February 25, 2009
JLF's Free Market Minute quoted by Limbaugh
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 1:50 PM
Rush Limbaugh just quoted from Karen Palasek's most recent Free Market Minute featured on the front page of the JLF web site. This FMM is part of a series where Karen has transcribed a 1974 Meet the Press interview with the then newly minted Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek. In the section quoted by Limbaugh, Hayek answers a question posed by the very young at the time George Will.
Will:errata: the Meet the Press interview is from 1975
"Dr. von Hayek, capitalism and particularly American
capitalism is seemed to have a good record at giving people a rising
standard of living. Why are so many intellectuals, and particularly so
many economists, skeptical about and even hostile to capitalism?"
"Well, I've been puzzling about it for a long time,
particularly about the economists who ought to understand better. It's
very difficult to know why they don't. Ah.. I think it's a attraction
of a system which you can...an intellectual attraction of a system you
can deliberately control, which is fascinating to the intellectual."
Taylor Announces I-485 Completion to Start Tomorrow
Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 12:55 AM
Charlotte resident Jeff A. Taylor today announced that he intends to complete the final leg of Charlotte's outerbelt starting tomorrow.
"Queen City taxpayers and motorists have waited too long for this vital roadway to be completed, decades now. That is why this last stretch must kick-off final construction tomorrow," Taylor declared in a surprise announcement.
Federal stimulus money may or may not help supply the estimated $220m. required to complete the final five-mile leg and build a needed interchange with I-85, he explained. Taylor credited Gov. Bev Perdue with the idea to "blast-track" the oft-delayed project today.
"The governor took the first bold step to 'fast-track' this project without any source of funding, we're just taking it to the next level with this exciting announcement. We couldn't have done it without her leadership and that of NC DOT, the Mecklenburg delegation, and city and county elected leaders. They're the real stars today," Taylor said.
Details on exactly when and how construction will begin are still in formation. Taylor noted that he still has several cracks in his driveway which need to be filled and that cash-flow is constrained by the $61.56 he spent yesterday at Lowe's for lawn chemicals.
"I hate effing crab grass," Taylor explained.
Still, one likely source of revenue is the NC Education Lotto. Initial estimates are that millions of dollars may be available directly from the Lotto with the possibility that additional debt could be taken on the leverage all revenue sources. Should the pay-out prove large enough, Taylor said the project might be funded without additional cost to the state or taxpayers.
Taylor concluded by reminding everyone that except for professional and consulting fees "commensurate with the practice and operation of the General Assembly, NC DOT, and any interlocking bodies" he was undertaking the project free of charge.
He then referred further questions to his legal counsel at Dewey, Snowem, and Howe.
What to do when charged with raping the land
Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 12:42 AM
This report from The Onion.
Playing Lego with the Triangle's future
Posted by David N. Bass at 12:40 AM
Piggybacking off Michael's earlier post, click here to access a WRAL report (including video) showing regional leaders "playing Lego" with the Triangle's future.
We need more capital, not more government spending
Posted by George Leef at 11:51 AM
So argues economics professor George Reisman in this rather lengthy article.
If you want to be really well versed in the economics of recession and recovery, this is worth your time.
If your economic objective is rising production, that requires increasing capital investment -- the precise opposite of what the Obama plan does. So maybe rising production is not his objective, despite all the talk about economic strength. Maybe the real objective is something else, like turning the US into a big version of Sweden.
Why we don't want government in the banking business
Posted by George Leef at 11:17 AM
John Lott explains why we don't here.
If you like an activist judiciary ...
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:08 AM
... you'll like this article praising the ongoing importance of Marbury v. Madison.
It's unfortunate that the authors ignore a potential problem with judicial review — the possibility that judges and justices will substitute their own opinions for both the laws approved through the political process and the Constitution that constrains government at all levels.
For more on the downside of activist judges, click here, here, and here.
Modern America and ancient Rome
Posted by George Leef at 11:03 AM
Foundation for Economic Education president Lawrence Reed draws many parallels between the America in turmoil we see today and the decay of ancient Rome. Read his piece here.
The big lesson is this: the more heavily politicized a nation (or empire, or city, or any other political unit) becomes, the more its people squander energy and resources battling for government handouts and favors and the less they produce. Rome was done in by its "takings coalition" and our takings coalition has its grubby fingers around the neck of the U.S.
You know a stimulus package is bad ...
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:53 AM
... when even stimulus supporters trash it.
Robert Samuelson won't win any friends among Locker Room regulars for writing that he supports "a huge stimulus," but his analysis should help build the case against the stimulus package as stimulus package.
No one knows the economic effects of all this; estimates vary. But
Obama's political strategy stunts the impact from what it might have
been. Postponed spending weakens the economic benefit. By using the
stimulus for unrelated political and policy goals, Obama mandates
delays. Obama brags that there are no "earmarks" in the package. This
is technically true if an "earmark" is considered a project
specifically designated for a politician's home district. But hundreds
of billions are "earmarked" for identifiable constituencies. There's
another downside: "temporary" spending increases for specific programs,
as opposed to block grants, will be harder to undo, worsening the
long-term budget outlook.
