Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson's blog

China’s ‘superior’ economic model?

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In a recent piece for the Wall Street Journal, Andy Stern, an Obama insider and one of organized labor’s more aggressive personalities, praised what he called “China’s superior economic model.”

Does China have a superior economic model? That depends: Superior to what?

Mr. Stern, who headed the Service Employees International Union, cited Andy Grove, founder and chairman of Intel, who concedes the 20th century’s “decisive victory of free-market principles over planned economies.” Read More»

Veterans: What is seen and what is not seen

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In economics, the first lesson I teach my pupils is the lesson of things that are seen and things that are not seen. Actions have some effects that are readily apparent and others are overlooked or not perceived.

It’s the same with our military veterans. We see the obvious price they’ve paid — the time they spent far away from home and some of the physical injuries, such as lost limbs. What we don’t see are their psychological wounds. Sadly, these are more numerous than physical injuries, and they often cause greater suffering. Read More»

Fed declares end to free market interest rates

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It isn’t easy to earn interest income these days. Interest rates on government T-bills, banks’ savings accounts, and certificates of deposit are microscopic. You can blame our government and central bank. They have “ZIRPed” millions of American savers. Here are the details: Read More»

Germany, Greece & the fate of the euro

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It has been over a year since I have written about the fragile condition of the European Union’s financial system. The financial crisis of a possible Greek default has been papered over since then, but now it is coming to a head again.

Greece again is teetering on the brink of default. This month, Greek debt was so unpopular that interest rates on one-year notes spiked to 98 percent. No country grows so vigorously that its government can afford to double its creditors’ money in one year, and certainly not a bankrupt government like Greece’s. Read More»

Obama’s latest jobs gambit

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If you watched President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, you didn’t see anything new. He did what he does best — campaign for re-election and pay lip service to private enterprise and fiscal responsibility while proposing more top-down economic planning that (despite his claims to the contrary) will surely plunge the government more deeply into debt; that is, if Congress gets stampeded into passing the proposed “American Jobs Act.” Read More»

Gold’s meteoric rise: What it means

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The price of gold has gone on a tear this summer, from slightly under $1,500 per ounce to well over $1,800 per ounce, and it looks like it wants to go higher. What gives?

Well, if you bought gold last spring, you’re looking pretty smart. And if you bought gold a decade ago at $300 per ounce, you’re looking like a whiz. Read More»

Big deal or no deal?

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As the Aug. 2 deadline for a debt-ceiling deal drew near, many expected a big deal that would significantly change the direction of federal fiscal policy. After weeks of tumultuous negotiations, partisan bickering, and impassioned histrionics, the agreement that finally emerged was, to put it bluntly, no big deal.

Ironically, the most accurate assessment I read about it was Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s comment that it “was not that great overall because it simply delayed the adoption of a more systemic solution.” Read More»

Bernanke and the Potemkin economy

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On July 11, The Center for Vision & Values posted my article decrying the insulting name-calling directed toward Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. The very next day, Bernanke made me question my forbearance by telling Congress that a third round of “quantitative easing” or “QE3” could be a near-term option. Read More»

Solutions for the ‘tax gap’

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In 2010, there was a “tax gap” — i.e., the difference between federal taxes owed and those actually paid — of $410–$500 billion.

Some of the gap stems from the complexity of the tax code. Much of it, though, is deliberate: self-employed individuals working for cash, table-servers under-reporting tips, taxpayers claiming unauthorized credits and deductions. Read More»

The high-stakes showdown over Medicare reform

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go broke in the year 2024 — five years sooner than was projected just last year.

The millions of Americans who have been counting on Medicare to be a reliable, stable guarantor of affordable healthcare in their senior years should be asking themselves, “Who is responsible for this predicament?” The short answer is “lots of people,” but let’s start by looking in the mirror. Read More»

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