You are browsing the archive for 2014 May 01.

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Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Stand with Israel Act of 2014 – May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Speaks in Support of Stand with Israel Act of 2014


May 1, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today took to the Senate floor to ask unanimous consent to call up and pass S. 2265, the Stand with Israel Act of 2014. This legislation halts all U.S. aid to the Palestinian government until it agrees to a ceasefire and recognizes the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Sen. Paul’s request to pass the bill was blocked.
‘I am deeply disappointed and disturbed by the Senate’s inability to stand with me in defense of Israel today. My support will not waiver and I hope the United States Senate will prevail in cutting off American aid to those that refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state,’ Sen. Paul said.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL’S REMARKS

TRANSCRIPT:
Mr. President, it is often said that foreign aid from America is to project American power, to project the things that America believes in. Unfortunately, over decades, the only thing consistent about foreign aid is that the money continues to flow, regardless of the behavior of the recipients.
This is extraordinary, and we have seen this decade after decade. Studies will show often that 75% of foreign aid throughout many continents is simply stolen, taken in graft. The Mubarak family in Egypt is an example of this.
The point that I would like to make today is if we are going to project what America stands for, that if we want our money to go to people who are supporting activities that America is for, we should write that into the law.
Now, we’ve made attempts at this in the past. Senator Leahy several years ago attached to foreign aid, an amendment that says that countries need to be evolving towards democracy or showing an ability to go forward towards democracy.
The problem is that every time we have restrictions on foreign aid, they’re evaded. We always give an out. The President has always got an out. So this week in Egypt, 683 people were condemned to death in one trial and yet your money still flows to Egypt without interruption.
We have another contingency that says, if a country has a military takeover, if you have an election and then you have a military junta or a military takeover of the government, then our aid should end. Didn’t happen in Egypt. We had a military takeover.
The only thing consistent about foreign aid is that it flows to all countries …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Obamacare Makes It Easier than Ever to Free-Ride

May 1, 2014 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon

Michael F. Cannon

Even if Obamacare really has enrolled 8 million Americans through its health insurance exchanges, that’s not good enough. For the exchanges to work, people must enroll and stay enrolled.

If too many enrollees drop out, premiums will climb until the exchanges collapse.

For the health insurance exchanges to work, people must enroll and stay enrolled.”

The experts are already worried. An estimated third of those who sign up for Exchange plans haven’t paid their first premium. In Texas, an estimated 58 percent haven’t paid. As many as 5 percent stop paying after the first month. Rising premiums and skimpy coverage may lead even more enrollees to drop out But the most important factor might be that Obamacare itself makes it safer and more attractive than ever for healthy people to drop their coverage and wait until they get sick to re—enroll.

Before Obamacare, choosing not to buy health insurance, at least for a time, was already a pretty safe bet for most healthy people. You saved thousands of dollars per year, and the odds of having unmet medical needs or unpaid medical bills were low.

Under Obamacare, choosing not to buy health insurance can save you even more, and the downside is much, much smaller.

First, the savings. Obamacare increases premiums for healthy people – in some cases, even if you qualify for a subsidy. So dropping coverage will save you even more money than before. (You can avoid the toothless penalty for people who don’t obtain coverage by ensuring the IRS won’t owe you a refund.)

Second, Obamacare makes being uninsured a low—risk proposition than before. If you receive a serious diagnosis like diabetes or cancer while uninsured, Obamacare requires exchange plans to cover you, at the same premium as healthy people, no later than the following January. In many cases, you can get coverage even sooner. For example:

  • If you live in one of the 25 or so states implementing Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, like California, you can get coverage immediately by temporarily reducing your income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,000 for single adults. Once January rolls around, you can enroll in an exchange plan and boost your income back to where it was. Depending on how often the state verifies Medicaid eligibility, you could return to your previous income even sooner.
  • If you don’t live in a Medicaid—expansion state, you can get …read more

    Source: OP-EDS

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Hipsters, Washing Machines, and the Materialism of the Socialists

May 1, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Soviet_Poster_4

In today’s Mises Daily article, Gary Galles writes:

There is also irony in accusations that freedom causes materialism, when obtaining increased abundance was the original argument for socialism. But when a socialistic organization has proven to create poverty and capitalism inconceivably greater wealth, that once-promised result now supposedly makes us materialists. [Emphasis added.]

It is unfortunately forgotten by many that socialists of the nineteenth century, and the first half of the twentieth century,  argued that one of the best reasons to adopt socialism was because it would produce more consumer goods and allow for much more consumption than the “inefficient” capitalist system.

It was maintained not just that socialism was morally superior, but that it was economically superior, and would produce more growth and more opportunities for leisure than the market system.

This view of socialism as producing better results was quite popular among left-wing intellectuals, and was even begrudgingly admitted by some-anti-Communists who did not know better. Thus, it was not really until the 1980s that it became generally accepted that consumer goods in the Communist world were shoddy, inferior, and more scarce.

This view even began to permeate popular culture, and some may remember the Saturday Nigh Live spoof commercial commemorating the opening of the first McDonalds restaurant in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. In the commercial, spokespeople for McDonalds happily pointed out that Soviet Happy Meals would include wonderful luxuries such as bars of soap and toilet paper.

Economics and intellectuals, however, were a little slower to catch on. Paul Samuelson, for example, in his influential economics textbook remained convinced that socialism would produce a more robust economy than the market system right up to the bitter end:

Samuelson’s influential textbook has been criticized for including comparative growth rates between the United States and the Soviet Union that were inconsistent with historical GNP differences. The 1967 edition extrapolates the possibility of Soviet/U.S. realGNP parity between 1977 and 1995. Each subsequent edition extrapolated a date range further in the future until those graphs were dropped from the 1985 edition. Samuelson concluded the economic description of the Soviet Union and marxism in 1989: “Contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, the Soviet economy is proof that … a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.” The Collapse of Communism happened during the same year and the Soviet Union broke up two years later.

Much Cold War propaganda from the Soviet side during the 1950s and …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Hipsters, Washing Machines, and the Materialism of the Socialists

May 1, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Soviet_Poster_4

In today’s Mises Daily article, Gary Galles writes:

There is also irony in accusations that freedom causes materialism, when obtaining increased abundance was the original argument for socialism. But when a socialistic organization has proven to create poverty and capitalism inconceivably greater wealth, that once-promised result now supposedly makes us materialists. [Emphasis added.]

It is unfortunately forgotten by many that socialists of the nineteenth century, and the first half of the twentieth century,  argued that one of the best reasons to adopt socialism was because it would produce more consumer goods and allow for more consumption than the “inefficient” capitalist system.

It was maintained not just that socialism was morally superior, but that it was economically inferior, and would produce more growth and more opportunities for leisure than the market system.

This view of socialism as producing better results was quite popular among left-wing intellectuals, and was even begrudgingly admitted by some-anti-Communists who did not know better. Thus, it was not really until the 1980s that it became generally accepted that consumer goods in the Communist world were shoddy, inferior, and more scarce.

This view even began to permeate popular culture, and some may remember the Saturday Nigh Live spoof commercial commemorating the opening of the first McDonalds restaurant in the Soviet Union. In the commercial, spokespeople for McDonalds happily pointed out that Soviet Happy Meals would include wonderful luxuries such as bars of soap and toilet paper.

Economics and intellectuals, however, were a little slower to catch on. Paul Samuelson, for example, in his influential economics textbook remained convinced that socialism would produce a more robust economy than the market system right up to the bitter end:

Samuelson’s influential textbook has been criticized for including comparative growth rates between the United States and the Soviet Union that were inconsistent with historical GNP differences. The 1967 edition extrapolates the possibility of Soviet/U.S. realGNP parity between 1977 and 1995. Each subsequent edition extrapolated a date range further in the future until those graphs were dropped from the 1985 edition. Samuelson concluded the economic description of the Soviet Union and marxism in 1989: “Contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, the Soviet economy is proof that … a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.” The Collapse of Communism happened during the same year and the Soviet Union broke up two years later.

Much Cold War propaganda from the Soviet side during the 1950s and 60s had focused on …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Rx for a Healthy Economy: Cold and Unhealthy Consumers

May 1, 2014 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Regarding the nasty GDP report for last quarter,  a Bloomberg reporter commented, “American consumers were a lone bright spot as households spent more to heat their homes and access health care.”  In other words, if it were not for greater hardships that befell consumers, namely an unusually colder winter and a greater scarcity of health care,  the U.S. economy would not have performed as well as it did in the first quarter of 2014.   According to this topsy turvy Keynesian  logic, it would have been  better for the U.S. economy if the winter had been even more severe and health care even more expensive, stimulating U.S. consumers to spend more trying to stay warm and remain healthy.  This is Bastiat’s broken window fallacy on steroids and it is inherent in modern macroeconomics, which holds that spending, especially consumer spending, keeps the economy from plunging into recession.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Markets Are About Much More Than Material Goods

May 1, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Rodin's The Thinker 0848

Gary Galles writes in today’s Mises Daily: 

Murray Rothbard once noted that “One of the most common charges leveled against the free market is that it reflects and encourages unbridled ‘selfish materialism’ … it distracts man from higher ideals. It leads man away from spiritual or intellectual values.” But that allegation is far from true.

However, freedom does advance the potential for greater achievement of those ends, by offering individuals the most effective means of removing scarcity’s impediments.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE