Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Welfare and Minorities

According to Thomas Sowell, the War on Poverty did nothing to help African Americans. An excerpt:

The poverty rate among black families fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960, during an era of virtually no major civil rights legislation or anti-poverty programs.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

I'm Back

I'm back from vacation. Unfortunately, My summer break is over so I probably won't be blogging as much as I'd like to, but I'll get around to it as soon as I find the time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Wait A Second

One last post before I actually leave for my vacation. I want to link to this article. Remember folks, it's production, not consumption, that drives an economy.

Link via Dissecting Leftism

Update: Perhaps it would have been less controversial if I used the term productivity and not production.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I'm going on vacation. I'll post as soon as I get back.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Happy Birthday

I bet you didn't know that today is Kenneth Arrow's Birthday. Arrow is a Nobel prize winning economist who figured out that it's impossible for legislators to come up with optimal decisions. This theorem is called Arrow's Impossibility Theorm.

Update: There's a comprehensive biography here.


Today's the day that new overtime regulations come into affect. Neal Boortz has the 411.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Adam Thierer made a sketch of what the Telecom Act of 2006 should look like. Here's my favorite part:

Immediate Freedom or Continued Regulatory Forbearance for…
* cable (just leave them alone; they are the model here for where we need to go)
* wireless (ditto, but consider expanding auctions and determine unlicensed set-asides)
* high-speed broadband networks (formally firewall it off from traditional telco regs)
* VoIP (same as above + consider limiting state and local tax powers)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


I have mixed feelings about a national retail sales tax. It has some merits, but there are a number of criticisms. You can read about them here and here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Over 3000

I've received over 3000 hits since I started my blog. To all of my loyal readers, thank you.

Profiting Off Suffering

There's a big debate over at Catallarchy about the ethics of profiting off suffering. A lot of people consider profiting off suffering a self-evident evil. Naturally, I disagree. Let me offer a Reductio ad Absurdum to show the flaw in this position. Let's say someone with a migraine headache goes to a pharmacy and the pharmacist sells the suffering patient some aspirin. Is that wrong? No doubt the patient is in terrible pain. If so, then much (if not all) of our health care system is based on evil. The Catallarchy debate is a bit different though, since they're discussing excess profits being made because of the storm and the urgency surrounding it drives up demand and thereby driving up the price. First of all, from a consequentialist perspective, the profits might be good since the seller will likely use them to restock inventories in case another big storm comes. Plus there's another problem, what happens if you try to introduce the government into the mess so the state can regulate profits? I'm no expert, but to the best of my knowledge, if profits are regulated many economic transactions will go into the black market. If you disagree with me or if you want to debate further, feel free to discuss your opinions in the comments of this post.

Update: The Mises Institute discusses price gouging in a bit more detail.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Dear Free Trader

Here is an open letter addressed to all free-traders. The author explains that, while tariffs hamper division of labor, other taxes do as well. He encourages everyone to spread this letter out to as many people as possible, so don't be shy about mentioning this letter on your blog.

Link via Johan Norberg

Proportionality in the Electoral College

Colorado is considering changing its electoral system from the traditional winner-take-all approach to awarding electoral points via proportionality. I'd like to see this enacted on the federal level. It would eliminate some of the flaws in our electoral system, while still maintaining indirect election of presidents. While we're on the subject of proportionality in voting, I'd like to have the House of Representatives reformed to have some sort of proportional representation system, preferably via choice voting (sometimes referred to as the Single Transferable Vote). It would be easier to enact proportional representation in the House because it would require a constitutional amendment to have electoral reform in the Senate.

First link via Order from Chaos

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Excessive Regulation

Here's one example of excessive regulation:

...banks and other financial institutions must file currency transactions reports on anybody who deposits or withdraws more than $10,000 in cash at one time. Millions of these reports are filed each year, on what even the government admits are almost always totally innocent people.

Link via EconLog

Fighting Fire With Fire

A post at GNXP argues that we should fight fire with fire. The left often uses Sweden as a model for egalitarianism and prosperity, why not fight back and show how prosperity has come to Sweden via liberalization. Sweden is, after all, the ranked #12 in the Heritage Institute's Index of Economic Freedom.

Link via Catallarchy

Friday, August 13, 2004

Breaking News

Huey Lewis from the 80's pop group Huey Lewis & the News has endorsed John Kerry. Well I was considering voting for Badnarik, but now this changes things. ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Doublespeak and Government

The government distorts words as an attempt to fit its own perception of reality, for example:

Investment = Government spending. What percent return are we getting on that "investment"?

Undocumented worker = illegal immigrant. Not everyone who is in the U.S. illegally is a worker.

Voluntary compliance = What you do when you pay your federal income taxes, according to the IRS. You go to jail if you don't voluntarily comply.

There's more here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Tyler Cowen for President!

Tyler Cowen has a number of policy suggestions for Bush here. I highly doubt Bush will follow Cowen's plan, which is unfortunate because they're all good ideas. It's good to see that he put the elimination of trade barriers first, I agree that should be a major priority. The second idea is good as well, Europe free-rides on our huge defense budget. He doesn't give any specifics about how to end the free-rider problem, but I would say withdrawing bases from a number of countries (such as Germany) would do the trick. Regarding idea number three, means-testing would be good, but he misses something. I'm surprised he didn't mention anything about privatizing Medicare. Something I would like to see are Health Savings Accounts (sometimes referred to as HSAs). Cowen mentions two departments he wants to see abolished, namely the departments of Education and Energy. That's a good start, but we should also consider abolishing the departments of HUD, Labor, Commerce, and Agriculture. Regarding idea number eleven, I think he's just scratching the surface when he advocates getting rid of corporate taxation and the AMT. I would like to see a move towards a flat tax or national retail sales tax to replace our current system. Still, his ideas are a good start. Maybe Cowen can consider running as a write-in candidate?

Update: Tyler added a thirteenth proposal, dealing with excess regulation via cutting the number of pages in the Federal Register.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Free Banking

Okay, technically I'm still supposed to be on a break, but this is too interesting to ignore. There's a fascinating article about the fractional reserve system and free banking at Exploit the Worker. Many Austrians don't like the fractional reserve system and look down upon it, often dismissing it as fraudulent. David Friedman, on the other hand, thinks it's a good idea.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


I'm going to take a little time off from blogging. I'll be back in maybe a week, possibly later. See ya!

Free-market Environmentalism

The Property and Environment Research Center advocates individual fishing quotas (also known as IFQs) as a solution to over-fishing. Other countries such as New Zealand, Iceland, and Canada use similar systems.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What About Privacy?

'Black Box' Recommended for All Vehicles


Dingel at Exploit the Worker discusses a recent study in Economic Journal Watch that argues that, not only does economic liberalization lead to growth, but more growth can also lead to more liberalization. Unfortunately there's a caveat, "This circle is obviously not a spiral toward minimal government". So we're not going to reach utopia anytime soon, but I think we should still welcome more liberalization, especially as a tool for growth.

Tax Reform

Neal Boortz is planning on writing a book about the Fair Tax, see here for a preview of one chapter about how the poor might benefit.

Monday, August 02, 2004


The satirical web-site ScrappleFace has the top 10 reasons why homeschooling should be criminalized. One of my favorites:

Publicly asking permission to go to the bathroom teaches young people their place in society.