Friday, December 31, 2010

Constitution Is Old, Confusing, and Meaningless

Obamacare, the Constitution, and the Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause

"Several lawsuits over the health-care reform’s individual mandate hinge on interpretations of the constitution’s Commerce Clause. This clause is widely believed to grant Congress broad power over national markets. But that isn’t what the founders had in mind."

Obamacare, the Constitution, and the Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause: Newsroom: The Independent Institute

John Stossel

"Politicians are so arrogant that they think they can make people wealthier just by mandating it."

Minimum Wage Hurts Workers (Tonight on Fox News @ 10pm ET) « John Stossel

The Politics of 'Nudge'

"Watch out for any attempt to use your inertia to steer you. Freedom should be the default."

The politics of 'Nudge'

Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts

"What's the track record of those most worried about global warming?"

FoxNews.com - Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts

Tariffs and Freedom

"America’s impressive economic growth during the nineteenth century was in fact the result of free trade—trade unhampered within the expansive boundaries of a country that was huge, growing, and diverse in both its geography and its population."

Tariffs and Freedom | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Government Costs More Than You Think

"If you seek to measure the cost of a government, its budget is a good place to start. But your search won’t end there. Only some of the costs imposed by government in any given year show up in its operating budget."

John Hood's Syndicated Weekly Column | Government Costs More Than You Think | John Locke Foundation

Looking into the Crystal Ball for Tax Policy in 2011

"As we get ready to ring in the New Year, it is fun to look into the crystal ball and see what 2011 will bring us in the world of tax policy."

The Tax Foundation - Looking into the Crystal Ball for Tax Policy in 2011

Minister Warns on Mortgage Regulation

“The problem is that, at the moment, it [the mortgage market] is not competitive enough.”

FT.com / Companies / Property - Minister warns on mortgage regulation

IRS 2010 Milestones

A not very scientific list of 10 highs and lows we taxpayers saw in 2010, mostly from the IRS, but some from our elected representatives in Congress.

IRS 2010 Milestones - Robert W. Wood - The Tax Lawyer - Forbes

Spending Cuts, Student Revolts, and the Debt Crisis

"Prospective university students are a fairly small and powerless group which is probably why they were among those targeted for these relatively minor cuts.  Given the considerable amount of disruption this small group has caused after being asked to contribute more for their subsidised education, it is disturbing to contemplate the public disorder that would likely erupt should more drastic cuts occur down the road. "

Spending Cuts, Student Revolts, and the Debt Crisis » The Cobden Centre

Top Ten Heritage Videos of 2010

Top Ten Heritage Videos of 2010 | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Fox News Makes You Stupid?

"Beware pranksters disguised as pollsters trying to suggest Fox News viewers are dumber than most Americans. It is somehow 'misinformed' if you don't support Obamanomics."

Bozell Column: Fox News Makes You Stupid?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Freedom Trumps China's Economic Model

"While the 'American Consensus' has run off the rails in recent years, that does not mean its model of economic liberalization and freedom has failed. The problem is that America has fallen off the free-market wagon and is acting more like China - not the other way around. Both nations need more free-market economics and less Chinese-style 'consensus'-directed solutions."

Freedom Trumps China's Economic Model | The Heritage Foundation

Reason.tv's Greatest Hits in 2010!

"Attack ads, TSA follies, Beck/Stewart rallies, dramatic Olbermann vs. dramatic chipmunk, and more."

Reason.tv's Greatest Hits in 2010! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

The Five Worst Op-Eds of 2010

"For my last column this year, I'd rather tap into my inner Scrooge for a list of the worst op-eds of 2010."

The Five Worst Op-Eds of 2010 | Gene Healy | Cato Institute: Commentary

Constitution In Focus

"When Republicans take over the House next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done before in the chamber's 221-year history:

They will read the Constitution aloud."

Constitution is focus of new GOP House rules

Assessing 2010’s Economy and Looking Ahead

"It was the year that the economy started to recover and then slid back into a slump — only to offer reason for renewed hope in the final weeks."

Assessing 2010’s Economy and Looking Ahead - David Leonhardt - NYTimes.com

Government Is Creating Another Bubble

"It is hard to believe, but it looks like the government will soon use the taxpayers' checkbook again to create a vast market for mortgages with low or no down payments and for overstretched borrowers with blemished credit."

Articles & Commentary

Book Review: When Money Dies

"Images of kindling currency and economic chaos are an essential element in our understanding of the rise of Hitler. Mr. Fergusson adds valuable nuance to a familiar story. His tale begins not, as would be popularly assumed, in the aftermath of Germany's political and military collapse in 1918 (by which point the mark had halved against the pound) but in the original decision to fund the war effort largely through debt—a decision with uncomfortable contemporary parallels (one of many in this book) tailor-made for today's end-timers."

Book Review: When Money Dies - WSJ.com

PBS Myths of Cuba

End Of American Era? Don't Count On It

"The current debt, recession, wars and political infighting have depressed Americans into thinking they soon will be supplanted by more vigorous rivals abroad. Yet this is an American fear as old as it is improbable."

End Of American Era? Don't Count On It - Investors.com

Beyond the Start-Up Nation

"Israelis tell a joke about a Jew who takes to reading Arab newspapers. A friend, puzzled, asks him why. If I read the Israeli papers, all I hear is bad news about the Jews, he replies; but the Arab papers constantly claim we are all rich and successful, and rule the world."

Schumpeter: Beyond the start-up nation | The Economist

Politics Without Mainstream Opinion

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Copernican Revolution Coming to Economics

"...the whole idea of macroeconomics is a fraud"

Fact And Comment - Forbes.com

Bastiat Society Meeting - January 5th


Please join us in welcoming Dr. Doug Walker from the College of Charleston Economics Department.

Dr. Walker received his Ph.D at Auburn in Economics in the Spring of 1998. His research focuses on economic and social effects of gambling. Walker published the book titled The Economics of Casino Gambling in 2007 and has been published in numerous journal articles on the economic impact of gambling. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Annals of Tourism Research, the UNLV Gaming Research and Review Journal, and is a member of the Bastiat Society.

His talk is entitled:

'Is Legalized Casino Gambling Good for the Economy?'

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where We Stand and Where We Must Go

"I would argue that the Austrian school of economics, long forgotten amongst the elite is the only school that has consistently explained why economies grow and why they collapse, and how it is government intervention, primarily through the central planning of money and credit in a bank like the Federal Reserve that sows the seeds of ultimate collapse; and secondarily through intervention in confiscatory taxation, subsidization, protectionism, incessant regulation and redistribution of wealth that ends up bankrupting nations and has done so historically, with the central bank as the trusty aid of the politicians who perpetuate this system by helping pay off chosen constituents."

» Where We Stand and Where We Must Go - Big Government

The Power Politics of the Prize

"Vargas Llosa’s politics are libertarian: He supports free trade, opposes drug prohibition, and frequently quotes Milton Friedman."

The Power Politics of the Prize - Reason Magazine

Local Government Stupidity Contest

"This post could be entitled, “So many bad decisions, so little time"

Local Government Stupidity Contest | Cato @ Liberty

Undoing College

"These students, however, are not exhausted from “working on” anything.  Rather, their state of mind is akin to how someone looks at a second slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner after he has already downed 5000 calories of turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, and that first slice of pie. "

NAS - The National Association of Scholars :: Articles and Archives Undoing College Jason Fertig

Follow Our Leader

"American business leaders, most of them, will continue to follow their leader, together with their enemies, the liberals and the left."

Capitalism Magazine - Follow Our Leader

How Government Failure Caused the Great Recession

The interaction of six government policies explains the timing, severity, and global impact of the financial crisis.

How Government Failure Caused the Great Recession — The American, A Magazine of Ideas

Political End-Runs

"Progressives consider the Constitution, and our elected representatives, disposable nuisances."

Political End-Runs - Thomas Sowell - National Review Online

Fed’s Free Money

Fed’s Free Money Beckons This Important Writer: Kevin Hassett - Bloomberg

Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Top 10 Economic Myths of 2010

Journalists' tall tales included praising GM for 'keeping faith' with taxpayers, comparing soda to cocaine, and attacking the Chamber of Commerce over baseless 'foreign money' claims.

The Top 10 Economic Myths of 2010

Europe's pension seizures

Europe's pension seizures

Discouraging Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs - Investors.com

Discouraging Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs - Investors.com

On Corporate Personhood | Bureaucrash - Join the Resistance

On Corporate Personhood | Bureaucrash - Join the Resistance

Small Businesses Not Growing? That's Because Regulations Are | Competitive Enterprise Institute

Small Businesses Not Growing? That's Because Regulations Are | Competitive Enterprise Institute

Vinod Khosla: Searching For The Radical Solution

"Environmentalists have been very good at identifying the problems we need to solve. They are horrible at picking the answers. I believe most environmentalists most of the time are getting in the way of answers that make economic sense. Economic gravity always wins. That's why I have the mantra about unsubsidized market-competitiveness."

Vinod Khosla: Searching For The Radical Solution: Scientific American Podcast

The Reason Cruise! The Ultimate Last-Minute Christmas Gift! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine




The Reason Cruise! The Ultimate Last-Minute Christmas Gift! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Why Economists Hate Presents, And How Seventh Graders Solved The Problem : Planet Money : NPR

Why Economists Hate Presents, And How Seventh Graders Solved The Problem : Planet Money : NPR

Econ-101 with Dr. Ron Paul - Dean Zarras - On Civil Society - Forbes

Econ-101 with Dr. Ron Paul - Dean Zarras - On Civil Society - Forbes

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What does Morality Have to do With Capitalism? » Arthur Brooks: The Battle

What does Morality Have to do With Capitalism? » Arthur Brooks: The Battle

Government and Conflict | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Government and Conflict | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Dear Santa: Please teach lawmakers they’re not you - Idaho Press-Tribune: Opinion

Dear Santa: Please teach lawmakers they’re not you - Idaho Press-Tribune: Opinion

The Economics of Seinfeld

Why is collecting cans in New York, then redeeming them for deposit in Michigan a form of arbitrage? How can a local chicken restaurant produce negative externalizes? Find the answers on this website, which is making the dismal science a little less dismal.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Would Ron Paul Really Try To End The Fed? : NPR

Would Ron Paul Really Try To End The Fed? : NPR

The Age of Uncertainty - Michael G. Franc - National Review Online

The Age of Uncertainty - Michael G. Franc - National Review Online

Greedy Innkeeper, Or Generous Capitalist? - Forbes.com

Greedy Innkeeper, Or Generous Capitalist? - Forbes.com

Why Do Firms Exist?

from the Economist:

FOR philosophers the great existential question is: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” For management theorists the more mundane equivalent is: “Why do firms exist? Why isn’t everything done by the market?”

Happy 100th birthday to Ronald Coase.

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Money Doesn't Mean More Happiness: Scientific American Podcast

More Money Doesn't Mean More Happiness: Scientific American Podcast

The Supreme Court and Obama’s Health Care Law - NYTimes.com

The Supreme Court and Obama’s Health Care Law - NYTimes.com

Made on Earth: How Global Economic Integration Renders Trade Policy Obsolete | Daniel J. Ikenson | Cato Institute: Trade Policy Analysis

Made on Earth: How Global Economic Integration Renders Trade Policy Obsolete | Daniel J. Ikenson | Cato Institute: Trade Policy Analysis

Nocera on the Crisis and All the Devils Are Here | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Nocera on the Crisis and All the Devils Are Here | EconTalk | Library of Economics and Liberty

Management: Enemy of Enterprise - Doug French - Mises Daily

Management: Enemy of Enterprise - Doug French - Mises Daily

Is America Saturated with College Grads? - CCAP - Higher Education and the Economy - Forbes

Is America Saturated with College Grads? - CCAP - Higher Education and the Economy - Forbes

Austerity: Word of the Year

Function:noun
Inflected Form:plural -ties
Date:14th century

1 : the quality or state of being austere
2 a : an austere act, manner, or attitude b : an ascetic practice
3 : enforced or extreme economy

Let's hope that our leaders actually read the definition...

.

George Ought to Help

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tax The Rich Con Part II - Forbes.com

The Tax The Rich Con Part II - Forbes.com

School Choice Comes Straight Outta Compton Due to Parents Wit Attitude! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

School Choice Comes Straight Outta Compton Due to Parents Wit Attitude! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

School Choice Comes Straight Outta Compton Due to Parents Wit Attitude! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

School Choice Comes Straight Outta Compton Due to Parents Wit Attitude! - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Central Banks as Sources of Financial Instability: The Independent Review: The Independent Institute

Central Banks as Sources of Financial Instability: The Independent Review: The Independent Institute

Rethinking the MBA: What is the Purpose of Management Education? - The CSR Blog - corporate social responsibility - Forbes

Rethinking the MBA: What is the Purpose of Management Education? - The CSR Blog - corporate social responsibility - Forbes

FT.com / Companies / Food & Beverage - McDonald’s chief attacks children’s meal ‘food police’

FT.com / Companies / Food & Beverage - McDonald’s chief attacks children’s meal ‘food police’

Reason.tv: Is Wikileaks a Force For Good? Four Experts on Our Wiki-Future - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Reason.tv: Is Wikileaks a Force For Good? Four Experts on Our Wiki-Future - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Monday, December 6, 2010

Diminishing returns?: U.S. Science Productivity Continues to Drop: Scientific American

Diminishing returns?: U.S. Science Productivity Continues to Drop: Scientific American

Rethinking the scientific method : The New Yorker

Rethinking the scientific method : The New Yorker

Why “state capitalism” is China’s biggest knockoff : The New Yorker

Why “state capitalism” is China’s biggest knockoff : The New Yorker

Can we trust in entrepreneurship? - Coordination Problem

Can we trust in entrepreneurship? - Coordination Problem

Lord Townshend on Trade and Morality - Murray N. Rothbard - Mises Daily

Lord Townshend on Trade and Morality - Murray N. Rothbard - Mises Daily

America's Road to Financial Ruin - Doug French - Mises Daily

America's Road to Financial Ruin - Doug French - Mises Daily

Without Tax Credit, Housing Market Isn't 'Pretty' : The Two-Way : NPR

Without Tax Credit, Housing Market Isn't 'Pretty' : The Two-Way : NPR

Europe's Debt Solution: More Borrowing : Planet Money : NPR

Europe's Debt Solution: More Borrowing : Planet Money : NPR

Humility in Economics | Acton Institute

Humility in Economics | Acton Institute

Schumpeter: The status seekers | The Economist

Schumpeter: The status seekers | The Economist

Estate Tax Bootleggers, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Estate Tax Bootleggers, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Interactive: 10 Years of the Dollar vs. the World - Forbes.com

Interactive: 10 Years of the Dollar vs. the World - Forbes.com

Sunday, December 5, 2010

200 Years of Health and Wealth Data for 200 Countries in 4 Minutes - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine



200 Years of Health and Wealth Data for 200 Countries in 4 Minutes - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Regulation of, by, and for Big Business, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Regulation of, by, and for Big Business, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

SSRN-From Rabbit Ears to Flat Screen: It’s Getting Better All the Time! by Steven Horwitz, Stewart Dompe

SSRN-From Rabbit Ears to Flat Screen: It’s Getting Better All the Time! by Steven Horwitz, Stewart Dompe

Mounting Debts by States Stoke Fears of Crisis - NYTimes.com

Mounting Debts by States Stoke Fears of Crisis - NYTimes.com

Bad Credit Risks U.S. Global Role : NPR

Bad Credit Risks U.S. Global Role : NPR

New at Reason: How to Balance the Budget Without Raising Taxes - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

New at Reason: How to Balance the Budget Without Raising Taxes - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

No Doubt Ben Bernanke is Sincere, But What If He is Sincerely Wrong? - Coordination Problem

No Doubt Ben Bernanke is Sincere, But What If He is Sincerely Wrong? - Coordination Problem

Neal Boortz: Let flat-screen TVs heat the moochers  | ajc.com

Neal Boortz: Let flat-screen TVs heat the moochers  | ajc.com

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nicholls State University - Bastiat's Bastions » About Bastiat’s Bastions

Nicholls State University - Bastiat's Bastions » About Bastiat’s Bastions

Assange: I'm Influenced by "American libertarianism, market libertarianism" - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Assange: I'm Influenced by "American libertarianism, market libertarianism" - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

When Do People Care About Civil Liberties? When Their Team Doesn't Run the Federal Government, That's When - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

When Do People Care About Civil Liberties? When Their Team Doesn't Run the Federal Government, That's When - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Event: The Virtue of Prosperity | Acton Institute

Event: The Virtue of Prosperity | Acton Institute

When Will Home Prices Stop Falling? : Planet Money : NPR

When Will Home Prices Stop Falling? : Planet Money : NPR

New at Reason: Ronald Bailey Delves Into the Evolutionary Link Between Religion and Cooperation - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

New at Reason: Ronald Bailey Delves Into the Evolutionary Link Between Religion and Cooperation - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Where Americans Earn The Most

There's gold in that there swamp!


Where Americans Earn The Most - Forbes.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Austrian Economics IS and What Austrian Economics Is NOT - Coordination Problem

What Austrian Economics IS and What Austrian Economics Is NOT - Coordination Problem

FT.com / Business education / Soapbox - The flawed maths of financial models

FT.com / Business education / Soapbox - The flawed maths of financial models

Obama Freeze Leaves Lots of Federal Workers Out of the Cold - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Obama Freeze Leaves Lots of Federal Workers Out of the Cold - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

FT.com / UK - Corporate tax reform found lacking

FT.com / UK - Corporate tax reform found lacking

Slush Fund:Under Obama Freeze Proposal, Federal Pay Raises Would Continue - Janet Novack - Taxing Matters - Forbes

Slush Fund:Under Obama Freeze Proposal, Federal Pay Raises Would Continue - Janet Novack - Taxing Matters - Forbes

Price Controls and Black Markets in Canadian Health Care, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Price Controls and Black Markets in Canadian Health Care, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Sure Signs of the Apocalypse

First, the Chinese and the Russians lecture the US on fiscal and monetary responsibility.

Then a guy in Las Vegas (of all places!) does the same thing:

Mike Novogratz: A Hedge Fund's Perspective - Forbes.com

Mike Novogratz: A Hedge Fund's Perspective - Forbes.com

Ben Bernanke, the Fed, and quantitative easing : The New Yorker

Ben Bernanke, the Fed, and quantitative easing : The New Yorker

How Did We Get From Mao to Now? - Ray Kwong - ChinaTalk - Forbes

How Did We Get From Mao to Now? - Ray Kwong - ChinaTalk - Forbes

Sunday, November 28, 2010

With Unemployment Benefits, It’s the Invisible That Truly Matters - John Tamny - Political Economy - Forbes

With Unemployment Benefits, It’s the Invisible That Truly Matters - John Tamny - Political Economy - Forbes

Entrepreneurial Ability as a Latent Variable « Organizations and Markets

Entrepreneurial Ability as a Latent Variable « Organizations and Markets

Nation-Building at Home

Nation-builders want to use the power of the state to quickly accomplish what otherwise might take decades, perhaps even centuries. For these people, the pace of organic change is too slow.

Unfortunately, like an athlete on steroids, nation-building has unpleasant and unmanageable side effects.

By the way, business-builders face the same temptation: organic and unpredictable bottom-up growth, or technocratic and planned top-down growth.

