You are browsing the archive for 2013 June 24.

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USA Today Op-Ed: Drug war targets minorities

June 24, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Speaking at Howard University in April, I argued that big government is no friend to black Americans. The New York Times article earlier this month ‘Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Federal Data Suggests’ reminded me how true this was.
A report released recently by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that nationally, blacks were four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. It also indicated that these unfortunate numbers were true despite the fact that marijuana use is about the same for both black and white Americans.
Why is this happening? Why the vast disparity?
I spend so much time battling our gargantuan federal government that I can’t possibly manage to keep up with all the damage it does, everywhere, every day and in so many countless ways. As former White House adviser David Axelrod said recently in defending Obama over the IRS scandal: ‘Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.’
Interestingly, neither Axelrod nor Obama have ever shown much interest in taming the federal beast. In fact, virtually every solution they offer involves making government bigger. This often leaves the individual American citizen defenseless against a ‘vast’ system that even its greatest champions can’t outline, comprehend or be held accountable for.
Black Americans are being imprisoned far more than white Americans for marijuana possession for one primary reason: the federal government subsidizes it.
The New York Times reported: ‘Federal programs… continue to provide incentives for racial profiling, the report said, by including arrest numbers in its performance measures when distributing hundreds of millions of dollars to local law enforcement each year.’
So, federal dollars are awarded to states or precincts that produce the right numbers? This alone is troubling because it incentivizes law enforcement to arrest as many people as it can. But why do black Americans get arrested far more than whites? The Times’ continued: ‘Phillip Atiba Goff, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that police departments, partly driven by a desire to increase their drug arrest statistics, can concentrate on minority or poorer neighborhoods to meet numerical goals, focusing on low-level offenses that are easier, quicker and cheaper than investigating serious felony crimes.’
Professor Goff concludes: ‘Whenever federal funding agencies encourage law enforcement to meet numerical arrest goals instead of public safety goals, it will likely promote stereotype-based policing and we …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Mises Institute South Africa

June 24, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

There is now a Ludwig von Mises Institute in South Africa. This interview with Chris Becker describes the Austrian scene in South Africa and the purpose of the Institute. However, it also has a good discussion about the decline of South Africa, the rise of Subsaharan Africa, gold and much more.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Bush-Obama Great Stagnation

June 24, 2013 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

Robert Higgs has another must read in his “Etceteras …  Real Gross Domestic Private Product, 2000-2012” in the most recent Independent Review.

He provides good arguments on why government product should be (and perhaps almost was) excluded from income and product accounts. He then builds a measure of Real Gross Domestic Private Product for the Bush-Obama years.

Based on his calculations, he states, “Perhaps the most positive statement we can make about the private economy’s performance during this thirteen-year period is that it has been somewhat better than complete stagnation.” Recent daily articles have highlighted how the Hoover-Roosevelt Great Depression was the result of bad policy and accompanying regime uncertainty (see here and here).  Drawing on work by Mark Thornton (“Hoover, Bush, and Great Depressions”), I have been, too slowly, working on an argument that U.S. is currently in the middle of the Bush-Obama Great Stagnation. A Great Stagnation caused by bad policy and the associated regime uncertainty.  This new data helps cement the case.

Professor Higgs might be even more pessimistic:

If the government and the Fed persist in the kind of destructive policies they have undertaken since 2007, the potential for another great depression will remain. Even without such a catastrophe, the U.S. economy presents at best the prospect of weak performance for many years to come.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Deporting Customers Hurts the Economy

June 24, 2013 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Immigration is mainly about economics. Immigrants are drawn to America’s economic prosperity, and many U.S.-born are anxious that immigrants will somehow ruin it once they arrive. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) went so far as to say the current immigration reform bill before the Senate would “take jobs and pay from U.S. workers.”

Those critics of immigration forget that immigrants aren’t just workers, they are also consumers of products made by Americans.

Hispanic and Asian Americans have around $1.9 trillion in annual purchasing power — about 16 percent of total purchasing power, according to a recent report from the Selig Center of Economic Growth from the University of Georgia. Hispanic and Asian immigrants have dominated both lawful and unlawful immigration in recent decades, while their Americanized descendants are responsible for much of American population growth.

Without that $1.9 trillion in purchasing power, Americans will have lower wages and fewer employment opportunities. Immigrants and their descendants did not take that $1.9 trillion in wealth from Americans — they made it by working, creating businesses, and making the goods and services that people want to buy. In turn, they spend much of it here.

Immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy and create wealth, and ample numbers of them should be allowed to legally come, work, and remain.”

Some critics will say, “But I see immigrants shopping at immigrant owned stores. That doesn’t help Americans.” It actually does. The American economy is so interconnected that even if immigrants mostly buy from immigrant owned businesses, U.S.-born Americans still benefit.

Take agriculture as an example. In some states, most agricultural workers are immigrants — most of them illegal. More lower-skilled immigrant workers allow farmers to plant more food of a greater variety, which reverberates up and down the chain of production.

Truck drivers, mechanics, agronomists, and others see their incomes rise and employment opportunities multiply when farmers increase production because of more immigrant workers. Best of all, American consumers get more food at a lower price, freeing up income for spending elsewhere.

But immigrants also buy goods that they had a hand in producing. From groceries to cell phone contracts to gasoline, immigrants buy goods and services at least partly produced by Americans. Unless immigrants only buy goods and services produced by other immigrants at every stage of production, which is practically impossible in our economy, many Americans end up selling …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Immigration Reform Moves Forward

June 24, 2013 in Economics

The Senate on Thursday voted 68-32 to pass its sweeping immigration reform bill. Cato scholar Alex Nowrasteh says that while the bill has its flaws, it is still “a solid improvement over the current immigration system.” The bill now moves to the House, where it will face an uphill battle.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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The Border Security Obsession

June 24, 2013 in Economics

Immigration is mainly an economic phenomenon, but the politics surrounding reform are mired in border security talking points. On Monday, Cato scholar Alex Nowrasteh reviewed the Hoeven-Corker amendment to the immigration reform bill, which doubles the size of the border patrol and adds more than 700 miles of fencing, and argues, “The Hoeven-Corker amendment is a political necessity, but a policy absurdity. …Militarizing the border without improving the guest worker visa system risks a repeat of the 1986 Reagan amnesty.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Sen. Paul Appears on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley- 6/23/2013

June 24, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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“Neoclassical” Geometry

June 24, 2013 in Economics

By Robert Higgs

EUCLIDEAN GEOMETER: Given the standard axioms of Euclidean geometry, I have proved that the interior angles of a triangle always sum to 180 degrees.

AUSTRIAN ECONOMIST: Okay.

MAINSTREAM NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMIST: I regard the proposition that the interior angles of a triangle sum to 180 degrees as a testable hypothesis. I have obtained a $15.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a field study. My graduate students will visit 118 countries to measure and record the interior angles of empirically observed triangles. We will then analyze these data with the latest econometric methods to determine whether, at conventional levels of statistical significance, the data warrant rejection of the hypothesis. In view of the subject’s importance, we expect that our report will be published in the American Economic Review or the Journal of Political Economy. Even if we conclude that the data do not warrant rejection of the hypothesis, however, we will continue to regard it as provisional, pending new data and tests that might warrant its rejection.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Supreme Court Sidesteps Major Affirmative Action Ruling

June 24, 2013 in Economics

The Supreme Court on Monday released a compromise ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, instructing the federal appeals court to apply tougher scrutiny to a University of Texas affirmative action program. The Court, however, did not offer a broader decision on reining in the use of race in university admissions decisions.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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World Could Use More Boldness at Next Summit of G8

June 24, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Another G8 meeting has come and gone. The world’s most important industrialized states gathered to discuss the most pressing issues.

This meeting, in Northern Ireland’s Belfast, was chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, since his nation holds the group’s presidency this year. London’s three main goals are trade, taxation and transparency. Despite the usual flurry of ponderous public statements and breathless press analyses, the meeting was a waste. Consider the official agenda.

  • Trade. This is important, given the collapse of the latest round of trade liberalization. However, the G8 was unable to achieve much. One of the main stumbling blocks was agricultural subsidies by the U.S. and European Union. Yet nothing here has changed or will change. To the contrary, Congress is considering an expensive new farm bill and the E.U. maintains the even more expensive Common Agricultural Policy.

Proposals for Asia-Pacific and transatlantic trade liberalization remain ever complicated and perhaps impossible. America is pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but including Japan while excluding China creates significant political complications. Although the European Union is moving ahead with negotiations over a pact with America, the obstacles to reaching a meaningful accord remain high. Europe is involved in a no-win trade tiff with China.

  • Taxation. If there is one issue on which politicians of every nation agree, it is the need to squeeze ever more tightly. Hence the concerted attack on “tax havens” and “aggressive tax planning,” especially by multinationals. Before the summit the European Union issued a press release drily opining on how “tax fraud and tax evasion limit the capacity governments to raise money and implement their economic and social policies.”

Of course, the latter usually can be summarized as paying off interest groups and turning citizens into dependents. If politicians were not so avaricious and special interests were not so domineering, productive people across the globe could keep more of their hard-earned cash and would have less incentive to evade taxes. Alas, the G8 pushed for further violations of their citizens’ privacy in order to gain more revenue.

  • Transparency. The G8 proposed small steps to promote transparency and combat corruption in global commerce. The latter, especially, is a worthwhile effort, but the biggest offenders, of course, are non-G8 members throughout the Third World. Conferences, codes, legislation, proclamations and the like all will have only limited effects so long as governments of poor countries constitute systems of organized looting.

The biggest single step in this …read more

Source: OP-EDS