Ross Kaminsky article, “Farrell’s Fallacies”

Café Hayek tipped me off to this article by Ross Kaminsky, answering the charge by Paul Farrell that “capitalism is killing our morals, our future.”

He summarizes Farrell’s argument:

…since today’s economic arrangements don’t suggest the same interest by society at large in the things he thinks most important such as financial equality, publicly-funded health care and education, and public spaces free of advertising, it must be the fault of capitalism, which is to say the fault of freedom itself.

Farrell’s criticism of the market economy is a way of saying he disapproves of the choices being freely made by his fellow citizens, and he answers the Farrell’s charge that ‘the good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities.’

This turns reality on its head.  If good things in life are turned into commodities, it means that (unlike in non-capitalist countries) those who are not rich can afford them.  Even the poor in America are rich by world standards.

Further,

What is truly immoral is suggesting that capitalism is harming us by making so many goods and services affordable to the ordinary American.

Discussing the issue in income inequality,

If a poor person is much less poor than she was a few years ago, is she going to focus her attentions on whether the rich man has $10M or $20M…or $2B?  Unless the rich are getting rich by theft or corruption, the answer is manifestly no.  And unlike the left’s frequent suggestions that capitalism and corruption are two sides of the same coin, truly free markets and limited government minimize the ability of corruptocrats and their rent-seeking cronies to profit off the backs of customers and taxpayers.

He concludes,

George Mason University Professor of Economics Don Boudreaux often reminds his students that the most important question in economics is “compared to what?“  When it comes to the academic left’s negative views of capitalism, it is a question they never seem to ask.

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Quantitiative Bloodletting

Louis Woodhill article, May 6, 2013 in Realclearmarkets.

Interesting analysis on the recent jobs report, reported in the press as “good news” and igniting a bit of a stock market uptick.

One good thing about this continued economic malaise, is the work being done to shake up the ‘settled science’ of mainstream economics.

 

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“Bullet Train” a California Unicorn?

Recent WSJ article about the current status of the bullet train project in California.

Quick check of Southwest.com, SFO to LAX, one hour and 20 minutes, one way cost between $68 and $215.

Other than as a monument to the egos of some politicians, remind me again of the compelling reason for this public expenditure?

 

 

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Tamny on Bush Economic Record (Hint: Not so Good)

Tamny piece in Realclearmarkets, April 30, 2013, “Without Excusing Obamanomics, Bushonomics Was a Dismal Failure”

Tamny spares no political party when it comes to economic analysis.  This is making Clinton look like the best president since Reagan.  Who’da thunk it?!

 

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Muzzling Free Speech about Taxes, George Will

George Will in the Washington Post, May 5, 2013.

George Will quotes a recent Mont Hamilton Society guest speaker, Tim Sandefur…

Timothy Sandefur, of the public-interest, limited-government Pacific Legal Foundation, notes that decades ago the Supreme Court, without justification in the Constitution’s text, structure or history, created a binary First Amendment. So today the amendment gives different degrees of protection to two kinds of speech — strong protection to political speech, minimal protection to commercial speech.

 

 

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It’s a 401(k) World–Thomas L. Friedman

Article by Thomas Friedman from New York Times, April 30, 2013

I’m not always in congruence with Tom Friedman’s thinking, but this column makes a lot of sense…has huge implications in education, as well as the general mindset of the citizenry.  At the risk of showing my bias, I believe it’s a good thing!

 

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Mises Quotes, from the pages of Human Action

My friend Patrick Peterson has compiled many Mises quotes.  I love these regarding the importance of economics in our everyday lives…

“Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle.”

 Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that economics cannot remain an esoteric branch of knowledge accessible only to small groups of scholars and specialists. Economics deals with society’s fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen.”

“Very few are capable of contributing any consequential idea to the body of economic thought.  But all reasonable men are called upon to familiarize themselves with the teachings of economics.  This is, in our age, the primary civic duty.”

“As conditions are today, nothing can be more important to every intelligent man than economics.  His own fate and that of his progeny is at stake.”

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Redistribution in Academia

From Sandy Ikeda’s recent article in FEE,

I should have been taxed because I am blessed with a good short term memory, an excellent tool for test-taking…actual learning, not so much.  But I got good grades with my natural gift.  I should have been required to share that gift with those who didn’t study at all—it’s only fair.

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Reinflating the Housing Bubble, Nita Ghei

From her article in the Washington Times, Wednesday April 10.

Do we really need to go through this again?

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Reflections of a Medical Ex-Practitioner, by Dr. Ed Marsh

Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2013,… great article from the personal experience of Dr. Ed Marsh, who now raises Christmas trees in Massachusetts.

Key points,

  • Originally, from medical school into private practice the goal was medical care for individuals, not treatment of populations or groups.
  • In the mid-70′s, things changed as third parties, typically insurance companies, were interpolated between the physician and the patient, with unfortunate consequences.
  • Since patients weren’t paying for things anymore, ‘more’ became the expectation, and procedures, tests and second opinions proliferated, and the consequences of profligacy disappeared.
  • Insurance relationships drive practice relationships; as more physicians leave health care, the most important factor is not economics , but rather ‘the glow of the personal relationship one might have with one’s patients is being extinguished.’
  • “The medical economist Rashi Fein observed in 1986 that there are only three ways to limit the extravagant demand for medical care:  “Inconvenience,” the practice used in the military, where one must wait interminably for care.  “Rules,” the third-party approach by which layers of rules and thousands of regulations are devised, most recently in a fool’s quest to contain costs under ObamaCare.  And “Price.” This last option elicits gasps and chest-clutching from bien pensants who insist that all financial impediments to care must be removed.  Yet it has one incontestably beneficial attribute: It requires the physician to study the true cost and benefits of a course of action, and then to present that data to the patient.  Who is better suited than the patient to assess the value to him of the proposed treatment?  Kathleen Sebelius?  You gotta be kidding.”

Well said, Mr. Marsh  Hopefully your trees appreciate you, since your patients have been deprived of your care.

 

 

 

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