It’s bad enough when a person drowns in debt. Shock waves multiply when a corporation teeters on the verge of failure. The economy becomes even more agitated when a country declares bankruptcy, as Iceland did in 2008 and Hungary and Latvia almost did in 2009.
The holidays can be stressful for overscheduled families. The kids are home from school and daycare. The in-laws visit. There are year-end deadlines to meet, awkward office holiday parties to attend, and self-inflicted New Year’s resolutions to conquer.
Growing up in Minnesota as the granddaughter of a Swedish immigrant, I got to enjoy all the trappings of Scandinavian picture postcard holidays. Straw ornaments and Swedish flags decorating a tree stacked high with gifts. The Lutheran church’s St. Lucia breakfast, where girls with crowns of candles serve lefse and other pastries.
Even with concerns about childhood obesity and related health conditions reaching new heights, fast food mascot Ronald McDonald remains the most recognizable icon to children around the world—second only to Santa Claus. But the clown is at a crossroads.
hether you listen to NPR or Rush Limbaugh, you’ve probably heard about climate change. And if you’ve heard about climate change, chances are you’ve also heard about “cap and trade.” It’s a scheme that tries to sell business-as-usual as a solution to global warming. Here’s how it works. The government puts a limit on how much greenhouse gas can be released in a year (the cap), and industries covered by the system are issued an equivalent number of emissions permits. As the cap is tightened each year, permits become scarcer and thus more valuable. The increasing value of the permits is supposed to encourage dirty industries to clean up their act fast, and sell their spare permits to the dinosaurs that didn’t innovate. That’s the trade.