December 29, 2009
Giving thoughts on what he has called the Iranian intifada, Andrew Sullivan writes:
Conservatism’s current priorities: using any terror attack to hurt the president? Check. Watching freedom-fighters risk their lives for regime change in the most critical country for US foreign policy in the Middle East? Zzzzz. Imagine what Reagan would have thought. And weep.
September 20, 2009
Andrew Sullivan points to a wonderful article by Johns Hopkins University economics professor Steve H. Hanke on Iran’s crippled economy:
Fiscal order, transparency and control are nowhere to be found in Iran. Government expenditures are estimated to have increased – in line with President Ahmadinejad’s populist proclivities – by 55% during the fiscal 2007-08 through 2008-09 period. Price controls are widespread. These result in implicit subsidies equal to about 25% of GDP. Explicit subsidies are equal to another 5% of GDP, or about 16% of the central government’s expenditures.
…Banks are mandated to extend credit to certain favored sectors of the economy. The specific sectors and levels of credit are laid out in Iran’s five year development plan. Even things like privatization are perverted in Iran. For example, when state-owned enterprises are privatized, the majority of the shares are often purchased by other state-owned entities, such as pension funds.
Iran’s economic policies have put it in a death spiral whose speed is governed, in large part, by the price of oil.