You are browsing the archive for 2014 March 12.

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Audio: Mark Thornton On Chicago vs. Austrian Healthcare and Mises Global

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Mark Thornton talks with Redmond Weissenberger about healthcare and more.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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President Obama’s Investment Skills

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Randall Holcombe

After the Obama administration bailed out General Motors by purchasing a 60.8% ownership share in the company for $49.5 billion, President Obama said, “We expect taxpayers will get back all the money my administration has invested in GM.” (I do like the way the president takes responsibility for the investment.) Now, the president’s administration has sold all of its ownership in GM and taken a $10 billion loss.

It is worth noting that what the president called an investment on behalf of the taxpayers lost 20% of its value, and that the president’s expectations on the investment his administration made did not pan out.

I don’t know whether the president actually believed the GM bailout would yield a profit or whether that was just political rhetoric he hoped people would forget over the years. Either way, it turned out not to be true.

The loss on the GM investment did not attract much notice, especially compared to other investments the president has made on behalf of the taxpayers, such as the $500 million it lost on the Solyndra loan guarantees. Interesting, considering that the GM loss was 20 times larger.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mises Academy: “How the Government Wrecks the Economy”

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

robert_murphy

Coming April 24 from Mises Academy:

Robert P. Murphy will present “How the Government Wrecks the Economy” for Mises Academy. This series of six weekly lectures is part of the Basics of Economics series.

The course is ideal for homeschoolers and students from middle school through college. It covers chapters 15-23 of instructor Robert Murphy’s textbook Lessons for the Young Economist (free download here). It follows his previous two courses on the textbook. Those courses are available for Independent Study enrollment, but they are NOT necessary for taking, or understanding the content of, this course.

Register here. 

  • Lectures will be Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.  They will be recorded and made available for enrolled students to download.
  • All readings will be free and online. A fully hyper-linked syllabus with readings for each weekly topic will be available for all students.
  • The final grade will depend on quizzes. Taking the course for a grade is optional. This course is worth 3 credits in Mises Academy. Feel free to ask your school to accept Mises Academy credits. You will receive a digital Certificate of Completion for this course if you take it for a grade, and a Certificate of Participation if you take it on a paid-audit basis.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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For First Time Ever, Assembly Includes Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill in Their One-House Budget Bill, Jumpstarting Negotiations With Senate and Governor

March 12, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

As Assembly Gathers to Vote, Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers from Across NY Descend on Albany to Demand Senate Join Assembly and Deliver the Compassionate Care Act to Cuomo for Signature

Day of Actions Include Public Hearing on Bill, Evening Event in Nearby Latham, and Powerful New Video About Patients, Doctors and the Compassionate Care Act

Albany – Today, the State Assembly is introducing and passing their one-house budget proposal, which, for the first time ever, includes the New York’s comprehensive medical marijuana proposal – the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357-A -Gottfried) / S.4406-A -Savino). As the Assembly gathers to pass the measure, dozens of patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers are descending on Albany to press the State Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act.

March 12, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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All Videos from January’s Mises Circle

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

All videos from January’s Mises Circle, “The Police State: Know It When You See It.”

See also, “Whatever Happened to Peace Officers?” by Jeff Deist and “Mussolini’s Idea of the State and Its American Defenders” by Lew Rockwell.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ukraine Should Have Kept Its Nukes

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

U.S. policymakers are scrambling to craft a coherent response to Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. There is an undercurrent of worry that the Crimea intervention may be just the first move in a campaign by Vladimir Putin either to detach much of eastern Ukraine from Kiev’s control or to oust the new Ukrainian government and bring all of the country firmly into Moscow’s orbit. Despite the abundance of rhetorical posturing, though, there is little that the United States and its European allies can do to prevent Russia from pursuing its goals regarding Ukraine — unless they are willing to risk a military confrontation with a nuclear-armed power in its own neighborhood. And no sane person advocates that. Even Senator John McCain concedes that U.S. military intervention is not an option.

Ironically, Washington itself adopted a policy two decades ago that eliminated the one factor that might have deterred Putin from using military force against his neighbor. When the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991, Russia was not the only successor to inherit the USSR’s nuclear weapons. Ukraine (along with Kazakhstan and Belarus) also did so. Ukraine alone had nearly four thousand such weapons on its soil. But U.S. leaders were adamant that those countries relinquish their newly acquired arsenals, leaving Russia as the only nuclear-armed successor state.

Moscow received a great geopolitical gift when Washington succumbed to its obsession to oppose nuclear proliferation in all cases, regardless of the strategic circumstances.”

Washington adopted a concerted carrot and stick strategy to persuade the newly independent countries to turn over their nukes to Russia. The main carrot was the promise of generous aid packages — not a small consideration for governments now struggling with an assortment of major economic woes. The financial inducements, though, were predicated on their willingness to fully cooperate in Washington’s effort to roll back the inadvertent proliferation that had occurred with the USSR’s disintegration. The stick was an implicit, but unsubtle, message that if they insisted on keeping their inherited arsenals, the United States would treat them as it would any other “rogue” proliferators and lead an international effort to isolate them, diplomatically and economically.

The strategy worked. A handful of nationalists in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, suspicious of the Kremlin’s long-term intentions, believed that independent nuclear deterrents were the best way to guarantee that there would be no Russian …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Herbert Spencer, Freedom, and Empire

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Bryan Cheang writes in today’s Mises Daily:

Accordingly, Spencer attacked the foreign military adventurism that Britain continued to engage in, since it ran counter to the spirit of liberal progress. Britain had engaged in overseas wars in India, Afghanistan, and South Africa (the Boer War), and elsewhere. He denounced the hypocrisy in imperial policy which often used euphemisms like “defensive war” to mask, what to him was the true nature of imperial aggrandizement. The following becomes clear: Spencer’s radical stance struck at the heart of the essence of empire, for it denounced the foreign occupation of colonial territories. At a time when the race for colonial lands was seen to be a prerequisite for the glory and prestige of empire, especially during the late 1800s, Spencer argued that such foreign expansionism fostered tyranny over the domestic people.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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An Obama Tax That Can Silently Take Your Life Away

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

When I first became a reporter in 1945 for a Boston radio station, a veteran journalist commanded me: “Kid, when you’re on a good developing story, stay on it. Keep digging and updating.”

But now the majority of the media, from print to digital, increasingly do not follow that essential advice on crucial issues, except for a small number of reporters.

Last summer, I reported on physicians Fred Burbank and Thomas J. Fogarty, who had written an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal about a tax to pay for Obamacare that was imposed on U.S. manufacturers of medical devices, which, I wrote, “could potentially short-circuit the lives of the elderly. But what medical device inventors have created is not limited to the aged.”

What might this mean for you?

There is an answer in a short article that ran last month in the New York Post by Henry I. Miller, a physician and Robert Wesson fellow in scientific philosophy and public policy at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Miller wrote about “how an obscure tax that helps pay for the program is hammering the U.S. medical-device industry, killing jobs and threatening lifesaving advances.

“These devices include some of the genuine miracles of modern medicine: pacemakers, artificial joints, replacement heart valves, arterial stents, scanners and radiotherapy machines” (“The industry Obamacare is killing,” Henry I. Miller, New York Post, Feb. 21).

To insert a personal note: Last year, after an examination, my cardiologist urgently instructed me to have surgery to provide a pacemaker for my heart. With further research, I found that my life would be considerably shortened otherwise.

And when I was near 69, 20 years ago, I was told, “Your life is hanging by a thread,” and my surgeon went on to perform open-heart surgery.

“You’re lucky,” he later told me. “Only in recent years did we know how to do what I just did.”

Henry I. Miller of Stanford continued: “Our country has been the global leader in medical devices … and the industry is not composed of behemoths; 80 percent of its companies have 50 or fewer employees …

“After just 13 months, the tax has already cost on the order of 33,000 jobs in the industry itself and more than 100,000 more jobs due to the ripple effects … Countless other firms have frozen hiring and stopped matching contributions to retirement plans.”

How many Americans, whose lives may depend on discoveries by medical device manufacturers, know this?

