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National Review Op-Ed: The Unintended Consequences of Interventionism

August 1, 2014 in Politics & Elections

On Saturday, our State Department fled the chaos of the Libyan civil war. One wonders if President Obama ever reconsiders his unilateral presidential war with Libya?

President Obama went to war in Libya without congressional authority. The Constitution is quite clear: The power to go to war resides with the legislature. Madison made this point explicit when he wrote:

The Constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to the Legislature.

President Obama is not the first president to ignore the Constitution and Madison’s warning. But the tense situation in Libya is but the latest example of unintended consequences.

Not only was President Obama’s war in Libya unconstitutional, it made the region less stable. Like the Iraq War, the Libya war was well intentioned – its purpose was to remove a dictator. But the problem is that what replaced the dictator was a jihadist wonderland full of chaos and more war.

Some will argue that a bombing campaign without troops on the ground is not war. Would they have made the same argument when the Japanese bombed us at Pearl Harbor?

There was a time when President Obama thought the Constitution mattered.

As a candidate Obama said,

The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

He then elaborated:

History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

Few, if any, Americans would call President Obama’s intervention in Libya a success.

I once asked the president why he reneged on his campaign pledge to consult Congress before going to war. He replied that Benghazi was in imminent danger from Qaddafi’s tanks.

Really? The standard for undeclared war is now anyone, anywhere being in ‘imminent danger’? I think many of President Obama’s original supporters should be dismayed to find out that imminent danger …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Ron Paul Poll: Economics, Not Political

August 1, 2014 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

The Haven has posted the following poll question:

What do you think? Is Ron Paul right to think that a crash will be forthcoming? Or will the stock market continue to plow ahead as it has done since 2009?

“If Ron Paul Is Right, Then It’s Only A Matter Of Time Before This Happens… Again”

Paul is a student of the Austrian School of Economics, which contains Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek as a couple of its most brilliant thinkers. The Austrian School has long been critical of central banking; and Paul is no exception, having authored his own book called “End the Fed.” Dr. Paul thinks that the current interest rates are faulty and artificial, caused by the Fed. In turn, says Paul, investors make bad decisions based on the artificial interest rates, resulting in bubbles:

“One thing we have to remember is that when you get false information from artificially low interest rates, that mistakes are made, they’re inevitable. You make mistakes even when you have market rates of interest. But when the market rate of interest is so low for everybody, there’s a lot of mistakes, and that’s why you have the bubbles, and that’s why you go through the catastrophe we had in ’08 and ’09, and I think the conditions are every bit as bad as they were in ’08 and ’09.”
Paul remains steadfast in his belief that an America without a Federal Reserve would be a brighter America. He described the way investors are forced to hang on to every word of the Fed in the current environment:

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Politicking Think Tanks vs. the Mises Institute

August 1, 2014 in Economics

By Jeff Deist

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The execrable Washington Post discusses how DC think tanks have become increasingly activist in the political sense, and (thereby) increasingly self-serving:

Most think tanks were once idea factories. They sponsored research from which policy proposals might flow. In the supply chain of political influence, their studies became the grist for politicians’ programs. But think-tank scholars didn’t lobby or campaign. Politicians and party groups did that. There was an unspoken, if murky, division of labor.

But it’s disappearing, and many think tanks — liberal and conservative — have become more active politically. They are now message merchants, packaging and merchandizing agendas for a broader public.

Rest assured the Mises Institute will never carry water for any politician, political party, or legislation.  We will never advocate any kind of “public policy.” We will never lobby.  And we will never curry favor with the political class.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Protectionism, the Freedom to Contract, and Immigration “Reform”

August 1, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Iroquois-china_1919-0925_male

Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan has declared that he doesn’t want an award from the US Chamber of Commerce, which he says isn’t really devoted to “free enterprise.”  So far, so good. The US Chamber of Commerce is indeed anything but devoted to free markets as is obvious from its frequent support for corporatist programs from the “stimulus” to the auto bailouts to No Child Left Behind. In short, the Chamber is a rent-seeking organization that seeks government favors for its members, day in and day out.

So, if one wishes to oppose them from a free-market perspective, there is plenty of reason to do so.

Bentivolio, regrettably, has decided that the Chamber is wrong, first of all, because it is too much in favor or free trade, and therefore in league with “Communist China.” Apparently, the Chamber’s support of friendly relations with a foreign country is just too much for Bentivolio to stomach. A cold war with China seems to be much more to the Congressman’s liking.

Moreover, the self-described free-marketeer Benitvolio is angry with the Chamber because it wants more flexibility to employ foreign workers. The Chamber is for “big companies seeking cheap labor” Bentivolio thunders. They “exploit people for profit” he adds. It’s odd for a guy who claims to be for free enterprise to claim that employers “exploit people for profit,” and it’s also unclear if Bentivolio is okay with small companies “seeking cheap labor” (because we all know how small businessmen really relish the chance to find some high-priced labor), or if it’s just big companies that “exploit.”

Bentivolio’s newfound concern about the exploitation of workers appears to stem from his opposition to immigration “reform.” This is fair enough given the many problematic aspects of the so-called amnesty bill, but Bentivolio is unforgivably vague in his stated reasons for opposing reforms.

Is he opposed to the economic aspects of immigration, or is he opposed to the political act of expansion of citizenship? This is of course an important distinction since, from a free-market perspective, using immigration law as a means of protecting domestic labor from competition is thoroughly illegitimate while opposing the political act of expanding citizenship or other political “rights” is another matter entirely.

I suspect that Bentivolio’s position here is guided by the fact that he’s discovered that opposition to immigration wins him votes with populists and other voters who think that it is the role of the state to …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Video: David Gordon Examines Theory and History

August 1, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Archived from the live broadcast, this Mises University lecture was presented at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 26 July 2014.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Republican Trade Policy: Finding the Fast Track or Circling a Roundabout?

August 1, 2014 in Economics

By K. William Watson

K. William Watson

There are many valid reasons to criticize the president’s handling of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  But GOP members of the Ways and Means Committee have taken the blame game one step too far.   Last month they signed a letter actually threatening to oppose the TPP unless the president first secures trade promotion authority from Congress.  This petulantly passive-aggressive ultimatum makes the perfect the enemy of the good and does a great disservice to both the struggling U.S. trade agenda and the American public.

The Republicans are right that the administration should not have started negotiating the TPP agreement before securing trade promotion authority.  That authority, also known as fast track, allows the president to submit trade agreements to Congress for a timely up-or-down vote without amendments.  In exchange, Congress imposes a series of negotiating objectives that any fast-tracked agreement must meet.

Congress sets the blueprint for U.S. trade policy, and then promises to get out of the way.  It’s been an effective model for executive-legislative cooperation on trade policy for decades.

This administration, however, has done it all backwards.  They spent years negotiating the TPP, a 12-member mega-regional trade agreement, before even requesting fast track authority from Congress.  Now members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are distrustful of the administration’s trade agenda and feel left out of the TPP negotiations.

But when a patient is dying on the operating table because one doctor made a mistake, the second doctor doesn’t threaten to shoot the patient in the head to make a point.  There are ways for the Republicans to help the U.S. trade agenda despite the administration’s bungling.

One thing trade supporters in Congress can do is stop obsessing over trade promotion authority.  Yes, the president should have requested fast track years ago.  Yes, the president should be more actively whipping Democrats to support it now.  But he didn’t, and he’s not.  The chances of securing trade promotion authority now are slim.  At this point, arguing over fast track is a waste of time and energy.

But don’t we need fast track in order to get the best deal from our trading partners in the TPP?  Not necessarily.  It’s true that trade promotion authority enables foreign negotiators to put more on the table without the fear that Congress will disrupt the bargain with last minute demands. But there’s also a downside.

At this late stage in the negotiations, the imposition of new, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mises Weekends – Guido Hülsmann: Inside the Mind of Mises

August 1, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Jeff Deist and Guido Hülsmann discuss Hülsmann’s years spent writing Mises’s biography (‘Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism’), the serendipitous discovery of Mises’s papers in Moscow that made the book possible, how Mises endured and kept working as Europe burned, and how Mises’s personal sacrifices helped pave the way for Austrian academics working today.

Available in these formats:

YouTube: http://youtu.be/zte838-4HQ4
Mises.org: http://mises.org/document/7562/Guido-Hulsmann-Inside-the-Mind-of-Mises
Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=34982620

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa

August 1, 2014 in Economics

President Barack Obama this coming week will be meeting 50 African leaders to discuss “America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.” However, a new bulletin from Cato scholars Marian L. Tupy and Dalibor Rohac reminds us that African problems cannot be solved in Western capitals. “Persistent poverty in Africa is caused primarily by flawed domestic policies and institutions,” say Tupy and Rohac. “African governments must ultimately embrace the free market reforms that have made other regions of the world prosper.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES