TCS Daily


Saving Phantom Jobs

By Barry A. Liebling - June 18, 2009 12:00 AM

There is nothing new about politicians making preposterous claims. Sometimes, even though they should know better, they actually believe what they are saying. Other times they calculate it is advantageous to argue a point they realize is not true.

Since coming into office President Obama and the members of his administration have repeatedly justified government stimulus spending as "creating or saving" jobs. William McGurn wrote in The Wall Street Journal (June 9, 2009) that the President announced the stimulus has already "created or saved" 150,000 jobs, that an additional 600,000 jobs will be "created or saved" in the summer, and that as many as four million jobs will be "created or saved" in the next two years.

Mr. McGurn points out that the promise to "create or save" jobs is inherently specious because there is no way to determine how many jobs are "saved." Economists do not have a method for measuring the net number of jobs saved. No matter how bad unemployment levels get, administration officials can always say that even more jobs would have been lost without the stimulus.

The "created or saved" fallacy has not been lost on other astute observers. The Harvard economist Greg Mankiw calls it a "non-measurable metric" and perhaps facetiously refers to the administration's use of it as "an act of political genius." In March the Democratic Senator Max Baucus criticized Treasury Secretary Geithner for the "saved jobs" term because, as Baucus put it, "you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct."

The McGurn article questions why the White House press corps gives the President a pass for the "create or save" narrative. Of course, Mr. McGurn knows that a lot is explained by the journalists' sentiments toward President Obama. With Bush the younger many expressed their contempt by pouncing on any slip or error as evidence that he was a malicious liar. By contrast, these same journalists are highly sympathetic to the Obama administration and eager to see it enjoy success.

So what animates the Obama team to insist its programs are "creating or saving jobs"? Surely they are as sophisticated as their critics and realize there is no reliable way to count the phantom "jobs saved." Are they unaware of the importance of evidence, or deliberately engaging in deceit?

Perhaps the policy experts sincerely feel their stimulating is "creating or saving" an enormous number of jobs. They are using an econometric model to predict how many jobs will be created, destroyed, saved, or lost under various scenarios. If you plug in numbers for how much money the government spends, how quickly, and where the money goes it the spits out a prediction for jobs "created or saved."

Never mind that there is no way to test the accuracy of the model. They might believe that an unverifiable prediction could be true. The important point is that it was crafted by economists who are trustworthy members of the Obama team. The policy experts are accepting the model's forecasts based on faith; faith in the model's author.

If the Obama policy makers believe in the "creating or saving jobs" claim they are rejecting the principle that forecasts must be testable. There is no need to check your work for accuracy. It is enough to have good intentions and feel that you're right. One wonders whether, when other policy issues arise, the Obama team will make other forecasts or claims that cannot be verified.

Perhaps the Obama policy experts do not believe the "creating or saving jobs" line. They might be scientifically savvy and realize that "jobs saved" is a phantom. However, it might be expedient to make the claim anyway, since it sounds good to the political base. Say the stimulus will "create or save" jobs because that is what voters want to hear.

If those on the Obama team do not believe their own message, they are acting cynically; they are employing a tactic that works to the extent that Americans are ignorant or inattentive. Is there ever an excuse for government officials to attempt to mislead citizens?

The Obama administration insists the stimulus package will "save jobs." Perhaps they are sincere and feel no need to prove their claim. Alternatively, they might calculate it is shrewd to make an unverifiable promise. Which is better?


Barry A. Liebling, PhD is the president of Liebling Associates Corporation in New York a management consulting firm specializing in marketing, marketing research, and organizational analysis. His monthly column appears at AlertMindPublishing.com.
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50 Comments

What’s new? America has been barreling down the Road of Subjectivity, the moment it’s born, aided by
both the so-called Left and the so-called Right.

Way too soon to say
Obviously there's no way anyone can quantify even the approximate number of jobs created, or jobs retained, by a certain action. We have no baseline to compare any such number to.

However there is, or should be, agreement on a few things. The first is that massive numbers of jobs have been lost by the failure in the credit markets.

And the corollary to that is that if the credit markets are restored, in time those lost jobs should come back. Therefore the correct procedure to induce hiring to resume would be to address the frozen credit situation we had, say fourth quarter 2008.

And that appears to have been addressed effectively. The money is starting to move again, and most observers watching the scene are quietly hopeful that we've seen the bottom and are now slowly climbing out of the hole.

Most also agree that jobs will lag other economic sectors, as is usual in a recovery. Right now the figures many are agreeing on are that jobs in the robust areas of the country should have substantially returned in two years' time (3rd qtr 2011).. and that jobs will have returned in the economically backward areas around 2014. Assuming, of course, that nothing new happens.

As a result, neither side will be getting any fresh ammunition soon.. neither those saying that the good times are back and jobs are being saved/created, nor the side that says it has been proven, the medicine didn't cure the patient.

It's too soon to say.

Then why are the Obamacrats saying it, then?
You're continued cheerleading of this clown despite mounting evidence to the contrary is amazing.

You can get a job at ABC, Roy.

[Semi-Off Topic] German vending machines to sell gold to consumers

Gold sold like chocolate from German vending machines

Shoppers in Germany will soon be able to buy gold as easily as bars of chocolate after a firm announced plans to install vending machines selling the precious metal across the country.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/financialcrisis/5554972/Gold-sold-like-chocolate-from-German-vending-machines.html

And this BS enables Obama to make even more BS statements
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20670001&sid=akaJVOByDsHg

My favorite line:

"Obama said a large part of the current budget deficit was inherited from the administration of former President George W. Bush, his predecessor, and that extra spending was needed to address the worst global financial crisis since World War II."

Hmmm...last time I read the Constitution, Congress was responsible for the budget. The President gets to approve it. And since Obama was in that Congress what enacted that budget, he's just as responsible for it as Bush is. Funny how the PRAVDA media neglects to mention that.

I'm not the one to ask
Now I know you're not even reading my posts? Cheerleading for Obama? Hardly. I'll give credit where it's due.. but more and more the shine is coming off the product.

He has continued most of the traditions started by Bush & Co. The bailout is still directed at the top, where mega-banks get showered with emoluments with no strings attached. And we're not supposed to notice that most of the money's doing no work. In fact much of it's being given back as we speak-- still wrapped in its original bows.

You must be confusing the fact that I've posted quite a lot about what COULD have been done. That's not exactly the same as what HAS been done.

Likewise he's waffling on his campaign promises to push for single-payer health reform-- as are all but a handful of Democrats. I've said a lot about how healthcare should be reformed.. but don't confuse that with praise for the way it's being watered down.

And look at the bold stand he's taken on the various wars out there. Iraq is entering a new phase in which we're nonparticipants. But that was all worked out last year. Yet he took credit for it.

Afghanistan? The guy he put in charge is one of the black-ops people behind the whole torture program in Bagram. Not to mention being the person who put together the Pat Tillman coverup. And he's ready to escalate into Pakistan, despite the fact that the more you bomb those guys, the more you turn them against you.

He's a compilation of all our worst instincts. But he's very photogenic, on the other hand, and nicely spoken as well. I did at one point have high hopes for him.

In future, when I talk about things I think we should be doing please don't automatically translate that into praise for Obama. It's not turning out to be a good fit.

From the beginning...
The moment they decided to say "Come to America and you too can Pursue Happiness..." all bets were off. Everyone knew a that point that this thing was a crock. But it seemed better to them than the nightmare mess they were leaving. So they got on the boats.

They are mostly lawyers...
We fully expect our politicians to lie. This financial business is far worse than they are letting on, they are desperately throwing all the money in the world at it to keep the banks that must not fail from failing anyway...although they could not fix them well enough to roll over the GM debt in a normal manner...but if they did tell us how bad it really is then that would make it even more worse...(yet again). So they must lie to us and they are very good at that sort of stuff, and that's exactly why we pay them the big bucks.

Ever hire a lawyer to tell the truth about you? That's right. The job is to tell a completely believable total lie..and Obama is a very good lawyer. Try not to act surprised people. It's embarrasing.

Recall Roy threw Hugo under the bus too.
Socialists are just so disappointing.

Evaluating the recovery plan
I'm not surprised you've missed the avalanche of criticism Obama's been suffering from the left. He's sold out the people who were relying on him to put things right again. But you read nothing but your own trusted sources. So you haven't heard a peep about any of that.

Putting the focus back on the subject of the article here, actions were taken under both Paulson and Bernanke-Summers to restore confidence in the capital markets. And to the degree that a resumption of lending occurs, jobs will in time come back. My initial comment here went to the fact that the number of jobs created, or jobs saved, can't be quantified.

And in any event it will take a few years for the correction to work through the system and result in new jobs. But yes, I think the team currently in power wasn't representing the interests of ordinary mortals as much as it was protecting the health of Wall Street.

I call 'em like I see 'em
One thing distinguishing my perspective from your is that I don't "believe in" individuals, and from that point forward justify their actions right or wrong. I stand up for the right means to achive the right goals.. and applaud anyone willing to take us there.

Hugo Chavez has done great things for his country, lifting millions out of the poverty capitalism Latin style put them into. And he is also an important counterweight for the overbearing historical American presence in Latin America. Those things are to his praise.

He also has a regrettable tendency toward demogoguery. No one is perfect, and we are all complex human beings, with our foibles and idiosyncracies. Chavez, although he's done much good, makes a credible tinpot dictator.

I even recall one instance, back in Bush's first term, where he did something right. I forget what it was right now.. but at the time I praised him for it.

And it's not just Obama
Every administration is run by lawyers. Most US presidents have been lawyers. A majority of legislators are lawyers. In tandem with their front men (the pure politicians) they have always run our affairs. And yes, they are practised in the art of drawing the veil while concealing the sword. While we play the part of the bull.

But let's not make too much of it. The article had to do with Obama taking credit for the creation of x number of jobs. And the only thing you can say is that such a number can't be quantified. Nor has it happened yet. Nor can we distinguish how many are from his economic policies and how much just from the fact that things, in time, get better. It's like a physician taking credit when we get over pneumonia.

As for GM's debt, it WAS rolled over in the usual manner.. by a bank putting up enough capital to keep them rolling. The only difference was that there was no way Geithner could convince the private banks to put up the money, so the government ended up being the bank.

And like any bank bailing out an improvident client, they now to some degree own GM. Which condition I believe they'll correct as soon as makret conditions permit them.

Wow! I am speechless!
or, rather...'wordless'.

If Roy is throwing Obama under the bus, then Chairman O isn't exactly doing well for sure.

ALWAYS “right” means & “right” goals; NEVER whether those FORCING those goals & means HAVE the RIGHT
Vintage Roy.

Couple of points...
Roy,

You said " It's like a physician taking credit when we get over pneumonia."

Actually, the physician does get credit because he diagnoses the pheumonia and prescribes the antibiotic that kills the bacteria. The virus involved gets knocked down by our own immune systems...otherwise the doctor needs to bring in the heavy-artillary, anti-viral medicines. But mostly it is the bacterial overgrowth into the lesions created by the virus that kills us. Before antibiotics...we didn't need to worry about diabetes so much...we died too young for that.

You said "As for GM's debt, it WAS rolled over in the usual manner...the government ended up being the bank."

Wrong. GM and Chrysler went bankrupt. Plain and simple. They failed and they are gone. Chrysler has been sold to the Italians and GM will be broken up into several small entities. We hold equity in the runp but most of our money is gone forever. Ford only dodged that same bullet by locking in all its paper early last year. Otherwise, the banks would have not rolled over the Ford debt either and they would be just as gone now too.

For all his efforts the President has not actually fixed the banks. Our economy is still completely messed up.



That's what happens when you have no standards.
"I stand up for the right means to achive the right goals."

So far, from what I understand you believe in socialism. But, your dilemma is that there is no perfect individual who can lead you to to your goal and as socialism can only be effected by coercion, those promoting socialism will be corrupted by the power.

I, and most classical liberals know that man is not perfect and will succumb to power and corruption. Therefore we promote a system that recognizes the importance of individual rights and a limited government to protect those rights from people like you who believe rights are granted be government.

Yes, we differ. I believe individuals have the right to do as they please as long as they do not violate others rights to do the same. This will not stifle anyone's opportunity to excel or to fail as they choose.

Banish it Forest, if you thought I repudiated the essence of the “Declaration Independence”
Far from it.

Oh, I have been keeping up on the DailyKos wing being PO'd on Obama
But, WHO CARES? The Left are idiots whose credibility on serious matters is about zero.

However, their bitching does prove that Obama is only in it for the power. He's becoming our very own Juan Peron or Robert Mugabe -- just as Zyndryl has contended.

