You are browsing the archive for 2014 July 03.

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Lew Rockwell, Der Rebell

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

lew rockwell
Lew Rockwell is “one of the leaders of the libertarian world” opines Robert Groezinger of Junge Freiheit. This title should of course not be confused with the sinister title ”leader of the free world.”   Says Groezinger:

The American commentator and journalist Llewellyn Harrison Rockwell, Jr., who turns seventy on July 1, is one of the leaders of the libertarian world. Few others are so uncompromising in their criticism of government interventions into citizens’ private lives, of taxes, of government welfare and government education. Hardly anyone combines this criticism so consistently with the condemnation of foreign policy interference in the affairs of other countries. Hardly anyone has offered so comprehensively private alternatives, for example in the areas of medicine, nutrition and safety in the neighborhood, where, according to Rockwell’s opinion, the state has totally failed.

The former publishing house employee became known in the 1980s through his newsletter The Rothbard-Rockwell-Report. Its range enlarged enormously through the internet. Since 1999, he has published the internet magazine lewrockwell.com (LRC). Here, an assortment of authors publishes articles daily except Sundays under the slogan “anti-state, anti-war, pro market” – which is the website’s subtitle. LRC, one of whose contributors is the unconventional German economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe (JF 45/12), is one of the most widely read libertarian websites in the world and ranks among the most popular 10,000 of all categories.

“Lew,” as his friends call him, has only contempt for the state-friendly media. He recently expelled a New York Times reporter from the site of his Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama, telling him he was “part of the regime”. This institute, which was founded by Rockwell in 1982 and is run by him to this day, includes twenty senior fellows and seventy associated scholars. It is named after the strictly free market economist, who died in 1973, and who is the most important representative of the so-called Austrian School (AS). It advocates the radical shrinkage of the state. The mission of the Institute is the promotion of “classical liberalism”, specifically and explicitly under the banner of this school of thought. Any attempt to do good with government funds leads, according to the AS to side effects, which the state again feels called to fix: Until it becomes a juggernaut outwardly aggressive and inwardly surveilling and regulating everything.

The state is the “greatest worldly enemy of humanity,” says Rockwell, a Catholic. Although the Tea Party movement is not quite …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mises Weekends: Justin Raimondo Describes His Battle Against the War Machine

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Jeff Deist and Justin Raimondo discuss the early history of the modern libertarian movement, Justin’s time working with Murray Rothbard on libertarian strategy, and the chances for developing a broad new anti-war coalition.

Also available here:

iTunesU: https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/mises-weekends/id884207568
Mises.org: http://mises.org/media/8596/Justin-Raimondo-Against-the-War-Machine
Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mises-institute/mises-weekends

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Video: Peter Klein Discusses the Hobby Lobby Decision & Private Property

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Peter Klein discusses property rights, privilege, and free markets, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Remedy for The Failure of Macroeceonomics: Austrian Economics

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

The ‘grumpy’ John H. Cochrane provides some interesting commentary on the “The failure of macroeconomics” in today’s WSJ. Missing – recognition of Higgs’s important ‘regime uncertainty’ and the Mises-Hayek-BIS view of credit-booms recently highlighted here and here in warnings from the Bank of International Settlements of central bank excesses. Dave Howden comments here.

Per Cochrane:

Where macroeconomists differ, sharply, is on the causes of the post-recession slump and which policies might cure it. Broadly speaking, is the slump a lack of “demand,” which monetary or fiscal stimulus can address, or one of structural sand-in-the gears that stimulus won’t fix?

Cochrane provides blistering commentary on the “demand –side” view, as argued by the likes of Larry Summers, Brad DeLong, Paul Krugman. He states, “this diagnosis and these policy predictions are fragile.” And “None [of the New Keynesian models] produces our steady low-inflation slump as a ‘demand’ failure.” As a result, “The reaction in policy circles to these problems is instead a full-on retreat, not just from the admirable rigor of New Keynesian modeling, but from the attempt to make economics scientific at all.”

Cochrane provides added commentary here. Note especially his graph at the beginning of his commentary.

