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Leading Keynesian Economist Uses The “D” Word

August 31, 2014 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

Most Keynesian economists do not want to admit that we are in another depression.  They find the word painful.

They find it painful because it contradicts the idea that Keynesian economic ideas have ended depressions forever. It also contradicts the idea that the massive and continuing Keynesian stimulus applied by world governments since 2008 has worked. For this and other reasons, euphemisms such as the Great Recession have been embraced not only by Keynesian economists, but by their allies in government and in the mainstream press.

I argued that we were in a depression in a January article and again in April. Now Brad DeLong, one of the most prestigious Keynesians, a professor at Berkeley and former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury under Clinton, says that he agrees. It really is a depression (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/j–bradford-delong-argues-that-it-is-time-to-call-what-is-happening-in-europe-and-the-us-by-its-true-name).

DeLong doesn’t blame Keynesianism; that would be too much to expect. But he does call the thing by its right name, which is a major departure from the usual Keynesian style.

These are after all the people who call the government creating money out of thin air “ quantitative easing,” “ bond buying,” and the like, all of which are parroted by the press. When Keynes did this, he was often being impish, as when he called newly created money ““green cheese,” echoing the old nursery nonsense that  “the moon is made of green cheese.” His acolytes have adopted the style of dissimulation, but without the slightest trace of a sense of humor.

Although we are in a depression, it is not a depression for everyone, as is by now well known. Even so, the full hit on the middle class and the poor relative to the affluent is not adequately understood. Consider these figures from Larry Lindsey, who served Bush 2 as chief economist at the beginning of the first term, only to be booted from the White House for too much truth telling:

US Household Net Worth 2007- 2013

Top 1%         Up       1.9%

Next 9 %       Up       3.4%

Next 15%      Down   0.5%

Next 25%      Down  16.7%

Bottom 50%  Down   44.2%

None of the economic statistics we get from the government are reliable. Inflation is understated. Economic growth is overstated. Unemployment is understated.  But this chart of net worth is about as reliable as we can expect to get.

It tells the story of a middle class in the process of  being destroyed and of poor people who will never be able to get into …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Barack Obama, the King of Climate Change

August 31, 2014 in Economics

By Patrick J. Michaels

Patrick J. Michaels

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their plant-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. — New York Times, Aug. 26

President Obama clearly believes that the Supreme Court, in its 2007 decision, Mass. v. EPA, empowered the president, via the Environmental Protection Agency, to unlimited regulations of greenhouse gases without the advice or the consent of Congress. He has already shown that he means it. Barring an unlikely electoral earthquake off the Richter Scale, no new coal-fired generation facility is ever going to be built.

On Aug. 26, though, Mr. Obama crossed a bridge too far, proposing a “Climate Accord” (really, a treaty) that will, in the well-chosen words of The New York Times, “compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions.” Never mind that we are now in the 18th consecutive year of not warming the planet, according to two separate and independent measures of surface and near-surface temperatures.

Do, however, mind that word “compel.” Dictionary.com gives four definitions: To force or drive, especially to a course of action; to secure or bring about by force; to force to submit, subdue; and to overpower.

How on God’s getting-greener earth can the president think the nation can be “compelled,” absent the two-thirds vote of the Senate explicitly required by the Constitution? After all, his proposal, which will be unveiled by Mr. Obama himself at the United Nations’ Climate Summit on Sept. 23 will “legally require” participants “to enact domestic climate change policies,” according to the Times. Isn’t that up to the standard of a binding international treaty?

The Constitution is of no consequence when there’s a planet to save.”

Well, harking back to his predecessor in the halcyon 1990s, Mr. Obama is playing fast and loose with the Constitution. In his mind, it might “depend on what the meaning of is is.” Mr. Obama wants to write this “accord,” not as a new treaty, but as an addition to the already-ratified 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.

That’s not going to cut it. It’s already been done. That’s what the failed Kyoto Protocol and the purpose of Mr. Obama’s new codicil “is” to replace it. The Kyoto Protocol never did get the required two-thirds vote to be ratified by the Senate. The same will apply here.

A king in any area rules by absolute power. The …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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[VIDEO] Libertarians NEED to create market for military/defense ideas!

August 29, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

HOW can we provide for a strong national defense and community defense in ways that uphold libertarian values?

Not the easiest question to answer! While non-intervention is excellent for preventing future blowback, it does NOTHING about the blowback that already exists and is still boiling up. Discussed are:
  • The Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria
  • Paramilitary drug cartels in Mexico and on the U.S. border
  • Crime in our cities and towns
  • Imperial wars versus libertarian just wars

So… we need libertarian ideas on military and national/community defense!

This conversation is from the August 20, 2014 episode of “Breaking the Oathbreakers” from the NWO Truth Radio network.

…read more

Source: ZACH FOSTER RANTS

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Mises Weekends: Jeff Deist Talks Scottish Secession and the EU with Andy Duncan

August 29, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Jeff Deist and Andy Duncan discuss the rise of UKIP in England, and whether it represents a real populist anti-state uprising or just rightist politics. Andy skewers the strutting political class in London, and the charade of voting Labour or Conservative based on minute policy differences. They also discuss the upcoming Scottish independence vote, and whether the land that gave us Robert the Bruce and David Hume has succumbed completely to socialism. Could an independent Scotland become the Singapore of the North, or just another Eurozone basket case?

Andy Duncan is financial derivatives lecturer based in England. He uses the lessons of Austrian Economics to help explain how free markets are trying to work under the current blanket of global government regulation. He teaches mainly in New York, London, Dubai, and Singapore.

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWDTvwI7m1o

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Must Free-Marketers Reject Global Warming?

August 29, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

GISS_temperature_2000-09_lrg

You can’t make this stuff up. Someone at the UK Guardian named David Grimes has declared that “economic liberalism,” by which he means the ideology of laissez-faire, “clashes” with “scientific evidence.” Which scientific evidence, you might ask? Well, the unassailable scientific dogma of global warming is one:

Climate change illustrates this well, because despite overwhelming evidence of anthropogenic influence, there is a tendency for those with pronounced free-market views to reject the reality of global warming. The reason underpinning this is transparent – if one accepts human-mediated climate change, then supporting mitigating action should follow. But the demon of regulation is a bridge too far for many libertarians.

There is no doubt that some people who purport to be advocates for free markets reject arguments of anthropogenic global warming out of hand without even considering the evidence. I’m agnostic on the matter myself, although I certainly reject the ludicrous assertion that there is such a thing as “settled science” and that the matter is not debatable. And unlike many allegedly great men and women of scientific inquiry, I refuse to agree that global warming “deniers” are heretics who should be burned at the stake (or the modern equivalent of having one’s career ruined). To anyone capable of logical thought, it should be obvious that one’s support for free markets is utterly independent from one’s opinions on the matter of global warming. There’s no reason at all why someone who accepts the reality of anthropogenic global warming would have to support government regulation of all energy usage. To argue such would be like arguing that one’s acceptance of the Bering Strait theory determines one’s opinions about the minimum wage. So why would Grimes think this? We can see it in his quotation above where he says:

The reason underpinning this is transparent – if one accepts human-mediated climate change, then supporting mitigating action should follow.

Ah, so there it is. Acceptance of global warming = acceptance of “mitigation” = acceptance of government regulation. Case closed.

Grimes packs many assumptions into just this one statement. Let’s look more closely:

If one accepts that global warming is a grave danger, is it nonetheless necessary to support “mitigating action” even if it can’t be shown to actually improve anything at all? Even assuming that global warming were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof of success is still on those who want mitigating action. Specifically, they need to be able …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Executive Action Obama Should Take on Immigration

August 29, 2014 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

President Obama is currently planning numerous executive actions on immigration. White House spokesman Shawn Turner said, “[t]he president has not made a decision regarding next steps, but he believes it’s important to understand and consider the full range of perspectives on potential solutions.” Most observers are interested in how the president’s executive actions could affect unlawful immigrants, but his actions could also improve the legal immigration system.

One possible reform through executive action could increase the number of employment-based green cards available to highly skilled workers without changing the law. How is that possible?

Under current immigration law, about 140,000 green cards are set aside for highly skilled workers with job offers from American companies. But only about 45 percent of those green cards went to workers in 2013, with the rest going to their families. The government currently counts family members against the numerical green-card quota for workers.

Immigration attorneys have acknowledged that the statutes are unclear and that there is no legal basis for counting family members against the worker cap. “Neither the law nor the regulations authorize or require family members to count against the employment-based green card cap,” immigration attorney Matthew Kolken of Buffalo, N.Y., told me.

Immigration attorneys Gary Endelman and Cyrus Mehta concur. They wrote that “[t]here is nothing here [in the law] that explicitly authorizes or mandates the counting of family members” against the employment-based green card cap. Families of workers are counted against the worker cap, apparently, because of bureaucratic inertia.

By not counting family members against the cap, the number of employment-based green cards issued every year would more than double.”

Because counting family members against the worker cap is a bureaucratic creation, President Obama could likely reverse it through an executive order or through asking the bureaucracy to reevaluate its interpretation of the statute. Ideally, the bureaucracy would reinterpret the statute and propose a regulation that would only count workers against the cap, soliciting public comments along the way. Since such a reinterpretation is reasonable based on the unclear statute, such a regulatory move would be normal — government agencies do it every day.

By not counting family members against the cap, the number of employment-based green cards issued every year would more than double. Such a change in counting green cards would not prevent the families of green card workers from coming; it would merely stop counting them against the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Johnson Center at Troy University

August 29, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

The Johnson Center at Troy University has two Mises alums and former Fellows on the faculty: Malavika Nair and G.P. Manish. Have a look at the center’s new video:

Writes Malavika Nair: “We are getting a Masters program next fall with a focus on Austrian economics and liberty so there’s exciting stuff happening!”

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Myth of the Unchanging Value of Gold

August 29, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

6858

Mises Daily Friday by Joseph Salerno:

Many economics textbooks claim that a function of money is to measure the value of goods. In fact, the value an individual attaches to a given sum of money or to any kind of good (including gold) is based on a subjective judgment and is without physical dimensions.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Rethinking Japan’s “Lost Decades”

August 29, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

6860

Mises Daily Friday by Peter St. Onge:

The “Lost Decades” narrative in Japan and the US has kept the drive for more government intervention going for a long time.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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34,000 New Mexicans Who Suffer from Alzheimer's Disease Denied Access to Medical Cannabis

August 29, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

NM Secretary of Health Denies Medical Cannabis Advisory Board’s Recommendation to Add Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurodegenerative Dementia to the List of Qualifying Conditions

SANTA FE—Yesterday the Secretary of Health denied a petition to add Alzheimer’s disease to the list of medical conditions eligible for the medical cannabis program, even though the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend making neurodegenerative dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, qualifying conditions.

August 29, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY