You are browsing the archive for 2013 August 19.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Nonsense on Religion and Monetary Policy

August 19, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Mark Gongloff of the Huffington Post responded to a surpassingly silly post of Christopher T. Mahoney’s, former vice chairman of Moody’s. Unfortunately, Gongloff’s post is almost as silly as Mahoney’s.

According to Mahoney, Protestants stink at monetary policy, you know, because of the whole Protestant work ethic thing that if you get something for nothing then it must be sinful. Thus Protestants believe that expansionary monetary policy and “reflation” are sinful precisely because they can costlessly cure depression and unemployment. Mahoney concludes therefore, “The only people who understand monetary policy are Jews and Catholics.” But instead of challenging Mahoney’s ludicrous premise that inflation is the miracle cure for what ails the U.S. economy, Gongloff offers as counterexamples Friedrich A. Hayek, who was born a Roman Catholic, and his Jewish mentor, Ludwig von Mises, whose valiant fight for complete separation of money from the control of politicians was also presumably driven by a theological aversion to inflation. But the narrow-minded dogmatists are not, of course, Mises and Hayek, but those like Gongloff and Mahoney who insist against all reason and experience that the creation of money miraculously begets real goods and services and ushers in an earthly paradise of plenty.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Regulating and Taxing Marijuana: The Fiscal Impact on NYC

August 19, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

August 14, 2013

New York City Comptroller John C. Liu

No

This groundbreaking report by the New York City Comptroller’s office estimates the value of the current illicit marijuana market in the city, and outlines a rationale and potential benefits of regulating and taxing the sale of marijuana for personal use for adults.

read more

…read more

Source: DRUG POLICY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Free Trade in Environmental Goods: The Trade Remedy Problem

August 19, 2013 in Economics

In late June of 2013, in a major speech on climate change, President Obama announced a plan “to launch negotiations toward global free trade in environmental goods and services,” including clean energy technology. In a new bulletin, Cato scholars Simon Lester and K. William Watson suggest that a proposal to eliminate all tariffs, including trade remedy tariffs, on a wide range of environmental goods would be a good way to both support the environment and promote free trade.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

DiLorenzo, RAE, and Unnatural Monopoly

August 19, 2013 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

In case you missed it, L. GORDON CROVITZ (WSJ, “TV’s Unnatural Monopolies”) makes excellent use of Austrian analysis of market process and monopoly to support his argument that “The rationale for government regulation is collapsing in the face of technological change” in what used to be called the television market.

Tipping the hat to Thomas DiLorenzo and indirectly to RAE and Mises Daily, he writes:

The idea of a natural monopoly ignores new technology. In “The Myth of Natural Monopoly,” a 1996 scholarly essay, economist Thomas DiLorenzo described how in the Industrial Age economists “understood that competition was an ongoing process and that market dominance was always necessarily temporary in the absence of monopoly-creating government regulation.”

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Pinker Embraces Scientism

August 19, 2013 in Economics

By Peter G. Klein

Further to my previous post on scientism: Steven Pinker has entered the fray, with a full-throated defense of the “scientific method,” to be applied anywhere and everywhere. Skirting decades worth of thorny controversies about the philosophy, history, and sociology of science (going back at least to Hayek in the 1940s), he simply asserts that scientific practice — defined as “open debate, peer review, and double-blind methods” — is the gold standard for knowledge acquisition. As Massimo Pigliucci writes, Pinker “joins a disturbingly long list of scientists (and a few philosophers) who confuse a defense of good science with a knee-jerk reaction against sound criticism of science.” See also a thoughtful piece from Jalees Rehman on the impact of scientism on stem-cell research. As Rehman notes:

Increasing numbers of scientists are recognizing that current approaches to interpreting and publishing scientific data are severely flawed. Exaggerated confidence in the validity of scientific findings is frequently misplaced and claims that scientific results represent objective truths need to be re-evaluated particularly when a high percentage of experimental results cannot be replicated by fellow scientists. In this particular context, the views of scientists who are trying to learn lessons from the failures of the scientific peer review process are not so different from those of “scientism” critics.

Pinker’s position seems to me to confuse — if you’ll forgive the statistics jargon — point estimates and standard errors. In other words, scientists today assert that X is probably true, and that therefore people should act as if X is true. They confuse skepticism about acting on X as a confident belief in Y, while actually people are just unsure about X. I made this point in a post on climate science. The “best available scientific evidence” may suggest this or that, but it hardly follows that people should base their decisions on that evidence (or that it should guide government policy). Next week’s scientific consensus may be entirely different.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

When Welfare Pays Better than Work

August 19, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs.Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time.

Today, the Cato institute is releasing a new study looking at the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother with two children. In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.

Congress and state legislatures should consider strengthening work requirements in welfare programs, removing exemptions and narrowing the definition of work.”

While that might not sound overly generous, remember that welfare benefits aren’t taxed, while wages are. So someone in New York would have to earn more than $21 per hour to be better off than they would be on welfare. That’s more than the average statewide entry-level salary for a teacher.

Plus, going to work means added costs such as paying for child care, transportation and clothing. Not to mention that, even if it’s not a money-loser, a person moving from welfare to work will see some form of loss — namely, less time for leisure as opposed to work.

Is it any wonder, then, that, despite the work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reform, only 27.6 percent of adult welfare recipients in New York are working in unsubsidized jobs? (Another 13 percent are involved in the more broadly defined “work participation,” which includes job search, training and other things.)

Welfare is slightly more generous in Connecticut, where benefits are worth $38,761; a person leaving welfare for work would have to earn $21.33 per hour to be better off. And in New Jersey, a worker would have to make $20.89 to beat welfare.

Nationwide, our study found that the wage-equivalent value of benefits for a mother and two children ranged from a high of $60,590 in Hawaii to a low of $11,150 in Idaho. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare pays more than an $8-an-hour job. In 12 states and DC, the welfare …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

U.S. Needs Deregulatory Stimulus

August 19, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The U.S. economic recovery remains anemic, so President Barack Obama wants Washington to spend more money. Of course, if the economy was booming, he would want the federal government to spend even more money.

The president recently offered the GOP a deal: Reform corporate taxes and have Uncle Sam “invest” the extra money to “create” jobs. Which is what his $800 billion “stimulus” bill was supposed to do.

Although the deficit has fallen this year — revenues are significantly higher than expected — the Congressional Budget Office figures that the annual deficit will begin climbing again in 2015 on its way back to $1 trillion.

The national government has turned into a vehicle for most everyone to attempt to live at most everyone else’s expense.”

There may never be a time when Washington will not be “stimulating” the economy.

Unfortunately, government cannot create self-sustaining economic growth.

If all that is needed for prosperity is to increase the amount of money in circulation, then the Air Force should “bomb” America with $100 bills.

Rather than expand government, a true economic “stimulus” would promote the private sector. One way would be to reduce the regulatory burden on U.S. companies.

Regulation is an indirect tax, discouraging economic activity. When the government makes it more expensive to create businesses, develop products, expand operations, employ people, and market goods and services, there will be less commerce, meaning fewer and lower paying jobs.

Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently published the “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State.”

It is filled with bad news.

The national government has turned into a vehicle for most everyone to attempt to live at most everyone else’s expense.

Special interests have learned that they can use federal rule making to enrich themselves and/or impoverish their rivals.

Increasingly there seems to be little that we do which lies outside of Washington’s control. Wrote Crews: “The government’s reach extends well beyond Washington’s taxes, deficits, and borrowing. Federal environmental, safety and health, and economic regulations cost hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars annually over and above the official federal outlays that dominate policy debate.”

The federal bureaucracy has become Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan: 15 departments, 69 agencies, and 383 civilian sub-agencies, employing 2.84 million people.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.

…read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Whitey Bulger Trial Points to Value of Cameras in Federal Courtrooms

August 19, 2013 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

A week later, I’m still bitter about missing the most fascinating and colorful trial of the decade, the racketeering case against James “Whitey” Bulger, the Irish mobster who terrorized South Boston for two decades, before evading capture for another 16 years. Last Monday, a federal jury found Bulger guilty of all but one of 33 racketeering counts against him.

The Bulger story represents “the worst case of corruption in the history of the F.B.I.,” says former Boston federal prosecutor Michael D. Kendall, “a multigenerational, systematic alliance with organized crime, where the F.B.I. was actively participating in the murders of government witnesses.”

But unless you’re from Boston, you probably missed it. That’s largely due to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53, which since 1946 has barred “broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom.”

Whatever justification the federal ban once had, today it rests on the insulting notion that you’re not mature enough to handle what goes on in the courtrooms you pay for.”

Most states have allowed cameras for decades, and the evidence suggests they’ve had positive effects. Whatever justification the federal ban once had, today it rests on the insulting notion that you’re not mature enough to handle what goes on in the courtrooms you pay for.

Admittedly, some of my bitterness stems from the base motivation of wanting to see the show: to hear Patricia Donahue, the widow of a Bulger victim, shout: “You’re a coward,” and Whitey’s snarl: “Do what yas want with me.” Or this exchange with FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick: “Q: ‘Have any of your medications affected your memory?’ A: ‘Not that I recall.’ “

Still, as the Boston Herald’s Margery Eagan insists, the Bulger story — where it’s hard to tell the gangsters from the G-Men — is “a civics lesson worthy of us all,” a “teachable moment” about federal corruption. Alas, our government conspired with Boston’s Irish Mafia for 20 years and all we got was this lousy sketch.

The camera ban treats “taxpayers … like 10-year-olds,” Eagan argues, and for no good reason. In 1991, the Federal Judicial Center evaluated a pilot program allowing cameras in the trial courts of six districts. They reported “small or no effects of camera presence on [the] participants, … courtroom decorum, or the administration of justice.”

In a 2010 article, federal judge Alex Kozinski noted that “judges overwhelmingly believed that cameras in the courtroom helped to educate the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013

August 19, 2013 in Economics

In 1995, the Cato Institute published a groundbreaking study, The Work vs. Welfare Trade-Off, which estimated the value of the full package of welfare benefits available to a typical recipient in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since then, however, many welfare programs have undergone significant change. A new, updated version of this study examines the current welfare system in the same manner as the 1995 paper, and finds that welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES