You are browsing the archive for 2013 November 25.

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P.J. Hill Discusses Frontier Property and Crime on the Tom Woods Show

November 25, 2013 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Last week, Tom Woods interviewed P.J. Hill, author of The Not So Wild, Wild West that examines the relatively low rates of crime in the West which is why Hill and his co-author Terry Anderson also called western settlement the “American experiment in anarcho-capitalism.” This research was first published in The Journal of Libertarian Studies in 1979, and then expanded into a book.

Although I was not, at the time, familiar with the work of Hill and Anderson, I published an article ten years ago in Mises Daily that came to similar conclusions, and used many of the same sources as Hill and Anderson. I also use some of the same information in my book Commie Cowboys.

In the 24-minute interview, Hill discusses property rights among Indian tribes, the law governing mining claims and the management of resources in the absence of a functioning central government.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Hidden Role of the IRS in Obamacare

November 25, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

The highly publicized glitches and failures associated with the  launch of the Affordable Health Care Act have obscured the central role of the IRS in carrying out the law’s mandate.  Stripped down to its essentials, Obamacare is not an “insurance” plan at all.  It is rather a naked redistributionist scheme to coerce the young and the healthy into paying for the healthcare bills of the elderly and the sickly.  This means that some agency had to be enlisted to penalize the young and healthy who refused to willingly participate in their own fleecing. What agency is better equipped to do this than the IRS?  In an article in the Washington Post, Tom Hamburger and Sarah Kliff point out,

. . . the IRS also has a huge role in carrying out the law, including helping to distribute trillions of dollars in insurance subsidies and penalizing people who do not comply.

The fine is intended to encourage healthy people to enroll even if they do not have an immediate need for care. If the elderly and the sick dominate the ranks of those who sign up, it could lead to what health economists call an “ insurance death spiral” of rapidly escalating costs, premium hikes and declining enrollment.

This means a massive increase in the scope and operations of the IRS, which is

. . . charged under the act with carrying out nearly four dozen new tasks in what represents the biggest increase in its responsibilities in decades. None is more crucial than enforcing the requirement that all citizens secure health insurance or pay a penalty.

Fortunately for the American public, because the IRS has lately become so universally reviled, it has been “hamstrung” by Congress in carrying out its mandate: it is legally precluded from employing its full fascist panoply of liens, foreclosures, and criminal prosecution.  It can only garnish tax refunds due to those uninsured who have overpaid their taxes.  (The penalty is $95 or 1% of income, whichever is greater).

Meanwhile some are beginning to express doubts about whether the law can be made to work given the present structure of incentives and penalties.  Jon Gruber, the MIT economist who helped design the mandate in the Massachusetts insurance plan says, “We should be absolutely clear we don’t know how this will work.”  And Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates opines, “I now think there is little hope we are going to get …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Recent Items of Interest in ‘Mises Daily’

November 25, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Last Week’s Daily Articles:

Krugman’s Adventures in Fairyland by William Anderon

Social Security: The Most Successful Ponzi Scheme in History by Gary Galles

Germany’s “Dangerous” Current Account Surplus by Frank Hollenbeck

Are Bubbles Caused by Psychological Problems? by Frank Shostak

Janet Yellen, the “Pink Dream,” and a Coming Economic Nightmare by Joseph Salerno

The Skyscraper Curse Hits New York by Mark Thornton

Also posted last week:

Ben O’Neill’s in-depth analysis of the minimum wage in Australia.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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November’s ‘The Free Market’ Now Online

November 25, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Now in mailboxes is the November issue of The Free Market, the Mises Institute’s monthly, featuring new articles on Sweden’s great depression and a wide-ranging interview discussing the progress of the Austrian Economics movement in Japan.

On the front page, Per Bylund examines how Sweden, by shrinking its government in the 1990s, saved itself from a longer depression:

…Since that time, Sweden has, across the board, seen consistent government cutbacks while increasing restrictions on welfare poli­cies, deregulating markets, and privatizing former government monopolies. The coun­try has instituted an overall new incentive structure in society making it more favorable to work. The national debt tumbled from almost 80 percent of GDP in 1995 to only 35 percent in 2010.

