You are browsing the archive for 2014 April 16.

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Audio: Lew Rockwell Discusses Anarcho-Capitalism With Ben Swann

April 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

We don’t need a ruling class, Lew Rockwell tells Ben Swann. (Mp3, 35 minutes)

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Shocking Secret Behind Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

April 16, 2014 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon

Barack Obama wants you to know he enrolled 7.5 million Americans through Obamacare’s health insurance Exchanges. What he doesn’t want you to know is how.

Federal courts may soon rule that President Obama induced the majority of those enrollees to enroll by offering them taxpayer dollars he has no legal authority to spend. 

If the courts put a stop to that unauthorized spending, a majority of Exchange enrollees would suddenly face the full cost of Obamacare coverage, and enrollments would plummet.

The president is literally forcing taxpayers, without any legal authorization, to subsidize two out of every three Exchange enrollments.”

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, states have the option of establishing an Exchange themselves, or letting the federal government do it. The Act also authorizes subsidies that can require taxpayers to cover nearly the entire premium for Exchange plans. Among the eligibility criteria for those subsidies is a requirement that recipients enroll “through an Exchange established by the State.”

Such requirements are routine, and this one is and unequivocal. Countless federal programs offer subsidies only in states that agree to implement them. The PPACA’s legislative history is littered with Republican and Democratic proposals to offer various subsidies — including tax credits and Exchange subsidies — exclusively in states that establish Exchanges.

The eligibility rules for the PPACA’s Exchange subsidies specify nine times, without deviation, that recipients must enroll “through an Exchange established by the State.” House Democrats even complained about this part of the Senate-passed PPACA before they themselves approved it, so they knew exactly what they were sending to the president’s desk.

Confounding supporters’ expectations, 34 states declined to establish Exchanges. Under the plain terms of federal law, subsidies are therefore available in the 16 Exchanges established by states, and not available in the 34 Exchanges established by the federal government.

In 2011, however, the Obama administration unilaterally announced it would force taxpayers to subsidize insurance purchased through federal Exchanges as well. It cited no statutory authority for its decision, and has stubbornly refused to follow its own law despite immediate and sustained criticism

In January of this year, the Obama administration began spending billions of dollars of unauthorized subsidies to induce Americans to enroll in the 34 Exchanges established by the federal government. The president is literally forcing taxpayers, without any legal authorization, to subsidize two out of every three Exchange enrollments. 

Fortunately, unlike …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Tax Day

April 16, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Yesterday was, of course, tax day, the day on which most Americans file their federal and state income taxes. This, it should be noted, is different from the day on which Americans finally stop working just to pay taxes, which this year falls on April 18, three days later than last year. Until then, the government collects, on average, every cent that Americans earn, so you may still have a few more days to go until you can keep the fruits of your labor.

Altogether, Americans will pay roughly $3 trillion in federal taxes this year, the most ever in nominal dollars. For taxes as a share of GDP, it is topped only by the year 2000. So much for the idea that our budget problems are caused by a lack of revenue.

Tax day inevitably brings out a wide variety of pundits and politicians to repeat a number of persistent myths about American taxation, in particular the recycled claims about how the current tax system is rigged against the poor and middle class to benefit the wealthy.

How much, really, do different brackets of wage earners pay?”

There certainly is much to criticize about the American tax system. It is far too complex and riddled with special-interest favors. There is definitely something wrong when an estimated 1,000 American households earning more than $1 million were able to avoid paying any income taxes in 2013. Moreover, the time and effort put into tax avoidance is badly distorting to the economy in general. Those who believe in free markets should admit that not every tax break is justifiable.

However, on the larger point, wealthy Americans already pay a disproportionate share of federal income taxes. The top 1 percent earns 16 percent of all income in the United States, while paying 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent earns just over a third of U.S. income, but pays 59 percent of federal income taxes. On the other hand, the bottom half of tax filers earns 12 percent of U.S. income, but pays just 2.4 percent of federal income taxes. In fact, the 400 highest-earning Americans together pay nearly as much in federal income taxes as do the 50 percent of taxpayers at the low end of the scale. So, yes, the rich earn a lot more than the rest of us — that’s what makes …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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10,000 New Books at the Mises Institute

April 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

photo (8)2

From the March issue of The Free Market: 

Gary North Donates 10,000 Books to Mises Institute

Dr. North said that he decided to donate the library to the Institute as a way to assist the Institute’s Fellows and faculty. “The Mises Institute has very bright summer interns: Ph.D. candidates working on their dissertations, with the assistance of scholars.”

The library “is heavily oriented towards history and social science,” North explained, recalling that “not many economists are gifted historians the way Murray Rothbard was. He would have loved [the library].”

The books arrived today:

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Kathie Lee Gifford Is a Trojan Horse for Conservative Causes

April 16, 2014 in Blogs

By Daniel D’Addario, Salon

The less-than-candid 'Today' show host lets her real right-wing flag fly on her podcast.


“Today” personality Kathie Lee Gifford was recently admonished by NBC higher-ups for promoting her line of wines, the punnily named Gifft, on-air. The idea, in part, is that “Today” is to some degree a news program, one that ought to be held to a higher standard than a regular chatfest.

Fortunately Gifford has a podcast, where she has for months been endorsing personal causes, from her wine to right-wing politics. It turns out that Gifford is something of a Trojan horse for conservatism, presenting for an hour a day the banal niceties that get viewers through the morning–then putting out a weekly podcast that’s one long dog whistle with occasional wine plugs.

There’s nothing wrong with this, of course — Gifford’s entitled to her opinions. But the success of her TV persona has rested upon the perception of Gifford as a freewheeling truth-teller who will say anything on camera. As it so happens, this whole time she’s been holding back more than a few opinions.

On a recent podcast episode, for instance, Gifford interviewed Cal Thomas, a Fox News commentator who has said that no new mosques should be allowed to be built in the U.S. and has been outspoken against acceptance of homosexuality. Oddly, Gifford consistently represented Thomas as a nonpartisan figure striving only to find solutions to unnamed crises. “There’s no hidden agenda with you, is there? You just love this country and want it to be great.” The pair went on to discuss the necessity of Congressional term limits (because, in Gifford’s telling, the human heart is twisted and dark) and the so-called “Age of Entitlement.” Gifford told a stem-winder about how she once confronted Hillary Clinton and asked her when rich people “became the enemy.” (The social safety net, in Gifford’s telling, “destroys lives” because dreams of growing rich are what make life worth living.)

Gifford and Thomas agree on just about everything — for much of the interview, neither will mention President Obama at all, but they shame the listeners for not voting, or …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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May 4 Is the Deadline for Applications to the Rothbard Graduate Seminar

April 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

RGS14Ad

Rothbard Graduate Seminar

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Sponsored by Alice Lillie

The purpose of the Rothbard Graduate Seminar is to provide an intense study of Misesian and Rothbardian economic analytics, along with the substantive conclusions of that research in related fields.

The core text is Economic Controversies, which each attendee will receive.  The schedule is forthcoming.  Welcoming remarks and discussions take place over dinner Sunday June 8. Sessions begin Moday morning June 9 and end Friday late afternoon June 13.

Attendance is limited to a small number of exceptional students who are pursuing graduate degrees in economics, history, philosophy, law, political science, and business disciplines and who seek a career in academia or research.

Apply here.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The IMF is Dead Wrong on Low Interest Rates

April 16, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Hot Orange Interest Rate Border

Brendan Brown writes in today’s Mises Daily:

In its just-published World Economic Outlook the IMF trumpets the view that the real level of equilibrium interest rates worldwide has declined substantially since the 1980s and is now in slightly negative territory. There is a good Irish word to describe this story: baloney.

The IMF authors (“Perspectives on Global Real Interest Rates,” April 2014) cite three factors accounting for their hypothesized decline in rates: substantially higher savings in the emerging market economies, an increased riskiness of equity relative to bonds coupled with an increased demand for safe assets, and finally, a persistent decline in investment rates in advanced economies especially since the recent global financial crisis. They are oblivious to two huge potential errors in their analysis.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Paul Ryan and the GOP's Anti-Robin Hood Spending Plan—Less Money for Poor Kids, More for the Rich

April 16, 2014 in Blogs

By Leo Gerard, AlterNet

Could it be more obvious that Washington is owned by the wealthy?


