Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Credibility Meltdown for Leading Climate Scientists

The recent climate scandal involving the Climate Research Unit hack will likely prove to be a devastating blow to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) advocates. Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun suggests:

"The 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory - a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science. I’ve been adding some of the most astonishing in updates below - emails suggesting conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organized resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more. If it is as it now seems, never again will 'peer review' be used to shout down skeptics."
One of the documents released is a five-page document titled The Rules of the Game. A primer for propagating the AGW message to average people, the document is an abridgment of a longer document contained at the Web site of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. One of its sections is entitled Blowing Away Myths. The document proposes that AGW supporters should

"forget the climate change detractors - those who deny climate change science are irritating, but unimportant. The argument is not about if we should deal with climate change, but how we should deal with climate change."
I find it risible that they think ignoring their opponents is equivalent to "blowing away myths." This appears to be typical behavior from AGW proponents; it screams intellectual dishonesty.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Corporate Nationalism: A Love Story

Capitalism sure is unpopular these days. When I first saw the preview of Michael Moore's new documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, I noticed that Moore is either ignorant of or disingenuous towards what actually constitutes capitalism. Watching just the preview, I saw Moore present our current system of corporate nationalism as if it were capitalism. This is strange coming from someone who supports government control of business.

Conveniently omitting better solutions, Michael Moore's documentaries instead give us plenty of emotionalism, some form of conspiracy, and a lack of real supporting evidence. Michael W. Covel confirms this in his candid movie review Michael Moore Kills Capitalism with Kool-Aid. One thing is for certain, our current system has allowed Moore to make millions from his propaganda and enjoy a more opulent lifestyle than most people in all of history. In fact, the movie industry is one of the least regulated industries in our country and more exemplary of a free market arena. Producers create a product and consumers can either take it or leave it. You would think Moore, whose net worth has been estimated to exceed $50 million, might at least acknowledge an economic system that provided the opportunity for such prosperity.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Stimulus" Not So Stimulating

Remember when the Obama administration was sounding alarms that we have to pass a stimulus package now or unemployment would soar? Check out the following chart that shows actual data plotted next to the unemployment forecasts with and without the stimulus package via Obama's economic team:

Post hoc ergo propter hoc informs us that the chart doesn't prove that the stimulus package caused the rise in unemployment, however, it doesn't bode well for the Keynesians.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Medicare Has Been Bankrupt For Some Time

In March 2008, the U.S. government's Department of Health and Human Services published a press release stating:

This year the HI Trust Fund will spend more than its income, and from 2009 through 2017, about $342 billion will need to be transferred from the Federal treasury to cover beneficiaries' hospital insurance costs.

Medicare's Hospital Program Went Broke in 2008. Nobody Noticed.

In light of this, who in their right mind would want government to get more involved in health care? As one doctor noted, our current system is anything but a free market. Another doctor candidly said the government is the problem in health care.

Paul Krugman thinks that the free market cannot cure health care. Find out why he is dead wrong. We cannot afford to have government screw up our health care system even further than it already has; please write your Senators and Congressmen to voice your opinion.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why Pay with Two-Dollar Bills?

Today I was browsing through one of my favorite economic sites mises.org and I noticed a title that really grabbed my attention - Why I Pay with Two-Dollar Bills. What on earth could this article be about? After reading the article, I would describe it as creative awareness. Briggs Armstrong, a student at Auburn University, devised an ingenious plan to raise awareness for Austrian economics and the maladies of The Fed's monetary policies. I thought I would throw him a keyword anchored link to solidify his plan by helping move his article to the top of Google's search results for the phrase he is telling curious people to look up. If you have a blog or website, I suggest you help Briggs out and do the same. To learn what Briggs is up to, click why pay with two-dollar bills.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Keynesian Magic Trick

The key to a good magic trick is the art of misdirection. If I can get you to focus on this hand over here, then I can perform something else over here - a sleight of hand, if you will. A clever Keynesian will give you what seems to be a correct premise and then try to pull the wool over your eyes in the conclusion.

This sleight of hand emerges, for instance, when Paul Krugman argues that consumer spending causes the economy to grow. If you read Krugman for very long, you will notice that consumer (or government) spending is his holy grail. Spending is always in the back of his mind. Keynesians begin their argument with the definition of gross domestic product (GDP), which is in the form of an equation:

GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government Expenditures + Net Exports

What is the Keynesian conclusion based on this equation? "If you increase consumer consumption or maybe even government expenditures from an 800 billion dollar spending bill, you will increase GDP." That makes sense, right? If you add to one side of the equation, then the other side must increase equally.

So you are probably thinking that Keynesians have discovered the secret to economic prosperity, right? Not so fast. What if one of the variables on the right side (such as investment) decreased in equal proportion to the increase in spending? The equation would still hold true without an increase in GDP on the left side. Here's another scenario: What if investment decreases more than the other variables increase? Then you have negative growth, and a decrease in GDP. That would be counter-productive.

Maybe one day, even in the mainstream, the Keynesian fallacy will be put to rest for good.

Further Reading:

The Second Coming of Keynes

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Anthropomorphic Global Warming Supporters Challenge Conservative Economics

We are not exactly sure how a debate like this gets started on Facebook, but somehow Conservative Economics managed to ruffle the feathers of two AGW supporters. It all started when we posted a joke about global warming:

"Caveman Guide to Global Warming - Great ball of fire in sky heat small rock. Smaller creatures on small rock no heat rock."

Within a few hours, Conservative Economics was slammed with ad hominem attacks insulting all skeptics of Anthropomorphic Global Warming not to mention cavemen:

AGW Supporter #1:
Cavemen are notoriously retarded.
AGW Supporter #2:
Sounds like the mentality of people who don't "believe" in global warming. Caveman is perfectly appropriate.

Conservative Economics:
Surely you can do better than argumentum ad hominem.

AGW Supporter #2:
From an actual scientific article (not a newspaper): "there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen."

It's hardly worth it to argue this point. Refusing to believe in 20 years of research and evidence because of a few funded studies here and there is a perfectly good basis for an ad hominem comment -- because if you still aren't getting it, facts clearly aren't going to change anything.

As for IBD, it is definitely in the best interest of business for climate change to be out of our hands -- then business doesn't have to account for pollution and poor environmental practices.

Conservative Economics:
Yes, let's move the ad hominem to the news source – because clearly a scientific magazine is more able to link to scientific studies than a news magazine. The IPCC report did not conclusively link greenhouse gases to observed temperature rises. The 2007 report says that there is a 90 percent chance that a one-degree increase in temperature during the 20th century was caused by man's greenhouse gas emissions. That is a large uncertainty in scientific terms, since a 95% confidence interval is usually regarded as convincing. Your article correctly states that, "The scientific consensus might, of course, be wrong."

Of course it is hardly worth arguing the point, when you can successfully preempt the debate with rhetoric. It is especially convenient to do so when the "consensus" is reversing direction: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124597505076157449.html

There is never a good basis for an ad hominem attack, unless you plan to subvert debate using a fallacy that may go unnoticed.

You discuss the consensus, as if "consensus" were the be-all end-all of scientific debate. What exactly is this scientific consensus? Three main points:

1. We have had some global mean warming – approximately 0.6 degrees centigrade.
2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas and its increase should contribute to warming.
3. There is good evidence that man has been responsible for the recent increase in CO2.

Richard S. Lindzen says these are all trivial points in his paper Understanding Common Climate Claims, "While these claims may be contested, they are indeed widely accepted. The only problem is that these claims do not suggest alarm."


I guess this scientific consensus also means that we should simply ignore the 700 International scientists (and growing) that dissent over man-made global warming claims?


Two issues that I have yet to see addressed are (1) why the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001 and (2) how humans are responsible for big increases in greenhouse gases when they only represent 3.4% of the 3.62% of greenhouse gases that are CO2 as was candidly charted at the end of the IBD article. If these points aren't addressed, then "20 years of research and evidence" doesn't mean much.

Actually, carbon trading stands to be great business for big players like Goldman Sachs. Indeed, the big business lobby is in a great position to gain from government-mandated climate control. I know it is easier to create a vacuum or conspiracy theory like "funded" studies or business "interest", but it doesn't hold any real weight for the debate. The economic reality is that small business and the American people will be losers from the higher costs of government intervention – not to mention all the corruption that is likely to surface.

AGW Supporter #2:
1. 700 scientists? Who are they? Do they study climate change? I'm a scientist. Do I count? Learn to recognize propaganda.

2. Carbon dioxide is one of six greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Learn the science.

3. Your original post was insulting and demeaning to the THOUSANDS of scientists world-wide who do believe in climate change, and to people like myself who have read about climate change for years. I am now finished with this discussion.

Conservative Economics:
1. If you weren't emotionally invested in it, you might actually read the report to find out who they are if that concerns you so much. Ever think of the IPCC and EPA being propaganda machines? I mean it is in their "best interest" to have a problem like this to "solve" is it not? This couldn't be why they suppressed the EPA scientist's recent study that had findings contrary to AGW? Regardless, I just assumed they had good intentions and read their findings. By the way, do you know how many scientists participated in the latest IPCC report? 52. Clearly, Tolstoy syndrome has set in fully for the believers. Here are just a few of the comments by skeptical scientists:

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.”
- Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

“Since I am no longer affiliated with any organization nor receiving any funding, I can speak quite frankly….As a scientist I remain skeptical...The main basis of the claim that man’s release of greenhouse gases is the cause of the warming is based almost entirely upon climate models. We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.”
- Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanne Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology, and formerly of NASA, who has authored more than 190 studies and has been called “among the most preeminent scientists of the last 100 years.”

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”
- UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

You are free to read the rest of the 700+ in the report I linked.

2. Yes, you are right. The EPA says that motor vehicles contribute to 4 out of the 6 including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons. Since you are the expert on science (and clearly I don't know science), perhaps you can answer for me why there is no correlation between hydrocarbon use (gas, oil, and coal) and temperature? Why does solar irradiance correlate well with temperature? How are the AWG supporting scientists addressing the fact that correlation is not causation in their findings? Why do these scientists focus much more on CO2 than the other greenhouse gases? Good science involves welcoming and answering questions – not avoiding them.

3. Right. So, restating your source and pointing out the uncertainty is insulting, but characterizing skeptics as "cavemen" isn't insulting and demeaning? Give me a break.

I agree with Lindzen's conclusion:

"A question rarely asked, but nonetheless important, is whether the promotion of alarmism is really good for science? The situation may not be so remote from the impact of Lysenkoism on Soviet genetics. However, personally, I think the future will view the response of contemporary society to 'global warming' as simply another example of the appropriateness of the fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes. For the sake of the science, I hope that future arrives soon."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What is Economics?

Lionel Robbins, a British economist, said that "Economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses." This might be the best definition of economics I have come across. Resources are scarce which means that people want more than is available to them. Another way of saying it is that our wants are unlimited and the resources to fulfill our wants are limited. Scarcity required us to economize, therefore the need for economics was born.

Scarcity has also required us to study trade-offs or the various uses of resources. Thomas Sowell states in his brilliant book Basic Economics:

"Not only scarcity but also "alternative uses" are at the heart of economics. If each resource had only one use, economics would be much simpler. But water can be used to produce ice or steam by itself or innumerable other mixtures and compounds in combination with other things. A virtually limitless number of products can also be produce from wood or from petroleum, iron ore, etc. How much of each resource should be allocated to each of its many uses? Every economy has to answer that question, and each one does, in one way or another, efficiently or inefficiently. Doing so efficiently is what economics is all about."

Fallacy of Economics

You may have heard the saying that an economist thinks he knows more about money than the people who have it. This comes from a misunderstanding of economics and what it entails. Decisions don't even have to involve money to be economic. Economics is not about how to make money or how to run a business. It is about the study of relationships between items such as prices, commerce, wages, and international trade from the viewpoint of how it affects the distribution of scarce resources to society. Even more broadly defined, Economics is the inquiry of praxeology - the study of human action or conduct. Ludwig von Mises championed the inclusion of all human action into the study of economics and anything less was incomplete.

