You are browsing the archive for 2013 September 04.

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Sen. Paul Statement on Foreign Relations Committee Meeting

September 4, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today held a committee business meeting to address the potential authorization of use of military force in Syria and proceeded to discharge from committee a bill for full consideration of the Senate that would grant the President authorization to use military force in Syria.
Sen. Rand Paul, a member of the committee, offered the following statement in response.
‘We are told there is no military solution in Syria, yet we are embarking on a military solution. The President has failed to demonstrate a compelling American national interest in the Syrian civil war.
‘To be sure, there is a tragedy of a horrific nature in Syria, but I am unconvinced that a limited Syrian bombing campaign will achieve its intended goals. I frankly think that bombing Syria increases the likelihood of additional gas attacks, may increase attacks on Israel and turkey, may increase civilian deaths, may increase instability in the Middle East and may draw Russia and Iran further into this civil war.
‘By pre-announcing a limited attack, we pre-announce limited effect.
‘Our brave young soldiers should not be asked to risk their lives and limbs in a civil war with no certain ally. On the one hand, we have a tyrant who gassed his own people. On the other hand, we have radical Islamists and al-Qaida. When no compelling American interests exist, we should not intervene. No compelling interests exist in Syria.’

During the meeting, Sen. Paul offered the following amendment for a vote.
It is the sense of the Senate that the President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

The committee voted down this amendment 14-4.
Sen. Paul intends to press this issue in the full Senate next week as well. ‘It should be made explicit that the Constitution invested the power to go to war in Congress. Since the Administration refuses to say it will abide by this vote, win or lose, Congress should send a clear message,’ he continued.

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Coase and Immigration

September 4, 2013 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Ronald H. Coase was one of the most interesting and influential economists of his century. He was born in 1910 in a suburb of London and recently passed away at the age of 102 in Chicago, close to the economics department that he, Milton Friedman, George Stigler, and so many others helped elevate into the intellectual stratosphere.

Coase’s insights were few but great — which deservedly earned him a Nobel Prize in economics in 1991. His dissertation about why firms exist started an entire field of economic inquiry continued by Oliver Williamson who himself won a Nobel Prize in 2009. His paper, “The Federal Communications Commission,” eventually influenced governments around the world to sell or lease some bands of the electro-magnetic spectrum. He poked fun at economic orthodoxy by showing that public goods, like lighthouses, were provided by private methods rather than through the government as had been assumed earlier.

His most influential paper was “The Problem of Social Cost,” published in the Journal of Law and Economics in 1960. As of 2012, it was still the most cited law review article. The insights of the paper are simple but to understand how revolutionary they are, you must understand what preceded Coase’s paper.

Pre-Coase

Economists have been grappling with externalities for over a century. Externalities are costs or benefits imposed by an individual without their consent. Economists were mostly worried about negative externalities, those that harmed others. A common example is a factory that makes it impossible for a neighboring dry cleaner to clean clothes. The factory’s emissions of soot dirty the clothes in the dry cleaner, imposing a significant cost even though they are not interacting voluntarily with the factory.

Using pollution as an example, if negative externalities are imposed on outsiders then polluters will over-pollute. If polluters had to bear the entire cost of their pollution then they would pollute less or until the costs of cleaning up the pollution or just suffering through it is equal to the profit of producing the last widget. But if the costs of pollution are mainly borne by others, the polluter will make more widgets and thus pollute more than he otherwise would — imposing higher costs on others.

Until 1960 the accepted to solution to this problem was a Pigouvian Tax, named after British economist Alfred Cecil Pigou. His idea was simple on the surface but more complex in practice. A Pigouvian Tax would be …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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This November: A Mises Seminar for High School and College Students

September 4, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Coming November 8, 2013: How Does an Economy Grow?: A seminar for high school or college students hosted at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.

Attendance is open to homeschooled, public, or private high-school students and their chaperones or teachers, and college students.  Through the generosity of an anonymous sponsor, there is no fee for on-site attendance, but pre-registration is required using the form at the end of this page. There is no fee for live broadcast viewing. (The live broadcast link will be posted here the week of the event, with instructions on submitting questions for the faculty.)

Tentative Schedule On-site and Live Broadcast

All times Central Time Zone.
9:30 a.m. Registration and refreshments (on-site attendees)
9:50 a.m. Welcome
10:00 a.m. Daniel Sanchez “Nothing Fishy About Growth”
10:20 a.m. Peter Klein ”How Entrepreneurs Make an Economy Grow”
10:40 a.m. Mark Thornton ”The Ingredients of Economic Growth”
11:00 a.m. All-faculty panel with Q&A
11:30 a.m. Adjourn

See more. 

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Click HERE to sign up for Rand's weekly updates

September 4, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Click HERE to sign up for Rand’s weekly updates: http://www.paul.senate.gov/?p=newsletter …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Supports Efforts to Move Forward with Production of Industrial Hemp

September 4, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Justice Department’s recent decision not to challenge state laws in Colorado and Washington that allow marijuana use, Sen. Paul issued the following statement:
‘I support Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer in his efforts to move forward with the production of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth. This fight has always been about jobs and providing another opportunity for Kentucky’s farmers, and I expect the Obama Administration to treat all states equally in this process. I will continue to fight at the federal level to enact legislation to secure this new industry for Kentucky.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Ronald Coase, Professional Odd Man Out

September 4, 2013 in Economics

By Robert Higgs

Ronald Coase (1910-2013) died Monday at the age of 102. Since Coase became an economist, in the early 1930s, the economics profession has been altered enormously in fundamental ways. Most notably, perhaps, (1) the degree of analytical formality (especially the mathematical specification of theoretical models) has increased greatly in every part of the field; (2) Keynesian and other types of macro theories have become central parts of economic theory; (3) econometric testing has become an integral part of the profession’s evaluation of its theoretical models; and (4) interest in and writing about economic history and the profession’s greatest contributors in previous eras have waned greatly.

Coase, however, stood completely apart from these developments. Moreover, whereas the typical big-league academic economist cranks out many journal articles each year (and occasionally a book), Coase wrote very little. His stature as an economist rests overwhelmingly on two articles: “The Nature of the Firm” (1937) and “The Problem of Social Cost” (1960). Yet Coase is widely acknowledged to have been one of the twentieth century’s most influential economists. He obviously believed that thinking carefully about important issues was more important than frittering away his efforts in producing a stream of formal pyrotechics with very short half-life.

Too bad so few academic economists followed his example in these regards. (But, then, if they had, they probably would not have received tenure at their universities.)

[Also posted at The Beacon.]

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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What Ruined Obama's Credibility? Obamacare

September 4, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

As we debate intervening in Syria, there is a great deal of talk about possible damage to President Obama’s credibility abroad. But at least at home, Obamacare has already left that credibility rather diminished.

Remember when President Obama told Americans that if they liked their current insurance, they could keep it? In fact, just a few weeks ago, he reassured us that “if you’re one of the nearly 85 percent of Americans who already have insurance … you don’t have to do a thing.”

Tell that to the 15,000 husbands and wives of UPS workers who are being kicked off their spouse’s policy. Blaming rising costs brought on by Obamacare, the company announced last month that it will no longer provide spousal coverage if the spouse has access to coverage through his or her own employer. So those spouses will still have access to insurance, but it won’t be the policy they have now, even if they liked it and even if it was more affordable.
They are hardly the only ones. The University of Virginia also announced that it was dropping spousal coverage for those with access to other insurance. (And even after that measure, Obamacare will be adding $7.3 million to its health-care costs next year.)

[pullquote]If you want to know why people don’t trust the president on Syria, look at his promises at home.[/pullquote]

According to the benefits consulting firm Towers Watson, 12 percent of employer plans will not include spousal coverage next year, three times as many as in 2013.

Other companies are also being forced to consider changing or cutting coverage. For example, Universal Studios recently announced that it was dropping coverage for some part-time workers. Similarly, Wegman’s Supermarkets has eliminated its health-insurance plan for part-time employees.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey at least 106,000 people currently insured under what are known as “basic and essential” health-care plans will likely lose their coverage because those inexpensive plans don’t meet Obamacare’s mandates. Those New Jerseyans will now have to purchase much more expensive insurance; even if subsidies offset some of the cost, they won’t be keeping their current plan.

Or do you recall when the president promised that Obamacare would make our insurance premiums go down, so much so that “for a lot of people, it will be cheaper than your cell-phone bill?” Last week, a study by the influential — and far from right-wing — National Journal concluded that “for the vast …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Fox and Friends – 9/4/13

September 4, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Fox New's Hannity – 9/3/13

September 4, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Spending Freezes in History

September 4, 2013 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

With Congress reconvening, members will soon be battling over discretionary-spending levels for fiscal year 2014, which begins October 1. They will decide whether to abide by current federal budget caps, which are designed to keep discretionary spending roughly flat over the next few years. The problem is that many lawmakers have become so used to rising budgets that a spending freeze seems impossibly tight-fisted to them.

During long periods in American history, flat budgeting was the norm. For the first 150 years of the nation’s existence, federal policymakers generally restrained spending and reduced debt between wars. Today, the war in Afghanistan is winding down and the economy is growing, so lawmakers should be cutting spending or at least holding it flat.

While the budget deficit is expected to continue falling until 2015, it will then start rising again. The problem is excessive spending, not a shortage of revenue. Consider that if Congress simply held total spending to this year’s level of $3.5 trillion, the budget would be balanced by 2016 as the growing economy generated rising tax revenue.

Freezing entitlement spending would be tough to do, so it makes sense to pursue structural reforms to these programs to reduce growth in spending rates. But with discretionary spending, a hard freeze makes sense — and this is where our early history is instructive. From the founding of the nation until entitlements were invented in the 1930s, the whole budget was “discretionary,” and during extended periods spending was held flat.

When the economy grows, lawmakers should cut spending or at least hold it flat.”

Let’s start with President Thomas Jefferson. He and his Treasury secretary, Albert Gallatin, were appalled at the rise in federal debt under the prior Federalist government, and they vowed to reduce the burden. From 1801 to 1809, they succeeded in keeping federal spending at around $10 million. They cut debt from $83 million to $57 million.

Jefferson and Gallatin’s attack on debt and their relatively frugal budgeting influenced federal policy for decades. The federal budget was roughly balanced or in surplus every year from 1800 through 1836 except for five years around the War of 1812.

Wars have always been budget busters that push up spending and debt. But before the 1930s, responsible legislators rebalanced the books and restrained spending for long periods during peacetime. The Jefferson-Gallatin rule was simple: Freeze total spending and use natural revenue growth …read more

Source: OP-EDS