Best Of The Web
“Since the global financial crisis of 2008 to 2009, the U.S. economy has chalked up nine years of solid growth. That’s 36 consecutive quarters of GDP moving in the right direction, which amounts to the second-longest run in U.S. history. If the growth continues for just one more year, it will unseat the boom of 1990s to become the longest.
That’s impressive. But if you’re looking for a developed country that seems to be entirely recession-proof, go to Australia. Australia has enjoyed 27 years of uninterrupted growth since its last recession—108 consecutive quarters of economic expansion and counting.
A few developing countries such as China can match that record, of course, but no other developed economy even comes close. When even China started to slow down in 2012, it raised fears among commodity exporters like Australia. Iron and coal are Australia’s top two exports, and China is their No. 1 destination. But even then, Australia’s GDP growth merely slowed from 3.9 percent in 2012 to 2.6 percent in 2013. Other developed countries might be thrilled just to reach 2.6 percent in the first place.
But Australia’s extraordinary economic statistics mask a more difficult economic reality. At the lowest point in the spring and summer of 2013, Australia’s quarterly growth rates fell to 1.7 percent. At the same time, Australia’s population was growing at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent. Measured in per capita terms, then, Australia’s economy actually shrank for two consecutive quarters.”
JJ Best Of The Web
"Donald Trump is the only President of the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union who has been unable to “reset” the U.S. relationship with Russia."
"This past weekend Melania Trump’s spokeswoman penned an op-ed for CNN in which she criticized the media’s unrelenting criticism of the first lady... Is it true that the media have a fixation on the first lady’s fashion sense?"
"Ultra-Orthodox Jews are smarter consumers, have interest-free loan funds, and are satisfied even if they are poor, the Haredi Institute for Public Affairs has found."
"In Anti-Fandom: Dislike and Hate in the Digital Age, out January 8, Melissa Click delivers a collection of 15 essays by scholars exploring the many ways there are to hate, and why we love to do it."
"For more than a decade, ultrarich people from the former Soviet Union, China and the Middle East have turned to London mansions, New York high-rises, and chic properties in Vancouver, Miami and Paris to store their cash."
"Virtual worlds give back what has been scooped out of modern life . . . it gives us back community, a feeling of competence, and a sense of being an important person whom people depend on."
"It’s the end of 2019 and America’s bountiful harvest is in. But President Donald Trump is facing a crisis few contemplated the year before: a food shortage almost everywhere else in the world."
"Christopher Hitchens died seven years ago this Saturday, a decade after breaking ranks with onetime friend Gore Vidal and beginning a feud that symbolized major changes in left-wing politics."
"I could try to find out where my ancestors may have come from, but that is never going to show me what I’ve actually inherited."
"Have you eaten a Cheez-It sometime in the past eight years? If so, as they say on TV, call now because you may be entitled to compensation."
"An intelligent fish has stirred up a debate about how to measure self-awareness among animals—and what self-awareness even is in the first place."
"...either our youth walk out on Judaism or maintain a lukewarm relationship with Jewish observance; or, they become so obsessed by its finest points that they are incapable of seeing the forest from the trees."