Two years ago the Chesapeake, Virginia, police made some decisions that led to an officer’s death, then tried to convict a scapegoat of capital murder. In April, following an outcry, the police department announced a change in how it will conduct drug raids. But it wasn’t the change you might have expected.
The new financial overhaul bill is the greatest government takeover of the financial sector of the economy since the National Recovery Act of 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt attempted to introduce central planning in America.
More than just a new law, the Dodd-Frank “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”… gives government a relatively free hand to set prices and wages, to make business decisions, to promote or eliminate businesses, and to break up businesses. It establishes a large new bureaucracy to enable the government to dictate its wishes to the industry.
The economy did not tank in 1937 because government spending declined. Increases in tax rates, particularly capital income tax rates, and the expansion of unions, were most likely responsible. Unfortunately, these same factors pose a similar threat today.
A beautiful consequence of the so-called “cold logic of global economics” it that it knits people from around the world into a kind of community – into a worldwide web of peaceful and productive mutual dependence. Commerce over large geographic areas undermines the nativism and insularity – and poverty – that result when people live in local communities with little or no contact with outsiders.
There have been a lot of unsurprising news stories lately. Rod Blagojevich going on TV. Tiger Woods and his wife divorcing. The economy racing along like an elderly tortoise. And the Food and Drug Administration saying the salmonella outbreak proves the agency needs more power.
We should have seen that coming. In the private sector, entities that fall short of doing their jobs find themselves forced to shrink. In the public sector, the opposite is typically true. Failure is an option, and often a beneficial one.
Few Californians in the private sector have $1 million in savings, but that’s effectively the retirement account they guarantee to public employees who opt to retire at age 55 and are entitled to a monthly, inflation-protected check of $3,000 for the rest of their lives.
Outgoing Gov. Schwarzenegger is using fiscal emergency as leverage toward a permanent solution to the public employee pension crisis that has gutted California’s budget and hamstrung other states. If he succeeds, the example could point to a solution for the many states that need to get a handle on their public employee commitments.
Do you want to get serious about expanding employment? Then it’s time to realize that spending on jobs programs is the wrong approach. It would be much better to eliminate hurdles for people who want to find work. One of those hurdles is the minimum wage.
Yes on free trade, deregulation, legalizing drugs, opening borders, the state treating all individuals (even gay Republicans) equally, getting the government out of education, and more. I do not own a beret and have never smoked a clove cigarette. I believe that my legs have a right of self-determination equal to my arms’. I could go on, but I think my meaning is clear: Libertarian is about “Free Minds and Free Markets”; it’s a belief that life is too precious to be wasted on something as stupid as politics, so let’s shrink the areas in which that sort of consensus is necessary to the smallest sphere possible. And then let’s let folks live their lives basically however they want as long as they’re not infringing on other people’s rights to do the same.
This is what the CBO was getting at with all thosecaveats about the likelihood of the health care law’s Medicare cuts being implemented successfully. And it’s one of the major reasons why critics of the health care bill did not take the CBO’s projections of the PPACA’s deficit effects as proof positive that the law would actually result in a smaller deficit. The CBO’s projections are, by nature, tremendously uncertain, especially when dealing with the multi-decade complexities of something like the PPACA (as the CBO noted, the “imprecision” of its second-decade scores for the law reflected an “even greater degree of uncertainty” than the uncertainty of the usual 10-year estimate). And historically, as Matthews’ chart shows, there are big gaps between what the CBO projects will happen and reality.
International studies show that people in countries with more generous and long-lasting unemployment compensation spend less time looking for jobs. In the United States, where unemployment compensation is less generous than in Western Europe, unemployed Americans spend more hours looking for work than do unemployed Europeans in countries with more generous unemployment compensation.
People change their behavior in other ways when the government pays with the taxpayers’ money. After welfare became more readily available in the 1960s, unwed motherhood skyrocketed. The country is still paying the price for that— of which the money is the least of it. Children raised by single mothers on welfare have far higher rates of crime, welfare and other social pathology.
San Francisco has been one of the most generous cities in the country when it comes to subsidizing the homeless. Should we be surprised that homelessness is a big problem in San Francisco?
[B]uilding political alliances between libertarians and liberals [is] not impossible in theory. [They] generally agree on constraining federal surveillance powers, reforming detention of terror suspects, and humanizing our criminal justice system. Gay marriage, abortion, and embryo research also provide common ground. [M]any Beltway libertarians vocally supported Obama in 2008.
But then Obama’s presidency happened. Obama immediately passed the largest spending bill in history, and then he fired an aide who was trying to close Guantanamo.
He nationalized General Motors and stuck his hands into Chrysler’s bankruptcy while escalating the war in Afghanistan. Obama required every American to buy health insurance and increased government control over health care. He’s increased federal control over finance, mortgages, tobacco and food while fighting to get his hands on political speech, energy, and manufacturing. Obama is the greatest enemy of economic liberty most Americans have ever seen.
The Democratic House and Senate are just as strident in advancing state power. And the rhetoric from Democratic politicians and the liberal punditocracy oozes with disdain for the free-market cause, which Paul Krugman, Chuck Schumer, and their ilk vilify as dishonest shilling for corporate interests.
So liberal-tarianism - it’s not working out so well.
This is happening right now in Montgomery, Ala., and here is how it works: The city decides it doesn’t like your property for one reason or another, so it declares it a “public nuisance.” It mails you a notice that you have 45 days to demolish your property, at your expense, or the city will do it for you (and, of course, bill you). [I]f you don’t pay it within 30 days (or pay your installments on time; if you owe over $10,000, you can work out a deal to pay back the city for destroying your home over a period of time, with interest), the city can sell your now-vacant land to the highest bidder.
