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Democrats tread on sensitive ground

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   The Democratic Party’s stampede to the presidency seems to be veering of late toward a racially charged contest. Between Joe Biden’s admitted friendliness with segregationists four decades ago and California Sen. Kamala Harris’ recent attack on his anti-busing stance from that same era, the pivotal issue at this juncture seems to…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Travels with Daddy

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   “Surreal” was the word Ivanka Trump used to describe North Korea, which she briefly visited this past weekend with dear ol’ dad. It was the first time an American president had crossed the threshold into the hermit kingdom, where Trump met with his love-letter-writing bro Kim Jong Un. Naturally, Ivanka needed…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Trump’s endless war on regulation

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   The most obscure part of President Trump’s economic agenda is deregulation. This is not because anyone is deliberately hiding it. The real reason is more mundane: Deregulation is obscure, because it’s genuinely complicated and confusing. The issues are highly technical, and they vary by industry. Only those who have a need…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Democratic debates reveal a galaxy of stars

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker    CAMDEN, S.C. — By now, the winners and losers of the first Democratic presidential debate(s) have been thoroughly hashed, roasted and served up overdone. Bottom line: Women won. Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar all made strong showings, outshining most in the majority-male lineup. Harris was the undisputed winner…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Ambition on display — but what else?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   What struck me about the first debates among 20 candidates for the Democratic nomination for president was how much they resembled a gaggle of graduate students. All seemed articulate and intelligent. All had a good grasp of the classroom material — in this case, the programs they were advocating or opposing.…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Can Trump beat the economy?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   We are now passing a significant milestone. The current economic expansion has become the longest in U.S. history. Previously, the record was the decade from March 1991 to March 2001 (120 months). When the present recovery enters July, it will mark the 121st month of expansion. Just how much longer it…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Why millennials may be conservatives at heart

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   Several current trends among millennials do not bode well for Democrats. Indeed, they suggest a greater affinity for (many) Republican policies, notwithstanding a, perhaps, contiguous dislike for the GOP’s leadership. Dare I say it: These trends may suggest a gradual migration toward traditional values and conservatism. Hear me out. My reading…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Tear-up the (economic) textbooks — and start over!

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   Harvard professor N. Gregory Mankiw is one of the most influential economists in the United States. But the 61-year-old’s authority does not stem from advancing an arcane scholarly finding. Nor has Mankiw coined some catchy phrase that captured the popular imagination (see, for example, “The Affluent Society” by the late John…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Can I call ya’ SON?

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker    The problem with a lifetime in public service is a lifetime in public service. Enter Joe Biden, whose list of former offices and distinctions exceeds my word limit, and the recent scandal of his nurturing of working relationships with segregationists Sens. James O. Eastland and Herman Talmadge back in the 1970s.…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

A refugee from the 1930s

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, is a man from the 1930s. If you didn’t believe that before, you certainly should believe it now. Sanders last week gave a powerful speech at George Washington University defending his identity as a “democratic socialist” and endorsing…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The gift of laughter and a father’s legacy

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker    My father died with a smile on his face. But, of course, he would. A few days earlier, as his wife, my sister and I gathered around his bed in the intensive care unit, I said, “I’ll bet he’s thinking right now, ‘I wish these broads would go away and leave…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The fate of Japan — and everyone else

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   If you want a peek at the future, try looking at Japan. It’s a sobering exercise. Here’s how economist Timothy Taylor, managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, describes the country’s outlook: “[Japan] is facing a situation of a declining population and workforce, and the share of the population that…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Rapists’ rights defy reason

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker    In Alabama, where a new law denies abortion to women even in cases of incest or rape, a rapist may still pursue custody rights of a child conceived during his assault. I’ll give you a moment to digest that sentence. It gets worse. In a recent case, a young woman in…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The Democrats’ fairy-tale campaigns

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, Jan. 20, 1961 WASHINGTON — Watching the Democrats’ presidential campaigns, it’s hard not to be struck by the huge gap that has opened…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Terminate abortion, please

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   The abortion issue is more divisive than ever, thanks to extreme anti-abortion legislation recently passed in some states and, lately, to Democratic presidential candidates seemingly vying to be the most pro-choicest. The newest controversy swirls around the 1976 Hyde Amendment, named after the late Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., which forbids the…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The little-known number at the root of S.C.’s biggest problem

 

By Richard Eckstrom S.C. Comptroller   Seven and a quarter percent. That’s the official “assumed rate of return” for South Carolina’s retiree pension system. In other words, state officials tell us the system should expect to earn 7.25 percent on its assets for decades to come. It’s a safe bet that most folks have never…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: government, on-the-move, op-ed

The nastiness of Trump’s Mexico tariffs

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   President Trump’s latest foray into trade policy is notable for its economic recklessness (it could tip Mexico into a recession, followed perhaps by the United States), its gratuitous insults of a close ally (Mexico) and its rank opportunism (it would shift power to the White House from Congress). For anyone who…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Swamp things storm the palace

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   If there was “great love all around” during President Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom, as he tweeted Monday, the participants royal and decidedly otherwise were deceptively discreet. From the coverage, one might have thought that Madame Tussauds had teamed up with George Lucas to create a charade parade of…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

A living eulogy for Ollie Oops

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   CAMDEN, S.C. — Eulogies, it has always seemed to me, are best delivered while the subject is living and can enjoy hearing the best version of him- or herself. Thus, today’s column is dedicated to Ollie the Blind Poodle, also affectionately known as Ollie Oops. A toy poodle born blind, Ollie…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The brave new world of trading blocs

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   We may be on the cusp of an upheaval in global trade. Since World War II, the international trading system has operated on the premise of “most favored nation (MFN),” meaning that concessions granted to one country must be extended to all countries in the system. The trade standoff between the…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Don and Kim in 2020

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   As the 2020 election gears up, it seems apparent that Mike Pence’s days as vice president are numbered. Trump’s preference is obvious: Kim Jong Un. The vice-presidential candidate often plays the attack dog in a campaign — hurling invectives, slinging mud and taking the heat for expressing the id of the…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Will China dump dollars?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   At last count, China held slightly more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. One fear has been that, should China and the United States engage in an economic war — as they clearly are now — those dollars could become a weapon against us. The Chinese would sell dollars in…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Why are wage gains so weak?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   After correcting for inflation, wage gains remain sluggish. In April, average weekly earnings for nonsupervisory workers were up 3% from a year earlier, to $785.55. Meanwhile, prices as measured by the consumer price index were up 2%. Considering that the economy has been expanding for nearly a full decade — a…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Crazy in Colorado?

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   Driving along Colorado’s scenic byways, one might be distracted these days by a series of billboards promoting safe abortions or, depending upon one’s route, alternatives to abortion, as well as assorted child-rearing recommendations. They make one wistful for the old crazy preacher shouting the Gospel from an overturned fruit crate. If…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Twilight of the boomers

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released its latest statistics on U.S. births. Boring, you say. Not so. Historic birth patterns tell us a lot about where the country has been — and where it might be going. We are now experiencing some of the lowest birth…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Bats in the belfry

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   When author Mark Childress penned “Crazy in Alabama,” he wasn’t just whistling Dixie. “I haven’t been quoted this much since Roy Moore,” Childress recently told me, referring to last week’s coverage of Alabama’s passage of a law banning abortion in nearly all circumstances. Moore, of course, was an Alabama U.S. Senate…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Are we losing the trade war?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   The Trump administration is going about its trade war with China all wrong. Its strategy and tactics are muddled. If Trump were a general watching the battle unfold, what he’d see is his troops getting slaughtered, while the enemy, though suffering casualties, was holding most of its positions. Trump has two…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Que será, será

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, there was no avoiding the adorable Doris Day. She was cute as a bug, wholesome, winsome and adored, at least in movies, by the swooning-est leading men in Hollywood — Rock Hudson, Cary Grant and Clark Gable, to name a few. As a young…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Women who run

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   Conventional wisdom in my inner circle of sorcerers and sources has been that the first female president will be a Republican. This is because America is still mostly a center-right country, and voters would feel more comfortable with a conservative-leaning woman. So goes the thinking. Republican Nikki Haley, former South Carolina…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Economists’ ignorance gap

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   The most intriguing and indisputable thing we have learned about economists in recent decades is that they don’t know nearly as much as they thought they knew. We see evidence of this all the time. Just recently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy had created 263,000 payroll jobs in…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Single-payer is no panacea

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   The popular appeal of a single-payer system to solve the nation’s health care problems is no secret. Everyone would have insurance, recognizing — as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., continually tells us — that health care is “a right, not a privilege.” Our medical expenses would be paid by some central agency, eliminating…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The end of everything — or not

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — A new United Nations report projecting the extinction of one-eighth of all animal and plant species should rattle the cages of any remaining skeptics regarding climate change and the central role humans have played in Earth’s accelerating destruction. The report is by far the most-depressing and frightening…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The $100 ‘trillion’ question

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   We live in an age obsessed with economic inequality. There is too much of it, most people seem to agree. After Donald Trump — his personality, behavior and policies — inequality may well become the dominant issue in the 2020 election. This poses dangers, the most obvious being the tendency to blame…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Do we have a deflation problem?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   There are times when it seems we’re worrying about things that aren’t worth worrying about. A good example these days is inflation. Amazingly, the complaint is that it’s not rising fast enough. In March, the consumer price index, or CPI, had increased 1.9% over the past year. The gain of another inflation…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Who’s afraid of robots — and why

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   An unsettling specter haunts the world economy: a future of ubiquitous robots that destroy millions of jobs. Sometimes this is called “artificial intelligence”; sometimes it isn’t. Either way, it threatens the social stability of the United States and other advanced countries, which depend on most people working most of the time. Well,…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

The empathy factor in 2020

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   In 2008, when Sarah Palin entered the stage to debate her fellow vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, she asked him first thing: “Hey, can I call you Joe?” It was a charming moment. In Palin’s aw-shucks manner, she not only neutralized Biden as a formidable foe but reminded folks watching at…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Not a vote-getter!

