Monday, May 31, 2004

Gas Prices

Radley Balko argues that gas prices are high artificially.

Ethics of Private Property

I don't usually discuss philosophy on this blog, but there's an excellent page on the right to private property here.

Day After Tomorrow

Bjorn Lomborg reviews the movie.


Michael Badnarik has won the LP presidential nomination. I was going for Gary Nolan, oh well. If you want some background information click here.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

EU, Friend or Foe?

An article (warning PDF file) by the IEA entitled Friend or Foe? What Americans should know about the European Union
is an interesting read. The main point is that Americans have been too friendly with the EU and it's agenda is nefarious. I don't know if the EU is as malevolent as the article makes it out to be, but I do have some areas of concern, such as:

1) It's goal is trade and market liberalization, but is often quite dirigiste and protectionist (e.g. the Common Agricultural Policy)

2) It might grow into a superstate (if it isn't already?).

3) It might be soft on legitimate terrorist concerns.

Then again, it has done some good, especially in the area of INTERNAL liberalization of trade and movement. Hopefully, the introduction of the new market-oriented Eastern European countries will tame some of the more etatist tendencies of the West. We'll see...

Friday, May 28, 2004

Taxes and Spending

Damn! A policy report by the Cato Institute argues that there's a negative correlation between spending and taxes, in other words, taxes can go down, but spending can still rise! This means the "starve the beast" strategy endorsed by Milton Friedman and Gary Becker doesn't work. It doesn't say how this can happen, but my guess is that it has to do with public choice economics. It's politically easier to advocate cutting taxes than it is to cut spending.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Cyprus beats Ireland

Apparently Cyprus is now the least taxed country in the EU.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Speak of the Devil

Citizens Against Government Waste has named the CEO of Fannie Mae the Porker of the Month.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Privatizing Fannie and Freddie

The American Enterprise Institute has a publication out that calls for the privatization of Fannie Mae and Frddie Mac.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Political Philosophy

What makes a good political philosophy? Here are some suggestions.

Where's our money!?

Do you want to know where the money is? Look no further.

Link via freedom and whisky

Biotech Food is Safe

The Heartland Institute has an article that discusses biotech and argues that modern biotech is not as harmful as activist groups make them out to be. On the contrary, the "contamination" is more like finding Lexus parts in your Yugo, says the article.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Welfare for States

One welfare program that I've never understood is the transfer of federal money to state and local governments. An article by the Cato Institute goes into some detail about the issue. It lists six detailed reasons, too long to discuss in one post, why they should be done away with. Then again, this one sentence says it all:

State and local governments and the private sector are in a better position to determine whether residents need more highways, schools, and other items.

A change of pace

Who says all of my posts have to have substance?

This site is certified 63% GOOD by the Gematriculator

Kerry on Oil

There's a story by AP entitled Kerry Urging Energy Independence in U.S. One paragraph says:

"There are two reasons why we cannot be asleep at the wheel during this current energy crisis," Kerry said in the weekly Democratic radio address. "First, soaring energy prices are putting our economy at risk and second, our dependence on Middle East oil is putting our national security at risk. But it doesn't have to be this way."

I'm not sure he realizes that the solution to these two problems are mutually exclusive. He could advocate lowering tariffs and excise taxes as a way to make energy cheaper, but that would increase our dependency on foreign oil. He could also advocate increasing tariffs and excise taxes to make us more independent, but that would raise prices. Which one of those two solutions does he advocate? Apparently neither, instead he advocates politically popular non-solutions like opening up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and increasing tax credits for alternative energy. Well, that's politics for you.

Friday, May 21, 2004


Well, Blogger now has a comments featured and I just enabled it. I'll keep this on for a while and see what happens. As of now I don't have an official comments policy, though I might come up with one later. Then again, if I feel like it, I'll just get rid of the feature since it's not that important.

Oil Prices

Lots of people are complaining about oil prices these days, but it's important to note that while they are quite high in nominal terms that's irrelevant. What matters is how high they are in real terms, that is to say after they're adjusted for inflation. As this chart shows, oil prices, in real terms, aren't nearly as high as they were in the early 80's.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Greenspan: Free Markets Helped Rebound

"The freeing of markets over the previous quarter-century had imparted a flexibility and, hence, a resilience that enabled cross-border commerce to quickly stabilize and, by early 2002, to resume its expansion."

"Free markets are the antithesis of violence," Greenspan said. "They rest not only on voluntary exchange but also on a necessary condition of voluntary exchange: trust in the word of those with whom we do business."

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

From the Future PM of India

INTERVIEWER: For a non-economist, non-Indian audience, what was the key change you made here?

MANMOHAN SINGH: We got government off the backs of the people of India, particularly off the backs of India's entrepreneurs. We introduced more competition, both internal competition and external competition. We simplified and rationalized the tax system. We made risk-taking much more attractive... [and] much more profitable. So we tried to create an environment conducive to the growth of business.


Europe Lifts GM Food Ban

Kyoto Treaty

"Kyoto-ism is another example of totalitarian ideology like Marxism, communism and socialism." says Andrei Illarionov, chief advisor to President Vladimir Putin.

Link via Adam Smith Institute Blog

Monday, May 17, 2004

France's labor laws

Here's an opinion piece in the Telegraph (registration required) discussing France's 35 hour work week. One part of the article says, "Its job-creating benefits are questionable and it has hit small and medium-size businesses particularly hard". Yes, the whole idea of limiting the work week to create jobs is an example of what economists call the lump of labor fallacy. The idea is that if you allow people to work then their work creates jobs as well, where as if you limit people's work load then there is less work to be done.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Internet Tax Ban

Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute has an article about the recent decision by the Senate to extend the internet tax ban.

Friday, May 14, 2004

War on Obesity

If you're not convinced that there's a war on obesity take a look at this. The federal government wants to nationalize land to get people to hike more! If you want to help try and stop this you can write to your congressman here.

Airline Bailout

The post-9/11 airline bailout failed to do what it intended to do. The industry still faces troubles, not from terrorism, but from low-cost competition. See here.

Education again

Is it just me or do I write a lot about education? Anyway, Arnold Kling writes about education in his TCS column. One interesting problem that's pointed out is that, "as public school budgets have gone up, the number of people on the payroll actually involved in classroom teaching has plunged. During the 1949-50 school year, 70% of government school employees were teachers. Twenty years later (1969-70), only 60% of public school employees were teachers. By 1991, the percentage of teachers had dropped to close to 50%." Kling says we should scrap the President's No Child Left Behind Act and we should hope for competition as well as other potential solutions, an amusing one is number 5 where he proposes that we should try to lower government funding of education on the grounds that the government tends to be a very high-cost producer.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Good News for Free Trade

The U.S. Senate passed a bill that will end tariffs that were imposed on the EU. Not only that but, it will replace the previous tax breaks that were deemed illegal by the WTO with "an effective 3% corporate tax cut for domestic manufacturers".

Creative Destruction

Yet another excellent post at Catallarchy. Jonathan points to a common mistake made by protectionists. Protectionists often assume technological progress to be fixed. As an example Jonathan points to a protectionist blog that states, "(Free traders) point to the shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy and the shift from an industrial economy to an information economy. But there is no shift to a "new" economy today, so where will those jobs come from?" Jonathan does a pretty good job of refuting that sillyness so I recommend you click the link to see his demolition.

Free-market Money

If you've been reading my blog regularly, you'll know that I find lots of interesting stuff from the NCPA. I was looking through that site one day and found this. I wonder how well a free banking system would work in real life? Well, I'm not an economist so I'm not really sure, but I might do some research of my own. There are works by George Selgin, such as his The Theory of Free Banking and Lawrence White's various books. Maybe some day I'll get around to reading their books and essays.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Cafe Hayek tackles the latest non-sense made by anti-outsourcing (i.e. anti-free trade) pundit Paul Craig Roberts.

More on Private Schools

The National Center for Policy Analysis has an article that says private education helps the poor in the third world:

"Schools in India offer free and subsidized places to children coming from poor families that amount to more than 7 percent of their total expenditures and comprise 15 percent of total school enrollment."

"In China, private schools charge low income families 50 percent less than fees required for public schooling."

Another interesting part of the article says, "80 percent of youths in India's urban areas attend private schools". Who says private education is for the wealthy?

Sunday, May 09, 2004


Speaking of Hollywood cons (see post below), someone is making a documentary about of the evils of eating at McDonalds. Of course, the methodology of the experiment involved in the project is flawed. The documentary tries to show that if you keep eating Super-sized food you'll get fat (which is obvious). The problem is that he is only eating the worst items on McDonalds' menu and he's avoiding the healthier ones (like the salads). There's a whole site at Tech Central Station devoted to exposing this fraud.

Hollywood and Kyoto

Here is an article in the Daily Telegraph (registration required) by Bjorn Lomborg about a new movie called The Day After Tomorrow. The movie is about global warming and its alleged consequences. Well actually it's an absurd, politically motivated scam in the guise of entertainment. The idea that the ice caps will melt and the Statue of Liberty will be up to her elbows in water is nothing more than science fiction. In regards to the Kyoto Treaty, Lomborg writes, "For the cost of implementing Kyoto in just one year, we could permanently provide clean drinking water and sanitation to everyone on the planet." I think bringing clean drinking water and sanitation to impoverished people would be a much better use of resources and I sure hope others think so as well.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Blogs from Iceland

I've added some new blogs to my blogroll. Two of them, Counterblast - Willy Sutton and Visual Economics, are authored by the same person. The other blog is Thoughts of Ice and Fire.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Big Government hurts jobs

The Foundation for Economic Education looks at the findings of a study by the National Association of Manufacturers (warning PDF file) and finds that:

1) “The U.S. corporate tax burden reduces cost competitiveness by 5.6 percentage points”;

2) “U.S. employee benefit costs are higher than most of its major competitors”;

3) “The regulatory compliance burden on U.S. manufacturers is the equivalent of a 12 percent excise tax”;

4) “Pollution abatement alone reduces U.S. cost competitiveness by at least 3.5 percentage points.”

Link via

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Joseph Sobran 4 Prez!

Columnist Joseph Sobran has a killer article about the presidency and what he would do if he were in charge. My favorite part:

"In the purely hypothetical case that I was elected, I would take the radical approach of honoring my oath of office and respecting the limits imposed by the U.S. Constitution. That would mean vetoing just about every bill that came across my desk. Which would in turn mean that I would soon be impeached, convicted, and removed from office."

Wednesday, May 05, 2004


WTO Set To Uphold Antigua & Barbuda's Complaint Against US Net Gambling Ban

I have mixed feelings about the WTO, but I'm glad that they ruled against the US on this issue. Why internet gambling, or any form of gambling, is a crime escapes me. Oh well, three cheers for trade liberalization!


Jonathan Wilde of comments on this interesting article by the Mises Institute. One line that stands out in the Mises article is the following:

"Homeschooling is a tribute to the abilities of average parents who are concerned with their children's education. It is also a shocking indictment of government and even many private schools."

The last sentence got me thinking. Many private schools are based on the public model. The high school and elementary school I went to are examples and I didn't like them at all. Now, on the other hand, the kindegarten I went to was a Montessori private school and I enjoyed it quite a bit, and when I transferred to an elementary school I was well ahead of the other students. I think the moral here is similar to what was pointed out in the Catallarchy post. If you allow children to persue their natural curiosity, they may be more inclined to learn then if they're forced to do so.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Prisoner Abuse

LP News has a press release about the scandal and says that it's yet another reason for us to get out of Iraq.

Monday, May 03, 2004

I'm sorry

I know I've been posting lightly as of late. I've been busy with school (I attend OCC). I promise I'll post tomorrow.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Ballot Access News

The April edition of Ballot Access News is up.