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July 11, 2011

Krugman: No, We Can't? Or Won't?

Krugman looks at and dismantles all the excuses the administration gives for the incredibly awful unemployment America is facing. No, We Can’t? Or Won’t? - NYTimes.com
Excuse No. 3: It’s the workers’ fault. Unemployment soared during the financial crisis and its aftermath. So it seems bizarre to argue that the real problem lies with the workers — that the millions of Americans who were working four years ago but aren’t working now somehow lack the skills the economy needs. Yet that’s what you hear from many pundits these days: high unemployment is “structural,” they say, and requires long-term solutions (which means, in practice, doing nothing). Well, if there really was a mismatch between the workers we have and the workers we need, workers who do have the right skills, and are therefore able to find jobs, should be getting big wage increases. They aren’t. In fact, average wages actually fell last month. Excuse No. 4: We tried to stimulate the economy, and it didn’t work. Everybody knows that President Obama tried to stimulate the economy with a huge increase in government spending, and that it didn’t work. But what everyone knows is wrong. Think about it: Where are the big public works projects? Where are the armies of government workers? There are actually half a million fewer government employees now than there were when Mr. Obama took office. So what happened to the stimulus? Much of it consisted of tax cuts, not spending. Most of the rest consisted either of aid to distressed families or aid to hard-pressed state and local governments. This aid may have mitigated the slump, but it wasn’t the kind of job-creation program we could and should have had. This isn’t 20-20 hindsight: some of us warned from the beginning that tax cuts would be ineffective and that the proposed spending was woefully inadequate. And so it proved. . . .

July 09, 2011

What have the unions ever done for us?

Joe. My. God.: What Have Unions Done For Us?

We should charge doctors for wasting our time

Half of the doctors this woman has billed have paid up. Would your doctor pay for wasted time? - CNN.com
(CNN) -- Elaine Farstad got antsy as she waited for her doctor, who was late for her scheduled appointment. Then she got downright impatient. Then, as nearly two hours passed, she got mad. Then she came up with an idea. "I decided to bill the doctor," she says. "If you waste my time, you've bought my time." When Farstad returned home, she figured out her hourly wage working as an IT specialist at Boeing in Everett, Washington. She doubled it for the two hours she'd spent in the waiting room, and mailed the invoice to her doctor.

Warren Buffet has a plan to end the deficit

Warren Buffett: I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. | The Big Picture “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP all sitting members of congress are ineligible for reelection.”

Kink.com opening neighborhood bar

Kink.com Gets a Bar: The Armory Club: SFist
With all the theme bars popping up around here, we're about due for one with a little less childhood nostalgia and a little more adult sensibility. This morning, Grubstreet reports the Kink.com-owned former home of Ace Caf� will be transformed in to the appropriately named Armory Club, caddy-corner to the fetish site's headquarters (and possible community center) on Mission Street. Cocktail enthusiasts (or cock and tail enthusiasts, we suppose) who have been watching the space might remember Kink's owner Peter Acworth has been looking to open an Armory-adjacent bar for some time now and let the Ace Caf� lease run out in order to take over the bar himself. No word yet from the folks at Kink about the intended decor or drink menu, but the steel bars and the stone walls on the ground floor would probably make for a nice dungeon-themed establishment, if that's what you're in to. Educated guesses put the opening date sometime in the fall, but in the meantime: be on the look out for sexy renovations at 14th and Mission.