Friday, September 14, 2012

QE3 Is Here!

Move over QE2, QE3 is here! The markets are euphoric for now.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chinese Inflation?

Number me among that are skeptics on the long term economic staying power of China. There are a plethora of bulls who think that the world is going to be conquered by China for the next millennium. I doubt it, for reasons I will put in a forthcoming post.

In the meantime, I might not be the only one who thinks that China has problems that the bulls are ignoring. One big one is inflation. The Chinese are orthodox Keynesians and resort to their printing press like any other state with a fiat currency. They continue to print and print, and prices are in a good position to skyrocket in anticipation of the coming inflation being realized by market actors. But if you anticipate inflation and raise your prices, the Chinese state will come after you as Unilever is finding out at the moment.

Some key quotes from this article, with my comments non-italic:

"China has fined consumer products maker Unilever for talking to Chinese media about possible price hikes that triggered a rush to buy while Beijing is trying to rein in surging inflation." 


If the Chinese state was trying to rein in inflation, why would they order producers to lower prices? Have they considered easing back on the printing presses? Inflation is the result in an increase in the supply of money, not a "general rise in prices."

"The British-Dutch company was fined 2 million yuan ($308,000) for "spreading information about price rises and disrupting market pricing order," the Cabinet's planning agency said Friday."

Any good Hayekian knows that planning leads to catastrophe. China has a planning agency. They are a lot farther down the road to serfdom than many other states. Another point here: Obviously Unilever was telling the truth or else it would not be getting fined. 

"Chinese authorities have told companies to hold down price increases to help cool inflation that spiked to a 32-month high of 5.4 percent in March. The government has declared taming inflation its priority and has raised interest four times since October and imposed lending and investment curbs."

Again, stop printing money and allow market freedom. It will never happen in China until the system collapses. I am not a China bull, more on this later.


"Unilever is accused of violating orders to makers of noodles, liquor and hygiene products such as soaps to avoid talking publicly about prices, according to the statement by the National Development and Reform Commission."

If I am the CEO of Unilver, I would highlight this at the annual shareholder meeting, and publicly state that any state that that does not let you discuss prices publicly is a failure waiting to happen. That will never happen but hopefully more people are questioning China's economy with more skepticism than they were before. I will continue to be a skeptic for sure!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Sequel is Here: Keynes vs. Hayek: Round Two!!!!

The long awaited sequel is finally here! If you enjoy it, share it with someone. It is a great conversation starter!

A LONG ABSENCE ENDS!

I have decided that enough is enough, and that it is high time I started blogging again! With so much noise and interference from the powers that be, it is no time to be on the sidelines! Stay tuned! The revolution will not be televised but it will indeed be blogged!


“The present generation suffers every hardship and cost of war, although anticipation pretends that it is covered by future generations. And this delusion is used to involve nations in wars, which they would never commence, if they knew that all the expense would fall upon themselves. It is twice suffered; by the living, who supply all the expenses of war; by the unborn, who supply an equivalent sum, to take up certificates of the expenses paid by the living."--John Taylor of Caroline

Monday, November 8, 2010

QE2 is Coming!


No, not that one..........THIS ONE!

Ron Paul Nails It....Again!

As the rest of Congress is seduced by Keynes, Bernanke, and of all people, Paul Krugman, Ron Paul once again tells us like it really is. Here he is discussing the effects of quantitative easing, aka QE2, on CNBC:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Gary North's "Mises On Money": An Excellent Study Guide!

A study guide that accompanies a treatise can be a valuable tool, particularly when the work is complex and voluminous. Study guides can help make the material of the treatise more vivid and clear. It can simplify the complex and allow for a broader base of readers that understand the points and theory set forth. 
Check out: www.libertymaniacs.com

Robert Murphy has authored two great study guides on two of the fundamental work in Austrian Economics. Murphy has created study guides for Mises's Human Action, and Rothbard's Man, Economy, and State. These guides serve as map and compass that assist in the navigation of these massive works. 

I often wondered why there was no study guide for Mises's The Theory of Money and Credit. But thanks to a friend and fellow Austrian, I have discovered one! Gary North is the author of Mises On Money.  This guide is a wonderful complement to enhance your understanding of one of the cornerstone books of Austrian Economics. Mises On Money is written in seven sections: An introduction, five chapter, and a conclusion. North does an outstanding job in making Mises's classic more readable and more understandable. North walks you through the entire book by pulling out and explaining the key points in plain language. 

Mises's The Theory of Money and Credit is as important today as it was when Mises wrote it in 1912. Considering the world we live in, and the modern statist economy we are enduring, reading this classic is essential. Gary North's Mises On Money can help you understand Mises's theories to a T! Free people read Mises, and Gary North can help!

And the best part? You can access North's book free online, here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/mom.html

"Cognition is furthered only by clarity and distinctness, never by compromises." Ludwig von Mises


Monday, October 4, 2010

A Father's Pride!

Occasionally I let my children into my office to play so long as they are quiet. Usually they read a book, draw pictures on a flip-chart, or color pictures. My six year old daughter went to "work" in my office when she got home from school today. I had just finished a conference call when she said, " Daddy, look. I drew Hayek!"

The creativity of a child's mind is priceless!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Do We Need Conscription to End the Wars?

When you confound a statist Keynesian to the point where he calls you an anarchist, you have given the Austrian arguments effectively. 

The background is this: A close friend that I served in the military with is for conscription, citing a recent remark by Robert Gates. In his mind sending more of our youth to the Bush-Obama Wars of Democratic Aggression will " increase the social costs of going to war." Somehow he thinks that this will bring about a end to the wars such that "If the country collectively thinks the war is worth it, the country will support it. If the war isn't worth it, the country will vote against it and put enormous pressure on politicians to end it."

 I met his backward logic with a long retort in which I stated:

"Why is Gates calling for a draft? Because these wars are unpopular, and no one wants to fight them. He knows that. So his idea is to use the power of government to keep the war going by means of taking our kids out of their lives and into the breach to fight for whatever it is the state is trying to accomplish."

He then sent a longer retort, but I thought that you might enjoy his last paragraph. I am sure you will see it as a compliment rather than a condescending insult, which was the intent, and, that the Austro-libertarian arguments were effective in rattling him! Here it is what he said to me:

"But my argument doesn't make any sense to you because your basically an anarchist. To you, all wars are unnecessary and unacceptable because they are conducted by states. You would never support any war because any state with authority over you is unacceptable - whether its a communist regime like North Korea or the current US government. Thus, a government that requires a registered voter to jury duty is as equally unacceptable as a government that confiscates all of your property and quashes freedom of thought."

To think that I was once of that same mindset gives me the chills! But the persistence of a friend who kept sending me articles from LRC ultimately helped me see the truth! My closing reply to him was:


"You compliment me! You should read Murray Rothbard and LewRockwell.com too! Give the truth a chance!"


Thursday, September 30, 2010

An Austrian In "Wall Street"


The movies that come out of Hollywood would never overtly be “Austrian in nature.” That being said, every now and then you find an Austrian nugget that seems to redeem a film that would otherwise be an affront to everything Austro-libertarians hold dear. In that light I was re-watching the movie Wall Street, in preparation for the much hyped sequel. In watching it, I re-discovered that the old broker in the office that everyone respected, Lou Mannheim, was an Austrian! When we first see him he says that (emphasis mine):
“..can’t make a buck in this market, country’s going to hell faster than when that son of a bitch Roosevelt was around… too much cheap money sloshing around the world. The biggest mistake we ever made was letting Nixon get off the gold standard…”

A true Austrian could not have said it better! 
Special thanks to Lew for posting this comment on his blog!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mises Academy: The New Deal, Week 2 - Hoover Was Not A Laissez Faire Capitalist!

The second lecture in Tom Woods’s Mises Academy course on the New Deal revolved around Herbert Hoover. We are often taught to think of Hoover as the champion of capitalism and laissez faire, and that his stalwart defense of these ideals was what led the United States into the depths of depression. Paul Krugman, the NY Times, academia, and other leftist outlets attempt to paint the picture of an arch capitalist Hoover whose failure to intervene in the market destroyed jobs and wages of working Americans. This is complete myth.

Hoover was indeed the destroyer of jobs and incomes as the Great Depression began to take shape. But he was no laissez faire capitalist. In fact he was quite the opposite. Hoover led a government assault to attack economic problems from the very beginning. Some examples that we discussed in class:

1.      High Wage Policy - Hoover did everything he could to ensure that wages were kept artificially high. A poor economist, he confused wage rates with wage income. Like many politicians, to include a great many today, Hoover confused wage rates with wage income. The flawed belief is that high wage rates would end the depression. What was lost on Hoover and the interventionists was that higher rates, especially those mandating wage floors, actually make unemployment worse, and reduce wage income.
2.       Farm Policy – Post WWI there were heavy handed moves of the federal government to prop up and subsidize the agricultural sector. The perception was that the American farmers were hit harder than any other sector as a result of the war. The reality is that the farm sector had done relatively well compared to other sectors. In other words, the crisis was exaggerated to justify the subsidization of the sector. An example of this is the price of wheat being pegged by Congress to $2.26/bushel. This was twice the pre-war price. The higher fixed price led wheat producers to produce considerably more wheat to hope on the gravy train. In the short run wheat producers enjoyed concentrated prosperity relative to the rest of the economy. But as time progressed there was an excess supply of wheat that could not be sold. And then, in the correct anticipation that excess wheat would be dumped, the price of wheat plummeted by more than 50%. Woods points out that the cotton industry had a similar experience.
3.      The Smoot-Hawley Tariff – I recall in high school watching Al Gore debate NAFTA with H. Ross Perot. Taking the free trade position (government definition, not classical), Gore held up a picture of Smoot and Hawley, the accomplices to Hoover who caused the Great Depression. The tariff was originally designed to protect the agricultural sector. After being signed into law by Hoover, the Smoot Hawley Tariff raised duties to an average of 59% on over 25,000 goods. Woods pointed out that the tariffs ill effects were greatly assisted by the Hoover High Wage Policy. Citing Vedder and Gallaway of Ohio University, he pointed out that unemployment numbers would have lower by 3.8% if the tariff had not be enacted. Working in tandem to destroy jobs with the tariff, the high wage policy, per Vedder and Gallaway, accounted for 77% of observed rising unemployment from 1929 and 1932.
John T. Flynn
4.      “Associationalism” – This was the idea of creating trade associations in certain sectors that, with encouragement from the government, would coordinate pricing and output in order to keep competition amongst each other “fair.” If this sounds like a cartel to you, you are right on, at least informally. Hoover was a huge proponent of trade associations and trade boards to attempt to plan and coordinate market functions. As a cartel, albeit informal, the door was open to coercion and force when it came to dealing with issues that were not “fair” or “just.”
5.      White House Conferences – On the idea of “associationalism,” Hoover held series of “White House Conferences.” The purpose of these summits was to encourage businessmen to keep wages high and output and expansion up. These summits were derided by critics as some sort of “supreme economic council.” Woods mentions John T. Flynn, who would come to be one of the most outspoken critics of FDR. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hucklenomics: Using Richard Scarry’s Busytown Series to Teach Children Sound Economics


What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry’s Busytown stories are the hands down favorite of my four children. The fact that they are so passionate about these books adds to my own enthusiasm. Scarry’s books are replete with morals, values, and memories of my own childhood. My mother used to read these stories to my siblings and me when we were young. I loved to hear stories about Huckle the Cat and his pal Lowly Worm, and their many adventures in Busytown. They are timeless classics that appear to be as widely read today as they were thirty years ago.

As a student of market economics I cannot help but realize the true value of Busytown. These books are a wonderful resource for teaching young children sound economics. The key Busytown volume that serves as the best tool for economic instruction is What Do People Do All Day. This book is a series of vignettes that depict the citizens of Busytown involved in various everyday events. Yet within these stories of seemingly routine activities is a treasure trove of economic lessons that can easily be taught to young children. Valuable lessons in saving, exchange and the stages of production are ever present. Depictions of characters acting in their own self-interest to improve their circumstances in a spontaneous market order are a constant theme. There are three stories that illuminate these ideas the best. They are “Everyone Is a Worker,” “Wood and How We Use It,” and “Where Does Bread Come From.”

The first story in the book is “Everyone Is a Worker.” It begins by teaching that everyone is an actor in the economy, be they adults or children, by stating that “everyone is a worker.” The elegance of this statement lies in the reality that in a market economy, everyone acts in their own self interest to improve their circumstances, thus benefitting others seeking to accomplish the same.  Scarry introduces us to Farmer Alfalfa, a goat, who grows fruits and vegetables on his farm. A portion of his harvest is kept for himself and his family while the rest is taken into town. Alfalfa’s first stop is Grocer Cat’s market. An exchange takes place: Farmer Alfalfa sells the fruits and vegetables he has grown to Grocer Cat in exchange money. Grocer Cat, in turn, will sell the vegetables to his customers in exchange for their money. Farmer Alfalfa then goes to the tailor shop of a rabbit named Stitches, and another exchange takes place. Farmer Alfalfa takes the money he earned from selling the produce to Grocer Cat and buys a new suit from Stitches. Next we see Farmer Alfalfa seek to improve his productivity by purchasing capital goods. He buys a new tractor from Blacksmith Fox which “will make his farm work easier.” His last stop before heading home is the bank, where he deposits money “for safekeeping,” presumably to consume in the future.

