Are you a socialist if you spend taxpayer money to build new roads? What if you’re the ex-governor of Alaska who ran the biggest wealth-redistribution program in the U.S.? There aren’t any simple answers. But there is a spitstorm these days over what a “socialist” President Obama is. His healthcare plan, Cash for Clunkers, the economic stimulus, his necktie, his haircut, whatever. If you’re an angry member of a certain senile political party, bereft of ideas and relevance, nothing feels quite as good as balling up your little fist and sputtering the S-word. Of course, it ignores the fact that we all depend on “socialized” services every day and have done since forever: the post office, police, fire, your local water utility, etc. And what if you’re a business owner hoping for a government-backed loan to keep your doors open? That sounds a little socialistic too. Unless you’re, you know, a big bank that wrote its own ticket to insolvency then demanded billions from Uncle Sam. Then it’s just the American way.
Can China save the world? That’s the question a lot of people are asking now, says a recent Time magazine piece that looks at the soaring fortunes of China and the nagging recession that persists in the U.S. and most of the West. What’s China’s secret? Many observers point out that, while politicians here deregulated the U.S. into a train wreck, the Chinese government has always maintained a fairly tight grip. Result: the Chinese economy is set to grow 8 percent this year, retail sales are up 16 percent, the stock market is up 71 percent and desperate American college grads are going to China to find work. On the other hand, the country is kinda socialist. Yuck.
Mr. Geithner, meet Mr. Ha. How radically have the tables turned? The Time article mentioned above describes the scene last June when Timothy Geithner gave a speech at Peking University, China’s finest. The author says in years past the treasury secretary would have been treated with reverence. Now, not so much. Asked if China’s massive investment in U.S. government debt is safe, Geithner insisted to the assembled students that the investment is “very safe.” The students laughed at him.
Pet peeve of the week. We’re annoyed by those packages that say stuff like “30% More Doritos FREE!” How can it be free? We’re still paying for it. If it’s really free, how about we just take the free chips and Doritos keeps the rest?