The frantic attacks on Ron Paul. The Iowa caucuses are just days away. And the thought that Representative Ron Paul might actually come in first has some people hysterical. Iowa governor Terry Branstad proclaimed that the results should be ignored if Paul finishes first. People need to look at “who comes in second and who comes in third” if that happens, he declared. Reaching even lower, Wall Street Journal editorial board member and columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz called Paul “the best-known of American propagandists for our enemies” in a lengthy op-ed smear. As I’ve said before, folks, next year will sure be interesting.
One way to lower unemployment. Democrats in the Senate and White House went ballistic over the House passage of a bill to cut unemployment benefits from 99 weeks to 59 weeks. Economist Alan Reynolds points out that, if they were smart, they would have rejoiced to see this happen — because it would have reduced dramatically our reported unemployment rate. You see, people who have stopped looking for work aren’t counted among the unemployed. Reynolds estimates that if benefits were cut to 59 weeks, “official” unemployment would be less than 8 percent by the November elections.
Measuring the stock market by the price of gold. Here’s an interesting way to measure the value of stocks: How many ounces of gold are they worth? When the stock market peaked in August 1999, it took 44.5 ounces of gold to buy the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today, all it takes is 7.5 ounces. In 1980, it took only one ounce of gold to purchase the Dow — a level many pundits think we will reach again.
A wonderful Christmas present. I don’t know how it started or even how it spread, but all across the Midwest, good Samaritans went into Kmart stores and paid for Christmas presents for less fortunate parents. At one store in Indianapolis, an anonymous woman paid off the layaway orders for about 50 families. Then, on her way out of the store, she passed out $50 bills to customers and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register. Talk about a special Christmas present!