Thomas L. Friedman: Nation-Building at Home Just as Crucial a Slogan Now as it Was 14 Columns Ago - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Who Could Object to Such Reasonable Words?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bastiat Gets Some Love...and Gets Dissed in Springfield

First, the love...

Lilly: Principles must be defended, liberty reclaimed | News-Leader.com | Springfield News-Leader

Then the dis...

Government needs to adapt to times | News-Leader.com | Springfield News-Leader

Now let me summarize the dis:

"Anything written before today is worthless. The Ethics of Aristotle, the poetry of Dante, the plays of Shakespeare, the novels of Dickens, and everything else that was written before some unspecified date in the modern world is as useless as an old loaf of bread. Only what is modern counts."

But, curiously, the writer reaches back to a dead white male for validation. Thomas Jefferson, nonetheless. And as you might suspect, the writer misses Jefferson's point.

Jefferson wrote his words at a time when freedom was the "new coat" and loyalty to state experts was the "old."

Reverting to rule by experts who know better is not "government adapting to the times." Rather, it is a throwback to the kind of world Jefferson and his peers attacked and successfully conquered in the American Revolution.

My Mama Told Me, "Life is Like a Game of Football"

Another lesson in intellectual humility for experts.

If we cannot successfully predict the outcome of a game where there are only 22 players and a clock, how in the world can we successfully predict the outcome of a game with 6.5 billion players and no clock?

Nevada Stuns No. 3 Boise State 34-31 - NYTimes.com

Don't Despair, Be Ambitious

Matt Ridley responds to Bill Gates' criticism of his views on Africa and climate change, and in so doing gives us a motto for the decades ahead. Not "Don't worry, be happy," but "Don't despair, be ambitious."

Matt Ridley on Where Progress Comes From - WSJ.com

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"China Inc." - Here We Go Again - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

"China Inc." - Here We Go Again - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Raising Taxes Is Not Reducing Government Spending - George Reisman - Mises Daily

Raising Taxes Is Not Reducing Government Spending - George Reisman - Mises Daily

Blinder: Keynesianism is Right, Because Keynesians Are Really Smart « Organizations and Markets

Blinder: Keynesianism is Right, Because Keynesians Are Really Smart « Organizations and Markets

FT.com / FT Lexicon: Professor of the week - R. Edward Freeman, Darden School of Business

FT.com / FT Lexicon: Professor of the week - R. Edward Freeman, Darden School of Business

You and Your Neighbor's Pork | Brandon Arnold | Cato Institute: Commentary

You and Your Neighbor's Pork | Brandon Arnold | Cato Institute: Commentary

Raising the Stakes, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Raising the Stakes, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Awaiting the Savior

Awaiting the Savior

Prop. 19 Goes up in Smoke – Tenth Amendment Center

Prop. 19 Goes up in Smoke – Tenth Amendment Center

House Dem dares GOP on healthcare repeal - The Hill's Healthwatch

House Dem dares GOP on healthcare repeal - The Hill's Healthwatch

Bastiat Was Right...Again

Bastiat Was Right...Again

Gov't Planners Leave Misery In Their Wake - Investors.com

Gov't Planners Leave Misery In Their Wake - Investors.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reason.tv: Peter Thiel on Facebook, Technology, and the Higher Education Bubble - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Betting On The Gold Standard? Odds Are Still Long : NPR

Betting On The Gold Standard? Odds Are Still Long : NPR

Health Care and Socialist Calculation, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

Health Care and Socialist Calculation, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

O.K., You Fix the Budget - NYTimes.com

O.K., You Fix the Budget - NYTimes.com

The Last Boom Town in America


Imperial Athens. Imperial Rome. Imperial Washington. Centers of power and, therefore, money. Power is Washington's product, and the more power it has, the more money it attracts.

As Washington gains power and wealth, it grows as an obstacle to production and innovation in the rest of the nation. Silicon Valley is just outside of San Francisco. LA produces world-class entertainment. What does Washington produce? Very little that does not depend on spending other people's money and telling them how to live.

As my hero Bastiat might have said, Washington is no longer a town that uses law to protect men and their property, it uses law to plunder both.

Why is Washington now home to 7 of the 10 richest counties in the United States? Because it is better to be the plunderer than the plundered.

Monday, November 8, 2010

World Bank Chief Riles Up Economists By Talking Gold Standard

Standard? What's a standard?

World Bank Chief Riles Up Economists By Talking Gold Standard - Agustino Fontevecchia - Moral Hazard - Forbes

Science? Politics? Both?

"This group feels strongly that science and politics can't be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists," said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

"We are taking the fight to them because we are … tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has changed."

Read more.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Progress Q & A

"China has also pulled off a breathtaking economic transformation which will soon see it become the mightiest economic power in the world. It will challenge American hegemony as never before in modern times."

Read more: John Humphrys, in the Daily Mail

Question: How did China pull off its breathtaking economic transformation?

Answer: By encouraging markets more and using government less.

