miércoles, 10 de agosto de 2016

The Fall of Rome Began with the Abuse of Refugees

Some people have compared the migrant crisis in Europe today with the barbarian invasion that brought down the Roman Empire. The only grain of truth here is that it was indeed a migrant crisis that began the cascade of events that brought down Rome.
Those migrants, however, were not hostile barbarians who lusted to burn down Roman civilization. Instead, they were desperate refugees who wanted sanctuary within that civilization. A series of bad decisions and an uncompromising refusal to provide them with a dignified place in Roman society led to a series of events that would erase the Western Roman Empire from the map.

Want to Stop Gun Violence? End The War On Drugs

Every December 5th, American beer, wine, and spirit enthusiasts celebrate Repeal Day. It was on this day in 1933 that the United States officially passed the 21st Amendment, effectively ending the failed “noble experiment” known as Prohibition. This was not only a good day for liberty and libations; it also marked the end of a violent era in American history.
The transport and sale of illicit booze became a prolific criminal enterprise backed by well-armed, violent gangs. The result: a homicide rate in the United States that steadily climbed between 1920 and 1933. In addition, the rise of “victimless crimes”—namely, consumption or possession of alcohol—added to the already overburdened judicial system. Furthermore, alcohol consumption—what Prohibition laws sought to minimize—actually increased nearly 70 percent.
To call Prohibition a failure would be an understatement.

Socialist Self-Deception: Einstein and the USSR to Bernie Sanders and Venezuela

Albert Einstein is supposed to have defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Yet, as the economic implosion of Venezuela reminds us, we seem to be unable to stop repeating the same terrible mistake: trying to make socialism work.
To explain our insane fascination with socialism, I have pointed to a growing body of academic research, which suggests that we are, by nature, envious of and resentful toward people who amass “disproportionate” wealth and power.
Moreover, research suggests that we find it difficult to comprehend, let alone appreciate, what Friedrich Hayek called extended order — or the use of specialization and trade to create “an information gathering process, able to call up, and put to use, widely dispersed information that no central planning agency, let alone any individual, could know as a whole, possess or control.”

Obama’s Overtime Rules Will Cripple the Young and Ambitious

It’s Saturday evening. Are you working? It’s legal for now. Next year this time, it will be illegal unless you ding your employer for overtime pay. If your employer doesn’t agree to shell out, grab that clicker and watch some Netflix. Mandatory goofing off is your new way of life.
In countless ways, the mandates are going to put in place new barriers to career advancement. The Department of Labor — with no debate or legislation but rather through regulatory fiat — plans to impose a rule that will cause deep injury to millions of workers. It will mandate that time-and-a-half pay be dramatically expanded to cover people who barely managed to escape such rules. It will apply to income as high as $47.4K per year, and be applicable to both wages and salaries.
In countless ways, the mandates are going to put in place new barriers to career advancement. What’s even worse, the proponents know this and don’t really care. It’s what they intend. 

Venezuela's Slow Motion Apocalypse

Despite having more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, and in fact more proven oil reserves than any country in the world (8 times more than the US), oil-rich Venezuela’s economy is imploding and collapsing under the burden of socialism, and economic conditions there have deteriorated so dramatically that they probably now qualify as the “economic apocalypse” that some left-leaning economists were predicting just a few years ago would never happen in Venezuela. Some links and updates about Venezuela’s economic apocalypse appear below:

They Said No To Big Government

The Founding Fathers insisted that each man should be considered as owning himself, and not be viewed as the property of the state.The Declaration of Independence, proclaimed by members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, is the founding document of the American experiment in free government. What is too often forgotten is that what the Founding Fathers argued against in the Declaration was the heavy and intrusive hand of big government.
Most Americans easily recall those eloquent words with which the Founding Fathers expressed the basis of their claim for independence from Great Britain in 1776:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Why Should Anyone Need a License for Anything?

Imagine a US state where locksmiths, pastoral counselors, home security companies, and acupuncturists do not have to be licensed by the government to do business. They could pursue certification with a private organization if they wanted to, but they could decide not to as well. Would chaos ensue?
Recently, the state legislature in my home state of North Carolina approved draft legislation that would undo licensing requirements for 15 professions, including locksmithing, pastoral counseling, and acupuncture. At present, practicing in these professions requires licensure by the state, but this bill would dissolve that requirement for these professions.
If this North Carolina law passes, the sky will not fall. 

The One Question Ruining the Song of Liberty

“Go forth and shrink the state.”
These are the final words with which Deirdre McCloskey chose to end her lecture to the Legatum Institute in London on her latest book, Bourgeois Equality, the third and final volume in her Bourgeois Era series wherein she ventures an answer to the question of why the modern world, with all its wealth and liberating effects, has come to pass.
The Music of Progress
As I listen to McCloskey’s chorus to “go forth,” I find her words plucking at the strings of my heart with a harmony that sings to my mind, “Let ordinary people have a go!”  This is the leitmotif of the future—I tell myself—a theme worthy of a new kind of politics, or rather, a resurgence of a past politics when men had hope in their liberty and virtue to create a peaceful, cooperative, and just city. Such is the song of an egalitarianism that respects distance and difference where everyone is given their equal liberty to have a go at remaking the world for the betterment of all. In tune, McCloskey alludes to the music that helped propel “The Great Enrichment,” giving us a poet’s song, Robert Burns “A Man’s A Man For A’ That”:

How Venezuela Fell Apart

In 1950, when the global economy was struggling to recover from World War II, oil-rich Venezuela was the world’s fourth-wealthiest country, boasting a per capita GDP of $7,424 exceeded only by the United States, Switzerland and New Zealand. Indeed, Venezuela’s per capita income was nearly four times higher than that of Japan (at $1,873), nearly twice that of Germany ($4,281) and more than 12 times that of China ($614), according to NationMaster.com, an economics statistics site. By 2012, Venezuela’s per capita GDP ranked 68th in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. But it has continued to shrink since then, dropping 5.7% in 2015 and by a projected 7.1% rate in 2016, according to the country’s central bank. Inflation in Venezuela, the highest in the world, reached 159% in 2015 and is expected to grow to 204% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The Hidden Costs of a Possible U.S.–Mexico Trade War

In the race for the White House, both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton have incorporated skepticism about free-trade pacts into their presidential campaign platforms. While Trump has attracted more attention than Clinton by arguing that the U.S. should seriously consider pulling out of the three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement and the 164-nation World Trade Organization, both candidates have criticized the impact of NAFTA on U.S. jobs growth, and opposed U.S. membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the grounds that the 12-nation free-trade bloc, yet to be enacted, would have a harmful impact on U.S. economic growth and job creation.

Gary Johnson and William Weld on Hillary, Trump, and Why You Should Vote Libertarian

The Libertarian candidates are gaining ground in national polls. Can they keep it up?

"The dragon that I'm jousting against this year is this frozen monopoly of the two parties that have frozen a lot of people's thinking in place," says William Weld, former Republican governor of Massachusetts and current Libertarian party vice presidential candidate. "And they think, 'I have to be a right-winger,' or, 'I have to be a left-winger.' They're not thinking, 'What do I think?'"
Weld and his running mate, former Republican governor of New Mexico and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, are trying to pry open the vise grip that the Republican and Democratic parties have held on electoral politics for decades. They believe the historic unpopularity of the major party candidates gives them a unique opportunity to present their brand of fiscal conservatism, social tolerance, and a non-interventionist foreign policy to the American public.

The Lies From Trump, Clinton, and Obama That We Choose To Believe

"We don't pay ransom for hostages" and other obvious falsehoods from the past week.

Contemporary politics, explained in one chart 
ThePeoplesCube.comThe past few days have featured several spectacular instances of would-be presidents and an actual president lying their faces off. Depending on your partisan and ideological affiliations, you have probably chosen to believe some of the lies while calling attention to vileness of the folks with whom you disagree. Congratulations, you—we—are part of the problem.
Can we at least agree that we are living in a post-fact world? Hell, maybe we always have. Such an admission might be the start of a productive reset, at least when it comes to politics. Here are three examples to illustrate the depth and breadth of the problem.

Can Clinton or Trump or ANYONE Actually Grow the U.S. Economy?

Definitely the Democrat or the Republican, who are locked in a 20th-century model of an expansive, all-encompassing state.

David Deeble, Twitter 
David Deeble, TwitterEarlier this year, economist Robert Gordon published his magisterial treatise, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War, which charted a dire course for the United States in the 21st century. Gordon essentially argued that economic growth, which is essential to rising standards of living, was slowing for all sorts of reasons: the ageing of the population and a reduction in birth rates, a decline in technical innovation, the end of private-sector unions, increased global competition, and on and on. However well-intentioned, his policy prescriptions at the end of the book —more taxes and regulation to distribute income gains more broadly and an activist government when it comes to ensuring all sorts of outcomes—are unlikely to do anything else than carve up smaller pieces of a shrinking or steady-state pie.
But Gordon is certainly right to call attention to long-term declines in economic growth. In The New York Times, he writes:

Libertarian Lite

Some say libertarians could win politically if they give up their principles.

In this year's Republican presidential primaries, Sen. Rand Paul got little traction. In 2012, his father failed. That year, the Libertarian Party candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, got just 1 percent of the vote.We libertarians must be doing something wrong. Maybe our anti-government message is too radical, says Jerry Taylor. Maybe we should soften our approach.
"Libertarians need to be more realistic," Taylor told 500 young people at a taping of my TV show at last week's International Students for Liberty conference. In electoral politics, he said, finding libertarians is "like trying to find a daisy in Hiroshima" after the nuclear blast.
Taylor, a smart libertarian who runs a think tank called the Niskanen Center, says to become more popular, we libertarians ought to change our views. He criticized Rand Paul for saying that in 1964 he would've voted against the Civil Rights Act.

Beyond Two Evils

There are more than two choices in the presidential election.

Many people dislike both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton—for good reason: Both are power-hungry threats to democracy and rule of law.
But what can we do? What's the alternative?
Fortunately, one political party wants government to have a little less power. Former governors Gary Johnson and William Weld, the Libertarian Party's presidential and vice presidential nominee, don't have to be smarter or more moral than Clinton and Trump (though they are) because they want to reduce the power that government has over your life.
"I want government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom," says Weld in a recent Johnson/Weld campaign ad.

Donald Trump Suggests ‘Second Amendment People’ Could Stop Clinton SCOTUS Nominees

Clinton suggests presidential wannabes shouldn't endorse violence, except apparently when they're Secretary of State?

YouTubeYouTubeIt's Tuesday, and Donald Trump is looking to dominate the news cycle yet again with another off-hand remark that provides many in the media the cover they need to avoid covering the election more substantively.
Have you heard the one about Donald Trump suggesting someone shoot Hillary Clinton's Supreme Court picks? It's Donald Trump—maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but the soundbite is going to get a lot of play.
"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks," Trump said in North Carolina today, "although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know."

Lies Politicians Tell

Trump's supporters are convinced he'll shake up the system, but they ignore evidence that Trump is one more manipulative member of the rich political class.

But I can't vote for Donald Trump. He lies almost as often.
Trump denies he ever said things, claiming he never used terms like "fat pig" to describe women, that he never was open to using nuclear weapons against ISIS, that he never mocked Jon Stewart for changing his name. Smears big and small—Trump just denies he said them.
He's also a bully. He intimidates weaker people by suing them. In business deals, he refuses to pay some of what he owes and then tells creditors: Go ahead and sue me! Creditors often take partial payment because they can't afford to fight Trump in court.

Tell Donald Trump That Immigrants Are Making Michigan Great Again

Without new arrivals to this country, the state would be poorer and less populated.

The wall that Donald Trump wants to build along the border might leave the loud-mouthed presidential wannabe not just (as rival Gary Johnson wryly suggests) dreading the athletic acumen of Mexican pole-vaulters testing its height, but also struggling to explain the economic wreckage that he has wrought. Michigan residents in particular would probably require an explanation, as a new report points out the important role foreign-born residents play in driving economic activity in the struggling state.

Judge Andrew Napolitano on Election 2016 and Being a Pro-Life Libertarian

The Fox News legal analyst fears electing Trump OR Clinton would be the "demise of the Constitution as we understand it."

"Do you know anybody living who expressly consents to the existence of the government and consents to what it does?" asks Judge Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst for Fox News, syndicated columnist, and author of, most recently, Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Assault on Civil Liberties. "Your rights, my rights, are integral to our humanity. The government can't take them away by majority vote!"
Reason's Nick Gillespie caught up with the judge at this year's FreedomFest, the annual gathering of libertarians in Las Vegas, to discuss how his traditional Catholicism intersects with his libertarian politics, why electing Trump or Clinton will likely lead to the "demise of the Constitution as we understand it," why he thinks Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson won't win in November, his commitment to open borders, and the philosophical underpinnings to his pro-life stance on abortion.

Control Freaks' Solution to Shadow Economy: Nag People and Abolish Cash

They'll try anything but lowering taxes and reducing regulations

KiwievThe shadow economy—off-the-books business and labor that would be perfectly legal if people felt like subjecting themselves to taxes and regulations—ebbs and flows with the years. Right now, it's down a bit in many countries from the days of the recession, but shadow economic activity is still huge. Across the European Union, it's estimated to amount to 18.4 percent of GDP. Why people work off the books is no secret—high taxes and burdensome regulations are constantly cited by economists as primary drivers for people to hide what they're doing. So, current policies are like kryptonite to people who want to keep the fruits of their labor. Got it. The obvious solution then is to...harangue and coerce people back into the official economy?
Yeah, those are really serious recent proposals.

The War against Cash, Part II

Daniel J. Mitchell

The War against Cash, Part II
I wrote yesterday that governments want to eliminate cash in order to make it easier to squeeze more money from taxpayers.
But that’s not the only reason why politicians are interested in banning paper money and coins.
They also are worried that paper money inhibits the government’s ability to “stimulate” the economy with artificially low interest rates. Simply stated, they’ve already pushed interest rates close to zero and haven’t gotten the desired effect of more growth, so the thinking in official circles is that if you could implement negative interest rates, people could be pushed to be good little Keynesians because any money they have in their accounts would be losing value.
I’m not joking.
Here’s some of what Kenneth Rogoff, a professor at Harvard and a former economist at the International Monetary Fund, wrote for the U.K.-based Financial Times.
Getting rid of physical currency and replacing it with electronic money would…eliminate the zero bound on policy interest rates that has handcuffed central banks since the financial crisis. At present, if central banks try setting rates too far below zero, people will start bailing out into cash.

The War against Cash, Part I

Daniel J. Mitchell

The War against Cash, Part I
Politicians hate cash.
That may seem an odd assertion given that they love spending money (other people’s money, of course, as illustrated by this cartoon).
But what I’m talking about is the fact that politicians get upset when there’s not 100 percent compliance with tax laws.
They hate tax havens since the option of a fiscal refuge makes confiscatory taxation impractical.
They hate the underground economy because that means hard-to-tax economic activity.
And they hate cash because it gives consumers an anonymous payment mechanism.
Let’s explore the animosity to cash.
It’s basically because a cashless society is an easier-to-tax society, as expressed by an editorial from the U.K.-based Financial Times.
…unlike electronic money, it cannot be tracked. That means cash favours anonymous and often illicit activity; its abolition would make life easier for a government set on squeezing the informal economy out of existence. …Value added tax, for example, could be automatically levied. …Greece, in particular, could make lemonade out of lemons, using the current capital controls to push the country’s cash culture into new habits.

More Flawed Partisan Analysis from Paul Krugman

Daniel J. Mitchell

 More Flawed Partisan Analysis from Paul Krugman
When I get my daily email from the editorial page of the New York Times, I scroll through to see whether there’s anything on economic issues I should read.
As a general rule, I skip over Paul Krugman’s writings because he’s both predictable and partisan. But every so often, his column will grab my attention, usually because the headline will include an assertion that doesn’t make sense.
The bad news is that this is usually a waste of time since most of his columns are ideological rants. But the good news is that I periodically catch Krugman making grotesque errors when he engages in actual analysis. Here are a few examples:
  • Earlier this year, Krugman asserted that America was outperforming Europe because our fiscal policy was more Keynesian, yet the data showed that the United States had bigger spending reductions and less red ink.
  • Last year, he asserted that a supposed “California comeback” in jobs somehow proved my analysis of a tax hike was wrong, yet only four states at the time had a higher unemployment rate than California.
  • And here’s my favorite: In 2012, Krugman engaged in the policy version of time travel by blaming Estonia’s 2008 recession on spending cuts that took place in 2009.

Israel, the Laffer Curve, and Market-Based Reform

Daniel J. Mitchell

Israel, the Laffer Curve, and Market-Based Reform
Since I’m a big fan of the Laffer Curve, I’m always interested in real-world examples showing good results when governments reduce marginal tax rates on productive activity.
Heck, I’m equally interested in real-world results when governments do the wrong thing and increase tax burdens on work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship (and, sadly,these examples are more common).
My goal, to be sure, isn’t to maximize revenue for politicians. Instead, I prefer the growth-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve.
In any event, my modest hope is that politicians will learn that higher tax rates lead to less taxable income. Whether taxable income falls by a lot or a little obviously depends on the specific circumstance. But in either case, I want policy makers to understand that there are negative economic effects.

A Reaganesque Recipe to Reinvigorate China’s Economy?

Daniel J. Mitchell

A Reaganesque Recipe to Reinvigorate China’s Economy?
The long-term trend in China is positive. Economic reforms beginning in the late 1970s have helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty.
And thanks to decades of strong growth, living standards for ordinary Chinese citizens are far higher than they used to be. There’s still quite a way to go before China catches up to western nations, but the numbers keep improving.
That being said, China’s economy has hit a speed bump. The stock market’s recent performance has been less than impressive and economic growth has faltered.
Is this the beginning of the end of the Chinese miracle?
If you asked me about six months ago, I would have expressed pessimism. The government was intervening in financial markets to prop up prices, and that was after several years of failed Keynesian-style spending programs that were supposed to “stimulate” growth.

Recession 2016: In Some States, A Very Deep Economic Downturn Has Already Arrived

Recession 2016: In Some States, A Very Deep Economic Downturn Has Already Arrived

Recession 2016 - Public DomainDid you know that there are some U.S. states that have already officially fallen into recession?  Economic activity all over the planet is in the process of slowing down, and there are some areas of the country that are really starting to feel the pain.  In particular, any state that is heavily dependent on the energy industry is hurting right now.  During the years immediately following the last recession, the energy industry was the primary engine for the growth of good paying jobs in America, but now that process is completely reversing.  All over the U.S. energy companies are going under, and thousands upon thousands of good jobs are being lost.
On Sunday evening, Bloomberg published an article entitled “The U.S. States Where Recession Is Already a Reality“. The following is an excerpt from that article…

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