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The VA and the FDA Are Keeping Veterans from a Helpful Treatment Option, Just Because It's Marijuana

May 13, 2019 in Economics

By Trevor Burrus

Trevor Burrus

The Department of Veterans Affairs is opposing a group of bills
that could help veterans better access medical marijuana in states
where it is legal. This is unsurprising. As a federal agency, the
VA must ultimately toe the line defined by the Controlled
Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration: that
marijuana has no legitimate medical uses and is a dangerous drug.
Yet the VA’s position also raises the broader question: Will
the federal government ever view marijuana, as a plant, as
“medicine”?

Although it helps millions of people every day, marijuana, as
far as the federal government is concerned, is not and will never
be medicine. Legalization advocates like myself should put little
hope in a whole plant being validated by the Food and Drug
Administration as “medicine.” The FDA is no more likely
to approve marijuana as a medicine than it is to approve chicken
soup for colds, even though we all know chicken soup works.

Marijuana, whether smoked, drank, vaporized, or eaten,
unquestionably has innumerable medicinal and therapeutic uses, as
does ginger tea, yoga, hot toddies, and a good night’s sleep
— all of which won’t be approved by the FDA either.
Marijuana has proven uses in reducing seizures, treating glaucoma,
restoring the appetites of those undergoing chemotherapy, reducing
stress, treating pain, and many more. It truly is a miraculous and
complex little plant.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is opposing a group of bills
that could help veterans better access medical marijuana in states
where it is legal. This is unsurprising. As a federal agency, the
VA must ultimately toe the line defined by the Controlled
Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration: that
marijuana has no legitimate medical uses and is a dangerous drug.
Yet the VA’s position also raises the broader question: Will
the federal government ever view marijuana, as a plant, as
“medicine”?

Although it helps millions of people every day, marijuana, as
far as the federal government is concerned, is not and will never
be medicine. Legalization advocates like myself should put little
hope in a whole plant being validated by the Food and Drug
Administration as “medicine.” The FDA is no more likely
to approve marijuana as a medicine than it is to approve chicken
soup for colds, even though we all know chicken soup works.

Marijuana, whether smoked, drank, vaporized, or eaten,
unquestionably has innumerable medicinal and therapeutic uses, as
does ginger tea, yoga, hot toddies, and a good night’s sleep
— all of which won’t be approved by the FDA either.
Marijuana has proven uses in reducing seizures, treating glaucoma,
restoring the appetites of those undergoing chemotherapy, reducing
stress, treating pain, and many more. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Trump’s Trade War Throws Good Money After Bad

May 13, 2019 in Economics

By Colin Grabow

Colin Grabow

Since taking office, President Trump has spoken at one time or
another of reaching trade deals with China, Japan, the European
Union, Canada and Mexico among others. But all that has so far been
achieved is higher tariffs and a plunging stock market. The
president’s vaunted trade agenda appears in tatters.

On the trade war’s Pacific front, the imposition of
tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports has failed to
persuade Beijing to open up its market. But it has raised the cost
of production for U.S. businesses and the cost of living for
American families as well as led to retaliatory tariffs on nearly
all U.S. exports. More than mere tariffs will be required for China
to meet American demands, with U.S. negotiators reportedly admitting
their inability to “force any changes that aren’t in
China’s interest.”

Perhaps the most
maddening aspect of this sordid trade saga is that it didn’t have
to be this way.

Well, who could have seen that coming?

And now things are set to get even worse. Faced with China’s
continued refusal to meet his demands,t Trump has threatened to
double down by imposing tariffs on all imports from China. It’s
unclear why this will succeed where his previous efforts failed,
but anyone considering a new phone, computer or television should
consider making that purchase sooner rather than later.

China, however, is only the most glaring example of Trump’s
trade misadventures.