Benefit of Economics

How can we benefit from economics? Economics helps us determine how well the various uses of resources affects our society. More specifically, we can determine what particular actions or policies do to either increase poverty or wealth. This can be very valuable indeed.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Why Does Government Often Fail?

Government often fails not because of the people in it, but because of the nature of government itself. Government takes whatever individual brilliance exists and turns it into collective incompetence. Most activities of the government are to "solve" problems. However, once an agency or program is setup to "solve" the problem, it is in its best interest to simply "manage" the problem. Ronald Reagan said it well,

"No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."
Let's look closer at why government fails. If a government agency solves a "problem", it gets less money as its funds are funneled elsewhere. If a government agency fails to solve its "problem", it complains of underfunding and gets more money.

If a business solves a problem for customers, it gets more customers and more money. If a business fails to help customers solve their problems, the customers go elsewhere and the business loses money.

As you can see, the incentives are backwards with government which explains its high rate of failure.

Can you imagine a business that paid employees more if they did less work and paid them less if they did more work? The idea is clearly foolish; anyone can see that if you pay people more for doing a poor job, it won't be long before all the employees are doing as little work as possible to increase their pay. Doing a good job is challenging, but any boob can do a poor job.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ron Paul Predicted Housing Crisis

Why am I not surprised that Ron Paul predicted the housing crisis back in September of 2003?

"Ironically, by transferring the risk of a widespread mortgage default, the government increases the likelihood of a painful crash in the housing market. This is because the special privileges granted to Fannie and Freddie have distorted the housing market by allowing them to attract capital they could not attract under pure market conditions. As a result, capital is diverted from its most productive use into housing. This reduces the efficacy of the entire market and thus reduces the standard of living of all Americans.

Despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government's interference in the housing market, the government's policy of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing. Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing."

It is too bad government didn't listen to him then, but how often do they really ever take heed to sound advice?

Check out the full text of the hearing at http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul128.html

Friday, May 15, 2009

Discrimination From The Bench

President Obama has decided to usher in a new era of "social justice" through empathy which gives judges the right to discriminate in order to prevent discrimination. Wait....HUH?

*Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Advance of Socialism

The advance of socialism in the United States is alarming. While its progression is nothing new, the rate at which the government is invading every part of our lives is rapidly increasing. Deficit spending, increased regulation & central planning, company takeovers, and "stimulus" redistribution are just a few current examples. We can call on the great French economist and philosopher Frederic Bastiat for explanations and arguments against socialism which are equally valid today as they were in 1850. Here are a few excerpts from Bastiat's The Law:

"Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help.

To prevent this, you would exclude socialism from entering into the making of laws? You would prevent socialists from entering the Legislative Palace? You shall not succeed, I predict, so long as legal plunder continues to be the main business of the legislature. It is illogical — in fact, absurd — to assume otherwise.

Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.

This is the seductive lure of socialism. And I repeat again: These two uses of the law are in direct contradiction to each other. We must choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free.

The sincerity of those who advocate protectionism, socialism, and communism is not here questioned. Any writer who would do that must be influenced by a political spirit or a political fear. It is to be pointed out, however, that protectionism, socialism, and communism are basically the same plant in three different stages of its growth. All that can be said is that legal plunder is more visible in communism because it is complete plunder; and in protectionism because the plunder is limited to specific groups and industries. Thus it follows that, of the three systems, socialism is the vaguest, the most indecisive, and, consequently, the most sincere stage of development.

But sincere or insincere, the intentions of persons are not here under question. In fact, I have already said that legal plunder is based partially on philanthropy, even though it is a false philanthropy.

With this explanation, let us examine the value — the origin and the tendency — of this popular aspiration which claims to accomplish the general welfare by general plunder."

If you have not read The Law, you will really benefit from doing so. We must fight this promotion of general welfare by government to avoid the general plunder that proceeds from it. We must defend our individuality, liberty, and property from the encroaching Statist who wishes to take it away. The uninhibited use of our natural rights, given from God, is what will bring about the greatest societal good. Law must be used only to preserve the three basic requirements: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As M. Carlier said, "We must make war against socialism."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Costs and Benefits of Ethanol Mandates

For members of the environmental left, the costs of mandating ethanol use in fuel have become an inconvenient truth. As I will demonstrate shortly, the costs far outweigh the benefits. The environmental and economic case against the policy is very solid.

Let's begin with the benefits of using more ethanol as a fuel source for automobiles. The main benefit touted by environmentalists is that ethanol has fewer carbon emissions than gasoline; therefore, it is better for the environment. The reasoning is that ethanol emits approximately one third less greenhouse gas than gasoline, all other things being equal. This would in theory help reduce global warming. When we discuss the costs, it will be apparent that they bring the net benefit to almost zero or zero.

The other benefit is the gravy train it provides for its producers. Iain Murray (2008) describes this well in his book The Really Inconvenient Truths,

"If the government pays you to produce something and then tells your customers they must buy it, you don't really have to do much except sit back and collect the checks" (p. 59).

I would like to think that was not their goal in the beginning, but the fact that special interests have a tendency of making their way into policy leads me to believe otherwise.

The costs of this policy are extensive, ranging from increased food prices to environmental costs. There are several reasons that ethanol mandates cause food prices to increase. One reason is that they eliminate a large portion of the supply of corn to food consumers. This causes items like tortillas in Mexico to skyrocket in price. For people that can buy food in Mexico, the increase in tortilla price encourages the consumption of less nutritious substitutes. The effect for people that can't afford food is hunger. Another cost is that corn takes up a larger portion of available crop land robbing the supply of land for other crops such as soybeans, cotton, and barley which subsequently raises their prices (Murray). High food prices also have a political cost. They cause more political instability throughout the world especially in poorer nations. As might be expected, burning food instead of gasoline intensifies famine. One example is that higher food prices reduce the effectiveness of aid from organizations such as the United Nations' World food program.

Ethanol production is more expensive and complex than gasoline production. Higher energy inputs for ethanol production include farming, distilling, and transportation. Because of the high cost of production, the government has to provide subsidies to producers estimated at $5 billion per year to help make ethanol production profitable. This costs approximately 40 cents per bushel paid by all taxpayers. Consumers bear the cost of an ethanol tariff of 2.5 percent from low-cost importers like Brazil which drives up the price per gallon even more. Another cost is that ethanol produces a lower energy output compared to gasoline. One gallon of ethanol only produces two thirds the energy content of a gallon of gasoline. Ethanol reduces the fuel efficiency of every gallon purchased at the pump (Murray).

The costs don't end there. There are several environmental costs involved with mandated ethanol use. The pursuit of meeting biofuel standards by using more land to produce ethanol interferes with the biodiversity of species. Indonesia provides an example of a policy driving the rapid use of natural habitats to make more palm oil which is used to mix with diesel to make biodiesel. The pursuit is accelerating the destruction of the orangutan habitat and thousands of orangutan. It doesn't stop there. Other endangered species such as the Asian elephant and Sumatran tiger are getting in the way of clearing land. Clearing land to sustain ethanol mandates bears another cost as trees are reduced. Fewer trees lessens the ability to absorb carbon dioxide and disrupts habitats for wildlife (Murray).

As I mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of ethanol use is lower emissions of greenhouse gasses. However, there are hidden costs that negate the benefit. The reality is that one gallon of ethanol is actually responsible for the emissions of nearly two gallons of gasoline. Ethanol emission increases are due to less efficient energy requiring the use of more fuel to go the same distance. Ethanol also has a higher fossil fuel energy cost in its production than it replaces. Corn ethanol uses 29 percent more energy than it replaces. Renton Righelato of the World Land Trust added up all the costs and estimated an increase of between two and nine times more greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere from biofuels than fossil fuels (Murray).

Iain Murray builds a strong case against mandated ethanol in his book, but neglects to mention at least a few costs. What are the effects on vehicles using the fuel? Does ethanol affect engine life negatively? First, ethanol attracts water and water in the fuel system is bad for engines. Even though it does appear that most vehicles prevent the attraction of water by ethanol, the threat is always there. Second, we know that ethanol has a tendency to damage boat fuel tanks that are made of fiberglass causing costly repairs. Mechanics are forced to cut through a boat's hull, remove the ruined tank piece by piece, and make further engine repairs (Douglass, 2008). I think adding these costs would make Murray's case even stronger.

