You are browsing the archive for 2014 September 05.

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Another Excuse for More ZIRP and QE?

September 5, 2014 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

The August jobs report is out and its not pretty. Instead of a faster pace of jobs growth the report was disappointing and past reports were revised downward. This is just the ammunition that Janet Yellen and the Fed need to possibly extend Quantitative Easing and their Zero Interest Rate Policy.

The liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research that regularly comments on the jobs reports concludes:

The remarkably weak GDP growth in this recovery is consistent with the extraordinarily weak job growth. While many have tried to explain the weakness on demographics, even if we restrict the focus to prime age men, employment is performing far worse than in prior recoveries.

Could it be that the “remarkable” weakness has something to do with the “remarkable” policies of the Fed and the Central government?

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Peace and State Coercion in Augustine’s Thought

September 5, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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In his Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, Rothbard identified Augustine of Hippo  as “the first Church Father to have a positive view of the merchant” noting that it was wrong to condemn a whole class of men for the sins of a few. Augustine also understood that valuation of goods stem from “their own needs rather than by any more objective criterion or by their rank in the order of nature.”

Moreover, Augustine broke with the classical Greek view of the polis that exalted the polis and downplayed or rejected the efforts of individualists and entrepreneurs who sought to innovate or overturn the status quo. In Augustine’s view, on the other hand, Rothbard notes,  ”profound emphasis on the individual” set the stage for future philosophical developments that recognized “the essential place of the individual in the natural order.” 

Rothbard quotes the famous passage of Augustine’s from City of God , Book IV:

Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.

In spite of this passage’s insightfulness, it would be nonetheless disingenuous to claim (as Rothbard does not) that Augustine draws the correct conclusions from this correct observation. Augustine does indeed correctly pinpoint the true nature of the state. Unfortunately, Augustine nonetheless concludes that monopolistic civil governments are necessary for peace. In this we see an odd contradiction in Augustine’s …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mises Weekends: Dr. Philipp Bagus Explains The Tragedy of the Euro

September 5, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Jeff Deist and Philip Bagus discuss not only the history and possible future of the Euro, but also the ECB under Draghi; the nationalist sentiments sweeping some European nations that want their own currency back; how the ECB has effectively monetized the sovereign debt of the PIIGS; and how Germans may well be nostalgic for the Bundesbank.

Philipp Bagus is an associate professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. He is an associate scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and was awarded the 2011 O.P. Alford III Prize in Libertarian Scholarship. He is the author of The Tragedy of the Euro and coauthor of Deep Freeze: Iceland’s Economic CollapseThe Tragedy of the Euro has so far been translated and published in GermanFrenchSlovakPolishItalianRomanian,  FinnishSpanishPortugueseBritish EnglishDutchBrazilian PortugueseBulgarian, and Chinese. See his website.

Also at Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mises-institute/mises-weekends/episode/35299631?autoplay=true

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Introducing the Mises Curriculum!

September 5, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Friday:

The 50+ courses in the Mises Curriculum will guide you through Austrian economics, from the action axiom to advanced monetary theory, and through libertarian political philosophy, from the non-aggression principle to advanced libertarian legal theory.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ron Paul and Mark Spitznagel Talk Freedom, Farming, and the Fed

September 5, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Friday:

Investor Mark Spitznagel and Ron Paul discuss agriculture policy, Wall Street, fiat money, investing, and Ron Paul’s plans for the future.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Politico 50: The Most Interesting Man in Politics

September 5, 2014 in Politics & Elections

A civil liberties-loving peacenik with millennial appeal? Who’s willing to show up even at a midsummer NAACP convention to talk to a near-empty room? There’s no doubt Rand Paul is turning out to be a different kind of Republican, bringing libertarian-and contrarian-ideas to the national stage in a novel and calculated blurring of Washington’s otherwise rigid ideological battle lines.

ar-old ophthalmologist son of libertarian gadfly Ron Paul, has made a concerted move from the political fringes over the past year; now he’s on a mission to remake his party, too. The GOP must ‘evolve, adapt or die’ in the wake of two successive national defeats, the Kentucky senator insists. And, more than any other potential Republican presidential contender, he is taking his own advice. Paul’s ideas offer an utterly different Republican approach to questions of equity, education and fairness in America’s treatment of minorities, for instance-a post-partisan theme he has emphasized by teaming up with Cory Booker, the African-American former mayor of Newark turned freshman Democratic senator. Paul’s instinctive libertarianism, meanwhile, plays well with America’s pro-pot, pro-gay marriage younger generation, and the senator is aggressively wooing free-market millionaires for political support (and donations) in traditionally liberal Silicon Valley.

His renegade ways have led to clashes, most notably on matters of foreign policy, with fellow Republicans, from Texas Gov. Rick Perry to former Vice President Dick Cheney, who brand Paul an isolationist. But while Paul certainly favors minimal engagement abroad and has joined the Senate’s most liberal members to rip President Barack Obama on his killer-drone and National Security Agency spying programs (with a lawsuit against the president on the constitutionality of the NSA dragnet still pending), Paul knows he will need support from establishment GOP politicians, fundraisers and media moguls if he runs in 2016, and so has softened his stance on various issues-leaving him open to charges of opportunism, if perhaps making him more electable.

If there’s one commonality to Paul’s disparate interests, it’s that he is a politician with ideas designed to overturn the party’s status quo. ‘Imagine what a general election would be like if it were myself and Hillary Clinton,’ Paul quipped to the New York Times. ‘You’d totally turn topsy-turvy the whole political spectrum.’

Read more from POLITICO HERE. …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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My Turn: Court Decision a Victory for Parents, Students, Taxpayers

September 5, 2014 in Economics

By Jason Bedrick

Jason Bedrick

Last week’s unanimous New Hampshire Supreme Court decision to reject the challenge against an educational choice law is a victory for Granite State families and taxpayers generally.

The law expands educational opportunity by granting tax credits to corporations worth 85 percent of their donations to nonprofit scholarship organizations. These nonprofits, like the Network for Educational Opportunity, help low- and middle-income parents pay tuition at a private school or an out-of-district public school or cover certain home-schooling expenses.

Anti-school choice activists contended that the law violates the New Hampshire constitution’s historically anti-Catholic “Blaine Amendment,” which bars the government from allocating public money to religious schools. A trial court judge partially agreed, upholding the law but limiting the scholarships to secular schools.

The court’s decision clears the way for the scholarship program to achieve its full potential, expanding educational options for New Hampshire families so they can live free and learn.”

Last week, the state Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling and threw out the challenge entirely, holding that the petitioners had no standing because they failed to show “that some right of theirs has been prejudiced or impaired as a result of the program’s implementation.”

A few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court likewise rejected the standing of petitioners challenging a similar scholarship tax credit law in Arizona. The court ruled that tax credits, like tax deductions and tax exemptions, are not “public money” because the funds do not “come into the tax collector’s hands.” Private corporations voluntarily donate to private nonprofits that aid private citizens — at no point does the government control or direct those funds.

No reasonable person believes that a church is “publicly funded” because donors who support it receive a charitable tax deduction, or even because the church receives a 100 percent property tax exemption. Likewise, the aid that families receive from scholarship organizations is not “public money” just because corporate donors received a partial tax credit.

The court’s decision means parents will have greater access to educational options, which translates into greater parental satisfaction. In a survey of scholarship recipients last year, nearly 97 percent of families reported being satisfied with their chosen learning environment, including 90 percent who were “very satisfied.”

Parental choice also improves educational performance because schools are held directly accountable to parents. Just months into the program, more than two-thirds of parents reported seeing “measurable improvement in academic achievement.”

One parent described crying …read more

Source: OP-EDS