"5 Earth-Shaking Trends to Follow in 2015—and Beyond!"


Happy New Year! My new column for Time identifies "5 Earth-Shaking Trends to Follow in 2015—and Beyond!" Pick apart my ideas and add your own in the comments section below.

A snippet:

1. The end of America as a destination country

Americans have always taken for granted that everyone in the world wants to move here–that's one of the reasons some people are worried about opening the borders. We'll be overrun!

Yeah, not so much. Illegal immigration to the United States peaked in 2007 and legal immigration peaked even sooner, in 2006. Part of the reason for the decline is our persistently rotten economy and part of it is our stupid business climate (see below). But a big part of it is that other countries offer better chances for growth and opportunity for migrants and natives alike.

For instance, India and China, the world's two most populous countries, have higher economic growth rates than the United States. Hard-working individuals have more places than ever from which to choose….

3. Cheap and abundant energy changes everything

Massively proliferating energy from fracking, shale oil, improved green technologies, and other sources makes everything cheaper for everyone in the world. The price of a barrel of oil has dropped 40 percent since June and has been on the skids for five years.

Beyond savings that can be directed to other economic activities, the drop if energy costs also means that tyrannical countries ranging from Russia to Venezuela to Saudi Arabia have less clout on the world stage. The oil cartel OPEC controls about 40 percent of world production but it's facing increasing difficulty in keeping its member states in line. The United States had long been OPEC's biggest customer, which meant that we had to deal gingerly with Saudi Arabia and other Middle-Eastern producers, especially when it came to foreign policy.

With the U.S. producing more of its own energy than was even conceivable a few years ago, China and Asia more broadly is rapidly becoming OPEC's top customer. Which means that world politics—the decline in oil prices is hamstringing Vladimir Putin in Russia—are going through a major restructuring.

4. Cultural elites take it on the chin

It hasn't been a good year for cultural elites. In November, the once-beloved comedian Bill Cosby took to Twitter and asked fans to contribute "#cosbymemes." The feed was immediately filled with images mocking him and calling attention to a growing number of rape accusations. The auteur behind HBO's Girls, Lena Dunham, published a memoir in which she wrote about being the victim of sexual assault and offering her little sister "three pieces of candy if I could kiss her on the lips for five seconds." A commentary by Kevin Williamson of National Review led to a negative reaction that forced Dunham (and even her sister) to engage in a Twitter exchange and to cancel planned appearances.

This sort of thing didn't happen as easily in the past, when it was harder for everyday people or even members of the media, to speak directly to top-line stars and personalities. The Sony hack, in which unknown perpetrators released terabytes of emails, documents, and even movies, takes it all to a new level. It's a very different world—filled with very different conversations—when the audience can speak back to whomever it wants.

Read the full article.

NEXT: Best of Reason TV 2014:

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  1. 1th!

    Beating Fisty to the punch will be a trend in 2015.

    1. My magnanimity will be manifest.

      1. At this point no one gives a fuck about Cosby, kind of that beating and dead horse thing,Nick.

        1. I think his general point is that no one is sacred anymore.

    2. Another trend in 2015?

      2 will no longer follow 1, but go directly to 3.

  2. does anyone still come from a Chevrolet or Ford or even Mercedes family?

    Don’t leave the beltway much, eh Nick?

    1. I’ve been in the DC area for a grand total of about a week out of my whole life, and I have never encountered anyone who belongs to a “[car_brand] family” outside of TV and movies.

      1. I know one guy who is a Chevy man. He has vague reasons related to repairability, but I figure it’s mostly what he’s used to.

      2. I grew up in a “Ford ” family.

        1. I grew up in a ‘Honda family’, never really bough American cars, because we like inexpensive cars that work.

      3. “Mopar or No Car”

        Then there was that government bailout and takeover by “Fix It Again Tony”. The latter wouldn’t be so bad because I’d be kinda proud to come from an “Alfa Romeo family” (owned by Fiat now) but they haven’t always offered the most practical family cars and who the fuck could afford it?

    2. “does anyone still come from a Chevrolet or Ford or even Mercedes family?”

      This guy?


      1. My eyes, my eyes!!!

    3. obligatory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRgQsPNiWvU trigger warning: this guy doesn’t get invited to cocktail parties

    4. If you are like me I’ll see what kind of truck makes the most sense.

  3. “Cheap and abundant energy”?

    Not if the EPA gets it’s way.

    The EPA’s war on coal will mean electricity prices go up – not down.

    1. Convert to NG is the plan and it is working. NG is cleaner and cheaper.

      1. No, that’s not the plan. But you fucking know that.

      2. But I thought fracking for natural gas was evil? It kills puppies!

        1. Said no one important. Obama is pro fracking.

          1. Shhh! The Millennials might hear you!

          2. That’s a lie.

            1. Supply a quote then asshole. It should be easy to quote a president.

              No wingnut sites like Bratfart though.

              1. No. We’ve already been down the road of trying to stoop to your level of imbecility. We’ve already demonstrated that the USG has blocked fracking on its public lands.

                  1. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 10:58PM|#
                    You piece if shit; they only way for you to make that claim is projection.
                    Fuck off, turd.

          3. Fuck off you twit, the Oman hates fossil fuels like he hates economic progress that doesn’t start in wall street.

            Piss off.

          4. Andrew Cuomo is unimportant. Good to know.

      3. NG is not inherently cheaper. Coal can be perfectly clean.

        1. Coal can be perfectly clean.

          Not really. Something needs to be done with the coal ash and tailings.

  4. 4 Things that were supposed to happen by 2015 because Obama was re-elected.

    1. Gas would be at $5.45/gallon.
    2. Unemployment would be stuck at over 8%(!).
    3. The stock market was supposed to crash.
    4. The entire economy was supposed to crash.

    Me: That some people made the mistake of setting a date doesn’t mean that any or all these things still won’t happen at some point, because of Obama’s policies. The ill effects of some policies, like the ACA, will eventually reach us at some point (see how I didn’t assign a date, there? But of course it will happen by July)

    I would also consider that the Free Market is much more resilient than people (even me) give it credit for. Government intervention can only and always result in wasted resources and slower economic growth.

    1. That’s a heapin’ helping of cherry-picked predictions right there.
      If one person had made all four predictions, TP might have a point. Rather, Legum just found some outrageous individual predictions and strung them together; big whoop.
      When someone quotes The Donald as an authority on most anything, you know the straws are getting hard to hold.

    2. I think enough government intervention can stop and even reverse wealth accumulation, see Chile. But it takes a lot of intervention and its less noticeable in richer countries.

      1. I think enough government intervention can stop and even reverse wealth accumulation, see Chile.

        Why bother with Chile? I can look at France. France has basically had no economic growth whatsoever for 2 years and has unemployment stuck at 10%. France’s unemployment rate has actually GONE UP by 1.3% since 2012, making it one of the only countries in the western world to have actually gotten worse off since the global recession ended.

        Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I have to laugh at the leftist idiots who claim America should have a 90% top tax rate because it totes worked in the 50’s. No one in 1950’s America actually paid that tax rate since there were so many right-offs that the richest Americans ended up paying effective rates only slightly higher than what you currently see in the United States. Furthermore, we have a contemporary example of gigantic tax rates in modern France, and their huge tax rate resulted in unemployment drifting upwards even as it fell in the rest of the west. It also failed to actually raise revenue because (surprise!) the Laffer Curve is not a myth.

        1. Also in the 1950’s, American companies had virtually no foreign competition as the industrial base of most of the rest of the developed world had been blown to pieces by World War II.

          That was a temporary situation that wasn’t going to last.

          People who think high tax rates cause high economic growth rates are idiots.

          1. Obviously, since it didn’t last. It’s not a coincidence that Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and American industry as a whole started going to the shitter in the ’60s and ’70s, at the same time the Japanese and German industries were not only recovering but skyrocketing.

            That’s what’s so funny about leftists harking back to the ‘good old days’ of the ’50s and blaming plutocrats or whatever for America’s industrial collapse. You want the ’50s back? Fine, start another big war with Germany and Japan (may have to throw in China too though this time).

            1. Yep! If we just bomb all of Europe and Asia’s factories, we can once again be the primary supplier of global manufactured goods!

        2. Also those high ’50s tax rates were bad for America. Lots of recession in ‘prosperous’ post-war America which is why JFK cut taxes by more than Reagan.

    3. Said the idiot conservatives. When have they ever been right?

      1. They predicted Obama would fail to resuscitate the economy and the ACA would be a disaster. Conservatives 1: PBtard: 0

      2. When have they ever been right?

        Gotta be at least 8% of the time, I’d say.

    4. 5. The Dollar would be worthless.
      6. Guns would be banned.
      7. Bibles would be confiscated.
      8. The UN would control the USA.

      1. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 7:38PM|#
        “O-care will be forgotten and won’t affect the election!1!11!11”

        Fuck off, turd.

    5. Unemployment would be stuck at over 8%

      Uh, the government predicted unemployment would be down to like 4.5% by now and it’s at 6%. In fact, they were predicting that if we implemented the stimulus, we would have been down to 5% unemployment by the first quarter of 2014 and instead we were at 6.5% after racking up 1 trillion dollars in additional debt.

      Those predictions were actually made by Obama’s government. Moreover, the decline in gas prices is the direct result of policies Barack Obama has fought against, such as the opening of private lands for fracking and the continued production of coal.

      I also like that stagnant wages and rapidly increasing income inequality are apparently irrelevant because Barack Obama is president. Expect income inequality to suddenly become a super important issue which negates any positive economic news once Jeb Bush is elected president.

      1. Quit lying. President Obama has never opposed cracking or supported a ban on such.

          1. Fuck off, turd:

            “Fact: While production is up under Obama, this has nothing to do with his policies, but is the result of permits and private industry efforts that began long before Obama occupied the White House.
            Obama has chosen almost always to limit production. He canceled leases on federal lands in Utah, suspended them in Montana, delayed them in Colorado and Utah, and canceled lease sales off the Virginia coast.
            His administration also has been slow-walking permits in the Gulf of Mexico, approving far fewer while stretching out review times, according to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permit Index. The Energy Dept. says Gulf oil output will be down 17% by the end of 2013, compared with the start of 2011. Swift Energy President Bruce Vincent is right to say Obama has “done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting.”

            1. The Obama BLM leased in one day 38 million acres in the GOM – the largest such ever.

              IBD are known liars BTW.

              1. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 8:27PM|#
                “The Obama BLM leased in one day 38 million acres in the GOM – the largest such ever.”
                Pick those cherries, turd!

                “IBD are known liars BTW.”
                By slimy fucking liars like you, turd?

            2. Cancelling leases is common because drillers sit on them.

              1. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 8:31PM|#
                “Cancelling leases is common because drillers sit on them.”
                Got more irrelevant bullshit, turd?

              2. Bob and weave.

        1. That was Marion Barry who never opposed cracking, you have the wrong black man in Washington DC. What a racist!!!

        2. You are a lying motherfucker PB, other than that that you are sort of funny like a generic dunce type. Fuck off….

        3. “Quit lying. President Obama has never opposed cracking or supported a ban on such.”

          His administration certainly continued reversing Bush’s policies on natural gas leases.

          “Nov 2008 –

          An Election Day announcement that the federal Bureau of Land Management plans to lease more than 350,000 acres for oil and gas drilling in Utah, including areas adjacent to Arches National Park, drew fire from environmental groups who accused the Bush administration of giving the oil industry a gift on the way out of office.

          John Podesta, who is helping to lead Mr. Obama’s transition team, singled out the Utah leases as one decision the Obama administration might try to reverse. “

          1. Should read “considered reversing Bush’s policies on natural gas leases.”

      2. Also the economy collapsed with your GOP POTUS and is healing well with Obama. Explain that

        1. Your Butt Buddy is far too incompetent to accomplish his goals. Nothing more, nothing less.

          In that sense, America is really lucky. He can’t figure out how to get his shit done, and America prospers because of it.

        2. is healing well with Obama

          More lying.

        3. your GOP POTUS

          Whose gop potus?

      3. I see Palin’s Buttplug is spewing bullshit below my post.

        By the way, isn’t it interesting that a soaring stock market which is helping rich people but not helping the poor is suddenly a sign of Obama’s economic brilliance when if a Republican were president it would be proof of how Republicans only care about the rich?

        Apparently the poor seeing no benefits from this economic ‘recovery’ is okay so long as Warren Buffet can afford another yacht. Weird that this argument wouldn’t have flown on the left when Bush was president.

        1. The stock market surge is a sign that the economy is very unhealthy. There’s nowhere else to make money, so it has turned into a casino.

          I’ll come out ahead, but I’m not one of the people who is looking for where my next meal is coming from.

          1. Bullshit. Record markets are a sign of record earnings. The pe ratio is right in its norm.

            1. Said every keynesian retard right before the last 2 crashes.

              1. For Keynesians there’s no mean reversion – ever.

                1. Sure there is. Gold is reverting to its $700 mean proving how foolish goldbugs are.

                  1. So, $1190 = $700? Your math is a bit off.

                    1. Are you really stupid enough to think golds high is $1190?

                    2. Gold is going down because oil is going down because of the Saudis. It has nothing to do with US politics.

                  2. Gold is forever ‘crashing’ according to Keynesian retards. It’s been steady for months.

          2. You don’t come out ahead (or behind) until you sell.

            If you’ve got a 401k or other account that you can’t touch for several decades, you’re going to get boneraped. Mark my words, they’re coming for private retirement accts in the next 10 years.

            Rich people (source of campaign contributions) don’t need 401k’s and poor people (source of votes) don’t have them.

            1. I’m glad I don’t have much assets right now and that I’m Canadian. We’ll be your shelter in the storm.

              1. Yeah, no. Canada is as fucked as the rest of the Western world. And you get to freeze your balls off. No thanks.

                1. Canada has a lot less debt and less over-generous entitlements. We are less fucked.

                  1. And a lot less gun rights.

                    1. And a lot more Cytotoxic.

                    2. Our gun rights are bad but not terrible like in Britain. And they have me to help fix it.

        2. So what is your solution to the income gap? Mine is economic growth via markets which is occurring but is not solving the gap problem.

          1. The income gap isn’t a problem.

            Looking for a fake scandal? You found it.

            1. It’s a problem when communist organizers exploit it to guarantee the socialists 47% of the vote in every election, before they even start campaigning.

          2. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 7:59PM|#
            “So what is your solution to the income gap?”

            For you to die in a fire.

          3. I don’t think the income gap actually matters provided everyone’s lot is improving. The problem occurs when only rich people are doing well and everyone else is fucked.

            That’s what we currently have – a stock market providing windfall profits to the wealthy while labor force participation remains abysmally low, food stamp participation is still near all time highs, and the unemployment rate hasn’t been below 5.9% in 6 years.

          4. An educated and trained computer programmer or engineer makes much more money than an English major or a high school dropout. A guy with a dangerous job like working in a mine makes more money than well-pensioned, effectively tenured kindergarten teacher.

            If this is a problem, here’s the solution: finish high school. don’t major in English, and prioritize money over benefit, security, personal safety, or personal fulfillment. Personal choices.

            Seriously, what exactly is the problem you think you’re talking about?

            1. The one Irish complained about that I responded to.

              1. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 9:19PM|#
                “The one Irish complained about that I responded to”

                Turd, do you avoid a quote reference because you’re a fucking ignoramus, or just in the hopes you won’t get caught in even more lies?

      4. Not to mention unemployment rate overestimates the extent of recovery. More jobs are part time than before the crash, and I’m sure a good many are useless government clerical jobs that exist for the sole purpose of giving people jobs.

