The Locker Room

January 1, 2007

Productivity problems

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:27 PM

Robert J. Samuelson uses his first column of the new year to warn busybody lawmakers about policies that could have long-term negative consequences for the American people.

Samuelson worries that productivity growth is slowing.

Although government can't easily dictate higher productivity, its policies may perversely favor lower productivity. What's politically expedient today—a dubious tax break, a lazy budget deficit, an expensive regulation—may be economically corrosive tomorrow. 

You could say he's recommending that Congress consider the "unseen" effects of their proposed policies, along with the foreseeable effects. 

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Monday merriment

Posted by Hal Young at 1:20 PM

Okay, since everyone took a pass on triviality Friday, maybe I can suggest a topic for today. The News & Observer's Travel section yesterday featured a project to select "The New Seven Wonders of the World". You can read the idea on the website of the sponsoring organization here.

Now, besides being the best junket project I ever heard ("First we go to Angor Wat; next we'll visit the Taj Mahal; etc.") it's worth a thought or two. Of the twenty-one finalist sites still in the voting race, what do you think?

For my part, I would definitely include the Great Wall for sheer magnitude, the pyramids for longevity (the last of the original Seven still extant), and the Eiffel Tower for its significance proving the concept of high-rise ironwork.

I would not include Bavaria's Neuschwanstein castle; as beautiful as it is, and as much I loved it both times we visited, it's no more authentic as an example of medieval chateaux than Disneyland's Cinderella Castle it inspired.

And if the Sydney Opera House is included, I wonder what happened to the Panama or Suez Canals, any of the recent "world's highest skyscrapers", or major civil engineering feats like Hoover or Aswan Dams (or soon to be, the Three Gorges Dam in China). Maybe they were in the original 77 nominations.

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Happy New Year!

Posted by Jon Ham at 00:42 AM

First post of 2007.

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