And it does have some schadenfreude value since it is great to see them get royally screwed by their Messiah. That just proves that Obama is the political anti-christ that many of us claimed he would be.

However, I personally enjoy witnessing how the 'swing voters' (moderates and independents or whatever the hell they can't decide to call themselves) exhibit buyer's remorse more than I do the Lefty Useful Idiots. The Swings will be more likely to vote for Palin in 2012.

So, I do pay attention to that side of things Roy. Given the media outright whoring for Obama, it is difficult not to. I therefore don't know where you get your impressions of what I do or don't follow in current events.

PRESS RELEASE: Zyndryl 'saves' phantom snipes!
Zyndryl Saves Snipes From Being Hunted
(Reuters)
--------------------------------------------------------

Zyndryl, forum-poster extraordinaire, claims to have saved an entire species of phantom avians from poaching.

"Some little boy watched the movie 'Up!' and wanted my advice on how to hunt Snipes" Zyndryl explains.

"I then told him that Snipes aren't real and that he would be wasting his time. Therefore, I 'saved' the entire species of Snipus Royus from possible extinction." Zyndryl further elucidates.

Zyndryl was denied the Al Gore Fuzzy Wuzzy Prize because he is a Global Warming Denier, Al Gore's office said today. Instead, Al Gore offered to fund a lobotomy procedure for Zyndryl 'in order to facilitate acceptance that Climate Change is very real and even more important than saving the Snipe from possible extinction.'

A victory, a slam dunk and a misguided missile
First point, yes. Doctors do occasionally cure illnesses. They're getting particularly good with various cancers. And they are nonpareil with shock-trauma. If they can scrape enough of you up off the pavement they can generally breathe life back into you. Look at the partial people coming back from the wars.. some with only half a head now.

Next, "GM and Chrysler went bankrupt. Plain and simple. They failed and they are gone. Chrysler has been sold to the Italians and GM will be broken up into several small entities. We hold equity in the run[u]p but most of our money is gone forever."

I'm not so sure. This is not the first time Chrysler has been bailed out. They were lost, then they were saved and then they were sold to Daimler.

Did the feds get their money back on the deal? You tell me. (I assume by "we" you mean we the taxpayers.)

One thing for certain, Dodge trucks continued being built. And I think it will be that way now. We the People will get our bridge loan back and there'll be more Chrysler products in our future.

Thirdly, "For all his efforts the President has not actually fixed the banks. Our economy is still completely messed up."

You can blame Obama for this if that is your wont. But recall that what both he and Bush did was to go along with the conventional wisdom from their advisers.. great stone heads brought in from Wall Street that were largely in agreement with one another as to how to proceed. That's about the best a president can do, if he's smart and wants to avoid getting the blame.

Talk to Paulson, Geithner and Summers about the quality of the thinking they brought to the problem. I'm not happy with their bank-o-centric approach either. But I blame neither Obama nor Bush for the dynamics of the bailout, which they designed and implemented, and their bosses signed off on.

Way to pick 'em
Palin would seem to be your kind of candidate.

Love it or leave it...
There's always Canada...eh?

The best the man can get...
Roy,

You said "Obama...and Bush [went] along with the conventional wisdom from their advisers...That's about the best a president can do, if he's smart and wants to avoid getting the blame."

During Stagflation 1970-1982 Nixon, Ford and Carter also did exactly what their Keynesian economic advisors told them to do...but it was not until Ronald Reagan introduced his Supply Side policies and crushed the life out of inflation that we actually corrected the underlying problem.

I agree that Obama is smart and that he wants to avoid the blame for this mess...but what he is doing is not working and simply saying that Bush did no better does not feed the bulldog.

If that's really the best he can do then we probably need someone else. I like Obama too but being smart doesn't always do it and even you can't argue with that.

What are you talking Forest? I don't get your cryptic remark. Would you elaborate please?
..

Banish what?...
I don't get you...all so defensive about repudiating the essence of the Declaration of Independence. What does that even mean? Would it be treasonous or something if you actually said: "Wait a minute...pursue happiness? Isn't that like a dog chasing cars and not knowing what it would ever do if it caught one?"

You're the one who said this thing is all so "subjective"...I'm just agreeing with you. We know that if we ever actually achieved a permanent state of happiness...everything we ever wanted, I suppose...we would immediately get stupid, go out and try to mess up our lives again. It's called the "schmuck gene" and we all have one.

