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What we're reading elsewhere: Keynes and the stimulus, registering Hamas with the BBB

By Dylan Mathews

econosphere.gifRobert Skidelsky explains Keynes' logic is advocating stimulus spending:
"Keynes denied that real wages are set in the labor market. Workers bargain for money wages, and a reduction in their money incomes might leave total demand too low to employ all those willing to work. Yet today most economists model unemployment as 'voluntary' - a rational preference for leisure rather than work. This reinforces the idea that 'stimulus' cannot do any good, since workers have as much employment as they want."

This chart is quite scary:
"The median duration of unemployment is higher today than any time in the last 50 years. That's an understatement. It is more than twice as high today than any time in the last 50 years."

Jagdish Bhagwati argues the U.S. is the main stumbling block to another global free trade deal:
"Today, domestic politics in the US and India has left America as the only stumbling block to progress. The last election freed India's Congress Party of its coalition with the Communists, who opposed trade, and thus increased the flexibility of pro-trade Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But the last election in the US ushered in a Democratic congressional majority that is indebted to trade-fearing unions, thus constraining the pro-trade President Barack Obama."

The Better Business Bureau gives Hamas an "A-", Starbucks an F:
"The author of the website BBBRoundup went a step further to illustrate just how easy it is for an entity to earn the BBB's seal of approval. He registered the terrorist group Hamas with the LA BBB, paying the $425 for it to become an "accredited business" with the venerable consumer bureau. The BBB's Hamas listing states that the business is devoted to "providing educational services to troubled youth," and that it has received an "excellent rating" from the BBB."

By Dylan Mathews  |  July 20, 2010; 2:33 PM ET
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