You are browsing the archive for 2014 January 16.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: Marijuana Has Medical Value and Marijuana Possession Arrests are Waste of Law Enforcement Time and Resources

January 16, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Statement from Drug Policy Alliance: More Senators Should Follow Reid’s Lead

In an interview today with the Las Vegas Sun, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Nevada cities should move in the direction of making medical marijuana legal.

“If you’d asked me this question a dozen years ago, it would have been easy to answer – I would have said no, because (marijuana) leads to other stuff,” the Senate majority leader told the Sun today. “But I can’t say that anymore.”

January 16, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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A Global Network of Austrian Finance Professionals

January 16, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Writes Robert Blumen:

Ryan, readers of your blog may be interested in the LinkedIn Group Austrians in Finance.   The rapid growth of this network is a measure of the extraordinary degree of interest in Austrian economics globally among investors and financial services professionals.  The group has an active discussion forum and as of today has almost 1,600 members from all nations and regions of the world including North America, Western and Eastern Europe, central Asia, South America, South Asia, East Asia, and Aus/NZ.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul Commends Kentucky House for Passing Restoration of Voting Rights Amendment

January 16, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today released the following statement after the Kentucky House of Representatives passed 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 vote of 82-12:
‘I commend the Kentucky House of Representatives for passing House Bill 70 and taking this step forward in restoring voting rights in the Commonwealth,’ said Sen. Paul. ‘The right to vote is a sacred one in our country and it is the very foundation of our republic. I urge the Kentucky Senate to act on this very important issue.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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The Ron Paul Crypto-Currency

January 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Ron Paul reacts:

Here’s an article on the topic.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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President Obama on Inequality: Rhetoric vs. Reality

January 16, 2014 in Economics

By Randall Holcombe

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President Obama has recently promoted inequality as a fundamental threat to our way of life, saying, “The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.”  You can read the rhetoric here.  Let’s look at the reality.

The president suggested policy initiatives to address these issues, so presumably, the president’s policies can make a difference.  What has he done so far?

He has presided over corporate bailouts, not only declaring the Wall Street banks too big to fail, while a multitude of small businesses did fail, his policies continue to support the banking industry through low interest rates and the payment of interest on reserves held at the Fed. Banks holding bad mortgages were bailed out while individual homeowners were evicted from their homes.

While the president does not directly determine Fed policy, Bernanke was all-in on the president’s agenda, and now the president has appointed Janet Yellen as Fed chair because she supports a continuation of those policies.

The low interest rate policy has hurt small savers, who tend to keep their savings in fixed-interest assets, but has propped up the stock market where the wealthier tend to invest.

The president’s support for extended unemployment benefits has taken away some of the incentive for people to find work, which is the best way to escape poverty.

After campaigning against them, the president worked hard to preserve the “Bush tax cuts,” with ultimately just a small increase in rates for the highest-income individuals.

Then there is Obamacare, which provides financial incentives for employers to convert full-time jobs to part-time jobs to avoid the health insurance penalties, further eroding opportunities for those at the bottom of the income scale.

What has been the effect of the president’s economic policies?  The unemployment rate remains high, at 6.7%, and long-term unemployment has spiked to its highest level in history, largely because of the extended unemployment benefits. The labor force participation rate has fallen from 66% in 2008 to below 63% today, so fewer people are even looking for the jobs that could help them escape poverty.

In 2008 13.2% of Americans fell below the official poverty line.  By 2012 the poverty rate was 15%.  The president’s policies have increased poverty.

How about the rich?  The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which hovered around 8,000 when the president took office …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Fall 2013 Mises Scholar and Alumni Notes

January 16, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

The Free Market publishes brief updates about Mises Institute scholars and alumni. Below are the notes from the October issue. Many more are coming in the January issue, and I’m compiling notes for February now. Send me your updates at rwmcmaken@mises.org.

Mises Institute Distinguished Counselor Ron Paul appeared on the national PBS interview program Charlie Rose and spoke to a capacity crowd at DePauw University during September.

Mises Institute Executive Director Peter Klein was featured in the inaugural video of The Mises View in September, a new series of videos providing timely analysis of recent events and news.

Senior Fellows Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Jörg Guido Hülsmann, and Associated Scholars Philipp Bagus and Thorsten Polleit in September published a new German-language book, Ludwig von Mises: Leben und Werk für Einsteiger (Ludwig von Mises: An Introduction to His Life and Work).

Congratulations to our associated scholar, Dr. Jo Ann Cavallo, who has been promoted to full professor of Italian at ColumbiaUniversity. Her latest work. The World Beyond Europe in the Romance Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto (University of Toronto Press, 2013), draws in part on a paper presented at the Mises Institute in 2012.

Senior Fellows David Gordon and Mark Thornton, and Associated Scholar Robert Murphy are all featured in the Mises Institute’s new series of podcasts featuring interviews with Mises Academy Faculty. All new podcasts can be found in the audio/Video section of Mises.org

Hunter Lewis, the Mises Institute’s 2012 Henry Hazlitt Lecturer, published two new books with AC2 Books in September: Crony Capitalism in America: 2008-2012 and Free Prices Now!

Senior Fellow Robert Higgs retired from his position as longtime senior editor of the scholarly journal The Independent Review.

Senior Fellow Ralph Raico’s 1994 paper “The Theory of Economic Development and the European Miracle” will be translated into German and French for a new scholarly book to be released in Europe in early 2014.

Associated Scholars David Howden and Mateusz Machaj spoke at the 2013 Summer Conference (September 13-15) of the Mises Institute of Poland. 2013’s Summer conference was conducted in English on the topic “The Economics of the Eurozone.” Also presenting at the conference were former Mises Fellows Nikolay Gertchev, David Sanz Bas, Mateusz Benedyk, Stanisław Kwiatkowski, and Jakub Bozydar Wisniewski.

Associated Scholar Benjamin Powell has been appointed director of the Free Market Institute at TexasTechUniversity which provides fellowships for economics Ph.D. students. Professor Powell is also teaching a course titled “Austrian Economics” at TTU for both …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Why I Shall Become an American

January 16, 2014 in Blogs

By Robin Koerner

Sometime toward the end of this year, I shall become an American citizen.

A few of my European friends look confused when they realize that I go around the world expounding the importance of liberty — and yet choose to live in the U.S.

They are thinking, of course, of all the obvious stuff, like the abuses against privacy by the NSA; the killing of innocents in ill-considered or even dishonest interventionist militarism; the foreign policy that produces terrorists in the name of destroying them. These Americanisms are made all the more ugly by the apparent hypocrisy: any abuses against liberty are bad, but those that are perpetrated by a state that consistently justifies them by the need to protect liberty, are a special kind of pathetic.

Some Europeans also know something about America’s almost unique taxation of its citizens on income earned outside the country — a clear disincentive that superficially, at least, makes American citizenship one of the most unappealing in the world.

As a liberty-lover, why would I tie himself to all of that — for life?

I am not interested in becoming American because America has less than anywhere else of what is bad: I’ll do it because America has more of what is good — the good of informed, passionate and principled resistance against all of those things that shouldn’t be so.

Stuck on an L.A. freeway in 2005, I was listening to NPR, when an interview came on with Greg Palast, a celebrated American journalist and author who moved to the U.K. when he realized that his investigative work was not getting the air-time it deserved in the U.S.. During the interview, Palast was asked whether he wanted to bring up his newly born children in England — the country where he had built a life and highly successful career — or in the United States — the country of his birth.

He answered unhesitatingly that he wanted to bring them up in the U.S. Asked for a reason, he ventured that in the U.K. the average person knows a lot more than the average American about what is wrong with their political system and how their leaders and money-masters abuse them and their country, but they have an apathy and cynicism that prevent them from getting very exercised about …read more

Source: ROBIN KOERNER BLOG

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Welfare, Minimum Wages, and Unemployment

January 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Writes Greg Morin in today’s Mises Daily

So, we know that a sizable number of minimum-wage earners are not in need of a wage that can support a household. But what of the minimum-wage earners who are? We are told repeatedly that minimum wage is not a living wage, so why are not more minimum wage earners simply starving to death? In reality workers earn two wages: one from their employer and one from the state. For example, someone making the current full-time minimum wage earns $15,000 per year, but they are also eligible for additional government benefits that bring their total remuneration to approximately $35,000 per year if they are childless, or up to $52,000 year if they have children. In fact, earning more does not necessarily help one wean himself off this state sponsored support.