        Employed-to-population ratio is a better metric, and it isn’t quite as sanguine right now.

      5. Uh, the government predicted unemployment would be down to like 4.5% by now and it’s at 6%.

        Importantly, it’s at 6% with labor force participation the lowest its been in nearly half a century. If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was when those predictions were made, the unemployment rate would be back up around 10%.

        And contrary to the idiocy shreeek will copy/paste to try and paper over that fact, the difference is not attributable to baby boomers taking retirement a decade early en masse.

  5. Does anyone else use noscript with firefox and have problems with time.com? I get the first page, but unscrollable. I’ve played around with a DOM editor, disabling various elements, but I cannot see more than the first screenful.

    Really annoying, but I won’t enable javascript globally just to see the rest of the content.

    1. I don’t use NoScript, but with Firefox I also don’t get a scroll bar unless I enable cookies for time.com.

      1. Hadn’t thought of cookies. I get the scroll bar with cookies enabled and allowing javascript for time.com.


    2. Oh, I found the problem. You’re going to Time.com

    3. Oh, I found the problem. You’re going to Time.com

    4. I had trouble with it in Opera.

    5. Scarecrow-

      I’m doing Firefox/NoScript- and my only problems are with Reason.com.

      It started yeasterday… No pages will load until I change “naytev.global.ssl.fastly.net”- and it doesn’t seem to matter which way I change.

      If I have allowed it, the page won’t load until I forbid it.

      If I have forbidden it, the page won’t load until I allow it.

  6. Fucking sqlrs

    OT: Bitter Clingers are the true enemies of democracy


    1. “The only real threat to American democracy comes from Americans themselves.”

      True, but not from the Americans that the LA Times worries about.

      1. Now, now, you see, he’s blaming the failure to *compromise* – he’s blaming *both sides,* can’t you see?

        Seriously, does he think people won’t see through him when the problems he lists are along the lines of money in politics and other progressive dog-whistles, where the horrors of failure to compromise are illustrated by fewer bills being passed and fewer Obama nominees being confirmed, etc?

        1. In the lexicon of the mainstream media (and other lackeys of the left), the process of “compromise” means that liberal politicians propose something that moves government policy and power in their preferred direction and the other side settles for giving them at least half of what they proposed (which is about what they were shooting for anyway).

          Thus the political needle continues to move in their preferred direction.

          At no time does “compromise” ever involve moving anything in a conservative or libertarian direction and liberals agreeing to a roll back of government power over some area of existence that they want it to have control over.

          Real compromise (as in private business deals) means both sides give up some of what they wanted but both sides also get some of what they wanted.

          In the political version of what’s supposed to be “compromise” in Washington, liberals are the only side that gets any part of what they want.

          1. For example, in regards to some of the issues mentioned in Diamond’s article, imagine suggesting a ‘compromise’ where ‘big money’s’ First Amendment rights were curtailed in exchange for more gun rights. Would never be accepted by the people calling for ‘compromise’.

      2. The nation is a republic – not a democracy.

        It was never supposed to be a democracy.

        1. Actually it’s a democratic republic.

          If you’re saying it’s not a ‘pure’ democracy’ well of course. But what exactly is ‘republic’ supposed to mean anyway? The ancient Roman republic was no more ‘of the people’ than any other hereditary oligarchy, but we still call it the republic.

          1. I’m not thrilled with Wikipedia’s definition, which seems to conflate it with democracy.

            My understanding was that a republic is distinguished from other forms by the rule of law, dilution of power, and operation for the benefit of the public. It’s kind of an important question since the constitution’s only constraint on state government structure is that they have to be republics.

            Oddly, the Constitution at other places assumes there’s a single executive for every state (for example in the procedure for filling a vacated House seat).

            1. I’m not thrilled with Wikipedia’s definition, which seems to conflate it with democracy.

              They should be conflated. Part of being a true republic is democracy.

              Res publica means “thing of the people.” It can’t be very “of the people” if there’s not some degree of public participation.

              And democracy doesn’t mean “everyone votes on everything” either.

      3. But neither of those impediments to compromise applies to the U.S. today. Americans are divided almost equally between liberals and conservatives; neither side has any reasonable hope of a quick victory if events turn violent.

        There are far more conservatives than liberals in the US if you believe every poll where people self-identify. Not to mention the armament gap.

        Of course, I don’t want events to turn violent because everybody loses in that case.

        1. Also, based on polling of the U.S. military, I don’t think you’d see the ‘Liberal’ side of this civil war fielding many trained battalions.

          1. I’m still waiting for men to show up to the ‘war on women.’ Obviously, if such a thing weren’t a complete delusion, there would not be very many women left.

            1. The war on women isn’t supposed to kill women, it’s supposed to enslave them.

              Judging by football players wearing pink and Oprah Winfrey being a billionaire, I’d say we’re losing it pretty badly.

              1. Wearing pink is what cost Oregon their only loss of the season against Arizona State. Proof: they wore green the next time they played ASU and beat them like rented mules.

    2. LOL. I like how he paints a picture of Chile’s economy in 1968, and then skips to 1973 when right-wing Pinochet took over, noting how the economy under Pinochet was worse than it was in 1968.

      For some odd reason he skipped over the fact that the depression began in 1972, while the socialist Allende regime was in power.

      1. And he also skipped the next 40 years where Chile went from being an economic backwater to the most stable country in Latin America.

        Chile is easily the most prosperous country in South America now, with a crime rate approximately 1/30th of Venezuela’s or Brazil’s. If Allende had maintained power, Chile probably would have ended up just one more Communist slave state like Cuba.

        Pinochet committed a ton of human rights atrocities and was a terrible human being in many regards, but his economic policies saved Chile from the half-century of hell that Allende would have forced on them.

        1. “Pinochet committed a ton of human rights atrocities and was a terrible human being in many regards, but…”

          Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

          1. In a contest between a democratically elected communist forcibly collectivizing all property and industry against the wishes of the legislature and judiciary, and a military general leading a junta that lined up its opponents against a wall, the “good guy” is largely in the eye of the beholder.

            1. The one with fewer bodies stacked up would probably be seen at the “Good Guy”. Even in a “communist forcibly collectivizing” country smart people can still make money, just not as much. You can’t make anything if you’re dead.

              1. Even in a “communist forcibly collectivizing” country smart people can still make money, just not as much.

                I think there are some Ukrainians who might pick a quibble with that assessment. And some Chinese intellectuals. And can’t forget the Cambodians.

            2. I’m generally accepting of Realpolitik but there still ought to be a difference between “imperfect good guy” and “least worst bastard”.

            3. But, then, so is the bad guy.

              I agree with everyone that Pinochet was a bastard and deserving of contempt.

              That said, I’m tempted to ask how a good guy would behave wildly differently. If you had a situation where a president was defying the country’s legislature and judiciary, where that president was bringing in foreign advisers to train a private army answerable to the president and his party, where the president made clear he had no intention of ceding the reins of power, and the leading members of the legislature asked the military to intervene to restore constitutional order, would the military be wrong in doing so?

          2. Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Pinochet. I’m defending the economic policies he implemented and think Chile is vastly better off because of those policies than they would have been had Allende maintained power. Hell, given the history of Communist economies, more Chileans probably would have starved to death under Allende’s government than where murdered by Pinochet’s.

            It’s sad and horrible that the choice was between a military junta and a Communist autocracy. Chile got very lucky things ended up as well for them as they did because there aren’t many countries that have Communist governments overthrown by military dictators and somehow end up relatively prosperous 30 years later.

        2. You know, when you look into it, Pinochets’ tally isn’t a blip on the standard communist scale–looks to be between 5 and ten thousand.

          And they were communists and their fellow travellers–you know, the people who fuck up everything they touch.

          Given the millions commies usually leave in their wake, I’d say Pinochet’s thousands, while awful, are much less awful than what could have happened.

          And I suspect we get to view all the history surrounding Pinochet through left darkened lenses that resemble nothing so much as welders goggles.

          1. And they were communists and their fellow travellers–you know, the people who fuck up everything they touch.

            I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but this is a communist kind of thing to say. Meh, a few thousand people were killed, but they were people that were in the way of the type of order that I prefer.

  7. I get tired of hearing how fast China and India are growing.They started form nothing.Most of their people are still dirt poor and the air and water is filthy. Big Ten looks great today,ready for the Buckeyes !

    1. They started form nothing.Most of their people are still dirt poor and the air and water is filthy.

      Mark Steyn is right about China. Their one child policy royally fucked up Chinese demographics so the Chinese have a much older population than most countries at their stage of development. China only has a GDP of like 10,000 dollars per capita but their population is already aging at a tremendous rate. It’s also likely to get worse because any attempt to goose their reproduction rate is going to fail because there aren’t enough women due to the propensity for Chinese peasants to have abortions or murder their little girls in order to try and get a son.

      There’s an idea in economics called the ‘middle income trap’ where a lot of countries have explosive growth but don’t have the institutions to allow them to become truly rich, so they end up getting stuck around $15,000-$20,000 per capita GDP. It’s happened to a bunch of South American countries like Brazil and Argentina, and China seems like another prime candidate for an eternity as a middle income nation.

      1. I think that, given the demographic problems you mentioned, they’ll be lucky to have a per capita GDP that high.

      2. Have you noticed how much better the U.S. economy is doing with the ‘do nothing congress’ the last few years?

      3. China used the Japanese model to create that growth – basically, mercantilism tied to currency controls. It causes incredible malinvestment. They’ll blow up in similar fashion to Japan circa 1989 – probably worse because the malinvestment is of epic proportion.

        I’m watching commodities right now. They’re signally volatility similar to 2006-2007, not just oil but iron ore and copper.

        We’ll revert to mean eventually. Everything always does.

        1. Sorry to interrupt the glee over the PRC’s supposed impending doom, but if their economy blows up, who buys US debt?

          1. Belgium, of course.

            And, there was no “glee” in my comment. Just a vague comparison and observation.

            1. Belgium is probably acting as a middleman for the Fed.

              Unfortunately, you can only eat your own poop for so long. They’re going to have to come after Americans’ 401k accounts.

              1. No. Belgium is China using a clearing house.

                1. If that’s so, then Belgium will stop buying when China does.

          2. I think you’re mistaking predictions of Chinese stagnation for ‘glee.’ Making a prediction based on evidence does not mean you’re happy about where that prediction will lead you.

            I also think the American economy is in bad shape and is not based on a sustainable model. If I’m right about that and things go horribly wrong in the coming years, I’m not exactly going to be happy I was correct.

