Gongol.com Archives: February 2014

Brian Gongol

February 17, 2014

Socialism Doesn't Work "[W]e elect governments that are happy to be extorted"
...by companies with enough cachet that politicians don't want them to leave

Socialism Doesn't Work UN commission wants North Korean regime brought to trial for crimes against humanity
On that point, they are right. But the commission muffled the criticism with this erroneous line: "These are not mere excesses of the State; they are essential components of a political system that has moved far from the ideals on which it claims to be founded." There is no such thing as an "ideal" in a Communist state. Communism is an exercise in putting a "people's movement" face on a naked power-grab by the leaders of the Communist Party. It has never been anything but. The fact there are 200,000 people in the North Korean gulag system for political "crimes" is proof enough of that.

Business and Finance Peugot is about to become one-third Chinese-owned
It's another example of the sale of Western assets to China, which is a trend that will continue and accelerate as long as Western countries continue to borrow more than they save and import more than they export. France has a large trade deficit, and that means, on net, they're exporting Euros...which are finding their way back to Europe in exchange for ownership stakes in European companies. ■ If that's a bad thing (and it may be or not, depending on whether you prefer consumption or ownership), then thoughtful people should do some thinking about how to change course. (It should be noted, by the way, that some net-exporter countries, like Germany and [sometimes] Japan, have themselves made big investments in the US, which is why Volkswagen has plants in Tennessee and Toyota has plants in Indiana. ■ Foreign ownership isn't necessarily a bad thing, at least not by definition. And it's a bad move to play politics with the export success of our allies, as the Obama Treasury Department has done with Germany.)

Business and Finance How to really help low-income workers: Expand the EITC
Minimum-wage hikes don't tend to really put more money in the pockets of low-wage workers. And they have a negative side effect: They reduce the number of options for young people to get after-school jobs, which depresses their future earnings prospects and can run the risk of leaving us with lots of unemployed teenagers hanging around with nothing productive to do (and that doesn't usually end well -- just ask France). Moreover, raising the minimum wage does away with options for people who want supplemental income to their regular jobs. If the point is really to help poor people, we should do what actually works -- and that's consider an expansion of the EITC. Skepticism about the value of a minimum-wage increase doesn't mean the skeptic is against helping the poor -- it may just mean he or she thinks there's a better way.

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