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   Just for the record, we ought to note that trustees for Social Security and Medicare recently released their annual reports. The two programs alone constituted 45 percent of the non-interest federal budget in 2018, a share that the trustees say is being driven up by the continuing retirement of baby boomers and…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Porch talk

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   CAMDEN, S.C. — With the arrival of spring and the advance of summer, American life shifts toward the porch — at least for those lucky enough to have a sheltered outdoor space, preferably attached to the front or back of one’s home. That all people seem to love a porch and…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Can the Fed stay independent?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   It’s unclear whether one or both, or neither, of President Trump’s selections for the Federal Reserve Board — Stephen Moore and Herman Cain — will win Senate confirmation. What is clear is that this is a teachable moment concerning the Fed’s vaunted “independence.” If you think it means that the Fed can…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

It is finished

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   Good Friday provided the language for a week that began with the terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral and ended with the long-awaited Mueller report: Jesus’ final words before perishing on the cross: “It is finished!” The fires have been extinguished and the great cathedral’s two towers still stand. After nearly…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

How long until we’re all happy?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   To: David Brooks Columnist, The New York Times Dear David, We have met a few times over the years while covering the same events. I’m a big fan. You write beautifully and, more often than not, have insights about our politics, lifestyles and beliefs that others have missed. But as time passes,…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Notre Dame and tankers of water

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker    At least he recognized the urgency. As the world gasped in horror at the sight of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral burning in a cataclysmic moment, the president of the United States imparted these words of wisdom: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Well,…

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What really caused the financial crisis?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   It is astonishing that, even though the global financial crisis occurred a decade ago, we do not yet have a clear and convincing explanation of its basic cause. To be sure, theories abound. Liberals blame Wall Street greed and lax government oversight. The conservatives’ villain is the government’s aggressive promotion of homeownership,…

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The Julian Assange problem

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   They say that guests are like fish; after three days they become a bit whiffy. By this measure, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange smelled like an overladen fishing vessel adrift in the searing sun. Upon his arrest Thursday by British authorities, ending his nearly seven-year asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

What killed inflation?

 

By Robert Samuelson   The Phillips Curve is dead; long live the Phillips Curve. One of today’s economic mysteries is: Why is inflation so low? The unemployment rate is a puny 3.8%. The recovery from the 2007-09 Great Recession is nearly a decade old, just when tight labor markets and strong demand usually push up wages…

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Whither the philosopher-president?

 
Kathleen Parker

By Kathleen Parker   In his most famous dialogue, “The Republic,” Plato, via Socrates, explored the idea that a just state would best function under the leadership of a perfectly just philosopher-king. That is, an intellectually curious person who pursues knowledge, is intelligent, reliable and wise, and embraces the simple life. To test the hypothesis,…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Can we fix the schools? (Maybe not.)

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   You can count on one familiar refrain in the 2020 presidential campaign: Fix the schools. Faith in education is one of the nation’s bedrock values. Better schools would (we think) narrow economic inequalities and help people reach their personal potential. Promises to revitalize schools are inevitable. There’s a magical quality to these…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Vets’ charities are a good way to say ‘thanks.’ But be cautious

 

By Richard Eckstrom, S.C. Comptroller At first glance, they appear to be the noblest of causes. Their brochures feature images that tug at the heartstrings – perhaps a uniformed man in a wheelchair, or a tearful widow accepting a folded U.S. flag. They use patriotic-sounding names like “Honor America’s Veterans” or “Salute our Soldiers.” But…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: on-the-move, op-ed

Has the market gone mad?

 
Robert Samuelson

By Robert Samuelson   If you think you understand what’s going on with the global economy, you’re probably not paying attention. On the one hand, the stock market is powering ahead. Since its recent low on Dec. 24, it was up 22.4 percent, according to the Wilshire 5000 total market index, which measures the value of…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed

Kiss me, kiss me not

 

By Kathleen Parker   CAMDEN, S.C. – At a recent brunch here preceding the Carolina Cup steeplechase race, the host gave me a gift of hometown recognition and, though we are friends, extended his right hand as I approached him. As the gathering looked on, I ignored his hand and gave him a warm hug,…

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Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: op-ed