The alternative explanations of the Bush-Obama-Fed Great Stagnation Cochrane provides; John Taylor’s “uncertainty induced by seat-of-the-pants policy” which stifles investment and hiring, Ed Prescott’s distorting taxes and stifling regulation, or Casey Mulligan’s “unintended disincentives of social programs”, all of which stifle growth and innovation, are better than the “the … new [demand side] thinking which “is largely old thinking: traditional Keynesian ideas of the 1930s to 1960s.” These alternative explanations at least point toward reforms that might improve economic conditions and facilitate recovery. They are however, inferior to a capital-structure based macroeconomic understanding of recession and recovery supplemented by Robert Higgs’s Regime Uncertainty. Even better suggestions for a sustainable recovery can be found here.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Why Is College So Expensive Today?

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

Joining, perhaps, the publication of more data, the higher education reform proposal seemingly gaining the most acceptance these days, at least among wonks, is forcing institutions to have “skin in the game” when it comes to student outcomes. It’s a reform that makes some sense, but don’t expect it to make much difference. The main problem in higher education goes much too deep.

It is much easier to be a rosy politician who says ‘everyone should go to college’ than one who makes policy based on reality.”

The basic idea is, if University X’s graduates have high loan default rates, or potentially other poor outcomes, University X would have to pay a price for it. For instance, the Center for College Affordability and Productivity just released a report that proposes, among many reforms, that a college whose students have a default rate appreciably above the national average pay a fine pegged to that rate.

That certainly makes some sense. There is little question that the big winners in the higher education spend-a-thon are the colleges. It’s not students, who face ever-steeper price tags and credential devaluation, thanks largely to massive subsidies that flow through them. (They do get some nice perks, though!) And it’s definitely not taxpayers, who ultimately foot big subsidy bills. No, it is the schools that are the ultimate recipients of all the subsidy dough, and they take it with no risk to themselves. Of course, politicians curry favor with voters by providing bigger and bigger pots of “aid,” so they, too, are winners.

Maybe if the schools finally faced some costs for poor performance they would do a better job. Maybe.

The first problem is that schools likely wouldn’t do a better job, but would find ways around the penalties. See, for instance, creative dodging of employment ratings by law schools, many of which have avoided trouble by doing such things as “hiring” their own students until outcomes were no longer being checked. Or perhaps schools would simply not take students who pose a serious risk of default.

Actually, the latter would be a good result of a skin-in-the-game policy, because it is pretty clear that aid is enabling lots of people to attend college, and accumulate debt, who are either unable, or insufficiently motivated, to complete their programs and gain the additional earning power needed to pay off their loans. But that, alas, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Taiwan Issue Shows Signs of Re-Igniting

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

One bright spot in an increasingly tense security environment in East Asia has been the relative calm in the Taiwan Strait. There are indications, though, that the recent period of quiescence may be coming to an end. If that occurs, the already worrisome situation in the region could become markedly worse.

Just a few years ago, the Taiwan issue was at the forefront of worries about a possible outbreak of conflict in East Asia. Under the leadership of Chen Shui-bian and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) during the period from 2000 to 2008, Taiwan pursued measures to increase its de facto independence from the mainland and lay the foundation for a more formal separation. Beijing reacted badly to Taipei’s behavior, leading to a series of crises that alarmed the United States, Taiwan’s protector.

The Taiwan issue is poised to return to greater prominence, and given the assortment of nasty spats that already exist in the region, that is not good news.”

The return of the more moderate Kuomintang Party (KMT) to power with the election of Ma Ying-jeou as Chen’s successor in 2008 served to calm the situation. Even many Taiwanese who were strongly opposed to any notion of reunification with the mainland had become worried about Chen’s strident, confrontational approach. By contrast, Ma steadily increased Taiwan’s economic links with the mainland, and the atmosphere of extreme tensions dissipated. Mainland tourists began coming to the island in substantial numbers, and in early 2014, the first official bilateral meeting took place between Chinese and KMT officials since the 1949 communist revolution on the mainland.

Over the past year, though, there has been growing push back from domestic constituencies in response to Ma’s conciliatory approach toward Beijing. Whereas key opinion sectors once feared that Chen’s confrontational strategy was excessively risky, the worry now seems to be that Ma’s strategy may be too soft—that he is allowing Taiwan to be drawn inexorably into Beijing’s orbit.  Most Taiwanese do not want tense, hostile relations with the mainland, but neither do they wish to see Taiwan’s ability to run its own affairs undermined.

Angry demonstrations erupted in March 2014 in response to a new trade deal between Taipei and Beijing, which opponents argued would give China far too much influence over Taiwan’s economy. The disorders culminated with an occupation of Taiwan’s legislature that lasted nearly a week. That occupation was accompanied by massive …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Forecast On McAuliffe’s Revived Climate Commission

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Patrick J. Michaels

Patrick J. Michaels

Hazy, with a 100 percent chance of nothing. That’s the confident forecast we can make concerning exactly how much effect Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s newly re-established climate commission will have on climate change.

Let’s start with the temperature. The governor tells us that “Virginia has the opportunity” to be a leader in “finding creative ways to mitigate climate change in the future”

If Virginia’s carbon dioxide emissions went to zero today, the amount of global warming that would be prevented by the year 2100 would be somewhere around 3 one-thousandths of a degree Celsius. That’s using the EPA’s own model for calculating the effects of various global warming policies. Specifically, that would be the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-Gas Induced Climate Change and, yes, Virginia, the acronym for it is MAGICC.

Unfortunately, the amount that Virginia can ‘mitigate’ climate change is none.”

Unfortunately, the amount that Virginia can “mitigate” climate change is none.

MAGICC further shows that even if the entire United States cut its emissions to zero, the warming saved is 0.14

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Did Hurricane Zone Building Codes Make Houses Less Safe?

July 3, 2014 in Economics

In the new issue of Regulation, Carolyn A. Dehring and Martin A. Halek investigate whether state and federal mandated changes in coastal building standards mitigate hurricane damage to residential properties in high-hazard coastal areas. They find that coastal construction code changes associated with the National Flood Insurance Program are associated with more structural damage to coastal property. Also in this issue, Daniel A. Crane looks at how Tesla is dealing with political challenges mounted by the powerful car dealers’ lobby, and Logan Albright and Ike Brannon analyze how many jobs will the individual states lose if Congress raises the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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When Steelers Steal

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

6798

Mises Daily Thursday by Christopher Westley:

In a free-market economy, firms threatened with competition often respond by searching for ways to increase efficiencies, attempting to lower costs and improving on economies of scale and scope. Meanwhile, protectionists and labor unions seek to avoid having to become more efficient by simply outlawing competition.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Why the Tea Party Is Wrong about Immigration Reform

July 3, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

The Tea Party has performed many an invaluable service in American politics: First, by raising the alarm about the dangers of our growing national debt and out-of-control spending, and later by challenging the crony capitalists and big-government conservatives who have too long controlled the Republican Party.

But recently, many Tea Partyers have added opposition to immigration reform to their agenda. In doing so, they are not only wrong on the merits of the issue, but contradict many of their own fundamental principles.

Those principles include a devotion to limited government and individual liberty, concern about the national debt and a desire for economic growth, and a healthy skepticism about the ability of government to remake society. But the type of immigration crackdown envisioned by many Tea Party activists would run almost directly counter to those precepts.

Immigrants positively impact both the demand and supply sides of the economic equation.”

For example, Tea Partyers were among those who were first to raise the alarm about the National Security Agency’s violations of Americans’ privacy. Yet, in opposing immigration, Tea Partyers seem oblivious to the dangers of a massive government database such as E-Verify, designed to prevent hiring of illegal immigrants.

E-Verify might seem harmless now, but missions always creep and bureaucracies expand. E-Verify will be an attractive way to enforce hundreds of other employment laws and regulations. In the age of big data, the government can easily E-Verify age, union membership, education, employment history, and whether you’ve paid income taxes and signed up for health insurance. And while the government screens employee applications, it can also check on employers’ compliance with all sorts of regulations by looking at the job applications they submit for verification.

Moreover, do they really expect that the government responsible for HealthCare.gov will suddenly develop the competence to manage such a massive database? The last major study of E-Verify, by Weststat in 2013, found an error rate of roughly 0.3 percent. While that might sound small, if applied to the entire national workforce of 150 million people, it would yield some 450,000 errors. That would mean nearly half a million American citizens wrongly denied employment.

Beyond E-Verify, do Tea Partyers really want to open the door to a national ID system? Or become the type of country where police stop you on the street to “see your papers?”

A second issue where the Tea Party has long been a rare voice …read more

Source: OP-EDS