Something For Nothing Expired Today

Money isn't real: it's just a mutual agreement to keep track of what we've promised to each other.  Frequent Flyer Miles are even less real.  But trading the two, until today, could get you travel around the world at no cost.

Here's how it works.  Get one of those credit cards that gets you frequent flyer points for your purchse.  Then, go to the US Mint and buy dollar coins, charged to your credit card.  The Mint would ship you the coins for free.  You deposit the coins in your bank, pay off your credit card, and pocket the Frequent Flyer points.  Voila.  Something fo nothing.

Commentary

Michael Moore Loves Capitalism

Michael Moore has a new movie coming out Friday called "Capitalism: A Love Story."  NPR's Neal Conan interviews Moore on "Talk of the Nation."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113308531

Moore has a definite point of view and usually makes some points that catch my attention.  I'll pull two quotes from this interview.

First, Moore suggests things in the US started getting difficult "around the time of Ronald Reagan."  Here's one piece of supporting evidence.  A 2005 UCLA study titled "Income and Wealth Concentration in Switzerland over the 20th Century" includes this figure illustrating that around the time of Ronald Reagan the share of income of the top 0.1% income earners in the US more than tripled. The very rich suddenly got very richer:

France, US, Switzerland

Commentary

Phillip Swagel: Worst Government Spokesman Ever

Talk about nervous.  Assistant Treasury Secretary Phillip Swagel seems to have been the only guy in town the other day after the latest bad employment report came out.  So he had to give the press conference.  Watch the video associated with the Washington Post column by Dana Milbank.  Couldn't have been more nervous if he was 16 at his first job interview.

Commentary

Deficit and the Budget Poster

A Washington Post article today anticipates Bush will call for a balanced budget by 2012 in his upcoming State of the Union address. Many are called but few are balanced.

A sidebar shows a figure from the OMB indicating the current deficit is not so large by historical standards, only -1.8% of the gross domestic product. The WWII (with a peak of -30%!) and the Reagan years were much worse.

Commentary

Nobel Prize in Economics is for apes throwing their own feces

Stephen Colbert: “Do they give a Noble Prize for throwing your own feces?”

Dr. Peter Agre: “That's the Economics prize.”

- Oct. 19, 2006 episode of the Colbert Report

Note: Doctor Peter Agre won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and offered to trade it (his Nobel Prize Medal) for two weeks hosting the Colbert Report. Agre is also a member of Scientists and Engineers for America, an activist organization concerned with the role of science in government decision-making.

Commentary