Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday items: Mitchell on Saez study; Benko reports congressional hearing; Ferguson on Japan.

On International Liberty, Dan Mitchell cites research by Prof. Emmanuel Saez that suggests soccer players change their behavior based on tax rates.

From TGSN, Ralph Benko reports a congressional hearing on rising prices featuring James Grant and Lewis Lehrman.

At The Kudlow Report, Niall Ferguson wonders if Japan’s debt burden can handle reconstruction costs and sees similarities in the US to the 1970s:

From Alhambra Investments, Joe Calhoun critiques commentators who see a stimulus opportunity in Japan’s disaster.

At But What The Hell Do I Know, John Papola scolds Keynesians Larry Summers and Paul Krugman for suggesting disasters and war are stimulative. (H/t: Jerry Bowyer.)

In The WSJ, Francis Fukuyama wonders if China’s rising middle class will revolt against its government.

It is certainly true that the dry tinder of social discontent is just as present in China as in the Middle East. The incident that triggered the Tunisian uprising was the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, who had his vegetable cart repeatedly confiscated by the authorities and who was slapped and insulted by the police when he went to complain. This issue dogs all regimes that have neither the rule of law nor public accountability: The authorities routinely fail to respect the dignity of ordinary citizens and run roughshod over their rights. There is no culture in which this sort of behavior is not strongly resented.

This is a huge problem throughout China. A recent report from Jiao Tong University found that there were 72 "major" incidents of social unrest in China in 2010, up 20% over the previous year. Most outside observers would argue that this understates the real number of cases by perhaps a couple of orders of magnitude. Such incidents are hard to count because they often occur in rural areas where reporting is strictly controlled by the Chinese authorities.
Also in The Journal, Edward Chancellor reviews a book that argues China’s state banks have papered over large losses.

In The WSJ, Stephen Moore notes a breakdown in Democratic messaging over budget policy.

At Forbes, John Tamny critiques McDonald’s less fatty menu.

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