Archive for April, 2010

Democrats Push for National ID »

At least since 9/11, the Democrats have, if anything, been even worse than the Republicans in their push for a national ID. I recall the Bush administration, very early on, dismissing this totalitarian idea, although Bush soon enough signed the Real ID Act into law, with the support of hawkish and anti-immigration conservatives. But...
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Profile in Cowardice: Allah is Great! Die South Park Die! »

In recent years, threats from Islamic extremists have resulted in murder of those simply depicting Mohammed (forbidden by Islamic tradition, although not unknown to Islamic culture). From a prominent woman who fled Islamic death threats: “‘South Park’ and the Informal Fatwa” In a profile of cowardice, Comedy Central responded to a recent death threat...
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Making Sense on Ending the “Slavery Blame-Game” »

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has never deserved his reputation on the right as a simplistic race-baiter. His book, Colored People: A Memoir, is proof enough of this point. For this reason, and others, my sympathies were generally with Gates when he alleged abuse by the Cambridge Police Department. My main criticism of Gates was...
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Financial Reform: Bigger Government, for the Benefit of Special Interests »

In 1971 George Stigler published his “Theory of Economic Regulation” in which he hypothesized that regulatory agencies tend to be “captured” by the organizations they are regulating, so that the regulated organizations benefit at the expense of the general public. Stigler’s capture theory of regulation is playing itself out again in the financial market...
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Robert Higgs Debates James Galbraith on Obamanomics »

Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs debates James Galbraith (Professor of Economics, University of Texas; son of infamous, “liberal”, Keynesian economist John Kenneth Galbraith) on Antiwar Radio regarding the folly of government bailouts for insolvent banks, creation of the Glass-Steagall Act as a means to prevent FDIC insured banks from taking excessive risks, benefits...
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Freedom from Bad Academic Writing »

The following column on George Orwell’s advice to free students from bad academic writing is worth reading: http://chronicle.com/article/Bad-WritingBad-Thinking/65031/?sid=ja&utm_source=ja&utm_medium=en In two decades of teaching, I have worked with exceptionally bright undergraduates. Once they enter graduate school, however, they conform to the “smelly little orthodoxies” of theory and the jargon-ridden writing of their discipline. I’ve always...
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The Fed’s Interest Rate Gamble »

The Fed’s very accommodating policies over the Bernanke era seem to be setting us up for inflation down the road. To the general public this policy appears as low interest rates. Low interest rates are produced by increases in the monetary base, which will lead to inflation as the economy recovers, unless the monetary...
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Property and Plunder, circa 2010 »

As if to demonstrate the Bastiat thesis in American human terms is this news of a Federal Air Marshal who (allegedly) raped an escort in between looking for terrorists on domestic air flights. After he (allegedly) misrepresented his government position, wielded his government-issued handgun, and raped the working girl, he then took back the...
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The Central Bank’s Powers Should Be Curtailed, Monetary Expert Argues »

Professor Richard Timberlake, an Independent Institute research fellow and an economist who has written several books and dozens of journal articles about Federal Reserve monetary policies, sent us the following note today regarding my Lighthouse write-up of “Central Banks as Sources of Financial Instability,” George Selgin‘s superb article in the Spring 2010 issue of...
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Did Goldman Sachs Foresee the Mortgage Collapse? »

With the Securities and Exchange Commission now accusing Goldman Sachs of fraud by selling investors mortgage-backed securities that eventually collapsed, one might wonder whether Goldman did, in fact, set up Abacus investments anticipating that it would lose money. This article suggests there were divided opinions within Goldman. Of course, companies don’t take any actions...
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