You are browsing the archive for 2013 September 24.

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Senate Floor: Sen. Paul on Defunding Obamacare- September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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The Mises View: Mark Thornton on the Government ‘Shutdown.’

September 24, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Mark Thornton presents a Misesian commentary on why politics is to blame for the impending U.S. government “shutdown,” and how a gold standard could provide real fiscal discipline.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Tom Woods Show Now Online

September 24, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Senior Fellow Tom Woods’ show is now streaming live online every weekday at noon (Eastern Time). Yesterday, his guest was Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center, and today Woods interviewed Ben Swann of the Truth in Media Project.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Model Meltdown

September 24, 2013 in Economics

By Richard W. Rahn

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Richard W. Rahn

This week, the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is slated to release its fourth report since 1990. Leaked copies indicate an admission that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years, but the report will also increase its probability from 90 percent to 95 percent that global warming — if it does occur — is caused by man. Not one of the major climate models on which the panel bases its predictions forecast the lack of warming over the past 16 years, even though the models do vary widely as to how much warming they predicted.

Not to be outdone, President Obama again is warning us that if the Republicans do not vote for more government spending in the budget battles that are now upon us, we will go back into a recession. You may have not noticed we had left the recession, since employment levels are still below where they were five years ago. The president, of course, does not make such statements off the top of his head, but on the basis of his economic-forecast models. You might ask: “How accurate have these models been in forecasting?” Please note the accompanying table for the answer.

There is a long history of mathematical model-builders — whether their field is financial models, economic models or climate models — having much more faith in the results than are objectively warranted.”

The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget makes five-year economic forecasts each year, but to spare it some pain, I took only its two-year forecasts. As you can see, the administration’s average error was well over 100 percent — making its projections almost useless. However, many private-sector economic forecasters managed to get much closer to the mark. The relevant question is this: “Why are both the climate-forecast models and some of the government economic-forecast models prone to not only gross error, but also consistent overestimates?”

Many years ago, when I was chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of my jobs was to produce a quarterly forecast of the U.S. economy, so I do have some sympathy for those whose job it is to produce forecasts. When constructing a forecast model, it is necessary to identify the key variables that will likely determine the future and then to specify those variables correctly. Good forecasters are constantly modifying their models to correct for past mistakes and take in new …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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UK NHS Disaster: Death Rates 45 Percent Higher than in the US

September 24, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell

Back in 2010, I guest-hosted Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program for a couple of days. During one of the segments on my last show, I crossed swords with the other host, Simon Hobbs, as we argued whether patients needlessly died because of the government-run healthcare system in the United Kingdom.

Since neither one of us had data at our fingertips, it was basically a he-said/he-said exchange.

A few days after that tussle, however, I posted some evidence supporting my side of the discussion.

And over the past few years, I’ve posted additional material showing thousands of extra fatalitiesresulting from the U.K.’s government-run healthcare system. Including the fact that hundreds and hundreds of patients are allowed to starve to death!

That’s not statistical noise.”

Today, I’m going to administer the coup de grâce. I don’t think anybody will be able to pretend that bureaucrats and politicians do a good job after watching this powerful news report from the United Kingdom

There is a lot of powerful data in that report, but the number that jumps out at me is that death rates are 45 percent higher in the United Kingdom than they are in the United States.

That’s not statistical noise. That’s a huge gulf and it shows a massive failure on the part of government on the other side of the Atlantic.

By the way, none of this is to suggest that the American system is perfect. We have huge problems cause by direct government intervention (programs such as Medicare and Medicaid) and indirect government intervention (with the tax-code’s healthcare exclusion being at the top of my list).

So while England’s big-government approach puts people on waiting lines and causes needless deaths, America’s big-government approach causes third-party payer which cripples the free market and leads to high prices and inefficiency.

But if I have to choose between the United States and the United Kingdom, it’s not even close. The American system is not as screwed up as the British system, though I realize that’s damning with faint praise.

Let’s close by reminding ourselves that Paul Krugman infamously wrote that, “In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.” The news report you just watched suggests that he’s putting ideology above evidence. And if you want more data (some of it very distressing …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The House's Budget Gambit Could Be Costly Politically

September 24, 2013 in Economics

By Tad DeHaven

Tad DeHaven

The possibility for a government shutdown should policymakers fail to reach an agreement on spending by October 1 is the topic du jour in Washington. The last time a government shutdown occurred over a budget impasse was fiscal year 1996 when Democratic President Bill Clinton went to the mat with a Republican-controlled Congress. There were actually two shutdowns that year, with the second one lasting a record 21 days. Prior to that, brief shutdowns were a fairly regular occurrence.

Calling a temporary inability to fund certain government functions a “shutdown” is a serious exaggeration. A so-called shutdown occurs when policymakers fail to appropriate funds for an upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1. This “discretionary” funding affects government activities that require an annual appropriation (e.g., the operation of national parks).

Mandatory spending on entitlement programs is relatively unaffected. For example, Social Security checks will continue to be sent out. Moreover, exceptions are made for activities and personnel that are considered “essential” to protecting life and property. That means military bases don’t close, the air traffic control system continues to operate, and the borders are still patrolled.

In short, a government shutdown isn’t really a shutdown and it isn’t the big deal that politicians, pundits, and the media tend to make of it. In terms of politics, a shutdown—or possibility of—is significant. It is less so in terms of policy—unless a potential shutdown is successful is effecting substantive changes. That has rarely been the case. Regardless, it is a substantive change in policy that is the reason for the current budgetary impasse.

With power on Capitol Hill divided between Republicans and Democrats in recent years, showdowns over government spending have become routine. And given the major legislative effort required to keep our plus-size government running, it has become the norm for Congress to fail to complete a budget before the start of the fiscal year.

As a result, Congress has come to rely on continuing resolutions (CRs) that keep the government funded past the beginning of the fiscal year until business can be wrapped up. Because Congress once again didn’t finish its appropriations work on time, a continuing resolution is needed to avoid a shutdown.

The calculus of Congress

The Democrats control the White House and the Senate while the Republicans control the House of Representatives. That’s been the power arrangement since 2010. On several occasions, House Speaker John Boehner has had to rely on Democratic votes …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The End of Overkill? Reassessing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

September 24, 2013 in Economics

U.S. security does not require nearly 1,600 nuclear weapons deployed on a triad of systems—bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)—to deliver them. A new paper from Benjamin H. Friedman, Christopher A. Preble and Matt Fay encourages abandonment of the triad and skepticism about the received wisdom justifying U.S. nuclear weapons’ policies. The authors suggest that shifting to a submarine-based monad would serve U.S. deterrent needs and eventually save taxpayers roughly $20 billion a year.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES