The Daily View: Debt, The Intelligentsia, Economic Compromise, Praise for the Do-Nothing Congress

Foreign Holdings of U.S. Treasuries

This is why the debt binge is sustainable and why bonds and stocks are rallying together. Part of what makes America exceptional is not just its superior economy or superior military, but the great demand for its debt, especially compared to other countries. The left wants a debt crisis, but it refuses to happen.

America Dumbs Down: A rising tide of anti-intellectual thinking

America dumbing down? Hardly. IQ and being smart is more important than ever. Try telling someone they are dumb and watch them become offended.

Smart people are among the most important and respected people in the world. They have the most Karma on Reddit, the most points on sites like Stack Exchange, the highest reputation on forums, and most views on YouTube for technical, artsy, or philosophical subjects. They have the credentials – SAT scores and degrees – to lend their expertise in a variety of fields and are showered with accolades for their selflessness and fastidiousness. For example, recently on Reddit someone asked how many photons would reach Mars from a flashlight beamed from earth. The number one reply with the solution got a staggering 3800 up-votes- more than any post I’ve seen, including posts by A-list celebrities and for a topic that is rather esoteric even by Reddit standards. That should give you an idea of how much intelligence is prized in the smartist era – an era of forever rising stock prices, a greater moderation, and people getting richer than ever. On average, the cognitive elite are rewarded with the highest of wages, despite occasionally complaining about their intellectual gifts being unappreciated by society or underutilized by their employers. They use words like consanguineous in casual conversation. Smart people are displacing ‘old money’ on the Forbes 400 list, getting their web 2.0 companies valued or acquired for billions of dollars, watching their stocks and real estate zoom into the stratosphere – even as real wages for most people haven’t budged. A meritocracy optimized by Bay Area tech scene or the financial cognoscenti of New York, where erudition, wealth and the specter of all-knowing omnipotence is valued.

What sociologists call cultural capital has been surpassed by intellectual or cognitive capital. Digital capital as measured by points, reputation, karma is redeemable in the offline world in the form of a job, promotion or designated authority status. The distinction between your online and offline presence is becoming blurred, where what you do online affects the real world, sometimes with devastating consequences.

Poll: 47% of Unemployed Have ‘Completely Given Up’ Looking for a Job

They give up because it may be rational, in economic terms, to collect benefits such as social security, disability and welfare. Work isn’t free in terms of opportunity costs, loss of benefits, and actual expenses like gas and daycare.

This economic boom underscores the importance of tradeoffs and compromise – lower wages for bigger profits, less employment for lower interest rates. Consider the trolley car thought experiment; metaphorically speaking, most of us are fat men that need to lay down on the tracks – either forcibly or at our own volition – for the good of the economy, by accepting lower wages and less benefits. Job loss is one of those things that makes our economy more dynamic compared to Europe or Japan.

Politics Is More Broken Than Ever—Political Scientists Need to Admit It

Let’s give the do-nothing congress a round of applause. It’s good that politics is broken. That limits the damage that liberals can do. History shows that when politics works too well terrible things can happen. The best government is one where pro-growth policy and free market capitalism is maintained, but neither side can quite get what they want. A low congressional approval rating is paradoxically a bullish economic indicator. Congress does a good job during crisis such as ordering air strikes on Afghanistan after 911, the establishment of the dept. of homeland security, swearing in of Beranke, Robberts, Petraeus and Alito, passing the Bush tax cuts, passing TARP, but otherwise should do as little as possible. Liberals want congress to pass policy that will hurt economic growth and make America less safe.