You are browsing the archive for 2014 January 21.

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An Amazing Innovation in Higher Education

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Small, New University Does Something Radical — Only Hires Professors Who Want To Teach And Only Admits Students Who Want To Learn.

HT to Walter Grinder

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Obama Reveals Himself as a Champion of the Surveillance State

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

On Friday, more than seven months after he professed to “welcome this debate” over National Security Agency spying, kicked off by whistleblower Edward Snowden, President Obama finally got around to debating. His speech at the Justice Department was a tour-de-force of petulance, dissembling, and phony piety about civil liberties.

The president is at least as fond of passive constructions as Chris “Mistakes Were Made” Christie. “Too often,” Obama said, “new authorities were instituted without adequate public debate.” But before the Snowden revelations, the American public didn’t know that the administration considered all Americans’ call records “relevant” to terrorism investigations under section 215 of the Patriot Act—and Obama liked it that way.

His speech at the Justice Department was a tour-de-force of petulance, dissembling, and phony piety about civil liberties.”

Still, Obama pointed out, his review group on NSA surveillance found “no indication that this database has been intentionally abused.” Nor did it find any evidence that the program had been particularly useful. As the group’s report, issued in December, put it, information derived from bulk collection “was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner” through other means.

The same goes for the president’s signature example of the 215 program’s hypothetical usefulness, which had been debunked by a review group member even before the speech. Had the program been in place, Obama implied, we might have caught a 9/11 hijacker who called an al Qaeda safehouse we were monitoring in Yemen. But as group member Richard Clarke told ProPublica, NSA didn’t need a call records database “to get the information they needed” — that was available through a traditional FISA warrant.

The 215 program, Obama insisted, “does not involve the content of phone calls or the names of people making calls.” The latter point is comforting only if you’re gullible enough to believe that the NSA has never heard of reverse telephone directories.

Moreover, there’s no “sharp distinction” between content and metadata. That’s what another member of the president’s hand-picked review group told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing last week. “There is quite a bit of content in metadata,” according to group member Michael Morell: “When you have the records of phone calls that a particular individual made, you can learn an awful lot about that person.”

Indeed, the 215 program is nothing less than “a federal human relations database,” as Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has put it. That potential treasure trove …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mises Blog Comment Boxes Are Open Again

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

As you may have noticed we’ve made some changes at the Mises Blog with a new title, new bloggers, and more content. We made some administrative changes and took the comment boxes offline for a while. Com boxes are now open on new posts if the author of the post chooses to activate the comment box. Anyone who registers with the site (over on the right) should be able to comment.

The comment boxes for Mises Daily articles are open as always.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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James Grant and Judge Napolitano at 2014′s Austrian Economics Research Conference

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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The AERC is coming March 20-22.

This year’s named lecturers are:

Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture: J. Huston McCulloch
Murray N. Rothbard Memorial Lecture: Peter Klein
F.A. Hayek Memorial Lecture:  Ed Dolan
Henry Hazlitt Memorial Lecture: James Grant
Lou Church Memorial Lecture: Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Submissions are still being accepted. Click here to submit your paper.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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More Keynesian Folly

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

I will be a guest today on Turning Hard Times into Good Times with Jay Taylor. The program is “Keynes Destroyed the West but Not Gold” and ‘airs’ 3-5 PM Eastern Time. The promo describes my part as “Cochran will explain how Keynes’ anti-free market interest rates are destroying life sustaining capitalism. To enable Keynesian interest rate policies and deficit spending, the free market for gold had to be destroyed so it would not constrict money “printing” and deficit spending stimulation advocated by Keynes” This is a follow up to the recent Mises Daily “Current Fed Policy: An Exercise in Keynesian Folly”.

Last week’s guest on the program was Mark Thornton discussing the risk of hyperinflation in Hyperinflation 2014 The End Game Begins. Mark begins at about 4 PM on this recorded version of that podcast.

This and previous programs can be accessed at Jay Taylor Media or at the host Voice America Business.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Fear the Austrian Economists, Part I

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Last week I noted the attack on Austrian economics at The Street, and on the Mises Institute specifically. It turns out the article I noted was the second article in a week warning readers to not look behind the curtain, and to ignore the killjoys of the Austrian School who refuse to break out the champagne to commemorate the Fed’s final victory of the business cycle. This article from Jan 13 doesn’t cite sources, so I’m not sure where the author gets his information to make this claim:

The Austrians celebrated monetarism as “conservative” in the 1960s, when “Chicago School” leader Milton Friedman used it to argue for tightening the money supply. Now, with outgoing Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke having used the same theory against the “Great Recession,” the policy is derided as “liberal.”

Although the author is part right by noting that monetarism provided at least some of the justification for the wild money printing of the Bernanke era.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Foreign Policy Op-Ed: Still Unprotected

January 21, 2014 in Politics & Elections

When we learned the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the phone data of every American last June, it posed a serious constitutional question: Do we no longer have a Fourth Amendment?
On Friday, Jan. 17, President Barack Obama essentially responded, ‘No, we really don’t.’
The president is to be commended for trying to enact reforms at the NSA. At the very least, he recognized a problem and sought to address public concerns.
But nothing he said in his speech reverses or even significantly impedes the government from prying into the private lives of citizens as a general practice. Nothing fundamentally changes about how our privacy is still unprotected.
The Fourth Amendment was included in the Constitution precisely to prevent the issuing of general warrants, in which blanket authority is given to the government to spy on citizens at will. The American colonists had to endure general warrants used by the British, who went to door to door searching as they pleased.
The lesson of the American Revolution was that this should never happen again, and yet the NSA’s data collection program is the modern equivalent of this practice. President Obama cited Paul Revere in his speech, but Paul Revere rode through the streets to tell us the British were coming — not that the Americans are coming.
In misdiagnosing the problem, the president offers the wrong solutions. The primary question remains, ‘Can a single warrant be applied to millions of Americans records?’ President Obama still says yes.
Even though President Obama assures us ‘the United States is not spying on ordinary people,’ this statement does not jibe with any of his suggested reforms. Plus, we’ve heard these types of assurances before.
Obama saying that his new policy will only examine private information ‘two steps’ removed from the target, as opposed to the current policy of three steps, is no comfort at all. The president might as well be saying we’re only going to abuse the Fourth Amendment twice, not three times.
Our current mass surveillance policies are either proper or improper. Unfortunately, even after the promise of minor tweaking, the president still considers them far too proper.
Attempts to seek permission for surveillance from designated offices of the NSA, independent contractors, or some special third party will not alleviate the problems in question. We have always separated police power from the judicial power. Warrants come from judges and are supposed to be focused on specific persons or tasks. …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Lawless and Dangerous

January 21, 2014 in Economics

By Richard W. Rahn

Richard W. Rahn

Without the rule of law, a civil and prosperous society cannot long endure. The annual reports of “The Economic Freedom of the World” and the “Index of Economic Freedom” show very large declines in the international ranking of the United States in the rule of law over the past decade. The rule of law is dependent on the laws being perceived as reasonable, few enough in number and clearly written so that citizens can understand what is expected — and on the laws being fairly and impartially enforced by those in all branches of government.

The Obama administration is becoming increasingly arbitrary concerning what laws it chooses to enforce or not enforce, while, at the same time, through executive orders and administrative decisions, just making up “law” outside of the constitutional process. Perhaps the clearest examples of this abuse can be found at the IRS, which increasingly acts as a rogue agency with the support of its masters at the Treasury and Justice Departments.

This past week, the Justice Department and the FBI announced that they were ceasing their “investigation” of IRS wrongdoing in harassing Tea Party and other conservative 501(c)(4) organizations, and, in fact, were going to be establishing new and highly restrictive rules for such organizations — in a clear attempt to limit free speech.

Nonprofit groups, such as labor unions, veterans groups, social clubs, education groups, business groups and others, have the right to lobby for and against legislation and regulations without being taxed on those activities. They also have a right to support or oppose candidates for public office (with some limitations, depending on the type of organization), including grass-roots operations and advertising, and to put legislative voting records on their websites without being taxed. Moreover, they have the right to meet with and hold events for candidates for public office and hold candidate forums without being taxed. All of this is proper and part of the democratic process.

Citizens who wish to come together and organize for the purpose of holding public officials accountable, if they do not fall under one of the aforementioned categories, have traditionally been considered tax exempt — IRS code Section 501(c)(4) organizations. The IRS now wants to tax their grass-roots activities, tax their presentation of information about candidates in TV and radio ads, tax their cost of publicizing legislative voting records and tax the cost of candidate forums and meetings with candidates. Such activities by citizen groups have been tax exempt since the founding of the American …read more

Source: OP-EDS