Thursday, February 27, 2014

My letter to the NY Times re: The Lawless Fed

Re: Fed's Aid in 2008 Crisis Stretched Worldwide

Dear Sirs:
Your article about the Fed's actions in 2008 to lend $580 billion in so-called "swap lines" to central banks internationally sounds a note of triumphalism that is completely unwarranted.  The Fed had no authority to lend to these entities, despite its attempts to justify its action as lending against collateral.  In any regard, if the collateral against which the Fed lent dollars was so strong and, as your article states, the American taxpayers actually made money on the deal, why did the Fed need to get involved at all?  The obvious answer is that the Fed took an illegal risk that fortunately worked out.  New York Fed President Timothy Geithner's chest puffing statement that "the privilege of being the reserve currency comes with some burdens" is especially troubling in that we may assume that in the future the Fed will engage in similar risky adventures.  One final note...what caused the 2008 crisis in the first place?  Your article identifies it perfectly: "The root cause of the problem was this: Global banks did lots of business in dollars--buying up United States mortgaged-backed securities,..."  And what initiated the massive issuance of these soon-to-be-worthless mortgaged-backed securities?  Fed money printing.  So, please, let's not call the Fed a hero, when it really caused the crisis that led to its illegal actions.

My letter to National Review Magazine re: Stop Applauding Ben Bernanke

Dear Sirs:
In your February 24th edition under "The Week" recap of significant news events you make the astounding statement that Ben Bernanke should be applauded for his massive money printing, interest rate pegging, socialist monetary planning maneuvers during and after the 2008 crisis.  Now, I do not expect National Review to spout the Mises Institute's Austrian critique, but all Bernanke did was short stop the necessary and inevitable recession of which he himself was greatly responsible only to re-inflate the bubble in order to guarantee us an even greater crash after he leaves his watch.  Please, please tell your readers that money is not the play thing of governments.  It is part and parcel of the free market economy.  Without sound money economic calculation is impossible.

Monday, February 24, 2014

My letter to the Financial Times, London re: Educating Mr. Abe

Re: Abe grapples with mystery of missing J-curve

Dear Sirs:
Perhaps I can shed some light on Japanese Prime Minister Abe's missing J-curve; i.e., why Japan's trade deficit seems to be increasing rather than decreasing after massive monetary intervention to reduce the purchasing power of the yen.  Monetary debasement does NOT result in an economic recovery, because no nation can force another to pay for its recovery.  Monetary debasement transfers wealth within an economy by subsidizing exports at the expense of the entire economy, but this effect is delayed as the new money works it way from first receivers of the new money to later receivers.  The BOJ gives more yen to buyers using dollars, euros, and other currencies, as the article states, but this is nothing more than a gift to foreigners that is funneled through exporters.  Because exporters are the first receivers of the new money, they buy resources at existing prices and make large profits.  As you state, exporters have seen a surge in their share prices, but this is exactly what one should expect when government taxes all to give to the few.  Eventually the monetary debasement raises all costs and this initial benefit to exporters vanishes.  Then the country is left with a depleted capital base and a higher price level.  What a great policy!

The good news is that Japan does know how to rebuild its economy.  It did it the old-fashioned way seventy years ago--hard work and savings.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Phony Central Bank Profit

From today's Open Europe news summary:

The WSJ reports that the ECB earned €1.4bn in net profit last year, well below that of the US Fed and the Bank of England. Open Europe’s Raoul Ruparel is quoted noting that the actions of central banks can give a “double benefit” by delivering a profit and keeping rates low for governments. However, he warned that this “shouldn't be a key metric by which central bank action should be judged,” as it could create perverse incentives.
WSJ Economica

The ECB's supposed profit is phony.  The same with that of the Fed.  A central bank prints money when it monetizes a government bond.  The government pays off the bond with more printed money, and the central bank books the interest as profit.  This is just an accounting fiction between a counterfeiter of money and his beneficiary.

New EU credit card proposal will harm small businesses

From today's Open Europe news summary:

The European Parliament's economic affairs committee yesterday voted in favour of a proposal to limit credit card payment fees charged to retailers by banks at 0.3% of the transaction value, reports EUobserver. Negotiations with the Council on the final shape of the rules are not expected before the European Parliament elections in May.
The certain consequences of this new proposal will be to reduce the number of businesses that take credit cards, because the credit card companies will not be able to make a profit serving small businesses with low average individual transaction amounts.  The big retailers will benefit from this new law and may even have had a hand in drafting it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

My letter to the NY Times re: Fuel Economy Economic Nonsense

Re: Obama Orders New Efficiency for Big Trucks

Dear Sirs:
President Obama needs a lesson in Econ 101.  Requiring that business meet a new fuel economy standard in order to achieve some environmental goal, no matter how discredited the theory, is one thing, but justifying it by claiming that business and consumers will benefit from lower prices is another.  If this were the case, there would be no need for the new fuel economy standard either for big trucks or personal automobiles.  Business pursuit of profits and consumer pursuit of better deals is all that is necessary.  Let the public be warned: higher fuel economy standards for both big trucks and automobiles will cause our cost of living to rise and our standard of living to fall.

My letter to the NY Times re: A tale of two banking models

Re:  Fed Closes a Loophole for Banks Overseas

Re: Lending Where Banks Can't: Blackstone Thrives in Ireland

Dear Sirs:
These two articles appeared on the front page of your Business Day section on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.  Nothing could more completely refute the claims of the Federal Reserve Bank that its new tougher capital rules and regulatory oversight for foreign banks operating in the US and US banks operating overseas will "help ensure that capital keeps flowing during times of stress" than these two articles.  The first article reports that the Fed brushes aside the banks' protests that their operating costs will rise, leading to loss of market share, while the companion article tells of the success of the Blackstone Group to fund those very businesses that the banks can no longer afford to serve.  The Fed and its sister regulators in Europe will find that in the future they will be regulating smaller and more irrelevant businesses.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My letter to the NY Times re: The Fallacy of Planning--set Detroit free

Re: A Picture of Detroit in Ruin

Dear Sirs:
Detroit does not need another worthless plan in order to deal with its problems.  To what end will a "blight plan" be put?  This is the question that should have been asked before spending time and money documenting what all can see.  Detroit's blight is a symptom of a larger problem; it is not the problem itself.  Detroit needs economic freedom.  Declare Detroit a free city--free from federal and state taxes and regulations.  End zoning.  Sell off government owned property at whatever price it commands.  Allow the people to make whatever use they may put their property, and then get out of the way.

What will happen?  Expect the first flowers of true economic freedom to blossom--unlicensed schools, beauty and barber shops, day care centers, restaurants, home and appliance repair centers, storage facilities, bodegas, computer repair, etc..  Then watch for light manufacturing to return--all unlicensed, of course--perhaps supplying parts to what remains of the automobile industry.  Allow people to arm themselves without getting a government approved license, so that the average citizen can protect himself and his property.  If you say this is impossible and that it will not work, then you obviously haven't read American history.

China's Dollar Trap

This short Bloomberg article is written from a Chinese point of view; i.e., that China finds itself in a trap having sold over a trillion dollars in goods in exchange for what may become worthless pieces of US debt.  If it tries to shed itself of this debt too openly and too rapidly, it could suffer a collapse in the value of its holdings and set off a worldwide financial crisis.

The larger picture is that the collapse will be worse the longer China dithers and does nothing.  It is clear that the US Federal Reserve Bank has no intention of restoring sound money any time soon.  How can it when federal spending is so out of control that the US Congress last week completely suspended the budget ceiling?  The Fed will monetize whatever US Treasury bonds the open market will not buy at a very high price.

The US Fed is the culprit, but China was always the willing stooge.  This crisis will end when a major player like China decides that enough is enough.  As  horrific as the cleansing may be, it is simply reality revealing itself.  There never was an unlimited international appetite for US Treasury debt.  The world bought the debt only because it assumed that America would honor the debt in money of equal purchasing power.  For a long time now, no one has believed this fairy tale.  But everyone is afraid of the necessary and inevitable recession/depression to come.  The longer we wait the worse it will be.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My letter to Nat'l Review Magazine re: Mr. Beckworth's wrong prescription for monetary stability

Re: David Beckworth's review of Money, Gold, and History by Lewis E. Lehrman

Dear Sirs:
Austrian School economists recommend monetary freedom, not any specific state-supported money.  End legal tender laws and the most marketable commodities will be chosen as mediums of exchange.  Despite Mr. Beckworth's claims to the contrary, government imposed money is a cause of and not the solution to the business cycle.  Furthermore, Mr. Beckworth's idea that the supply of money should be manipulated to meet its demand, that the central bank should ensure total dollar spending, and that it should intervene to manipulate exchange rates is nothing more than the statists' failed attempt to benefit special interest groups, usually exporters and recipients of government welfare.

The gold standard brought unprecedented prosperity to the far corners of the world.  As usual, Ludwig von Mises said it best in his magnum opus Human Action:
"The gold standard was the world standard of the age of capitalism, increasing welfare, liberty, and democracy, both political and economic.  In the eyes of the free traders its main eminence was precisely the fact that it was an international standard as required by international trade and the transactions of the international money and capital market.  It was the medium of exchange by means of which Western industrialism and Western capital had borne Western civilization into the remotest parts of the earth’s surface, everywhere destroying the fetters of age-old prejudices an superstitions, sowing the seeds of new life and new well-being, freeing minds and souls, and creating unprecedented progress of Western liberalism ready to unite all nations into a community of free nations peacefully cooperating with one another."

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The real cause of sub prime lending

Re: Wells returns to sub prime lending

The author blames the banks, as if for some unknown reason bankers simply choose to expand lending to sub prime borrowers.  But the real source is the Fed's artificial lowering of the interest rate, which sets in motion a chain of events which force banks to make what will become bad loans.  Home buyers find that the carrying cost of owning a home has fallen.  The most expensive component of the monthly carrying cost of a home is interest.  So, drop the interest rate and this component opens up a whole new class of what appears to be worthy borrowers.

It ain't the banks; its the Fed!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

First step in raiding Europe's private savings

From today's Open Europe news summary:

According to a leaked document, seen by Reuters, the European Commission is probing ways to unlock the investment potential of EU citizens’ savings to boost the economy. The Commission will also ask the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) later this year for advice on a possible draft legislation “to mobilise more personal pension savings for long-term financing”.
Don't you just love the way these statists talk?  They want to "mobilise" personal savings.  Hum, I wonder what that means?  It means that the government will confiscate, in some way, the private savings of European citizens to fund politically inspired so-called "investing".  And just look at all the wonderful "investing" the EU politicians and bureaucrats have accomplished in the past!

Just one example why printing money is irresistible

From today's Air Force Magazine online:

Congress Restores COLA Increases The Senate voted 95-3 on Wednesday to restore full cost-of-living pension increases for working-age military retirees. The vote comes one day after the House approved the measure with a vote of 326-90. President Barack Obama has said he will sign the bill, reported ABC News via The Associated Press. The controversial measure, which was expected to save the government $6 billion over 10 years, was included in the bipartisan budget agreement approved in December 2013. Republicans in the House paid for the restored retirement pay by extending cuts to Medicare. The Senate bill maintained the Medicare cuts. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, who last week criticized colleagues for seeking to overturn the cuts, said taking Medicare funds to pay for the COLA funds was a "shell game," and that rising personnel costs are a real long-term problem that will affect the Defense Department's ability to maintain readiness.
Now, I'm sure that my retired Air Force friends feel fully justified in getting their COLA restored, but I use this as an example of why printing money becomes irresistible and almost ensures hyperinflation.  (I certainly hope I am wrong.)  The military has a powerful lobby to keep its funding flowing, but so do many, many other recipients of government spending.  Just as the COLA cuts were restored, I predict that there will be few real cuts to military expenditures, especially given the fact that our leaders feel that the US has a God-given right to intervene anywhere in the world.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My letter to the NY Times re: A balance government budget is NOT the definition of success

Re: Economy and Crime Spur New Puerto Rico Exodus

Dear Sirs:
Reporter Lizette Alvarez makes the common mistake of equating a balanced government budget with success.  She lauds new Puerto Rican president Garcia Padilla for reducing the deficit by seventy percent, mostly through new taxes.  Real success is not a balanced budget but a peaceful and prosperous economy.  To achieve this Puerto Rico needs limited government.  For starters it should sell its inefficient, state run electricity and water companies, close down its public schools, cut public workers, and cut taxes (definitely do not RAISE them), then get out of the way.  In short, Puerto Rico needs economic freedom.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Free market approach to Pope Francis' call to end unemployment

Pope Francis: "No-one should be without work!  It is a source of dignity."
The Rome-based Institute for Human Dignity offers a reflection




For Immediate Release 
Rome, 6 February 2014

Last week, at the conclusion of his Wednesday Audience, Pope Francis prophetically requested that: "...every effort be made possible by the competent bodies, so that employment - which is a source of dignity - is everyone's central concern.  No-one should be without work!  It is a source of dignity."

Speaking to the DHI, the US economics commentator Patrick Barron, said: "With these words, the Holy Father has shown that his fatherly interest and solicitude for the poor, in this case, specifically the unemployed, remains close to his heart.  I agree wholeheartedly with the Holy Father's desire.  This sentiment truly is reflective of the Institute for Human Dignity's primary purpose - to encourage the world's governments to recognize man's authentic nature as made by God with inalienable rights that arise out of this recognition, among which includes his right to offer himself for work."

Barron, who in addition to acting as the DHI's Senior Advisor on Human Dignity in the Economic Sphere, is a widely published journalist and lecturer on economics at two universities in the United States.  He continued: "What we need to do now, having correctly identified the correlation between being able to work and dignity (not to say self-respect) is to identify with courage and without fear the causes of the unemployment that causes so much despair - especially in the young. 

The most onerous restrictions to man's ability to offer himself for work are in fact caused by well-meaning but fundamentally misguided regulations to labour and capital enacted and enforced by governments everywhere.  Corporation taxes, employers' contributions, maximum working weeks, statutory annual leave, minimum wage restrictions, and other laws that artificially raise the cost of employment are together the greatest causes of unemployment in the world today.  This is not to say that these regulations do not bring things that we all like, but that they push the cost of employing a person higher than an employer can afford to pay.  The result is the unemployment we can sadly see - and a minimum wage, in fact, perversely hits the poorest unemployed the hardest."

"When God created the world, He intentionally created it in such a way that the goods we need to thrive are scarce - they are not infinitely abundant in their natural state.  God wanted us to work to create the goods we need - and more importantly, He wanted us to work towards that end together.  Ours is therefore a world of scarcity, which includes the scarcity of labour...all kinds of labour, both skilled and unskilled."

Barron concluded: "The US economist Scott Sumner recently published some fascinating research regarding the minimum wage, using data for Western Europe:
There are nine countries with a minimum wage (Belgium, Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg).  Their unemployment rates range from 5.9% in Luxembourg to 27.6% in Greece. The median country is France with 11.1% unemployment.
There are nine countries with no minimum wage (Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland).  Five of the nine have a lower unemployment rate than Luxembourg, the best of the other group.  The median country is Iceland, with a 5.5% unemployment rate. The biggest country in Europe is Germany.  No minimum wage and 5.2% unemployment.

Finally, with a view to widening greater access to employment for the poorest, I would recommend that the nations of the world strongly consider adopting free trade, so that the vagaries of birth are no longer a barrier to participating in the world economy - with all the opportunities which that access presents."

Luca Volontè, DHI Chairman, continued the point.  "I totally agree with Professor Barron: there is always more work to be done than men available to do it; therefore, there is no natural unemployment among men who are willing to cooperate with one another in order to achieve ends that they could not achieve when acting alone.  Unprecedented prosperity is therefore open to all - and governments must reflect at the shocking levels of unemployment around the world that they have in a major way created.  Such governments must have more faith in humanity's ability to resolve through free cooperation the problems that confront us.  The larger the number of cooperating men, the greater the opportunity to expand the specialization of labour, which is one of the main requirements to a more prosperous future."

Volontè concluded: "The DHI therefore joins its voice in solidarity with the Pope.  We must act now to liberate people from being permanently locked-out of entering the labour market by well-meaning but fundamentally harmful regulations.  The current crisis has now become urgent.  We must urgently deregulate labour before we irrevocably lose the next generation to a despair that leads them to reject forever the possibility of attaining their dreams and desires through means of peaceful participation in a free market."

More money for Greece...why not?

Re: EU said to weigh extending Greek loans to 50 years

The Greeks will always get more money from the EU, because that is the very nature of the EU as a giant welfare system for entire nations.  But the experiment will fail, because the euro is a fiat currency which follows the inevitable destructive path of a tragedy of the commons.  Since the euro is a commonly held resource, it will be plundered to extinction.  In the meantime, the party (and the money printing press) rolls on.

This short Bloomberg News report contains some fascinating statistics.  The numbers have gotten so big that millions and billions don't mean anything anymore.  So let me put this latest insult to the European taxpayer in perspective.

Greece has a population of 11 million.  It already has gotten bailouts to the tune of 240 billion euros; that's US$29,673 per person.  Now the EU is contemplating another round of bailouts, this time to the tune of only 15 billion euros or US$1,855 per person.  In addition, the EU may extend all bailout maturities to 50 years, undoubtedly so that the criminal politicians foisting this insult onto the backs of the taxpayers will be long dead by the time the masses rise up and demand justice.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My letter to the Wall Street Journal re: Anglo Bank didn't bailout itself

Re: Trial of three former officials at Anglo Irish Bank begins

Dear Sirs:
Anglo Irish Bank did not bailout itself.  Why aren't the politicians who gave the money to Anglo, which led to the collapse of the Irish economy, on trial, too?  And let's get right to the heart of the matter and try all those politicians who maneuvered an unwilling Irish nation into the EU (the Irish voted "NO" the first time) and forced them onto the euro.  Now Ireland is at the mercy of inflationists like European Central Bank president Mario Draghi, who promises to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro.  We knew the ECB was a bad idea when one-by-one the German bankers quit the ECB board in disgust over its illegal bond buying schemes.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Can the State Justify Welfare Spending?

The purpose of this brief essay is to present an argument that state spending on welfare, which necessarily rests on the state's power to extract funds from the public, cannot be justified.  An argument in favor of state sponsored welfare is that a democratically elected government chooses to do so, therefore it follows that it must have the power to collect these funds from the citizen coercively.  Yet claiming that the democratic process is sufficient to justify state coercion fails even the most cursory examination.   One needs only to look at our own American past of slavery and the more recent history of Nazi Germany to disabuse oneself of the notion that democratically elected representatives can do no wrong.  Both the Old South and Nazi Germany had democratically elected governments.  No, something other than the temporary wishes of a majority of the people is needed to justify state coercion.

I will examine the issue from three perspectives: the natural rights of the individual vis a vis the state, whether one's natural rights may be violated in order to achieve some higher conception of justice, and whether the state is capable of rational economic calculation.  I will show that state spending on welfare violates one's natural rights, is unjust, and lacks necessarily rational economic calculation.  I have selected Frederic Bastiat's natural rights-based argument for the limits of government as expressed in The Law; Immanuel Kant's argument of true justice as explained by Roger Scruton in Kant: A Very Short Introduction and T. Patrick Burke's No Harm: Ethical Principles for a Free Market; and Ludwig von Mises' explanation of the source of rational economic calculation as expressed in Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.

This essay focuses on the rational justification for state welfare spending and does not accept empirical claims that need exists.  I do not deny that state welfare can alleviate the suffering of some to some extent, especially in the short run.  Likewise, I make no attempt to calculate the cost to those whose property is expropriated to do so.  Furthermore, I make no claim whether such a benefit is necessary.  For one thing, it is possible that state spending could be replaced to some extent, perhaps completely, by private efforts.  It is also possible that the very attempt to remove some kinds suffering is counterproductive, such as the possibility that paying a man not to work in menial jobs or in uncomfortable conditions might destroy his ability to take care of himself and his family.  All this is irrelevant if we can conclude that state spending on welfare cannot be justified in the first place.

Man's Natural Rights and the Limits of Government

In The Law Frederic Bastiat presents the irrefutable maxim that man's rights exist prior to the formation of the state and that, therefore, the collective action of the state cannot conflict with man's prior rights.   Man can delegate to the state only those powers that he himself already possesses.  Since man has the natural right to protect himself and his property, he can legitimately delegate to the state those powers, which we refer to domestically as the justice system and internationally as national defense.  However, man does not have the natural right to force another to give to a charity.  Since I cannot coerce you to give to the charity of my choice, neither can government force you to give to the charity of its choice.  Yet that is exactly what it does.  Let us say that you object that government gives money to a charity that you personally abhor.  You would not get very far arguing that you have a right to reduce your tax payment by a pro rata amount.  If you persisted in withholding payment, government will confiscate your assets.  If you try to protect your assets, government will kill you.  Yet, from the context of natural rights, government has no justification in forcing you to pay for a charity of which you disapprove and would not fund voluntarily.
True Justice and the Categorical Imperative

Perhaps there is a higher rationale for allowing the state to violate our natural rights by confiscating our property coercively for the supposed betterment of others.  For this rationale we turn to two philosophers--Immanuel Kant and T. Patrick Burke.  We'll start with Kant.  Our conception of true justice has found no better expression than that by Immanuel Kant in his explanation of the "categorical imperative".  A categorical imperative tells us what to do unconditionally in all places at all times and to all men.  It does not derive its power from any authority other than pure reason.  Kant distinguishes this categorical imperative from a hypothetical imperative, such as "need".  Although a hypothetical imperative may be valid, such as "poor people would live better if they received welfare payments", it can never be objective.  It gives a reason only to those who are affected, in this case poor people.  Giving welfare to poor people cannot be an unconditional action, applying to all people in all places at all times.

In his introductory book on Kant cited above, Roger Scruton explains that there are five variant forms of the categorical imperative.  The first two are the most important for our purposes here.  The first variant is the Golden Rule, Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Abraham Lincoln stated the Golden Rule when he said, "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master."  It is based upon reason alone. The second variant is that all men be treated as ends and not as means.  Rational beings are ends in themselves and never merely means to some other end or as a means to achieve the ends of some men and not others.  By this natural law even if everyone in a community except one man voted that all should donate to a charity, the categorical imperative would deny that it is just for the community to coerce this one man.  The community of men would be using this one man as a means and not as an end, a rational being with human dignity.

Professor T. Patrick Burke adds an important addendum to the unjust nature of state coercion for the purpose of charitable giving.  He persuasively makes the case that the act of refusing to help someone in need is not unjust, for that needy person is left in the same position as before.  The act of refusing to help does not add to that person's plight.  If we become bound by some higher concept of justice to help all who come to us in need, then we become slaves to all of mankind, a violation of the categorical imperative in that we would be used as means and not as ends.

The Impossibility of Economic Calculation by the State

In 1920 Ludwig von Mises wrote a devastating critique of the emerging socialist movement that has never been refuted.  At fewer than seventy-five pages, which includes an introduction by Professor Yuri Maltsev and a postscript by Professor Joseph Salerno, the Mises Institute edition of Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth explains that, absent private property, economic calculation is impossible.  Mises explained that no government knows what to produce or what resources to use in producing whatever the desired good may be, because only those who actually own property can dispose of it rationally.  Think of two worlds, the world of the mind containing preferences and the world of markets and prices.  One's preferences are ordered in the mind according to greatest need.  These preferences are different for different people and change within the same person constantly.  These internally held preferences meet in the market with all other preferences to produce money prices, which allows us to make economic and economical decisions about what to produce, and how to produce it, and what to buy.  Mises pointed out that without market prices, the economic czar is blind as to what to produce and how to produce it.  Market prices are determined only by people expressing preferences for what they actually own; i.e., private property.  The economic czar is not spending his own money or taking his own product to market to sell.  So, how can he rationally decide what to do?  Mises' answer was that he cannot.

Since the government is composed of individuals who are not spending their own money or taking their own product to market, there is no way that they can decide rationally which charities, if any, should be state supported.  They fall back upon what can only be called corrupt relationships; i.e., helping friends, choosing organizations that may hire them in the future, buying off organizations that are particularly persistent and annoying, etc.  This behavior is best described by "public choice theory", which explains that actions of individuals in government are guided by the same self-interest as they are in all other areas of life, ridiculing the idea that those in government have higher ethical considerations.


In the end we observe that state welfare is imposed coercively; it has no justification other than that of pure force.  No one has a natural right to our labor or our property; there is no categorical imperative to demand the help of others and none to shame us for refusing to help others; and there is no possibility of rational economic calculation to determine which charities for the state to support and to what extent.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My letter to the NY Times re: Looking for answers in all the wrong places

Re: Wall Street's New Housing Bonanza, by Michael Corkery

Dear Sirs:
If Representative Mark Takano (D, CA) is concerned that securitizing investment in rental properties will result in a new, unsustainable bubble, he is looking for answers in all the wrong places.  Rather than restrict the free market's apparently successful efforts to redeploy vacant, foreclosed homes as rental properties, he should lobby the Fed to end its massive and unprecedented money printing schemes that can only result in malinvested resources somewhere in the economy.