Daily Digest 4/17 - Tax Programs For The Wealthy And The Poor, Argentina To Acquire Oil Company, Too Early For Iran Answers
- To Make Money In This Bubble-and-Bust World, You MUST Be A Contrarian
- For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start
- Romney Talks of Ending Some Tax Deductions for Wealthy
- In Conversation: Barney Frank
- Antipoverty Tax Program Offers Relief, Though Often Temporary
- Argentina to Seize Control of Oil Company
- Too Early To Talk Success or Failure in Iran Nuclear Talks
- If Food Is In Plastic, What's In The Food?
At the U.S. Federal Reserve, no Fed Chairman in history — not even notorious easy-money advocates like Arthur Burns or Allen Greenspan — had EVER run the money printing presses for any extended period of time.
But Fed Chairman Bernanke changed all that. Soon after the debt crisis hit in 2008, he nearly TRIPLED the size of the Fed’s balance sheet from about 6% of GDP to almost 17% of GDP.
Both admire, even adore, the United States, they say, for its entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit and, not least, its academic excellence: the two met while re-searchers in Cambridge, Mass. But both also express bewilderment over the current conversation about whether the wealthy, who have taken most of America’s income gains over the last 30 years, should be paying higher taxes.
“While President Obama is interested only in offering excuses and blaming others for his failures, Governor Romney is discussing some of the ideas he has to tackle the big issues facing America,” said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney. “Governor Romney has also laid out a bold set of policy proposals that will grow our economy, cut spending and get our massive debt under control.”
In Conversation: Barney Frank (jdargis)
The main reason for the increase in partisanship is Newt Gingrich and the success of his decision [as Speaker] to demonize the opposition as a way to win. That was reinforced by the right-wing takeover of the Republican Party. And finally, modern communications: Twenty years ago, people had a common set of facts that they read. They read opinion journalists, but they got their information generally from newspapers and from broadcasts. Now, the activists live in parallel universes, which are both separate and echo chambers for each. If you’re on the left, you listen to MSNBC, you go to the blogs, Huffington Post, et cetera, and you basically hear only what you agree with. If you’re on the right, you watch Fox News and the talk shows, and you hear only what you agree with. When we try to compromise, what you find is not people simply objecting to the specific terms of the compromise, but the activists object even to your trying to compromise, because they say, “Look, everybody I know agrees with us, so why are you giving in?”
It is tax time, the season when the country’s largest antipoverty program, the earned income tax credit, plows billions of dollars into mailboxes and bank accounts of low-income working Americans like Ms. Spain. It is the most important financial moment of the year for many people in the bottom half of the wage bracket, a time to pay off old bills, make car repairs, buy children clothes and maybe make a big purchase like a refrigerator or a TV.
Under Mrs. Kirchner’s plan, which she announced on national television, Argentina’s government would take a 51 percent controlling stake in YPF, which is now majority-owned by a Spanish energy company, Repsol YPF. Of that new stake, Argentina’s central government would get 51 percent and the country’s provinces 49 percent. The plan is part of a bill submitted to Argentina’s Congress that is widely expected to be approved.
While we may be able to forgive the mainstream media for its lack of depth and insight, it is more difficult to extend the same courtesy to academically tethered think tanks. A piece published on the Council on Foreign Relations website is particularly unforgivable for its decidedly lazy and unprofessionally flippant synopsis of the Istanbul talks.
How common are these chemicals? Researchers have found traces of styrene, a likely carcinogen, in instant noodles sold in polystyrene cups. They’ve detected nonylphenol – an estrogen-mimicking chemical produced by the breakdown of antioxidants used in plastics – in apple juice and baby formula. They’ve found traces of other hormone-disrupting chemicals in various foods: fire retardants in butter, Teflon components in microwave popcorn, and dibutyltin – a heat stabilizer for polyvinyl chloride – in beer, margarine, mayonnaise, processed cheese and wine. They’ve found unidentified estrogenic substances leaching from plastic water bottles.
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