World View: New Zealand, U.S. Resume Military Cooperation

World View: New Zealand, U.S. Resume Military Cooperation

This morning’s key headlines from

  • New Zealand and U.S. resume military cooperation
  • Israel to release 26 Palestinian prisoners
  • Robert Reich: Obamacare is Nixon’s health care plan
  • Venezuela creates a Ministry for Supreme Social Happiness

New Zealand and U.S. resume military cooperation

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel receives a rugby jersey from New Zealand Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman on Monday
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel receives a rugby jersey from New Zealand Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman on Monday

America and New Zealand announced a resumption of military-to-militarycontacts for the first time since 1986, when Washington ordered amilitary embargo after New Zealand banned all nuclear-armed ornuclear-powered submarines from entering its waters. The ANZUS(Australia, New Zealand, U.S.) mutual defense treaty that was signedin the wake of World War II was partially suspended in 1984, leadingto the embargo. The change in policy is part of the announced plansby the Obama administration to “pivot” to the Asia Pacific. Nextyear, a New Zealand ship will be permitted to dock at Pearl Harbor forthe first time since 1986. However, none of the announcementsor press conference transcripts indicated whether New Zealandis going to change its policies, and permit nuclear-armedor nuclear-powered submarines from entering its waters.Dept. of Defense and Australian Broadcasting

Israel to release 26 Palestinian prisoners

On Tuesday evening, Israel will release 26 Palestinian prisoners whohave been in jail since prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords. The prisonersare being released in conjunction with the current “peace talks” goingon between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. In order to keep thePalestinians from walking out of the talks, Israel agreed to release afew dozen prisoners every two months. Tuesday will be the second offour planned releases. Thousands of Israelis are protesting therelease, because almost all of the prisoners were convicted ofkidnapping, lynching or murdering Israelis, or torturing and executingsuspected Palestinian collaborators. Palestinian officials argue thatthey should have been released long ago (as part of the Sept. 4, 1999,Sharm el-Sheikh agreement), and add that the released prisoners willbe given a heroes welcome when they return home. Jerusalem Post and Al Monitor

Robert Reich: Obamacare is Nixon’s health care plan

Left-wing political economist Robert Reich is saying thatthe Obamacare health plan is the same as the plan advocatedby president Richard Nixon:

“In February 1974, Republican President Richard Nixonproposed, in essence, today’s Affordable Care Act. Under Nixon’splan all but the smallest employers would provide insurance totheir workers or pay a penalty, an expanded Medicaid-type programwould insure the poor, and subsidies would be provided tolow-income individuals and small employers. Soundfamiliar?”

This is a startling revelation, but in a sense it’s not surprising atall. Nixon’s wage-price controls were exactly the kind of “liberal,progressive” program that Robert Reich would love, and yet they werean absolute disaster for the U.S. economy. As I’ve written many timessince 2009, Obamacare is a repeat of Nixon’s wage-price controls (see,for example, “5-Jul-13 World View — Eurozone and Obamacare continue their parallel economic collapse”.)

In his quote above, Robert Reich referred to the date February, 1974.I’ve previously referred to William N. Walker’s history of Nixon’s wage-price controls.According to Walker, here’s what happened in February, 1974:

“This bitter legacy — shortages of gasoline, heatingoil, red meat, soybeans and numerous other products — togetherwith ruinous price increases, finally discredited price controlsin the eyes of the American people. By February 1974, when Dunlopappeared before the Senate Banking Committee, there were sixtyAmendments proposed to the Economic Stabilization Act aimed atproviding relief from controls to one segment of the economy oranother. Dunlop told the Committee that the Administration did notfavor continuing price controls after April 30 1974, except in thehealth care industry (and except in petroleum where authority toadminister price controls and allocation regulations had beentransferred to the Federal Energy Office in early January 1974).In the end, the Congress simply allowed the Economic StabilizationAct to expire on April 30, 1974. Thus, the only peacetimeexperiment with direct economic controls in U.S. history came toan inglorious end.”

So Nixon’s wage-price controls were coming apart at the seams inFebruary, 1974, just as Obamacare is coming apart at the seams today.If Reich is correct, and Nixon was pushing an Obamacare-like programat that time, it was probably a last desperate attempt to preserve hislegacy, at a time when his economic policy was facing disaster, and hewas facing Watergate.

President Obama is almost identical to President Nixon. Like Nixon,Obama uses the IRS to punish political enemies, he threatens the presswith retribution, and now, according to Reich, he’s even pushingNixon’s health care program. Huffington Post and CBS News and Daily Caller

Venezuela creates a Ministry for Supreme Social Happiness

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro, the hand-picked successor to thelate Hugo Chávez, has announced the Venezuela will create aVice-Ministry for the Supreme Social Happiness, to coordinate all thepoverty. As we described last month in “26-Sep-13 World View — Venezuela’s economy approaches full-scale hyperinflation”, the country is plagued byshortages of everything from milk and cooking oil to toothpaste andtoilet paper. After Maduro’s new announcement, a Caracas fruit vendorwas quoted as saying he wants Maduro to create a vice ministry ofbeer, saying, “That would make me, and all the drunks, happy.”However, a Venezuelan official says that “What [the critics]demonstrate is stupidity and bad intention,” and added that the nameof the new ministry is related to Venezuela’s liberator, SimónBolivar. AP and Venezuelanalysis

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.