Global Warming Is Irrelevant

© 2017 Steve Feinstein. All rights reserved.

 

There is probably no subject (outside of abortion) that has engendered more passion for a longer period of time—decades now—than Global Warming. Here are some of the issues and talking points:

  • Settled Science or Junk Science
  • Warmest Year on Record vs. hiding faulty or contradictory evidence
  • The threat of actually jailing Deniers (they even have a name, complete with a capital letter)
  • International conferences and accords
  • New regulations for businesses and equipment
  • Complicated Carbon Trading schemes
  • Dramatic declarations by politicians of Warming being a greater threat than ISIS
  • Photographic “evidence” of impending doom and impact on nature/wildlife
  • The routine, unquestioned conflation of daily weather events and long-term climate change

All of these are examples of the highly-charged, deeply-held views on the subject. I recognize and appreciate the intensity and vehemence with which the respective parties hold to their positions.

However, for the purposes of this article, let’s simply concede that anthropogenic Global Warming is real, not just a coincidental occurrence of cyclical climate patterns on earth and the relationship of those patterns to solar activity and the like. Let’s take the “Is man-caused Global Warming real?” question off the table and admit its existence.

However, even if there is certainty regarding the reality of man-caused Global Warming, it probably doesn’t matter.

Here’s why: The very same profit-driven capitalistic Western businesspeople who seem to stoke the ire of the Warmists so intensely are the ones who are well on their way to ending Warming—and long before it becomes any kind of permanent threat to mankind’s well-being.

Fossil-based fuels are simultaneously the most economically-efficient source of energy and the most politically-troublesome and ecologically-controversial source of energy. Historic relationships between nations, current foreign policy and military decisions, ecological impacts, everything is tied up in a convoluted, indecipherable cause-and-effect Gordian Knot because of fossil fuels.

Yet it is the popularly-maligned free-market capitalistic system, with its unsavory profits, rewards and unapologetic income inequality, that is the key driver to finding the eventual solution to our reliance on ecologically-detrimental carbon-based fuels. A veritable free-market fortune awaits the individual or company that delivers the first viable alternative energy system, one that is easily deployable on a mass scale across large geographic areas.

That promise of capitalistic reward has many companies feverishly pursuing different solutions. The potential of virtually unlimited free-market profits and a superior competitive market position are spurring private for-profit companies to find a viable alternative to carbon fuels. That’s undeniably true, and it’s happening primarily here in the U.S., primarily because of our freest-of-all-markets system.

An example is Lockheed Martin Corporation and their work in developing a new compact fusion reactor. L-M says a reactor small enough to fit on the back of a truck could produce 100 megawatts of electricity—enough to power a small city, without any carbon emissions. L-M estimates they’ll have a workable prototype within five years. Let’s double their likely-overly-optimistic estimate and say within ten years.

Electric cars, battery technology and solar panels are also improving all the time. They may not be totally economically-feasible in the free market at this time without Government tax subsidies and, yes, there is the undeniable irony that the electricity needed to recharge a Tesla or Chevy Volt usually comes from a greenhouse gas-producing fossil-fuel power source, but things in the battery/solar area are improving all the time. The percentage of U.S. energy provided by these “alternative” sources has increased from less than 5% before 1990 to over 13% in 2014 and will continue to increase in the future.

The Answer is out there and it’ll happen pretty soon, likely within 50-100 years, I’d confidently guess. Companies and individuals are working day and night to find The Answer—because of the rewards they’ll reap.

50-100 years is a nanosecond in terms of earth-geological-climactic time. A fraction of a nanosecond. When The Answer comes along 39 or 64 or 97 years hence, whatever minor “warming” has actually taken place, whatever small amount the seas have “risen” will all be halted and reversed.

The argument against that position is that we’ll soon reach some irreversible “tipping point,” after which no cure or remedy to the permanent destructive effects of Warming is possible. Yet there is no scientific proof of that, nor is any “proof” possible. That’s merely a totally unsubstantiated talking point, designed to rally the Believers and scare the Deniers. This, however, is scientific fact: 50-100 years is a nanosecond in terms of earth-geological-climactic time. And the practical, usable, non-carbon, non-warming Answer will certainly be discovered and deployed on a significant scale within that timespan.

Therefore, the entire anthropogenic Warming issue—whether real or imagined—is a non-issue. Profit-driven technology will solve it. As ironic as it seems, the Western capitalist economic system will be the savior of the earth.

It is fitting that as the Davos forum in the secluded luxury of Switzerland unites the global elites – even if some of the attendees would never self-identify as such – we have Rush Limbaugh pronouncing that the inevitable rise of populism in America has finally taken hold. Precisely as a result of Davos man and his (and her) way of viewing and shaping the world.

Trump’s rise seen through the prism of the post-iron-curtain world order is a logical imperative, according to this view. And while the end of history as preached by Fukuyama some 25 years ago has proven rather messy and, well, even historical, the fact is that increased connectivity, trade, and the global reach of large corporations is seen as far more sinister to their own local lives by many working families in America. Even if Davos benefits American corporations like no one else.

But holding onto your Coke and MacDonalds shares in your retirement funds is not a very convincing reply to a paretn of two kids who is about to have his or her job outsourced.

That’s a natural suspicion to have on the part of those whose jobs have been placed at risk. And wonks and pundits may occasionally – less so with each passing year it seems – worry what to do about displaced workers, but it is seen as inevitable collateral damage to an otherwise robust and worthy system of economics, and of politics.

But – as is the case with coders – what if the “bug” of disposable mid-skilled and high-skilled workers is, in fact, a feature of this program? What if increased investment in tech and connectivity is seen as a way to shift a wage and profit economy to the gig-and-even-more-profit economy? Where you don’t have A job, you have a series of little jobs that you scurry to gather up in competition with an increasing percentage of the world’s labor force who only need a laptop and a modem to compete with you?

Yes, that’s only part of the picture. Crushing regulation and high taxes do wonders at killing off jobs. So nowadays, we get the worst of both worlds. Ever increasing pressure to work harder for lower wages, and employers so bound up in red tape that they have no choice but to lay off full time employees and enter the gig economy – contracting out part-time help that sometimes delivers and sometimes doesn’t.

There are few safe harbors from this pincer-like crush on working families. But high-value professionals tend to do better in a gig economy, because we are not yet at the point where you will have your surgery done by remote control by an intern in Bangladesh. And lawyers will make sure that smart contracts need lots of lawyers to make them stand up in court. Or sue you to death if you actually dispense with their legal wisdom.

Is it any surprise then that many are drawn towards Trump in today’s world? Even if The Donald would be quite at home shaking hands, doing a little skiing, and checking out the Eurotrash nightlife. Like any Davos man worth his (or her) salt.

How long does it take new highway construction to pay for itself? And how do you tax those who presumably use it? Toll roads are not overwhelmingly popular and since Eisenhower’s Highway Act in 1956, the federal government has shouldered an important part of the burden. That means gas taxes of course. But less toll booths as the years have passed.

It should be remembered that the prime motivation was General Eisenhower’s military experience, and his observation of Germany’s infamous and famous autobahn system, which was a way to move military material around Germany in an efficient manner. Yes, the highway system is essentially a Nazi invention.

So carefully measuring internal rates of return based on the expected time it takes to return the cost of a project were not the drivers of America’s massive roadway project. It was rather a case of providing a durable and robust series of connections between military – especially Air Force – facilities in case the nation faced a soviet ground invasion.

And the beneficiaries were Americans in general, both consumers and businesses, who could trade and travel at far more efficient levels than before. Imagine Wal-Mart without the current highway system.

So highways have often come to us often by the heavy hand of a protective state. From the King’s highways in England to your local stretch of interstate, that’s being redone at a hefty cost that needs financing on terms the private sector would be reluctant to offer without revenue streams like toll booths.

And the heavy hand of government tends to take care of it’s other hand, as well as other grasping hands. So it is almost a categorical imperative that highway bills shall be leavened with K Street goodies like farm subsidies. This is not a sneaky detail snuck into a worthwhile bill in the dead of the night. This is the raison d’Atre of any hard working senator worth his or her salt.

You want federal funding for that stretch of interstate? Sure, you bet! And we’ll make sure that America benefits from protected farm production. Or at least the targeted constituency that has bent our ears.

Or instead, you could have a smaller more focused set of farm subsidies flowing to those small family farms that really need them.

America could follow that giant of capitalism and freedom, New Zealand. Where they cut farm subsidies – very substantial farm subsidies – 30 years ago. Guess what? The overwhelming majority of farmers adapted, and are thriving, diversified entrepreneurs today.

It may be a while before America’s mobile consumer economy can prosper without a subsidized highway system – even with those annoying gas taxes. But the time is long past due for a shakeout of the goodies forged by beltway insiders. And dispensed by the federal government.

It will be Tax Time Tuesday on Fox Business. Here’s what the GOP candidates who will be debating all things economic and fiscal, as well hopefully as personal finances, have said about their tax plans. All courtesy of the taxfoundation.org.

On income taxes it’s Senators Cruz and Paul who battle it out to see who has the lowest flat tax. Cruz actually is proposing a 10% flat rate while Paul favors a 14.5% flat rate but with better deductions and exemptions. Carson’s flat tax is to be between 10% and 15%, but is to be phased in over time, which may mean “we’re working on it folks.”

Rubio and Bush’s plans are structured almost identically – but Bush’s rates are a little more taxpayer friendly. Rubio’s rates, in fact, are not that much lower than what Americans pay right now. Trump has a more flexible version of the other two’s progressive rate structures, with top rates kicking in at much higher income levels.

For capital gains and dividends, Bush and Trump have very similar plans with both promising to eliminate the net investment income surtax. Carson has no details, and Cruz and Paul both propose capital gains and dividend income taxes identical to their flat income tax rates. Fair ‘n square all round, as they might say.

Rubio is the one who stands out here. He would eliminate both the capital gains and dividend income taxes. A bold step towards encouraging investment again in America. Will it fly? Will it cause corporations to start spending their countless billions of cash balances in plant, equipment and people again?

On corporate taxes, Bush and Rubio are in near-lockstep again with Bush favoring slightly lower rates (20% vs. 25%). Again. Carson? No details. Rand and Cruz? The senate former-still-kinda-bros-in-arms have very similar proposals. They both propose a business transfer tax which basically is a value added tax on stuff that actually gets consumed or sold by businesses.

Estate taxes would be eliminated by Jeb Bush, that patriarch! He clearly favors letting families – wealthy and not so wealthy – keep the money. Just like every other GOP candidate. At least among the front runners.

Carly Fiorina is an anomaly here. According to taxfoundation.org, she has no specific policy plans on any of the taxes mentioned above. It’s time for some convincing from the former CEO. Unless some of the fight has gone out of her. It might be premature to say that, however. Tuesday Tax Time will tell.

Amendment 3 in Tennessee would permanently enshrine their no-income-tax policy and is being pushed by various groups after an opinion by their AG suggested the state could at some point reimpose an income tax to meet budgetary needs. Aside from some worries about voting “no” when seeing the word “tax” on the ballot, the measure seems to have a good chance of passing. And Tennessee has one of the lowest overall state tax burdens despite having a relatively high sales tax rate of 7%. The average per capita state and local tax paid was $2.777 according to the Tax Foundation and that’s the 2nd lowest in the country. They do have a tax on dividend and interest income however, not good for retirees who depend on that income to meet monthly expenses.

More generally, the problem of spending by state governments, and by the federal government as well in each individual state, presents interesting evidence. A study of the net federal contribution of each state as a percentage of individual gross state products produces something of a contradiction. States that raise less money in federal taxes than that spent by the federal government in their state, tend to want to reduce the size of government at the same time that they benefit from overall transfers from Washington. Tennessee for example, contributes 18.7% of it’s GSP to federal revenue and receives 24.4% of it’s GSP in federal spending, for a 5.7% shortfall, coming between Hawaii at a shortfall of 4.3% and Lousiana at a shortfall of 5.8%. Now Hawaii is no red state so the contradiction of net contributors voting Democrat is not always the case. But assuming there is this contradiction in some cases – Mississippi and Kentucky have shortfalls of 13.3% and 17.9% – then is it hypocritical for them to wish to reduce the size of government? Salon ran an article gleefully pointing out 10 offending states, Mississippi and Kentucky are on the list. But all states are captive to federal welfare policies and must spend money that they perhaps would rather not, on policies like Obamacare for example. The real test is how willing voters in Tennessee, for example, would be to cut back all government spending until taxes balance out what they receive from Washington. I suspect that many in Tennessee would be willing, but I also suspect that Washington will never allow them that freedom. Is there fiscal hypocrisy on the part of low-tax states? Sure, but they operate within the constraints that the federal government imposes on them.

The US Chamber of Commerce likes Washington so much that they spent over $35 million on federal elections in 2012 according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s hardly surprising seeing they represent companies in the world’s largest economy. No the Chamber of Commerce is not a government department, it’s a lobby group. How conservative the Chamber of Commerce actually is, is open to debate. They supported the Clinton’s failed health care reform and lost a few members as a result. Since the early 90’s they have apparently shifted back to the right, but last fall, Bloomberg News declared that a civil war had erupted between Tea Party stalwarts like Ted Cruz and the USCC over it’s opposition to government shutdowns as a negotiating tactic. They did not support Obamacare but now a key decision is coming if Obama uses an executive order to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. USCC members like the National Restaurant Association are in favor of amnesty and business groups worked with the gang of eight in the Senate in its attempt at immigration reform.

Assuming Obama does issue that executive order – some are beginning to doubt it because blanket amnesty would anger some labor groups as well as African Americans – there could be a further split between Tea Party members and some conservatives and big business. There is a curious confluence between those on the left who argue that illegals help keep wages low because of their vulnerable status, and those on the right who say illegals take jobs away from those Americans as well as keep wages low. Their solutions are diametrically opposed; Amnesty or Deportation. Amnesty is uncomfortable at a certain level for big labor as well; they would love to increase latino participation in union membership and turn back a steadily declining trend, but also are aware that a large pool of illegals will inevitably keep wages under pressure for their members. Whether business has thought through the consequences of a large scale amnesty and how it likely would encourage further illegal immigration on an even larger scale is uncertain. A low wage economy is hardly the recipe for future prosperity. An economy where the rule of law is respected, and where labor markets have the freedom to be flexible within that very rule of law, is something else.

Everytime I hear it, I cringe, the same way I cringe when I think of chewing aluminum foil: “The problem of income equality.” What on Earth does that mean?
There are rich people and there are poor people. A good Christian (or Jew or Muslim or Hindu) offers a portion of their money for charity, helping those in need. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the declaration of “income inequality” as a global problem makes me cringe. I have the image of bureaucratic fingers digging into our bank accounts, angry that we were able to manage and save our money well over the years.

As far as a global problem, I can understand that. You have countries with per capita income of less than $100 a year in Africa, and the despotic leaders lounging in gold bathtubs. That’s wrong, but that’s also a problem for the UN. My money has nothing to do with that scenario. But in the U.S.?

The phrase itself conjures differing mindsets of money. When I think of my savings account, 401k, 403b, pension fund and checking account, I consider the time and effort I put into building them up. Reading books on finance, advice from my father, even attending a workshop by Dave Ramsey…It’s not simply an account but a construction of patience and forward thinking. Those who believe that all people should have equal income see it as a fattened sow waiting to be butchered. THAT makes me nervous.

I don’t mind helping the poor. Really, I don’t. Show me commercials, solicit outside the grocery stores and Walgreens, that’s all fine. I’ve never been able to pass up a Humane Society stand without dropping in at least a $10.

Categorizing my financial stability as a problem tells me that if I happened to pass a Salvation Army stand and don’t drop in my change, they have every right to stop me, yank open my wallet and take the money. The oddest thing is that’s not an exaggeration. That’s exactly what liberals want as a solution for “income inequality.” If you don’t donate as much as we think you should, we’ll just take it.

To say that Detroit is economically a mess is an understatement. The large, once thriving city is under duress financially and is struggling to make ends meet. The result was a filing of bankruptcy and cry for bail out that continues to plague the citizens of the city. Millions upon millions in debt, creative new ways to pay back what is owed are being identified. Unfortunately for those workers counting on the pensions, retirement plans for public employees are on the chopping block.

The idea of cutting pensions, potentially bloated ones, may seem appealing to those that want less government and more private sector. The truth is, though, that there are people behind those pensions that may face a retirement and a financial future that is uncertain. Unions and public representatives of the workers are angered by the prospect but this highlights and important part of working for the government: what it gives it can take away.

The government is bloated across the United States. From the larger bureaucracy that sits in Washington, DC making life changing decisions that affect everyone outside the bubble to state governments steeped in corruption and even the localities that are struggling to get by, the government is a huge enterprise with millions upon millions of workers (many of which are put into unnecessary roles). The result when you have a large government and poor money management is that something has to give. Often, the fat cats at the top of the list are not the ones taking the hit. It is the workers that, right or wrong, were counting on the government to provide some type of compensation that they would stick to. Unfortunately, they are learning the lesson that small government proponents have known: the government is interested in sustaining one thing…itself, not its workers livelihoods.

Economics and Our Future

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Filed Under Economy on Jul 17 

There is no doubt that the economy has been improving at a slow pace. Ebbing and flowing of economic success has left the United States, and the world, in a state of constant fear, confusion, or denial of just how bad the financial picture is. Gas prices continue to rise and unemployment rates vary from bad to really bad and back to bad again. In a nation with so much to offer and so much potential, it is amazing that the mismanagement of funds, lack of personal responsibility, or overall policy failures has taken a bad situation and helped to make it worse.

Military cutbacks are one area where this failure can be seen. While the sequester has said to be the reason for many funding cuts in the military, arguably in some areas where some leaning needed to be undertaken, monies are being restricted in order to cover debts and place financial resources elsewhere. Restricting the budget is necessary in trying to balance the economic future and if these were thought through and rational, it would make sense. But, while the military sees cuts that have led to meal restrictions and the loss of fireworks on military bases to celebrate the 4th, gophers are being saved in lands near bases in California. That’s right, millions of dollars are being used to save the gopher while our military goes without some of the basic necessities and without adequate pay, though this last problem has persisted for some time.

Further, it is our children that are being hurt by the joblessness and unemployment of this generation. The poverty rate among children, as assessed by a recent study, suggests that the number of children living in poverty has increased an astonishing 23% since 2011. Underemployment and joblessness continues to rise while the wide reach of entitlement continues, leaving a generation of children seeing their parents struggle and their parents becoming ever reliant on the government’s help. The impact this will have on this younger generation as they themselves age and enter the workforce is not yet known. One could guess, however, that the lasting effects of living in poverty could have detrimental effects on future policies and values in the United States.

Reports have surfaced that TimeGate, the development company behind gaming titles such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and FEAR Files, have released several members of their staff recently. The move is not completely shocking as the company was forced into bankruptcy proceedings just a week ago and it became public knowledge of the debt issues the company was having. Not much detail is known at this time about who was directly impacted by the employment cuts or whether the move was purely fiscal or creatively linked.

In early March of 2013, TimeGate had another round of layoffs. Noting the switch from current to more modern gaming consoles and the streamlining of financial holdings as the motives, the first round of layoffs were a clear sign of stress and, sadly, more things to come from the company. It is still, however, unknown just how many developers and staff were affected and if the TimeGate company will be able to continue developing games in the future.

As aforementioned, consumers and game aficionados are not all shocked, or disappointed, by the news, while others are questioning the move with a bit more scrutiny. Recent craftsmanship of the TimesGate developed games has been called into question with some clients believing that an overhaul would be a revitalization of the business for the better. Owing millions of dollars in debt, however, could place the TimeGate franchise on a path of fiscal restraint and concern that may be difficult to overcome. Time will be the greatest predictor of the longevity of the company and if TimeGate can bounce back from its current fiscal situation.

There is an old joke about communism muses about what would happen if the desert ever became communist. The answer is, “nothing for a while, and then there would be a shortage of sand.”  Communism and Socialism have failed spectacularly every single place they’ve been implemented and yet there remains a school of thought that government can run economies better than markets can.

Today’s example of a failed government command economy is found in Venezuela. This Latin American country sits on vast reserves of one of the hottest commodities in the world right now – Oil. The world runs on oil. Demand for this commodity causes people to go literally to the ends of the earth in search of it. Find yourself a patch of oil to sell and there will be buyers lining up at your door with barrels.

So, one would think that a country sitting on such wealth would have enough cash to provide basic necessities for its population. I don’t know about you, but one thing I never buy off the discount rack or bottom shelf is toilet paper. It’s a basic necessity of life. TP is right up there with alcohol, cigarettes, and booze in the hierarchy of things to hoard in the coming Zombie Apocalypse.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, Venezuela. There’s a nationwide shortage of toilet paper. That’s right, Dear Reader. Toilet paper.

The laws of supply and demand are not subject to the whims of government price controls. I submit that the demand for toilet paper is about as elastic as a steel rod. People want what they need and they need toilet paper in Venezuela.

President Nicolas Maduro, successor to Hugo Chavez, is now getting a lesson in basic economics. He blames “anti-government forces, including the private sector” for causing the shortages in an effort to destabilize the country.

Sound familiar?

Well, Dear Reader, this coming Thursday marks the end of the world. Forget the phony Mayan Apocalypse. Sequestration is coming. Yeah, that’s a big word and nobody seems to actually know what it means. I’d say its unprecedented when truthfully it’s really inconceivable.

The One refers to the “sequestration” cuts as a “meat cleaver”   approach to trimming the budget. While this may be true, let’s also remember that this whole meat cleaver idea was hatched in The One’s brainpan. It was his dizzying intellect that came up with this idea. Had he not put his pen to paper on the bill that became law with his signature, his government would not be in this situation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this country has operated without an annual budget for the entire administration of Barack Obama. His government has run TRILLION dollar deficits every single day of its existence and projects to run those same deficits for as far as futurists care to predict. Here’s the biggest joke: even with the “sequestration” meat cleaver, the Federal Government will spend more money this year than it did last year. Don’t take my word for it, the big brained people over at George Mason University have run the numbers.

But, never mind the facts and figures. At midnight on Thursday the world will stop spinning on its axis and everything and everyone will be hurled into space. Mayan Apocalypse? Hell, ancient predictions of fire and brimstone ain’t got nothin’ on big bad Sequestration.  Here’s a preview of The One’s upcoming press conference:

The idea has been floating around this week and Carney refuses to rule out. What say ye, PD?

Following the fiscal cliff debacle? Try WaPa’s live feed.

Happy New Year, America. Enjoy the ball dropping and the taxes rising…

CNBC is reporting French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg’s comments in regard to the potential nationalizing of an Indian company that has threatened to leave France:

“It’s a very good sign to send out (to investors). Nationalizing is a very modern step to take. Especially when you not only nationalize losses but profits as well, when you make public/private partnerships. This is our strategy.

“The strategy we’re putting forward is extremely modern and adapted to the current times of crisis. It’s a way of making the economy work in the interests of industry, more than just helping the financial sector,” he added.

Apparently in France, the nationalization of industries is a good thing for investors and will lead to automatic profits. If this is the case, why aren’t all industries nationalized?

Dr. Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan calculates ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day‘ each year. Yesterday was the latest release of the next ‘Equal Occupational Fatality Day’. Perry summarizes his data in the chart to the left (note: click twice to enlarge) from his blog and his commentary follows.

Every year the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) publicizes its “Equal Pay Day” to bring public attention to the gender pay gap. “Equal Pay Day” this year fell on April 17, and represents how far into 2012 the average woman had to continue working to earn the same income that the average man earned last year.  Inspired by Equal Pay Day, I introduced “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” in 2010 to bring public attention to the huge gender disparity in work-related deaths every year in the United States.  “Equal Occupational Fatality Day” tells us how many years into the future women would have to work before they would experience the same number of occupational fatalities that occurred in the previous year for men.

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Since there was so much interest in yesterday’s post quoting Professor Don Boudreaux, here are Milton Friedman’s comments on the issue including: ‘The actual effect of requiring equal pay for equal work will harm women.’

HT: Raúl Ramírez for digging this up and posting in the comments yesterday.

A question was posed to an economist at George Mason University by an 11th grader who was being challenged by her teacher to provide “one good reason why the law should not require that women be paid the same as men for the same work.” Here is his response:

I’m happy to oblige. There are many good reasons, but I’ll here stick to one.

That one reason is that it’s practically impossible for government officials to determine when two jobs involve “the same work.” What might look like the same work to outside observers – to government officials, lawyers, or even the workers themselves – might well be very different work.

Is the worker Mr. Smith more experienced than the worker Ms. Jones? Is Mr. Smith less likely than is Ms. Jones to take time off of work to care for children or sick parents? Is Mr. Smith less likely than is Ms. Jones to quit in order to move with a spouse to another city? Is Mr. Smith a bit more helpful than is Ms. Jones with customers? Is Mr. Smith slightly more willing than is Ms. Jones to stay on the job a few extra minutes after the workday officially ends in order to help with important unfinished business?

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She’s German. He’s Greek. There is a fantastic amount of symbolism in this short video. See what you can find.

You may remember that the Obama administration produced a chart by in January 2009 to demonstrate their view that unemployment would never rise about 8% if his stimulus package were passed. However, we now know that unemployment has in fact been greater than 8% for every single month of Obama’s Presidency. The chart to the left (click to enlarge) is an updated version of one we have reviewed here before by James Pethokoukis. It is the administration’s original chart with actual unemployment since the “recovery plan” was implemented with an additional dot added showing where unemployment would be if the labor participation rate were the same today as it was in January 2009.

However, what may be even more interesting is this chart below (click to enlarge) by Political Calculations. It shows what the unemployment rate would be from January 2002 until today if the labor force participation rate were the same as in January 2009:
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