You are browsing the archive for 2014 September 09.

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Mark Thornton: ‘Record number of Americans in extreme poverty’ (with video)

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

mark

Mark Thornton on PressTV:

“The United States has problems with unemployment and has problems with poverty and a record number of people meeting the standard of extreme poverty,” said Mark Thornton, senior fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Alabama and a research fellow with the Independent Institute in California.

“Extreme poverty in the United States is now over 4 percent, that means they have less than $2 cash per person, per day,” Thornton said in a phone interview on Monday.

“We also have over 20 percent of Americans on food stamps with a record number of households receiving food stamps and other government welfare benefits,” the economist stated. “So the direction of change in the United States has been negative with respect to poverty over the last several years and that doesn’t seem to be turning around anytime soon.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Lamenting the Decline of Labor Unions?

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Not Morgan Reynolds.  The eminent labor economist has  an insightful and unsentimental  review of sociologist Jake Rosenfeld’s lament about diminishing union power in Barron’s. (Scroll down to find article.)

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul Discusses Over Militarization of State Law Enforcement

September 9, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today attended the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing regarding the oversight of federal programs for equipping state and local law enforcement agencies. A video and transcript of Sen. Paul’s statements can be found below.
SEN. PAUL DISCUSSES OVER MILITARIZATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT
SENATOR RAND PAUL: I think many of us were horrified by some of the images that came out of Ferguson. We were horrified by seeing an unarmed man with his hands over his head being confronted by an armored personnel carrier. We’re horrified by seeing an unarmed man with his hands over his head being confronted by a man with a drawn assault weapon. We’re horrified by images of tear gas being shot into the yards of people’s personal homes who were protesting. One of the fundamental things about America is dissent, and the ability to have dissent. It needs to be peaceful. There needs to be repercussions for those who do not act in a peaceful way. But confronting those with armored personnel carriers is thoroughly un-American and for 150 years, we’ve had rules separating the military, keeping the military out of policing affairs. But you sort of obscure that separation if you allow the police to become the military. In FEMA’s authorized equipment list there’s actually written descriptions for how the equipment should be used and it says it’s specifically not supposed to be used for riot suppression. Mr. Kamoie, is that true, that it’s not supposed to be used for riot suppression? And how do you plan on policing that since the images clearly show us large pieces of equipment that were bought with your grants used in that riot suppression, or protest suppression rather? MR. BRIAN KAMOIE: Sen. Paul, that is accurate. The categories of personal protective equipment that include helmets, ear and eye protection, ballistics, personal protective equipment. There’s a prohibition in the authorized equipment list not to be used for riot suppression. RP: What will you do about it? BK: We’re going to follow the lead of the Department of Justice’s investigation about the facts. We’re going to work with the state of Missouri to determine what pieces of equipment were grant funded. And then we have a range of remedies available to us should there be any finding of noncompliance with those requirements. Those include everything from corrective action plans to ensure it doesn’t happen again, recoupment …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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The Libertarian Case for the European Union

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By Dalibor Rohac

Dalibor Rohac

Advocates of free markets harbor a well-justified distrust of the European Union (EU). I, for example, have spent a fair amount of time criticizing  its populist overregulationmoral hazardthe damage created by the common European currencyEU structural funds or Common Agricultural Policy. Like many, I am convinced that the EU is a deeply flawed organization and that it mostly deserves much of the criticism that it receives from pro-market circles. At a more fundamental level, I also think that institutional competition and ‘voting with one’s feet’ is important, and see the thoughtless ‘harmonization’ of legal and regulatory regimes across the continent as extremely damaging.

However, I no longer think, as I once did, that the EU is the single biggest threat to freedom and prosperity in Europe. Neither do I believe that an exit from the EU — either by the United Kingdom or some of the smaller central European states, such as my home country, Slovakia — would make these countries, or the continent as a whole, more libertarian. If a break-up were to occur, it would likely push Europe towards nationalism and protectionism, and undo some of the real benefits of European integration.

First, whatever one thinks of the EU, it has sometimes been a force for good. It would be foolish to take the free movement of goods, capital, people, and also — to a more limited extent — of services, for granted. Vicious protectionism, not free trade, has been the historical norm. The second half of the 19th century, is often cited as a counterexample, culminating in the ‘first age of globalization’. But one should not succumb to retrospective optimism — due to measures such Germany’s ‘iron and rye’ tariff of 1879 and France’s Méline tariff of 1892, fin-de-siècle Europe was no free-trade zone. Or, for a different example, think of the transitional economies of Central and Eastern Europe. Whether one likes the EU or not, the prospect of membership was clearly one of the engines of economic and political reforms that would have been otherwise very difficult.

EU break up would lead to more nationalism and protectionism.”

