Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

A year after Barack Obama’s historic election, one of his most contentious programs has been the $700 billion stimulus package. Here’s a clip of Lewis Black explaining John Maynard Keynes’ theory of how public works projects can stimulate the economy in his own inimitable (and be warned, very foul-mouthed way):

Now, just in case you’re thinking “that’s just crazy comedian talk and has no basis in proper economics” here’s the view of Keynes himself from “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”:

“If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal mines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is. It would, indeed, be more sensible to build houses and the like; but if there are political and practical difficulties in the way of this, the above would be better than nothing.” (p. 129)

So while Barack Obama may not have been thrilled about having to spend such a huge amount of money getting the American economy going and saddling the American taxpayer with such a large debt (yes, I said it), is was absolutely the correct thing to do. In this instance, to compromise the spending aspects of the package to appease Republicans (the people who, to a large extent, created this mess) in the name of bipartisanship could have led to the Great Recession becoming the second Great Depression and may have left future generations with an even more unmanageable National Debt. The world is now in the thankful state of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, just over a year after we faced economic catastrophe, as the recession ends (at least technically) in many countries and hopefully we can get back to job creation in the new year…

 

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The Bank of England dropped interest rates another half a percent, bringing it to a record low of 1.5%, causing City Workers to wet themselves with excitement. Because of course, as they all knew, that pathetic 1.5% drop in November followed by a wimpy 1% cut in December would obviously not be enough to kick-start the economy, but that this historic 0.5% adjustment will obviously send the economy rocketing upwards. At the risk of repeating myself, it’s really looking like we’re pushing on a piece of string, as Keynes would say. I could be wrong, maybe somewhere around 1%, everybody will get the mother lode of money from their banks and go on a crazy spending spree. Maybe those of you in US can clear that up and let me know if a 0% rate has brought about a new economic paradise.

Meantime Obama is forced to twiddle his thumbs in a hotel room and come up with economic plans that may be of no use by the time he even gets into office. Hey, reality show idea, why don’t we allow Obama into the White House early and force George Bush, John Howard and Tony Blair to stay in the Big Brother House with a volatile mix of Iraqis and shoes.

I know what you’re thinking – Obama hasn’t even taken office yet – how is it possible to judge whether voters chose the right president already. Well let’s take a quick look at events from the last few days:

– President-Elect Obama has gathered some of the top economic minds in the country to come up with ideas as to how to stimulate the country out of recession. He has received messages from Chavez, Ahmedinejad and the leader of Hamas, indicating that they are willing to talk.

– The Republicans have continued name-calling, only now they’re insulting each other, with McCain aides calling Palin a “diva” and Palin responding by calling them “jerks”

So I may be proven wrong yet but it certainly looks like yes, America made the right choice


If you’re still undecided, firstly make up your freakin’ mind!!! There’s less than forty-eight hours left!!! After 20 months, countless debates, numerous interviews and millions of ads, what more needs to be said?? Anyway, hopefully this list, compiled with my wife Meri (http://merihayden.wordpress.com) will swing it for you – if it doesn’t nothing will.  

1. Obama’s awesome jumpshot

2. Joe Biden has the whitest teeth on the planet

3. Neither one is Sarah Palin

4. Obama would never mix up a French-Canadian radio host with Nicolas Sarkozy

5. Obama looks like a GQ model (settle down Meri! – Sam)

6. Wardrobe budget will be considerably less

7. Between Obama’s booming voice and Biden’s intense eyes, they’ll scare the crap out of Bin Laden

8. Frees up Palin and McCain to pursue their own successful careers in TV and radio sketch shows

9. Keynesian plans to grow the economy from the bottom up (lighten up Sam!-Meri)

10. It’ll be a complete lurvefest

So McCain and Palin have decided on a new line attack on Barack Obama – that his policies are Socialist – and like their other attacks just a cursory look at the facts should debunk this. So let’s see what they’ve tried before:

1. His middle name is Hussein and his last name is nearly Osama, thus he must be dodgy – turns out, this is what is widely known (although maybe only in liberal Anti-American circles) as a COINCIDENCE!!

2. He’s a Muslim, although obviously a pretty rubbish one, as he kept making a wrong turn into a Christian church for decades.

3. He attended to a radical, jihadist madrassa in Indonesia. However when one of the British news networks went there, the staff and students were all nice and friendly, we learned that they were respectful of his Non-Muslim status, although during Islamic religious studies he and other non-Muslims went to another room to catch up on their studies, and that they all wished him well (there goes number 2).

4. He’s dangerously inexperienced on foreign policy, yet in his debates with McCain he more than held his own on this area…and now Colin Powell has backed him.

5. He’s in league with America-hating terrorists…well, one actually, and his terrorism acts occurred when Obama was eight…and he’s been lecturing at a major university for twenty years…and they weren’t really in league with each other, they served on the board of the same charity…and that charity was set up by a member of the Reagan Administration…and Palin has much stronger ties with the America-hating secessionists of the Alaska Independence Party.

So how about the Socialism claims…well I don’t know, you go ask a middle-aged Eastern European whether an increase in tax on people earning over $250,000 from 36% to 39% equates to their experience of Totalitarian Socialism and watch them roll on the floor laughing. Oh My God, tax rates for the rich will go back to the levels they were at under Comrade Ronald Reagan!

Seriously, there is no country in the western world which is either purely capitalist or purely socialist. The US has socialized police, fire services, education and many other important (and perhaps some not so important government programs) while other countries like Germany, France, Britain and Canada manage to combine a Universal Health Care system and strong social safety net with a functioning market economy. And seeing that the eight-year experiment with extreme deregulation and deep (and unaffordable) tax cuts hasn’t exactly worked out as planned, perhaps it’s understandable if the good citizens of the USA aren’t completely freaked about a modest shuffle to the Left.

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here’s that video of Sarah Palin dropping the puck at the Flyers-Rangers game

Hi there, it’s 1am in the UK and I’ve just watched the VP debate on TV so I’ll keep this short and go into more detail tomorrow.

Overall it was an excellent debate, especially given the restrictions of the format. Palin, as I predicted, exceeded the low expectations the media had of her and, to be fair, even the expectations I had for her. She came out swinging but fair play to Biden, he was absolutely ready for her and overcame any fears I had for him. He struck just the right tone and deservedly won the debate without having to rely on screw-ups by Palin. Whilst not a knockout win, his performance should consolidate the Obama/Biden position.

One small thing about Palin though – NUCULAR???!!!! Aw crap, not again