The other actors in Busytown’s economy, Grocer Cat, Stitches, and Blacksmith Fox, are also depicted participating in the market. The question is posed “What did the other workers do with the money they earned?” After satisfying the basic needs of food, clothing, and saving Stitches exercises discretionary spending by purchasing an egg beater, which will be used to make fudge for his family. Blacksmith Fox opts to use his income for purchasing raw materials to produce more capital goods. He buys more iron “to make more tractors and tools.” Grocer Cat buys Mother Cat a new dress and vacuum cleaner with the money he earned selling groceries, and a new tricycle for his son Huckle.  By the end of this story, children have learned the fundamentals of the spontaneous market order which emerges when economic actors are free to act in their own self interest. It becomes very clear that this is the natural way of things, and that this example is worth emulating.

Beyond the fundamentals of the basic market order, children learn of the various stages of production in the stories “Wood and How We Use It,” and “Where Does Bread Come From.” In “Wood and How We Use It” we are told that “we couldn’t live without trees.” Books in our modern epoch might have a different spin on this sort of phrase, using it as a means to convert children to the environmental movement. However Scarry shows us that we could not live with trees as a source for the wood used to create goods we use everyday. He demonstrates how wood finds it way from the forest to its final uses as paper, furniture, boats, and houses.

Stages of Paper Production
The opening scene is the early stage of harvesting trees from a forest. Trees are cut down and replaced with seeds to grow new trees to be harvested in the future. Lumberjacks are shown earning their living by cutting down trees, removing branches, and turning the remaining logs over to loggers. The loggers then float the logs down a river to a sawmill. In the mill the logs are transformed into boards of various sizes and taken to a lumberyard. The proprietor of the lumberyard is shown wholesaling lumber to a boat builder, a carpenter, a furniture maker, and “Daddy Pig,” who wants to build a bookcase. These actors are shown transforming lumber bought at wholesale into final goods. The furniture maker transforms the wood he purchased into “beds and chests and chairs.” The carpenter builds a new house, and the boat builder builds new boats, all of which will be sold on the market. Scrap lumber is purchased by the “Foolscap Paper Company” (all employees wear a jester’s cap). The workers in this company are shown transforming scrap lumber into rolls of paper, and selling it wholesale to “ABC Printers.” I ask my children what they think that the printers will do with the paper. Following the story they can very quickly relay why printers would buy paper, and what various goods they could transform it into. The story is almost a perfect illustration of the Hayekian Triangle.

The final story is another example of the stages of production. “Where Does Bread Come From” is the final story in the book. In this story we see wheat transformed though the various stages of production until it is ultimately consumed as bread. All along the way we see a myriad of workers harvesting, transporting, milling, packaging, and baking until we ultimately have bread.

There is one final thought about something in these stories that can not escape an economist’s eye. Noticeably absent from Busytown is the parasitic and paternalistic state. There are a few government agencies present such as the post office and the fire department. Beyond that there is very little sign of the state, and certainly no sign of any government sponsored intervention or coercion. The only permanent character employed by government is Sgt. Murphy, a police officer. Sgt. Murphy reminds us of a time when police served the community by enforcing the rule of law by protecting life, liberty, and property. No more, no less.
Busytown and What Do People Do All Day are excellent resources for laying the foundation of a child’s education in sound economics. The simplicity and logic of the lessons will give them the basic tools they need to advance their minds in a world that seeks to teach them otherwise. Richard Scarry at this young age will surely lead them to enjoying and understanding Mises and Hayek down the road. 
  

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Return To Mises Academy: The New Deal with Thomas Woods

In the continuing pursuit of the truth, Nueva Salamanca is once again taking up studies at the Mises Academy! This time it is to study the New Deal and its effects under the prolific and insightful Tom Woods. The course description states: 
"This online course taught by historian Thomas Woods runs from September 6 through October 22, 2010. It examines the critical period of American history from the stock market crash of 1929 to the end of World War II, focusing on domestic affairs. Topics include: the 1920s boom and bust, the Hoover record in light of recent scholarship, the New Deal programs and agencies, the evolution of the Supreme Court, international parallels, political and intellectual opposition to FDR, and the economic consequences of World War II. Readings include primary documents, works by contemporaries, and recent scholarship and commentary."

I am looking forward to hearing the Austrian version of the story. I am not convinced that the New Deal saved America. Let's see what Dr. Woods has to say. In this video interview with Jeff Tucker, Woods tells that Austrians need to know the New Deal cold. It is hard to dispute that!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Reminder of 2008's Trials and Tribulations!



On today's LRC Blog, Ryan McMaken makes an excellent post. He poses the question "What is worse than a Catholic Democrat?" The answer of course is a Catholic Republican! 

This post reminded me of what I went through in my parish during the election of 2008. As a Jesuit educated, Austrian economist, and supporter of Ron Paul, I was a marked man. The "pro-life" dignity battalions were in full force, and of course, were incapable of seeing the forest through the trees. I thought I would share some of the thoughts and ideas that I had blogged about this very idea of the "Catholic" republicans that alienate others through their ignorance of Catholic doctrine, and their penchant for being duped by politicians who sell them a "pro-life" bag of goods every election cycle. I had put these up and then taken them down, large in part to the fact that I was encouraging others to sin. You should have seen some of the things "Catholics" said and wrote to me! Anyway, without further ado, here are the posts. And special thanks to Ryan McMaken, who has made me realize that I am not the only one who sees this disease in Catholics in America

Post I
October, 2008

I may never get the chance to post ideas I am learning in my studies. Why? McCainist Pro-life Dignity Battalion goons won't stop emailing me about the "Pro-life" candidate, and why Catholics must vote for him. 

What follows is an email I received today that instructs me to vote McCain, as it is my duty as a Catholic. It is riddled with the fallacies I talked about in an earlier post. To make it more fun to read, I added my own thoughts to the message so you can really see what this unfortunate person is saying implicitly. She is unaware however, having put her mouth on the McCainist water fountain. My additions are in bold: 

“Dear fellow members of (an allegedly pro-life Catholic organization),
 
I have an important message for you regarding this crucial upcoming election in 52 days. (This message came via diktat from the neocons that convince us once every four years that this time the GOP presidential candidate is really, really pro-life. Disregard any thing you have heard from the Pope). 
 
As a Catholic organization that (selectively) supports and defends the moral teachings of our Magisterium, (except those on war, capital punishment, and embryonic stem cell research, all of which John McCain supports) we must be courageous (and intimidating) enough to convince our fellow Catholics (especially the ones who, orthodox in their beliefs, reject McCain and Obama for their positions on the warfare/welfare state) not to throw this election to a pro-abort like Obama (but unlike McCain) who not only believes in partial birth abortion, but also believes in Infanticide - by leaving babies born through a botched abortion in the dirty linen closet.
Obama must be defeated and the only (allegedly) prolife candidate for President must be elected (so we can have another warmongering neocon to merely tell us what we want to hear and make us feel good).
 
Voting for a third party candidate throws away your vote (and suggests that you are a critical thinker independent from the trough of partisan politics), and will only help elect Obama (who is pretty much like McCain on just about everything else).
 
Good shepherds (that also can ignore the world wide war that is accelerating the decline of Western Civilization) both inside and outside this diocese have reminded us that abortion is the most crucial moral issue in this election; homosexuality/same sex marriage second.  Obama supports both, McCain does NOT. (He only supports one, depending on the audience, which is still better than two).
 
Please attend the Rally for McCain (War, Capital Punishment, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Government Regulation) - Sunday, Sept. 28th 

“Encourage many other Catholics (who also have never read Agustine, Aquinas, Thomas More, or any papal encyclical) to attend with you. Catholics (that disregard Catholic Just War Teaching and the last two Popes) can and must defeat Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion candidate ever (as well as defeat John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and any other Catholic who stubbornly believes that there is a higher authority than the neocon and socialist warfare/welfare statists that run our government)!
 
Sincerely Yours in Christ,

“(Another sadly confused Catholic that I will continue to pray for!)”


Post II
October, 2008

An operative within the "Catholic" McCain Pro-Life Dignity Battalions has advised me to choose McCain, for he is the "lesser of two evils" regarding life issues. My reply is as follows:

1. To help me better understand your point of view, please answer the following questions:  

2. Is it not acceptable for a Catholic to choose to resist evil, rather than choose evil itself?  

3. Would Christ choose between two evils? If so, what evil would he choose? If not, shouldn't we follow His example?  

4. How should a Catholic reconcile encouraging another Catholic to choose any evil, regardless of its scale?  

5. Which evils are acceptable for Catholics to willfully choose?  

6. Why would some evils be acceptable for Catholics to choose, while others remain forbidden for Catholics to choose?  

7. In willfully choosing evil, where would a Catholic draw the line regarding the scale of evil?  

8. Which of the Ten Commandments authorizes the willful choosing to commit evil? Where in the New Testament is the willful choice of evil discussed and promoted?

What was the response to these questions? I was called Pontius Pilate! It is nice to know that reasoning is no longer valid!


Post III
November, 2008

Do you ever have déjà vu all over again? I do, particularly around election time. I experience it in so many wonderful ways, the negative ads, the pandering, the flip-flopping, etc. But I also have another wonderful reminder: some of my fellow Catholics who feel the need to remind me of what they think my duties are as a Catholic as far as voting is concerned. They say that since I am a practicing Catholic, and that I am pro-life (small p). Their claim is that as a Catholic, if I do not vote for John McCain, aka the “Pro-life” (capital P) candidate, I am committing heresy, and must be burned at the stake. There are several fallacies that they employ to try to convince me of what they believe is my obligation as a Catholic. I would like to share with you those fallacies, as well as some as my remedies for dealing with the Pro-Life (capital P) Dignity Battalions.

The “You Are Throwing Your Vote Away” Fallacy

This is a classic, because the neo-cons love this one too. I am led to believe that if I vote for anyone other than McCain, I am automatically voting for Obama, because 
Ron Paul, my aunt, and Murray Rothbard have no chance of beating Obama.

What it assumes: This fallacy makes several poor assumptions. First, it assumes that I do not have a conscience. Second, it assumes that I care about who is elected president. Third, it assumes that Barack Obama is “worse” than John McCain.

My response: If I vote at all, I will do so with my conscience in tact by not voting for anyone other than the candidate that I truly believe is going to act with moral clarity, prudence, and integrity. That leaves Ron Paul. (Sorry Auntie!). If I vote my conscience, I do not care who wins. Why should I compromise? As a Catholic, should I compromise my faith to support “the lesser of two evils?” Evil is evil, and is to be resisted, even if it is the “lesser.”

The “Brave Men Died To Give You That Right To Vote” Fallacy

Another timeless classic! Many like to use this one with me because I served as an officer in the Marine Corps for six years. They cannot see how I would not participate in the “right that I defended.”

What it assumes: This fallacy also makes very poor assumptions, namely that you get your rights from man made institutions like the state. Clearly they have not read the 
Declaration of Independence, JFK’s inaugural address, the Bible, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Every Catholic should know that their rights come from God, not man, or the state. Second, it assumes that just because I was a part of an institution previously, I can never change my mind from the orthodoxy of the state.

My response: Brave men probably die more because of the right to vote, not for it. Since the modern democracies have become dominant, we never seem to get a breather from wars. In the “bad old days” of monarchy, wars were much more limited relative to today. (
See Hans-Herman Hoppe).

The “John McCain is the Only Pro-Life Candidate” Fallacy

This one is so funny it is tragic. People who had just been waterboarding others for Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, or Fred Thompson, are now circling the wagons around their last choice to “save us from Roe v. Wade,” John McCain. It is ironic that they somehow seemed to never factor in Ron Paul, the only candidate worthy of the term “pro-life.”

What is assumes: The assumption here is that John McCain is a pro-life candidate who is going to overturn Roe v. Wade. How? They are not sure exactly, but they seem to think it has something to do with appointing “pro-life” judges. They also have to assume that only the president can cause Roe v. Wade to be overturned. This is merely due to a poor understanding of how the three branches of government are supposed to function.

My Response: John McCain supports war, the death penalty, and embryonic stem cell research. These are hardly pro-life stances. Furthermore, if he really wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, at some point during his long career in the senate he would have introduced legislation that enforced Article III, Section 2 of the constitution. This clause enumerates the areas of responsibilities of the courts. Abortion is nowhere to be found! If McCain or any of his new “pro-life” supporters would have read the constitution, specifically this clause, they would know that abortion is not anywhere remotely close to being in the jurisdiction of the federal courts. All it would take is one member of either the house or senate to introduce this bill, and get a simple majority to support it. Roe v. Wade and all of the drama that goes with it would disappear quickly.

The “Who Would Jesus Vote For” Fallacy

This one is not limited to Pro-life Catholics, but many other Christian groups.

What it assumes: That if our Blessed Lord were here on Earth, he would delay judging the living and the dead so he could vote for John McCain.

My response: If our Blessed Lord were here on Earth, he would indeed be judging the living and the dead, not voting. There would be no need to vote because the world would be at its end. Furthermore, if he was here in His human form, would he go through all of the trouble to go to a voting booth to pull the lever for John McCain to end abortion, or just do it Himself. Remember that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, not John McCain. Plus Christ is a king, and kings don’t vote.


The sad part is that people like this, who are incapable of critical thought, are led away from the truth by belieiving that people like John McCain, or any other "Pro-life" member of Congress really cares about ending abortion. The results never match the intentions.

Friday, July 23, 2010

As We Go Marching!

As We Go Marching was the title of a book written by John T. Flynn. The topic of the book was fascism, which was openly embraced by the US Government in the 1930's during the reign of FDR. Once again we find ourselves in a time where our government is becoming more open and honest with its policies that lean towards fascism and totalitarianism. The climate seems to be worsening as of late, but the reality is that it has always been present to some extent. 


