The current political debate over “jobs” ignores a vital component of jobs and the economy: Government make-work jobs are simply another form of welfare; jobs produced by the private sector that help the economy are productive jobs. In places like North Dakota, where the economy is now benefiting from an oil boom, the importance of genuinely productive labor has been understood from the beginning of frontier America. The winter wheat farmers of the Dakotas led an unglamorous like of rising before dawn, eating a big breakfast by a hard-working wife who herself had worked long, hard days, and then turning the land into crops. These families created wealth; they work produced goods and services that people wanted.
No members of Congress or President Obama’s cabinet bothered to show up at this year’s United Nations climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Attendance at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17), meanwhile, was down about 70 percent from the 2009 global-warming conference. And the media said very little about the gathering.
The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began releasing documents last week related to what it calls the “mass surveillance industry,” a little-known but expansive underworld of contractors offering tools for governments — from brutal dictatorships to more moderate Western states — to monitor citizens and hunt down dissidents. Furious activists reacted to the revelations by calling for stricter controls and measures to hold the firms accountable as “accomplices” to mass murder.
Much of the alarmism about alleged climate change is predicated on computer models purporting to demonstrate that global surface temperatures are rising at an alarming rate and are certain to cause all manner of disaster, from droughts and frigid winters to floods and scorching summers. But how reliable are these models and their forecasts?