Sunday, September 30, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The Obama years have seen unprecedented growth in spending on what used to be known as the federal "anti-poverty" or "welfare" programs: means-tested initiatives to provide food, health insurance, housing benefits, and income support to the poor. These programs certainly grew during the Bush administration, with spending increasing by a total of about $100 billion over that eight-year period ($12.5 billion per year in 2010 dollars). But that spending increased another $150 billion in just the first two years of the Obama administration.
The scale of these increases is staggering. In three years, from 2008 through 2010, total annual spending on welfare programs (in 2010 dollars) increased from $475 billion to $666 billion — a 40% increase after accounting for inflation. At a combined annual cost of two-thirds of a trillion dollars, these programs are now on the same scale as the defense budget ($693 billion), Social Security ($700 billion), and Medicare ($551 billion).
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Saturday, September 15, 2012
You may find this interesting. Apparently the 30-minute commute may be a universal human constant. :)
Sunday, September 9, 2012
The phenomenon is down to the fact that, although we have sensors on our tongue, eighty per cent of what we think of as taste actually reaches us through smell receptors in our nose.
The receptors, which relay messages to our brain, react to odours differently depending on which direction they are moving in.
"Think of a smelly cheese like Epoisses," Prof Smith said. "It smells like the inside of a teenager's training shoe. But once it's in your mouth, and you are experiencing the odour through the nose in the other direction, it is delicious.
Friday, September 7, 2012
1.) Go to the search box.
2.) Type "in:inbox" and hit Enter. It will show you everything in your Inbox. This may seem pointless but see point #4.
3.) Now, click on the arrow next to the checkbox and hit "All". (See screenshot.)
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
But the essence of a gold standard is that the units used in the above graph would become the units in which wages and prices would get reported and negotiated. Under a gold standard, a dollar always means the same thing in terms of ounces of gold that it would buy. So for example, if the dollar price of gold today was the same as it was in January 2000 ($283/ounce), and if the real value of gold had changed as much as it has since then, the dollar wage that an average worker received would need to have fallen from $13.75/hour in 2000 to $3.45/hour in 2012.
And the problem with that is, for a host of reasons ranging from minimum wage legislation, bargaining agreements and contracts, institutions, and human nature, it is very, very hard to get workers to accept a cut in their wage from $13.75/hour to $3.45/hour. The only way it could possibly happen is with an enormously high unemployment rate for a very long period of time. This strikes most of us as a pretty crazy policy proposal.
[snip: discussion showing that gold demand is not U.S.-driven, and thus that a gold standard for the dollar would not have prevented this depreciation]