Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Above the Law

By Richard W. Rahn

What recourse does a citizen have when government employees violate the law and do harm, and then they are protected by the government? Government was created to protect person and property and ensure liberty, but it has increasingly become the abuser rather than the protector.
In all too many cases, asset forfeiture laws have resulted in totally innocent individuals having their money or other assets taken from them by federal, state or local law enforcement officials even though they have not been convicted of any crime.

Trump’s Real Problem

By David Boaz

Donald Trump has shot to the top of Republican presidential polls on the strength of his celebrity and his bombastic talk.
Elites on all sides of the political spectrum — liberals, conservatives, and libertarians — are horrified by his ranting about Mexican “rapists.” And he may have shot himself in the foot with his comments about Senator John McCain. But his poll numbers are still up there.

Promoting Very Unsettled Science

By Richard W. Rahn

If you have been to the beach at Treasure Island, Florida (adjoining St. Petersburg), you will notice something very odd. The hotels (many of which were built in the 1950s and ‘60s) and the seawall are very far from the water in the Gulf of Mexico — giving an extraordinarily wide beach. It was not always that way. When the hotels and seawall were built, they were set back from the high tide a normal hundred yards or so; but over the years, there was a natural but unforeseen accretion to the beach — which, having grown up in the area, I observed. (It can be seen on Google Earth.)

Note to Greece: Mixing Currency and Politics Doesn’t Work

By George Selgin

Greece’s monetary troubles have dominated the headlines now for weeks, releasing a torrent of analysis assigning blame or proposing solutions. Yet that torrent overlooks the bigger tragedy in which the recent Greek drama is but the latest act:  governments’ misuse of currency as a tool of politics.
What currency is meant to do—and how the euro betrays that purpose
Ask any competent economist what currency is and he or she will tell you that it’s a generally accepted medium of exchange meant to overcome the difficulties of barter. A specialist might go on to explain how certain currency systems do a better job of facilitating exchange and of avoiding financial crises than others. Few would think of currency as a tool of politics.

Coercion Is Bad Economics

By Chris Edwards

A common feature of Obama administration economic policies is the use of government coercion. The Obamacare health law mandated that individuals buy insurance. The administration’s tax increases grabbed more earnings from millions of people. And federal agencies are imposing an increasing pile of labor, environmental, and financial regulations on businesses.
Pro-market policy experts point out the negative effects of each intervention, but the administration keeps dreaming up with new ways to take our money, restrict what we do, and manipulate the economy.

Jeb Bush’s Advice: Work Harder, Not Smarter

In a recent interview, Jeb Bush said that in order for the United States to reach a higher level of economic growth, “people need to work longer hours.”
Leftists immediately jumped on this comment as proof that Bush is horribly out of touch with ordinary working Americans.
Bush soon backtracked and attempted to explain that what he really meant was that there are too many people working fewer hours than they would like. In other words, Bush explained, work force participation is too low for a society in which many people would in fact like more gainful employment.

The Fed’s Confusion Over the "

In May, the US unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent against the rate of 5.3 percent for the “natural unemployment,” also known as the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU).
According to the popular view, once the actual unemployment rate falls to below the NAIRU, or the natural unemployment rate, the rate of inflation tends to accelerate and economic activity becomes overheated. (This acceleration in the rate of inflation takes place through increases in the demand for goods and services. It also lifts the demand for workers and puts pressure on wages, reinforcing the growth in inflation).
By this way of thinking, the central bank must step in and lift interest rates to prevent the rate of inflation from getting out of control.

Central Banks and Our Dysfunctional Gold Markets

Many investors still view gold as a safe-haven investment, but there remains much confusion regarding the extent to which the gold market is vulnerable to manipulation through short-term rigged market trades, and long-arm central bank interventions. First, it remains unclear whether or not much of the gold that is being sold as shares and in certificates actually exists. Second, paper gold can theoretically be printed into infinity just like regular currency — although private-sector paper-gold sellers have considerably less leeway in this regard than central banks. Third, new electronic gold pricing — replacing, as of this past February, the traditional five-bank phone-call of the London Gold Fix in place since 1919 — has not necessarily proved a more trustworthy model. Fourth, there looms the specter of the central bank, particularly in the form of volume trading discounts that commodity exchanges offer them.

Immigrants Aren’t the Only Ones Who Shouldn’t Be Voting

Much of the current immigration debate in the United States centers around the issue of “amnesty,” which is a vague term that may mean anything from “we won’t deport you” to “let’s fast-track you to citizenship and voting rights.”
From a laissez-faire perspective, the deportation aspect of amnesty — an increase in federal inaction — is one thing. The extension of voting privileges, though, is something else entirely.
Indeed, the amnesty debate has helped to illustrate the difference between real, concrete property rights, and the much different political “rights” such as voting. Limiting property rights is always illegitimate. Limiting political rights, on the other hand, may sometimes be essential.

Today's Anti-Capitalists Ignore the Fundamental Problems of Socialism

Anti-market and pro-socialist rhetoric is surging in headlines (see also here, here, and here) and popping up more and more on social media feeds. Much of the time, these opponents of markets can’t tell the difference between state-sponsored organizations like the International Monetary Fund and actual markets. But, that doesn’t matter because the articles and memes are often populist and vaguely worded — intentionally framed in such a way to easily deflect uninformed attacks and honest descriptions of what they are actually saying. In the end, they can all be boiled down to one message: socialism works and is better than capitalism.

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