The problem today is that the economy is not being left alone. Instead, it is haunted by uncertainty on a hundred fronts. When rules are unintelligible and unpredictable, when new workers are potential threats because of Labor Department regulations, businesses have little confidence to hire. President Obama’s vaunted legislative record not only left entrepreneurs with the burden of bigger government, it also makes it impossible for them to accurately estimate the new burden.
The FTC recently granted itself the power to… [police] comments left on commercial websites and punishing individual commenters who do not disclose their business interests to the government’s satisfaction. … [T]he implication of today’s action is that merely posting a comment on a website can now make you the target of a federal investigation, even if there’s no evidence that any consumer was misled or suffered injury.
The most basic fact is that it is cheaper to remain sick than to get medical treatment. What is cheapest of all is to die instead of getting life-saving medications and treatment, which can be very expensive.
Despite these facts, most of us tend to take a somewhat more parochial view of the situation when it is we ourselves who are sick or who face a potentially fatal illness. But what if that decision is taken out of your hands under ObamaCare and is being made for you by a bureaucrat in Washington?
The great sports website Deadspin has obtained and posted a bunch of infamously well-guarded financial documents from Major League Baseball teams, and unsurprisingly, people combing through them are coming to unhappy conclusions about those tens of billions in taxpayer dollars that poverty-pleading billionaires have loosed from the public’s pocket.
[T]he Marlins’ taxpayer-funded stadium [is] a “bailout.” Baseball, politicians, and most of the mainstream media would have you believe these welfare mausoleums are “economic development.” Although Passan is off-base in thinking the money that went to the Marlins would have been better spent on more government bureaucrats — how about refunding that money to the people it was stolen from?
Full disclosure: I am a huge Marlins fan. If I had the choice of losing my team or granting its owner billions of taxpayer dollars, I would have lost my team.
On a message board I frequent, a poster raised the issue of the need for congressional term limits as a way to minimize the damage done by the turkeys who entrench themselves in the corporatist machine.
I responded that what we needed were session limits, not necessarily term limits.
Instead of limiting who I can vote for, I would prefer we limit the days the elected can pass legislation to one day every six months. Bills cannot be voted on for passage the same day they are introduced. Any new law passed must also include three laws to be repealed*. Senate and House session days must be three months apart. A possible exception session day may be granted to declare war after having been attacked.
With this structure in place, congress would have to be very considerate of what they’d choose to present and pass, everyone would have a chance to read the bills, the country would have a chance to dissect and respond, and the damage they would undoubtedly do would be very limited. Also, since they’re not working year-round, we would limit their pay to a few weeks out of the year, and tie their hourly wages to the average pay of janitors (they do work for us, after all). This shortened work schedule and limited pay will weed out career politicians and give them lots of time and incentive to actually get a productive job and contribute to the economy.
*(If they need some ideas on which laws to repeal, I’ve got a handy list here.)
Those who advocate a reduced global American military presence are often accused by defenders of the status quo of somehow being naïve or unable to see the big picture. But the exact opposite is true — it is those who insist America must be everywhere at all times who are also all over the place in their logic, as their advocating for perpetual war continues to lead to permanent disaster.
Education has had a progressive slant since Woodrow Wilson. It, of course, became worse once the Department of Education started meddling in local affairs in ‘80. Now, it looks like they are readying to ramp it up another notch:
Fourteen states have also climbed aboard its effort to refocus American K-12 education on global awareness, media [and environmental] literacy and the like – and to defocus it on grammar, multiplication tables and the causes of the Civil War.
“What is the greatest lie ever created? What is the most vicious obscenity ever perpetrated on mankind? Slavery? The Holocaust? Dictatorship? No. It’s the tool with which all that wickedness is built: altruism.”—Andrew Ryan from Bioshock (via purelypragmatic)
The single best hope for continued peace is politically unfettered vibrant commerce between Americans and the Chinese. Economically integrated, mutually dependent peoples have powerful incentives not to destroy each other.
How can we possibly gather enough information to compare the opportunity costs of land, fertlizers, equipment, workers, transportation and energy costs (among many others) and reach a conclusion about which tomato imposes the fewest costs on our neighbors?
Well, it turns out there’s actually a way to do that. You do it by looking at a single number that does an excellent job of reflecting all those costs. That number is known as the price of the tomato.
In the movie, the goal of the dream incubation was to implant an idea into an unsuspecting subject’s head that would cause him to act differently than he otherwise would have. In the real life version of inception, the state tried to implant in all our heads the idea that there was no depression, no economic collapse, no housing crisis, no push back on real estate prices, and really no serious problem at all that the state cannot fix provided we are obedient subjects and do what we are told.
One of the most pernicious fallacies in popular economic discussions is that we should adopt policies designed to save jobs. What was once just language used by those with a special interest in particular jobs (such as unions calling for import quotas as foreign cars became more popular) is now part of the Obama administration’s defense of its counterproductive “stimulus” program. “Jobs created or saved” has become the standard of an economic program’s success. There is so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to start. …
Saving jobs means putting the engine of human creativity in neutral if not reverse. The healthiest economies are those that consistently destroy jobs by inventing new and better ways to satisfy existing human wants with less and less labor, while freeing other labor to satisfy new and not-yet-dreamed-of wants.