As wages rise assistance can often decline so precipitously that even earning $1 more can mean a loss of thousands of dollars in aid. This creates a disincentive for the worker to improve and earn more; the perverse incentive here is that we are rewarding the very thing we are trying to eliminate (low wages). These wage subsidies serve only to pervert the normal incentives present in an exchange between employer and employee. Both the employer and the employee are aware of the subsidies, so each is willing to offer less and accept less rather than demand more and offer more.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul and Rep. Poe Introduce Uphold Our Promise to Veterans Act

January 16, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.) released the following statements regarding the introduction of the Uphold Our Promise to Veterans Act, S. 1930 and H.R. 3807. This bill would repeal the provisions under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that reduces cost-of-living adjustments below inflation for retired veterans under 62 years of age and restore funding by eliminating foreign aid to certain countries and authorizing the sale of some Federal lands. Both Sen. Paul and Rep. Poe voted against the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that implemented the cost-of-living adjustments cuts for veterans.
‘In a failed effort to save $6.2 billion over the next ten years, Congress and the President broke a financial promise to the veterans of this nation with the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. In addition to stripping veterans of their promised retirement compensations, the budget does not balance the budget and raises taxes for all Americans,’ Sen Paul said. ‘We owe it to the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces to protect their livelihood, just as they have protected ours- and the Uphold Our Promise to Veterans Act will do just that. I will continue to do all I can in support of our nation’s veterans.’
‘Those who have spent their lives protecting the rest of us should be the last to sacrifice what they have earned in order to pay for even more Washington spending. Congress should instead cut the billions in aid to countries who are not our friends, like Pakistan. This bill would restore this crucial funding by using the billions in foreign aid that we give Egypt and Pakistan each year. We don’t need to pay our enemies to hate us, they’ll do it for free. This legislation would also require the federal government to systematically sell some of its unused and unmaintained land (excluding National Parks and historical sites). Currently, the federal government owns 27% of the total land in our country (equivalent to the size of Western Europe). If this unused land was sold day it could generate up to $1.1 trillion. Selling this land could also inject money back into state and local economies by creating new economic opportunities on this dormant federal land,’ Rep. Poe said.

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Source: RAND PAUL

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More Woes Are Ahead for the ACA

January 16, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Even setting aside the debacle surrounding the rollout of HealthCare.gov, last fall was a bad time for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Millions lost their current coverage despite the president’s promise: “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.” Millions more found that their doctor was not part of newly defined insurance networks. On top of that, middle-class families across the country encountered sticker shock as they saw their premiums increase.

With a new year and most of the website problems more or less fixed, ACA supporters are hoping the worst is behind them. They are in for a rude awakening.

By next fall, the “glitches” of 2013 will seem like the good old days. Here’s why.

More canceled policies: As of December 2013, roughly 5.4 million Americans with individual policies had their current plans canceled because they didn’t meet ACA requirements. Another 3 million to 8 million people are at risk of losing their policies in the coming months. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Because the president delayed the employer mandate, the 55 percent of Americans who get their insurance through work haven’t felt the pain. They will soon. That’s because the same ACA provisions that caused the cancellation of individual policies will start to affect employer-sponsored plans by late 2014. In a nutshell, if a plan doesn’t meet “minimum coverage requirements” such as maternity care or alcohol counseling, it can no longer be offered. This could affect as many as 78 million workers.

That means that sometime around September or October, cancellation notices will be going out again. Most workers with canceled policies will end up with similar employment-based plans, but they could end up paying more for fewer choices. Others will be pushed into the exchanges, losing their employer-provided plans altogether.

The adverse selection death spiral: The ACA’s success hinges on enough young and healthy people entering the insurance pool at inflated prices to offset the costs of covering previously uninsured, high-risk individuals.

If, however, the insurance pool is composed largely of the old and sick who use more, and more expensive healthcare, insurance prices will necessarily rise to cover the cost.

This would lead to more young and healthy people dropping their insurance, which would then lead to pools even older and sicker than before. The cycle would go on and on in what actuaries refer to as the “adverse selection death spiral.”

In order to avoid such …read more

Source: OP-EDS