Salient to Investors:

Fareed Zakaria said:

  • Japan desperately needs real reforms that open up the economy and make it more friendly for business.
  • The Economist says a Japanese company has to actually go out of business to be able fire any of its workers. Japan is 134th out of 144 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitive Index in flexibility of hiring and firing.
  • Japanese agriculture gets 3 times the subsidies in the EU and 6 times those in the US. Japan ranks 26th of 31 high income countries in ease of starting a business in the World Bank’s Doing Business report.

Samuel Huntington said the reason why, since WWII, the outcome of almost every US militarily engagement in conflicts around the world has been inconclusive, muddled or worse is because it rarely entered them actually trying to win and Americans rarely saw the problem as one that justified getting fully committed.  Huntington said where we succeeded – the 1990 Persian Gulf War, Grenada and Panama – we did fight to win, used massive force and achieved a quick, early knockout.

Daniel Drezner at said the goal of Obama policy towards Syria over the past two years is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible – this is has been accomplished at an appalling toll in lives lost.

Niall Ferguson at Harvard said:

  • Bernanke has been consistent in saying that of course there will come a time at some future meeting when the data will be strong enough to justify tapering.  Bernanke has been crucial and must be given credit for having averted a second Great Depression. Janet Yellin is highly qualified as is Tim Geithner.
  • Any kind of business is easier to start in the UK than in the US. The US is no longer number one. It does not have the best rule of law, it has a really expensive and complex system, which is opaque and full of risks for any entrepreneur. The US has more complex regulation for a small business than most European countries. 63 different federal agencies pour out 3,000 or 4,000 regulations a year. Since WWII, only one president, Reagan, has presided over a reduced federal register – it shrank by 30 percent while the economy grew in real terms by 30 percent.
  • Incredibly complex systems of regulation, environmental or financial, advantage the big corporations, because they have the lawyers.  e.g. healthcare.  Small businesses are not becoming medium size businesses, which is what you would expect if this recovery were for real.

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