Archive for March, 2010

Foreign Relations Under Obama

March 28, 2010

UK
Times Online, It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead:

BRITAIN’S special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today

Article blames Iraq but interestingly enough Bush had no problems w/ his UK counterparts. Even NPR admits that.

Israel:

HotAir :

327 House members tell Obama to make U-turn on US-Israeli relations. “The letter’s lead signatories were Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD). The letter had only circulated for three days last week before garnering 327 signatures, probably the most bipartisan effort seen on Capitol Hill in this session of Congress. It provides a measure of just how far out of the mainstream the Obama administration has gotten on relations with Israel. Moreover, they’re entirely correct. Thanks to what amounts to a reversal of 20 years of American policy on settlements in Jerusalem, Obama has given the Palestinians a reason to refuse to come to the table that Israel simply can’t address. Obama has made peace a lot less likely than it was fifteen months ago by throwing his tantrum in such a public manner. Weakening Israel won’t bring peace — it will bring more attacks on Israel as Palestinians begin to believe that the US won’t back its ally any longer.”

TO DO:

List the number of extra troops donated to the afghan & Iraq theaters

Quote Iranian leaders, Russia, etc

The Cost of Public Pensions

March 14, 2010

I covered how individuals benefit from the .gov pensions here. This post is dedicated to how it impacts the state or the nation as a whole.

Volokh cites Financial Times:

The estimate by Orin Kramer will fuel investors’ concerns over the deteriorating financial health of US states after the recession. “State and local governments are correctly perceived to be in serious difficulty,” Mr Kramer told the Financial Times.

“If you factor in the reality of these unfunded promises, their deficits will rise exponentially.”

Estimates of aggregate funding requirement of the US pension system have ranged between $400bn and $500bn, but Mr Kramer’s analysis concluded that public funds would need to find more than $2,000bn to meet future pension obligations.

Via Volokh Conspiracy via Steven Greenhut in WSJ:

A Schwarzenegger adviser wrote in the San Jose Mercury News in the past few days that, “This year alone, $3 billion was diverted to pension costs from other programs.”

Sources:
US public pensions face $2,000bn deficit By Francesco Guerrera and Nicole Bullock in New York Published: January 4 2010 23:01 | Last updated: January 4 2010 23:01

Economies: Europe Vs. USA, Texas vs California

March 13, 2010

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

America vs Europe Summary Notes

In analyzing the last 5 years it’s interesting to note that high unemployment rates in the US during the “greatest recession since the great depression” pretty much the average unemployment rate for Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Poland and Slovakia. There are exceptions: Austria, Ireland and the UK. But the European Union as a whole experiences chronically high unemployment rate.

Raw Data

America
US Historical Unemployment rates

Europe

Eurosclerosis as defined by Paul Krugman on page 210 of Macroeconomics:

Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of “Eurosclerosis,” the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.

Sources