Saturday, November 27, 2004

Good Luck Randy

Randy Barnett from the Volokh Conspiracy is going in front of the Supreme Court to argue against the federal governments involvement in state decisions regarding medical marijuana. This is a big deal, not just as a Libertarian, but as a Californian since California enacted one of the first laws legalizing medical marijuana. Good Luck!

Friday, November 26, 2004


Well, I at least try my best:

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few

Here we go again

WTO Approves Sanctions on U.S. Exports

Why the hell is protectionism popular with politicians? Okay, actually I know this is why, but still how hard is it to repeal a law, brought about by a senator who doesn't know the meaning of the term 'retirement', that can cause so much damage economically. Okay, rant over.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Cost of Regulation

LP News has a column on how regulation, particularly by the FDA, makes pharmaceutical drugs more expensive.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Did anyone see the episode of Frontline about Wal-Mart on PBS? I was going to see it, but I missed out. Oh well, according to Bruce Bartlett (who was interviewed on the show) it was biased.

Link via Donald Luskin

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Productivity and Trade

Yes, it's true, the number of manufacturing jobs has been declining in recent years, but we shouldn't blame free trade. The real reason why these jobs are declining is that, due to increases in productivity, we simply don't need the number of people we used to have producing manufactured goods. That means that labor is freed up and (hopefully) able to find more productive work. In the words of Brink Lindsey:

"...the primary cause of these trends is the superior productivity of American manufacturers."

Link via Exploit the Worker

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Tax Simplification

I'm not sure I agree with this article by Thomas DiLorenzo. One of the biggest problems I have with things like tax deductions and credits is that they promote rent-seeking behavior. All sorts of various interest groups will try to fight for privileges if they think that they can get privilege from the state. Now there are practical arguments for a complex tax system in that they could encourage economically positive behavior, for example, deductions for home owners could lead to more people buying houses. Oddly enough, I don't think DiLorenzo even uses that argument for our current system. By the way, why does he repeatedly dismiss people who disagree with him as "egalitarians" and "socialists" , that's pretty sad in my opinion.

Update: Isn't it amazing that almost as soon as I posted this Catallarchy made a similar one? Damn!

Update 2: Tyler Cowen on the issue: "All tax systems are too complicated, and moves toward simplification are rarely a mistake."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Civil Liberties Alert

I don't usually cover civil liberties issues on this blog, but I don't like this at all:

Viagra, Oxycontin and some AIDS drugs will be among the first to carry radio chip tracking devices under a new Food and Drug Administration initiative to prevent theft and counterfeiting announced on Monday.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Costs of Regulation

From the Cato Institute:

Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Costs Companies Millions

"The cost of completing Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance legislation has risen to $5.1 million for the average large U.S. company, with a further $3.7 million in ongoing compliance bills," the Financial Times reports.

"The vast bulk of this cost relates to updating and documenting internal management controls the final stage of a controversial reform process that applies to companies reporting from Monday. Some very large companies such as General Electric say they have spent $30 million on this alone."

In "Accounting at Energy Firms after Enron: Is the 'Cure' Worse Than the 'Disease'?" Risktoolz Managing Director Richard Bassett and Chief Technology Officer Mark Storrie argue the Sarbanes-Oxley Act reinforces the measures and bodies that failed to do their job in the recent accounting scandals -- namely, the accounting profession and the Securities and Exchange Commission -- rather than the groups that processed the available information in the most timely manner -- that is, the debt and equity markets.

In addition, Sarbanes-Oxley will discourage risktaking on the part of corporate executives, impose significant costs on all companies through the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and increase the quantity, but not necessarily the quality, of financial reporting, say Bassett and Storrie.


Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been very busy with my classes and I'll try to get back to blogging as soon as possible. On a personal note, I downloaded Firefox and so far I like it.

Get Firefox!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Economic Equality

Did you know that market liberalization can lead to more economic equality? That shows what anti-globalization activists know. According to Anthony de Jasay:

One elegant achievement of economic thought is the Factor Price Equalisation theorem proved by Paul Samuelson. It states that if trade in goods is free and transport costs are zero, the rewards of factors producing tradable goods will in equilibrium be equal everywhere. More realistic assumptions used by Ohlin and Heckscher yield the result that factor prices will at least tend to converge. The significance of the theorem is that people do not have to migrate from poor to rich countries to achieve higher incomes; free trade will do it for them even if they stay at home. The point of globalisation, then, is that both the rich and the poor countries gain, but the poor ones gain more, faster. Lovers of equality and worldwide "social justice" ought to welcome it, and not begrudge the transfer of less skilled jobs from the richer to the poorer countries.