Twenty-six-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social networking website Facebook, has been selected as Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2010. Facebook, which began in 2003 as a small insider website at Harvard University where Zuckerberg was a student, has exploded over the past two years to become arguably the Internet’s most used address, with nearly 600 million individuals having Facebook accounts and projections for a billion members by 2012.

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.

With all the attention being focused on extending the “Bush tax cuts,” granting additional unemployment benefits, and the arrival in Washington of newly minted congressional Representatives and Senators, a major piece of the fiscal puzzle has been ignored altogether: states’ increasingly pressured budgets for next year. As noted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Great Recession “has caused the steepest decline in state tax receipts on record.”