You are browsing the archive for 2013 April 29.

Avatar of admin

by admin

I Agree with Paul Krugman

April 29, 2013 in Economics

By Peter G. Klein

In an unusually perceptive post, Krugman complains that “again and again, people on the opposite side prove to have used bad logic, bad data, the wrong historical analogies, or all of the above.” He points out that one side of the macroeconomic debate “is, in essence, political,” driven by “hostility to any intellectual approach” that might cast doubt on its preferred p0licies. “Too many influential people just don’t want to believe that we’re facing the kind of economic crisis we are actually facing,” leading to “the spectacle of famous economists retreading 80-year-old fallacies, or misunderstanding basic concepts.”

Of course, Krugman is talking about all non-Krugmanians — he doesn’t provide names, because he sees Not Krugman as an amorphous blob of evil and stupidity — but he’s really onto something, just with the players reversed. Old fashioned Keynesianism, as practiced by the likes of Krugman, resembles a set of religious dogmas, not scientific propositions. Austrians view economics as a science, a body of theory and application that helps us understand the world. Keynesians see economics as a set of political tools useful to rationalize and justify an a priori faith in unlimited government. Krugman, like Keynes himself, dislikes businesspeople, consumers, and especially entrepreneurs and investors, and prefers a world in which an elite cadre of intellectuals and bureaucrats controls most investment, production, and consumption decisions. Fine, everyone has a right to his personal belief system. But let’s not pretend there’s anything scientific about the multiplier, the marginal propensity to consume, the liquidity trap, and the other relics and sacraments of the Keynesian religion.

Engaging True Believers like Krugman on economic theory and policy is mostly a waste of time — one side uses reason and evidence, the other appeals to personal faith. (BTW this doesn’t apply to New Keynesians such as Mankiw and the Romers, whom I regard as reasonable and serious folks.)

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Your Tax Dollars at Work: Subsidizing the Security of Wealthy Allies

April 29, 2013 in Economics

How much does the United States spend on the military relative to our allies? A lot. A new information-packed short Cato video puts this comparison in perspective. The data, pulled from the Cato infographic from last week, shows how we are subsidizing the security of wealthy allies who can and should defend themselves to a far greater extent than they do. Instead, we provide for their security while they spend their money on just about everything else (especially their bloated welfare states).  This is no way for your tax dollars to work.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

Wall Street Journal Response: Rand Paul Replies on Combatants

April 29, 2013 in Politics & Elections

The Journal wants those of us who believe in the Bill of Rights to shut up about civil liberties in the wake of the Boston bombings (‘Enemy Combatants in Boston,’ Review & Outlook, April 22). Like children in the schoolyard you chant: ‘See, look at these bombers, they don’t deserve trials or lawyers!’
But the Journal wants to gloat about a case where the evidence has already been paraded across every television in America. Most of us have seen enough of the tragedy in Boston that I doubt anyone can conceive that a jury will find Dzhokhar Tsarnaev innocent in a court of law.
I have never claimed that there won’t be special exceptions to the rules, especially in regard to acts of terror. What I have opposed are those who want so many exceptions that there are no longer any rules-where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights become null and void, especially as part of a war with no discernible end and no geographical limits.
What the Journal ignores are the difficult cases where guilt or innocence can be more elusive. What if the evidence is not very clear? What if the suspect is an American college student, perhaps an Arab-American, whose parents have been here for three generations? Does that person have the right to a trial? Yes.
Because some terrorists will battle us here at home doesn’t mean we want the laws of war or martial law at home. The Bill of Rights still needs to reign supreme. Our soldiers have sacrificed life and limb for our Constitution-it seems the least we can do is defend them in the homeland.
…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

Avatar of admin

by admin

Policy or Regime Uncertainty: Recovery Aborted

April 29, 2013 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

Bill McNabb, CEO of the Vanguard Group, in today’s WSJ op ed Uncertainty Is the Enemy of Recovery discusses Vanguard’s estimate that policy uncertainty has created a $261 billion drag on the U.S. economy.

While it is good to see policy uncertainty highlighted, the more relevant concept is Robert Higgs’s regime uncertainty as discussed in these Mises Dailies and Circle Bastiat posts:

Regime Uncertainty: Some Clarifications – Robert Higgs   – Mises Daily

Nov   19, 2012 A business-hostile administration will provoke more   apprehension than a business-friendlier administration.

Regime Uncertainty   and the Non-Recovery – Mises Economics Blog

Dec   14, 2011 Robert Higgs introduced the concept of “regime   uncertainty”, government policies and actions that threaten property   rights, in his outstanding

Malinvestment and Regime   Uncertainty – John P. Cochran – Mises

Oct   29, 2012 Robert Higgs’s concept of regime uncertainty has   caught on with businessmen and the press.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Syria: The Only Red Line Should be to Stay Out

April 29, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Syrian civil war lurches on, adding new casualties every day. The campaign to push the U.S. into the Syrian civil war also marches on, threatening to add American casualties to the human toll. Possible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government is another reason to stay out, not to get in.

Washington’s foreign policy should be one of peace. There are tragic times when war becomes necessary, but thankfully not often. Especially for America, which enjoys a privileged international position.

Today the U.S. is without peer. Terrorism is the most serious security threat facing the country, but it is only exacerbated by promiscuous intervention in conflicts not America’s own. Bombing, invading, and occupying other nations creates enemies who want to hurt Americans.

Nor do wars, against even seemingly weak opponents, such as Iraq, usually turn out the way one expects or wishes. Inadvertent and unintended consequences are the rule rather than the exception.

Even limited steps would entangle America without resolving the conflict.”

Syria stands out as a conflagration in which the U.S. should play no role. There is no threat to America. President Bashar al-Assad is evil, not stupid. He wouldn’t attack the U.S. or an allied government, such as Israel, before; he certainly wouldn’t do so now with his regime under siege.

Damascus may have facilitated attacks on U.S. forces during Washington’s occupation of Iraq, but it’s late to use that as a casus belli. Moreover, Americans should pause before treating such action as a cause for war: today the U.S. is actively aiding Syria’s rebels and during the Cold War Washington armed insurgents against the Soviet Union and its Afghan ally, as well as Nicaragua. America may well do the same again in the future against other nations viewed as hostile.

Syria is a civil war, not genocide. The killings are awful, but that is what happens in low-tech conflicts. Two sides, with the military balance steadily equalizing, are battling for control of the country. Such a struggle is unlikely to have a good outcome, whoever prevails.

Indeed, Syria’s two sides reflect the stark choice that Washington has faced throughout the Arab Spring. One side is stable dictatorship. The other side is a messy mix of democrats and authoritarians, in which the most radical elements are gaining influence if not control. Even if regime opponents win, the fighting is not likely to stop. Rather, Assad’s ouster …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Should We Be OK with Expanding Background Checks?

April 29, 2013 in Economics

The Senate recently blocked a compromise measure that would have compelled unlicensed sellers at gun shows and online gun sellers to conduct background checks. Senator Joe Manchin has indicated that he plans on reintroducing the legislation. While Cato scholars have generally questioned the usefulness of background checks, in the New York Times, Cato chairman Robert A. Levy makes the case that the background checks are a “reasonable” price to pay for the elements of the legislation more favorable to gun rights proponents.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES