Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


Paul Jacob & the Human Face of Corporations by maliab
August 23, 2011, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Economy, Limited Government | Tags: , ,

It’s a little tiring, listening to the tired trope that makes corporations the ultimate bad guy of modern culture.  Look at Hollywood.  Any time they can’t work a Nazi (or at least a neo-Nazi) into the plot of their latest action thriller, they turn to the same cliche . . . the evil corporate fat cat.  So is it any wonder that Mitt Romney earned heaps of undeserved scorn for commenting that “corporations are people”?  As Paul Jacob, President of Citizens in Charge, points out, Romney biggest offense was pointing out the ugliness of the Left’s anti-business prejudice:

On the video page featuring Mitt Romney’s notorious “corporations are people” comment — the one I clicked to, anyway — every comment was negative, with jokes like “Did you hear that S&P downgraded the Tea Party credit grade to KK+?” and economically illiterate whoppers like “Corporations do not help anyone except those who own them or do what they say.” It’s saddening to see ignorance and bigotry so self-righteously maintained by everyday Americans.

Yes, bigotry.

For Romney was right: Corporations are made of people. Those who roil with hatred for corporations, singling them out for more regulation or greater taxation, are attacking actual living, breathing people, who, as Milton Friedman pointed out, are made up of three classes of just plain folks: the owners, the, who are people; the corporation’s hired managers, who are people; and served  that is, people who have chosen,  duress, to buy stuff from the corporations.

Economist Steven Horwitz, writing in the , cited one study that estimated that “45 percent to 75 percent of the burden of a corporate tax increase is borne by workers,” and noted that, if profits fall, fewer dividends would go to stockholders.

And “stockholders” are often nothing other than workers’ retirement funds.

Yeah, soak the older people. That should make corporation-haters feel good.

Setting aside “some other people” to hate is exactly what anti-corporatists are doing. It’s bigotry. And it’s ugly . . . and de-humanizing.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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Downturn for Wisconsin Union by maliab
August 19, 2011, 5:37 am
Filed under: Economy, Limited Government | Tags:

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel is reporting that the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) has been forced to layoff 42 employees (or 40% of its staff):

Burkhalter said that the layoffs and other budget cuts at WEAC are a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s “union-busting” legislation.

“Right now we’re engaged in membership continuation campaigns,” Burkhalter said in a statement. “We’ve made steady progress in signing up members and we anticipate further progress will be made as the school year resumes. Despite budget cuts and layoffs, our goal remains the same: to be a strong and viable organization that represents the voices of Wisconsin’s public school employees.”

The organization has been working to stay relevant in a time when state legislation has severely clipped the collective bargaining of teachers and other public workers. The legislation makes it illegal for local teachers unions to electronically deduct dues from the payroll of teachers, and local unions also have to hold re-certification votes.

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards estimates that about 275 school districts in the state are working outside of collective bargaining agreements and subject to the new legislation. About 150 or so districts are operating under contracts that were extended with their respective unions before the legislation passed.

No doubt some people will be confused (or willfully misled), so it bears repeating–these are union employees who are losing their jobs, and not the state’s teachers themselves.  It is being blamed on the fact that new legislation frees most of the state’s school districts from collective bargaining agreements, though one does wonder whether there may be other factors in play.  After all, one person’s “union busting” legislation is another’s “critical effort to resolve a budget crisis.”  Of course, one can hardly expect that the Union would also announce that they had an unsustainable model, but the fact that one of the blows to their bottom line is the fact that they can no longer electronically deduct union dues from people’s paychecks warrants at least an eyebrow raise.

Hawaii’s own state unions are immensely powerful and entwined with the government (or at least with the Democratic Party that runs most of the government in these parts), and our own state/union agreements have a significant impact on our own budget woes.  But don’t look for solutions from the unions themselves, which are more concerned with their own bottom line than the long-term economic health of the state.



