The Locker Room

March 14, 2011

Locker Room has moved

Posted by CJ Staff at 2:49 PM

Locker Room has moved to a new location. Please join us at our new home:

The old Locker Room has served us well since Aug. 19, 2003. In the first post more than seven years ago, we posted the following:

The Locker Room will feature fast and informative insights to breaking news around North Carolina, with incisive opinions and commentary from all The John Locke Foundation staff, fellows and scholars.

Log on every day to read what's going on in The Locker Room.

The same still applies to the new and improved Locker Room. We have uprgraded to the latest version of WordPress for the new version, and, as on our regional blogs, have added the ability for readers to register and comment on our posts.

We invite you to head over to the new Locker Room and register to join in on the conversation.

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Contrasting market-based environmentalism with environmental policy that relies on markets

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 1:50 PM

The concept of "market-based environmentalism" is actually a form of socialism. Advocates use the language of markets to distinguish this form from traditional command-and-control socialism based on explicit central economic planning. 

That's the argument Roy Cordato made today during his presentation to the John Locke Foundation's Shaftesbury Society. In the video clip below, Cordato explains why the basic concepts of market-based environmentalism can't work.

2:45 p.m. update: Click play below to watch the full 1:02:51 presentation.

You'll find other John Locke Foundation video presentations here.

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No, Keynesians, widespread death and capital destruction is not good for the economy

Posted by Jon Sanders at 11:38 AM

Depend upon it, after a natural disaster there will be people willing to state that the rebuilding process will be good for the economy. It is, after all, a very visible process. What the soothsayers miss are all the unseen alternative uses of all that money and capital being used in rebuilding -- that is, what that money and capital would be building if the disaster had not wrought such destruction and forced rebuilding to replace societal wealth, rather than add to it.

Larry Summers, former director of the White House National Economic Council, is one:

Friday's massive earthquake is yet another challenge to Japan's recovery but it may provide a jolt to the economy over the short term, Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University and former director of the White House National Economic Council, told CNBC. ...

"If you look, this is clearly going to add complexity to Japan's challenge of economic recovery," Summers said. "It may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP, as a process of rebuilding takes place."

If you can see hints of the White House's stimulus fallacy behind such thinking, you're on the right track. Summers confuses good for GDP with good for the economy, but good for GDP doesn't take into account capital destruction, although it does favor spending -- including spending by government. Also notice his concern with the short term, bearing in mind Keynes' famous retort, "In the long run we're all dead!" (We've reached the long run with the stimulus; we have spent ourselves into far worse unemployment than the White House's worst-case-scenario-without-a-stimulus prediction, and now we are flat broke.)

Even as Japan begins to rebuild, this devastation cannot be said to be good for their economy. Electrical, water, and transportation infrastructure has been destroyed. Businesses have been destroyed. Cars and homes have washed away. Fields have been covered in sea mud. And most horrific of all, tens of thousands of people have been killed.

No, the tsunami was not good for the Japanese economy, short term or long.

P.S. My colleague Dr. Karen Palasek wrote about the exact same fallacy with respect to the Indonesian tsunami; I recommend her column "Tsunami and the Broken Window."

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New at CJO: Feds split on release of Wake school lunch data

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:12 AM

David Bass' latest Carolina Journal Online report focuses on a disagreement between two federal agencies over the use of school lunch data in helping Wake County school officials make assignment decisions.

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Brooks handicaps the GOP contenders

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:48 AM

David Brooks, a conservative by New York Times standards, offers TIME his thoughts about the Republican presidential contenders:

I'm a little meh. Some people are interesting, like Newt Gingrich, but Newt Gingrich is not going to be President. I wouldn't let that guy run a 7-Eleven, let alone a country. No management skills. There are a couple leaders: Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels. Haley Barbour's a good governor, but he looks like the kind of guy Michael Moore would cast: Southern guy, heavy guy, was a tobacco lobbyist. I just don't think that's going to fly.

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TIME handicaps a Gingrich presidential run

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:47 AM

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s potential 2012 presidential bid attracts attention this week from TIME:

Gingrich has reportedly told supporters he's leaning toward an early-April announcement of his candidacy.

It won't be an easy one. He has always operated on a Wagnerian scale, and there's little doubt he feels qualified to lead the U.S. through what he awkwardly calls "a crossroads that we cannot hide from." Yet he is also one of the most divisive figures in politics. Though he may have high name recognition, he is disliked by roughly half of those who are familiar with him — a stigma matched within the GOP only by Sarah Palin. He has a flair for hyperbole that seems antithetical to executing a well-disciplined national campaign. And he has a personal life for which he says he has sought God's forgiveness. "He's one of the most creative thinkers out there," says Tom Quiner. Quiner's wife agrees but then pauses. "I don't know," she says. "He's got some baggage."

Presidential material or not, Gingrich can give a good speech, as evidenced by his address at the John Locke Foundation’s 20th-anniversary dinner in 2010.

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Just who was protesting in Wisconsin?

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:46 AM

In an article that otherwise offers a relatively sympathetic portrayal of the Wisconsin protesters’ arguments, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Drake Bennett nonetheless offers a portrayal of protesters that hardly suggests a group of hard-working public servants:

Within the Capitol, … protesters chanted, sang, played drums, deployed yogic oms, and — though few gave the impression of being gainfully employed — conducted long conversations about the sanctity of workers' rights. There were about 60 holdouts camped out on the ground floor, mostly in their late teens or twenties. Many were unkempt and unshaven, but comfortably so, as if they usually looked that way. Some wore pajamas, others had inked hash-marks onto their arms for each day they'd passed there—a few had gotten up to 17. None had left the building since the weekend. They talked about staying until the 14 Senate fugitives returned, though it was unclear whether that would be a sign of victory or defeat.

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Another reason to think twice about cap-and-trade policies

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:44 AM

Forget the arguments that global warming alarmism has no merit. The latest Bloomberg Businessweek offers (in an update of this January article) another good reason to avoid dubious cap-and-trade schemes for carbon emissions: the likelihood of criminal abuse of the system.

Europe’s carbon market is under siege. Since November, criminals have hacked the computer systems of national registries or have stolen company passwords in Romania, Italy, Greece, Austria, and the Czech Republic and made off with more than $80 million in emissions allowances. That figure is a Bloomberg calculation based on data from registries and companies that have reported thefts. European authorities are on the case, but so far the robberies remain unsolved. “Our hypothesis is that at least the recent attacks against the EU emissions trading registries around Europe are linked to organized crime,” Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, the European law enforcement agency, said in an e-mail.

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New Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:36 AM

Sara Burrows' latest Carolina Journal Online report previews this week's activity for the N.C. General Assembly. 

John Hood's Daily Journal explains why public broadcasting should be free from government funding.

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