Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Attempted revolution in Iran

It's been grim watching the rigged election and subsequent riots and repression in Iran over the past weeks. Videos put out over the internet show a young woman apparently killed in the rioting; police on motorbikes riding through the crowds swinging batons, soldiers firing into crowds from rooftops. The bravery of the protesters is impressive as is the cruelty of their pathological government. I've been disappointed that condemnation from our half of the world hasn't been louder. There needs to be some way of restraining and punishing governments run amok. There are too many examples. This one is right up there with Tiananmen Square in 1989 and Burma in 2007 to name a couple.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Debt to GDP ratios headed higher

Country | Debt to GDP ratio
US      |  45%
UK      |  50%
Japan   | 171%
Germany |  39%
Canada  |  42%
China   |  20%
Brazil  |  36%

* Q4 2008

The big picture blog quotes Bill Gross of PIMCO's "Staying Rich in the New Normal". The US deficit of nearly $1.5 trillion is 10% of GDP. In 5 years, that get's us to a debt to GDP ratio of 100%. Add funding the baby-boomer's healthcare and retirement and your in the banana republic territory of 300%.

I dunno where they got the above numbers. Google says the national debt is 11 trillion while GDP is 14 trillion, which gives 78%. Looks like we're right about at the point of no return. Doh!

The federal debt was equivalent to 41 per cent of GDP at the end of 2008; the Congressional Budget Office projects it will increase to 82 per cent of GDP in 10 years. With no change in policy, it could hit 100 per cent of GDP in just another five years.

Healthcare results compared

“According to the Economist the total US spend on healthcare is 15.4% of GDP including both state and private . With that it gets 2.6 doctors per 1,000 people, 3.3 hospital beds and its people live to an average age of 78.2.
“As a whole Europe spends 9.6% of GDP on healthcare, has 3.9 doctors per 1,000 people, 6.6 hospital beds and live until they are 81.15 years old.

A political economy

A recent piece in the Economist ( A new anthology of essays reconsiders Thomas Piketty’s “Capital” , May 20, 2107) ends with these words: &q...