But if this documentary essence repudiation business makes you nervous I am sure you will be fine in Canada. Many of them speak French and they won't notice your treasonous remarks. The rest of them are drunk most of the time and they won't much care what you say.

In response to my first comment, you wrote that pursuit of happiness is the root of Subjectivity
Since the sentiment of that reply is you are agreeing with me, I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t share your comments about pursuit of happiness being at the root of the Subjectivity permeating US politics.

So, if you would now explain your subsequent posts.

The Game Changer
You're right in one sense.. Ron Reagan changed the game, ending the one whose final round was a seemingly intractable stagflation. The Old Guard had run out of tricks, and had no answers to offer for the problems we had become mired in, following their lead. So we switched leadership.

Of course, by the same token, that same Old Guard had been the ones that gained the last time we switched leadership.. in 1932. The old style laissez faire entrepreneurial capitalism of our teens and twenties had led to the failure of the word banking system.. and no one on THAT team had any good answers. Just ask Andrew Mellon, who had access to the ear of Herb Hoover.

Now we've just come to the end of another round. The supply-siders (one vaguely contemporary term for the same old laissez faire crowd) has once again run out of solutions to the problems their philosophy has created. And it's up to the other team to take a turn at bat.

Our current problem is that our prosperity is based on debt. Debt to the investors, who underwrite the follies of corporations, S&Ls, bonds traders, high tech startups and real estate speculators who make their world go 'round.. and the debt incurred by a labor force that can't afford it's own lifestyle because they're not paid that well. And so they fall prey to the siren call of the lenders.. debt salesmen who ende up with so much of our available cash the only thing they know to do with it is loan it out to the people who got cheated out of earning it.

What I've noticed from 1981 to the present is that if anything the period of the cycle is growing shorter.. that is, less and less time lapses between the booms and the busts. And every time the bust occurs, all our accumulated wealth goes up in one great bonfire. This time it was $11 trillion worth of paper fueling the flames.

Money, I hasten to add, that (as it arises from debt piled upon debt) our children will be called upon to pay back. Or worse, to declare unpayable.

We need a better way of tuning this money machine up. And the one I prefer is to use common sense, applying a cash infusion when times are tough and taxing it back out of the system during the good times. That gives us a boost when we need it the most, and protects us also from those speculative spirals Alan Greenspan used to call flights of "irrational exuberance".

Upholding one's standards, right or wrong..
Adhering to standards means no matter what the question is, you always give the same answer.

You, sir, have exceedingly strict standards. Most of your comments are of this type.

It would be incorrect to say I'm "a socialist". Whenever we've reached this point in the discussion, it's my time to remind you that socialism and capitalism both offer portions of the answer. You can't raise everyone's standard of living without building a functioning, self-sustaining economy. And such an economy is of no worth if all the money in the system colects on one end of the model.

The economy is there for all our benefit. And we are all children of the same god, if you will, or born of the same dust if you prefer. Greedy pigs who monopolize the benefits to themselves need to be brought under control lest they further undermine the good of the entire species.

God grants no individual right to dominate one's neighbor. In fact under the Napoleonic view of the law, the oppressed have not just the right to resist their oppressors, they have the DUTY to do so.

The principle is the same whether it's Iranian crowds rebelling against the possibly stolen election of Khatemei's favorite candidate Ahmedinejad, or Mexican crowds rebelling against the possibly stolen election of Felipe Calderon to office. And there, I suspect that your absolute stand on principle fails.

Would it not be the case that you strongly approve of the Iranian voter rebellion, but as strongly DISapprove of the anti-Calderon rebellion, on the part of Obrador's backers? Both riots are in the name of the same principle. What then makes the backers of Obrador any different from those of Moussavi and Rafsanjani?

What's the spread?
I.e. what's the discount between the price you can buy gold and the price at which you can sell it back again?

Or is part of the plan that merchants will accept grains of gold in payment for chocolate bars?

Definitions
That is where standards are required.

Socialism is state control of private property where capitalism respects and defends individual private property rights. It is such rights which has enabled our standard of living.

If you hadn't noticed, the USA does not follow Napoleonic law.

"God grants no individual right to dominate one's neighbor."

No argument there so why do you support the mob's right to do so?

Men have NO DUTIES towards others, save NOT violating others’ “Rights”; and they CERTAINLY have NO
DUTIES towards themselves.

“People have DUTIES towards themselves” is the most pernicious idea to appear among humans.

That was off the subject
You're skating past the content of my answer to give a couple of glib replies.

First, "That is where standards are required."

"That" is what. Where? Huh?

"Socialism is state control of private property where capitalism respects and defends individual private property rights. It is such rights which has enabled our standard of living."

This is one of those mantras you must recite in your sleep at night. It has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. Nor is it a useful observation.

Nor does it address my comments on socialism, capitalism or any other ism. Some policies work better than others.. and they can come from any point along the spectrum.

So try addressing this: do you see the current Iranian situation and the 2006 situation in Mexico as being equivalent?

No man is an island?
Well, maybe you. You're an island.

Most of the rest of us have mutual obligations binding us to the brotherhood of man. That's the quality that makes us a civilization.. not just a collection of hermits defending themselves against one another.

“People have DUTIES towards themselves” is the most pernicious idea to appear among humans."

Funny. For many, it would be wisdom.. to remind one that he has a duty to himself not to live in subjugation. And for that matter, that he has a similar duty to family, neighbors and community. And, for that matter, nation.

Mexico and Iran are the same
Both are ruled by tyrants with people who want liberty.

As for rigged elections...
we have the same problem.

As Hugh Hewitt wrote, 'If it ain't close, they can't cheat.'

It is about time a Republican launched full fledged challenge as Colman is doing in MN. Thune could have done the same as voter fraud was rampant on the Indian reservations. And don't forget how close the WA governor race was with 'homeless' people registered at a Seattle government building.
And democrats want to give illegal aliens drivers licenses so they can illegally vote, too.
Also, recall how agitated the left was when AZ required positive ID to vote, just like they do in Mexico.

I do agree with you...
That Pursuit of Happiness PR ploy was only an example. All Men Are Created Equal was another.

Look...America was all about immigration if the Founding Fathers wanted this nation to become competitive rapidly in a very unfriendly competitive arena. Indeed, Britain reopened hostilities from 1812-1815 and that move had to be predictable. The United States wanted to beef up and for that we needed raw manpower. This included British deserters...naturalized US citizens...who the Royal Navy was inclined to go after.

During the War of 1812 we fought Canada to a standstill rather than to annex them. In hindsight that was probably a mistake. We can still go live there, of course, but somehow it's not the same as it might have been.

Don't DIVERT Roy; the issue is FORCED positive OBLIGATIONS towards people one may NEVER even meet
If you feel such obligations, nobody is preventing you from discharging them.

But forcing others to do it – and supporting “laws” that put such obligations on others - is IMMORAL and, time permitting, I would say so, as long as I think that the powers-that-be won’t throw me in jail for expressing such opinions.

Let’s see how long you can cheat yourself that you don’t know what I am talking about.

Not the same thing
According to roy, everyone has a responsibility to take care of him, once he no longer cares to do it himself.

No man has a duty to take care of anyone else. The one exception is if I have done something that results in you requiring care.

Community spirit
One hallmark of the human species is that we commonly band together to form a group. And by interacting with one another, we set the tone of that group and define our mutual obligations to one another. We create a reciprocally binding web of these obligations we call the community.

That is, most of us do. There are always a few misanthropic individuals, or people who learned poor social skills during their formative years, who think they're all alone in the world. And that they owe no one anything for the use of the human society they live and prosper in.

It would be appropriate for these people to banish themselves to some distant island, so they didn't form a burden for everyone else to take up their slack.

But go ahead. I urge you not to pay your taxes. I urge you not to bother saying hello to anyone. I urge you to annoy everyone with your bothersome personal credo until someone becomes aggravated and pounds the crap out of you.

You place yourself outside society. But obviously, no one has called you on it yet. You still live here, enjoying the fruits of what others have built. And you're proud of never, on principle, making even the slightest contribution.

Pretty steep
Gold prices from the machines – about 30 per cent higher than market prices for the cheapest product – will be updated every few minutes.

Customers using a prototype "Gold to go" machine at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday had the choice of purchasing a 1g wafer of gold for €30, a 10g bar for €245, or gold coins.