According to the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Choosing to Learn

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Joseph L. Bast, Jason Bedrick, Lindsey Burke, Andrew J. Coulson, Robert C. Enlow, Kara Kerwin, Herbert J. Walberg

Joseph L. Bast, Jason Bedrick, Lindsey Burke, Andrew J. Coulson, Robert C. Enlow, Kara Kerwin & Herbert J. Walberg

Americans face a choice between two paths that will guide education in this nation for generations: self-government and central planning. Which we choose will depend in large measure on how well we understand accountability.

To some, accountability means government-imposed standards and testing, like the Common Core State Standards, which advocates believe will ensure that every child receives at least a minimally acceptable education. Although well-intentioned, their faith is misplaced and their prescription is inimical to the most promising development in American education: parental choice.

True accountability comes not from top-down regulations but from parents financially empowered to exit schools that fail to meet their child’s needs.”

True accountability comes not from top-down regulations but from parents financially empowered to exit schools that fail to meet their child’s needs. Parental choice, coupled with freedom for educators, creates the incentives and opportunities that spur quality. The compelled conformity fostered by centralized standards and tests stifles the very diversity that gives consumer choice its value.

Most low- and middle-income families today have no viable alternative to their zoned public school. Absent any alternatives, the school is not directly accountable to them, so policymakers try to approximate real accountability through one-size-fits-all regulations.

But distant bureaucrats cannot know the individual needs and preferences of every family. Nor do they share the local knowledge enjoyed by educators. Nevertheless, some policymakers and education experts have come to view top-down regulations as synonymous with “accountability” rather than as a pale imitation. They therefore mistakenly view parent-driven choice programs as “unaccountable,” confusing regulation with accountability.

In recent days, some have even argued that states should impose the Common Core tests on all school-choice programs. Yet there is no compelling body of evidence that top-down regulation improves student outcomes in schools that are already directly accountable to parents. By contrast, there is much evidence that direct accountability to parents yields results superior to those that are defined by bureaucratic red tape.

global review of the scientific research comparing different types of education systems reveals that the most market-like, least regulated systems consistently outperform more centralized and regulated ones — by a ratio of 15 statistically significant findings to one, across seven different measures of educational outcomes.

In the United States alone, eleven of twelve randomized-controlled trials — the gold standard of …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Governing for Poetry

March 12, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Who knew that American poetry was in such desperate shape, tottering on the brink of oblivion without massive government intervention?

Just a couple of years ago, Senate majority leader Harry Reid was worried that Republican budget cuts would spell the end of the Cowboy Poetry Festival. Now House minority leader Nancy Pelosi lauds Obamacare for enabling Americans to quit their jobs if they want to “write poetry.” The federal government spends $154 million per year to support the National Endowment for the Arts, which funds, among other things, poetry. We even have a government-subsidized national Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey.

The evidence suggests that we would be much better off with a bit less reliance on government, and a bit more reliance on civil society.”

Without the federal government, there might well be no poetry at all in the United States.

Sarcasm aside, insisting on such support is emblematic not just of a federal government grown too large, costly, and involved in ever more of our lives, but of the ethos of modern politics. Nothing good, it seems, is going to happen without government action.

The reality is that most government programs are at best a failure and at worst do positive harm to society and the people they purport to help. Civil society — that vast conglomeration of activity undertaken by individuals in the absence of government coercion — has proven to do the most good.

Take, for example, efforts to help the poor. Despite spending more than $18 trillion since the start of the War on Poverty — nearly $1 trillion last year alone — government welfare programs have failed to significantly reduce poverty rates.

Despite this demonstrated record of failure, welfare advocates insist that there is no alternative to an ever-growing welfare state. Without government welfare programs, millions of Americans would be starving in the street. There is a deep belief that if government did not intervene, Americans would never show compassion on their own.

Yet Americans have repeatedly shown that they are the most generous of people. In 2012, for instance, Americans donated more than $316 billion to private charity and spent some 10 billion hours volunteering to help others.

Moreover, the evidence suggests that Americans would give even more if their efforts weren’t being squeezed out by government. As far back as 1899, Frederic Almy, Secretary of the Buffalo Charity Organization Society, gathered data on public and …read more

Source: OP-EDS