15 Democratic Representatives led by Heath Schuler (D-NC) have written to President Obama asking his administration to allow AT&T and T-Mobile to merge; arguing that the merger will create thousands of jobs. Schuler and his posse are deluded. In economic history I doubt if a merger of two companies has ever created jobs.
Cell service in the US is already one of the worst, most expensive and non-competitive in the industrial world. To allow this merger would leave two companies, AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon, controlling 80% of the market with Sprint a distant 3rd.
AT&T agreed to break itself up in 1984 to settle anti-trust concerns. Now it is trying to go back to a pre-1984 world.
The Department of Justice has been joined by 7 State Attorneys-General in suing to block the merger. They realize that this merger is monopolistic with benefits accruing only to the companies not the consumer and certainly not to the worker.
VIOLENT CRIME DECLINES
The Department of Justice released a report showing that violent crime had declined 13% in 2010. That’s good news.
But the statistic does not include murder but does include simple assault, which is a crime in which the victim isn’t injured. It begs the question, what exactly is the DOJ’s definition of a violent crime?
Florida is under assault by giant 8 inch long snails from East Africa. Why worry? Because: “They consume at least 500 different types of plants, can cause structural damage to plaster and stucco, and can carry a parasitic nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans,” the Florida Department of Agriculture said in a statement Thursday.
Most non indigenous species that are found in Florida trace their roots to house pets. But in this case the snails were initially brought to Florida because in one religion people drink the snail juice in a healing ritual.
Wacky, but don’t be too quick to judge. In other religions peoples’ beliefs include wine and wafers being change changed into blood and flesh, rituals with snakes, speaking in tongues, faith healing, ingesting hallucinogenics and wearing magic underwear.
Solyndra is a company that makes solar panels. Under the stimulus package they received a $535 million loan guarantee. This week they declared bankruptcy. The Republicans are keen to use the debacle as a club to beat the Obama administration. Their charge that political pressure rushed the approval process may be a stretch, but that they are right that the due diligence was insufficient.
But now to show that they have the best interests of the tax payer and the market at heart Republicans should demand that corn ethanol subsidies be discontinued. Science shows that corn is a lousy source of bio-fuel, it is less energy-packed than switch grass and using it as fuel makes it unavailable as food.
They should also demand that we discontinue tariffs on imported ethanol. It makes no sense to tax our ally Brazil’s sugar based ethanol but not tax oil from countries that hate us.
Either you believe in the power of the market or you don’t.
HIGHER EDUCATION 1
The 2001 QS survey of world universities shows that the there are 13 US schools in the top 20. That is good news. The bad news is that if you want to attend one of those schools plan to pay more than $38,000 a year for 4 years for tuition alone. If you are fortunate enough to be British or a citizen of a European Union country and plan to go to Cambridge (#1 in the survey) you will pay a maximum of $14,200 a year for three years (most students pay less).
Americans who go to Cambridge are charged $18,200. (So the math is: go to Harvard and pay $152,000 for tuition, go to Cambridge and pay $54,600)
If you are British and are accepted at Cambridge, Oxford (#5), Imperial College London (#6), University College of London (#7) or any other British university you are guaranteed a student loan to cover your tuition, which you do not have to repay until you are earning a minimum salary.
Socialist education – doesn’t sound too bad.
HIGHER EDUCATION 2
It is not just in the US that there are complaints about the cost of college, In China a poll showed that 91% of students thought that their tuition was too high. But everything is relative. Tuition at a University in China starts at $743 rising to $1,800 for medical studies.
Socialist education – not so appreciated by socialists.