You are browsing the archive for 2014 January 14.

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Sens. Paul, Wyden and Gillibrand Introduce Bill to Repeal AUMF for Iraq

January 14, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today introduced S.1919, which would repeal the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) for Iraq and officially bring the Iraq war to a close. This bipartisan effort is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jon Tester (D- Mont.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).
‘Two years ago, President Obama declared the war in Iraq over. With the return of our troops and practical side of the mission concluded, I feel it is necessary to bring the war to an official and legal end. This bipartisan piece of legislation expressly preserves the President’s authority to protect our embassy and personnel in Iraq, and ensures that our military involvement in Iraq is officially closed and that any future engagement will require Congressional authorization and support, as required by the Constitution,’ Sen. Paul said.
‘I was one of 23 senators who voted against the invasion of Iraq in 2002 because I was never presented with compelling evidence of a clear and present threat to our domestic security. Now that American troops have come home, it makes sense to bring this chapter in our nation’s history to a close. While sectarian conflict and violence still persist in Iraq, it must be the Iraqis- not the men and women of the U.S. military- who now make the difficult choices, forge a stable and inclusive political order and steer their country to peace and prosperity,’ said Sen. Wyden.
‘The men and women of the military who served our country in Iraq did so bravely and heroically. We must always honor their service and sacrifice, and remember those we lost,’ said Sen.Gillibrand. ‘Part of honoring their service is ensuring that we in Congress do our duty- and no President, Democrat or Republican, should have a blank check when it comes to war. It is important that we bring this war to its legal and official end while preserving the President’s authority to protect our military and embassy personnel, by closing the open-ended war resolution.’
‘I am proud to join my colleagues in calling for the authorization to use military force in Iraq to be repealed. This legislation provides the necessary closure of our military involvement there while providing for the protection of diplomatic personnel and the continuation of intelligence work deemed vital to national security. Our men and women in …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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What You Were Never Told About Obamacare

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

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While the costs of providing health care insurance are beginning to skyrocket because of Obamacare, insurance company executives are sleeping very soundly. A respected consultant to health insurance companies, Robert Laszewski, reveals that there are two obscure provisions in Obamacare that guarantee that insurance companies will be subsidized and bailed out by Amercian taxpayers. Indeed the Congressional Budget Office estimates that $1.071 trillion will be coercively transferred from taxpayers to big insurance companies over the next decade.

This massive redistribution of wealth will take place via two programs stealthily embedded in the Affordable Health Care Act. The first is the Reinsurance Program under which large claims are capped for insurers offering individual plans under Obamacare. Insurers pay for claims up to $45,000, while the Federal government picks up 80% of the costs exceeding $45,000 up to a maximum of $250,000. This means that Obamacare is a public-private insurance scheme and that we are already half-way to the “single-payer” insurance program that Obama and his left-wing cronies so keenly pine for. Needless to say, neither President Obama nor the establishment media have publicized this provision of Obamacare.

Obama and his media supporters have also scrupulously avoided public references to the Risk Corridor Program that limits total losses for insurance companies via a complex formula. Basically, under this provision, taxpayers would be on the hook for 75%-80% of an insurance company’s losses. The enormous taxpayer-funded subsidization of costs and socialization of losses will make Obamacare more palatable to insurance companies and the public at least for a while, since insurance companies will not need to raise their premiums as much as they would have if they were forced to bear the full burden of cost increases and the risk of huge losses. This may give this destructive program time to take root and wreak havoc with what quality remains in the American health care system. Should Obamacare become permanent, Americans as taxpayers and as consumers of medical services will spend many sleepless nights worrying about how they will pay their tax bills and where they will find quality medical care.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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A Spoonful of Spooner

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By Gary Galles

spoonersepia

In recent years, Americans have been burdened with an historic expansion in government control. Further, the proliferation of fees, regulations, bans, czars, bureaucracies, mandates and programs are increasingly justified by the desire to control vice (in the government’s eyes), which violates citizens’ inalienable self-ownership, rather than to deter crime, to protect citizens’ self-ownership. Whether it involves controlled substances, mandatory helmets, how large a soda someone is allowed to buy, whether trans-fats will be banished or a host of other uninvited impositions, government has increasingly been transformed into a nanny-state bully.

This externally-enforced “self-control” justifies reconsidering Lysander Spooner. Spooner laid out why our natural right of self-ownership, combined with the right to enter into voluntary arrangements with other self-owners, made government coercion of peaceful people illegitimate. Further, that moral principle is not in any way vitiated because someone with political power considers others’ choices to be vices. Since we are now accelerating away from that ethical standard, we need to rediscover his vision, which he spelled out in his 1875 Vices Are Not Crimes; A Vindication of Moral Liberty. A spoonful of Spooner’s insight would help government abuses go down.

Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another…In vices, the very essence of crime–that is, the design to injure the person or property of another–is wanting.

Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be…no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property…

[I]f these questions…are not to be left free and open for experiment by all, each person is deprived of the highest of all his rights as a human being, to wit: his right to inquire, investigate, reason, try experiments, judge, and ascertain for himself, what is, to him, virtue, and what is, to him, vice…If this great right is not to be left free and open to all, then each man’s whole right, as a reasoning human being, to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” is denied him.

[W]hat man, or what body of men, has the right to say, in regard to any particular action, or course of action, “We have tried this experiment, and determined every question involved in it…not only for …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Senators McConnell and Paul Push Legislation to Help Rural Counties in Kentucky

January 14, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul introduced legislation today to help rural counties in Kentucky who are being hurt by the Obama Administration’s policies, as established by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which restrict rural lending practices.
The HELP Rural Communities Act would give rural counties in Kentucky a voice when the CFPB has incorrectly labeled them as ‘non-rural’-just another example of this administration’s one-size-fits-all, we-know-best approach to governing. Several counties in Kentucky, such as Bath County, have been labeled as ‘non-rural,’ and are therefore barred from certain rural lending practices that are helpful to farmers and small businesses.
‘If you’ve ever been to these counties, as I have, you would most certainly disagree with the CFPB’s ruling. But current law provides no opportunity to challenge the CFPB’s decision. Our bill would allow counties that have been improperly designated as ‘non-rural’ to petition the CFPB with additional local information to reconsider their status in order to ensure that rural communities, such as those in eastern Kentucky, have the access to credit they need to grow their economy,’ Senator McConnell said. ‘This is an important step in the effort to renew hope for the future in rural Kentucky and especially eastern Kentucky. Given the bipartisan interest shown in recent weeks to get government out of the way and let the people of the region work, Congress and the president should come together to pass this legislation on behalf of eastern Kentuckians and rural communities.’
Senator Paul said, ‘This important legislation will provide an opportunity for rural communities across the country to challenge big government bureaucracies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from improperly designating them as ‘non-rural.’ Rural communities rely heavily on this designation, as it allows financial institutions to provide important financial products and credit to small businesses and farmers who depend on it in these areas. I will continue to work diligently with the Kentucky delegation to pass this legislation for the betterment of our rural areas.’
Ballard Cassady, President and CEO of the Kentucky Bankers Association, praised Senators McConnell and Paul’s efforts today. ‘This legislation would provide an opportunity for rural communities to provide input into federal , top-down decisions that they may not have access to, which would help in the determination of whether a county qualifies as rural or not. This legislation is crucial in helping rural communities to …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Applauds Passage of Restoration of Voting Rights Amendment by Kentucky House Committee

January 14, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today released this statement following the passage of House Bill 70 – a proposed constitutional amendment which would restore the right to vote for non-violent felons who have completed their sentences – by a Kentucky House committee:
‘I applaud the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee for passing House Bill 70, a constitutional amendment which would restore the right to vote for non-violent felons,’ said Sen. Paul. ‘A government of, by and for the people is only possible with a free right to vote. I am committed to securing this right for the people of the Commonwealth and I urge the Kentucky House of Representatives to pass HB 70 so this amendment can be placed on the ballot.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Hawks Are Deluded about Iraq

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The eruption of fighting in Iraq’s Anbar Province is causing much consternation and recrimination in U.S. foreign policy circles.

Conservative hawks, including Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are especially vocal in criticizing the Obama administration’s Iraq policy. They argue that the administration’s fecklessness has opened Iraq to an al Qaeda offensive that now has the terrorist group’s flag flying over portions of Falluja and Ramadi, two cities subdued during the Bush administration at great cost in blood and treasure.

Critics who blast Obama for not keeping American troops in that snake pit are badly misguided.”

If Obama had not foolishly withdrawn the remaining U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011, hawkish critics insist, Washington would now have far greater ability to prevent the country’s alarming slide into turmoil.

There are several problems with that argument. First, it was Bush, not Obama, who negotiated the original agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that promised the full withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of 2011. The Obama administration would have had either to renege on a formal agreement, thus displaying contempt for the sovereignty of a democratic Iraq that the United States helped create, or somehow induce the al-Maliki government to sign a new agreement allowing American troops to remain.

Second, Obama administration officials did try to negotiate a new “status of forces” agreement to enable a limited number of troops (perhaps 10,000 to 20,000) to stay in Iraq. However, al-Maliki insisted the only way he would even consider approving such a pact would be if Washington agreed that U.S. forces were subject to Iraqi law. The U.S. government, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, has been wary of consenting to such provisions even in stable, Western democratic countries that host American troops.

The United States has steadfastly refused to do so in countries like Iraq with shaky, corrupt political systems and dubious legal systems. One ought to ask hawks if they believe Obama should have exposed American military personnel to the tender mercies of Iraq’s court system. If not, they must concede that Obama adopted the right position in refusing to make such a concession.

Third, the idea of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq was profoundly unpopular among both Iraqis and Americans. Public opinion polls taken in 2011 showed a clear majority of Americans believed the Iraq War was a mistake and did …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Newtown: The Moral Panic That Wasn't

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

One year ago, in the wake of the horrific school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the Obama White House released its agenda for “protect[ing] our children and communities by reducing gun violence.” It was a report marked by a tone of grim urgency from its title onward: “Now Is the Time” to tighten background checks for guns, ban “military-style assault weapons,” and fortify our schools.

A year after Newtown, it looks like the massive public support for gun restrictions never materialized.”

Yet the president appeared comparatively restrained next to the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre, who breathlessly demanded “an active national database of the mentally ill” and federally funded “armed police officers in every school” or Sen.Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who proposed legislation encouraging governors to call out the National Guard for school shootings. At the time I worried that this legislative panic attack would leave us no safer, and considerably less free.

But a year later, Newtown’s legislative legacy is far less dramatic than it might have been. At the state level, nearly two-thirds of post-Newtown firearms laws actually loosened restrictions on gun owners. On the federal level, nothing much has happened.

That’s probably for the best, given that the massacre encouraged a flurry of policy proposals whose “prospects for reducing the risks of mass murder are limited.”

That’s the sober, and sobering, conclusion of a new article in the journal Homicide Studies, co-authored by James Alan Fox, the nation’s leading criminologist studying mass killing.

In “Mass Shootings in America: Moving Beyond Newtown,” Fox and co-author Monica J. DeLateur offer a comprehensive review of the literature, aimed at refuting “myths” surrounding the problem of spree shootings.

It’s a myth, for example, that a federal ban on so-called assault weapons will impede shooting sprees: “The overwhelming majority of mass murderers use firearms that would not be restricted by an assault weapons ban,” mostly semiautomatic handguns. Those that used weapons covered by a renewed ban “easily could have identified an alternate means of mass casualty.”

Enhanced background checks are no more promising, the authors write: “Most mass murderers do not have criminal records or a history of psychiatric hospitalization,” and wouldn’t be disqualified from purchase. They cite a recent study prepared for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which found that in only 10 of 93 cases had “concerns about the mental health of the shooter been brought to the attention of” health professionals or legal authorities …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Help a Real Victim of the Minimum Wage

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By David Howden

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It is easy to sympathize with 33-year-old Acsana Fernando. Since immigrating to Canada from Bangladesh as a refuge in 2002, she has struggled to find her footing. Bouncing from job to job trying to eke out a living, Ms. Fernando now works at a group home and earns the Ontario minimum wage of $10.25 an hour.

After she pays taxes she is lucky to take home somewhere between $1,100 and $1,300 per month, and that money goes quickly. After she pays rent for her subsidized apartment and covers groceries, Ms. Fernando doesn´t even have enough left over to buy a monthly bus pass. Instead she opts for the pricier pay-as-you-go option, something which leaves her economizing on her bus rides more than she otherwise would.

Life is tough now, but optimistically she notes that it is better than it was a few short years ago. She needed $33,000 to sponsor her father to come to Canada, and did so by buying a second-hand car to sleep in, thus reducing both her transportation and housing bills. Worst of all, if she had remained in Bangladesh, she would probably have been married to a man she didn´t love who had three wives already.

I couldn´t imagine a worst case scenario for a Canadian than what Acsana Fernando has to go through on a daily basis, but I have to.

One of the great contributions of the 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat is that the single best test of a good economist is an ability to see past the obvious and apparent effects of an action in order to see its shielded or unseen effects. In few places is this skill more important than when analyzing the minimum wage.

Price floors, like a minimum wage, have the effect of creating an excess supply of a good. As the price is set above the market-clearing level the result of the reduction in demand for the good is exacerbated by the increase in supply – too many people want to sell the good in question, and not enough people want to buy it. A surplus develops.

When price floors are enacted on specific goods, the result is typically surplus goods piling up in a warehouse. As part of Europe´s “Common Agriculture Policy”, price floors on many everyday foodstuffs created “butter mountains” and “wine lakes.” While these types of surpluses might seem like just another tasty treat to come …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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A Free Market Approach to Insider Trading

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

financial symbols coming from hand

Fernando Herrera-Gonzalez writes in today’s Mises Daily: 

This problem can be solved by the stock markets themselves. Conditions imposed on insider trading (including its prohibition) should simply be features of each stock market. Thus, each stock market’s definition of what constitutes unacceptable insider trading should be in the hands of the owner or operator of the market. In turn, competition among stock markets, i.e., the “stock-market market,” would reveal the preferences among stock market customers in the matter of insider-trading rules.

If there is (or may be) competition among stock markets, that is, if firms can choose in which stock market to list their stock, they will prefer, ceteris paribus, those stock markets in which more investors (i.e., more possible buyers) participate. The number of participating investors of course depends on the conditions in which they can access information relevant for their investments, among other features. These investors may choose to buy stock in one or other stock markets depending on prices of transactions or, if they wish, on the conditions imposed to insider trading, or on other factors.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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AUDIO: Peter Klein on his Upcoming Austrian Economics for Managers Course

January 14, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Class starts Thursday. For more information and to enroll, click here.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE