’s students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland — unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway — was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity….

…Recent data from Voyager I suggests this region is a kind of “cosmic purgatory.”

In this region, solar wind from our sun has calmed, our Solar System’s magnetic field has intensified and high-energy particles from inside of our Solar System appear to be leaking out into interstellar space.

The finding highlights the fact that the Voyager spacecraft continue to send valuable information back to Earth more than 34 years since they were launched….