Rejecting dozens of heroic characters, from Captain America to Underdog, Republicans last week chose instead a villain for their figurehead. 

They selected Prince John, the guy who coddled the rich and tried to crush Robin Hood. House Republicans voted to elevate Prince John as their champion when they passed a budget slashing taxes for the rich and decimating programs for workers and low-income Americans.

Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, who authored the anti-Robin Hood spending plan, said the budget “comes down to a matter of trust.”  Trust, Ryan believes, should be placed in the rich and Washington politicians like him, a Prince John man who devised a spending scam enriching the rich and depriving the rest. Ryan asked, “Who knows better: the people or Washington?” The GOP answer: Washington, of course. A place purchased by the very, very rich.

Ryan’s anti-Robin Hood spending plan takes health care from the poor and elderly and gives tax breaks to the rich and super rich. Really. Republicans voted to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. Nice, right? Except for Americans who depend on Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare.

Republicans voted to voucherize Medicare, which would force senior citizens to pay thousands of dollars more each year. Ryan and his fellow House Republicans voted to kill Obamacare, which means the 7.1 million who got insurance on the exchanges would lose it; the 3.1 million young people covered under Obamacare’s extension of their parents’ plans would lose insurance, and the 3 million who got insurance under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion would lose it.

That’s 13 million without health insurance, in addition to low-income seniors struggling to pay premiums as Ryan’s vouchers lose value. But, hey, billionaires get a tax break!

Ryan’s anti-Robin Hood spending scheme provides more money for guns and less for bread. Republicans would increase military spending by $483 billion above caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act while slashing non-arms spending by $791 billion. 

That works out well for Republican hawks like John McCain who want to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” Not so …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Unarmed Black Man Shot in the Back by San Antonio Police, Parents Say

April 16, 2014 in Blogs

By David Lee, Courthouse News

The officer has a history of racial profiling and a short temper.


 

SAN ANTONIO (CN) – An off-duty San Antonio police officer shot to death an unarmed black man as he walked away from a restaurant drive-through, the man's parents claim in court.
Cheryl Jones and Black Lamkin sued the city, police Officer Robert Encina, Quinonez Foodservice, Chacho's 8614 Perrin Beitel Ltd. and John Burke, president of Quinonez and Chacho's, in Federal Court.
Their son, Marquis Jones, 23, was a passenger a car driven by Fabian Garcia on Feb. 28. Jones' sister, Whitney Jones, and her roommate, Dominue Carter, also were passengers. None are parties to the lawsuit.
Garcia's car struck the car in front of it in the drive-through lane at Chacho's and Chalucci's, a Tex-Mex restaurant in northeast San Antonio. The collision was minor, no damage was done and the unidentified driver of the other car returned to her vehicle to wait on her order “without incident” after Garcia apologized, the parents say in the complaint.
Encina was in uniform working security at the restaurant.
“Out of nowhere, defendant Encina approached Garcia's car and demanded that he turn off his vehicle and get out of his car for no lawful reason,” the 26-page complaint states. “Defendant Encina searched and handcuffed Garcia and used inappropriate force on him. Jones, witnessing how defendant Encina was treating Garcia, became afraid and decided he would leave so that he would not be attacked by defendant Encina.”
Jones was afraid because he Officer Encina harassed him a few days before, his parents say.
“Defendant Encina, noticing Jones leaving, pushed Garcia aside and began to pursue Jones,” the complaint states. “Not once did defendant Encina identify himself or command Jones to stop. Defendant Encina, for no lawful reason or fear of imminent danger, pulled out his service revolver and shot Jones in the back as he attempted to leave Chacho's. There exist no reasons for Defendant Encina to shoot and kill Jones in cold blood.”
Police told the San Antonio Express-News that Jones displayed a handgun as he left the front passenger seat. They said Jones ran and collapsed …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The 1% Wants to Ban Sleeping in Cars Because It Hurts Their 'Quality of Life'

April 16, 2014 in Blogs

By Gary Blasi, The Guardian

Depriving homeless people of their last shelter in life is Silicon Valley at its worst.


Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.

This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California's Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don't protect the quality of life of the poor.

To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.

Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.

Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former …read more

Source: ALTERNET