Unconstitutional . . . Sort Of by maliab
August 17, 2011, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Health Care | Tags: , , ,

As you have no doubt heard by now, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the individual mandate portion of Obamacare, ruling that the Constitution does not allow Congress to require citizens to purchase health insurance.  That makes sense, as it tallies with that gut feeling you may have had that letting politicians decide that we were required by law to buy something is a dangerous path to travel.  The next thing you know, we’d all have statutorily-mandated commemorative Governor Abercrombie bobblehead dolls on our desks.  (Hey! It’s for the children!)

This is far from the first blow to Obamacare, which is reeling from the continual pummeling it has received since its controversial passage.  First, you had states’ attorneys and governors declaring their intent to fight it, then the court decisions started rolling in.  It’s pretty clear that we’re going to need a Supreme Court decision of some kind to put some of this confusion to rest, but it’s important to note that the victories we have seen thus far are not the death blow to the Obama healthcare plan.  Dr. Merrill Matthews of the Institute for Policy Innovation explains:

Although as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama criticized the mandate; now the Obama Justice Department says the mandate is absolutely necessary to make the law work.  It’s just one of many Obama flip-flops in his long and sordid drive to control virtually every part of the U.S. health care system.

Another of the important flip-flops playing a role in the 11th Circuit’s decision is whether the mandate is a tax.  In the fall of 2009, the president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in a televised interview that the mandate absolutely was not a tax.  Now, of course, the Justice Department claims it absolutely is.

But in its very carefully reasoned and well-written majority opinion, the 11th Circuit ruled that the mandate is a penalty and not a tax and that some parts of the law were severable from the mandate.  Let’s take the last claim first.

ObamaCare is 2,700 pages long and sticks the federal government’s nose in virtually every segment of the health care system.  Many of those regulations, restrictions and intrusions have little or nothing to do with the mandate.  For example:

  • The much-hyped “free” benefits added to Medicare and private health insurance last year;
  • The recent, and also much-hyped, requirements that health insurance cover all FDA-approved contraceptives, along with other services, without patient copays;
  • The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) that will soon morph into Medicare’s rationer-in-chief;
  • The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s heavy-handed approach to private health insurance, including efforts to monitor premium increases and punishing health insurers that don’t toe the administration line.

However, there are also good provisions, such as:

  • Establishing a regulatory pathway for “biosimilar” drugs;
  • And some important steps to reduce the fraud and abuse in Medicare.

The mandate to buy health insurance would have little to no effect on any of these, and many other, provisions.  Even many of the new taxes are not necessarily dependent on the coverage mandate.  They are intended to pay for Medicaid expansion and subsidized coverage for the poor, health care pork given to the states, high risk pools to cover uninsurable people (at least until 2014), health care clinics for the poor and many of the new “free” coverages mentioned earlier.

However, as big and intrusive as these steps are, they pale in comparison to the mandate to buy coverage or be penalized.  That provision allows Washington to micromanage every health insurance policy in the country.  If people are required to have coverage, then Washington must determine what kind of coverage is “qualified.”  And they will be very expensive, comprehensive policies—the only kind most liberals and Democrats think are worth having.

If the Supreme Court were to strike down only the coverage mandate as an overreach of the federal government’s constitutionally limited powers, the state-based health insurance exchanges might still function.  And the federal subsidies to help families with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level pay for coverage might still flow.  That’s because the government can provide families with a subsidy if they choose to buy health coverage in the exchange without demanding that they do so.

Click here to read the whole article.



Gingrich Event on Maui by maliab
August 16, 2011, 6:05 pm
Filed under: World | Tags: , ,

Politically speaking, he may be a polarizing figure, but for pure interesting-ness, it’s hard to beat Newt Gingrich, famed leader of the Republican Revolution during the Clinton years, creator of the (oft-imitated but not equaled) Contract with America, and the preferred target of the Left for most of the Nineties.  He is also the subject of most of the neater political stories that I’ve heard.  Back in my post-college years, my friends on the Hill used to talk about the fact that he had a dinosaur skull in his office and tell stories about his wit (which occasionally came at their expense).  One liberal-leaning guy I know (who saw in him in Iowa recently) mentioned that Gingrich seemed the most literate and interesting speaker of the GOP candidates that abound in Iowa this this time of year.  Well, Hawaii may not have a Straw Poll or early primary to boast of, but some of us will be lucky enough to see Speaker Gingrich this weekend at the Tea Party event on Maui.  If you can make it, I highly recommend you go (and let us know what you thought).  For more details,you can contact Tea Party Maui.  Here is the info from their original announcement:

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, August 20th. Come and spend an hour listening to and asking questions of Speaker Newt Gingrich. As you know, Gingrich is an icon of recent American history and a 2012 Presidential candidate. He is an author, film maker, and historical scholar. He was the architect of the 1994 Contract with America that led to the end of 40 years of Democrat Party rule in the U.S. House of Representatives and multiple years of BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGETS.  He is also one of the most interesting speakers you will hear on Maui in 2011. Newt has a broad knowledge of politics and puts past and current events into perspective with his in depth knowledge of history.

Speaker Gingrich will be on Maui this Saturday, August 20th. The event begins at 5:30pm at the Door of Faith Church, 432 Waiehu Beach Rd, Wailuku click here for a map (out by Sack n’ Save). The event will last about 1 hour, possibly 1 1/2 hour during which he will speak and answer questions. The event is free and open to the public; there will be plenty of parking and seating.



Benko on Monetary Policy by grassroothawaii
August 15, 2011, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Economy | Tags: ,

It’s interesting how, when economic worries abound, so few people actually talk about actual monetary policy.  It’s almost as if they worry about the effect of looking to closely at it–like sausage, perhaps we prefer not to know too much about our monetary system and how the value of the dollar is determined.  Unfortunately, it’s also one of those factors that affects every aspect of our lives–and in Hawaii, where the state of the Asian markets is almost as important to us as what’s happening on Wall Street, it bears special consideration.  And, as Ralph Benko points out in a recent Forbes column, perhaps a change is called for:

Is it possible that the ghastly unemployment, stagnant growth (and possible double-dip recession), and financial market convulsions all can traced back to one single decision?  Perhaps.

Monetary policy is the most recondite yet most pervasive and powerful of economic forces.  Keynes, in The Economic Consequences of the Peace, wrote, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

The converse also is true.  Restoring real monetary integrity engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of prosperity.  And forces for monetary reform are very much in motion.

The dollar has fallen in value by more than 80% from the day when Richard Nixon took the world off the tattered remnants of the gold standard.  Aug. 15 marks the 40th anniversary of the avowedly “temporary” abandonment of the gold standard by President Richard Nixon.

“Closing the gold window” was part of a series of dramatic but shocking and destructive tactics by Washington, including wage-price controls, a tariff barrier, and other measures, all leading to economic and financial markets hell.  All such measures save one stand discredited.  The only piece of the Nixon Shock still in force was the piece most ostentatiously designated as temporary.  Nixon: “I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold….”

Suspending convertibility was no trivial matter.  Nixon speechwriter William Safire recalled: “On the helicopter headed for Camp David, I was seated between [Herb] Stein and a Treasury official.  When the Treasury man asked me what was up, I said it struck me as no big deal, that we would probably close the gold window.  He leaned forward, put his face in his hands, and whispered, ‘My God!’  Watching this reaction, it occurred to me that this could be a bigger deal than I thought….”

It proved to be a very big deal.  How ironic that the most staunch defenders of a pure paper standard, the sole remnant of Nixonomics, are a few influential “progressives” such as Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Frank.  Call them “the Nixonians.”  The poor jobs growth and stagnation of today’s “world dollar standard” are not, unsurprisingly, dissimilar to the results of the Nixon Shock.

There is ample evidence that restoring gold convertibility would put the world back on the path of jobs, growth, and a balanced federal budget.  Politicians do not like messing around with monetary policy. But gold, recently rediscovered by the Tea Party, has an impressive technical, economic, and political pedigree of gold convertibility and a very well established track record of job-creation, properly applied, during many eras.

The silver lining to the whipsawing Dow is … that it makes politicians open to new ideas, even new old ideas.  Monetary statesmen from Alexander Hamilton forward have faced circumstances far more dire than those of today and turned things around.  Modern example? The German economic miracle, the Wirtschaftswunder.

That miracle was founded in currency reform.  On the very day when Ludwig Erhard’s currency reform was put into place the economic paralysis ended.  The “rightest” economist of the 20th century, Jacques Rueff, wrote (with André Piettre) about the turnaround beginning on the very day of the reform:

Shop windows were full of goods; factory chimneys were smoking and the streets swarmed with lorries.  Everywhere the noise of new buildings going up replaced the deathly silence of the ruins.  If the state of recovery was a surprise, its swiftness was even more so.  In all sectors of economic life it began as the clocks struck on the day of currency reform.  Only an eye-witness can give an account of the sudden effect which currency reform had on the size of stocks and the wealth of goods on display.  Shops filled with goods from one day to the next; the factories began to work.  On the eve of currency reform the Germans were aimlessly wandering about their towns in search of a few additional items of food.  A day later they thought of nothing but producing them.  One day apathy was mirrored in their faces while on the next a whole nation looked hopefully into the future.

Rueff took a similar approach, including a dramatic currency reform, to reviving the French economy.  As economist and Lehrman Institute senior advisor John Mueller summarizes:

Despite the unanimous opposition of his cabinet, de Gaulle adopted the entire Rueff plan, which required sweeping measures to balance the budget and make the franc convertible after 17.5% devaluation – though not without qualms. ‘All your recommendations are excellent,’ de Gaulle told Rueff. ‘But if I apply them all and nothing happens, have you considered how much real pain it will cause across this country?’ Rueff replied, “I give you my word, mon General, that the plan, if completely adopted, will re-establish equilibrium in our balance of payments within a few weeks. Of this I am absolutely sure; I accept that your opinion of me will depend entirely on the result.’ (It did: ten years later, de Gaulle awarded Rueff the medal of the Legion of Honor.)

Today on this the 40th anniversary of the closing of the gold window a group of Americans issued a statement stating, in its conclusion:

[W]e support a 21st century international gold standard.  America should lead by unilateral resumption of the gold standard.  The U.S. dollar should be defined by law as convertible into a weight unit of gold, and Americans should be free to use gold itself as money without restriction or taxation.  The U.S. should make an official proposal at an international monetary conference that major nations should use gold rather than the dollar or other national currencies to settle payments imbalances between one another.  A new international monetary system, based on gold, without official reserve currencies, should emerge from the deliberations of the conference.

Many of the signers are associated with the American Principles Project, chaired by Sean Fieler, and the Lehrman Institute (with both of which this writer is professionally associated), chaired by Lewis E. Lehrman.  Signers also include such important thought leaders as Atlas Foundation’s Dr. Judy Shelton and Forbes Opinions editor John Tamny.

Politicians may have forgotten the power that real money, money of integrity such as currency convertible into gold, has to reverse an economic crisis.  But the people have not.  Earlier this year, the government of Utahrestored, to international attention, the recognition of gold and silver coins as legal money.  Now news emerges that the largest and most respected political party in Switzerland is supporting the work of the Goldfranc Association, led by citizen Thomas Jacob, to introduce a gold-convertible Swiss franc as a parallel currency.

To read more, click here:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ralphbenko/2011/08/15/fiat-money-the-root-cause-of-our-financial-disaster/



Dale’s Energy, Transit, Taxes (and More) Update by grassroothawaii
August 12, 2011, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Economy, Hawaii Sunshine, World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today, we have another update for you from Dale of Charley’s Taxi on the latest headlines in transit, taxes, energy, zoning, and more.  Some highlights (or lowlights, depending on how you look at it) from this edition include the questionable relationship between the rail project and the unions, the probability of a “double-dip” recession, an analysis of what causes cities to grow or shrink, and the effort to empirically demonstrate the existence of media bias.  Enjoy:

QUOTES

The bulk of [budget cuts] will have to be found by cutting real military capability and as a result, accepting real additional risk to the country’s security. — Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution

“I drank so much vodka I could barely stand up. But I had to get home somehow and decided to do something I had never done before. 

I took a bus.     And here’s the good news. I arrived home safe and sound, cozy and warm, and able to go to work the next morning.  

All of which is remarkable because I had never driven a bus before.” — Henry at AA meeting

The effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go; with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all. — F.A. Hayek

The al-Qaeda network is fully prepared to continue the jihad against the American infidels by launching deadly attacks, but your outdated and rusting transportation infrastructure needs to be completely overhauled for those strikes even to be noticed.— Ayman al-Zawahiri

TOP HEADLINES
The Debt-Limit Debate: Addressing Key Concerns, Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, 5/26/11

The Debt Ceiling: What is at Stake? Vernoique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner, MercatusCenter, GMU, 4/28/11

Glimpse into daily life in North KoreaJean H. Lee, David Guttenfelder, MSNBC, 7/23/11

Journey into North Korea, MSNBC PHOTOGRAPHS

The Official 1984 Reagan ScorecardJonathan Rowe, Paul Glastris,Washington Monthly,

How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home, Paul Emrath, National Association of Home Builders, July 2011

Obama Undercuts Case for HSR and Rail Transit, The Antiplanner, 8/04/11

What the Budget Control Act Means for U.S. Defense, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute, 8/02/11

Why Did America Destroy Its Great Cities?, Frank Gruber, Huffington Post, 8/02/11

CBO: Federal Loan Guarantees for the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants, August 2011

Intoxicated on Independence: Is Domestically Produced Ethanol Worth the Cost?,Scientific American, 7/28/11

The U.S. May Need More Lawyers!, Clifford Winston, Robert W. Crandall, Huffington Post, 7/29/11

The Obama EPA’s Brave New Future, Heritage Foundry, 7/28/11

Higher fuel standards mean higher death toll, Washington Examiner EDITORIAL, 7/28/11


When it comes to population growth, Houston is No. 1, Rice University, 7/06/11 

News in Hawaii

CEO of troubled rail car company that won Honolulu bid steps down, Gene Park, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 8/05/11

Inouye, Akaka, Cantwell and Johnson Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Facilitate Business Travel, Trade with Asia-Pacific Region, Hawaii Reporter, 8/04/11

‘Sinkhole State:’ Hawaii is in the 47th Worst Financial Position of All 50 States,Hawaii Reporter, 8/03/11

Trains Helped Kill the Greek Economy – They’ll Kill Hawaii’s too, Panos Prevedouros, Fix Oahu, 8/01/11

The New Airline & Air Service Strategy Metrics, Boyd Group International, 8/01/11

American Airlines is dropping SFO-Honolulu this fall.

Honolulu Rail in Illegal Pact with Local Unions, Panos Prevedouros, FixOahu, 7/29/11

Ansaldo Honolulu’s parent firm rethinking rail car business, Gene Park, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 7/29/11

Rail Bid Judges Ignored Ansaldo’s Past Problems, Michael Levine, Honolulu Civil Beat, 7/28/11

New vehicle charging station powers up at Capitol garage, Honolulu Star Advertiser, 7/28/11

Solar Power Plant on Oahu Does not Pass Muster, Panos Prevedouros, Fix Oahu!, 7/27/11

Traffic Accident Investigation on Oahu: Stuck in the 1980s, Panos Prevedouros, FixOahu!, 7/28/11

TAXES & ECONOMIES

Brutal: Dow Plunges Amid ‘Double-Dip’ Recession Jitters, Guy Benson, Townhall, 8/04/11

Editorial: An Unwelcome Debt Milestone, Investors Business Daily, 8/04/11

US debt exceeds entire economy GDP, markets alarmed

Academic Panel Sees 50% Chance US to Plunge Into Recession, MoneyNews, 8/03/11

Political DerivativesNicole Gelinas, National Review, 8/03/11

Moody’s, Fitch: US Must Do More to Avoid Rating Downgrades, MoneyNews, 8/03/11

Where’s Your Budget, Mr. President?, Paul Ryan, Wall Street Journal, 8/03/11

Meredith Whitney: US Headed for Double-Dip Recession, Forrest Jones, MoneyNews, 8/02/11

What the Budget Control Act Means for U.S. Defense, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute, 8/02/11

Military Spending and the Budget Deal, Christopher Preble, Cato @ Liberty, 8/01/11

When a cut is not a cutRep. Ron Paul, The Hill, 8/01/11

Europe Declares War on American Ratings Agencies, Soeren Kern, Pajamas Media, 7/30/11

Finish the 710 Freeway, James E. Moore II, LA Times, 7/29/11

Crumbling transportation infrastructure could cost US $3.1 trillion, Metro Magazine, 7/28/11

African American Middle Class Eroding As Unemployment Rate Soars, John Roberts, FOX News, 7/28/11

Motorists’ Group Endorses “Trip Bonds” Legislation, American Highway UsersAlliance, 7/28/11

Solving the Long-Term Jobs Problem, Arnold King, Nick Schultz, The AmericanEnterprise Institute, 7/27/11

Greenspan: Fed Should Have Let Banks Fail, Greg Brown, MoneyNews, 7/27/11

Herman Cain Interview on Creating Jobs, Dick Morris, 7/27/11

Behind economic hard times, fear of the new, Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 7/22/11

HIGHWAYS & BRIDGES, PPP & TOLLING, DRIVING ISSUES

DUI, Uninsured Motorists, Tolling, PPPs, Variable Pricing, RUCS and Sustainable Transportation

China falls in love with SUVs, Malcolm Moore, Telegraph UK, 8/04/11

Busting Congestion in Chicago (or Any other City), Reason TV, 8/03/11

Top 10 New-Car Deals for August, Jim Gorzelany, Forbes, 8/03/11

Taking transit – a testimonial at AA meeting, TollRoadsNews,  7/28/11

Golf cart drivers aim to be legal in small town, The Tennessean, 7/28/11

INRIX launches its Traffic app on Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry cell phone platformsTraffic Technology Today, 7/25/11

New traffic camera website aiming to drive down congestion across the UK, Trarffic Technology Today, 7/25/11

6 Reasons Driving Has Peaked in U.S. CitiesEric Jaffe, Infrastructurist, 7/14/11

Replacing the Tappan Zee BridgeManhattan Institute, 6/22/11

INRIX TRAFFIC! App Now Available on App Store

TRANSIT
Frustrating, dangerous Metro problems for the disabled, Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 8/06/11

Driving services help senior mobility without spending public money, Pamela M. Prah, Stateline, 8/04/11

Antonio Villaraigosa pushes bus-only lanes as MTA chairman, Ari Bloomekatz, Cornelius Pollmer, Los Angeles Times, 8/04/11

Low-Fare, Curbside Bus Operators Picking Up Amtrak Market Share, Don Stacom,Hartford Courant, 8/01/11

Chinese rail crash scandal: ‘official steals $2.8 billion’, Malcolm Moore, Telegraph UK, 8/01/11

China Imposes Blackout on Train Wreck Coverage, Sharon LaFraniere, NY Times,  8/01/11

With 210 injured, 35 fatalities, more concerns that government sacrifices people’s lives and safety for world’s largest public works project and cloaks failures in secrecy or propaganda.

A new third rail, The Economist, 7/30/11

Japan has operated bullet trains for 47 years without a fatal accident.

Report casts doubt on forecasts for California high speed rail, Dan Weikel, LA Times, 7/29/11

Cambridge used a now-obsolete survey method, made unrealistic assumptions, failed to properly analyze what would happen to ridership for varying levels of train service, and did not consider the impact of airline competition…But the bigger take away from all this is that there are now two independent reviews that show things are lacking here.