Second, it is helpful to keep a perspective on the magnitude of the problem. The EU’s annual budget amounts to one percent of its GDP. Even the structural funds, which I recently blamed for the rise in corruption in some of the Central …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sen. Paul Speaks at HSGAC's Hearing on Demilitarization of State Law Enforcement – Sept. 9, 2014

September 9, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on NBC's Nightly News – September 8, 2014

September 9, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Native Americans Find Way to Make Money, Feds Outlaw It

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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In California during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, anti-Japanese sentiment ran high, in spite of the fact that they never comprised more than 3 percent of the population. To discourage Japanese immigration to California and to curb the wealth of the immigrants themselves, a large number of major employers agreed among themselves to not hire any Japanese workers. At the same time, politicians at the state legislature passed laws prohibiting Japanese immigrants from working in various occupations. In response, both immigrant and native-born Japanese worked around these laws and employment bans by focusing on industries that were ignored by much of the population due to the hard work required and the slim profit margins involved. Japanese workers and entrepreneurs began to dominate the truck farming and flower and nursery industries.

The Japanese, who developed more efficient ways of farming and getting crops to market soon began to put white farmers out of business.  White Californians responded with alien land laws in 1913 and 1920 which banned the sale of land to foreign-born Japanese and also prohibited leasing land to the same for more than three years. The Japanese merely responded by putting the land deals in the names of their native-born children, and the cycle continued, until Roosevelt solved many of the whites’ problems by simply locking the Japanese in concentration camps.

I was reminded of this episode, and the economic ingenuity of powerless political minorities when I noticed this article in the Wall Street Journal. Some Indian tribes, many of which are geographically isolated from economic and population centers, figured out how to make some money over the internet:

Thus the geography-defying digital revolution has meant a financial revolution for Native Americans: Several tribes have begun to benefit in recent years from e-commerce by owning and operating businesses offering short-term installment loans over the Internet. The Otoe-Missouria in Oklahoma and the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Michigan are two such tribes, out of the more than 560 federally recognized tribes in the U.S.

Like many past efforts to improve their economic situation, tribes have attempted to capitalize on their (theoretical) status as politically sovereign entities to get around federal and local regulations that stifle enterprise among  the general population. Casinos are an example of this, of course, but so are other industries from resource extraction to financial services.

But, as we all know, the United States …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Final Call for Conference Papers

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By David Howden

The 3rd Annual International Conference of Prices & Markets will be held on November 8th, with an opening reception the evening before. Hosted at the University of Toronto, last year´s event drew scholars from the across Canada and the States, as well as several from Europe.

The Conference is designed to combine the opportunities of a professional meeting, with the added attraction of hearing and presenting new and innovative research, engaging in vigorous debate, and interacting with like-minded scholars who share research interests.

The deadline for applications is tomorrow, September 10th. Scholars interested in presenting papers, serving as chairs/discussants, or proposing entire panels should submit proposals by email to David Howden at dhowden@slu.edu. With all submissions, please include the following information for each participant, including non-attending co-authors:

1. Name
2. Affiliation (title and institution)
3. E-mail address
4. Telephone number
5. Title of paper(s)
6. Abstract(s) of no more than 100-200 words

Select papers from the conference will be published as Papers and Proceedings of the conference in the Journal of Prices & Markets, the flagship journal of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada.

I hope to see you there!

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Drug Warriors Claim Colorado Going to Pot

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Tuesday by Mark Thornton:

Drug warriors rely on bad and manipulated data to make the claim that respecting private property rights in Colorado is “terrible public policy.” They fail to make the case, and since they want to tax and imprison people for their pet prohibition project, the burden of proof remains on them.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How the Transatlantic Alliance Makes America Less Secure

September 9, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Wales in the shadow of the Ukraine war. Alliance advocates hoped to use the conflict to revive NATO, but responded, as usual, mostly with promises.

In fact, Ukraine demonstrates how the military pact today makes Americans less secure. Expanding NATO to countries such as Georgia would multiply the risks faced by the United States for little gain.

The transatlantic pact was created at a particular time in response to a particular threat. Washington desired to “contain” the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II, which had left Europe devastated. An American shield would allow the continent to revive economically, but U.S. leaders, like President Dwight Eisenhower, worried lest the alliance make the Europeans dependent.

That fear turned out to be well grounded. European governments discovered that it didn’t matter how little they spent on the military or respected America’s priorities. Washington would keep them secure. NATO’s European members broke promises to devote more money to the military, built a natural-gas pipeline to the Soviet Union, aided Washington’s enemies in Latin America and blocked overflight by U.S. planes to bomb Libya. But the United States continued to defend the continent.

At least there was a plausible case that doing so was in America’s interest. While a Soviet attack on Western Europe seemed unlikely, Washington was determined to prevent any hostile power from gaining control of Eurasia. Better safe than sorry.

The United States should not add new defense dependents, such as Georgia, that would bring far more security risks than geopolitical benefits.”

But that possibility disappeared with the Cold War. Russia lost a third of the USSR’s population. The military shrunk in size and diminished in effectiveness. Even more dramatic was Europe’s economic success and political consolidation. Today, the European Union enjoys an 8-1 economic advantage and 3-1 population edge. The Europeans don’t need America’s protection.

Yet U.S.-dominated NATO expanded through Central and Eastern Europe up to Russia’s borders. The new members added to Washington’s defense responsibilities without providing countervailing military benefits. Most notable were the Baltic States, which have troubled relations with large ethnic-Russian populations. Existing members never seriously considered the possibility that adding new members could lead to war with Russia.

Now the newly fearful Baltics and Poland are demanding “reassurance” that they will be defended by the original members, meaning the United States. These countries want permanent …read more

Source: OP-EDS