If Rahm Emanuel's brother has his way ...
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:45 AM
... we'll get full-fledged socialized health care, according to Newsweek:
In the view of the health-care industry, Zeke is a fundamentalist. He
favors guaranteed care for everyone through a system of government
vouchers; national boards, he says, should help decide which treatments
work most effectively. Costs should be funded by a dedicated national
value-added tax. It's the rational way to do it, he said at the Aspen
Institute last summer.
As Mises said, "Every socialist is a disguised dictator." For more on the potential value of assigning decisions about treatment to a new national bureaucracy, click here.
Thanks, but No Thanks
Posted by Dr. Karen Y. Palasek at 10:45 AM
Eleven states are willing to forego the Obama government's 'stimulus' package in defense of the 10th Amendment to the Consitution (remember that?) and the predictably ruinous consequences of this federal intervention. National Center for Policy Analysis has the digest and the links to additional discussion.
The good news and bad news about Newsweek's latest cover story
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:36 AM
Let's start with the bad news: Jonathan Alter still has no inkling that FDR's policies did nothing to end the Great Depression, despite having written a book on the topic:
Nationalization? Perish the word, not the thought. When Franklin
Roosevelt closed the banks in 1933, he festively called it a "bank
holiday," and the bank receivers assigned to shutter some and take over
others were dubbed "conservers." Obama and his message mavens still
haven't found the language to frame their plans and lift our sights.
Alter also uses the phrase "accurate Keynesian economics," which is oxymoronic (emphasis on the fourth through eighth letters of that word).
Here's the good news: Alter dispenses with any notion that his article could be misconstrued as journalism. It's a paean to Obama and his greatness:
So why do I still think Barack Obama has a good chance of restoring
confidence and pulling us back from the brink? Why do I figure Joe
Biden had it about right when he said in his inimitably indiscreet way
that their chances of failure were about 30 percent, which leaves a
healthy 70 percent chance of success?
Because my take
on Obama, based on conversations with him and his team stretching back
more than four years and extending into the White House, is that he has a firm grasp of the psychological and substantive
challenges of the presidency. Equally important, his 2008 campaign
proved that he possesses a superior sense of timing.
Given Mr. Alter's judgment of other matters, I'll give his assessment of our new president the weight it deserves.
What Charles Murray thought of Obama's speech
Posted by George Leef at 10:33 AM
Depressing. "Doesn't he know that we've already tried all that stuff?"
Read Murray's comments here.
Murray doesn't specifically mention Obama's crusade to get more Americans through college. That especially depresses me. Luring a few more marginal students into college won't do anything to improve the economy and help American firms compete.
Planners use Legos to indoctrinate elites
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:11 AM
The latest insidious project of area planners is to indoctrinate more than 260 civic and business elites from the 15 county region by letting them use Lego bricks to plan future development patterns. That’s right, the N&O reported here that business and civic leaders got to use Legos to play make-believe planners. They got a taste of the telling other people where and how they can live and what mode of transportation they can use, just like real planners.
The purpose of this play with Legos is to build political support for regional plans that dictate lifestyles by imposing “smart growth” policies, high density housing, light rail transit projects. Planners used this technique with school children in Jackson County last year and I am sure we will see more examples of this successful political tactic around the state.
Here is my post on the N&O comment section:
While on the surface this exercise seems open ended, it is constrained by the planning mentality. Planners assume that planning is necessary to prevent “uncontrolled growth.” This translates into carefully orchestrated activities, such as this one, designed to build political support for plans that are consistent with current planning fads.
The “Reality Check” participants should have been given the opportunity to hear alternatives to the planning mentality. For example, participants should have heard that the founders wrote a Constitution that envisioned a society in which individuals were free to plan their lives free from plans imposed by planners. They should have learned about planning failures in United States and the Soviet Union. They should have been provided with data that indicates most individuals want a lifestyle that is radically different from the one that most planners want to impose on them.
Stimulus dollars to benefit the Global TransPark
Posted by David N. Bass at 09:39 AM
Gov. Bev Perdue recently announced how $466 million in federal stimulus funds will be spent on transportation projects in North Carolina.
Part of the money will go to a road widening project near the Global TransPark in Kinston.
Meanwhile, an audit in early 2008 showed that the TransPark might go bankrupt. Yes, our leaders might think stimulus dollars are "free money," but shouldn't they at least avoid pouring it into a failed proposition?
Excellent Stossel column
Posted by George Leef at 08:13 AM
In his column today, John Stossel exposes the flaws in the foolish idea that government spending stimulates the economy.
For one thing, "the economy" is just an abstraction. What we call the economy is an extremely complex web of interrelationships, not a machine that sometimes needs a kick to get it started. There are millions of individuals and businesses all looking for the best ways to improve their circumstances. If we leave them alone, they'll get over the waste caused by the last great bubble. Vast new federal spending and debt won't hasten the adjustment process, but impedes it.
Today's Carolina Journal Online features
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:03 AM
Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Colleen Calvani's report on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools' Parent University.
John Hood's Daily Journal picks apart myths about North Carolina's "underpaid" school teachers.
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