Al-Qaeda Claims U.S. Mass Transportation Infrastructure Must Drastically Improve Before Any Terrorist Attacks, The Onion,  7/28/11

Significant repairs and upgrades are needed for the militant group to consider destroying any roads, bridges or railways with terrorist attacks.

Using Market Processes to Reform Government Transportation Programs, Report No. 2: Improving Transit with Competitive Contracting, Wendell Cox and Ronald Utt, Heritage Webmemo #3312, 7/07/11

Public transportation has to change to remain viable, according to a new Heritage Foundation analysis. For decades, transit’s principal problem has been insufficient cost control rather than insufficient revenues. Over the past 25 years, transit’s operating cosdts have been approximately $15 billion (on a passenger mile basis). Had transit agencies kept costs within inflation – as most businesses do – transit would have been able to provide 40 percent more service in 2009. Without government unable to provide more subsidies, a much better solution is for transit systems to use competitive contracting to reduce costs and improve quality of service.  — Wendell Cox and Ron Utt

John Charles responds to Portland Mayor Sam Adams, John Charles, Cascade Policy Institute, 7/25/11

Los Angeles Metro Bus System Compares Favorably With Its Peer Group, Tom Rubin, New Geography, 7/28/11

KRM dead, Racine County to get back $300,000 in past rental car fees, Stephanie Jones, TheJournalTimes, 7/25/11

MetroAccess Knowingly Places Hundreds of Disabled Paratransit Passengers at Risk, Bus riders Union of Austin, TX, 4/02/11

ZONING, HOUSING & LAND USE

TODs, Eminent Domain, Property Rights

Plant a Garden, Go to Jail for 93-Days?! Nanny of the Month, Korchula Productions, July 2011

Growth controls = Housing Collapse, Sterling Burnett, National Review Online, 8/05/11

How Government Regulation Affects the Price of a New Home, Paul Emrath,k National Association of Home Builders, July 2011

Rural US disappearing? Population share hits low, Hope Yen, Associated Press, 7/28/11

Moving From The Coast, Wendell Cox, New Geography, 7/28/11

Program Offers Cash Incentives To Live Downtown, CBS Detroit, 7/25/11

In the five-year, $4 million “Live Downtown” program, first-time home buyers will get a $20,000 forgivable loan. Renters will get a $2,500 first year allowance, and $1,000 the following year. Employees who already own a home in the city will be given up to a $5,000 grant for exterior improvements.

Why Amnerica’s Young and Restless Will Abandon Cities for Suburbs, Joel Kotkin, Forbes, 7/20/11

When it comes to population growth, Houston is No. 1, Rice University, 7/06/11

Why Some Cities Are Growing And Others Shrinking, Dean Stansel, Cato Journal, Summer 2011

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Beaver Fever Fanaticism: EPA Eco-Radicals Are Hurting Families at the Tap, Christopher Coffey, Pajamas Media, 8/07/11

Blame the Washington Bureaucracy for High Gas Prices, Rob Bluey, Heritage Foundry, 8/04/11

New Process Could Make Canadian Oil Cheaper, Cleaner, Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review, 8/03/11

GM Confirms Slow Chevy Volt Sales, Mark Modica, National Legal and Policy Center, 8/02/11

CBO: Federal Loan Guarantees for the Construction of Nuclear Power Plants, August 2011

Higher fuel standards mean higher death toll, Washington Examiner EDITORIAL, 7/28/11

Issa launches investigation into Obama’s new fuel economy standards, Andrew REstuccia, The Hill, 7/29/11

Grow Our Way Out, IBD, 7/29/11

President Obama Announces Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standard, US DOT, 7/29/11

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole in Global Warming Alarmism, James Taylor, Forbes, 7/27/11

America’s power grid too vulnerable to cyberattack, US report warns, Mark Clayton, Jewish World Review, 7/28/11

The Obama EPA’s Brave New Future, Heritage Foundry, 7/28/11

Intoxicated on Independence: Is Domestically Produced Ethanol Worth the Cost?,Scientific American, 7/28/11

MISCELLANEOUS

Obama’s War on the Welf-Made Man, Lurita Doan, Townhall, 8/08/11

2011 Hall of Fame Shannon Shane speech, 8/07/11

Parents: Hone Your Kid’s BS Detector!, Doug Giles, Townhall, 8/07/11

DEA Letting Cartels Bring Drugs Over the Border, Helen Whalen Cohen, Townhall, 8/06/11

USPS Bailout on the Horizon, Trey Kovacs, Open Market, 8/04/11

Anti-terror plan allies White House with Muslim groups, Neil Munro, Daily Caller, 8/04/11

Documents: Feds allegedly allowed Sinaloa cartel to move cocaine into U.S. for information, Diana Washington Valdez, El Paso Times, 8/04/11

Communist Party USA Officially Endorses Barack Obama, Vision to America, 8/04/11

Policing Beltway Lobbyists, Jonathan H. Adler, National Review Online, 8/02/11

UCLA professor’s new book empirically demonstrates liberal media bias {VIDEO],Jamie Weinstein, 8/01/11

Plug-and-Play Batteries: Trying Out a Quick-Swap Station for E.V.’s, Bradley Berman, NYTimes, 7/31/11

The U.S. May Need More Lawyers!, Clifford Winston, Robert W. Crandall, Huffington Post, 7/29/11

Gunwalker: William Newell Circles the Wagons, Patrick Richardson, PM, 7/28/11

NHS delays operations ‘as it waits for patients to die or go private’, Martin Beckford, Telegraph UK, 7/28/11

3D printing: the technology that could re-shape the world, Shane Richmond, TelegraphUK, 7/28/11

Obama to Banks: We’re Not Defaulting, Charlie Gasparino, Fox Business, 7/25/11

Germany’s Choice – Part 2, Stratfor Global Intelligence, 7/26/11



Who Understands Your Money Better Than You? by maliab
August 11, 2011, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Economy | Tags: , , , ,

Surprise!  You may not know it, but you’re an economic genius.  Or above-average at least.  Assuming, that is, that you base your spending decisions on long-term appraisal of your income, government policy, and its probable effects.  Of course, if you do these things, than you’re probably more than a little frustrated and concerned about our current state of affairs.  But your worries and predictions about higher taxes and the inevitable problems that come with large-scale government spending are the bane of Keynesian economists (including the Obama Administration).  As Paul Gregory explains in his recent Forbes article, Obama and other Keynesians are prepared to laugh at the Tea Party members (and, it must be pointed out, followers of Milton Friedman’s free market principles) who actually understand the real state of things better than they, as they cling to their increasingly discredited belief that greater government spending grows the economy:

The appeal of Keynesian economics is its simple logic. If government spending for goods and services is part of GDP, then any increase in government spending must raise GDP.

As President Obama explained in a town hall meeting on Feb. 8, 2009:

“Republicans say this is not a stimulus bill but a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point.” (Laughter from the crowd).

 

Keynesian economics is easy, even for stupid people. More thought and analysis are required to understand why it has not worked as it is supposed to. Keynesian skeptics must show that increases in government spending cause other components of GDP, such as consumption, investment, or exports, to fall. Such countervailing forces require more nuanced and sophisticated thought. They are not for the mentally lazy or those seeking simple answers.

Gregory goes on to list five principles from Nobel-Laureate Keynesian skeptics that demonstrate that our current course of government spending is disastrous.  Consider number two:

2) Crowding Out (Milton Friedman)

This proposition says that increases in government spending crowd out investment and even consumer spending. In its simplest form, it says that when the government borrows for spending, less capital is left for private investment and for consumers.

Gregory rightly takes offense at the fact that the Tea Party has been a subject of ridicule from those who accept the Keynesian theory without question.  Perhaps the Obama Administration and other adherents of this philosophy of government intervention and expansion simply resent the Tea Party crowd for not being stupid enough to accept their policies without question.




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