You are browsing the archive for 2014 June 06.

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Helio Beltrão Talks World Cup Cronyism and Brazil’s Liberty Movement on Mises Weekends

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Brazilian entrepreneur and businessman Helio Beltrão talks to Jeff Deist about crony capitalism and the upcoming FIFA World Cup, and why the Liberty Movement is like a soccer team. It’s also on iTunes. 

Here is the YouTube version:

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Judge Thomas Shedden Orders State of Arizona to Add PTSD to the List of Debilitating Conditions Eligible for Medical Marijuana

June 6, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Arizona On the Road to Becoming Twelfth State to Provide PTSD Patients Access to Medical Marijuana

Veterans, Medical Professionals and Advocates Winning in Three Year Quest To Change Arizona Law and Acknowledge Medical Marijuana’s Benefit for PTSD

Phoenix, AZ – After years of hard-fought efforts a coalition of patients, medical professionals, and advocates succeeded in demonstrating the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Administrative Law Judge who heard the case. The Arizona Dept. of Health has denied all petitions submitted previously.

June 6, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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The Birth of the ‘Marijuana Bank’

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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It may be a stillbirth. As mentioned here and here, banks refuse to conduct business with legal cannabis-related businesses in Colorado because federal regulations prohibit banks from doing business with merchants who deal with substances deemed illegal by the federal government.

In response, the Colorado legislature passed legislation providing for the creation of “marijuana banks”:

Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation to try to establish the world’s first financial system for the largely cash-only marijuana industry.

The bill signed Friday morning seeks to form a network of uninsured cooperatives designed to give pot businesses a way to access basic banking services.

Banks that fear violating federal law don’t allow marijuana businesses access to basic financial services. That has led to fears that the burgeoning marijuana industry can be a target for robberies.

Here we see a state government attempting an end run around federal regulations. It’s a mild form of nullification at work. Unfortunately, the nature of the new banks requires the Federal Reserve to sign off on the plan, which possibly ensures the plan will never come to fruition.

In much of the country, politicians still seem to think that the legalization of cannabis is some sort of dangerous social experiment (even though cannabis was legal pretty much everywhere on earth prior to the 1930s), but in Colorado, within 18 months of the voter-forced legalization taking effect, people who oppose legalization are now considered the eccentric ones.

“We are trying to improvise and come up with something in Colorado to give marijuana business some opportunity,” remarks one conservative Republican. “This is not something that we can wait for any further,” says a Democrat.

Meanwhile, a member of Congress from Colorado has introduced the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2013 in DC.

Photo credit: DJ Spiess

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Mises Institute’s New Look

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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A typeface can be a very exciting thing. There’s a whole feature-length movie about the Helvetica typeface, for instance.

Here at the Mises Institute, we’ve introduced a new typeface and format for our name (feel free to just call us “the Mises Institute”), as reflected in the store’s new page, in the future Mises.org, and in our new sign at the Mises Institute in Auburn:

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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James Grant and Robert Blumen in ‘The Free Market,’ Now Online

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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If you’re a member of the Mises Institute, June’s issue of The Free Market is on its way to your mailboxes now.

May’s issue is now online, and in it you can find a condensed version of Jim Grant’s Henry Hazlitt Memorial Lecture. Also inside is an interview with Robert Blumen about the growth of Austrian Economics within the investment community. You’ll find the latest news about Mises Institute events and publications, and more.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ron Paulian Economist Elected Prez

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

I’m often fearful when I learn about new feature-length movies that are explicitly libertarian because they often suffer from tiny budgets and inexperience among the actors and crew.

In this case however, the movie looks to have an adequate budget (based on the diversity and quality of shots in the trailer) and the actors have real and lengthy IMDB credits.

According to IMDB:

Alongside Night is the story of the final economic collapse of the United States as seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Elliot Vreeland, searching for his missing Nobel-laureate-economist father, and the mysterious teenage “Lorimer” whom Elliot meets in a black-market underground, whose own father might be the reason Elliot’s father is missing.

According to the Director:

This is a teaser trailer for the new futuristic political thriller, Alongside Night, based on the J. Neil Schulman novel praised by Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, Glenn Beck [even a broken clock...], and Ron Paul, written, produced, and directed by the original novel’s author.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sat: Patients and Caregivers to March in Marcellus Olde Home Days Parade to Urge Action on Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill

June 6, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Compassionate Care Act is Being Held in Senate Finance Committee by Senator John DeFrancsico Who Represents Marcellus and Surrounding Areas

As Legislative Clock Winds Down, Senate Delays Means Patients and Families Continued to Suffer

Marcellus, NY — Tomorrow, dozens of parents of children with epilepsy and patients living with multiple sclerosis and other serious, debilitating medical conditions will parade down Main Street in Marcellus with a float to draw attention to the Compassionate Care Act (S.4406-B/Savino and A.6357-B/Gottfried). The group will also have a booth at the festival following the parade to educate parade goers about how the bill could help alleviate the suffering of New Yorkers with serious illnesses or debilitating conditions.

June 6, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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New Cato Policy Report Reveals Woodrow Wilson’s Great Mistake

June 6, 2014 in Economics

The consequences of war are extremely difficult to predict and often impossible to control. However, in the new issue of Cato Policy Report, Jim Powell argues that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was substantially responsible for the unintended consequences of World War I that played out in Germany and Russia, contributing to the rise of totalitarian regimes and another world war. Also in this issue, Cato CEO John A. Allison explains a fundamental economic concept: opportunity cost.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Fix Incentives, Not Infrastructure

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Randal O’Toole

Randal O’Toole

The United States does not face an infrastructure crisis, at least with regard to transportation. That’s just a story told by people who want to raise your taxes so they can get rich.

Instead, the United States faces an incentives crisis, in which some people have incentives to build new infrastructure we don’t need (making them rich) while neglecting the infrastructure we have. The solution is not to raise taxes, but to change the incentives.

Supporters of tax increases talk about crumbling highways and collapsing bridges. In fact, our highways and bridges are better than ever. The number of bridges considered “structurally deficient” has fallen by more than 50 percent since 1990. By actual measurement, our roads are smoother than ever.

The real crisis is not bridges collapsing due to poor maintenance but perverse incentives that result in money being spent in the wrong places.”

What about the bridges that fell in Minnesota and Washington? The National Transportation Safety Board found that the Minnesota bridge had a construction flaw that no amount of maintenance could have detected or prevented. The Washington bridge fell when it was struck by an oversized truck that should not have been on the bridge; it would have fallen if that truck had tried to cross it the day it opened.

The real crisis is not bridges collapsing due to poor maintenance but perverse incentives that result in money being spent in the wrong places. The best incentives are created by user fees, as those fees tell users what it costs to provide them with a good or service and they tell producers where users are willing to pay for more services.

Before the mid-1960s, most of the nation’s transportation network was paid for out of user fees. Gas taxes and tolls paid for roads; fares paid for airplanes, intercity trains, and urban transit; ticket fees paid for airports. The nation’s infrastructure was in pretty good shape.

Then, in 1964, Congress decided that federal taxpayers should subsidize transit. In 1982, Congress specifically decided that motorists should subsidize transit out of a share of the gas taxes that previously had been dedicated to highways. Many states also began subsidizing transit, often out of gas taxes.

These decisions weakened the incentives that had given America the greatest transportation system in the world. Highway congestion grew rapidly because money paid by highway users was diverted to transit instead. Desperate for funds, highway agencies …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Put Tunisians Back to Work

June 6, 2014 in Economics

By Emmanuel Martin, Dalibor Rohac

Emmanuel Martin and Dalibor Rohac

In January, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly approved a new, democratic constitution for the country. Months earlier, the former government leaders from the Islamist party Ennahda, agreed to step down and transfer power, peacefully, to a new prime minister and caretaker government and to engage in a new National Dialogue. More recently, the government approved a new electoral law and is making preparations for general elections in November. While the situation on the ground is not idyllic, most would agree that Tunisia’s post-Arab Spring governments have made a concerted and commendable effort to establish democracy. But, as in other countries in the region, Tunisia’s 2011 uprising was just as much about jobs and economic growth as it was about political representation. Yet three years later, successive governments have made only modest progress on the economic front.

The challenges Tunisia’s leaders face aren’t quite as daunting as those that plague other countries in the region, such as Egypt or Algeria. State ownership of the economy, for example, is much smaller in Tunisia than elsewhere: Only 15 percent of total fixed capital investment spending comes from the government, compared to over 60 percent in Algeria, and 40 percent in Egypt and Yemen. Yet the legacy of Arab socialism, which has plagued the region since the late 1950s, is still very much alive. Since 1959, the government has financed nearly all of Tunisia’s industrial sectors either through equity participation or bank lending. In the late 1980s, Tunisia turned over the bulk of its manufacturing and service sectors to private owners, and in the 1990s and 2000s, it partially privatized Tunisie Télécom (its telecom operator), large parts of the banking sector, as well as its large cement companies, such as Société Les Ciments de Jbel Oust and Société Les Ciments d’Enfidha. But privatization itself was not enough to generate new economic opportunities. Unless Tunisia embraces bold economic reforms, the recent political achievements may be reversed.

Post-revolutionary Tunisia has made great strides toward democracy. Now it needs to deliver on promises of economic growth.”

As in other North African countries, unemployment is a major problem in Tunisia, with the official unemployment rate at 17 percent. The situation is even worse among young university graduates, 30 percent of whom are unemployed. The Tunisian economy offers few opportunities for skilled young workers, and many bright Tunisians with college degrees compete …read more

Source: OP-EDS