Question: How might a country pull off a breathtaking economic decline?

Answer: By doing the exact opposite.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Politics: That Which Is Seen

Why do we spend so much time talking about politics and elections?

The vast majority of the really important decisions that we make as try to improve our lives have nothing to do with who wins and who loses elections. The technological innovations that will change our lives don't, either.

In fact, the work that makes the world better doesn't occur in legislatures. It occurs in homes, offices, factories, and all the other places where individuals trade what they know with each other.

Unfortunately, all that trade is too small to matter. It's not big enough, splashy enough, or noisy enough to get attention.

Politics is everything that trade is not. Politics is big, splashy, and noisy. We can see politics, whether we like it or not. In an election year, we can't avoid it.

Trade is almost invisible.

It's easy to overestimate the importance of something that is all about overstating its importance.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Attack Ads, Circa 1800



Via Reason.tv

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Power to Tax

According to the 2011 "Business Tax Climate" published by the Tax Foundation:

1. Worst state in the union for business taxes: New York.

2. Best state in the union for business taxes: South Dakota.

3. Most improved: Illinois.

4. Heading down fast: New Mexico.

5. At risk: Washington State

Full report here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just Don't Say No, Sometimes

Life is too short to say no to every cheeseburger you meet, even if your name is Michelle Obama.

Friday, October 29, 2010

You Know I'm Right

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, anchor and reporter at CNBC; discusses her new book, You Know I'm Right.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beware the Intellectuals

So one of the lessons of our century is: Beware the intellectuals. Not merely should they be kept well away from the levers of power, they also should be objects of peculiar suspicion when they seek to offer collective advice. Beware committees, conferences, leagues of intellectuals! For intellectuals, far from being highly individualistic and nonconformist people, are in fact ultra-conformist within the circles formed by those whose approval they seek and value. This is what makes them, en masse, so dangerous, because it enables them to create cultural climates, which themselves often generate irrational, violent and tragic courses of action.

Paul Johnson, "The Heartless Lovers of Humankind"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Their Righteous Cause


"The greatest evils inflicted upon humanity have been the work of those who are so confident of their efforts to do good that they do not hesitate to use the instruments of evil available to them on behalf of their righteous cause."

Vincent Ostrom

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Patient Capitalism

Monday, October 25, 2010

Consumer Protection

This is a story about consumer abuse.

A consumer signs a contract he is told will make his life better. He pays $60,000 per year for three years, and ends up unhappy with the results. The promises of the original contract remain unfulfilled. He asks for his money back. He is denied.

The product? A law degree. The promise? A job. The response? You've got to be kidding. We don't give anybody their money back. What do you think this is, a business?

Read more here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Biases of Bureaucrats

"[While] there is a lot of interest in the psychology and neuroscience of markets, there is much less in the psychology and neuroscience of government. Slavisa Tasic, of the University of Kiev, wrote a paper recently for the Istituto Bruno Leoni in Italy about this omission. He argues that market participants are not the only ones who make mistakes, yet he notes drily that "in the mainstream economic literature there is a near complete absence of concern that regulatory design might suffer from lack of competence." Public servants are human, too.

Mr. Tasic identifies five mistakes that government regulators often make: action bias, motivated reasoning, the focusing illusion, the affect heuristic and illusions of competence."

Matt Ridley, in the Wall Street Journal

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tea Party to the Rescue

"Maureen "Moe" Tucker, former drummer of the Velvet Underground, has done the best job ever of explaining where the tea party stands and why it stands there. She also suggests the breadth and variety of the movement. In an interview this week in St. Louis's Riverfront Times, Ms. Tucker said she'd never been particularly political but grew alarmed by the direction the country was taking. In the summer of 2009, she went to a tea-party rally in southern Georgia. A chance man-on-the-street interview became a YouTube sensation. No one on the left could believe this intelligent rally-goer was the former drummer of the 1960s breakthrough band; no one on the left understood that an artist could be a tea partier. Because that's so not cool, and the Velvet Underground was cool.

Ms. Tucker, in the interview, ran through the misconceptions people have about tea partiers: "that they're all racists, they're all religious nuts, they're all uninformed, they're all stupid, they want no taxes at all and no regulations whatsoever." These stereotypes, she observed, are encouraged by Democrats to keep their base "on their side." But she is not a stereotype: "Anyone who thinks I'm crazy about Sarah Palin, Bush, etc., has made quite the presumption. I have voted Democrat all my life, until I started listening to what Obama was promising and started wondering how the hell will this utopian dream be paid for?"

Peggy Noonan, in the Wall Street Journal

Here's the video...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Quotable Bastiat

"I do not address myself to those philosophers who, if not in their own names, at least in the name of humanity, profess to adore poverty.

I speak to those who hold wealth in esteem -- and understand by this word, not the opulence of the few, but the comfort, the well-being, the security, the independence, the instruction, the dignity of all."

Economic Sophisms, Second Series, "Natural History of Spoilation"

Je ne m'adresse pas à ces philosophes qui font profession d'adorer la misère, sinon en leur nom, du moins au nom de l'humanité.