H.R. 5741 is the latest stop on the road to serfdom. What is it? A bill that calls for mandatory universal federal service. The bill says: 


“To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.”


Will this bill pass? Ten years ago no would would think that this sort of thing would ever see the light of day. But in this day and age, I would give it 50/50. Many on both sides of the aisle would surely support it. 


What would i mean? If you are able, you will be inducted into the military. If not, there are several other wonderful options to serve the state as a tax parasite. Maybe the Peace Corps is for you. Maybe you could work in a National Park. Maybe you could serve as a police officer or as a nurse in a VA hospital. Maybe you can monitor internet conversations. Maybe you can screen passengers nude bodies as they pass through body scanners at the airport. Maybe you can serve in the civilian national security force that Obama promised. Who knows what wonders await our children in the new and improved state. 


PS - You can read Flynn's book here for free, courtesy of the Mises Institute

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ralph Nader Interviews Judge Andrew Napolitano

Recently Ralph Nader interviewed Judge Andrew Napolitano. This is one of the best interviews I have seen in a long time!


Here is a clip. The full interview can be seen at the above link. 

The Hayek Interviews

The Universidad Francisco Marroquin has created a wonderful site with interviews of F. A. Hayek. They are outstanding, and I highly recommend them!


Here is a sample from my favorite interview: 

Stand With The Iroquois!

This Iroquois Lacrosse Team situation makes perfect sense as it relates to the way they are being treated by the government. The establishment is threatened when American Indians do not act as a protected class that is dependent on the state, grateful of the “rights and privileges” it grants through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, reservations, sovereign status, and casinos. The thought of them as autonomous and sovereign nations must make the bureaucrats sick to their stomachs. The establishment is much more comfortable when they stay in their place and fall in line.

This idea of how government wants American Indians to behave and this recent Iroquois Lacrosse incident that makes me think about another way the establishment has put a lid on the notion of their sovereignty. That is the relentless purging of any and all mascots that depict American Indians as something other than a neutered class of government serfs. The state cannot fathom the idea of “Braves,” “Warriors,” “Fighting Sioux,” or “Fighting Illini.” These depictions hearken back to times when the American Indian tribes resisted the state forces that sought their eradication. It is totally unacceptable to bureaucrats to have these depictions persist because they are contrary to the ideal state beneficiary, who is essentially another hapless group worthy of pity and incapable of functioning properly without the aid of government welfare. In other words the direct opposite of a noble and dignified people, who made innumerable stands to defend their lives, liberty, and property from the state. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Explaining How Government Intervention Does Nothing Positive

Government intervention is one of the most present obstacles to just about everything in this modern age. Bureaucrats always think that knowledge can all be centralized and that correct decisions can be made from this information. Knowledge is tacit and dispersed. There is no way that bureaucrats can know everything possible to make the correct decisions about anything. 

This idea is brought to light by Judge Andrew Napolitano in this clip. Napolitano demonstrates to an unglued Shepherd Smith that the federal government is ultimately responsible for the disaster and the ensuing lack of clean up. Napolitano points out that since government has no stake in the game, that is no capital risked, it can bungle as much as it wants and never be checked. It is not governed by a price system. It has no economic accountability. It can never be sued. Napolitano amplifies a point that Ludwig von Mises made:  "A bureaucrat differs from a nonbureaucrat precisely because he is working in a field in which it is impossible to appraise the result of a mans effort in terms of money." 

Here is the clip: 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Greece Privatizing Islands

It seems to me that "private is better than public" is almost an irrefutable economic maxim. Think of all of the land that government that sits idle with resources untapped. Hernando DeSoto would call this "dead capital." Rich resources wasted by public ownership of land in the name of defense, conservation, commerce, etc. The reality is that the resources would put to much better uses, productive uses, in private hands. Alaska comes to mind of a vast government plot of land with resources untapped. As Ronald Reagan called it, "Our smallest state surrounded by our largest national park."

I thought of this maxim to day when I saw this article in the news. It seems that amid all of its economic troubles, the government of Greece is going to sell islands to attempt to alleviate its extensive economic problems. It is encouraging to see this process take place, and will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pittsburgh Laughs Last?

