Author Archives: hertzjacob

Not with a Whimper but a Bang

            Almost two months ago I posted an entry decrying the shift in American politics from a focus on unemployment to one on the debt and inflation.  Aside from a parenthetical reference to the troubles in Europe I focused upon the unfortunate changes in the United States.  Now with the possibility of a break-up of the Euro seeming ever more likely by the day lets look at the role of ideological inflation hawks in creating the present situation.  In April and July the European Central Bank (ECB) raised its benchmark interest rate 25 basis points (0.25%) due to its fears of increased inflation above its Euro zone target level of 2% (never mind the fact that others were arguing that the apparent rise in prices was simply a temporary commodity blip).  At the same time new governments in Europe (and in the United Kingdom) pushed for what they called “expansionary austerity.”  Continue reading


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Filed under Economics, Europe

Writing on Rights

Throughout much of American history we have struggled with how to reconcile our foreign policy strategic interests with our stated commitments to the virtues of democracy, freedom, and human rights.  Our Cold War support for right wing dictatorships and authoritarian regimes was a lightening rod for criticism from the American Left (while the American Right wondered why we did not do more to fund insurgents in totalitarian communist and socialist countries).  Of course prior to the Cold War we allied with one totalitarian state (the USSR) in order to take down another (Germany).  Continue reading

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Filed under Human Rights, U.S Foreign Policy, U.S. Politics

Where’s the Grief?

I suspect many of us learned about Steve Jobs’ death in the same way: checking Facebook on our Macs or iPhones to procrastinate from doing work.  I read a Facebook status to the effect of “RIP Steve” and immediately went to the New York Times to read the prepared obituary.  After I finished I returned to the Times homepage and opened a new tab to go back to Facebook.  I was shocked to see the enormous outpouring of grief on Facebook and on the Times’ homepage selection of reader submissions and memories.  After all I doubt that any of my Facebook friends actually met Steve Jobs or were ever in the same room as him.  Why were people so emotional over the death of a man they did not know? Continue reading

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Filed under North America, Technology

What to Really Worry About

Over the past two and a half years inflation and debt hawk economists and economic theories have dominated the national (and recently international) public and pundit debate on the economy.  Shortly after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill) conservative economists pointed to rising interest rates as a sign of future inflation and government crowding out.  Along with the rise of the Tea Party and the resurgent electoral prowess of the Republican Party this assertion has been at the core of the national debate over the need to reduce deficits and our long-term debt. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, North America, U.S. Politics