… Sweden is an interesting case to study. We do indeed, as Krugman repeatedly tells us, have much to learn from it: from the long-lasting era of economic growth thanks to free markets to the rise and fall of the welfare state. The country’s recently (re)gained financial strength and its ability to resist a global recession are due, not to a strong welfare state as Krugman claims, but to the long-term rolling back of the expansive welfare that Keynesians so often praise.

And Marc Abela, organizer of the Mises Meetings in Japan, talks with us about Austrian Economics in his adopted country:

Ludwig von Mises received one single Japanese student while he was teaching in New York in the 1950s and this student, Toshio Murata, has become a shining beacon of courage and a lighthouse of liberty since his return to Japan. Murata-sensei took on the courageous task of translating Human Action into Japanese…

The internet revolution and all the new social media, Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia, along with the Japanese counterparts, Mixi and 2channel, have allowed for completely new and fresh discussions to be nourished and grow, even if they are anonymous most of the time. As a result of Murata and the internet, young people in Japan are discovering the work of the AustrianSchool, largely through the expansive Mises Institute website. Also, thanks in large part to Amazon, an increasing number of Japanese translations are being made available, among them books by Hoppe, Rothbard, Mises, Rockwell, and others.

Also this month, The Free Market takes a look at Leonard Read and his contributions to the freedom movement.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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'Nuclear Option' Does Enable Democrats To Ensure One-Party Authoritarian Control of Health Care

November 25, 2013 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon

Last week, I explained that the U.S. Senate’s deployment of the “nuclear option” — lowering the threshold for approval of non-Supreme Court presidential nominees from 60 votes to 51 votes — does not make it easier for President Obama to use ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board. I need to add this caveat: during his tenure. The nuclear option does enhance the ability of the president and his party to control the health care sector well after he leaves office.

It’s true that the rules change will make it easier for the president to have his IPAB nominees approved by the Senate, particularly through January 2015, when the Democratic caucus holds 55 seats. But if the president and Senate fail to seat anyone on the IPAB, the board’s sweeping legislative powers fall to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If President Obama wants to use IPAB’s powers during his term, therefore, he need only retain Kathleen Sebelius as his HHS secretary.

Last week, I explained that the U.S. Senate’s deployment of the “nuclear option” — lowering the threshold for approval of non-Supreme Court presidential nominees from 60 votes to 51 votes — does not make it easier for President Obama to use ObamaCare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board. I need to add this caveat: during his tenure. The nuclear option does enhance the ability of the president and his party to control the health care sector well after he leaves office.

It’s true that the rules change will make it easier for the president to have his IPAB nominees approved by the Senate, particularly through January 2015, when the Democratic caucus holds 55 seats. But if the president and Senate fail to seat anyone on the IPAB, the board’s sweeping legislative powers fall to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If President Obama wants to use IPAB’s powers during his term, therefore, he need only retain Kathleen Sebelius as his HHS secretary.

It’s not just unfair or partisan or economically inefficient or unconstitutional. It’s also undemocratic.”

ObamaCare permits IPAB to exercise its powers, however, only if Medicare’s actuaries project the program’s outlays will grow faster than a specified rate. A number of readers note that Medicare’s actuaries reported earlier this year that their projections currently do not show Medicare spending exceeding that target rate, and that their projections likely will not do so during the remainder of President Obama’s term. Those projections and the resulting determination could change …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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16-Year-Old Jailed at Rikers for 3 Years Without Trial

November 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Nicole Flatow, Think Progress

He says he spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement, was deprived of meals, and was assaulted and beaten both by officers and fellow inmates. Browder attempted suicide at least six times.


 

A teen who spent three years in a notorious New York jail without ever having been convicted or put on trial is coming forward after filing a lawsuit against New York City. In June, charges against Kalief Browder were mysteriously dropped and he was released, as first reported by WABC-TV.

Browder was a 16-year-old sophomore in high school walking home from a party in the Bronx when he was arrested on a tip that he robbed someone three weeks earlier. He was hauled off to Rikers Island, a prison known for punishing conditions and overuse of force, and was held because he couldn’t pay the $10,000 bail. Browder went to court on several occasions, but he was never scheduled for trial. After 33 months in jail, Browder said a judge offered freedom in exchange for a guilty plea, threatening that he could face 15 years in jail if convicted. He refused. Then one day, he was released with no explanation.

“They just dismissed the case and they think it’s all right. No apology, no nothing,” he told WABC-TV. Now at age 20 with his teen years behind him, Browder is first faced with finishing his GED and trying to make up for three years of his teen years lost.

Browder says he spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement, was deprived of meals, and was assaulted and beaten both by officers and fellow inmates. Browder attempted suicide at least six times. Last month he filed a lawsuit last month against the city and several agencies. The Bronx District Attorney’s office has declined to comment.

Browder’s story lays out a laundry list of some of the most prevalent problems with the criminal justice system. Browder was stopped in the Bronx, where the New York Police Department came under particular fire for its over-aggressive use of stops andunsubstantiated charges of “trespassing.” He was purportedly jailed based solely on one report …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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5 Things You Need to Know About the Iran-U.S. Deal Over Nuclear Program

November 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Alex Kane, AlterNet

The interim deal over the nuclear energy program marks a new era for U.S.-Iran relations.


History was made Saturday night when Western powers and Iran struck an interim deal over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.  After weeks and weeks of tough negotiations, which followed years of unfruitful talks, the P5 plus 1 (permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) traded sanctions relief for some Iranian steps to halt the country’s uranium enrichment program.

The West has long believed that Iran’s enrichment program is a cover for building a nuclear weapon, which Iran denies.  Both U.S. and Israeli intelligence have concluded that the political decision to make a weapon has not been made by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The Obama administration hailed the deal as one that would halt progress towards becoming a nuclear weapons state.

“Simply put, [the negotiators] cut off Iran's most likely paths to a bomb,” said President Obama in a speech after the deal was signed.

It marked a new era for U.S.-Iran relations.  After decades of mistrust, complete with a shadow war waged around the world, the U.S. and Iran came together to talk and hash out their differences.  While the deal is only an interim one, it buys six months of time in order to negotiate an even more far-reaching accord.  It also sparked intense opposition from members of Congress and Israel.

Here’s what you should know about the deal that was inked in Geneva on Saturday night:

1.  Sanctions Relief for Curbs to Nuclear Program

The basic parameters of a deal have been known for a while, and not much shifted from those parameters when it came to the deal reached in Geneva.  Iran will halt enriching uranium above the 5 percent level and “neutralize” its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium; that makes the level of enrichment further away from the 90 percent needed to make a nuclear weapon.  Iran will stop installing new centrifuges, the equipment needed to enrich uranium, according to the deal. Additionally, the Islamic Republic will stop working on the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Kaiser Waited 2 Years to Give Man Test Results That Indicated Cancer, Lawsuit Alleges

November 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Barbara Wallace, Courthouse News

A man's medical nightmare.


ATLANTA (CN) – Kaiser waited more than 2 years to warn a patient that test results showed he might have cancer, the man claims in court.

Gregory Magnussen sued Dr. Samuel W. Moss, The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia and an affiliate, and Kaiser Permanente Insurance, in Fulton County State Court.

In his lawsuit Magnussen claims Dr. Moss examined him and did tests in April 2010. Hearing nothing about the lab tests, Magnussen and his wife assumed everything was all right.

“Over the course of a number of years, the Magnussens had grown accustomed to hearing from defendants if any of their test results indicated that further attention might be necessary,” the complaint states.

But in October 2011, Magnussen's new doctor, (nonparty) Gary Orris, found a large mass in his colon and recommended a colonoscopy, the lawsuit states. After more tests, (nonparty) Dr. J. Clay Copher told Magnussen that he “had a large cancerous growth that would need to be removed immediately. Due to the size of the growth, Dr. Copher indicated to G. Magnussen that a large amount of his colon would have to be removed and a colostomy would be required,” the complaint states.

The surgery was done on Nov. 4, 2011, and was followed up with chemotherapy and radiation.

