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Watch the Houston Mises Circle LIVE This Weekend

January 17, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Mises Institute
Mises.org will be live-streaming The Southwest Regional Mises Circle in Houston on Saturday, January 18, FREE at YouTube.Here are the scheduled speakers. All times are Central time: The Police State: Know It When You See It

10:00 a.m. Lew Rockwell Welcome
10:15 a.m. Jeff Deist What Happened to “Peace” Officers?
Tom Woods 10:45 a.m. Tom Woods The Economics of the Police State
Lew Rockwell 11:45 a.m. Lew Rockwell American Fascism
Ron Paul 1:30 p.m. Ron Paul Do We Live in a Police State?
2:30 p.m. Speaker Panel Q&A

Special thanks to Christopher P. Condon, Terence Murphree, and TJ & Ida Goss for making this event possible.

For archived recordings of other similar seminars, visit mises.org/media.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Hunter Lewis on Power Trading Radio Tonight at 3pm PST

January 17, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Hunter Lewis will be the guest this afternoon on Power Trading Radio this afternoon at 3pm Pacific Time (6pm EST).

Hunter Lewis is author of nine books, including two new books, Free Prices Now! and Crony Capitalism in America: 2008-2012. Lewis is cofounder of Against Crony Capitalism.org as well as co-founder and former CEO of Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm. He has served on boards and committees of 15 not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural organizations, as well as the World Bank.

His Mises Daily archive is here. 

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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NSA Reform Needs to Go Further

January 17, 2014 in Economics

President Obama’s speech on surveillance reform proposed some welcome first steps toward appropriately limiting an expanding surveillance state, says Cato scholar Julian Sanchez. It was disappointing, however, to see that many of the recommendations offered by Obama’s own Surveillance Review Group were either neglected or specifically rejected. Sanchez responds, “The details will be important. …Congress must act to cement these reforms in legislation — and to extend them — to ensure safeguards implemented by one president cannot be secretly undone by another.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Sen. Paul Responds to President Obama's NSA Speech- January 17, 2014

January 17, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul’s Statement on President Obama’s NSA Reform

January 17, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s plan to reform the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program:
‘While I am encouraged the President is addressing the NSA spying program because of pressure from Congress and the American people, I am disappointed in the details. The Fourth Amendment requires an individualized warrant based on probable cause before the government can search phone records and e-mails. President Obama’s announced solution to the NSA spying controversy is the same unconstitutional program with a new configuration,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘I intend to continue the fight to restore Americans rights through my Fourth Amendment Restoration Act and my legal challenge against the NSA. The American people should not expect the fox to guard the hen house.’
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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Joins Greta Van Susteren 'On The Record'- January 16, 2014

January 17, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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The Real Lesson of Bridgegate: Privatize the Port Authority

January 17, 2014 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

USA Today reports: “The Port Authority, which operates the bridge at the heart of a New Jersey scandal, says a key appointee of Gov. Chris Christie directed the controversial closing of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge … David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, who were appointed to the Port Authority by Christie, have resigned in the wake of the scandal.”

The way to reduce corruption is to separate as much of the economy as possible from the government.”

Don’t you see the real problem here? It’s that a politician or one of his staffers has the power to willy-nilly reach their hand down into the local machinery of the economy and screw-up the lives of thousands of people needing to get to work.

The sprawling government bureaucracy that is the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) runs multiple bridges, tunnels, bus terminals, airports, and seaports, as well as rail transit and real estate development. It operates a range of crucial business activities as bloated monopolies.

But why? All these things done by the PANYNJ could be done better by private businesses, and they are done by private businesses in many other cities around the world. PANYNJ owns five airports including LaGuardia and JFK. Why not split them apart, sell them to entrepreneurs, and have them compete against each other?

If the governor’s office called the CEO of a private and unsubsidized bridge company and asked her to harm her customers by creating traffic chaos for political gotcha reasons, she would say “Are you nuts?”

People wonder why American government is so scandal-prone. One reason is that it is so darn big. It’s an octopus with tentacles into everything, which may give politicians and bureaucrats ego trips, but it undermines economic growth and opens up public administration to corruption.

Here’s an ironic statement from Wikipedia: “The idea for the Port Authority was conceived during the Progressive Era, which aimed at the reduction of political corruption and at increasing the efficiency of government.” The progressives were right to go after political corruption, but they were often way off-base on how to do it.

The way to reduce corruption is to separate as much of the economy as possible from the government, and to allow open entry for entrepreneurs into businesses — such as bridges, airports, and seaports — to stimulate competition to the greatest extent possible.

The center of global capitalism, the city …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Minimum Wage Law

January 17, 2014 in Economics

By Walter Block

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The minimum wage on its face is an unemployment law, not an employment law. It does not compel anyone to hire anyone else. It only stipulates who CANNOT legally be employed: no one may be hired for less than the amount stipulated by law. If the minimum wage law is set at $10 per hour, the law does not require any employer to hire any employee at that wage level. It only FORBIDS employment contracts set at $9.99 or below. This is not a matter of empirical evidence, not that there can be any such thing in proper, e.g., Austrian economics; this conclusion is a matter of pure logic. We repeat: the minimum wage on its face is an unemployment law, not an employment law.

What about empirical studies (economic history, for praxeological economists)? Here, economists disagree. Some say there will be no unemployment effects whatsoever. That is, a person with a productivity level of $6 per hour will still be hired and paid $10 per hour, even though any such firm that does so will lose $4 per hour. Such “economists” are in a distinct minority. Other dismal scientists opine there will be very slight unemployment effect; some few unskilled workers will lose their jobs or not attain them in the first place; but a large number will retain their jobs and be paid more. Then there is a third or majority view: most economists conclude that this law will boost unemployment for those with low productivity, and will only raise wages for them temporarily, until employers can substitute away from the factor of production (unskilled labor) now priced out of the market.

What is the Austrian take on all of this?
The praxeological view is that the minimum wage law will raise unemployment higher than it would otherwise be, in the absence of this law, other things equal, provided only that it is set above the level of productivity of at least one worker. This is an apodictic claim, not subject to refutation, falsification or testing. This claim is necessarily true, and yields knowledge about real world effects. Austrian economics is causal – realist, unlike the economics of the mainstream logical positivists, who recognize no economic law, only hypotheses to be tested, and if not falsified, then provisionally accepted.

Some economists who have recently signed this open letter  in support of the minimum wage law have published introductory and intermediate …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How the Years Between the World Wars Created the Modern World

January 17, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Writes Hunt Tooley in today’s Mises Daily:

All of these trends make the Entre-deux-guerres, as French historians call the period, an unusually eventful and even fateful 20 years in the history of the world.

But for students of the idea and practice of liberty, the period is absolutely crucial in understanding and interpreting the twentieth century and hence our own world.

For one thing, the Entre-deux-guerres practically created totalitarianism. The Bolsheviks captured the Russian government in 1917/18. Shortly thereafter, Mussolini’s Fascism took control in Italy, and later Hitler’s Nazism in Germany. All three cases featured movements that gave life to the words “terrible simplifiers,” a phrase coined by historian Jacob Burckhardt during the late nineteenth century. Burckhardt meant the kind of mass movements guided by violent demagogues to which European civilization had become susceptible. The interwar years gave us such demagogues in spades. And lesser simplifiers too. The first socialist governments ruled for various lengths of time in Western and Central Europe. And East-Central Europe was likewise guided by socialist policies, for most of the time after the mid-twenties by nationalist dictators. And where nominal socialists were not in power, the welfare/warfare state came to be the norm. The forces of collectivism found fulfillment in many, many ways throughout the world.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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2014: Thoughts on Economics, Empires and Their Sophists

January 17, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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by Ira Katz

As 2014 begins I, like all sensible people, ponder how long the dollar can last, for both my personal financial decisions and as a world event of the greatest importance.

Empires can be sustained only as long as they can be economically sustained. The Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan was certainly not for any normal human or moral reason, but simply because they were going broke. In hindsight we can see that the days of that evil empire were numbered with that strategic military retreat.

The dead canary in the coal mine for our current aggressive evil empire built on military strength will be the real withdrawal from one of the imperial outposts; say Korea or Japan, due to economic emergency, namely, the collapse of the dollar.

Why hasn’t the collapse of the dollar occurred by now?  Shadowstats founder John Williams expects hyperinflation in 2014.  While Paul Krugman says “the new year starts with some good omens. Oh, and politics: between the non-disaster of Obamacare (which is producing epic levels of denial) and the prospect of a decent rate of economic growth, the midterm elections may not go the way many on the right currently expect.”

Making sense of the experts is more a matter of separating the sophists for the empire from the others. A short historical tour of these characters by way of Wikipedia starts with:

Irving Fisher (February 27, 1867 – April 29, 1947) was an American economiststatistician, inventor, and social campaigner. He was one of the earliest American neoclassical economists, though his later work on debt deflation has been embraced by the Post-Keynesian school.

Fisher made important contributions to utility theory and general equilibrium. He was also a pioneer in the rigorous study of intertemporal choice in markets, which led him to develop a theory of capital and interest rates. His research on the quantity theory of money inaugurated the school of macroeconomic thought known as “monetarism.” Both James Tobin and Milton Friedman called Fisher “the greatest economist the United States has ever produced.”

Fisher was perhaps the first celebrity economist, but his reputation during his lifetime was irreparably harmed by his public statements, just prior to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, claiming that the stock market had reached “a permanently high plateau.”

The next “great” public economist was Paul Samuleson.  I picked up my copy of Samuelson’s text book a few years ago from a discard pile at the library of the university where I was working.  …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE