You are browsing the archive for 2014 March 11.

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Paul Cantor Discusses ‘Dallas Buyers Club’

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Mises Institute Associated Scholar (and author of The Invisible Hand in Popular Culture) Paul Cantor writes:

We’re launching a project to combine pop culture and free market economics.  Next up is a discussion of HOUSE OF CARDS, and we just recorded programs on the LEGO MOVIE and GHOSTBUSTERS.

Listen to the Dallas Buyers Club podcast here.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Judge Napolitano on ‘The Daily Show’ Tonight

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

He’ll be there to discuss Abe Lincoln after The Daily Show savagely attacked Napolitano recently for this sort of thing:

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Don’t Dis Crony Capitalism, Sniffs Bruce Bartlett

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Bruce Bartlett, who’s almost twice my age, and apparently had some sort of “important” job back when I was in grade school, says I’m “living in the past” for talking about the transcontinental railroad:

Wow. This is a guy who calls himself a historian. I guess that fact that Obama and other pols still invoke the railroads as a justification for modern infrastructure projects escapes Bartlett. Or perhaps he’s just mad that someone would point out that it’s a bad thing to steal from the taxpayers and give to politically-well-connected corporations.

Or he may just be still on his anti-Mises Institute/anti Lew Rockwell crusade, which recently included his nutty about Peter Klein’s article on budget default.

Also, Bruce, don’t look now, but there’s a whole teevee show about the transcontinental railroad on AMC right now called Hell on Wheels, It’s actually quite popular, and a fourth season is likely. And even though a popular television show would never, ever have any effect on modern ideologies or modern politics, I’m going to review it for Mises Daily. I look forward to reading your tweets about it.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Support the Battle of Ideas; Not Tyrants

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

Today at the Circle Bastiat Ron Paul offers sage commentary on the Ukraine where he asks and answers with a resounding NO, “Can we afford the Ukraine?

A good follow up appears in the Wall Street Journal where William Easterly argues that both U.S. and private aid is misguided and misspent. Too much ‘aid’ supports tyrants and is contra-productive in supporting freedom and developing prosperity. See

William Easterly: How About Aiding Freedom Instead of Autocrats?

Highlights:

Attributing development success to autocrats misreads the evidence on autocracy and development. Academic researchers running statistical tests on historical data find that prosperity in the West is largely due to individuals realizing their own political and economic rights.

And

The good news is that the long-run trend is toward the spread of freedom, as people assert their own rights. Western humanitarians should support them in the battle of ideas, not fight against them by giving spurious intellectual justification and financial support to their oppressive rulers.

Even better; support the battle for liberty entirely through voluntary means. MI is a good place to begin.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Death of an Auto Industry

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By David Howden

800px-2008-08-19_Flat_tire

It’s not just the auto industries of Canada and the United States that are plodding along towards a slow demise. The auto industry in Australia will soon be a piece of history, according to Iain Marlow writing for The Globe and Mail.

With the pullout of General Motors’ owned  Holden by 2017, Australia will be the only other G20 country (along with Saudi Arabia) to not have a major auto industry, “and all the economic activity and middle class jobs that come with it.”

The apparent problem is the Australian government’s lack of desire to provide deep subsidies. Without this lifeline, auto factories will disappear as manufacturers move production to lower cost countries. Australia’s auto industry has been in sharp decline since 1984, the year that industry minister John Button introduced his reform plan for the automotive sector called “the Motor Industry Development Plan.” At the time the auto sector was protected by high tariffs – 57.5% in 1978 – as well as import quotas and local content requirements.

Today, 30 years on from the reduction of these tariffs and quotas, the auto industry in Australia faces intense foreign competition. It costs GM about $2,000 more per car to build in Australia than elsewhere. To complicate matters, with a population of only 23 million people the Australian market is too small for the economies of scale that can occur in industry with large amounts of output. Ford Australia chief Bob Graziano has defended the withdrawal from the Australian market, stating “The business case simply did not stack up… Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia.”

The auto union, for its part, has been heavily lobbying the government for subsidies to regain “competiveness.” As it is clear these are not forthcoming, it has switched tactics to focus on having the government pay the cost of retraining and fostering new industries for the dislodged auto workers.

As with any subsidy, tariff or quota, there are winners and losers. The auto industry in Australia has gained from these policies while every single Australian has lost in the sense that not only have they been forced to finance an uncompetitive industry, they have also had their access to cheaper foreign-made cars reduced. Indeed, as Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey laments “Australians effectively determined the future of the Australian motor vehicle manufacturing industry by not buying Australian-made cars.”

In short, Australians …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Hannity on Fox News – March 10, 2014

March 11, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Cato University 2014

March 11, 2014 in Economics

Cato University is the Cato Institute’s premier educational event of the year, bringing together like-minded people to share ideas on how to advance, enhance, and defend the principles of liberty, free markets, and individual rights. This annual program, held this year at the magnificent Rancho Bernardo Inn just a few miles north of San Diego, brings together outstanding faculty and participants from across the globe — all sharing a commitment to liberty and learning.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Sometimes a 'Willingness to Steal' from the Government Is a Good thing

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

On Monday, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden beamed himself into a packed room at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, telling the crowd he broke the law to expose NSA spying because “the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale.”

Snowden shouldn’t have gotten a hearing, insisted an irate Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan. — his “only apparent qualification is his willingness to steal from his own government.”

No doubt this sounds familiar to Betty Medsger, the author of a fascinating new book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.

Forty-three years ago Saturday, an unlikely band of antiwar activists calling themselves “The Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI” broke into a bureau branch office in Media, Pa., making off with reams of classified documents. Despite a manhunt involving 200 agents at its peak, they were never caught, but the files they leaked proved that the agency was waging a secret, unconstitutional war against American citizens.

As a young Washington Post reporter, Medsger was the first to receive and publish selections from the files — over the protests of then-attorney general (and later Watergate felon) John Mitchell, who called the Post three times falsely claiming that publication would jeopardize national security and agents’ lives.

Decades in journalism really taught Medsger how to write an arresting lede; her book begins:

“In late 1970, William Davidon, a mild-mannered physics professor at Haverford College, privately asked a few people this question:

‘What do you think of burglarizing anI FBI office?’”

What follows is one hell of a (true) story: riveting as any heist film, and far more significant. With the statute of limitations expired, and the Citizens senior citizens, five of the original eight have come forward to tell the tale.

“As if arranged by the gods of irony,” Medsger writes, the very morning Hoover learned of the break-in, then-assistant attorney general William H. Rehnquist (later Chief Justice), in testimony the FBI helped prepare, told Congress that what little surveillance the government engaged in did not have a “chilling effect” on constitutional rights.

Two weeks later, one of the first documents Medsger published—a memo exhorting agents to “enhance the paranoia” among antiwar protesters and “get the point across there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox”—gave the lie to that notion.

But the most important purloined document turned out to be a routing slip with the cryptic notation “COINTELPRO—NEW LEFT.” Americans eventually learned that “COINTELPRO” was FBI argot for “counterintelligence program”: domestic “black ops” against “subversives.” It started …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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How to Deal with North Korea

March 11, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea long has been recognized as one of the globe’s most difficult challenges. For two decades concern over Pyongyang’s nuclear program has dominated international attention toward the Korean peninsula. The new United Nations report on the North’s human-rights practices reminds us that the DPRK most directly is a threat to its own people.

Washington needs to develop a positive package for a reform North Korean leadership: peace treaty, trade, aid and integration.”

What to do about the North Korean problem has troubled three successive U.S. administrations. All have variously tried engagement and isolation, without success; embraced South Korea and Japan, allied states threatened by Pyongyang; and pressed China, the North’s only ally, to intervene. The result is a tentative nuclear state seemingly ruled by an immature third-generation dictator willing to terrorize even his own family. At least there have been few direct consequences for America, which has sufficient military capacity to deter all but the insane or suicidal, neither of which, thankfully, appears to characterize the leaders in Pyongyang.

Not so lucky are the residents of North Korea, however. There never has been any question about the extraordinary nature of DPRK tyranny. Among others, The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea has published devastating reports on North Korean human-rights practices. But the United Nations just released its own gruesome analysis. The UN typically fillsits official human-rights bodies with human-rights offenders—China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Gaddafi’s Libya, etc. However, Pyongyang’s practices are so grotesque that even the normally tolerant world body took notice.

The UN issued 372 pages of detailed findings. But the 36-page summary report alone is devastating. The finding is simple: “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed” by the DPRK. “In many instances, the violations found entailed crimes against humanity based on State policies.” While far too many nations today mistreat and even murder their peoples, North Korea’s policies are extraordinary and extreme by any standard.

Yet the challenge facing the U.S. and other nations regarding human rights in the North is a lot like the security problem: what to do? The Kim dynasty has demonstrated no interest in disarming. Nor has it ever hinted at the slightest interest in treating the North Korean people better. Arguing that human rights should be an international priority doesn’t change matters.

Trying to convince the isolated …read more

Source: OP-EDS