Commentary

Bad news; industrial production is soaring

April 17, 2014
posted by

Scott Sumner EconLog
by Scott Sumner  

"That looks like good news. To see why it is bad news, we need to take a brief digression. The recent recession has been rather unusual. RGDP fell sharply between 2008 and 2009, and since bottoming out in mid-2009 has grown at about 2.4% annually, which is below the 3% trend line of the past 100 years. This has led many to conclude that the economy is not recovering at all. A counterargument is that the unemployment rate has fallen from a peak of 10% to the current 6.7%, and in my view it will fall even further over the next year or two. A counter counterargument is that the employment/population ratio fell sharply in the recession, and has not been recovering. A counter counter counterargument is that this partly represents boomer retirement, as the over 55 year old category is where all the recent population growth has been occurring." (04/17/14)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/04/bad_news_indust.html  

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Urban design and social complexity

April 17, 2014
posted by

Sandy Ikeda Foundation for Economic Education
by Sandy Ikeda  

"One of my heroes is the urbanist Jane Jacobs, who taught me to appreciate the importance for entrepreneurial development of how public spaces -- places where you expect to encounter strangers -- are designed. And I learned from her that the more precise and comprehensive your image of a city is, the less likely that the place you’re imagining really is a city. Jacobs grasped as well as any Austrian economist that complex social orders such as cities aren’t deliberately created and that they can’t be." (04/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p6gt9xd  

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Earth Day

April 17, 2014
posted by

Cagle Post
by Joe Heller  

Cartoon. (04/17/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/04/earth-day/  

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Antiquated law adds billions to fuel costs

April 17, 2014
posted by

Independent Institute Independent Institute
by William F. Shughart II  

"An obscure 1920 law is costing Americans billions of dollars a year in higher fuel costs. The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped from one US port to another be carried on a US-registered vessel, built, owned and crewed by Americans. This protectionist law was designed to support a shipbuilding industry that no longer exists—but inertia and labor-union muscle keep it on the books." (04/16/14)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=4964  

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Nullification: Massachusetts in 1855 and Missouri in 2014

April 17, 2014
posted by

10th Amendment Center Tenth Amendment Center
by Michael Maharrey  

"Northern states carried out arguably the most successful non-compliance campaign defying a federal act in history with their opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Today, a Missouri bill takes a page from that playbook to stop state cooperation with federal enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws." (04/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lvbhqg8  

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The case for voluntary private cooperation

April 17, 2014
posted by

Foundation for Economic Education Foundation for Economic Education
by Michael Munger  

"To start with, the argument for liberty is not an argument for 'markets.' The market vs. State dichotomy was dreamed up by German sociologists in the nineteenth century. Don’t buy into that dichotomy; it’s a rhetorical straitjacket, and in any case it's not our best argument. The question is how best to achieve the myriad benefits of voluntary private cooperation, or VPC. Markets are part of that, a useful way of achieving prosperity, but a variety of other emergent social arrangements -- more properly viewed under the rubric 'society' -- are also crucial for prosperity." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pvo3v46  

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The duty to lie to stupid voters

April 17, 2014
posted by

Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Jason Brennan  

"Politicians routinely lie to voters. Some such politicians act badly and should be held accountable for their lies. But might lying be obligatory or praiseworthy in some circumstances? The duty to tell the truth is not unconditional. Rather, it’s a presumptive duty, one that can be trumped or overridden in certain circumstances, or one that might not apply in special circumstances." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q8tep8e  

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Bundy Ranch and the new age of anti-fed standoffs

April 17, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"April 19 is the 21st anniversary of the holocaust which ended the 51-day standoff between followers of the Branch Davidians and federal authorities in Waco, Texas. Though it calmed down before any violence took place, all last week the news cycle was consumed with talk of a comparable, potentially bloody confrontation between supporters of lawbreaking cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agents in Nevada." (04/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nn5dh38  

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Praising failure and blaming mirror images

April 17, 2014
posted by

Garry Reed Libertarian News Examiner
by Garry Reed  

"President Obama praising Kathleen Sebelius for her work on the disastrous Obamacare website rollout (she 'turned the corner, got it fixed and got the job done.') was an eerie echo chamber bounce from President Bush praising FEMA director Michael Brown during his disastrous Katrina Hurricane response ('Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job.') Yes the situations were different but that's beside the point, which is that honest people don't praise failure; only politicians praise failure." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mvvs6y5  

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So, how’s that Ukrainian “revolution” working out?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Come Home America Come Home America
by Thomas L. Knapp  

"The US government has been funding and backing unsavory 'color revolutionists' -- including a rogue's gallery of neo-Nazis and other thugs -- in Ukraine for years, hoping to peel the region away from its close relationship with Russia. After the last elections failed to go its way, the Obama administration went with 'the Pinochet option,' giving its operatives the green light for violent overthrow of the government and installation of a pro-US, pro-EU, anti-Russia junta. But for a coup to work, certain prerequisites must be met." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qbuqg3c  

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District of compensation, just and otherwise

April 17, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"Pete Stark's name didn't come up Tuesday night at the Castro Valley Library candidates forum for the congressional district Stark represented from 1972 to 2012. The fact that nobody seemed to miss Stark should serve as a warning to politicians who think they own their seats. So thought Stark, until Democrat Eric Swalwell knocked him off his perch in 2012, thanks in part to California's top-two primary election." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phdupgu  

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Our cluster bomb Congress plants legislative IEDs

April 17, 2014
posted by

James Bovard JimBovard.com
by Jim Bovard  

"Tens of thousands of Americans have been bushwhacked by a single arcane sentence in a 673-page law Congress enacted six years ago. The Internal Revenue Service is seizing both federal and state tax refunds for individuals whom the Social Security Administration accuses of having received excessive benefits years ago. Except that the government often has zero evidence of the overpayments, and the feds have held children liable for the alleged debts of their long-dead parents." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozywm2p  

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Cuomo’s wedge

April 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson  

"On Monday, Mary Fallin, Oklahoma’s Republican governor, signed legislation forbidding her state’s cities from enacting ordinances that set their own minimum wage standards or that entitle workers to paid sick days. Even in hard-right Oklahoma, citizens were collecting signatures to put initiatives raising the minimum wage and mandating sick-day on the Oklahoma City ballot. Fallin has now put an unceremonious end to such egalitarian frippery. As an increasing number of cities have considered setting their minimum wages higher than those of their states, conservatives in state government have moved to strip them of that power." (04/16/14)

http://prospect.org/article/cuomos-wedge  

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Bloomberg and MDA to empower women?

April 17, 2014
posted by

The Price of Liberty
by MamaLiberty  

"Unfortunately, these women are very eager to believe that they can live in the land of unicorns and fairy farts. They don’t want -- or cannot even conceive of -- personal responsibility for anything. They see oppression on every hand when their choices and actions result in pain and loss (when they can actually see and admit it at all) ... it’s someone else’s fault, of course -- and their lives would be so wonderful if EVERYONE they don’t like were forced to be mewling newborn kittens. They can’t even begin to see the hypocrisy here." (04/16/14)

http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=4278  

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How should Obama respond to Putin’s Ukraine provocations?

April 17, 2014
posted by

The Nation
by Bob Dreyfuss  

"Unless you’re deaf, dumb and blind, it’s obvious that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s obstreperous president, is running a major covert operation in eastern Ukraine, including the dispatch of a limited number of Russian special forces and support for pro-Russian militias there. It isn’t quite clear yet whether Putin is (a) preparing the ground for a Crimea-style takeover of part or all of Ukraine (unlikely), (b) trying to destabilize Ukraine so that it, and its Western allies, agree to the radical decentralization and federalization plan that Russia has demanded, or (c) making it clear that Ukraine ought not to link its political and economic future with the West, or else. But whichever it is, it’s a dangerous game. So how should President Obama respond?" (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pnwzeyb  

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Was the 19th century a golden age of liberty?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"Whenever libertarians point out certain fundamental differences between 19th-century America and modern-day America, critics oftentimes reply, 'The 19th century was not a golden age of liberty. There were many violations of libertarian principles during that time.' Such detractors, however, miss the point. ... the issue is not whether 19th-century America was a golden age of liberty. Instead, the issue is: Was 19th-centuy America fundamentally different than modern-day America with respect to certain critically important aspects of liberty, such as economic liberty and military empire?" (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qf38kaa  

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Obamacare’s cost is down 8%, but that may not be good news

April 17, 2014
posted by

John C. Goodman Independent Institute
by John C. Goodman  

"[S]o is access to doctors and hospitals in the plans offered on the health insurance exchanges." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pdkdvg6  

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More heat than light: Understanding affirmative action and why it does not work

April 17, 2014
posted by

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by John Engle  

"For the past several years, the policies that favor certain minority groups at the level of college admissions and public employment, commonly called affirmative action, have been on the back foot. Laws and constitutional amendments in various states, most notably in the liberal stronghold California in 1996, have restricted or banned outright the practice of discrimination on the basis of race, whether favoring the majority ethnic group or a minority. These movements ought to be welcomed by supporters of liberty. Our nation is founded on the principle of equality before the law. It seems inherently unjust to favor one group over another because of the color of their skin or ethnic history. It is doubly unjust that the organization engaging in such practices be the government to which we all pay taxes and from which we are meant to expect equal treatment and consideration." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oh8zwyo  

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Can Scott Walker be defeated?

April 17, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Roger Bybee  

"Three years ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker first dropped what he called a 'bomb,' one that suddenly and swiftly decimated the union rights of public employees. Walker’s legislation, Act 10, ignited outrage from unions and their allies, fueling a massive effort to recall the governor, which came to fruition with a recall vote in June 2012. Walker prevailed in the recall, but the process left behind a resentful segment of the public. Today, the fight against Walker and his anti-worker policies is picking up steam with an electoral challenge from Democratic businesswoman Mary Burke, and a labor campaign to support Burke and highlight Wisconsin workers’ lagging wages." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pj9r83y  

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US government is the world’s third largest economy

April 17, 2014
posted by

Campaign For Liberty Campaign for Liberty
by Norm Singleton  

"Anyone who doubts that government spending at all levels is out of control should consider Mike Flynn of Breitbart’s analysis of how the government spending at the federal, state, and local level compares to the world’s major economies. The United States Government spent a total of $3.5 trillion last year, equal to the gross national product of Germany. The fifty states spent a combined total of $1.1 trillion, the equal to Spain’s Gross National Product. Local Governments spent an additional $1.1 trillion." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/palv2x3  

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Speech on public college campuses liberated in one state

April 17, 2014
posted by

Nat Hentoff Cato Institute
by Nat Hentoff  

"On April 4, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law a bill unanimously passed by the House of Delegates and the Senate, which turns outdoor areas on the state’s public college and university campuses into what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, calls 'public forums.' In other words, student speech will not be limited to the tiny 'free speech zones' that, as FIRE documents, restrict student speech in '1 in 6 of America's 400 top colleges' in this land of the free and home of the brave. This is America? In these places of higher learning?" (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nch3pnl  

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Populism? Where are the pitchforks?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Reuters
by Robert L. Borosage  

"Americans are in a surly mood, confronting rules they feel are rigged against them. President Barack Obama captured this populist temper in his re-election campaign. He then launched his second term declaring that inequality is the 'most pressing challenge of our time,' and laying out a popular agenda to raise the federal minimum wage, provide pay equity for women, establish universal pre-school and other initiatives that polls show the public strongly supports. Republican obstruction has blocked progress on all these ... Yet it is the president’s popularity that has cratered." [editor's note: Could that have anything to with Obombya having campaigned on "hope," "open doors" and "new ideas"? Nobody sane ever expected the GOPers to make such changes, but they believed it when BHO said he would! - SAT](04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nk2nzt9  

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The dumbest federal policy you’ll read about today

April 17, 2014
posted by

Reason Reason
by A. Barton Hinkle  

"If you are like most people, you probably spend a lot of time wondering, 'What is the absolutely worst environmental policy on the planet?' And if you are like most people, you probably think it is America’s ethanol policy. So Virginia's recent decision to subsidize what will be the largest ethanol plant on the East Coast might strike you as doubling down on the dubious. Don’t be too hasty. We have some competition." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/otdxv9z  

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The FBI and its lethal informants

April 17, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Peter Lee  

"Lot of talk about bad guys being FBI assets recently. Thanks to his lawyers, the Interwebs are a-hum with speculation that the FBI neglected to hoover up Tamerlan Tsarnaev a.k.a. the Elder before the Boston marathon bombing because the Bureau was already in touch with him and trying to turn him as an asset, not because the Russians withheld crucial information. Yesterday it also transpired that Glenn Miller, the white supremacist linked to the shootings in Overland Park, had allegedly worked with the FBI as an informer." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/muporuu  

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Teacher evaluations: Education “reform”’s biggest bust?

April 17, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Would you like your job performance judged by a 5-year-old? That’s a relevant question for public school teachers in Hawaii, where the state’s new teacher evaluation system attributes 10 percent of their job performance rating on what children as young as 5 years old think. Although 10 percent may not seem like a whole lot, in a metric based evaluation system where harsh judgments of 'effective' versus 'needs improvement' can swing either way based on a point or two, 100 percent can be 100 percent of the reason for a bad grade." (04/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/omk4rcf  

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