Category Archives: Opinion

Cosmopolitanism is the answer

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Peter J Boettke

"My answers to our current challenges are simple ones. Let’s begin at the beginning — which for the liberal is basic human equality. We are one another’s equals. There should be no confusion on this point. And if you are an advocate of liberalism and you find yourself 'standing' (metaphorically or literally) alongside anyone asserting the superiority of one group over another you should know you are in the wrong crowd and you need to move in opposition quickly to leave no doubt in their or other’s minds. Liberalism is liberal. It is an emancipation philosophy and a joyous celebration of the creative energy of diverse peoples near and far." (11/16/17)

Impeachment theater, 2017 edition

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"If past performance an indicator of future results, performance — political theater — is really all we can expect here. Two past presidents — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton — have been impeached. Neither was convicted. A third, Richard Nixon, might have been, but he resigned before the House could vote on impeachment." (11/16/17)

We don't need the Department of Commerce

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Sheldon Richman

"The surest way to promote economic growth is to protect individual rights under the rule of law. As Adam Smith put it, 'Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.' The department’s mission goes beyond this modest Smithian program. If people are free to trade, they will trade. No government promotion is needed." (11/16/17)

Regime change

Source: National Review
by Kevin D Williamson

"Robert Higgs, the great economic historian, coined the term 'regime uncertainty' to describe a situation in which investors lose confidence that their property rights as currently constituted will be respected by the government. Regime uncertainty makes productive economic activity difficult, because it inhibits long-term investment. If you believe, for example, that government may be about to violate the rights of landowners and embark on a land-redistribution scheme, then you have to think twice before building a factory on ten acres of land or investing $1 million in new equipment for a ten-section farm. Ask Robert Mugabe’s unhappy subjects how that works out. A less fundamental version of regime uncertainty is policy uncertainty. That happens when investors are fairly confident in basic property rights but fear that radical changes in public policy will alter the character of their investments or their enterprises in ways that make them unprofitable." (11/16/17)

Duties imposed against Chinese "dumping" hurt American consumers

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Andrew Moran

"For years, special interests have called on the U.S. government to 'level the playing field' in the form of duties, levies, and other antiquated measures. Democrats and Republicans alike have aired their grievances over the trade deficit, grumbling about exporters hurting American workers by flooding the market with cheap goods. These complaints are deeply misguided. Over the last decade, China has been accused of tilting international trade in its favor. Is this true? No, it is demonstrably false, as Beijing’s subsidized exports greatly benefit American consumers far more than the Chinese population. You can’t tell that to the U.S. government, though." (11/16/17)

GOP's other Roy Moore problem: Constitution could protect him

Source: USA Today
by Jonathan Turley

"From Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney to virtually every voter still capable of being shocked by politicians, there's growing consensus that Roy Moore should drop out of the Senate race in Alabama. The problem is a conspicuous holdout: Roy Moore himself. Calling this a 'spiritual battle,' Moore has refused to withdraw and various senators, including McConnell, have pledged to prevent him from ever taking his seat in the Senate. Indeed, McConnell reportedly has said he would prefer to lose the seat than have it go to a man like Moore. In the end, however, he may get both the seat and the man." (11/15/17)

GOP tax plan a declaration of war on learning

Source: Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

"'Top-down class warfare' is what economist [sic] Paul Krugman calls the new Republican tax plans being drawn up in Congress, because both plans in the House and Senate propose 'huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy' and eliminate scores of 'credits and exemptions that mainly benefit the middle class.' The heaviest casualties are likely to be on the public education front. As Krugman explains, Republicans intend to knock off many current tax deductions for higher education expenses, but the extent of the carnage in the plans will extinguish learning opportunities at every age and stage of young people’s lives. What the Republicans propose in their tax plans is not just a raid on education-related budget items for the sake of fiscal efficiency; their plans are part of a strategic offensive against the very idea that all children and youth have a right to a free and high-quality education." (11/15/17)

To fight gerrymandering, let us continue to experiment

Source: Cato Unbound
by Walter Olson

"I know from overhearing elected officials chatting among themselves that some of them do yearn to loosen the tight grip that they believe the electoral process currently holds on them. We have to campaign constantly! We have to fundraise constantly! How can they expect us to act like Burke or Disraeli, Daniel Webster or Henry Clay? At least without a nice safe seat. That’s the ticket — more safe seats all round! But if one conceives of the relationship between voters and representatives as one between principals and agents, I am not convinced that the answer is to give the agents more independence from the fear of being fired by their principals." (11/16/17)

Are Republicans really this stupid?

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

"With an important political and economic victory on tax cuts tantalizingly close at hands, what is a Republican senator to do? If you're Sen. Ron Johnson, you try to sabotage the effort for absolutely no good reason. In a statement released Wednesday, the Wisconsin senator complained that the bill wasn't fair to small businesses that file taxes using the individual tax form — called pass-through businesses. 'These businesses truly are the engines of innovation and job creation throughout our economy, and they should not be left behind,' Johnson said. 'Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate bill provide fair treatment, so I do not support either in their current versions.' Say what?" (11/16/17)

Our inordinately white, wealthy, male government

Source: The New Republic
by Bryce Covert

"It wasn’t one of President Trump’s most controversial appointments. Far from it. Last week, when he nominated Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve, many on the left breathed a sigh of relief. Powell is seen as a mostly qualified and moderate choice. Compare that to Ben Carson, Jeff Sessions, or Betsy DeVos. But Trump also broke with decades of tradition by canning the person who had previously held the position. Janet Yellen, the first female Federal Reserve chair ever, will also become the first in modern history denied a second term after completing a first. It would be one thing if she was doing a terrible job or implementing policies Trump disagrees with. But she oversaw a steady fall in the unemployment rate and no big upswings in inflation, fulfilling the two mandates of the Federal Reserve." (11/16/17)