            1. I’m with you, I really hope a lot of recently purchased evil inanimate objects collect dust across this country. There is still hope that their very existence will encourage a bout of pragmatism in our leaders for a little longer at least.

          3. China owns 1/18 of US debt. The others will buy it.

            1. 1/18 of US debt is a number of dollars that was unimaginable 20 years ago. Who are “the others”? Is that a GoT reference?

              1. When China purchases Treasurys they hold them as reserves which they use to leverage their currency. No bonds, no reserves – no reserves, no capacity to control their currency. If they want to keep the yuan devalued against other currencies they must purchase bonds.

                As the dollar strengthens against other currencies, as it’s done this year, emerging markets must have reserves to control their currencies – see Russia and the ruble recently.

                Sweet game we created, hey? Finance my debt or go bankrupt. Nice deal if you can get it.

                1. If their economy collapses it’s the second option, and they’d have no choice.

                  Plus that game only works as long as the dollar is the reserve currency. It’s currently clinging to that status only due to Japan’s and the EU’s troubles (a plugged toilet raises all turds).

                  1. “A plugged toilet raises all turds”

                    Not totally with you but that was funny

                2. The USD gains strength as the deficit falls. See the policies of Clinton and Obama for example.

                  1. The deficit is only falling because BO and the filibuster-proof Dem Congress raised it to unthinkable levels when he took office.

                    1. The deficit is only falling because BO and the filibuster-proof Dem Congress raised it to unthinkable levels when he took office.

                      And because, useless as they generally are, Republicans have stood in the way of a bunch of spending projects Democrats otherwise would have implemented.

                      Obama is trying to take credit for deficit reductions that occurred because of the obstructionists he’s constantly whining about. I suspect President Obama with a congress of Elizabeth Warrens probably would be spending just a bit more money than we currently are.

                    2. Bush left a $1.2 trillion deficit – source is the CBI and Reason.com. Obama campaigned on cutting it in half which he has done.

                    3. Only if you assume the budget Obama signed in 2009 was Bush’s fault.

                    4. The CBO said the deficit for 08-09 would be $1.2 trillion on Jan 9, 2009.

                      TARP added $200 billion to that number – which Obama collected back for the taxpayer.

                    5. And Obama raised the deficit to $1.5T the next year anyway.

                      TARP added $200 billion to that number – which Obama collected back for the taxpayer.

                      I’m a taxpayer and I don’t remember getting my cut. Maybe it got lost in the mail.

                    6. I know the 2009 budget is on Bush. But it was Obama who signed an omnibus bill (over 400 billion) in March of 2009 that pushed the deficit even higher, at his predecessor’s expense.

                    7. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 9:11PM|#
                      …”Obama campaigned on cutting it in half which he has done.”

                      So you’re saying *ONE* wasn’t a lie?! Big whoop!
                      “Pinocchio Obama’s Top 20 presidential lies”

                      And I’m sure it took some real effort to narrow it down to 20.

                  2. correlation or causation?

                    The dollar is strengthening right now because our central bank is the only one not engaging in (or soon to be engaging in for the EU) a new round of “stimulus”.

                    No QE = stronger dollar.

                    1. Nonsense. The USD gained strength during each round of QE.

                    2. Bullshit. provide a chart.

                    3. Look at the US Dollar Index. It has gone up steadily since QE began.


                    4. Look at the price of milk and meat. It has gone up steadily since QE began too.

                      What is the dollar index measured against?

                    5. What is the dollar index measured against?

                      A basket of currencies – mostly european, mostly euro, no asian other than yen.

                      It’s a bullshit measure created by JP Morgan about 30 years ago. You can’t trade it and it’s weighting is completely useless. It tells you nothing about relative value to other specific currencies.

                    6. Most food commodities like corn and all energy and metals are in bear markets.

                    7. No, shithead. The dollar lost against the yen and euro after the first two rounds. It only gained once the Japanese increased the size of their QE exponentially.

                      The relative size (as a % of GDP) of each nation’s QE compared to our own controlled the dollar appreciation/depreciation.

                      If it’s so obvious that the dollar appreciated after each QE you should be able to provide a chart. Where is it?

                      It’s a currency war. You win when you lose.

                    8. I am on my phone. Finding a DXY chart for 2008-present would be easy for a competent person.

                    9. You’re full of shit.

                    10. You should also look for some ointment to treat that wound that Lady Bertrum left in your ass. It wasn’t rape rape, you were asking for it.

                    11. Right, our central bank is just engaging in the old round of stimulus.

                    12. You two are both out of your league with me. You cling to barbaric gold and Austrian monetary ideas.

                      Goldbugs are simpleton idiots like Glenn Beck.

                    13. Riiiight. We’re discussing dollar valuation and that leads you to comment on Austrian monetary philosophy and gold.

                      Stay on topic dickhead. Where’s the chart showing dollar appreciation during QE?

                    14. You cling to barbaric gold and Austrian monetary ideas.

                      Having money with real value = ‘barbaric’

                      Said no one respectable ever.

                      I can’t wait until cryptocurrency destroys your world. And it will.

                    15. real value

                      Say what?

                  3. Nope you idiot.

            2. ” China owns 1/18 of US debt.”

              I thought China owned 8% of our debt.

              1. He’s talking out of his asshole again. China owns something like 1 to 1.5 trillion in US debt out of something like 14 trillion.

                Most US debt is owned by the federal government in the form of social security holdings. 2 trillion is held on the balance sheet of the FED as QE holdings.

                1. Total outstanding debt just crossed $18 trillion.

                  Quit trying. You are on the B team on this.

                  The DXY was 72 in early 2008. It is 88 now.

                  1. It was already explained that DXY is useless.

                    1. It was falsely claimed with no EXPLANATION. All normal non wingnut financial people use DXY to measure the dollar’s strength.

                    2. LB doesn’t want to use the DXY because it proves my point. Yet there is no alternative proposed. She is truly an idiot on this topic. Typical wingnuts just deny reality.

                    3. Typical wingnuts just deny reality.

                      Projection is a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people.

                      Cherry pick the right basket of currencies and you can show the dollar depreciating or appreciating. It’s kind of like cherry picking the right basket of goods and weighting it the right way to show either rampant or non-existent inflation.

                      You’ve selected one index that ostensibly supports your position, haven’t answered the criticism of that index (which, contrary to your assertion, was explained very simply), haven’t showed the same trend on any other index or in any direct comparison to a single currency or basket of currencies, and resorted to childish name calling and misdirection because you haven’t had a chance to google for fresh talking points and your algorithm is out of pre-scripted answers.

        2. China is trying reforms though. Allowing direct investment, floating more and more interest rates. I sure hope they don’t blow up.

      4. Far be it from me to defend the PRC, but your info is out of date. In practice, rural families have been allowed more than one child for a long time now. Also, there are plenty of dirt poor women in Southeast Asia, the Phillippines, and Indonesia if it comes to that.

        1. Which doesn’t contradict my overall point. To this day, China still has 120 males born for every 100 females, which is a ration far higher than any other country. Most western countries have about 105 male births for every 100 females.

          Also, there are plenty of dirt poor women in Southeast Asia, the Phillippines, and Indonesia if it comes to that.

          Yeah, women who speak different languages, are from a completely different cultural background, and who probably have cultural habits that the Han Chinese would find repellent.

          I’m sure some Chinese men will go that route, but I don’t think enough of them will do it to make up the shortfall.

          1. And the 105/100 male to female ratio evens out after puberty because more male children die in infancy and have a higher mortality rate after adolescence. Not really tied to economics just a fact I felt like sharing.

            1. Such a sausage fest

          2. Well one may expect them to just emigrate in larger numbers, as many of them have historically, to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. I’m not sure how many intermarry with the locals though.

        2. Much of Asia has the same problems,corrupt governments and very few property right.

  8. I’m enjoying the trend of SEC teams being exposed and embarrassed. Looking forward to more in ’15.

    1. I wouldn’t get to used to it.

      1. I’m sure they’ll be back in form against Division 2 opponents next season.

    2. Meh, 2 SEC teams got blown out and 2 lost by 3 points.

      Still doesn’t makeup for Notre Dame when they got blown out in the BCS championship a few years ago when there were like 5 other better teams that deserved it.

      1. At least Notre Dame will travel.

      2. Five losses by the “dominant” conference. Overrated.

  9. http://www.theatlantic.com/mag…..ft/383500/

    “Arguments against reinstituting the draft, though not trivial, are mainly technical.”

    Really?!?!? I’m speechless.

    1. Whatever, just some old dudes having a great idea about stuff young citizens should be forced to do for the own good.

      1. Yeah, I hear motherhood really builds character too, maybe we should have forced pregnancies for all young women?

        Let’s see how that one flies at the Atlantic.

    2. ‘Arguments against slavery, though not trivial, are mainly technical.’

      This basically means the same thing.

      1. Also, the article is written by the Weekly Standard’s Joseph Epstein.

        I’m pretty sure that neo-con scumbag just wants a supply of fresh bodies to hurl into his various wars for democracy.

        1. LOL, look at Epstein’s piss poor argument about his own draft ‘service:’

          Under the draft, the American social fabric would change?and, judging from my experience, for the better. I write as a former draftee who served in the Army from 1958 to 1960. I was, in other words, a Cold War soldier, and never for a moment in danger. Much of my time in the military?I worked on the post newspaper at Fort Hood, in Texas, and later as a clerk, typing up physicals, in a recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas?was excruciatingly boring.

          ‘I was an educated middle class Jewish boy who got to work as a fucking receptionist! Therefore, we should reinstitute the draft so that we can send Americans to die in a Syrian military intervention!’

          I think Tim O’Brien’s experience of seeing friends of his torn to pieces by mines in Vietnam is probably a more accurate representation of what the draft actually means than Epstein’s three year stretch as a clerk.

          1. Irish|1.1.15 @ 8:51PM|#
            …”I think Tim O’Brien’s experience of seeing friends of his torn to pieces by mines in Vietnam is probably a more accurate representation of what the draft actually means than Epstein’s three year stretch as a clerk.”

            I was going to dispute this, in that I was certain only something like 10% of the military was actually involved in combat.
            So before I posted, I checked the innertubze, and I can therefore clearly state that it is not possible to find an authoritative answer to that question.
            One ‘I read’ answer after the other…

            1. I was going to dispute this, in that I was certain only something like 10% of the military was actually involved in combat.

              I know most of them weren’t involved in combat, I’m just pointing out that it’s somewhat disgusting for a person who spent time as a clerk to argue in favor of a draft which would result in a number of people being sent to warzones against their will.

              What I meant by ‘a representation of what the draft actually means’ is that the draft would result in people dying and being traumatized in a war they did not willingly choose to be a part of. Epstein knows nothing about that because he spent his tour of duty typing up physical notes. He seems to think military service is the equivalent of grown-up summer camp.

              1. …”I’m just pointing out that it’s somewhat disgusting for a person who spent time as a clerk to argue in favor of a draft which would result in a number of people being sent to warzones against their will.”

                Not disagreeing with that, and I’m further opposed to even making people act as *clerks* against their will.
                There is no practical difference between the draft and slavery; treating slaves decently changes that not at all.

              2. To be sure, not only would a draft help with invading Iran, it would also get young men away from college campuses, effectively helping combat rape culture. Double win!

                I think we should all chip in to buy assault rifles for people like Epstein (and Krauthammer for that matter) so they can volunteer to go off and fight the Taliban themselves. They can form an irregular unit. Until they do that though, they have no moral right to talk foreign policy.

                1. I think we should all chip in to buy assault rifles for people like Epstein (and Krauthammer for that matter) so they can volunteer to go off and fight the Taliban themselves.

                  Uh…I think Krauthammer might have difficulty fighting in a war, unless there’s some kind of robotic suit that could make up for the fact that he’s a paraplegic.

                  1. Hmm, we could do Mobile Infantry or clone a Na’vi body for him to SSH into.

                2. I don’t know if Krauthammer favors the draft.

                  Suggesting that you can’t say anything of value in foreign policy without being a solider is of course retarded.

                  1. Suggesting that you can’t say anything of value in foreign policy without being a solider is of course retarded.

                    I agree, especially when you’re talking about 50-60 year old lawyers who would be useless in a combat situation anyway.

                    The real issue is that Epstein should not be arguing in favor of the draft when he himself was not required to bear the burden of the policy he’s advocating because he never saw active duty combat.

                    Epstein spent three years hanging out with other 20 year olds in a situation of total safety. It’s grotesque that he’d use that experience as justification for the re-implementation of the draft.

                    1. Fair enough.

    3. Let’s see –

      The draft would make Americans less likely to vote for bloody wars – as seen by the fact that American soldiers die in droves when the Army is all-volunteer, but with a draft, there are fewer wars and they’re fought with fewer casualties. /sarc

      The Vietnam draft wasn’t a *real* draft, because of its class bias, therefore the class bias of the Vietnam draft *supports* the case for a draft, because this time we’ll get it right.

      A *real* draft would have no class bias – instead, soldiers get to meet with people of different backgrounds and have lots of warm fuzzies. Goodness knows, civilians have no opportunity to get together with people of different backgrounds.

      What is this crap? It’s not even wrong.

      1. Oh, and

        Judges used to offer young crooks the choice of reform school or the Army, *therefore* young people who haven’t been convicted of anything at all should be given no choice at all and sent to the Army. Oh, and the military would *love* to get more young crooks in its ranks, that would certainly make it easier when occupying foreign countries to have the natives deal with armed members of the U.S. criminal element.

        1. The Army is full of gang members gaining skills for application back home.

  10. FSU finally ran out of good luck.

    1. Fuck off, turd.

    2. That sums you up perfectly.

      Luck had nothing to do with it. They were out-disciplined.

      Something you would know nothing about.

  11. Sounds like some serious business dude.


  12. Cheap energy? The fact that a liquidity wave has allowed American shale companies to spend more to produce a barrel of oil than they can get in the marketplace will only strengthen the hand of companies that have abundant conventional reserves once the bubble finally pops and investors have to deal with the reality of energy production. While falling demand due to a slowing economy can bring prices much lower the collapse of the marginal producers will do far more harm to the American economy and to the USD than it will to a country like Russia, which can ride out the storm and come out the other side stronger if the political system can hold together.

    How about another trend; the collapse of the sovereign debt market and whatever is left of the credibility of central bankers? Or the end of the USD as the primary reserve currency and all the benefits that status provided to the American government and American consumer? How about the rise of gold and silver (or even cryptocurrencies) as better alternatives to fiat money issued by bankrupt nations? Or how progressives have finally destroyed the Catholic Church from within?

    1. Hilarious. The “rise of gold and silver”? What about the 70% fall?

      Uncle Buck is king.

      1. What about the 70% fall?

        It’s kind of like that 50% deficit reduction. When it takes place on the back of a meteoric run-up and still remains above the historic norm it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

      2. Please, tell us more about where to invest our money!

      3. Palin’s Buttplug|1.1.15 @ 10:45PM|#
        “Uncle Buck is king.”

        Turd is lying turd.

      4. Uncle Buck is King of an obsolete discredited monetary system.


      5. Fuck off troll

    2. Your first paragraph is all wrong. Russia is a disaster they are in no position to ride out anything. Further, it is not true that all of America’s shale oil production is at a loss much of it still turns a profit. This price consolidation will strengthen the sector.

  13. I like my libertarianism tempered with a bit of jingoism, #1 irks me a bit, I still think the U.S.A is the best destination.

  14. Congratulations Buckeyes on beating Bama and making it to the National Championship game.

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