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Saturday: Live Streaming the Costa Mesa Mises Circle

November 7, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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The West Coast Regional Mises Circle in Costa Mesa is sold out, but be sure and mark your calendars so you can join us live via Mises.org. On November 8 —this Saturday— we’ll be broadcasting all the lectures and speeches from Costa Mesa. Check here at the blog for live streams and links.

Click here for live streaming.

Here’s the schedule:

Tentative Schedule (all times Pacific)
Grand Ballroom

10:20 a.m. Welcome
10:30 a.m. Jeff Deist “The Case for Optimism”
10:50 a.m. David Gordon “Thinkers Who Challenged the State”
11:10 a.m. Lew Rockwell “Against the State”
11:30 a.m. Presentation of the 2014 Mises Entrepreneurship Award to Louis E. Carabini
11:40 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch and discussion, bookstore open
1:00 p.m. Judge Andrew P. Napolitano “The Natural Law as a Restraint Against Tyranny”
1:30 p.m. Ron Paul “Freedom Doesn’t Come from Government”
2:00 p.m. break, bookstore open (final opportunity to purchase books for speakers to autograph)
2:20 p.m. Speaker Panel Q&A
3:00 p.m. Closing remarks
3:10 p.m. Adjourn

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Bob Murphy: The Fed’s Stock Market Casino

November 7, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

NYSE

Jeff Deist and Robert P. Murphy address the vital topic of Fed interference in financial markets. Are the global equity and bond markets a charade, engineered by monetary expansion and destined to collapse like a house of cards? Is the investing game basically rigged? How can Janet Yellen and financial elites keep markets from crashing without endless new rounds of quantitative easing? Why is understanding Austrian economics necessary, but not sufficient, to be a successful investor? And how would stock markets have a social function in a free society? Anyone interested in investing, personal finance, Austrian economics, and the wit and wisdom of Bob Murphy will enjoy this show.

Referenced articles:

The Social Function of Futures Markets – Robert P. Murphy

The Social Function of Call and Put Options – Robert P. Murphy

The Social Function of Stock Speculators – Robert P. Murphy

Robert Murphy is an associated scholar of the Mises Institute, where he teaches at the Mises Academy.He runs the blog Free Advice and is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism, theStudy Guide to “Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market,” the “Human Action” Study Guide,The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal, and his newest book,Lessons for the Young Economist. Send him mail.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Supreme Court Will Consider Challenges to Affordable Care Act

November 7, 2014 in Economics

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will consider arguments in King v. Burwell, one of four cases argued before federal courts, that claims that the subsidies and taxes the IRS is implementing in the 36 states with health-insurance Exchanges established by the federal government are illegal. Cato scholar Michael F. Cannon applauds the court’s decision: “Since January, the Obama administration has been spending billions of unauthorized federal dollars, and subjecting nearly 60 million Americans to unauthorized taxes, all to hide the full cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. The administration’s actions have not only violated the law and caused massive economic disruption, they have also subverted the democratic process.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

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JP Morgan Chase Paid $9 Billion to Keep This Woman Silent About Its Crimes

November 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Whistleblower Alayne Fleischman has told all to journalist Matt Taibbi.


Over at Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi has a blockbuster story about a thirty-something securities lawyer who Wall Street giant JP Morgan Chase paid $9 billion to keep silent.

Alayne Fleischmann witnessed criminal securities fraud while working as a deal manager at the bank. Part of her job was to review loans that the bank was taking over, and she began to see more and more cases where the bank was taking on loans where the individuals involved obviously could not pay.

One example: she reviewed a loan to a manicurist who claimed to have a $117,000 annual income; she calculated that she'd have to work 488 days a year to make that much money. Fleischmann and her co-workers flagged many of these loans as “stated income unreasonable for profession”; in one case in 2006, managers marked 33 percent loans in a loan sample under this category, but were effectively overturned by a Chase executive who forced them to drop the rate to less than 10 percent. Yet the bank continued to “sell…high-risk loans as low-risk securities,” despite the fact that doing so would be fraud.

Fleischmann continued to make similar complaints to her managers until she was laid off in 2008. She was under a confidentiality agreement with Chase, but she did have the ability to report crimes. So she put her trust in the federal government, which was tasked with overseeing and punishing the sort of fraud she witnessed.

But time and time again, the investigators demurred when presented with evidence of Chase's major crimes, instead choosing to focus on smaller ones. In 2012 and 2013, she worked with the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of California to again lay out the case for the crimes Chase had committed. In the fall of 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder had scheduled a press conference to announce fraud charges against Chase; Fleischmann felt vindicated at last. Yet curiously, the pres conference was cancelled, and reportedly the bank's chief, Jamie Dimon, had called Associate Attorney General Tony West and offered instead …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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We've Been Stupefied: 4 Reasons Why the Republic Is in Serious Trouble

November 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Jim Sleeper, Salon

How the Republicans subvert democracy, and Democrats fail to do their job.


The American republic didn’t end this week because conservative Republicans captured the Senate. Conservative Republicans captured the Senate because the republic has been ending, as liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans surf four predatory new asymmetries in our national life  – in security, in speech, in investment and in consumer marketing. These immense imbalances of power are submerging the elections, delegitimizing the liberal capitalist republic that promised to give security, speech, investment and marketing deeply different meanings and consequences than the ones they’ve acquired.

Nothing less than a transformation of American citizenship worthy of Nathan Hale, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. (who learned a lot from Gandhi), Vaclav Havel and, yes, Edward Snowden can free us from yet another spectacle of politicians who look like pinheads dancing on pins’ heads.

Security: When American civilian planes brought low the American superpower in 2001, they shook the dollar-driven premise that a massive, militarized national-security establishment can protect an open society. Yet instead of rethinking its premises and policies the “military-industrial complex” that Dwight Eisenhower warned against has recovered from the shock of 9/11 to become a global search-and-destroy directorate, nearly independent of democratic governance, that is making American society less conducive to the voluntary civic discipline, candor and trust that alone sustain a republic.

Certainly technological change is driving an Orwellian transformation of “homeland” security through surveillance. Henry Kissinger warns that “The Commander of U.S. Cyber Command has predicted that ‘the next war will begin in cyberspace’” and that it will be asymmetrical. But the prospect that our vast military could be paralyzed by hackers is making the national-security “cure” as dangerous as the disease of terrorism itself. Not only liberals but especially libertarian conservatives, who’ve long mocked the line, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” understand the new “security” danger well.

No wonder that Edward Snowden, 29, a libertarian conservative, has sacrificed so much to warn us that with only a “policy switch,” any administration could use the National Security Agency’s massive database to chill individual Americans’ exercise …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Solution to Unemployment Found: Kill the Unemployed

November 7, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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That was the solution proffered by eugenicist progressives during the 1920s and 1930s. At least, that was their preferred option. Frank Taussig admitted that we “have not reached the stage where we can proceed to chloroform [the unemployed] once and for all, but at least they can be segregated, shut up in refuges and asylums, and prevented from propagating their kind.”

Many leftists today deny that minimum wage laws increase unemployment among the least skilled and most disadvantaged workers. Among many early progressives, however, it was fully admitted that minimum wages cause unemployment, and this fact was to be used to effect good eugenicist social policy.  In “Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era” in The Journal of Economic Perspectives by Thomas C. Leonard, Leonard examines how the minimum wage was used to separate the “worthy” workers (i.e., those who could earn a “living wage”) from those unproductive workers who should be sterilized.

From Leonard’s analysis, we learn several things:

1. It was assumed and fully admitted by progressives that a  minimum wage would cause unemployment among the least-skilled workers in society.

2. For the eugenicists, the resulting unemployment was a good thing because it allowed the “experts” to more easily cull those who were worthy of being allowed to continue to exist and reproduce, from those who were not.

3. Such arguments for the minimum wage were also closely related to the racism inherent in early minimum wage arguments, which is covered in more detail here.

Leonard explores the assumed benefits of unemployment caused by minimum wages here:

Columbia’s Henry Rogers Seager, a leading progressive economist who served as president of the AEA in 1922, provides an example. Worthy wage-earners, Seager (1913a, p. 12) argued, need protection from the “wearing competition of the casual worker and the drifter” and from the other “unemployable” who unfairly drag down the wages of more deserving workers (1913b, pp. 82–83). The minimum wage protects deserving workers from the competition of the unfit by making it illegal to work for less. Seager (1913a, p. 9) wrote: “The operation of the minimum wage requirement would merely extend the definition of defectives to embrace all individuals, who even after having received special training, remain incapable of adequate self-support.” Seager (p. 10) made clear what should happen to those who, even after remedial training, could not earn the legal minimum: “If we are to maintain a race that is to be made of up of capable, efficient and independent individuals and family groups we must courageously cut …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Majorities in Several States Vote To Punish Low-Skill Workers

November 7, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Fired businessman searching for a job isolated on white backgrou

My anti-democracy critics will shake their heads in dismay at me, but I’ve been forced to come to the conclusion that there’s no reason to believe that plebiscitary democracy is any worse than the usual kind. Indeed, in American states that must hold plebiscites to authorize tax increases, one hears regular howls from the pro-tax crowd about how “direct democracy” is awful and that “representative democracy” is so much better.  There’s even this federal lawsuit by pro-tax groups claiming that Colorado’s requirement that voters approve tax increases is unconstitutional. In other words, those who favor tax increases hate voter referendums and initiatives. Internationally, of course, there are the secession votes and the upcoming vote on gold in Switzerland. I have a hard time coming up with a reason why such things are comparatively bad (compared to an alternative in which everything is up to the elected elites).

That said, the news isn’t always good with such voter-approved measures. A majority of voters in four states voted to raise the minimum wage:

If there was upsets and contention in much of midterm voting, there was one topic on which the electorate was largely united: raising the minimum wage. Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all had ballot measures on raising state minimum wages above both their current levels and the federal $7.25 an hour figure.

All four states passed the measures, most by significant margins. More than two-thirds of voters in Alaska agreed to raise minimum wage to $9.75 by 2016. Sixty-five percent of Arkansas voters set the state on course to adopt an $8.50 figure by 2017. In Nebraska, 59 percent said the number should be $9 an hour by 2016. Only South Dakota stood out with a slimmer margin; 53 percent voted to raise minimum wage to $8.50 an hour next year. In Alaska and South Dakota, minimum wage is now pegged to inflation, meaning that it will rise as the cost of living does.

What these voters said with their votes was “I’m in favor of making it illegal for people with low productivity to get a job. Teenagers, people who were poorly educated by failing public schools, people who have never had a job, and people who are not very intelligent, should all just stay home and do nothing because we want to make sure that no one can afford to hire those people.”

Wages are a reflection of the worker’s productivity. When …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Staggeringly High Number of Muslim Countries the U.S. Has Bombed or Invaded Since 1980

November 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet

Glenn Greenwald lambasts American hypocrisy when it comes to Islamic violence.


As the inevitable two-year campaign for the White House gears up, foreign policy is likely to be a hot topic, particularly within the Republican Party, where hawks like Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) may face off with more restraint-oriented lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul (KY).

Journalist Glenn Greenwald points to a Washington Post op-ed by Andrew Bacevich laying out the case that our foreign relations with the Muslim world are fraught with too much violence – with Syria being the 14th country we've bombed or occupied since 1980:

As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extent into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and in which American soldiers have killed or been killed. And that’s just since 1980.

Let’s tick them off: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. Whew.

Greenwald comments on the statistic by referencing the recent controversies of Sam Harris and Bill Maher attacking Islam as uniquely violent, “Those who sit around in the U.S. or the U.K. endlessly inveighing against the evils of Islam, depicting it as the root of violence and evil (the “mother lode of bad ideas“), while spending very little time on their own societies’ addictions to violence and aggression, or their own religious and nationalistic drives, have reached the peak of self-blinding tribalism. They really are akin to having a neighbor down the street who constantly murders, steals and pillages, and then spends his spare time flamboyantly denouncing people who live thousands of miles away for their bad acts. Such a person would be regarded as pathologically self-deluded, a term that also describes those political and intellectual factions which replicate that behavior.”

Read Greenwald's full …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Meet Your New Top 6 Craziest Republican Representatives

November 7, 2014 in Blogs

By Hunter, DailyKos

These are the lunatics you'll be hearing about on all the satire shows.


Tuesday's elections brought both a rout of Democrats and a new standard for just who can be a national Republican these days. That's not good, but let's have a quick look at the new House and Senate conservatives most likely to rise to (unintended) prominence in the next two years. It's time for Meet Your New Craziest Republicans.

Glenn Grothman, WI-06: Any list has to start with new Wisconsin Representative Glenn Grothman. Grothman is a finely tuned gaffe machine, if by “gaffe” we mean “saying the things Republicans are not supposed to say out loud.” He is a fervent believer in stopping The Gay Agenda, which he believes exists in our nation's classrooms, but it's the full scope of Grothman's bizarre statements that have led us to predict that he will quickly rise to challenge Texas Republican Louie Gohmert for the title of America's Dumbest Congressman. Does he have the stuff? We'll soon know.

Jody Hice, GA-10: Another beneficiary of a hard-right conservative district, Georgia's Jody Hice can't be considered a gaffe machine. He's just plain mean. A tea party Republican right out of central casting, Hice is a preacher, a conservative radio host, a gun-toter, and the district's replacement for Paul “Evolution and embryology and the big bang theory are lies from the pit of Hell” Broun. Hice's most recent hit has been the assertion that Muslim-Americans are not protected by the First Amendment because Islam is not a true religion; he also is frothingly anti-gay and is for women entering politics only if it is “within the authority of her husband.” Look for Hice to be a loudmouth Steve King type; not dumb, but meaner than a bag of rattlesnakes and a whole lot louder.

Mark Walker, NC-06: An also-ran compared to the more reliably soon-to-be-infamous Grothman and Rice, Mark Walker will nonetheless make a solid addition to the members of Congress that you will shudder to think have actual power. His highlight reel is topped by the time he proposed “we go …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Problems of too Much Equality

November 7, 2014 in Economics

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Fears of ever-rising economic inequality have been stoked by the runaway success of Thomas Piketty’s book “Capitalism in the 21st Century.” Yet the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall should remind us that excessive equality can cause social strain and collapse more surely than excessive inequality.

Millions left East Germany because they found the system unfair: It produced equality by massively denying individual economic opportunities. So, they risked life and limb by fleeing to West Germany, which had more inequality but lots of opportunity.

Many refugees also sought more political freedom. But they were overwhelmingly educated, talented youngsters, for whom forced equality in East Germany amounted to a huge implicit tax. Seen in this light, they sought not just political liberty but freedom from exorbitant implicit taxation. This doesn’t mean that inequality is an unqualified virtue; it’s possible to have too much of it. Yet the Berlin Wall anniversary reminds us that the virtues of equality can be overstated.

Whatever the merits of equality, it must not be attempted through implicit or explicit taxation so severe that it drives away skill and capital.”

East Germany had equality, no unemployment, free education and health, and succor for the sick, handicapped and aged. It was an egalitarian welfare state with higher living standards than Germany had enjoyed before World War II. Yet, by 1961, an estimated 3.5 million people had fled from egalitarian East Germany to inegalitarian West Germany, inducing the erection of the Wall.

This story was repeated elsewhere. Communist North Korea is more egalitarian than South Korea, yet millions fled from it to the south.

Mao Zedong created an egalitarian China, in stark contrast with Hong Kong, which was among the most unequal places in the world. Yet thousands swam across shark infested waters from egalitarian China to inegalitarian Hong Kong. None swam in the opposite direction, not even Marxist professors.

Piketty says he belongs to the post-Berlin Wall era, and has no illusions about the forced equality attempted by communist states. He favors a high wealth tax to soak the undeserving rich. Since this would induce the highly taxed to flee, just as they fled from East Germany, he proposes a high global wealth tax to prevent migration.

But there is no reason for Singapore, Hong Kong or other low-tax countries to co-operate, since they are happy to attract the rich and talented, and don’t care …read more

Source: OP-EDS