Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Audacity of Blame

Allahpundit wonders how anyone who has done nothing but blame his predecessor for every difficulty he's faced since being elected can urge students not to blame others for their problems. Good question. Allahpundit quotes Charles Krauthammer as saying that by October last year Mr. Obama had blamed George Bush for "the economy, global warming, the credit crisis, Middle East stalemate, the deficit, anti-Americanism abroad - everything but swine flu."

And now he advises graduates not to point fingers at others for their problems. You certainly can't say he's short on audacity. Or shamelessness:


$7000 an Ounce?

Bill sends along this good news/bad news item for any investors among our readers to ponder:

The "real move" in gold is to come, predicted Egon von Gruyerz, founder of precious metals investment and storage company GoldSwitzerland.com, on Monday.

He told CNBC he sees the inflation-adjusted price of gold "easily" rising to six times its current price ($1,210) to around $7,000 an ounce in the future on "normal" inflation.

"Adjusted for real inflation the 1980 gold peak in today's prices corresponds to around $7,200 today. So gold could easily go up 6 times from the current price of $1,220 and still be within normal parameters," von Gruyerz's latest report for GoldSwitzerland.com said.

But von Gruyerz told CNBC gold could go higher if the world encounters hyperinflation.

The fears stemming from the European debt crisis will enhance gold's safe haven appeal, according to von Gruyerz.

"Gold is at this point not a bubble," he added. "It is not overbought."

The bad news, of course, is the reason for the price rise. According to von Gruyerz:

"Clueless governments still don't understand that their ruinous actions have created a credit-infested and bankrupt world. They will continue to prescribe the same remedy that caused the problem in the first place, namely more credit and more printed money. The consequences are clear: Inflation, hyperinflation, economic and human misery as well as social unrest."

These are interesting times.


Ten Highest and Lowest

Trying to decide on a career? Here's a list of the ten highest paying jobs in American (and the ten lowest).

Speaking of careers, Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee has a brief piece in the Washington Examiner predicting that the next bubble to burst in our economy is going to be the higher education bubble.

A New York Times profile last week described Courtney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University with nearly $100,000 in student loan debt -- debt that her degree in Religious and Women's Studies did not equip her to repay. Payments on the debt are about $700 per month, equivalent to a respectable house payment, and a major bite on her monthly income of $2,300 as a photographer's assistant earning an hourly wage. And, unlike a bad mortgage on an underwater house, Munna can't simply walk away from her student loans, which cannot be expunged in a bankruptcy. She's stuck in a financial trap.

Some might say that she deserves it -- who borrows $100,000 to finance a degree in women's and religious studies that won't make you any money? She should have wised up, and others should learn from her mistake, instead of learning too late, as she did: "I don't want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back."

But bubbles burst when people catch on, and there's some evidence that people are beginning to catch on. Student loan demand, according to a recent report in the Washington Post, is going soft, and students are expressing a willingness to go to a cheaper school rather than run up debt. Things haven't collapsed yet, but they're looking shakier -- kind of like the housing market looked in 2007.

If Reynolds is right, young people are soon going to stop borrowing large sums and start looking for cheaper educational alternatives. Colleges will have to adjust or go under. He predicts that a lot of frivolous majors, like Munna's, will simply dry up as students realize that degrees in such disciplines will not pay off their debt. Maybe that would be a silver lining.