The Police State is Here

Every year at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium in Vancouver, Chris Mayer, editor of Capital & Crisis, delights the audience with a little shtick he calls, “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.” Chris presents a collection of actual news stories from the prior year that are so crazy you would imagine that someone had simply made them up.
No so.
At this year’s symposium, Chris continued his tradition. In his afternoon workshop on the last day of the conference, he shared a few of the following crazy-but-true headlines and news stories:

• Time Magazine headline: How To Save The Housing Market: Destroy Houses
• Wall Street Journal headline: Economists Win Nobel for Focus on Real World
• Reuters Headline: German Tax Collectors Volunteer for Duty in Greece
• Dear Abby headline: Wife’s Affair With Husband’s Son Is Bound To End Badly
• UK Guardian headline: Cut the Working Week to a Maximum of 20 Hours, Urge Top Economists
“There’s no evidence that if you have shorter working hours as the norm, you have a less successful economy: quite the reverse.”

• On Vacation and Sick? A Court Says Take Another

BRUSSELS — For most Europeans, almost nothing is more prized than their four to six weeks of guaranteed annual vacation leave. But it was not clear just how sacrosanct that time off was until Thursday, when Europe’s highest court ruled that workers who happened to get sick on vacation were legally entitled to take another vacation…The ruling does not apply to the 25 percent of the Spanish labor force that is currently unemployed.

• Sydney Morning Herald headline: Mental Illness Rise Linked to Climate

In the days following Chris’ presentation in Vancouver, your editors have stumbled upon a couple more news stories worthy of mention in next year’s edition of “You Can’t Make This Up.”

First up, this headline from N.J. Law: Put a Seat Belt on Your Pet of Pay a Fine. Check out the video here, courtesy of Reason TV:

Hmmm…placing restraints on domesticated mammals seems to have become something of a hobby these days among lawmakers and law enforcement agencies. Usually, however, the domesticated mammals are U.S. citizens and the restraints curtail some aspect of civil liberty.

Consider this next little gem from Anaheim, California – home of the “Happiest Place on Earth.” That’s right; the town that brought you Disneyland now brings you a new and different amusement. The Anaheim Police Department have merged Disney’s famous Fantasyland and Tomorrowland into a brand new attraction: Nightmareland.

Anaheim’s “men in blue” (and in black and in flak and in undercover clothes and on horseback and in helicopters and behind riot masks) stormed a peaceful protest against – you guessed it – the militarization of the Anaheim police force. You can’t make this up…and even if you could, why would you?

The protesters carried a variety of signs, including the one above. The Anaheim police were not amused. Take a look:

Back tomorrow with a more typical edition of the Daily Reckoning, in which we imagine things that should have happened, but didn’t.

Back tomorrow with a more typical edition of the Daily Reckoning, in which we imagine things that should have happened, but didn’t.


Eric Fry,
For The Daily Reckoning