Commentary

All the chairman of the Federal Reserve has done in his latest announcement of a new bond-buying program is give himself and his Federal Open Market Committee permission to buy government bonds forever.

Despite his firm defense of his call that the U.S. economy entered into another recession in July this year, Lakshman Achuthan of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) continued to be scorned by his critics.

But his call was shown to be on the mark when the National Federation of Independent Business issued its Optimism Index today and noted that it decreased an astonishing 5.6 points to 87.5, the lowest reading since March of 2010 and the biggest monthly drop going back to 1986.

 

Each year 24/7 Wall St. publishes the results of its survey of all 50 states and then ranks them from top to bottom — from “best run” to “worst run.” CNBC does the same, only with a more concentrated focus on the business environment in each state, and then ranks the states on their overall “measure of competitiveness.” The Mercatus Center at George Mason University looks at all 50 states from the perspective of individual freedom and then ranks the states based on its Index of Personal and Economic Freedom.

The parallels and correlations between economic and business performance and personal freedom are clear and persuasive: When state governments stay within their limits of protecting lives and enforcing contracts, the states thrive. And vice versa.

A Heritage Foundation study has concluded that a full employment recovery from the Great Recession isn't likely until after the next presidential election in 2016, and even that may be too optimistic.

In the wake of the November 6 elections, voters have approved a number of contentious state initiatives, including a $6-billion-a-year bundle of tax increases sponsored by California Governor Jerry Brown. Proposition 30, a focal point of Brown’s administration, would increase the sales tax by 0.25 cent for the next four years, while raising income taxes on those earning more than $250,000 for the next seven years.

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