Economics

Will Obama Play his Aces?

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With the stock market hitting new highs, and unemployment easing, albeit slightly, President Obama can now seize his moment. After spending four years blaming George W. Bush for his lousy hand, the president now sits at the table with three strong aces among his cards.

The key question is: Will he play them?

One reason he might not is that most of his good hand stems primarily not from his stewardship but America's economic and demographic kismet. In fact, this resurgence is primarily not taking the "green," urban and high-tech form, as preferred by most coastal Democrats, but stems largely from the productive forces being unleashed in the nation's largely red heartland.  read more »

CEO Bonuses: Who Pays the Price?

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Because so many chief executives of failed or mediocre companies have walked away with millions in bonuses and swag bags, both Switzerland and the European Union recently voted to put a cap on corporate bonuses, limiting them to a small multiple of base salary. What prompted the acceptance of the “Minder Initiative”—named after the independent parliamentarian who sponsored the referendum — is a string of stunning business losses that had no affect on the bonuses paid to the sitting executives.  read more »

Marissa Mayer's Misstep And The Unstoppable Rise Of Telecommuting

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Marissa Mayer’s pronunciamento banning home-based work at Yahoo reflects a great dilemma facing companies and our country over the coming decade. Forget for a minute the amazing hubris of a rich, glamorous CEO, with a nursery specially built next to her office, ordering less well-compensated parents to trudge back to the office, leaving their less important offspring in daycare or in the hands of nannies.  read more »

Postmodernity: Will Another Bite from the Apple Help?

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The visionary evangelical zeal of Steve Jobs lured me from my   cozy philosophical pursuits at Barry University in south Florida to the frenetic gyrations of 1980s Silicon Valley.  read more »

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U.S. Could be Courting Trouble in Europe

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One of the most fascinating aspects of Barack Obama's presidency stems not so much from his racial background, but his status as America's first clearly post-European, anti-colonialist leader. Yet, after announcing his historic "pivot" to vibrant Asia, the president, the son of an anti-British Kenyan activist, recently announced as his latest foreign policy initiative an economic alliance with, of all places, a declining, and increasingly decadent, Europe.  read more »

Richard Florida Concedes the Limits of the Creative Class

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Among the most pervasive, and arguably pernicious, notions of the past decade has been that the “creative class” of the skilled, educated and hip would remake and revive American cities. The idea, packaged and peddled by consultant Richard Florida, had been that unlike spending public money to court Wall Street fat cats, corporate executives or other traditional elites, paying to appeal to the creative would truly trickle down, generating a widespread urban revival.  read more »

California Needs More Immigrants

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Southern California, just a few decades ago the fastest-growing region in the high-income world, is hitting a demographic tipping point. With a decade or more of domestic out-migration and a sharp fall in immigration, the region is morphing from a destination that attracts dreamers and builders into a place increasingly dominated by those born or bred here.

To some demographers, this transition from a magnet for migrants to a more native-born population represents something of a boon. As for migrants, one USC demographer wrote that California acts like "a gold pan that sifts through aspiring talent and keeps the best."  read more »

The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Landing a Job

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North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory made waves when he said on syndicated radio that he wants to encourage the funding of four-year programs that align with the job market — not those, like gender studies, that do little to help a graduate’s employment prospects.  read more »

Wall Street's Hollow Boom: With Small Business And Startups Lagging, Job Recovery Unlikely

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On Wall Street, even as layoffs mount, the upper echelons are clinking champagne glasses for good reason. The stock market is hitting new highs, propelled largely by Bernanke dollars and strong corporate profits. Big financial institutions like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan have announced record profits.

But on Main Street, for the most part, the mood is far more subdued.  read more »

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Should California Governor Jerry Brown Take a Victory Lap?

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"Memento Mori" – "Remember your mortality" – was whispered into the ears of Roman generals as they celebrated their great military triumphs. Someone should be whispering something similar in the ear of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been quick to celebrate his tax and budget "triumph" and to denounce as "declinists" those who threaten to rain on the gubernatorial parade.  read more »