Then in June 2012, seven months after the surgery and 26 months after his Kaiser exam, Magnussen finally got a letter from Kaiser. According to the lawsuit, that letter said, in part: “Our records indicate that you are no longer enrolled with Kaiser Permanente. We want to inform you that you had an abnormal laboratory test prior to leaving our care that you should discuss with your new doctor or health care provider.

“You received a positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT) on 4/12/10 which is a test used as a screening for colon cancer. Your test indicates that further evaluation is required.

Please contact your current physician for further guidance.”

Magnussen claims that Kaiser's gross negligence, negligent failure to warn, and breach of duty of care cost him “severe, permanent and disabling personal injuries,” …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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10 Biggest Myths About Retail Workers

November 25, 2013 in Blogs

By Stephanie Luce, The Guardian

Over 1 in 10 US jobs is in the retail trade. Here's what their lives are really like.


 

Myth 1: Most retail workers are teenagers or young adults who do not really need the money

Reality: The average age of a retail worker is 37 years old (pdf), and more than half of year-round retail workers contribute a significant portion (pdf) of their family's total income. For example, researchers found that a third (pdf) of New York City retail workers support at least one dependent.

Myth 2: Retail workers are unskilled

Reality: 28% of retail workers (pdf) have completed some college, and 15% have a bachelor's degree or higher. Employers have deskilled a lot of the work, but still report in surveys that they want employees with both soft and hard skills, including product knowledge, ability to relate to customers, and increasingly, familiarity with technology for assisting with online sales.

Myth 3: Retail workers may earn a low wage, but most of them are only doing the job temporarily until they move up to higher level jobs or other careers

Reality: While the retail industry has higher turnover than many industries, most retail workers stay in the industry – which means that the turnover is high for individual employers, particularly those that pay low wages and treat workers poorly. In a large national survey (pdf), about half of retail respondents said they were not very likely to try to change employers in the next year. Workers do not lack a work ethic or commitment to retail, but are often forced to look for another job that provides more hours or more predictable schedules.

Myth 4: Retail work is meant to be just an entry-level job

Reality: Over 15 million people work in the retail sector, and that number is expected to grow, as retail sales worker occupations make-up thesecond largest job growth projections in the country, after food preparation occupations. More than 1 out of every 10 jobs in the country is in retail trade, which makes it a major part of our economy. It is unlikely that most retail workers will leave the sector …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Rise of Greater Kurdistan

November 25, 2013 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The status of the Kurdish people, the largest ethnic group in the world without a homeland, has been a source of instability in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran for decades. But with the onset of the civil war in Syria, a new theater has surged in prominence regarding that issue. For months, Syrian Kurdish militias have battled other — primarily Islamist — factions within Syria’s rebel movement.They have been surprisingly successful, scoring major military victories in the northeastern part of the country against the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), both affiliated with Al Qaeda. Given the widespread collapse of the authority that Bashar al-Assad’s government exercised in northeastern Syria, the Kurds have been poised for months to expand greatly their power in that area.

Following the latest victories over Islamist forces in late October and early November, Kurdish leaders in Syria finally took the next step. They announced the creation of an “interim autonomous government” for Syria’s Kurdish region. It was quite clear that this was not a temporary measure. The same announcement confirmed that elections for a long-term government would follow shortly.

That development caused uneasiness in neighboring capitals. While Assad seems to have written-off any attempt to regain control of territory in the northeast — at least until he’s able to suppress the larger, Sunni Arab insurgency seeking to overthrow his government, both Ankara and Baghdad are concerned about what the birth of a new, essentially independent, Kurdish political entity might imply for their countries.

Turkish leaders seem increasingly uncertain about how to deal with the Kurdish issue. Ankara has waged an armed struggle for decades against home-grown secessionists, led by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). And Turkish officials were noticeably unhappy when Kurdish forces in Iraq exploited the U.S. decision to impose a no-fly zone over northern Iraq during the 1990s to establish a self-governing region there.

U.S. leaders need to ask themselves whether the existing policy of insisting on a united Iraq and a united Syria is devoid of any connection to realities on the ground.”

But in the past few years, the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made more serious efforts to address Turkey’s domestic Kurdish problems through the political process rather than mere brute force. And Ankara’s relationship with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has become far …read more

Source: OP-EDS