A trade deal with the EU has thus far failed to show signs of
materializing, which is no surprise given that the two sides seem
unable to even agree on negotiating objectives. Rather than opening
its market to U.S. exports, the EU has so far done the opposite,
slapping tariffs on products such as bourbon, jeans and motorcycles in retaliation for Trump’s steel
and aluminum tariffs. And the EU is said to be readying more such measures if Trump
proceeds with plans to impose tariffs on foreign autos.

It’s a similar story with Japan, about which there’s been much
talk about a trade deal but little in the way of actual movement.
As with the EU, there seems to be little common ground on the scope
of such a deal, and Japan may be more interested in using talks to
forestall threatened auto tariffs than actually reaching an
agreement.

Even the one deal that Trump has managed to conclude, the
U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is facing a daunting path to
congressional approval. The Democrat-controlled House is far from
eager to hand the president a victory, while Sen. Charles Grassley
(R-IA) <a target=_blank href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-tariffs-end-or-his-trade-deal-dies-11556479697" …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The 8-Year-Old Chinese-American Girl Who Helped Desegregate Schools—in 1885

May 13, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

Seven decades before Brown v. Board, Mamie Tape’s bid to desegregate San Francisco schools went to the California Supreme Court.

Nearly 70 years before Topeka’s , which chronicles the Tape family story. So Jeu Dip got a job working as a house servant for a dairy rancher, and later graduated to driving the milk-delivery wagon.

In 1875, Jeu Dip married Mary McGladery, a young woman who had immigrated from the Shanghai region in 1868, when she was 11. After a few months in Chinatown, during which she may have been forced to work in a brothel, she had been taken in by the Ladies’ Protection and Relief Society and raised in a home for destitute girls. Renamed after the matron of the home, she had been thoroughly schooled in English and Westernized manners. Mary and Jeu Dip were married in a Christian ceremony; he took the English name Joseph, and they both adopted the German surname Tape.

By the late 1870s, Joseph was operating a successful delivery business, along with other ventures, and had become a well-regarded businessman in both the white and Chinese communities. He and Mary settled in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco (then called Black Point), an area with few other Chinese residents. Mamie was born in 1876, followed by two more children, Frank and Emily.

READ MORE: History of San Francisco’s Chinatown

The era of Chinese exclusion

The Tapes’ rise from young immigrants to prosperous middle-class San Franciscans took place against a backdrop of growing anti-Chinese sentiment, and even violence. In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned Chinese immigration for a period of 10 years and prevented all Chinese from becoming naturalized citizens.

In San Francisco, Chinese children (even American-born) had long been denied access to public schools. Despite a law passed by the California state legislature in 1880 that entitled all children in the state to public education, social custom and local school-board policy still kept Chinese youngsters from attending the city’s white schools.

READ MORE: Chinese Exclusion Act

A view of markets in Chinatown, San Francisco, in the 19th century.

Battling for the right to public education

Having lived among white neighbors for so long, it seemed natural to Mary and Joseph Tape to send their eldest daughter to the primary school in their neighborhood, rather than to the mission-run schools in Chinatown. After Hurley barred Mamie’s …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Turkey's Inflationary Woes

May 13, 2019 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke

Steve H. Hanke

Just what is Turkey’s inflation rate? Today, Turkey’s annual inflation rate is 49 percent. How do I measure elevated inflation? The most important price in an economy is the exchange rate between the local currency – in this case, the lira – and the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar. As long as there is an active free market for currency and the data are available, changes in the exchange rate can be reliably transformed into accurate measurements of countrywide inflation rates. The economic principle of purchasing power parity (PPP) allows for this transformation. The application of PPP to measure elevated inflation rates is both simple and very accurate.

For example, using evidence from Germany’s 1920-23 hyperinflation, my long-time friend, distinguished economist, former Governor of the Bank of Israel, and Chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase International, Jacob Frenkel confirmed the accuracy of PPP during hyperinflations. In the July 1976 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Frenkel plotted the Deutschmark/U.S. dollar exchange rate against both the German wholesale price index and the consumer price index. The correlations between Germany’s exchange rate and the two price indices were very close to unity throughout the episode of hyperinflation, indicating that changes in the inflation rate mirrored changes in the exchange rate.

I have expanded on the PPP insights presented by Frenkel. One article, which I co-authored with Charles Bushnell in the Fall 2017 issue of World Economics, “On Measuring Hyperinflation: Venezuela’s Episode,” lays out how the PPP approach can be used to accurately measure inflation in cases in which the annual inflation rate exceeds 30 percent, as it presently does in Turkey.

Beyond the theory of PPP, the intuition of why PPP represents the ‘gold standard’ for measuring elevated rates of inflation is clear. For example, during episodes of hyperinflation, virtually all goods and services are either priced in a stable foreign currency (the U.S. dollar) or a local currency. In Venezuela, for example, bolivar prices are determined by referring to the dollar prices of goods, and then converting them to local bolivar prices after observing the black market exchange rate. When the price level is increasing rapidly and erratically on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, or even minute-by-minute basis, exchange rate quotations are the only source of information on how fast inflation is actually proceeding. That is why PPP holds and why I can use high-frequency data to calculate …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Three M's: Milosevic, Mugabe, and Maduro

May 13, 2019 in Economics

By Steve H. Hanke

Steve H. Hanke

What do Slobodan Milosevic, Robert Mugabe, and Nicolás
Maduro have in common? Other than being leaders who kept the
Communist Manifesto at their bedside, all three ushered in
devastating hyperinflations.

Other than being leaders
who kept the Communist Manifesto at their bedside, all three
ushered in devastating hyperinflations.

Hyperinflations are rare. They have only occurred when the
supply of money has been governed by discretionary paper money
standards. No hyperinflation has ever been recorded when money has
been commodity-based or when paper money has been convertible into
a commodity.

The first hyperinflation occurred during the French Revolution
(1789-96) when the mandat collapsed and the monthly inflation rate
peaked at 143% in December of 1795. More than a century elapsed
before another episode of hyperinflation occurred. Not
coincidentally, this period of currency tranquility occurred during
the heyday of the gold standard. With the emergence and adoption of
fiat currencies, the 20th century ushered in currency instability
and inflation. Indeed, since 1900 there have been 57 episodes of
hyperinflation. And, five of those episodes can be claimed by
Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela. All are featured in the
Hanke-Krus World Hyperinflation Table below, which first
appeared in
The Routledge Handbook of Major Events in Economic History

(2013).

Milosevic and Yugoslavia:

Slobodan Milosevic was in the saddle when inflation last gutted
the rump Yugoslavia. The first of his many monetary shenanigans was
uncovered on January 7, 1991, when I served as an adviser in the
Ante Marković reform government. It was then that we
discovered on December 28, 1990, the Milosevic-controlled Serbian
Parliament had secretly ordered the Serbian National Bank (a
regional central bank) to issue some $1.4 billion in credits to
friends of Milosevic. That illegal plunder equaled more than half
of all the new money the National Bank of Yugoslavia had planned to
emit in 1991. The heist sabotaged the Markovic government’s
teetering plans for economic reform and hardened the resolve of
leaders in Croatia and Slovenia to break away from Belgrade.

Without the Croats and Slovenes to fleece, Milosevic turned on
his own people with a vengeance. Starting in January 1992, what was
left of Yugoslavia endured what was at the time the second-highest
hyperinflation in world history. It peaked in January 1994,
when
I measured
the monthly inflation rate at 313,000,000%. The
Yugoslav hyperinflation episode lasted 24 long months. Nonetheless,
Milosevic retained his grip on what was left of Yugoslavia for
another six years.

During the 24-month episode, per capita income plunged by more
than 50%. Ordinary people were forced to deplete their
hard-currency savings. People couldn’t afford to buy food in the
free market; …read more

Source: OP-EDS