Thursday, December 2, 2010

News Summaries and Links Dec 2, 2010 Newsweek

Tags: Food Class Global Warming Now Practical governing or the Academic Brazil for Us, Asia Teach Us Retirement Income Gone

Newsweek went to essentially all column format which briefly gives us important readable information we need. I also find Bloomberg Business Week extremely good for investors by providing understanding about what is going on in the investment world. The articles are brief, but to the point.

Food Class, Global Warming Now, Practical governing or the Academic, Brazil for Us, Asia Teach Us, Retirement Income Gone

Jim Kawakami, Dec 2. 2010,

1. Food We Eat Depends on Our Income Newsweek Lisa Miller, In the book “Nickel and Dimed,” Barbara Ehrenreich told us that working at Wal Mart, waitress, and cleaning woman, she could not afford to buy kitchen utensils or save up enough for the normal security deposit for an apartment and was forced to live in a seedy motel and eat fast foods.

  1. When Climate Change Current and Future Dangers Ignored for Political and Current Profits, We Get Mealy-Mouth Saying What is Obvious is not necessarily true Newsweek Superb Science columnist Sharon Begley She points that it is already possible to calculate how much to attribute current weather phenomena to typical weather variation and how much to attribute to Climate Change.

In their biggest success, climate scientists led by Peter Stott of the British Met Office analyzed the 2003 European heat wave, when the mercury rose higher than at any time since the introduction of weather instruments (1851), and probably since at least 1500. After plugging in historical and paleo data, and working out climate patterns in a hypothetical world without a human-caused greenhouse effect, they conclude that our meddling was 75 percent to blame for the heat wave.

Put another way, we more than doubled the chance that it would happen, and it’s twice as likely to be human-caused than natural. That’s one beat shy of “Yes, we did it,” but better than “There’s no way to tell.”

  1. Why Governor Christie of NJ is More Successful than Obama and Still Popular Newsweek Andrew Romero The easiest way to understand why Christie has flourished and why Obama has faltered is to look at the jobs they held before entering politics. From January 2002 to December 2008, Christie served as New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor;

earlier, Obama spent 12 years as a constitutional-law professor at the University of Chicago. Today, Christie leads like the prosecutor he once was, identifying the crime, fingering the culprit, and methodically building a case designed to convince a jury of his peers.

“If you spend years exercising your biceps, those are muscles you’re going to have. Obama, meanwhile, leads like a professor, examining all angles of an issue and seeking evolutionary change by consensus. There are strengths and weaknesses in both approaches. But in an age of anger and austerity, Obama may have more to learn from Christie than the other way around.”

4. Are We Going to Become Another Brazil? Newsweek the peace in Rio de Janeiro has never been a job description for the faint-hearted. But the mayhem that swept the streets of South America’s fairest city this week has been extreme even by outsize Brazilian standards. In a span of 72 hours, bands of outlaws with assault weapons staged a series of random assaults, machine-gunning police outposts, setting up roadblocks on main thoroughfares, and torching cars and buses.

Rio’s chief of public safety, José Mariano Beltrame, asserts that the rampage is a sure sign that the criminal gangs that have held this metropolis of 9 million people hostage to drugs and violence are losing their grip. The Cariocas, as the city’s residents are known--not to mention the international community that this emerging nation has so aggressively courted--would be forgiven for wondering.”

5. West Can Learn About Economics from Asia Raw Newsweek Kishore Mahbubani is dean of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and author of The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East.

If Americans could only free themselves from their antigovernment straitjackets, they would begin to see that the U.S.’s problems are not insoluble. A few sensible federal measures could put the country back on the right path. A simple consumption tax of, say, 5 percent would make a significant dent in the country’s huge government deficit without damaging productivity. A small gasoline tax would help wean America from its dependence on oil imports and create incentives for green energy development. In the same way, a significant reduction of wasteful agricultural subsidies and other earmarks could also lower the deficit. But in order to capitalize on these common-sense solutions, Americans will have to put aside their own attachment to the rhetoric of smaller government and less regulation. American politicians will have to develop the courage to follow what is taught in all American public-policy schools: that there are good taxes and bad taxes. Asian countries have embraced this wisdom, and have built sound long-term fiscal policies as a result.

6. Your Retirement is Now Your Problem The Great Risk Shift Newsweek Ezra Klein Newsweek We have a retirement-security problem. And when we look at one or another piece in isolation—as most of the deficit-reduction proposals do—we run the risk of making it much worse. To be more specific, we run the risk of continuing the great risk shift of the last decades of the 20th century, in which uncertainty that was once borne by employers and the government has increasingly been shunted onto individuals. By 1995 there were more 401(k)-type plans than traditional defined-benefit plans. Now there are about twice as many. And as Robert Hiltonsmith, a policy analyst at the think tank Demos, documents in a new report, they’re not working out that well. Retirement experts say average workers approaching retirement need about $250,000 in their 401(k)s to maintain their standard of living. They don’t have it. The number is closer to $98,000—not much more than a third of the recommended.

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