Jeff Tucker has a nice post on the Mises blog that lauds Pittsburgh. Being a native Pittsburgher, I could not restrain myself from commenting! Below are my thoughts: 



"As a native Pittsburgher who left for another state I have to agree with Craig. I would add:
1) The population is older than anything in Florida. There are subsidized old folks homes everywhere, literally.
2) The government footprint is huge, at every level, city, county, and state. It grows and grows, and most people see no problem with it.
3) The city is about to go bust with its pension liabilities, which are in excess of a billion USD.
4) Local politicians are not quite Chicago-like, but they aspire to be. Pittsburgh’s perceived progress has occurred IN SPITE of every effort to cap it by the pols. There are impediments everywhere to commerce that can trace its roots to the meddling local government. They operate in a one party system (Dems only in Pittsburgh). The accidental boy mayor is unpopular, but overwhelmingly re-elected only because he is a Democrat. Good candidates have no chance, and last year’s mayoral election was a prime example of that.
5) The union power is extensive. Not only did this power help chase away all of the industry that was in Pittsburgh, it has kept a host of potential new manufacturers out of the city and the the suburbs.
6) The infrastructure is one of the most decrepit in all of the US. You can’t drive ten feet without hitting a pothole, and most of the bridges (more than any other city in the world except Venice, Italy) are unsound. The number that failed the testing after the Minneapolis incident was scary!
7) There is a tax for just about everything you can think of in Pittsburgh. Income ta, wage tax, beer tax, and my favorite, the “business privilege” tax. In other words, if you are privileged enough to own a business, you owe more. All of the new stadiums were built with taxpayer dollars. Taxes and rates go up every time a government run operation fails to generate revenue (mass transit, etc.).
8) The largest landowner after the government is the corporation, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. They have acquired land on a metastatic scale, and do not pay taxes. The more land they have acquired, the more everyone elses taxes have gone up.
9) To emphasize Craig’s point: There is way too much consumption and destruction of wealth, and very little creation.
I could go on and on, but I will stop here. I love Pittsburgh with all my heart, but it is not exactly the ideal economic paradigm. It is the anti-libertarian city in so many ways.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Online Course: Hayek's "The Road To Serfdom"

Don't miss out on the opportunity to take an online course taught by Tom DiLorenzo, author of The Real Lincoln, and How Capitalism Saved America.

This course will be on F.A. Hayek's "The Road To Serfdom." It will be made available by the Mises Institute's new online teaching program, Mises Academy.

There is a huge surge in sales of this classic, reported in the New York Times. The book is also rising in popularity, I suspect, large in part to the neocon/socialist agenda that is being rammed down our throats by policy makers of all parties.


You can also read a condensed version of the book in cartoons, and there is also a PDF, made available by the IEA (Highly Recommend).


FREE PEOPLE READ HAYEK!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

U.S. Debt Clock: Ignore It At Your Peril!


Do not be fooled when mainstream media outlets tell you that inflation is not yet a concern, or that there is nothing wrong with running deficits. These fallacies, along with the other errors of Keynesianism, mislead the majority of people and turn their attention far, far, far away from sound economics. Do not ignore the money being spent by the federal government. Ignoring this ever ascending number is perilous. Check it out at www.usdebtclock.org to keep tabs on your share of the debt! It will never be pretty to look at but it will serve as a constant reminder how far along we are on the road to ruin!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why Are Prescription Drug Costs So High?


My response to an email complaining about drug markups:

The markups are considerable but necessary to operate in a market that is unreasonably regulated by the Federal bureaucrats, riddled with corrupt lobbying practices, and overwhelmed with trillions in unfunded liabilities that will tax us to oblivion.

For every dollar you spend on pharmaceuticals, about $0.20 goes to cover the FDA. Drug companies don't pay that. We do. If you developed a new cure for X, you would have to spend millions and many years to get the FDA to even look at it. See more here: http://www.fdareview.org/marketfailure.shtml

Also, lobbying Congress is not cheap. Drug companies spent over $250,000,000.00 on lobbying politicians last year. Pfizer alone has spent over $4,000,000.00 this year, and there is still six months to go! These costs are passed off to the consumer in the form of higher prices, aka the markups you see in the email. Someone has to pay for Pfizer to take pols on junkets. More details here: http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=h04

Finally remember that you also pay for these drugs via your taxes. The Bush Prescription Drug handout, which makes drugs for seniors "free," was supposed to "only" cost $400,000,000,000.00. The official projections suggest it is approaching $600,000,000,000.00. But the real cost is the unfunded liabilities that we are all on the hook for. There is right now, according to the Federal Reserve, over $19,000,000,000,000.00 (TRILLION!) in unfunded liabilities in "free" drugs. This is on top of $14 Trill in unfunded Social Security benefits, and almost $76 Trill in unfunded Medicare liabilities. You can see all of these figures, which come from the Federal Reserve, in real time at http://usdebtclock.org/ And by the way, these numbers do not yet factor in Obama's dictum to make health care "free." That will add to the pile considerably.

Regulatory costs, lobbying costs, and taxes to fund handouts all add up, and that is why we pay those markups. Economic law tells us: "Everything has a cost, and everything must be paid for."