Those primarily affected by government mandates of ethanol are the poor. The poor are affected more sharply by price increases because they have less income. Less income means a higher percentage of their income must be devoted to food. The effects of U.S. ethanol policy are not limited to the United States. They affect prices all over the world. For instance, tortilla prices in Mexico, pork prices in China, soybean prices in Indonesia, and many other markets are all going up due to less supply and higher input costs.

After all costs of mandating ethanol production and use are figured, the benefits in terms of emissions reduction are small and maybe even non-existent. Microscopic benefits means that every cost almost fully reduces the net benefits from ethanol use. This policy causes higher prices, increased hunger, political instability, and the reduction of wildlife habitat in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are at best minuscule (Murray). Congress may do well to rethink their costly decisions related to ethanol policy and engage in something more useful like organic lawn care.


Douglass, E. (2008). Effects of ethanol-laced gasoline rock boaters. LA Times.

Murray, I. (2008). The really inconvenient truths. Washington, DC: Regnery.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Language of the Left

Deciphering what Obama and his cronies use in their speeches requires a liberal CliffsNotes. Kimberley Strassel lays out translations for common statements in Obama's speeches to help make sense of his lofty rhetoric.

"We are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin." Translation: Blame Republicans, and tax cuts.

- It's time to "make hard choices to bring our deficit down." Translation: Hello, higher taxes.

"The only way to fully restore America's economic strength is to make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world." Translation: Big government.

"We need to make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy." Translation: Your utility bills are going up.

"If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime." Translation: For now.

I find Mr. Obama's style of language disturbing. Obama slyly glosses over what he is really doing with the intent of fooling Americans who don't pay attention to what he says. It helps him usher in economic policies that have failed many times throughout history; policies that have always given the Left more of what they want - power. Thomas Sowell outlines the purpose of the Left's vocabulary in his book The Vision of the Anointed:

The vocabulary of the Left sets out to "either preempt issues rather than debate them, set the anointed and the benighted on different moral and intellectual planes, or evade the issue of personal responsibility."

It is not surprising that you can easily find at least one of these three within any one of Obama's speeches.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sane Reading for Troubled Times

A recent article from World magazine titled Sane Reading lists some of the greatest economic books (in my opinion) ever written to help wade through today's financial insanity.

I generally disagree with many of John Maynard Keynes' economic conclusions. However, I respect his ability to explore new theories, his support of free markets, and his contribution to some of the great economic quotes. I find the following quote a bit ironic because I think many people have become a slave to Keynes himself,

"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."

Without further ado, here is the list of books:

I have read about half of these books and I am eager to read the other half. The ones that I have read are excellent, so I don't doubt that the rest are great reads. World magazine is what I consider to be a respectable and unbiased weekly news source as opposed to Time magazine which is full of liberal bias.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Politicians and Economics

At least one politician seems to understand economics and the path down which we are heading. Ron Paul writes,

"Contrary to the belief of many, the goal of the economy is not job creation. Jobs can be a sign of a healthy economy, as a high energy level can be a sign of a healthy body. But just as unhealthy substances can artificially give the addict that burst of energy that has nothing to do with health, artificially created jobs just exacerbate our problems. The goal of a healthy economy is productivity. Jobs are a positive outcome of that. A "job" could be to dig a hole one day, and fill it back up the next, or perhaps the equivalent at a desk. This does no one any good. But the value in that paycheck ultimately has to come from taxing someone productive. Some think this round-robin type of economic model is supposed to get us somewhere."

The ignorance of how the economic world really works especially related to current "stimulus" packages and job creation plans worries me. I just hope some other politicians will take a cue from Congressman Paul.

You can read the rest of his article here:
Stimulating Our Way to Rock Bottom

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Middle Class Squeeze

Watching the media these days can cause you to think that there is no hope for the middle or lower classes in America. They are clearly getting squeezed by the corporate giants and it just isn't fair. We need economic justice, cries the media. To continue the thought of just how good we have it in America, watch this video with Drew Carey from reason.tv to get some perspective.