"Or is part of the plan that merchants will accept grains of gold in payment for chocolate bars?"

If the hyperinflation is as bad as everyone things it will be, we'll all be reduced to barter. The Germans lived through that during the Weimar years just like Zimbabweans are living through it now.

"Phantom" Jobs
We should standardize on term for the politically correct and convenient. I thought that the term Virtual Jobs, like Virtual Voters was the standard term for manufactured numbers.
The term "Phantom Jobs" might just be a hallucination or an artifact due to incompentent calculation.

Thanks, I'll pass on the gold bars
A thirty percent markup from full retail? That's awfully steep. And they really think gold will become an impulse purchase?

What I actually meant was, what was the discount from full price when you try to sell your gold back to the dealer, and get cash again?

With diamonds I seem to recall you lose around 50 percent of value. But it depends on the dealer and the market that day. If he needs your diamond he might go a smidgen higher.

Another hallmark of the human species is that they have a RIGHT not to be forced to join ANY Group
But the hallmark of Roy is, he supports laws that force people to join various Groups and is proud of it.

And he wishes that "someone would pound the crap out of me" for reminding him that HE has no un-chosen positive obligations towards me, just as I have no such obligations towards him.

You sign the social contract just by living here
You do have free choice. But you're already part of the group. You're an American (at least I assume from all the griping that you are). And we all have binding obligations on one another.

So if you want to play on the links you have to pay your dues to the golf club. Otherwise you have to leave the USA and find someplace you can play by yourself.

Around this man's land you don't get a free ride.

there is no such thing as a 'social contract'
'social contract' is a total BS term that was completely made up by liberals. It has no basis in history or in the Constitution.

As for playing on the links, well...a more appropriate analogy would be 'born as a serf on a lord's land'. The 'lord' is technically all of us, which makes it somewhat more palpable. But in reality, the 'lord' is really the elites who run the place and milk the serfs.

In all practicality, leaving the US has high exit costs just as fleeing from a fiefdom to the towns and hiding there for a year and a day was in the Middle Ages.

"Around this man's land you don't get a free ride."

Unless you are an illegal alien. Then you get all kinds of free passes. One of which, Obama ordered his cronies to stop verifying legal status for workers on Stimulus Bill projects. Nice, eh?

See, the illegals can leave when they want. Most only consider this a temp job/temp place anyway, unlike immigrants historically.

A government of the people
ALL human groups, without exception, have an implicit social contract. That is, there are rules you need to follow if you want to belong to the group. Don't follow the rules and you either get penalized in some way or you're told to leave the group.

This is a lot older than our own species. Good research has been done on the nuances of the social contract in baboon societies. But I suspect that will go right past you.

In our own society, the one we call "America", the basis upon which we've been founded is that all power derives from the People. That is, we freely elect our government and we can remove it at our will.

The fact that we've been immature as a society, and derelict in the duties this arrangment implies, is beside the point. It is incumbent upon us to take the time to learn how our government actually works, and for the people to seize control of it from thre moneyed interests. Otherwise we deserve what we get. That is, the situation we enjoy currently.

YOU are the one demanding a free; and you hold the "Gun" to "bind" the obligations on us, Roy
..

The implicit contract involves ONLY refraining (from harming others); doesn’t include providing
There was time when Blacks were expected to follow the rule of being a slave. Do you accept it as Right?

There was a time when any White man questioning it was ostracized. Do you accept that as Right?

Right is NOT a matter of numbers Roy. You should know THAT much, at you age.

Roy taking away the Conch shell
"ALL human groups, without exception, have an implicit social contract"

So? The Constitution and the Common Law it is based upon is EXPLICIT.

Baboons don't have constitutions.

"Don't follow the rules and you either get penalized in some way or you're told to leave the group."

Yeah, that worked real swell for Piggy in Lord of the Flied, didn't it?

The rest of your tripe doesn't not prove the existence of a 'social contract' that supercedes the Constitution.

Purposely missing the point
The US Constitution is the perfect example of a social contract. One that has been made explicit by having been written down and signed onto by representatives of the various states.

And it will be binding up to the point where a majority of the participants decide to replace it with something else. But that won't be in the foreseeable future. Our politics have divided us.. at this point utterly and hopelessly. We can never agree on anything.

At some future point, as all things change, that will too. But at present it is not in the cards.

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