Daily Archives: March 9, 2012

Narrowing the New Class Divide


BOOK REVIEW
Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, Author: Charles Murray.

By Charles Murray – I can see four steps that might weaken the isolation of at least the children of the new upper class.

For one thing, we should get rid of unpaid internships. The children of the new upper class hardly ever get real jobs during summer vacation. Instead, they get internships at places like the Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute (where I work) or a senator’s office.

It amounts to career assistance for rich, smart children. Those from the middle and working class, struggling to pay for college, can’t afford to work for free. Internships pave the way for children to move seamlessly from their privileged upbringings to privileged careers without ever holding a job that is boring or physically demanding. more> http://tinyurl.com/6na8yp9

Banks Shouldn’t Be Both Judge and Jury on Credit Defaults


Editorial – Imagine you bought a house and, to insure it, you had to purchase coverage from the homebuilder.

Then imagine a fire nearly destroyed the house, but your ability to collect the insurance depended on a committee of anonymous homebuilders meeting in secret to vote on whether to write you a check. If denied, the panel wouldn’t have to provide an explanation, you wouldn’t be allowed to review the minutes of closed-door discussions and you’d have no right to appeal.

Not a great system. But not dissimilar to the one that governs the world of credit-default swaps.

Panels made up of representatives from large banks, hedge funds, investment firms and other interested parties, formed by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, decide whether payouts will be made to investors. more> http://tinyurl.com/6pyr6c5

White House tries cyber scare demonstration to spur Senate


Napolitano used images projected on screens to walk lawmakers through a hack. Jay Westcott/POLITICOBy Jennifer Martinez – The White House orchestrated a simulated cyberattack on New York City’s power supply during a summer heat wave late Wednesday to illustrate not only potential human and economic casualties, but to tee up support for Senate passage of a sweeping cybersecurity bill.

Backed by the White House and Senate Democrats, the Lieberman bill would require operators of critical infrastructure to work with DHS to set security standards they must follow. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have raised concerns that this approach is too regulatory and would refocus industry’s attention from security to complying with new government mandates. more> http://tinyurl.com/74kpx9h

Vladimir Putin and the Law


Vladimir Putin - World Economic Forum Annual M...

Vladimir Putin – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

By William Partlett – Vladimir Putin has been busy — he recently published his seventh pre-election article in two months. These lengthy articles cover a dizzying range of issues, from ethnic integration to foreign policy.

Reliance on the law has typically been short-lived amongst Russian leaders. From Lenin to Yeltsin, Russian leaders have strategically used legal rhetoric but have ultimately jettisoned legal limitations in the relentless pursuit of their political and economic goals. Mr. Putin’s emphasis on what he has previously called the “dictatorship of law” hints at a different approach, explicitly drawing on a deep tradition of conservative Russian legal thought that begins with the nineteenth century philosopher Boris Chicherin and that persists today in the current chairman of the Russian Constitutional Court, Valery Zorkin.

Mr. Putin proclaims that the Russian state will not allow itself to be swept up in growing forces of instability, but instead will seek to control these forces by actively “setting the rules of the game.” He continues: Russia will “muscle up” by “being open to change” through state sanctioned procedures and rules.

As he eyes another six years in power, only Mr. Putin knows whether he will expand on these limited steps toward a law-based state. more> http://tinyurl.com/7rdghxz

The Rich Get Richer: 2010 Was a Very Good Year to Be in the 1%


By Derek Thompson – During the Great Recession, the 1% absorbed half of total income losses between 2007 and 2009. But in the first year of the recovery, the top percentile won 93% of all income gains.

As for this recession, Tim Noah puts it beautifully: This recovery has been a luxury item. For the bottom 99%, real income growth over the first two years of the recovery was one-fifth of one percent. The richest percentile saw its income rebound by 11.6%. It is only slightly sensational to point out that the 1%’s income has outgained the rest of the economy by a factor of 58 in the recovery. more> http://tinyurl.com/79e2sly

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CONGRESS WATCH The House intelligence committee: A rare example of bipartisanship, David Ignatius, Washington Post Related articles Updates from Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (theneteconomy.wordpress.com) Updates from Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (theneteconomy.wordpress.com) Updates from Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (theneteconomy.wordpress.com) Updates from … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH H.R. 3992, a bill to allow otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated United States nationals are eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel S. 292, the Salmon Lake Land Selection Resolution Act … Continue reading