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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Fox's Hannity – September 3, 2014

September 4, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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TIME Op-Ed: ‘I Am Not an Isolationist’

September 4, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Some pundits are surprised that I support destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militarily. They shouldn’t be. I’ve said since I began public life that I am not an isolationist, nor am I an interventionist. I look at the world, and consider war, realistically and constitutionally.
I still see war as the last resort. But I agree with Reagan’s idea that no country should mistake U.S. reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.
As Commander-in-Chief, I would not allow our enemies to kill our citizens or our ambassadors. ‘Peace through Strength’ only works if you have and show strength.
Our recent foreign policy has allowed radical jihadists to proliferate. Today, there are more terrorists groups than there were before 9/11, most notably ISIS. After all the sacrifice in Afghanistan and Iraq, why do we find ourselves in a more dangerous world?
And why, after six years, does President Obama lack a strategy to deal with threats like ISIS?
This administration’s dereliction of duty has both sins of action and inaction, which is what happens when you are flailing around wildly, without careful strategic thinking.
And while my predisposition is to less intervention, I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.
If I had been in President Obama’s shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS. I would have called Congress back into session-even during recess.
This is what President Obama should have done. He should have been prepared with a strategic vision, a plan for victory and extricating ourselves. He should have asked for authorization for military action and would have, no doubt, received it.
Once we have decided that we have an enemy that requires destruction, we must have a comprehensive strategy-a realistic policy applying military power and skillful diplomacy to protect our national interests.
The immediate challenge is to define the national interest to determine the form of intervention we might pursue. I was repeatedly asked if I supported airstrikes. I do-if it makes sense as part of a larger strategy.
There’s no point in taking military action just for the sake of it, something Washington leaders can’t seem to understand. America has an interest in protecting more than 5,000 personnel serving at the largest American embassy in the world in northern …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Fracking Industry Resorts to Crude Caricatures and Economic Nationalism

September 4, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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The hydraulic fracturing (fracking)  industry is fighting regulations or outright bans against fracking in a variety of states and localities. There are many reasons to oppose government restrictions on fracking, of course. If a fracking operation can arrange to frack on private land and pay market rates (not subsidized rates) for water, then there is no reason why a private company should not be free to do so. If fracking results in polluting a neighbor’s land or water, the fracking organization in question should be liable in the fashion outlined by Rothbard for dealing with polluters.

One reason to not support fracking, though, is because it is good for “energy independence” or economic nationalism. Both concepts have long been dreams of militarists and economic interventionists who believe that investors, consumers, and private citizens should be dictated to by government as to what they can buy, where they should invest, and whom they should be able to work for. Every now and then, one sees a new article coming from nationalists such as Pat Buchanan who claim that it is a matter of “national security” that the United State attempt autarky in food production, energy production, and, of course, production of the machinery of war.  Since capital and labor move constantly to better accommodate consumers and do not respect national borders, such autarky can only be achieved through government regulation, prohibition, and force.

Thus, you can understand my disappointment when I noticed this video from a pro-fracking industry group called Friends for Safe Energy that argues for freedom in fracking, not because freedom or respect for private property are good things, but because fracking is (allegedly) bad for the Russians. In other words, faced with the option of appealing to basic human rights (such as private property) or appealing to rank and crude nationalism, the fracking group decided to go with the latter:

Why bother with a pro-freedom argument when you can employ nationalistic fear-mongering and ethnic stereotypes instead?

As an argument, this is barely a step up from the “If you Ride Alone You Ride With Hitler” propaganda campaign which lectured Americans about not contributing enough to “energy independence.” They didn’t use that term back then, but that’s what they meant. Yes, it’s true that the stated goal (at least on the surface) of “Friends of Safe Energy” is more freedom for frackers and their …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Politics and Inequality

September 4, 2014 in Economics

By Randall Holcombe

inequality

The Federal Reserve has just released a survey indicating that income and wealth inequality has been growing in the United States since 2007. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for government action to reduce inequality. So, it is worth a remark that the growth in inequality reported by the Fed pretty much coincides with the Obama presidency.

One can debate how much government can actually do to affect inequality, but because the president has called for government action to reduce it, that is an indication that President Obama believes government policy has an effect. If so, Obama’s government would have to be responsible for at least a part of the growing inequality the Fed has reported.

Imagine if this news on growing inequality had been announced during the Bush administration. Much of the reporting would have been on how much inequality has grown because of President Bush’s policies. Nobody is saying this today, about President Obama’s policies.

Is the recent increase in inequality really a result of the president’s policies?

The president’s own statements indicate he thinks inequality is enough a product of government policy that those policies could be changed to reduce it. Using the president’s own words, we could find him responsible.

If the president’s policies have had any effect on inequality, there are good arguments to suggest that they have increased it. The president’s regulatory policies, the huge budget deficits, and his low interest rate policies, have slowed economic growth, which disproportionately affects those at the bottom, and clearly, small savers, who tend to rely on interest income more than on appreciation of financial assets, have been hurt by the president’s policies even as upper-income investors have been helped by the stock market boom fueled by the Fed’s policies.

So, I’ll agree with the president part-way on this. Not only can government have some effect on inequality, as the president suggests, the policies he has supported have increased inequality. Despite the president’s rhetoric, his policies have not been good for those at the bottom end of the income distribution.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Clean Water, Scarcity, and Market Prices

September 4, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Thursday by Rhett Lloyd:

Many people are willing to donate much money to clean up government-owned lakes and streams and to spend many hours fundraising and complaining about pollution. But suggest to those people they should just pay market prices for access to those same bodies of water, they become indignant.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Unseen Costs of the Minimum Wage

September 4, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Thursday by Josh Grossman:

Supporters of minimum wage hikes claim they have little or no effect on employment, the law of demand makes it clear the effects of price controls are very real.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE