You are browsing the archive for 2014 March 04.

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Schools That Turn Students into Outcasts Are Unamerican

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

Former Chief Judge of New York State Judith S. Kaye always makes necessary sense, as she did when she recently wrote this in the opinion pages of The New York Times:

“As universal pre-K and the Common Core standards dominate the headlines, we cannot overlook a third subject that deserves top billing: keeping children in school and out of courts” (Letters, The New York Times, Feb. 22).

Kaye was writing in response to an op-ed that had run in the Times last month. In it, Robert K. Ross and Kenneth H. Zimmerman, the respective heads of the California Endowment and the United States programs for the Open Society Foundations, wrote: “Large numbers of students are kicked out, typically for nonviolent offenses, and suspensions have become the go-to response for even minor misbehavior, like carrying a plastic water gun to elementary school …

“The Civil Rights Project at UCLA found that the number of secondary school students suspended or expelled increased by some 40 percent between 1972-73 and 2009-10 … A study of nearly one million Texas students found that those suspended or expelled for violations at the discretion of school officials were almost three times as likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system the following year” (“Real Discipline in School,” Robert K. Ross and Kenneth H. Zimmerman, The New York Times, Feb. 17).

The “pipeline” that takes students from school to prison has become a national cliche. This mass creation of student outcasts is the product of “zero tolerance” policies in schools across this land of the free and home of the brave.

Only one organization, The Rutherford Institute in Charlottesville, Va., headed by constitutional lawyer and defender John Whitehead, has continuously intervened. Whitehead and his team of lawyers have represented in court — at no charge — these victims of zero tolerance. He also reports on these and other cases in his commentary at rutherford.org, which is distributed to hundreds of newspapers. Moreover, these penetrating reports and accounts of different cases also appear online in news websites and in blogs.

He is the Paul Revere of national alerts to preserve the constitutional liberties of current and future generations of self-recognizable Americans.

Here is such a case whose characteristics typically merit Whitehead’s expertise (and which he wrote about last year):

At South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, Pa., 10-year-old “fifth grader Johnny Jones asked his teacher for a pencil during class. Jones walked …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan Charts a Moderate Path, Not a Conservative One

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

The House Budget Committee chaired by Congressman Raul Ryan released a 204-page report on federal welfare programs Monday. It provides useful discussions of 92 programs that cost taxpayers $799 billion a year.

The report drives home how immense the federal welfare state has become. You’ve probably heard of EITC, TANF, LIHEAP, and SNAP, but how about CCDF, WIA, SSBG, NSLP, SBP, CACFP, HOME, HAG, and CDBG? These are all multibillion dollar welfare programs that you as a taxpayer are funding.

The Washington Post called the Ryan report a “blistering” and “stinging” critique, but it is far from that. Indeed, Ryan’s report is a centrist analysis of welfare, not a conservative or libertarian one. The report generally points out minor problems with programs based on the polite criticisms of federal auditors and liberal researchers. The report often omits fundamental critiques of programs offered by pro-market scholars and think tanks.

Ryan’s report has 48 pages on housing programs, for example, but does not ask basic questions such as whether there are market failures that justify any of the government’s housing interventions. The Manhattan Institute’s Howard Husock has written about how private markets are able to supply low-income housing and did so historically, but Ryan’s report does not address these basic questions.

In fact, it is generally devoid of citations of conservative and libertarian think tanks. The American Enterprise Institute apparently provided input to the Ryan study, but AEI is cited once in 204 pages while liberal think tanks are cited many times.

The key problem with the Ryan report is that it does not raise fundamental questions about spending.”

The reliance on liberal sources appears to have led to the omission of many arguments. The report has two pages on the low-income housing tax credit, for example, but it does not mention an important critique in this AEI book, which is that developers may pocket the benefits of the program, leaving low-income renters no further ahead.

Ryan’s discussion of the WIC program does not mention that the program induces mothers to use baby formula, which is directly counter to government’s own advice about the advantages of breast milk. Similarly, Ryan’s food stamp discussion does not mention that billions of dollars are probably being spent on junk food, obviously contrary to government’s own advice on healthy eating.

When the Ryan report does cite the shortcomings of programs, it generally downplays them. For example, it says that …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Fourth Republican State Senator, Thomas O'Mara, Announces His Support for Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill – the Compassionate Care Act

March 4, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Support to Pass Compassionate Care Act Continues to Grow

Patients and Families: We Cannot Wait Any Longer for Relief

NEW YORK: Yesterday, Senator Tom O’Mara (R, C – Big Flats, Elmira) stated his support for the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would allow New Yorkers with serious and debilitating conditions to access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. Sen.

March 4, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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More on Unions and Freedom of Association

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Gary Galles

Space limitations for my “Labor Unions and Freedom of Association” Daily Article today required that some of the references to the clear understanding of the issues by individualists connected to the Austrian school of economics had to be edited out. But three of those contributions, from Auberon Herbert, Sylvester Petro, and Friedrich Hayek, are worth noting here.

Auberon Herbert, in his “The True Line of Deliverance, written over a century ago, wrote:

[M]ake the free‑trade footing universal for all. I do not mean that A and B should accept work on any terms other than those that they themselves approve; but that they should throw no dam round their labor by preventing C from…accepting terms which they decline. That is the true labor principle, universal individual choice…leave every man free to settle his own price of labor…In the case of a serious disagreement between an employer and his men, the union would remove all such men as wished to leave…But there would be no effort to prevent the employer obtaining new hands…There would be no strike, no picketing, no coercion of other men, no stigmatizing another fellow‑workman…because he was ready to take a lower wage. All this would be left perfectly free for each man to do according to what was right in his own judgment. If the employer had behaved badly, the true penalty would fall upon him; those who wished to leave his service would do so…That would be at once the true penalty and the true remedy.  Further than that in labor disputes has no man a right to go. He can throw up his own work, but he has no right to prevent others accepting that work.

Sylvester Petro, in his 1957 The Labor Policy of the Free Society, also wrote extensively about this issue from an Austrian perspective:

The operating principles of the free society are in no sense prejudiced or impaired by worker organizations as such. Quite the contrary. The right of free, voluntary association is a right which derives clearly and directly from those principles…the free society’s basic principles accord to workers the right to join together and to work in common…

The only limitation upon the voluntary association in the free society is the standard limitation placed upon the activities of all men in such a society: the voluntary association as a separate entity may not invade the property rights of persons, it may not …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Oil and Water Do Not Mix, or: Aliud Est Credere, Aliud Deponere

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

In this article published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Philipp Bagus, David Howden, and Amadeus Gabriel contend that fractional reserve deposit banking is impossible and illegitimate.
Working paper version.

Abstract

The financial crisis has led to new interest in the ethics of financial markets. In this article, we further the debate on the nature of banking contracts by showing that the fundamental subjective purposes of loan and deposit contracts are irreconcilable. Any resultant mixture of the two contracts is a legal aberration. We consider a mutual fund as an important and legitimate alternative to the common demand deposit to provide high liquidity and some yield without offering full availability of a nominal sum. Besides being a close substitute for how many deposit accounts function today, the mutual fund has the additional benefit of satisfying all legal and ethical requirements. Loan and investment contracts (such as money market mutual funds) allow for the “bank” to make use of their clients’ funds while the intents of money owners are clearly classified without running into legal or ethical problems.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Video: Peter Klein Asks: “Can Government Create Innovation?”

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Peter Klein explains why the Obama administration can’t create innovative manufacturing hubs by simply throwing around taxpayer’s money.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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A Compromise to Advance the Trade Agenda: Purge Negotiations of Investor-State Dispute Settlement

March 4, 2014 in Economics

The so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which enables foreign investors to sue host governments in third-party arbitration tribunals for treatment that allegedly fails to meet certain standards and that results in a loss of asset values, is an unnecessary, unreasonable, and unwise provision to include in trade agreements. In a new bulletin, Cato scholar Daniel J. Ikenson makes the case for purging ISDS from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Labor Unions and Freedom of Association

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Collective Bargaining Issue

Gary Galles writes in today’s Mises Daily:

As Walter Block put it in “Labor Relations, Unions, and Collective Bargaining: A Political Economic Analysis,” “unionism … admits of a voluntary and a coercive aspect. The philosophy of free enterprise is fully consistent with voluntary unionism, but is diametrically opposed to coercive unionism.” Voluntary unions are consistent with liberty because “if it is proper for one worker to quit his job, then all workers, together, have every right to do so, en masse.” And in his “The Yellow Dog Contract: Bring It Back!” he addressed this issue directly:

Are unions per se illegitimate? No. If all they do is threaten mass quits unless their demands are met, they should not be banned by law. But as a matter of fact, not a one of them limits itself in this manner. Instead, in addition, they threaten the person and property not only of the owner, but also of any workers who attempt to take up the wages and working conditions spurned by the union. They also favor labor legislation that compels the owner to deal with the union, when he wishes to ignore these workers and hire the “scabs” instead.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Libertarians and the Iraq War, 11 Years Later

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

The US Invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003. Since 2003, the United States took Iraq which was a dirt poor oppressive but secular authoritarian country where many religions were tolerated, and which posed no threat whatsoever to the United States; and turned Iraq into a much poorer basketcase of a country ruled by an authoritarian Islamist oligarchy in which non-Muslims are bombed and forced into exile on a regular basis. Saddam Hussein, a secular socialist who was a sworn enemy of Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorist organizations, was swept aside and the US paved the way for Al Qaeda which now has a presence in that country. The Iraq war was an abysmal and pointless disaster for everyone except the Western financiers and corporate merchants of death who were paid hundreds of billions to occupy and destroy Iraq on utterly false pretenses. There were no WMDs. And of course, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which had a lot to do with 9/11, and is arguably the most oppressive Islamist regime on earth is officially Best Friends Forever with the United States government.

One of the great things about the Mises Institute and its scholars is that it never wavered in its opposition to the Iraq War. As with most things, the Institute took no “official position” but unlike many conservative and libertarian organizations, it certainly didn’t publish any “policy papers” discussing the pros and cons of invading a foreign country for no reason, or sponsor any forums debating the destruction of the Bill of Rights in the name of “war on terror.” Nor did the MI care about making friends in Washington by supporting the latest crazed drive to war for the sake of some future imagined “strategic” victory. The modern libertarian tradition, from Cobden and Bright, to Sumner, to Mencken, to Chodorov, and to Rothbard is consistently anti-war, and of course, we continue that tradition.

In this great and concise video, Tom Woods and Scott Horton examine the myths that were propagated to drive the United States into that war. The US of course continues with similar lines of “argument” today for every new war and attempted war.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Whatever Its Faults, the Tea Party Identified the Right Target

March 4, 2014 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

It’s been five years since Rick Santelli’s CNBC “rant that shook the world” helped give rise to the Tea Party movement.

The first wave of anti-big-government protests began in the cities, and they were “about as libertarian as it gets,” as political number-cruncher Nate Silver put it at the time: light on moralism, heavy on “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets,” per the “Tea Party Patriots” founding credo.

The Tea Partiers identified the right target: our profligate political class.”

At the massive Sept. 12, 2009, Tea Party rally in Washington, Ron Paul’s kids mixed with graying Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers; I snapped pictures of “What Would Mises Do?” signs and an erudite codger with a placard blaring: “Austrian Business Cycle Theory!” Could it be — some of us dared hope — that we were witnessing the birth of that unlikeliest of creatures: a libertarian mass-movement?

Half a decade later, that looks like a classic case of “irrational exuberance.” No doubt there’s a lot to be said for a movement that drives genial establishmentarians like Sen.Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to paroxysms of rage: “These people are not conservatives!” Hatch howled on NPR in 2012, “they’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it. I despise these people!” (Doggone!)

Still, I can relate to the fellow at Thursday’s Capitol Hill Tea Party Patriots anniversary event, a former Ron Paul volunteer who volunteered to the Washington Post that he was “so frustrated talking to these neocons,” he needed a pre-noon shot of Jameson.

Early on, Beltway hawks were terrified that the movement would exercise “the scariest kind of influence” on American foreign policy, shrinking defense budgets and ending America’s globocop role. Yet “Tea Party Republicans hold about the same views as non-Tea Party Republicans about America’s role in solving world problems,” according to the Pew Research Center. And when polls show that ”tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security ‘unacceptable,’” we’re not talking about a particularly “radical” form of libertarianism.

More frustrating still, as Conor Friedersdorf has pointed out, too often, Tea Partiers have been suckers for “some of the most obviously irresponsible charlatans in American life.” If you’re a GOP pol who lacks the chops to become president of the U.S., Michael Brendan Dougherty observes, you may have “enough talent to become President of Conservatism.” The responsibilities are minimal …read more

Source: OP-EDS