America is in the throes of economic hardship. Certain regions of the country, the once thriving Great Lakes Region, the greatest industrial area in the world, and energy-producing states, such as West Virginia and Louisiana, have been particularly hard hit.

The dream of American affluence, however, is alive and well in one part of our nation: the seven suburban counties and cities around the District of Columbia. Two of those, Fairfax and Loudoun, were the only counties in the entire nation that had a median household income in excess of $100,000. Falls Church, which is both a city and a county, had the highest median in the nation at $113,000 per household.

"Greed, for a lack of a better word, is good. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit," says a disdainful Michael Douglas, in Oliver Stone's 1987 blockbuster movie Wall Street. This embellished train of propaganda is typical of populist bureaucrats and Hollywood socialites. All corporations are "evil, capitalist thugs" who rob the poor and exploit the middle class, they say. But omitted is the fact that these "evil, capitalist thugs" are the stimulators of job growth and contributors to economic prosperity.

The Associated Press in London reports that Britain’s consumer inflation rose to 3.3 percent in November, up from 3.2 percent in October. The rising inflation is reportedly “driven by a surge in food and clothing costs.”

As part of the backroom deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for another two years, the GOP gave the progressives an extension of one of their favorite welfare-state building blocks: unemployment insurance — which will undoubtedly add to the long lines of suffering Americans in our country.

gold bullionMore and more people in affluent societies are turning to gold as a hedge against irresponsible government financial policies. It cannot make these people more comfortable that, in Europe, there has been discussion about trying to keep the teetering government financial systems stable — for awhile, in any event — by having the European Union issue “joint sovereign bonds.” Germany and France have rejected that approach, but if nations like Italy and Spain begin to unravel, then the pressure on France and especially Germany to help shore up neighboring financial systems will grow more insistent.

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