Gongol.com Archives: January 2010
Brian Gongol

January 25, 2010

Business and Finance The best economics-related rap ever
(Video) Calling it the "best" may not mean much, considering it's probably the only one ever recorded. (The "Glenn Hubbard for Fed chair" song was a Police parody.) But if a person will only ever spend 8 minutes learning economics, then these might be the eight minutes to spend. It's an unusually creative summary of the century-long battle between those who think government should stimulate the economy when it slows down and those who think the hangover is much worse than the party is ever good. We're already seeing that the stimulus package implemented by the US government is creating a hangover of its own, with sales of existing homes declining sharply as the first round of homebuyers' tax credits expired. Since people didn't know whether another round would be coming, it looks like they just stopped shopping. Government "stimulus" packages pretty consistently lead to little more than temporary spikes in spending on industries that happen to be in political favor at the time, only to be followed by equivalent (or greater) declines when the stimulus packages go away. Michigan is suffering now from the results of riding a boom (in automaking) for far too long without investing in other sectors, too. Not that the government should have been the industry doing the investing, of course: If the people "investing" public funds into supposed "job creation" and "economic development" were really exceptionally skilled at such investments, they'd be in enormous demand to do so for private investors. Instead of stimulus packages and taxpayer-funded incentives, what an economy really needs is a level playing field in which it's easy for anyone with a better idea to take that idea to market. America as a whole needs to learn the same lesson: We, as Americans, are not going to be able to spending-freeze or tax-hike our way out of the colossal budget trouble we're in. The debt stands today at $12,311,350,000,000, or $39,900 per person. It's not going to be fixed by voluntary contributions to reduce the public debt. No, no. The only way to break America's debt is through radical innovation, leading to vastly greater economic productivity. To that end, our goal as a country should be to remove any obstacle to another Warren Buffett or Bill Gates or Thomas Edison building a new business empire.

Aviation News NASA may be sending astronauts aboard private spacecraft
It wouldn't be a stretch for the agency, which in recent years has transformed itself into one of the most economically-astute pieces of the government puzzle. NASA has been offering inducement prizes for years, a practice which is probably the most efficient way to obtain technology breakthroughs. And the rise of private-sector spaceflight is a wonderful thing for us all. Related: Even here on Earth, there are some stunning images to behold from space, particularly when good cameras meet even better computer programs.

Weather and Disasters Roads are usually closed for good reason
A nasty blizzard rendering most Iowa roads impassable today led to a whole slew of road closures. That doesn't mean people didn't still hit the highways and crash into one another, including one 15-car pileup near Mason City.

Humor and Good News Curious Georgina
(Video) A hidden camera captures a chimpanzee...who figures out the camera is there. It's really just plain fun to see, but it's also enough to get a person's attention: If the chimp had been wearing a mask with only the eyes visible, it would have looked just like one of us discovering the same hidden camera.

Broadcasting Podcast: Why a much bigger Congress would be a much better Congress

Broadcasting Podcast: Why Iowans should go to caucuses even in off-years

Water News Renewable-fuels lobbyists want a bigger ethanol mandate in Iowa

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