Je parle à quiconque tient la Richesse pour quelque chose. — Entendons par ce mot, non l'opulence de quelques-uns, mais l'aisance, le bien-être, la sécurité, l'indépendance, l'instruction, la dignité de tous.


Sophismes Économiques, Physiologie de la Spoliation

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Non-Fiction... Unfortunately



In a theater near you on October 15th.

For more information, visit: http://www.iwantyourmoney.net/

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Real Printing Problem

from NPR:
by Chana Joffe-Walt

This is a story about how an economist and his buddies tricked the people of Brazil into saving the country from rampant inflation. They had a crazy, unlikely plan, and it worked.

Twenty years ago, Brazil's inflation rate hit 80 percent per month. At that rate, if eggs cost $1 one day, they'll cost $2 a month later. If it keeps up for a year, they'll cost $1,000.

In practice, this meant stores had to change their prices every day. The guy in the grocery store would walk the aisles putting new price stickers on the food. Shoppers would run ahead of him, so they could buy their food at the previous day’s price.

The problem went back to the 1950s, when the government printed money to build a new capital in Brasilia. By the 1980s, the inflation pattern was in place.

It went something like this:

1. New President comes in with a new plan.
2. President freezes prices and/or bank accounts.
3. President fails.
4. President gets voted out or impeached.
5. Repeat.

The plans succeeded at only one thing: Convincing every Brazilian the government was helpless to control inflation.

There was one more option that no one knew about. It was dreamed up by four guys at the Catholic University in Rio. The only reason they enter the picture now — or ever — is because in 1992, there happened to be a new finance minister who knew nothing about economics. So the minister called Edmar Bacha, the economist who is the hero of our story.
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Listen to the story HERE.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bastiat Reference in Chicago Tribune

"[In Chicago] the 5 percent sales tax forgiveness on back-to-school purchases last month, as study after study confirms, only shifts spending from other time frames with no net gain in sales. Ditto for last year's dollop — cash for clunkers — and this year's homebuyer tax credit.

In each of these examples, a politician or legislative body was either seeking to do good — reduce energy consumption, make something more affordable or put more money in workers' pockets — or was perhaps duped by, or just pandering to, a special-interest group or constituency.

As 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat put it, "There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: The bad economist confines himself to the 'visible' effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be 'foreseen.'

The same bad vs. good demarcation holds for political candidates, city halls, lawmakers and public agencies."

Allen R. Sanderson of the University of Chicago, Chicago Tribune

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor (verb):

1a : expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory

b (1) : human activity that provides the goods or services in an economy (2) : the services performed by workers for wages as distinguished from those rendered by entrepreneurs for profits
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A thought on labor:

Your labor is your most valuable asset: Capitalism compensates you for it, and socialism steals it from you.

Enemies of freedom and liberty often accuse entrepreneurs and capitalists of "exploiting" the working-class. Profits and greed, they argue, inevitably pit the employer and employee against each other. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Yet, contempt for the employer and fear are the tools socialists use to spread their own ideals. Once the workers are convinced that capitalism is evil, they then look to the government for the wealth and security that capitalism once provided.

Below are some various quotes regarding labor, wages, and profit. As you read them, ask yourself which group (capitalists or socialists) truly value the worker, the product of their labor, and the entrepreneurial spirit:
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"On the basis of political economy itself, in its own words, we have shown that the worker sinks to the level of a commodity and becomes indeed the most wretched of commodities; that the wretchedness of the worker is in inverse proportion to the power and magnitude of his production..."
- Karl Marx (1844) on the Political Economy

"We have stopped thinking in terms of a minimum wage. That belongs to yesterday, before we quite knew what paying high wages meant. Now so few people get the minimum wage that we do not bother about it at all. We try to pay a man what he is worth and we are not inclined to keep a man who is not worth more than the minimum wage."
- Henry Ford (1912) on Minimum Wages

"To establish, that in cases of even one unexcused day's absence from work, the worker should be fired from the enterprise or establishment, with loss of the right to use ration and commodity cards issued to him as a worker in said enterprise or establishment, and likewise with loss of the right to use an apartment given him in the housing of said enterprise or establishment."
- Resolution of the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR (1932)

“We do want more, and when it becomes more, we shall still want more. And we shall never cease to demand more until we have received the results of our labor.”
- Samuel Gompers, leader and first President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) (1850-1924)

"Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."
- Barrak Obama (Jan 8th, 2009)

"Reckless greed and risk taking … must never endanger our prosperity again"
- Barrak Obama (Jan 20th, 2009) (Notice the contradiction...?)

"I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) on the role of government

"These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people."
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
- Thomas Edison (1847-1931) on hard work and commitment

"The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.
- Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple (1955- )

"Particular obstructive workers who refuse to submit to disciplinary measures will be subject, as non-workers, to discharge and confinement in concentration camps."
- Article 9 of a decree, signed by Lenin (14 November 1919)

"No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. "
- Frederic Bastiat (1850) The Law

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Trade Makes Us Less Likely to Kill

Michael Shermer writes in the Huffington Post:

"Trade makes us less likely to kill our potential trading partners. As Jared Diamond once told me about his research on Papua New Guinea hunter-gatherers: "Should you happen to meet an unfamiliar person in the forest, of course you try to kill him or else to run away. Our modern custom of just saying hello and starting a friendly chat would be suicidal." And yet something happened in the 1960s to bring about more peaceful interactions. Initially, peace was imposed upon the native New Guineans by fiat from the Western colonial government that ruled over the territory, but officials then insured continued peace by providing goods that the people needed, as well as the technologies to enable them to continue producing more resources on their own. In less than one generation, New Guinean hunter-gatherers who were fighting each other with stone tools were suddenly New Guinean consumer-traders operating computers, flying planes, and running their own small businesses. Where goods crossed New Guinea frontiers, New Guinea armies did not.

This is an example from my book of what I call Bastiat's Principle, from an observation by the 19th-century French economist Frédéric Bastiat: "Where goods do not cross frontiers, armies will." Although trade is not a sure-fire prophylactic against between-group conflict (there are exceptions to Thomas Friedman's observation that two countries with MacDonalds don't fight, but as a first order approximation it is accurate), it is an integral component to establishing trust between strangers that lessens the potential volatility that naturally exists whenever groups come into contact with one another, especially over the allocation of scare resources that have alternative uses, the very definition of economics.

And that brings us back full circle to trade, markets, and morality."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Government Organization

When the government supports you, the government owns you...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Quotable Bastiat

"The State is also subject to Malthus’s Law. It tends to exceed the level of its means of existence, it expands in line with its means and what keeps it in existence is the substance of the people. Misfortune thus afflicts those peoples who cannot limit the sphere of action of the State. Freedom, private activity, wealth, well-being, independence and dignity will all disappear."

Via http://bastiat.net/en/

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Radical Obesity Hypothesis

Part One: Where food is hard to get, expensive, and it tastes bad, very few people get fat.

Part Two: Where food is plentiful, affordable, and it tastes good, lots of people get fat.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What Went Wrong at BP

"BP put form over substance and took their eye off the ball. Beyond Petroleum was a failed corporate strategy that resulted in heedless, dumb cost-cutting that put profits losses ahead of people and the environment.

Reality can be a harsh mistress. BP went after an environmental fad, basked in the glow of the Left environmental movement, and now may have destoyed itself in the process. As with Enron, another ‘progressive’ ‘green’ company, the Left environmentalists got what they deserved.

If only John Browne had given a Lee Raymond-type speech and had conducted BP’s business in the manner of its more reality-grounded brethren. The blame for the fatal attraction goes deep, and it lands at the doorstep of the mainstream environmental movement that got BP into greenwashing."

Rob Bradley, at MasterResource, a free-market energy blog.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Markets Are Like Wives


Markets are like wives. They will tell you what to do, but you won't always like what you hear.

The Conversation by Henri Matisse, 1908-1912. Source: State Hermitage Museum

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Free Dictionary


Organized Crime
noun [awr-guh-nahyzd krahym]

1. Interstate theft that occurs within a centrally controlled formal structure.

2. The people and the groups involved in such criminal activities; e.g., the Mafia in Sicily and the Legislature in the United States.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cutting Communism - One Head at a Time


Cuba continues to be in the news. It appears that Raul Castro understands the pitfalls of communism more than his brother. First, Raul lifted restrictions on Cuban farmers, now he is letting Cuban barbershops work for profit.

Questions:

Can the U.S. re-learn the benefits of a free market from Cuba? Or will the lessons learned there fall on deaf ears?

Why does the media portray capitalism as evil in free societies, yet celebrate when communist countries turn capitalistic?


___________________________________________________

By Michael Voss BBC News, Havana

Cuba is turning over hundreds of state-run barber shops and beauty salons to employees in what may be the start of a long-expected privatisation drive.

All barbers and hairdressers in shops with three seats or fewer will be allowed to rent the space and pay taxes instead of getting a monthly wage.

The retail sector has long been derided for poor service and rampant theft.

The country's former President, Fidel Castro, nationalised all small businesses in 1968.

'Slow and cautious'

Now his younger brother and successor Raul Castro is trying to modernise the system without jumping to full-scale capitalism.

Other communist countries such as China and Vietnam have long since pushed through market reforms while maintaining political control.

President Castro's first economic reforms involved giving unproductive state-owned land to private farmers.

Some taxi drivers are allowed to work for themselves.

This is his first attempt to deal with shops in the retail and service sector.

It is likely to be a gradual process, though.

These beauty salon changes have not been officially announced or mentioned in the state-controlled press.

In a recent speech to the Young Communist League, Raul Castro acknowledged that people were impatient for change but warned that he planned to move slowly and cautiously.


See the BBC Video here.